Lauren McNamara, Ph.D.

Faculty of Social Sciences - Child and Youth Studies

Lauren McNamara, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
not available to supervise
CRN - 329

Dr. McNamara holds a PhD in the Psychology of Education from Simon Fraser University and an MA in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. After years of exploring the role of cognition, learning, motivation, and technology, she has turned her attention to recess - specifically, the cumulative impact daily recess has on children's developmental health trajectories and academic success.

She is the founder and director of The Recess Project, a collaborative among various departments at Brock University, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation, YMCA of Niagara, and the District School Board of Niagara. The goal of the project is to support children's learning by transforming recess into opportunities for inclusion, physical activity, and positive socialization skills.

Some of our current teamwork involves exploring the following topics:

Recess and vulnerable children
Recess and mental health
Recess and school culture
Play, recess, rights of children
Canada wide report on recess
Recess around the world
Recess and children's social development
Recess and population health
Recess and school engagement

Such multifaceted research allows room for student research and volunteers from many academic departments. Please contact Dr. McNamara if you are interested in being a part of this innovative project.

Click here to read more:

Recess Project video

Jumpstart reps see effects of Recess Project

Four years in, CHYS prof's recess project continues to build fun into school day.

McNamara, L., Colley, P., Franklin, N. (in press) School recess, social connectedness, and health:  A Canadian perspective. Health Promotion International. Link coming soon.

New York Times journalist Annie Murray Paul reports on The Recess Project

(McNamara, L., Vaantaja, E., Dunseith, A., and Franklin, N. (2014). Tales from the playground: Transforming the context of recess through collaborative action reserach. International Journal of Play, 4(1), 49-68.),

Toronto Star Education Reporter Louise Brown on the Recess Project

McNamara,L. (2013). What's getting in the way of play? Contextual factors that hinder recess in elementary schools. Canadian Journal of Action Research, 12(2).

Toronto Star journalist Catherine Porter reports on The Recess Project.

The Brock News reporter Tiffany Mayer reports on The Recess Project.