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Tag Archives: EYFS

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 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 […]


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 […]


Schemas for Parents

I’m delighted to write about the Schema Guru, Stella Louis MA. As her profile on Early Education states, Stella is a freelance Early Years consultant who has worked as a nursery nurse, nursery manager, diploma in childcare and education course coordinator, Early Years training coordinator and local authority Early Years consultant.  She wrote her first book in 2008 on understanding children’s schemas and has had articles published in Nursery World and Early Education.  Stella has developed a sustained interest in working with parents and is involved in research on sharing knowledge and understanding young children’s schemas with parents.

“Children have a natural urge to do the same thing again and again, whether it is throwing things, hiding things all over the house in bags, or emptying all the toys out of the toy box.” Stella Louis

In September 2016, Stella launched Schemas for parents, published by Suffolk County Council. This 29-page full […]


Nursery World Awards 2016

Delighted to have been a judge again at the (Please click here for information regarding the evening and photographs) Nursery World Awards, present an award and receive an award for my colleague Jan White, in my role as Vice President, of The British Association for Early Childhood Education.

Hosted by Dave Benson Phillips and a big thank you to the Mark Allen team for organising yet again an inspiring evening.


Learn from nature and animals

I was at a friend’s family celebration at the weekend, sitting chatting away to her mother, who was full of words of wisdom, as ever.

I watched a child moving in and out of the kitchen and into the garden. I then observed her interacting with my friend’s cat, she was talking to him and stroking him.

Of course, I had to take a photograph! I showed her mum and asked for permission to use it in a blog and during my training. She told me that her daughter is three years and four months and that they have no pets at home. This made me reflect on how quickly she was  able to connect with the cat, based on trust and natural instinct.

What an awesome observation of a child in her natural state of calmness. My message to educators would be to observe and assess children for who they are, rather than observe to […]


I was 2 busy listening 2 the grass grow

Prince, the creative genius, has sadly moved on and the world is in shock. Rightly so, his creativity was on another level.

On reading the many tributes to Prince, I read an article in the Independent, where he kindly replied to a fan’s letter.

A particular sentence in the letter stood out for me: “I was 2 busy listening 2 the grass grow.”

Some folks may wonder what on earth he meant by ‘listening 2 the grass grow’. We understand watching the grass grow, but listening to the grass grow? Are you for real, Prince?

I know exactly what Prince meant by this. He was too busy being creative. I wondered whether if he hadn’t had the time to ‘listen 2 the grass grow’ we would have had the opportunity to listen to the many inspiring musical creations over the years that Prince […]


Let’s G.O!

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting an awesome colleague, kindergarten teacher Heidi Echternacht, at her class in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. Heidi explained that kindergarten children in the US are aged five to six – equivalent to our Year One.

What was amazing about Heidi’s class was how much she valued play and allowed the children to be themselves. When I arrived, they had just come back in from a mid-morning break. Heidi introduced me to the class and I had a long conversation with the children about London and Paddington Bear!

They didn’t settle down to do maths or English.

Oh no, we went for a walk in the woods!

Heidi informed her class: “Right, time to go for a walk! Let’s go. G.O!” “Yes, Ms Echternacht!” they replied.

How wonderful it was to observe five and six-year-olds being able to be themselves through play, […]


We were told!

For a number of years, I have been perplexed by the amount of unnecessary paperwork that educators complete within their settings.

It’s important to remember what the EYFS states:

“Assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork. Paperwork should be limited to that which is absolutely necessary to promote children’s successful learning and development.” EYFS, 2014

On various social media platforms or when delivering training or speaking to clients, I hear comments such as:

“We were told to do this.”

 “Ofsted want to see this.”

 “The local authority advisor has given us a month to complete this.”

 “A consultant/trainer suggested this was the best way.”

As a consultant/trainer, I see myself as an advisor, which means that it is only advice.

In addition, in some settings the system is so complicated that educators are unable to fully vocalise why they do what they do.

“Less paperwork = more time with the children!”

In my opinion, […]


British Values

A colleague recently asked me my views on British Values.

This was my response: