Thursday, 25 June 2020

Using The Curiosity Approach at home

The Curiosity Approach is a modern day approach to early childhood development and play. It incorporates philosophies from Reggio, Montessori, Steiner and Te Wariki to create a thoughtful approach that uses children’s innate curiosity to inspire their play and learning.
Using the curiosity approach at home - pink flower soup in a mud kitchen

Today, I have Alexandria from The Curiosity Corner explaining how she incorporates the Curiosity Approach at home, and how you can easily do the same....

Saturday, 23 May 2020

EYFS Writing | Success Criteria grid for Self Evaluation

Help children to be more independent when self-checking and evaluating their writing, by offering an EYFS success criteria grid with visual prompts of sentence writing steps. Children can mark their own work before asking a friend to peer review...

EYFS success criteria grid for writing with self evaluation and peer review

This blog post includes a video demonstration and a free print to download (including a cursive option) so that you can use this sentence writing success criteria grid within your setting, or at home with your child for home-learning. I introduced this to my own Reception class towards the end of the year in the Summer term, and have done the same for my own Reception aged child at home...

Monday, 11 May 2020

Dinosaur Island Play Tray | Tuff Spot Ideas

Does your child have a special interest in Dinosaurs? Perhaps you are learning about a dinosaur topic or how dinosaurs have become extinct and would like to create a tuff tray play tray to enhance your learning environment and allow for open ended play and exploration? 

In this post I have a large dinosaur island tuff tray with lots of loose parts, and an alternative smaller scale play tray with dinosaurs past and also dinosaurs present with a special fossil hunting activity!!

Dinosaur Island play tray fossil tuff spot activity

The beauty of loose parts is that children can move and explore all of the objects to create their own scenes, ideas and narratives. Nothing is permanent, so nothing gets ‘ruined’, nothing has to be ‘put back how you found it’ and nothing is ‘wrong’. When there are no limits set on play, children have the chance to take ownership without fear of failure, or, fear of creating too much mess to clean up. Your set up doesn’t have to be perfect (it won’t stay as it is for long anyway), it just needs to be inspiring, interesting, exciting and provoke a sense of wonder - inviting children to come and have a look, a touch and eventually a full on play!

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Coffee Beans Sensory Play Tray | Tuff Tray ideas

A sensory tuff tray exploring coffee beans using a manual coffee grinder, old coffee machine, cafetiere and some information on how we extended the coffee beans activity once they had all been ground up!

coffee beans sensory play tray with coffee grinder - tuff tray ideas

A few weeks prior to this coffee beans sensory play tray activity, I had picked up a manual coffee grinder in a charity shop and ‘left it’ in the playroom for the children to discover and try to figure out what it was and what it could do... The children loves exploring and experimenting, and here is what we got up to when we finally got round to using it for real!

Monday, 4 May 2020

Solid Wood Floors and Cast Iron Gates - A Look Back

Finding myself stuck within the four walls of my home for the last few months, I've been thinking about what really makes a house a home? What will my children remember the most about their time here? 
My dreams have been filled with images and memories of my own childhood home. The solid wood floor, and the feel of its grain beneath your feet. The cast iron gates I'd open for school each morning - and the way I tested my own strength by my ability to push them open with one or two hands. 

Chestnut Lodge, Boughton Pumping station with green iron gates
AD: This is a collaborative post  

So many of my memories were focused around the more natural resources around the house. The rough feel of the red brick, turned green by moss on the outside. The musty smell of the cellar with its concrete steps and the way we used to 'polish' the hardwood floor in the boardroom by spraying our socks with a can of Pledge and skating around the room to 'don't you want me baby?' by The Human League...

Sunday, 3 May 2020

How to make mini glitter alphabet letters using UV Resin

A quick post and video demonstrating how to make mini glitter alphabet letters using UV Resin, for loose parts and letter matching.

 gold glitter mini alphabet letters made from UV resin on a mirror tray

These letters are much smaller than some of large resin letters that you see - and so rather than epoxy resin which requires mixing and pouring, I have made these mini glitter resin letters using UV resin with a thin nozzle attachment. If you would like to find out how to make these resin alphabet loose parts, have a watch of the video below...

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Top Tips for managing Play with different aged children

I decided to write this post after one of my Instagram followers asked me if I had any advice on managing play with children of different ages and different personalities. Like me, she has a 2 year old and a 5 year old and is finding that whilst the older child interacts positively with the play invitations she sets up, her 2 year old often throws objects at walls, bangs them together etc and sets off down a path of destruction. ( I should note here that this family also have a new baby and the older child is usually at school, but under the currently isolation policy they are now all at home together).

  toddler and older sibling playing side by side with activities in seperate trays

It's a common scenario, and I remember my eldest being very similar at aged 2 when his baby sister arrived and we were stuck at home in the summer holidays. The preschool/nursery routine is out of the window, the 1:1 time with the main carer is suddenly a thing of the past and the world of the toddler is suddenly very different and a little bit unsettling. Add in a need to be very active and burn off a lot of energy and it can be a real struggle to fulfill their needs. Many children will resort to destructive, aggressive or frustrating behaviour in order to gain what little attention they can, and also to manage their own feelings and emotions. 

Thursday, 16 April 2020

How to make Fairy Butterfly Wings with Pressed Flowers

My little girl absolutely loves to put on a pair of wings and dress up a fairy or a butterfly, but the wings we have which are made from the same material as nylon stockings have ripped in places and shed glitter like there's no tomorrow! I decided to make a custom pair of wings at home, using home pressed flowers (in the microwave!) and contact paper - which give more of a natural, iridescent 'flutter', look incredibly delicate and so beautiful and personalised....

transparent fairy butterfly wings made with tacky back plastic and pressed flowers

The best thing is that the lead up to making these links into some special experiences - you can forage in your garden for leaves, flowers and petals...or whilst out on your walk. We included some tête-à-tête daffodils that the children picked for me whilst I was poorly in quarantine to cheer me up and make me feel better, some tulips we had before lockdown and some cherry blossom flowers collected from a daily walk (also my favourite tree!). This activity is perfect for learning and teaching symmetry, discussing differences and changes, noticing patterns and details, following instructions and role play....

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Are Virtual Nannies and Virtual Tutors the way forward for parents AND professionals?

Right now we are in the middle of a pandemic. Schools are closed, parents are working from home and the balance of the scales between educational curriculum, child-care and work are tipping furiously back and forth, leaving many feeling like they are attempting to be a jack of all trades, yet master of none.

peppa pig showing on a screen as a virtual nanny babysitter

Disclosure: Paid partnership post

Parents are holding their hands up in a ‘me too’ movement, admitting to tapping into the babysitting powers of Peppa Pig whilst they try to steal a precious half hour to undertake a conference call or draft an email. Phrases such as “in a moment” are thrown towards our children and our work, as we try to ‘do it all’ – where doing it all really just means doing the basics...

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Twinning with Positive Clothing from Peonies & Peace

Peonies & Peace is the positive clothing shop from the wellbeing and sustainability blog: The Less - Refined mind. Specialising in organic, ethical apparel for babies, kids and adults - if you're looking for a positive message with a gender neutral design, then this is the place to look...

twinning with positive clothing from peonies & peace
AD: Some of the items pictured were gifted for the purpose of this post. I have previously purchased items from this shop by choice. 
The 4th 'baby' of Kate, author and owner of the blog/shop and mum to two girls - it has never felt as easy to support a small business as it does when you know the business is supporting the values you believe in: Positivity. Liberalism. Feminism. Sustainability. Responsible clothing. Caring for the planet. Striving for Peace...( and if you want to chuck a few peonies in there, then why not)...

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