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Articles Teaching and Learning

Cross-phase articles about teaching and learning
You could be forgiven for thinking that outdoor play is a relatively new phenomenon, driven by The National Trust (2016) and their ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11¾’ project.  Children and being outside seems to be a recurrent theme in the media a…
Time to throw open the gingham curtains and use what we find behind them to create a space that gives our children the freedom to be independent, motivated learners who can choose from a range of engaging and challenging resources that will promote…
This is the first article in what will be a series examining questions such as ‘What are next steps?’, ‘Who decides which next steps are appropriate?’, ‘What is the best way to record next steps?’ and ‘How often should next steps be reviewed?’
Planning for individual children is a statutory requirement.   However, such plans do not have to be written down.  A skilful practitioner is making several hundred “in the moment” plans every day.   
This article will focus on the need for early years practitioners to develop their knowledge of reflective thinking. It will focus on some of the history and theory of reflective practice considering and discussing how theory can help develop practi…
It is not always clear  how observations should be used to inform planning, assessments and evaluation of children's progress. Sometimes the huge array of choices can make choosing a next step a really confusing task.
Many of the FSF members follow Alistair Bryce-Clegg's blog and have attended his very popular presentations. Following a discussion here about his innovative 'objective-led planning', we invited Alistair to explain this approach.
It would seem that many years after the first publication of a statutory EYFS Framework, we are still grappling with one key question: how much paperwork is actually enough?
It is often noted in literature that planning and teaching should be based around children’s interests. Through doing so, practitioners can enhance development and progress in each area of learning. The National Strategies for Early Years suggest tha…
It comes up on the FSF sufficiently often that I have begun to wonder if we, in early years, are perhaps looking for ‘an answer’ – the Next Step ‘Holy Grail’ as it were. Sensibly, we all know that there cannot be an answer, children are all different…
Quality Early Years practice comes from an understanding of child development and also a belief that children should play the principle role in leading their learning. What we do and how we do it is built on centuries of theory, research and succes…
I spent over twenty rewarding and stimulating years as a classroom teacher in the North of England and for the most part as a senior manager responsible for the early years foundation stage (EYFS). I delighted in working with children and parents an…
How many times have you thought that it would be easy to use Development Matters as a 'tick list'? Which managers have had heated meetings with staff who say that 'ticking off' aspects makes it so much easier to plan next steps? I know that here at F…
Having worked with children with speech, language and communication difficulties for twenty five years I am constantly surprised when I meet typically developing pre-school children with whom I can hold complex conversations.  Children who are able…
From Spring 2017, all schools will be required to assess and report on English proficiency in the Department for Education (DfE) census for any child with English as an additional language (EAL). As this will include children in maintained nursery sc…
Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) are a revived element in the current Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). CoEL advocate that in planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners must reflect on the different ways that …
As a student getting to grips with the world of early years, the word ‘observation’ filled me with fear and trepidation.  I knew it was important but what exactly, was it that I was being asked to do? I didn’t walk around with my eyes shut so why wer…
A brief history and summary of the theories and practical aspects of the Reggio Emilia approach. Malaguzzi had a deep sense of respect for children's ability to be partners in their own learning, and this is at the heart of the Reggio approach to edu…
Isaacs had a passionate belief in the place of nursery education in society. She felt that attending a nursery school should be a natural part of a child’s early life: the early years setting was a place that should both mirror the family through l…
In her lifetime, Maria Montessori was regarded as one of the foremost female educationalists and her legacy continues today in many Montessori schools worldwide.
Dewey partitioned childhood into different stages of development, the first stage being from the ages of four to eight years. He believed that during this period the key factors for successful learning were play, conversation, physical activity and s…
Like other educational theorists before him, Steiner divided childhood up into distinct phases. They fall in seven year cycles and are marked by physical changes in the child. He explained that the early years of childhood are a time of learning by b…
As the name of his system of schooling suggests, the 'kindergarten' or 'children's garden' allowed time for outside play and experiencing nature. Froebel felt that play should have a purpose if the child was to learn from it. He devised specific pl…
Pestalozzi realised that children feel safe and secure at home and that it was this atmosphere that was most conducive to learning. However, he founded a number of educational establishments as he was aware that not all children could spend time lear…
Rousseau's understanding of the early years of child development as being a profound time in our lives is still relevant today. His appreciation of how much a child learns through finding things out for themselves, and of the role of observation and …