Professor Elizabeth Ann Wood, BA (Hons), PGCE, Certificate in the Advanced Study of Education, MEd, PhD

Staff profile photoProfessor of Education
Head of School
Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 8172

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I teach on the MA ECE Distance Learning programme, and on the EdD Part 1 strands in Education Studies and Early Childhood Education.

I supervise EdD and PhD students from many countries, and have supervised around 20 doctoral students to completion.



My research focuses mainly on early childhood and primary education, with specific interests in play and pedagogy; curriculum and assessment in ECE; teachers’ professionalism and professional knowledge; policy analysis and critique. My work on play has international reach and influence, and I am Visiting Professor at the University of Auckland, and Australian Catholic University Melbourne.

With colleagues in Australian Catholic University and Monash University I am currently researching the ways in which children are blending digital and traditional play, and the implications for curriculum and pedagogy. I am a Co-Investigator (with Dr Liz Chesworth, Principal Investigator, and Dr Sharon Curtis) on a project funded by the Froebel Trust on understanding the relationships between children’s interests, play and pedagogy in a multi-diverse early childhood setting. Another project, also with colleagues in Australian Catholic University and Monash University, focuses on how early childhood practitioners develop leadership of practice.

I have worked with a range of European organisations and I have provided policy and practice guidance to governments (England, Switzerland, Ireland) on play, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. My work has influenced the development of Aistear, the early childhood framework in Ireland, and I have worked with the National Union of Teachers on developing guidance for play.



Recent Funded Projects

  • 2017-18 Understanding practitioners’ curriculum decision-making to support complexity in children’s play in
    a super-diverse pre-school setting. Froebel Trust Liz Chesworth (PI), Elizabeth Wood (Co-I) £57,000
  • 2017-2020 Learning-rich leadership for quality improvement in early education, (EAW Partner Investigator with Joce Nuttall and Linda Evans (Chief Investigators)(Australian Catholic University and Monash University) $AUD 518,683.
  • 2015-17 Teachers’ knowledge of children’s digital play, Australian Research Council, $AU 275,000, (EAW CPartner Investigator with Susan Edwards and Joce Nuttall, (Principal Investigators, Australian Catholic University), Susan Grieshaber, (Monash University).
  • 2015-16 How Initial teacher Education prepares student teachers for teaching about diversity in the
    classroom. PPMI, 72,000 Euros.
  • 2013-14 Videogames Research Networking: Developing videogames and play for hospitalised children, Arts and Humanities Research Council (Elizabeth Wood PI, Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice Co-I) £26,000
  • 2013 Evaluation ‘Made in Sheffield’, University of Sheffield and Master Cutlers £10,000 (with Dr Sabine Little)


Click here for Journal Articles


Payler, J., Georgeson, J. and Wood, E. (Eds) (2017) BERA/TACTYC Academic Review of Early Childhood Education 2003-2016 (available here)

Wood, E. (2013) Play, Learning and the Early Childhood Curriculum, London, Sage (3rd edition)

Wood, E., Levinson, M., Postlethwaite, K. and Black, A. (2011) Equity Matters. Research report for Education International, Brussels, EI

Books Chapters

Wood, E. (2017). Listening to young children: Multiple voices, meanings and understandings. In C. Cable, L. Miler, & G. Goodliff (Eds.), Working with Children in the Early Years (2nd ed., pp. 208–219). Oxon: Routledge.

Basford, J. and Wood, E. (2017) Assessment in Early Childhood Education: two readings, many lenses. Jaipaul Roopnarine, James Johnson, Suzanne Quinn, Michael Patte (Eds) International Handbook of Early Childhood Education. New York, Routledge

Wood, E. (2016) Interpretivist research in play: the illumination of complexity, in S. Farrell, S.L. Kagan, and E.K.M. Tisdall (Eds) The Sage Handbook of Early Childhood Research, London Sage. 291-303.

Wood, E. (2015) Beyond Ethics in In D. Yamada-Rice and E. Stirling (eds) Visual Methods with Children and Young People: Academics and visual Industries in Dialogue. Palgrave. 129-139

Wood, E. (2015) ‘I wonder why our dog has been so naughty?’ Thinking differently from the perspective of play, S. Robson and S. F. Quinn (Eds), Routledge International Handbook of Young Children’s Thinking and Understanding. Abingdon, Routledge . 19-30

Wood. E. (2015) The capture of play within policy discourses: a critical analysis of the UK frameworks for early childhood education. J.L. Roopnarine, M. Patte, J.E. Johnson and D. Kuschner (Eds) International Perspectives on Children’s Play. Maidenhead, Open University Press.

Wood, E. (2013) The play-pedagogy interface in contemporary debates, in E. Brooker, S. Edwards, M. Blaise (Eds) The Sage Handbook on Play and Learning. London, Sage.

Wood, E. (2013) Contested concepts in educational play: a comparative analysis of early childhood policy frameworks in New Zealand and England. In J. Nuttall (Ed) Weaving Te Whāriki: Ten Years On. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.