A little bit of shopping

So earlier I had some bursts of inspiration for my room at Nursery and thankfully we went out shopping. I should mention I’m visiting the in-laws for Easter so it’s supposed to be a relaxing time away from the hustle and bustle of work.

Let’s face it, do we ever totally switch off?

Anyway, first stop was Go Outdoors as I wanted some compasses. One of my children has been exploring outside using a “compass” so I thought it was about time we let him try a real one.


It’s part of an overall scheme I have to look at maps, globes etc so I’m using his interest in compasses to ignite this. You may also have noticed the camping kettle – I couldn’t resist this for the mud kitchen!

Second visit of the day was to Poundland for a group of unusual items:


So you may have noticed from the photo above that I have velcro hair rollers, hair donuts and two types of pan scourer pads. This is so I can develop the children’s use of loose parts play in the construction. I was inspired earlier today by a photo of Alice Sharp and a child using similar materials in their construction play and I felt this would be a great addition. I suppose you could use all sorts if items so long as they stick to the velcro roller!

OK, I’ll try and return to my holiday now.

Sometimes it’s like my mind has a mind of its own!

You know that time when you’re meant to be on holiday and put all thoughts of work out of your head?

No, me neither!

Currently I’m developing a ideas for loose parts pound shop construction and an area for maps and exploration as a provocation.

Honestly people I think I need locking up (but not before a trip to the shops first!)

BOOK REVIEW: Can I go and play now?

The subtitle of this book is “rethinking the Early Years” and it couldn’t be more appropriate!

Greg Bottrill’s revolution to put play at the heart of Early Years is voiced with such eloquence and good humour in his book. You are compelled to read on and savour each word and think of the truth behind each sentence.

Right away I could tell that Greg makes clear sense in what he’s saying in that what our youngest children need is the “best version of you” and your understanding that they are children and will create noise, mess, chaos and fun! Greg is an advocate for next steps planning as this closely follows what the children want to learn about and discover. We are there to facilitate learning not to dictate learning and his book makes this abundantly clear.

Of course this requires change, both in our professional practice as well as in government written curriculum but Greg will guide you through how to work alongside the latter.

If you are looking for a way to change your current thinking and practice then you can do no wrong picking up and reading this book. Of course the government change is also in our hands so let’s stand together and voice the change we want to see.

Vive la revolution!!

Who broke it?

Apologies in advance for a blog post which some may find controversial but it’s something I feel passionately about.

It’s Sunday morning and I feel like crying, not because it’s Sunday and I’m back to work tomorrow (luckily I love my job not to feel like that) but because I’m about to do our weekly “planning” sheet “because we have to!”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing some aspects of my job at home, in fact this afternoon I intend having a well planned raid on Poundland to garner some new resources for outside provision. I object because this type of planning drive me utterly round the twist. Who exactly is it for because I’ll tell you for certain it isn’t the children. We do this type of “tick box” planning every week and it’s rare that I’ll observe the children doing anything remotely related to it that I can get a firm observation for their profiles from. Currently I have a couple of my key children interested in dragons, another few have an interest in growing things and some more are fascinated with running – how am I supposed to crowbar that into our focused outcome for the week?

Does our Government think so little of our profession that they can’t trust us to raise the next generation without some sort of “safety net” in the form of a prescribed curriculum framework. Actually, while I think of it the word framework itself bring forth visions of a steel fence keeping everything in order. But shouldn’t the great and wonderful sector known as Early Learning and Childcare be in a delightful form of disorder? A chaotic maelstrom of wild ideas and wilder imaginations led by the great army of under fives with gentle guidance from adults.

I don’t know about anyone else (actually, that’s I lie I do know several people who would agree) but isn’t a curriculum just a way of forcing children to stop being children and put their own methods of learning and discovery, or as they like to call it “play”, to one side and learn the adult way. In fact, in adult learning it is acknowledged that there are different types of learners; those who can sit and absorb a book or a lecture and those who learn by doing (that’s me by the way!).

Anyway I’m off to go and tick the required boxes whilst dreaming up wonderful provocations for my little people that I know they will enjoy, play with and learn so much more from.

Now, where did I leave my dragon?

BOOK REVIEW: Hygge in the Early Years


Sorry this review has taken a while but this certainly wasn’t a book to rush.

Kimberly Smith is the author of this transformational and inspirational book which is well worth picking up and reading. From the outset this book wasn’t one to rush into and devour in one sitting. For a start that would have been an utter waste of your time as none of the key messages from this book would have settled into your mind. Secondly (and I’m certain this is deliberate) Kimberly has written this book in superbly bitesize chunks for you to read, re-read, and digest before you implement them into your practice.

As I lead a team one of the key sections for me was “Leading in the EYFS” which spoke clearly about preserving the emotional wellbeing of the staff. As I’ve spoken about before on this blog looking after ourselves and our colleagues is equally as important as the children. Kimberly’s message is crystal: care for yourself too!

There is an abundance of suggestions and ideas, quite frankly this book is dripping with inspirational things to add to your practice or setting that it’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing but if I have to then I would draw your attention to “Hygge through the seasons” which is an almighty array of ideas for activities you can do to promote this wonderful, comfortable and sensational way of life in your setting.

Kimberly, I salute you and Hygge!


To celebrate the start of spring (although you’d be hard to spot it amongst the snow this week) I’m going to hold a competition to win this amazing book . . .

All you need to do is email me and tell me your favourite colour. Don’t forget to put your name and address in your email. I’ll pick a winner on Saturday 10th March so email your entry to themalepractitioner@gmail.com ASAP!!