I am an Early Childhood academic in the School of Education with the University of Western Sydney and lecture in in Curriculum and Pedagogy. My research interests include "The Natural Curriculum": nature education and its role in identity, wellbeing and sustainability, place-based education and development of the naturalist intelligence, metacognition and art-based pedagogies. My work draws on theories of ecopsychology, post-human frameworks, relational materialism, common worlds, multiple intelligences, theories of place and funds of knowledge. I am a specialist in creative education and in teaching pre-service educators to bring their curriculum content to life using the arts, the community and the natural environment.
My doctoral thesis examined the disconnect between humans and the natural world and the effect this has on emotional and psychological wellbeing and sustainability, in particular on educators and young children's predispositions toward a sense of belonging to their environment and environmental stewardship. Focusing on children in preschool settings, the thesis explored the effects of incorporating daily content about the natural world into the early childhood program through creative arts experiences. These experiences, generated by the educators, in collaboration with the researcher, included storytelling, music, movement, visual arts and sculpture. The findings showed the extent to which the natural world became a key element in the preschool curriculum and the heightened sense of ‘knowledge of’ and ‘connection to’ the natural world that resulted from this, for both the children and the educators.
Prior to joining UWS I managed the Moderation and Accreditation Process for the National Childcare Accreditation Council which was responsible for supporting and enhancing quality in childcare settings across the country. I have taught in the VET sector both in private colleges and in TAFE and prior to this I taught in Steiner Education at all levels for a period of 15 years. I have presented at National and International conferences on Curriculum and Pedagogy.