Education Observatory

Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton

Play@Home project

Early Years Conference: Changing Practice in Challenging Times

The second of our online Early Years Conferences.

Children, Young People & Families
Early Years

In total 73 people attended the early years conference on Saturday 13th February 2021.  The conference was entitled ‘Changing practice in challenging times: pedagogy and practice in the early years.  Part two’.

The audience ranged in location including staff and students from the University of Wolverhampton and CREC students.  UK attendees included Howwood in Scotland, Devon, Uttoxeter and there were also international attendees, which included delegates from Melbourne Australia, Italy and Croatia.

The conference included two keynotes as detailed below:

New realities, spaces and times for play and learning in challenging times: the case for multimodal playscapes

Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have found ourselves living in a “new” reality with the use of technologies becoming an even more essential part of our daily routines.  This has impacted on all aspects of education and we have seen the development of digital education, which is not only about giving children devices, but using it as a medium to create learning opportunities. This keynote is based on data from an international project that aimed to explore the use of interactive interfaced robotic toys in early childhood education and homes for playing and learning.  Arguments about the appropriate role of technologies in early childhood education have received much attention while looking at the potentials of technology integration for children’s play and learning. I will argue that technology cannot replace human interactions but can create spaces for playing and learning opportunities and produce a need for preparedness and readiness for early childhood workforce. I will conclude by proposing that we need to start re-thinking the space(s) and time(s) of the traditional ways of play and learning and (re)conceptualise them as multimodal playscapes (places and spaces for children’s play and learning). Such lenses allow us to explore the pragmatics of children’s inquiry, critical thinking, and creative make-believe play.  This calls for a pedagogical continuation and parent-educator partnerships to foster a pedagogy that embeds a poly-pronged approach (digital, virtual, visual, physical) which enhances children’s multimodal playscape

Dr Ioanna Palaiologou Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

Supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing in the time of covid and beyond

This presentation explores the numerous ways that practitioners in early childhood education and care settings support children’s health.  It will also examine some of the issues in relation to mental and physical health that covid has raised and considers the role all adults play in promoting good health in young children moving forward.

Dr Jackie Musgrave Programme Leader for Early Childhood, Open University.

All feedback was positive and focused on the attendees experience, keynotes speakers content and access to the conference.  Feedback included:

-Another great conference with fab speakers thank you!

-Thank you everyone what an excellent way to spend a Saturday

-Thank you, it’s been a great session really good information to take back.

-Thank you very much to all the speakers. it was very interesting and informative.

-Thank you so much to everyone involved.  Another amazing conference, so informative.  An excellent way for practitioners to continue to meet, develop and learn as educators to support the children in our care.

-I find it really helpful and interesting to be able to hear about early years research. It is hard to access research papers without paying a fee but there is a lot that we can learn from it.

-Thank you, very informative.

-Thank you! Enjoy the rest of your day.

-Thank you , really informative sessions.

-Thanks to everyone. Great Conference and very informative and encouraging.  Would be interested in attending future events.