Di Chilvers

Di Chilvers

Early Education Associate

Di Chilvers is an advisory consultant in early childhood education having worked in the early year’s sector for a long time! Di has had a diverse career having initially trained as a nursery nurse (NNEB), then a teacher and worked in schools for over 20 years. She moved into training in FE and HE, including setting up and leading the BA Hons in Early Childhood Studies, QTS courses, Early Years Professional Status (EYT) and working on the NPQICL and MA programmes at Sheffield Hallam Univerity. Di’s further adventures include several visits to Reggio Emilia; Denmark; Ghana (working with teachers in a school with 900 children); Oman (working with young students at the University of Nizwa focusing on children’s needs, rights and entitlement); New Zealand to fulfil a longstanding dream of visiting early years centres (fantastic); and India. These experiences have all influenced her work and ripple through her training and support. Di works collaboratively with settings, schools and LAs across the country to support the development of good practice in the early years. Professional Development Initiatives include Talk for Reading; Talk for Maths Mastery; Sustained Shared Thinking; Assessment for Learning and Leading learning -An observational approach. Her work is grounded in good observation of children, knowledge of children’s development, language development and children’s conversational talk and how this connects to their thinking. She takes a reflective approach to training, building confidence and self-belief to develop practitioners/teachers thinking and practice. Di has written various books and chapters – with her Talk for Maths Mastery Book being recently published.

Areas of expertise​

  • Child development - talking and thinking

  • Child-led learning and adult-focused teaching

  • Talk for Maths Mastery

  • Leading the learning – developing outstanding practice

  • Observation, Assessment and Planning – Mapping children’s progress, Observation as professional practice, Using a Documentation approach

Sample courses

Connecting Observation, Assessment, and Planning and the Curriculum - delivered by Di Chilvers

"Keeping the OAP cycle at the heart of our practice enables practitioners to build on children’s motivations and interests to support and extend their development and learning. The curriculum is co-constructed between children, practitioners and families through this process." (Birth to Five Matters, 2021, p.39)

In this course, Di will focus on:
- The connection between observation, assessment and planning and the curriculum
- Explaining the process through the OAP holistic diagram in Birth to Five Matters (p.38)
- Children’s experiences of the curriculum - how we use observation to see their motivations, interests, involvement, development, and learning
- Children and adults constructing the curriculum together - how a dynamic curriculum can respond to children’s funds of knowledge, their families, and community
- Making links between the EYFS Statutory Framework and the Ofsted EIF
- Ending with a discussion about your unique curriculum recipe – what will you include?

How do children’s interests inform your early years curriculum? - delivered by Di Chilvers

In this course Di Chilvers explains the ‘Pedagogy of Children’s Interests’ and how central this is to their development, identity, thinking, and learning. Including examples of practice from an extended project at Maples Nursery School and Children’s Centre.
We will explore:
- How we recognise, support and build on children’s interest and ideas
- The relationship between children’s interests, funds of knowledge, and cultural capital
- How children’s interests and funds of knowledge inform and inspire your curriculum
- How you can support children’s interests in partnership with them through co-construction

The following extract is from a child’s learning story at Maples Nursery School, Ealing, as they explored the pedagogy of children’s interests through an extended project. This is how children co-construct their curriculum with supportive adults: “Your interest in construction and building was the spark for continuous investigation and unfolding ideas of how to build walls and roads and then houses, towers and stairs. I wonder why you are so interested in these types of buildings? There are so many different types of towers in the world we could have a look at some of those together? What do you think?”

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