Along with other Early Years colleagues from the UK and Europe, I was invited by Community Play Things (CPT) to join them on a short trip to Keilhau, Germany, to Froebel’s birthplace, kindergarten, school, museum and site of the first general council of teachers.
The trip was rightly called: ‘Rediscovering Froebel’.
I wasn’t the only guest to comment that I felt that I had won a Golden Ticket, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style!
There is so much to write about. I will write again over the next few months about my experience and will of course share with others on my travels.
In short, Froebel’s mother died when he was an infant and he was treated harshly by his father and stepmother. At the age of 10, Froebel was ‘rescued’ by his maternal uncle and went to live with him.
Early Years Early Childhood, Froebel, Keilhau, Kindergarten
So, the Government is busy recruiting the next HMCI, to replace Sir Michael Wilshaw.
The shortlist has been reported via TES and the education community is in full flow discussing who the Government may choose and why.
One tweet that caught my eye was from the inspiring Sue Cowley, who noted:
“I think it’d be a good idea to have someone with primary experience as the next head of Ofsted. Historically it’s mostly been secondary people.’
I would wholeheartedly agree with Sue. In addition, they should have working knowledge and an understanding of the Early Years.
For far too long we’ve had a top-down approach, which has had a detrimental effect on little people, from inappropriate testing to a lack of understanding of the importance of play within Early Years.
Biology informs us that it all starts from conception. There’s a reason why babies are not born […]
Prince, the creative genius, has sadly moved on and the world is in shock. Rightly so, his creativity was on another level.
On reading the many tributes to Prince, I read an article in the Independent, where he kindly replied to a fan’s letter.
A particular sentence in the letter stood out for me: “I was 2 busy listening 2 the grass grow.”
Some folks may wonder what on earth he meant by ‘listening 2 the grass grow’. We understand watching the grass grow, but listening to the grass grow? Are you for real, Prince?
I know exactly what Prince meant by this. He was too busy being creative. I wondered whether if he hadn’t had the time to ‘listen 2 the grass grow’ we would have had the opportunity to listen to the many inspiring musical creations over the years that Prince […]
Last year I had the pleasure of visiting an awesome colleague, kindergarten teacher Heidi Echternacht, at her class in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. Heidi explained that kindergarten children in the US are aged five to six – equivalent to our Year One.
What was amazing about Heidi’s class was how much she valued play and allowed the children to be themselves. When I arrived, they had just come back in from a mid-morning break. Heidi introduced me to the class and I had a long conversation with the children about London and Paddington Bear!
They didn’t settle down to do maths or English.
Oh no, we went for a walk in the woods!
Heidi informed her class: “Right, time to go for a walk! Let’s go. G.O!” “Yes, Ms Echternacht!” they replied.
How wonderful it was to observe five and six-year-olds being able to be themselves through play, […]
For a number of years, I have been perplexed by the amount of unnecessary paperwork that educators complete within their settings.
It’s important to remember what the EYFS states:
“Assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork. Paperwork should be limited to that which is absolutely necessary to promote children’s successful learning and development.” EYFS, 2014
On various social media platforms or when delivering training or speaking to clients, I hear comments such as:
“We were told to do this.”
“Ofsted want to see this.”
“The local authority advisor has given us a month to complete this.”
“A consultant/trainer suggested this was the best way.”
As a consultant/trainer, I see myself as an advisor, which means that it is only advice.
In addition, in some settings the system is so complicated that educators are unable to fully vocalise why they do what they do.
“Less paperwork = more time with the children!”
In my opinion, […]
My son’s final parents’ evening and my final one as a parent, was on Wednesday night. Fingers crossed for university next year. Ro didn’t attend and decided to go to a ‘drum & bass’ concert with his mates! Yes, on a school night! Ooh, to be young!
I fed back to Ro what the lecturers said. They also shorten his name – just like we do! Shows that they know him!!
“100% he’ll have a successful career in the creative industries. His thinking is unique… original ideas… lovely son… great student. Great sense of humour…witty… academic… no complaints… you should be proud… reflective student… his work is outstanding!”
Ro wants to work in interactive media, in the film industry.
However, since the age of four, it’s always been the same area for improvement from his teachers: “He needs to speak up more.”
Ro said to me. “Hmm, yes, but if I do that I’ll be the same as everyone else!”
I’m delighted to have Rebecca Marsh with us to discuss how she implemented literacy within her setting.
Rebecca is a manager at one of the Portico group of settings. Rebecca has been in Early Years for over 10 years, three of these as a manager.
Rebecca is currently completing a level 5 in management, and is passionate and driven about leading successful teams and ensuring the children in her care are given the best possible start in life.
“Starting the literacy project was by far one of the best decisions I have made in management. We were able to participate in the NDNA Literacy Champions as we had an Early Years professional (EYP) in the setting. The project works so well for us and will do for any busy setting because apart from certain deadlines, you use the resources and webinars at your own pace […]
A colleague posed a question on a social media forum that I belong to as to whether other colleagues had heard of using sensory immersive approach within a coaching session. A number of colleagues asked him to clarify, he then showed a picture of a school’s ‘sensory room’.
My reply was to be cautious when using this approach, as some individuals may have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). As many of you know, my son is on the autistic spectrum and one of his conditions is SPD.
It made me think about children who are on the spectrum within Early Years settings who are displaying SPD, as educators may think it is due to something else.
In his own early years, my son would not step on leaves – a real challenge in autumn!
I recently spoke to a specialist in autism-related behaviour and explained how my son […]