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Category Archives: Young People

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 […]


It feels like very cold ice-cream on your teeth!

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 displayed hyperactive behaviour within his early and primary […]


The Child Obesity Catastrophe

It is my absolute delight to have June O’Sullivan MBE, the chief executive officer of London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), as my guest host. June is an inspiring speaker, author and regular commentator on Early Years, social business and child poverty. June has been instrumental in achieving a major strategic and cultural shift for the award-winning LEYF, resulting in increased profile and profitability over the past eight years. June continues to advise the government in order to better implement their vision for Early Years.

June writes:

“Did you know that one in five children under five years is obese? While obesity is highest among older children, already 11% of toddlers are obese and it’s even higher among children living in poverty. Obese children have a 40-70% chance of becoming obese adults. Diet-related ill health costs the NHS £5.8bn every year with childhood obesity-related illnesses, such as asthma, in England costing £51m per year. Just […]


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 and at all times throughout the school day.

A few schools […]


Your name’s not down, you’re not coming in

I recently read a story, which quite frankly shocked me, both as a parent and an educational professional.

In brief an 11 year old was unable to join her friends for a special end-of-year treat for pupils who had a 100% attendance record. This child had missed one day to attend her mother’s funeral.

Please read her full story.

I have never been a fan of rewards for 100% attendance at school or work, be they certificates or treats, as this creates a culture of shaming those who haven’t achieved full attendance. There will be a variety of reasons for absence, for example a virus, a long term medical condition, or a sensitive personal issue. It is outright discrimination, creates divisions and can make some children feel under pressure to attend.

It can also lead to children becoming ‘people pleasers’. Yes, attending school is important, but children and parents should not feel they are in […]


H.A.P.P.Y!

I was extremely delighted to see that the United Nations acknowledges happiness and well-being via the International Day of Happiness on the 20th of March each year. In support of humanitarian efforts around the world.

This U.N. Resolution identifies the pursuit of happiness and well-being as fundamental human goals. Let us celebrate this day with the children and families with whom we work. The day strongly links to supporting children’s personal, social and emotional development.

I for one will be celebrating!

I am equally excited that Pharrell Williams is a leading ambassador for the United Nations Foundation. Linked to his international hit song ‘Happy’, Pharrell has called this ’24 hours of happiness’. He has asked his fans to donate to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.

On a recent flight I watched the film ‘Despicable Me 2‘, where […]


Promoting ‘Baby Love’

It’s time to step up our game: Promoting ‘Baby Love’

 Guest Blogger: Catherine Rushforth: National Consultant and trainer in Safeguarding and Child Protection.

  It is an exciting time in the early years’ sector. Key publications, point to us as those who will be instrumental in making the shift into new ways of working possible. Central to this change is way that we :

– recognise strong emotional attachment between very young children and their parents 

And

– intervene early where we see that this attachment is shaky, perhaps inconsistent or appears to be missing completely.

 In this blog I will run through why a strong attachment is so essential for children’s development, outline our professional role in assisting parents to build on this key relationship and make a call for all early years’ practitioners to upgrade their practice in this vitally important area.

 We know from rapid development in neuroscience that a baby’s brain development is directly effected by the quality of […]