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Baby in EEG cap

Who we are

We are a tiny team, with a huge passion for improving outcomes for children by making practice more research-informed.

We have many years of experience in psychology research, in education and in academia - yet we are both continually learning more through our experiences as parents, our collaborative work with educators and our own research, working at the cutting edge of child development, with the latest technology.


Many of the projects we have worked on are the first of their kind worldwide. You can read more about our qualifications and experiences below.

School children learning outdoors

Sam Wass

Prof Sam Wass is a child psychologist and neuroscientist who is an expert in child concentration, stress and learning. He has a degree in experimental psychology and completed his PhD at the centre for Brain and Cognitive Development.  Sam was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, based at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge University. He was then awarded an Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders Fellowship, for which he moved to the University of East London. In 2020 he was awarded a 5-year research fellowship from the European Research Council.  Sam leads a research unit, the BabyDevLab based at the University of East London. East London is one of most demographically and socioeconomically mixed areas of the world, and a major focus of his research is understanding diversity and adversity and their effects on early development. In addition, Sam is active in the public communication of science and regularly appears as an early years expert on television, radio and in all national newspapers. He appeared as a psychologist in the multi award winning channel 4 series ‘The secret life of 4, 5 and 6 year olds’ and has acted as a media spokesperson for the Department for Education, Public Health England, Save The Children, Lego, Disney+ and many others. Sam has presented Early Years Training to over 50,000 Early Years practitioners including the headteachers of over 2,000 primary schools and nurseries. Some of the events he has spoken at and organisations he has worked with are listed here:  ​Early Excellence Annual National Meeting National Day Nurseries Association National Childminder Conference Barnardo’s children’s charity Together for Children Optimus Education The International Association of Prep Schools and many more. ​

Neuroscientist giving a keynote speech

Gemma Goldenberg

Dr Gemma Goldenberg is a psychologist and education expert with two decades of experience working in nursery and school settings. She has an MSc and a PhD in psychology. Her doctoral research explored how indoor and outdoor learning environments affect children's stress, attention and behaviour. When working as an Assistant Headteacher, Gemma led on curriculum design and staff CPD. She also worked as a research and learning specialist for The Chartered College of Teaching. Here she created research-informed CPD materials for teachers, produced reports such as the ‘Education in times of crisis’ series and prepared research for all-party parliamentary groups and the OECD amongst others. A regular writer for publications such as Nursery World magazine and Early Years Educator, Gemma also presents frequently at educational conferences and events. She co-authored a book with Professor Guy Claxton, 'Powering up your school' and is soon to publish a second book with Sam, about developing attention and focus in the Early Years and KS1.

Teacher reading with children

Further information

Hear about Sam's path into child psychology and his research here

Watch his Ted talk

and access some of his publications here


Follow Gemma's Outdoor learning research on instagram @phd_and_three 

Read about her book here

and read some of her publications on:

The impact of learning outdoors on noise and stress

Research-informed practice in the EYFS,

The impact of Covid on schools and

The importance of nature contact. 

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