Mount Allison psychology professor launches podcast: Kindergarten Ready: What Really Matters

01 Jun 2020

New podcast focuses on developmental, educational psychology

SACKVILLE, NB — When many families and educators are working to balance home schooling with other activities this spring, the amount of information around child development and educational psychology available can be overwhelming.

GeneOuellette_podcastDr. Gene Ouellette is hoping to make this a little easier for parents and educators. Ouellette, a Mount Allison University psychology professor, has launched the podcast: Kindergarten Ready: What Really Matters, focusing on learning development in children ages 0-5.

“The relationship of science and child development is far from cut and dry. There’s a lot of information, and a lot of opinions, out there,” says Ouellette. “I’ve spent my career working to link theory and research with practices to promote child development and teaching. I hope, through the podcast, that I’m able to reach more people and share research-based information around child development in an accessible way.”

Kindergarten Ready aims to provide information about a diverse range of topics related to child development, including incorporating language and literacy into children’s everyday lives, (as in recent episodes about vocabulary) using evidence-based research and theories. In the latest episode, Ouellette offers information around stress in children with a focus on their (and their families) experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluates recommended coping strategies.

Ouellette, who has taught at Mount Allison for more than a decade, is also director of the University’s Language and Literacy Learning Lab, and a former speech pathologist. Teaching courses on child development, educational psychology, language development, and literacy acquisition, his research and teaching focus on developmental and educational psychology. He is also a recipient of multi-year research funding from both the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

While this time of year would generally be a busy research period for Ouellette and his colleagues and students, with the closure of public schools in several provinces, he has made a pivot in his research program.

“Usually, we would have students and educators in local elementary schools this time of year. One of our current studies focuses on vocabulary and literacy in Kindergarten, which we collected data for last year, and planned to collect for Grade 1 and possibly even in middle school this spring,” he says, “We’ve had to pause part of this study due to the pandemic but will be analyzing the data we already have to learn more about ways children learn and how to promote reading though vocabulary.”

GeneOuellette_podcast_logo_The idea for a podcast was one Ouellette had for some time. He began working on recording earlier this year and launched this spring. Recorded at his home, Ouellette handles all the editing and technical aspects of recording in addition to the content.

“The aim of Kindergarten Ready is to give parents and educators, anyone really, research-based information around child development and learning and literacy,” says Ouellette. “It’s not an opinion show.”

Kindergarten Ready: What Really Matters is available for download on most podcast platforms, including iTunes and SoundCloud with new episodes being released every two weeks.

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