Staff profile

Dr Kay Owen

Lecturer in Childhood Studies


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I trained as an Early Years teacher before spending many years teaching in inner-city Comprehensive schools. My MEd considered ways of working with young people who demonstrated particularly challenging behaviours and concentrated primarily on proactive strategies. Whilst my own children were young, I completed a BSc in Psychology and developed a particular interest in early cognitive development. This ultimately led to a PhD on the development of automaticity and semantic memory components. My research demonstrated that sex and socio-economic status both impact (amongst other things) the development of categorisation in early childhood.

I worked as an Associate Lecturer in the Psychology Department at the University of Derby before moving across to the College of Education where I now teach full-time on the Early Childhood programme.

Teaching responsibilities

Foundation: Psychology in Education

BA: Early Language and Communication

Play and Creativity

Family Dynamics

The Early Years Researcher

MA: Children's Relationships and Emotional Health

Supervision of PhD and EdD students

Research interests

Development of Automaticity and Memory structures during the pre-school period.

Factors influencing cognitive development during the pre-school period, particularly sex, socio-economic status and play.

Membership of professional bodies

I am a British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


PhD "Automaticity and the development of categorisation in preschool children: Understanding the importance of play". (University of Derby)

PG Cert HE (University of Derby)

BSc (First Class Hons). Psychology. (Open University)

MEd Action Enquiry "Main stream strategies for working with young people who demonstrate the most challenging behaviours" (University of Nottingham)

BEd (Hons) Early Years Education / Religious and MOral Philosophy. (University of Nottingham)