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Category Archives: Early Years

Name, Shame, Blame, Repeat!

An article in the Sunday Times caught my eye, written by their education correspondent, Sian Griffiths, under the headline, ‘Stressed heads exclude children as young as three.’ Sian subsequently tweeted, “I found this an upsetting story to write.”

In short, more children under the age of seven are being excluded according to figures quoted from the Office for National Statistics this month, indicating a rise in the number of exclusions involving primary-aged children. In her article, Sian also mentions a documentary that will be screened on Channel 4 on Tuesday 25th July – Excluded at Seven.

This doesn’t surprise me, but only further saddens me that children are excluded from school. Exclusion only adds to their trauma/anxiety and doesn’t help to give them the tools to self-regulate their behaviour and emotions. Imagine what it must feel like for these children’s self-esteem and self-worth to be excluded at such a young age?

Children who show behaviour that may […]


Professional Boundaries

An interesting Social Media post came up on my timeline:

“Question from a member: I would like to know what people would do if a member of staff began a romantic relationship with a parent of a child who is one of their key children; parents only separated very recently (within the last 4 weeks) and mom is totally unaware of the situation. Thank you.”

I was intrigued and concerned that a few commented that they felt it was fine for a member of staff to enter into a sexual relationship with a parent from the setting. I have had over 30 years’ experience working within Early Years, in a variety of roles, and I also work as an expert witness. I have seen where negative organisational behaviour of a setting can have a lasting damaging impact, and, more importantly, can fail to keep children and their families safe and protect them from harm.

Safeguarding and protecting children […]


It has to make sense!

I had an enjoyable Wold Book Day at Kingswood School, sharing my children’s picture book Jo-Jo and Gran-Gran all in a week.

I was very impressed by the welcome I received, even the slice of cake and the cup of tea went down well!  A colleague of mine says that you can always tell the culture of a school by how you are received on arrival. Indeed, the culture of this school is one of sharing, caring and helping.

My role for the day was to read my book with the children in both the reception and nursery classes. It was great to be able to scaffold the children’s learning using the book and have lots of fun as well, for example, problem solving and developing new concepts.

I finished the book by setting the children a writing challenge linked to the story: to write a note to Gran-Gran with their ideas for […]


New!! Free Podcasts!! Laura Interviews Early Years Leaders

In this new podcast series, I’ll be interviewing a range of Early Years leaders – from the UK and further afield.

These leaders will include managers, senior staff, head teachers, directors, childminders, owners and other educators whose practice and/or approach is inspiring and should be shared.

The beauty of these podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere: on your phone, tablet or computer – it’s literally training on the go!

Podcasts can also be shared more widely, such as for induction programmes, training days and staff meetings.

Reflections:

I’ve also produced a reflective log that supports professional development, where listeners can record their reflections and state how they may act on what they’ve listened to in order to improve their practice. If you would like to complete the reflection and receive a certificate to demonstrate your commitment to professional development please email admin@LauraHenryConsultancy.com and we will email you the reflection and issue you […]


Another meeting?

We had a successful #EYTalking session on Twitter on Tuesday 6th December 2016, on the theme of safeguarding, professionalism and reflection. One of the discussions was on supervision, linked to the wider continuum of safeguarding.

Since the EYFS 2012, I’ve delivered numerous supervision sessions around the country and have written two blogs on supervision. I’m passionate about supervision and its value, if carried out effectively, in supporting the well-being and welfare of educators and supporting safe practice within a setting, as well as the positive ripple effective on children’s holistic development.

A few of the comments that came up mentioned appraisals, and as we know this has not been a requirement in the EYFS since September 2014. My view is that as appraisals are no longer a requirement of registration, I question whether there is a need to still carry out appraisals when there are other ways to measure how staff perform throughout the year […]


Professional Generosity (being good at sharing!)

I’m delighted to have Sarah Vickery, the assistant head of the Exeter Children’s Federation, writing as part of the Exeter series. When I heard Sarah speak about professional generosity at the conference I was punching the air! Sarah mentioned #EYTalking on Twitter, which I set up four years ago and I’m also known as the ‘Queen of Early Years sharing’.

Sarah writes:

“I’ve been teaching for twenty years now, starting off in a primary school in Tottenham, North London, before returning home to teach in Devon (and get married, start a family etc.!). It was here I discovered a love of all things Early Years in my first Reception class role, and I never looked back! I hope if you met me you’d realise how joyful and rewarding I find teaching in Early Years. I’m a hands-on, out-in-all-weathers, get-messy, get-stuck-in and get-the-glitter-out kind of teacher. Loving Early Years has, I believe, helped me lead successful Early Years teams […]


Being naked is ok!

I recently reviewed a copy of Julian Grenier’s book Successful Early Years Inspections. A few days later I read a blog post that Julian wrote: ‘Successful Early Years Ofsted Inspections: “what the **** did you spend your time writing that for?”’

In brief, the title comes from a message Julian received from a colleague, who actually used those words.

Julian used his blog post to explain why he wrote his book.

I have been writing in the public domain for over two decades, including sector journals, professional guides, books and blogs. I also remember, as a student 30 years ago, writing a letter to Nursery World!

When I start to write, I never think: “What if someone doesn’t like it, what if I haven’t referenced information incorrectly, what if it goes against someone else’s passion?”

I write because I’m passionate about Early Years, the little people and their families.

As a writer, you are vulnerable from the moment […]


Supporting the wellbeing of Early Years staff

Continuing with the Exeter series, I’m delighted to present Karen Salter, who delivered a session on well-being for educators at the Babcock conference. Karen has worked as an Early Years consultant in Devon since 2009. Before this she worked as an EYFS teacher and EYFS/KS1 leader. Karen has an MSc in occupational psychology, specialising in workplace wellbeing, and undertook research into the role of workplace support on school staff wellbeing levels.

Karen writes:

“As an Early Years consultant I’ve witnessed a growing need to support staff wellbeing, owing to the challenges of the education system and continued pace of change. I have recently started running training for Early Years leaders on looking after their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of their team.

It makes sense that educators who feel well, with a manageable workload, will be effective at their jobs.  Indeed, research suggests this is the case.  For example, Briner and […]


The Power of Noticing

I attended the TACTYC annual conference on Saturday, and over the next few weeks I’m going to write about the three keynote speeches and the workshop that I attended. The theme of the conference was Principled Early Years Education – Valuing our past, debating our present, inspiring our future.

Dr. Julian Grenier, headteacher, Sheringham Nursery School, delivered the first keynote on Assessing and Celebrating Young Children’s Learning: What can we learn from the past and how might we shape a future beyond levels?

Within Julian’s speech he reflected on the pioneers in the industry, for instance Susan Isaac and Jerome Bruner. Julian also eloquently read extracts from the works of Dorothy Cranfield Fisher and Margaret Donaldson.

Julian referenced Dr. Jayne Osgood’s points on how many educators see carrying out observations as a ‘chore’. This saddened me as noticing and celebrating children’s achievements should never be a chore and should fill the educator with more knowledge in […]


The Exeter Series – Truly narrowing the gap!

In October, I was honoured to deliver a key-note speech for Babcock Education linked to good practice within leadership. At the conference it was refreshing and inspiring to listen to local educators, who presented on their groundbreaking work with children.

With this in mind, I am delighted to have Amelia Joyner as my first guest blogger from the conference. Amelia spoke passionately about her outstanding provision and what her setting does in practice to ‘narrow the gap.’

Amelia has 13 years’ experience in Early Years, having started on a pre-school committee, moving into administration and then retraining in 2013 to become a teacher. She started work as a pre-school leader at Cullompton Pre School in September 2014.  Amelia’s particular passions are child protection and improving outcomes for disadvantaged children.

Amelia, writes:

“I met Laura recently at a conference on leadership and management. I listened to her talk, which happily was after mine (I was much more relaxed by […]