little girl playing guitar on the floor

Singing new songs

“Singing and music are part of children’s development. We miss opportunities for learning if we rely on singing only a limited number of the good old favourites,” writes Marjorie Ouvry. “Have we an appropriate repertoire up our sleeves?” Here are some helpful tips and ideas.

personal signature

little girl removing or returning carry crate to its shelf

Every moment matters

Much of what occurs in a child’s day may seem trivial or monotonous from an adult’s perspective: going out, coming in; jacket on, jacket off; choosing a toy, putting it away… However, because children live intensely “in the moment”, it is precisely within the context of these seemingly ordinary routines that learning happens.


As early years educators we need to find ways to capture and celebrate the regular rituals in a child’s day and “turn the ordinary into the extraordinary”. To get started, try these ideas from Dr. Sandra Duncan: The power of everyday moments.

personal signature

Two boys doing constructive play outdoors

Justifying constructive play

A couple years ago I worked in a nursery in Australia. The weather was gorgeous and we spent all our time outdoors in a spacious garden kept very tidy so as not to attract snakes and spiders. However, we noticed that our older children just ran around the garden, unable to engage in their play.

One evening we staff put our heads together and realized we needed to make a change. Our garden was too sterile. With a group of dads and other volunteers, we transformed a small grove of shade-trees into a mini adventure playground with logs and woodchips, outdoor blocks and other loose parts. The change in the children’s play was dramatic. They settled down and began to construct things.

“Constructive play is what young children do naturally,” writes Francis Wardle. "It is critically important for young children, and should be encouraged and supported both in the classroom and on the playground."

Wardle has some great ideas on how to encourage and justify constructive play. Read the full article here.

Camels built from Unit blocks

We three kings of Orient are

Not to be daunted by the absence of the real thing, a local reception class built their own camels with Unit blocks. Bejewelled with the tops of coloured lights, the majestic symmetry of these creations stopped me in my tracks. They only stayed around for a day or so, before they disappeared to make room for something else. But I captured them on my camera so you can enjoy them too.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2016


Girl with flower garland

Making flower garlands with children

Before the flowers are gone for the year, here’s something I love to do with children. Making flower garlands is a festive way to celebrate a birthday or any other happy occasion. It is a real gift as it involves your time as you work together with the child. I made this one with a child in South Korea; she picked the purple asters blooming by a mountain stream while I wove it.

If you’re ready to give it a try, here’s how to make a garland. Cut a thick stem or a willow branch long enough to fit round the child’s head. Tie the end of a reel of cotton to one end of this base stem. Lay one flower along the stem and wind the cotton two or three times around the stem as close to the flower as you can. It needs to be tight – but not so tight it cuts through the flower’s stem! Lay a second flower right against the first and wind as before. Continue winding flowers along the stem until it’s the right size for the child’s head. To finish the garland, overlap the ends and wind securely together with the cotton. This is the hardest step.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t work the first time – practice makes perfect!

Search or browse our learning library

Filter by topic or type