Meet the Experts

Dr. David Whitebread

David is an expert in developmental psychology and early years education. We feel extremely fortunate to be creating a new series of films covering play and self-regulation alongside Dr Whitebread.

After teaching children between the ages of 4-8 for 12 years he now focuses on conducting research. His specialist area is that of child development in early years education, with many research articles and books on these subjects carrying his name. He is currently directing two research projects; the impact of play on the development of metacognition and the effect of self-regulation on learning.

Aside from these roles, David also conducts research into evolutionary psychology and neuroscience and an area known as school readiness.

Find out more about David and his work at the Cambridge University website

If you’d like to see David’s work in print, some of his published articles include: ‘Teaching and Learning in the Early Years’ (3rd Ed; 2008, RoutledgeFalmer) and ‘Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education’ (2012, Sage).

Jan White

Siren have been lucky enough to work with Jan on our, ‘All About Outdoors Series’. She works both nationally and internationally, promoting high quality facilities for children up to 5 years old. Working in education for over 28 years, her key roles have included the development of Learning through Landscape’s support for the early years sector and Early Excellence’s, ‘Stepped Approach to Quality Outdoors’.

A comprehensive CV includes titles such as; Associate with Early Education and Playwise, Pedagogical Adviser for landscape and equipment companies, Mentor to Sandfield Natural Play Centre, Representative for the World Forum Foundation and Save Childhood movement, Co-founder of the Landscapes for Early Childhood UK network and Lecturer on the Masters programme at CREC (Birmingham City University).

This vast experience has been a major contributing factor towards her adopting a role as a trainer and contributor to many international conferences. You can find more of Jan’s work in publications such as; ‘Playing and Learning Outdoors: making provision for high quality experiences in the outdoor environment’ (Routledge 2008), ‘Making a Mud Kitchen’ (Muddy Faces 2012) and her work as editor for ‘Outdoor Provision in the Early Years’ (Sage 2011).


Marion Dowling

After an early career in teaching, which saw her progress to Head of a nursery school, Marion worked as an Educational Adviser and then Senior Early Years Adviser. She then spent 6 years as a HMI, before taking up a role with the National Audit Commission on an Early Years project. Following this, she then joined Ofsted as an Early Years inspector, working on improving quality.

As well as co-authoring the, ‘Training Pack for the Foundation Stage’, Marion also enjoys a role as a Critical Friend for individuals and within schools. Working as an independent early years specialist, she dispenses knowledge and advice across the UK, Europe and the Far East, offering training and consultancy services. Marion uses her wealth of experience to provide invaluable advice and direction for our projects here at Siren Films.

Marion’s recent publications include:

Young children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Young Children’s Thinking

Anne O’Connor

Anne is an experienced, freelance early years trainer and writer with over 20 years  of teaching and leadership in nursery, infant and primary schools.

Previously an Associate Tutor at the Institute of Education (London University) Anne is now an Associate of Early Education and Osiris Educational. Her recent book Understanding Transitions in the Early Years : Supporting change through attachment and resilience was published by Routledge in October 2012.

Anne is a regular contributor to Nursery World writing on a range of topics including Attachment, Physical Development, Key Person Approach and regular monthly series  Making Spaces(2012/13) and Practice in Pictures in collaboration with Siren Films.

She has produced film notes for Siren Films for the following products: Attachment and Holistic DevelopmentLearning Through Play and Play and Learning at School

Anne is Vice Chair  of governors of a Primary School in Lancaster and sits on the Advisory Board of two local Children Centres. 

Peter Elfer

Dr Peter Elfer is Principal Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Convenor of the Masters Programme in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Roehampton, London where he has been for the last 13 years. Prior to this, he worked for ten years in the Early Childhood Unit of the National Children’s Bureau in London.

He has a long standing interest in the well being of babies and children under three and has published a number of general media (Siren Films; magazine articles) as well as academic papers on this theme. His research concerns the impact of different types of nursery organisation and management on staff and their interactions with. This research is focussed on enabling the ‘voice’ of babies and the youngest children in nursery settings to be heard.

He wrote with Elinor Goldschmied and Dorothy Selleck, Key Persons in the Nursery: Building Relationships for Quality Provision (2003) London: David Fulton. This work has recently been published in Italian and a revised second edition was published in 2011. Peter contributed to the guidance on the key person role (concerning the formation of emotional attachments between nursery staff and children) for the English Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). He is currently developing new models of professional reflection, taking close account of emotional experience in working professionally with young children, to meet the requirements of the revised EYFS.

He is a member of the Editorial Board of Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, Chair of the Froebel Research Committee and a Vice President of Early Education.

Jennie Lindon

Jennie Lindon is a chartered psychologist and early years consultant. She has run

her own training and consultancy business for most of her professional career. Jennie has specialised in working with services for children and their families, in particular children under five years old.

As well as advising and supporting many of our film productions Jennie worked with Siren Films to produce Firm Foundations for Early Literacy and Supporting Early Literacy, appearing in the films and writing the accompanying booklets.

An established author since the early 1980s, Jennie has now had over thirty books published. She is committed to writing about best practice that shows active respect for the needs and perspective of children and young people. Her books all have a strong underpinning of development and the importance of realistic adult expectations.

Titles have covered all aspects of child development, guiding behaviour, safeguarding, equality practice and partnership with families, and includes the popular “Linking Theory and Practice” series for students and practitioners.

Maria Robinson

Maria Robinson is a lecturer, counsellor, trainer and adviser in early years development, with a total of 20 years’ experience including working originally as a health visitor and subsequently as a tutor in further and higher education.

She worked with Siren Films to help produce The Wonder Year, appearing in the film and writing the accompanying booklet.

She currently works independently, offering training and workshops to a wide range of professionals such as early years practitioners, social workers, trainee and qualified teachers in both mainstream and additional support needs education.

Her particular areas of interest are the emotional development of children, attachment, brain development and links between all aspects of development and the use of observations.

Examples of publications: