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Mrs Karen Douthwaite

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Early Childhood
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • Education
  • k.douthwaite

Professional biography

Karen is a lecturer in Early Childhood at The Open University, joining the central academic team following 10 years as an associate lecturer, tutoring a number of modules within the Childhood and Youth degree pathway. Karen came into higher education following a career in service provision for children and families, most notably as a manager of a Sure Start Children's Centre delivering multi-agency provision to children under the age of five and their families, and as a manager of family services at a Northamptonshire prison. Prior to these posts, Karen spent a number of years in practice in early childhood settings.

Karen has engaged children and families in developing supportive play environments in community and setting contexts, and has a particular interest in exploring contexts for family learning.

Teaching interests

Karen has been involved in the following Early Childhood modules:

E109: Exploring perspectives on young children's lives and learning.

  • Author: Chapter 7: Play: a context for learning and participation.
  • Author: Chapter 16: Roles and provision in early childhood.

E110: Young children's play and creativity.

  • Author: Chapter 6: The context of children’s play.
  • Author: Chapter 18: The influences of policy on play and creativity.

E229: Listening to young children living and learning: critical reflections (in production)

E210: Extending professional practice in the early years: Module team member




Jenny Simpson

Learning from people: the training method bringing service users and social workers together

Jenny Simpson, Head of Social Work (England), as well as students and staff at the OU are involved in an exciting development in relation to social work education. Mend the Gap is a model for the effective involvement of people who are at the receiving end of services, together with those who provide professional support. Read more about Mend the Gap here

18th April 2018
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