UWTSD hosts BERA seminar 'A Curriculum for Early Years'


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David hosted the third seminar in a series of interactive events comprising the BERA (British Educational Research Association) Research Commission 2019 – 2020 entitled Competing Discourses of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): Tensions, Impacts and Democratic Alternatives across the UK’s four jurisdictions.

Five of the presenters at the BERA seminar.

This seminar focused on ‘A curriculum for the Early Years’ at a time when this is being re-envisioned across the UK. The history of curriculum development in the early years’ sector follows stories of pioneers, theoretical developments and response to children’s needs and, in recent years, political interest in what children should be learning.

The seminar considered whether early childhood and care should offer children opportunities to engage in a wide range of appropriate activities for their stage of life, or whether it is a time to secure literacy and numeracy skills as part of preparation for the next stage of education.  Participants had the opportunity to explore whether such decisions should be made by educators, by parents or policy-makers to shape the next generation and how issues that shape the curriculum are connected with policy-making.

The day consisted of focus group discussions and stimulating presentations building on the themes emerging from earlier seminars on school readiness and collaborative agency. Speakers included Dr Mandy Bateman, Dr Emma Laing and Dr Jane Waters.

A female speaker gives a talk at the BERA Early Years seminar.

Dr Jane Waters, Associate Professor leading on applied education research said: “The event is important and highly timely. In Wales there are significant questions to be answered about the provision for our very youngest learners and the planning for smooth transitions as they move through Early Childhood and Care provision (generally 0-3 years) into the early years of school (3+ years). As the new Curriculum for Wales takes shape the early childhood practice and research community must collectively ensure that there is coherence built into the curriculum and that it is appropriate for the needs of young children who are learning as much about who they are as learners, as they are about the world around them.”

Attendees at the seminar sit around tables while a speaker gives a presentation at the far end of the room.

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