Professor of playful learning to address local childcare conference

A leading UK professor will speak on the importance of play in the development of children’s future social skills at a conference in the city next month.

Patricia Broadhead, Professor of playful learning at Leeds Metropolitan University, will address the Galway Childcare Committee’s conference at the Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday December 4.

Professor Broadhead, the author of Early Years Play and Learning: Developing Social Skills and Cooperation, has undertaken extensive research into how children become sociable and co-operative through play and how playful learning environments are created.

Her latest publication, Play and Learning in the Early Years, highlights a new area of co-operative play and opportunities for learning in the “whatever you want it to be place”, an open-ended role play area using ordinary resources which stimulate high levels of co-operative play for both boys and girls.

This free play area within childcare services gives children the opportunity to create their own environment, not only enhancing their communication and social skills but also allowing them to achieve greater literacy and numeracy.

Galway based Anne O’Connor, a clinical child psychologist and founder of the parenting website, will explore creating clear communication systems between childcare providers and parents to enhance children’s experiences in childcare settings. With more than 20 years experience she has dealt with a diverse range of family-related issues in a practice offering psychological services to young children.

Jan Godfrey, HSE information and advice officer with Children First and Susan McGlone, HSE mid-west regional parenting co-ordinator, will focus on the importance of communicating with parents about sensitive issues and will discuss their recent research in this area.

“Communication is the main theme of the conference,” says Mary Giblin, co-ordinator of Galway City and County Childcare Committee. “We are delighted to welcome Professor Pat Broadhead, a leading UK child development expert and Anne O’Connor, creator of one of Ireland’s most popular websites, to share their expertise in a setting that is perfect for networking and exchanging ideas.”

As part of the child protection training being carried out, Galway city and County Childcare Committee in conjunction with the HSE will launch a child protection reporting procedure poster. This highlights the 3Cs – Concern, Contact and Consult and is a simple, step-by-step guide for childcare service providers to deal effectively with child protection concerns.

Parents, childcare service providers, students and the public are invited to register for the conference which costs €10 (including lunch ). Telephone (091 ) 752039 to book. Conference brochure and booking form may also be accessed at

Galway City and County Childcare Committee was established in 2000 to assist in the development of a wide range of integrated, high quality, accessible and affordable services for children in Galway city and county and was the first such committee to be established

Its key role is to co-ordinate the implementation of national childcare policy at local level on behalf of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Its objectives are to co-ordinate and assist the development of quality childcare services, assist the provision of accredited training and in-service training for childcare providers/staff and provide information and resources for childcare providers, parents and the public.


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