Can early years principles support inclusion in higher education?

Sennett, Beth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9632-2052 and Cummins, Esther ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8877-231X (2023) Can early years principles support inclusion in higher education? In: The early years learning environment stands alone within the education system. Primary schools predominantly teach the national curriculum, yet the first year of schooling incorporates play-based learning into everyday life. The early years’ classroom off, 14th June 2023, Online.

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Abstract / Summary

The early years learning environment stands alone within the education system. Primary schools predominantly teach the national curriculum, yet the first year of schooling incorporates play-based learning into everyday life. The early years’ classroom offers our youngest learners the opportunity to choose their own learning experiences (Eccesfield et al., 2021) and select their resources (Marsh et al., 2019). Play is at the foreground of the early years experience and encourages creativity, social interaction and problem-solving skills (Marsh et al., 2019) as well as supporting a child in developing conceptual understanding (Fleer, 2011). Why are these experiences unique for our youngest learners? There is some debate about which early years principles could be continued into Key Stage 1 (Fisher, 2011; Fisher, 2022) but these pedagogical approaches are often dismissed as ‘childish’ within the much later years of education and replaced by more traditional lectures and seminars. What can we as higher educators learn from the early years’ experience to enhance our own practices?

This workshop offers attendees the opportunity to explore early years principles about transitions, assessment, outdoor learning, and holistic learning before considering what benefits these practices have for higher education online teaching and learning. Focusing on how the early years learning environment and pedagogical tools mirror principles of inclusive practice and pedagogy, activities and discussion will consider learner agency, range of activities and experiences, and learners at the centre of the decision-making. As former early years practitioners focusing on inclusion, we will share our explorations of adopting early years principles in higher education contexts (both face-to-face and online), modelling some of these practices in the workshop.

Reference list
Ecclesfield, N., Kote, V.B. and Ecclesfield, P., 2021. Learner Agency and Architectures of Participation. Unleashing the Power of Learner Agency.
Fisher, J. (2011) Building on the Early Years Foundation Stage: developing good practice for transition into Key Stage 1, Early Years, 31:1, 31-42, DOI: 10.1080/09575146.2010.512557
Fisher, J. (2022) To play or not to play: teachers’ and headteachers’ perspectives on play-based approaches in transition from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1 in England, Education 3-13, 50:6, 803-815, DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2021.1912136
Fleer, M., 2011. ‘Conceptual play’: Foregrounding imagination and cognition during concept formation in early years education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 12(3), pp.224-240.
Marsh, J., Wood, E., Chesworth, L., Nisha, B, Nutbrown, B. and Olney, B. (2019) Makerspaces in early childhood education: Principles of pedagogy and practice, Mind, Culture, and Activity, 26:3, 221-233, DOI: 10.1080/10749039.2019.1655651

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Subjects: Education
Courses by Department: Academy of Innovation and Research > Research
Depositing User: Ailsa Poll
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2023 11:16
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2023 11:16
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/5077

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