Pioneers: Trevarthen and Paley

Written by: Estelle Martin
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

We take a look at the work and in uence of Colwyn Trevarthen and Vivian Gussin Paley, two current researchers whose observations have led to a greater understanding of play

Key points

  • The research by Trevarthen highlights the importance of practitioners understanding the relationships between learning through the senses, neuroscience, communication and interactions within meaningful relationships
  • The capabilities of young children are complex and the role of intersubjectivity in the developmental process is central
  • Paley’s pioneering work in creating a ‘narrative community’ is also underpinned by listening and observing young children’s unique abilities through the social processes of imaginative play, storytelling and drama

Note: This article was first published in the May 2008 issue of eye


This article looks at the work and influence of two key modern day thinkers. Professor Colwyn Trevarthen and Vivian Gussin Paley both continue to push for what is right for children, while making full use of observation and research.

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