Press Release

06 June 2011

Internationally acclaimed scholars and educators in Early Childhood Studies will be joining Canterbury Christ Church University for a conference on Saturday, 11 June.

A Froebelian exploration of learning through outdoor play conference is supported by the Incorporated Froebel Educational Institute and is aimed at anyone working in early years, including teachers, nurses,  early years practitioners, students, academics and social workers.

Yordanka Valkanova, Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies and a Trustee of the National Froebel Foundation, said: “Recent development and emerging trends in research in education and the social sciences have drawn attention to the increasing domestication and digitalisation of childhood.

“This conference aims to re-examine the role of outdoor places and spaces through the lens of Froebelian theory and pedagogy. Froebel’s consideration of nature offers the potential for interdisciplinary research that can contribute towards establishing new ways of looking at child development and education.”

The speakers, including Professor Trisha Maynard, Director of the Research for Children, Families and Communities at the University, Professor Kevin Brehony, Froebel Professor and the Director of the Early Childhood Studies Research Centre at Roehampton University, Helen Tovey, and Professor Tina Bruce CBE, will offer an exciting mix of presentations and panel discussions on the topics of:

• playing outdoors: spaces and places
• risk and challenge
• gardens and playgrounds in kindergarten theory and practice
• learning in the outdoor environment: a missed opportunity

The conference will take place on Saturday 11 June at the Old Sessions House, Canterbury, CT1 1QU. The attendance fee is £65 and all registered participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

To book a place, please contact Shelley McAuley at


Notes to Editor

Friedrich Froebel

Friedrich Froebel pioneered the kindergarten for children aged from three to seven years, and from this the British nursery schools emerged, which are still emulated throughout the world.

Froebel believed that teachers of young children should be highly educated and well trained for working with the stage of life that he saw as foundational to later adulthood.

These are some of the most important principles of Froebel's pioneering work:

  • Observation-based assessment of each child informs planning
  • Play is an organising mechanism which integrates development and learning
  • Finger rhymes and action songs, storytelling, music and dance are of central importance and contribute to the development of literacy
  • Family (being loved and valued) is central to the development and learning of the child
  • Freedom of movement and self activity is important, but within a framework of guidance in which the role of the adult is crucial.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 18,000 students, and five campuses across Kent, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional expertise.

  • In 2010 the Faculty of Education received top grades in its Ofsted report for primary, secondary and post-compulsory programmes, together with its employment-based routes into teaching. The University’s primary provision has the unique record of having been awarded the highest Ofsted grades in all inspections since 1996.
  • Over 90 per cent of our graduates gain employment or are in further study in the first six months after graduating.
  • Along with over a thousand undergraduate, postgraduate and professional training courses on offer, we are also home to world-leading and internationally recognised research in Education, History, Music and Sports Related Studies.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University was founded in 1962 by the Church of England as a teacher training college.


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:14:00