Information for Parents

We are currently conducting several studies for children between ages 3 and 8. These studies investigate how children acquire aspects of their first language. If you have a child in this age range, we would like to invite you to participate in our studies.

What happens when you come to my child's daycare?

Before we can work with any children at a partner day care, we need your consent! Because of this, you might see us at your child’s day care, likely around drop-off or pick-up time. Please feel free to talk to us! We’ll walk through our protocol, tell you more about our lab, and finally give you a brochure that includes a parental consent form. By signing this form, you give us permission to work with your child on our projects. Even if we’ve already partnered with your child’s daycare, we won’t work with your child until you’ve signed the consent form and told us it’s ok.

Our studies are set as short, child-friendly games, played one-on-one with an experienced researcher. They often involve interacting with puppets, looking at and answering questions about a series of child-friendly pictures, or listening to short stories. Even though experiments are designed as one-on-one games, we will always send at least two researchers to any daycare, and your child will never be left alone with a researcher.

Children tend to enjoy playing these games (after all, we design them to be fun!). In addition, when they've completed the project, they receive a sticker or small gift as a token of our appreciation.

What happens to my child’s data?

The data we collect from your child will be kept completely confidential. Aggregate results from our studies are typically presented at scientific conferences and reported in scientific publications, but no identifying information about individual children will ever be revealed. We are also glad to provide a summary of our findings to participating families!

What are the benefits of
participating in this research?

We depend on the participation of parents and children from the community to learn more about this important aspect of a child’s growth. Understanding the process of language acquisition helps scientists advance better theories about language and cognition. This in turn has an impact on the development of more sensitive diagnostics for language disorders, better curriculum design, and a better understanding of how human language works.

How can I sign up to participate?

If you would like to sign your child up to participate, send us an email at

My child attends a child care center; can they still participate?

In addition to doing studies in the lab, we also do frequent visits to local child care centers. Let us know if your child's center would like to get involved, or direct them to the For Preschools Page.

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background photo by Sebastián Pamos

assistant scientist badge by Konstantinos Roungeris

Address: 32-D808
32 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
Email: lang.acquisition.lab

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