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McNair Scholar 2017Kayne Lussier

Kayne Lussier is a junior studying at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Early Childhood Development. His research interests are around early learning delays and methods of early intervention, specifically in children from different cultural backgrounds. Kayne intends on earning a M.Ed. and begin teaching early elementary with diverse, low-income families.

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I will be more than a teacher; I will be a community advocate. After I have worked as a teacher, I will return to academia to utilize my experience in research and teaching those who will teach.”

Research project

An Examination of Play-Based Interventions on the Development of Children's Oral Language

Abstract: The concept of play has long been accepted as a useful component in the development of children, since Piaget and Vygotsky. However, current public sentiment would suggest that play is not relevant in the education of students. In this report, the validity of play in the development of literacy and oral language is explored through educational interventions and assessments; public opinion of “play” is also examined through parents, future teachers, and current teachers. The studies focus on children from the ages of 3 to 5 and show positive results with the use of school-based play. The largest effect is on the development of children’s expressive language, which is difficult to encourage through normal literacy interventions. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Scott McConnell is currently a professor in Educational Psychology at the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. At the University of Oregon, Dr. McConnell received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. His research and teaching focuses on literacy and language development in children, along with the development of assessment methods for these domains of child development through the IGDILab. Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs) are brief, easy to use measures of early language and literacy designed for use with preschool children (ages three to five). He has been associated with McNair as a mentor for twenty years.