Dr Liz Chesworth BA (Hons) PGCE SFHEA PhD

Photograph of Dr Liz Chesworth

Lecturer in Early Childhood Education
Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 3626
Email: e.a.chesworth@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: 6.10, School of Education




Liz directs the full-time MA in Education: Early Childhood, and the Social and Historical Constructions of Childhood module on the BA in Education, Culture and Childhood. Her teaching is informed by her research and by her previous experiences of teaching young children. Liz encourages students to engage critically with issues associated with early childhood education. In her teaching, she creates opportunities to consider how beliefs, practices and policies are influenced by differing ideologies of childhood, education and wider society.
Liz is an experienced lecturer and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Before taking up her post at Sheffield, Liz worked at Leeds Beckett University where she developed, led and taught on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in play, early education and childhood. She has supervised many successful MA dissertations on a range of themes relating to childhood and education.

Other Experience

Liz spent fourteen years teaching in primary schools and children’s centres in Leeds. Her work with children and families has contributed to a strong interest in issues relating to social justice within educational policy and practice. Liz has participated in many collaborative projects with artists, landscape architects and community organisations to develop playful and creative experiences for young children and their families.

Research Interests

Research interests

Play and Peer Cultures

Liz’s research focusses upon play in early childhood. She is interested in the meanings and motivations that children ascribe to their play and how these may present alternative readings of play to those located within curriculum and policy frameworks. Liz has drawn upon children’s perspectives to explore issues of power, agency and choice within classroom peer cultures. She seeks to understand the ways in which children’s play interests are situated within their diverse social and cultural experiences at home and at school.

Research with Young Children

In her PhD research Liz used filmed footage of play as a provocation to explore the perspectives of children, parents and teachers. This approach enabled children to express their perspectives in multiple ways, including through non-verbal modes. Liz is interested in the ways in which researchers can develop ethical and meaningful ways of engaging with young children and their families.


Liz has presented her research at a range of national and international conferences. She is a reviewer for the International Journal of Early Years Education and Early Years: An International Research Journal.



Chesworth, L. (2016) A funds of knowledge approach to examining play interests: listening to children’s and parents’ perspectives, International Journal of Early Years Education, DOI: 10.1080/09669760.2016.1188370

Broadhead, P. and Chesworth, L. (2015) ‘Friendship, Culture and Playful Learning in Early Childhood Education’, in J. Moyles (Ed.) The Excellence of Play (4th edition), Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Chesworth, L. (2015) ‘A Deeper Understanding of Play’ in A. Brock (Ed.) The Early Years Reflective Practice Handbook, Oxford: Routledge.

Anning, A., Chesworth E, and Spurling, L. (2005) The Quality of Early Learning, Play and Childcare Services in Sure Start Local Programmes, Sure Start Report 9, Nottingham: DfES Publications.