Values & Choices in Early Years Education

Often on my travels practitioners will ask me do I know of any nurseries in the UK that have adopted the Reggio Emilia philosophical practice. Straightaway I say ‘Reflections Nursery, in Worthing!’ Having visited Reflections myself, I am well aware of their inspirational practice and the positive impact that this has on children’s learning and development. Therefore, I am very excited that Martin Pace, the owner and Director of Reflections Nursery, is my guest blogger writing about their approach to early learning.

Martin has worked in the childcare sector for 20 years. Reflections Nursery is a 115-place nursery; Winner of UK Nursery of the Year 2009/10; Worthing Business of the Year 2010/11 and Southern Business of the Year 2011/12. The nursery was awarded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted at its last inspection in 2010.

Martin has attended eight study tours of the infant-toddler centres and pre-schools of Reggio Emilia since 2003 and is studying for an […]


Changes to Childcare-For Parents

Dear Parents

I am a parent of two boys and an early years specialist and have worked within the early years sector for over twenty –six years.

I am writing to you because I want to raise your attention to a government proposal that might affect your child’s learning and development opportunities if you use childcare.

You may have heard that the Minister for Childcare, Ms Truss, is proposing changing the adult to child ratios in early years settings. For daycare settings this will mean that for your children who are aged two – three there will be one adult for six children and within home based settings childminders  will be able to have up to four children aged five and under.

The majority of early years settings, academics and experts are against these higher ratios as, like me, they care about your children and the negative impact this will have on their learning and development. One provider said […]


Sharing books with children: are we really sharing?

As we know, there is a commitment in the prime areas of the EYFS, especially to communication and language. With this in mind, I give a big welcome to my guest blogger, Michael Jones, who is a guru in the area of young children’s communication and language.

 Michael provides training on children’s language development and learning. Michael has a background in speech and language therapy and teaching and led the Every Child a Talker (ECaT) project in three different local authorities. Michael has published widely on the subject of language development. To find out more about his work visit http://www.talk4meaning.co.uk/

 Michael states:

“Most children love sharing books with adults. It can be one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to help children learn to talk.  But there are quite a few children who don’t enjoy sharing books at all: whether in a large group, or on their own with an adult. […]


Elephants Never Forget! Attachment and loss

Like most of the nation, I have been glued to watching Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary titled ‘Africa,’ which is on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Wednesdays.

I am fascinated by the filming and the profound images of nature which in part, to the human eye, seem very cruel.   David’s narrative during the documentary is balanced throughout and thought provoking.

During a recent episode they showed a herd of elephants walking through Kenya, desperately seeking food as a result of the recent drought.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pwtsj/Africa_Savannah/

The most heart pulling clip for me was when the baby elephant could no longer go on, as she was too exhausted and weak.  Her mother, rather than continue with the other herd of elephants, stayed with her and tried to encourage her; stroking and rubbing her calf – demonstrating an instinctive mother- to- baby bond.

Her mother remained with her until the calf passed away and one could clearly […]


Set Daily Challenges not Resolutions!

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.”

Doug Firebaugh

This time of year there is an increase in gym membership, diets begin and all the other New Year resolutions that we have put off during the year come into action. We decide – it’s the 1st of January – this is when it all kicks off. Really, who are we kidding? How many of us honestly stick to our New Year resolutions?

For a few years now, I have stopped setting resolutions, concentrating more on setting professional and personal goals throughout the year.  I make the goals more specific and realistic; in a way that they do become achievable.

I had the pleasure of speaking to managers at a conference during the autumn and another speaker blew me away because of his inspirational views and the goals that he set himself. This motivational person is Jamie Andrew.

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  • Continuing Personal and Professional Development of the EYP in Early Years

    It is an honour to have Kathy Brodie as my final guest post of 2012.

    Kathy is an early years trainer and consultant and a lecturer in Early Years at Stockport College. She also undertakes coaching and mentoring, for practitioners with the Early Years Professional Status(EYPS).

    Kathy has had articles in many publications as well as a chapter on Personal, Social and Emotional Development in ‘Early Years for Levels 4 & 5 and the Foundation Degree’ edited by Dr. Francisca Veale (Jan 2013: Hodder Education). Her book ‘Observation, Assessment and Planning: Bringing it All Together’ will be published in May 2013 by Open University Press.

    Kathy writes:

    “Many people with EYPS are currently worried about the future of status and the impact this will have on their personal and professional development. This is in response to the Nutbrown review which has put forward the suggestion of an early years teaching qualification replacing the EYPS (Nutbrown, 2012:8).

    However, even though there […]


    Want to be a Rock-Star, Or Better Yet a Stone-Star With a Heart?

    I’m so happy to have my friend and colleague, Diana Suskind, guest blogging for me. Diana is an international early childhood consultant and artist who brings her creative spirit to support children with their personal, emotional and social development.

    Diana has shared her passion working overseas with colleagues and children, teaching for many years as an associate professor at Fitchburg State University, Boston, Massuchusetts, United States of America.

     

    “This is me and my mom and we are a family and both have a heart” stonework logo

    Diana writes:

    “I guess we can’t be a little rock but rocks, especially stones, can inspire us to play with them for they are simply a natural resource. They do appeal to children and adults alike in any country or culture. No two stones are the same. They have their own shape, their own weight, color and markings. They are one of a kind just like each of us. Different stones, […]


    #EYTalking

    I am launching a new initiative #EYTalking, via Twitter. In short, every Tuesday evening between 8:00pm and 9:00pm we will share national and international news, stories, research, blogs, documents and guidance via Twitter, using the hash tag #EYTalking. If you are a nursery, pre-school, day-care, childminder, out-of school club, nanny, school or you provide a service as a trainer, consultant, publication, organisation, company, college or university with an interest in early years and childcare then this is for you. Also, parents and carers who have an interest in early years will also find #EYTalking on a Tuesday evening the perfect opportunity to connect. There is a wealth of information out there which can be obtained from many sources, I often hear colleagues saying ‘I never have the time to navigate my way around websites and read threads on forums, etc’ or ‘Ooh, I missed that Tweet!’ With #EYTalking once a week, you will have the […]


    We need to talk too!

    “Truly great leaders spend as much time collecting and acting upon feedback as they do providing it” Alexander Lucia

    As of late I have been very busy delivering supervision training in line with the revised safeguarding and welfare requirements of the EYFS.

    One issue that comes up time and time again, irrespective of whether the delegate is a manager or owner, is that they receive no supervision or have a one-to-one with anyone. This is the same whether their setting is in the private, voluntary, independent or maintained sector.

    This worries me slightly, as I believe that this should be in place for many different reasons: to discuss leadership and management issues, to focus on their own personal and professional development and, more importantly, to discuss how they support staff to make a difference to children’s learning and development.

    Over the years I have coached, mentored and carried out supervision with managers and owners, with a focus on […]


    Learning Outdoors in Early Childhood

    It is my pleasure to have Jan White as my guest blogger this week.  Jan is fascinated by outdoor learning and play and the many benefits that this brings. She works both nationally and internationally to advocate and support high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to five.  With twenty-eight years’ experience of working in education, she is author of Playing and Learning Outdoors: making provision for high quality experiences in the outdoor environment (Routledge, 2008), and Making a Mud Kitchen (Muddy faces 2012), editor of Outdoor Provision in the Early Years (Sage, 2011), and Jan also collaborated with Siren Films to make the award-winning training DVDs Babies Outdoors, Toddlers Outdoors and Two Year-olds Outdoors (Siren Films, 2011).

    Learning Outdoors in Early Childhood: An opportunity to dig deeply into the why, what and how of playing and learning outdoors for young children from birth to five!

    Cooking up something wonderful!

    Jan writes […]