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Final-year Early Childhood Studies undergraduates, Lydia Dykes, from Chester and Nia Williams, from Llangollen, have both had papers accepted for the prestigious Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network. The Network works to promote the student voice and showcase students’ engagement with contemporary childhood and workforce issues - theory and practice. Its UK-wide reach makes only work of the highest standard acceptable, making this a significant achievement for Lydia and Nia and their University of Chester course tutors.

Lydia’s submission was entitled: ‘Raising understanding of Islamophobia in early years settings’ and Nia’s, “’Examining the marginalisation and stigma encountered by lesbian, gay and bi-sexual parents and young children.’ Their work will now be published on-line for an academic year on the Network's website. 

Lydia has always been interested in how young children learn and develop and said her Chester course was enabling her to gain an holistic perspective of child development. “Alongside my studies, I work in a nursery and my degree has been invaluable in developing my confidence and skills in this role. I am passionate about equality and acceptance of all genders, races, religions and sexualities, and believe the best way to tackle discrimination in our society is to promote respect and challenge stereotypes in early childhood”, said Lydia.

Nia shares her passion for early years’ development and already has three years’ day nursery experience, working with young children and their families, under her belt. “My interest is in researching how young children develop and the social implications that may determine a child’s future,” she said.   

Paula Hamilton, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services, who supported Lydia and Nia to develop their essays into journal-style papers, said: “Submissions are made by many Higher Education providers across the UK which have Early Years degree programmes, so this is an excellent achievement. I am super proud of them both, for the quality of the work produced and for giving critical thought to important diversity topics that really need to be addressed more frequently within early years and school settings”.

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