Dr Laura McFarland

Dr Laura McFarland is a Research Fellow in the Research in Effective Education in Early Childhood (REEaCh) Hub, in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. The overarching theme of Laura's research is supporting the well-being of children, families and educators in the early childhood education context.

Laura was awarded her PhD in 2000 at The University of Texas at Austin in Human Development and Family Sciences. Her doctoral research focused on examining the links between parent-child interaction quality and parent-child attachment. Laura's current research focuses on supporting quality relationships amongst children families and educators, in order to provide the best outcomes for children. Laura's research recognises the importance of a whole of service approach to supporting mental health and well-being and she is particularly interested in the role of leadership in creating mentally healthy early learning communities.

Prior to commencing in an academic role, she worked as an early childhood educator for ten years. She has also held roles in family support at a community health service, and as a consultant for Early Childhood Australia (ECA). At ECA, Laura supported early childhood educators to implement the Be You initiative, which is the national initiative to support mental health in schools and early learning services.

Laura is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and was awarded an Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching citation in 2016 for sustained excellence in scholarship in early childhood education that enhances student learning by connecting research, families and communities. Laura is a member of the editorial board for the Early Childhood Education Journal (ECEJ) and is Associate Editor for the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (AJEC). Laura is a member of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and Early Childhood Australia (ECA).