Sheena Elwick

Teaching and Research Staff

Dr Sheena Elwick

BEd (Early Childhood/Primary)(Hons Class 1), CSU; PhD, CSU

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education
Albury / Wodonga
Building 763 Room 130

Sheena Elwick is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Charles Sturt University (CSU), Albury. She has a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood/Primary) (Honours 1) and a Doctor of Philosophy in ECE, both from CSU. She has worked as a primary school teacher, pre-school teacher, educational leader, mathematics coordinator (F-6) and numeracy leader (F-10). Sheena has supervised two PhD students to completion and is currently supervising one PhD student and one Master of Education student. She has written, lead, and taught an extensive range of postgraduate and undergraduate education subjects.

Sheena is the Convenor of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Qualitative Methodologies Special Interest Group that provides researchers with a space to discuss, explore ideas and debate qualitative methodological issues in social and educational contexts. She also facilitates The Thinking Space, which is a collaborative space where participants are provided with time for thinking about and responding to the big questions in qualitative educational research and beyond. Sheena also facilitates the Reclaiming the Early Years professional learning group that provides opportunities for early childhood professionals working in ECE settings and the first years of primary school to regularly meet and explore how best to support and honour the children they work with. Sheena is the Education Specialist on the Charles Sturt University Human Research Ethics Committee.

Sheena’s research interests in the field of ECE are driven by a concern that all children, regardless of circumstances, warrant the best possible opportunities to thrive—personally, socially, emotionally, and educationally. The work she engages with is diverse as it is driven by her strong collaborative relationships with national and international multi-university and multi-disciplinary teams, specialist organisations and practitioners, and government and non-government organisations. This work develops critical transdisciplinarity that is: responsive to context-specific issues; transcends and integrates different disciplines; involves multiple stakeholders; and produces applicable, useful and practical outcomes. Her current research projects are creatively and collaboratively designed to promote research innovation and co-production of knowledge with stakeholders, with the aim of advancing practitioners' knowledge and practice with young children in educational settings, including residential care settings.

Sheena specialises in qualitative research approaches and has considerable experience with mixed-method research approaches in large-scale research projects. She has a sustained interest in using philosophy, particularly Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy and his phenomenological method, as a resource and catalyst for critically engaging with taken-for-granted concepts and methodologies in research concerning young children.

Sheena is skilled in a large range of methods and associated qualitative and quantitative analysis including:

  • Development and facilitation of large Delphi Panels involving key stakeholders
  • Observation and development of observation coding systems
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Infant and CLASS-Toddler
  • Survey design and implementation
  • Visual methods, including baby-cam, Go-Pro cameras, tripod cameras, and child camera-tours
  • Interview design and implementation
  • Time-use Diaries
  • Language Inventories
  • Temperament and personality questionnaires
  • Assessment tool design and implementation

Research Awards

  • Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education Stipend – 6 month full-time stipend
  • Excellence in Research in Early Childhood: Collaborative Research Network Australian Postgraduate Award Stipend – 1 year full-time stipend
  • Australian Postgraduate Award Industry (funded by KU Children’s Services & Family Day Care Australia)– 3 year full-time stipend

Research Grants

  • Harrison, L., Wong, S., Williams, K., Elwick, S., Bull, R., Degotardi, S., Davis, B., Humburg, P., & Janus, M. (2023-2025). Observe, Reflect, Improve: a tool to enrich Children’s Learning (ORICL). (LP210301171). Australian Research Council Linkage Grant. Partner Organisations: KU Children’s Services; Goodstart Early Learning; SDN Children’s Services; Gowrie NSW; Liverpool City Council; Blacktown City Council; Northside Community Service; Family Day Care Australia; The Creche and Kindergarten Association; Early Childhood Australia. See
  • Harrison, L., Wong, S., Degotardi, S., Bull, R., Davis, R., Ballsun-Stanton, B., Alexander, W., Williams, K., & Elwick, S. (2022). Observe, Reflect, a tool to enrich Children’s Learning (ORICL). Forest Hill Grant.
  • Harrison, L., Wong, S., Degotardi, S., Bull, R., Davis, R., Ballsun-Stanton, B., Alexander, W., Williams, K., &Elwick, S. (2021). Observe, Reflect, a tool to enrich Children’s Learning (ORICL). (MQSN 21). Macquarie University SafetyNet Funding.
  • Harrison, L., Elwick, S., Davis, B., Bull, R. & Wong, S. (2021). Video resources to support professional learning on formative assessment. NSW Department of Education.
  • Elwick, S. Consortium Member. (2021-2022). National Quality Framework Approved Learning Frameworks Update. Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority (ACECQA).
  • Elwick, S. (2019). Age matters: Age composition in ECE. Faculty of Arts and Education Grant Development Scheme Grant.
  • Harrison, L., Bull, R., Wong, S., Elwick, S. & Davies, B. (2019). NSW Preschool Assessment Study: Review of Formative Assessment Practices in Early Childhood Settings. NSW Department of Education.
  • McFarland, L., & Elwick, S. (2018). Piloting of the ORICL (Observing, Reflecting and Improving Children's Learning) Tool. Faculty of Arts and Education Grant Development Scheme Grant.
  • Elwick, S., & Spalding, N. (2017). Supporting Family Day Care educators to notice and cultivate the mathematics in young children’s explorations, play, and talk. Faculty of Arts and Education Research Income and Initiatives Grant.
  • Macmillan, A., & Elwick, S. (2003). The impact of systemic reforms on primary school numeracy classroom practices in the Albury/Wodonga region. Charles Sturt University RIPPLE Seed Grant.


Sheena currently teaches in the Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years). She has previously taught in the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary), the Bachelor of Education (K-12) and the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Social Science Research.

She is currently the Subject Coordinator in the following subject:

  • EMC305: Investigation – mathematics, science and technology

She has previously been the Subject Convenor and/or Subject Coordinator of the following subjects:

  • ASH510: Research Project
  • EED110: Child Development: The Early Years
  • EPT125: Child Development: Foundation to Year 6
  • EEA405: Relationships and Pedagogy: Birth to Three Years
  • EML105: Literacy and Numeracy
  • EMM106: Mathematical and Scientific Learning in the Early Years
  • EMM310: Mathematics Curriculum
  • EMM305: Numeracy for Teaching
  • EMM206: Mathematics in the Primary School
  • EMC204: Play and Investigation as Curriculum (Science and Mathematics)
  • EMS205: Early Childhood Science and Mathematics
  • EED307: Planning for Diverse Learners
  • EEL106: Creating Learning Experiences
  • EED205: Journey of Childhood
  • EEB400: Professionalism and Issues in Care and Education
  • EEB423: Leadership and Management in Early Childhood
  • EEB105 and EEL204: Health and Safety
  • EPT124: Play and Learning
  • EPT126: Becoming a Teacher
  • EPT140: Professional Experience: Birth – 2 Years
  • EPT221: Professional Experience 3 Early Childhood Programs: Birth – 2 Year Olds
  • EPT101: Professional Experience 1: Under 3 Years
  • EPT122: Professional Experience 1 Early Childhood Programs: 3-5 Year Olds
  • EPT201: Professional Experience 2: 3-5 year olds
  • EPT217: Professional Experience 2: Primary Classrooms K-6
  • EPT328: Professional Experience 4 Extended Placement: Early Childhood and Primary
  • EPT424: Professional Experience 5 – The Beginning Teacher
  • EPT204: Professional Experience 3: K/P – Year 2
  • EPT208: Middle Schooling Pedagogy in Practice
  • EPT303: Professional Experience 4: Early Childhood Curriculum
  • EPT307: Curriculum 1 (Upper Primary)
  • EPT405: Extended Professional Experience 5

Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Supervision

StudentDegreeTitleRole Status

B. Friezer


How do infants interact in groups in Long Day Care across the first two years of life?


Completed 2022

Awarded the 2022 Beth Southwell Research Award for Outstanding Educational Thesis, NSW Institute for Educational Research

Awarded the 2022 Charles Sturt University Higher Degree by Research University Medal

N. Thompson


Talking to children about literacies in and out of school in the 21st Century


Completed 2023

L. Delli-Pizzi


Too much too young? Investigating mental health risks and coping strategies in children in the first three years of school


In progress

G. Constanti


Conceptual Playworlds in Upper Primary – what do teachers think?

Principal Supervisor

In progress

Charles Sturt Committees and Leadership Roles

  • Education Specialist – Charles Sturt University Human Research Ethics Committee
  • Member - School of Education Awards and Prizes Committee

National and Local leadership Roles

  • Convenor - Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Qualitative Research Methodologies Special Interest Group
  • Facilitator – The Thinking Space
  • Facilitator – Reclaiming the Early Years

Professional Membership

  • Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
  • Early Childhood Australia (ECA)
  • Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY)

Peer reviewer for:

  • Australian Research Council
  • International Journal of Research & Method in Education
  • Educational Philosophy and Theory
  • Australasian Journal of Early Childhood
  • Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
  • International Journal of Early Childhood
  • Mathematics Teacher Education and Development
  • Journal of Early Childhood Education Research
  • Cengage Learning Ltd.
  • Springer
  • Bentham Science Publishers
  • Research Methods in Social Science Inquiry

Back to Staff listings