Childcare and Education Students and Apprenticeships love the interaction of the Early Childhood Theorists online discussions.

It started on Social Media. We were discussing Early Childhood Theorists and how they linked to our practice and training. We soon started to find out how important the Childhood Theorists are to the workforce. In addition, we discovered that people wanted to know more, especially about some of the lesser-known ‘pioneers’.

As the lockdown surrounding Covid-19 took hold, more and more people began looking for online CPD. We began discussing how we could develop six informal discussion pieces for the workforce and students in the Early Childhood sector. We felt that we needed to connect more widely with our Early Years community, paying close attention to practitioners and students who know these Early Childhood Theorists well.

So, we have now completed week six of the Early Childhood Theorist sessions, and what a six weeks it has been!

EYMatters is the platform where the sessions are held. But, the reason for this post is to demonstrate the overwhelming desire from FE/HE and apprenticeship students and learners who are on courses such as Early Years, Education and Childhood, as well as wider Early Childhood programmes. There has been a great rise in students watching these sessions and it got us thinking about why these sessions could help with the teaching and learning around the theorists and how you could incorporate them into your sessions.

We wanted to make sure that the sessions spoke to all of us in some way, paying close to attention to those learners on a level 3 Early Years and Education (EYE) course. Using these videos as a teaching tool, while so many learners are not able to attend college, or their work settings, could prove to be invaluable.

So we went away and discussed which theorists would be useful in a time when we are trying to not only discuss the Early Childhood Pioneers we know so well, but those we felt are pertinent to a workforce and learners currently embarking on a career within Early Years, Care and Education. In addition, we wanted to ensure that the discussions supported current practice, both during this unprecedented time, but also as we move forward into an unknown future. So here are the theorists we believe are the most important ones to focus on when developing and supporting a child centred and nurturing approach.

  1. Urie Bronfenbrenner
  2. Dr Bavolek
  3. Froebel
  4. Maria Montessori
  5. John Bowlby
  6. Pioneers (Vygotksy, Piaget)

You can access these free presentations here.

Research has repeatedly shown the value of video in the digital classroom. From these online and informally produced sessions, we have had fantastic feedback that they support blended learning, engagement and reflection. Therefore, we believe the videos could prove to be an opportunity for your learners to engage with a range of different perspectives and approaches outside of the classroom setting.

The sessions could enhance a lesson, or even be the lesson. The options with these online discussions are endless. Our lives have changed so rapidly over the last 9 weeks, but there can be a positive which comes of this.

Could this open the doors to a rise in the digital classroom, taking on board that the vast majority of our learners are digital natives?

Could this increase the opportunities to engage with a range of researchers, academics and writers?

Could this free up ‘teaching time’ to concentrate on other elements?

Blended learning combines traditional classroom learning with self-paced online learning. The many learners who have reflected and discussed what they have learnt have stated how much they have enjoyed the videos. This has included, taking so much of the content in, but enjoying doing them at their own pace, including being able to think about how they have applied/could apply it in their practice or placement.

What we have learnt from the students and learners that have engaged in the sessions is the overwhelming desire to go away and read even more. Throughout all of the sessions, we have made links to other researchers and theorists, both traditional and contemporary. We both feel that it is important for any learner to engage with current research that is going to support their studies and career going forwards. Within each session there are also additional reading links, pointing leaners to subjects such as psychology and sociology.

Why don’t you get your students to engage in the sessions and enjoy free CPD? Each person who watches the sessions and engages with the reflective element will get a CPD certificate from EYMatters. This can be used to demonstrate their ongoing learning, which will support them when they seek employment or apply for University Studies.

As an outcome of the series, we are continuing this work further. We are currently in the process of collating the research to inform our writing. This will result in a book which is being published by Sage Publishing, which we hope will continue to support you and your FE, HE and apprenticeship students and learners.

We hope that you enjoy watching them as much as we have had making them. Do please let us know what you think, and we encourage you and your learners to get in touch with us through the various social media channels.

Aaron Bradbury and Debbie Garvey

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