Are you curious about research? 

What would the ideal kindergarten, long day care or family day care program look like? 

How would children ‘be’ in such a place? How would they benefit? 

What are the ingredients of such a place? How important are the interactions between educator and children? 

ECMS has a deep curiosity about the answers to these questions. We value curiosity in our educators, our families and our children. We are passionately curious about what is best for all children. 

To help us find and share the answers to these questions we are developing partnerships with world class university research teams. Part of this includes helping connect researchers with real-life families, educators and children in ECMS services so they can find the answers to these questions. 

At the moment we have teams of researchers from Deakin University working in our services to try and answer the following questions: 

  • Can early childhood educators influence the way children and their families understand and adopt healthy eating, active play and sustainability through their program planning? 
  • What is the best way to support educators become more confident and skilled in working with children on the Autism spectrum? 

If you are invited to participate in Deakin research, you will have the option to accept or decline. Your permission will always be required for your own participation and for your child’s participation. ECMS encourages you to consider participating, as this will help the world find the ingredients and the methods for creating the very best early childhood education for our children. 

If you have any questions about research at ECMS, please contact Emma Forsyth, Head of Pedagogy at 

PhD students from Deakin University 

Caroline Scott 

After completing a Bachelor of Arts and then a Bachelor of Teaching (K-6) in 2005, Caroline spent a period of time relief teaching in kindergartens and primary schools before commencing work as a sessional lecturer and research assistant at Victoria University. Since 2013, she has worked for Deakin University as a research assistant and completed a Masters of Education last year, writing her thesis on naturalised outdoor playspaces. The focus of her research is educator-child interactions in kindergarten and the way in which these interactions can facilitate a child’s sense of agency. 

Mandy O’Connor 

Mandy is an industry based PhD Candidate supervised by both Deakin University and ECMS. Given that many more parents are utilising early childcare services than ever before, how can early childhood educators promote and nurture parent-child relationships for better child social and emotional outcomes? This question is the focus on Mandy’s PhD. The overall aim of her PhD research is to determine how to best support early childhood educators so they are able to effectively encourage and foster positive relationships between parents and children. Mandy is also currently the project manager for the Australian Research Council funded Ben10 Research Project and has been working with ECMS over the last two years. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in Psychology, Family Studies and Health Promotion and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology.