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Rebecca Gunning

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

I’ve always wanted to work with children and be that person who makes a positive impact. Fourteen years into my own working life and after having my own children, I felt ready. The tutors at Doncaster have been a great support and that’s made a massive difference. I chose to do my dissertation on the impact of outdoor environments on children’s social and emotional development. There is more and more research highlighting how important this is and how disadvantaged children have been impacted by a lack of outdoor play during the pandemic.

I did a case study at the early years setting where I was on placement. I wanted to really emphasise the voice of the child, so I used iPads and photos taken by the children to understand how they think about the outdoor area, then compared it to what the staff felt about the space. Now I understand much more about how children use outdoor space and the benefits they get from it. It’s easy to think that because children are little, they don’t have strong opinions and voices, but they do and it’s important to give them the opportunity.

When I think of three years back, this course has completely changed my views and opinions on child development and I use what I’ve learnt a lot, including in my own parenting and life skills! I feel a lot more confident and knowledgeable to be able to deliver high quality interaction with children.