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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 […]


Staff Behaving (Very) Badly!

I was speaking to my mum on the telephone and she said “Laura, did you see the programme about how funeral staff behave and how they disrespected the dead?” I said “No mum, as I don’t have the time to watch a lot of television.” She then went on to say “You can watch on your computer thing.”

So, on my computer thing, I did watch the said programme. ‘Exposure-The British Way of Death’ http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=325738

Oh, MY goodness!  It got me thinking about a subject that I embed into my work around organisational behaviour within organisations and how the culture of organisations from the top to the bottom should be one that mirrors the organisation’s values.

The question is, within large organisations, how does the chief executive and the senior management team check that these values are in place and that the organisation’s standards are practiced by staff?

Clearly, these funeral staff […]


Simple Solutions?

“Children are the most powerful source for a better world” Martha Llanos

It’s great that the government commissioned Cathy Nutbrown (click to view review)   Foundations for Quality   to review early years qualifications and that they have now set up a Childcare Commission to look at costs involved. However I feel that the government need to consult with a wide range of early years/childcare/education providers, specialists and parents.

The cost of childcare has always been a catch 22 situation, as quality childcare is expensive and parents want to pay less. As a single parent, who used childcare previously, I found that childcare costs made a huge dent in my monthly outgoings but felt that this was a sacrifice worth paying for.

I work with providers across the UK and know that financial investment in early years makes a considerable impact on children’s outcomes. The cliché ‘quality childcare costs’ is not […]


Spot The Leader!

‘The  only real training for leadership is leadership.’ Antony Jay

Owners frequently ask me “Laura, do you know any decent managers, I have a vacancy to fill?” They also ask ”Why aren’t there enough decent managers?”  I have to agree with these owners and think that, as a sector, we need to reflect on this and find solutions.

An effective manager is one who can truly lead a setting into a zone of quality. Over the years I have had many difficult conversations with managers where I have had to inform them that actually their setting is being managed and not led. There are many tell tale signs, for example the quality of the setting is ineffective and the manager does not have clarity around their visions and values in order to lead the setting. I come away scratching my head, thinking this person has been in post for x amount of years and has attended […]