Charity begins at . . . Nursery?

I couldn’t think of a snappier title for this post, maybe the vast consumption of chocolate at Christmas has fogged my creative brain?

Actually Christmas is what I’m thinking about. Up and down the country households will be having a clear out of things either no longer required or replaced by something gifted at Christmas. All this ends up going to charity shops which is fantastic news for savvy early years practitioners looking to find interesting bits and bobbs to provoke curious minds into interesting thinking. Also, mud kitchens can be restocked with pots, pans and other delights. So the children benefit, your budgets benefit and the charity shops benefit.

Win/win situation.

Seasons Greetings!


I can’t believe than in just a few days it’s Christmas. It only seems like yesterday we were singing about Santa getting stuck up the chimney and retrieving the “baby Jesus” from the tumble dryer (long story, I may tell you some day!) before making plans for 2017, now it’s coming to a close.

I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to all who have read and commented on my posts this year, especially some of my Early Year Heros, it’s been so exciting and motivating for me to have you all along for the journey. Here’s to another exciting year of curiosity, inquiry and discovery in the world of Early Learning and Childcare and hope you’ll stick with me for the journey?

Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ùr

He’s reading again!

I’m sure this reading malarkey must be bad for my health, I’ve even gone a bit retro read this time!


I’ve been talking a lot lately about the influences of other people, particularly after reading the A – Z of the Curiosity Approach and the melting pot of influential educational theorists that provided their inspiration for such a creative and child-led method.

One of their influences also happens to be one of mine, the brilliant (and dare I say it?) ahead of her time (I said it!) Dr Maria Montessori.

She was a brilliant woman, initially training as a doctor of medicine before devoting her life to the education of children. She was fascinated and led by child development and spent a great deal of her time observing children and their behaviours to formulate a method around their stages of development and the learning that can take place.

I was particularly inspired by a paragraph at the start of this book:

“And so I say that any reform of education must be based upon the development of the human personality. Man himself should become the center (sic) of education. And it must be remembered that man does not develop only at the university: man starts his development from birth and before birth” (Montessori, 1949)

Her influence is still prescient today in Early Learning and Childcare even if your setting isn’t Montessori based. When we use items to provoke learning then there is a hint of Montessori. How about encouraging the children with self-help skills? This is a core of Monessori’s method and one which we embrace without a second thought. As I mentioned before, I’ve always had a minor interest in her methods and work so now’s the time to find out more.

Who’s your educational influence?

Curiosity piqued – a book review.


As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve been reading The A to Z of The Curiosity Approach, curated and authored by Lyndsey Hellyn and Stephanie Bennett. My mind has literally been blown.

This is such an easy to read book packed to absolute brim with glorious photos of real setting embracing their approach to Early Learning and Childcare. My problem at first with this book was I decided to read it in bed prior to going to sleep – that was a massive mistake as I ended up with very little sleep due to my mind whirring with so many delightful and inspiring ideas. Take that as a warning, only ever read it during the day.

There is more to this approach than filling a room with objects and letting the children get on with it. This is a whole setting approach and this book carefully explains that it’s as much about inspiring and engaging the practitioners as it is about the children. If practitioners are engaged with the resources on offer then the children will be more likely to join in with them and then the learning begins.

Both the authors are clear to point out that this isn’t a truly new approach but a harvest of the very best points of so many other philosophies and educational approaches such as Montessori (a personal favourite of mine), Steiner, Reggio Emilia and Te Whāriki. This blend of theories and practices aims to harness children’s natural curiosity, awe and wonder and this is the very core of the Curiosity approach.

I could go on and on but I feel that it needs to be discovered and given the praise it deserves. So I can heartily recommend you investing the £19.99 for this book, it will alter the way you think about the layout and presentation of the learning environments.

You can purchase this book by visiting their website: