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Research & Development

The essential research skill is to see the initial problem as a window, as a way through to other concerns as well as a thing itself.  In practice, the types of research and problem tend to be related.  Intervention and innovation are linked through the common concern with the organisational design difficulties that could occur.  Investigation and appraisal, have a common concern with the attitudes that resist change.  These concerns, organisational design and resistance to change become threads throughout practitioner research (NPQICL, 2004). 


Practitioner Research, in England, was proposed by John Brown in 1974 (Fletcher,1993).  Brown thought there should be a partnership in higher education between experienced professionals in the public sector and experienced researchers.  His ideas were to bring together the professionals' concerns and the researchers' competencies: to do a distinctive kind of study and to write about it in an equality distinctive way.  Practitioner researchers who engage with Pen Green are encouraged and supported to contribute to publications (links with publications).


We believe that developing knowledge and understanding through practitioner reflection and action research is a central feature of a successful early years provision.  All Pen Green's professional development programmes have been co-constructed through practitioner research and with that have a proven record of making a difference for young children and their families.  Practitioner research can also act as excellent examples of active reflection and form evidence based self reflection material for inspection and dissemination of best practice.


Annually, we present our current research to academics and practitioners from across the world at the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) Conference.  The European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) is an independent, self-governing, international association for multi-disciplinary research in early childhood, policy and practice.


EECERA’s annual conference is one of the largest early years' research conference in Europe, attracting over 900 researcher delegates worldwide, conferences have taken place in Greece, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Portugal, Norway, Spain, Iceland and Ireland to name a few.  The 26th EEECERA Annual Conference was held in Dublin, Ireland on 31st August – 3rd September 2016.  At EECERA, Pen Green colleagues presented on the following research projects:


The ‘Corby Better Start Project’: Developing Collaborative and Innovative Practices to Ensure Smooth Educational Transitions

Angela Prodger


Supporting Young Children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Through Transitions into New Settings 

Alison Cummings


Supporting Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Children through Transitions into New Settings

Emma Holton


Andragogy and Professional Development

 Jo Benford and Cath Arnold


Supporting and Facilitating ‘Embarking’, ‘Consolidating’ and ‘Maturing’ Adult Learners: The Importance of the Academic/Professional and Pastoral/Personal Dimensions

Eddie McKinnon


The Emotional Roots of Learning: Esther Bick's Method of Infant Observation and Integrated Working in a Multi-Disciplinary Team

Felicity Norton and Colette Tait