24 episodes

The Early Childhood Research Podcast will keep you up to date with all the latest research and how we can apply new findings into our homes and classrooms. Listen to researchers, authors, teachers and parents talk about what's working for them and what isn't! You can find the show notes at https://www.lizs-early-learning-spot.com/category/podcast/

The Early Childhood Research Podcast The Early Childhood Research Podcast

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.7 • 93 Ratings

The Early Childhood Research Podcast will keep you up to date with all the latest research and how we can apply new findings into our homes and classrooms. Listen to researchers, authors, teachers and parents talk about what's working for them and what isn't! You can find the show notes at https://www.lizs-early-learning-spot.com/category/podcast/

    Dyslexia and Early Intervention #23

    Dyslexia and Early Intervention #23

    Today’s interview is with dyslexia and early intervention specialist Dr Tim Conway. If you’re looking for ways to ensure young children are given the best early intervention, or just to take the most effective approach towards setting up a solid foundation for reading in the future, this interview is for you! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below.

    Dr Tim Conway

    Dr Conway works in the area of neuropsychology, which means understanding how our knowledge, our behaviours and emotions relate to our brain function. He’s done extensive research on dyslexia, since it runs in his family, as well as research on how to use early intervention to successfully help kids, and adults, overcome their learning challenges. You can find out more about Dr Conway’s work and his online tutoring programs by going to The Morris Center or NOW! Programs. Or find him on Facebook at Now! Programs or The Morris Center. Just so you know, this podcast has not been compensated in any way to promote Dr Conway’s programs. Nor can I personally vouch for them, but if dyslexia is of personal or professional interest to you his programs are a resource you may like to investigate. Dr Conway, welcome to the Early Childhood Research podcast. Thank you so much, Liz. It is my pleasure.

    What is dyslexia?

    Today we’re talking about dyslexia. And so my first question is, what exactly is dyslexia? Dyslexia really falls under a large category called Specific Learning Disorders.

    It’s a Specific Learning Disorder

    There are three types of Specific Learning Disorders.

    * There’s reading and spelling.

    * There’s a written expression one,

    * and there’s mathematics.

    Clearly dyslexia is the one that falls under the reading and spelling learning disorders.


    That diagnosis can be given to children, whether their reading problem is:

    * a reading accuracy problem, which means they misread words, they make mistakes, they start to add, repeat, shift, change     words.

    * a reading fluency problem where they’re reading too slowly and they don’t catch up with their peers and they’re always far behind in their reading speed

    * a reading comprehension problem where they’re reading along, but they’re not understanding what they’re reading,

    * and of course there could be any combination of those three altogether

    That diagnosis of a specific learning disorder is identical or synonymous with the term dyslexia.


    DIS means trouble, LEX means words. Dyslexia means trouble with words, but our most common focus is on the reading problems of it.

    Misconceptions of dyslexia

    What are the misconceptions of what dyslexia is?

    Seeing words backwards

    Probably the most common ones that the newspapers and cartoonists love to play with, is that they make the children or adults with dyslexia see words backwards. They reversed words, they reversed letters and they used to think this might possibly be one of the causes of what was happening. Kids would look at the word “pot” and they might say “top” or they look at “was” and they’d say “saw”, and we thought, oh, they’re seeing the words backwards. But then what no one really asked back then was, how come they don’t look at “the” and ...

    Why Dads Should Read to their Kids #22

    Why Dads Should Read to their Kids #22

    Why should dads read to their young children? Because research has shown that it’s incredibly beneficial! Today’s podcast episode focuses on why dads can make such great reading partners for their kids.

    You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below.

    Mums see it as an educational imperative

    In a study comparing how children’s reading is affected when read to by mums versus dads, Dr Elisabeth Duursma found a strong gender pattern.

    Mums put more pressure on themselves as parents, they see it more as a job, and they see themselves in competition with other mums. So when mums are reading with their kids they’re approaching it as a teaching exercise, which some call competitive parenting.

    Dads are chilled and chatty

    Dads on the other hand are lying on the floor with their kids, and if the kid doesn’t want to read they just let it go.

    Language development

    According to research fathers, in general, use a broader vocabulary than mothers do during story time with their kids. They use the story as a springboard for imaginative discussions, which in turn encourages their child’s language development.

    Abstract thinking

    They also tend to use the story as a springboard to chat about everyday experiences rather than staying focused mostly on the story as mums tend to do. For eg, if there are butterflies in the picture, mum might ask how many there are or what colour they are, but a dad might ask a child if they remember chasing a butterfly in the park the week before and what happened. This kind of abstract question gives a child’s brain a greater challenge. And apparently the benefits for a) little girls and b) low income families, are particularly notable.

    Good for blood pressure!

    And the benefit isn’t just for the kids, reading at the end of the day is a great stress reducer. Apparently within 6 minutes muscles relax and the heart rate drops – sounds like a good alternative to blood pressure medication to me!

    Dads are more emotionally present?

    No matter the gender, if fathers are reading to their kids before they hit 2 years of age there will be a huge impact. The fact that kids often appear to be more engaged when their dad reads may also be the novelty of having his undivided attention.

    Dr Duursma likes this more chilled out dad approach and suggests that kids need more acceptance and more time with their parents emotionally present as well as being physically present. When observing parents out of the home she finds that mums are more often sitting to the side using their phones whereas dads are more likely to be actively playing with their kids.

    Please note that I’m speaking in very broad generalisations here. Maybe some of the reason why a mum might be scanning Facebook at the park is because she’s been going non-stop with her kids all morning and needs a quick break, whereas the dad’s only just turned up! Who knows! There are so many variables in every family.

    Mums in competition with other mums

    I find this quote from Professor Jaqueline Barnes enlightening. She says, “children have become, in a strangely Victorian way, perceived as the property of parents and their achievements are seen as part of the identity of parents.” The resulting tutoring and pressure put on kids to succeed is not healthy, and this can start from a very young age.

    Perhaps Tiger Mothering is more widespread that I’d realised!

    Concussion in Young Children: What You Need to Know #21

    Concussion in Young Children: What You Need to Know #21

    Today we’re chatting with Dr Elizabeth Sandel about concussion in young children. What causes it. What we need to look for and how we can help during the recovery process. There are free posters, helpful links and a video for you to use when you approach this topic with your kids. In the classroom we talk about personal safety and behaving well towards others, so why not expand that to talk about the very real possibility of concussion?

    You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below.

    Please note: some of the graphics used in this post were created BY THE CDC.

    Who is Dr Sandel?

    Dr Sandel has specialized in caring for patients with brain injuries for more than 30 years and is board-certified in physical medicine, rehabilitation and brain injury medicine (BIM).

    She has worked with patients of all ages injured in falls and motor vehicle accidents, as well as athletes, veterans, injured workers, and victims of violent crime. She is currently a medical director for Paradigm Management Services, which provides case management to those with concussions and severe brain injuries.

    You can find Dr Sandel’s website HERE. Plus you can connect on:

    * Twitter

    * Linked In

    Reasons to scroll down this post

    Make sure you look out for:

    * Free posters to explain concussion and its symptoms to young children.

    * 1 minute video to explain concussion to young children

    * Links to parent guides and other resources

    * Links to websites discussed by Dr Sandel regarding nursery safety, preventing falls and where to check for crib and furniture recalls.

    * Link to a free app for 6-8 year olds

    The Interview

    Dr. Sandel, thanks so much for being on the Early Childhood Research podcast this morning.

    I really appreciate the opportunity, thank you so much.

    What is a concussion?

    How can we recognise the signs of concussion, especially when the children are younger and they can’t express what they’re feeling? Sometimes we don’t know whether we should be panicking or not.

     A concussion is what we call a mild brain injury. It’s caused by a blow or a bump or a jolt to the head, but the most important thing is you can have a blow, a bump or a jolt to the head and not have a concussion. It has to be a disruption of brain functioning.

    How do we know a concussion has occurred?

    Well if the person, child or adult loses consciousness, we know they had a brain injury. That doesn’t mean they have lasting problems, but they had a brain injury if they got knocked out or lost consciousness.

    The other thing to remember is that the symptoms are not necessarily immediate, they can develop in the first 24-48 hours after the incident, but back to your question about children, I think we have to group them into the preverbal and the verbal children – children who have enough language to begin to express themselves.

    Pre-verbal children

    In the pre-verbal category, I think it’s up to the parents to notice changes in the behaviour or habits that suggest something’s not right:

    * Irritability

    * Crying

    * Changes in sleep habits which happen across the bo...

    • 30 min
    How Scribbling Fast Tracks our Kids #20

    How Scribbling Fast Tracks our Kids #20

    Scribbling can have a huge positive impact on a child’s development, not just as a pre-writing skill, but to develop language, reasoning, problem solving and relationships.

    Learn what researchers have found and how we can optimise that knowledge in our homes and classrooms. There’s also a free download including templates your little ones might like to scribble on!

    You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below.

    The essential role of scribbling

    This week I read an interesting paper, published in 2016, about the role that scribbling plays in the development of imagination and cognitive function in young children. The authors are Elizabeth and Andrew Coates from Warwick University in England.

    The essential role of scribbling in the imaginative and cognitive development of young children. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 2016, Vol. 16(1) 60–83. DOI: 10.1177/1468798415577871

    This episode is basically a summary of their paper so I don’t take any credit for the content, unless I’ve gone off on a tangent. Because it’s a summary I’ve boiled it down to points that I feel are most the relevant and practical for teachers, parents and carers.

    It’s not just about pre-writing

    I was struck by a comment from the authors that many of us working with young children value scribbling, but mainly as a precursor to writing. We’re happy that they’re working on their fine motor skills, but beyond a little chat and a metaphorical pat on the head for their good work, we’re not taking the whole scribbling process as seriously as it deserves.

    So what value does scribbling have according to the research?

    1. Communication

    Scribbling gives importance to a child’s narrative

    When children start scribbling it isn’t possible to determine what they’re drawing unless they tell you, or show you in some way! And this discussion, whether it’s adult to child or between children is highly valuable. It can give us a glimpse into the depth of what the child is thinking that goes far beyond what is evident from the scribbles themselves.

    Most kids love to scribble and chat

    The research showed that most kids, not all, loved to scribble, and they loved to chat while scribbling. They want us to know what they’re imagining and where they are going with their picture. This doesn’t just tell us how the child is organising their drawing, it also gives us an insight into their cultural understanding of the world, of their relationships and dreams. It gives us understanding into how a child explores and expresses ideas.

    Vocabulary development

    This reminds me of one of the big reasons we encourage reading to children from babyhood… the development of vocabulary. We read a wide range of books to expose our kids to more words. We talk about what the books mean, we point to letters and make the sounds. We know that children who are read to regularly from birth have a much higher chance of attaining academic success than those that miss out.

    It seems to me that encouraging children to chat about their scribbles is like a role reversal, where a child can be the one leading the conversation. What a great way to get them chatting, to be able to listen to them and ask questions, encouraging them to use all the words in their vocabulary to explain what they’re thinking.

    It’s about the process not the result

    In early childhood settings when we’re thinking about assessment we wi...

    Attuned Communication instead of Classroom Management? #19

    Attuned Communication instead of Classroom Management? #19

    Want to try attuned communication with your kids so you don’t have to rely so much on traditional classroom management techniques? Listen to this interview with Laura Fish, it’s got tons of great advice for building up our kids, giving them confidence and strengthening executive function through conversation!

    You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below.

    Laura Fish

    Today’s interview is with Laura Fish. Laura has a Bachelors degree in psychology and a Masters degree in Counseling. You can find out more about her and her coaching and counselling services, based in San Marcos, California, at Laura Fish Therapy.

    Laura’s background

    Laura started out 20 years ago as a preschool teacher, then became a mental health consultant for public, private and Head Start early education centres. This included partnering with child welfare and special education departments on behaviour support services for special needs or at-risk children. For the past 7 years Laura has been training early childhood teachers and coaches on the evidence-based framework called The Teaching Pyramid. Laura looks at education and child development through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology, which in simpler terms means, looking at health and well-being through the connection between mind, brain and relationships.

    What’s wrong with the term classroom management?

    Laura, it’s wonderful to have you on the podcast today, thanks so much for chatting with me!

    Thanks for having me, Liz! I’m a big fan of your podcast, so it’s exciting to be on!

    The term ‘classroom management’ is widely used in education but I know you’re not a fan of that phrase. Can you explain what it is about the term ‘classroom management’ that concerns you and what you think is a better alternative, and why?

    Oh sure! The way we speak about something, the words we use, impact how we think, feel and behave.

    So, if teachers are focusing on “managing” the classroom, they tend to be in a reactive frame of mind. They’re scanning for what is going wrong and trying to fix it or manage it. If you’re always scanning for danger, looking to manage, looking to fix, you are vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed, helpless, and burned out because it’s where you’re casting the spotlight of your attention, on problems.

    So, I encourage teachers and parents alike to continue to scan for safety. We do want to keep our kids safe, of course, but we remember to balance that out with also looking for what’s going well when you are scanning.

    Moving on from management to child development

    This requires adults to reframe their role from one of “managing behaviour” to that of developing the child’s skills: which skills can we teach children to promote social, emotional, and academic growth, as well as prevent challenging behaviour.

    In this way, adults may remain in more of an open, receptive frame of mind, seeking to teach versus manage. The focus is on the child’s development versus classroom management or home management.

    And the funny thing is when teachers and parents do shift in this way, the classrooms end up being managed because they are teaching children the skills they need to prevent the teachers from having to manage them so much in the first place.

    And the other big benefit for this is teachers’ stress or parents’ stress decrease over time because you don’t feel like you’re constantly putting out fires.

    a href="https://www.

    Is Your Classroom an Academically Safe Environment? #18

    Is Your Classroom an Academically Safe Environment? #18

    Is your classroom an academically safe learning environment? Do our kids ever feel embarrassed or hesitant over asking questions, or because they’re struggling with a task, or because other children are ‘better’ than they are?

    This episode focuses on what we can do to help our kids feel as confident and safe as possible.

    You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below.

    Cult of Pedagogy Podcast

    This episode is based on Jennifer Gonzalez’s podcast episode called ‘Is Your Classroom Academically Safe? Jennifer runs the hugely successful Cult of Pedagogy podcast which I highly recommend to all educators. Many of her episodes focus on older kids, but there are always principles we can translate into early childhood. I really enjoyed her discussion on academic safety and decided I’d love to take her points and come at them from an early childhood perspective. Don’t worry – I did ask first!

    Thank you, Jennifer, for giving me permission to add an early childhood twist to your discussion on academic safety for kids!

    An academically safe environment?

    * Is your classroom an academically safe learning environment?

    * Do our kids feel confident with our academic expectations and with our homework expectations?

    * Are we double- and triple-checking our kids’ understanding through questions, through pair and group work, through demonstration and so forth?

    * Are our kids happy to ask questions?

    * Are we brave enough to survey our kids and parents to see whether we’re missing something in our own classroom

    * Are we willing to find out that perhaps not all our kids feel as academically safe as we want them to be?

    1. Do our academic expectations instill confidence in kids?

    Do they feel academically pressured or overwhelmed?

    It’s all very well for a document (or a parent) to say that by the time a child is 6 they need to have mastered x, y and z skills and have knowledge of certain topics. But what happens when we apply too much pressure on a young child with a skill they’re just not ready to learn?

    Do they feel academically safe in this situation? Or will they start to feel insecure, unsure of themselves? Will they ask questions to keep trying to improve? Or will they start to shut down and lose courage? Conversely will they act out behaviourally as a way of avoiding even attempting the work, or pretending that they don’t care about any of it?

    Stress impedes learning

    When it comes to learning, we need to take the long view approach. We might be able to get Johnny to perform addition to 20 by insisting that he does it day after day, but if that leads to a type of math-phobia or math-resistance then it’s not worth it, because it’s difficult to do well in a subject we actively dislike over the long term.

    There’s loads of research showing that for kids to learn effectively, to retain what they’ve learned and to be able to spit it out at a later date, or use those skills later, it’s much, much better if they’re happy during the learning process. Stress, anxiety and fear of learning practically guarantees that a child’s brain will set up a brick wall that impedes that knowledge from taking seed.

    We must advocate for our kids

    As teachers, one of our most important roles is that of advocate. If the official outcomes are not feasible for a child, we need to do our utmost not to allow that pressure to tra...

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
93 Ratings

93 Ratings

onceyoungmum ,


I have found every episode to be extremely helpful and beneficial as an educator.

Mama2Charlotte ,


As a research-based podcaster, I completely LOVE all the work and information packed into each episode! Thanks!
-Cherishing Childhood: The Low-Tech Parenting Podcast

esty1943 ,


Thanks for doing thus. I like how the subjects are organized and the content is very easy to understand and good examples given for each!

Top Podcasts In Kids & Family

Dr. Becky Kennedy
National Geographic Kids
Tinkercast | Wondery
Dear Media, Aliza Pressman

You Might Also Like

Amplify Education
Dr. Becky Kennedy
Angela Watson
Teach Me, Teacher LLC
Vanessa Levin
Explorations Early Learning