Education

Boy watering plant

Keeping it simple

Early years rooms can be busy, and sometimes even a little chaotic—how can we create peaceful places where focussed play and learning are inevitable? The Japanese tradition of Wabi Sabi talks about the importance of simplicity and the appreciation of natural objects. In an early years setting this could be perhaps setting out fewer resources, creating clear space and decorating it in neutral colours, and bringing nature indoors.

“Using ‘simplicity’ as one of the key principles for organising the early years setting can be surprisingly straightforward to put into practice, and it also brings many benefits to children’s well-being and development.”

Read Hilary White’s informative article to see how you can create a calmer environment and spark new interest among your children.

Two children working with wood

Why introduce woodwork in the early years?

“We have seen how working with real tools offers children new experiences and encompasses all areas of learning,” writes early years creative consultant Pete Moorhouse. “Woodwork allows children to become the innovators, makers, sculptors, tinkerers, engineers and architects of tomorrow. The experience of working with wood and tools leaves deep memories and becomes a part of children’s DNA.”

Working with wood can play a central role in your curriculum, supporting maths, physical coordination, creative skills, understanding of the world, language and vocabulary. Read Pete’s article and find out about his new on-line training course here.

Child with flower and adults lower face

Babies are scientists

The first time an infant knocks a cup of milk from the table, it’s an accident. The next time, it’s clearly intentional. Will the falling cup produce the same intriguing splash on the floor (and the same exciting noise from any adult nearby)?

Science is about forming and testing hypotheses. This is what babies do all the time! They are continually experimenting and investigating, fuelled by curiosity and an innate drive to figure out their world. As long as these little investigators are surrounded by interesting things they will continue to explore and learn.

The natural world, with its constantly changing colours, textures, movements, and sounds, provides a uniquely stimulating environment for young children. Take a young child outside and you can just about see the “lights go on”. So why is it that this age group is mostly kept indoors?

Read more.

Two children playing by a stream

Why Froebel is still important today

“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul,” wrote Friedrich Froebel. Today his philosophies are embedded into our modern educational foundations, but Froebel’s ideas were radical for his time. So radical, in fact, that at one point the Prussian government banned his kindergartens. Yet Froebel’s concept of “a garden for children” lives on, and his vision for true childhood is as relevant today as it was in the 19th century.

Read an account of his life here.

A teacher helping a crying child

Challenging behaviours in challenging times

Coping with change is difficult for any of us, and children are especially sensitive to disruptions in their routine. Covid-19 has successfully disrupted daily life for everyone. Constant change and the accompanying stress have become one of the new norms. Some children are returning to their nursery or school, while others remain at home.

“Those of us who work with young children know stress often translates into an uptick in challenging behaviours,” writes Jennifer Fiechtner. “Tantrums, meltdowns, sleep disruptions, and regression are all ways that children may show that they are having a hard time. So, what can parents and caregivers do to help?”

Read this.

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