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Sejal Patel

Sejal Patel

Director and Associate Professor
DepartmentEarly Childhood Studies
EducationBSc, MA, PhD
OfficeKHS 363E, Kerr Hall South.
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 557309
Areas of Expertiseearly life experiences; social determinants of health including education, social and community context, neighbourhood and environment; equity in early education and care through child, family and community engaged research

I am director and associate professor at the School of Early Childhood Studies, in the Faculty of Community Services at Toronto Metropolitan University. With training in psychology and education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, I held CIHR Strategic Training and Peterborough K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation post-doctoral fellowships at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital. I am an affiliate scientist in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital Unity Health Toronto.

My program of research investigates the effects of innovation in (1) service provision and education, and (2) the designed environment, on inequities in children’s educational success and well-being. My research on educational success and well-being considers children’s early life experiences, social and community context, neighbourhoods and environments. As a community-engaged scholar, I pursue professional goals by collaborating with community partners to carry out research with marginalized populations to help reduce disparities, and to mobilize knowledge to help inform local practice and public policy.

  • Foundational human development courses in the undergraduate program.
  • Graduate internship in early childhood studies course which involves experiential learning in early childhood service delivery, advocacy, policy, and research.

Research projects:

  • SSHRC funded longitudinal research project investigating how a school redesign initiative affects children in the context of neighbourhood redevelopment.
  • SSHRC funded longitudinal research project investigating the effectiveness of Ontario’s educational early years policy on full-day kindergarten.
  • SSHRC grant for related knowledge mobilization activities.
  • SSHRC & RBC Immigrant, Diversity and Inclusion grants for partnered research with Toronto District School Board investigating their Model Schools for Inner Cities initiative.

Representative publications:

  • Patel, S., Ranjbar, M., Cummins, T., & Cummins, N. (2021). Safety and inner city neighborhood change: Student and teacher perspectives. Education and Urban Society, 1-22. (selected for open access May 2021 at (external link) )
  • Patel, S., & Cummins, N. (2019). Student and staff social dynamics and transitions during school redesign. Improving Schools, 22(2), 158-172. doi: 10.1177/1365480219832415
  • Patel, S., Corter, C., Pelletier, J., & Bertrand, J. (2016). ‘Dose-response’ relations between participation in integrated early childhood services and children's early development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly35, 49–62. (external link, opens in new window)  *Special Issue on international research utilizing the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a measure of early childhood.
  • Minh, A., Patel, S., Bruce-Barrett, C., & O'Campo, P. (2015). Letting youths choose for themselves: Concept mapping as a participatory approach for program and service planning. Family & Community Health38(1), 33–43. 
  • Patel, S., & Corter, C. (2013). Building capacity for parent involvement through school-based preschool services. Early Child Development and Care, 183(7), 981-1004. (external link, opens in new window) 
  • Patel, S., & Corter, C. (2011). Early intervention research, services, and policies. In A. Slater, M. Lewis, G. Anzures & K. Lee (Eds.), Introduction to Infant Development: Canadian Edition. Oxford University Press.
  • Corter, C., Patel, S., Pelletier, J., & Bertrand, J. (2008). The early development instrument as an evaluation and improvement tool for school-based, integrated services for young children and parents: The Toronto first duty project. Early Education and Development19(5), 773-794. (external link, opens in new window) 
  • Patel, S., Corter, C., & Pelletier, J. (2008). What do Families Want? Understanding their GOALS for Early Childhood Services. In M. Cornish (Ed.), Promising practices for partnering with families in the early years (pp. 103-124). Information Age Publishing.