08.45-09.30 Registration


Welcome and introduction


Learning from abroad: starting points

An overview of current research into how children learn and delivering 'quality' in the 'enabling environment':

  • our growing understanding of the place of play in children's learning
  • the British tradition of early education: what we have exported and need to reclaim
  • essential features of ‘best practice’ in early years pedagogy

SPEAKER Dr David Whitebread, Acting Director (External Relations), Play in Education, Development & Learning (PEDAL) Research Centre, University of Cambridge


Sweden: rethinking language and identity

An insight into Sweden's changing approaches to: 

  • supporting bilingualism
  • inclusion and identity

SPEAKER Elisabeth Thorburn and Catrin Mattsson, consultants and founders of education consultancy Sweducare, Marita Andersson, Managing Director, Inspira Preschools & Schools Ltd

11.15-11.30 Coffee break


Te Whariki: children’s learning journeys in New Zealand

Discover how New Zealand’s Te Whariki early years curriculum and best practice have evolved, looking particularly at its:

  • strengths, including its focus on broad learning outcomes (such as well-being and belonging); dispositions; children’s working theories, and narrative forms of assessment
  • challenges of inclusion, and
  • next stages of development

SPEAKER Professor Carmen Dalli, Director, Institute for Early Childhood Studies, School of Education, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


Question time: a panel discussion

Dr Whitebread, Elisabeth Thorburn, Catrin Mattsson and Professor Dalli will take questions from the floor




Learning from Froebel: a means to raising quality in the EYFS

A Froebel training pilot at one nursery group has resulted in a renewed focus on nature, deepened practitioner understanding of early learning and development, and enabled children to become more self-motivated learners.

SPEAKER Jane Dyke, founder and owner, and Paula Phillips, group manager, Yellow Dot Nurseries, Hampshire


The Pikler approach: principles and practice

Emmi Pikler’s approach to under-threes provision centres on attentive adult-child relationships and enabling children’s motor development to unfold naturally.

Learn about:

    • the key person pioneer
    • how to transform your care routines
    • give children the time, freedom and support to engage in self-initiated movement.

SPEAKER Dorothy Marlen, freelance early childhood trainer and consultant, trained in the Pikler approach, and co-founder and chair of the Pikler UK Association

15.15-15.35 Coffee break


WORKSHOPS – choose A, B or C

A. Reggio-inspired Practice

Fire, monsters and baby stories… Be inspired by the creative projects of children at Reflections Nursery, where the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach underpin EYFS practice.

SPEAKER Martin Pace, director and author, and Laura Magnavacchi, atelierista, Reflections Nursery & Forest School, Worthing

B. Sweden's outdoor culture

Find out how the national love of nature is reflected in early years practice, with a focus on:

  • forest school
  • Skogsmulle, and
  • future challenges

SPEAKER Elisabeth Thorburn and Catrin Mattsson, consultants and founders of education consultancy Sweducare, Maria Ekeberg, owner and preschool manager, and Annica Vedin, preschool teacher at Hälsoförskolan Friskus preschool

C. Men in childcare and early childhood education: an international perspective

An insight into the successes and challenges of building a workforce of male early years educators, with a focus on:

  • countries including Norway, Japan and Germany
  • attitudes to male practitioners
  • recruitment and retention

SPEAKER Dr Jo Warin, senior lecturer, Educational Research, Lancaster University

16.30 Close of conference