University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Caroline Tran

Involvement: 

Award: 

Undergraduate Award

Bio: 

Caroline Tran is a senior at the Commonwealth Honors College pursuing a dual degree in Microbiology and Public Health Sciences on the pre-medical track. Her current research in the Moove and Snooze Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Christine St. Laurent for her Honors Thesis aims to identify facilitators, barriers, knowledge, and current caregiving practices related to child physical activity and sleep in Western Massachusetts family/home-based childcare settings. This study's findings will inform the development of an intervention to promote child physical activity and sleep in family/home-based childcare settings. Her research project is titled, “Family Childcare Assessment of Resources, Education, and Support (CARE) for Physical Activity and Sleep Study”.

Research: 

The research led by Principal Investigator Christine St. Laurent at the Moove and Snooze Lab addresses a critical gap in understanding child physical activity and sleep in family/home-based child care settings in Western Massachusetts. Recognizing the significance of these settings for early childhood development, the study aims to identify facilitators, barriers, knowledge, and practices related to child health in this understudied population. With nearly 30% of US children under five attending home-based family child care settings, the research sheds light on unique challenges and opportunities, providing essential insights for potential interventions. 

The research's immediate impact lies in informing the development of evidence-based interventions tailored to promote child physical activity and sleep in family/home-based child care settings. Beyond the direct benefits to child health, the study's broader implications extend to informing policies and guidelines, enhancing the quality of child care nationwide, and addressing disparities in access to quality child care. By recognizing the unique needs of home-based caregivers, the research contributes to creating more inclusive and effective support systems. Additionally, insights gained from this study have implications for the well-being of families, caregivers, and the broader community as the child care landscape evolves. 

This initiative is a crucial step towards ensuring that all children, irrespective of their child care arrangements, have the opportunity to develop healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives. The findings not only contribute to the immediate improvement of child health but also hold the potential to shape future interventions, policies, and research endeavors in the field of early childhood development and family/home-based child care practices. 

Student Award Academic Year: