I am a firm believer that children deserve a holistic education, in which we educate their mind, body and soul.
The late great Nelson Mandela, famously quoted: ‘Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.’
With this in mind, I am therefore pleased to have Jane Evans as my guest blogger. Jane has built up a wealth of parenting and early-years knowledge throughout her career as a parenting worker for a domestic violence organisation, a respite foster carer, a childminder, a children’s practitioner in a family centre and a support worker in a child-protection team, whilst also working in and with schools and pre-schools.
She now uses this as the basis for her writing, speaking and the training she delivers on attachment in early years, on parenting and children affected by trauma ‘Tuning In To Children and Parenting Beyond Trauma’.
“I am passionate about Early Years, its where my [...]
“You can never be too curious. Pursue at least one new idea or learn one new thing every day!” Source unknown.
I have been a trainer and a facilitator – in some shape or form – for over twenty years; in that time I have encountered a wide range of individuals and situations. Recently, when delivering a course, a number of issues arose: these issues were not new to me, so I was able to handle them. As I am a solution-oriented person, I want to share these solutions with you.
Over the years, as we know, training budgets have been squeezed; this is a shame for educators and a travesty for the young children and families with whom they work.
It is vital educators make the most of the training courses available, that they come away feeling inspired, with a bucket load of ideas and suggestions that will help them grow – both personally and professionally [...]
As parents ‘tighten their belts’ in the current economic climate, they also want to know what are the best saving schemes available for their children.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to share an informative guest blog by Kalpana Fitzpatrick who is a leading UK financial journalist with over 12 years’ experience in consumer and personal finance. She is the founder of Mummy Money Matters, a family finance website. Kalpana regularly appears on TV, radio and in the press as an expert commentator on family finances as well as a consumer expert.
Her aim is to keep finance simple and accessible, as well as helping families make the most of their money. When not doing that, she is Mum to two boys: one aged four years and the other 9 months.
As a parent too, I believe it is important we sow the seeds of positive financial management with our children [...]
My first guest blog for 2014 is Dr. Jo Verrill, who is the Director at Ceeda. Dr. Jo started out life in academic research before founding an independent research agency in 1999; Jo has a passion for delivering research that makes a real difference for early years businesses. Ceeda specialises in customer and employee research for early years childcare providers, working with large national groups and small owner managed businesses across the country.
I passionately promote self-evaluation and reflective practice and, within this blog, Jo explains how carrying out parent and staff surveys can help you to continuously develop your provision.
“Putting families at the heart of your provision
Staff build relationships with families on a day to day basis as a fundamental part of high quality care. Whether it’s feeding back on the day or sharing information about children’s progress and development at home and in the setting, staff working at the grass roots [...]
It is always inspiring to hear of a setting delivering outstanding practice with their children and families. With this in mind I am pleased that Lotte Hunter, Operations Director of Building Blocks Nurseries in Wimbledon, has shared her setting’s stance on how to promote positive attachments between child and Educator during the settling-in period.
“A year and a half ago I attended a conference on attachment which inspired me to review our procedures. Forming secure attachments within the nursery is important for a variety of reasons:
When a child feels secure he or she is able to freely and openly engage both with activities and with others in the environment.
Strong attachments during childhood help form ‘attachment models’ in the brain that are called upon when children enter into relationships later in life. These models form the basis of a self-identity of someone who is loveable and worthy of care.
Our settling-in used to take place within the [...]
I am very excited to share that I will be leading a training session at the world renowned Chelsea Open Air Nursery School.
Delegates will have the opportunity to have a tour of the amazing learning environment at Chelsea Open Air Nursery.
Image copyright Chelsea Open Air Nursery
Building Parent Partnerships and Championing the Home Learning Environment
Share research about the benefits for the child of positive parent partnerships and a strong home learning environment
Ways to support families to understand that they play a vital role in their child’s education
Listening to parents and valuing their voices
Links to EYFS as it is now a crucial part of the curriculum
What do we currently do? What could we do? How can we promote it? How can we make it meaningful?
Date: Monday 6th January 2014
Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm
Investment: ONLY £30:00 per person!
Places are limited, so please book as soon as possible.
To book a place please [...]
On Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending the Margaret Horn lecture (United World, Entrepreneurial Leaders) which was hosted by LEYF. In brief Margret Horn, was the founder of LEYF when it was then called the ‘Westminster Health Society’.
June O’Sullivan, CEO of LEYF, eloquently chaired the evening.
It was an inspiring event and I listened attentively to three key note speakers; Greg Kyle-Langley who shared his insight on One Young World, an organisation that brings together the young people from around the world, Tom Sweetman, from Sticky Board, shared his dedication on bringing local communities together and finally Paul Spinks, a Manager from Bright Horizons and co-Chair of the London Men in Childcare. Paul spoke passionately about the importance and challenges of men working with young children within early years.
Paul Spinks – Key Note
Another key discussion was [...]
I delivered an inset day training session recently to a nursery group. The session was called: ‘Are you listening to me? Really, listening to me?’ In short, looking how educators need to be tuned into children in order to effectively support them with their learning and development.
One of the delegates, who I know from previous training and who follows me on Twitter, said: ‘Laura, I know your son works for Arsenal. What does he do? Love Thierry Henry, best player Arsenal had. If your son ever meets him, please ask for a photograph and autograph!’
I then burst out into The Thierry Henry song. I am an Arsenal supporter as well and I remember going to a game and singing the ‘Thierry song’, loud and clear with the rest of the fans!
She then went on to say how a child in the nursery was an Arsenal supporter and that she’d taught him [...]
It’s a great pleasure to have James Hempsall returning as my guest blogger. In this blog, James gives an update on the Government’s ‘Achieving Two Year Olds’ incentive. James is Director at Hempsall’s and is the National Support Director/Central Region Lead regarding the provision of support for ‘Achieving Two Years Olds’ to local authorities.
“Achieving Two Year Olds: the statutory duty comes into force – an opportunity for providers to develop new provision to reach the least advantaged two year olds and their families.
Now seems a great opportunity to update everyone on two year olds. September 2013 saw the statutory duty on local authorities to provide up to 15 hours per week of early learning for the 20% least advantaged two year olds. We are pleased to report progress has been growing steadily over the past 12 months. Local authority confidence in delivery has been high overall for 2013 and this is reflected in [...]
It is my absolute pleasure to have Dame Tessa Jowell, MP, as my guest blogger, especially as the topic and petition on promoting early childhood development is very close to my heart and I am an advocate for this campaign. Dame Jowell’s petition mirrors the World Forum in Early Care and Education support of the Millennium Development Goals. They are aiming to have the Millennium Development Goals featured at their International Conference in Puerto Rico, May 2014.
Dame Jowell writes:
“In July I travelled to Malawi with Ivan Lewis, MP, Labour’s International Development spokesman to learn about how early childhood development programmes were delivered in countries that lack the resources we have in the UK.
Whilst we were there we visited the Chilomoni Resource Centre run by the international NGO ‘Sightsavers’ in Blantyre. The centre promotes an intensive and structured programme of interaction and stimulation which encourages mothers to [...]