Institute of Education Research Programme

28 Mar Institute of Education Research Programme

Hatching Dragons is hugely proud to announce the launch of a research programme with UCL’s Institute of Education. Under the direction of Professor Dockrell at the Department of Psychology and Human Development, in which linguistics and language development are core foci, the programme will focus on better understanding the use of Mandarin and English in bilingual nursery practice at our City of London nursery

This page intends to set out the basic points of information regarding the research as a reference point for families at our nursery to better understand the purpose, direction and key people involved in the programme, along with some of the proposed outcomes from the study, which will take place over the course of the Spring and summer terms here at Hatching Dragons Nursery schools.

Who is conducting the research?

Jenny Shao is a Master’s student at UCL’s Institute of Education studying Psychology of Education, who will be the principal lead researcher into the project, which will form the basis for her dissertation as part of her degree. She hopes to study the way both languages, Mandarin and English, are used in a bilingual nursery context, in particular the frequency of alternation between both languages, and the amount of each language used by the children.

Who will be supervising her?

Jenny will be supervised by both Dr Ana Llaurado, a Senior Teaching fellow at the Department of Psychology and Human Development at the UCL’s Institute of Educationand PhD student to Professor Dockrell . See here for her previous research work on Researchgate.

Why take part?

The Hatching Dragons is the first Mandarin-English bilingual nursery group in U.K.. This provides a unique environment to conduct a thorough observation on the teaching methods used by teachers in bilingual early years settings and the children who have attended and are attending are the best evidentiary points of how language can and is used in preschool contexts. UCL’s Institute of Education is also the World’s Number 1 Educational Institute  and so is a prestigious piece of research in which to participate.

What will happen if you participate

Jenny, the UCL Institute of Educationresearcher, will attend the nursery and act as an independent observer to the preschool room primarily, taking anecdotal observational notes and audio recordings where required to substantiate observations. This will not disrupt or contend with the usual daily nursery planning and pedagogy but aim to integrate, seamlessly with the daily routine of the children. The teachers and management will be interviewed also as part of this process to get a better understanding of the pedagogical intent and approach and to test out application by the children throughout the course of the day.

Data Security & Integrity

Only Jenny and her supervisor will be able to review the data and observations collected during the research, but Hatching Dragons will also receive the data sets as they emerge, along with a copy of the conclusions and observations taken along the way. Personal data is safeguarded by the Data Protection Act 1998 and subsequent GDPR revisions in 2018, which is encompassed by UCL Institute of Education Data Protection Privacy Notice that this study follows.

Could there be problems for me if I take part?

We do not anticipate any risks to teachers and children taking part in this observational study. This research will be fully based on observation of the teaching process, with no experimental manipulation involved. Teachers and students will follow their daily routines as usual and the researcher will not disrupt any of the nursery activities.

What will happen to the results of the research?

All information collected from the teachers and children during the course of this research will be kept strictly confidential, unless required by law. Audio recordings of teaching sessions will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous. It is important for parents to know that UCL’s Institute of Education I are interested in the teaching practices which teachers use, not in any individual child. All research reports UCL’s Institute of Education will produce, contain information about average performance of several children in any of our tasks. No individual child will be named or singled out.

Do you have to take part?

It is entirely up to you whether or not you choose to take part. We hope that if you do choose to be involved then you will find it a valuable experience.

Please download the Parent Agreement here if you’d like to take part. The form is pre-built with checkboxes and a signature field for you to fill in through your pdf reader and then email back to

This project has been reviewed and approved by the UCL’s Institute of Education Research Ethics Committee .

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