Sharon Colilles

Sharon Colilles

Early Education Associate

Julie is an Early Years consultant, trainer and writer. She has had a varied career in education, starting as a young teacher in a village primary school, working her way up, then down the age range, to find her home in Early Years as a Nursery teacher in Oxford. After gaining an M.Ed in Literacy at the University of Sheffield, she worked as a reading intervention teacher, and contributed to writing the Learning Together programme for PEEP (Peers Early Education Partnership) while running early literacy groups for young children and their parents. She spent 3 years as Foundation Stage lead on a post-graduate Early Years teacher training course in Oxford. She then moved on to work as an Early Years advisory teacher for Oxfordshire County Council, where she took a county lead within the team on equalities, English as an additional language and literacy. She is author of a number of articles and her latest book, Becoming a Writer in Leaps and Bounds – supporting boys’ writing in the EYFS was be published in April 2014. She now works independently, promoting high quality Early Years provision through her writing, training and consultancy.

Areas of expertise​

  • Research and evaluation

  • Participatory pedagogy for transformational practice

  • Relationships and quality interactions for developing children’s unique personal identity

  • Play and children’s raced identity

  • Developing cultural identity through children’s literature

Sample courses

Creating ‘space’ for culturally appropriate resources in early years curricula - delivered by Sharon Colilles

This course invites educators to reconsider existing conceptualisations about the purpose of play to consider processes that involve internal representation that is specific to cultural and individual ethnic identity contexts. Described as a period in which children learn the language of their culture, Vygotskian theorisation suggests that between the ages of two to eight years learning about culture and ethnicity can be seen in children’s play. Whilst it may be challenging to clearly define Play, when we observe children in ‘play based settings’ there is a consensus of agreement that it is an important vehicle in which young children develop, learn, and explore socially constructed ideas from wider society.

Using play as a mediation tool for connecting ideas about how children choose to share and co-construct knowledge about their ethnic identity the course provides educators with an opportunity to consider the resources utilised within provision that facilitate discourse surrounding a raced and ethnic identity with young children. 

Aims and objectives - Delegates will have opportunities to:

  • Develop awareness and understanding about play and its potential to act as a:

•      powerful ‘bridge’ between children’s home and ‘school’ (Broadhead & Burt, 2012); 

•      mediation tool in interactions between peers and practitioners when co-constructing knowledge about ethnicity. 

  • Explore how resources can influence children’s conscious and unconscious beliefs about culture and ethnicity. 

Participatory pedagogy for transformational practice - delivered by Sharon Colilles

In recent years children’s rights to participate in matters that affect them the most has risen in prominence in research, policy, and in particular practice. Yet implementation of children’s rights can be the most challenging and yet rewarding aspects of professional practice. This course challenges educators toreflect on their current practice to examine how and in what ways their practice is shaped from the child’s perspectives. 

Incorporating knowledge and understanding gained from the practitioners own experiences of working with children, the course is aimed at those individuals who wish to seek approaches associated with empowerment, self-efficacy, and giving ‘voice’ to young children.

Exploring pedagogy in participation (Formisinho & Pascal, 2016), this training asks educators to reflect on situations in which relationships and interaction are sustained via joint activities and experiences to develop approaches that are responsive to the perspectives of children.

Aims and objectives - Delegates will have opportunities to: 

  • Define Praxeological principles (Pascal & Bertram, 2009; 2012) 
  • Obtain an understanding of pedagogy in participation (Formisinho & Pascal, 2016) as a means of exploring the practitioners own cultural knowledge about the children they work with.
  • Explore some of the ways that educators can use their existing knowledge to construct new meanings with young children. 

Exploring children’s perspectives about their mixed ethnic identity - delivered by Sharon Colilles

This course encourages educators to explore contexts in which young children will be developing ideas about their ethnic identity. Coming from diverse backgrounds children enter early years settings rich in cultural knowledge (Karabon, 2017) acquired from their home & community environments. Children will make use of these cultural tools of thought and will go on to independently use them for their own purposes in their interactions with others.

This training will therefore challenge educators to reflect on sociological contexts surrounding culture, race, and ethnicity observed in pedagogical practices that impact upon and facilitate the judgements and preferences that children make about their own & others ethnic identity.

Located within the themes and principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage this training makes use of collaborative discourse to raise educator confidence to engage in the sensitives associated with ethnic/raced identity in their pedagogical practice.

Aims and objectives - Delegates will have opportunities to: 

  • Explore definitions relating to culture, race, and ethnicity. The objective here is to raise awareness and confidence amongst educators in making use of these terms. 
  • obtain an understanding of the terminology children use. The objective being to raise consciousness that children will ascribe terminology to themselves and others beyond known societal contexts.

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