Speakers

An exceptional lineup of speakers from across the early years, both nationally and internationally, has been assembled by Nursery World to deliver a vibrant, educational and inspiring mix of seminars and masterclasses. Please see the speaker biographies below, listed alphabetically by surname.

Professor Clancy Blair

Clancy Blair, PhD is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology in Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He earned a BA at McGill University and an MPH in maternal and child health, and MA and PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He has been conducting research on the development of self-regulation and executive function abilities in early childhood for over two decades. This research has demonstrated that executive functions are central to school readiness, are substantially influenced by experience and by the family and the home environment, and highly interrelated with the regulation of stress response physiology.


Dr Rose Drury

Dr Rose Drury is senior lecturer in Early Years at The Open University Faculty of Education and Language Studies. She has worked for the Minority Ethnic Curriculum Support Service in Hertfordshire, has extensive experience of teaching bilingual children in the early years, and bilingualism and multilingualism in the early years is the main focus of her research.

Her publications, including ‘Young Bilingual Learners at Home and at School’ (Trentham, 2007), provide insights into the learning of children whose home communities are new to English and reveal that literacy and language development is richer and more multidimensional than is often presumed.

She was formerly senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the University of Worcester and principal lecturer in Education at the University of Hertfordshire.


Jane Dyke

Jane Dyke is the founder and owner of Yellow Dot nurseries, a group of 11 nurseries in Hampshire. While at teacher training college, she resolved to one day set up her own nursery, a dream she embarked on fulfilling 11 years later. For eight of those years, she worked at Scantabout Primary School, Hampshire, where she developed its Early Years Unit and was latterly its Key Stage 1 co-ordinator. Her aim for her nurseries is that they provide educationally stimulating environments where children are valued as individuals and encouraged to develop their potential. As part of that aim, she became involved in piloting Froebel training devised by Professor Tina Bruce and rolled out by a team of leading early years consultants.


Dr Julian Grenier

Dr Julian Grenier is headteacher of Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre, London — a National Teaching School — and is a National Leader of Education (NLE). He was a member of the expert panel for the Nutbrown Review, of the advisory group which supported Jim Rose's Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum, and of the DfE's exemplification working party for the new EYFS Profile (2011-12).
He was formerly an early years adviser at Tower Hamlets Local Authority and head teacher at Kate Greenaway Nursery School and Children’s Centre, which developed an international reputation for innovative and effective practice and was rated outstanding by Ofsted three times between 2006-2011.
He has co-written textbooks for Level 3 childcare and education students. Julian’s research for his doctorate in education (EdD), from the Institute of Education, London, was about a project to support the professional development of practitioners working with two year-olds.


Barbara Isaacs

Barbara Isaacs is the chief education officer at the Montessori St Nicholas Charity/Montessori Centre International.

Barbara trained with Montessori St. Nicholas in the early 1980’s and continued to study in the fields of Montessori education and early years, achieving a Masters degree in Early Years Education under the guidance of Tina Bruce in 2000. She is the author of Bringing Montessori into Your Early Years Setting (2009) and Understanding the Montessori Approach (2012) both published by David Fulton Books.

Over the past 25 years, Barbara has trained and supported the training of Montessori teachers in her capacity as a lecturer both at Montessori St. Nicholas, London Montessori Centre and Montessori Centre International. In her current role she has been involved with course developments and the promotion of Montessori education within the UK and internationally.

Barbara is committed to bringing Montessori education to children of the 21st Century.


Stella Louis

Stella Louis MA is an early years consultant who has worked as a nursery nurse, nursery manager, DCE course coordinator and Early Years Training coordinator. She wrote her first book ‘Again! Again!’ in 2008, this was re published as ‘Understanding schemas in young children: Again! Again!’ 2013. Other publications include the ‘Little Schema Book for Parents’ 2009 and ‘Schemas and the characteristics of effective learning’ 2013. Stella has had articles published in Nursery World and Early Education. Her book, ‘Observing Young Children’ (2014) co-written with Professor Tina Bruce and Georgie McCall was published in November 2014. Stella has developed a sustained interest in supporting practitioners to develop skills in child observation and assessment, taking a holistic approach. Stella is currently studying for a Doctorate in Education at Roehampton University and is a Froebelian-trained traveling tutor, working in the UK and in South Africa in an initiative funded by the Froebel Council.


Dr Lala Manners

Lala has over 25 years’ experience in the field of physical development in the early years, as a trainer, educator, writer and researcher, both in the UK and abroad. As director of Active Matters (www.activematters.org), she promotes interest and involvement in this area of children’s development, creating a vibrant and effective worldwide community.


Julia Manning-Morton

Julia Manning-Morton is an independent consultant, trainer and author. Her research is focused on practice and provision that meets the needs of children under three and on the personal, social and emotional well-being of children and practitioners. Her publications include ‘Two-Year-Olds In Early Years Settings: Journeys Of Discovery (2015)’, ‘Exploring Well-being in the Early Years (2014)’ and ‘Key Times: A Framework for Developing High Quality Provision for Children from Birth to Three years’, with Maggie Thorp (2006).

Her career in the early childhood field spans 40 years and diverse roles as a practitioner, manager, adviser and inspector across a range of settings for children aged 0-7 years. She was also a lecturer in Early Childhood Studies for 13 years.


Dr Kay Mathieson

Kay, an early years consultant, trainer and author, is particularly interested in exploring what life is like in our early years settings for two-year-olds and the way in which children with additional needs and their families are included effectively.

Her books include ‘Inclusion in the EYFS’, ‘I am two! Working Effectively with two year olds and their families’, and ‘Understanding Young Children’s Behaviour’.

Her work in early years and primary settings since 1981 has included supporting children with additional needs, especially behaviour, and their families. She led the Early Years Inclusion Team in a London Borough for six years, which involved supporting PVI settings to develop more inclusive practice. She also worked part time for the National Strategies team.


Dr Danielle Matthews

Danielle Matthews is a Reader in Cognitive Development at the University of Sheffield. She has been studying factors the affect early child language development for 15 years. For the past six, she has been following the development of a group of 140 children in South Yorkshire from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to better understand social gradients in early learning. Her focus is on using randomised controlled trials to evaluate ways to promote early lexical and pragmatic development.


Pete Moorhouse

Pete Moorhouse is an artist educator and early years consultant, with over 25 years’ experience of working within schools. He is also a sculptor and public artist with a wide portfolio of prestigious commissions.

He delivers CPD training, workshops and conference presentations in the UK and overseas, and the focus of his work is on encouraging creative and critical thinking in young children. He is also the author of ‘Woodwork in Early Years Education’.

He has held various positions as artist-in-residence and is currently artist educator at St Werburgh’s Park Nursery School – A National Teaching School. His work is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach.

Pete is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Graduate School of Education, Bristol University researching creativity, critical thinking and reflective learning practice and assessment methods. Pete is an associate trainer for Early Education and a trainer for Bristol Teaching Schools Consortium.


Julie Mountain

Early childhood landscape designer Julie Mountain has worked on outdoor learning and play projects with schools, settings and families for over 20 years. She is passionate about getting children outdoors to experience nature at first hand, take risks, get active, enrich learning and have fun.

After 11 years developing high quality outdoor learning programmes for Learning through Landscapes, Julie realised an ambition and launched a specialist social enterprise, Play Learning Life.

Now working on her second early years book for Bloomsbury, Julie regularly writes for Nursery World magazine and she specialises in helping nurseries, children’s centres and schools make the most of the potential of outdoor play, through CPD, advice and support and fully collaborative design projects.

During the school holidays, Julie runs an outdoor play scheme, 50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do (This Holiday), at which children get the opportunity to try risky, adventurous activities, including creating treasure from ‘free and found’ trash.

Julie considers herself privileged to have visited and supported hundreds of settings and practitioners across the UK and abroad and is on a mission to share the good practice she finds so that all children can benefit from the essential and special nature of outdoors.


Sue Overton

Sue Overton is a trainer, an orator, mentor and campaigner who has made advancing early years training her life's work. Sue constantly strives for innovative and creative ways of embedding messages to help people working with little ones become more effective practitioners.

Throughout her career, Sue's lobbying of regional and national government has achieved a better deal for childcare workers, and it is partly thanks to her that institutions like the NDNA have such a firm footing today.

The Sue Overton CV reads like a who's who of the industry - she has worked as a freelance trainer for over a third of all Local Authorities, as well as supporting eight of the top ten chains. Celebrating success, no matter how small, is central to Sue's philosophy, and through her sessions and practice she seeks to instill self-confidence in the sector's workers. Her challenges are to up-skill and motivate all types of childcare provider to recognise the value of the work they do and understand what impact their role as leaders of children has on future generations.


Martin Pace

Martin Pace has worked in the childcare sector for over 20 years. He is director of Reflections Nursery & Forest School, which operates a 170-place nursery in Worthing. The nursery won Nursery World UK Nursery of the Year 2009/10 and has been awarded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted at the last three inspections.

Martin has attended nine study tours of the pre-schools of Reggio Emilia since 2003 and is studying for an MA in Early Childhood Studies. He is jointly responsible for overseeing pedagogy at Reflections and leads Reflections Forest School programme. He is also author of ‘I Love Forest School: Transforming early years practice through woodland experiences’.


Professor C Cybele Raver

C Cybele Raver serves as Vice Provost of Academic, Faculty and Research Affairs at New York University. She also maintains an active program of research, examining the mechanisms that support children's self-regulation in the contexts of poverty and social policy.

Raver and her research team currently conduct the Chicago School Readiness Project, a federally-funded follow-up of a randomised controlled trial of a pre-school intervention. Children in the CSRP are now in high school.

Dr Raver regularly advises local and federal government agencies and foundations on promoting school readiness among low-income children. Raver has received several prestigious awards from organisations such as the American Psychological Association and the William T Grant Foundation as well as support from the Spencer Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. She earned her PhD in developmental psychology from Yale University.


Alice Sharp

Alice Sharp is managing director of training centre, Experiential Play, and director of resource company, Wonderbox, specialising in interactive products for use with children under three. As a hugely popular and effective trainer, she has undertaken training projects across the UK and abroad, and has produced a variety of training resources, most recently the DVD ‘Learning nuggets with Alice Sharp’.

She trained as a primary teacher, was formerly a lecturer in early education and childcare at Glasgow College, and is an associate of the University of Glasgow and London Early Years Foundation, the UK's largest social enterprise for childcare and early education, working to support long-term social change and with 34 nurseries across London.


Penny Tassoni

Penny Tassoni is a leading author, trainer and consultant in the early years sector. Amongst her many publications is a wide variety of early education and childcare textbooks and a best-selling series of handbooks, including ‘Penny Tassoni’s Practical EYFS Handbook’ and ‘Getting It Right for Two-year-olds: A Penny Tassoni Handbook’. Her other titles include ‘Child Development: 6 to 16 years’, and ‘Planning Play and the Early Years’, co-written with Karen Hucker. She has undertaken extensive training and consultancy work across the UK and internationally.


Judith Twani

Judith qualified as a junior teacher in the days of discovery learning and topic webs. Following five years of teaching, she moved to South Africa to teach in a small rural school which was a pioneer of multi-racial education in the post-apartheid years. There she developed a pre-school curriculum and introduced a creative approach to teaching.

Getting married and starting a family resulted in Judith taking a career break and, during this time, she led creative arts at a small college in Cape Town. A return to teaching took Judith first to Year 2 and then to Reception where she discovered her passion for early years. She organised an early years cluster group comprising of practitioners from across early years settings and this gave her the opening to become a local authority early years consultant and children’s centre teacher. During this time she also trained as an NVQ assessor and Ofsted inspector, and spent six months on a secondment to senior leadership in a large primary school.

For a couple of years, she developed her own independent training and consultancy work specialising in early years, alongside her work as a local authority consultant. She delivered training with BEAM on early years maths and has collaborated with Michael Jones, formerly an ECaT consultant, as co-author of ‘Let’s Talk About Maths’.

She now works for Early Excellence as a regional development manager and senior consultant. She brings to her training and consultancy a wealth of experience and knowledge. Judith is an inspiring and motivating trainer who combines theory and practical hands on experiences successfully to create an unforgettable day.


Laura Baddiley

Harrington Nursery School is an outstanding 80-place setting, serving a deprived area of Derby. Committed to providing a challenging and carefully planned curriculum for each child within a caring and secure environment, the setting also has the passion and drive to innovate in early years practice, including ICT within the EYFS. Its excellent practice was highlighted through its work with the National Literacy Trust.

Laura Baddiley is co-director of Derby Early Years Teaching School. She is involved in strategically implementing any new ideas and ways of working within the nursery school.


Wendy Colebourne

Harrington Nursery School is an outstanding 80-place setting, serving a deprived area of Derby. Committed to providing a challenging and carefully planned curriculum for each child within a caring and secure environment, the setting also has the passion and drive to innovate in early years practice, including ICT within the EYFS. Its excellent practice was highlighted through its with the National Literacy Trust.

Wendy Colebourne is co-director of Derby Early Years Teaching School and headteacher. She drives strategic change within our nursery school and is passionate about keeping in with the 21st Century.


Lindsay Fravolini

Harrington Nursery School is an outstanding 80-place setting, serving a deprived area of Derby. Committed to providing a challenging and carefully planned curriculum for each child within a caring and secure environment, the setting also has the passion and drive to innovate in early years practice, including ICT within the EYFS. Its excellent practice was highlighted through its with the National Literacy Trust.

Lindsay Fravolini is an experienced member of staff with a Speech and Language background and a keen interest in digital technology. Lindsay leads on and develops the digital technology within our early years setting.