About Us 



Katie Burns

Katie Burns

Founder and Director of 'Key to Learning @Home'


Katie helps parents to provide their child(ren) with a meaningful, playful and learning-ful education at home, as a supplement to their schooling or as their main ‘education’.

Her personal goal is to bring children to take responsibility for themselves, their own learning, and issues in the world around them, and to give them the tools and mindset – through challenging, engaging and meaningful experiences – to be able to do that.

She has a history of unconventional teaching around the world, particularly in the area of thinking and communication skills, problem-solving tools and accelerated learning techniques. After 7 years of teaching within business and industry in the UK as a consultant and trainer for Goldratt, she qualified as an infant and primary teacher. She now has 16 years of classroom and management experience at British, International and language schools, with children of many different nationalities and in five different countries.

Katie worked with Galina many years ago, in an early years’ centre of excellence that Galina and her team set up to showcase the Key to Learning curriculum. From working with Galina, her knowledge expanded exponentially on ways to support young children in becoming successful, life-long learners. She saw the results first-hand and so later, when she became a mum, she begged Galina for a copy of Key to Learning to use with her daughter at home (it was only available for schools at that time).

Katie and her daughter both fell in love with the Key to Learning activities and as a result, she made it her mission to offer the program in an accessible way to other parents. She worked with Galina to launch Key to Learning @Home – the official version of the Key to Learning curriculum for parents. Parents are given a way for their child to learn how to learn, not just learn knowledge and skills.


Galina Dolya

Galina Dolya

Founder of 'Key to Learning' and Curriculum Director/Co-Author of the 'Key to Learning' curriculum


Galina is an acknowledged world-renowned specialist in 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. With her inspirational style, Galina provides her audiences with the tools and the motivation to instantly revitalise their teaching, classroom and homeschool settings. She has hundreds of glowing evaluations from conference participants.

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.

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 9 other educationalists and developmental psychologists. The curriculum they created is famous for creating happy, independent, gifted and/or highly able learners.

A huge number of children that have had the gift of being under Galina’s guidance, including all of her own grandchildren and step-grandchildren, have been formally recognised as gifted and highly talented. They are also happy, ‘sunny’ children with excellent social and emotional development. These are further renowned characteristics of children under the influence of Vygotsky’s approach through Key to Learning.

Galina has also authored and co-authored numerous publications.

Professor Nikolay Veraksa

Professor Nikolay Veraksa

Senior Education Consultant to 'Key to Learning' and Co-Author of the 'Key to Learning' curriculum


Nicolay’s main experience, 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:

  • Head of UNESCO Chair on Early Childhood Education and Development
  • Honored Doctor, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 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
  • 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’

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 original version of the Key to Learning curriculum.

Our mission:

To equip as many young children as possible with the ‘learning abilities’ – mental tools and mindset – necessary to be happy and successful in the complex and rapidly-changing world in which we live.

And always through a playful, developmentally-appropriate and meaningful approach.

Our work is mostly with children up to the age of 5/6 because, during these early years, the brain develops more rapidly than at any other time in life.  

Securing a child’s learning abilities in the preschool years has been proven to transform their learning trajectory and has a lasting impact on their ability to succeed in learning and life. 

Our work:

Our unique program of optimal learning experiences for young children originates from:

1) The breakthrough discoveries about teaching, learning and development of Russian thinker Lev Vygotsky, and

2) The breakthrough discoveries of a team of prominent developmental psychologists at a private university in Moscow, when they were tasked with finding the secret to ‘giftedness’ and higher learning capabilities.

Their work (and other independent studies since then) highlights that there are 3 pre-requisite ingredients for success with learning and for creative and intellectual achievement. These are:

The highest levels of

  • cognitive abilities (or meta-cognition);
  • communicative abilities (or oracy skills);
  • self-regulation.

We call these three pillars ‘learning abilities’. Other studies call them ‘learning skills’. It is ‘learning to learn’, the ‘how’ of learning, the all-important ability to ‘think about thinking’.


The extent to which your child develops these abilities has been proven to be the key to their future.

Galina Dolya worked closely with Nikolay Veraksa and the other educationalists and developmental psychologists from that project for many years afterwards on the implementation of their findings. They then converted those foundations into a complete developmental program – method and curriculum – for 3- to 6-year-old children.

It was this collaboration and years of dedication that blossomed into the Key to Learning preschool curriculum, and most recently, with Katie’s contributions (see below), into the Key to Learning @Home program of activities for parents and their little ones.

Key to Learning @Home is a world-class program of optimal learning experiences for ages 3 to 6 – games, story-based and play-based hands-on simulations and activities that are proven to develop and nurture your child’s learning abilities to the highest levels.

Together we are enabling children all over the world to become the best version of themselves, reach their true potential and excel in our increasingly complex world – and all through the magical world of play.

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