Early Years Teachers Gather at University Conference

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Early Years teachers from across England discussed the emotional health and wellbeing of babies and young children at a one-day conference at the University of Worcester.

At the conference, held on Friday, 6th June, distinguished speakers in the field of Early Years explored how Early Years teachers are making a difference.

The University of Worcester is a leading provider of Early Years Initial Teacher Training. In 2011 the University was awarded one of only eight national contracts to educate and train Early Years teachers in England. The Early Years Initial Teacher Training Programme, led by the University, working with partners across the West Midlands and South West regions, recently received the highest possible inspection grade from the Quality Assurance Agency.

Vicky Newman, lecturer in Further and Higher Education at South Worcestershire College, who attended the conference and completed her Undergraduate Early Years degree at the University of Worcester, said: “I had a really great day. It has been so good to have validation of the underpinning values in Early Years education practice and to have it reaffirmed that it comes down to the fundamentals of relationships, trust and partnership, which, as I teach my students, underpin children’s security, wellbeing and progress.”

Jude Simms, Early Years lead teacher at Broadway and Towerview Playschool, added: “It was lovely to get back into the University and have the chance to participate in such a brilliant discussion. All the speakers were really inspiring and the conference was absolutely brilliant.

“There are many things I will take back from all we discussed today. It has been great to meet lots of other professionals and have such a great networking opportunity. ”

Speakers included Robin Balbernie, clinical director of PIP UK, and Dr Julie Evans, a senior lecturer at the University of St Mark & St John and programme leader for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Progression route).

Mary Nolan, the UK’s first Professor of Perinatal Education, from the University of Worcester, who has worked as a birth and parent educator for 30 years, closed the conference. Her practice has encompassed rural communities in England and the busy, diverse city of Birmingham where she worked at the Women’s Hospital for many years. Her first book, Being Pregnant, Giving Birth was published in 1998 and this has been followed by 13 more books to which she has either contributed or been the sole or co-author. She has also published widely in women’s magazines and in professional and academic journals.