International connectedness

The Early Years Research Centre is connected with many other institutes and researchers. The following stories give a 'flavour' of just some of these collaborations.

Review of ChildFund - supported ECD programmes in Timor Leste 

Author: Linda Mitchell and Janette Kelly

This review of ECD programmes in Timor Leste was commissioned by ChildFund International in collaboration with ChildFund New Zealand. ChildFund wanted the researchers to analyse the strengths and identify challenges that need to be addressed for more effective and holistic Early Childhood Development (ECD) services.

The review was carried out by Linda Mitchell and Janette Kelly who researched in Timor Leste in February 2013. They observed ECD programmes and carried out interviews with parents, teachers, ChildFund staff, community partners and Ministry of Education staff, with the essential help of translators and advisers. The ECD care and education programmes were interwoven with opportunities to access health and nutrition, and parent education and support – an integrated concept that is working well in the Timor Leste context, where high poverty and limited health care are common. The review made many recommendations, especially for access to teacher education and resources. The researchers found a wonderful spirit of hope and belief in the value of education to enable children to grow up contributing to society. In the words of a parent “We as parents, we hope in the future our child will be a good person of use in this country who can do something good in this country. We want our children to be diligent and they are people already, to make it as people.”  

Children performing actions to the watermelon song at Raime homebased ECD service in Liquica. 

Children performing actions to the watermelon song at Raime homebased ECD service in Liquica.

Listening to children's stories about the Christchurch earthquakes

Authors: Amanda Bateman, Susan Danby and Justine Howard

This research was initiated in order to investigate how young children played out their earthquake experiences in everyday social interactions with their teachers and peers in reaction to the Christchurch earthquakes in New Zealand.

The research involved New Brighton Preschool in Christchurch and an international team of experts involving Dr Amanda Bateman from Waikato University as project leader, Professor Susan Danby, an early childhood lecturer from Queensland University of Technology and Dr Justine Howard, an early childhood lecturer and play therapist from Swansea University in Wales, UK. The team used conversation analysis and psychological perspectives to try to further understand what was important to the children through analysing video and audio footage of the their interactions during preschool.

The project has revealed how teacher and child discussions during regular outings to their community afford a way of making sense of, and coming to terms with traumatic earthquake events (Bateman, Danby & Howard, in press 2013). A second finding reveals connections between pretend play episodes about things being broken and needing fixing, and the children’s more formal storytelling telling about how the earthquake broke their environment and the subsequent work that is still being carried out to ‘fix’ it (Bateman, Danby & Howard, submitted). An overarching and important finding from this research is the commitment and hard work of the teachers at New Brighton Preschool to embrace talk and play about the earthquake events in order to support children’s working theories. The positive approach adapted to dealing with teaching and learning in such a diverse situation is a matter of international significance where so many natural disasters are occurring in the current climate. 

Listening to children's stories about the Christchurch earthquakes 


Bateman, A., Danby, S. and Howard, J (in press, 2013) Everyday preschool talk about Christchurch earthquakes, Australia Journal of Communication – Special Issue on Disaster Talk

Bateman, A., Danby, S. and Howard, J. (submitted) Living in a broken world: How young children’s well-being is supported through playing out their earthquake experiences, International Journal of Play – Special Issue on Play and Well Being 

Pedagogy of Educational Transitions: Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme [IRSES] project

Project leaders: Sally Peters and Vanessa Paki

This Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme [IRSES] project on Pedagogies of Educational Transitions [POET] is a programme of staff exchange and networking between: 

  • Mälardalen University, Sweden;
  • University of Strathclyde, Scotland, UK;
  • University of Iceland, Iceland;
  • Charles Sturt University, Australia; and
  • University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Each of the teams of participating researchers is involved in existing programmes of research examining pedagogies of educational transition in their own country. POET provides the opportunity to extend their skills and expertise beyond these country projects to pose and address questions at the international, comparative level. One of the Early Years Research Centre Associate Directors, Associate Professor Sally Peters, is co-leading the New Zealand team, along with Vanessa Paki. New Zealand’s participation is supported by a grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand. The teams recently completed a work package in Albury, Australia focused on ‘Mapping transition research and practice’ and are planning for the next exchange to Sweden.  The University of Waikato will be hosting the international teams in 2014 and 2015. 

International Masters in Early Childhood Education and Care, University of Malta

Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholars: Sally Peters, Linda Mitchell and Vanessa Paki

Three members of the Early Years Research Centre, Sally Peters (2011 & 2012) and Linda Mitchell (2012 & 2013) and Vanessa Paki (2012) have spent time the University of Malta as Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholars to teach modules on an International Masters in Early Childhood Education and Care [IMEC], sharing their expertise on early years policy, curriculum and professionalism. This international masters qualification is offered in cooperation between University of Malta (Malta), Oslo and Akershus University College (Norway) and Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)