Dr Steven Howard is a Senior Lecturer in Early Start and School of Education at the University of Wollongong. His research investigates the development of self-regulation and related abilities (e.g., executive functions, school readiness) in the early years of life, as well
as the educational implications of these changing capacities. This includes research to identify effective approaches to supporting children’s self-regulation development that are low-cost, play-based, and flexible. Development and evaluation of these approaches also ensures that they are piloted, evaluated and revised on the basis of feedback from pre-school educators to ensure the enjoyment of children and educators, their likely benefit, and their compatibility with current routines, practices and demands. This has culminated in creation and evaluation of the Preschool Situational Self-Regulation Toolkit (PRSIST) Program. His research also seeks to identify ways to monitor children’s developmental progress that are accessible, acceptable and actionable by those who spend their time working with young children. This information forms an important basis from which to effectively shape children’s learning environments and experiences. This has culminated in creation of the Early Years Toolbox; a game-like set of measures to assess children’s language, numeracy, self-regulation, social and emotional development.
Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett is the Academic Director of the Early Years at the University of Wollongong. Cathrine has delivered workshops and invited addresses to parents, educators, corporations and government bodies both in Australia and overseas and has served on both State and Federal government advisory committees. Her research expertise and publications reflect a consistent interest in the nature of development from early childhood through to middle childhood. Her current research projects focus on children’s self-regulation, quality early childhood education and care environments, and enhancing access to early childhood education and health services as well as promoting social inclusion in Indigenous communities. Since joining Early Start at the University of Wollongong, Cathrine has taken a senior role in key, large-scale intervention and evaluation projects focusing on educator knowledge, practices and experience. Together with Professor Siraj and Dr. Kingston, she has pioneered the delivery of Leadership for Learning professional development interventions that are the focus of multiple evaluations at both centre and child level. Cathrine (together with Dr Steven Howard and Prof Marc de Rosnay) is also involved in the evaluation of other structural initiatives that are designed to improve children’s learning and development outcomes in the early years context.
Elena Vasseleu is a PhD Candidate in Early Start and School of Psychology at the University of Wollongong. Elena completed her Bachelor of Psychology with Honours at the University of Wollongong, with much of her study and honours research focused on child development. During this time she also completed her traineeship as an early childhood educator, receiving her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. Her ongoing research focuses on self-regulation in early years contexts, most recently focusing on the role of educators in supporting children’s self-regulatory development. She has also worked on numerous large-scale research projects, including conducting environmental observations in Early Childhood Education and Care services and child assessment to investigate approaches to supporting and increasing quality in ECEC.