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Dr Sarah Cousins

Director of Early Years Programmesprofile.jpg

WCE1.9, Centre for Lifelong Learning, Westwood Campus
+44 (0)24 7652 2468


Dr Sarah Cousins is Course Director of Early Years Programmes at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. She is a former early years teacher and Foundation Stage leader. She worked in a range of settings and schools in London over a period of ten years. She then worked as an early years consultant for local authority before moving to London Metropolitan University to lead a new Early Years degree.

In 2012 Sarah took up the role of Principal Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire, with responsibility for primary teacher training. Here she prepared the department for a successful Ofsted inspection in 2013, developed the new Early Years Teacher Status programmes and led on postgraduate education courses.

Sarah continues to work as a freelance early years inspector in London, visiting childminders and settings from the private, voluntary and independent sector. Sarah holds a professional doctorate in education (EdD) from the University of Sheffield. Her doctoral research focused on the importance of love in out-of-home, early years education and care settings.

Recent publications

Cousins, S. & Cunnah, W. (in press). Investigating emotional, sensory and social learning in early years practice. Abingdon, England: Routledge.

Cousins, S. (2017). The use of poetry in a spiral-patterned methodology for research about love in early childhood. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 30 (4), 323-339.

Cousins, S. (2017). Practitioners' constructions of love in early childhood education and care. International Journal of Early Years Education, 25 (1), 16-29.

Moate, J. Cousins, S. Cunnah, W & Roulotie-Lyhty, M. (2017) Educational research for democracy, In A. Raiker, A. & M. Rautiainen, M. Educating for democracy in England and Finland: principles and culture, Abingdon, England: Routledge.

Cousins, S. (2016). ‘Policies for Quality Early Years Provision’, In E. Slaughter (Ed.), Quality in the Early Years, Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Cousins, S. & Knight, P. (2016), ‘Quality experiences for babies and very young children’, In E. Slaughter, (Ed.), Quality in the Early Years, Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Cousins, S. (2016). Is love important in early years? Children’s Centre Leader, June 2016,

Cousins, S. (2015) Perspectives on love. Early Years Educator, 17 (8), pp 25–27 DOI: 10.12968/eyed.2015.17.8.25

Cousins, S. & Dunne, U. (2013). Peer support for technology enhanced learning: developing a community of learners, Journal of Pedagogic Development, 3 (3), 47-53

Cousins, S. & Bissar, D. (2013). Adapting to the digital age: A narrative inquiry approach. Research in Learning Technology, 21 (1), 5-18.

Cousins, S. & Adams, D. (2011). Read to Work: A collaborative literacy intervention by an academic liaison librarian and an academic tutor. UKLA 47th International Conference Proceedings, 81-88.

Recent conference papers

2015, Preparing for a Successful Ofsted Inspection, Early Years Excellence: Why Quality Matters conference, University of Bedfordshire

2015, Practitioners' Constructions of Love in Early Years Care and Education. TACYC Annual Conference, The International Convention Centre, Birmingham

2015, Practitioners’ Constructions of Love in the Context of Early Childhood Education and Care, European Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

2014, Landscapes of Love in Early Childhood Education and Care: a narrative and poetic inquiry, International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2014, Diverse Landscapes of Love in Early Childhood Education and Care, British Early Childhood Education Research Association, Birmingham

2013, Peer Support for Technology Enhanced Learning: a learning journey, University of Bedfordshire Teaching and Learning Conference, Luton

2013, E-Portfolios on a Teacher Training course: a peer support scheme to develop effective digital pedagogies, Teacher Education Policy in Europe, Finland

2013, Pioneers on the Frontiers of learning? A narrative inquiry approach to new pedagogical practices using technology in Arts and Humanities learning and teaching, Higher Education Academy Arts and Humanities Conference, Brighton