Friday, 7 August 2020

Embedding children's interests in all aspects of learning

Have you ever wondered what it means to follow the children's interests? It's a phrase you will likely hear a lot if you work within Early Years or have EYFS aged children. Best practise is for practitioners and educators to tailor the learning experiences to the individual child or children, so that engagement is high, learning is enjoyable and lessons are likely to be remembered and retained.

 following childrens interests - gift from fairy

This idea of making learning appealing to an individual by incorporating something that they have a fascination with, into the learning opportunity doesn't just have to stop with Early Years. Many teachers have had huge amounts of success in teaching maths and literacy by following certain interests (such as football) in order to engage students and maximise the chances of them retaining the skills they have learnt. 

Today I have Sam and Immy from Sam Goldsworthy Childminding, explaining the process of embedding children's interests into all aspects of learning - with a run through of how they set this up within their setting, and progressed over time...

Friday, 24 July 2020

School readiness – preparing your child for Reception Class

School readiness…its something you’ll probably hear quite a lot if you have a child who is preparing to start Reception Class in September, but what does it actually mean??
school readiness - preparing your child for reception class

How can we, as parents, make sure that we are helping and not hindering when preparing our 4 year olds for big school?

Most of my Teaching career was spent teaching Reception, and so this is something I thought long and hard about when passing on information to Parents. What would I hope, as their Teacher, they could do already? What sort of things would I discuss in the Parents meetings for new starters? Where would my expectations be bearing in mind I don’t yet know the children or what level they are at?

Its not what you might expect….

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Phonics Explained: A Parent's guide to understanding Phonics

What is phonics? What does digraph mean? Why do we need phonics? How does it work? Why is phonics important? ... Today I have the Queen of Phonics - Alice from Raising Red Heads - here to explain it all! 

 Phonics Explained  A Parent's guide to understanding Phonics

Alice is an EYFS Teacher and Educational Learning Content Creator with a passion for phonics and an unbelievable ability to make phonics visually stimulating, fun and exciting. In this blog post she explains in more detail, exactly what 'phonics' means and why it is so important...

Sunday, 12 July 2020

How to add Culture and Diversity to your home and learning environment

 How can we make sure that  we are including or adding culture and diversity into our everyday learning environments? 
It is so important that we give children the tools, exposure and understanding of differences and similarities, between themselves and others, from an early age. We want to create an environment where certain differences are viewed by children as usual, every day life. Where all children can readily access resources that are made with diversity in mind, so that children grow to learn that we are all different, and we are all the same.

child drawing people with black skin and white skin

Today, I have Lauren, an Early Childhood Educator with a wealth of training and experience within culture and diversity, explaining a little about how we can add culture and diversity into our learning environments both at home and in a setting...

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...

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