Meet the MERYC England Trustees
I am a Director of the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC), an independent charitable research centre, based at the St Thomas Children's Centre in Birmingham. I was a teacher in primary schools in Birmingham from 1976 to 1985, before moving into the university sector and specialising in early childhood research and evaluation projects. I have been Director of several national research projects and evaluations and am currently President of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) and a Vice President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education (BAECE) I have undertaken extensive work at government level to support the development of early years policy, sitting on a number of national committees, serving as a ministerial advisor, and an Early Years Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Education. I have written extensively on early childhood development and the quality of early education services and served as an Expert Advisor to Dame Tickell’s review of the EYFS in England. firstname.lastname@example.org
I studied Music in Education at Dartington College of Arts, with a postgraduate diploma in early childhood music education (NL) and over 30 years’ experience of teaching music in a variety of contexts. My doctoral research explored parent-child group music making. I combine leading the MA in EY music at CREC with other research, evaluation, training and consultancy projects. I am an associate board member of EuNet MERYC (having served my 6-years term as a member of the board), and a former Chair of MERYC-UK, the predecessor network of MERYC-England. I am an Honorary Research Fellow at University of Roehampton in the Applied Music Research Centre and am a peer-reviewer for several academic journals in the field of music education and early childhood. My publications include a book for music educators: ‘Taking a learner-centred approach to music education: pedagogical pathways’
I have spent roughly the first 20 years of my career working in schools and the next 20 years in two universities, Roehampton, London and Exeter. I have written several books focussing on music in the early years, have published numerous articles in academic and professional journals and am frequently invited to give keynote presentations. I have taught at all levels, including running my own early childhood music groups and working in nurseries and reception classes. I have also been a general primary school teacher, taught music in a specialist music school to children aged 4-14 years (following a Kodaly-based curriculum) and have been a secondary music teacher. I qualified as a pianist from the Royal College of Music, winning the prize awarded to the outstanding final year student. I have qualifications in Dalcroze Eurhythmics (Geneva) and Kodaly (Hungary). My PhD focussed on young children’s spontaneous play with instruments and the role of the musically playful adult. I also hold a master’s degree in education and an MLitt in biological anthropology. I was one of the founders of the European MERYC network which I chaired for many years.
I have extensive experience in Early Years Music making and training as a Dalcroze Specialist and Music Therapist. I am currently Head of Early Years at Berkshire Maestros Music Hub, where I deliver our Pantomimus project and
manage the Early Years team.
I was music leader and Music therapist at Coram, London for over 12 years, and previously a member of the CAMHS Team, Dover as a music therapist, before combining all the learned skills in my current EY practice and training. Stepping into Music was an accredited course for Early Years Dalcroze based teaching, which I co-directed.
I have run training courses in Great Britain and abroad.
I have spent over 30 years in community music education, focusing particularly on the communicative role of music in families with babies and young children. I composed and compiled all musical materials for the PEEP (Parents Early Education Partnership) Learning Together programme. Since my doctoral research (Roehampton, 2006) that explored the role of maternal singing in adult-child interactions, I have taught at Oxford Brookes and on the Masters Programme in Early Childhood music, accredited by Birmingham City University. My writing and practice is published by the Open University and by Oxford University Press. I am a professional oboist.
I have always been interested in how music, babies and children work so naturally together. As a nursery nurse student many years ago I was happy to be in charge of the music and not washing paint pots. With support from my family and colleagues along with my determination I am now author, composer, teacher and mentor in all things to do with music in early childhood. Since gaining a Masters in Music Education from Trinity College of Music I have helped many to broaden the whole idea of what it means to be an early years music educator. My work sees me travel far and wide but I am happy that I am still working locally with families in particular those with new born where mental health is an issue. As a trustee for MERYC England I bring my experience, organisational skills along with my connections. In other words I’m a ‘busy body!’
I am a qualified teacher, professional performing musician and a composer who specialises in music and storytelling in the Early Years and Key Stage 1.
During a long and highly enjoyable career I have appeared on television, radio and concert venues throughout the country with various bands, and have recorded more than a hundred songs, rhymes and stories that go down well with both children and adults. I have given practitioner training for over twenty local authorities and universities, specialising in providing people who are not trained musicians with practical materials and ideas that boost their confidence when making music in their settings.
I continue to work with children and parents in nursery schools, which gives me the opportunity to keep observing how children grow with music, and to develop materials and approaches on the job.
I am an Early Childhood music practitioner/researcher, a musician, and a mother, which has given me a wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding to bring to my work over the past 16 years. I am passionate about my work and about giving children the opportunity to have their innate musicality heard and valued. I believe we are all born musical and I have a desire to share my passion and enthusiasm for music in early childhood with educators and parents, so that it becomes recognised as a meaningful experience in the daily lives of children. I recently completed a 3 year part time MA in Early Childhood Music Education. I currently work on a freelance basis combining my practical and academic skills through evaluation work, mentoring, project delivery. Through my studies and practical experience I aim to bridge the gap between research and practice, to promote the importance of music in early childhood.
Meryc England 2019