Postgraduate courses
Postgraduate courses

Dr Peter Elfer

Principal Lecturer Early Childhood Studies, PC MA (ECS)

School of Education



B.Sc; B.Phil; DMS; PhD

Research interests

Research projects undertaken

Membership of professional bodies

Consultancy experience



Elfer, P (2006) Exploring children’s expressions of attachment in nursery. 14(2) , European Early Childhood Education Journal , 14, 81-96.

Elfer, P (2007) Babies and Young Children in Nurseries: Using Psychoanalytic Ideas to Explore Tasks and Interactions, Children and Society, 21, 111-122.

Elfer P and Dearnley K (2007) Nurseries and emotional well being: Evaluating an emotionally containing model of continuing professional development, Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 27 (3).

ELFER, P (2007) What are nurseries for? The concept of primary task and its application in differentiating roles and tasks in nurseries, Journal of Early Childhood Research, Vol 5 No 2, 169-188.

ELFER, P (2008) 5000 hours: Organising for Intimacy in the care of babies and children under three attending full time nursery. PhD Doctoral Thesis. University of East London. Please e mail for e-copies. 

ELFER, P (2010) The power of psychoanalytic conceptions in understanding nurseries, International Journal of Infant Observation and its Applications, 13, pp59-63.

 ELFER, P. (2011) Psychoanalytic methods of observation as a research tool for exploring young children’s nursery experience. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 15 (3) 225-238.

ELFER, P (2012) Emotion in Nursery Work: Work Discussion as a model of critical professional reflection. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development. 32, 2, July 2012. pp129-141.  

PAGE, J and ELFER, P (2013) The emotional complexity of attachment interactions in nursery. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal has been published and is now available Online at:

Elfer, P (2013) Emotional aspects of nursery policy and practice – progress and prospect. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. published online. :

ELFER, P and PAGE, J (2013) Briefing Paper Reponse to Coalition Proposals on improving quality of child care 'More Great Childcare' - please e mail me for copies.   


Elfer, P, Goldschmied, E and Selleck, D (2011) (2nd Edition) Key persons in the Nursery and Reception Classes: Building relationships for quality provision, London: David Fulton. 

Elinor Goldschmied and Dorothy Selleck (2010) Persone Chiave al nido - Costruire rapporti di qualita, ediizionjunior.

Elfer, Peter (2007) Attachment and the key person role, Early Years Foundation Stage

Elfer, P. (2002) Parental choice and staff experience in early day care, Association of Infant Mental Health, Amsterdam.

Elfer, P. (2002) Holding the baby: the emotional demands on early years practitioners working with babies and toddlers, Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

Elfer, P. (2002) Research children: methodology with children under three, Centre for Research in Early Childhood, University of Leeds

Elfer, P., Goldschmied, E. and Selleck, D. (2003) Key persons in the Nursery: Building relationships for quality provision, London: David Fulton, 1-82.

Elfer, P (2004) Observation Matters, in L. Abbott and A. Langston (eds) Birth to Three Matters; Supporting the Framework of Effective Practice, 116-129.


ELFER, P AND GRENIER, J (2010) Personal, Social and Emotional Development, in Bruce, T (2010) Early Childhood: A guide for students, pp141-153.


ELFER, P; GRENIER, J; MANNING MORTON, J; DEARNLEY, K; WILSON, D (2008) The Key Person in Reception classes and small nursery settings, Social and Emotional Aspects of Development: Guidance for Practitioners working in the Early Years Foundation Stage.


Elfer, P (2014) Young Children's Relationships with Staff and Peers in Nursery: Observations of two girls aged 29months and 25 months. in Adamo, SM and Rustin, M (2014) Young Child Observation: A Development in the Theory and Method of Infant Observation. London: Karnac.

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Department news

Roehampton demonstrates commitment to research excellence with 50 fully funded PhD scholarships

Fifty high-achieving postgraduates are being offered the chance of a fully-funded PhD scholarship at the University of Roehampton, with opportunities in all 10 of the University’s academic departments currently available.

Researchers to investigate assessments for reception children

Researchers from the School of Education have won a £20,000 research grant from the Froebel Trust to investigate new early years assessments that are being introduced by the Department for Education (DfE) in 2016.

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