Play and Learning: a global perspective

Taking inspiration from international approaches to early years education and supporting you to reflect on and improve your EYFS practice

The conference will cover:

  • The latest research into how children learn, the place of play, and what constitutes ‘quality’
  • Highly-rated early childhood education systems around the world
  • How UK early years settings can implement ideas from abroad


  • Learning from abroad: starting points – what the British tradition of early education has exported and needs to reclaim, with Dr David Whitebread
  • New Zealand’s acclaimed Te Whariki early years curriculum, with a focus on dispositions, children’s working theories, narrative forms of assessment and the next stages of Te Whariki’s development, with Professor Carmen Dalli
  • Sweden – approaches to inclusion and identity, and supporting bilingualism; plus, a workshop on the country’s outdoor tradition
  • The Pikler approach to under-threes provision, developed in Hungary and now being adopted in the UK
  • Froebel, Reggio-Emilia, and the experience of male childcarers in other countries

Keynote speakers

Professor Carmen Dalli is Director of the Institute for Early Childhood Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research combines an interest in developmental issues in the early years with a focus on early childhood policy and pedagogy. She has a particular interest in group-based early childhood education and care settings for children aged under three years.

Dr David Whitebread is a developmental psychologist and early years specialist. He is acting director (external relations) of the PEDAL (Play in Education, Learning and Development) Research Centre, University of Cambridge. A particular focus of his research has been the development of young children's metacognition and self-regulation, and the role of playfulness and oral language in supporting their development. 

This conference is designed for:

  • Nursery owners and proprietors
  • Nursery and children's centre managers
  • Nursery practitioners
  • Headteachers and EYFS co-ordinators
  • Local authority early years managers
  • Early years advisers
  • Childminders
  • Healthcare professionals