Innovation in Early Childhood Development

Monash University Expert Researchers

Monash University has research capability and expertise across the breadth of early childhood disciplines, including psychology & cognitive development, education, medicine, social science, social work and public policy. Monash researchers engage in community-based, world-leading research that affects positive change in the lives of children, families and communities.


Professor Kim Cornish

Director, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Head of School, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor

Professor Cornish’s work has been lauded for advancing research knowledge and developing new approaches to treating pervasive cognitive deficits in children with vulnerable brain development.

Key Research Interests

Developmental and neurogenerative disorders, cognitive skill development in children, the TALI detect training program for children with developmental delays, attention training

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Professor Marilyn Fleer

Foundation Chair in Early Childhood Education and Development, Monash University; Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow; Professor (Research) in Early Years Education

Professor Fleer researches early childhood play with a focus on inquiry in science, engineering and technologies. Using digital methodology framed through cultural-historical theory, her Laureate Fellowship investigates how families and teachers create conditions for children’s conceptual thinking in play-based settings.

Key Research Interests

Early childhood science with particular attention to digital visual methodology; Imagination and play in STEM; Early childhood education; Conceptual thinking in play-based settings; The role of families and teachers in creating the conditions for early childhood development through play; The role of imagination and curiosity in learning

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Professor Margaret S. Barrett

Professor, Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance, Monash  University 

Professor Margaret Barrett's research encompasses the investigation of the role of Music and the Arts in human cognition and social and cultural development. Her research has addressed problems in the areas of aesthetic decision-making, the meaning and value of Arts engagement for young people, young children's musical thinking, young children's identity work in and through music, teaching and learning practices in the arts, and the pedagogy and practices of creativity. A key aspect of her work has been the development of innovative arts-based inquiry and expertise in music and music education.

Key Research Interests

Creativity; Aesthetics; Pedagogies of Creativity; Pedagogies of Expertise; Cultural Psychology; Music Early Learning and Development; Narrative Inquiry; Qualitative Research Methodologies; Creative Collaboration

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Professor Katrina Williams

Professor, Paediatrics Monash Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University

Professor Katrina Williams is a Paediatrician and Public Health Physician with expertise in neurodevelopmental differences and disabilities, with a focus on autism. She is currently Professor of Paediatrics and Head of Department, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science for Monash University and Director of Research and Developmental Paediatrician, Monash Children's Hospital.

Key Research Interests

Neurodevelopment; Child Development; Clinical Epidemiology; Population Health

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Professor Viv Ellis

Dean, Faculty of Education, Monash University

Professor Ellis is Dean of the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia’s leading education faculty (Academic Ranking of World Universities) and one of the most dynamic, research-intensive faculties of education, counselling and psychology in the world.

Key Research Interests

Teacher education; Professional Learning; Cultural-historical theory; Policy Analysis; Curriculum theory; International and comparative education; Language education (incl. TESOL)

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Professor Jayashri Kulkarni

Director of the Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre, Neurosciences & Mental Health Stream and Director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre

Jayashri is Professor of Psychiatry within The Alfred and Monash University.  She founded and directs a large psychiatric research group, the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc).Her research focuses on women’s mental health, women’s welfare including women experiencing family violence, and reproductive hormones and their impact on mental health

Key Research Interests
Psychiatry; Depression; Women and mental health; Psychoneuroendocrine; Hypothalamus; Estrogen; Schizophrenia

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Professor Michael Mintrom

Director, Better Governance and Policy, Monash University

Michael is professor of public policy at Monash University. He is a globally-recognised authority on public policy and policy analysis and chaired a taskforce on early childhood education for the New Zealand government, creating An Agenda for Amazing Children.

Key Research Interests
Public Policy; Policy Analysis; Policy Process; Evidence-based policy; Innovation and Technology Management; Educational Administration

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Professor Rod Glover

Professor, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

Rod Glover is an economist who supports leaders to achieve large-scale innovation at the level of systems and societies. Rod is an experienced policy leader, having worked across all sectors and at the highest levels of policy and politics. His wide array of policy roles include Deputy Secretary (Innovation and Projects) in Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Senior Adviser to an Australian Prime Minister.

Key Research Interests

Policy leadership and advising; Education and educational intervention; Sustainable development; education, practice and policy; Empowerment, diversity and inclusion; Economic dynamism and social mobility

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