Talking Point: say what you mean, mean what you say

Recently I had a discussion with a practitioner who was observing displays of new, highly emotional behaviour in a 3 year old he works with. After a quick review of general development (in particular, her recent development of expressive language – she had recently begun talking) and interactions (between the child and practitioner, the child and others and self-talk during solo play), I identified a key element to these new outbursts of explosive anger and sadness.

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Lockdown CPD: Child of Our Time – Turning 20 (BBC iPlayer)

In 1999, the groundbreaking BBC series Child of Our Time began filming a group of babies from the moment they were born, to explore what would shape their lives in the new millennium. Twenty years on, these children are fully grown and can reflect in their own words on growing up during a time of extraordinary social change. Drawing on thousands of hours of archive footage, this special focuses on three of the children (Eve, Jamie and Rhianna) exploring childhood as the first generation of 21st-century UK.

You can find this special episode on BBC iPlayer here.

 

 

 

Click here if you would like to enquire about commissioning training (set topics or bespoke), coaching or supervision packages or consultation work delivered remotely.

Training, coaching and consultation during impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

With the latest government advice detailing increased social distancing, all face-to-face consultation work and training is postponed until further notice.
If you would like to explore an online package of consultation, bespoke training or coaching, please get in contact to discuss your needs. For example, group supervision sessions via Skype or individual coaching via FaceTime.
I will be offering significantly reduced rates (20% discount) to reflect the current challenges the sector faces, such as staff who are self-isolating or entire settings experiencing a temporary closure.

Lockdown CPD: Babies (Netflix)

“From first breath to first steps, this docuseries explores a decade of groundbreaking science that reveals the emotional and astounding story of a baby’s first year of life.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3HuD9Ehb_0

This accessible series combines lovely snapshots of real families in the first year of their babies’ life, with commentary and insights from researchers.

From familiar research on early language development and attachment, to more recent breakthroughs in early motor skills and nutrition; you’ll find something fascinating!

You can find it by searching for ‘Babies’ in Netflix or following this link.

If you are seeking highly tailored continuous professional development during a period of self-isolation or the temporary closure of your setting, we can help! We are offering reduced rates on online consultation, training and coaching during this difficult time. Find out more here.

Resources: eco-sustainability toolkit launch

A new online toolkit has launched with the aim of helping early years settings to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Ideal if you are searching for a low-cost starting point to turn your setting green.

The Eco Wheel provides resources for educating children, employees, parents and others within the community about climate change, environmentally friendly practices and alternatives. 

Topics featured include:

  • Change management (making transition successful)
  • Single use plastics, including nappies
  • Buildings
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Play resources and equipment
  • Transport and trips
  • Nurturing nature

The toolkit is based around ‘The 8 Rs’ principles:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repurpose
  • Repair
  • Return
  • Recycle
  • Rethink

An individual setting membership costs £40 per setting, per year. There are tiered discounts for multiple settings (for example, for a group of 10 settings the fee drops to £30). The annual subscription fee funds the update of content.

Continuity: supporting learning between home and setting

It is so important to recognise parents as children’s first and most enduring teachers – we may be experts on child development but they are the experts on their own child! Together we have a far more profound impact than working in separate silos.

A recent example was a blog post I published for my nursery talking about a sunflower activity the children had been enjoying. It referenced the prior learning (investigating decay in the autumn term), encouraged families to watch a time lapse of a sunflower growing together and reminded them of a facility we offer to print photographs from home for children to share. As the children had planted two sets of seeds (one for home, one for nursery) it created a tangible link. Our children absolutely love sharing their home experiences with their friends and staff – they eagerly tell me how big their sunflower is (“it’s almost as tall as daddy..!”) and tell me how they’re helping it to grow (“water, but not too much – just right!”). Parents also join in these conversations – sharing their expertise (we have a few green-fingered carers who know far more about effective growing than we do!) and telling us funny tales about little people remembering at bedtime that they haven’t watered their sunflower so going out in their pyjamas and wellies with a watering can.

Learning and understanding: perspectives and experiences

This kind of continuity between home and setting has also been supported by our “What Does Your Day Look Like?” book. We created a sheet with prompts to enable our pre-school children and parents to share what their world looks like – from the special routines they have when they wake up to what mummy and daddy’s lunch times look like when they are at work (a tricky concept for little people that is sometimes tied up with anxiety – what does “going to work” mean? What does “work” look like – is it a place or an activity – or both!?).

The prompts are open-ended so parents and children can decide what is the most important for each section. Staff completed example ones to get the ball rolling – some chose to draw their day, some used photos, some used text. We made the examples diverse to showcase no one way is best or preferred. Completed pages go in to a special A3 book of experiences – children are able to return to review this book (similar to their “All About Me” photo albums) with their peers or Key Person.

This is also lovely if they’re having a tough day and are feeling a bit wobbly; being able to say “that’s mummy’s lunchbox, she’ll be having her lunch now too – just like you. After lunch, mummy will collect you because you’re going to the park – see, just like the photo?” is a lovely bit of reassurance and containment to help remind children of the day’s routine (now, next) and that mummy is doing similar things elsewhere, but will return.

By valuing children’s lived experiences – in all their wonderful diversity – we hope to celebrate and champion their perspectives and ways of being. This also links to the funds of knowledge research that I feel is vital for early years practitioners to empathise and make meaning for children within the educational setting.

 

 

Click here if you would like to enquire about commissioning training (set topics or bespoke), coaching or supervision packages or consultation work delivered remotely.