In Memoriam: Early Childhood Researcher J. Ronald Lally

Tea light burning in the night

The early child community is mourning the loss of J. Ronald Lally , a pioneer in the field of infant/toddler development and care.

While a professor at Syracuse University, Ron chaired the Department of Child and Family Studies and directed its Family Development Research Program. In addition, he oversaw the operation of one of the country’s first federally funded infant care centers and became a founding board member of the Zero to Three organization. Then, for more than 30 years he directed the Center for Child and Family Studies and, along with his colleague Peter Mangione, the Program for Infant and Toddler Caregivers (PITC) at the WestEd organization in Sausalito, California.

Ron realized the importance of having public policy that reflects what we know about young children’s developmental needs. In 2013, he wrote and published a book, For Our Babies: Ending the Invisible Neglect of America’s Infants, as a call for action to the nation’s early childhood decision makers.