For Parents

We are always looking for new families to participate. If you live in the Greater Vancouver Area and you have a child between 6 months and 8 years of age, we invite you to come to the Language Development Centre at UBC to take part in our studies. We reimburse for parking or public transit expenses, and children receive a certificate and a small prize for their participation.

We thank all the parents and children who have participated in our research and all the child care centres that have opened their doors to us. Furthering our understanding of child development would be impossible without the support of interested caregivers/parents and children!

How long does it take?
Most of our studies involve a one-time 30-minute visit. We can schedule visits on weekdays or weekends at your convenience.

What are the studies like?
We conduct studies with both infants and toddlers (6-month- to 2-year-olds) as well as pre-schoolers and school-aged children (3- to 8-year-olds).

In our studies with infants and toddlers, children typically sit on their parent’s lap in a quiet room and watch a short video shown on a projection screen or a live puppet show presented on a small stage. During the video or puppet show, we use new words to label objects. At the end of the video or puppet show, we ask children to look at or point to objects in response to hearing these new words. Children’s looking and pointing responses tell us a a lot about what they think the words mean.

In our studies with preschoolers, children typically sit at a small table across from the researcher in a quiet room and play simple, informal, and enjoyable games with a trained researcher. For example, we often tell children a brief story involving colourful pictures or stuffed animals. We frequently use puppets to increase children’s interest and enjoyment. In the story, children hear new words used to label the pictures or animals. At the end of the story, we ask children some simple questions designed to probe their understanding of the new words. Children’s behaviour during these games tells us a lot about what they think the words mean.

Will I be with my child at all times?
Yes! In fact, we sometimes ask parents to participate directly with their children in our studies.

How do I volunteer?
If you are interested in bringing your child for a 30-minute visit to our centre, please contact our Centre Coordinator at the Language Development Centre ( or 604-822-9294). We would be delighted to tell you more about our research. You may also sign up to participate in our studies by completing our on-line form at This form allows you to volunteer to take part in developmental studies being conducted in all six research centres in the UBC Early Development Research Group.

If you know anyone else who might be interested in participating in our studies, please feel free to pass on our contact information.

Please note that our studies examine general trends in development. We do not assess the performance of individual children, and we do not use children’s names in publications resulting from our research.

Our research has been approved by the UBC Behaviour Research Ethics Board (BREB).

Our research has been funded by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada.