Brother John Taylor Fellowship Report: The Importance of Early Childhood and the Academia of Play!

Introduction:

This report is in fulfilment of the Brother John Taylor Fellowship for educational research. My research on the
topic The Importance of Early Childhood and the Academia of Play included: an early years study tour to Finland
and Sweden; a collegial meeting with Dr David Whitebread and his research team at The Centre for Research on
Play in Education, Development & Learning (PEDAL) within the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge,
UK; and a study tour of Anji Play in Anji County, China. It is written under the mentorship of Dr Cathie Harrison,
Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Education/Faculty of Education and Arts, Australian Catholic
University, NSW.

In my current role as Education Officer Early Learning in the Diocese of Maitland‐Newcastle, I work with schools
to implement diocesan Early Learning policy by facilitating a climate of contemporary thinking and
understanding of Early Learning philosophy, pedagogy and best practice. Particular aspects of my role include
supporting successful transition to school and best practice across the early years of schooling, play as pedagogy
and self‐determined play as well as the importance of environments for learning and wellbeing.

My image of the child as learner, researcher and citizen has been influenced by the educational project in Reggio
Emilia. I am particularly interested in advocating for play particularly in the early years of school as well as the
vital importance of environment and the spirituality of the child. I am invested in using an influential voice to
highlight the importance of Early Learning and to make the child visible in education policy and practice.

This report is influenced by an essay written by Lilian G. Katz entitled International Perspectives on Early
Childhood Education: Lessons from My Travels (1999). In the article, Katz shared seven hypotheses that occurred
to her in the course of an overseas assignment conducting preschool training seminars in Barbados in the West
Indies. This Fellowship report aims to take the reader on a journey via the mediums of language and photography
in an attempt to respectfully and honestly report on observations, reflections and conclusions of the educational
research opportunities.

Kim Moroney’s Brother John Taylor Report can be read in full here.

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