Thursday, 28 May 2020

Returning to nursery

So everyone, I hope you'll excuse the hurried writing of this blog. What with DFE advice coming in the middle of a bank holiday weekend and trying to get a short break before June, this has been yet another strange and difficult week. 

I am really privileged to lead a great team at Sheringham Nursery School and Children's Centre. 

Here's what we're doing about our re-opening. I'm sharing our information freely. Please let me know if you find it useful. But also, please let me know if you think it could be made better, or if you think anything is wrong. No-one has the monopoly of wisdom here. 

We know our young children can't learn to 'social distance' - to be honest, I would be worried if they could learn that. It would go against every grain of being two, three or four years old. So our way of minimising risks is through the 'bubbles', and careful cleaning and management of the spaces. We will continue to play with our children. We will continue to give them hugs and cuddles. If they fall over and hurt themselves, we'll be there with loving care. Our usual First Aid and other protocols are still in place to prevent any kinds of infections spreading. 

Here's how we are explaining this to families




Our general approach is that we are using three separate areas of the nursery school for three groups, or 'bubbles'. The bubbles will consist of up to 16 children in the morning and the same again in the afternoon. Most of our children are part time.

Children and adults won't mix between these bubbles.

We've staggered our drop-off times and pick up times. Where we can, these will now take place out in the garden.

Here's how we've explained that to families:



We're very aware of the children's social and emotional needs. Returning to nursery is going to be great for some - at last, a chance to see my friends and my key person! But for others, it might be distressing and difficult. I'm going to be sharing some thoughts about that as soon as I can. 

Where possible, we are keeping every child with their key person. Where that isn't possible, children will be with a member of staff they know well. We have colour coded that so we can see quickly that we have managed a good balance across our groups - so that there is a 'core' of children with their key person to give a sense of security and calm. 

Finally, we've listened to the voices of the parents who have been using our provision throughout the lockdown period. We've learnt a huge amount from them. They've been patient with us as we have 'road tested' different approaches and they've helped us to improve our Operational Plan. 

Here are some of things which parents have told us:



More on what we're doing:



Saturday, 4 April 2020

How can we best teach maths in early years foundation stage?

I sometimes meet early years practitioners who think that young children will learn maths 'naturally' in a maths-rich environment.

I used to be one of them.

It’s a view that would be charming if it wasn’t so damaging, especially for disadvantaged children.


Read on in the Times Educational Supplement

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Early years: When should we start teaching writing?

It’s a familiar and depressing sight. 
At a small table, six Reception children are toiling away with their teacher, writing sentences.
Meantime, the rest of the class are choosing from the play equipment around the class and outside.

Read on in the Times Educational Supplement

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Research and Implementation: learning together in Newham

I'm sharing the presentation which Iggy Rhodes and I gave at the wonderful launch of Newham Learning on 3.3.2020. You can see more highlights of the day in the thread linked to the pinned tweet @ELResearch School



Sunday, 1 March 2020

Birth to Three Matters: Where are we now?

I'm sharing the PowerPoint from this conference at Manchester Metropolitan University on Saturday 29th February 2020.

Birth to Three Matters is considered one of the fifty most important works of research that have had a major impact on our lives by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The organisers outlined the aims of the day as follows:

This conference will celebrate the progress of Birth to Three Matters since its launch in 2002 and will help participants to think about its progress in the future in the light of new government initiatives, continuing change and the kinds of support needed by practitioners. The conference will provide opportunities for participants to inform debates, contribute their views and share their experiences and hopes for the future.




Thursday, 20 February 2020