Baby Gator Research Report

Director, Baby Gator


Baby Gator Child Development and RESEARCH Center? In 2003, Baby Gator Child Care, Inc. charged its name to better reflect all that we do. We are well known for the child care we provide and the students-in-training that we mentor and guide. But, fewer people have paid attention to the end of our name; the “research” part.

In the past three years, Baby Gator has been the site of research from the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Psychology, Child, Youth and Families, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Neurobiological Science, Clinical and Health Psychology and Public Health and Health Professions, as well as almost all departments in the College of Education. Master’s theses, doctoral dissertations and faculty-led studies have collected their data here on topics ranging from theory of the mind and transdisciplinary play-based assessment to the facial features of children with autistic tendencies to the role of families’ use of public parks in reducing childhood obesity.

Baby Gator welcomes both student and faculty researchers into our classrooms. Both staff and parents are eager and willing participants. Here researchers can investigate issues related to child and family health, learning, growth and behavior. Classrooms are multicultural and multi-lingual and fully include children with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Children of faculty and staff who enroll as infants are likely to remain with us until they enter kindergarten, providing subjects for long-term study. Baby Gator teachers are available to serve as co-investigators, data collectors and observers, or, as subjects themselves in studies of professional growth and development.

Participation in research is an enriching experience for Baby Gator teachers and families. Insight and information provided through these studies help us improve how we care for and educate children, support families and supervise students. We believe the experience has been equally beneficial for the researchers who have put hypotheses to the test with real children in a preschool setting. We invite you to come partner with us. We will all grow.

Pamela J. Pallas, Ph.D. is the Director of Baby Gator. Twenty-two teachers work, play, guide and teach 130 children, ages six weeks to five years. The parents of all little gators must be associated with the university as students, faculty or staff.