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Dr David Whitebread on Achieving Quality in Early Childhood Education

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Dr David Whitebread on Achieving Quality in Early Childhood Education


Dr. David Whitebread recently retired as Founding Director of the Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) research center at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. He is a developmental psychologist and early childhood education specialist.

Before coming to Cambridge, he taught in early years and primary schools for 12 years and during his first 17 years at Cambridge he worked in early years initial teacher training.

In this interview, we discuss at length what we mean by ‘quality’ in Early Childhood Education – from definition to what this looks like in practice; evaluating the physical and emotional environment with respect to high-quality practice; what is ‘play’ and learning through play; a self-regulating learner; Play, Education, Learning and Development (PEDAL) and Play, Learning and Narrative Skills (PLaNS).

His research has focused on self-regulation in young children, and the roles of play and oral language in its development. He has published widely in academic journals and book chapters, and has edited or written a number of influential reports and books, including:

The Sage Handbook of Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education (Sage, 2019)

Quality in Early Childhood Education – an International Review and Guide for Policy Makers (WISE, 2015)

You can find more of Dr David Whitebread’s books here: Dr David Whitebread books

and his academic publications here: Dr David Whitebread publications

We are very sad to hear of Dr Whitebread’s passing in April 2021. He leaves an amazing legacy and will be sorely missed by the Early Years Community. Personally, I shall remember his kindness and generosity with great fondness. You can find his full obituary here: https://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/news/

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Kathy Brodie

Kathy Brodie