Welcome Dr Luke Touhill
The Department of Educational Studies recently welcomed Luke Touhill as the new Director of the Mia Mia Child and Family Study Centre, following the retirement of former Director Wendy Shepherd after 25 years.
Luke brings to Mia Mia over 20 years’ experience as a teacher, researcher and manager in early childhood education. He is particularly interested in the impacts of physical design and layout in children’s services, a topic he investigated in his PhD thesis Designing for Children.
“A well-organised and well-resourced physical environment is key in supporting quality early childhood practice,” Luke says. “I’m passionate about incorporating ‘real’ experiences like cooking, gardening and woodwork into early childhood programs and I believe strongly in the role of educators to inspire, support and guide children’s learning.”
1) In a nutshell, my job is to…Manage Mia Mia, as well as teach early childhood students at the University. A typical day can go from working with children, to teaching a class, to fixing a broken piece of equipment, to sorting out rosters for the following week.
2) The question I hear most often in my work is…“Why?” Children are innately curious – it’s one of the best things about working with them.
3) The thing I find most rewarding in my role is…Being a part of the amazing and surprising things that happen every day when you work with children.
4) The bravest thing I’ve done is…My first job as a teacher was horrific – probably the worst early childhood service I have ever seen. I somehow lasted nine months and the bravest thing I did was to confront the director about some of the worst problems before I resigned. We had a stand-up argument in the playground in front of everyone.
5) A place that’s special to me is…The house where I grew up, which backs onto bushland. There’s a creek with a small waterfall that runs through it. Growing up, the waterfall was a beautifully peaceful place to sit and think. Whenever I visit my dad, I still like to walk down and check it’s still running.
6) My mother always told me…“What are minds for, if not to change?”. She was usually talking about my brother, who was always changing his mind much to our dismay! It still pops into my head whenever someone makes a gear-wrenching change of direction in their thinking, or their life.
7) My guilty pleasure is…A good teen drama. Growing up as a teeneager in the ‘80s, I loved Grange Hill, Degrassi and Press Gang. I’ve recently been watching Next Step with my daughter (who is similarly addicted to teen ‘dance’ drama).
8) I’m scared of…Despite the previous answer – dancing! It’s sadly not a skill that I possess.
9) My hidden talent is…Lego building. One of the best things about being a parent (or working with children) is having an excuse to play with Lego again as an adult.
10) A moment I’ll always remember is…The first time it snowed at our house (in the Blue Mountains). There is something amazingly quiet, still and magical about snow falling, especially when it’s not something that happens very often.
Content owner: Department of Educational Studies Last updated: 05 Jun 2019 10:16am