Quote of the Week

“I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.”

Carl Sagan

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Give a child a typewriter and they will create worlds

I had a wonderful conversation with my grandparents a few months ago, about the types of things I liked to play with as a child. We chatted about paint, paper, notebooks and huge canvases (plentiful in a house full of artists and teachers) before moving on to things children find in the garden and the beliefs children have (fairies, mythical creatures, etc…); as a professional the conversation gave me the opportunity to consider whether the resources within my setting instigated the sort of quality play I wanted children to experience. One of the items I remember very vividly from my childhood was an old typewriter.Read More »

Summer Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

I thought that perhaps I would theme some blog posts around the official professional development I log during the summer term.
My personal approach to training and extending knowledge has never been “less is more”. Since becoming an early years practitioner (and later a senior early years practitioner) I have adopted the motto of “never be content with practice but strive to be” – this does not mean being negative when reflecting upon practice, instead it is a reminder that a great practitioner is also an industrious learner. All learning need not be formalised or arduous, this term I have Beach Schools training and a messy play workshop planned.

How do you encourage children to be globally empathetic?

Last week I retweeted a friend’s intention to “Live Below The Line” in aid of the charity International Service. She hopes to raise £800 by living on just £5.74 a week – calculated using poverty baseline of $1.25 a day – including all of her food, drink and travelling costs. You can read about her experiences and inspiration here; if you’re feeling particularly altruistic today, you can support this worthy cause here.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Frederick Douglass

But what does this have to do with early years education, aside from the obvious concern that children in developing countries have yet to access quality early years education universally? Within the foundation stage, practitioners are encouraging children to empathise with and to give consideration to others’ feelings, needs and wishes. Usually this is an informal process, using everyday events as “learning opportunities”; occasionally fraught with tears (“but I WANT that fire engine!”) it can be an emotionally exhausting process as you filter and reflect the behaviour you want children to replicate independently (“he’s sad because I hit him… That wasn’t kind, was it? Sorry.”)Read More »