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Category Archives: training

Men in Early Years – The election campaign starts here

On Wednesday 19th November 2014 we celebrate International Men’s Day. With this in mind it gives me great pleasure to welcome David Wright, owner of Paint Pots Nurseries, as my guest blogger.

Together with his wife, Anna, and their son, Joseph, David owns Paint Pots Nurseries in Southampton, a small group of nurseries and preschools whose motto is ‘Love, Laughter and Learning’. David is an advocate and campaigner for Men in Early Years, speaking at conferences and in the media. He set up and coordinates the local Southampton Area Men in Early Years (SAMEY) network.

 David writes:

 ‘If you are male and working in any capacity with young children, the chances are that you will have been approached to take a survey, to complete a questionnaire or to be the subject […]


Let’s talk about it…

“Be Kind, for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle” ~ source unknown

This summer, like the majority of the world, I was both shocked and saddened to hear that Robin Williams, the outstanding actor and comedian, had taken his own life.

One of the discussions triggered by the news of Robin’s death was the wider issue of mental health. It was unfortunate, to say the least, to hear a few insensitive and ill-informed comments about Robin: ‘he had everything that he needed’, ‘he had all the money, why would he take his life?’

From what we know about mental health, it does not discriminate – it is an illness; it covers a wide spectrum, including anxiety/stress as well as severe depression.

The statistic from Mind UK is that, at any given time, one in six employees is suffering from a mental illness.

Therefore, even within a small Early Years setting, there could be a member of staff who […]


‘Continuous Provision’. Two words that can end up causing a great deal of confusion!

It is my pleasure to have my colleague Alistair Bryce-Clegg as a guest blogger.

Alistair enjoyed a successful 10 year career as the Head teacher of a three-form entry Infant school and Early Years unit in Cheshire. Alongside his headship he established a consultancy career specialising in the education of children in the Early Years.

Demand for his consultancy became so great that Alistair left his headship and established ABC Does… (abcdoes.com).

Most of his time is spent supporting practitioners in their settings or delivering keynotes and training, specialising in all aspects of Early Years practice and management, for both the maintained and non-maintained sectors nationally and internationally.

Alistair is also an award-winning author and product designer, whose work has been published in a number of books and magazines; he also sits on the advisory board for Early Years Educator (EYE). Alongside support and training for a range of settings […]


Please Sir, can I have some more?

It is refreshing that the Government has introduced a new incentive of free school meals for young children.

Over the last 10 years Jamie Oliver has campaigned for healthy school lunches. I applaud him for his tireless campaigning to promote and make changes in what our children eat whilst they are at school. Children should be given freshly cooked food.

One of the things I strongly dislike about the school lunch environment is the use, in some schools, of these trays:

My reason for disliking them is that prisoners’ meals are served on these trays! Surely our children deserve better than this?

There is excellent practice in the classrooms, but then at lunch-times there is a shift in quality, which could easily be avoided. In essence, quality practice should be seen in all areas […]


Learning from you, learning from me

“The real system of education is one where the children of rich and poor, of king and subject, receive education through crafts.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

It was a pleasure to be invited to Mumbai, India, by my friend Swati Popat Vats Director of Jumbo Kids, Podar Education Trust.

I have known Swati for many years from working together in our roles as National  representatives for the World Forum for Early Care and Education.

One of the values of Jumbo Kids is ‘the heart, hands and the head’ which I love; it links into the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning. The curriculum is also influenced by Reggio, Montessori and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences.

I was also excited to hear that one of the first trustees of Podar […]


Managing Behaviour – seriously?

I continue to be intrigued by the way the EYFS talks about ‘managing children’s behaviour’. Considering what we now know about how a child learns and develops, is ‘managing children’s behaviour’ still a useful term to use within Early Years?

My views are that we can’t manage children’s behaviour, as we need to give all children the skills and tools to regulate their own behaviour, so they can resolve conflict and be emotionally grounded both within their early years and beyond.

Educators can indeed help children with self-regulation, which is different from the traditional training in ‘behaviour management’ within Early Years.

Educators require skills such as recognising a child has suffered a trauma and supporting the child sensitively to help them communicate how they are feeling; assisting children to resolve conflict through negotiation and giving them the language skills to do so; helping children know they have a voice and are able to contribute […]


EARLY YEARS: valuable ends and effective means

New informative report from the Centre Forum: Sets out ways that early years policy can narrow the opportunity gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.


Key person approach – past, present and future!

A few months ago I was contacted by a lady via social media: ‘Are you the Laura that worked in a nursery in North London, in the 80s/90s?’ Included was a picture of two children in carnival costumes.

I immediately recognised the children, who were twins, brother and sister. I was their key person!

Mum and I spoke on the phone. The first thing she said to me was: ‘Laura, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking care of and looking after my children.’ Well, the tears started to roll down my face.

Mum recalled how delighted she was when she saw her two children perform in the Christmas concert I put on. Fast forward to the present day: the boy is a budding actor while the girl works with children.

Mum was a single parent to twins and studying for a degree at the same time. We all know that studying […]


NMT – Childcare Power 20

Croydon-based international award winning Early Years expert Laura Henry has been included in the “power 20” list of the most influential people in childcare in the UK, as compiled by Nursery Management Today (NMT) magazine. NMT is the childcare sector management bi-monthly journal.

Paul Birley, Head of Public Sector & Healthcare at Barclays, stated: ‘It is therefore important we recognise those people that have made a real difference…they have had a major influence on others. By show-casing these people who have made a difference, we believe we are helping to inspire others to continue to drive up quality in the sector.’ The award was sponsored by Barclays Bank.

As one of the 20 most influential people in childcare, Laura was invited to the awards dinner at Barclays’ head office in Canary Wharf on Thursday 29th May 2014.

Laura was surprised to be nominated by her peers; she commented: ‘There are many talented colleagues working within Early Years […]


It’s good to talk!

#EYTalking is the FREE weekly ‘touch in’ within Social Media for anyone, be they a practitioner, childminder, teacher, educator, trainer, lecturer, tutor or assessor working within Early Years education or childcare nationally or internationally. We also have parents joining in. I created #EYTalking, managing it on a weekly basis. Topics we have covered include outdoor learning, parents as partners and literacy; we also have guest hosts, such as the Department for Education and other Early Years colleagues.

We share ideas as well as resources such as research and blogs. In addition, we comment on Early Years childcare and education issues.

Many colleagues have noted that #EYTalking is now one of their areas of continuous personal and professional development (CPPD), commenting that they write up reflections and actions to improve their practice, including sharing new ideas with colleagues and parents. For this purpose, I have created a useful reflective log