Research Partners

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Susan Hopkins,
Executive Director, TMC

A passionate advocate for children, families, schools and communities, Dr. Susan Hopkins has been leading Dr. Stuart Shanker’s organization, The MEHRIT Centre (TMC) as Executive Director, since 2014. As a one-time at-risk youth who quit high school twice, Susan went on to complete four degrees. Over the course of Susan’s career, she has worked in every area of education from the early years to post-secondary and across contexts from Italy to the Northwest Territories. Susan led the territorial implementation of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), co-authored the Government’s Early Childhood Framework and developed the NWT play and culture-based kindergarten curriculum. She went on to lead the Planning, Research, and Evaluation division for the Department of Education before relocating to Edmonton to head up the Society of Safe and Caring Schools and Communities. Under Susan’s leadership, The MEHRIT Centre has grown and developed into a highly respected, accessible, and successful centre of teaching and learning. In addition, Susan brings her skills to Stuart’s self-regulation research centre (SRI) as the lead researcher for SRI’s fourth area of focus: The Practice of Self-Reg.

SRI Program Scan

In response to questions arising from our Self-Reg community with regards to how programs already being used in schools either align with, overlap, complement, or contradict  the Self-Reg framework, the Self Regulation Institute, in partnerships with Dr. Susan Hopkins, is currently working on a scan of 12 published programs that explore topics related to self-regulation. As Self-Reg is not a program but a process, it is quite distinct.  Readers will be able to view elements of Self-Reg (e.g. definition of Self-Reg, definition of stress, tools, techniques, applications etc.) in one column and compare these to other programs in a secondary column. The scan is being designed as a living document which will invite and incorporate feedback and insight from community members who have had the opportunity to engage with these programs so that we can evolve the scan and increase its breadth and usefulness.

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Angie Rosati,
Professor of Early Childhood Education

Angie Rosati is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at Sheridan College, a TMC Self-Reg Consultant, and a PhD candidate in Education at York University. Angie’s research focuses on the significance of early relationships to human development over the lifespan. In addition to her teaching, Angie has received federal funding to develop instructional videos for parents and early childhood educators on the importance of the early years to subsequent development and she has written feature articles for the Ontario Public School Board’s publication, Education Today, on child development and early learning.

Angie has delivered keynotes and workshops to educators in Canada and internationally on the topics of Self-Regulation, Temperament, Humanity and Education, and the Biological Roots of Behaviour.

Angie’s current research focuses on the impact of early student-teacher relationships on the academic and developmental trajectories of children. Angie is committed to leveraging the findings of neuroscience, and specifically what we have learned about the neurophysiological roots of child behaviour, in order to allow educators to reframe “misbehaviour” and build emotionally supportive relationships with the children they serve. Angie has received formal recognition for excellence in teaching from both the University of Western Ontario and Sheridan College.

The Effects of a Self-Regulation Professional Learning Intervention on Early Childhood Educator Beliefs and Practices Regarding Child Behavious, Relationships with Students and Professional Stress

Decades of research on early student-teacher relationships (STRs) show that they play a pivotal role in behavioural, academic, and social outcomes of the child. This research allows us to conclude with near certainty that early STRs have a lasting impact on the academic and developmental trajectory of the child.

Studies show that child behaviour is a significant contributor to the quality of this relationship. Given the importance of STRs in the early years, the purpose of this study is to explore the variables associated with the development of early STRs, and to investigate the potential of a professional learning course on the neurophysiology of child behaviour, as framed by Self-Reg™ theory, to impact these variables.

To achieve this end, this study will utilize a quasi-experimental, pretest, intervention, posttest design in which a sample of early childhood educators will be surveyed on their experience with challenging child behaviour, their relationships with students, their beliefs and practices regarding child behaviour, their beliefs about self-regulation, and their own professional stress. A subset of survey respondents who express an interest in proceeding with professional learning will be randomly assigned to either an intervention (PL) or Control group. PL participants will then receive a professional learning (PL) course on Self-Reg ™ theory.

Post-intervention, this group will be re-surveyed and interviewed to investigate the impact of the PL on these STR variables.  Results will be compared to Control group data. Findings from this study may inform pre-service and in-service educator training and future research on the STR construct.

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