Carmen Dalli

Prof Carmen Dalli profile picture

Professor School of Education


Teaching in 2019

Research interests

Early childhood education policy; infants and toddlers; early development; ec teacher education


PhD Well, MEd Brist, BA(Hons) Malta


My research spans early childhood policy studies, professionalism in the early years, and under-three year olds in early childhood settings. Within these areas I have a strong interest in children’s transitions from home to their first early childhood setting, the nature of learning in the first years, children’s negotiations of peer interactions and the links between peer culture and children’s sense of well-being and belonging.

Current projects

  • War and Peace in the Nursery: How do young children negotiate conflict to establish belonging and well-being in a multi-ethnic NZ early childhood centre? This is a 3-year Marsden-funded project (2017-2020) exploring how language and embodied actions are used to manage conflict and establish a sense of belonging and well-being in an early learning setting. (with Prof Miriam Meyerhoff).
  • Professionalism and ethical practice in Early Childhood Services. This survey-based study replicates two national postal surveys sent at ten-year intervals since 1994 to a randomly stratified sample of early childhood settings. The survey explores how New Zealand early childhood practitioners deal with difficult situations in daily practice, and teacher views of early years professionalism.(with Drs Sue Cherrington and Michael Johnston)
  • Sage Handbook of Early Childhood Policy. Co-edited with Professor Emerita Linda Miller, Open University, Professor Claire Cameron, Institute of Education, University of London, and Dr Nancy Barbour, James Madison University. Expected publishing date: end 2017.
  • Policy and Pedagogy with Under-three Year Olds: Cross-disciplinary Insights and Innovations. A new Co-edited with Assoc Professor E. Jayne White, University of Waikato. This book is the first in a series that A/Prof E.J. White are jointly editing for Springer. The series is entitled: The first book in the series became available at the end of 2016.

Recently completed projects

  • Infants and toddlers as learners: Pedagogy in the early years. Co-ordinating director. Funded by a Teaching, Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) grant from the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (2009-2010).
  • Quality early childhood education for under-twos: A literature review. Principal investigator: Funded by the Ministry of Education (2009-2010).
  • A Day-in-the-life of an early years practitioner: A 6-country collaborative project. Joint project co-ordinator with Prof Linda Miller from the Open University, Milton Keynes and Dr Mathias Urban, University of East London. Funded by Faculty Research Grant (2006-2009).


I welcome supervision enquiries from students interested in: early childhood policy; infant and toddler pedagogy; young children’s (0-5 years) experiences in early childhood services, including home-based settings; teacher perspectives of their practice; early years professionalism.


Qualitative or mixed-method methodologies

Recently Completed Supervision

Doctoral thesis completions

Maraea Hunia (December 2015). A qualitative study of the bilingual first language acquisition (BFLA) of two young children in a bilingual English-Māori speaking (BEMS) environment.

Dinh Thi Doan Huong (December 2014). Reconceptualising the new early childhood curriculum in Vietnam: Early childhood teachers’ perspectives.

Master’s thesis completions

Lukmanul Hakim (March 2015). Early childhood practitioners' insights on professionalism: views from Indonesia.

Recent publications

Edited Books and journal special editions

White, E.J., & Dalli, C. (2017). Under-three year olds in policy and practice. Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg London New York.

Dalli, C. & Meade, A. (2016). Research, Policy and Advocacy for Young Children. Wellington. New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Miller, L. & Dalli, C. (Guest editors)(2014). International Journal of Early Years Education, 22:3.

Articles and book chapters

Dalli, C. (2017). Tensions and challenges in Professional Practice with under-threes: A New Zealand reflection on early childhood professionalism as a systemic phenomenon. In E.J. White & C. Dalli (Eds). Policy and Pedagogy with under-three-year olds. (pp. 115-129). Dordrecht. Springer.

Dalli, C., Te One, S., & Pairman, A. (2017). Les défis de la recherche avec les enfants dans les structures éducatives. In P. Garnier & S. Rayna (Eds). Recerches avec les jeunes enfants. Perspectives internationales. (pp.135-155). Bruxelles.P.I.E/ Peter Lang

Dalli, C. & White, E.J. (2017). Policy and pedagogy for birth-to-three year olds. In In E.J. White & C. Dalli (Eds) Policy and Pedagogy with under-three-year olds. (pp. 1-14). Dordrecht. Springer

Dalli, C. (2016) Research, policy and advocacy in the early years: An introduction. In C. Dalli & A. Meade (Eds). Research, Policy and Advocacy for Young Children. (pp.1-11). Wellington. New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Dalli, C. & White, E.J. (2016). Group-based early education and care for under-2-year olds: Quality debates, pedagogy and lived experience. In A. Farrell, S.L. Kagan & E. K. M. Tisdall (2016) (Eds).The Sage Handbook of Early Childhood Research. Chapter 3, pp. 36-54. Sage: Los Angeles/London/ New Delhi/ Singapore/ Washington DC.

Freeman, S., Pickering, A., & Dalli, C. (2016) Montessori early childhood education in New Zealand: Re-discovering the spirit of reflection and inquiry through recent policy changes. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 41 (2), 69-76.

Guo,K. & Dalli, C. (2016). Belonging as a force for agency: An exploration of immigrant children’s everdaylife in early childhood settings. Global Studies of Childhood, 1-14. DOI: 10.1177/2043610616665036

Hakim, L. & Dalli, C. (2016) “To be professional is a never-ending journey”: Indonesian early childhood practitioners’ views about the attitudes and behaviours of a professional teacher. Early Education, an International Research Journal.

Dalli, C. (2015 re-printed). Re-visioning love and care in early childhood. Constructing the future of our profession. The First Years Nga Huarahi Arataki. 17(2), 19-25.



Teaching in 2019