Children playing in a playground

Research

Everything we do has one purpose: building strong connections between the university and the community for the health and wellbeing of children. We do this by bringing children, families, frontline workers, clinicians, and university researchers and graduate students together to bridge research and practice in early child development.


The Mary J. Wright Centre serves as a bridge between a team of researchers from Education, Social Science and Health Sciences and the community members who can benefit most from their work across three signature areas of research. The interdisciplinary research at the Mary J. Wright Centre focuses on the following areas:

Environment effects on brain development – toxic stress

Early adversity and traumatic experiences are investigated to see how they affect the brain development in children.

Cognition, language, literacy and numeracy

The mental processes that support children’s learning are examined to determine how language, reading and math skills are developed.

Social, emotional and behavioral resilience and well-being

The patterns and causes of social, emotional and behavioral challenges in preschool children are studied and interventions are created that support the well-being of those children and their families

In addition to assisting interdisciplinary research in early child development, the Mary J. Wright Centre is also committed to reducing the time between when knowledge is created and when it benefits the community. We do this in a number of ways:

  • By sharing evidence-based research in a way that actually closes the gap between what we know and what is actually done at the community level
  • By bringing the wisdom of those that work with children and families everyday—back to researchers, so that they can ask the right questions and work to solve meaningful problems