Mentor: Dr. Tina Malti
Child emotional and behavioral challenges are a significant health issue in Canada and are of heightened concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Promotion of children’s social-emotional development (e.g., emotion regulation, empathy, and self-reflection) using a trauma-informed approach may be a fruitful means to support children and families in combating difficulties associated with mental health. The current project is part of a multidisciplinary collaboration between the Centre for Child Development, Mental Health, and Policy (CCDMP) and community partners in the Early Years sector in the Peel region (e.g., practitioners, service providers, and policymakers). The goals of the project are to evaluate: 1) an online survey assessing current mental health and social-emotional functioning of children and caregivers living in the Peel region in the wake of COVID-19 and 2) the efficacy of a research-based training initiative using online videos and virtual live group sessions delivered to caregivers and Early Years sector practitioners. The training is aimed at supporting caregivers’ and practitioners’ ability to promote social-emotional functioning in children ages 3Ð7. This exciting researchÐpractice project will provide the SROP student with hands on experience in applying developmental research to support and build caregiver and practitioner skills. Responsibilities will include data management, transcription and coding of qualitative data, and evaluating training fidelity. There will also be opportunities to join and participate in conversations with community partners and to engage in knowledge translation activities, such as the development of infographics depicting project findings that can be shared on social media.
My mentorship philosophy is guided by the importance of fostering an open and active learning environment where students can apply what they learn under my support to their personal interests and career goals. I believe a teaching environment that promotes student involvement by focusing on the process of learning, fostering personal growth, and encouraging unique perspectives is key for cultivating future leaders in the field of psychology and beyond. I take an active role in my students’ learning through a minimum of regular weekly meetings to discuss the process of developmental research, project-related updates, and student questions. I will provide training on data management, qualitative coding, and statistical analyses. I want to be a part of the SROP because I believe the field of psychology is in need of increased representation of researchers and thinkers who are BIPOC and because mentorship is a critical piece of the research experience.