1987 …2021

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Personal profile


Marilyn Fleer holds the Foundation Chair in Early Childhood Education and Development at Monash University where she is also a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow

She researches in the areas of early childhood science, engineering and technologies with particular attention on digital visual methodology framed through cultural-historical theory. Her Laureate Fellowship on the theme ‘Imagination in play and imagination in STEM’ investigates how families and teachers create conditions for children’s conceptual thinking in play-based settings. 

She has published widely in international journals including Mind, Culture and Activity, Research in Science Education, Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, and Cultural Studies of Science Education. She founded the International Journal of Research in Early Childhood, which is an open access journal designed to support scholarship in early childhood education research. Some of her recent publications include:

  • Fleer, M. and van Oers, B (Eds.) International handbook on early childhood education, Volume 1, (pp. 1-31), and Volume 2, (pp. 955-967), The Netherlands:Springer;
  • Fleer, M (2018). Examining the psychological content of digital play through Hedegaard’s model of child development, Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, /doi.org/10.1016/j.lcsi.2018.04.006
  • Fleer, M. (2017). Digital role-play: Creating new conditions for children’s play. Mind, Culture and Activity. 24 (1), 3-17, DOI: 10.1080/10749039.2016.1247456;

She was the President of the International Society of Cultural-historical, Activity, Research, held numerous Government appointed advisory positions related to the development of quality early childhood education provision, and led key research projects value at over ten million dollars (including 5 Australian Research Council Discovery Projects).

The Laureate project expects to:

  • Build world class research into early childhood Science, Engineering and Technologies concept formation
  • Generate scholarly knowledge about the nature of conceptual play for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers across broad range of early childhood settings and family homes
  • Build research capacity and innovations in early childhood Science, Engineering and Technologies, leading to an International Centre of Excellence in play-based SET learning

 For further information, please see Fleer's Conceptual Playworld.

Research area keywords

  • Cross-Cultural Research
  • Family studies
  • Early childhood science education
  • Technology education
  • Building of new theoretical tools to support early childhood development and education


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