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.
“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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
“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 […]
I am delighted to have Ruth Phillips Ferrier as my guest blogger. Ruth is the Co-ordinator of the Roving Caregivers Programme, St. Lucia. Here Ruth gives an overview of their outreach project which is very similar to the UK’s Outreach Sure Start programme.
ROVING CAREGIVERS PROGRAMME (RCP)
Saint Lucia Chapter
The Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) is an informal early childhood development initiative that seeks to reach children from birth to three years of age who do not have access to any formal early childhood development programme. The RCP aims to strengthen the care environment for these children through the provision of early stimulation educational sessions for children and their parents. The RCP addresses the developmental needs of the very young in disadvantaged conditions so that children can benefit from quality care and attention, development of basic skills, better health and nutrition and at the next level, better performance in pre-school and future education.
The RCP […]
‘The only real training for leadership is leadership.’ Antony Jay
Owners frequently ask me “Laura, do you know any decent managers, I have a vacancy to fill?” They also ask ”Why aren’t there enough decent managers?” I have to agree with these owners and think that, as a sector, we need to reflect on this and find solutions.
An effective manager is one who can truly lead a setting into a zone of quality. Over the years I have had many difficult conversations with managers where I have had to inform them that actually their setting is being managed and not led. There are many tell tale signs, for example the quality of the setting is ineffective and the manager does not have clarity around their visions and values in order to lead the setting. I come away scratching my head, thinking this person has been in post for x amount of years and has attended […]
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 […]
…We all know it, but it’s a brave (or stupid) person that takes on an issue like this with a team of 230+ – of which probably a good 15% are smokers!
Over the years, Kids Allowed has tried all sorts to reduce the impact of smoking on children and non smoking colleagues.
When we first opened, 8 years ago, we had a team garden for all colleagues and this doubled up as a smoking area for colleagues.
Colleagues who had had a cig on their break had to spray perfume and use a mouth wash / spray to try and disguise the smell, but we all know this is totally ineffective.
We moved to colleagues, in addition to the above, having to put on a jacket so that the smoke did not make their clothes smell – a little better but still not good enough.
We then moved to a total change of clothes – this helped somewhat but […]
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 […]
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 […]