Joan L. Ershler, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Post-docturate School Psychology
I have a long-standing interest in young children's development and learning, and ways in which we can facilitate both in children with varying abilities, especially through play-based strategies in inclusive programs. My career has included teaching young children with special needs; teaching at the university level; providing pre-professional training in early childhood education; and consulting with Head Start programs. Since 1992, I have been the director of the Waisman Early Childhood Program, an inclusive program for approximately 90 children, a third of who have a developmental disability or special education need. In addition to direct services to children and families, we provide training opportunities for university students, a setting for research, and consultation services to community early childhood programs. We are also in the process of developing several new programs: a play-based intervention program for young children who have difficulty with social interactions, and a mentoring program for teachers working in Head Start classrooms.