Messy learning

There’s no doubt that taking children outdoors positively impacts their learning, well-being and development. But why and how? Juliet Robertson’s book, Dirty Teaching – A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors, is packed full of practical ideas, activity suggestions and inspiration.

Read extracts from the introductory chapters here.

boy blowing blue bubbles

Discovery art with bubble-blowing

Given a glass of soapy water and a drinking straw, any child will instinctively want to blow as many bubbles as possible, and this time you won’t have to tell them to stop! Here’s a great activity to explore properties of air and water with young children and end up with an attractive, unique piece of artwork. Find instructions and photos to demonstrate the project here.


How can we reset screen time after the pandemic?

Over the past year, screens have been a saving grace for many of us. They’ve connected us with loved ones, enabled us to work from home, and allowed our children to continue participating in school or nursery.

But as the pandemic slowly begins to retreat, and restrictions gradually lift, we need to start thinking about how to put screens back in their proper place. Our gut reaction tells us that too much screen time is bad for kids, depriving them of opportunities for free play, social interactions, eye contact, and direct response from caring adults.

After this year of unnatural dependence on screens, it may be hard to get back to what we know is best for our children. Jean Rogers, of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, offers some positive suggestions for parents and educators for the months ahead. Read the whole article here.


A creative approach to behaviour management

Four-year-old Jedekai was profoundly deaf and had limited mobility when he joined his nursery group. “What could I bring to the session that would really include him?” asked Anni McTavish, his teacher.

Within any group of children, there will always be a great range of different needs and behaviours. McTavish lists factors to consider in day-to-day management for all children, and offers pointers specifically around inclusion. “By injecting a sense of fun and a positive attitude into a situation,” she writes, “the learning is likely to be richer” and both the child and teacher end up winners.

Read more.


Play prepares children for life – taking a second look at Froebel’s ideas

In 1880, Froebel, who started the first Kindergarten, wrote: “Play is the highest level of human development in childhood…It gives joy, freedom, contentment, inner and outer rest, peace with the world.”

In early education today, it’s easy for an emphasis on academic standards and meeting requirements to crowd out time to play.

“Now is an opportune time to familiarise ourselves with Froebel’s original ideas, and to use them to challenge inappropriate practices used with our youngest children,” writes Francis Wardle. Read more.

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