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Dr Eleonora Teszenyi

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Profile summary

Professional biography

Eleonora joined The Open University as a Lecturer in Early Childhood in the School of Early Childhood, Education, Youth and Sport in September 2019. Previously she was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Northampton teaching on both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, leading the Master's programme in Early Years. Before entering Higher Education Eleonora had worked in the early years sector for 19 years as an early years practitioner, early years teacher, Local Authority advisor and children centre teacher in one of the most disadvantaged areas of Leicestershire. Eleonora is  a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and completed her PhD study in early years pedagogic practice, with a specific focus on multi-age education. 


Research interests

Eleonora's main reserach interest is focused on early childhood pedagogy, multi-age pedagogical practice, which she is investigating for her doctoral study. Employing Q-method and observations for data generetaion, she is conducting  a collective case study that examines the characteristic features of multi-age practice in Hungarian kindergartens.

Most recent national and international research projects she has been involved in include:

  • practitioner and parent partnerships (in England, Kazakhstan and Hungary)
  • an examination of factors that influence parents' choice of early childhood provision for their children (Hungary)
  • an exploration of work-based learners' experiences on the Early Years Foundation Degree - framed within the theories of andragogy, heutagogy and the 'more knowledgeable other' 
  • an exploration of how children understand their rights in the context of theri everyday lives in kindergartens in Hungary
  • participatory piece of research on socialist childhoods that examines childhood memories using collective biography methodology (Re-connect/Re-collect project)

Teaching interests

Eleonora has 13 years experience of teaching and assessment in Higher Education on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and she has a keen interest in work-based learning. When designing module materials, she draws on her prior practice experiences as well as her theoretical understanding of child development, early childhood curricula and pedagogies to bring learning to life for students. She is particularly interested in topics relating to:

  • ​​child development in the formative years
  • children's learning through play, their involvement and well-being
  • ​early childhood curriculum approaches
  • ​children's voices and rights

She is the chair of module E229 'Listening to Young Children's Living and learning: Critical Reflections'. 

Impact and engagement

Eleonora is an Academic Reviewer for the OU Validation Partnerships supporting FE colleges delivering early childhood programmes validated by the OU.

External collaborations

Eleonora is one of the PIs in a collaborative research project with Debrecen University in Hungary and Cardiff Metropolitant University in Wales focusing on children's voices and rights. This includes working with Vojtina Puppet Theatre (Debrecen Hungary) on visualising research findings. 

Eleonora has links with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia where she studied the Reggio Emilia approach. Observations, reflections and professional dialogues with ‘pedagogistas' enabled her to develop a more in-depth understanding of a participatory, rights-based approach to listening to and engaging with young children and the affordances of a creative curriculum. These have influenced the module materials she has written.

Eleonora has close links with Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University through an academic mobility professional development programme, which provided her with a valuable insight into early childhood education in Kazakhstan.She has worked closely with fellow academics, doctoral and Master’s level students to help develop their research literacy and skills of writing for publication. 

​Eleonora also engages with the School of Early Childhood at Debrecen University in Hungary through collaborative scholarly activities, research projects, which produce publications both in English and Hungarian.  She works closely with the Kindergarten Pedagogues' National Professional Network where her main focus is the interpretation and implementation of the National Core Programme for Kindergarten Education.


Are you listening to me? Understanding children's rights through Hungarian pedagogic practice (2022-11)
Canning, Natalie; Teszenyi, Eleonora and Pálfi, Sandor
Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 3(3) (pp. 218-232)

Re-imagining socialist childhoods: Changing narratives of spatial and temporal (dis)orientations (2022)
Teszenyi, Eleonora; Varga Nagy, Anikó and Pálfi, Sándor
Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 3(3) (pp. 212-217)

Enhancing learning for Early Years Foundation Degree students: empowerment through heutagogy and reflecting on the notion of knowledgeable others (2020-04-03)
Teszenyi, Eleonora; Devecchi, Christina and Richardson, Tanya
Polish Journal of Educational Studies, 72(1) (pp. 25-44)

Vegyes vagy azonos életkorú óvodai csoport? Pedagógiai kérdések és a szülői döntés dilemmái [Mix- or same-age kindergarten groups? Pedagogical questions and the dilemmas of parental decision making] (2019-12-12)
Teszenyi, Eleonora and Pálfi, Sándor
Gyermeknevelés [Journal of Early years Education], 7(2–3) (pp. 136-155)

Parent-practitioner partnerships in early childhood provision in England, Hungary and Kazakhstan: similarities and differences in discourses (2018)
Murray, J; Teszenyi, Eleonora; Nagy Varga, A; Pálfi, Sándor; Tajiyeva, M and Iskakova, A
Early Child Development and Care, 188(5) (pp. 594-612)

Age group, location or pedagogue: factors affecting parental choice of kindergartens in Hungary (2015)
Teszenyi, Eleonora and Hevey, D
Early Child Development and Care, 185(11-12) (pp. 1961-1977)

From institutional dominance to parental involvement: Models of working with families in Hungarian Kindergartens (2022-12)
Varga Nagy, Anikó; Pálfi, Sándor and Teszenyi, Eleonora
In: Garvis, Susanne; Phillipson, Sivanes; Hajdu-Luukkainen, Heidi and Sadownik, Alicja Renata eds. Parental Engagement and Early Childhood Education Around the World. Evolving Families (pp. 136-150)
ISBN : 9780367423902 / 9780367823917 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Children’s Rights In Hungary in Early Childhood Education and Care (2019-11-07)
Pálfi, S.; Rákó, E.; Varga Nagy, A. and Teszenyi, Eleonora
In: Murray, J.; Swadener, B. B. and Smith, K. eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Young Children's Rights. Routledge International Handbooks of Education
ISBN : 9780367142018 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Children at Four (2016-06)
Teszenyi, Eleonora
In: Cox, Anna and Sykes, Gillian eds. The Multiple Identities of the Reception Teacher: Pedagogy and Purpose
ISBN : 978-1-4739-5952-1 | Publisher : Learning Matters/Sage | Published : London

Young children and their communities. Understanding collective social responsibility (2018-06-05)
Sykes, Gillian and Teszenyi, Eleonora eds.
ISBN : 9781138558526 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon