Megina Baker is a Lecturer in the Early Childhood Education program, teaching courses on play, early childhood curriculum and assessment, and supervising student teachers in public school placements. Megina holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, where she studied bilingualism, teacher education, and practitioner inquiry. She recently spent several years as a researcher on the Pedagogy of Play project at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, and continues to participate on the faculty at the Project Zero Classroom annual institute.
A graduate of Tufts University and Cornell University, she has taught preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten in both public and private settings for over ten years, in the United States and in Sweden, including several years at BU’s Early Childhood Learning Lab. Megina collaborated in writing the integrated, play-based Focus on K2 curriculum for the Boston Public Schools kindergarten programs, now being used across Boston as well as in a number of other districts in MA and beyond.
She is a co-author of two recently published books: Children at the Center: Transforming Early Childhood Education in the Boston Public Schools, and Reclaiming Accountability in Teacher Education, and has been involved in coordinating numerous professional development opportunities for local educators in conjunction with the Wonder of Learning exhibition from Reggio Emilia, Italy. Megina is also the mother of two young emergent bilingual children.
- 2019 Exemplary Research in Teaching and Teacher Education Award, Division K, American Education Research Association, for Project TEER research (see Research)
- 2019 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award, for Reclaiming Accountability in Teacher Education (Cochran-Smith et al., 2018, see Books)
- 2018 Article recognition for Baker (2018) Playing, talking, co-constructing by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)
B.S. Cornell University - Human Development and Family Studies
M.A.T. Tufts University - Early Childhood Education
Ph.D. Boston College - Curriculum and Instruction
The Role of Play in Early Childhood
Preschool Curriculum and Fieldwork
Bilingualism in Schools and Communities
Learning and Development among Early Learners
Current research includes a Playful Participatory Research (PPR) study focused on understanding teacher-researchers’ experiences with PPR, in collaboration with the Pedagogy of Play project at Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero to understand and promote learning through play in school contexts.
Pedagogy of Play: The Pedagogy of Play is a collaborative initiative between Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero, the International School of Billund in Denmark, and the LEGO Foundation, which aims to understand and promote learning through play in school contexts. To learn more about ongoing work with Project Zero's Pedagogy of Play project please visit Pedagogy of Play and the International School of Billund's website.
Exemplary Practices for Teaching Young Dual Language Learners: In partnership with Dr. Mariela Páez (Boston College), this qualitative study explores how six community-nominated exemplary teachers across three types of preschool programs (public Pre-K, Head Start, and private preschool) tailor their teaching with young DLLs in mind. Read more here.
PlayFutures Exploration: PlayFutures is an online community to promote learning through play around the globe. As a team member on a PlayFutures exploration, I collaborate with the teaching staff at a rural preschool in Kenya to promote play-based learning approaches for young children. Learn more here.
Project TEER (Teacher Education and Education Reform): A collaborative project led by Marilyn Cochran-Smith, this research (concluded in 2017) aimed to understand the accountability landscape in teacher education and offer recommendations for a more democratic accountability framework moving forward. See Reclaiming Accountability under publications.Visit Dr. Baker's Faculty Profile
Bardige, B., Baker, M., & Mardell, B. (2018). Children at the center: Transforming early childhood education in the Boston Public Schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
Cochran-Smith, M., Stringer Keefe, E., Burton, S., Chang, W. C., Carney, M. C., Fernández, M.B., Miller, A., Sánchez, J. G., Baker, M. (2018). Reclaiming accountability in teacher education. New York: Teachers College Press.
Baker, M. (2018). Playing, talking, co-constructing: Exemplary teaching for young Dual Language Learners across three program types. Early Childhood Education Journal, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-018-0903-0.
Baker, M. (2017). Early childhood teachers at the center: A qualitative case study of Professional development in an urban district. Early Childhood Education Journal, 46(2), 231-240.
Cochran-Smith, M., Baker, M., Burton, S., Carney, M. C., Chang, W. C., Fernández, M. B., Keefe, E. S., Miller, A., Sánchez, J. G. (2017). The accountability era in U.S. teacher education: Looking back and looking forward. European Journal of Teacher Education 40(5). 572-588.
Baker, M., Hogan, G., & Hesseldal, R. (2019, April). Using Playful Participatory Research to explore playful classroom management in early childhood classrooms. Presentation at the American Educational Research Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting. Toronto, Canada.
Páez, M. & Baker, M. (2019, April). Tailoring curriculum for Dual Language Learners in public Pre-K classrooms:Presentation at the American Educational Research Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting. Toronto, Canada.
Gold, B., Enochty, M., & Baker, M. (2018, November). Focus on Early Learning: The Boston Public Schools Early Childhood Programs. Presentation at the National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference. Washington, D.C.
Ngaywa, R., Baker, M., Weider, C., Berggren, R. (2018, October). Getting started with learning through play. Invited presentation to the early childhood educators of Embu. Embu, Kenya.
Baker, M., Bardige, B., Mardell, B., Boni, M., St. Victor., N., Valarezo, M., & Freeman, C. (2018, October). Children at the Center: A conversation with the authors and collaborators. Invited presentation at the Wonder of Learning Boston. Boston, MA.
Baker, M. (2018, October). A pedagogy of play. Keynote presentation at the Curiosity and Learning Conference, Boston University. Boston, MA.
O’Leary, A., Baker, M., Cox-Suárez, S., Lannak, L., & Pellagrini, K. (2018, June). Making high-quality early education a public priority: A community-policy dialogue. Invited speaker at The Wonder of Learning Boston. Boston, MA.
Cochran-Smith, M., Baker, M., Burton, S., Carney, M. C, Chang, W. C., Fernández, M. B., Keefe, E. S., Miller, A., Sánchez, J. G., & Stern, R. (2015, October). Fixing teacher education: Current and future directions. Keynote address at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Worcester, MA.