Lecturers from Sheffield Hallam University will be helping Ghana to plot the future of its early years childcare when they deliver a conference in the country next month.

They will be accompanied by University students who will be gaining a new insight into early childhood when they undertake the 25-day trip to Ghana, which begins with a three-day conference on Early Childhood Development and Education at the British Council in Accra.

Early Years academics Pam Torry, Chris Hope and Penny Borkett, all from Sheffield Hallam, will deliver the conference on Early Childhood Education from Tuesday 7 September to Thursday 9 September.

They have worked with officials from the Ministry of Women and Children (MOWAC) and the director of the National Nursery Teacher Training Centre to develop the conference.

She said: “Ghanaian national policy places a strong emphasis on the importance of learning through play in the early years and yet this is sometimes not clearly seen, so as well as sharing current theory on effective practice we will be offering workshops in change management.

“In the long term we hope to develop close partnerships and establish regular student placements in Ghana.”

The conference has attracted delegates from diverse backgrounds and several regions in the country. The Honourable Juliana Azumah Mensah, the minister for Women and Children, hopes to attend the launch where she will share her government’s vision for young children in Ghana.

Pam said that the students will gain invaluable experience from the 25-day trip.

She said: “The students will gain invaluable experience of working in a different culture in a developing country whose provision for under fives is substantially different from our own.

“They will keep journals and video diaries about their adventures and participate in research which we hope will help them plan their own projects in the final year of their degrees.”

Kelly Brook, 20, from Rotherham, who is taking part in the visit, said: “It will be quite daunting but I’m very excited as well. The emphasis on the trip is learning through play so hopefully we’ll be able to pass on some of our experiences and ideas and share some good practice as well.”

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