Nicky Shaw

Nicky Shaw

Early Education Associate

Nicky has worked in early childhood education and care for 30 years. A qualified primary teacher with a first degree in Psychology and an Early Years specialism, she has worked as a play leader, primary teacher, nursery teacher, and children’s centre manager. She has been an LA Early Years Advisor and Outdoor Play Assessor. Nicky has worked across local authority, private, and third sector organisations and is a qualified practitioner trainer and parent group facilitator in The Solihull Approach, Video Interactive Guidance, and Emotion Coaching. Nicky is now a lecturer in Early Years Pedagogy and is the programme lead for the BA Childhood Practice degree at the University of Strathclyde. Her teaching, training, and writing considers practical approaches to emotion regulation with a focus on emotionally intelligent, empathic interactions with children, parents, and staff teams. She has published a book chapter titled “Supporting Social and Emotional Well-being in a Turbulent World” and her MEd research focused on “Emotion Coaching: Moving from Behaviourism to Nurture in a Nursery Class.” She was a contributing writer for Realising the Ambition, the National Practice Guidance for Early Years in Scotland (Education Scotland, 2020). Nicky specialises in facilitating bespoke training online or in person. She has particular expertise in working with large groups or staff teams to provide sessions that engage and inspire, that are interactive and memorable, and that positively impact participants’ professional practice.

Areas of expertise​

  • Supporting young children’s emotion regulation

  • Creating environments for promoting emotional wellbeing

  • Empathic early years leadership

  • Nurturing early years teams

  • Child-led play pedagogy

  • Child-led observations and documentations

Sample courses

Developing empathic approaches to supporting young children’s emotion regulation – delivered by Nicky Shaw

Aims and objectives – Delegates will have opportunities to:

  • Reflect on the impact of behaviour management approaches for young children.
  • ​Consider the science and purpose of human emotions.
  • Explore empathic approaches which enhance children’s emotional communications through co-regulatory interactions.
  • Develop understandings of the practitioner role in creating an environment of co-regulation

Nurturing a change-friendly team – delivered by Nicky Shaw

Aims and objectives – Delegates will have opportunities to:

  • Develop an understanding of the issues affecting teams in a change process.
  • Identify potential causes of challenge or conflict in a team in relation to change.
  • Reflect on the impact of changes facing early years teams.
  • Consider approaches which nurture a change-friendly environment.
  • Identify ways to lead and evaluate the social process of change.
  • Practice the skills required to nurture a collective commitment to change.
  • Plan ways to apply new understandings within the context of your own establishment.

Engaging practitioners, parents and children in values-led observations – delivered by Nicky Shaw

Aims and objectives – Delegates will have opportunities to:

  • Explore the purpose and values that drive your observations.
  • Examine the role of the practitioner in ensuring high quality observation are key to the responsive planning cycle.
  • Reflect on the role of the child being observed.
  • Practise purposeful, skilled observation through scenarios.
  • Consider how to embed observation within the child’s systems of support.
  • Evaluate the purpose of documenting observations.
  • Identify next steps for professional practice.

Looking inward, outward, forward: reflective practice for continuing professional growth – delivered by Nicky Shaw

Aims and objectives – Delegates will have opportunities to:


  • Identify the nature of reflective practice in early years settings.
  • Reflect on the purpose and value of reflection as a professional practice.
  • Consider practical and creative approaches to reflection for early years professionals.
  • Practice the skills of feeding back to feed forward.
  • Investigate purposeful approaches to documentation of professional growth.

A relational approach to supporting transitions – delivered by Nicky Shaw

Aims and objectives – Delegates will have opportunities to:

  • Consider the emotional impact of transitions on children, parents, and staff.
  • Introduce the concept of a transition ‘journey.’
  • Identify opportunities for partnership working in the transition process: children, parents, carers, educators.
  • Examine the children’s views of the transition process.
  • Investigate practical examples of transitions supported through a relational approach.

Strengths-based, relational support for children and families – delivered by Nicky Shaw

Aims and objectives – Delegates will have opportunities to:

  • Examine how the child with ASN is viewed from the perspectives of different professions involved in interagency working. 
  • Consider the perspective of parents and carers in the decision-making process for ASN.
  • Consider the perspective of children in the decision-making process for ASN.
  • Investigate the practitioner role in advocating for children and families within the decision-making process for ASN.
  • Identify opportunities for the empowerment of children and families through a relational, strengths-based approach to the ASN process.

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