PROJECT CLOSED: Does play count as learning? Exploring parental beliefs about the role of play in young children's learning

Worksite Location
Cornell University Cooperative Extension New York City (CUCE)
Project Dates
June 8 - August 7
Faculty Sponsor
Marianella Casasola, Dept. of Human Development
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Ana M. Cañas
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Our project combines a research study and a parent education training. Our research team has been studying parental beliefs about young children's learning and the role of play in this learning. The study is designed to document how parental beliefs about learning during play may contribute to cognitive outcomes and later academic achievement. In particular, we explore if parental beliefs shape their choice of play materials and the educational value parents place on these toys. We study if these beliefs vary with parent education and socio-economic status (SES). As an intended outcome, our team is working with CUCE-NYC on disseminating the research findings to develop an 8-week parent education curriculum about the role of play in early childhood learning. The curriculum is designed for parents and caregivers of children 2-5 years old.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student intern will be responsible for assisting in multiple project tasks and will work with a multidisciplinary team of faculty researchers, educators and child development professionals. The student intern's role and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Support parent educator at CUCE-NYC in developing the Growing and Learning Together Through Play curriculum.

2. Assist in editing and reviewing curriculum content materials.

3. Review feedback from pilot workshops and research data for additional content development.

4. Conduct a literature review and translate research-related documents

5. Attend team meetings and schedule weekly check-ins with the field supervisor.

6. Provide general administrative support for team members, including assisting with scheduling, making copies, etc.

7. Provide general support related to project and research tasks; for example, help with the preparation of recruitment materials and testing tools, and schedule study participants.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

We are looking for a student intern who is completing an undergraduate program in Human Development, Psychology, Child Development or related fields. Previous course work in Human Development: Infancy & Childhood (HD 1150) and Research Methods in Human Development (HD 2830) is strongly recommended. Bilingual in spoken English and Spanish, and previous experience and continued interest in working with children and/or families in an educational setting is a plus. The ideal intern will demonstrate enthusiasm for working with families and can flexibly adjust to project demands.

Benefits and Skills

The student intern will have the opportunity and space to learn about the process of translational research and how to take research findings into practice. The student will also have the opportunity to learn about the various projects and community programs currently taking place in CUCE-NYC.