"What we all want is to raise children that are primed for life."
Anne O'Connor is an independent consultant for Early Years. She is an experienced trainer, key note speaker and author on areas such as attachment, physical development, wellbeing and transitions. In partnership with Anna Daly she is also the co-founder of Primed for Life which advocates for a wider understanding of the body as a child's first place of learning.
Hello and thank you for visiting my website.
Apologies to frequent visitors that it has taken so long for me to update with regard to the current situation. I have been making the tricky transition to developing and delivering training and consultation support online through webinars and zoom meetings and phone chats. Think I am beginning to get the hang of it!
The important thing for me is that our focus on the Prime Areas have never been so important as they are now, so I have designed new training for practitioners and families specifically around supporting children with aspects of physical and emotional wellbeing that are very relevant.
Read on for news of some of the things that have been keeping me busy during recent weeks:
Black Lives Matter
I have been privileged to have spent the majority of my teaching career in schools in parts of the East End of London where anti-racist activism was very much a feature of both my personal and professional life. This work continues to be very important to me and in my consultancy, I have been writing about and offering training on various aspects relating to equalities, diversity, inclusion, anti-bias and anti-racism for nearly twenty years. Please get in touch to talk about how I can support your school or setting in this very important work.
Together with Helen Moylett, Nancy Stewart, Julie Fisher, Di Chilvers, Karen Boardman of TACTYC and Beatrice Merrick of Early Education, I was pleased to be involved in writing recommendations for supporting positive transition experiences for September 2020 for children within and beyond the EYFS.
‘As schools and settings look towards welcoming young children back and making a ‘good start’, we need to plan a positive transition experience for all children and their families which will build confidence, resilience and positive relationships. Only a developmentally appropriate and nurturing return to school will support the strong foundations necessary for school readiness and progress in learning. A focus on well-being and supporting children’s whole development will consolidate prior learning and reignite children's interest so they will ‘catch up’ and move on in their learning.’
Practical proposals for how to achieve this can be found in this document:
Along with explanatory letters for colleagues and parents/carers:
I plan be writing more about these in my blog but if you read my opinion piece in Nursery World January 6th 2020 you will know that I have some serious concerns about the EYFS reforms.
Together with Di Chilvers, Helen Moylett, Nancy Stewart, Elaine Bennett, Kathryn Solly and Sally Cave, I discussed the reforms at this briefing, available to view here. I also took part in the film that accompanies the ‘Right From the Start’ petition here:
For more information on the reforms go to :
I also took part in the film that accompanies the ‘Right From the Start’ petition here : https://www.change.org/p/department-for-education-revoke-the-high-pressure-eyfs-reforms-young-children-need-real-learning-not-rote-learning-rightfromthestart
I enjoyed writing this article for Nursery World on aspects of Understanding the World. It draws on case studies from some really interesting projects that have highlighted the value of children exploring what’s on their doorsteps. Though not without its challenges in these tricky times, it’s probably more important than ever that children are able to feel confident exploring their local area and that we give ourselves all the chance to ‘just notice’ what’s around us. https://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/features/article/building-your-curriculum-in-the-community-just-do-it
More articles to come later in the year.
Nursery World Conferences
Sadly, two of my favourite conference events that I was due to speak at were cancelled during the pandemic. Nursery World North is always great fun to be involved in – and so close to home for a change! Hoping to be back in Manchester again next year. The Nursery World Conference: The Future of the EYFS: rethinking priorities and practice where I was due to speak on ‘Community and Curriculum’ and my old favourites, ‘Co-regulation and Relationship’ has a new date of 11th November 2020. Hoping to see many of you there.
Singapore : Rethasia Early Childhood Leadership Summit
Am anticipating that this splendid conference will be taking place online this year, which is a shame as I was so looking forward to meeting up again with EY friends and colleagues from last year’s conference in Singapore. Fingers crossed for next year! More information to come about the plans for this year’s online conference.
Eden North Learning Project
Am also very lucky to be an EY representative on the working party helping to develop the Educational aspect of the proposed Eden North which is being created in Morecambe, just down the road from me. Lots more information to come on how this is developing.