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“Strive to make everyday the best day of your life, because there is no good reason not to.” Hal Elrod

Where can I get Autumn resources from?

Sep 16, 2021

I get asked all the time...'Where do you get your resources from?'

Firstly, many of the resources we use in Early Years can be collected, reclaimed or re-used for free. Some of my favourite natural Autumn loose parts are;

  • Leaves from different trees and different colours
  • Dried leaves and flower petals
  • Leaf skeletons
  • Twigs of different lengths and thickness
  • Acorns
  • Pine cones
  • Moss
  • Bark
  • Tree cookies
  • Tree stumps
  • Pumpkins and squash
  • Conkers

I also like to add items like:

  • Wooden buttons
  • Grapat loose parts
  • Cotton reels
  • Coloured sheets of felt
  • Empty picture frames
  • Glass beads
  • Numicon

 

Placemats, mirrors, lightboxes and tinkertrays are all good to include alongside too.

When it comes to buying resources i have always worked in schools and settings with very little money to spend on resourcing. Any money that we did have would be spent on;

1. High quality staffing

2. Block Play resources

3. Books

4. Small world imaginative play

I feel that when we spend our budget in...

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Small ways to build nature into your urban setting

Sep 16, 2021

“In nature, children learn to take risks, overcome fears, make new friends, regulate emotions, and create imaginary worlds.”
― Angela J. Hanscom 

When it comes to taking learning outside we are all very much aware of the many benefits being in nature can have on a child's learning, wellbeing and development. Yet what happens when we have limited access to nature? Perhaps you're a parent living in the middle of the city, an inner city preschool or a school with only concrete grounds?

In this blog article I want to show you 3 simple ways that you can make learning happen outdoors and build nature into your day. 

My experiences

I have worked in a number of different locations over the years and some of these have been rural schools set in between farm land in North Yorkshire, to city centre locations and those in the middle of dense housing estates. Each setting has brought it's own benefits and challenges. In one particular school I worked in the EYFS area...

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How I plan for the start of the Autumn term

Sep 09, 2021
 

When it comes to planning for the first few weeks of the Autumn term with your new children I would focus on prioritising the following:

  • Making sure new children feel safe and settled
  • Building positive relationships with all children
  • Establishing rules and expectations 
  • Getting children used to the daily routine 

If you take a re-watch of my video from my Hygge Summer School you can see that I share the ways I would plan and organise the daily routine at the start of the year in Reception or nursery. 

When the time feels right for you and your children you can then start to spark new curiosities and interests by introducing these to the children. As much as I believe lots of what we teach from should come from the children I also understand that there needs to be a balance of us as educators offering the opportunity to broaden the children's knowledge through the exposure to different and new experiences. These might be linked to seasonal changes,...

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How Much To Document? and avoiding the observation race!

Sep 05, 2021

Documenting the learning that the children are doing is part of the process of being an early years educator. However we don't want to be doing too much that it takes us away from the child and the importance of the learning. 

What exactly is documentation? This is the process of recording down the child's learning and responding to this in a way as an educator that allows us to deepen their level of learning or provide challenge. 

Although we have many visitors of the blog working internationally, we also have a large proportion of visitors working here in the U.K and with the revised EYFS curriculum as of of September 2021. 

Having worked with many educators here in England over the last year, it has come up in many discussions that under the new EYFS 'there is no requirement to document children's learning.'

In this blog post I want to reflect on the value of high quality observations and unpick why there is still a place for these in our every day early years...

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How does your practice support your view of the child?

Aug 26, 2021

"If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.”

Alfie Kohn

Inside the Hygge in the Early Years Accreditation we learn about the Reggio Inspired approach and work on developing our own image of the child and discovering what it is about each individual that makes them capable learners. Taking that time to get to know them and considering what makes each one special and tuning in to how they learn.  Our own experiences as children, parents and educators shape what this can be and it's important to recognise the strengths and capabilities our individual children have. 

I believe that young children are capable of high levels of engagement in their learning. But how can they show this if i'm always the one deciding what we should do around the agenda I have as an adult? I believe that doing this can set them up to fail.

Therefore my understanding of the child must be backed...

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‘Wow’ I couldn’t of ever imagined the true impact the Hygge Accreditation would have made on me, my family, and my setting.

Aug 20, 2021
‘Wow’ I couldn’t of ever imagined the true impact the Hygge Accreditation would have made on me, my family, and my setting.
Cholsey Pre-School
I just wanted to firstly say ‘Wow’ I couldn’t of have never imagined the true impact the Hygge Accreditation would have made on me, my family, and my setting. We started the accreditation within our Pre-School at the beginning of Covid 19, not knowing the true impact that covid was going to cause, at this time I had lost my nan to a stroke, my emotions and mental well-being were effected massively, as well as grieving, supporting my family with bereavement and running a Pre-School. I had felt a lot of pressure on my shoulders at once to make sure everyone was ok and everyone was coping with what was going on in the world. When I reflect back now, I can see I was probably the lowest I had ever been, but never showed this to anyone. As always you put on a smile and support the people around you and...
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"I was spending almost all my earnings on the latest toys and trends to keep the children happy."

Aug 17, 2021

Mini Explorers Childcare – Keira Gilbert

I started my childminding journey in January 2020 just before the first lockdown. While I absolutely love working with children, I decided that becoming my own boss meant I had the power to implement changes to my practice I had been wanting to do for years but was always met with criticism. I needed to slow down for myself and for the children, especially during the most challenging obstacle we had ever faced: a worldwide pandemic. I wanted to have the facts and skills to be able to implement this new vision and respond to criticism in an informed and positive way. I compared myself too much to nurseries I had previously worked on and was stuck in a loop of trying to churn out huge activities one after another through the day to appease what I thought parents would be looking for. As well as this I was spending almost all my earnings on the latest toys and trends to keep the children happy.

 

The vision I had for my setting was...

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Why do babies need time outdoors?

Aug 12, 2021

"How about if they have to sit on the ground and get dirty?"

"What if my child falls?"

"What if they try to put sand in their mouth?"

"But my baby will get sick being outside?"

"I'm too busy in my day to get outside with my baby"

Taking babies outside offers many benefits on all areas of their development and the earlier they get used to being outside, the sooner their love for nature will develop. It is though their first hand sensory  and movement experiences that they learn to make sense of the world and develop key connections in their brain. In order for us to place a greater emphasis on the outdoors in our practice with babies and toddlers we must understand that the outdoors offers a richness that isn't available inside. We don't want to just take out indoor resources and put them outside - we must use the nature around us!

Yet many parents and early educators lack the confidence to make nature based play with babies work. With worries around risk, dirt and over...

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"I was very tired, unmotivated and I felt rushed on a daily basis."

Aug 03, 2021

My name is Samantha, I am a Registered childminder  in southeast London.

I have been a childminder for 17 years and done many training courses.  Hygge was the first one that focussed on myself as a practitioner and my well being.

Until I started, I hadn’t realised that this was something I really needed. I was very tired, unmotivated and I felt rushed on a daily basis. Missing out on breakfast and drinking coffee as I set up. I wanted everything to look inviting before 07:30am.  I would be disappointed when the children were not engaging in the activity.

Focussing on myself, my vision and the children allowed made me to slow down and I realised I was still offering the cosy caring environment but it needed to be calmer and less manic. I started with having breakfast and a hot coffee before 07:30. I stopped putting out invitations to play but waited for the children to arrive.We talked about what they want to do and we set up areas together. Now we come together...

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"I was churning out quantity and not quality and totally wearing myself out, which was ridiculous!"

Aug 02, 2021

I have been a registered Childminder since 2002.

I began Childminding after my divorce in 2000.

I wanted to have an occupation where I could work from home and be there for my two daughters and support them through their school life.

Throughout my career I have given 100% and so far achieved 3 Outstanding Ofsted Grades.

Unfortunately I feel that because I have given so much to my job and the families I care for, I have missed out on the main reason for starting this childminding journey......... my family.

For years I thought that my vision was to provide a setting which emulates a school nursery. I would be obsessed with the EYFS Development Guidance, taking multiple daily observations and obsessively completing tracking charts.

I used a variety of online platforms to observe our children and found the whole process to be so time consuming and a complete chore. I felt that because I had constantly done so many observations, I needed to keep up that pace.

In actual fact, I was...

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