Parents and teachers

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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.

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How music helps to ease stress during the day

Why do so many of us use “the Clean-Up Song” to indicate that it is time to pack up the toys? Probably because it works! Repetitive, familiar songs are one of the best ways to announce and calmly ease children through daily transition times. A child doesn’t need a lot of information to transition, and a tune—used regularly—offers them a signal without overwhelming them with words.

In her years of teaching experience, Margaret Hooton has acquired a wealth of tried-and-tested little songs for all moments of the day. Try them yourself! Listen here.

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Rewards of repetition

Why does Thomas tie everything up in string? Why does Lynn always twirl in circles? If you are puzzled about a child’s behaviour, you might be seeing a schema in action: “Children have a natural urge to do the same thing again and again…this is a vitally important element in young children’s development and learning.” Writes Stella Louis in her new booklet Schemas for parents.

This booklet “will make parents feel empowered to enjoy their children.” says Professor Tina Bruce. Parents and practitioners “will find comfort in seeing that some of the puzzling things their children do can be explained and made educationally worthwhile.” 

Read more about Schemas.

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Book review: Exploring outdoors ages 3-11

The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky. - Margaret McMillan

Are you wondering how to set up an outdoor area? Or how to re-inspire a worn outdoor space? This newly published guide for schools is a unique handbook that covers all aspects of outdoor exploration with young children. In a series of delightful case studies and diary entries, the authors follow “one primary school through an entire academic year, capturing the challenges, discoveries and joys of children and adults co-exploring outdoors together.”

The first chapter is titled “Outdoor exploration starts with the adults.” Read an excerpt from this chapter: Co-exploring

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Plan for transitions

Six weeks into the new school year and things should be settling down. Are they? What about the critical moments of your schedule such as arrival, changes in activities, and departure time?

Adapting to change is an important life skill, one few of us can say we have mastered. Yet children live in the now. They can't feel secure when they have the feeling that something is going to happen but they don't know when.

Helping children to make sense of the things out of their control – like time – is one way of providing security for them. When given predictable routines and prompts as to what's coming next, children quickly become secure and focus on play and learning.

Read the full article by Kay Albrecht and Jennifer Fiechtner for advice on developing a classroom routine to ease transition times for children and help their parents feel part of the team.


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