Interview: Karen Graham


Director of the Centre for the Child, Family and Society and Professor of Childhood and Family Studies, Glyndwr University.

 What is unique about the Centre?

The Centre brings together a lively and exciting, working childcare and research facility for the benefit of the whole university. Work at the centre is focused on supporting developments in policy and practice related to the needs of the child, family and society. Through our work as a community of researchers, academics and practitioners our aim is to continually support local, national and international efforts to improve the wellbeing of families.

The Centre is in a building designed to house a research facility and a childcare setting. The university works in partnership with Active Childcare who run two nurseries, one of which is based at the university. The nursery at the Centre employs 30 staff committed to providing excellent childcare and supporting the work of the university.

Who uses the centre?

The Centre supports cross-university provision including provision for child and health care undergraduate and postgraduate students. This breadth of offer makes life at the Centre interesting and engaging. We were recently pleased to support the very good work of drama students who took the time to visit the Centre, hear about the interests of children at the setting, devise and go on to deliver an excellent production for the children. It was a positive opportunity for drama students and provided a wonderful experience for the children.

How does the centre work with the wider community?

We work with numerous external partners on a range of diverse projects. A recent project involved the North East Wales Carers Information Service and the Prince’s Trust. Together we responded to the needs of carers in employment by writing and rolling out a Carer Friendly Employer Recognition Award launched last year by the health minister for Wales. This award encourages employers to take small steps that make a positive difference to carers in the workplace, often helping carers to remain employed and preventing them from sliding into poverty. For some organisations this support can be as simple as providing a telephone contact point in workplaces that do not ordinarily allow mobile phone use or allowing carers to set up support groups in their own lunchtime. We were touched to receive some lovely feedback about this award how it has helped some carers stay in employment.

We have also worked with local health professionals to launch the Academy of Care Practitioners, a professional body providing advice, guidance and training and development opportunities for those in the childcare and health care professions.

What links do you have internationally?

As the Welsh representative for the World Forum on Early Care and Education I link directly with over 80 representatives across the world. We are currently looking forward to the next conference taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 6-9 May 2014. It should be a great conference - join us!

As a member of the World Forum Working Group on Children's Rights and co-chair of the Working Group on Play life is always busy, always interesting!

Tell us about your latest research

We are currently working with colleagues from Harvard University focusing on the impact of screen time on pre-school children. This project will involve 100 families across Wales focusing on how screen time impacts on the lives of young children. We will keep you informed of progress...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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