Dr Lorna Arnott

Senior Lecturer


Personal statement

Lorna Arnott is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, specialising in Early Childhood Education. She is also the Director for Early Years within the School. 

The majority of her work focuses on children's exepriences before the age of five and therefore much of her research and teaching focuses on nursery provision.

Lorna completed her Ph.D at the School of Education, University of Stirling in 2011, focusing on young children’s social interactions around technologies in preschool.

Internationally, Lorna is the founder and co-convener for the European Early Childhood Educational Research Association (EECERA) Digital Childhoods, Multimodality and STEM Special Interest Group.  She is also Deputy Editor for the International Journal of Early Years Education and an Assistant Editor for the Journal of Early Childhood Research.

Lorna is the Editor of Digital Technology and Learning in the Early Years, SAGE and Co-Editor of Research Through Play: Participatory Methods in Early Childhood.



  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Academic Studies (Academic Practice) - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (2013)
  • PhD in Early Years Education. University of Stirling, Stirling (Full studentship) (2011)
  • Masters of Research in Education and Social Purpose (Fees Scholarship) University of Glasgow, Glasgow (2007)
  • BA (Hons) (1st Class) in Economics and Marketing, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow (2006). Award: Best Business Economics Student 2006.


Theorising enabling and building capacity for voice
Wall Kate, Arnott Lorna
The Theory and Practice of Voice in Early Childhood An International Exploration (2022) (2022)
The Theory and Practice of Voice in Early Childhood : An International Exploration
Arnott Lorna, Wall Kate
Theorising power and listening : the route to a culture of voice
Arnott Lorna, Wall Kate
The Theory and Practice of Voice in Early Childhood An International Exploration (2022) (2022)
Bridging the theory and practice of eliciting the voices of young children : findings from the Look Who's Talking Project
Cassidy Claire, Wall Kate, Robinson Carol, Arnott Lorna, Beaton Mhairi, Hall Elaine
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal Vol 30, pp. 32-47 (2022)
Holistic experiences : celebrating the wonder of early childhood education
Arnott Lorna
International Journal of Early Years Education Vol 29, pp. 353-357 (2021)
Multimodal childhoods : lifeworlds and lived experiences of young children in pedagogical cultures
Arnott Lorna, Yelland Nicola
The SAGE Handbook of Global Childhoods (2021) (2021)

More publications


Lorna’s teaching generally covers:

  • Early Childhood Education, specifically focused on children's experiences and play. 
  • Qualitative research methods and those related to research with very young children. 

Lorna most often teaches on the BA Childhood Practice, Master's of Education Early Years Pedagogue, PGDE Nursery and the BA Education Nursery. 

Lorna is also interested in delivering research methods training, particularly in relation to qualitative approaches and contributes to both practice-based and academic research training. 

Lorna currently supervises PGR students at Masters, PhD and Ed.D level.


Research interests

Research Interests

Lorna’s research explores young children’s play experiences, typically in relation to technology, creativity and social play.   Her work attempts to understand how the preschool environment and culture, the children and the artefacts contribute to children’s interactions and social experiences.  She is interested in a broader definition of technology which moves beyond the computer towards exploring technological toys, both digital and non-screen based.  Lorna has a further interest in exploring perceptions of technological artefacts in early years settings and how they can be integrated into the playroom.  

Secondly, Lorna's other research focus focuses on innovative methods for consulting with children in early childhood (typically under 6 years old).  She's interesting in voice work broadly with young children.

Research Collaborators

  • Dr. Ioanna Palaiologou (University College London, Institute of Education); Dr. Colette Gray (Stranmillis University College, Belfast); Dr. Sarika Kewalramani (Monash University) and Maria Dardanou (UiT The Arctic University of Norway), on Internet-Connected Toys in Early Childhood.
  • Dr Jane O'Connor (Birmingham City University); Alex Wade (Birmingham City University); Kelly Johnston (Macquarie University); Olga Fotakopoulou (Birmingham City University); Sarika Kewalramani (Monash University) and Shannon Ludgate (Birmingham City University) on YouTube Kids Project. 

 PhD Students

  • Zainab Attar (2017-present, part-time) Innovative methods with young children and literacy.
  • Loreain Martinez Lejarreta (2016-) Developing young children's critical thinking skills through teacher-children interactions in Early Childhood Education and Care settings.
  • Rehab Agzagee (2020- ) Designing a Cooperative Learning Strategy Development Program for the Kindergarten Teachers from teachers and children's perspective in Saudi Arabia.
  • Xunrou Shen (2021 - ) Froebel Education and Parenting Moments in Scotland. 

 Ed.D Students

  • Lynn Taylor (2020 - ) Practicalities of Play in Primary
  • Jay Helbert (2021 - ) Forest Schools in Primary


  • Charlotte Allan (2020 - ) Shared Experience: How attending Theatre for Early Years influences early attachment and bonding

Completed Students:

  •  Marion Burns (Completed) Early education with a specific focus on transitions.
  • Jennifer Zike (2017-, RAE Studentship) Using Pupil Views Templates to investigate the development of thinking across children at point of school entry in Scotland.




Professional activities

European Early Childhood Educational Research Association Annual Conference
University of Melbourne, Graduate School of Education
Visiting researcher
Movement and socioemotional development – a multilevel approach examining subsecond motor patterns and behaviour in infancy and early childhood
Cooperation and Young Children’s Use of Mobile Touch Screen Technology
The Use of Information and Communication Technology in Three Kindergartens in Nanjing, China
The power of arts-based research methods in early years

More professional activities


Socially Innovative Interventions to Foster and to Advance Young Children’s Inclusion and Agency in Society through Voice and Story
Beaton, Mhairi (Principal Investigator) Wall, Kate (Visiting Academic) Arnott, Lorna (Visiting Academic) Cassidy, Claire (Visiting Academic)
The AdVoSt -project will take into practice the theoretical guiding principles for facilitating and enhancing young children’s voice in specific contexts (Wall et al., 2017). This will be done in close cooperation with practitioners working with indigenous children in Finland, marginalized, indigenous, and immigrant children in Canada, and children with diverse ethnical and cultural backgrounds in the UK. Previous literature indicates that young children are often viewed as ‘becomings’ rather than ‘beings’ within their communities. This is especially the case with children from non-mainstream communities, where ‘becoming’ might also mean to become a mainstream citizen, meaning simultaneously compromising identity, culture and language (e.g. von Benzon & van Blerk 2017; Sköld & Vehkalahti 2016). The AdVoSt-project will enhance educators' knowledge of multiple storytelling pedagogies including perspectives of land-based learning. The research-based development of composing narratives with young learners through art, writing, photography, performance and digital representations privilege young children’s voice enabling their full citizenship. These research-based initiatives will contribute to the development of child centred learning that is focused in land-based pedagogy and play. Play helps children to gain positive learning experiences (Tang & Adams 2010). Children’s varied play engagements often use culturally relevant toys and ephemera which help them to narrate their stories and facilitate hearing the voices of young children. However, educators, administration, local communities and parents do not always know how to promote such play to enhance children’s literacy engagements. Additionally, the digital delivery of early childhood education with distance management sets diverse challenges for educational activities. The AdVoSt-project recognizes the challenges concerning minority and indigenous children and will facilitate knowledge sharing between the participating countries and beyond. Using a community-based qualitative, comparative case study approach, the project will ensure that local cultural contexts play a key role in all research activities.
An Ecological Exploration of the Internet of Toys in Early Childhood Everyday Life
Arnott, Lorna (Principal Investigator) Palaiologou, Ioanna (Principal Investigator) Gray, Colette (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2019
Capita PhD Studentship Application Awarded: Open World Gaming for Young Children's Creative Play
Arnott, Lorna (Academic) Levine, John (Academic)
01-Jan-2015 - 01-Jan-2019
Enhancing Early Years KE in Research and Practice
Arnott, Lorna (Principal Investigator) Grogan, Deirdre (Principal Investigator)
Seminar and webinar series for early years professionals with leading scholars presenting from across the world.
01-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2016
BTG- Piloting Self-Initiated Video Reflections for Exploring Creativity in Playful Environments
Arnott, Lorna (Principal Investigator) Weston, Alia (Principal Investigator) Grogan, Deirdre (Principal Investigator)
This Bridging the Gap (BTG) study investigates creativity through the concept of play. It aims to understand how creativity emerges through playful environments and will compare early years children (aged 3-5) in formal educational settings with adults in the work place. It offers two unique perspectives. First, it compares the creativity of adults with early years children, which has not been achieved before. Second, it explores how new interactive technologies (user-friendly self-initiated video diaries for individuals of any age) can be used for collecting data about creativity. This pilot study will inform a larger project, which will develop a conceptual framework for understanding how creativity emerges through play.
01-Jan-2013 - 31-Jan-2013

More projects