Dr Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips

Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips

Senior lecturer


Early Childhood Learning; Education Policy; Leadership; Social Policy

Early childhood learning. I teach curriculum and pedagogy at undergraduate and masters level with a particular focus on narrative assessment. Leadership. My MEd thesis and subsequent publications about distributed leadership have filled a gap about early childhood leadership. Educational and social policy. I have a long held interest in a broad range of early childhood policy development including teachers' working conditions, family support, integrated service provision, children's health and well-being, continuity of learning and the privatisation of early childhood education.

Qualifications: Ph.D, MEd (Hons), B.Soc Sci, Dip Tchg.

Papers Taught

About Jeanette

Formerly a kindergarten teacher, Jeanette has been at the University of Waikato in the Faculty of Education since 2005. She completed her Masters of Education in 2007 with a thesis entitled: Distributing the leadership: A case study of professional development. Jeanette has had a long involvement with NZEI Te Riu Roa, the teachers union, at both a local and national level. Jeanette has held a number of roles within the Faculty of Education, the wider University and in the early childhood education sector in general.  She was recently a member of a ministerial advisory group about early learning.

Jeanette's interests include: formative assessment, early childhood learning environments, leadership, social justice and family empowerment and educational policy. Jeanette's Ph.D thesis entitled Fighting the odds to make it even: mapping an affordance ecosystem in a kindergarten community is about the empowerment of families to realise their aspirations through their involvement with early childhood education. Jeanette was the recipient of the 2016 NZARE Sutton-Smith Doctoral award for her Ph.D thesis.

In 2007-09 Jeanette co-directed a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) with Professor Margaret Carr entitled Strengthening responsive and reciprocal relationships in a whānau tangata centre. This TLRI explored the impact of a government pilot Parent Support and Development project on families’ engagement in children’s learning. Jeanette's Ph.D has continued this research.

Jeanette and Margaret have co-directed a TLRI project in 2010-12 exploring children’s interactions and meaning-making with exhibitions, objects and artefacts at Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum. The project, Our place: being curious at Te Papa is an action research project with the teachers at Tai Tamariki Kindergarten which is located in Te Papa Tongarewa museum. Another 2 year TLRI project (2012-2013) Children as teachers, families as learners, led by Jeanette and Margaret built on the 2010-11 project.

Jeanette has been part of the research team awarded a Marsden fund for a project entitled: Children visiting a museum: information gathering or creative capacity building? The Marsden project was funded for 3 years from April 2014- April 2017.

Jeanette was a senior researcher in the Ministry of Education funded project 2014 Continuity of early learning: Learning outcomes and progress in the early years and a Ministerial appointment to the Advisory Group on Early Learning (2015).

Jeanette has been the adviser for a Teacher-led Innovation Fund initiative involving the implementation of a play-based curriculum in the new entrants learning environment of a school. She has also lead a research project exploring kindergarten Head teachers and teacher's understandings and enactment of distributed leadership.

Research Supervised

Ph.D thesis entitled: Early childhood teacher's espoused beliefs about the most important knowledge, skills attributes and dispositions they need to be effective in their role and the implications of these for policy and practice.  (Second supervisor)

60 point Masters dissertation entitled: How effectively do the published Education Review Office-Te Tari Arotake Matauranga ( ERO) early childhood education reports reflect the evaluation indicators of Ngā Pou Here of the ERO framework He Pou Tātaki in Aotearoa New Zealand?

60 point Masters dissertation entitled: How are professional leaders developing capacity for teaching and learning through a distance model of leadership in early childhood settings? 

90 point Masters thesis entitled: Democratic leadership- a local story.

60 point Masters dissertation entitled: Learning in nature. Leadership opportunities in an Education Outside the Classroom programme in a New Zealand early childhood centre

120 point Masters thesis entitled: Teachers’ perspectives and implementation of the child-centred curriculum for preschool education in Timor-Leste.

120 point Masters thesis entitled: Exploring Funds of Knowledge in Timorese Families and Their Use in Education

90 point Masters thesis entitled: Exploring village leader's perceptions of cultural pedagogies of caring and teaching in a Solomon Island context: A Ndogore case study.

Research Interests

My research interests include leadership, family empowerment, narrative assessment, children's meaning-making in museums, social and educational policy.

Externally funded research projects

Teaching Learning Research Initiative 2 year research project 2007-08 entitled:

Strengthening Reciprocal and Responsive Relationships through a Whānau Tangata centre: an action research project.

TLRI 2 year research project 2010-11 entitled:  Our Place: Being curious at Te Papa.

TLRI 2 year research project 2012-13 entitled: Children as teachers, families as learners.

3 year Marsden project (2014-2017) entitled: Children visiting a museum: Information gathering or creative capacity building?

Masters of Education thesis (2007). Distributing the leadership: A case study of professional development.

Ph.D thesis (2016). Fighting the odds to make it even: mapping an affordance ecosystem in a kindergarten community.

Recent Publications

  • Carr, M., Clarkin-Phillips, J., Earl Rinehart, K., Edwards, F., & Ferrier-Kerr, J. (2020). Writing group commitment and caring: teacher educators talk about identities and agency in the Third Space of a writing group. Teacher Development, 24(5), 669-687. doi:10.1080/13664530.2020.1812708

  • McChesney, K., & Clarkin-Phillips, J. (2020). Space speaks: A portrait of an early childhood centre and the affordances provided by the learning environment. Early Childhood Folio, 24(2), 26-34. doi:10.18296/ecf.0084 Open Access version:

  • Clarkin-Phillips, J., & Michele, M. (2019). EDITORIAL. Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice, 33(1), 1-4. doi:10.21307/jelpp-2018-001

  • Clarkin-Phillips, J. (2019). Leadership in ECE: A conversation with Professor Margaret Car. Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice, 33(1), 82-85. doi:10.21307/jelpp-2018-008

Find more research publications by Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips