Mathias Urban, PhD, is Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education, and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre (ECRC) at Dublin City University, Ireland, Professor (II) of Pedagogy at the University of Stavanger, Norway, and Affiliate Professor and Fellow at EDPolicyFORWARD: The Center for Educational Policy at George Mason University, USA. He works on questions of integrated early childhood systems, diversity and equality, social justice, and professionalism in diverse socio-cultural contexts. Mathias has over 20 years’ experience in designing and leading international collaborative research projects. He was awarded the ‘Marianne Bloch Distinguished Career Award’ by the international Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education network in 2018, and the DCU President’s Research Impact Award 2020.
Mathias is the lead author of the 2018 (Argentina), 2019 (Japan), 2020 (Saudi Arabia), 2021 (Italy), 2022 (Indonesia) and 2023 (India) G20/T20 early childhood development, education and care policy briefs, and a member of the European Commission expert working group on Early Childhood Education and Care.
Nóirín Hayes is a Visiting Professor at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin and Professor Emerita, Centre for Social and Educational Research, Technological University Dublin. Working within a bio-ecological framework of development and through a child rights lens she teaches and researches in early childhood education and care [ECEC] with a particular focus on early learning, curriculum and pedagogy and ECEC policy. She is convener of the Researching Early Childhood Education Collaborative [RECEC] at Trinity College and author many articles, reports and books. She is co-author of Introducing Bronfenbrenner: A Guide (2022); Supporting Positive Behaviour in Early Childhood Settings and Primary Schools: Relationships, Reciprocity and Reflection (2020) and In Search of Social Justice: John Bennett’s Lifetime Contribution to Early Childhood Policy and Practice (2018).
Dr Deirdre McGillicuddy is Assistant Professor in UCD School of Education and is a Froebelian educator with over 20 years experience working across the Irish education system. Deirdre believes in the transformative power of education not only in expanding the realms of possibility for students, but also in terms of the ripple effect to transform our society. She is particularly passionate about the emancipatory power of education for those most marginalised within our society and education system. Deirdre's research is underpinned by the importance of working with and listening to the views of children and young people. She has particular interest in children’s voice/rights in education stemming from her time working in a DEIS primary school and is especially interested in creative pedagogies as a rights based approach to education. She has expertise in the area of ability grouping, educational disadvantage, pedagogy, school and teacher effectiveness, children's rights, marginalised voice(s) and research methodology.
Professor Tina Bruce CBE is an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Roehampton where she was Director of the Centre for Early Childhood Studies. She studied at the Froebel Educational Institute (which has since become part of the University of Roehampton) at London University and at Manchester University where she trained to work with children with hearing impairments.
She was Coordinator of the Ministerial Early Years Advisory Group (EEAG) for ten years. Her international work includes the USA, (University of Virginia Commonwealth where she was awarded international woman scholar for early childhood education) and Germany, Portugal, Lithuania and New Zealand and Egypt (with British Council) and South Africa.
She has written many books across the years and co-presented the BBC Radio 4 series “Tuning into Children” with Kirsty Wark
Her first book (1987) Early Childhood Education (Hodder & Stoughton) is now in its 5th edition, her latest book 2021 being Friedrich Froebel: A Critical Introduction to Key Themes and Debates (Bloomsbury Academic).
She has edited books, two being award winning with Nursery World, Early Childhood Practice: Froebel Today (2012, Sage) and with co-editors Lynn McNair and Jane Whinnett (2020), Putting Storytelling at the Heart of Early Childhood Practice: A Reflective Guide for Early Years Practitioners. (Routledge).
She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Nursery World.
She is a Vice President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education, Associate Member of the Froebel Trust, and patron of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education.
Jane Read is Emeritus Fellow at the University of Roehampton, London. After training as a librarian and archivist she worked at Froebel College in the early 1970s where she first came across Friedrich Froebel and kindergarten pedagogy. In 1989, Jane returned to Froebel College, then part of the Roehampton Institute (now the University of Roehampton), as Archivist for the Early Childhood Collection, later the Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies. Here she became fascinated with the stories of the women who promoted Froebelian pedagogy after its arrival in the UK in the early 1850s and her MA dissertation focussed on their efforts and the networks they established. While developing these research interests, Jane began lecturing on Early Childhood Studies BA and MA courses and the Froebel Certificate in Early Childhood, a CPD course for educators and teachers pioneered by Tina Bruce. After a couple of years of persuasive efforts by Professor Kevin Brehony, colleague, mentor, and friend, Jane embarked on a PhD on the Froebel movement in Britain from 1900-1939, a crucial period for the development of nursery schools and services for children.
Subsequently, much of Jane’s research has explored the dissemination of Froebelian pedagogy across time and space and in diverse educational settings, interrogating its impact on the development of policy and on early years professions. Jane continues to teach on the Froebel in Childhood Practice course at the University of Edinburgh and her most recent research is on the role of Eleonore Heerwart in training students across the UK and on the various strategies she utilised to promote Froebelian pedagogy more widely.