Christine Robinson (nee McGunnigle)

BA (Ed) B.Ed (Primary) Grad Cert (Special needs) MREd (UNDA) MEd Hons (Early Childhood)(UWA) PhD (UNDA)

Senior Lecturer, Early Childhood Degree Coordinator

Email: christine.robinson@nd.edu.au
Phone: 9433 0178

  • Biography

    Christine Robinson is the coordinator of the early childhood programs including the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood & Care: 0-8 years), the Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood and the Master of Education (Early Childhood). Christine taught within the Catholic Education system where she has held the positions of classroom teacher in the early childhood and primary years as well as Assistant Principal Religious Education.

    Christine holds a PhD in young children's spirituality, a Master’s of Education in early childhood from the University of Western Australia and a Masters of Education in religious education from the University of Notre Dame. She specialises in teaching within early childhood and religious education across the undergraduate and post graduate degrees.

    Christine is currently working on a number of projects, including an international project, G.R.A.C.E (Global Research Advancing Catholic Education) which brings together the University of Notre Name, Mary Immaculate College in Limerick and Boston College to create a community of practice around issues in Catholic Education. In addition, Christine is a member of the Notre Dame RELATE team that seeks to address the demise of play in early childhood settings by actively researching in the area and providing professional development within the sectors.

  • Teaching areas

    Christine has over ten years tertiary teaching experience that has been predominately specialized in the area of early childhood education and care. Specifically, the area of teaching have included;

    • Early Childhood (birth to eight years)
      • play and play-based pedagogies across early learning contexts
      • pedagogical practices in the early years
      • early years curriculum
      • early years assessment
      • early years policy: National Quality Standard and Early Years Learning Framework
    • Young Children’s Spirituality
    • Primary Religious Education across the early years and primary school years

    Undergraduate courses taught

    • EDUC4001 Families & Partnerships in Teaching and Learning
    • EDUC2001 Planning and Evaluation in Early Childhood
    • EDUC2595 Teaching Method 1
    • EDUC2000 Play and Pedagogy
    • EDUC2618 Principles of Primary RE 1
    • EDUC3619 Principles of Primary RE 2
    • EDUC4146 Prep for Internship
    • EDUC4133 Professional & Legal Responsibilities

    Postgraduate courses taught

    • EDUC6960/4960 Spiritual & Religious Development of Young People
    • EDUC6003 Holistic Development in Early Childhood
    • EDUC6004 Curriculum Development in Early Childhood
  • Research expertise and supervision

    Christine’s research is focussed in the area of early childhood education and development. Research to date has specifically focussed on play-based pedagogies across birth to 8 year old settings; early years curriculum; young children’s spirituality; early childhood teachers’ understandings of and practices in young children’s spirituality; Religious Education in the early years; the development of spiritual and religious capabilities within Catholic Primary schools; and spiritual and faith formation of teachers.

    Weblinks: ORCiD- https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8938-2994

    Current research projects

    • 2018 – ongoing G.R.A.C.E (Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education): Lead Robinson, C.
      As the project lead, Christine is involved in all aspects of G.R.A.C.E, a long-term international partnership project between The University of Notre Dame Australia, Mary Immaculate College Limerick in Ireland and Boston College in the United States. The aim of G.R.A.C.E is to bring together researchers and practitioners in Catholic education to become an interdisciplinary community of practice. G.R.A.C.E facilitates international forums to generate research collaboration through the development of an interdisciplinary community of practice. Focusing on the themes of head (Catholicity), heart (spirituality) and hands (social justice) the interdisciplinary community of practice will contribute to international research within Catholic education.
    • 2012 – ongoing Irish Neighbourhood Play Project: Lead O’Connor, D.
      Christine collaborates on the Irish Neighbourhood Play Project. This is a large scale international play research project on neighbourhood play in Ireland and the UK. The project seeks to draw educational implications from children’s out of school play activities.
    • 2018 – ongoing Irish Comparative Project of Pre-service Teacher Perspectives of Childcare: Lead O’Connor, D
      This comparative project seeks to investigate the way in which pre-service teachers perceive the childcare sector and mirrors the research completed at the University of Notre Dame as described in the project Pre-service Teacher Perspectives of Childcare. Colleagues in Ireland approached the RELATE team with interest in the research we had conducted with our pre-service early childhood teachers and sought to replicate the study with their own pre-service teachers.
    • 2019-2021 The T.I.T.U.S Project (Testament In Teachers Using Scripture) : Lead Robinson, C.
      As the lead for this project, Christine works with industry partners, the Catholic Institute of Western Australia (CIWA) and the Catholic Education Office of Western Australia (CEWA), to investigate Catholic early childhood teachers’ spiritual and faith formation experiences through the use of scripture. The project comprises of four professional development sessions delivered by CIWA to early childhood teachers that provide participants with a range of opportunities to experience personal spiritual and/or religious formation.
    • 2015 – Ongoing  Spiritual and Religious Capabilities: Lead Robinson, C.
      I collaborate with Professor Chris Hackett, and have done so over several years, to propose that spiritual and religious capabilities exist alongside the Australian National Curriculum. This project involves collecting data from Catholic early childhood, primary and secondary teachers regarding practices they already engage with that align with our proposal for spiritual and religious capabilities.
    • 2019-2021 AISWA Project: Beyond Compliance: Lead O’Connor, D.
      AISWA initiated this project by seeking out our expertise as leaders in early childhood. In particular, the impetus for this project was the publication of the book which Christine is lead author, Learning through play: Creating a play-based approach within early childhood contexts, and this book has been widely adopted by AISWA as a resource for their teachers.

    Completed research projects

    • 2013-2016 Portland-Fremantle Professional Status Project: Lead Robinson, C.
      During Christine’s sabbatical to the University of Portland, Oregon, she initiated a research project to explore comparative perspectives of teachers’ professional status.
    • 2014-2016 Pre-service Teacher Perspectives of Childcare: Lead O’Connor, D.
      The research within this project investigates the perceptions and expectations held by pre-service teachers at the University of Notre Dame regarding the childcare sector both generally and in relation to their requirement to complete a childcare practicum within the early childhood degree. The findings present the views of pre-service teachers both before and after their exposure to practice within childcare following a ten week (childcare) practicum.
    • 2014 The EYLF for Toddlers: Lead O’Connor, D.
      This collaborative research project with the University of Western Australia centres on researching play-based pedagogical approaches to best practice in the fulfilment of national policy within centre based programmes that cater for children aged 2-3 years.

    Research grants

    • O’Connor, D & Robinson, C. (2019-2021). Beyond Compliance ($120 000). AISWA Project Grant: Australia.
    • Robinson, C. & O’Connor, D. (2019-2021). Industry Grant (in-kind) for G.R.A.C.E Project ($5000 per year)
    • Bate, F., MacNish, J & Robinson, C. (2011-2012). Mobile Learning in Early Childhood ($45 000) Public Education Endowment Trust Grant: Australia.

    Current higher degree by research students

    • Tania Hicks (EdD). The spiritual growth of girls in Mercy secondary schools in Western Australia: The perceptions of post-school women. Co-supervisor Prof Chris Hackett.
    • Genevieve Johnson (PhD). An exploration into teachers’ perspectives of pedagogical love within the context of the first year of primary school in Victoria. Co-supervisor Assoc Prof Dee O’Connor.
    • Samantha Wynne (PhD). Brunerian theory within Reggio Emilian Inspired Practice. Co-supervisor Assoc Prof Dee O’Connor.
    • Danielle McEwen (EdD). Early Years Literacy TBC. Co-supervisor Assoc Prof Dee O’Connor.
    • Rebecca Garland (EdD). Topic TBC. Co-supervisor Assoc Prof Dee O’Connor.
    • Danika See (MPhil) Lived Experiences of guidance approaches to behaviour: A phenomenological study of educators and children. Co-supervisor Assoc Prof Dee O’Connor.
  • Books

    • Robinson, C., Treasure, T., O’Connor, D., Neylon, G., Harrison, C. & Wynne, S. (2018). Learning  through play: creating a play-based approach within early childhood contexts. Australia:  Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780190304829
  • Book chapters

    • Robinson, C. & Hackett, C. (2019). Engagement in Religious Education: Focussing on Spiritual and Religious Capabilities. In M. T. Buchanan and A. M. Gellel Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education Volume II: Learning and Leading in a Pluralist World (Eds). Victoria: Springer
    • Robinson, C. & Grajczonek, J. (2019). The dilemma of Catholic early years’ educators: Teaching religious education while remaining faithful to young children’s innate In M. T. Buchanan and A. M. Gellel (Eds). Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education Volume II: Learning and Leading in a Pluralist World (Eds) Victoria: Springer
    • Harrison, C. & Robinson, C. (2017). Looking Deeper: Play and the spiritual dimension. In S. Lynch, D. Pyke and C. a beckett (Eds). Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Play from Birth and Beyond. Australia: Springer.
    • McGunnigle, C. (2014). Teaching and Learning Strategies in the Early Years. In J. Grajczonek and M. Ryan (Eds). Growing in Wisdom. QLD: Lumin Press.
    • McGunnigle, C. (2015). Early Childhood Lesson Plans (resources) in R. Killen, Effective Teaching Strategies, 7th Edition. VIC: Cengage
    • McGunnigle, C. (2013). Teaching and Learning Strategies in the Early Years. In J. Grajczonek and M. Ryan (Eds). Growing in Wisdom. QLD: Lumin Press.
  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • Fic, J., & Robinson, C. (2020). Early childhood teachers’ spiritual and faith formation experiences: Initial findings from the T.I.T.U.S. project. Journal of Religious Education, 68(1), 91-106. doi:10.1007/s40839-020-00096-5
    • Robinson, C. (2019). Young children's spirituality : A focus on engaging with nature. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 44(4), 339-350. doi:10.1177/1836939119870907
    • Robinson, C. (2019). Young Children’s Spirituality: A Focus on Engaging with Nature. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Melbourne: ECA.
    • Law-Davis, S., Robinson, C., Fic, J., & Mola, R. (2019).  Godly play: Pre-service teachers’ perspectives on teaching scripture in primary Religious Education. E-Journal of Catholic Education in Australasia, 3(1), 1-22. Retrieved from https://researchonline.nd.edu.au/ecea/vol3/iss1/11.
    • O’Connor, D., Robinson, C., Cranley, L., Johnson, G., & Robinson-Cook, A. (2019). Love in education: West Australian early childhood pre-service teachers’ perspectives on children’s right to be loved and its actualisation within their future practice. Early Child Development and Care. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2019.1574778
    • Robinson, C., O’Connor, D., Wildy, H., & Neylon, G. (2018). Contemporary perspectives of the child in action: An investigation into children’s connectedness with, and contribution to, the world around them. Education 3-13, 1-11. doi:10.1080/03004279.2018.1457704
    • Cranley, L., Johnson, G., Robinson, C., & O'Connor, D. (2018). Belonging, being and becoming active citizens. Asia Pacific Journal of Advanced Business and Social Studies, 4(1), 176-182.
    • Robinson, C. (2017). Constructing quality childcare: Perspectives of quality and their connection to belonging, being and becoming. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 13(1), 50-64.
    • O'Connor, D., Robinson, C., McCormack, M. & O'Rourke, V. (2016) Children's choices: the technology choices that children make within their free time. Influences and implications, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp. 3037-3042. ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4. ISSN: 2340-1117. doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1662
    • O'Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., McCormack, M., MacLaughlin, P., Angus, J., & O'Rourke, V. (2015). Playing for life: the results of the Irish neighbourhood play research project and their implications for education. International Journal of Play.
    • Wildy, H., Neylon, G., O’Connor, D. & McGunnigle, C. (2015). A Rights-based Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia: Applying a Standards Framework. ECER: Budapest.
    • O’Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., Treasure. T., & Davie. S. (2015) Educator identities. Emerging issues within personal and professional identities; changes experienced by Australian pre-service teachers following professional exposure to educational practice within childcare settings. Early Child Development and Care, 185(1), 1331-1342. doi 10.1080/03004430.2014.993626.
    • McGunnigle, C. (2015). Lesson planning resources InR. Killen (Ed.), Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from Research and Practice (7th ed.). Cengage: Victoria.
    • McGunnigle, C. & Hackett, C. (2015). Spiritual and Religious Capabilities in Catholic Schools. E-Journal of Catholic Education in Australasia 2(1), 1-36.
    • McGunnigle, C. (2012). Lesson planning resources In R. Killen (Ed.), Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from research and practice (6th ed.). Cengage: Victoria.
    • Conference papers
    • O'Connor, D. Robinson, C. McCormack, M., & O'Rourke, V. (2018, July 2-4). Playing outdoors: Implications for creative development. A contextualised discussion of the findings from the Irish neighbourhood play study. Paper presented at EDULEARN18, Palma, Spain. doi10.21125/edulearn.2018.2123.
    • O'Connor, D. Treasure, T. Robinson, C. McCormack, M., & O'Rourke, V. (2017, Nov 16-18). Is play disappearing? Instances of no-play in children’s neighbourhoods: Implications for learning, development and curriculum. Paper presented at ICERI2017, Seville, Spain. doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1323.
    • O'Connor, D. Treasure, T. Robinson, C. McCormack, M., & O'Rourke, V. (2017, Nov 16-18). Child’s play: The developmental benefits of the play choices of modern children: implications for school curricula. Paper presented at ICERI2017, Seville, Spain. doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1328
    • O'Connor, D., Robinson, C. McCormack, M., & O'Rourke, V. (2017, July 3-5). The age of imagination: Imagining play and invention: Implications for creative development. Paper presented at EDULEARN17, Barcelona, Spain. doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2042
    • O'Connor, D., Robinson, C., McCormack, M., & O'Rourke, V. (2017, July 3-5). Boys and girls come out to play: Gender differences in children’s play patterns. Paper presented at EDULEARN17, Barcelona, Spain. doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2042.
    • O'Connor, D., Robinson, C., McCormack, M. & O'Rourke, V. (2017). The influences of opportunity. Differences in children's play choices across diverse communities in Ireland. Paper presented at INTED17, Barcelona, Spain, pp. 6335-6341. doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1469.
    • O'Connor, D., Robinson, C., McCormack, M. & O'Rourke, V. (2017). Is it time for the risky classroom? Dealing with risk and uncertainty is a natural part of adult life. Yet modern children are shielded from risk at every opportunity. A pedagogical shift is required. Paper presented at INTED17, Barcelona, Spain, 6471-6477. doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1490.
    • Wildy, H., Neylon, G., O’Connor, D., & McGunnigle, C. (2016). Juggling philosophy, policy and Practice: Tensions in Early Childhood Education and Care. European Educational Research Association, Conference paper Dublin. Retrieved from https://eera-ecer.de/ecerprogrammes/conference/21/contribution/37451/
    • O'Connor, D., Robinson, C., McCormack, M. & O'Rourke, V. (2016) Let's get real: are today's children playing with nature? Do the educational aspirations of the nature play movement emerge within children's neighbourhood play? Paper presented at EDULEARN16, Barcelona, Spain, 3123-3129. doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1680.
    • O'Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., Davie, S., Waggoner, J., Treasure, T. & Cranley, L. (2015). Who am I in the eyes of the World? A comparative study of pre-service teachers’ perceptions of early childhood educators’ professional status in their community. Australian and American perspectives. Paper presented at ICERI Seville Spain, doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.0659.
    • McGunnigle, C., O'Connor, D.,  Waggoner, J.,  Treasure, T.,  Cranley, L. &  Davie, S. (2015). It’s okay, I’m a…teacher. Is professional status important to teachers? Paper presented at EDULEARN15, Barcelona, Spain, 15.
    • O'Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., Wildy, H. & Neylon, G. (2015). Looking within to build strong foundations of personhood: The importance of early years’ teacher’s reflective practice in the formation of a positive sense of identity in the children they work with. Paper presented at EDULEARN15, Barcelona, Spain.
    • O'Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., Treasure, T. & Davie, S. (2014). We are all educators…or are we? Changes in perceptions of the Childcare sector by Australian Pre-Service teachers following professional exposure to educational practice within Childcare settings. Paper presented at EDULEARN14, Barcelona, Spain.
    • O’Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., Treasure. T. & Davie. S. (2014). Shall we play us and them or all together now? Leadership opportunities for cohesiveness and unity within a fractured Western Australian Early Childhood Education Sector. Paper presented at IATED, Valencia, Spain. ISBN 978-84-616-0763-4.
    • O’Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., Treasure. T. & Davie. S. (2014). Teachers who care and carers who educate. Professional status issues and differences in pay and conditions are resulting in a tale of division within our Early Childhood Community. Paper presented at IATED, Valencia, Spain.
  • Presentations

    • Early Childhood Australia National Conference (September, 2019)
      O’Connor, D., Robinson, C. & Wynne, S. Beyond Compliance: AISWA Project initial Findings.
    • The Australian Institute for Theological Education (BBI-TAITE) RE Conference (September, 2019)
      Fic, J & Robinson, C. (2019). The T.I.T.U.S project: Early childhood teachers’ experience of a spiritual and faith formation program using scripture.
    • Mathematics Association of Victoria (accepted for November, 2019)
      Cranley, C., Hine, G. & Robinson, C. (accepted). Parental Perceptions of NAPLAN Results: Who’s telling the Truth?  Paper to be presented at the Mathematics Association of Victoria Conference. https://www.mav.vic.edu.au/conference-2019.html.
    • International Conference on Catholic religious Education in Schools (2018)
      Robinson, C. & Grajczonek, J. (2018). The dilemma of Catholic early years’ educators: Teaching religious education while remaining faithful to young children’s innate spiritualties. Presented at the International Conference on Catholic Religious Education in Schools (7-10 Feb 2018), Malta.
    • Robinson, C. & Hackett, C. (2018). Engagement in Religious Education: Focussing on Spiritual and Religious Capabilities. Presented at the International Conference on Catholic Religious Education in Schools (7-10 Feb 2018), Malta.
    • Early Years in Education Society Conference (2017) Robinson, C & O’Connor, D. (2017).
      The future of play: Challenges and opportunities. Conference presentation, Perth.
    • National Catholic Education Commission Conference (2016) Robinson, C. & Hackett, C. (2016).
      Spiritual and Religious Capabilities. Presented at the national Catholic Education Commission Conference, June 2016, Perth.
    • UNDA School of Education Conference (2015) Robinson, C. & Neylon, G. (2015).
      EYLF in Action: What can we learn about 2-3 year old contexts for learning? Presented at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle.
    • University of Portland Catholic Education Conference (2013) McGunnigle, C. (2013).
      Arts Integration in Religious Education. Catholic Education Conference, University of Portland, Oregon.
  • Professional affiliations

    2018 – current  OMEP WA Branch of Early Childhood: Committee Member
    2015- current    Early Childhood Australia Member

  • Community engagement

    • Telethon Kids “Collaboration” Committee (CoLab) 2016
    • Invited panelist on CEWA School-based LEAD Awards 2015-2016
    • Religious Education and Curriculum Committee at CEWA 2013-2016
    • Professional Community Engagement
    • Beaconsfield Primary School Board: Community representative 2017-2019
  • Journal Reviewer

    • Teacher Educator (2017 onwards) Q3 ranked
    • Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education (2018 onwards) Q2 ranked
  • Editorial Board Member

    • The International Journal of Children’s Spirituality (from 2018 onwards) Q1 ranked
    • E-Journal of Catholic Education in Australasia (from 2018 onwards)
    • International Journal of Whole Schooling (2017 onwards)
  • Awards

    • 2019 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning​
      Awarded to the RELATE TEAM (Researching Early Learning and Teacher Education) and awarded a citation for leadership and scholarship   which embraces a collaborative partnership approach to enriching learning, teaching, and the student experience in the Early Childhood Education and Care programs.
    • 2019 West Australian Institute for Educational Research Award
    • Education Publishers Awards Australia (EPAA) 2019: WINNER for the book which Christine was lead author Learning through play: Creating a play-based approach within early childhood contexts
    • 2017 Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Initiatives that Enhance Student Learning (UNDA National)
    • 2017 3-Minute Thesis UNDA Award Winner and National Representative 2017
    • 2015 Catherine McCauley Award for Women in Leadership
    • 2011 and 2014 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
    • 2013 UniJobs Lecturer of the Year Nomination