Staff Behaving (Very) Badly!

I was speaking to my mum on the telephone and she said “Laura, did you see the programme about how funeral staff behave and how they disrespected the dead?” I said “No mum, as I don’t have the time to watch a lot of television.” She then went on to say “You can watch on your computer thing.”

So, on my computer thing, I did watch the said programme. ‘Exposure-The British Way of Death’ http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=325738

Oh, MY goodness!  It got me thinking about a subject that I embed into my work around organisational behaviour within organisations and how the culture of organisations from the top to the bottom should be one that mirrors the organisation’s values.

The question is, within large organisations, how does the chief executive and the senior management team check that these values are in place and that the organisation’s standards are practiced by staff?

Clearly, these funeral staff […]


Sensory Play and the EYFS

I am very excited to have Sue Gascoyne as my guest blogger. I whole heartedly promote sensory play and multi-sensory learning within early years and education as I believe sensory play impacts positively on children’s learning and development.

Sue Gascoyne is an educational consultant, early years researcher, trainer and author. She runs workshops and speaks nationally and internationally, drawing upon the research which she has instigated to further understanding of the benefits of sensory-rich object play. This is also reflected in her award winning training – Sue was named Nursery World’s ‘Trainer of the Year’ in 2009 for her contribution to the early years sector. Her accomplished books, Sensory Play, 2011 (Practical Pre-School) and Treasure Baskets and Beyond – Realising the benefits of sensory rich play, 2012 (Open University Press) successfully convey both the theory and practical application of sensory play. Sue is the founder of Play to Z Ltd, specialist providers of award-winning sensory […]


Commission on Childcare

As I sit here, glued to my sofa watching the Olympics, a reminder in my calendar pops up continuously to complete the response for the commission on childcare! My response is to dismiss it (manana, manana!)  as I know that I have until the end of August to complete. But it is one task that I will tackle as if I’m going for a gold medal because childcare for working parents is an issue that is very dear to my heart; both on a personal level, as a single working parent, (I have used every type of childcare over the years) and on a professional level, working passionately with the childcare sector both nationally and internationally.

So what is the commission on childcare? It is a joint concept led by the Department of Education and the Department for Work and Pensions They have asked anyone with an interest to complete a consultation response […]


Creating Developmentally Appropriate Spaces to Encourage Communication

As we continue to develop and enhance our practice, in line with the revised EYFS, it is an honour to have Elizabeth Jarman as my guest blogger. 

Elizabeth is an internationally recognised education professional who specialises in creating optimum conditions for learning. She is an award winning author. Her work is widely respected and professionally challenges the way that learning environments for children and families are considered.

Elizabeth writes:

“When reviewing your environment and the way that it supports your underpinning pedagogy1, pay attention to your children’s stages of development. Create developmentally appropriate spaces that acknowledge where they are at. Here are some ideas to inspire your thinking and help you to audit your context. Consider:

Spaces for one: Children can be egocentric and can’t cope with sharing at first. There are times when even the most mature child needs space and time alone.

Make it OK to be by yourself; a space where adults won’t fit, giving […]


All roads lead to two year olds!

It is a pleasure to have James Hempsall as my guest blogger. James has been the Director of Hempsall’s since 1999, leading a team of 25 trainers, researchers, development officers and consultants in early years, childcare and children’s centres.  He has worked with over 100 local authorities supporting them to implement all aspects of government childcare policy at strategic and operational levels.

James writes ”There’s big things happening around two year olds.  The government has signalled their importance by allocating significant new funding to the roll out of thousands of new places.  At a time when new money is scarce, it is incredible that all roads lead to two year olds and their early education.  It is an economic, social mobility, early intervention, poverty and achievement agenda.  And one which retains the potential to support families to make sound economic choices, learn and achieve, and close the gap between the least advantaged children and their peers.

The […]


International Mud Day 2012!

I am delighted to have Kierna Corr as my guest blogger. Kierna is the nursery class teacher at Windmill Integrated Primary in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. She is also the Northern Ireland Representative for the World Forum in Early Care and Play. Kierna has been teaching nursery for over 12 years and she is passionate about outdoor learning and the impact that this has on children’s learning and development. She has formed positive links with kindergartens in Norway and Sweden through the British Council’s Comenius Programme. She has adopted a unique approach to outdoor play. Kierna’s class go outside every day, no matter what the weather, as the school provides appropriate outdoor clothing.

Kierna tell us that “June 29th is International Mud Day; this is the second year of this world wide event. The original event came about as a way for some orphans in Nepal to connect with nature and when this story was shared […]


Simple Solutions?

“Children are the most powerful source for a better world” Martha Llanos

It’s great that the government commissioned Cathy Nutbrown (click to view review)   Foundations for Quality   to review early years qualifications and that they have now set up a Childcare Commission to look at costs involved. However I feel that the government need to consult with a wide range of early years/childcare/education providers, specialists and parents.

The cost of childcare has always been a catch 22 situation, as quality childcare is expensive and parents want to pay less. As a single parent, who used childcare previously, I found that childcare costs made a huge dent in my monthly outgoings but felt that this was a sacrifice worth paying for.

I work with providers across the UK and know that financial investment in early years makes a considerable impact on children’s outcomes. The cliché ‘quality childcare costs’ is not […]


At last supervision?

 “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” Mark Twain

It was refreshing to see that the revised EYFS, Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements has a legal requirement that all settings should have adequate systems relating to how they supervise staff.

A number of my clients (some, currently have robust supervision measures) state that they already have supervision arrangements in place. However, when I ask for clarification this is not quite the case. Generally, what they do have is an adequate appraisal system. (This, indeed, should be in place.)

But it is important that we differentiate between supervision and appraisal; after all from September 2012 settings will need to have clear evidence, especially to show Ofsted how they supervise staff.

To help settings with this, I have attempted to define what these two terms mean:

Supervision: Focused professional and personal dialogue-empowering staff

Appraisal: Formal management evaluation of job performance

From a historical viewpoint we need to analyse the […]


Butter or Margarine? Career Orientation

 

‘Leadership is less about what we know and more about what we’re willing to discover.’ Diane Branson

I recently attended a retirement ‘do’ in my office for Dave who was the receptionist/administrator.

Dave has a very happy disposition and would greet everyone respectfully and with a smile. He would often go out of his way to solve issues and would help you out if you had a query. Nothing was ever a problem for Dave.

When I arrived at the do, Dave was busy sticking labels onto small dishes, labelling them ‘butter’ and ‘margarine,’ even stating the brand of butter!   He said to me, ‘Laura, I am just putting these labels on the dishes so that everyone has a choice as some people like butter and some like margarine.’ Wow, I thought to myself, even on his last day Dave is still thinking of others and making sure that there is attention to detail on his buffet […]


ROVING CAREGIVERS PROGRAMME

 

I am delighted to have Ruth Phillips Ferrier as my guest blogger.  Ruth is the Co-ordinator of the Roving Caregivers Programme, St. Lucia. Here Ruth gives an overview of their outreach project which is very similar to the UK’s Outreach Sure Start programme.

 

ROVING CAREGIVERS PROGRAMME (RCP)

Saint Lucia Chapter

The Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) is an informal early childhood development initiative that seeks to reach children from birth to three years of age who do not have access to any formal early childhood development programme. The RCP aims to strengthen the care environment for these children through the provision of early stimulation educational sessions for children and their parents. The RCP addresses the developmental needs of the very young in disadvantaged conditions so that children can benefit from quality care and attention, development of basic skills, better health and nutrition and at the next level, better performance in pre-school and future education.

The RCP […]