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Dr Tracy Charlotte Young

PhD, Monash University, Australia; Master of Education (Research), Monash University , Australia; Diploma of Sustainability, Swinburne University of Technology , Australia; Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia; Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies, The University of Melbourne , Australia; Diploma in Social Science (Child Care) , Swinburne University of Technology, Australia


Tracy is a lecturer-researcher in the Department of Education. Tracy's work is sustained by a commitment to animal activism and ecological justice and seeks to understand how power structures are reinforced through the political, social and cultural effects of education.  Thus, her research is concerned with broad and intersecting themes of education. Recent research aligns three disciplines: early childhood education, environmental education, and human-animal studies where connections and disjunctions of children’s relations with animals in family homes and early childhood education are researched within a critical posthuman and post-qualitative theoretical framework. In this research the complex relations with children, animals and environments provide a space for ethical inquiry that troubles how animal species are socially constructed, culturally reproduced and positioned in early childhood education. Post-qualitative methodologies invite creative practices in her research including theorising with critical posthumanist, ecofeminist, postcolonial and new materialist philosophies. Tracy’s research and writing contributes to wider understandings about the significance of early childhood education in terms of relationality with the human and the more-than-human. 

Teaching within both the higher education and vocational tertiary sector has enabled Tracy to combine earlier experience in the field of early childhood education, with skills as a leader, advocate and researcher. Tracy has developed extensive knowledge and interest in a number of key teaching areas, including environmental sustainability, environmental philosophy, nature pedagogies, social justice and theories of teaching and learning. Tracy taught early childhood science, technology curriculum and pedagogy with early childhood students and was inspired to share some of the practical components of her teaching with the education profession by publishing two books as the lead author with Sue Elliott, namely,  Just Discover: Connecting young children with the natural world and Just investigate: Creative science and technology experiences for young children. These books were purchased by the Department of Education in 2022 for three-year old kindergarten teaching packs in Victoria and have consistently been used as key texts for vocational training during the past twenty years. During her career Tracy has published 4 Books, 10 Book chapters, 11 Journal articles (Q1 and Q2) Goggle Scholar Metrics identifies 119 citations h-index 6, and i10-index 2 since 2018. The Journal article Elliott, S. & Young, T., (2015). Nature by default in early childhood environmental education has one of the largest downloads from the Australian Journal of Environmental Education with 1431 downloads with 68 citations and has been acknowledged as credible research for both practitioners and researchers. She is the co-editor of the animal relations section of the International ChildhoodNatures Research Handbook published by Springer in 2019.  The handbook has 9 sections, 81 chapters and over 200 authors. It is the most comprehensive and significant handbook on childhood and nature ever published and has been downloaded 244,000 times. Tracy is Co-Director of the current global research project Children in the Anthropocene with Professor Karen Malone  Environmental Sustainability Education in the Anthropocene. Her research and writing focues on posthuman and new materailist theories and approaches using postqualitative research methodologies with young children and their families in a variety of geographically diverse locations. 

In 2010 Tracy was awarded the prestigious Barbara Creaser Memorial Lecture Award from the peak early childhood organisation in Australia - Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and was required to deliver the annual oration at the ECA national conference in Adelaide, entitled: A reflection on ecoliteracy and what this means for environmental sustainability and early childhood education’.  Tracy is an affiliate researcher of the National Centre for Reconciliation Practice and a member of the editorial board for the Australian Journal of Environmental Education journal.  She has reviewed for a number of academic journals and books including Children’s Geographies, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education, The Journal of Environmental Education, Springer Publications and Cambridge University Press.

Research interests

Early childhood education; Environmental education; Human-animal studies

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Environmental Education Curriculum And Pedagogy - 390105
  • Curriculum And Pedagogy Theory And Development - 390102
  • Early Childhood Education - 390302

Teaching areas

Early childhood Education;Science and Technology;Ecological sustainability;Leadership and Professionalism;Theories of Teaching and Learning;Nature Pedagogies;Play and Learning


  • 2014, Other, Frank Fisher Memorial Conference Award, Victorian Association of Environmental Education
  • 2011, National, Barbara Creaser Memorial Lecture award. , Early Childhood Australia
  • 2008, Swinburne, Swinburne Industry Synergy Awards , Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2008, National, Jean Denton Memorial Scholarship , Flinders University


Also published as: Young, Tracy; Young, T.; Young, T. C.; Young, Tracy C.; Young, Tracy Charlotte
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