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Catriona Gill, Lynn McNair & Jane Whinnett


Slide1 (1).jpgCatriona is Head Teacher of Greengables Nursery School & Family Centre in Edinburgh; a unique local authority setting which offers Early Learning and Childcare, alongside a wide range of support and education for families and the community. Catriona qualified as a teacher in 2009 and quickly realised her passion for early years. She completed the Froebel in Childhood Practice Course at the University of Edinburgh in 2013 and her practice is based upon Froebelian principles. Catriona is on the committee of the Edinburgh Froebel Network, organising conferences, seminars and maintaining the website. She also tutors on The University of Edinburgh’s Froebel courses. In 2016, she was awarded Professional Recognition in Professional Enquiry by the General Teaching Council of Scotland and regularly presents her work at conferences, seminars and training events. Before becoming a teacher, Catriona was a professional theatre director and person-centred counsellor, and this informs her belief in the transformative power of creativity and play.
Slide3 (1).jpgDr Lynn McNair is Head of Cowgate Under Fives Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Lynn has more than 30 years’ experience working in Early Years Education and was awarded an OBE for services to Early Education in 2009. Lynn is a trained Froebelian, attaining her certificate at the Froebel Institute, Roehampton University, London, UK. She is an award-winning author. Finally, Lynn would say her passion for egalitarianism, emancipation, democracy and a belief that children are rich, active, resourceful beings came from being a mother to Kurt and Mischa; and what she learned as she observed them playing freely as children. This way of being with children, trusting in them in their abilities and capabilities is where she puts her energy into her work with children today.
Slide2 (1).jpgJane Whinnett is head teacher of two local authority nursery schools in Edinburgh, Scotland. She believes that high quality training and continuous professional development for all staff make the difference for young children’s experiences. As a founder member of the Edinburgh Froebel Network, she organises annual conferences, introducing Froebelian principles and approaches. She supports innovative initial training, teaching students on the Froebel in Childhood Practice course at the University of Edinburgh and supporting practitioner enquiry for those who have completed the course. She is a Trustee of the Froebel Trust and chairs the Education Subcommittee. She is also an award winning author. In 2019, Jane was awarded an MBE for services to Early Education.



Towards a Froebelian Understanding of Play

Lynn McNair, Jane Whinnett and Catriona Gill are founding members of the Edinburgh Froebel Network, which disseminates Froebelian principles and approaches through conferences, seminars, presentations and practitioner research. Lynn and Jane have also contributed chapters to the award winning book, Early Childhood Practice: Froebel today (ed. Bruce, 2012) and The Routledge International Handbook of Froebel and Early Childhood Practice (2018)

The Edinburgh Froebel Network recently organised its tenth conference in the city, entitled Gifts for our Future 10: Perspectives on Play, which was attended by 550 people. Lynn, Jane and Catriona teach on the University of Edinburgh’s Froebel in Childhood Practice courses which currently have around 300 students across Scotland and around 500 alumni. Lynn is also the pathway coordinator for the new MSc Education (Early Childhood Practice and Froebel) which begins this year.

Froebelian practice is based on principles which include

  • The integrity of childhood in its own right      
  • The relationship of every child to family, community and to nature, culture and society. 
  • The uniqueness of every child's capacity and potential
  • The holistic nature of the development of every child
  • The role of play and creativity as central integrating elements in development and learning. 
  • The right of children to protection from harm or abuse and to the promotion of their overall well-being


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