Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology, Boston College
Cohort Five Fellow

Academic Mentor
Eric Dearing
Associate Professor, Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology, Boston College School of Education

Policy Mentor
Joan Lombardi
Director, Early Opportunities, LLC

Research Interests
Early childhood education, poverty, policy, interventions, executive functioning

Areas of Expertise

Early Childhood Education and Initiatives, Implementation Science, Maternal Health, Program Evaluation, Longitudinal Data Analysis, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Regression Modeling, Infants and Toddlers, Low-Income Families and Individuals, Preschool-aged Children, School-aged Children

Francesca Longo is a doctoral student in the Boston College Lynch School of Education. Ms. Longo works with the Development and Research in Early Mathematics Education (DREME) network where she organizes the Parent and Early Caregiver Engagement team interested in improving caregiver-child interactions involving math and has helped develop benchmarks for executive functioning to create a curriculum integrating these skills with math learning. Previously, Ms. Longo evaluated scale, early childhood education interventions at MDRC, a non-profit dedicated to improving the knowledge base to influence social policy by designing new interventions, evaluating existing programs, and providing technical assistance to deliver effective interventions at scale. She is passionate about improving life experiences for children in poverty, and her current research focuses on integrating classroom and parent interventions for enhancing executive functions in preschool children. Ms. Longo holds a B.A. in Psychology from New York University. 


Two-Generation Approach to Promoting Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Regulation: Can Parent and Child Training Promote Child Well-Being and Improve Parent-Child Interactions?

Under-developed executive functions (EF) appear to be one reason children growing up poor underperform in school. Classroom-based interventions can improve EF and, in turn, children’s abilities to control emotions and behaviors. Moreover, consistency across home and classroom environments may maximize training benefits. Little research to date, however, has examined dual-generation approaches to EF training. This dissertation uses a randomized experiment to evaluate a dual-generation approach. Specifically, Head Start children’s EF and emotional and behavioral regulation and parent-child interactions in three experimental conditions will be examined: (1) a control condition in which children receive “business as usual” early education; (2) a treatment condition that includes a child EF training (weekly, 30-minute circle time games); and (3) a treatment condition that includes child EF training plus a parent training focused on developing strong parent-child interactions, teaching parents the importance of EF, and providing parents with the skills to help foster their children’s EF.