Early Learning Associates Limited Grangemouth Scotland offers pedagogy, supporting development and learning, facilitating change, consultancy, promoting network opportunities, pedagogical documentation, continuing professional development, a curriculum for excellence, supporting active learning, learning and teaching interactions, organising learning and teaching, continuity and progression, play an approach to learning,children's own play, values and beliefs, pedagogical base, using CfE four capacities and principles, working with young children within birth to three, working with children three to eight
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An aspect of a long term project in the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre, Reggio Emilia
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spacer The Early Learning Associates team are a group of people with a long and varied experience of working together with children across a range of early childhood settings. We share a common set of values about early years’ thinking and practice which is explained in more detail on Our Pedagogy page spacer

Quote Ranaldi " Personal and professional development and education are something we construct ourselves in relation to others, based on values that are chosen, shared and constructed together


The Early Learning Associates team are as follows.

Pat Wharton

Pat Wharton is an early years’ consultant who can work across a range of early childhood areas from birth to 6 in a variety of capacities and situations. To date she has supported local authorities with developing early childhood documents, review documents, staff development courses and inputs in individual early years’ settings in several Council areas. She also has an interest in acting in a consultancy capacity to assure quality in both private and local authority early years provision and has an expertise in designing spaces for early years’ settings.

In addition, Pat along with her colleagues in Early Years Associates, is currently involved in setting up an early years’ network in the centre of Scotland whose aim will be to promote dialogue between early years’ professionals in this area. In the first instance these meetings could well focus on the thinking and practice of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy since in Scotland there is currently no reference point for this inspiring practice which has such a deep connection with A Curriculum for Excellence.

Much of the inspiration for herself and her colleagues in Early Learning Associates has been taken from Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy and between them they have been involved in developing in two Councils in Scotland a documentation approach to early learning. A pedagogical approach which is Reggio Emilia inspired which has, at its centre, a listening pedagogy and the image of the child as rich and resourceful, which again makes a really important connection with A Curriculum for Excellence.

Within the last two years she, Pat has co-authored a book entitled ‘An Encounter with Reggio Emilia: Making Children’s Early Learning Visible’ [external link]. This outlines how this approach was developed in Stirling, Scotland, it is currently being translated into Portugese for the Brazilian early childhood community there. She has also contributed to an under three publicaton developed by Professor Carolyn Pope Edwards, Nebraska University, USA called ‘The Diary of Laura’ [external link] based on a child’s early days in a early childhood setting in Reggio Emilia.


Delia Binney

At present, Delia is a part-time Peripatetic Head of Nursery working within Stirling Council. Her main role within nurseries in Stirling is to lead and support the implementation of ‘A Documentation Approach to Curriculum for Excellence’. Her remit is to sustain high quality provision for children 0-5 through a variety of professional development approaches, eg.:

  • The Documentation Approach to Early Learning
  • Working with under threes
  • Planning for children’s learning
  • Taking a closer look at the Child at the Centre.

She has also devised workshops to support and develop current understandings of A Curriculum for Excellence with a particular focus on early outcomes for Numeracy, Literacy and Health and Well-being.

She also has been involved in developing materials for the Birth to Three Guidelines (LTS) and the ‘Babies Love Books’ document (Stirling Council).

She has considerable teaching and management experience in both nursery (as Head of extended day/extended year provision 0-5) and in further education as a lecturer in Early Childhood and Education. She has been a Consultant for Expressive Arts in Stirling and has worked as a music and drama specialist with Secondary pupils with Additional Support for Learning Needs. She has attended and given presentations at a range of national conferences and has been invited to contribute to several staff development events throughout Scotland.

As an educational consultant. Delia has specific interest in early education from birth to eight years. She is available on a part-time basis and has sound knowledge of working effectively with Birth-3 including aspects such as baby brain development, communication and language, building resilience, early music and the development of creativity 0-5, continuity and progression through active learning within a curriculum for excellence. She has an interest in developing an understanding of the pedagogies of ‘listening, looking and loving’ and using current Action Research findings to support best practice.


Terry McCabe

Terry is an early years consultant who has a professional background in early primary and nursery teaching, as well as in nursery management. She has been head of nursery both in Stirling and in the former Strathclyde Region. Following on from this, as an early childhood officer with Stirling Council, her remit was to support the development of quality provision in both Council and private and voluntary partner settings. In this role, she has been involved in the development and delivery of a range of staff training materials and workshops, including ‘Improvement Planning’, ‘Children’s Profiling’, ‘Planning for Children’s Learning’, ‘Supporting Diversity in Early Years’, ‘Developing Creativity’ and ‘Supporting the Four Capacities Through Children’s Participation’. She has also been involved in supporting the development of the ‘Documentation Approach to Children’s Learning’.

Terry was involved in the development of ‘Children as Partners’, Stirling Council’s guidelines for staff on consulting with children and supporting their participation in decision-making, and she has a particular interest in this area of work. Another area of interest for her is the support of early years staff in the development of their understanding of children’s learning, and of how to develop ways of enabling them to take it forward.

Terry is currently involved, on a part-time basis, as an associate tutor with Glasgow University in the delivery of the BA Early Childhood Practice.


Marian Kayes

Marian has worked across a range of early childhood settings for over thirty years in Scotland. Most of this time was spent working in Glasgow in Strathclyde Region and Stirling Council.

Whilst in Glasgow, where she worked for twenty years, she gained significant experience in working within a number of early years’ contexts which allowed her to work and understand children and families in a cross section of communities within a large urban area.

For the last eleven years she has been the Head of Doune Nursery, Stirling. Under her leadership the nursery developed an excellent reputation for leading edge practice, along with other early years’ settings in Stirling. In 2010 this was recognised nationally with excellent across the board gradings both from the Care Commission and HMIE.

As Head of Doune Nursery she was one of five Stirling Council Heads who was approached to initiate and develop Stirling's Documentation Approach to Early Learning from 2001. During the past eleven years Marian worked with her team to progress and collectively develop their professional understandings of this pedagogical approach via an action research process.

In 2009 she went to Reggio Emilia which heightened further her understanding of the approach in practice. To support the team in their knowledge base professionally and academically at Doune Nursery each of them, at various times, was enabled to undertake graduate and post graduate study.

Whilst in Stirling, for a period of eight months, Marian also held a dual role of Head of Nursery and Early Childhood Curriculum Officer. In this role she learned how to be supportive to a number of nurseries in Stirling in the following areas; Policy-making and Writing, Curriculum Planning, Partnership Working and Improvement Planning.

Marian, during the time she was in Stirling, was asked to present at a number of local and national conferences and has, at times, involved parents in a one or two of these workshops, sharing their perspectives of the Documentation Approach to Early Learning and Children's Rights. Each of these gained national and international recognition when Doune Nursery in June 2011, was awarded a UNICEF Rights Respecting School’s Award for its ethos, culture and curriculum.

Marian has worked closely with parents, families and the local community to share the underlying principles of the documentation approach and to make visible the children's learning.  The culmination of this work was the compilation A Parent’s Guide to A Documentation Approach to Early Learning’ to which the Parent’s Group made a significant contribution alongside staff members.


Annie Miller

Annie is an early years’ consultant who has professional experience of working across four local authorities supporting the on-going development of quality services for children and families in different roles.

As a Head she successfully developed and managed two new local authority early years’ settings, one of them in Glasgow which offered a service to children from 6 weeks old to school age. The other one in Stirling, which offered a service to children from 2 years old to school age.

In her role as Registration and Development Officer she worked with both the private and voluntary sector to support the registration and inspection of their service. As Early Childhood Link Officer she worked alongside a cluster group of early years’ settings supporting them in sustaining a high quality service for children and their families. This work also included delivering relevant staff development to the settings both in-house and out with the setting.

Over the last 5 years Annie worked as a peripatetic Head of two rural nurseries within Stirling. In this role she had a particular focus on developing self-managed teams who were embracing a pedagogical documentation approach to children’s learning, inspired by the Reggio Children schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

In both her roles as Head in Stirling she presided over two HMIE inspections, both of which received high praise and gradings for the quality of service being provided in her early years’ setting.

In her role as Head in her first nursery post in Stirling Council she was one of the five nurseries in Stirling to pilot a pedagogical documentation approach to early learning in 2001. Her involvement in the development and delivery of CPD Courses in Stirling includes Planning for Children’s Learning, Children’s Profiling, Conflict Resolution, Consulting with Children, Listening to Young Children, Improvement Planning, Documentation Approach to Children’s Learning. Her delivery of In-house training for staff teams includes Assessment is for Learning, Conflict Resolution, Values, Professional Learning Communities, Planning, Leadership, Role of Keyworker, Environment as the Third Educator, Learning Groups, Pedagogical Documentation Approach to Learning.




Registered in Scotland Number 271827