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CU Coventry to cover anti-racism, leadership and the endless benefits of play in its Early Years Conference

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CU Coventry, part of The Coventry University Group will welcome award-winning early years anti-racist trainer and consultant Liz Pemberton to speak at its Early Years conference.

The aim is to help educators to unpack what anti-racism practice is in the early years and why it is essential.

Liz, who runs The Black Nursery Manager Training & Consultancy Ltd, will give a keynote speech which she says will not escape some of the uncomfortable issues around talking about anti-racism, particularly within the early years. 

She said:

“Children don’t care about what is deemed ‘appropriate’ and will ask their educators why their skin is a different colour to their friend’s, just the same way as they would ask why their friend has a yellow coat and they have a red coat. But if educators meet that with an awkward reaction and don’t know how to handle it, then it shuts down a really important conversation for children as they are forming a sense of who they are.

“Anti-racism practice is about making sure that these kinds of scenarios are handled in in a positive way and make every child feel valued.”

Liz’s talk aims to deepen the awareness about what it means as a child forms their identity and how educators need to have the tools to handle this effectively.

She said:

“I’m really looking forward to speaking at the conference. As a former nursery manager of a very culturally diverse setting in Birmingham, I recognise the need for early years educators to ensure that every child feels valued and empowered to be proud of their heritage from an early age.

“A lot of early settings have role play areas or home corners which may unintentionally culturally appropriate or perpetuate racist tropes. In one of the training sessions that I deliver, we look at these role play areas and ask what clothes do we have in there? What clothes are being mistaken for costumes? What play utensils are in the kitchen? Knives and forks are not universal for every child. Anti-racism in early years learning is nothing new, I’m just bringing it to another generation of educators.”

The conference, which is raising awareness of the new HND Early Childhood Education and Care (Leadership and Management) qualification (HTQ), will also host other industry experts, including independent education consultant Ruth Swailes who will share her thoughts on why play matters, and how early years leaders can use research to inform their practice to ensure that their curriculum is developmentally appropriate for young children. 

Ruth will be drawing on her experience of working with schools and settings all over the world developing curriculums, as well as her work developing and writing the Oxford International Early Years Curriculum.

Additional keynote speakers are Marius Frank and Valerie Daniel. Marius will share some of the latest findings on the impact of trauma on the developing mind and Valerie will share her insights and expertise around leadership in the Early Years. 

There will also be a variety of hands-on workshops throughout the day covering outdoor play, mindfulness, schemas and using play as therapy and a way to heal trauma.

HTQs are Level 4 and 5 qualifications (such as HNDs/Foundation Degrees/Diploma HE) that sit between A and T Levels and degrees. CU Coventry’s Early Years HTQ course aims to equip students with early education and care practice skills, knowledge and the understanding to achieve high performance in the global early education and care environment. This event is aimed at individuals looking to gain practical, skills-based training and education, and who are interested in a career as an early year’s leader, manager, practitioner, childminder or nanny.

The free conference will bring together educators and early years professionals who are dedicated to the well-being and development of young children and will be held on Saturday, 9 March, 2024 from 10am – 4pm at CU Coventry, Mile Lane, Coventry. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. 

Learn more about Higher Technical Qualifications from the Department of Education.

Book your free place here.

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