A unique partnership between a group of researchers and early childhood educators in Tennessee has resulted in the creation of what's being called the "Magic 8" practices that lead to an effective preschool program: focus on eight key practices.The practices were laid out in a new study published this month in the journal Child Development. The pairing between the researchers and early childhood educators came about after a 2015 study led by Dale Farran, a research professor at Vanderbilt University who also directs the Peabody Research Institute. "These practices have to do with how you interact with children and how you create a learning environment so that they can learn that content you're interested in having them learn," Farran said. The researchers found that these practices were particularly important for children who began preschool with low academic skills. Farran said 20 to 25 years ago, many of these practices were automatic for early childhood educators, but they've been replaced with a curriculum-driven perspective. "We need to remember that we're dealing with 4-year-olds, and these interactions between teachers and children and children and themselves are really critical components of a classroom," Farran said.