Staff profile

Dr Kay Owen

Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I have taught in every phase, and at every level of education from pre-school through to the supervision of doctoral candidates. I have loved them all.

I teach primarily on the Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) Programme but also work with Foundation, Masters and Doctoral students.

For me, life's other great academic joys are research with colleagues from Education and Psychology, and writing blogs, papers and books.

I am currently writing and editing a book about the impact of family on child development.

Teaching responsibilities



Research interests

I have a range of research interests within both Education and Psychology.

I am currently involved in studies concerned with:

Membership of professional bodies

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


Recent conferences

Experience in industry

I trained as an Early Years teacher, but spent many years teaching in Secondary schools.

I was an Advisory Teacher for Nottingham City, working cross-phase to help develop strategies to engage children and young people who were presenting behavioural challenges.

When my own children were young, I worked as a child-minder and Chair of a Pre-School Learning Alliance group.

I began teaching in Higher Education in 2012.

In the media

Recent publications


Owen, K. (2021) Play in the Early Years. London, Sage. Edited Book ISBN 9-781529-716221   


Owen, K. (2021). The Changing Face of Play.    

Owen, K., & Barnes, C. (2021). The Role of Play in Child Development.    

Owen, K., & Hallam, J. (2021). Play and Gender.   

Owen, K., & Turvill, A. (2021). The Problem with Play.   

Owen, K.  (2021). The Real Problem with Play.    

Wall, S. & Owen, K. (2021). Play in the Great Outdoors.    

Other Publications   

Hallam, J., Gallagher, L., & Owen, K. (2022). “I’m not the best at art”: An exploration of children’s growing sense of artistry within an outdoor, arts-based intervention. Thinking Skills and Creativity 44

Hallam, J., Gallagher, L. & Owen, K. (2021). The secret language of flowers: insights from an outdoor, arts-based intervention designed to connect primary school children to locally accessible nature. Environmental Education Research 

Turvill, A., & Owen, K. (2021) Digital Play Perspectives Digital Play: Damaging, stimulating or inevitable? — SAGE Perspectives Blog (  

Owen, K. (2021) "Catching Up" after lockdown. Perspectives Children need to catch up, but on work or play? — SAGE Perspectives Blog (  

Owen, K. (2021) Children need to catch up on play Nature Learning Community  

Petronzi, R., Petronzi, D., & Owen, K. (2021) Putting Learning First: Blended Approaches within Higher Education Institutions need to maximise cognitive engagement in the planning and delivery of lessons. Nature  

Owen, K., & Barnes, C. (2021) From Ha-ha to A-ha. The role of humour in student learning. Mind, Brain Education  

Barnes, C., & Owen, K. (2020). The Santa Lie! Shhh! Don’t tell the children! The Science of Learning  

Owen, K., & Barnes, C. (2020). Conducting Research with Young Children. The Science of Learning  

Owen, K. & Barnes, C. (2020). Drawing from Memory. The Science of Learning  

Hallam, J. & Owen, K. (2019). Making a Performance of Child Development. Word Matters Journal

Owen, K., & Barnes, C. (2019). The development of categorisation in early childhood: A review. Early Child Development and Care. DOI 10.1080/03004430.2019.1608193

Owen, K. (2017) Automaticity and the development of categorisation in preschool children: understanding the importance of play