Professor Emeritus  (RETIRED / Part-time Faculty)


PhD. (2002) University of Missouri – Columbia, Human Development and Family Studies

MSc. (1986) University of Manitoba, Human Ecology (Family Studies)

BA. (1982) University of Winnipeg, Sociology




Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), Association of Child Life Professionals


Association of Child Life Professionals Distinguished Service Award 2018.  Since 1988, the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) has honored the child life profession’s outstanding leaders and pioneers with the annual Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor presented by the ACLP Board of Directors, recognizing exceptional members for outstanding contributions to the field of child life. Distinguished Service Award 2018 Joan Turner

Current Teaching

  • CHYS 3315 – Play and Development: Middle Childhood through Adolescence
  • CHYS 4423 – Psychosocial Care of Children, Youth and Families in Health Care Settings 

Recent Publications and Presentations

Books (Edited)

Turner, J. & Brown, C. (2016). Pips of Child Life: The Middle Years of Play Programs in Hospitals. Kendall Hunt Publishers: IA.

Turner, J. & Brown, C. (2014). Pips of Child Life: The Early Years of Play Programs in Hospitals. Kendall Hunt Publishers: IA.

Book Chapters (Edited)

Turner, J. and Boles, J. (2020). Group Play in Hospitals: Child Life Playrooms in Mellenthin, C., Grant, R. J. & Stone, J., Implementing Play Therapy with Groups: Contemporary Issues in Practice. New York: Routledge.

Turner, J. (2020). Children and Young People in Radiology. Kathleen A. Gross, Ed. Advanced Practice and Leadership in Radiology Nursing. 263-271. Published, Springer International, United States

Turner, J. (2018) Theoretical foundations of Child Life in Richard H. Thompson (Ed.), Handbook of Child Life. 2nd Edition. C. C. Thomas: IL. Pp. 34-54.

Turner, J. & Dempsey, V. (2017). Preschooler’s Health Care Play: Children demonstrating their Health Literacy. In L. Rubin Medical Play Therapy and Child Life: Clinical Interventions for Children and Adolescents. New York: Routledge. Pp. 19-37.

Refereed Journals

Carolan P, McIsaac JLD, Richard B, Turner J, McLean C. (2020). Families’ Experiences of a Universal Play-based Early Childhood Program in Nova Scotia: Implications for Policy and Practice. Journal of Research in Childhood Education.

Turner, J.   and Boles, J. (2020). A content analysis of professional literature in the Association of Child Life Professionals Focus: 1999-2019. The Journal of Child Life 1(1): 15-24

Boles, J. and Turner, J., Rights, J. D. and Lu, R. (2021). Empirical Evolution of Child Life 1998-2017: A Scoping Review of Child Life Content in Published Research. Journal of Child Life 2 (1) In Press

Jessie-Lee D. McIsaac, Erin Kelly, Joan C. Turner & Sara F.L. Kirk (2020) Exploring the foundation for Collaborative Governance to support early childhood in Nova Scotia, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2020.1783930

Natalie Houser, Jane Cawley, Angela M Kolen, Daniel Rainham, Laurene Rehman, Joan Turner, Sara FL Kirk, and Michelle R Stone (accepted). A loose parts randomized controlled trial to promote active outdoor play in preschool-aged children: Physical Literacy in the Early Years (PLEY) project. Methods and Protocols.

Stone, MR, Houser N, CawleyJ, Kolen A, Rainham D, Rehman L, Turner J, Kirk S. Accelerometry-measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour of preschoolers in Nova Scotia, Canada. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 0, 0,

Houser, NE., Roach, L., Stone, MR., Turner, J., & Kirk, SFL. (2016). Let the children play: Scoping review on the implementation and use of loose parts for promoting physical activity participation. AIMS Public Health, 3 (4): 781-799.


Department of Education and Early Child Development: Early Years Centre Nova Scotia Evaluation Reports


Turner, J. (August, 2019). Shouldn’t we be doing something more important than playing? Pedagogical Talk: European Association of Early Childhood Education Research Association, Thessaloniki, Greece

Turner, J., Cawley, J., Kirk, S. & Stone, M. (August, 2019). Affordances of wooden planks invite children’s movement during outdoor play. Presentation: European Association of Early Childhood Education Research Association, Thessaloniki, Greece

Turner, J. & Dempsey, V. (2018).Thematic Analysis of Children’s Health Care Play. Healthy Living, Healthy Life conference, September 19-21, 2018, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS

Turner, J., Cawley, J., Richard, B., Kirk, S. & Stone, M. (2018) Early Childhood Education: Need for Collaborative Outdoor Play Learning Strategies. Healthy Living, Healthy Life conference, September 19-21, 2018, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS

Professional Articles

Turner, J., LeBlanc, C., Wolgemuth, L., Humphreys, C. and Sohanial, A. (In press, 2020). The Landscape of Child Life in Canada: Big Country – Diverse Programs. Association of Child Life Professionals Bulletin, 38 (3) pp. 22-26

Turner, J. Paying it Forward: A Tribute to Past Editors of Child Life Focus. ACLP Bulletin Focus, 37,(4) pp. 15-27

Grant Applications (Funded)

McIsaac JLD*, Turner J*, Janus M, Rossiter M. Transitions to a new normal: The health of young children in the Maritimes during COVID-19. Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Operating Grant, COVID Rapid Response Funding Opportunity. June 2020-May 2021: (Funded) *Principal Applicants.

McIsaac, J, Co-investigators: Turner, J, McLean, C, Reddington, S, Stone, S (2019-2021) Research Title: Building policy-relevant early childhood research in Nova Scotia. Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation Grant (Funded)

MacIsaac, Jessie-Lee and Turner, Joan. Family changes to a global pandemic. (Funded)

McIsaac JLD, Rossiter M, Cooper C, Kirk SFL, Mann L, Reid T, Smith AM, Turner J. Establishing a current state assessment of healthy eating practices across early learning environments: A foundation to mobilize knowledge-to-action. Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation: Development/Innovative Grant. Sept 2019 Aug 2020.  (Funded)