There are many research opportunities for students in all disciplines at the Child Development Center. Whether you are conducting surveys of populations, conducting observational research methods, or replicating previous studies with populations, the Child Development Center has opportunities for faculty assignments with child, family, and student populations.
We welcome faculty educating students about discipline research methods to actively apply these methods to real populations on the Rollins campus. Some research techniques already implemented at the CDC are:
The Child Development Center is an integral part of the Developmental Psychology course at Rollins College. Students taking this course spend several hours each week in lab observing children in projects and educational activities.
Positive Behavior Support Program: Our ongoing community relationship with Winter Park Day Nursery will continue in the Florida Program Wide Positive Behavior Support grant. The staff of the CDC will provide coaching and training to WPDN staff. The staff and children will embark on a year long project developing programmatic changes with Positive Behavior Support as the foundation of the social and emotional guidance of children. This program is used in conjunction with the University of South Florida. Please see http://www.challengingbehavior.org/do/pyramid_model.htm
Narrative Story project continues with Dr. Alice Davidson's students. Children will once again tell their stories with student researchers.
Student Interns assisted in the development of our first long term Project with the children in the Reggio Emilia tradition. The Statue Project provided many avenues for the chidlren to explore statues, feelings, body awareness, engrossing all in emotional and social activities with the emphasis on developing understanding of emotions, and engaging the children in early persepctive taking.
The Narrative Story project: Under the direction of Dr. Alice Davidson, students conducted research into the stories children tell and how the composition of those stories change as they mature. Narratives were coded for various elements, and students practiced coding procedures, prompting skills, and data collection methods.
The staff and students implemented a change in focus from traditional preschool curriculum plans to Reggio Emilia Approach to early education. Senior students completed questionaires and conducted interviews of parents and teachers. The interviews reflected parent and teacher understanding of new pedological practices, and concern for academic opportunities for young children. The initial results indicate positive parent feedback for the curricular changes and interviews point towards parents' desire for greater creativity in early educational experiences.
Teachers conducted educational research of children's planning of projects. We are interested in developing ways to help young children remain attentive to projects. Children planned for their projects by visually choosing, or drawing plans. Time on task was observed and documented. Age differences were documented and plans were saved.
During the Spring of 2009, Rollins Senior Cassandra Cook presented an honors thesis entitled Children's Sociability and Parenting Practices under the direction of advisor Sharon Carnahan. Cook was interested in how young children develop social behaviors, in particular the effect of parental disciplinary style on children's sociability. Children's behavior was evalutated by parents, teachers, and peers, and was observed in videotaped parent-child interactions. Cook found that the evalutations of the parents, teachers, and peers were quite consistent, and that, in general, parents who provided more guidance had children who were considered more sociable.
Under the direction of Roger Ray and Jennifer Queen, senior researcher Jessica Crown completed a thesis in the spring of 2007 on scaffolding, an effective teaching technique. Crown used videotaped interactions of scaffolders and children in the Child Development Center while the scaffolder was reading the children a book. The primary interest of this study was to test and refine a software system called Train-To-Code, for use in training observational skills in identifying scaffolding behaviors.