Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Inspiring young children to love books

Everyone's warmly invited to drop into this event on Wednesday March 9th from 4-6pm at UEL's Stratford Campus, Water Lane, E15 4LZ. See flyer below or download the PDF.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Early Years provision in schools – policy and practice

Sharing my PowerPoint from the Saturday morning masterclass at the Nursery World Show with Professor Tina Bruce CBE, Jane Whinnett, Lynn McNair and Jan Dubiel.

How can we build a system to support and challenge each other across sectors in the early years?

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) in the early years

I've been thinking recently about what Ofsted might look for in schools' EYFS provision when considering children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC). The whole concept of SMSC can feel a little alien to the early years.

I found Kathryn Solly's recent article about the importance of awe and wonder in Nursery World [subscription required] gave a convincing account of the importance of "magical moments" in children's learning, which can be seen as another way of thinking about "spiritual development".

Overall, just as 4Children have helpfully shown that "Fundamental British Values" are already integral to the EYFS, I would argue similarly that SMSC runs through the EYFS like Brighton through a stick of rock candy. 

The following matrix represents one way of planning that out:

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Ofsted inspection: thoughts about EYFS lesson and session observations

Ofsted's new Common Inspection Framework marks highly significant changes to their approach to the early years. This brief post isn't the place to run down all of them in detail, but here is a quick list of those which strike me as particularly significant:

  • There is now a consistent approach to the inspection of early years provision, whether in school or in a PVI setting - though of course there is a very different inspection workforce. Ofsted has taken its whole school inspectorate "in house", whilst early years settings will continue to be inspected by private companies under contract to Ofsted. But all inspectors are now looking for the same things.
  • There is a very strong and consistent emphasis, across sectors, on "teaching" - which is going to feel new and uncomfortable to many, especially practitioners working with babies. We need to keep thinking about how we articulate "teaching" in the early years so that it supports appropriate experiences for the children and babies we work with. Ofsted's own discussion of play and teaching is a good starting point for that work.

Monday, 28 December 2015

What's happening to children's freedom to move - and to fail?

I don't know if it was the same for you, but I learnt to balance and to ride scooters and bikes through a lot of falling of. Some in sight of my parents, but mostly outdoors on my own. I can also remember my first trip to ice-skating - at the old Richmond ice-rink, now sadly gone. My main early memories are of falling down a lot and getting pretty wet and cold. And lots of blisters.

It makes me wonder what's going on, when I see children on little trikes with poles attached to the back? Or being pulled along on scooters. Perhaps the poles and straps are mostly about safety anxieties - ensuring that children stay close at hand. Or maybe we're all in too much of a hurry to let young children potter about, head the wrong way, and generally hold things up?

Monday, 16 November 2015

Early Years Pupil Premium: keynote address

This is the PowerPoint that goes with my keynote address for Kent's Early Years Equality and Inclusion Conference in November 2015 - or you can download it here.

You are also welcome to use this annotated guidance on the cycle of planning and reviewing for the EYPP which is based on my work and was produced by Optimus earlier in the year.