10 Oct 2018

I have wanted to write this blog for a very long time. I think it is a conversation that has to be had in education. The combination of Early Years Well Being Week and Mental Health Awareness Week have spurred me on and so here I lay bare my own experience in the hope that I can stop it happening to anyone else.

1992 saw me fresh faced and fired up as an NQT embarking on my first teaching position. I wanted to change the world for the children in  my class......i still want to change the world for the children I work with. But I very nearly didn't see it through.

It wasnt long before i realised that the team i had been recruited into resented m...

30 Dec 2017

As 2017 finally draws to a close, we often find ourselves looking to the new year and starting to think of all the new things that we want to add to our early years settings. The internet and papers are full of sale offers and when we return next week the new resources catalogues will be falling onto our door mats (if they haven’t already given the postman a hernia!!)

Before Christmas there was much made in the press of the impact of glitter on the environment yet we will still all probably be throwing away loads of materials from the big day that could be repurposed, recycled or reused. After this month of celebration and excess, there is muc...

27 Sep 2017

This last few weeks has seen our new children join us and hopefully begin to settle in and engage with our learning environments. It is about now that I start to get enquiries from practitioners about children just "trashing" the room, not engaging with resources that have been painstakingly planned and despondant practitioners wondering why things might not be working as well as they could be. Fear not! It is good practice to be constantly reviewing the effectiveness of your setting and to look to change what is not working. You are not alone!

However, one thing that is worth looking at is how and what you have on offer to your children. Ther...

16 Feb 2017

Picture the scene... in the wee small hours an early years practitioner sits stooped over their dining table, feeding sheet after sheet of pictures and text into the laminator as it slowly saps the will to live from their tired bodies!! Ok, maybe a little over dramatic but we've all lost at least a few hours to the laminator demon in our quest to label all and sundry in our setting haven't we?.

But why do people do it? Some feel that hidden somewhere in some secret ofsted manual it says we have to label everything thats not nailed down. Others tremble after often illinformed advisors criticise for a lack of laminated pictures and text. Practi...

30 May 2016

This term has seen me working with many many settings across the UK and having many, many, conversations about "preparing for school", "preparing for SATs" or "preparing for tests" . Each one raising the issue of what we percieve as expectations of children in Early Years and beyond,

 

I have thought long and hard this month about why we do what we do as educators and keep coming back to my core belief that our role is to help prepare children for suvival in the world beyond our walls, now and in their future. In thinking this through I began to unpick the things I believe we need to keep a focus on as Early Years people and to look at the skil...

17 Apr 2016

 

Over the past few months I have become increasing involved in helping practitioners to deliver maths in their settings and in delivering the  training my passion for early maths has grown even stronger. Yet what people seem to forget is that within the statutory framework for early years it does not say " your child will "write " numbers and sums ". There is a precieved need to have numerals everywhere as a means of getting children to "do maths" and yet numerals are such a small part of what maths is all about and hence a rethink of how we deliver mathematics may be needed.

 

In my opinion, the reason why we teach maths in the first place (an...

4 Jan 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past year there have been many opinions expressed by trainers, practitioners, managers and advisers about whether you need to have specific areas within your setting or not. Thought it was about time that I added my thoughts into the mix !

 

More specifically I wanted to look at whether we need a specific maths area in our early years settings. Some have been told they definately do need them and others use the arguement that if maths is everywhere then why do we need them at all? My views on the matter have developed as a direct result of our own journey in our setting to provide the best maths provision we can.

 

Over the pas...

1 Jan 2016

 

 

 

As 2016 begins, I am looking back on 2015 and some of the issues I have been asked to address time and again. One such issue is that of mathematics in the outdoor environment. A common myth in Early Years seems to be  that maths cannot possibly happen outdoors without laminated ( or plastic) numberlines and that their sole existance ensures maths undertstanding will definately happen! Sorry to be a myth buster but this is NOT the case (despite what some advisors will have you believe). Here I hope to show that maths outdoors is a whole lot more than any manufactured numberline and to save you the tedium of having to laminate to within an i...

5 Jul 2012

Sorry for the year long gap but I have been really poorly and not able to do most things let alone blog. But am now well on road to recovery and am back in my blogging hotseat!!! So here goes :)

This week I finally got around to making a Water Wall for my little one (well originally it was for a preschool but there's no way its going to get out of my garden now!!!). Having drilled and bolted and tied things onto my board (cable ties are cheap and you can get them from most supermarkets now!) I was finally able to put it to the true test and let my son loose on it! An hour later we were still outside in the pouring rain exploring what would h...

17 Jun 2011

A few weeks ago I was in a setting when a little boy came up to the painting easel in search of some paper. I asked him "what kind of paper would you like?" He looked at me as if I had just stepped off a space ship! The practitioner supervising the area stepped in and pointed out "they only have this paper...." (gesturing to the old favourite rectangular off white painting pape that is a staple in ALL stock cupboards...usually as a friend of mine pointed out as a result of over ordering somewhere in the late 1970's!!!). When i pointed out a pile of nicely coloured different shaped paper on the other side of the room the little boy told me qui...

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