Higher-degree research being undertaken by Wendy Sae Me Lee




Dr Minkang Kim and Associate Professor Richard Walker

Thesis title:

Emotional sensibility and attachment in early childhood: building foundations for learning



Project description

In the context of Australian early childhood educational settings, this PhD project is using a dynamic systems framework to investigate early childhood (EC) educators’ emotional sensibility, concerned with the emotional interaction between early childhood educator and preschool child. The project is exploring the manifestations of emotional sensibility in EC practice, the extent to which it impacts EC educator and child relationships, and whether, and in what ways, learning is enhanced when children enjoy secure relationships and feel at home in their learning environment. The aim is to identify and clarify how EC educators’ professional practice might benefit from increased emotional sensibility.

This study longitudinally observed and filmed early childhood educator and preschool aged child dyads. They were observed in their preschool setting, carrying out their daily routines of structured and non-structured activities. The educators were closely observed and analysed to see how their emotional sensibility and responsiveness affected the way in which they built relationships with the children in their care. The educators’ verbal and non-verbal expressions when interacting with the children, personal and professional beliefs, and their pedagogical approaches were observed.

Wendy Sae Me Lee is a 3rd year PhD candidate, researching in the field of emotional attachment in early childhood. She is an Early Childhood Teacher and has worked in the early childhood field for ten years mainly in Australia, but also in Germany and in South Korea. Wendy holds a Masters degree in Early Childhood, Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Studies, and a Diploma in Children’s Services. Wendy has a specific interest in the emotional development of children, neuroscience, attachment, sensory activities, and supporting the cultural and linguistic identities of children.


  • ZONTA Club Sydney East Inc. Scholarship, 2015

Professional and community roles

  • Member of Asia-Pacific Network for Moral Education (APNME)
  • Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI)
  • Association for Psychological Science (APS)
  • Golden Key International Honour Society

Conference Presentation: