ASU’s Child Study Lab returns with expanded instruction opportunities

The child development preschool returns to in-person instruction this fall

July 14, 2021

This fall, the ASU Child Study Lab is opening its doors to children once again for in-person instruction and is expanding its virtual classroom. Established by Arizona State University's Department of Psychology in 1972, the Child Study Lab is a preschool where children and families explore, create, learn and grow using a curriculum built on the latest research in child development.

The curriculum at the lab focuses on cognitive, social-emotional, physical and language development for children age 15 months to pre-kindergarten. Children are encouraged to play and self-initiate learning to discover areas of improvement and interest. children seated at a table with an adult playing a game This fall, the ASU Child Study Lab is opening its doors to children once again for in-person instruction and is expanding its virtual classroom. Download Full Image

After piloting a synchronous learning environment with limited-size in-person classes and online participants, the program is expanding capacity to a larger audience with hopes of being back to pre-COVID registration and classroom sizes. 

“We were totally blown away by the suddenness of shutting down our program from COVID,” said Anne Kupfer, director of the Child Study Lab. “We took this unusual and unpleasant time from the pandemic and used it as a chance to innovate. We thought: Can we do this synchronous learning experience at the (Child Study Lab)?”

Children traditionally have been thought to be unable to maintain attention on a screen, but in this pilot run of the synchronous program, the teachers kept the children moving and learning, not just staring at a screen. 

“We had them stand up if they agreed or disagreed,” said Kupfer. “Children learn through play — their bodies remember through the act of embodied cognition. We actually improved some children’s attention spans!”

A key area of development that the Child Study Lab focuses on is emotion regulation, or the ability to manage and respond to an emotional experience. Research has shown that a child’s ability to self-regulate emotion correlates with lifelong success academically and socially. 

“It is so important that children between the ages of 2 and 5 experience a good curriculum of emotion regulation. It really shapes how they handle conflict and stress for the rest of their lives,” said Kupfer. “The (Child Study Lab) truly is a wonderful, magical place, where all the latest research in child development is implemented in the curriculum. We’ve always had a wonderful faculty in child development in the department.”

Another component that makes the lab different from most preschool environments is the inclusion of undergraduate research assistants as part of their child development lab requirements. This allows children to interact with the undergraduates and participate in research projects. 

“The assessments and research projects are a wonderful way for the parents to get to know their children more. The parents are able to see the studies that the children participate in, and it allows the students to experience an important hands-on research component in an active setting,” said Kupfer. 

Over the summer, the Child Study Lab had students participating from multiple different states and even different countries.

“We actually brought the in-person children into small academic groups and had the remote children appear on iPads with the group of children. The online children could participate just as if they were physically present in the classroom,” said Kupfer. "While we are so happy and excited to have more children back in the classroom, we are also equally excited about the possibilities of reaching children that we never thought we could reach before.”

To enroll your child in a virtual or in-person session, visit the Child Study Lab website

Video courtesy of Robert Ewing

Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager, Department of Psychology


ASU junior Emma Broyles wins Miss Alaska title, advances to Miss America competition in December

July 14, 2021

Emma Broyles, an Arizona State University junior, won the title of Miss Alaska in June and will represent her state on the national level in the Miss America 2022 competition in December.

Her journey to the national stage began in 2017 when, as a 15-year-old high school sophomore, she entered the local preliminary Miss America program competition in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. She won the title of Miss Anchorage’s Outstanding Teen in the first-ever competition she entered. Photo of Emma Broyles with Miss Alaska sash and crown ASU junior Emma Broyles was crowned Miss Alaska in June. She will compete for the title of Miss America 2022 in December. Download Full Image

That same year, Broyles went on to the Miss Alaska’s Outstanding Teen competition and won that title, too.

After serving a year as Miss Alaska’s Outstanding Teen, Broyles took a hiatus from competitions, during which she graduated high school and entered ASU as a student in Barrett, The Honors College studying biomedical sciences and voice performance.

Broyles, 19, will have an especially busy semester, handling her Miss Alaska duties and her studies while preparing for the Miss America competition that will be broadcast live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Barrett Honors College students may recognize Broyles from her appearances on the college’s social media and as emcee at events.

Broyles took time out to reflect on her experiences as a candidate in the Miss America program and an ASU student. Here’s what she had to say.

Question: How did you decide to attend ASU?

Answer: I toured ASU when I was in high school, and I fell in love with the campus and atmosphere. I really felt at home when I visited ASU and I did not get that same feeling when touring other campuses, so I knew that ASU was the school for me. It also helped that ASU has great merit-based scholarships that help me pay for most of my degree and such a strong honors college. 

Q: The Miss America program has been around for 100 years. How has it changed over time?

A: Miss America has been moving away from the word "pageant" after rebranding as Miss America 2.0. There have been a lot of adjustments in the past few years with changes in leadership, so it is now called the Miss America competition. You may have heard that swimsuit is no longer a portion of the competition. Also, another change in terminology is that we are now called "candidates" instead of contestants.

Q: How did you get involved in Miss America competitions, and what are the benefits of participating?

A: My mom and I were introduced to the Miss America program when I was 15 years old. Looking to start earning some college scholarships, I decided to compete in my local preliminary competition, Miss Anchorage's Outstanding Teen. Since competing in my first competition, I have earned thousands of dollars in college scholarships and developed a wide range of skills, from participating in charity runs in heels with a crown on to answering controversial political questions in front of hundreds of people. 

Q: Which competitions have you participated in?

A: The first competition I ever competed in was Miss Anchorage's Outstanding Teen in 2017 when I was a sophomore in high school. After I won that title, I went on to compete at Miss Alaska's Outstanding Teen 2017, which I was fortunate enough to win. The next month, I flew to Florida to compete in Miss America's Outstanding Teen, where I met some of the most intelligent, kind and accomplished girls in the nation. After my year as Miss Alaska's Outstanding Teen, I took a four-year break from competing until this year, when I decided to return to the stage and compete for the title of Miss Alaska 2021. I will now be competing at Miss America in Connecticut this December alongside some of our country's brightest young women! 

Q: What are your duties as Miss Alaska?

A: As Miss Alaska, I have the opportunity to volunteer at events all over the state and promote my social impact initiative of Special Olympics. I have a unique opportunity as Miss Alaska to have such a large public platform to use as a vehicle to speak out about important issues and connect with members of my community and hear their stories.

Q: Tell us more about your social impact initiative. What is it, and how did you choose it?

A: My social impact initiative is Building Community Through Special Olympics. I began volunteering with the Special Olympics over 12 years ago when my older brother became an athlete. Since then, I have been a coach for the swim team and president of the largest Special Olympics school program in Alaska. I and my family received the honor of being named Special Olympics Alaska's Family of the Year.

As a sibling of an individual with an intellectual disability and Special Olympics athlete, I have witnessed the positive impact Special Olympics has on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and communities. Special Olympics is an organization that my family and I have supported throughout my life, and I am so excited to continue to share its mission on the Miss America stage. 

Q: How will you prepare for the Miss America pageant?

A: The job of Miss America requires a significant amount of public speaking, so a large portion of the competition is dedicated to testing each candidate's ability to speak eloquently about given political topics and their social impact initiative in front of a large crowd. In preparation for the judges’ interview and onstage interviews, I keep up to date with national news and practice answering political questions and questions about my social impact initiative on the spot. Another aspect of my Miss America preparation will include spending time rehearsing my onstage talent, which is singing.

Q: How do you balance being in competitions with being an honors student at ASU?

A: Over the years, I have gained an understanding of the importance of utilizing a calendar and a planner! Keeping organized has been the single most important step in maintaining a busy schedule and ensuring that I am not missing anything. I also heavily rely on my support systems and reach out to my family and friends if I ever feel discouraged or overwhelmed.

Q: What advice would you give to other young women interested in the Miss America program?

A: For anyone considering competing in the Miss America program, I would strongly recommend it. The Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarships for young women. In fact, 12,000 young women across the country receive over $45 million in college scholarships in one year alone at the local, state and national levels.

Aside from earning college scholarships, young women in the Miss America program have the opportunity to develop strong public speaking and interviewing skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Since I competed in my first local competition over four years ago, I have earned thousands of dollars in scholarships, become friends with some of the most accomplished young women in the country and gained some once-in-a-lifetime experiences. 

RELATED: ASU Alumna named Miss Arizona will compete in 100th anniversary of Miss America

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College