de Lissa Research Group Projects


The education and participation of preschool children as Valued Active Citizens in priority circumstances

Prof. Pauline Harris, Dr Eleni Giannakis, Dr Andrew Peterson, Dr Sue Nichols, Dr Jamie Sisson, Dr Jane Webb-Williams, Dr Elspeth McInnes

The Education and Participation of Preschool Children as Valued Active Citizens in Priority Circumstances Project is investigating understandings and experiences of preschool children and their educators and families in relation to children’s active citizenship and voice in matters affecting their lives. The study is conceptually framed by notions of active citizenship and authentic dialogic encounters. Through its nationwide questionnaire and in-depth case studies, the study is providing a rich and extensive evidence base for the development of tools to support and optimise children’s participation.

This project is funded by the Lillian de Lissa Trust Funds (SA Public Trustee) (2014-2015): $82, 450
Project Partners: Department for Education & Child Development (DECD), UNICEF Australia, Save the Children


Developing a community approach to supporting literacy for pre-schoolers (Fiji)

Professor Pauline Harris, Dr Elspeth McInnes, Dr Anne Glover, Dr Jenni Carter, Ms Alexandra Diamond, Dr Cindy Brock, Ms Bec Neill and Ufemia Camaitoga

The Fiji project is funded by an Australian Development Research Awards Scheme (ADRAS) grant awarded by the Australian Development Research Assistance Scheme (Australian AID, Department for Foreign Affairs). It focuses upon identifying sustainable ways of developing local capacity to support pre-schoolers’ literacy development in communities in Fiji without early childhood services, and provides a research base to inform the establishment of community-based sustainable approaches to literacy learning for pre-schoolers in urban and rural areas.

This project is funded by the AusAid Development Research Award Scheme (2013-2016)


The National English Curriculum: Understanding the development, interpretation and implementation of disciplinary knowledge

Professor Pauline Harris, Dr H Chen, Dr DB Derewianka, Dr LK Kervin, Dr B McKenzie, Dr JB Turbill, Dr P Fitzsimmons

The National English Curriculum, the focus of this project, represents a renewed national effort to improve every
students' educational achievements to the betterment of their social and economic participation in society.
Explicating how knowledge about the subject English is institutionalised and implemented, and the role of social
structures amongst those involved in the curriculum in shaping this process, will be key outcomes. Examples of
classroom implementation will document the intellectual challenges teachers present to students and give voice to
teachers in terms of how policy works for them, the challenges they face, and the support they require.

This project is funded by the ARC Discovery Project DP1093826 (2010-2014): $246,000


Strengthening Universal Access Preschools


Dr Victoria Whitington, Dr Elspeth McInnes, Dr Jamie Sisson 

The goal of the project is to support early childhood preschool teachers, their directors and site educators in the diverse sites that are hosting the Universal Access preschool programs to improve program quality and ultimately parental confidence, satisfaction, and enrolments. This tender involves four online lectures on leadership, practitioner inquiry, emergent curriculum, and pedagogical documentation and learning, each supported by lecture meetings, and regular hub group meetings for teams, the director and the preschool teacher,  mentoring work, both in hub groups and selected early childhood services. An extensive evaluation is a key part of the project, as is an online strategy to support learning.

This project is a partnership between the University of South Australia and the Lady Gowrie Child Care Centre, funded by the Department for Education and Child Development (2014-2015): $497,000.

Areas of study and research

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