Speaker at the TACTYC Research Seminar Series

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Description of Activity

Presented: Enabling environments: Thinking with place and space in Early Childhood Education and Care inside/outside environments.

Enabling environments are a key aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE, 2021). When we think about enabling environments what first comes to mind? What makes a setting inside/outside environment unique? This seminar draws on a small research project funded by the Sociological Review Foundation which explored place and space in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). My methodology included observations of practice in 10 ECEC settings and semi-structured interviews with 10 practitioners in leadership roles. I was working with theory on place and space where space is more than a container/landscape for things, people and objects. Space is dynamic and always changing based on the nature of indoor and outdoor provision and the influence of objects and materials. Place is the response that we have to space and my research considered how space impacts on place (for example on ethos, culture, children, staff, pedagogy).

This presentation explores some of the findings of my project and consider how these might have wider implications for thinking about the ways in which environments are set up, what they do and how inclusive they might be. Drawing on data from the project I discuss policy environments, professional environments and practice environments. I argue that these three place-spaces have a number of enabling constraints which can reveal not only vibrant and productive environments that are inter-connected and relational but also environments that further marginalise young children. My research showed that enabling environments are nuanced and complex and that they are more than setting and staging resources to support curriculum delivery. Thinking with enabling constraints can help explore happenings in ECEC settings and outdoor spaces and can show how these happenings do ‘something’ to pedagogy, practice, children and practitioners.
Period17 Nov 2022
Event titleTACTYC Research Seminar Series
Event typeSeminar
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Place-space
  • Enabling Environments