Staff Directory

Professor Susan Edwards Name: Professor Susan Edwards
+613 9953 3531
Organisational Area
Faculty of Education and Arts
Institute for Learning Sciences &Teacher Education
Building 461 - 232 Victoria Parade (232 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne VIC 3002)-Level 1-Room 461.1.12
Biographical Information

Associate Professor Susan Edwards is a Principal Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education at the Australian Catholic Univesity (ACU). Susan is a member of the Early Childhood Futures Research Program which focuses on researching issues associated with Professional Learning and Engagement in early childhood education, including young children's play, inter-agency work, digital technologies and media and sustainability. 

Susan achieved national recognition for excellence and innovation in her teaching through two awards from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council in 2006 (citation) and 2009 (full award).

Susan is co-editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education (with Associate Professor Joce Nuttall). She is also an editorial board member on two journals including Early Years: an International Journal of Research and Development )and the Australian Journal of Computing Education. She is also on the international advisory board of the Journal of Early Childhood Research.

Associate Professor Edwards has recently completed work as a lead Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant  (2010-2012) titled 'Examining play-based approaches to teaching and learning in early childhood education and care'. She is currently working as a Chief Investigator on another Australian Research Council Grant (2014-2016) titled ' Promoting healthy eating, active play and sustainability awareness in early childhood curricula: Addressing the Ben10™ problem.' She also has funded work with the Telematics Trust (2012-2014).

Susan is also one of three editors (with Dr Liz Brooker and Dr Mindy Blaise) of the recently published SAGE International Handbook on Play and Learning in Early Childhood Settings.


Selected Publications


 Cutter-Mackenzie, A. Edwards, S., Moore, D., & Boyd, W. (2014). Young children’s play and environmental education in early childhood education. Springer: Dordrecht.

MacLachlan, C., Edwards, S., Margrain, V. & McLean, K. (2013). Children’s learning and development: contemporary assessment in the early years. Palgrave McMillan: Melbourne.

MacLachlan, C, Fleer, M. & Edwards, S. (2013).   Early childhood curriculum: planning, assessment and implementation. Second edition. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

Edwards, S. (2009). Early childhood education and care: a sociocultural approach. Sydney, Australia: Pademelon Press.


Edited Books

Brooker, L., Blaise, M., Edwards, S. (2014). SAGE International Handbook on play and learning. SAGE Publishers: London.

Elliott, S., Edwards, S., Davis, J., CutterMackenzie, A. (2013). Early Childhood Australia’s Best of Sustainability. Research Practice and Theory. Early Childhood Australia: Canberra.

Brooker, L., & Edwards, S. (Eds.). (2010). Engaging  play. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Edwards, S., & Nuttall, J. (Eds.). (2009). Professional Learning in Early Childhood Settings. Netherlands: Sense Publications.

Fleer, M., Edwards, S., Hammer, M., Kennedy, A., Ridgway, A., Robbins, J., Surman, L. (Eds.). (2006). Early childhood learning communities.  Sociocultural research in practice. Pearson Education: NSW, Australia.


Journal – Special Issue (Guest Editor)

Edwards, S., & Sumison, J. (2011). Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Early Childhood Curriculum – Special Issue, 36, 1.


Book chapters

Edwards, S. (2013). Post-industrial play: understanding the relationship between traditional and converged forms of play in the early years. Chapter in J. Marsh., & A. Burke (Eds.), Children's Virtual Play Worlds: Culture, Learning, and Participation. Peter Lang: New York.

Nuttall, J. & Edwards, S. (2013). Diverse theories for diverse learners: the Australian Early Years Learning Framework. Chapter in J. Georgeson (Ed.), International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Care. London: Open University Press.

Edwards, S., & CutterMackenzie, A. (2013). ‘Next time we can be penguins’: expanding the concept of ‘learning play’ to support learning and teaching about sustainability in early childhood education. Chapter in O.Lillemyr, S. Dockett., & B. Perry (Eds.), International perspectives on play and early childhood education. New York: Information Age Publishing.

Cutter-Mackenzie, A., & Edwards, S. (2011). Everyday environmental education experiences: the role of content in early childhood education. Chapter in J. Szempruch., M. Kwaśniewska., & ASzplit (Eds.), Subjectivity in Education- various dimensions and contexts.

Brooker, L., & Edwards, S. (2010). Introduction. From challenging to engaging play. Chapter in L. Brooker & S. Edwards (Eds.), Engaging Play. Open University Press: London.

Edwards, S., CutterMackenzie, A., & Hunt, E. (2010). Framing play for learning: professional reflections on the role of open-ended play in early childhood education. Chapter in L. Brooker & S. Edwards (Eds.), Engaging Play. Open University Press: London.

Edwards, S. & Brooker, L. (2010). Afterword. In L. Brooker & S. Edwards (Eds.), Engaging Play. Open University Press: London.


Journal articles

 Bird, J., & Edwards, S. (in press, accepted 01.07.14). Children learning to use technologies through play: A Digital Play Framework. British Journal of Educational Technology.

 Bone, J., & Edwards, S. (in press, accepted 02.07.14). Peer assisted teaching and e-learning in higher education. Australian Journal of Adult Education.

 McLean, K., Edwards, S. Colliver, Y., & Schaper, C. (in press, accepted 20.01.14). Supported playgroups in schools: What matters for caregivers and their children? Australian Journal of Early Childhood.

 Edwards, S. (in press, accepted, 14/6/12). Towards contemporary play: sociocultural theory and the digital-consumerist context. Journal of Early Childhood Research.

 Skouteris, H., Edwards, S., Rutherford L., Cutter-MacKenzie, A., Huang T., & O’Connor, M. (2014).  Promoting healthy eating, active play and sustainability consciousness in early childhood curricula, addressing the Ben10™ problem: a randomised control trial. BMC Public Health, 14, 548. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-548.

 Nuttall, J., Edwards, S., Lee, S., Mantilla, A., & Wood, E. (2013). Kindergarten teachers’ interpretations of young children’s play in digital-consumerist contexts. Journal of Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2013(2), 54-62.

 Bird, J. Colliver, Y., & Edwards, S. (2014). The camera is not a methodology: towards a framework for understanding young children’s use of video cameras. Early Childhood Development and Care, DOI: 10.1080/03004430.2013.878711

 Cutter-Mackenzie, A., Edwards, S. & Widdop-Quiton, H. (2013). Child-Framed Video Research Methodologies: Issues, Possibilities and Challenges for Researching with Children. Childhood Geographies. DOI:10.1080/14733285.2013.848598

 Gronn, D., Scott, A., Edwards, S., & Henderson, M. (2013). ‘Technological me’: Young children’s use of technology across their home and school contexts. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. DOI:10.1080/1475939X.2013.813406

 Skouteris, H., Cox, R., Huang, T., Rutherford, L., Edwards, S., & Cutter-Mackenzie, A. (2013). Promoting obesity prevention together with environmental sustainability. Health Promotion International. DOI: 10.1093/heapro/dat007

 Edwards, S. & Cutter-Mackenzie, A. (2013). Pedagogical play-types: what do they suggest for learning about sustainability in early childhood education? International Journal of Early Childhood. DOI: 10.1007/s13158-013-0082-5.

 Edwards, S. (2013). Digital play in the early years: a contextual response to the problem of integrating digital technologies and play-based learning in the early childhood curriculum. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21(2), 199-212. (Special issue: Promoting play for a better future).

 Edwards, S. & Cutter-Mackenzie, A. (2013). Towards a model for early childhood environmental education: Foregrounding, developing and connecting knowledge through play-based learning. The Journal of Environmental Education, 44(3), 195-213.

Edwards, S., Skouteris, H., Rutherford, L., & Cutter-MacKenzie, A. (2013). “It’s all about Ben10™”-Children’s Play, Health and Sustainability Decisions in the Early Years. Early Child Development and Care, 183(2), 280-293.

Edwards, S., Moore, D., & Cutter-Mackenzie, A. (2012). Beyond ‘killing, screaming and being scared of insects’: learning and teaching about biodiversity in early childhood education.  EC Folio, 16(2), 12-16.

CutterMackenzie, A., Edwards, S., & Widdop-Quinton, H. (2012). The serious work of learning and sustainability in the early years. Eingana, 35 (3), 12-17.

Edwards, S., (2012). Teaching through assessment: merging technology and assessment in teacher in education. Teachers and Teaching,18 (5), 585-599.

Edwards, S., & Bone, J. (2012). Integrating peer assisted learning and elearning. Using innovative pedagogies to support learning and teaching in Higher Education settings. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(5), 1.

Souketeris, H., Cox, R., Haung, T., Rutherford, L., Edwards, S. & CutterMackenzie, A. (2012). Using social marketing to promote individual and environmental wellbeing: a new framework for ‘wholesome communities.’  Annals of Behavioural Medicine, 43(1), 1-6.

Edwards, S. (2011). Lessons from ‘a really useful engine’™: using Thomas the Tank Engine™ to examine the relationship between play as a leading activity, imagination and reality in children’s contemporary play worlds. Cambridge Journal of Education, 41, 2, 195-210.

Edwards, S., & Cutter-Mackenzie, A. (2011). Environmentalizing early childhood curriculum through play-based pedagogies. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36, 1, 51-59.

Skouteris, H., Do, M., Rutherford, L., Cutter-Mackenzie, A., & Edwards, S. (2010). Call for Research – The Consuming Child-in-Context in Unhealthy and Unsustainable Times..Australian Journal of Environmental Education , 26 (1), 33-46.

Edwards, S. (2010). ‘Numberjacks are on their way’:  A cultural historical reflection on contemporary society and the early childhood curriculum.  Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 18 (3), 261-272.



My research interests are focussed on dimensions of the early childhood curriculum, including theories and philosophies of learning and development, play based learning, teacher thinking and digital technologies. My current research is examining different approaches to play-based learning in early childhood settings and the role and relationship between consumption, digital technologies and children's play. Current research students I am working with are examining the role and use of play in early childhood curriculum, the use of sociocultural theory in early childhood education, children's play-based activities with digital technologies and the role of digital technologies in the early childhood curriculum. 

Professional Memberships


Early Childhood Australia

Australian Teacher Education Association

Australian Association for Research in Education

European Early Childhood Education Research Association







Have a question?


We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat
Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs