Longitudinal Peer Social Networks and Early Language Development: Transforming Understanding of Critical Features of Young Children’s Classroom Experiences

Children's Campus in Kansas City, home to Juniper Gardens

This study is aimed at fundamentally improving our understanding of how peer social networks influence language development in preschool settings. A state-of-the-art sensing system involving speech recorders and location trackers will be used to capture continuous data on who children interact with and the precise nature of peer-to-peer talk. With this data, we will examine:

  • Individual differences in children’s peer language networks
  • Effects of these networks on children’s language growth

Results of this study are likely to transform our understanding of peer-to-peer dynamics in preschool classrooms and support teachers’ use of practices to leverage the role of peers in shaping early language development.

Project details

  • Primary Investigator: Dwight Irvin

  • Project start Date: 04/01/2021

  • Project finish Date: 06/30/2024

  • Co-Principal Investigator: Laura Justice

  • Co-Principle Investigator: UM site: Daniel Messinger;

  • Co-Principle Investigator: KU site: Brian Boyd and Jay Buzhardt



  • Lyle Spencer Research Award