Dr. Janette Pelletier
Practice, Programs, and Policy through Partnered Research:
Lab Schools as Launching Pads
Dr. Janette Pelletier is a Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, at OISE/University of Toronto. She began her career in the early 1980s as a child development researcher, studying sibling relationships, the arrival of a new sibling into the home, and child-parent attachment. She moved on to classroom teaching in kindergarten and Grade 1 in English and French Immersion programs while completing her PhD in developmental and school psychology. Jan then made the shift into academia, working as a postdoctoral researcher in the area of young children’s theory of mind and then as a new professor in education and developmental psychology at the University of Toronto. Her research program has been carried out in public schools in and outside of Toronto and in the Jackman ICS Laboratory School. Early projects involved bringing families into schools, leading to a “Parents Come to Kindergarten” program, a series of Family Literacy intervention projects in schools, some in collaboration with children’s television. Collaborative research with the Laboratory School includes children’s literacy and theory of mind across the grade - specifically how children understand fables, an early Knowledge Forum study in kindergarten, and a book-making project called “We All Belong” in which children from the Lab School and children from public schools produced and shared books about themselves. Moving into policy research, the Toronto First Duty demonstration project ran from 2002-2012, informed by Jan’s association with the Lab School, George Brown College, the Toronto District School Board and the City of Toronto. Toronto First Duty became the blueprint for Ontario’s two-year play-based full-day kindergarten co–taught by a registered early childhood educator and a kindergarten teacher. Since full-day kindergarten was first phased in to the province of Ontario in 2010, Jan’s research has followed children and their families, along with their educators, to examine the implementation and impact of this bold new public policy. After a rewarding career as Professor, Jan is going to take retirement beginning July 2020, to focus her attention on the children in her own family, on her fiddling hobby, and on reading novels rather than research articles.