Our International Team
- Galina Dolya
- Prof. Nicolay Veraksa
- David Higgins
- Ida Winiarek
- Christina Pang
- Larisa Dolya
- Maryke Hauptfleisch
- Sunny Yapar
- Ariana Del Mar
- Katie Burns
Founder of Key to Learning and Curriculum Director for the Key to Learning Curriculum
Galina is an acknowledged world-leading expert on the practical application of Vygotsky’s Theory of Learning and Development. She has worked at every level from Early Years to University and trained hundreds of teachers and trainers worldwide. Currently, she is also a Researcher in the Department of Psychology and Pedagogy of Abilities at the Research Institute of Development of Preschool Education, Russian Academy for Education, Moscow. She is also collaborating with Professor Nikolay Veraksa as a member of UNESCO Chair in Early Childhood Education and Sustainable Development.
A regular keynote speaker on Early Years learning at conferences across the UK and around the world, Galina is a breath of fresh air for Early Years pedagogy. With her inspirational style, Galina provides her audiences with the tools and the motivation to instantly revitalise their teaching and classroom settings. She has hundreds of glowing evaluations from conference participants.
Galina used her unique knowledge of Lev Vygotsky’s theories to help develop the innovative Key to Learning approach, together with Professor Nicolay Veraksa, Olga Diachenko and 10 other educationalists and developmental psychologists. The curriculum they created is famous for creating happy, independent, gifted and/or highly able learners.
Galina has also authored and co-authored numerous publications.
Senior Education Consultant to Key to Learning and Co-Author of the Key to Learning Curriculum
Nicolay and Galina met while working together at a private university in Moscow. Together with Olga Diachenko, they decided to collaborate on the possibility of working on bringing Vygotsky’s ideas to the British preschool system. It was this collaboration that blossomed into the Key to Learning curriculum.
Nicolay’s main research and teaching interests are developmental psychology, educational psychology, the methodology of psychology, dialectical thinking and social developmental psychology.
He currently has many roles in the field of education. These include:
- Professor, Moscow State Pedagogical University
- Leading Researcher, Moscow City University
- Leading Scientific Expert, Russian Academy of Education
- Head of the International Organizing Committee and Scientific Supervisor of the International Conference ‘Early Childhood Care and Education’ – www.ecceconference.com (Moscow, Russia)
- Honored Doctor, University of Gothenburg (Sweden)
- Head of UNESCO Chair on Early Childhood Education and Development (Moscow, Russia)
- Editor-in-chief ‘Preschool Education Today. Theory and Practice’
- Member of the editorial board ‘European Early Childhood Education Research Journal’
- Member of the editorial board ‘International Journal of Early Years Education’
Managing Director of Key to Learning
As a retired secondary Head Teacher with 18 years’ experience, David became convinced that the success of future generations of children lies in the foundations laid down in the Early Years. It was for this reason that he partnered with Galina Dolya to develop the Vygotskian Early Years curriculum, Key to Learning. Many new ideas about teaching and learning have been brought together in this widely acclaimed initiative.
David oversees a worldwide network of partners who are dedicated to spreading the Key to Learning curriculum to all continents.
Director of Key to Learning for Poland
Ida has successfully trained thousands of teachers in Poland, dozens of methodological advisers and researchers. She is a speaker at educational conferences in Poland and cooperates with Teacher Development Centers throughout Poland.
Ida is certified by The Centre for Vygotskian Early Years Education as a professional educator and as a Teacher Trainer who has been trained in an application of the theories and concepts of Vygotsky by a recognized expert and has practiced this approach in teaching environment.
Ida is also the author of numerous publications on the “Key to Learning” program, and together with Galina Dolya she co-authored complementary educational materials for the ‘Key to Learning’ Curriculum.
On an everyday basis, she helps both kindergartens and schools that are implementing the Key to Learning curriculum (there are over 900 of them in Poland) and those who want to start their adventure with Key to Learning.
Ida also has two sons, the older one being the inspiration for her to bring the curriculum to Poland and translate it into Polish. He was in the pilot group of the first children in Poland who participated in didactic classes conducted using the Key to Learning method, and Ida also taught’ him at home. 15 years have passed since then and Ida cannot imagine her private and professional life without her passion for Key to Learning.
Director of Key to Learning for Asia
Christina is based in Singapore and has representatives in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. Together they support around 50 schools, preschools and kindergartens across Asia that are using Key to Learning.
She has organized multiple conferences, workshops and teachers’ training since meeting Galina in 2013 and becoming the Director for Asia. She has trained more than 700 teachers in the region, both in private and state education, and about 10 very experienced teacher trainers. She has also trained teachers for many private and government organisations.
Christina especially loves that there is never a dull moment in a Key to Learning class, and that as well as the children always learning, the teachers are also always learning. She loves how it is an inspiring curriculum for all ages.
Director of Key to Learning for Russia
Larisa is a linguist and has been working with Galina since 1994. She has been involved in many ways, from helping to translate the original research on which Key to Learning was founded into English, to using the modules with her own children (Galina’s grandchildren).
In more recent years, Larisa has trained many teachers and has organised trainings for parents too. Larisa and Galina have also worked together to implement Key to learning in many private preschool and early learning centres in Moscow and the Moscow region, and supported a large number of government schools in Yakutia, Buryatia and the Ural region of Russia. They have also presented at various Early Childhood conferences, for example ECCE and the Home Schooling Conference.
The preschools/early learning centres that they are currently working with are implementing Key to Learning in English, in order to offer their students a truly bilingual experience. This allows the children to learn and practice English as a Second Language, whilst simultaneously boosting their cognitive, communicative and self-regulative abilities.
Larisa especially loves the way that children who have the benefit of participating in activities from the Key to Learning curriculum develop an immense interest and curiosity, and logical and symbolic thinking, all of which are fundamental for future learning.
Director of Key to Learning for Africa
Maryke is a qualified Occupational Therapist and has worked for over 21 years in a variety of Health, Community and Educational settings and services in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Channel Islands. She also completed a post-graduate training in Sensory Integration and Management in the UK. She is passionate about children’s ability to learn, and for this reason also completed her master’s degree in Education whilst living in the UK.
Maryke introduced Key to learning to South Africa in 2014, where she worked for 5 years as an independent occupational therapist and a Vygotskian Early Childhood curriculum advisor. She has experience in working with children and young people (from 0 to 25) in both mainstream and special education, and her experience includes working with young people who have complex needs such as Epilepsy, ADHD, Autism, Specific Learning Difficulties, developmental delays, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, learning disabilities, Cerebral Palsy and social interaction difficulties.
Maryke has a particular interest in working with children who have sensory integration difficulties and those requiring adaptations or support to maximise their level of independence. She has also written and provided training programmes for carers, parents and teaching staff on developing independence, sensory processing & integration, as well as on a Vygotskian approach to Early Years learning.
Currently Key to Learning has been implemented in schools in South Africa and Swaziland, and she is now excited to expand and share Key to Learning with the rest of Africa. Viva Vygostky!
Director of Key to Learning for Australasia
Sunny has worked for many years in Early Childhood settings. She has trained more than 400 preschool teachers from public and private schools, and Sunday school teachers, in Indonesia.
She set up and co-ordinated PlayTime at an IB school, Sydney and was selected for Poster Presentation of PlayTime by the Early Childhood Australia Conference in Sydney in 2018.
She was also a Children’s Supervisor at Bible Study Fellowship in Sydney for 4 years and has been a Sunday School Teacher at MBM Church, Sydney for the last few years.
Sunny fell in love with Key to Learning as soon as she discovered the curriculum. She especially loves how it teaches children to self-regulate, how children learn in collaboration with each other, and how the curriculum enables the optimum development of each child.
Key to Learning Caribbean
Ariana is Strategic Public Relations Major with a Minor in Social Media Marketing. She studied at the University of Loyola New Orleans and interned with companies such as Sodexo & TBWA Puerto Rico, which were great opportunities to get familiar with the corporate world of Publicity and Marketing. She was also the Director for Brand Lab which is a for-profit, student-run advertising agency, as well as working as a Producer for her University’s award-winning newsroom, The Maroon, where she conducted a show called Uptown Howl.
Ariana became aware of Key To Learning through her mother who is very passionate about Vygotsky’s work and its application in the classroom. Ariana has since become just as passionate about Key to Learning and how it can help kids develop the full range of tools needed to handle life situations with a good mindset and a willing attitude.
Ariana has joined our team to cover the Caribbean region and also to help with marketing, to bring fresh ideas and support to the Key to Learning family.
Director of Key to Learning at Home
Katie has a history of unconventional teaching around the world, particularly in the area of thinking skills, thinking processes, problem-solving tools and accelerated learning techniques. She has worked in both business and the education field.
After working with Galina and the Key to Learning curriculum many years ago, and knowing that the curriculum was only available to schools at that time, Katie begged Galina for a copy of Key to Learning to use at home with her own daughter. Both her and her daughter fell in love with it. But Katie wasn’t the only one asking Galina to have access to the activities at home, so in response to popular demand, Katie and Galina released ‘Key to Learning at Home’ – the official version of the Key to Learning curriculum for parents (available here: www.keytolearningathome.com)
It is now possible for parents who realise that traditional teaching and learning is rarely the best way to bring out children’s true potential, to have the tools, methods and ideas necessary to fully develop their child’s learning abilities, way beyond what other activities/curricula achieve. Parents are given a way for their child to learn how to learn, not just learn knowledge and skills, through the most enchanting play- and story-based activities. In many cases, those parents’ intuition told them what was wrong with pre-school education, and/or where it wasn’t enough, but until they discovered Key to Learning at Home, they didn’t have a fun, proven, systematic and easy-to-use alternative.