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Chair’s welcome
Ruth Thomson
, Deputy Editor of Nursery World


Development Matters: time to reflect

An overview of current early years practice and reflection on what needs to change and why, with a focus on:

  • why the current emphasis on assessment in many early years settings has increased practitioner workload yet failed to ‘close the gap’ between disadvantaged children and their better-off peers
  • how this needs to be addressed
  • key priorities in high-quality early years practice and provision, and
  • starting points for building a broad and balanced curriculum for the children in your setting

Dr Julian Grenier , head teacher, Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre, east London and lead on the revised Development Matters guidance


Cultural capital: building on knowledge and dispositions

Discover how an understanding of cultural capital from an early years perspective can help practitioners to create a varied and relevant curriculum for the children in their setting by identifying, valuing and developing:

  • children’s interests
  • funds of knowledge, and
  • dispositions and attitudes to learning.

Dr Jo Basford, senior lecturer in education at Staffordshire University


Refreshments and exhibitor viewing


Towards self-regulation: the importance of co-regulation and relationship in helping children manage behaviour

This session will explore:

  • self-regulation as a developmental process: what it is and what it isn't
  • why co-regulation and relationship are crucial to its development
  • how an understanding of the process helps us tune in and respond to behaviour, appreciating the extra challenges faced by some children
  • key points for practice

Anne O'Connor, early years consultant, trainer and author specialising in the Prime areas of emotional and physical development and co-founder of Primed for Life Training Associates


WORKSHOPS - please choose between 1A, 1B, 1C or 1D

1A Delivering high-quality learning for babies and toddlers

The role of observation, assessment and reflection in supporting progression in the learning and development of under-twos.

Penny Tassoni, early years consultant, author and trainer

1B Time to talk

The critical importance of early language development and how to create an enabling environment in which meaningful adult-child interactions, such as contingent talk and sustained shared thinking, can take centre stage.

Phil Armstrong, head of regional development South and International, Early Excellence

1C Community and curriculum: making the connections

Discover how projects encouraging children to engage with their local communities provide the basis for a meaningful early years curriculum and foster strong partnerships with children’s families.

Anne O'Connor, early years consultant, trainer and author

1D In partnership: children and their families

Tried-and-tested ways to develop strong and supportive relationships with children’s families, encourage real dialogue and promote home learning.

Judith Twani, early years consultant


Lunch and exhibitor viewing


In perspective: observation, assessment and planning

Hear how to develop a planning cycle that will free you from the burden of assessment and evidence gathering and enable you to spend more time scaffolding children’s learning, particularly of those that need most support.

Jan Dubiel, early years consultant


Cognitive load theory: the case for sequenced learning

Discover how cognitive load theory can inform your curriculum planning and early years practice, with a look at:

  • the place of working and long-term memory in the learning process
  • how ‘overload’ affects a child’s ability to learn, and
  • the need for sequenced learning across the curriculum, and particularly in literacy and mathematics.

Phil Armstrong, head of regional development South and International, Early Excellence


Refreshments and exhibitor viewing


WORKSHOPS: Please choose between 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D

2A Adult-initiated learning within an early years curriculum

Explore the role of adult-initiated activity in creating a sequenced coherent curriculum for all children, and particularly for those in most need of support

Penny Tassoni, early years consultant, author and trainer

2B Explorations in STEM: broadening and deepening learning

A two-part presentation looking at Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the early years and their potential contribution in creating a broad and challenging curriculum for young children.

Jan Dubiel, early years consultant; and Becky Dolamore, head teacher, Rachel Keeling Nursery School, east London


2C Loose parts play

How to inject creativity and critical thinking into the early years curriculum by developing and supporting children’s play with open-ended resources.

Ben Kingston-Hughes, early years trainer and managing director of Inspired Children

2D More than just numbers?

An insight into the breadth of learning that should occur within early maths and how mathematical thinking and key concepts can be developed through first-hand playful experiences, indoors and out. 

Judith Twani, early years consultant


End of conference