Penny Lawrence
20152021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Biography

I am interested in dialogical processes in early childhood, particularly in children’s relationships with the immediate built environment of urban childhoods. I am a BBC-trained documentary maker with expertise in multimodal relational approaches to observation, particularly involving video. My Dialogical Approach to Observation engages with the current and challenging more-than-human perspectives of new materialism. My participatory research and teaching experience is with young children, families and multi-disciplinary teams in World-leading centres of Pen Green, UK and Reggio Emilia, Italy.

I have participated in a number of research projects funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the English Department for Education with Pen Green Research, and led the Video Documentation in Reggio Emilia Municipal pre-schools and Reggio Children projects.

I am currently leading a project about how young children’s experiences can inform local planning in two UK cities.  I am also leading a project that aims to document how children’s connections with their immediate environments are articulated by their families and early childhood professionals in 100 London early childhood settings.

 

Qualifications

Ed D Education

QTS

B.Soc. Sci. International Studies

 

Research Interests

  • Dialogical interactions, particularly of children under 3 years of age;
  • Relational Observation;
  • Young children’s involvement in the local environment, particularly the built environment.

 

Research Projects

2020-2021 Principal Investigator ‘Close to the Ground: Urban experiences of children under 5’.   How do young children (under age 5) pay detailed attention to material in their immediate built environment? How do they affect, and how are they affected by, this material? What new experiences emerge for parents? How would these enrich educators’ and policymakers’ practices?

2021 – 2024 tbc Froebel Trust Hub and Spoke Programme. I lead the ‘Growing Connections’ strand on outdoor education in this partnership bid with a network of 100 early childhood education settings in the London Borough of Newham. Currently through to the second round of this £450K collaborative bid.

2020-2021 Principal Investigator ‘Close to the Ground: Urban experiences of children under 5’.   How do young children (under age 5) pay detailed attention to material in their immediate built environment? How do they affect, and how are they affected by, this material? What new experiences emerge for parents? How would these enrich educators’ and policymakers’ practices?

2012 - 2016 Principle Investigator Pedagogic Strategies project for Pen Green Research - publication of DVD and continuing professional development training materials. 

 

2015 Researcher on Dinosaur Study (University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Winchester Funding (not- disclosed) from NIHR HTA Programme and co-ordinated by the Medicines for Children Research Network Clinical Trials Unit. 

 

2014 – Video lead on two national U.K. projects in early childhood education:  

  1. 2014 - Being Two’ looking at observations as part of wise practice with two years olds in nine outstanding settings in the UK. £300,000 project funded by The Department for Education and the project and led by the Pen Green Research and Development Base.  
  2. 2014 Video evaluations of the Early Years Teaching Centres. £300,000 project funded by The Department for Education. The project was led by the Pen Green Research and Development Base. 

 

2013-15 Principal Investigator Being in Relation Case Study of interactions from 14 to 34 months for Pen Green Research. 

2011-2012 Co-investigator Tracer Study for Pen Green Research with 10 to 21 year olds evaluating their nursery experience.  

 

Professional Affiliations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Common Worlds Research Collective

European Network for Child Friendly Cities

 

Consultancy

September – December 2020 Invited panel member and speaker at launch of the Lifetimes Working Group for ‘One Great Win’ Winchester Vision 2020–2030 Working Group handbook Winchester City Council & Winchester Town Forum. Available at onegreatwin.com.   

October 2020 Invited onto the Advisory Board for 3 year ECE research project in Australia (Victoria & New South Wales) by Professor Jayne White, Associate Dean ECE at RMIT, Melbourne.  To review visual methodologies with early childhood practitioners in these two territories. 

 

November 2020 El Umiti (Hope of Nation) webinar Kazakhstan national project to improve the quality of early education. Invited speaker on the theme of “Quality in Early Childhood Education: The International Outstanding Practices” - here is the streaming in English. https://www.facebook.com/100052391683558/videos/175035837586138/  

 

Ongoing member of Steering Group for Pen Green Research Centre and Centre of Children and their Families, Corby, UK.  Times Education Supplement Overall School of the Year 2018.  

 

Nationally I am in the English Government Department for Education Analytic Pool of researchers for qualitative research.  

 

Teaching

Penny Lawrence is a Senior Lecturer in early childhood studies in the School of Education where she leads modules on play, representation (children’s and of children), and relational observation on the BA and MA programmes.

External positions

Consultant, Early Childhood Education Research, Analytic Pool, Department for Education

Steering Committee, Pen Green Research