I love learning!

I can’t help myself, it’s true. Having only just finished a very intense year of degree level study I’m enrolled myself on another course – I’m a fool to myself, I really am!

Having read the damming report on the decreasing levels of physical activity in the Early Years from Sport England, I began to show a increasing interest in how to make it better. First of all I shaped my knowledge by researching the subject as part of my dissertation, my finding were that the knowledge and training of staff didn’t necessarily match up to the guidance from the Chief Medical Officer’s of the UK.

I wanted to learn more, and made a promise to myself that, once my degree was over, I would further my knowledge and training on this subject. Luckily, I managed to find a company based in Manchester who offer the very course I wanted – 1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Physical Development and Physical Activity in the Early Years.

So, I’m now working on this course with Ball Zone CIC. Mostly online but I will be required to plan, implement (and film) and evaluate a session with a group of children. Thankfully my setting is right behind me.


I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been hiding of late, I have been rather quiet on here?

Well, if you look back at this post from September last year, you’ll know I’ve been busy working on the final year of my degree. It’s been a real battle, emotionally as well as mentally. However with the help and support of my family and my amazing colleagues I have now finished – all bar the shouting as they say!

I’ve been pretty lucky to study at University Centre Doncaster as the help and support given to us has been amazing. I’ve tried to finish degree study quite a few times and failed on each of them, however it’s the level of support that really got me through (as well as having one of my colleagues on the journey with me). If I felt like I was drowning there was support available at the end of an email, phone or Teams call and I was given the answer or reassurance I needed, no question was too silly and you were never made to feel that way.

However, now it’s time for the long wait to see what my final grade will be. Keep everything crossed folks.

Only in Nursery!

So I’m working on a new project for The Male Practitioner and I need your help and input. I’m planning on creating a fun book for either download or (costs depending) publishing, with profits going to a children’s charity.

We’ve all be in that situation at nursery where we say something that ONLY makes sense to you and your colleagues (prime example is “no Jonny, we don’t put Lego up Jemima’s nose do we!”) So why not email your best moments of crazy talk to me so I can put them into the book.*

Send them, along with your name to hello@themalepractitioner.com

*Please don’t use real names for the children and only use staff names if they consent.

Talking Pictures – Zoo Animals

We all know that young children love wild animals, here’s a selction of photos from Chester Zoo available in our Talking Pictures series.

If you would like to support the vital conserrvation work that Chester Zoo do for the world’s wildlife then please visit their website HERE

Free Download – 10 in the bed Number Line

I’m delighted to present another free download for you today. Using these amazing £1.00 bears from Ikea (click HERE for the link) I’ve created a “10 in the Bed Number Line for you to download, print and display. It’s perfect for using in conjunction with the song.

Talking Pictures – Castles

Welcome to the first in an ocassional series of FREE downloads from The Male Practitioners. This set of images can be used in the classrom to promote discussion on a variety of topics. Our first choice is Castles.

Just download, print out and laminate to really get the children chatting.

Real Life Practice Podcast – Episode 5 – Rob Fox

In this episode of the podcast Glenn talks to Rob Fox from Active Childhood UK about his new venture, The Cambridge Manny. If you would like to share aspects of your practice then please get in touch – hello@themalepractitioner.com

Slightly Political Post – Covid Vaccine

So, I have been thinking a lot recently about this as it’s very much in the news (good news for a change.) This year has been so strange for all of us in Early Years as we constantly change and adapt and are put under increasing pressure to serve the families that rely on us and the services we provide. The news that the first of the vaccinces are being rolled out was such a tremendous boost to the morale of the whole country.

Quite rightly the elderly, vulnerable, NHS and social care staff (including care home staff) are in line to get theirs first I feel that, yet again, Early Years and education staff are being left out. Althugh the risk of children spreading the virus is low the risk is still there. Children may be silent carriers of the virus and could, potentially, pass that onto staff who could then pass it on to their own families.

I’m not demanding to get my vaccine now, I just want to know why Early Years and School staff aren’t in with the first group for vaccination? I wish I had the answer to that, however I have emailed my own MP and sent a tweet to both Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock. Let’s see what they have to say.

If you want to send an email to your own MP then feel free to borrow my email below:

Dear **NAME OF MP**,

I write to you as one of your constituents and also a key worker in an Early Years setting to ask you a question.

With the current rollout of the vaccine it has identified that the elderly and vulnerable as well as NHS, social care and care home staff should be getting their vaccination first ahead of various other categories of the population. While I fully support that, I fail to understand how key workers in Early Years and Education aren’t being included in this early delivery.? Like our colleagues in the NHS and Social Care we have worked  tirelessly, under extreme pressures and with constantly changing guidelines, to continue to provide people with the childcare they needed. Children are capable of carrying the virus without showing symptoms and this can then be passed on to the adults in the setting who could, potentially, spread this to a vulnerable family member. Therefore could you please could you explain to me why we haven’t been included in this early delivery?

I look forward to your reply.

Kind Regards

Merry Christmas!

Here’s hoping you all have a safe, happy and enjoyable Christmas and that 2021 brings all you want and more. Lot’s more TMP adventures to come next year!

Book Review: 50 Fantastic Ideas for Tuff Tray Mathematics by Sally Wright.

So I’m hoping that you get this feeling too? That feeling that a new book you’ve been expecting arrives and it’s just brimming with inspiration. Today I got that feeling when Sally Wright’s latest edition to the “50” series, 50 Fantastic Ideas for Tuff Tray Mathematics.

Now this isn’t a huge tome that requires your devoted attention (and that isn’t a criticism, it’s certainly an advantage), this is most definitely one to dip in and out of and be inspired each time that you do.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_20201119_144932445-576x1024.jpg

If you compare this book to Sally’s previous book, 50 Fantastic Ideas for Tuff Trays, then you can see that she has also been on a journey or learning and development in her practice. The activities in the new book are very much based around the way the children have interpreted them and not necessarily with a fixed purpose from the adult.

The book is also organised into some great sections which feature in daily nursery life such as schemas (transporting), small world play, mark making and creative play to name a few. One of my favourite sections was “use what you’ve got” as it really didn’t require anything that any reasonably resources early years setting would have.

I’m reading this book while on a week off at home (no abroad holiday for us this year!) and it’s frustrating. No, not the lack of abroad holiday, but the fact I’m at home and really want to go to Nursery and get out all the scales we own and pile on the porridge oats and scoops (You’ll need to look at page 28 to see what I’m burbling on about), however I can use this time to prepare my plan of attack with the tuff tray.

I’m not mathematically minded in the slightest, physical play and storytelling are my specialities, however this book doesn’t require you to be Carol Vorderman (or Rachel Riley depending on how old you are!) it just wants you to set up an inviting tuff tray that the children can come along to and not feel pressured into doing an activity carefully curated by you to crowbar them into completing an outcome of the EYFS.

If I have to say one negative thing about this book it’s this, 50 activities aren’t enough. I’ll have gone through them in a week if I have my way!

Sally, HELP!!