Meet Dr. Andrea Miller Emerson

Dr. Andrea Miller Emerson is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Division of Education and Leadership at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon.

She is a child and family advocate whose service positions with school, state, and national organizations facilitate continued support of culturally and contextually responsive practices and playful engagement with young children and families. Dr. Emerson proudly served the South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children, represented her state at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., and will present at the Early Childhood Inclusion Summer Institute in Oregon.

With a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction from Clemson University, a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University, and a Bachelors of Science in Human Environmental Sciences from the University of Alabama, her SEC football allegiance remains a mystery.

She is the developer of the Project Play Pack take-home play bags targeting preschool children’s Approaches to Learning. The take-home play bag model was derived from extensive work with Dr. Sandra Linder at Clemson University and a series of projects developing play bags to share with Head Start families to support in-home parent-child play with math, social-emotional, or approaches to learning topics.

Dr. Emerson’s work and research interests originated from her passion for teaching and caring in preschool classrooms. Andrea has taught preschool in three states and worked directly with children 0 – 5 years old. Her practice always consisted of play-based learning and strong home-school partnerships. As Andrea assumed leadership positions in the field, she became interested in the ways that teachers and administrators mentor each other regarding play-based practices and partnering with parents. She found that she enjoys providing professional development for teachers and administrators as much as she enjoys playing and building with families in the classroom! Andrea specializes in harnessing play to build responsive partnerships with families.

Dr. Emerson was a consultant
for the Preschool Academy for the 4K Jasper County Enhancement Grant and an invited lecturer of professional development for the State of South Carolina Department of Education. She has 8 peer-reviewed publications and 21 national conference presentations. She enjoys teaching courses on Infant, Toddler, and Child Development, Early Childhood Education Foundations, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, and Play & Social Emotional Development. Her research and practice continue to promote innovative uses of play for engaging children, families, and early childhood professionals.

Andrea lives (and laughs frequently) with her husband, Kyle, and her cat, Zuzu. She brings diverse personal perspectives to early childhood education and care from her father’s Colombian heritage, her mother’s all-American culture from North Texas, her ongoing involvement with an Italian Immersion Program for pre-service teachers in Carpi, Italy, and her extensive international travel.