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Welcoming our visitors from Sweden

It was an honour to welcome visitors from Sweden today.  I lead a session with them on self-evaluation and reflective practice and I’m looking forward to working with them again soon.


Launch of My Family Week

There are just over three weeks to go until the launch of the first international celebration of the family!

Children around the world will get the opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of their family, irrespective of circumstances including children with same-sex parents, those who are fostered, disabled, have step families or half brothers and sisters, are bereaved, blended, those who are adopted or who live with grandparents and other family members.

International Early Years expert, Laura Henry, has been busy creating resources for My Family Week, providing fun and educational activities for settings, schools and parents.

There will be a soft launch on Friday 13th October, 2017, before the week-long celebration from Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd October.

Laura is delighted to announce the University of Northampton as the academic partner for My Family Week, with support from other organisations including NEyTCO, the Pre-school Learning Alliance and Gingerbread.

At the launch on 13th October, settings, schools and parents will be […]


Get Connected

Quick question: Do you use social media?

Over the years, the one piece of advice I most often give to providers and educators is that they should sign up to receive the regular email updates from Ofsted, Department for Education and the sector press. It is vital they keep up-to-date with legislation, guidance and other important information that may affect their practices and, if necessary, make changes.

Nowadays my advice is that they should also be using social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs, etc).

Last week I attended an evening seminar titled: ‘Close Encounters of the Digital Kind’. 

There were interesting speakers and discussions on how we should embrace social media from a business point of view.

Social media can be used in a variety of ways within your setting: to market your setting, sharing positive aspects such as raising funds for charity, a new mud kitchen or sharing an innovative area in your practice.

However, it can […]


Effective and Safer Recruitment

Please see Nursery World for my new four part monthly series on Effective and Safer Recruitment.


Read Between The Lines

My first guest blog for 2014 is Dr. Jo Verrill, who is the Director at Ceeda. Dr. Jo started out life in academic research before founding an independent research agency in 1999; Jo has a passion for delivering research that makes a real difference for early years businesses. Ceeda specialises in customer and employee research for early years childcare providers, working with large national groups and small owner managed businesses across the country.

I passionately promote self-evaluation and reflective practice and, within this blog, Jo explains how carrying out parent and staff surveys can help you to continuously develop your provision.

 Jo writes:

 “Putting families at the heart of your provision

Staff build relationships with families on a day to day basis as a fundamental part of high quality care. Whether it’s feeding back on the day or sharing information about children’s progress and development at home and in the setting, staff working at the grass roots rightly […]


Achieving Two Year Olds’ Update

It’s a great pleasure to have James Hempsall returning as my guest blogger. In this blog, James gives an update on the Government’s  ‘Achieving Two Year Olds’ incentive. James is  Director at Hempsall’s and is the National Support Director/Central Region Lead regarding the provision of support for ‘Achieving Two Years Olds’ to local authorities.

James states,

“Achieving Two Year Olds: the statutory duty comes into force – an opportunity for providers to develop new provision to reach the least advantaged two year olds and their families.

Now seems a great opportunity to update everyone on two year olds.  September 2013 saw the statutory duty on local authorities to provide up to 15 hours per week of early learning for the 20% least advantaged two year olds.   We are pleased to report progress has been growing steadily over the past 12 months.  Local authority confidence in delivery has been high overall for 2013 and this is reflected […]


Continuing Personal and Professional Development of the EYP in Early Years

It is an honour to have Kathy Brodie as my final guest post of 2012.

Kathy is an early years trainer and consultant and a lecturer in Early Years at Stockport College. She also undertakes coaching and mentoring, for practitioners with the Early Years Professional Status(EYPS).

Kathy has had articles in many publications as well as a chapter on Personal, Social and Emotional Development in ‘Early Years for Levels 4 & 5 and the Foundation Degree’ edited by Dr. Francisca Veale (Jan 2013: Hodder Education). Her book ‘Observation, Assessment and Planning: Bringing it All Together’ will be published in May 2013 by Open University Press.

Kathy writes:

“Many people with EYPS are currently worried about the future of status and the impact this will have on their personal and professional development. This is in response to the Nutbrown review which has put forward the suggestion of an early years teaching qualification replacing the EYPS (Nutbrown, 2012:8).

However, even though there […]


We need to talk too!

“Truly great leaders spend as much time collecting and acting upon feedback as they do providing it” Alexander Lucia

As of late I have been very busy delivering supervision training in line with the revised safeguarding and welfare requirements of the EYFS.

One issue that comes up time and time again, irrespective of whether the delegate is a manager or owner, is that they receive no supervision or have a one-to-one with anyone. This is the same whether their setting is in the private, voluntary, independent or maintained sector.

This worries me slightly, as I believe that this should be in place for many different reasons: to discuss leadership and management issues, to focus on their own personal and professional development and, more importantly, to discuss how they support staff to make a difference to children’s learning and development.

Over the years I have coached, mentored and carried out supervision with managers and owners, with a focus on […]


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 […]


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 […]