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Neilsen-Hewett, Cathrine Marguerite. Dr.

Senior Lecturer, Academic Program Director - The Early Years

  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Early Start Research
  • School of Education

Overview


Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett is the Academic Director of the Early Years at the University of Wollongong. Her current research projects focus on quality early childhood education and care environments, integrated service delivery, and enhancing access to early childhood education and health services.  Since joining Early Start at the University of Wollongong, Dr Neilsen-Hewett has taken a senior role in key, large-scale intervention and evaluation projects focusing on educator knowledge, practices and experience. Together with Professor Siraj and Dr. Kingston, she has pioneered the delivery of Leadership for Learning professional development interventions that are currently the focus of multiple evaluations at both centre and child level.

Top Publications


Research Overview


  •  

    Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett is a researcher in Early Start and School of Education at the University of Wollongong. She is the Academic Program Director of The Early Years and leads the Early Start Pedagogy Practice Strategy. Her contributions to early childhood at a national level have included participation in advisory committees, involvement in key longitudinal studies examining early childhood education and care (ECEC) as well as involvement in the development of curriculum materials for pre-service early childhood teachers. 

    Her research and publications in the area of early childhood develop and education have made significant contribution to pre-service teacher education and policy development.  A large proportion of her research activity while being at UOW has been devoted to the development and delivery of a three large scale innovative transformative research projects (Fostering Effective Early Learning, Researching Effective Environments for Learning and ARC-Linkage – Community-based early Childhood Maths and Science Intervention addressing Indigenous Disadvantage) all three have as their focus the professional development of early years educators. On all three projects she has taken on the responsibility of leading and coordinating the professional development intervention. Cathrine is also involved in the evaluation of other structural initiatives that are designed to improve children’s learning and development outcomes in the early years context.

    She has a leading role in the development of formative and summative assessment tools for use with early childhood educators. The Early Years Monitoring to Optimise Development and Early Learning (MODEL) is a unique transdisciplinary R&D project with Our Place in Victoria and funded by the Coleman (Educational) Foundation. 

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • The Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL) study involves partnerships with educators, early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres and government education departments to advance educational practice.<br /><br />FEEL is a cluster randomised controlled trial investigating the efficacy of an in-service, evidence-based professional development program for improving early childhood educators' practice, and developmental outcomes of children. It arose from a competitive tender process initiated by the NSW Department of Education and Training, awarded to UOW Early Start researchers in 2015.<br /><br />The research team recruited 90 ECEC services to be involved, half of which were randomly selected to receive the professional development program in the evaluation year, and half of which were assigned as the control group, to then receive the training following the evaluation year. Early results show children in the centres receiving the program are experiencing heightened curricular and interactional quality, with some positive effects for children's developmental progress as well (despite a relatively constrained intervention period).<br /><br />“In addition, our qualitative process analyses suggest that participants often saw the professional development program as ‘very high quality’, ‘transformative’ and ‘reaffirming’,” according to one of the research leaders, Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett.<br /><br />The ongoing potential of the FEEL study is significant for improving quality in Australian ECEC within the current workforce, by working to enhance educators' practices through intensive in-service professional development. Further longitudinal components to assess children’s school readiness have already been initiated and there is future potential to link the data through to NAPLAN years.<br /><br /><strong>UOW participants:</strong> Professor Iram Siraj, Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett, Dr Steven Howard, Professor Ted Melhuish, Professor Marc de Rosnay, Dr Elisabeth Duursma, Dr Xiaoqi Feng, Dr Betty Luu<br /><br /><strong>Partners:</strong> NSW Department of Education, Early Childhood Education Centres across NSW, Dr Denise Kingston (University of Sussex)

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Cathrine is available to supervise research topics related to (i) early childhood pedagogy and practice, (ii) pedagogical leadership in the early years, (iii) early self-regulation, (iv) early years service integration, and (v) assessment in the early years.

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Education Working with vulnerable children and families in early childhood education and care centres. Byrne, Toni
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Rethinking Block Play: The Development of the Numeracy and Mathematics Assessment (NUMBBA) for preschool aged children Grimmond, Joanne
    Doctor of Philosophy What's needed to disseminate an evidence based model of intervention (the Early Start Denver Model) to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in mainstream early childhood education and care settings? Aylward, Elizabeth
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Music Knowledge, Understanding and Practices among Early Childhood Educators Pinazza, Renae
    Doctor of Philosophy An Early Start to Self-Reguation Vasseleu, Elena
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Formative Assessment for Language and Communication in the Early Years Webster, Lisa
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Perceptions and Experiences of Educational Leadership in Early Childhood Contexts Stouse-Lee, Kim

Keywords


  • Child development
    Early childhood
    Professional development
    Early childhood pedagogy and practice
    Formative assessment

Full Name


  • Dr Cathrine Marguerite Neilsen-Hewett

Top Publications


Research Overview


  •  

    Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett is a researcher in Early Start and School of Education at the University of Wollongong. She is the Academic Program Director of The Early Years and leads the Early Start Pedagogy Practice Strategy. Her contributions to early childhood at a national level have included participation in advisory committees, involvement in key longitudinal studies examining early childhood education and care (ECEC) as well as involvement in the development of curriculum materials for pre-service early childhood teachers. 

    Her research and publications in the area of early childhood develop and education have made significant contribution to pre-service teacher education and policy development.  A large proportion of her research activity while being at UOW has been devoted to the development and delivery of a three large scale innovative transformative research projects (Fostering Effective Early Learning, Researching Effective Environments for Learning and ARC-Linkage – Community-based early Childhood Maths and Science Intervention addressing Indigenous Disadvantage) all three have as their focus the professional development of early years educators. On all three projects she has taken on the responsibility of leading and coordinating the professional development intervention. Cathrine is also involved in the evaluation of other structural initiatives that are designed to improve children’s learning and development outcomes in the early years context.

    She has a leading role in the development of formative and summative assessment tools for use with early childhood educators. The Early Years Monitoring to Optimise Development and Early Learning (MODEL) is a unique transdisciplinary R&D project with Our Place in Victoria and funded by the Coleman (Educational) Foundation. 

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • The Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL) study involves partnerships with educators, early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres and government education departments to advance educational practice.<br /><br />FEEL is a cluster randomised controlled trial investigating the efficacy of an in-service, evidence-based professional development program for improving early childhood educators' practice, and developmental outcomes of children. It arose from a competitive tender process initiated by the NSW Department of Education and Training, awarded to UOW Early Start researchers in 2015.<br /><br />The research team recruited 90 ECEC services to be involved, half of which were randomly selected to receive the professional development program in the evaluation year, and half of which were assigned as the control group, to then receive the training following the evaluation year. Early results show children in the centres receiving the program are experiencing heightened curricular and interactional quality, with some positive effects for children's developmental progress as well (despite a relatively constrained intervention period).<br /><br />“In addition, our qualitative process analyses suggest that participants often saw the professional development program as ‘very high quality’, ‘transformative’ and ‘reaffirming’,” according to one of the research leaders, Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett.<br /><br />The ongoing potential of the FEEL study is significant for improving quality in Australian ECEC within the current workforce, by working to enhance educators' practices through intensive in-service professional development. Further longitudinal components to assess children’s school readiness have already been initiated and there is future potential to link the data through to NAPLAN years.<br /><br /><strong>UOW participants:</strong> Professor Iram Siraj, Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett, Dr Steven Howard, Professor Ted Melhuish, Professor Marc de Rosnay, Dr Elisabeth Duursma, Dr Xiaoqi Feng, Dr Betty Luu<br /><br /><strong>Partners:</strong> NSW Department of Education, Early Childhood Education Centres across NSW, Dr Denise Kingston (University of Sussex)

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Cathrine is available to supervise research topics related to (i) early childhood pedagogy and practice, (ii) pedagogical leadership in the early years, (iii) early self-regulation, (iv) early years service integration, and (v) assessment in the early years.

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Education Working with vulnerable children and families in early childhood education and care centres. Byrne, Toni
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Rethinking Block Play: The Development of the Numeracy and Mathematics Assessment (NUMBBA) for preschool aged children Grimmond, Joanne
    Doctor of Philosophy What's needed to disseminate an evidence based model of intervention (the Early Start Denver Model) to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in mainstream early childhood education and care settings? Aylward, Elizabeth
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Music Knowledge, Understanding and Practices among Early Childhood Educators Pinazza, Renae
    Doctor of Philosophy An Early Start to Self-Reguation Vasseleu, Elena
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Formative Assessment for Language and Communication in the Early Years Webster, Lisa
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Perceptions and Experiences of Educational Leadership in Early Childhood Contexts Stouse-Lee, Kim

Keywords


  • Child development
    Early childhood
    Professional development
    Early childhood pedagogy and practice
    Formative assessment

Full Name


  • Dr Cathrine Marguerite Neilsen-Hewett

Geographic Focus