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Emma Zara O’Brien

Emma Zara O'Brien


01 805 7755
St. Mary’s, Room 221


Emma Zara is a lecturer across ITE and ECE programs in the area of educational psychology, curriculum and pedagogy,
health and well-being and the legal and policy context of ECE. She has written extensively in the realm of psychology, health,
well-being and mental health, disability and early childhood education among other areas. Working as a lecturer and researcher
in the Centre for Disability Studies (UCD), she was involved in developing an innovative course for adults with learning disabilities,
the first of its type in Europe. Her doctoral work focuses on the origins and acquisition of stigma in children. Research interests
include: transitions, health and well-being in children, educational and social disadvantage, parental involvement and engagement,
social cognition, and with those under-represented in research.

Section/ Rannóg

Early Childhood Education



PhD in Psychology candidate (UCD)

H Dip Psychology (UCD)

H Dip in Education (UCD)

M Litt (UCD)

BA (Mode 1 History) (UCD)



  • Lecturer for the Bachelor in Early Childhood Education
  • Lecturer for the Professional Master of Education (Primary)
  • Dissertation Supervisor for Educational Disadvantage, Inclusive Education, and Psychology.



O’Brien, E. Z. (in press). Psychology, Human Growth and Development for Social Work: A comprehensive Guide. 2nd ed. London: Palgrave

O’Brien, E. Z. (2015). Psychology for social work: A comprehensive guide to human growth and development. London: Palgrave

O’Brien, E. Z., & Prangnell, M. (2015). Childhood Social, Legal & Health studies. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.

O’Brien, E. Z. (2013). Human Growth & Development: An Irish Perspective. 2nd ed. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.

O’ Brien, E. (2011). Psychology for social care. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.

O’Brien, E.  (2008). Human Growth & Development: An Irish Perspective. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.


Research Reports

O’Toole, L., Kiely, J., McGillacuddy, D., O’Brien, E.Z. & O’Keeffe, C. (2019). Parental Involvement, Engagement and Partnership in their Children’s Education during the Primary School Years. (Research Review) commissioned by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)/National Parent’s Council (NPC).


Current projects

Emma Zara is involved in ongoing research commissioned by the NCCA/NPC on Parental Involvement, Engagement and Partnership in their Children’s Education during the Primary School Years.


Committee/ Organisation/ Memberships:

  • The Teaching Council of Ireland
  • The Psychological Society of Ireland
  • PLÉ: Pedagogy, Learning and Education (national association of third level institutions) 


  • ‘SDGs through the Lens of the Child’ Conference (2018) moderated and contributed to a submission regarding same , Outcome Report of the Workshop on Sustainable Development Goals through the Lens of the Child  (March 2019) made to Minister Zappone (https://www.dcya.gov.ie/documents/publications/20190326SDGSLensChild26Mar2019.pdf)
  • Recipient of  National Children’s Office (now DCYA) Research Scholarship
  • Completed a psychometric course (WISC, WAIS & Stanford Binet)