Sandra Hesterman  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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    Dr Sandra Hesterman
    BEd (Primary), PostGradDip (Curriculum Design), GradCert (ECE), M.Ed (Res), PhD

    Senior Lecturer

    About me

    Prior to coming to Murdoch University in 2008, I taught extensively in early childhood and primary classrooms in Western Australia and Canada, both in the public and independent  school system. In 2004, I was awarded an ARC Australian Postgraduate Award to study the integration of ICT in Early Childhood Education under the supervision of Associate Professor Libby Lee-Hammond and Associate Professor Renato Schibeci.

    On completion of my PhD thesis, entitled Early Childhood Designs for Multiliterate Techno Tikes, I was appointed as a Lecturer to the School of Education. This position has involved teaching, research, and community service aimed at promoting quality and equity in Australian education. In 2011, I was appointed to Senior Lecturer in Education.

    Presently I teach undergraduate and graduate units relevant to early childhood  education. I also coordinate and supervise three professional experience teacher education practicums.

    Research students that I supervise have a special interest in one or more of the following areas:

    • language development in the early years
    • a pedagogy of multiliteracies
    • early childhood education pedagogy, principles and practice
    • education for sustainable development

    As Director of students enrolled in early childhood education courses at Murdoch University, I am strongly committed to providing support to students to assist them achieve their educational goals.

    Teaching area

    School of Education teaching areas include:

    EDN461: Language and Literacies in the Early Years

    This unit aims to prepare students for the teaching of language and literacies in the early years – birth to Year 3. It will build on the understandings, knowledge and skills introduced in English curriculum units and in Early Childhood units.

    EDN459: Action Learning  for Reflective Practitioners

    This unit is designed for teaching professionals in an early childhood education or inclusive primary education context. It requires the development, implementation and evaluation of a self-directed learning project based on action learning methodology. The project aims to improve and develop the student’s teaching skills. The project offers an opportunity for theoretical perspectives to be translated and critiqued within a teaching context.

    EDN432: Early Childhood Learning Environments

    This unit examines how indoor and outdoor experiences and environments can support early years learning. Case studies focused on the professional skills and knowledge necessary for the provision of safe, nurturing and inclusive environments are reviewed. Administrative and legislative requirements of workplace practice are examined.

    EDN537: Babies and Toddlers Growing and Learning

    This unit provides students with a socio-cultural perspective of children’s growth and learning across the developmental domains. A range of key concepts and contemporary issues pertaining to early childhood pedagogy, principles and practices that support and enrich children’s growth and learning (aged birth-3 years) are investigated.

    EDN566: Pedagogies for Literacy and Numeracy in the Early Years

    This unit aims to equip early childhood educators with sound knowledge and skills to effectively teach literacy and numeracy in the early years. The integration of literacy and numeracy across the curriculum will be explored, as will the role of the educator as an intentional teacher of literacy and numeracy in children’s play.

    Professional experience teaching practicums that I co-ordinate and supervise:

    EDN500: Professional Experience in Early Childhood Education

    Students complete a supervised six week professional experience in a school-based kindergarten/pre-primary.

    EDN536: Professional Experience in Early Childhood Education and Care

    Students complete a supervised six week professional experience in a Long Day-care Centre.

    Research areas

    During the past years my research has focused on how a pedagogy of multiliteracies can deliver both quality teaching and inclusive learning to students across the education spectrum; early childhood through to higher education. I believe that a pedagogy of multiliteracies has the potential to enrich literacy learning in new and creative ways, provide space to negotiate a multiplicity of discourses, and build learning conditions that can lead to full and equitable social participation for students.

    Strongly committed to the educational theory of social constructivism I am inspired by the educational practice of educators in Reggio Emilia who promote the concept of “100 languages” of learning and expression, and emphasise the importance of teachers providing respectful learning environments that value cultural and linguistic diversity in varied and authentic ways.

    Current projects

    In the wake of recent State and Federal Australian Government initiatives that have highlighted the importance of Early Childhood Education and the need to develop innovative strategies to up-skill the early childhood workforce I have established the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care courses at Murdoch University and redeveloped that Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary to be inclusive of ACECQA curriculum requirements. These courses ensure that Murdoch University students, who enrol from across Australia, develop professional expertise in the education and care of children aged birth to five years.

    Currently I am working with national and international colleagues to provide an Early Childhood Studies text (a critical companion) to provide a valuable international perspective on Early Childhood Education and Care for the student reader. I am also investigating how the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers framework is presently being transferred to the Long Daycare Centre context and how it can promote a common understanding and language for discourse between teachers, teacher educators, childcare organisations, and the general public.

    Awards and grants


    • Centre for Inclusive Schooling (Department of Education, 2003) award for ‘valuable contribution to the education of students with special needs’
    • Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) (Australian Research Council Linkage Project, 2003)
    • Service to Western Australian Education Award (Government of Western Australia Department of Education, 2009)
    • Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Early Career Award Nominee (Murdoch University, 2011)
    • Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence Nominee 2010-2011
    • Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence Nominee 2011-2012
    • Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award Recipient 2013
    • Murdoch University  Vice Chancellor’s Citations for Excellence in Enhancing Learning 2014


    • Murdoch University School of Education Research Grant (SERG) (2009): Research project to investigate extending Reggio Emilia principles in the middle school context
    • Department of Education Western Australia (2010): Provision of Consultants with Expertise in Early Childhood Services (with Libby Lee-Hammond)

    Events and speaking engagements

    Conferences & Presentations

    •  Hesterman, S. (2006). Star Wars Project. Symposium presentation for Industry Partners (IBM, ANSN, Global Multimedia, Dept. of Education WA, DET NSW, Vic. Schools Innovations Commission) on ARC Funded Research Project (LP0348656): A Pedagogy for Multiliteracies with ICT in ECE. Melbourne, 20 July
    • Hesterman, S. (2008). Multiliteracies. Conference presentation at the European Early Childhood Research Association (ECEERA) Conference, Stavanger, 3- 7 September.
    • Hesterman, S. (2009). The Willy Wagtail Tale: ICT, Multiliteracies and Community Connections.  Poster presented at the V International Conference on Multimedia and ICT in Education, Lisbon, Portugal, 22-24 April.
    • Hesterman, S. (2009) Early Childhood Designs for Multiliterate Techno Tikes. Conference presentation at WAIER (Western Australian Institute of Educational Research), Perth, 4 August.
    • Hesterman, S. (2011). Happiness in the Middle School Years. Conference  presentation at WAIER (Western Australian Institute of Educational Research), Perth, 13 August.
    • Hesterman, S. (2011). Crossing the Cultural Interface between Early Childhood Education and Child-Care Services. Conference paper presented at EECERA, Geneva, 14-17 September.
    • Hesterman, S., & Boase-Jelinek, D. (2013). Designing, Developing and Evaluating Authentic Online Educational Assessment. Presentation at the Teaching and Learning Forum, Murdoch University, Perth, 7-8 February.
    • Hesterman, S. (2013). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in Long Day-care Centres. Western Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Conference. Perth, 26-27 October.
    • Hesterman, S. & Boase-Jelinek, D. (2013) WAIER. The Digital Handshake: Student Contracts Facilitating Online Collaborative Learning, Perth, 10 August.
    • Hesterman, S. & Lee-Hammond, L. (2014). OMEP World Project 2013-2014: Equality for Sustainability. Children’s Ideas about Families’ Access to Food from a Perspective of Wealth and Poverty. Cork, 2-5 July.
    • Hesterman, S. (2015). OMEP World Project 2015-2016: Equality for Sustainability. Education for Sustainable Development. Seoul,11-12 January.
    • Hesterman, S. (2015). The Impact of Standardised Testing on Western Australian Education. Conference presentation at the Organisation Mondiale pour l’Education Préscolaire (World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and Care- OMEP) Conference. Washington DC, July 27-August 1.
    • Hesterman, S. (2015). Zentangle in the Early Years. Western Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Conference. Perth, 6-8 August.
    • Hesterman, S. (2015). Universal Access + Universal Assessment?  Conference presentation at the European Early Childhood Research Association (ECEERA) Conference. Barcelona, September 7-10 September.
    • Hesterman, S. (2015). A Play Strategy for Western Australia. Early Childhood Australia WA Key Stakeholders’ Forum. Perth, 17 November.
    • Hesterman, S. (2016). OMEP Presentation. Classical Guitar Association of WA. Applecross,19 June.
    • Hesterman, S. (2016). Play Strategy WA Initiative. Early Childhood Australia WA Branch Meeting. Perth, 19 July.
    • Hesterman, & Saratsis, M. (2017). Valuing High Quality Play: A Key Feature in WA Early Childhood Education? – A Play Strategy conversation. Child Australia. Perth, 31 March.
    • Hesterman, S. (2017). A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies in the Early Years of Schooling. Early Years Education Society. Perth, 20 May.

    Professional and community service

    Professional  membership

    • Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY)
    • Early Childhood Australia (ECA)
    • Early Years in Education Society (EYES)
    • Early Years Reference Group (EYRG)
    • European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA)
    • Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange (REAIE)
    • State School Teachers’ Union of Western Australia (SSTUWA)
    • Western Australian Institute for Educational Research (WAIER)
    • Organisation Mondiale pour l’Education Prescolaire (OMEP)(World Organisation for Preschool Education)

    Academic journal refereeing

    • McGill Journal of Education
    • Issues in Educational Research Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
    • Journal of Educational Psychology

    Univeristy and Community service

    • Murdoch Univeristy School of Education Academic Chair for Early Childhood Education (present)
    • Burdiya Aboriginal Corporation (Boss Learning Project) (2012)
    • Harmony Primary School Board Member (2011-2012)
    • Rural and Remote Education Advisory Council  to provide an overview on ECEC in Western Australia (2010)
    • West Australian Consultation Forum on Draft K-10 Australian Curriculum (2010)
    • Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs Consultation Forum on new National Regulations (2011)
    • Chair Murdoch University Fieldwork Committee (2013-2015)
    • Chair Early Childhood Australia WA Committee for Play Strategy Initiative for WA (2016-2017)


    Doctoral and masters supervisions

     Doctoral and Master of Education Supervision

    Doctoral theses under my supervision include:

    • Winnett, Amanda (MEd)
    • Parker, Diane (PhD)
    • Cumming, Fiona (PhD)




    • Hesterman, S., (2017),Designing environmentally sustainable multimodal provocations for early years learning environments,In: Early Childhood Education and Care for Sustainability: International Perspectives, Routledge, pages 137 to 151.
    • Hesterman, S., (2014),Policy into practice: implementing the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia from a Western Australian perspective,In: A Critical Companion to Early Childhood, Sage Publications Ltd, pages 240 to 249.


    • Hesterman, S., Targowska, A., (2019), The status-quo of play-based pedagogies in Western Australia, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, , , .
    • Hesterman, S., (2018), Too Young to Fail: Standardising Literacy in the Early Years of Schooling, Educational Practice and Theory, 40, 1, pages 5 - 28.
    • Hesterman, S., McAuliffe, G., (2017), Introducing Zentangle in the Early Years, Curriculum and Teaching, 32, 2, pages 61 - 88.
    • Hesterman, S., (2016), 'Time flies in California': multiliteracies bridging local diversity and global connectedness through a Reggio-inspired approach, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 1, , pages 1 - 17.
    • Hesterman, S., (2016), The Digital Handshake: A Group Contract for Authentic eLearning in Higher Education, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 13, 3, pages 0 - 0.
    • Hesterman, S., (2015), RIOT radio: Showcasing multiliteracies in a Reggio-inspired middle school, Australian Journal of Middle Schooling, 15, 2, pages 38 - 50.
    • Hesterman, S., (2015), Parent Perceptions of a Reggio Emilia inspired Middle School, Education and Society, 33, 1, pages 77 - 96.
    • Lee-Hammond, L., Hesterman, S., Knaus, M., (2015), What's in Your Refrigerator? Children's Views on Equality, Work, Money and Access to Food, International Journal of Early Childhood, 47, 3, pages 367 - 384.
    • Gardiner, V., Cumming-Potvin, W., Hesterman, S., (2013), Professional learning in a scaffolded 'multiliteracies book club': Transforming primary teacher participation, Issues in Educational Research, 23, 3, pages 357 - 374.
    • Hesterman, S., (2013), Early Childhood Designs for Multiliteracies Learning, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 36, 3, pages 158 - 168.
    • Hesterman, S., (2011), A contested space: The dialogic intersection of ICT, multiliteracies, and early childhood, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 12, 4, pages 349 - 361.
    • Hesterman, S., (2011), Extending Reggio Emilia Principles in the Middle School Context: A Western Australian Case Study, Educational Practice and Theory, 33, 1, pages 73 - 91.
    • Hesterman, S., (2011), Multiliterate Star Warians: The force of popular culture and ICT in early learning, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36, 4, pages 86 - 95.
    • Hesterman, S., (2009), The Willy Wagtail Tale: Knowledge Management and E-Learning Enriching Multiliteracies in the Early Years, Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal, 1, 4, pages 251 - 268.

    Other Publications