Associate Professor Sally A. Peters

Sally Peters

Head of School, Te Kura Toi Tangata School of Education


Children; Early Childhood Learning; Early Childhood/Early Years Education; Education; Human Development; Learning; Teaching and Learning


Qualifications: BEd MEd PhD Waik DipNZFKU DipT

Papers Taught

About Sally

My main research interests relate to transitions, key competencies and children’s thinking (working theories). These interests interweave, with a central focus on the ways in which learning can be fostered within and across settings, and some of the dilemmas associated with this. My central research focus has been on the transition from early childhood education to school. I have also grown increasingly interested in transitions across different aspects of the lifespan and transitions in thinking. Currently, I am fascinated by the notions of liminal spaces, borders and borderlands. This has extended into exploring cultural borders, and I have been privileged to be working in partnership with Māori researchers on a number of projects.

My publications reflect my ability to contribute new ideas to the discipline, engage in international peer-reviewed scholarship and also a commitment to present findings and theory in ways that make a difference to teachers and therefore to children. My research across the ECE and school sectors led to being part of the team re-writing the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki (2017) and the Ministry of Education’s resource document for teachers on Transitions and Pathways.  I am now part of the Ministry of Education's Curriculum Voices Group. This group serves as a centra; 'touch point' for guidance and feedback as the Ministry undertakes a refresh of the school curriculum.

Research Supervised

Current doctoral thesis supervision

Archard, S. Young children's working theories: What can shape children's understandings of disability and difference?

Fenmachi, E. Parental involvement in early childhood learning: A Cameroon case study

Hayes, J. Unpacking the gap between ECE and school: Continuity and discontinuity over the transition to school

Woodhouse, H. Developing communities of practice to support families’ experiences of their children’s transition to school

Completed doctoral theses supervised

Flanagan, P. (2019). Unpacking the effects of power relations in childhood sexuality: A discursive analysis based on conversations with parents, teachers and counsellors

Kamenarac, O. (2019). Discursive constructions of teachers’ professional identities in early childhood policies and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand: complexities and contradictions

Hooker, T. (2016). Adults and children engaging with ePortfolios in an early childhood education setting

Williams, D. (2011). Unheard voices: The experiences of Maori Special Admission Entrants to university who have gained academic degrees

Research Interests

Current and recent research projects

2018-2019 Teacher Led Innovation Fund

ECE to Primary Transitions in Dannevirk: Critical friend working with a group of teachers in Dannevirke to explore and enhance transition processes across the kahui ako.

2018-2020 Private Organisation

Principal researcher leading a team to carry out an independent evaluation of an ECE pilot project. Funded by the organisation delivering the pilot programme.

2017-2018 Superu

Strengthening children’s relational competencies: Identifying key factors that impact on emotional and social resilience from pre-birth to 4.5 years: Member of a research team exploring secondary analysis of GUINZ data to explore emotional and social resilience,

2013-2016 IRSES Counterpart Fund administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand

Pedagogies of Educational Transitions [POET] Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme [IRSES] project: New Zealand team leader for a four year IRSES involving teams of researchers from Sweden, Iceland, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand.

2015-2016 Teaching & Learning Research Initiative (TLRI)

Nurturing and encouraging young children’s identity, language and culture in the early years: Research associate on a project with CORE Education exploring how young children express and develop working theories about identity, language and culture.

2014-2015 Teaching & Learning Research Initiative (TLRI)

Riariakina ō rongo hirikapo: Research team member in a cross-sector project on tamariki moving from kōhanga reo to kura classrooms.

2011-2013 Teaching & Learning Research Initiative (TLRI)

Learning journeys from early childhood into school: Co-director on a three-year Category A project which explored a range of transition issues with a view to supporting children’s learning journeys and enhancing transition experiences for children, families and teachers.

Recent Publications

  • Bond, L., Brown, J., Hutchings, J., & Peters, S. (2019). A collaborative approach to transitions in Dannevirke. Early childhood folio, 23(2), 18-23. doi:10.18296/ecf.0066

  • Peters, S. (2019). Working together effectively. Ako, The Community Issue(Winter), 7. Open Access version:

  • Archard, S., Archard, S., Arndt, S., Cowie, B., Carr, M., Clarkin-Phillips, J., . . . Peters, S. (2019). Early Years Research Centre submission on Strategic Plan for Early Learning 2019-2029. Hamilton, NZ: Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research.

  • Peters, S. (2018). Exploring new approaches to pathways from early childhood education to school. Early Childhood Folio, 22(1), 21-26. doi:10.18296/ecf.0048

Find more research publications by Sally Peters