Reflecting on our
40th ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE
‘Back to the future in early years – inspiring connections between people, places and times.’
The University of Derby Enterprise Centre hosted the TACTYC Annual Conference on Friday 2nd November and Saturday 3rd November for around 65 delegates and guests.
The programme of events featured three inspiring keynotes with opportunities for questions and comments, alongside a ‘Pioneer Panel Discussion’ focusing on key developments since TACTYC was founded in 1978.
In addition, delegates were able to choose from a range of workshop sessions, browse the marketplace stands and view interesting exhibits of children’s porcelain artwork and a display of story cushions.
Friday 2nd November
The conference was opened by Dr Deborah Robinson, Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Inclusion who welcomed delegates to the University of Derby where TACTYC had begun.
Our first keynote speaker was Helen Moylett who spoke about ‘Back to Basics: child development matters’. Helen neatly summarised the development of early years policy over the past changes of government to show how the accountability agenda exerts strong downward pressure on teachers and children. Demonstrating what powerful learners and thinkers young children are from birth, she urged us to resist such pressure and reclaim the curriculum.
Following refreshments, parallel workshop sessions offered research briefings and a discussion forum on a range of issues central to early years education. See below for papers from research briefings.
In the evening a drinks reception sponsored by Taylor and Francis was followed by the conference dinner. Mary Cox gave an after-dinner speech recounting her experiences as the founder of TACTYC in 1978.
Saturday 3rd November
The first session of the day was introduced by Wendy Scott, President of TACTYC. Wendy presented a distinguished panel of founder members who spoke about the early days of the organisation and key developments since TACTYC was founded. The panel was chaired by Professor Tricia David and included Lesley Abbott, Pat Broadhead, Mary Cox, Rosemary Peacocke, Colin Richards and Marian Whitehead. The panel shared stories and experiences demonstrating what we might learn from the past to take into the future. This was followed by a lively question and answer session. Here is the link to the ‘Anniversary Panel Discussions’.
Following refreshments, parallel workshop sessions offered more research briefings central to early years education. These were grouped around two themes: Advocacy for Children and Families and Developing and Supporting Professional Confidence. See below for conference papers.
An exceptionally well-attended AGM was chaired by Professor Sacha Powell whilst members enjoyed a hot buffet lunch. AGM reports are available on-line – see below.
The afternoon keynote was from Dr Elly Singer from University of Amsterdam. Elly’s talk about ‘Emotional security since the 70’s: diversity and similarities in social-political contexts’ drew on her current work on an oral history project that chronicles the development of early childhood education and care since the 1970s. She highlighted those she called ‘modern pioneers’ and shared with us perspectives on pedagogies and practices from across a wide range of different countries.
The third and final keynote was from Professor Julie Fisher speaking on ‘Leading or Following? The role of the early years educator in children’s futures’. Julie called for confidence, commitment and courage. She talked about young children’s need to ‘wallow’ in their learning, warning against the urge to hurry them on to the ‘next step’. Urging us to ‘Wait, Watch and Wonder’ she advised considering ‘I wonder, if I open my mouth now – will it help?’
Dr Jan Georgeson, newly appointed to the TACTYC Chair, concluded the conference with a plenary, thanking conference organisers and delegates.