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 is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education within the School of Education on the Albury-Wodonga campus. She has a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood/Primary) (Honours Class 1) and a PhD in early childhood education, both from Charles Sturt University. She has practice-based experience in prior-to-school, primary school, and tertiary settings as a teacher, teacher educator, and leader. As a teacher, she has worked in long day care and mobile childcare; as well as in primary school settings. She has held leadership positions in those settings including Educational Leader, Mathematics Coordinator (Foundation to Year 6) and Common Curriculum Numeracy Team Leader (Foundation to Year 10).

Sheena’s doctoral study, A philosophical-empirical interrogation of infant participation in research, was embedded within the Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP0883913: ‘What is life like for babies and toddlers in childcare?’ It brought together philosophy and empirical data generated with six infants located in three Family Day Care homes to interrogate the concept of infant participation in research. As a PhD student, Sheena was a member of the CSU Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education; and, a member of the Excellence in Research in Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network. The thesis reporting on the doctoral study was selected as an outstanding dissertation by CSU in 2017 and the abstract was subsequently published in the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales. During her doctoral studies, Sheena established a strong record of research productivity. Her doctoral research generated five scholarly book chapters, six refereed journal articles, two professional publications, and two international conference presentations.

Locally, Sheena facilitates the ‘Reclaiming being three: Reflecting, learning, and imagining’ professional learning group that provides opportunities for ECE service staff and practitioners, who work with children aged three, to regularly meet and explore how best to support and honour the children they work with. This group crosses service boundaries and is open to all services that include children aged three in their setting.

Sheena’s broad range of experience as a practitioner and supervisor in tertiary education, primary schools, and early childhood settings enables her to be involved in writing, leading, reviewing, and delivering a range of subjects in the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) and the Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years) undergraduate degree programs.

Sheena has a national and international reputation as a leader in educational research with young children, including with children aged three and under. Her close professional partnerships with ECE service staff and practitioners characterise her research and its focus on exploring and co-designing innovative and timely responses to questions emerging from within their localised experiences of ECE settings. One recent example is the completed Age matters: Age composition in ECE project that was inspired by the many discussions that took place during Reclaiming Being Three professional learning group meetings. Importantly, the Age Matters project highlighted a series of intersecting national and state-based policy and funding issues contributing to inequities for three-year-old learners in NSW and Victoria that are now being addressed through further research.

Sheena has specialist skills in qualitative and quantitative research approaches including using visual research methodologies to elicit details of teachers’ and very young children’s experiences of ECE settings. She has a particular interest in drawing explicitly and systematically on philosophy, particularly Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, as both a resource and a catalyst for critically engaging with taken-for-granted concepts and methodologies concerning young children’s experiences, whilst offering worthwhile alternatives. Her current publications include detailed development and enactment of the research approach called ‘philosophical-empirical inquiry’.

The ethical stance towards young children that is promoted throughout Sheena’s research is nationally and internationally recognised, and has been highlighted as providing an alternative ethical stance that issues serious challenges to those researching with young children. Sheena was an invited speaker at the 3rd Infants and Toddler conference at Macquarie University in 2019. The topic of the presentation was ‘Children’s rights: What do they look like and who decides?’ Sheena presented a second related paper at the same conference: ‘Using video-images to transform participatory practices with infants and toddlers: Exploring the ethical challenges and possibilities’. Sheena’s methodological and theoretical work has also been utilised internationally as a resource to assist students and researchers in various disciplines, and to guide and improve research involving children.

Sheena’s current and recent research projects and reports include:

Supporting Family Day Care educators to notice and cultivate the mathematics in young children’s explorations, play, and talk

Undergraduate Teaching

Sheena currently teaches in the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) and the Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years) undergraduate degree programs. She is the Subject Convenor and Subject Coordinator for the following subjects:

  • EED110: Child Development: The Early Years
  • EMC305: Investigation: Mathematics, Science and Technology

Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Supervision

Student

Degree

Title

Role

Status

B. Friezer

PhD

How do Infants Interact in Triads in Long Day Care?

Co-Supervisor

In progress

CSU Committees and Leadership Roles

2019 – current: Elected Academic Member of Charles Sturt University Human Research Ethics Committee

Engagement

2020-current: Associate Editor, Association for Visual Pedagogies (AVP) – Associate Editor

2016 – current: Reviewer, Education Philosophy and Theory

2016 - current: Contributor, Family Day Care Australia ‘JiGSAW’ magazine

2017 – current: Reviewer, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood

2017 – current: Reviewer, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood

2017 – current: Reviewer, International Journal of Early Childhood

2018 – current: Reviewer, Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy

2018 – current: Reviewer, Mathematics Teacher Education and Development

Professional Associations

Early Childhood Australia

Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA)

The Oganisation Mondiale pour l’Éducation Préscolaire (OMEP) World Organisation for Early Childhood Education – Australia

Association for Visual Pedagogies (AVP)

Family Day Care Australia (FDCA)

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