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Personal profile


Helen Little is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood and Associate Course Director (Early Childhood) in the Department of Educational Studies. She has been working in the early childhood sector for the last nineteen years. Since 2001 she has been at Macquarie University lecturing, teaching and studying. Prior to this she was an early childhood teacher with experience teaching in preschools and primary schools in Sydney. 


Helen’s primary area of research examines individual, social and environmental factors influencing children’s engagement in risk-taking behaviour in outdoor play. Her current focus relates to how the physical features of the outdoor environment and teaching practices impact on children's experiences of risk-taking in play. 

Helen lectures and teaches outdoor learning, Professional Experience (practicum), and child development at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is interested in early childhood teacher education including outdoor pedagogy as part of the student experience in practicums. Helen is interested in all aspects of children's development however she has a particular focus on physical and motor development. She currently convenes:

  • ECHE118 (Academic Co-ordinator) Infancy and Early Development
  • ECHE310 (Academic Co-ordinator) Play-based Curriculum: Discovery and Creativity in Outdoor Environments
  • ECHP325 (Academic & Professional Experience Co-ordinator) Professional Experience 5
  • ECED602 (Academic Coordinator) Early Childhood Development

Helen is currently the Early Childhood Australia representative on the Standards Australia Committee for Playgrounds and Play Equipment.

She is also a Department of Educational Studies representative on the Mia Mia Child and Family Study Centre Advisory Board. 


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Risk-Taking Medicine & Life Sciences
childhood Social Sciences
playground Social Sciences
Norway Medicine & Life Sciences
learning Social Sciences
parents Social Sciences
Safety Medicine & Life Sciences
museum Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2012 2017

Research Outputs 2006 2019


Early childhood education environments: affordances for risk-taking and physical activity in play

Wyver, S. & Little, H., 2018, Physical activity and health promotion in the early years: effective strategies for early childhood educators. Brewer, H. & Renck Jalongo, M. (eds.). Cham, Switzerland: Springer, Springer Nature, p. 41-55 15 p. (Educating the young child: advances in theory and research, implications for practice; vol. 14).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


Outdoor learning environments: spaces for exploration, discovery and risk-taking in the early years

Little, H. (ed.), Elliott, S. (ed.) & Wyver, S. (ed.), 27 Sep 2017, Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. 282 p.

Research output: Book/ReportEdited Book/AnthologyResearch

professional experience
social change
learning environment

Promoting risk-taking and physically challenging play in Australian early childhood settings in a changing regulatory environment

Little, H., 1 Mar 2017, In : Journal of Early Childhood Research. 15, 1, p. 83-98 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

early childhood education and care

Activities 2017 2017

Lit@MQ Macquarie University Student Literacy Corpus

Maria Herke (Participant), Deanna Wong (Participant), Helen Little (Participant), Susan Hoadley (Participant), Canzhong Wu (Participant)

Activity: Other