Dr Lynn McNair OBE

Senior Teaching Fellow

Background

Dr Lynn McNair is Head of Cowgate Under Fives Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.  Lynn has more than 30 years experience working in Early Years Education and was awarded an OBE for services to Early Education in 2009.  Lynn is a trained Froebelian, attaining her certificate at the Froebel Institute, Roehampton University, London, UK.  She is an award-winning author.  Finally, Lynn would say her passion for egalitarianism, emancipation, democracy and a belief that children are rich, active, resourceful beings came from being a mother to Kurt and Mischa; and what she learned as she observed them playing freely as children.  This way of being with children, trusting in them in their abilities and capabilities is where she puts her energy into her work with children today.

CV

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Qualifications

Froebelian Endorsed Tutor

2016  PhD Education, University of Edinburgh 

Thesis title: Rules, rules, rules and we’re not allowed to skip. An exploratory study: Listening to children’s voices about the transition to primary one. 

Supervised by: Professor John Davis, Moray House School of Education and Professor John Ravenscroft, Moray House School of Education

2006  MSc in Early Childhood Education, University of Strathclyde. Dissertation title: A Socio – Cultural Approach to Literacy Development.Supervised by: Emeritus Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop, University of Strathclyde

2004  Froebel in Childhood Education, Roehampton University, London

2000  Post Development Award (PDA)in Early Education, Telford College and Stevenson College, Edinburgh

Undergraduate teaching

Course Organiser for the BA in Childhood Studies,

EDUA 08045 Work Based Learning 1: Professional Development

EDUA 10157 Work Based Learning 2: Organisational Development

 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

Areas of interest for supervision

Supervision interests - Early childhood education;  Friedrich Froebel; transition; pedagogy; power; philosophy of education; Scottish education;; play.

Current PhD students supervised

PhD supervisor of Luke Addision: Title: Bringing children’s voices to the fore of education for sustainability in the early years (commencing January 2019).

MSc Dissertation supervision, MSc Childhood Studies, University of Edinburgh

Jacqueline Matthews: Title (ongoing, title tbc).

Past PhD students supervised

PhD Supervision

Successfully supervised PhD graduate: Krystallia Kyritsi(2018) Title: ‘Creativity in primary schools: Exploring perspectives on creativity within a Scottish primary school classroom.’ 

PhD supervisor of Fatma Büşra Aksoy Kumru: Title: Active citizenship in early years: listening to children on decision-making (ongoing).

MSc Supervision

MSc Dissertation supervision, MSc Childhood Studies, University of Edinburgh

Yan Supei (Emma): Title ‘An Opportunity to Bring Play Culture Back: Mosaic Approach in Anji Play (completed 2018)

 

 

Research summary

Early education, Friedrich Froebel, 'Quality' in education. Philosophy of Education, Children's Rights, Children's Perspectives, Power, Tranisitions.

Current research interests

I am a Research Assistant on the project: ‘International Project: Social and emotional experiences in transition through the early years’ (start date October 2016 – end date August 2021). The Principal Investigator is Professor Jayne White from RMIT University, Australia. This investigation aims to examine the everyday activities, interactions and engagement of a single young infant in the ECL context, in the first year of their transition from home to that setting and through subsequent years until entry to school. Early years’ experience is of paramount importance for children’s developmental outcomes, and the key focus of the study is the observation of activities and interactions of young children in the ECL setting within their everyday experiences, in order to identify the types of activities and interactions which promote high quality engagement for a child, and support their transitions into out-of-home care. We aim to observe and video-record the activities of a focus infant and their interactions with other children in the same space as well as interview the key teacher and parent(s). Interviews will be audiotaped. (October 2017 - ongoing) I am the Principal Investigator of ‘Telling Life Stories: developing a Froebelian approach to documenting children’s experiences in the early years. This project is funded by the Froebel Trust. Funding applied for £7,760.00. Dr. Cara Blaisdell, from the University of Strathclyde, is the Academic Consultant for this project. This project is a piece of action research, undertaken by practitioners at the Cowgate Under 5s Centre, a Froebelian nursery in Edinburgh (www.cowgateunder5scentre.co.uk). The project seeks to address a problem that has arisen at the nursery, but which has wide relevance to the early childhood sector. As public investment into Scottish early learning and childcare (ELC) increases, so does the requirement to observe, assess, and ‘track’ children’s learning against developmental outcomes. Cowgate Under 5s Centre is currently using a commercial, online “learning journal” tool, which replaced the previous, paper-based system of documentation. This research is currently investigating the views of children, families, and staff about the current system and test ways to bring it into harmony with Froebelian principles. (November 2017 – April 2019). Founding member of the UNESCO Family Support Research Network and Key Collaborator of the proposed Horizon 2020 project. UNESCO is a participating partner in various projects under the Horizon 2020 programme. My role to date has been to present on intersectionality issues for young people. I have hosted the Family Support Research Network in Scotland (May, 2017) (ongoing)

Past research interests

Research assistant of POET, an international alliance of transitions to school. Emeritus Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop, University of Strathclyde is the Principal Investigator on this project. Pedagogies of Educational Transitions’ (POET) Marie Curie IRSES 4-year programme. POET brings together experienced and early stage researchers from five universities: Malardalen University, Sweden; Strathclyde University; University of Iceland; Charles Sturt University; Australia and University of Waikato, NZ, to build expertise and skills, and to strengthen international research partnerships in the area of young children’s educational transitions. The POET programme provides a unique opportunity to promote on-going training, research and mobility of established and early stage researchers as well as provide support for early stage researchers as they embrace careers in research and structure their research training in ways that will position them to become international leaders in their fields. (ongoing, latest trip Iceland, June 2017). Research assistant, Moray House School of Education. Professor John. M. Davis was the Principal Investigator on this Project. This project employed the findings of the CREANOVA project (carried out 2009-2012) to investigate how individual, structural, and inter-subjective relational issues defuse or escalate creativity in learning and working environments; it analysed what lessons could be learned for educationalists who seek to promote creative learning environments. CREANOVA was a major European Union (EU) research project funded by the Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission (European Commission Project Number 143725-LLP-1-2008-1-ES-KA1-KA1SCR). The project involved universities, vocational education specialists, regional governments, creative and technical experts from the Basque Country (Spain), Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Scotland (UK). It investigated how learning environments, workspaces, and design processes were constructed to achieve sustainable innovation in the technology and creative industries. (2012) Research assistant, Moray House School of Education. Dr. John. M. Davis was the Principal Investigator on this project. Researching literature of transitions, I contributed to the FIESTA project. The FIESTA project put forward a framework for European Collaborative Working, Inclusive Education and Transition: Analysing Concepts, Structures and Relationships. (2012) Research assistant, Moray House School of Education. Dr .John. M. Davis, was the Principal Investigator on this project. Early Years Staff’s Views of VQS and HNCs. Scottish Social Service Council and Care Commission. (2006) Pedagogies of Educational Transitions’ (POET). Dr Lynn.J. McNair, Research Assistant. International Project: Social and Emotional Experiences in Transition through the Early Years. Prof. Jayne White (P.I) Dr. Lynn. J. McNair (Co-I).

Project activity

HUB and SPOKE - Practitioner Enquiry Research Project. Dr Lynn.J. McNair (PI) Lian Hiiggins (PI). Prof Kay Tisdall (Co-I), Prof John Ravenscroft (Co-I) Dr Marlies Kustatscher (Co-I),  Dr Kristina Konstantoni (Co-1), Luke Addison (Co-I). Simon Bateson (Project Facilitator). Froebel Trust (£450,000).

Current project grants

(Co-I) Safe, Inclusive Participative Pedagogy: Improving Early Childhood Education in Fragile Contexts (Total award £1,826,400.00
Funding organisation ESRC Period 20/01/20 → 19/01/24)

Past project grants

How can business and public play spaces and cafes be reimagined and reclaimed as socially just rights-reinforcing spaces for children? (The Play-Café project) Dr Kristina Konstantoni (PI), Prof Kay Tisdall (Co-I), Dr Lynn McNair(Co-I), Dr Marlies Kustatscher (Co-I), Dr Urszula Markowska-Manista (Co-I), Luke Addison (Co-I), Simon Bateson (Co-I), Kurt Cleary (Photographer), Lorna Baird (Advisor), Angus Calder (Architect), in partnership with Community Playthings and Let me eat. Edinburgh Futures Institute Research Awards (£5000).

Re-Imagining the Civic University: Towards an Interactive Research-Policy-Practice Centre for the Early years. Dr Kristina Konstantoni (PI), Dr Lynn McNair, Dr Kustatscher Marlies and Luke Addison (Co-I). Economic and Social Research Council Business Booster Funding, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh. (£3000).

‘Telling Life Stories: developing a Froebelian approach to documenting children’s experiences in the early years. Dr. Lynn.J. McNair (P.I)., Dr. Cara Blaisdell (Academic Consultant). Froebel Trust (£7, 760.00).

Conference details

Paper Accepted: Childhood and Time. IX Conference of the Finnish Society for Childhood Studies. Tampere University, Finland (2020) (affected by Covid)

Invited to present at the Froebel Conference in Boston in October 2020 (again this may be affected by Covid)

Paper Accepted for EECERA annual conference 2020 (postponed due to Covid:19).

Invited speaker

Conference Presentations:

Keynote speaker: Keynote speaker: “Creativity in Early Learning”. Education Scotland ‘Are We Offering a Creative Curriculum? Ensuring a creative response to the Refreshed Narrative on Scotland’s Curriculum. November 2019. Edinburgh: Dynamic Earth.

 Invited to present: Nature Kindergarten, Froebel and Risk: A Scottish Perspective. Ministry of Agriculture (Early Years), Government of Hungary (October 2019).

Keynote speaker: “Telling Lived Stories: Developing a Froebelian Approach to Documenting Children’s Experiences”. Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 11; Looking inwards, looking outwards, looking forwards’. September 2019. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Presentation: ‘From Learning Stories to Lived Stories’: Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference August 2019. London: England. 

Presentation: ‘Quality for Whom? – Perspectives on ‘quality’ in the context of the Scottish ELC expansion Quality for Whom? – Perspectives on ‘quality’ in the context of the Scottish ELC expansion. EECERA 29th Annual Conference ‘Early Years: Making it Count’ 2019.  Thessaloniki. Greece.

Invited to present: ‘Quality for Whom? – Perspectives on ‘Quality’ in the Context of      the Scottish ELC Expansion. Holyrood Events Conference ‘Early Learning and Childcare Expansion: Delivering the Workforce’. Whitespace: Edinburgh. 12 June 2019.

Invited to present: ‘What do child-centred practices and spaces look like and why bother? Delivered to the students of Postdam University, Berlin. 26 June 2019.

Invited to present: ‘What do child-centred practices and spaces look like and why bother? BA Childhood Practice Conference ‘Our Professional Growth’.  University of Edinburgh. 28 March 2019.

 

Invited to present: ‘Telling Lived Stories: developing a Froebelian approach to Froebelian approach to documenting children’s experiences in the early years. Stories from our Research Practice Froebel Trust Conference Roehampton University. 2 March 2019.

Invited to present: “The Use and Usefulness of Standardised Assessments in P1 Classrooms: The fit with play-based learning approaches and with the early level curriculum planning and progression systems – Froebelian approaches to literacy, language, numeracy and maths in a play-based Primary 1 setting.” Practitioner Forum (Scottish Government). University of Strathclyde (14 January 2019).

Presenter:Participatory pedagogy: a robust and ethical approach to play, dialogue, and equalities in early years. Presented (along with my colleague Dr. Caralyn Blaisdell) to the Scottish Government(January 2018).

Invited to present: “Considering Love, Learning and Pedagogy: Is there a place for love in our professional relationships with children and young people”. Children’s Parliament – PINS talk LOVE. St Enoch Square. Glasgow (3 December 2018).

Keynote speaker: “Play is the highest form of research”. Care and Learning Alliance. (27 September 2018).

Presenter: ‘Telling Life Stories: developing a Froebelian approach to documenting children’s experiences in the early years’. Presented at the 8th International Froebel Society Conference “Education for Peace: Froebelian contributions at global and local level”. Thursday 6 – 8 September 2018. Hiroshima Prefectural Citizen’s Culture Center. Japan.

Keynote speaker: “Lived Stories” Early Years Conference.  Glasgow City Council (7 June 2018).

Keynote speaker: “Children Making Changes: An Investing in Children Approach to Scotland”. University of Strathclyde (19 June 2018).

Presenter: “Lived Stories” Children’s Rights Conference.  Midlothian Early Years (21 May, 2018).

Presenter: “Rules, rules, rules and we’re not allowed to skip”: Exploratory Study Listening to the Children’s Voices about the Transition from Primary One” Froebel Gathering Day. Richmond, London (21 April, 2018).

Presenter: Participatory pedagogy: a robust and ethical approach to play, dialogue, and equalities in early years. Presented (along with my colleague Dr. Caralyn Blaisdell) to the Scottish Government (January 2018).

Keynote speaker: “A Child’s Work”. Inspired Kindergartens: Annual Conference for Teachers.  Tauranga, New Zealand (11 October 2017).

Keynote speaker: “Rules, rules, rules, and we’re not allowed to skip: Exploratory Study Listening to the Children’s Voices about the Transition from Primary One” Froebel: Gifts for Our Future, University of Edinburgh (7 October, 2017).

Invired Speaker: Scottish Government: Participatory pedagogy: a robust and ethical approach to play, dialogue, and equalities in early years (September, 2017).

Presenter: EECERA, University of  Bologna, Italy, 27th Annual Conference, ‘Early Childhood Education Beyond the Crisis, Social Justice, Solidarity and Children’s Rights’. (29 August – 3rd September 2017). ‘Institutionalised Ageist Practices’.

Invited speaker:“Rules, rules, rules, and we’re not allowed to skip: Exploratory study listening to children’s voices about the transition from primary one”.  Presentation shared with the staff and students at the University of Jyvaskyla. (July, 2017).

Invited speaker: Holyrood.Developing the Early Years Workforce ‘The Froebel Approach to Early Education.’ (27 June 2017).This event reflected on the changes introduced since the publication of the Independent Review of the Scottish Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Workforce and Out of School Care (OSC) Workforce in April 2015.

Invited speaker: Developing the Early Years Workforce ‘The Froebel Approach to Early Education.’ (27 June 2017).

Invited speaker: Rediscovering Empathy, Values, Relationships and Practice in a Changing World.  UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre. 8th Biennial International Conference ‘Young Children’s Empathy and Froebelian Philosophy and Practice’ (8 June 2017).

Invited speaker: Scottish POET team seminar.  Transition as tools for change. Early Years Research Seminar, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand (16November 2016).  Using the wealth of the research from POET (Pedagogies of Educational Transitions), I  presented my thesis ‘Rules, rules, rules and we’re not allowed to skip’: Listening to young children’s perspectives on transition; which is located within the field of Childhood Studies and draws on anthropology, philosophy, psychology and sociology.

Presenter: New Zealand Association for Research in Education, 24thRECE Annual Conference, Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education, Wairakei Resort - Taupo, New Zealand(30 October – 3 November 2016). He kōrero, he kaupapa, he whāriki - Kia tipu whakaritorito:Re-weaving theories and practices to re(construct) critical questions, new imaginings and social activism. 

Presenter: New Zealand Association for Research in Education, 24th RECE Annual Conference, Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education, Wairakei Resort - Taupo, New Zealand (30 October – 3 November 2016). He kōrero, he kaupapa, he whāriki - Kia tipu whakaritorito:Re-weaving theories and practices to re(construct) critical questions, new imaginings and social activism. 

 Presenter: Reconceptualising Creativity.  This seminar exposed the work of post-structural theorists, e.g., Baudrillard

UNESCO, Paris, ‘Developing a European Family Support Network’ (7th – 8th September 2016). Children and Youth Perspectives on Intersectionality.

Presenter: EECERA, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, 26th Annual Conference, ‘Happiness, Relationships, Emotion and Deep Level Learning’. (31st August – 3rd September 2016). Symposium ‘Parents’ and Children’s Perspectives on Transitions’.

Keynote speaker: Early Years Conference, ‘Taking a dialogic ‘look’. Bishopbriggs Academy. (27th June 2016)

Invited Speaker: Scottish Pedagogies of Educational Transitions Transitions as a Tool for Change, McCance Lecture Theatre, Richmond Street, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. (14th May 2016). Rules, rules, rules and we’re not allowed to skip.’ Exploratory study listening to children on the transition to primary school.

Invited Speaker: Pedagogies of Educational Transitions, ‘Transitions as a Tool for Change’, University of Strathclyde (May, 2016) ‘Rules, rules, rules and we're not allowed to skip: Listening to the children's voices about the transition to primary one’.

Invited speaker: Pedagogies of Educational Transitions, ‘Connecting Policy and Practice’, Canberra, Australia (March, 2016) Seminar. ‘Starting School in Scotland: The bairns are daein’ fine’.

Invited speaker: Pedagogies of Educational Transitions, ‘Doctoral Students Perspectives’, Charles Sturt University, Albury Australia (19 February, 2016) Seminar.

Invited speaker: Nursery World, Annual Conference, London: England (6 February, 2016) ‘Rules, rules, rules and we’re not allowed to skip’.

Invited speaker: International Family Day Care Conference, ‘My Rights, My Voice: Celebrating the Rights of the Child. Edinburgh, Scotland, (22-25 Jul, 2015). The Importance of Play.

Presenter: International Childhood and Youth Research Network. 3rd International Conference, Nicosia, Cyprus. (10-12 June 2015).

Invited speaker: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, 5th International Conference, University of Sheffield

 (1st-3rd July 2014). Engaging with diverse participant groups: putting reflexivity into practice in ethnographic research.

Invited speaker: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, 4th International Conference, ‘Celebrating Childhood Diversity’, University of Sheffield (9-11th July, 2013)  Understanding Diversity: Young Children, Social Justice and Changing Worlds.

Invited speaker: International PhD Symposium on Children’s Rights, University of Liverpool (12th January 2013). Children and Parents’ Perspectives: the missing piece of the puzzle in understanding young children’s transitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organiser

Organiser of the International Froebel Conference 2020 (postponed due to covid:19).

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 11; Looking inwards, looking outwards, looking forwards’. September 2019. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 10; ’. September 2018. Edinburgh: Assembly Rooms George Street.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 9;  September 2017. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 8;  September 2016. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 7; September 2015. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 6; ’. September 2014. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 5;  September 2013. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 4 September 2012. Edinburgh: John McIntyre Building.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 3; September 2011 Edinburgh: Godfrey Thomson Hall. MHSE.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 2; ’. September 2010 Edinburgh: Godfrey Thomson Hall.

Edinburgh Froebel Network: Gifts for our Future 1;  September 2009. Edinburgh:  Godfrey Thomson Hall.

 

 

 

 

Participant

International Froebel Society, ‘What does it mean to understand Froebel?’ – Working on, with and according to Froebel today’. Germany. (23-25 June 2016).

Pioneer Conferences, ‘Elinor Goldshmied A Radical Pioneer for People under Three. A Celebration of the life, principles and practice of Elinor Goldshmied.  University of Roehampton, London. England (5th October, 2013).

Papers delivered

Presenter:Telling Life Stories: developing a Froebelian approach to documenting children’s experiences in the early years  Presented at the 8thInternational Froebel Society Conference “Education for Peace: Froebelian contributions at global and local level”. Thursday 6 – 8 September 2018. Hiroshima Prefectural Citizen’s Culture Center. Japan.