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Olympics at Home

By Linda Thornton in Linda Thornton
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Children attending early years settings and primary schools will be focussing on sporting activities with the Olympics and Paralympics now only weeks away. They will be developing activities which focus on encouraging children to be active and learn new physical skills.

Enhancing small world play

By Linda Thornton in Linda Thornton
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Small world play is an activity in the early years which encompasses all area of learning and development.

Exciting environments for small world play

By Linda Thornton
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Providing the right resources to engage young children’s attention, provoke their curiosity and stimulate their creative and critical thinking is the key to developing an exciting environment for small world play.

Learning about birds in your outdoor area

By Linda Thornton
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At this time of year many birds are searching for food to eat as wintery weather continues and spring approaches. Attracting birds into the outdoor area around your setting will provide lots of interest and learning opportunities for children all through the year. Children will have the opportunity to see, talk about and recognise different species of birds and they will become aware of the different types of food birds eat and will learn that birds feed in different ways and at different times of the day.

Science in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1

By Linda Thornton
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Growing plants

We often underestimate the influence of plants in our lives. Plants provide us with food, building materials, raw materials used in manufacturing processes, fuel and life-saving drugs as well bringing colour, scent and beauty into our lives. Plants also play an essential role in maintaining the environmental sustainability of the Earth. Planting, growing and tending plants are perfect ways of introducing young children not to the importance of taking care of living things and to their responsibility for taking care of the planet.

The environment as the third teacher

By Linda Thornton
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In this time of uncertainty in the field of early education and childcare -over funding issues, impending expansion of the free entitlement and the changing nature of children’s centres amongst other things- we must, as a profession, continue to reflect on our core principles and values. Whatever difficulties we encounter in our working lives our duty now, as always, must be to defend the right of babies and young children to quality provision.

Using Heuristic Play Resources

By Linda Thornton
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The word heuristic derives from the Greek word eurisko meaning ‘I discover’. It is used to describe an intuitive way of meeting challenges and solving problems – exactly what young children do when they are engaged in Heuristic Play.

Asking Good Questions, Having Good Conversations

By Linda Thornton
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Communication and Language – Listening, Speaking and Understanding – has been designated as one of the Prime areas of learning in the new EYFS Framework. This gives us a clear message about the importance of nurturing children’s communication skills from a very early age. We are all aware that even very young babies use all their senses to explore themselves and their surroundings as they start to make sense of the world. Well before they can talk they will be communicating, investigating, asking questions, solving problems and making choices as they eat, play and interact with the people around them.

Mathematics teaching in the early years

By Linda Thornton
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This week, when on childcare duties with my three and a half year old grandson, I was asked by my daughter to see if I could persuade him to complete a ‘shapes sheet’ which he needed to take to his pre-school the following day.