About us

Our Early Years Research, Policy and Practice Group’s vision and group members.

Our initiative, vision and objectives


This initiative is being explored by a group of practical visionaries who are:

- research and teaching academics and practitioners with over 80 years early childhood experience between them

- currently living in Edinburgh and working within the University of Edinburgh, Cowgate Under 5s Centre and Riverside Cottage Nursery

- working collaboratively to articulate the vision, explore the opportunities and scope a workable business strategy.

The initiative is co-led by Dr Kristina Konstantoni and Dr Lynn McNair.


Find details of our vision and purpose on 'Our vison' page.

Our vision and pupose


  • to increase knowledge and understanding of children’s rights and the practices, resources and values we need –in our families, communities, work and play spaces – to make these real. 
  • to cultivate a more organic interaction between research, training, practice and policy that strengthens how we – as families, communities and nations – support and nurture young children. ​
  • to contribute to the development of a stronger, more confident and skilled early childhood workforce in Scotland. 
  • to ensure children can play a stronger role in shaping policy, training, research and practice.
  • to support, strengthen and advance the University of Edinburgh’s global ambitions to enable impact for society through excellence and innovation in research, learning and resourcing communities – both within and beyond the University. ​

Members of our research group


Dr Kristina Konstantoni, Co-Founder and Co-Lead

This initiative is driven from personal and professional ambition to imagine a different University space, a civic University which will serve for public purposes. Where children, parents/carers, practitioners, policy-makers, researchers, academics, professionals and community activists within the early years sector will interconnect, co-exist, share  co-learning and co-lead change towards the implementation of young children’s rights in homes, communities and institutional settings.

Holding many different positionalities myself (parent, researcher, academic), all of which interplay at any given moment in my everyday life, I view research, theory, policy and practice as interconnected fields. As such, one of the aims of this vision is to show and provide evidence for this interconnectedness in terms of sustained change towards social justice for young children and their communities. It is important for the University to also be a community space in itself where children and their communities feel actively part of the everyday ‘workings’ of University life, and with direct, sustained and meaningful entanglements to a range of diverse local and national communities and at the same time with international and global reach.


Dr Lynn McNair OBE, Co-Founder and Co-Lead

I have always had a utopian dream of a just world. I find injustice intolerable, and for this reason find myself actively fighting against some of the wrongs of our world, e.g., intolerance of other human beings, whether it be for the colour of their skin, class, gender or age; in particular when adults dominate children to fulfil their own agendas in our neoliberal world.

For many years young children have been at the heart of my professional life, and I have often found myself concerned for young children, subsequently tackling systematic problems that young children live with every day. The development of this space is an attempt to create an early years’ setting with children that is participatory.  I love it when children influence the spaces they occupy, however, notably, despite the participation of children being in mainstream and social and public policy, adults continue to dominate the spaces that children live in. 

My aspiration for this space will be to root participation into every day practice. I am also passionately interested in practitioners as researchers.  The hope is that this space can provide enhanced exposure to both practitioners and students, i.e., exposure to a wide range of alternatives when working with children.  Practitioners / students greatly benefit from sharing and exchanging professional knowledge across different contexts. This space will be an opportunity not to simply answer questions, but it will open opportunities to create new questions.

Luke Addison

Simon Bateson

Dr Marlies Kustatscher

Dr Maggie Morrison

Professor John Ravenscroft

Professor Kay Tisdall

Laura Wright