Skip to main content

Howard, Steven J. A/Prof

Associate Professor

  • Associate Professor - School of Education
  • Associate Professor - School of Psychology (Adjunct)
  • Early Start Research

Overview


A/Prof Steven Howard is a researcher at Early Start and Associate Professor in Educational Psychology in the School of Education at University of Wollongong. After completing his MA and PhD in Developmental Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada, he commenced an academic appointment at University of Wollongong in 2012. He is also an Adjunct in the School of Psychology.

A/Prof Howard's program of research investigates children’s developing self-regulation and related abilities (e.g., executive functions, school readiness), and the real-world implications of these changing abilities. This includes creating low-cost and accessible means for those who routinely work with young children to understand and positively influence children’s development and outcomes in these areas.

He has published more than 45 research articles and multiple academic texts, and has led or been part of teams that have attracted more than $6.5 million in research funding (e.g., ARC DECRA, NHMRC Project Grant, competitive Government tender).

His current h-index (@ 01/07/2019) is:

His contributions to practice include co-creation of the internationally adopted Early Years Toolbox to assess children's cognitive, social, self-regulatory, numeracy and language development (currently in use in 5 continents, in research and educational contexts). He has also created 4 children's books with embedded cognitive activities as a low-cost, evidence-based means for parents and educators to engage and enhance young children's self-regulation (i.e., Quincey Quokka's Quest; I Don't Miss the Shopping List; Polly and her Lolly; The Pear that Wasn't There).

As of 2019, he has 11 current PhD students in varied stages of completion and 7 PhD completions.

Top Publications


Available as Research Supervisor

Available for Collaborative Projects

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Other Research Activities


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)

Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Available to supervise research topics related to self-regulation (and/or related abilities) in the early years or assessment in the early years.

Teaching Activities


Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    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 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
    Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) Early childhood social and emotional foundations of self-regulation in two cultures Gan, heather
    Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) Early Cognitive Control in the Context of Atypical Development Varcoe, Stephanie
    Doctor of Philosophy Digital technologies and pre-schoolers: Enhancing learning and development through quality parent-child interactions Lewis, Kate
    Doctor of Philosophy Marking in a Standard-Referenced Framework Radford, Olivia
    Doctor of Philosophy when are we guessing? An investigation of the impact on the validity of results associated with the presence of guessing in the assessment of students in large scale assessments programs Freeman, Christopher

Outreach Overview


  • Community:

    • My research has been publicized by the Illawarra Mercury, WIN News, ABC News, ABC Radio, and more.
    • Led conceptualisation and development of the Early Years Toolbox. These tools have been downloaded more than 9,500 times from the iTunes App Store, across five continents.
    • Developed the PRSIST Program as a low- to no-cost way for parents and educators to support development of children's self-regulation (in contrast to popular brain-training approaches).
    • Developed four children's books that, in addition to a rhyming picture book, also integrate activities to promote children's self-regulation and related abilities.

    Professional:

    • Reviewer for Australian Research Council since 2017, providing assessment of submitted DECRA grant proposals.
    • Editorial Board Member of Early Childhood Research Quarterly, a Q1 journal in early years development.
    • Regularly review research articles for leading international journals in my area: e.g. Child Development; Cognition & Development; Early Childhood Research Quarterly; Educational Psychology Review; Acta Psychologica; British Journal of Educational Technology; Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.  
    • Invited Participant and Invited Chair of symposia at international conferences.

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, York University, Department of Psychology 2009 - 2013
  • M.A. in Developmental Psychology, York University, Department of Psychology 2007 - 2009
  • B.A. in Psychology, York University, Department of Psychology 2000 - 2007

Awards And Honors


Teaching Overview


  • I have been teaching (subject coordinator, lecturer and tutor) in the areas of Educational Psychology and Research Methods since 2011, and lecturer and tutor in Psychology Foundations and Statistical/Research Methods since 2009.

Keywords


  • Self-regulation, executive function, school readiness, preschool, early years, early assessment, cognitive development

Full Name


  • Steven J Howard

Mailing Address


  • Building 21, Room 110E, Early Start, University of Wollongong

    Northfields Avenue

    Wollongong

    NSW

    2522

    Australia

Located In Facility


  • Early Start  

Top Publications


Selected Publications


Investigator On


Other Research Activities


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


  • Available to supervise research topics related to self-regulation (and/or related abilities) in the early years or assessment in the early years.

Teaching Activities


Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    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 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
    Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) Early childhood social and emotional foundations of self-regulation in two cultures Gan, heather
    Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) Early Cognitive Control in the Context of Atypical Development Varcoe, Stephanie
    Doctor of Philosophy Digital technologies and pre-schoolers: Enhancing learning and development through quality parent-child interactions Lewis, Kate
    Doctor of Philosophy Marking in a Standard-Referenced Framework Radford, Olivia
    Doctor of Philosophy when are we guessing? An investigation of the impact on the validity of results associated with the presence of guessing in the assessment of students in large scale assessments programs Freeman, Christopher

Outreach Overview


  • Community:

    • My research has been publicized by the Illawarra Mercury, WIN News, ABC News, ABC Radio, and more.
    • Led conceptualisation and development of the Early Years Toolbox. These tools have been downloaded more than 9,500 times from the iTunes App Store, across five continents.
    • Developed the PRSIST Program as a low- to no-cost way for parents and educators to support development of children's self-regulation (in contrast to popular brain-training approaches).
    • Developed four children's books that, in addition to a rhyming picture book, also integrate activities to promote children's self-regulation and related abilities.

    Professional:

    • Reviewer for Australian Research Council since 2017, providing assessment of submitted DECRA grant proposals.
    • Editorial Board Member of Early Childhood Research Quarterly, a Q1 journal in early years development.
    • Regularly review research articles for leading international journals in my area: e.g. Child Development; Cognition & Development; Early Childhood Research Quarterly; Educational Psychology Review; Acta Psychologica; British Journal of Educational Technology; Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.  
    • Invited Participant and Invited Chair of symposia at international conferences.

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, York University, Department of Psychology 2009 - 2013
  • M.A. in Developmental Psychology, York University, Department of Psychology 2007 - 2009
  • B.A. in Psychology, York University, Department of Psychology 2000 - 2007

Awards And Honors


Teaching Overview


  • I have been teaching (subject coordinator, lecturer and tutor) in the areas of Educational Psychology and Research Methods since 2011, and lecturer and tutor in Psychology Foundations and Statistical/Research Methods since 2009.

Keywords


  • Self-regulation, executive function, school readiness, preschool, early years, early assessment, cognitive development

Full Name


  • Steven J Howard

Mailing Address


  • Building 21, Room 110E, Early Start, University of Wollongong

    Northfields Avenue

    Wollongong

    NSW

    2522

    Australia

Located In Facility


  • Early Start  

Geographic Focus