Alison Wishard Guerra is an Associate Professor of Education Studies at UC San Diego. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Psychology and Latin American and Latino Studies, and received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Applied Human Development from UCLA School of Education and Information Sciences. Dr. Wishard Guerra’s research focuses on culture and development in early childhood, with particular focus on social and language development among Latino children from low-income families. Her research looks specifically at how relationships and social interactions with adults and peers may serve as protective factors for later cognitive development among at-risk children. She studies within group variations related to immigration and acculturation experiences and their associations to children’s developmental outcomes. Dr. Wishard Guerra specifically focuses on early care and education settings as an important context for optimal development among children growing up in poverty. She recently published an edited volume on the Culture of Child Care, published by Oxford University Press.
Dr. Wishard Guerra was a member of the National Early Head Start Research Consortium where she investigated longitudinal social and cognitive developmental outcomes among low-income families. Dr. Wishard Guerra was also member of the expanded research consortia that developed the California Preschool Learning Foundations on English-Language Development, and served as an expert reviewer of English Language Development and Cultural Diversity in the development of Volumes 2 (Physical Development, Health, and Visual and Performing Arts) and 3 (Science, and History/Social Sciences) of the California Preschool Learning Foundations and the California Preschool Curriculum Framework, published by the California Department of Education.
Her current research at UCSD investigates the role of early care and education for young children and families an effective lever for social and economic mobility among low-income and immigrant families. Specifically, she investigates the role of social pretend play with peers and the development of narrative and oral language skills in the development of school readiness skills among Latino heritage children from low-income families. Both social pretend plan and story telling are contexts of interactions that have been found to scaffold both self-regulation and language skills, both critical for later academic achievement.
In the Education Studies department at UCSD she teaches courses on early childhood education, cognitive development, culture and developmental theory, quantitative research methodology, dissertation writing seminar, and research on curriculum design. She is the Director of Graduate Studies in UCSD’s new Education PhD on Transforming Education for a Diverse Society. Dr.
Wishard Guerra has been working on P3 (Pre-natal to third grade) Research, Reform, and Advocacy in San Diego County working to transform early care and education.