Our vision

Our hopes, vision and future plans towards an interactive Early Childhood Research-Policy-Practice Space, our guiding principles and values and progress to date.

Our vision

Our vision ​​is a social justice world and rights-based world for young children in high quality early learning and childcare, and in homes and communities​. We want to live with each other in interconnected ways where children’s rights are known and made real so that Scotland is the best place for children to grow up and children’s lived experiences are enhanced locally, nationally and globally.

Our purpose

​Our purpose is ​to make children’s rights real by strengthening and advancing early childhood research, policy and practice and the way they interconnect.

Our vision is for a new multi-partnership research-policy-practice space that will have a custom-built physical home in Edinburgh with indoor and outdoor spaces suitable for children, families, research and meetings; as well as an engaging online platform.

The space will be composed of a number of interconnected, interdependent and integrated elements:

  • Research: Global space for early childhood, justice and rights;
  • Policy and Impact
  • Education, Training and Development;
  • Early learning and childcare practice: with a kindergarten/nursery and play-café; and
  • Public and Community engagement (through the kindergarten/nursery, the play-café and a wellness space).
Evaluation and monitoring: Early learning; Reseach; Public and community engagement; Education Training and Development; Policy

The elements of this model represent the key components of our overall strategy for continuous development. Each element leads on related activities, but ultimately works in partnership and is interconnected with the other elements. Each element will be housed in the same multifunctional building, the structure of which will be fit for purpose (taking into consideration the needs of children as well as any related safeguarding concerns).

Our hope is for this space to be:

- housed with the Moray House School of Education and Sport at the University of Edinburgh, and

- part of a local community that currently has limited early childhood resources.

Our guiding principles

CHILDREN AT THE HEART AND ACTIVELY INVOLVED​ We are inspired by children and work in ways that enable them to help directly shape our research, teaching, policy and practice. We work to ensure children are actively involved in the design, in the setting and in our learning
PROACTIVE IN PURSUING QUALITY AND CHALLENGING INJUSTICE Social justice will be at the heart of all we do. We seek to make explicit and honour children’s rights.  To do this we actively challenge exclusion, discrimination, injustice and damaging approaches and advocate for approaches that can bring wellbeing and enable flourishing.

Social justice goes hand-in-hand with quality practice. We want all practitioners to be confident in what they do: feeling proud and able to see and articulate the value of what they do (common language). To deliver excellence for children, everyone involved in this work must bring areflective and reflexive approach – being thoughtful, evidence informed, responsive and able to adapt.

-PRACTICAL VISIONARIES: ​We adopt a leadership and sustainability mentality in addressing challenges and opportunities for improving the lived experiences of children. There are complex, ‘knotty’ issues that we must address with inspiring vision applied in concrete, practical ways.

MODELLING POSITIVE COLLECTIVE ENDEAVOUR​ The only way we can live and thrive is by working and playing together. An ecosystem view of partnership and collaboration drives our approach. We recognise the importance of diverse skills and contributions, asking for help and nurturing relationships that make working together enjoyable. We invest energy in how we form and nurture partnerships so that we can work well together on our common task.

​Our values

HUMANITY ​AND​ COMPASSION​ To address the challenges we face, our relationships and work must be characterised by respect, ease, warmth and fairness. We place a high value on listening to people involved and affected by what we do.
DIVERSITY​ AND ​WELCOME We all belong. Within our communities, we affirm and celebrate the diversity of children and families. Within this space we want people to be themselves: feeling included and able to shape developments and participate in what we are doing.
CRITICAL ​AND​ REFLECTIVE Within an ever-changing context, ​our learning and development must be fluid and responsive. We prioritise relationships. While aspiring to the highest standards we also welcome the our imperfection and mistakes, always seeking to be proportionate about what matters most.
CREATIVITY ​AND​ CHANGE MAKING We exist to make a difference and lead positive change in the world. We want our contribute to be inspirational and have a multiplying effect. This demand an approach rooted in innovation and creativity.
BEAUTY We celebrate our capacity and need for beauty – inside and out. We value and create beautiful spaces and harmonious environments that feel home-like (warm). We enable connection to outside spaces and the natural environment.
SUSTAINABLE AND HOLISTIC​ We are humans on a finite planet. The way we work, the buildings we build, the tools and practices we use must all be sustainable – financially, socially, environmentally. We bring our humanity to our work and living together. We value and each adopt different roles within this initiative so that we can enable meaningful interlinking of our research, policy, training and practice.

Progress to date:

  • Experience of research centres across the world
  • Attracted a wealth of funding (internal/external)
  • Learning from listening and responding (community engagement; Postgraduate dissertations)
  • Networking/relationship building (e.g. Scottish Government)