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Personal profile

Personal profile

Sheena Elwick is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education (ECE) within the School of Education at Charles Sturt University (CSU), and is located on the Albury-Wodonga campus, New South Wales (NSW).  She has a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood/Primary) (Honours Class 1) and a PhD in ECE, both from CSU. 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 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 the Early Years: Reflecting, learning, and imagining’ 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.

Research Interests

Sheena specialises in working closely with early childhood professionals, and children, to enhance teacher and educator knowledge and practice; and, in turn, enhance individual children’s experiences of educational environments, and their development and learning. This work often involves working in partnership with national and international multi-university teams, and specialist organisations, including Government and Non-government organisations.

Sheena’s current research has a strong emphasis on early childhood curriculum and assessment, and enhancing educators’ and teachers’ knowledge and practice (early childhood and the first years of primary school):

  • She is a member of the national consortium engaged by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority (ACECQA) on behalf of all governments to update the two national approved learning frameworks under the National Quality FrameworkBelonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia and My Time Our Place: Framework for School Age Care. The Australian Learning Frameworks inform educational programs and practices in ECE, and outside school hours care services.
  • Sheena is a Chief Investigator in the multi-university (national and international) ORICL Observe, Reflect, Improve Children’s Learning project – A tool for educators working with children under three. See for more information.
  • Sheena was a Chief Investigator in a multi-university research project: NSW Preschool Assessment Study: Review of Formative Assessment Practices in Early Childhood Settings. This research was commissioned by the NSW Department of Education to investigate formative assessment tools for ECE services in NSW, focusing on children in their year before school. She is leading a follow-up grant with the NSW Department of Education to translate the outcomes of this research to produce professional learning resources.

During her time as a researcher, Sheena has kept a sustained focus on the ethics of researching with young children, and her work in this area has been nationally and internationally recognised. 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 used internationally as a resource to assist students and researchers in various disciplines and to guide and improve ethical research involving children.

Sheena has specialist skills in qualitative and mixed-method research approaches, including using visual research methodologies to elicit details of teachers' and children’s experiences of their environments. She has a sustained interest in drawing on 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.


Sheena currently teaches in the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary), the Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years), and the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Social Sciences Research

She is the Subject Convenor and Subject Coordinator in the following subjects:

  • EED110: Child development – the early ears
  • EMC305: Investigation – mathematics, science and technology
  • ASH510: Research project


Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Supervision


B. Friezer


How do infants interact in triads in long daycare?


In progress

N.ThompsonPhDTalking to children about literacies in the 21st century


In progress

G. ConstantiMastersHow does technology use impact on the language development of students in the primary years?Principal Supervisor

In progress

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


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