Research is a major function of the Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC). It contributes to the growing body of knowledge of child development and benefits children, parents, students and faculty. All research projects conducted in the ECEC are reviewed by the Office of Research Ethics at the University of Waterloo, a Faculty Supervisor and the ECEC Director.
At the beginning of each school year, parents are asked to sign a research consent form that will enable students and faculty to observe the children for the purpose of research. In addition, this consent will permit children to participate in all approved observational research projects. Children are usually unaware of being observed since observations are generally done from the one-way mirrored booths adjacent to the playrooms.
Interactive research, where the researcher needs to interact directly with a child is handled separately. Researchers conducting interactive research must provide the parents with a letter outlining their study and the activities with the children. There will be a permission form attached for the parent to complete and return to the ECEC by a certain date. All interactive research is conducted in rooms adjacent to the playrooms and can also be observed at all times. The number of times a child can participate in interactive research is limited so that the frequency of interruptions in each child's daily program session is minimal.
The Department of Psychology, Developmental Division has a Master's level degree program in Developmental Communication Science. These masters students complete community internships and may intern in the ECEC. For more information about this Masters program, please refer to Programs.