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Judith Bernhard

Judith K. Bernhard

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Biography of Judith K. Bernhard

Judith Bernhard is a professor of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, and is affiliated with the master’s level program in Early Childhood Studies. She previously worked in preschool and primary teaching settings.

An expert in her field and a native Spanish speaker, Bernhard has served as a consultant for a number of programs pertaining to education and health issues in Canada, Aruba, Cuba, Chile, Puerto Rico, France and the United States.


In 1990, Bernhard earned a PhD from the University of Toronto, specializing in educational psychology.


Bernhard has investigated the needs of children and families in early childhood education and care settings. Particular emphasis has been placed on how the field responds to issues of diversity and inclusion.

She has served as a principal investigator for eight large-scale studies pertaining to immigrant and refugee children and families. She has focused special attention on the education of immigrant groups, particularly within the Latin American community.

Bernhard has studied migrant families who have moved from Latin America to work in Canada. For example, she has explored how separation from a primary caregiver affects a child’s social functioning. To that end, Bernhard has proposed and evaluated innovative practices that are intended to meet the unique needs of migrant children and their families.

She has received research grants from the Fulbright Foundation, CERIS – The Ontario Metropolis Project, and a number of federally funded organizations including Service Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Books and refereed journals

Bernhard’s work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including:

  • Bilingual Research Journal
  • Early Education and Development
  • Educational Policy Analysis Archives
  • Exceptionality Education Canada
  • Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal
  • Canadian Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education
  • Collectif Interculturel
  • Journal of Regional Studies
  • Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
  • Canadian Journal of Education

Bernhard has published more than 50 articles as well as three books in her field.

She is also co-editor of the International Handbook of Early Childhood Education. It includes articles by 55 researchers from 45 countries.

Recent publications

  • From theory to practice.  Engaging immigrant parents in their children’s education (2010)
  • Gaining institutional permission:  Researching precarious legal status in Canada (2009)
  • Affirming plural belonging: Building on students’ family-based plural and linguistic capital through a multiliteracies curriculum (2008)
  • Living with uncertain legal status in Canada: Implications for the wellbeing of children and families (2007)

About Judith

Loma Bajita

Dr. Bernhard’s research has focused on the needs of children and families in early childhood education and care settings...more

Selected Publications

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