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The role of play in early child development

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Sara Baker, Professor of Developmental Psychology and Education, University of Cambridge, UK In this video, Sara Baker discusses the role of play in early child development, including: how play enables learning myths about play and child development how agency is developed in early childhood.   You can read Sara’s article on this topic in Impact.

Schema theory and early child development

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Christine Parker, Pen Green Teaching School Alliance, UK   In this video, Christine Parker discusses schema theory in early child development, including: learning from and extending Piaget’s presentation of schema theory exploring and researching schema theory in practice to support children with complex needs how schema theory can inform provision in early childhood education.   […]

The Montessori approach

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Preeti Patel, Head of Education, Montessori Centre International In this interview, Preeti Patel discusses the history and philosophy of the Montessori approach to education, including: the biography and pedagogical ideas of Dr. Maria Montessori the principles of Montessori education the Montessori learning environment in practice.    

Professional learning journeys in early childhood education

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This video captures early childhood education professionals talking about their professional learning journeys, including: their motivation and passion for working in early childhood education and the importance of this educational phase routes into the profession and the importance of professional learning what they love most about working in the early childhood education sector.

Six principles of language development and how to support them in early childhood settings

Lisa-Maria Müller, Chartered College of Teaching This research summary is based on a talk by Prof Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, which you can access here. Early childhood practitioners have an essential role to play in supporting children’s language development. It is, after all, with them that many children spend most of their waking hours. It is therefore […]

How can we maximise children’s scientific learning?

Dr Julian Grenier, Headteacher, Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Director, East London Research School Young children are naturally inquisitive. Popularly, we say that some children are ‘into everything’. Academically, Alison Gopnik – one of the world’s leading experts on child development – talks about the baby as ‘the scientist in the crib’ (Gopnik et […]

Paper books or e-books? Children need both

Natalia Kucirkova, Professor of Children’s Reading and Development, The Open University When faced with the question of whether children should read on screen or on paper, many adults turn to traditional paper books. Yet when we ask children, we see that e-books motivate children to read, especially those who don’t enjoy traditional paper reading (Picton, […]

Challenging traditional concepts of teaching and learning through the introduction of woodwork in early childhood education and care

Ruth Beck, Manager, Chagford Montessori Nursery School, UK The revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (DfE, 2021b) requires practitioners to design a curriculum addressing specific learning and development requirements. This piece investigates the developmental stage theory and sociological theory within the EYFS, with particular focus on the effects of introducing woodwork to an early childhood […]

Our eco plans: A case study

James Boddey, Director of Busy Bodies Child Care Centre, UK In early 2021, our kindergarten decided to make a concerted effort to be more considerate towards the planet, focusing on how we could do more to reduce our waste, to educate children and families on environmental issues and to make small steps towards a brighter […]

Developing a pedagogy focused on interactions – East Sussex County Council’s collaborative research project ‘Interacting with Babies’ (0–18m): An outline of research, interactions and impact on practice

Laura Piper, Early Years Advisor, East Sussex County Council, UK This project aimed to improve practice and introduce research and professional reflection in 36 baby rooms over two years. Each setting had a practitioner lead, with 146 practitioners and 600 babies involved in total. The practitioner leads undertook small-scale research on their self-chosen aspects of […]

How can we improve parental engagement with minority ethnic families?

Tania Choudhury, Sheringham Nursery School Over the years, extensive research has determined just how important parental engagement is at any stage of a child’s development, perhaps more so in the early years. However, there appears to be limited research to capture how schools work to engage minority ethnic families in particular, and more specifically families […]

Supporting a child with a cleft in the Early Years

Daniel Sumner, Totley All Saints CE Primary School, UK Cleft lip and/or palate affects around 1,200 children born each year in the UK – one in 700. Clinical treatment is highly effective and outcomes for these children have improved across many measures in recent years (CRANE, 2020, 2021). However, despite there being no causal relationship […]

Engaging parents in play

Polly Crowther, Co-Founder, Early Insights, ELE, East London Research School, UK What parents do at home makes a huge difference to children’s progress (EEF, 2021). We know that play is a powerful way for young children to learn, and we know that sometimes parents find play difficult (Gutman and Feinstein, 2008). Research into the barriers […]

The value of play in a successful transition from Early Years to Year 1

Rebecca Underwood, Avanti Schools Trust, UK Have you ever been fortunate enough to have watched children play – to observe them captivated in a task that they have complete ownership over? If so, you will fully appreciate the infinite value of play and its major significance as part of a broad and balanced curriculum for […]

Early Years leadership: Creating the enabling conditions for effective professional development

Rebecca Curtis, (Associate Dean, Learning Design) and Helena Moore, (Dean, Learning Design) Ambition Institute The important role that professional development and training can play in raising quality in Early Years provision is well reported (Callanan, 2017; Kalitowski, 2016; Mathers and Smees, 2014, OECD, 2012), just as it is for teaching quality (Fletcher-Wood and Zuccollo, 2020; […]

Children’s pragmatic development

Elspeth Wilson, University of Cambridge, UK How do children learn to communicate well? Are they born little communicators or is their communicative development gradual? Children’s pragmatic skills include a wide range of abilities, from how to initiate a conversation and take turns, to understanding a metaphor or ironic comment. Research on child language acquisition shows […]

Developing socio-emotional intelligence is key to our wellbeing and effective practice

Camila Devis-Rozental, Principal Academic, Bournemouth University, UK This article explores the notion of socio-emotional intelligence (SEI) as an important aspect for Early Years educators. What is socio-emotional intelligence? Socio-emotional intelligence (SEI) is a term that I developed as part of my research on trainee Early Years practitioners (Devis-Rozental, 2017). SEI can be defined as: <Q>‘the […]

Meeting the needs of high-ability learners in the Early Years

Jonathan Doherty, Senior lecturer in Teacher Education, Leeds Trinity University, UK An inclusive Early Years curriculum All children deserve the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential (DfE, 2021). The EYFS champions equality and the principle that inclusion is a fundamental human right for every child. Inclusive […]

Early science: What is it and how do we support it?

Dr Sarah Earle, Bath Spa University, UK @PriSciEarle Why consider early science? The first images of science that come to mind often contain white coats, test tubes and Bunsen burners, but science is much broader than this. Scientists like David Attenborough and Jane Goodall study the natural world on location, while others look to the […]