As GEMS Education Chief Academic Officer for Early Childhood Education, I have developed a new international model for Early Childhood Education. This model builds upon the giants of the pas,t such as Montessori, whilst preparing children for the world now and in the future.
Professional development includes:
• Developing a quality early childhood curriculum; what can we learn from the past? What should we be providing now? What do we need for the future?
• Formative assessment; learning journeys; observing young children;
• Summative assessment: profile and baseline;
• Creating an environment for early learning;
• Performance management; observing staff in the early years setting.
• Meeting inspection requirements in the EYFS.
Meeting the Needs of Multiple Birth Children
I first began researching the educational needs of multiples when ten sets of twins started at the school where I was Headteacher. These studies led to my PhD, and to becoming an Adjunct Professor at Curtin University (Perth, Western Australia).
In the UK about one child in 35 is a multiple. This means that most schools will have multiples to manage, and quite a few will have several sets including triplets or more. Multiples and their families often have additional needs to singletons including the big question of whether to separate them in school or keep them together.
I am currently the Education Research Consultant for Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association). I particularly give lectures and support with regard to school policy and meeting the physical, intellectual and personal. ocial and emotional needs of multiple birth children. This includes the development of ‘Movement for Multiples’, a special movement programme for babies and young children to help to develop each child to develop an individual bond with the parent /carer, as well as developing language and gross and fine motor movements.
Value Added Assessment
I was one of the original team that worked with CEM Centre based at The University of Durham to develop baseline assessment. PIPS (Performance Indicators in Primary Schools) is widely used in the UK and internationally. These value added assessments are recognised as being valid and reliable with accurate predictors.
I continue to work with the CEM centre further developing value added assessments as an effective tool for schools to measure progress and attainment.
I give individual support to schools with regard to tracking and interpreting their data and lectures with regard to all aspects of assessment.
Supervising Masters Students: A Partnership between The University of Winchester and ISA
I am an outreach tutor at the University of Winchester which involves supervising students at Masters level. I have facilitated a partnership between ISA (Independent Schools’ Association) and the University in order to offer members the opportunity of studying for a postgraduate pathway leading to:
• Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Educational Studies (60 credits)
• Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Educational Studies (120 credits)
• Masters (MA ED): Professional Enquiry (180 credits)
Students are individually supported to conduct research in their schools and are able to attend ISA courses to support their studies.
Physical and Cognitive Development: The INPP School Programme
As I began researching the needs of multiples, young children and assessment the importance of the link between physical and cognitive development began to emerge. This let to a longstanding liaison with INPP (Institute of Neuro-Physiological Psychology). Peter Blythe and Sally Goddard-Blythe have highlighted how the retention of primitive reflexes and poor sensory development and integration can lead to a range of problems with:
• auditory processing
• visual processing
• muscle tone
• fine motor skills
• left/right orientation
• hand-eye co-ordination
I am qualified to deliver the one day school programme course which enables schools to implement a daily movement programme that enables children to:
• Inhibit early primitive reflexes
• Develop postural reflexes enabling maintenance of the head and trunk in a specific position when the body position is altered.
• Process and integrate information from the senses including the vestibular system (balance mechanism in the ear).
There is a simple screening process to identify children who will benefit from the programme. The children then do a series of exercises every day for a year. Each session lasts about ten minutes.