"IF YOU WANT TO TRULY UNDERSTAND SOMETHING, TRY TO CHANGE IT."
Lauren McNamara, PhD
Dr. Lauren McNamara is the founder and director of The Recess Project.
Lauren is an education researcher, educator, innovator, social entrepreneur, child health advocate, speaker, writer, and Ashoka Fellow. She has over 20 years of experience working with school boards in the U.S. and Canada. Her strength is leveraging partnerships to improve the quality of children's lives.
Healthy kids = healthy adults = healthy society.
Lauren's interests center around the social experiences of children , particularly marginalized or vulnerable children who often face multiple barriers as they try to develop social connections and friendships. Friendships and patterns of interactions influence children's mental health, well-being, overall health trajectories, school engagement, and quality of life. In response to the challenges that children, parents and teachers experience surrounding playground culture each and every day, she developed the Recess Project - a project designed to improve the quality of children's social experiences by impacting legislation, policy, and practice.
She draws on an ecological perspective to inform her work. She is particularly interested in the work of social neuroscience because it beautifully delineates the pathways between social experiences, physiological responses, and overall health trajectories. In other words, she uses this work to highlight how exclusion and rejection in childhood can negatively impact long-term health outcomes.
Lauren holds a PhD in the Psychology of Education from Simon Fraser University and an MA in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. She has designed over 25 undergraduate courses that fall broadly under the umbrella of children's well-being and school change: Inclusion, Friendships, Development, Digital Culture and Qualitative Research Design. She is excellent speaker and a fierce advocate for marginalized children.
In partnership with Physical and Education Canada, we are VERY proud to announce the new members of our National Advisory Committee on Recess
Geneviève Chabot, Deputy Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission
Dr. Tracey Bridger, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Canadian Pediatric Society
Lisa Wolff, Director, Policy and Education, UNICEF Canada
Dr. Mariana Brussoni, Department of Pediatrics and School of Population and Public Health, UBC
Dr. Frank Welsh, Director of Policy, Canadian Public Health Association
Annie Kidder, Executive Director, People for Education
Anne O’Brien, Canadian Association of School System Administrators
Dr. Gwen Point, Former Chancellor, University of Fraser Valley