Home   2014 (Page 2)

Yearly Archives: 2014

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 […]


Key person approach – past, present and future!

A few months ago I was contacted by a lady via social media: ‘Are you the Laura that worked in a nursery in North London, in the 80s/90s?’ Included was a picture of two children in carnival costumes.

I immediately recognised the children, who were twins, brother and sister. I was their key person!

Mum and I spoke on the phone. The first thing she said to me was: ‘Laura, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking care of and looking after my children.’ Well, the tears started to roll down my face.

Mum recalled how delighted she was when she saw her two children perform in the Christmas concert I put on. Fast forward to the present day: the boy is a budding actor while the girl works with children.

Mum was a single parent to twins and studying for a degree at the same time. We all know that studying […]


Children don’t do Autumn, they do kicking leaves….

I came across an interesting blog on the wonderful land of Twitter, appropriately titled: ‘Are you addicted to Themes? A tale about themes, a Caterpillar and change.’

As with most of the inspiring blogs and other information I come across, I always share, this time via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The majority of colleagues agreed with Denita’s analysis of ‘no themes’, with a few saying they still use themes and topics to make sure that children have variety. My view is that Educators who still hold on to the security blanket of themes, do so as a result of pedagogy practice within their Early Years professional development, in particular how they learned to emotionally connect with and to […]


It’s good to talk!

#EYTalking is the FREE weekly ‘touch in’ within Social Media for anyone, be they a practitioner, childminder, teacher, educator, trainer, lecturer, tutor or assessor working within Early Years education or childcare nationally or internationally. We also have parents joining in. I created #EYTalking, managing it on a weekly basis. Topics we have covered include outdoor learning, parents as partners and literacy; we also have guest hosts, such as the Department for Education and other Early Years colleagues.

We share ideas as well as resources such as research and blogs. In addition, we comment on Early Years childcare and education issues.

Many colleagues have noted that #EYTalking is now one of their areas of continuous personal and professional development (CPPD), commenting that they write up reflections and actions to improve their practice, including sharing new ideas with colleagues and parents. For this purpose, I have created a useful reflective log

Philosophical Play in the Early Years Setting

Communicating with children and interpreting their play and language requires skill and a sensitive approach. Therefore it gives me pleasure to have Sara Stanley, who supports children by using a philosophical approach, as my guest blogger

Sara is a registered level 1 SAPERE Trainer and National and International keynote speaker. She runs workshops, in service training and courses in Philosophy for Children (P4C) and enabling enquiry based classroom environments. She is also involved in long term projects working in Early Years settings in South African townships, working with Nali’Bali, PRAESA, the University of Cape Town and the DG Murray Trust.

Sara writes:

 “It could be said that children are at their most philosophical in their formative years. If you take Socrates’ provocation that “All I know is that I know nothing” then we see everything as new and puzzling. To a child the whole world is a new and strange place; a place where some things make perfect […]


Me do it! Me do it!

I was in the supermarket the other day when I overheard a child say to her dad ‘Me do it, me do it, Daddy!’ as she tried to help him with the shopping. I smiled to myself as I remembered my eldest son saying the same to my mum when he was little and she was trying to put his coat on him.

These incidents illustrate how, from a young age, children want to be independent, yet, for some reason they are not given the opportunity to be independent. I am not only talking about being physically independent, for example children being able to dress themselves, but more importantly having an independence of mind to make decisions. By this I mean having a choice, even in something as simple as choosing which socks to wear or choosing between an apple or a banana.

Our job as parents is to give our children the tools and skills to […]


The little red book and the revised EYFS 2014

Scanning the revised EYFS 2014 I noticed Section 2.5: “Practitioners should encourage parents and/or carers to share information from the progress check with other relevant professionals, including their health visitor…… Providers must have the consent of parents and/or carers to share information directly with other relevant professionals.”

To support this requirement I am sharing a few pointers, which I disseminate during training and consultancy visits with educators and teachers, regarding the importance of the child health book. This book is one way in which parents can communicate their child’s development with the key person.

The “little red book” contains important information that the setting could use to identify the child’s starting points and determine how to further support the child both in the setting and at home.

It is also a positive way to start to build a long term, positive relationship with the parent.

Of course, […]


H.A.P.P.Y!

I was extremely delighted to see that the United Nations acknowledges happiness and well-being via the International Day of Happiness on the 20th of March each year. In support of humanitarian efforts around the world.

This U.N. Resolution identifies the pursuit of happiness and well-being as fundamental human goals. Let us celebrate this day with the children and families with whom we work. The day strongly links to supporting children’s personal, social and emotional development.

I for one will be celebrating!

I am equally excited that Pharrell Williams is a leading ambassador for the United Nations Foundation. Linked to his international hit song ‘Happy’, Pharrell has called this ’24 hours of happiness’. He has asked his fans to donate to the

Supporting our most vulnerable children

I am a firm believer that children deserve a holistic education, in which we educate their mind, body and soul.

The late great Nelson Mandela, famously quoted: ‘Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.’

With this in mind, I am therefore pleased to have Jane Evans as my guest blogger. Jane has built up a wealth of parenting and early-years knowledge throughout her career as a parenting worker for a domestic violence organisation, a respite foster carer, a childminder, a children’s practitioner in a family centre and a support worker in a child-protection team, whilst also working in and with schools and pre-schools.

She now uses this as the basis for her writing, speaking and the training she delivers on attachment in early years, on parenting and children affected by trauma ‘Tuning In To Children and Parenting Beyond Trauma’.

Jane writes:         

“I am passionate about Early Years, its where my […]


Ready to learn

“You can never be too curious. Pursue at least one new idea or learn one new thing every day!” Source unknown.

I have been a trainer and a facilitator – in some shape or form – for over twenty years; in that time I have encountered a wide range of individuals and situations. Recently, when delivering a course, a number of issues arose: these issues were not new to me, so I was able to handle them. As I am a solution-oriented person, I want to share these solutions with you.

Over the years, as we know, training budgets have been squeezed; this is a shame for educators and a travesty for the young children and families with whom they work.

It is vital educators make the most of the training courses available, that they come away feeling inspired, with a bucket load of ideas and suggestions that will help them grow – both personally and professionally […]