2007 Conference/AGM

Date: Friday 16th and Saturday 17th November 2007
Venue: The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton
Topic: Play, Diversity and Heritage in the Early Years

Our annual 2007 Conference and AGM began on Friday evening with a welcome and introduction from our Chair, Professor Pat Broadhead. This was followed by an introduction from our new President, Wendy Scott.

Friday’s keynote speech ‘That’s me – being and belonging in the EYFS’ was given by Helen Moylett, Senior Director of the Early Years Foundation Stage, (Primary National Strategy). Helen highlighted ways in which the EYFS acknowledges and emphasizes young children’s diverse cultures and their relationship with play and learning. In spite of some unfortunate and surprising interruptions form the sound system Helen retained her cool throughout! View presentation.

Friday’s evening dinner was followed by an after-dinner speech from Wendy Scott, attending her first Conference since being elected TACTYC’s President. Wendy provided thoughtful links between the topics of Saturday’s planned discussion groups and the lives and learning of those who live in communities in the Maldives, linked to her recent and ongoing work there. The dinner concluded with entertainment by Suzanna Marland, singer-songwriter.

Pat Broadhead welcomed everyone to the full day of the conference on Saturday morning, emphasising that play ‘is child-determined in terms of its focus, length and frequency, and arises from children’s interests, knowledge, explorations and desires’. It is significant, Pat argued, that adults can support, exploit or suppress play.

The first keynote talk of the morning was by Dr. Liz Brooker (Institute of Education, London), her title being ‘From home to the home corner: constructing identities through play’. Liz elaborated on the term ‘play’ and ways in which young children develop their sense of identity in different countries and cultures and through play. Exploring identity, we were guided through the many ways and contexts in which young children develop a sense of themselves. The many different ways of playing and care-giving were shown to be particular to different cultures and to shape alternative views of childhood. View presentation.

Our second keynote speaker of the morning was Avril Brock (Leeds Metropolitan University). Avril began by inviting a number of conference delegates to say ‘hello’ in either their first languages or in one or more (second) languages which they can speak. Avril spoke enthusiastically about her work in promoting bi- and multi-lingualism and gave delightful accounts of schools where she has worked with students and activities, including a version of the ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’, told in Urdu/Hindi. Avril emphasized the value of role play, small world play and repetitive stories for developing oral languages. View presentation

Lunch-time on Saturday provided an opportunity for delegates to browse the many trade stands and several poster presentations. This was followed by the presentation of the new TACTYC Award entitled ‘An Innovative Learning Journey’ which was shared between Mary Fawcett and Wendy Whittaker/Val Melnyczuk. The AGM was also held over lunchtime and included information on the current state of TACTYC provided by the Chair and Treasurer/Membership Secretary.

In the afternoon delegates attended one of nine self-selected stimulating discussion groups. Evaluative comments suggest that these were very useful and stimulating. The Conference ended with a session by June Peters, a storyteller, and closing remarks from TACTYC’s Chair.

The conference provided an enjoyable and stimulating event and was attended by approximately ninety enthusiastic delegates. Just a few of the many evaluative comments from delegates follow.

  • Lovely, sociable, informative conference;
  • Inspiring and thought provoking day;
  • Good range of keynote speakers giving broad set of ideas for taking back;
  • Brilliant subjects – so pertinent
  • Very good bringing together of ideas, experiences, challenges and refreshment – well done!
  • Enjoyable conference – good venue – excellent speakers – inspirational ideas – good to promote diversity;
  • Really enjoyed listening to the different speakers – all very interesting – lots to think about!
  • Stimulated by new concepts/different evidence/experiences/research/making new connections;
  • Wonderful speakers – ‘refreshment for the mind’;
  • Enjoyable – networking with others was good;
  • Lovely venue – thought provoking – loved Liz Brooker’s presentation;
  • I thought Liz Brooker was brilliant – it would be good to have more that is this stimulating;
  • Most valuable aspects of conference were based on current, cutting-edge research;
  • Workshops were good – they give the opportunity to discuss issues raised in keynote speeches
  • I really valued the reflective discussion group on the culture of play;
  • Storytelling session at end was uplifting – a lovely way to finish;
  • The story telling will stick in my mind for the rest of my life – I will tell the children the story!
  • Loved the storytelling and Avril was great;
  • Good networking and speakers and stands;
  • Thanks, too, to Janet for the Newsletter!
  • Long way to travel from Bath – but well worth it;
  • Could next year be focused on ‘creativity in the Early Years’?

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