Natalie MacDonald, Developmental and Therapeutic Play

Natalie MacDonald

Natalie MacDonald from Skewen graduated from the MA Developmental and Therapeutic Play in 2015. Natalie now works as an Early Years Policy and Research Assistant with the Wales Centre for Equity in Education and is also running a pilot scheme which aims to support the continuing professional development of other Early Years Professionals. 

She said: "I originally studied Law at Swansea University, graduating in 2001, before working in Flying Start for seven years. I returned to Swansea for two reasons, firstly the course content reflected my area of interest within Early Years and felt this was the next appropriate step in my career. The second reason being fond memories of my time spent there as an undergraduate.

"A colleague of mine and fellow Developmental and Therapeutic Play graduate, Emma Battenbough, designed a training and resource pack to support Early Years Professionals to identify and support children’s emotional development and wellbeing, in particular focussing on attachment theory, behaviours and strategies to support.

"Through our work in Flying Start and the in-depth knowledge gained through our course, we had first-hand experience of the prevalence of insecure attachment and attachment behaviours in areas of disadvantage and poverty. Building on outcomes we had seen through our own practice in this area we decided to put all the knowledge and experience we had into a package that could be used to support the CPD of other Early Years Professionals.

"Through the Teach First Innovation project, we were awarded funding to run a pilot of the training package and we are currently mid-way through. The pilot will be completed in July and feedback so far has been positive with interest in rolling out the training package following completion of the pilot to all Early Years Professionals."

Speaking about her course, Natalie added: "The knowledge and skills you gain are invaluable and can change your whole perspective on working with children for the better. It was an inspiring course, igniting passion to pursue a career in Research and Early Years.