KEYNOTE I | NANCY STEWART - Birth to 5 Matters - Guidance by the Sector, for the Sector


Birth to 5 Matters is being developed as non-statutory early years practice guidance, in response to government changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage and associated practice guidance which sparked English early years professionals’ concerns that their values and expertise were not sufficiently reflected in the government’s framework and guidance. Using a highly democratic, consultative and collaborative approach, 16 major early years sector organisations have joined together to develop guidance which meets the needs of practitioners and reflects both practical expertise and academic research. Central issues of pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and education for the 21st century have all been debated, and the current consultation seeks further professional views on how to maximise the benefits of the guidance.


Nancy Stewart is a writer, consultant and trainer with nationally recognised expertise in early years development and learning. She has wide experience across early years sectors in schools, nurseries, local authority advisory service, and National Strategies where she was Senior Early Years Adviser and wrote guidance materials including ‘Learning, Playing and Interacting’. She has worked to implement national programmes and advised on curriculum and assessment in the 2012 EYFS review. Key areas of interest and expertise are early communication and language for thinking, along with children’s development as self-regulated learners and the central place of play, and playful teaching and learning. Nancy co-authored Development Matters with Helen Moylett, and wrote How children learn - The characteristics of effective early learning, amongst other publications. She is currently Project Lead for the Early Years Coalition’s development of non-statutory guidance for the EYFS, Birth to Five Matters.



KEYNOTE II | TINA BRUCE - Pedagogical reconnections: past, present and future

There is a silent revolution underway evidencing the importance of the social brain. This is empowered by relationships, feelings and meaning seeking, with the predictive use of previous experience. Cultural and community belonging is central, triggering and supporting the nuanced journey into symbolic functioning. Learning to observe gives a mechanism in getting to know a child , tuning into families, and the interconnectedness of knowledge. The way we spend time with children will impact on what we provide educationally. Pedagogy (how we provide) needs to be consistent within our professional lives, but also to be part of the way we live as a whole. How we engage with others, and the way in which we expand our knowledge and collaborate with others affects our lives. This is early childhood pedagogy. This is life. It matters.


Tina Bruce CBE is Honorary Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Roehampton. She trained as a Froebel teacher at the Froebel Educational Institute and as a teacher of children with hearing loss at the University of Manchester, teaching in both mainstream and special school contexts. She was head of the Froebel Nursery Research Project and was appointed Director of the Centre for Early Childhood Studies at Roehampton, working with the British Council in New Zealand and Egypt and awarded Outstanding Woman Scholar in Education by the University of Virginia Commonwealth. She advised the British Army schools on early childhood education at the request of HMI. She directed the Froebel Blockplay Research Project, a collaborative initiative working with Pat Gura the Research Assistant and five schools. She was co-ordinator of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Education and is an executive committee member of the International Froebel Society, Patron of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education and a Vice President of Early Education.


Her newest book " Friedrich Froebel: A Critical Introduction to Key Themes and Debates" has just been published. It considers the origins of Froebelian early childhood education providing context to the development of his theories and ideas, critically examines the key themes of this philosophy of education and explores the relevance of Froebelian practice today, featuring themes such as the importance of family, highly trained practitioners, communities of practice and research, engagement with nature, Gifts and Occupations, the whole child and the interconnectedness of learning.