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Staff Profiles

Trisha Maynard

Emeritus Professor, Places and Spaces for Children's Play

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Background and research interests

Initially an infant school teacher, Trisha moved into academia in 1991, having been appointed as research assistant/ tutor on the Primary PGCE at Swansea University. She was promoted to Senior Research Assistant in 1993, lecturer in 1995, and having been awarded her PhD in 1998, to senior lecturer in 2000. In 2003 Trisha was asked to establish a new Department of (Early) Childhood Studies and remained head of this department until 2007 when she was appointed as Professor of Early Childhood Studies and took on the role of Acting Co-Director of a new Centre for Child Research. Trisha left Swansea University at the end of April 2010 to take up her current post as the Director of the Research Centre for Children, Families and Communities at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Trisha's research interests have included student teachers' school-based learning and the role of the mentor; boys and literacy; and early childhood education/studies. Her most recent research has focused on the Foundation Phase for Wales; the philosophy of the pre-schools of Reggio Emilia; outdoor play; and well-being.

Research and Knowledge Exchange activities

Currernt research - The Evaluation of the Foundation Phase for Wales: Working with colleagues at Cardiff University and the Welsh Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), Trisha has recently begun a three-year evaluation of the 'Foundation Phase for Wales'. Trisha is co-directing the project which has been commissioned by the Welsh Government at the cost of over £1 million. The project also involves researchers from Swansea University and Manchester University.

Previous research - Trisha has been principal investigator for eight funded projects including:

  • ESRC/TLRP (WERN) The Teaching and Learning Programme in Wales: The Foundation Phase, (July- December 2010).
  • City and County of Swansea, Neath Port Talbot Borough Council, (February 2006 – December 2010. Through a Different Lens: Exploring Reggio Emilia in a Welsh Context. Phase One: Exploring Reggio in a Welsh Context, (February – December 2006; Phase Two: Taking Reggio Outside (January 2007– August 2008)Phase Three:'The 'underachieving' child: exploring the impact of the outdoor environment on children's learning, behaviour and well-being' (September 2008 - August 2009). Phase Four: Young Children's Well-being in Early Years Settings (September 2009 - December 2010).
  • ESRC/HEFCW (WERN), 'Towards an Understanding of 'well-being' in the Foundation Phase', (January 2009 – October 2009). (Working in collaboration with academics in Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway and England).
  • ESRC/HEFCW (WERN), 'The outdoor environment as a context for play and learning in the Foundation Phase for Wales', (January – December 2008).
  • City and County of Swansea, 'Outdoor Play and Learning' (January-September 2006).
  • Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust, 'Chain Reaction: Headteachers, teachers and action research' (1999-2000); 'Chain Reaction II: Headteachers, teachers and action research' (2000-2002).

Trisha was the academic lead for a Knowledge Exchange Project between Kent Safe Schools and Canterbury Christ Church University.

Research students - Trisha currently has two doctoral research students. Sarah Chicken won a CCCU one year PhD bursary in order to explore early years teachers' constructions of 'projects' and how these relate to changing policies and embedded discourses. The second, Jennie Clement, has recently been awarded a full time PhD bursary from the Incorporated Froebel Educational Research Insitute in order to explore child-initiated learning. Trisha has supervised students' dissertations at masters and doctoral level and acted as external examiner for doctoral theses. 

Teaching and Subject expertise

  • Member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Member of the European Early Childhood Education and Research Association (EECERA) – co-convenor of the Outdoor Play and Learning SIG
  • Member of TACTYC: an association for the professional development of early years educators – Chair (2009-2010)

External activity

  • Keynote/invited speakerTrisha has given 18 keynote/invited lectures on, for example, 'well-being' - OMEP AGM, London (November 2010); 'outdoor play and learning' – IFEI conference, CCCU (June 2011), TACTYC Annual Conference, Birmingham, (November 2010), BAECE Annual Conference, London (November 2009); and ' boys and literacy' - London (Ofsted Subject Conference, March 2003). Trisha's inaugural lecture at CCCU (June 2011) was entitled: 'Soft Dandelion Seeds and Thorns: childhood, nature and early years education.'
  • Conference presentations include:
    EECERA, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 - aspects of outdoor play (with Jane Waters and Jennifer Clement); Reggio Emilia (with Sarah Chicken); the Foundation Phase (with Jane Waters and Jennifer Clement).
  • BERA 2005, 2006 - Forest School; Reggio Emilia (with Sarah Chicken).
  • Committees: Member of REF 2014 Sub Panel for Education; Chair, TACTYC (2009- 2012); Chair of IFEI Research Committee (2011 - ongoing); Trustee, IFEI (2011 - onwards); Trustee, Children in Wales (2007 – 2010); Trustee, Play Wales (2007 –2010); member of BBC Editorial Advisory Board for pre-school children's magazines (2006 – 2011).
  • Journals: Editorial board, 'Early Years' (2010 – ongoing); International Advisory Board, 'Education 3-13'(1999-ongoing); Editorial Board, 'Welsh Journal of Education' (2009 – 2010).
  • Invited referee: Trisha has reviewed journal articles, book proposals, conference abstracts and research proposals (including ESRC) and has acted as rapporteur for the ESRC.
  • External Examiner for: BSc ECS, Bristol University, (2008 – 2011); MEd, Exeter University (2003-2011); BA Childhood and the Arts, University of Durham (2000-2004); BA (Ed.), St Martin's College, Lancaster (1999-2002).

Other academic/ Education Consultancy/Invitations (from 2000) include:

  • Affiliated member of REAL-net (Early Years) – Network of Experts (world-leading researchers) on Social Aspects of Education and Training, Funded by the European Commission (2010 - ongoing)
  • Appointed ESRC/TLRP Associate Fellow (July – December 2009)
  • University of Cork: external evaluator for research (Panel K) April 2009;
  • Member of 'Strategic Forum for Research in Education' (2008-2009)
  • Handle and Spout Productions – Education Consultant for a series of 26 ten minute animations, 'Harry and Toto', produced for CBeebies (May – December 2007).

Publications and research outputs

  • Penn, H. and Maynard, T. (2010) Siyabonana: Building Better Childhoods in South Africa, Edinburgh: Children in Scotland pp.64
  • Maynard, T. and Thomas, N. (Eds.) (2004; 2009) An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies, London: Sage, pp. 266.
  • Maynard, T. (2002) Boys and Literacy: Exploring the Issues, London: RoutledgeFalmer, pp.160.
  • Furlong, J. and Maynard, T. (1995) Mentoring Student Teachers: The Growth of Professional Knowledge. London: Routledge, pp.210.

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