💻🧠👥 CPD for the autumn term 🍁☕️❄️

Our summer online training webinars for early years and primary professionals have all finished and we are preparing our autumn offer in advance (very advance – the weather is sweltering and it is comforting to think of the chilly season ahead). Booking will go live for these sessions (and others, subject to tutor availability) soon, so please bookmark this page or subscribe to updates.

tion: a variety of heirloom pumpkins and squashes on a slatted bench sit before a whitewashed wall, with training dates overlaid.

Pricing is per participant, invitations (Teams/Zoom) are sent to each participant for their sole use. All webinars include an additional 10-minute Q&A session at the end where the tutor can discuss specific queries relating to your setting or practice, relating to the topic covered.

We are also accepting suggestions for our online webinars, so please get in contact if you have any requests for us to consider – this is often the cheapest way for you to get bespoke training!


Food for thought: Centre for Mental Health and Maternal Mental Health Alliance report 🧠🤱🏽🤰🏼💕

The ‘Newton Oakley Education: Food for Thought’ series aims to provide you with learning sparks and talking points to share in staff meetings, training or in your professional library.

Today I attended a webinar held by the Centre for Mental Health about ‘Maternal Mental Health During a Pandemic’ which covered the centre’s new rapid evidence review. While many practitioners working within early years education may not work directly with parents during the perinatal period, it is useful to have a broad understanding of the implications of poor maternal (and paternal!) mental health support during children’s early life. Conversations about service cuts are rife within the early years field but often those conversations don’t extend to discussions about the root cause: how political and local board decisions directly impact your work.

We already know that the perinatal period is a time of significant risk to women’s mental health, with up to two in ten women suffering some form of mental health difficulty, without factoring in the new stresses and significant life changes brought about by a global pandemic (exacerbation of inequality, social isolation, job losses and insecurity, health anxiety, caring responsibilities, etc.).

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Food for thought: implications for parent partnerships in results from #5BigQuestions study

The Duchess of Cambridge has unveiled the findings of the biggest ever UK study on the early years, in a milestone moment for her work on the importance of early childhood in shaping the rest of our lives and broader societal outcomes. The Royal Foundation commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the research, aiming to discover what the UK thinks about the early years. It also explores how COVID-19 has impacted the perceptions and experiences of parents and carers of the under-fives. Ofsted has also conducted research in to the impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning and welfare that can be found in briefings here and here.

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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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Learning for life: curiosity and enthusiasm!

All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.

Martin H. Fischer

I was reminded of this quote on a trip to Canada in February. The enthusiasm of children out in the deep snow reflected my own (snow-deprived living in East Anglia) excitement to get outside and play! I especially wanted to try out frozen bubble blowing (with temperatures forecasted to be -11 or lower).

Later in the trip, we visited the Royal Ontario Museum where children were exploring a woodland scene (see photo) – noticing tiny details and making links with their previous real-life experiences in the woods.

As practitioners we can cultivate our own curiosity and inquiring nature, to role model those effective characteristics of learning and communicate (without sometimes jaded adult eyes) that the world is indeed fascinating! When I returned to work, I was able to show children a time-lapse of a bubble freezing beautifully in real-time. The awe and wonder (and subsequent conversations about how we could do it again) reaffirmed the notion that working in early years is a little bit magic.