Category Archives: Research

I did it! Young children’s academic self-concept in the year before school

Children’s self-awareness develops gradually. Starting with physical self-awareness in infancy, children become increasingly able to gather and understand information about themselves. When children are three and four years old, they often focus on observable characteristics like eye colour, but they also evaluate their own abilities in comparison with other children’s abilities: they know who is […]

Access to effective early learning programs is not easy

Australian families most in need of high-quality early learning environments that make a positive difference to development outcomes have access to fewer, and often lower quality, programs. This E4Kids study finding poses particular policy and program implementation challenges related to serving families from low socioeconomic status (SES) neighbourhoods. These families experience a form of double […]

Reimagining NSW: tackling education inequality with early intervention and better research

This is part of our Reimagining New South Wales (NSW) series. For this series, vice-chancellors in NSW asked a select group of early and mid-career researchers to envisage new ways to tackle old problems and identify emerging opportunities across the state. Peter Siminski, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Wollongong; Marian Vidal-Fernandez, Senior Lecturer in […]

Children are not sponges

You’ve heard it a million times before. “Children are like sponges. They just soak up every drop of information.” And to personify this sponge simile there’s even a popular Nickelodeon character called Sponge Bob Square Pants;  a vapid sea sponge that spouts inane jabberwocky. Recent social research shows that the sponge or ‘fill it up’ theory […]

Should we swear in front of our kids?

The other day, my toddler son came home from childcare saying “piss poo”. He is one of the younger children in his classroom and clearly he heard this phrase from an older child he admired. I couldn’t help laughing at this unexpected outburst, which reinforced this behaviour – thus cementing the phrase in his emerging […]

How fatherhood is changing for the better

Traditionally, fathers were breadwinners and disciplinarians. Fathers taught their sons how to play football and encouraged their children to “buy a block of land”. I’ve been researching fatherhood for 25 years and, in the past, the traditional role of the father was manifest. But this is changing substantially. Today’s fathers are far more eager to […]

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