Childhood Research Cluster

What we do

The Childhood Research Cluster is a cross disciplinary, inter-professional collaboration between staff at the University who have a research interest in childhood. The aim of the cluster is to facilitate a broadening of knowledge about established and current thinking, research and practice in the field.

The cluster welcomes colleagues from across the University in an effort to motivate and encourage critical dialogue, research collaboration and active dissemination of research ideas and findings for staff and students, both in the University and outside. The cluster aims to meet on a termly basis, using a themed approach to provide a forum for guest speakers, collaborative working and the presentation of research at all levels.

For further information, please contact the cluster leads: 
Dr Helen Simmons, or Professor Deborah Robinson
 

What we're working on

Earth, Water, Air

This project involves young children and University of Derby Early Childhood Studies students and staff. It focuses on bringing children, community and cultural institutions together through engagement in a collaborative arts project. It involved Royal Crown Derby museum and other cultural institutions. The project has been exhibited at Derby's Arboretum and The Museum for All People in Madrid.

The objectives of the project are: 

  • For children to identify as artists and understand creativity as a process
  • To provide opportunities for skill sharing involving artists and students
  • To curate an exhibition of children’s art validating children’s voices and agency
For more information, contact project leaders
Ellen Yates at e.yates1@derby.ac.uk or Judith Szenasi at j.szenasi@derby.ac.uk.   

Books in Development 2021

‘A guide to Early Childhood Studies Graduate Practitioner Competencies’ with SAGE - Chapter authors: Twigg, Fenton, Simmons

‘Family Relationships in the Early Years’ with SAGE. - Owen and Barnes (editor). Contributing chapters from Boldrin, Twigg, Fenton, Simmons, Appleby, Cotterill.

'Partnership with Parents in Early Childhood' - Simmons and Thompson (editors) with UoD contributors: Delgado-Fuentes, Owen, Boldrin

Ongoing Research Projects 

'Towards decolonising the curriculum in Early Childhood' – Narrowing the attainment gap for BAME students. (ETH2021-2114) - Simmons, H. Yates, E. and Szenasi, J.

'Living, Learning, and plate-spinning: The experience of student mothers'. (ETH2021-2669). - Owen, K. and Simmons, H. 

‘Post-pandemic social & emotional development: The child, the parent, the practitioner’. (CPD Project) - Bell, Simmons, Owen, Alfreton Day Nursery

'Do I belong? Perceptions of race relations in a UK University. International students, second-language speakers, diverse educational models and a sense of belonging.' BERA Small Grants Fund, “Race and Education. https://www.bera.ac.uk/award/bera-small-grants-fund (submitted, waiting for the outcome)

Awards 

Marco Delgado-FuentesNamed BERA SIG convenor Children and Childhoods 2022-2024

 

Cluster Events

November 2020

Public Lectures  
Longitudinal predictors of reading comprehension in young children: Exploring metacognition
 

February 2021

Public Lectures  
Earth, Water, Air: children meaning making: Using ceramics to give form to children’s ideas’
 

May 2021

Independent Study presentations
Students from MA childhood
 

November 2020

Conference
Early Childhood Online Conference – For students, alumni, placement providers / professional networks
 

May 2021

Conference
Early Childhood Online Conference – For students, alumni, placement providers / professional networks

December 2021

Research Seminar
Ellen Yates – Experiences of undertaking a phD by publication 
 

December 2021

Staff development event
IoE Research clusters – joint event to Med College staff – sharing the vision and activities of the clusters.
 

February 2022

Public Lectures 
Dr Anne Luke - “Who might ‘we’ be?” Mapping childhood and youth subjectivities through an exploration of everyday encounters in transnational gatherings of children and young people.
 

March 2022

Conference
Early Childhood Online Conference. For students, alumni, placement providers / professional networks

2021

Bell, S. and Simmons, H. (Conference organisers) (2021) Early Childhood Research Online Conference. University of Derby (May).

Delgado-Fuentes, M. (2021) ‘A historical review of the anthropology of play, games and toys. Are we ready to welcome everyone in nurseries?’. Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) Conference ‘Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Research’. (January).

Delgado-Fuentes, M. EECERA Conference. Social movements, early years education and women’s rights. Case studies in England and Mexico. September 6th 2021, Zagreb, Croatia (Online).

Delgado-Fuentes, M. Panel Early Childhood and community education, 50 years of CONAFE and community education. September 8th, 2021. https://youtu.be/3BJNCVjJfr0 5,800 views.

Delgado-Fuentes, M. BERA Conference 2021. Individual paper Historical and multicultural perspectives on play, games and toys: A hidden cultural curriculum in Early Childhood Education? Historical and multicultural perspectives on play, games and toys: A hidden cultural curriculum in Early Childhood Education? September 16th, 2021.

Owen. K. (2021) ‘The Importance of Play’; ‘Girls and Boys Come Out to Play (Gendered Play)’; ‘Everyone Join In (Play Accessibility - Socio-Economic and Disability)’. Edge Hill Play Symposium (three sessions delivered) (March).

Simmons, H. (2021) ‘Modern Motherhood: Support from Early Childhood Practitioners’. Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) Conference ‘Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Research’. (April). https://www.ecsdn.org/research-conferences/research-conference-apr-2021/

Wall, S. Richardson, T. Brogaard Clauson, S. (2021) ‘Exploring practitioner, academics and student perspectives of Early Childhood Studies Degrees Graduate Practitioner Competencies (Pilot) in building professional identities and relationships’. Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) Conference ‘Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Research’. (April).

2018

Simmons, H. (2018) Problematizing Motherhood: Oppression, Empowerment and ‘Being Good Enough’. Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) Conference, Hamilton House, London (January).

2015

Simmons, H. (2015) Exploring modern motherhood: the motivations and experiences of mothers of children aged 0-3 years who have attended universal parenting classes. BERA Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast (September).

2012

Yates, E. & Simmons, H. (2012) Leadership in Early Childhood: Leaders’ Views on Their Role. A Child’s World: Working Together for a Better Future Conference. Aberystwyth University, Wales (June).

 

May 2021

Podcast
Series 1/ Episode 1: ECSDN & Birth to Five Matters
Helen Simmons with Aaron Bradbury (B25: Inclusive practice and equalities)
 

June 2021

Podcast
Helen Simmons with Jackie Musgrave (B25: Physical Development)
 

July 2021

Policy response
Philippa and Helen
 

August 2021

Podcast
Helen Simmons with Carolyn Silberfeld (B25 Coalition & Child development)
 

October 2021

Podcast
Helen Simmons with Philippa Thompson (B25: Supporting learning: Play)
 

Sept 2021

Publication
Early Years Educator
Publication to showcase ECS and network e.g. student case studies / map for ECS
 

Nov 2021

Response
Helen Simmons & Philippa Thompson.
 

Nov 2021

Podcast
Helen Simmons with Tanya Richardson (B25: Learning Environments)
 

Jan 2022

Conference
Wall, S, Richardson, T. Brogaard-Clausen, S. (2022) Exploring practitioner, academics and student perspectives of Early Childhood Studies Degrees Graduate Practitioner Competencies in building Professional Identities and Relationship
Owen, K. & Simmons, H. (2022) Living, Learning and Plate-Spinning: The Experience of Student Mothers
Helen Rosenbach (level 6 student) – sharing experiences of student publishing