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Early Years Conference announced 23 October 2007

The Department is hosting a two-day conference for practitioners working with children in the Early Years.

The theme for the conference – to be held at the Isle of Man College on Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10 – is Sustained Shared Thinking.

It is open to headteachers, early years and reception teachers, nursery nurses and managers, playgroup leaders, childminders, health professionals, social workers and others working in the field of early years’ education.

Education Minister Anne Craine MHK will open the conference, while Deputy Director of Education Margaret Britton will give the welcome address.

Keynote speeches will be delivered by Claire Warden, a former deputy headteacher who is now a director of the educational training and resource company Mindstretchers, Chris Sarson, an international speaker for the charitable organisation Roots of Empathy, and Marilyn Thorpe, a serving headteacher who supports schools and trains regionally on Curriculum Development and Leadership and Management and is involved on working parties with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Speeches will also be delivered by Cheryl Smith and Joanna Fisher, both Senior Educational Psychologists with the Department of Education, and Pam Kerruish, a Social Worker with the Department of Health and Social Security’s Children and Families’ Support team.

School Improvement Adviser for Early Years Education Jayne Adamson said:

‘Delegates will hear about developing thinking skills through activity based learning, the role of the adult in sustained thinking and the importance of nurturing thinking by nurturing the child. They will also hear about how thinking skills develop and how language is used to encourage thinking.

‘The conference programme contains a range of highly relevant practical workshops and an excellent line-up of speakers, who will share their extensive knowledge and experience with delegates,’ Mrs Adamson said.

The Minister commented:

‘In the Department, as we move towards the delivery of integrated children’s services, we are determined to keep the importance of focussing on the early years of a child’s development at the forefront of our minds. We know that this is the most crucial stage in a child’s development.’

The Minister added:

‘In order to support both parents and the child we need to explore the very best of the knowledge and ideas available to us so that we can deliver the best care for our children. I am very pleased that this conference is bringing in speakers from far and wide and feel sure that those people involved in working with young children will find the conference both enjoyable and interesting.’

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