About us

About us

Profile picture of Co-Director, Dr Penny Van BergenCo-Director

Dr Penny Van Bergen

Penny Van Bergen is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology in the Department of Educational Studies. She is Co-Director of the Faculty of Human Sciences' Centre for Children’s Learning in a Social World.

Penny’s research focuses on children’s development of memory and emotion skills in social contexts. She studies how parents and families reminisce with children about the past, how children use emotion and perspective-taking skills when working with others, and how group-work in schools and universities may facilitate learning.
Penny is particularly interested in children’s relationships with teachers, parents, and peers, and in mapping the kinds of social interactions that best facilitate learning and development.

Profile picture of Dr Naomi SwellerCo-Director

Dr Naomi Sweller

Naomi Sweller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. She is the Deputy Director of the Faculty of Human Sciences' Centre for Children's Learning in a Social World.

Naomi conducts research in the broad field of cognitive development, more specifically examining the use of gestures by both children and adult learners and communicators, as well as concept learning by children and adults. She has partnered extensively with researchers in the fields of early childhood education and special education, as well as education more generally.


If you are interested in knowing more about the research areas, you can click their name which will direct you to their research profile.

NameContact details

Dr Rebecca Andrews

T: (02) 9850 9871

A/Prof Kay Bussey

E: kay.bussey@mq.edu.au
T: (02) 9850 8085

A/Prof Sheila Degotardi

E: sheila.degotardi@mq.edu.au
T: (02) 9850 9895

Prof Linda J. Harrison

E: linda.j.harrison@mq.edu.au
T: (02) 9850 9895

Prof Mike Jones

E: mike.jones@mq.edu.au
T: (02) 9850 8601

Dr Anne McMaugh

E: anne.mcmaugh@mq.edu.au
T: (02) 9850 8663
Dr Carol NewallE: carol.newall@mq.edu.au
T: (02) 9850 8057

Student members

Doris Ayala

Natalie Brand

Alicia Curran

Nicole Dargue

Signe Duff

Kate Eastman

Daniel Guilbert

Stephanie Helfer

Felicity Simpson

Kris Wrona

Engage with Us

Social Media

The Centre is keen to increase accessibility by translating empirical research findings into practical recommendations and interventions for children, parents and educators.

Our Facebook Page focuses on sharing our knowledge with the wider community.


The Centre is keen to build partnerships with organisations that share common research interests. These organisations can include schools, preschools/daycares, philanthropy foundations, charities, NGOs, or private companies/businesses. For more information, please contact the Centre Manager, Emma Sutherland (clsw@mq.edu.au) to discuss opportunities to connect with our research team.

Higher Degree Research with CLSW

The research interests and backgrounds of our Centre members can be found above. More information about higher degree research programs at Macquarie University can be found here.

Volunteering Opportunities

If you are an undergraduate student who is interested in volunteering with the Centre, please email clsw@mq.edu.au as opportunities often arise.

Join Our Team

If you are a Higher Degree Research student, Early Career Researcher or academic wishing to join our research team, please email clsw@mq.edu.au

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