I am currently a third year PhD student in the Faculty of Education at UBC. My research interests include developing professional learning communities with in-service teachers to bridge emerging theories with teaching practices that include unstructured outdoor play as a pedagogical approach. I have over 25 years of experience as a professional educator, and currently teach in a public school outdoor and garden classroom. To read more about my teaching practice, read this post.
As a doctoral student, I am honoured to have my own research funded by SSHRC and to be learning from expert scholars in my field. The following research projects have shaped my learning thus far:
Graduate Research Assistant
Go Play Outside! Early Learning and Child Care (GPO-ELCC)
Primary Researcher: Mariana Brussoni, Faculty of Medicine | Pediatrics | School of Population & Public Health BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit, The University of British Columbia | BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
Learn more: Brussoni Lab Early Childhood Outside Project
Munday, F., Zeni, M., Han, C., Cheng, T., & Brussoni, M (2019). A digital risk-reframing tool to shift early childhood educators’ perceptions of outdoor play: Intervention mapping approach. A poster presented at the Big Difference BC conference. (PDF).
Cheng, T., Munday, F., Zeni, M., Han, C., & Brussoni, M (2019). Challenges early childhood educators face in promoting outdoor play – A qualitative study. A poster presented at the UBC Life Science Research Night. (PDF)
Cheng, T., Brussoni, M., Han, C., Munday, F., Zeni, M. (2021). “They limit it because they want always to be safe.”: Perceived Challenges of Early Childhood Educators in Promoting Unstructured Outdoor Play. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Chan, T., Zeni, M. (2021, March 19). Perceived challenges of early childhood educators in promoting unstructured outdoor play: ‘They limit it because they want always to be safe.’ [Paper presentation]. University of British Columbia, Education Graduate Students Conference: Transformations & Translations – Curriculum and Change, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Knowledge Dissemination: Final Tool
Check out the risk re-framing tool for educators here! Outside Play.ca
Outdoor Play Collaborator
Go Outside and Play! Investigating outdoor play and children’s positive development in schools and communities
Primary Investigator: Eva Oberle, UBC Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) Human Early Learning partnership (HELP)
Funded by: SSHRC ($151, 895)
Oberle, E., Zeni, M., & Mundy, F. (April, 2021). Support factors and barriers for outdoor learning in elementary schools: A systemic perspective. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Virtual conference meeting.
Intergenerational Landed Learning Project with The Classroom Gardener
Primary Investigators: Dr. Sandra Scott and Dr. Doug Adler, University of British Columbia Faculty of Education, EDCP
Funded by: NSERC ($312,400)