Sheffield Early Years Study

With help from families across Sheffield, we are finding out how children grow and develop in the toddler and preschool years.

Logo - Sheffield Early Years Study

The Sheffield Early Years Study aims to discover the exciting changes that happen in the toddler years. The toddler years are a key time in development when core thinking skills emerge. We want to understand how memory, attention and language develop and work together and the important things parents do that help nurture children's development.

We are working with families in Sheffield and Manchester to understand how toddlers grow and develop between the ages of 2 and 4 years.

We hope the work will help us understand the many amazing things parents in the face of all the challenges that come with parenting young children and how we can support children and families during this key time in development. 

Interested in taking part? Sign up here!

Child holding crayons

We are interested in finding out how key thinking skills develop in the early years and how they can be nurtured. Key cognitive skills, including memory, attention and language develop rapidly during the toddler years but their developmental progression and how they work together is still not fully understood. We want to understand how they develop and how they work together during this critical time of development. For example, does language shape attention or does attention help with language development? Which skills emerge first - memory or attention?

We are excited to work with parents to understand how parents and caregivers support and nurture their child's development. Parents do an amazing job sometimes under challenging times when parenting young children. We want to know the varied things they do and some of the opportunities but also constraints they are under. We want to better understand this so we can advocate for, and support parents of young children.

We are also interested in how inequalities arise in development. Social inequality in the UK disproportionately affects young children. School readiness, the ability to benefit from early learning experiences, is important in shaping children's learning opportunities over childhood. Attention and memory may be important drivers of school readiness and learning. However, emerging evidence suggests that social inequality may influence attention and memory. We want to find out if this is the case and if so, how we can help, and also why some children and parents remain resilient to this.

See our website here to find out more!

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.