I am a PhD student in the School and Clinical Child Psychology program. My research is focused on understanding quality predictors and correlates of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) environments. My Master’s thesis research involved conducting a meta-analysis and systematic review of the Early Childhood Environment Rating scale- an instrument that provides a global measure of ECEC quality- and its association with outcomes of preschool aged children. I have also had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Perlman on some of her policy work. Together, with staff from the City of Toronto, we have developed and validated a quality assessment tool that is currently being used in infant, toddler and preschool classrooms across the City of Toronto. More recently, we have been working on delivering and evaluating an innovative professional development program for Early Childhood Educators aimed at increasing their knowledge and use of cognitively sensitive practices. That is, practices that are focused on being attuned and responsive to children’s cognitive level and emotional state. Interventions that focus on interactions have been shown to improve both educator-child interactions, and overall ECEC classroom quality. Thus, the goal of my research program is to build capacity in educators and, in turn, improve the settings in which they work and the development of children in their care. Finally, I am working with Dr. Perlman on a project that is seeking to understand the parenting practices and beliefs of a group of Moroccan parents and how they may compare to those of Western parents. We hope that this work will be a springboard for understanding how parenting practices, particularly those in the Middle East and North Africa regions, may influence what parents do with their children and how that may impact child development.
Being a part of Dr. Perlman’s lab has afforded me the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects and I feel very lucky to be able to grow as a researcher under Dr. Perlman’s supervision.