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Annual National Conference: What have we learned from the pandemic?

SKU: ANC2021Recordings


This year's Annual National Conference ran online over the week from 14 to 18 June.  Sessions were a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions, all available to watch on demand, culminating in a plenary live discussion on the Friday afternoon.

It draws on the experiences of our members across the UK and asks what positives we can draw from the experiences of the last year, and how that may influence our practice going forward.

Sessions now available on demand:

The Froebelian principle of engaging with nature

Sally Cave, Headteacher, Guildford Nursery School

The child should experience nature in all its aspects – form, energy, substance, sound and colour. (Froebel in Lilley 1967:148)

My presentation will cover:
• Our approach to the outdoors and the changes we made when the country first went into lockdown: the challenges, benefits and impact.
• What we learnt about the children, families and ourselves.
• What we will continue doing and what we will stop.

Early Learning and Childcare through Covid 19 - How adversity provided the opportunity for the best part of us to shine

Julia Matthew, Quality Improvement Manager Early Years, Aberdeenshire Council

The Covid 19 pandemic completely rocked our foundations, our work life, our home life, our families, our friends, and our ability to make choices. However, some of the most amazing and innovative practice resulted. Early Years staff at all levels demonstrated flexibility, resilience, determination, drive and a real love and commitment to their work and to the children they care for and support. This session will explore the positives from the pandemic, from the perspective of Early Learning and Childcare in Aberdeenshire, consider lessons learned and what from this time we want to hold onto for the future.

Childminding and Covid - how we supported families through a pandemic

Zoe Sadler, Christine Mathieson (Welly Walkers) and Julieanne Merchant

Three childminders from Aberdeenshire who offer completely different environments will share their experiences of how they supported childcare during these challenging times and how their practices changed to help provide stability and continuity for families.

Once upon a very ordinary time something very extraordinary happened...

Julie Mancini, Education Gateshead

This presentation explores the lived experiences of a group of practitioners in Gateshead schools as they tell their stories of how they come to celebrate teaching in a global pandemic by rediscovering EYFS principled practice. In other words, when one door closes another secret door is discovered!

Practitioner Perspectives: The Impact of COVID-19 on Early Education and Care in Wales

Dr Jacky Tyrie, Swansea University

In Wales children have experienced substantial changes to their lives as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside this, practitioners in education and care have also had to change and adapt to lockdowns, social distancing, face masks and to working in a new and unknown contexts. The research presented here asked practitioners about their experiences and how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the sector, their setting, the children and themselves. We explore the divide felt between non-maintained and maintained, the viability of the non-maintained sector and changes to pedagogy.

How Wellbeing Playworkers supported children in primary schools during and post-lockdown

Dr Pete King, Swansea University

This presentation will outline how playwork practice has supported children and primary school teachers, including those working in the early years, during the first lockdown in March 2020, and after restrictions had been lifted.  A qualitative study with nine headteachers indicates the benefits of play, and the wellbeing playworkers have supported children in all aspects of the school day.  The results of the study will be discussed in relation on the need for children to be able to play, sometimes with learning taking more of a "back seat".

Play in Practice during the Pandemic:  a Northern Ireland perspective

Alan Herron and Dr Cira Palli-Aspero (PlayBoardNI) and Dr Glenda Walsh (Stranmillis University College)

Details to follow

Rabbits, snails and puppy dog tails: the role animals can play in early years settings

Dr Helen Lewis, Swansea University

Animal-assisted interventions attract widespread interest in education around the world, with studies suggesting benefits to children's social, emotional, physical, behavioural, and cognitive development (eg Purewal et al, 2017). Our research suggests that such interventions are seen as a useful approach for many educators in supporting young learners during these challenging times.

This presentation explores the role animals, particularly dogs, can play in supporting young children's wellbeing, empathy, curiosity and engagement. 

The presentation explores some of the ways that early years educators have found to involve animals effectively,  with a focus on supporting communication, social development and kindness. We also think about key considerations around safety and welfare for both children and animals.

Conference plenary discussion

Listen to the panel discuss what we can take forward from the past year's experiences.


Monday, 14 June, 2021
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