Room layout

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.

children creating artwork

How to create appealing, beautiful and purposeful habitats

The bowerbird, a native of Australia and New Zealand, is a curator of its nest. What can we learn from the bowerbird about being a curator of children's creative work and building inspiring learning spaces that tell them: "You are important"? Read this from Dr Sandra Duncan.

sharing books in the book corner

The book corner

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” –  Dr Seuss


Books have a tremendous influence on many areas of learning. They can introduce themes of friendship, diversity, and overcoming challenge, thus helping to develop character. They can expand children’s knowledge of the world, other people, cultures and traditions, or they can introduce imaginary themes. Here's how the book corner can fulfil many of the EYFS learning and development requirements.


personal signature

Salehurst makeover

New environment makes a massive impact

"The new furniture layout had a massive impact on the children and their learning."
- Andrew McGregor, Head Teacher, Salehurst CoE Primary School

The Reception classroom was worn out, and so were the teachers by the end of the day. Over one weekend, the old furniture was replaced with a brand new layout, divided into interest areas. The staff were amazed what a difference the new environment had on their children.

"It's so amazing seeing our classroom transformed," says Reception class teacher, Sian Rice. "Getting the environment right is absolutely fundamental to the children's learning and wellbeing. If you get it right the children will be calm, they'll be engaged, they'll be focused and they'll gain so much out of their time there."

Watch the children's faces as they enter their classroom on Monday morning.

welcome area

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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