Dr Melanie Mackinder

Dr Mel Mackinder

Tutor on SCITT Programme and Lecturer on MA in Early Childhood

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Arts Cultures and Education
  • School of Education


  • BA
  • EdD
  • MA
  • PGCert


Mel is currently a course tutor on the SCITT programme where she tutors trainee teachers. She also supports trainee teachers on the PGCE ITE programmes. She joined Hull University in 2021 having previously taught at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln. She has been a module leader on a range of programmes including Professional Studies, Early Childhood Studies, and Education Studies undergraduate degrees as well as on the Foundation Year Course. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Mel’s teaching career started in London and her career spans over 20 years of teaching in a variety of primary phase settings. Including teaching in a Special School in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. With her specialism in early years education, she set up a state funded nursery school in Norwich and was a founding member of the Norfolk Early Years Forum. Mel has experience of being a subject leader in a range of subjects as well as in a range of school-based leadership roles. Appointed as Deputy Head to a school on “special measures” she was instrumental in leading the school to achieve the status of “good” in 4 terms. Mel was then seconded to support other schools under the umbrella of the Lincolnshire School Improvement Team.

Before moving into higher education in 2010, Mel worked in further education in Lincoln. Since completing her doctorate on Forest Schools in 2020, she has frequently been asked to guest lecture on the subject.

Interests includes:

•early childhood

•children and families


•alternative pedagogies

•outdoor learning

•early literacy

•sociological aspects of childhood

•voice, agency and identity

•interactive participatory research methods


Research interests

Mel’s research interests have focused on early learning, creativity, alternative pedagogies, outdoor learning environments and the socio-cultural context of learning, in education and care settings as well as in the home.

Her Masters research explored the impact of socio-cultural factors on the development of language and literacy in young learners. Mel worked on the EU funded research project ‘Creative Little Scientists’, examining the teaching of Science and Mathematics, across 9 European countries, through the lens of creativity. She presented ‘Creative Little Scientists: Using digital technology for the first time in research’ at the CARN study day, BGU (January 2015). In 2018, Mel published ‘Footprints in the Woods: ‘tracking’ a nursery child through a Forest School session’. Mel has recently completed her doctoral thesis ‘Degrees of Difference: A case study of Forest School in England and Denmark’. Using a Vygotskian social constructivist approach, Mel explored the similarities and differences in Forest School pedagogy in England and Denmark. Now she has published her findings she is looking forward to taking her research in exciting, new directions. Mel is interested in collaborative research projects.

Postgraduate supervision

Early Childhood Education and Care

Nursery / Kindergarten education

Primary Education

Outdoor play

Forest School

Familes role in ECEC


Slow pedagogy

Play and play pedagogy

Alternative pedagogy

Membership/Fellowship of professional body

Fellow of the HEA