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Childhood Research Forum (CRF)

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Aims and Objectives

The main aim of the Childhood Research Forum (CRF) is to contribute to the academic field of childhood studies through a research-led approach.

The Forum is led by scholars from a wide range of research backgrounds, who share interests of diverse aspects of childhood addressing policy, practice and pedagogy. Through an interdisciplinary approach, CRF includes research with children as participants and also with adults who are involved with children and their families.

Overall CRF targets to provide a research-based collaborative environment for students, academics, local/national authorities and broader networks to foster further exploration and investigation of diverse aspects within the field of Early Childhood.


The Childhood Research Forum (CRF) lies under the Department of Early Childhood in the Faculty of Education at Liverpool Hope University.

CRF specialises in childhood research by combining implications for theory, pedagogy and practice at a local, national and international level.

We would like to welcome you to our Forum and to invite you to join us and follow our activities,

Dr Zoi Nikiforidou and Dr Harriet Pattison


Childhood Research Discussion Forum

The Childhood Research Forum (CRF) specialises in early childhood research by combining implications of theory, pedagogy and practice, through an interdisciplinary approach.

The scheduled research forum discussions for the academic year 2018/19 are:

DateTime/RoomForum title


Eden 012

(Paper): Acceptance of peers with physical disability depending on the type of activity

Kyriakos Demetriou



Eden 012

(Paper): The Two Year Old Offer: Exploring parents’ choice not to participate

Alex Owen and Jane Brie



Eden 010

Collaborative Creativity practices of children

Pinar Oztop



Eden 010

Impact of Early Intervention policy and practice in areas of high socioeconomic disadvantage

Clionagh Boyle

Ongoing Research Projects

Poverty project

Dr Owen is involved in a research project with the Foundation Years Trust, an organisation seeking to make operational the outcomes of Field's Report 'The Foundation Years: Preventing Poor Children becoming Poor Adults' (2010). The project has completed an initial scoping study and the results have been published in the Journal for Early Childhood Research (2016). The next phase of the study involves working with the local schools and Local Authority, which the Foundation Years Trust work with, to investigate why some parents, living in areas of socio-economic deprivation, have chosen not to take up the 'two year old offer' that has been funded by Government to support their children's early childhood education and care. For more information, please contact Dr Owen:

Jane Brie is also involved in this research project with the Foundation Years Trust, exploring parents' attitudes and views on the 'two year old offer'. For more information, please contact Jane Brie

A reassessment of false belief understanding in infancy

Dr Stack is using a violation of expectation unexpected transfer eyes methodology to assess current interpretations of infant looking time data within this paradigm. In this study he created a ‘false belief’ situation where the adult is both present but either knowledgeable or ignorant about the target object’s current location in Box A. He then transfer the object to Box B. The findings from this study demonstrate that before 18 months of age infants fail to distinguish between conditions. At some point between 18- and 22-months of age infants begin to respond differently in each condition showing the classic looking time patterns in the false belief condition. If you are interested, please contact Dr Jim Stack,

The relationship between three- and four-year-olds false belief understanding and sharing behaviours of jointly earned resources with high- and low- merit co-workers

In this study Dr Stack assesses children’s performance on the classic puppets unexpected transfer task. Children then engage in a resource generation task where they work alongside a high-merit (reliable puppet) or a low-merit (unreliable puppet). In the high merit condition both the child and puppet answer question correctly in order to jointly contribute to the generation of resources. In the low merit condition the puppet gets all his answers incorrect. Therefore, the child is the sole generator of resources. Preliminary findings from this study demonstrate that children who are able to pass the false belief task share more equally with the puppet but only in the high merit condition. If you are interested, please contact Dr Jim Stack,

The relationship between three to eight year olds contextualised and decontextualized false belief reasoning and sharing behaviours from collaborative earned resources

In this study Dr Stack again assesses children’s performance on the classic unexpected transfer task. Children then engage in a resource generation task (stickers are obtained by either working collaboratively with a puppet or by working independently). Children are then given the stickers and asked if they would like to share them with the puppet. Importantly, this information was given to the infant either when the puppet was present (knowledgeable) or absent (ignorant) or when then puppet believed that there was either more or less sticker to share than the actual amount (contextualised false belief). If you are interested, please contact Dr Jim Stack,

DraStEE (Drama, stories, empathy and education)

Dr Zoi Nikiforidou, Dr Jim Stack and Dr Babs Anderson in collaboration with Liverpool World Centre are conducting a study on how drama and embodied cognition can support children's social and emotional understanding. Children, aged 3-4 years, play out the characters of a story and experience their dilemmas by being introduced to opportunities of exploring the mental states and feelings of the others. Does the enactment facilitate the capacity of taking the perspective of the other. In what ways can role-play of characters enhance children's emotional and social awareness? If you are interested, please contact Dr Zoi Nikiforidou,

Liverpool Early Years Chartered Leader programme

Dr Babs Anderson is continuing with phase 3 of Liverpool Early Years Chartered Leader programme. Fourteen leaders in Early Years settings from private, voluntary and independent sectors are participating in collaborative action research projects to examine leadership and management of change. The dissemination event on February 2nd 2017 at 9.30-12 noon will feature Professor Carol Aubrey and will include the presentation of individual posters documenting the progression of the projects together with reflections by the participants on the process itself. If you are interested, please contact Dr Babs Anderson,

Children's attitudes to physical disability

Dr Demetriou is involved in a small-scale study that aims to explore the attitudes and understandings of non-disabled 7-year-old children towards children with physical impairments. The starting point of this project is that children are able to identify similarity and difference concerning physical appearance from early stages of their life, however it aims to explore how young children understand appearance difference with regards to their peers with physical disability – an area which still remains unexplored. If you are interested, please contact Dr Kyriakos Demetriou,

Fundamental British values

Dr Pattison is collaborating with Babs Anderson on a small scale exploration into how parents and practitioners feel about the introduction of Fundamental British Values into EYFS. We begin with a deconstruction of FBVs as a response to current events, taking the questions raised by this forward in conversation with practitioners and parents including those who do not locate themselves within the mainstreams of either Britishness or education. For more information please contact Dr Harriet Pattison,

Investigating Christian faith transmission in early childhood, within the family context

Sarah Holmes in her doctoral thesis explores how Christian faith may be observed in the early years, and the extent to which it is influenced by the family context. The empirical research entails play-based interviews with children aged three to thirteen years old, as part of a longitudinal study to track changes in the child’s faith over a three year period, and the extent to which this correlated with family faith practices. For more information please contact Sarah Holmes,

Recent Books

Childhood Today edited by Alex Owen, Sage Publications (2017)

How we understand what ‘childhood’ means in today’s society is constantly changing, and the rate of this change is unprecedented. This new edited book explores what it really means to be a child of the 21st century, and how we as professionals, researchers, parents and adults can understand an environment seemingly in constant flux. Each chapter seeks to explore and problematise some of the different ‘labels’ that we give to children in an attempt to understand their contemporary experiences. From the Regulated Child to the Stressed Child to the Poor Child the book covers a wide array of key issues in contemporary childhood, including obesity, risk, special needs, wellbeing and poverty. The pace of change in childhood can be daunting but this book helps students, practitioners and researchers to explore and understand the variety of issues affecting children in the UK and all over the world.

Rethinking Learning to Read by Harriet Pattison, Educational Heretics Press (2016)

Based on research with home educating families this book explores alternative practices and philosophies surrounding learning to read. Children who learn to read at home do so away from the constraints of age related norms and school curriculum demands. This state of relative freedom offers a rich opportunity to consider other possibilities around learning to read as well as being a means to challenge some of the ideas about reading which have become entrenched in main stream reading pedagogy. In the spirit of Deleuze and Guattari the book aims to return to the ‘rough ground’ in order to sketch a map of possibilities, practical and philosophical, that surround learning to read.

Philosophy for Children edited by Babs Anderson, Routledge (2017)

Dr Babs Anderson’s edited volume was published in August 2016. Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a movement that teaches reasoning and argumentative skills to children of all ages. This book looks at the progress that P4C has made in the UK in addressing issues of literacy, critical thinking, PSHE, education for sustainable development and wider issues such as bullying. Chapters identify the different theories and practices that have emerged and discuss the necessity for a reflective approach that P4C brings to education. The book highlights how this movement can fit into the early years, primary and secondary curriculum and the challenges and rewards that come with it. Chapters include:

  • The Evolution of Philosophy for Children in the UK
  • Pedagogical Judgement
  • Negotiating meaning in classrooms: P4C as an exemplar of dialogic pedagogy
  • The impact of P4C on teacher educators
  • Being and becoming a philosophical teacher


Contact us

Dr Zoi Nikiforidou -

Dr Harriet Pattison -

Department of Early Childhood

Faculty of Education

Hope Park

Liverpool L16 9JD

Useful links




European Early Childhood Education Research Journal (EECERJ)

British Educational Research Association (BERA)

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)

Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)

GOV.UK - Early Years