Dr. Sapna Thapa

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Country Liaison , Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
Teaching, Learning and Leadership
College of Education, Hospitality, Health and Human Sciences

Office: 119 Heritage Hall
Phone: 715-232-2680
Email: thapas@uwstout.edu

Brief Biography

I am an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. I have over 25 years of expertise in early childhood education, care and development in South Asia and I currently teach the following courses in the B.S. Early Childhood Program: ECE 105 - Infant and Toddler Education ECE 200 - Expressive Curriculum for the Young Child ECE 264 - Child Guidance in Pre/K ECE 435 - Children, Families, Schools and Communities Besides teaching, I am a supervisor and advisor for early childhood student teachers and also involved in the following research projects: Collaborative Thematic research- "Preparing early childhood educators to understand the child-in-cultural-context" The Hegemony Project Infusing Diversity

Teaching Interests: My teaching interest is based on developing high quality curriculum content for teachers of young children. I want my students to gain a deeper understanding about the 'child' in the cultural context they come from so that they are able to create a meaningful definition for diversity at a global level.

Research Interests: My research interests are in the areas of diversity, equity and quality in Early Childhood Educational policies and practice. My most recent research project is a collaborative study with two other U.S. Universities that aim to 'understand the child in cultural context' through video documentation as the methodology for data collection. The research study is based on four diverse contexts (United States, Nepal, Nicaragua and Palestine) from where video footage is being documented for analysis in later phases of the research. This research aims at contributing curricula content for teacher education through analyzing video documentation of early childhood educational centers at work in Nicaragua, United States and Nepal. The outcomes of the research is being documented and will eventually appear as a book chapter in the book titled "Collaborative Cross Cultural Research Methodologies in Diverse Early Care and Education Contexts” (S. Madrid, M. J. Moran, R. Brookshire, and M. Buchanan Eds.)

Professional Interests: My professional interest is to develop critical thinking skills through an inquiry based pedagogy. I believe self guided learning increases motivation and leads towards developing reasoning skills. I encourage my students to work independently while continuing to question, reason, analyze and rationalize any information they acquire.


  • Nepali (Fluent/Native/Near Native)
  • Hindi (Fluent/Native/Near Native)
  • French (Beginner)


    • Ed D Early Childhood Education
      University of Sheffield
      Sheffield, United Kingdom, 2015
    • MA Early Childhood Education
      University of Sheffield
      Sheffield, United Kingdom, 2011

Work Experience

    Academic - Post-Secondary

      • Advisory Board Member
        May 2015 -
      • University of Wisconsin-Stout
        Assistant Professor
        August 2013 -
      • Frobelseminariet University
        Supervisor and Mentor
        February 2010 - July 2013

    Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

      • Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
        Country Liaison
        August 2012 -
      • Namaste Nepal-Helping Himalayan children
        Lead Consultant
        March 2008 - December 2010

    Academic - P-12

      • John Dewey High School
        Director and Founder
        April 2008 - August 2013
      • MotherCare International Preschool
        Director and Founder
        January 1996 - August 2013

      • Deputy Principal and Head Teacher
        January 1993 - December 1995

      • Head Teacher
        March 1989 - December 1992

Intellectual Contributions

    Journal Article

    Book, Chapter

    • Thapa, S., Madrid, S. D., & Young, D. (Accepted). Collaboration as a "healing" research tool and methodology: The narratives of three early childhood researchers . .

    Magazine Article

    • Thapa, S. (2011). Of childhood toys and books (Magazine Article). Healthy Life, Kathmandu: ECS.



    • Lea, V., Thapa, S., Hines, E., & Ahlquist , R. (November, 2016). Vocalizing silent students' voices in the struggle for racial, socioeconomic, and cultural justice. National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) Conference, Cleveland, OH, United States.


    • Lea, V., Thapa, S., & Hines, E. (April, 2016). Challenging barriers to social justice through critical multicultural education and anti-racist activism: Disrupting silos and creating coherence. Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID), Green Lake, WI, United States.
    • Thapa, S. (August, 2011). Quality in Early Childhood Education: Global and National perspectives. Quality in Early childhood education, Kathmandu, Nepal.

    Oral Presentation

    • Thapa, S., Madrid, S., & Young, D. (March, 2016). Understanding the Child in Cultural Context: Using video documentation to discover cultural nuances. Global Summit on Childhood, San Jose, Costa Rica.
    • Thapa, S. (April, 2015). Everyone in the circle: understanding diversity in the preschool classroom . Early Childhood Conference 2015-University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI, United States.
    • Thapa, S. (March, 2015). Education Diplomacy in Action among the International Outreach Committee Members of ACEI. . Institute for Educational Diplomacy 2015, Washington-DC, DC, United States.
    • Klefstad, J., & Thapna, S. (November, 2014). Engaging, supporting, and retaining men within an early childhood education program on a four year campus: The early steps in forming a Men's Club. National Association of the Education of Young Children, Dallas, WI, United States.
    • Thapa, S. (April, 2014). Achieving equity standards: a critical analysis of policy in early childhood education of Nepal. Global Summit on Childhood, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    • Thapa, S. (June, 2013). Equity and Inclusion and well-being. Child Rights Approach to Governance, Equity, Inclusion and Sustainability in Asia-Pacific , Kathmandu, Nepal.
    • Thapa, S. (July, 2012). The Interface of Play-Literacy . Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association-Children at the heart of research, Singapore, Singapore.

Grants, Contracts, and Sponsored Research


    • Thapa, S., Madrid, S. D., & Buchanan, M. 2015) Collaborative Thematic Research in Early Childhood Education. $5675.00.
    • Thapa, S. 2014) Initial steps to developing a culturally responsive and ‘internationalized’ curriculum for ECE teacher education.. $2685.00 (Funded).

Professional Memberships

  • International Outreach Committee of ACEI (IOC)
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
  • Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC)
  • Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)


    Department / School

    • Committee Member, Faculty Senate (November 2015 - Present)
    • Committee Member, SOE Technology Showcase (August 2015 - Present)
    • Faculty Advisor, St. Wisconsin Education Association (ST-WEA) (August 2015 - Present)
    • Committee Member, HDFS Advisory Council (August 2014 - Present)
    • Committee Member, The Hegemony Project (March 2014 - Present)
    • Committee Member, Search Committee (August 2013 - May 2014)


      UW Stout

      • Guest Speaker, Infusing Diversity across the curriculum Project (September 2015 - Present)
      • Faculty Advisor, Student- Wisconsin Education Association (St. WEA) (August 2015 - Present)
      • Advisory Board Member, HDFS Advisory Council (August 2014 - Present)
      • Committee Member, The Hegemony Project (March 2014 - Present)

      Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland

      • Advisory Board Member, Advisory Board for Global visions through the Arts (January 2015 - Present)


      • Committee Member, International Outreach Committee (March 2014 - Present)


    • Advisory Board Member, Global visions through mobilizing networks: Co-developing intercultural music teacher education in Finland, Israel and Nepal (January 2015 - Present)
    • Committee Member, International Outreach committee of ACEI (January 2014 - Present)
    • Representative, Association for Childhood Education International (August 2012 - Present)


    • Volunteer, Lunch For Nepal (March 2009 - Present)
    • Board of Advisors, Orchid Garden Nepal (January 2007 - Present)