Diane Rich


Rich Learning Opportunities

Research and project work

Everyday Stories
Integration in Practice
Listening as a way of life: Listening to babies
Listening to young children
Nurture group provision
Outdoor provision
Teachers TV
What matters to children

Research and project work includes: studies in childcare provision in the everyday lives of children from birth to three; developing integrated services for children and families; influences on the professional development of teachers; children developing communication, language and literacy; issues associated with imaginative play; multicultural issues and children’s learning; developing outdoor provision; nurture group provision; listening as a way of life; listening to young children; and Teachers TV projects…… to name but a few. Diane has an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge focusing on school improvement and teacher development.

Everyday Stories

Diane Rich took part in the Everyday Stories project as a data analyst. She has also presented seminars and based on this work for the National Children’s Bureau and at Early Childhood Forum conferences.

The Everyday Stories project was influenced by:

  • Ideas about the ways education and care might be more convincingly integrated (NB. this was pre-Early Excellence Centres, and Children’s Centres…. It was pre-birth to three matters materials….)
  • The active pursuit of children’s rights
  • The construction of the rich, strong and powerful child, informed by the work of educators of Reggio Emilia

The original aim of the Everyday Stories project was to:

‘enhance the quality of children’s experience in group day-care through the practice of nursery staff.’

In order to realise this aim, 15 observations of children aged between 6 and 31 months were made and interviews of some staff and parents/carers were undertaken. Documentation from each setting was also scrutinised where available.

Observations are compelling images and stories of ‘A day in the life of a child in day-care’. They are very detailed. They describe a spectacular variety of rich phenomenon. The intention of the two observers was to get close to the everyday lives of the children: to see things from their eyes and ears. They acted as non-participant observers.

The 15 detailed observations are of children aged from 6-31 months old, in different day-care settings across England. These were ‘whole day observations’ (for some children this meant observations for as long as 101/2 hours).

The observations occurred in the second half of 1996 and before today’s national emphasis on ‘Listening to young children’.

The observations were conducted at a time of considerable uncertainty about the future impact of growing numbers of children spending long days in nurseries and the increasing and ever present concern for enhancing the quality of children’s experience.

For each of the observations key questions emerge which are relevant to anyone who working with children:

  • what is significant for practice and provision?
  • in what ways can the experiences of children be improved and developed?
  • in order to make these decisions how am i looking?

In order to aid ‘the looking’ the finished 15 observations are set within an evaluation framework.

‘An evaluation of good practice’
The framework was devised by

  • The researchers.
  • An advisory panel.
  • Mary Jane Drummond, of the University of Cambridge and Ann Jameison, Director of the Early Childhood unit at the National Children’s Bureau

Diane Rich trialled using the framework and provided feedback on its usefulness, or otherwise.

The evaluation framework has three key themes which were devised to use with the observations

These are:

  • interactions between children and adults
  • interactions between children and children
  • children learning from their environment, activities and play materials

Each of the key themes has been developed in light of criteria for good practice and is broken down into separate components, totaling 13.

These can be viewed on the website www.ncb.org.uk.


Integration in practice

Diane Rich took part in the project and publication of the report, ‘Integration in Practice’ contributing as a data analyst.

The report is of a one year study of the national practice guidance materials for children 0-14, of a large variety of documents and curriculum materials from LEAs throughout the UK. It establishes common elements of good practice and a set of organising principles that could be used as a framework for self-assessment. The findings will be invaluable reading for all those involved in Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships, local authorities, early years practitioners and members of Registration and Inspection units and advisory staff from all disciplines.

‘The report:

  • shows findings of an audit of materials which the Partnerships and their respective local authorities are citing as a basis for integrated practice for the support of children’s learning 0-14;
  • places the audit within a context of a quality framework; and
  • identifies 69 common quality areas and eight organising principles which can be used to underpin Partnership wide quality assurance

These findings are illustrated with examples of current practice across England.’

Integration in Practice, 2000: National Children’s Bureau

For more information on the Integration in Practice report, or to order a copy, visit www.ncb.org.uk


Listening as a way of life

In 2004 Diane was invited to be part of a project for the National Children’s Bureau, Listening as a way of life. This resulted in a series of five leaflets.

Listening as a way of life: why and how we listen to young children by Alison Clarke
Listening as a way of life: listening to babies by Diane Rich
Listening as a way of life: listening to young disabled children by Mary Dickens
Listening as a way of life: supporting parents and carers to listen – a guide for practitioners by Julie McLarnon
Listening as a way of life: are equalities an issue? Finding out what young children think by Nicky Road

Listening as a way of life: listening to babies
RICH, Diane

Factsheet summary

When adults respect babies and believe that they are worth listening to, listening becomes possible. Focusing on the needs of the baby is a starting point for building a good relationship.
Understanding listening in this way is key to providing an environment in which all children feel confident, safe and powerful, ensuring they have the time and space to express themselves in whatever form suits them.
One of a series of five fact sheets funded by Sure Start.
Published June 2004.
Published for Early Childhood Unit.

To download Diane’s document Listening as a way of life: listening to babies click here


Listening to young children

Diane Rich was involved in the Coram Family project Listening to Young Children. She was invited to join the team of authors of the Listening to Young Children to devise training materials and lead training sessions. The training was launched through a series of conferences nationwide in 2004.

For more information on the Listening to Young Children project visit www.coram.co.uk But don’t forget to come back.


Nurture Group provision

In 2004 Diane Rich was invited to conduct a review on Nurture Group provision in one local education authority. The summary concluded that click here
For more information on Nurture Group provision visit www.nurturegroups.org But don’t forget to come back.


Outdoor provision

click here for outdoor provision


The Teachers TV project

In 2004 Diane Rich was invited to conduct a survey and compile a report for Teachers TV. The report is entitled:

Early Years Sector TTV programming by Diane Rich Rich Learning Opportunities

The aim of the early years sector programming report was to:

  • Establish the strength of demand for ‘Teachers’ TV’ in the early years sector.
  • Consider who an early years sector audience might be.
  • Provide details on the desired content of any early years sector targeted programming.
  • Outline some of the professional development needs of the full range of early years sector workers.
  • Identify the delivery issues facing the sector.

The findings of this report are confidential and remain the property of Teacher’s TV


What matters to children

The first project in the
What matters to children series focuses on First hand experience: what matters to children.

click here to find out more about this project



      Diane Rich
      Speaking at conferences
      National advisory panels
      Consultative bodies
      Research & project work
      Outdoor provision
      TV & radio work
      Publications & articles
      Work with others
      First hand experience:
      what matters to children
      what matters to children
      The What Matters to
      Children team
      2008 conference - Snape
      'What Matters to Children'
      2010 Conference - WMtC
      'Making a difference'
Click here for First hand experience: what matters to children
Click here for Learning: What Matters to Children