Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lafayette Kids Lab: Our Little Scientist!

Last week my youngest child (2) and I had the opportunity to visit the Lafayette Kids Lab to participate in one of their current research studies.    

I met Lauren Myers - the director of the program a few years ago and have always been curious to see what their research studies are and how they work, but until now my children were never the right age to participate.  The Lafayette Kids Lab is a division of the Lafayette College Psychology Department. Professor Lauren Myers and her research assistants gather data and information on how children develop, think and learn.  As a former educator who has spent many hours reading research studies over the years while in undergraduate and graduate school the opportunity to have one of my children participate in such a study was really exiting. Children's Research studies help scientists learn much of what they know about children's development, abilities and understanding of the outside world. This research helps parents, physicians and other scientists to know the best ways to educate and teach young children!

Though I have to say I wasn't sure what to expect. When people think about research studies I feel like there is maybe a little bit of a concern for what they might be asking the children to do and how they will react or parents concerned that their children might be treated like little lab mice. I am happy to report that this did not feel at all that way. The experience was very age appropriate and really felt like a little playdate! All my children enjoyed the experience and even the big ones who were not being studied enjoyed the visit!

The study that was being researched at the time (and will continue through the end of this month) was related to learning more about how children interact and learn through video chatting/FaceTime experience. The researchers are gathering data from children each week to help determine if children learn better in person from a human in front of them or via a video screen.

I was truly impressed by the professionalism of the researchers, the structure of the study experience and the space that was set up for us the visit. Our daughter felt immediately comfortable with the staff and enjoyed the play experience.  She even got a certificate mailed out to her with her picture on it showing she participated in a scientific study!  The staff was fantastic with our kids and we definitely will be interested in returning as they continue their work with additional studies.

While this study will be ending soon, the researchers are always looking for more children to help them with upcoming studies. If you are interested in participating in a study, please call them at (610) 330-5870 or e-mail them at lafayettekidslab@gmail.com