Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler

Professor of Psychology
Psychology & Human Service Stu 100A
2337 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-6453

Brief Biography

Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler is a Professor of Psychology who came to Elon University in 1995.  Her scholarly interests include children's learning in collaborative, authentic experiences; adult guidance of children's inquiry and discovery; sociocultural and global contexts of learning; and undergraduate research mentoring.  She directed the Honors Program at Elon University from 2008 to 2013, and has led study abroad/away programs in London, Florence, Hawaii and Turkey.  She is currently co-leading a research seminar on Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research with the Center for Engaged Learning.  



B.A.     Psychology and French, Wake Forest University, 1985

Ph.D.   Developmental Psychology, North Carolina State University, 1990

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Early Intervention, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1990-91

Courses Taught

Early Childhood Development; Lifespan Development; Senior Seminar; Childhood in Cultural Context (Honors); Psychology in Cultural Context; Family Stories (General studies); Nation or State?  In Search of Hawaiian Identity (General Studies, Study USA); Children, families and communities:  Sociocultural contexts of development in Italy (Florence, Spring 2014); Children and learning in the natural world (Denmark, Spring 2016).  

Leadership Positions

Director of the Honors Program from 2008 to 2013; Co-leading an Elon Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminar on Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research (2014-2016) - more information can be found here: 


Her current scholarly interests focus on ways that adults support young children’s learning through joint participation in authentic experiences, or culturally relevant, meaningful and developmentally appropriate activities. 

Current Projects

Current research projects investigate ways that young children learn math and science through nature play, gardening, cooking, and visiting museum exhibits with parents. In addition, she is conducting research on academic mentoring and high-impact engaged learning practices on college campuses. 

Grants Awarded

Full-year full-pay sabbatical award, 2014-15


Selected Publications

* = undergraduate co-author

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., & *Pittard, C. (2014).  Influences of social context on parent guidance and low-income preschoolers’ independent and guided math performance.  Early Child Development and Care, 184 (4), 500-521.

*Finn, L. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (2013).  Young children’s engagement and learning opportunities while cooking with parents and older siblings.  Early Childhood Research and Practice,

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Boomgarden, E., *Finn, L., & *Pittard, C. (2012).  Parental support of numeracy during a cooking activity with four-year-olds. International Journal of Early Years Education, 20 (1), 78-93.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Ferretti, L., & *Loving, S. (2012) Playing The Ladybug Game:  Parent guidance of young children’s numeracy activities.  Early Child Development and Care, 182 (10), 1289-1307.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Sassine, B., *Price, C. & *Brilhart, C.  (2012).  Mothers' and fathers' guidance behaviors during shared reading.  Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 12 (4), 415-442.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Nelson, J., *Bumpass, C. & *Sassine, B. (2012).  Social contexts of development: Parent-child interactions during reading and play.  K.  Pahl & J. Rowsell, Editors, Early Childhood Literacy.  Sage Publications.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Nelson, J., *Ferretti, L., & *Finn, L.  (2011).  Developing expertise:  An apprenticeship model of mentoring undergraduate research across cohorts.  Perspectives on Undergraduate Research Mentoring, 1.1, 1 – 10.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Nelson, J., *Bumpass, C. & *Sassine, B. (2009).  Social contexts of development: Parent-child interactions during reading and play.  Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 9 (3), 295-317.

Smith, G.E., & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (2009). Taking Psychology Abroad: Resources for Designing Your Study Abroad Course. Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology (, Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2) of the American Psychological Association.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Nelson, J., *Bumpass, C. & *Sassine, B. (2009).  Numeracy-related exchanges in joint storybook reading and play.  International Journal of Early Years Education, 17 (1), 67-84.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Nelson, J., *von der Heide, M., & *Kelly, E. (2009). Parental guidance with four-year-olds in literacy and play activities at home. In D. Kuschner (Ed.), From children to Red Hatters®: Diverse images and issues of Play. Play & Culture Studies, Volume 8. (pp. 93-112). Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (2008).  Parental guidance of numeracy development in early childhood.  In Saracho, O. & Spodak, B. (Eds.).  Contemporary Perspectives on Mathematics in Early Childhood Education, 277-290.  Information Age Publishing:  Charlotte, NC.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Nelson, J. & *Bumpass, C. (2007).  “Quarters are what you put into the bubble gum machine.”  Numeracy interactions during parent-child play. Early childhood research and practice, 9,


Selected Conference Presentations

* denotes undergraduate research co-author

*Kendall, A. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (March, 2014).  Observations of parental guidance in a children's museum.  Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association, Nashville, TN.

*Massey, K. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (March, 2014).  Parental guidance of early science learning in a children's museum. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association, Nashville, TN.

Miller, P., Peeples, T. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (October, 2013).  Constructing developmentally appropriate best practices for mentoring.  Presented at the National Society for Experiential Education, St. Petersburg, FL.

Peeples, T.,Vandermaas-Peeler, M. & Miller, P. (October, 2013).  A developmental approach to mentoring undergraduate research.  Presented at the Pre-ISSOTL Conference Council for Undergraduate Research Symposium, Raleigh, NC. 

Carignan, M., Vandermaas-Peeler, M. & *Deavens, D. (October, 2013).  Inquiry in Istanbul:  Global Engagement and Scholarly Inquiry Development in a Pilot Study-Abroad Course for First-year Honors Fellows.  Presented at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Raleigh, NC

Vandermaas-Peeler, M. & *Pittard, C. (April, 2013).  Low-income parents’ guidance of preschoolers’ numeracy skills in context.  Presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, WA.

*Pittard, C. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (March, 2013).  Parental guidance of preschoolers’ numeracy in context.  Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association, Atlanta, GA.

*Deaver, L. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (March, 2012).  Influences of home and school context on oral narratives in pre-kindergarten children.  Presented at the Global Summit on Childhood, Washington, D.C.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., *Ferretti, L., *Boomgarden, E. & *Finn, L. (April, 2011).  Count with me! Parent guidance of numeracy in cooking and game activities with preschoolers.  Symposium presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, CA. 

Vandermaas-Peeler, M., & *Ferretti, L. (April, 2011).  Step-to-It! The role of parental guidance in preschoolers' numeracy acquisition during active game playing.  Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, CA. 

Fair, C. F. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M. (January, 2011).  Facilitating undergraduate research in the global context:  Successes and challenges.  Presented at the American Association of Colleges & Universities, San Francisco, CA.

Carignan, M., Fair, C. F., Levesque, M., Miller, P., Peeples, T. & Vandermaas-Peeler, M., (November, 2010).  Integrating faculty development, scholarship, and undergraduate research mentoring.  Presented at AAC & U Creativity, Inquiry and Discovery:   Undergraduate Research In and Across the Disciplines, Durham, NC.

Miller, P., Vandermaas-Peeler, M., Peeples, T., & Felten, P. (October, 2010).  Fostering undergraduate research connections.  Presented at the Council for Undergraduate Research pre-conference workshop, Liverpool, UK.

Vandermaas-Peeler, M. & Miller, P. (June, 2010).  A developmental approach to undergraduate research.   Presented at the Council for Undergraduate Research, Ogden, UT.



2011 Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award