child looking at candle

Honouring children

What’s most important about celebrating Christmas with children? Alice Sharp takes us through her own memories to point out the key qualities that make a true Christmas. In her usual lively style, Alice offers uplifting and hopeful thoughts at a time when we all need to hear them.

Read her article and find out about her upcoming webinar.

A child is playing in a puddle of water

Let the children be free

As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, there are so many ways in which children’s lives have been restricted, from social distancing to lockdown measures. Even though times are difficult, we can still find ways to give children freedom and a true childhood. Be encouraged by these timeless words from the well-known educator Maria Montessori. View the video here.
leaf prints on paper

Outdoor autumn leaf art

Autumn is a time of year that naturally lends itself to exploring nature. Invigorating fresh air and vivid colours captivate our senses and entice us outdoors, even if it’s a bit chilly. Leaves fall and acorns, conkers and beechnuts drop, generously covering the ground with materials for children to collect. Giving children enough time outdoors to discover will ignite their interest in the world around them. Use this simple nature-art activity as a springboard to learning about leaves with your class. Children will be fascinated by different leaf shapes and types and will enjoy the colourful results.

Find step-by-step instructions and inspiring photos here.

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.

Boys making nature patterns

Maths play with natural loose parts

We are approaching the time of year in which nature generously replenishes its available loose parts. Leaves fall, acorns drop, seed pods form, and there is no end to the natural materials you can collect just in your garden.

“One area of early learning particularly suited for the use of these materials is maths,” writes Dorie Ranheim. “There is a myriad of questions that can be asked to guide children’s thinking. For example, What did we find the most of? Tell me about your stick. Can you find something longer? Which rock is heavier? Through these playful interactions, rich maths language flows and becomes part of the child’s vocabulary.

“You can also use loose parts to model mathematical skills like how to count acorns using one-to-one correspondence, how to create a pattern with autumn leaves, or how to measure by comparing two feathers. All of the foundational areas of early maths can be explored in a playful way using natural loose parts.” More ideas here.

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