Zinsser's research focuses on the quality of early childhood environments, especially the ways by which adults promote young children's social and emotional competences and well-being. Her work examines early childhood teacher-child interactions, classroom processes, instruction quality and emotion socialization practices that promote children's social success, positive development, and achievement. Zinsser is especially interested in studying systems and policies that impact young children's learning (e.g. recent preschool expulsion legislation, child care providers' workplace experiences and well-being, and equity and inclusion in quality care). She is a former post-doctoral fellow of the National Academy of Education and Associate Editor of Early Education & Development.
Discusses how preschoolers are being expelled at an alarmingly high rate and indicates that Chicago teachers' requests to expel a child are highly dependent on their own levels of stress. Shows that although resources, such as social-emotional learning supports can help reduce expulsions, they only work if they address teachers' experiences of stress a work.
Uses data from a nationally representative study of Head Start students and teachers. Identifies critical child-level resources program directors can implement that additionally benefit teacher mental health and job satisfaction.
Summarizes the evidence of the importance of promoting young children's emotional competence in order to ensure both their later academic and social success.
Indicates that a teacher's ability to support children's emotional development were differentially predicted by characteristics of the center and the director, including prior teacher turnover rate and director job satisfaction. Shows that highly regulated indicators of center quality (e.g. student:teacher ratio) did not substantially explain emotional support.
Summarizes the critical role that early childhood educators play in supporting young children's social-emotional growth.