Early Childhood Research Centre Staff



matthias urban

Professor Mathias Urban
Mathias is Professor of Early Childhood Studies and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre. His research interests unfold around questions of diversity and equality, social justice, evaluation and professionalism in working with young children, families and communities in diverse socio-cultural contexts. Mathias works in international research collaborations across Europe, South- and North America, Australasia and Africa. His current projects include collaborative studies on early childhood professionalism in Colombia (Perfiles de talento humano para la atención integral a la Primera Infancia: exploración de requisitos en Colombia) and on early childhood provision for Romani children in Central and Eastern Europe: Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI+). Mathias is an International Research Fellow with the Velma E. Schmidt Critical Childhood Public Policy Research Collaborative, a member of the PILIS research group (Primera Infancia, Lenguaje e Inclusión Social), of the DECET (Diversity in Early Childhood Education and Training) network and of the AERA special interest group critical perspectives on early childhood education.

Click here for more information about Professor Urban's latest presentations




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Sigrid Brogaard Clausen
Sigrid is a senior lecturer in Early Years and Programme Convenor on the BA Early Childhood Studies. Her research interests include children's well being, voices and early years democracy. At present she is working on comparative studies of Danish and English Early Years curricula and the professional identity of the Danish pedagogue.


michelle cottle

Michelle Cottle
Michelle is a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her current research interests include policy enactment within early years settings and primary schools with a particular focus on discourses of creativity and performativity. She is interested in children's experiences and their participation in research, practitioners' perspectives on their work with children, quality in the early years and Children's Centre development.


peter elfer

Peter Elfer
Peter is Principal Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. His long-standing research centres around babies and children under three in nursery provision. He is particularly interested in attachement and peer interaction in this setting and how psycholanalytical tools can be used to explore this relationship. His Doctoral research concerned the nature of nursery cultures and their impact on individuals and interactions.



Sue Greenfield
Sue is a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her research interests originate from her role as a health visitor and lie in the relationship between home and school and how parents and staff work together to facilitate continuity between home and early childhood settings.



Sofia Guimarães
Sofia is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her current main research interests include bilingualism and multilingualism, literacy acquisition and children's emotional wellbeing and learning.


sally howe

Sally Howe
Sally is a Lecturer (VL Conversion) in Early Childhood Studies. Her research interests include children's perspectives on transitions in the early years, the development of identities in context, and the role of autonomy and interest in children's learning.



Antonia Zachariou

Antonia is a lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her research interests lie in the area of studying young children's learning and emotional, social and cognitive development, while she is also interested in studying the role of the arts, particularly music, in fostering children's development. She also researches on the link between play and learning. 

suzanne quinn

Suzanne Quinn
Suzanne is Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her current research projects are related to the use of photography and pedagogic documentation techniques in early years settings, Froebelian pedagogic principles, and outdoor learning environments.


jane read

Jane Read
Jane Read is Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Jane's research interests are centred on Froebelian pedagogy and its dissemination and her PhD explored the impact of Froebelian pedagogy on policy and practice from 1900 to 1939. Recent research has focused on (dis)continuities between historical and contemporary discourse and practice and she is currently researching how Froebelians formed and maintained a unique professional identity and the historical development of academic and vocational routes into early years work.


sue robson

Sue Robson
Sue Robson is Principal Lecturer in Education and Subject Leader for Early Childhood Studies. Sue's PhD research is on self-regulation and metacognition in young children. Her other research interests include children's voice and children's perspectives, parent-professional relationships in early childhood settings, and transition and transfer in the early years. She is also conducting collaborative research into the experiences of Early Childhood Studies students as a consequence of pursuing an undergraduate degree.


Fengling Tang

 Fengling Tang

Fengling is Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her research interests include Childhood culture, early childhood curriculum and pedagogy, ethnicity and racial issues in education, technology with young children, Froebelian perspectives in early years, comparative research in early childhood, ethnographic research in education, EAL in early childhood, creativity in early childhood, research in teacher training education.




helen tovey

Helen Tovey
Helen Tovey is a Principal Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her research interests include outdoor environments, outdoor play, risk and risk taking, and play and creativity in the early years.






Deborah Albon
Deborah Albon is Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her main research interests centre on food and eating practices in early childhood settings. In particular she is interested in babies and young children's playful participation in the 'life' of their settings (through the lens of 'food events') as well as issues pertaining to the 'civilising' of children's bodies.

Penny Lawrence
Penny is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Penny's research is in understanding children's agency and the representation of children, in particular working in participatory research. Her doctoral research was on observing two-year-old-children making decisions in dialogue, involving dialogue with parents and practitioners.

Founding Director

Professor Kevin J. Brehony

Associate Members

Visiting Professor: Professor Tina Bruce

Senior Honorary Research Fellow: Dr Kristen D. Nawrotski

Honorary Research Fellow: Dr Hiroko Fumoto

Honorary Research Fellow: Dr Yukio Nishida

Senior Lecturer, University of Reading: Maria Kambouri

Visiting Scholars

Rodrigo Gabbi Polli, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Yumiko Taoka, Ryukoku University, Japan.

Previous Visiting Scholars

Camilo Zarate Pinto, Universitad Nacional de Colombia.

Marisol Moreno, Universitad Nacional de Colombia.

Rita Flores Romero, Universitad Nacional de Colombia.