Early Education launches events to address gaps in professional development when working with birth to threes


These series of events will highlight the importance of quality – rather than quantity – of provision for the new entitlements for children from nine months to two years.

To date, most of the debate around the new entitlements has focused on the issues with funding, workforce and availability of places. By contrast, these events will focus on the importance of quality of provision for children of this age, sharing the extensive evidence base about the importance of the first three years of life. 

A range of expert speakers will cover key aspects of working with this age group and invite practitioners to discuss whether they are getting the professional development they need, and what more is needed.

The series starts on 19 March with a hybrid event at the Thomas Coram Centre in London and online. Julia Manning-Morton will consider past and present contexts, changing views of 0–three-year-olds and approaches to practice, and why keeping our youngest children at the forefront of our minds is central to our practice and provision.

She will encourage practitioners revise key ideas about the care, play, development and learning of 0–three-year-olds, and identify key aspects of practice that support their wellbeing.

Future events are planned later in the year in collaboration with Early Education local branches in Darlington, Walsall, Plymouth, Bristol and Lancaster.

Early Education chief executive Beatrice Merrick said: ‘Practitioners tell us there is a shortage of high quality training on working with children from birth to three. This was confirmed for us recently when a course we are offering on leading two-year-old provision quickly booked up.  We decided to offer events around the country to give practitioners a chance to hear from experts in the field at minimal cost, and give us their views on what professional development they need, and in what format.

‘There will be in-person events at a range of venues, and also opportunities to hear from speakers and engage online. Following the principle of grass-roots, sector-led engagement, we want to work with practitioners to co-create opportunities for professional development that support those working with the youngest children. It’s such important work, yet those who work in baby rooms and with the youngest children don’t always get the support and recognition they deserve.’

Julia Manning-Morton, an early years consultant, writer and trainer who specialises in this age-group, added: ‘Decades of evidence from different disciplines has emphasised the importance of the first three years of life, and that the quality of out-of-home care for babies, toddlers and two-year-olds is crucial for their wellbeing. And yet the focus on the wellbeing, play, care, and learning of 0–three-year-olds in policy and provision waxes and wanes and the professional skills of 0-threes practitioners go largely unacknowledged and unsupported.

‘So, initiatives such as this by Early Education is very much needed to make sure that we keep babies, toddlers and two-year-olds at the forefront of our minds.

More information about this event can be found here

Later events in the series will be listed here

Contact for further enquiries

For further information please contact Beatrice Merrick, chief executive, Early Education (07712 398672) or [email protected]).


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