2017 Autumn Summit: : Children's Physical Development: Strategies for Support

Meet Our Speakers

Some of the leading Early Years specialists from around the world share their strategies
for helping children develop their Physcial Development.

Introducing Our Speakers

Sue Palmer

Sue Palmer, literacy specialist who also writes about child development in the modern world. A former headteacher in Scotland, Sue has written educational TV programmes and software packages on aspects of literacy and over 230 books, including the runaway bestseller Toxic Childhood (Orion 2006 updated in 2015), which investigated the effects of contemporary childhood on child development and learning as well as Detoxing Childhood (2007), 21st Century Boys (2009) and Upstart (2016). For more than twenty years she has been a popular speaker on literacy and child development in schools, colleges and universities in the UK and across the world, and has been a frequent contributor to the educational press, notably the Times Educational Supplement and Child Education.

Currently, Sue Palmer is the Chair of the Upstart Scotland campaign to introduce a kindergarten stage for children aged 3-7.'

Maggie Dent


Commonly known as the ‘queen of common sense’, Maggie Dent is one of Australia's favourite parenting authors and educators, with a particular interest in early years, adolescence and resilience.

Maggie’s experience includes teaching, counselling, and working in the palliative care/funeral services and suicide prevention. She is an advocate for the healthy, common-sense raising of children in order to strengthen families and communities. She is a passionate, positive voice for children of all ages.

Maggie is the author of 10 books, several e-books and a prolific creator of resources for parents, families and educators.

She is the proud mother of four wonderful sons, and an enthusiastic and grateful grandmother.

Maggie writes extensively about play and nature play in her books, 9 Things: A back-to-basics guide to calm, common-sense, connected parenting (birth-8) and Real Kids in an Unreal World: How to build resilience and self-esteem in today’s children (birth-12 age group) recently both released as ebooks, and available in the UK at bookdepository.co.uk

All of Maggie's books, e-books, audio tracks, video seminars, online courses and more can be found at www.maggiedent.com She also has a swathe of free resources on there for early years educators and a great parent help section for you to refer parents in your community too.

Sally Goddard Blythe

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[email protected]inpp.org.uk

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Sally is the author of seven books and other published papers on child development and neuro-developmental factors in specific learning difficulties including: Reflexes, Learning and Behavior, The Well Balanced Child, What Babies and Children REALLY Need, Attention, Balance and Coordination – the A,B,C of Learning Success - a reference source for all professionals involved in child development and education, The Genius of Natural Childhood, Assessing Neuromotor Readiness for Learning and a screening test for clinicians and health practitioners.

Sally has lectured on the role of infant reflexes in development and later learning problems to many different groups throughout Europe including to a working party on child well-being at the European Parliament in Brussels and in different parts of the United States.

Forthcoming publications 2017:

• 2nd edition of Attention Balance and Coordination. The A B C of Learning Success

. Wiley-Blackwell. Chichester• Raising Happy Healthy Children. Hawthorn Press. Stroud.•

Sue Robb


Since training as a teacher, Sue has worked in a variety of schools in differing roles. After seven years as a Headteacher of a large outstanding Infant and Nursery School she joined Surrey county Local Authority School Improvement Team as a Primary Consultant with responsibility for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

She then moved onto the London Borough of Sutton as Head of Early Years and Education. In her local authority roles Sue has worked closely with a variety of schools, settings/ nurseries – private, voluntary and independent, childminders and sector partners.

Sue left local authority work to lead on the Children’s Centre programme for London. She then became the Senior Director for Early Years in the National strategies with a particular focus on quality, partnership engagement and working with parents.

In May 2011, Sue joined the charity, 4Children, as Head of Early Years with the specific brief to lead the development of the Department for Education’s new early years strategic programme. She is now carrying out the same role at Action for Children.

Sue has worked as a SIP and Ofsted inspector and is recognised nationally for her work on early years’ quality improvement.

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Kathleen Porter 

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Kathleen only learned about an aligned body in her late 40s, and since then, has spent the last twenty years making it her life’s work to develop these concepts in a way that makes this information accessible to as many people as possible, including travelling to Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Portugal in search of women who successfully carry heavy loads on their heads without developing pain and spinal problems. By re-learning how to re-align your bones along the vertical axis of gravity in the way these women and healthy toddlers naturally do, you are able to enjoy the benefits of being pain-free, along with being flexible and strong, even with advancing age.

She has written two books on this subject:

Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment,(2013)

Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (2017)

Both published by Inner Traditions/Healing Arts Press. Kathleen has taught the principles of natural alignment through the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts, and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies.

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Dr. Lala Manners


Dr Manners has been active in the field of Early Years Physical Development, Health and Wellbeing for many years – as teacher, educator, researcher broadcaster and journalist – in the UK and internationally. Working in a wide range of settings – including HMP Holloway – she has designed and delivered training opportunities to parents, health workers, managers, sports coaches, Speech and Language Therapists – and the Early Years workforce. Lala represents the Early Years on the UKActive board – and contributes to the appg ‘Fit and Healthy Childhood’ publications.

In 2015 she created the ‘activematters’ website – a learning hub for all those interested and involved in young children’s health and wellbeing

Rob is currently studying for his Foundation Degree at Chelsea and Kensington College in London.

Rae Pica


Rae Pica has been an education consultant (www.raepica.com) specializing in the education of the whole child, children’s physical activity, and the mind/body connection since 1980. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the author of 19 books, including the text Experiences in Movement and Music, in its fifth edition; the award-winning Great Games for Young Children and Jump into Literacy and, most recently, What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Improving Education and Children’s Lives.

Rae is known for her lively and informative keynotes and trainings and has shared her expertise with such groups as the Sesame Street Research Department, The Head Start Bureau, Center for Disease Control, The Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Nickelodeon's Blues Clues, Gymboree, Nike, and school districts and health departments throughout the US. Rae has blogged for the Huffington Post, is a member of the executive committee of the Academy of Educational Arts and Sciences, and serves as an expert for NBC's Education Nation. She is also the cofounder of BAM  radio network, the world's largest education radio network, where she currently hosts: studentcentricity, interviewing experts in education, child development, neurosciences and much more.

Sesame StreetBlues CluesHuffington PostSesame StreetBlues CluesHuffington Postwww.bamradionetwork.comStudentcentricity

Helen Battelley

The training courses I provide are primarily aimed at increasing confidence, motivation and movement skills, to enable delegates to create their own movement activities to support learning- building on these core principles to become part of their everyday planning. Staff have found the courses to ‘reignite a spark’ within them to become more physically active in their own lives. I am driven to inspire learning and learners to broaden their approach to increasing physical fitness. I have worked directly with many Primary Schools, Children’s Centres and other community settings/Local Authorities across the UK and abroad, with all ages and have found their commitment to ‘moving more’ has remained steadfast

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Prof. Pat Preedy

Pat has had a long and distinguished career in education including being a global Chief Academic Officer for early childhood education, Executive Principal of a school catering for pupils from 3 months to 18 years with boarding, Head Teacher of one of the first Beacon Schools in the UK and a reporting Inspector for ISI (Independent School Inspectorate). She completed her Masters in Educational Management particularly investigating how schools can work in partnership with parents and a doctorate in Education.

Pat has spearheaded several projects including developing leadership, performance management and Neuro-Developmental Delay – the link between movement and learning. As Honoray Research Consultant for Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association) Pat has conducted extensive research into meeting the educational needs of multiple birth children. She was also part of the team that developed the performance indicators in primary schools value added baseline assessments (University of Durham CEM centre).

Currently Pat is leading the Movement for Learning project through Loughborough University. This is a daily movement programme designed to ensure that children in Reception and Year 1 have develop their gross, fine motor and sensory systems in order to be able to learn effectively. Pat is also working on the Parents and Carers as Play Partners Project through Middlesex University (Dubai) supporting parents in providing their children with play experiences that enhance their development and learning.

Anne O'Connor

Anne has more than twenty years’ experience and leadership in nursery, infant and primary schools in inner London. She developed and coordinated one of the first Early Years Units in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in which nursery and reception age children were fully integrated. Anne has been a freelance educational consultant since 2000 and a regular contributor to Nursery World magazine and has written a number of books, her latest is the excellent book Understanding Physical Development in the Early Years, written with Anna Daly.

Nicola Burke

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Nicola has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Music Studies from the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC). She has worked extensively as a music specialist in a range of early years settings and on a range of action research projects across the country. She has written and delivered courses for a range of authorities and organisations working with both early years educators and parents, she is an Associate of the British Association for Early Childhood Education and a member of MERYC, England (Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children).

She strongly feels that everyone is born musical and an integral part of early childhood is music making. Nicola created the award winning Tune into listening free online resource and has also been published in Teach Early Years and Nursery World Magazines.

Tune into Listening

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Steven White

Steven has worked with Children and Families over the past 17 years, in a variety of different guises - from coaching and guiding children in outdoor pursuits, to lecturing Adults in Further Education Colleges in Scotland. He stumbled upon an advert in a local newspaper whilst visiting his in-laws, for a local stand alone nature kindergarten and training company based close to Crieff, Perthshire, where his journey into the Early Years began - firstly as a practitioner, then as head of the nature Kindergarten to a consultant within their training team. Subsequently he was a project co-ordinator for a chain of nurseries, creating a centre of excellence and training base for their 700-1000 early years staff based in the town of Dunblane, Scotland to embed a Nature Kindergarten pedagogy. At present he is based with a lovely setting called Tiptoes Nursery, situated in the Larbert area of Scotland

Barbara Isaacs

Barbara trained with Montessori St. Nicholas, in London, in the early 1980’s and continued to study in the fields of Montessori education and early years, achieving a Masters degree in Early Years Education under the guidance of Tina Bruce in 2000. She is the author of Bringing Montessori into Your Early Years Setting (2009) and Understanding the Montessori Approach (2012) both published by David Fulton Books.

Over the past twenty-five years, Barbara has trained and supported the training of Montessori teachers in her capacity as a lecturer both at Montessori St. Nicholas, London Montessori Centre and Montessori Centre International. In her current role she has been involved with course development and the promotion of Montessori education within the UK and internationally. Barbara is committed to bringing Montessori education to children of the 21st Century.

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Sharon Skade

With a background in sports coaching, devising and delivering physical activity programmes for families in Stockport, Sharon became aware of a gap in the provision within nurseries and Children’s Centre’s regarding the awareness of the important role and positive impact of Physical Development in all areas of a child’s learning and development.

In order to understand more fully the theories involved in child development, to complement her coaching qualifications, Sharon completed a BA Degree in Childhood Studies passing with First Class Honours. This has enabled Sharon to design appropriate bespoke training and development opportunities for a multi-agency early years workforce.

Sharon is passionate about changing lives through physical activity and sport and inspires colleagues across Greater Manchester with her interactive early year’s physical activity training sessions and CPD opportunities.

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Sandi Pheonix

Website: www.phoenix-support.com.au

Sandi Phoenix is the founding company director and Principal Facilitator at Phoenix Support for Educators. She is highly regarded as a speaker, coach, mentor and professional development facilitator for the education and care sector in Australia.

Sandi is known for her ‘Cups Philosophy’ that has revolutionised the way educators understand and support children’s behavioural learning. This concept has recently been developed into a resource, The Phoenix Cups Kit, which is now available for educators.

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