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About Us > Staff & Faculty > Janette Pelletier

Janette Pelletier

Tel: (416) 934-4506
Email: janette.pelletier@utoronto.ca

Janette Pelletier, Ph.D., is Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study. Janette’s research interests are in the area of early child development and education. Her current longitudinal research project is examining the implementation and impact of Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten in collaboration with the Region of Peel, the Peel District and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Boards. This work builds on research in Toronto First Duty and Peel Best Start which describe the design, implementation and evaluation of innovative integrated approaches to kindergarten, child care and parenting supports. Another major focus is parent involvement and its relation to children’s learning in kindergarten and primary classes, including a longitudinal study of family literacy programs. Her research includes participants from a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, many of whom are recent immigrants to Canada. This research extends to other second language contexts such as early French immersion. A related area of her research is young children’s literacy development and communication through writing and drawing. In 2013 Janette and her colleagues Shelley Stagg Peterson and Eunice Jang received a 7-year $2.8 million SSHRC Partnership Grant to develop a play-based assessment of oral and written language development in northern Canadian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. In 2015 Janette and co-applicant Sejal Patel received a 5-year SSHRC Insight Grant to continue the FDK research until children reach Grade 6.

Applied clinical interests

Janette is a former elementary classroom teacher in English and French immersion contexts and a former school psychologist. Her research is carried out in and applies directly to kindergarten and primary classrooms. She is also engaged in program and policy research in the area of early learning and care.

Current research grants & contracts

2015-2020. SSHRC Insight Grant. Full-day kindergarten: Longitudinal effects on children's educational success and well-being. Pelletier, J. (PI) & Patel, S. ($218,335.00)

2015-2016. SSHRC Connections Grant. Reducing inequities in children's educational success and well-being: the role of the built environment. Patel, S. (PI), O’Campo, P. (Co-PI), & Pelletier, J. (Co-PI) ($24,997).

2013-2020. SSHRC Partnership Grant. Pedagogy and assessment for ELL and Aboriginal children’s early literacy and oral language development through play in Kindergarten classrooms. Stagg Peterson, S. (PI), Jang, E. (Co-PI), & Pelletier, J. (Co-PI) ($ 2,828,240).

2013-2015. Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan, Early Literacy Research Intervention Project. Larger Project: AKFC – DFATD Institutional Partnerships for Human Development (IPHD). Pelletier, J.: Consultant and Expert Member, Program Advisory Committee.

2013. SSHRC Institutional Grant.  For student travel to conferences. Pelletier, J. ($1,174.00)

2012-2013. SSHRC Partnership Proposal Development Grant (for successful Letter of Intent). Pedagogy and assessment for ELL and Aboriginal children’s early literacy and oral language development through play in Kindergarten classrooms. Stagg Peterson, S., Jang, E., & Pelletier, J. ($20,000).

2011-2014. National Science Foundation (Group grant led by Jianwei Zhang, SUNY Albany). Fostering collective progress in online discourse for sustained knowledge building ($550,000).

Representative publications

Pelletier, J., & Beatty, R. (2015). Theory of mind in education: Children’s understanding of Aesop’s fables. To appear in F. Baglio & A. Marchetti (Eds.),When (and how) Theory of Mind is useful? Evidence from research in the life-span. Frontiers in Psychology, Special Issue on Cognitive Science.

Rezzonico, S., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2015). Improving preschool educators’ shared book reading practices: Effects of coaching in professional development. To appear in The American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. (Girolametto postdoc first author, former student second author, student third author, community partners fourth and fifth authors)

Timmons, K., Pelletier, J., & Corter, C. (2015). Understanding children’s self-regulation within different classroom contexts. Early Child Development and Care. DOI: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03004430.2015.1027699 (Student first author).

Milburn, T. F., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2015). Effects of Coaching on Educators' and Preschoolers' Use of References to Print and Phonological Awareness During a Small-Group Craft/Writing Activity. Language, speech, and hearing services in schools, 46(2), 94-111. (Student first author, former student second author, community partners third & fourth authors).

Rezzonico, S., Chen, X., Cleave, P., Greenberg, J., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Johnson, C., Milburn, T., Pelletier, J., Weitzman, E., & Girolametto, L. (2015).   Oral narratives in monolingual and bilingual preschoolers with SLI. The International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. UT link: http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/479271 (Girolometto postdoc first author, community partners fourth & ninth authors, former students fifth & seventh authors)

DiSanto, A., Timmons, K., & Pelletier, J. (2015). “Mommy that’s the exit:” Empowering homeless mothers to support their children’s daily literacy experiences. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 0, 1-26. (Former student first author, student second author) Available at: http://ecl.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/1468798415577872v1.pdf?ijkey=7ckVijTiXHtSXzk&keytype=finite

Namasivayam, A.M., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2014). Effects of coaching on educators' vocabulary-teaching strategies during shared reading. The International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17(4). (Student first author) Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/17549507.2014.979871

Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2014). Narrative abilities in subgroups of English Language Learners and monolingual peers. International Journal of Bilingualism, 1-16. (Former student first author) Available online at: http://ijb.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/1367006914534330v1.pdf?ijkey=9GVPjxgPXZWFnc5&keytype=ref

Pelletier, J. (2014). Ontario’s full-day kindergarten: A bold public policy initiative. Public Sector Digest, June Issue: Education, 41-49.

Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2014). Relationships between preschoolers’ oral language and phonological awareness skills. First Language, 34(2), 178 - 197. (former student first author)

Timmons, K., & Pelletier, J. (2014). Understanding the importance of parent learning in a school based family literacy program.  The Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, first published on October 16, 2014 doi:10.1177/1468798414552511, 1-23. (student first author)

Pelletier, J., & Astington, J. (2013). Theory of mind and metacognitive vocabulary development in first and second languages. Studies in Applied Linguistics (accepted pending revisions).

Hawes, Z., Martinussen, R., & Pelletier, J. (2013). Improving short-term memory and self-regulation through computerized cognitive training: A randomized controlled study with 6-year-olds. Submitted for review.

Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2013). Using language dominance to profile ELL children’s oral language skills. Submitted for review.

Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2013). Predicting phonological awareness from preschool narrative competence. Submitted for review.

Hipfner-Boucher, K. & Pelletier, J. (2013). Narrative generation of ELL and EL1 preschoolers: Relationships to vocabulary and emergent literacy skills. Submitted for review.

Cleovoulu, Y., McCollam, H., Ellis, E., Commeford, L., Moore, I., Chern, A., & Pelletier, J. (2013). Using photographic picture books to better understand young children’s ideas of belonging: A study of early literacy and social inclusion. Canadian Children, 38(1), 11-20.

Pelletier, J. (2012). New directions in integrated early childhood services in school-as hub models: Lessons from Toronto First Duty and Peel Best Start. In N. Howe and L. Prochner (Eds.), New Directions in Early Childhood Care and Education in Canada, pp. 367-396. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Hong, G., Corter, C., Hong, Y., & Pelletier, J. (2012). Differential effects of homogeneous grouping and literacy instruction time in kindergarten classrooms: Who will benefit? Who will suffer? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 34(1), 69-88. (co-authors listed in alphabetical order) Journal homepage: DOI 10.3102/0162373711424206

Zhang, J., & Pelletier, J. (2012) (Eds.).  Frontiers of Education in China, Special Issue on International Perspectives in Early Childhood Education. Beijing, China: Higher Education Press. (former student first author/editor. Seven papers were included in this special issue.)

Zhang, J., & Pelletier, J. (2012). Cultural differences: An international perspective on early childhood education.  Frontiers of Education in China, Special Issue on International Perspectives in Early Childhood Education. Introduction to Special Issue, 1-4.

Pelletier, J., Hipfner-Boucher, K., & Doyle, A. (2011). The use of metacognitive language in story retell: The intersect between theory of mind and story comprehension. In A. Antonietti, E. Confalonieri, & A. Marchetti (Eds.), Metarepresentation and narrative in educational settings: A cultural framework for reflective thinking. Studies in honour of Olga Liverta-Sempio.  Madrid, SP: Cambridge University Press.

Pelletier, J. (2011). Language and literacy development in early childhood classrooms.  Ontario Literacy Numeracy Secretariat: What Works? Toronto, ON: LNS

Harper, S., Platt, A., & Pelletier, J. (2011). Unique effects of a family literacy program on the early reading development of English Language Learners. Early Education and Development, 22(6), 989-1008.

Pelletier, J. (2011). School-based family literacy intervention programs. Research for Teachers. Toronto, ON: Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.

Arimura, T. N., Corter, C., Pelletier, J. Janmohamed, Z., Patel, S., Ioannone, P.,  & Mir, S. (2011). Schools as integrated hubs for young children and families:  A Canadian experiment in community readiness: the Toronto First Duty project.   In D. M. Laverick & M. Jalongo (Eds.), Transitions to Early Care and Education: International Perspectives on Making Schools Ready for Young Children. Springer International, 189-202.

Corter, C. & Pelletier, J. (2010). Schools as integrated service hubs for young children and families: Policy implications of the Toronto First Duty Project. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 4(2), 1-17.

Harper, S. & Pelletier, J. (2010). Parent involvement in early childhood: a comparison of English language learners and English first language families.  International Journal of Early Years Education, 18(2), 123-141.

Pelletier, J., Doyle, A., & Hipfner-Boucher, K. (2010). Family literacy in action: A guide for literacy Program facilitators. Toronto, ON: Scholastic Education.

Janmohamed, Z., & Pelletier, J. (2010). Implementing early learning programs in Ontario schools: Lessons from Toronto First Duty and Peel Best Start.  Ontario Principals Council Register, June, 17-20. Toronto, Ontario.

Peel Projects

1) Full-Day Early Learning/Kindergarten.  Building on my research on Peel Best Start, I am examining the implementation and impact of Ontario’s FDK program on staff teams, on parents and on children. This is a collaborative study with funding contributions from all partners. First year results, available on the Atkinson Centre website, show significant benefits for parents and children and describe ways in which staff teams of early childhood educators and kindergarten teachers are working together to create an integrated team and curriculum approach that includes parents.  Second year data have been collected and are currently being analyzed.  Results will also be made available through the Atkinson Centre.

2) Family Literacy.  For many years, my research team and I have been developing, implementing and carrying out research on family literacy programs at schools in the Peel region.  Some of the research has involved randomized control trials. In all cases, there have been demonstrated benefits to parents as evidenced by parent testimonials and by changes in home literacy practices. Likewise, significant benefits to children have been evidenced by greater gains in early literacy development for family literacy children than for a matched control group.  We are currently engaged in a longitudinal follow-up study, funded by SSHRC, to see whether early benefits are maintained.

We carried out a longitudinal follow-up study, funded by SSHRC, to track factors related to the long-term benefits of these early programs.

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