In Conversation with … June O’Sullivan

We join June on the Saturday before Childcare Provisions are opening up more widely across England following the lockdown (Monday 1st June) to reflect on her experience over the past few months, leading and supporting the LEYF nurseries and hubs caring for the children of Key Workers and vunerable children, how she cared for her staff and colleagues, always keeping Children at the Centre plus her plans and views of the future to keep this focus of COVID Pedagogy. 

During our conversation, June reflects on her experiences, what she, her colleagues and staff have learned, how she cared for her staff and the children and the difficult decisions she has had to make. Moving forward and leading from the front, we learn how she has taken the positives and lessons learned from the past few months and how she feels that this needs to impact the sector as it moves to a wider opening of provisions to provide the necessary childcare to support the economy. We also learn about how LEYF has cared for the children and their families who have not been able to attend nursery including the setting up of food banks and deliveries to the children’s homes.

There is no doubt that many look to June as a leader within the sector, someone who speaks plainly and says it as it is – she is definitely all of this but so much more and we also learn how she looks after her own wellbeing, her new book and a paper that she had published just this week (links are below). I could pick a few moments out of the conversation with June to highlight here, but for me the revelation that during her regular calls with the open nurseries and the staff, that she took the time to speak to the children as well, speaks volumes. 

About June

As CEO and creator of the UK’s leading childcare social enterprise, June continues to break new ground in the development of LEYF’s scalable social business model. She remains a tireless campaigner, looking for new ways to influence policy and make society a better place for all children and families.

June has developed the LEYF Pedagogy and champions of community-based, multi-generational early years education as the basis for greater social and cultural capital to deliver long-term social impact. She continues to advise Governments as well as a range of organisations, academics and services at home and overseas about how best to implement a social enterprise vision for Early Years.

June is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Director of Social Enterprise UK, Trustee of The Book Trust, and Member of the London Mayor’s Child Obesity Taskforce. June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2013, for her services to London’s children. I

n 2017 she was delighted to receive the Most Influential Person In Early Years Award and joined the top 10 of the WISE100 – an initiative from the NatWest SE100 Index which recognises100 of the most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise, impact investment and social innovation.

The A to Z of Early Years. Politics, Pedagogy and Plain Speaking (to be released November 2020)
From a leading voice in the early years community comes an accessible, dip in, dip out guide to all the hot topics in the sector. Born from questions raised on her early years blog, June O’Sullivan brings a combination of advice, good humour and plain speaking to address themes that come up time and time again.

With entries ranging from apprenticeships to inspection, pedagogy to social enterprise, this wise and entertaining book will encourage conversation and change. From nursery managers to newly qualified teachers to experienced practitioners and educators, it has something for everyone. Ideal to read with a cup of tea when you’re snatching a 10 minute break.

Replacing a reading scheme with dialogic reading: an action research case study in 15 London nurseries (published 23 May 2020)
This paper examines how 15 London social enterprise nurseries undertook a short pilot study to ascertain how to successfully replace a formal reading scheme with the Whitehurst and Lonigan dialogic reading (DR) approach. DR has shown to work very successfully with children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, which is the focus group of the nurseries which also use a specific social pedagogy framed within the cultural capital of language and literacy to support children’s longer term educational success. The organisation adopted an action research model to constantly review its teaching methods and resources to ensure the most effective and appropriate delivery to children.

Connect with June
June’s Blog (LEYF)
June O’Sullivan – The Early Years Social Entrepreneur

Further Links
LEYF Home Learning
LEYF Pedagogy
LEYF Campaigns


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