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Headshot of Dr Lesleann Whiteman

Meet Dr Lesleann Whiteman

I am the programme lead for Early Childhood Education and Care BA(Hons) degree, my research interest is focused on developing a parent education model that addresses the issue of breaking the cycle of outdated generational parenting practices, which no longer facilitates the holistic development of young children.

My journey to teaching

The specialised profession of early childhood care and education chose me out of an opportunity to work in a family-run pre-school after graduating high school. After a week of working with three- and four-year-olds, I realised that there was so much I needed to understand about how young children learn and develop, so I obtained a partial scholarship to pursue a Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education, and I have never looked back on my original chosen profession of being a child psychologist.

My journey to the University of Brighton came to me at a time when I decided to focus on developing my research interests, the supportive research environment at the School of Education was a main attraction for me as an early career researcher. I have no regrets, that I made the right choice in choosing the University of Brighton as the place where I can work with a team of like-minded researchers.

How my teaching is linked to my research

My early years’ experience morphed from understanding how to support young children’s holistic development into early childhood teacher education where I teach adults how to create stimulating learning environments to support children’s learning and development while providing a safe space for parents/families to understand the significance of the distinct stages of their children’s development.  

All the modules I teach, are intricately linked to my research interests of breaking the negative generational cycle of parenting by focusing on the development of nurturing parent-child relationships.

How my work responds to global challenges

My work focuses on the context of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, which is addressed across all the modules I teach, covering global challenges such as  

  • No poverty, zero hunger, good health, and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality, Reduced inequalities, Peace, justice & strong institutions

These are all issues early childhood practitioners and educators advocate for on behalf of the children and families they serve, by using their voice to influence education policies, organisational funding, and even to create charities that address issues of systemic social barriers for children and families.

What I love about teaching…

My teaching philosophy and strategies are student-centered and build upon the previous knowledge and skills of students. I am of the view that students have a wealth of experiences and original perceptions of knowledge creation, and as such, they do not come as empty slates to be written upon, therefore my teaching philosophy is always one of taking the student from where they are and motivating and challenging them to develop a love for learning.

I design diverse activities to encourage students to thoroughly engage in the content and create their unique learning experiences. I encourage students to take ownership of their learning by deconstructing the learning theories, and by identifying which ideas or strategies can effectively be integrated into their practice, and which ideas, they would need assistance with developing their expertise.

The significance of my teaching philosophy is to demonstrate to the students that their voice matters, and their individual learning experiences matter, while I challenge them to identify the factors that hinder or assist their motivation to learn and set realistic learning goals.

My advice to students

My advice to prospective students would be to spend some time volunteering at an early year setting in your community so you could observe the role of early years practitioners as well as obtain some first-hand experience of working with children.

If you enjoy the experience of working as a team member, planning stimulating learning activities for different age groups, and are mesmerised by how young children learn, and you love collaborating with parents to produce innovative ideas of how their children can achieve their developmental milestones, then the Early Childhood Education and Care BA (Hons) is worth pursuing with us at the University of Brighton.

Find out about studying Early Childhood Education and Care BA(Hons) at the University of Brighton.

Christina Camm • February 8, 2023

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