‘Significantly Different and Substantially the Same’ with Jan Dubiel

The Knowledge Makes Change seminar series aims to inspire and be informative on ‘what works’ for young children and their families to ensure the best possible outcomes. It forms part of NCB’s work in Jersey and is delivered in partnership with the Jersey Child Care Trust. They are free events open to everyone engaged with young children and their families in Jersey.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic 2020, the 10th event in the series was held online for the first time and featured Jan Dubiel, who led our thoughts on examining the core principles of Early Childhood Education within the context of retransition following the pandemic in his key note presentation entitled – Significantly Different and Substantially the Same.

Jan Dubiel encouraged us to think about the core principles of Early Childhood Education in terms of our values and beliefs and how this translates into action in early years provision. He explored the impact of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic on young children, the challenges of retransition back into provision and how we can address both of these as children return to settings, whilst retaining the core principles of Early Childhood Education.

What is the impact of covid-19 on young children?

During this unprecedented pandemic, young children have experienced many new and different experiences, including lockdown, social distancing measures, and a new structure and routine. The early years are a unique and important time for children, where their brains are being shaped by their experiences and interactions, with many important foundations developing which contribute to well-being throughout life. Lockdown, with the sudden change and disruption to every day experiences and routines, has brought about an unusual and atypical context for young children to grow up in, which will have an impact on the social and emotional wellbeing and development of young children at a crucial time in their lives.

What are the challenges of retransition?

As lockdown measures begin to ease, children returning to early years provision after so many weeks absence brings many challenges, including:

  • Keeping children and staff safe with regards to the health and safety concerns of covid-19 and the ongoing threat of infection
  • Changes to environment, structure, organisation and routines – potentially making it a very unusual and unfamiliar environment
  • Children’s experiences in lockdown being very varied, bringing a range of emotions and behaviour
  • A new mind-set developing during lockdown – particularly new understanding and thinking of how to be with other children and adults in terms of playing, socialising and interacting
  • A need for provision that meets health and safety regulations and is appropriate for young children, whilst also addressing the potential impact of lockdown and contributing to recovery and development

How can practitioners address these challenges and support children back into provision whilst retaining the core principles of Early Childhood Education?

The impact of covid-19 and the challenges arising around retransition can seem overwhelming and daunting. With careful consideration of core principles of Early Childhood Education within the current context, it is possible to determine a way forward that can reconcile this tension and support practitioners and children as they return to settings. This includes thinking about how young children learn and what supports their development; planning and organising the learning environment; focussing on an appropriate curriculum and meeting the individual needs of children.

Recovery and Response in Jersey

Nicola Mulliner, Head of Early Years, Government of Jersey, opened the seminar by outlining the recovery and response plans in place in Jersey as early years provision and schools begin to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic. You can hear Nicola’s presentation below.

In this challenging and uncertain time, the evening was both thought provoking and inspiring, as reflected in comments from attendees:

“What superb and timely content. Thank you so much.”

“Excellent mix of theory with day to day reality of the current situation.”

“Always a pleasure to hear from Jan, such focus on the child and challenge for reflection of our own practice is powerful.”

“This was incredibly informative and inspiring. Some wonderful words of reassurance and belief in ourselves as practitioner.”

Jan Dubiel

Dubiel is an Independent Consultant and is a nationally and internationally recognised specialist in Early Childhood Education. He was recently identified by the Times Educational Supplement as one of the ten most influential people in British education.

He was previously Head of National and International development at Early Excellence. He has worked as a YN, YR and Y1 teacher, Senior leader, Consultant and adviser and national lead on the management of the (Early Years) Foundation Stage Profile with QCA. He has written widely on different aspects of Early Years policy, pedagogy and practice. His first book “Effective Assessment in the EYFS” was published by SAGE in 2014

Useful Resources

Watch Jan’s presentation below:

Read our dedicated Briefing on Examining Core Principles of Early Childhood Education practice within the context of Retransition.

Slides from the evening are also available online.