Director, Infant and Family Development Programs
Some of the Values that Shape My Work
In preparing educators I work to support an atmosphere of honesty. This, in turn, helps my students to generate a parallel sense of trust in their own classrooms, as they strive for an environment that engenders inquiry and democratically based possibilities for children, teachers and families. I help my students to find their own voices, to draw on their observations of children, and to integrate these resources in the constant interplay between theory and practice.
Teacher candidates need practice handling the contradictions and ambiguities inherent in our work; to remember history while they keep in mind the future to which they are headed. To this end I encourage them to consider multiple contexts and perspectives and become centered in a framework of developmental and learning principles that is both firmly cogent yet flexible—to help us make sense of new data, theories and mandates. For me, developmental-interaction is such a framework.
Work with Families, Children, Schools, and Communities
- Work with typically and atypically developing children (newborns to adolescents, especially ages 0-3) and their families in research and early intervention settings.
Recent Professional Contributions
- Presenter, So Many Children She Didn’t Know What to Do: Care Under Stress in Rural South African Preschools, Zero to Three Conference, New York City.
- Keynote Speech, Joining Worlds: What Does it Take to Learn from Each Other? City University of New York & Center for Children’s Initiatives Annual Conference, New York City.
- Visiting Professor, Department of Education, University of Johannesburg, South Africa 2010-2013.
- Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Yeshiva University
- M.A., Art Therapy, New York University
- B.F.A., Fiber Sculpture, California College of Art
Selected Publications and Presentations
Casper, V., & Lamb-Parker, F. (2012). Community-based learning to support South African early group care. Early Years: A Journal of Research and Development, 32(2), 183-199.
Casper, V. (2011). Terms of engagement: Preparing pre-service teachers to form authentic partnerships with families and communities. Education as Change, 15(1), 5-19.
Casper, V., & Theilheimer, R. (2009). Introduction to early childhood education: Learning together. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Casper, V., & Lamb-Parker, F. (2008). Waiting to be three: A model of training, care, support and advocacy for infants and toddlers in rural South Africa. Early Childhood Education International, 21, 1-8.
Casper, V. (2005). Beyond feeders and growers: Changing conceptions of care in the Western Cape. Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 16(1), 55-59.
Casper, V. (2003). Very young children in lesbian-and gay-headed families: Moving beyond acceptance. Zero to Three, 23(3), 18-26.
Casper, V., & Theilheimer, R. (2000). Hands on/hands off/hands out: Choices teachers make in the teaching - learning relationship. Learning to teach others about working with infants, toddlers, and families. Zero To Three, 20(6), 5-11.
Casper, V., & Schultz, S. B. (1999). Gay parents/Straight schools: Building communication and trust. New York: Teachers College Press.