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Through the Decades!

One of my missions for the Easter break was to finish a book called ‘Bath Times & Nursery Rhymes-the honest memoirs of a nursery nurse in the 1960s’ written by Pam Weaver. My inquisitive nature drew me to this book. I was interested in reading about the life of a nursery nurse in the sixties as I wanted to compare my nursery nursing training and early work life in the 1980s to Pam’s experience.

Even though I have acquired further qualifications and worked in a variety positions within the sector, I am still an NNEB nursery nurse at heart. I say once a nursery nurse, always a nursery nurse!

The book was an honest and a heartfelt memoir from Pam. There are a few points that I wish to share: Pam remembers meeting up with a man, when he was in his twenties, who she had looked after as a child. He recalled ‘You used […]


Night, Night!

 “Sleep is the best medication.” Dalai Lama

We all know, as adults, that if we do not get enough sleep this affects us the next day – with symptoms that may range from feeling tired to being really irritable. Therefore, these signs of sleep deprivation may have the same effect on children and can have a negative impact on their day.

To ensure that pre-school children have a decent night’s sleep, they need on average about 12 hours sleep per night. If your child is not ill and your house is not too cold or too hot, (it’s always best to have a thermometer in your child’s bedroom) there is no reason why this can’t be achieved.

It is important that young children have an evening routine and become familiar with this. Children should be given enough notice that bed time is approaching; this can be developed by stating the following “We have five minutes before bed […]


Changes to Childcare-For Parents

Dear Parents

I am a parent of two boys and an early years specialist and have worked within the early years sector for over twenty –six years.

I am writing to you because I want to raise your attention to a government proposal that might affect your child’s learning and development opportunities if you use childcare.

You may have heard that the Minister for Childcare, Ms Truss, is proposing changing the adult to child ratios in early years settings. For daycare settings this will mean that for your children who are aged two – three there will be one adult for six children and within home based settings childminders  will be able to have up to four children aged five and under.

The majority of early years settings, academics and experts are against these higher ratios as, like me, they care about your children and the negative impact this will have on their learning and development. One provider said […]


Sharing books with children: are we really sharing?

As we know, there is a commitment in the prime areas of the EYFS, especially to communication and language. With this in mind, I give a big welcome to my guest blogger, Michael Jones, who is a guru in the area of young children’s communication and language.

 Michael provides training on children’s language development and learning. Michael has a background in speech and language therapy and teaching and led the Every Child a Talker (ECaT) project in three different local authorities. Michael has published widely on the subject of language development. To find out more about his work visit http://www.talk4meaning.co.uk/

 Michael states:

“Most children love sharing books with adults. It can be one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to help children learn to talk.  But there are quite a few children who don’t enjoy sharing books at all: whether in a large group, or on their own with an adult. […]


Elephants Never Forget! Attachment and loss

Like most of the nation, I have been glued to watching Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary titled ‘Africa,’ which is on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Wednesdays.

I am fascinated by the filming and the profound images of nature which in part, to the human eye, seem very cruel.   David’s narrative during the documentary is balanced throughout and thought provoking.

During a recent episode they showed a herd of elephants walking through Kenya, desperately seeking food as a result of the recent drought.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pwtsj/Africa_Savannah/

The most heart pulling clip for me was when the baby elephant could no longer go on, as she was too exhausted and weak.  Her mother, rather than continue with the other herd of elephants, stayed with her and tried to encourage her; stroking and rubbing her calf – demonstrating an instinctive mother- to- baby bond.

Her mother remained with her until the calf passed away and one could clearly […]


#EYTalking

I am launching a new initiative #EYTalking, via Twitter. In short, every Tuesday evening between 8:00pm and 9:00pm we will share national and international news, stories, research, blogs, documents and guidance via Twitter, using the hash tag #EYTalking. If you are a nursery, pre-school, day-care, childminder, out-of school club, nanny, school or you provide a service as a trainer, consultant, publication, organisation, company, college or university with an interest in early years and childcare then this is for you. Also, parents and carers who have an interest in early years will also find #EYTalking on a Tuesday evening the perfect opportunity to connect. There is a wealth of information out there which can be obtained from many sources, I often hear colleagues saying ‘I never have the time to navigate my way around websites and read threads on forums, etc’ or ‘Ooh, I missed that Tweet!’ With #EYTalking once a week, you will have the […]


Sensory Play and the EYFS

I am very excited to have Sue Gascoyne as my guest blogger. I whole heartedly promote sensory play and multi-sensory learning within early years and education as I believe sensory play impacts positively on children’s learning and development.

Sue Gascoyne is an educational consultant, early years researcher, trainer and author. She runs workshops and speaks nationally and internationally, drawing upon the research which she has instigated to further understanding of the benefits of sensory-rich object play. This is also reflected in her award winning training – Sue was named Nursery World’s ‘Trainer of the Year’ in 2009 for her contribution to the early years sector. Her accomplished books, Sensory Play, 2011 (Practical Pre-School) and Treasure Baskets and Beyond – Realising the benefits of sensory rich play, 2012 (Open University Press) successfully convey both the theory and practical application of sensory play. Sue is the founder of Play to Z Ltd, specialist providers of award-winning sensory […]


Commission on Childcare

As I sit here, glued to my sofa watching the Olympics, a reminder in my calendar pops up continuously to complete the response for the commission on childcare! My response is to dismiss it (manana, manana!)  as I know that I have until the end of August to complete. But it is one task that I will tackle as if I’m going for a gold medal because childcare for working parents is an issue that is very dear to my heart; both on a personal level, as a single working parent, (I have used every type of childcare over the years) and on a professional level, working passionately with the childcare sector both nationally and internationally.

So what is the commission on childcare? It is a joint concept led by the Department of Education and the Department for Work and Pensions They have asked anyone with an interest to complete a consultation response […]


All roads lead to two year olds!

It is a pleasure to have James Hempsall as my guest blogger. James has been the Director of Hempsall’s since 1999, leading a team of 25 trainers, researchers, development officers and consultants in early years, childcare and children’s centres.  He has worked with over 100 local authorities supporting them to implement all aspects of government childcare policy at strategic and operational levels.

James writes ”There’s big things happening around two year olds.  The government has signalled their importance by allocating significant new funding to the roll out of thousands of new places.  At a time when new money is scarce, it is incredible that all roads lead to two year olds and their early education.  It is an economic, social mobility, early intervention, poverty and achievement agenda.  And one which retains the potential to support families to make sound economic choices, learn and achieve, and close the gap between the least advantaged children and their peers.

The […]


International Mud Day 2012!

I am delighted to have Kierna Corr as my guest blogger. Kierna is the nursery class teacher at Windmill Integrated Primary in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. She is also the Northern Ireland Representative for the World Forum in Early Care and Play. Kierna has been teaching nursery for over 12 years and she is passionate about outdoor learning and the impact that this has on children’s learning and development. She has formed positive links with kindergartens in Norway and Sweden through the British Council’s Comenius Programme. She has adopted a unique approach to outdoor play. Kierna’s class go outside every day, no matter what the weather, as the school provides appropriate outdoor clothing.

Kierna tell us that “June 29th is International Mud Day; this is the second year of this world wide event. The original event came about as a way for some orphans in Nepal to connect with nature and when this story was shared […]