About Us

Our research is directed and led by Cara Swit. Cara has extensive experience working with young children, their families, and educators. She obtained her PhD from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia and joined the School of Health Sciences in 2016.

Broadly speaking, Cara’s research interest lies in understanding why young children engage in aggression. More specifically, she is interested in:

  • the influence of educators, parents/caregivers, and siblings on children’s use of social and non-social behaviours
  • the role of cognitive processes (e.g. normative beliefs, schemas, behavioural response, theory of mind) in explaining or justifying young children’s aggression
  • bullying in early childhood and the development of interventions that facilitate healthy social relationships in young children

Room 120, Waimairi Building
Phone: +64 33 694 408
Email: cara.swit@canterbury.ac.nz



Courtney Tierney
Research Project Title: Māori Teachers and Parents Perceptions of and Responses to Childhood Aggressive Behaviours

Melissa Lim
Research Project Title: An Analysis of Parents’ and Educators’ Needs in Addressing Early Childhood Aggression

Malena Penney
Research Project Title: The role of Parent Perception of Burden on Child Health Related Quality of Life: Examining Functioning among Children with Food Allergy

Alon Babchuck
Research Project Title: Enhancing Children’s Relationship Skills Via a Professional Learning and Development Programme with Ongoing Support for Early Childhood Education Teachers.

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of a PLD programme with ongoing support on teachers’ praising of children’s relationship skills. The programme’s effects on children’s relationship skills will also be measured. Five early childhood education centres in Christchurch city, New Zealand, will participate in the study.