Dr Karen Wickett

Dr Karen Wickett

Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Plymouth Institute of Education (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

Karen can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Learning environments for children and adults
  • Early years childcare and education policy
  • Babies and baby room practitioners


Lecturer and Joint Programme Lead BA Early Childhood Studies 



  • 2016 - Professional Doctorate in Education
  • 2007 - MA in the subject of Integrated Provision for Children and Families - University of Leicester 
  • 2007 - EYPS - SWIfT
  • 2003 - B Ed (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with QTS - University of Plymouth
  • 1984 - NNEB

  • 2012 - to date full time Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies
  • 2008 - 2012 - 0.5 Lecturer Early Childhood Studies and 0.5 Children's Centre Teacher
  • 2003 Sure Start Taunton Local Programme Early Years teacher. In 2007 Sure Start Local Programmes became Sure Start Children's Centre - my role was then titled Sure Start Children's Centre teacher
Before embarking on my first degree I established and managed a day nursery in Cornwall.

Roles on external bodies

Board Member for:

  • Take Art, Somerset
  • University Commercial Services Plymouth Ltd
  • Early Education (Devon and Cornwall branch)



Teaching interests

Questioning education

Places and spaces for learning and playing 
Multi-professional perspectives
Introduction to early childhood research
Enabling learning environments for young children's learning

MA dissertations



Research interests

My research interests are:

  • Transitions during the Early Years
The title of my doctorate research is: Exploring parents', ECEC practitioners' and teachers' experiences of supporting children during the transition to school and understandings of school readiness 

  • Arts and Early Childhood Education Care collaborations
  • Research in Residence (RiR) - an arts and ECEC collaboration partners are Take Art, Ham Drive Nursery School and Lark Children's Centre Day Care.

Other research

  • 2017 Creative Elements Report- arts and ECEC leaders views of sustainable collaborations
  • 2016 Beliefs and Relationships during Children's Transition to School: Parents, Practitioners and teachers Professional Doctorate in Education 
  • 2011 Working and being with the up to Threes (with Jan Georgeson)
  • 2011 Parent Initiated Training (with Verity Campbell-Barr, Caroline Leeson and Jocey Quinn) - funded by Somerset County Council
  • 2009 Community Research Awards - An evaluation of health related support services for nursery age children: The Lark Children's Centre (with Norman Gabriel, Joyce Halliday and Tina Wilkinson)
  • 2008 TDA ICT in Early Years Research Project research lead Valerie Huggins
  • 2007 Children’s Workforce Development Council funding – Focus of research, Contextualizing children’s learning within the local community




Goodall,H., Huggins, V., Webber, L. & Wickett, K. (2017) ‘From Student to Graduate: FourLearners’ Perspectives of the Professional Doctorate Journey’, Management in Education (MiE) Special Issue: Professional Doctoratesin Education: exploring tensions and opportunities for those in leadership

Campbell-Barr, V., Lavelle, M., and Wickett, K. (2011) Exploring alternative approaches to child outcome assessments in Children's Centres, Early Child Development and Care, IFirst


Wickett, K. (2019) An Empirical Approach to Preparing Children for School: Exploring the relationships between parents, practitioners and teachers, London: Routledge


Wickett, K. (2017) Environments for Listening (ch 7) In Georgeson, J. & Campbell-Barr, V. (eds) Placesfor 2 year olds in the Early Years: Supporting learning and development London:Taylor and Frances

Wickett, K. (2017) Exploring the transition to school: Are we all talking the same language? (ch12) in Dockett, S, Perry, R & Greisel, W. Families and the transition to school Springer

Huggins, V & Wickett, K (2017) Very young children's Learning in the Outdoors (ch 5) in Waite, S (ed) Children's Learning Outside the Classroom birth to eleven (2nd ed) London: Sage

Wickett, K. & Selbie, P. (2015) Providing an enabling environment in Parker-Rees, R & Leeson, C. (eds) Early Childhood Studies(4th ed)London: Sage

Hohmann, U. & Wickett, K. (2015) Action Research in Parker-Rees, R & Leeson, C. (eds) Early Childhood Studies (4th ed) London: Sage

Andrews,M & Wickett, K (2015) Observing children in Parker-Rees, R & Leeson, C. (eds) Early Childhood Studies (4th ed) London: Sage

Waite, S., Huggins, V. & Wickett, K. (2014) Preparing for and managing risky play, Maynard, T & Waters, J (Ed) Outdoor play in the Early Years

Payler, J., Georgeson, J. & Wickett, K. (2013) Early childhood education and care in the UK: piecemeal development through philanthropy, propagation, pluralism and pragmatism in Georgeson, (ch 22) J & Payler, J. (eds) International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Care Berkshire: Open University Press

Huggins, V and Wickett, K (2011) Crawling and toddling in the outdoors – very young children’s learning in Waite S (ed) Children Learning Outside the Classroom birth to eleven Sage publications

Wickett K and Huggins V (2011) Using the local community as part of the early years learning environment in Waite S (ed) Children Learning Outside the Classroom birth to eleven Sage publications

 Hohmann, U. and Wickett, K. (2010) 'Action research' in R. Parker-Rees and C. Leeson (eds) Early Childhood Studies, (third edition) Exeter: Learning Matters

 Selbie, P. and Wickett, K (2010) ‘Enabling Environments’ in R. Parker-Rees and C. Leeson (eds) Early Childhood Studies, (third edition) Exeter: Learning Matters

Conference Papers

2019 Early Childhood Musical Collaborations: layers of relationships, ECERA, Thessaloniki, Greece;

2019  The SoundWaves Network (Plymouth Learning Community), ECSDN 2nd Research Conference London (presented with two ECS students);

2018  Soundwaves – a meeting place, Researcher in Residence conference, University of Plymouth;

2018  Elements Working together: creatve collaborations, Small Steps Big Noise, Taunton;

2015 The Transition to School a Relational Experience, ECERA, Barcelona;

2014  The Transition to school, Transitions for life and learning conference, Plymouth University;

2014 The transition to school an opportunity (or not) to talk, ECERA, Crete;

2013 What does it mean ‘to be ready’? Roundtable, IHC Postgraduate Research Student Conference;

2011 ‘Welcome back it is your turn to lead.’Post graduate conference University of Plymouth;

2010 'Exploring the use of qualitative outcome measures in Children’s Centres' with Verity Campball-Barr and Marie Lavelle, University of Plymouth Methods Conference;

2003 Early Years and Environmental Education workshop - All Winds and Weather conference Bridgwater College.


Wickett, K. (2017) Take Art Report Creative Elements -arts and ECEC leaders views of sustainable collabroations;

Wickett, K. (2015) Independent Report for London Boroughs of Merton and Richmond upon Thames Sensory Activities and Risk Assessments in Early Years Settings.

Other Publications

Early Childhood Practitioner Publications

Wickett, K (2016) Readiness is only part of the transition Nursery World

Wickett, K. (2016) Readiness for what? Nursery World

Wickett, K. & Campbell-Barr (2013) Should we not look to our own past rather than Europe in developing early years’ services? Nursery World Haymarket

Howell, K., Georgeson, J. and Wickett, K. (2012) Enabling Environments: Baby Rooms - Without walls Nursery World Haymarket

Wickett K (2007) Providing appropriate risk taking in children’s play in Early Years Educator

Wickett, K (2006) Case Study Acorns Children’s Centre, DfES Standards Web Site available athttp://www.foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Somerset.pdf

Wickett K (2005) Influencing young children’s attitudes to the environment in Foundation Stage File

Presentations at practitioner conferences

2018 Creative Collaborations – Headteachers Conference, Somerset;

2014 Transitions for Two Year Olds –keynote Early Years Conference Taunton;

2014  The transition to school presentation - Take Art and InspirED partner Spaeda workshop;

2012 ‘Environments for Listening’ British Early Childhood Education Research Association

2008 Celebration of the Sticky Fingers and Toes project, Sticky Fingers and Toes Symposium –Ilminster, Somerset;

2008 A Graduates Journey, Key note speech for Flying Start Conference, Redruth Cornwall

2006 Reflecting and Developing Practice Workshop – The Environment is the Third Teacher Conference SureStart Taunton

2004 Hosted Outdoor Play conference Sure Start Taunton



Other academic activities

2018 Reviewed abstracts for MERYC conference 'Music in Early Childhood: New Directions and Valued Traditions'.