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Steps Into School

We have all been through different transitions in our life, for example moving home or starting a new job. Or can we clearly remember when we started school? These transitions in life all bring a variety of emotions (perhaps excitement, happiness, sadness,loss etc) and whether they are positive or negative we, as adults, have a degree of choice to go through a certain transition. However, a child doesn’t have a choice when starting school and it is therefore imperative that we support them through this transition to school with the best of our intentions.

Image: Starting School. By, Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Involving your child in the process will help them to feel a degree of ownership and settle well into their new school.

The majority of schools, in the term before new children start, arrange a visit for all new children. The children are then able to meet their new teacher […]


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 […]


Creating Developmentally Appropriate Spaces to Encourage Communication

As we continue to develop and enhance our practice, in line with the revised EYFS, it is an honour to have Elizabeth Jarman as my guest blogger. 

Elizabeth is an internationally recognised education professional who specialises in creating optimum conditions for learning. She is an award winning author. Her work is widely respected and professionally challenges the way that learning environments for children and families are considered.

Elizabeth writes:

“When reviewing your environment and the way that it supports your underpinning pedagogy1, pay attention to your children’s stages of development. Create developmentally appropriate spaces that acknowledge where they are at. Here are some ideas to inspire your thinking and help you to audit your context. Consider:

Spaces for one: Children can be egocentric and can’t cope with sharing at first. There are times when even the most mature child needs space and time alone.

Make it OK to be by yourself; a space where adults won’t fit, giving […]


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 […]


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 […]


Who’s commenting on you? The Good Care Guide

The Good Care Guide www.goodcareguide.co.uk  is a new website and is a joint venture with ‘My Family Care’ and ‘United For all Ages’. The guide will give parents the opportunity to comment on their child’s nursery. In addition, families will be able to comment on elderly care homes. Nurseries will also be able to respond to comments that have been posted by parents.

The Good Care Guide is based on the ‘Trip Advisor’ concept which gives hotel guests the opportunity to rate and comment on their stay at hotels.  It is useful for prospective guests to view comments from previous guests in order that they can make an informed choice whether or not to book. For example, comments are made on a range of issues from the quality of food, cleanliness of their rooms to the calibre of the staff. However, recently Trip Advisor has had negative press, with some […]


Promoting ‘Baby Love’

It’s time to step up our game: Promoting ‘Baby Love’

Guest Blogger: Catherine Rushforth: National Consultant and trainer in Safeguarding and Child Protection.

It is an exciting time in the early years’ sector. Key publications, point to us as those who will be instrumental in making the shift into new ways of working possible. Central to this change is way that we :

– recognise strong emotional attachment between very young children and their parents

And

– intervene early where we see that this attachment is shaky, perhaps inconsistent or appears to be missing completely.

In this blog I will run through why a strong attachment is so essential for children’s development, outline our professional role in assisting parents to build on this key relationship and make a call for all early years’ practitioners to upgrade their practice in this vitally important area.

We know from rapid development in neuroscience that a baby’s brain development is directly effected by the quality of […]