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Recent graduate Allison Lundy's honors thesis accepted for publication

Published on July 17, 2020

Recent graduate Allison Lundy's honors thesis accepted for publication

Allison LundyAllison Lundy ’20, a recent graduate who majored in Early Childhood Education and Psychology, has been notified that her honors thesis, “Effects of Active Outdoor Play on Preschool Children’s On-Task Classroom Behavior,” will appear in an upcoming edition of “Early Childhood Education Journal.”

The South Windsor, CT, resident said she enjoyed conducting research and analyzing data. “Through my analyses, I was able to see if there truly was a connection between outdoor play and preschoolers’ on-task behavior in the classroom. My research is one of a few studies on this topic, so I hope my study will encourage other researchers to explore these relationships further, while emphasizing the importance of incorporating outdoor play and physical activity into instruction.”

Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, professor emeritus in Eastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education, said Lundy’s study has caught the attention of the early childhood education field. He said top scholars have contacted him seeking more information on Lundy’s work, especially after she shared her findings at a national conference. 

“I cannot believe that Allison was just an undergraduate when she did this work,” said Trawick-Smith. “I am truly astounded at the quality and complexity of her study. Allison’s research is one of those studies that contributes to our knowledge in child psychology, but also has immediate practical implications for classroom practice. She has confirmed an important theory of how the brain works — that vigorous physical play can alter neural structures and significantly change behavior.” 

Trawick-Smith said this was not easy research to produce—assuring ethical treatment of child participants, observing and recording behaviors and completing complex statistical analysis. “Allison worked so hard on this, and it's made quite a splash,” he said.

Lundy said taking courses outside her areas of study helped her to gain a greater appreciation for different areas of academia and encouraged her to look at the world through various perspectives. “I learned how to think critically, challenge my own perceptions, and communicate effectively with my peers on a wide range of topics. These skills  ave prepared me to be  a successful educator and member of my community.”

Lundy is certified to teach preschool through third grade in preschool and kindergarten special ed. She hopes to have a certified teaching position this fall, and also earn her master’s degree. “I will continue to explore my passion for research in education as I teach. As an educator, I find it important to read literature within my field and continue to learn about best teaching practices.” 

Written by Dwight Bachman