I’m currently reading Michelle Obama’s bestselling book, Becoming. Michelle reflects on her childhood throughout the book.
She shares how during the lead-up to the 2008 election she was supporting her husband’s presidential campaign by delivering speeches across the USA. These speeches, as you can imagine, where dissected by the press and at times she was not only misquoted but became the subject of some unkind reporting on her and her family.
Michelle reflects on this and recalls an incident from her childhood, where out of nowhere and seemingly for no reason a boy punched her in the face. Her mother, on returning from a meeting with the school about the incident, explained, “That boy was just scared and angry about things that had nothing to do with you…. He’s dealing with a whole lot of problems of is own.” Her mother’s non-judgemental words were telling her that when others do you harm, physically and verbally, it’s […]
Waiting in the Apple store to be seen by a tech expert, I noticed a mother with her baby in his buggy. He was doing what my mother always called “eating his toes!” when my son did the same! In fact, my son was with me.
I noticed the baby lifting his toes in a very sophisticated way to his mouth and sucking away.
I entered into a dialogue (turn-taking) with him, “Ooh, I can see you’re eating your toes!” He was laughing and in-between ‘sucking’ was talking back to me.
At that point, I knew I wanted to write a blog about this although I didn’t want to ask for permission to take a photo or to film this unique moment. I am mindful of boundaries and I did not know the mother.
His mother smiled at me and I said, “This is my son and he did the same when he was a baby and he is nearly 25! My mother calls this eating your […]
An article in the Sunday Times caught my eye, written by their education correspondent, Sian Griffiths, under the headline, ‘Stressed heads exclude children as young as three.’ Sian subsequently tweeted, “I found this an upsetting story to write.”
In short, more children under the age of seven are being excluded according to figures quoted from the Office for National Statistics this month, indicating a rise in the number of exclusions involving primary-aged children. In her article, Sian also mentions a documentary that will be screened on Channel 4 on Tuesday 25th July – Excluded at Seven.
This doesn’t surprise me, but only further saddens me that children are excluded from school. Exclusion only adds to their trauma/anxiety and doesn’t help to give them the tools to self-regulate their behaviour and emotions. Imagine what it must feel like for these children’s self-esteem and self-worth to be excluded at such a young […]
An interesting Social Media post came up on my timeline:
“Question from a member: I would like to know what people would do if a member of staff began a romantic relationship with a parent of a child who is one of their key children; parents only separated very recently (within the last 4 weeks) and mom is totally unaware of the situation. Thank you.”
I was intrigued and concerned that a few commented that they felt it was fine for a member of staff to enter into a sexual relationship with a parent from the setting. I have had over 30 years’ experience working within Early Years, in a variety of roles, and I also work as an expert witness. I have seen where negative organisational behaviour of a setting can have a lasting damaging impact, and, more importantly, can fail to keep children and their families safe and protect them from harm.
Safeguarding and protecting children […]
I’m delighted to have Cristina Gangemi, disability consultant, as my guest blogger. Cristina holds a master’s degree in this field and is director of The Kairos Forum, which focuses on enabling communities to be places of belonging for people with a disability. She has extensive experience in Special Educational Needs (SEN), offering training across a range of settings including schools and Early Years as well as parental support. Cristina has undertaken innovative and creative research with the University of Aberdeen in collaboration with people with an intellectual disability. Her research ‘EveryBody Has a Story’ (2010) has produced approaches to SEN that involve and celebrate the whole person, body, mind and spirit. Cristina is a national adviser to the bishops of England and Wales and works closely with Vatican Councils. She has also worked closely with Baroness Sheila Hollins, both on her advisory board and the series ‘Books beyond words’. Her work is recognised and valued […]
I had an enjoyable Wold Book Day at Kingswood School, sharing my children’s picture book Jo-Jo and Gran-Gran all in a week.
I was very impressed by the welcome I received, even the slice of cake and the cup of tea went down well! A colleague of mine says that you can always tell the culture of a school by how you are received on arrival. Indeed, the culture of this school is one of sharing, caring and helping.
My role for the day was to read my book with the children in both the reception and nursery classes. It was great to be able to scaffold the children’s learning using the book and have lots of fun as well, for example, problem solving and developing new concepts.
I finished the book by setting the children a writing challenge linked to the story: […]
I’m delighted to have Sarah Vickery, the assistant head of the Exeter Children’s Federation, writing as part of the Exeter series. When I heard Sarah speak about professional generosity at the conference I was punching the air! Sarah mentioned #EYTalking on Twitter, which I set up four years ago and I’m also known as the ‘Queen of Early Years sharing’.
“I’ve been teaching for twenty years now, starting off in a primary school in Tottenham, North London, before returning home to teach in Devon (and get married, start a family etc.!). It was here I discovered a love of all things Early Years in my first Reception class role, and I never looked back! I hope if you met me you’d realise how joyful and rewarding I find teaching in Early Years. I’m a hands-on, out-in-all-weathers, get-messy, get-stuck-in and get-the-glitter-out […]
I recently reviewed a copy of Julian Grenier’s book Successful Early Years Inspections. A few days later I read a blog post that Julian wrote: ‘Successful Early Years Ofsted Inspections: “what the **** did you spend your time writing that for?”’
In brief, the title comes from a message Julian received from a colleague, who actually used those words.
Julian used his blog post to explain why he wrote his book.
I have been writing in the public domain for over two decades, including sector journals, professional guides, books and blogs. I also remember, as a student 30 years ago, writing a letter to Nursery World!
When I start to write, I never think: “What if someone doesn’t like it, what if I haven’t referenced information incorrectly, what if it goes against someone else’s passion?”
I write because I’m passionate about […]
Continuing with the Exeter series, I’m delighted to present Karen Salter, who delivered a session on well-being for educators at the Babcock conference. Karen has worked as an Early Years consultant in Devon since 2009. Before this she worked as an EYFS teacher and EYFS/KS1 leader. Karen has an MSc in occupational psychology, specialising in workplace wellbeing, and undertook research into the role of workplace support on school staff wellbeing levels.
“As an Early Years consultant I’ve witnessed a growing need to support staff wellbeing, owing to the challenges of the education system and continued pace of change. I have recently started running training for Early Years leaders on looking after their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of their team.
It makes sense that educators who feel well, with a manageable workload, will be effective at their jobs. Indeed, research suggests this is […]
I attended the TACTYC annual conference on Saturday, and over the next few weeks I’m going to write about the three keynote speeches and the workshop that I attended. The theme of the conference was Principled Early Years Education – Valuing our past, debating our present, inspiring our future.
Dr. Julian Grenier, headteacher, Sheringham Nursery School, delivered the first keynote on Assessing and Celebrating Young Children’s Learning: What can we learn from the past and how might we shape a future beyond levels?
Within Julian’s speech he reflected on the pioneers in the industry, for instance Susan Isaac and Jerome Bruner. Julian also eloquently read extracts from the works of Dorothy Cranfield Fisher and Margaret Donaldson.
Julian referenced Dr. Jayne Osgood’s points on how many educators see carrying out observations as a ‘chore’. This saddened me as noticing and celebrating children’s achievements should never […]