Joan Henderson

Joan Henderson

Early Education Associate

Joan has worked in education for over 30 years and during this time has developed a sound understanding of early years, primary and higher education. She has worked as a teacher, principal and teacher educator. As a teacher educator she was given responsibilities to plan and deliver programmes within the BA honours Early Childhood Studies, Bachelor of Education Degree, Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Masters in Education at Stranmillis University College, Belfast. She was also a member of the Educational and Training Inspectorate, has led and been part of the core team for writing publications which were the framework to the planning for and the implementation of the Pre-school Expansion programme throughout Northern Ireland. She led an evaluation Survey in ‘Special Education Needs in the Pre-school Sector (2005-06) which highlighted the importance of early identification of need and early intervention. The issues raised from the evaluation were followed up in 2009 outlining key priorities for action for the Department of Education, the Department of Health, Social Service and Personal Safety and the Education and Skills Authority. Joan also led the evaluation of the SureStart programme for 2 year olds in 2010 in NI, which involved multi-agency working within the inspection teams. She was the nominated expert from NI in the working group for the European Agency Project of the progress and developments in Early Childhood Intervention from 2005 to 2010. She also was responsible for planning and implementing the Evaluation of the Signature Project Nurture Group Provision in 2013 which focused on the quality of the provision of nurture groups within primary schools. Her evaluative role has enabled her to work closely with many schools and pre-school centres throughout the province and developed many strategies to support schools and centres to improve the outcomes and achievements for children. Since 2015 she has worked independently providing bespoke support to individual practitioners, teachers, schools, pre-school centres, professionals, parents and advisors working within education. Joan is passionate about promoting the best for the children through motivating and stimulating practice and building on real, natural and relevant experiences. She takes a very reflective, flexible and creative approach to training, inspiring, building confidence and skills of staff to enable them to develop further their own practice.

Areas of expertise​

  • ICT in supporting learning in the early years

  • Play/Activity-based learning indoors and outdoors

  • Effective features of learning and teaching

  • Leadership and management - developing aspiring leaders

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