On a recent train journey with my colleague Kim Benham. We were off to deliver a training session to a nursery group on KISP.
The train was delayed and sitting opposite us was a three-year-old child with her mother. We started to talk about how she looked like the character in my children’s picture book. After eating her lunch, the child said she didn’t want to have the iPad, so her mother took out a few Duplo pieces, including one piece – the cat – from her pocket. Her mother shared with her daughter why she had the cat in her pocket. The child carefully arranged the pieces into a long train with a piece of string and began sharing stories out loud about what was happening with the train, the cat and the girl and boy. For a three-year-old, Kim and I were impressed with her language skills and her imagination.
At a time when many settings are replacing their resources with open-ended natural materials, my reflections would be to think carefully as there are plastic resources that can still support children’s all-round development, especially with their communication, language and imagination.
I also like to promote my love of natural resources on my travels. As well as reflecting on other materials, we also need to be mindful of resources that may not be for every child, for instance, children who have sensory processing disorder. Settings need to think about this and do what is right for them in line with their values and ethos. For example, how are these changes going to have an impact on the children’s learning and development in my setting or are we making the changes because everyone else is?
At times, we’re quick to jump on the bandwagon without reflecting on research, theory and the words of wisdom from pioneers.
• When we are making changes do all our staff understand why the changes are being made?
• Do we provide professional development to mirror the changes? • How do we evaluate the changes that have happened?
• Has there been a change in children’s behaviour?
• Have we observed changes in how children play with each other and by themselves?
• Have children made progress in their learning and development?
• How does the senior team know this?
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