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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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


At last supervision?

 “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” Mark Twain

It was refreshing to see that the revised EYFS, Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements has a legal requirement that all settings should have adequate systems relating to how they supervise staff.

A number of my clients (some, currently have robust supervision measures) state that they already have supervision arrangements in place. However, when I ask for clarification this is not quite the case. Generally, what they do have is an adequate appraisal system. (This, indeed, should be in place.)

But it is important that we differentiate between supervision and appraisal; after all from September 2012 settings will need to have clear evidence, especially to show Ofsted how they supervise staff.

To help settings with this, I have attempted to define what these two terms mean:

Supervision: Focused professional and personal dialogue-empowering staff

Appraisal: Formal management evaluation of job performance

From a historical viewpoint we need to analyse the […]


Have a Break!

If I am at home early evening I often see a pre-school child and his mum walking past my home. This child has caught my attention as sometimes I notice that he is crying.

On a few occasions, I have had a brief conversation with his mum who looks very tired and unsure what to do. My thoughts are that he is tired and the crying is a reaction to seeing his mum and this is his way of communicating his feelings. (Note to self – add a section in my Supporting Transitions course, around preparing children for the handover to their parents at the end of the day.) In addition, I believe that he is picking up that his mum is tired.

I saw them again as I was walking to my car during the Christmas week and I noticed that he wasn’t crying. When I wished them both Happy Christmas, mum replied ‘I’ll not be […]


Hire people who are better than you are……….

In the pass and currently I have worked with clients who have a real issue with delegating. They then wonder why their staff do not perform and are not creative/practical thinkers. Which reminds me of this quote ‘Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.’ David Ogilvy-Scottish born British Military intelligence officer and later top advertising executive 1911-1999. Clarity around individual roles and responsibilities is also key. Within my accredited level 4 Leadership and Management course the managers complete this  task. How is leadership distributed in your setting:

Identify different key roles and responsibilities.
Explain how these are shared effectively amongst the team?

 Delegate a task to a member of your team.

Describe the process and implement it.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your decision to do this.

So, if you are micro-managing your staff and do not […]


Practitioner and Child; Positive or Personal Relationships?

For a while now, I have been reflecting on what we in the sector mean by the term ‘positive relationships’ and its impact on interactions between children and practitioners. With this in mind, my thoughts are on whether we should change the term to ‘personal relationships’ and more importantly how we should look at personal relationships between the practitioner and child in our day-to-day practice?

For instance, I have a positive relationship with the staff in my local bank, but this is not a personal relationship. Indeed practitioners need to have a positive relationship with children in order for the relationship to be personal and meaningful. Time and time again, when carrying out my mock inspection visits, I observe practitioners having positive relationships with children, but not on a deeper personal level.  If done on a superficial basis and as part of the daily routine, the relationship is one where it is routine led rather than […]