BECERA 2018 Creativity and Critical Thinking in the Early Years Conference Pack


Following the success of last year's BECERA 2017 Conference Play Pack, we are delighted to offer you this new Creativity and Critical Thinking in the Early Years Conference Pack for BECERA 2018. 

Featuring exclusive OPEN ACCESS to selected journal articles (courtesy of EECERJ, CREC and Taylor & Francis), as well as videos, infographics, blogs, resources and reports on creativity and critical thinking in the early years from various experts and advocates in the field of early childhood education.

We hope you enjoy them and please feel free to share these fantastic resources with your colleagues!

EECERJ Journal Articles: FREE ACCESS to selected journal articles on creativity and critical thinking in the early years for BECERA conference


Drawing out critical thinking: Testing the methodological value of drawing collaboratively - Linda Knight, Lyn Zollo, Felicity McArdle, et al. (Volume 24, Issue 2, 2016)  


Make‐believe play versus academic skills: a Vygotskian approach to today’s dilemma of early childhood education - Elena Bodrova (Volume 16, Issue 3, 2008)


Early Childhood Professionals' experience of time to facilitate children's thinking - Hiroko Fumoto & Sue Robson (Volume 14, Issue 2, 2006)


Thinking silently in the woods: listening to children speaking about emotion - Luigina Mortari (Volume 19, Issue 3, 2011)


Imaginary companions, theory of mind and emotion understanding in young children - Marta Giménez-Dasí, Francisco Pons & Patrick K. Bender (Volume 24, Issue 2, 2016)

OPEN ACCESS Practitioner Research Articles: FREE ACCESS to selected practitioner research from CREC students

CREC has identified a selection of practitioner research which it feels have a particular value (normally commended by the academic markers) and, with the agreement of the authors, have made them openly available for other early years practitioners and researchers to access, and hopefully use, to inform their own practice and academic study.



Involve me and I will understand'; The reflections of the participants in a creative art project in a children's centre drop-in - Janet Law


The use of recorded music in early childhood settings - Nichola Burke


How might storytelling and structured visual images be used as a pedagogical strategy by practitioners in furthering understanding the English number system? - Deanne Brettle


What is the nature of communication between two-year-olds in a musical free play environment? - Charlotte K Arculus


A case study of movement and physical development affordances of outdoor play - Caroline Duffy



Alike: A short film  by Daniel Martínez Lara & Rafa Cano Méndez

This adorable short film created by animators in Madrid sheds light on a silent but terrible problem... The stifling of our creativity. 




Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog: Celebrate the Spiders: Encourage Creativity

The early years’ environment can foster wonder and encourage young children to examine, explore and enquire. A lovely post on the Early Childhood Ireland blog about tuning into the child's creative endeavours.



TEDxBrum 2015 Talk: Children as Ideas Makers | Debi Keyte-Hartland

Debi Keyte-Hartland shares her vision for education built around children's enquiries and curiosities.



The Early Years Foundation Stage [PDF]: Why Creativity and Critical Thinking are so Important in the Early Years

Creativity is very much a process and often there is no clearly identifiable outcome or product. Yet, the outcome in terms of children’s confidence and skill in learning can be immense.



Educating Ruby Blog Post (Bill Lucas): Unleash Great Teachers and Stop Meddling

Professor Bill Lucas is director for the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester and author, with Guy Claxton, of Educating Ruby: what our children really need to learn.



Earlyarts UK Pocket Guide No.3 [PDF]: 10 Great Techniques to Make Your Teaching More Creative

Fabulous creativity guide from the marvellous folks at Earlyarts UK.



Community Playthings Article: Put the pencil down and go outside: The importance of nature in the early years – Kathryn Solly

In this long-form piece, Kathryn Solly discusses issues surrounding outdoor play, children's early interactions with nature and why going outside is so important in the early years.



Sketch Note: 12 Benefits of Creativity

This sketch note from Sylvia Duckworth highlights 12 benefits of creativity for everyone!

The Spoke Blog Post (Early Childhood Australia Blog): Supporting Children's Creativity

What is creativity and why is it so important to support children's creative thinking?

The Early Childhood Research Podcast: #20 - How Scribbling Fast Tracks our Kids


Scribbling plays a crucial role in the development of imagination and cognitive function in young children. Listen to Elizabeth Hah discuss and summarise what researchers have found about this essential skill and how we can optimise this knowledge in our homes and classrooms!



Mind/Shift Article: How Seeing and Using Gestures Make Ideas More Memorable

Whether it's reading, maths or science, we absorb ideas better when we apply some body language.



Book - Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer: Teaching Creative Thinking: Developing Learners Who Generate Ideas and can Think Critically 

Replete with research-led insight and ready-to-use strategies, Teaching Creative Thinking is a powerful call to action and a practical handbook for all teachers and leaders, in both primary and secondary settings, who want to embed a capabilities approach in their schools.



UKEdChat Podcast: #13 - Teaching Creative Thinking

Listen to Bill Lucas discuss his book (see above) and passionately advocate for schools to teach pupils how to think creatively, so that they can lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.




Play England Blog: Play holds key to inclusion

Play is the best way to offer inclusion, says Karen Kewell, co-founder of #ToyLikeMe, an organisation that was set up to call the global toy industry to account on its failure to represent the 150 million disabled children in its toys.



Jacobs Foundation Video: The Benefits of Fantasy Play - Sonja Perren

In this talk, Sonja Perren talks about the benefits of free play – and in particular pretend play, which helps to promote the social-emotional development of children and has a positive effect on relationships with their peers.




Learning Through Landscapes Video: The value of play in schools

Explore how outdoor play can support your children's learning and development and begin to think about how your school could enrich playtimes.



Edutopia Article (Interview): (Hey, Teacher) Leave Those Kids Alone – Interview with Alison Gopnik

Alison Gopnik, an expert in childhood development, makes an impassioned plea for creating safe learning environments—and then getting out of the way!



Discovery Early Learning Centre Blog: Hijacking Play

Lakisha Reid from Discovery Early Learning Centre explains why "until I am pulled into the play, I am not barging in".



NAEYC Webinar: Nurturing Creativity: An Essential Mindset for Young Children's Learning

On 30th November 2016, the authors of NAEYC’s publication, Nurturing Creativity: An Essential Mindset for Young Children’s Learning, hosted a webinar on inspiring creative thinking across all areas of learning in the classroom. Watch this video for lesser-known facts on the impact of creativity in early childhood education, as well as insightful details on the book!





Journal Article: The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds – Kenneth R. Ginsburg

Journal article from Kenneth R. Ginsburg, published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in January 2007 (vol. 119, issue 1).



TES Article (Ellen Spencer & Bill Lucas): 'Can perseverance, self-control, resilience, empathy, creativity and critical thinking be part of the testing agenda, too?'

What would the impact on schooling be if these qualities were valued as much as academic knowledge?



Huffington Post Article: Finland Education System Is Very Laid Back, And Totally Working

When it comes to education, the Finnish know what they’re doing. The Scandinavian country has one of the top education systems in the world, and last year (2016), ranked number one in literacy. So what’s Finland’s secret? It’s simple: more play, less work.



Play England Literature Review (PDF): Free play in early childhood – Joan Santer and Carol Griffiths, with Deborah Goodall

This literature review, focusing on free play in early childhood (from birth to 7 years old), was commissioned by Play England, and the work was carried out between May and July 2006. Its aim is to provide information about the value of free play in early childhood. 


The Ultimate Playlist: 50 Reasons to Believe in the Power of Play - - Infographic


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