Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Early Childhood Research Group

Our Early Childhood Research Group aims to support and promote early childhood research at ARU and to share ideas and information about early childhood education and care.

The work and publications of the Early Childhood Research Group inform learning and teaching on our well-established and successful early childhood courses (at FdA, BA and MA level). The current co-convenors are Dr Mallika Kanyal and Dr Paulette Luff.


The Early Childhood Research Group was established twenty years ago, as a special interest group, by Professor Janet Moyles (now our Professor Emerita). Soon afterwards it gained official Research Group status under the leadership of Professor Theodora Papatheodorou.

The group has run two international conferences and several local one-day conferences and seminars, and its members are active in publishing books, book chapters and articles in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care.

Current work

The core membership of the group is the early years teaching team, in Chelmsford, together with EdD and PhD students who are specialising in aspects of early childhood education and care.

We currently have expertise in the following areas: the participatory Rights of the Child; the professional learning of early childhood practitioners; and pedagogies and practices in early childhood education and care - particularly home-based childcare, Montessori education, arts and creativity, outdoor learning, education for sustainability, social and emotional development, and children’s fine motor skills.

We welcome international early childhood specialists from various parts of the world as visiting scholars who contribute to our research and teaching activities. Up until 2020, we organised annual research visits with our Erasmus exchange partners, including recent trips to Bologna, Padua, Rome and Venice, Italy, and Sofia, Bulgaria.

We organise events in collaboration with other organisations, (such as the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network and OMEP UK), run informal research seminars (online and on the ARU Chelmsford site), and facilitate summer writing groups for academic staff and postgraduate students.

Join us

To keep up to date with our ideas and activities, you can follow @ecrgARU on Twitter or request to join our Facebook group.