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April 5, 2019 1:31 PM

Research symposium examines early learning program development

Graduating students in Conestoga’s Bachelor of Early Learning Program Development (BELPD) program presented research projects at a year-end symposium on April 3.

CConestoga College_BELPD Research Symposium.jpg
Graduating students in Conestoga’s BELPD program presented research projects at a year-end symposium on April 3

Held at the Doon campus, topics included math in children’s literature, educator literacy practices, and equality and inclusion in policy.

“The research projects offer students an opportunity to draw from their various classroom and placement experiences to create discussion on a topic that is important to the field of early learning,” said BELPD program coordinator Melanie Bourke. “Students examine a range of policies, practices and programs through the lens of diversity, inclusion and social justice with the goal of provoking conversation on relevant community issues.”

Student Lisa Her examined gender representation in children’s Google application games. “I based my project on research that shows children distinguish their beliefs and values at an early age,” said Her. “Understanding the role technology plays in development can benefit children in the long run, including how they view women.”

Her looked at ten top-rated games on Google Play under the Family: Ages 5 & Under category to determine emerging themes. “I found that female characters are underrepresented in comparison to male characters,” said Her, “and that free google application games represent females more poorly in comparison to paid google application games.”

Students developed their research projects over the course of the final term, and for faculty member Daniel Poliszczuk, who acted as research supervisor, the symposium represented a culmination of students’ diligence and hard work. “For many students, these projects reflected questions, theories and observations developed through critical reflections,” said Poliszczuk. “The symposium provided an opportunity for students to showcase their dedication to advancing knowledge of early learning and program development to the broader community.”

Having bridged into BELPD from the college’s Early Childhood Education program, Her now plans on attending teacher’s college with aspirations of being an elementary school teacher. “I loved working with children during my co-op work term,” said Her. “I really want to influence change and I think the development background that I learned here at Conestoga will set me apart from other educators.”

BELPD is a four-year co-op degree program that provides students with an applied understanding of enhanced education in early learning program development in the human services. Students experience authentic, situational learning opportunities that highlight links between theory and practice, preparing them for a number of progressive careers that support children, youth and families in the areas of program development, curriculum implementation and social policy work.

Visit the program page for more information. 

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