School of Education

Professor Claire McLachlan

Position: Dean  
Study area: School of Education
Location: Mount Helen Campus, T Building, Room 224
Phone: 5327 6269
Email: c.mclachlan@federation.edu.au

Qualifications

B.A. with a double major in English and Education - Massey- 1986

M.A. with First Class Honours in Education - Massey - 1990

Ph.D in Education - Massey - 1996

Biography

Claire McLachlan is the Dean of the School of Education and she joined Federation University Australia in 2018. She is also currently an Honorary Professor in the Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research at the University of Waikato. Previously Claire was the Head of School, Te Hononga, School of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. She was also formerly Professor of Childhood Education at Massey University. Claire has published 9 books and has over 200 academic outputs. She has edited the practitioner journal, Early Education, since 2006 and is a regular reviewer for many journals and academic publishers. Claire is an invited member of the UNESCO-International Bureau of Education (IBE) Early Reading Panel and an elected member of the Royal Society of New Zealand. She was a member of the writing team for the revision of the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, in 2016-2017 and is a current member of the reference group for the revision of the early childhood strategic plan. Claire is a current member of the Teacher Led Innovation Fund Experts Panel and the Early Childhood Research Policy Forum for the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

Areas of expertise

The overarching research aims of my research are to:

(i) to strengthen teachers' domain (subject content) knowledge through collaborative professional learning and enhance pedagogies and practice;

(ii) promote learning outcomes for young children in low socioeconomic communities.

Research focus: Early Literacy

My first research focus furthered the established platform of research that my PhD launched. My Ph.D examined the literacy policy and practices in New Zealand kindergartens. My key research questions in recent years have been how to support children’s acquisition of early literacy knowledge and skills, through (a) an enriched literacy environment, and (b) intentional teaching of literacy. The findings indicate children’s literacy abilities are increased through increasing teachers’ awareness, enriching environmental opportunities and strengthening teaching practices.

This research has been internationally recognised through my publications and appointments to the UNESCO IBE-Early Reading Panel, the Ministry of Education Early Childhood Research Policy Forum, and the revision of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki.

Research focus: Physical activity

My second focus is on physical activity in early childhood, demonstrated through publications, research funding from Health Research Council, Sport New Zealand and BestStart Educare, media attention and recognized in an OMEP International ͞”Play and Resilience” award in 2016. Findings indicate teachers have insufficient preparation on physical education in initial teacher education to help prevent obesity in young children, but that a physical activity intervention, combined with professional learning, can increase children’s physical skills and enhance teachers’ practice.

Research focus: Children’s experiences of curriculum

Some current research on children’s experiences of curriculum is currently being undertaken with collaborators at Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington and the Ruahine Kindergarten Association in Palmerston North, New Zealand. This research is using a range of innovative data collection tools to identify children’s experiences during the day and to examine children’s experiences of sustained shared thinking with their early childhood teachers. A pilot study has been conducted and further funded research will be completed in 2019-2020.

Research focus: Parent education and professional learning programmes for teachers

I have previously also been contracted to design and deliver parent education programmes for families on early literacy and to evaluate parent education programmes designed to support engagement with early childhood settings. I have also evaluated the implementation of Ministry of Education resources on self-review in the early childhood setting.

Research Interests

  • Early childhood education
  • Early Literacy
  • Physical activity in young children
  • Curriculum, pedagogy and teachers' beliefs and practices
  • Assessment and evaluation

Supervision

1st supervisor, 2018 to present, Patricia Ong, Ph.D candidate, University of Waikato (with Nigel Calder).

1st supervisor, 2017 to present, Sela Teisana, Ph.D candidate, University of Waikato (with Lynne Parmenter and Timote Vaioleti).

1st supervisor, 2016 to present, Joanne Hayes, Ph.D candidate, University of Waikato (with Sally Peters).

Publications

Books

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M. & Edwards, S. (2018).  Early childhood curriculum: planning, assessment and implementation.  3rd ed. Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.

McLachlan, C. & Arrow, A. (2017).  Literacy in the early years: Reflections on international research and practice. International perspectives on early childhood education and development, 17. New York, NY: Springer.

McLachlan, C., Edwards, S., Margrain, V. & McLean, K. (2013).  Children’s learning and development: contemporary assessment in the early years. Sydney, NSW: Palgrave MacMillan.

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M. & Edwards, S. (2012).  Early childhood curriculum: planning, assessment and implementation.  2nd ed. Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.

McLachlan, C., Nicholson, T., Feilding-Barnsley, R., Mercer, L. & Ohi, S. (2012).  Literacy in early childhood and primary: Issues, challenges, solutions. Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M. & Edwards, S. (2010).  Early childhood curriculum: planning, assessment and implementation. Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.

Makin, L., Jones-Diaz, C. & McLachlan, C. (eds.) (2007).  Literacies in childhood: Changing views, Challenging practice. Marrickville, N.S.W.: MacLennan & Petty/Elsevier.

McLachlan-Smith, C. & Irons, B. (1998). Writing your administration guide: a handbook for extramural teachers. Palmerston North: Centre for University Extramural Studies.

McLachlan-Smith, C. & Irons , B. (1998). Ideas to share: examples of good study guide design for extramural teaching.   Palmerston North: Centre for University Extramural Studies.

Book chapters

Tyler-Merrick, G., Cherrington, S.,  McLachlan, C., McLaughlin, T., Aspden, K. & Phillips, J. (manuscript submitted). Aotearoa/ New Zealand early childhood education: Moving forward with intention. In S. Garvis & H. Harju-Luukainnen (Eds.), Early Childhood Education in the 21st Century: International Teaching, Family and Policy Perspectives, Volume 3. London: Routledge.

Aspden, K., McLachlan, C., Cherrington, S., Tyler-Merrick, G., McLaughlin, T. & Phillips, J. (2018, in press). Early Childhood Education in the 21 st Century: Teachers and families perspectives. In S. Garvis & H. Harju-Luukainnen (Eds.), Early Childhood Education in the 21st Century: International Teaching, Family and Policy Perspectives, Volume 2. London: Routledge.

McLachlan, C. (2018, in press). The early reading curriculum: aligning policy and practice. In A. Alama (ed.), Teaching and learning literacy in the 21st century: Lessons from around the world. Geneva, Switzerland: UNESCO International Bureau of Education.

Tyler-Merrick, G.,  Cherrington, S., McLaughlin, T., McLachlan. C., Aspden, K. & Phillips, J.  (2018). Early childhood education in Aotearoa/New Zealand: History and features. In S. Garvis & H. Harju-Luukainnen (Eds.), Early Childhood Education in the 21st Century: International Teaching, Family and Policy Perspectives, Volume 1. London: Routledge.

McLachlan, C. (2017). Assessment in early childhood education. In L. Meyer (ed.), Oxford bibliographies in education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756810

McLachlan, C. & Arrow, A. (2016). Conceptualising literacy in the early childhood setting. In C. McLachlan & A. Arrow (Eds.), Literacy in the early years: reflections on international research and practice (pp. 1-20). International perspectives on early childhood education and development, 17. New York: Springer.

McLachlan, C. & Arrow, A. (2016).  Promoting the predictors of literacy in early childhood settings: An analysis of two studies in low SES settings. In C. McLachlan & A. Arrow (Eds), Literacy in the early years: reflections on international research and practice (pp. 199-220). International perspectives on early childhood education and development, 17. New York: Springer.

Arrow, A. & McLachlan, C. (2016).  The future of literacy research in the early childhood context .  In C. McLachlan & A. Arrow (Eds.), Literacy in the early years: reflections on international research and practice (pp. 259-267). International perspectives on early childhood education and development, 17. New York: Springer.

McLachlan, C.J. (2015). Observational assessment. In D. Couchenour & K. Chrisman (Eds.), Sage encyclopedia of contemporary early childhood education (pp. 942-945). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781483340333.n280

McLachlan, C., Arrow, A., Lepper, C., Mackay, K. & McLaughlin, T. (2015).  Supporting and strengthening practice with teachers of priority learners: mentoring, coaching, and managing change. In C. Murphy & K. Thornton (Eds.), Mentoring in early childhood education: A compilation of thinking, pedagogy and practice.  Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

McLachlan, C. & Arrow, A. (2015).  Literacy and the Early Education Curriculum in New Zealand.  In W. E. Tunmer & J. W. Chapman (eds.), Equity and Excellence in Literacy Education: The Case of New Zealand. Sydney, NSW: Palgrave Macmillan.

Arrow, A., McLachlan, C. & Greaney, K. (2015). Teacher Knowledge Needed for Differentiated Instruction. In W. E. Tunmer & J. W. Chapman (eds.), Equity and Excellence in Literacy Education:  The Case of New Zealand. Sydney, NSW: Palgrave Macmillan.

Loveridge, J. & McLachlan, C. (2014).  Early childhood in New Zealand: the big picture. In Brown, S., O’Neill, J. & St. George, A. (eds), Facing the Big Questions in Education: Purpose, Power and Learning.  2nd ed.  Sydney, NSW: Thomson/Dunmore.

McLachlan, C. & Arrow, A. & Watson, J. (2014).  Partnership in promoting literacy: An exploration of two studies in low decile early childhood settings in New Zealand. In J. Duncan & L. Conner (eds.), Research partnerships within early years education: Relational expertise and knowledges in action. Sydney, NSW: Palgrave Macmillan.

Loveridge, J. & McLachlan, C. (2008).  Early childhood in New Zealand: the big picture. In Brown, S., O’Neill, J. & St. George, A. (eds), Facing the Big Questions in Education: Purpose, Power and Learning (pp. 22-31).  Sydney: Thomson/Dunmore.

McLachlan, C.J. (2007).  Emergent literacy.  In Makin, L., Jones-Diaz, C. & McLachlan, C. (eds.), Literacies in childhood: Changing views, Challenging practice (pp. 15-30). Sydney, N.S.W.: Elsevier.

McLachlan-Smith, C.J. & Shuker, M.J. (2002).  The foundations of early literacy.  In H. Ryan and P. Adams (eds.)  Learning to read in Aotearoa/New Zealand: The partnership between parents, schools and early childhood settings.  Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

McLachlan-Smith, C.  & Gunn, C. (2000).  Promoting innovation and change in traditional university setting.  In F. Lockwood and A. Gooley (Eds).  Innovations in open, distance and flexible learning.  London; Kogan Page.

Refereed journal articles (last 10 yrs)

Ali, A., Pigou, D., Clarke, L. & McLachlan, C. (manuscript submitted). The effect of physical activity classes on motor skill in 12-24 month old children.  Infant Behavior and Development.

Duncan, S.,  Stewart, T., McPhee, J., MPH; Prendergast, K.,  Zinn, C., Meredith-Jones, K., Taylor, R.,  McLachlan, C. & Schofield, g. (manuscript submitted). Efficacy of a compulsory homework programme for increasing physical activity and improving nutrition in children: A cluster randomised controlled trial.International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Cameron, M., Rawlins, P., McLaughlin, T. & McLachlan, C. (in press, 2018). “Assessment of children’s learning is important – the focus on formal documentation is another matter” – Uncovering the challenges of assessing four year old children’s learning. Early Education.

McLachlan, C., Cherrington, S., Aspden, K.  McLaughlin, T.  (in press, 2018). Defining quality in a divided sector: A review of policy and practice in early childhood settings in New Zealand. Annual Review of Education.

McLachlan, C. (2018). Te Whāriki revisited: How approaches to assessment can make valued learning visible. He Kupu, 5(3), 45-56.

Rona, S. & McLachlan, C.J. (2018). Māori children's biliteracy experiences moving from a Kōhanga Reo setting to a Kura Kaupapa Māori, Bilingual, and Mainstream education setting: An exploratory study. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 1-18. doi.org/10.1007/s40841-018-0107-6

Aspden, K. M., & McLachlan, C. (2017). A complex act—Teacher educators share their perspectives of practicum assessment. Waikato Journal of Education, 22(3), 21–32. doi:10.15663/wje.v22i3.377

McLachlan, C., Smith, J., McLaughlin, T., Ali, A., Conlon, C., Mugridge, O., & Foster, S. (2017). Development of teachers’ knowledge and skills in implementing a physical education curriculum: A New Zealand early childhood intervention study. International Journal of Early Childhood, 1-18.

Ali, A., Pigou, D., Clarke, L. & McLachlan, C. (2017). Literature Review on Motor Skill and Physical Activity in Preschool Children in New Zealand. Advances in Physical Education, 7, 10-26. DOI: 10.4236/ape.2017.71002

Cameron, M., McLachlan, C. & Rawlins, P. (2016). Assessment in ECE is overwhelming at times: Uncovering the challenges of assessing four-year-old children’s learning. Early Education, 60, 12-15.

Hayes, J., McLachlan, C. & Sewell, A. (2015). Fostering peer learning in the new entrant classroom. SET, 2, 9. doi.org/10.18296/set.0013

McLaughlin, T., Aspden, K. & McLachlan, C. (2015). How do teachers build strong relationships? Early Childhood Folio, 19(1), 31-38.

McLachlan, C. (2015). Young children’s well-being: Regulations, policies and directions for research. Early Education, 57, 19-23.

Anthony, G., McLachlan, C. & Lim, R. (2015).  Narrative Assessment: Making mathematics learning visible in early childhood settings. Mathematics Education. DOI: 10.1007/s13394-015-0142-

Hayes, J., McLachlan, C. & Sewell, A. (2015). Starting school in New Zealand: Learning from peers. International Journal of Transitions in Childhood.

Arrow, A. & McLachlan, C. (2014).  The development of phonological awareness and letter knowledge in young New Zealand children. Speech, Language and Hearing, 17(1), 49-57.

McLachlan, C.J. & Arrow, A.W. (2013).  Promoting alphabet knowledge and phonological awareness in low socioeconomic child care settings: A quasi experimental study in five New Zealand centres.  Reading and Writing, 27, 819-839. DOI: 10.1007/s11145-013-9467-y

McLachlan, C. & Grey, A. (2013).  “It’s just part of being a professional”: looking back and looking forward at self-review.  Early Education, 53, 23-26.

Arrow, A. W. & McLachlan, C.  (2011). Applying the emergent literacy approach to interventions in the first two years of primary schooling.  Perspectives on Language and Literacy, Fall, 35-38.

McLachlan, C. (2011).  An analysis of New Zealand’s changing history, policies and approaches to early childhood education. Australasian Journal of EarlyChildhood, 36(3), 36-44.

McLachlan, C. & Arrow, A. (2011).  Literacy in the early years in New Zealand: Policies, politics and pressing reasons for change. Literacy, 45(3), 126-133.

McLachlan, C. & Arrow, A. (2010).  Alphabet and Phonological awareness: Can it be enhanced in the early childhood setting?  International Research in Early Childhood Education, 1 (1), 84-94.

McLachlan, C. (2010).  What do teachers need to know and do about literacy in the early childhood context: exploring the evidence.  He Kupu, 2(3), 4-15.

McLachlan, C. (2010).From cunning plan to research design: A discussion of the issues and challenges in early childhood education research.  New Zealand Research in Early Childhood Education.

McLachlan, C.J. (2008). Early Literacy and the Transition to School: Issues for Early Childhood and Primary Educators. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education, 11, 105-118.

Refereed reports

Kolt, G.S, Schofield, G.M., Schofield, L., McLachlan, C.J., Svensden, C. & McKay, L. (2006). Best practice review: 13-18 year olds. Report prepared for SPARC.  Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Auckland University of Technology.

Kolt, G.S, Schofield, G.M., McLachlan, C.J., Oliver, M. Lucas, P., Maddison, R. & Walters, S. (June, 2005).  Active movement: Scoping Exercise and Programme Evaluation. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Auckland University of Technology.

Technical Reports

McLachlan, C. & Taula, L. (2015).  Partnering with parents: Evaluation of the Phase 3 trial. Report prepared for the Ministry of Social Development. Wellington: Early Childhood Council.

McLachlan, C. (2013). Review of the Arts qualifications, Massey University. Report prepared from the review held 27-31 May 2013. Palmerston North: Massey University.

McLachlan, C. J. (2011).  “Learning from the ECE blended model”: A report prepared for the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.  Palmerston North: Massey University College of Education.

McCormick, R., Adams, P., Powell, A., Paton-Simpson, G., Bunbury, D., McAvoy, B., McLachlan-Smith, C. & Goodyear-Smith, F. (2002).  Alcohol and Primary Health Care: New Zealand findings and implications in the WHO collaborative study. A report prepared for the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, April 2002. Auckland: Goodfellow Unit, Division of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science, and Drug and Alcohol Research and Training (DART) group, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science University of Auckland.

Grey, A., McLachlan-Smith, C. & Haynes, D. (2001).  The Quality Journey: Final milestone report. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education. Auckland: School of Education and Social Sciences, Auckland University of Technology.

McLachlan-Smith, C., Lightfoot, R., King, L., Niumata, M. & Perese, L. (1999). Alcohol and drug education and training: an evaluation of early intervention training in Maori and Pacific community settings.  A report prepared for the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand. Auckland: Goodfellow Unit, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, 114 pages.

Lightfoot, R., Fox, R., McLachlan-Smith, C., Adams, P. and McCormick, R. (1998). Feasibility study on the use of the “Drink-Less” package in general practice.  A report prepared for the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand. Auckland: Goodfellow Unit, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, 60 pages.

Invited keynote speeches

McLachlan, C. (2017, October). Professional learning about literacy in two early childhood settings: Findings of two intervention studies. Presented at “Initiatives to improve the quality of Preschool Education in Viet Nam”. The symposium on preschool education in collaboration with VNIES, University of Waikato and UNICEF. La Thanh Hotel, Hanoi, 11 October, 2017.

McLachlan, C. (2017, October). Approaches to teaching literacy in early childhood settings. Presented at “Initiatives to improve the quality of Preschool Education in Viet Nam”. The symposium on preschool education in collaboration with VNIES, University of Waikato and UNICEF. Sai Dong Kindergarten, Long Bien District, Hanoi, 12 October 2017.

McLachlan, C. & Rameka, L. (2017, October). ECE curriculum development and implementation at national, community and local level. Presented at “Initiatives to improve the quality of Preschool Education in Viet Nam”. The symposium on preschool education in collaboration with VNIES, University of Waikato and UNICEF. Sai Dong Kindergarten, Long Bien District, Hanoi, 12 October 2017.

McLachlan, C. (2017, September). Te Whariki revisited: Implications for teaching, learning, assessment and evaluation. Invited keynote presentation to New Zealand Tertiary College Symposium, Greenlane, Auckland, 29 September 2017.

McLachlan, C. & Edgeler, C. (2017, June). Promoting physical activity in early childhood: Findings of an intervention study in four BestStart centres. Invited keynote presentation to the BestStart Leadership Conference, Holiday Inn, Mangere, Auckland, 15 June.

McLachlan, C. (2013, November).  The sins of the past, the present and the future: A consideration of the complexities of assessment of young children in early childhood settings. Invited keynote presentation at Centre for Early Childhood Futures Symposium, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, 22 November 2013.

McLachlan, C. (2013, July). Becoming and being an academic: Issues, challenges, solutions. Invited keynote presentation, UCOL Professional Learning Symposium, Palmerston North, 17 July.

McLachlan, C. J. (2012, May). Supporting literacy in the Playcentre setting: implications of theory and research. Keynote address to New Zealand Playcentre Federation Conference, El Rancho, Waikane, 26 May.

McLachlan, C. J. (2012, May). Becoming literate in a digital age: Preliminary analyses of kindergarten children’s opportunities for engagement with multiliteracies. Invited profile presentation, Victoria University Autumn Research Seminar, Wellington, 26 May.

McLachlan, C. (2012, January).  Raising the quality of literacy teaching throughout NZ early childhood services. Keynote address to New Zealand Research in Early Childhood Education Conference, Wellington, 27 January.

McLachlan, C. (2011, February).  Quality and the role of the early childhood educator.  Invited keynote speech to Ruahine Kindergarten Association professional development day, Palmerston North, 27 January.

McLachlan, C. (2010, January).  Understanding the vital pathways for future learning: an analysis of New Zealand’s approach to early childhood education.  Invited Keynote Address presented to the SEAMEO 2010 policy forum, Shangri-La Hotel, Cebu City, Phillipines, 28 January 2010.

McLachlan, C. (2007, October).  Early literacy and the transition to school: issues for early childhood and primary education. Invited keynote address to the Early Literacy and Transition to School Conference, 24 October, Copthorne Solway Resort, Masterton.

McLachlan-Smith, C. J. (2001, June).  Emergent literacy in the kindergarten curriculum.  Keynote and workshops for Hutt Valley Kindergarten Association Professional Development day, Upper Hutt.

McLachlan-Smith, C. J. (2001, April).  Literacy in the early years.  Keynote speech and workshops, Teachers’ Refresher Course, Massey University College of Education, Palmerston North.

Refereed conference proceedings

Lim, R., Anthony, G. & McLachlan, C. (2014). Making the maths learning visible: An analysis of learning stories. Proceedings of MERGA, 29-3 July.

McLachlan, C. (2007, September).  Early literacy and Te Whāriki: how strong is the relationship. Proceedings of the Early Childhood Convention, Energy Events Centre, Rotorua.

Powell, K. & McLachlan, C. (2007). Starting with the child: opportunities and challenges for collaboration between health, social services and early childhood education. Proceedings of “Towards 2010: Capacity/ Sustainability/ Collaboration/ Innovation” conference, 23-24 October 2007, Palmerston North.

McLachlan, C.J., Carvalho, L., Kumar, K. & de Lautour, N. (December, 2005). What do I need to know about literacy when I get to school?  An examination of the relationship between early childhood and primary teachers’ beliefs about literacy on school entry. Paper presented at the NZARE conference, University of Otago, Dunedin.

McCormick, R. and McLachlan-Smith, C. (2000).  Through the looking glass: medical education in the millennium.  Proceedings of the DEANZ 2000 Conference, “Supporting the learner through open, distance and flexible learning strategies: Issues for Pacific countries, pp. 233-241.

McLachlan-Smith, C. and Tracey, J. (1998).  Distance education for doctors: a first foray into postgraduate education by distance for general practitioners.  Best practice, research and diversity in open and distance learning, Proceedings of the DEANZ conference, Rotorua, June, 1998,p.  215-222.

McLachlan-Smith, C.J., St.George, A. M. and Tunmer, W. E. (1995).  Emergent literacy in New Zealand Kindergartens: a summary of policy and practices.  Conference proceedings of the 6th Early Childhood Convention, Auckland, September, 1995, pp. 127-156.

McLachlan-Smith, C. J. (1992). Emergent literacy in New Zealand : an examination of policy and practices in New Zealand early childhood centres.  Conference proceedings of the 5th Early Childhood Convention, Dunedin, September, 1991, pp. 272 -283.

Associations

  • Elected Member of the Royal Society of New Zealand (MRSNZ)
  • New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE)
  • International Reading Association (IRA)
  • European Early Childhood Research Association (EECERA)
  • Early Childhood Australia (ECA)
  • OMEP New Zealand – Waikato chapter