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Articles Teaching and Learning

Cross-phase articles about teaching and learning
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…
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 …
In this article, Kathy Brodie focuses on how sustained shared thinking can support each of the Prime areas of learning and development, as defined by the EYFS – Communication and Language; Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Devel…
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.
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…
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.   
Belle Wallace, creator of the TASC framework for developing children's thinking and problem-solving skills, explains how significant the relationship is between the acquisition of language and the development of thought.
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.
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 and…
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…
This article is the third and final in our series on the Characteristics of Effective Learning, following on from Play and Exploration in Action and Active Learning in Action.
What children need in settings is a chance to spend quality time with an adult, with reading material that excites the children’s interests, in a space that is inviting.  
Kathy Brodie examines how Sustained Shared Thinking can be used to enhance the four areas of learning and development in the EYFS known as the Specific Areas: Mathematics, Expressive Arts and Design, Literacy and Understanding the World.
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…
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 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…
This article is about young children playing with digital technologies at home and in their educational settings. It draws on a series of research studies conducted at the University of Stirling over a period of 10 years with my colleagues Professor …
In this article we look in detail at two observations and explain, in depth, how we assess and allocate refinements to what we are seeing.  From the article, you will learn how you can use information gathered from observations, in conjunction with t…
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?’
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…
Sara Knight, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Anglia Ruskin University, discusses the historical meanings of "schooling" and their relevance to today's young children. She outlines four ways in which we learn, and explains her concerns …
Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is the Jewish Festival of Lights. The word Hanukkah means ‘rededication’, and it is a time for celebrating a great miracle in Jewish history and for showing hope and dedication against all the odds. The festival lasts for eight…
The use of milestones in the form of development checklists do not take on the individuality of each child. They are generic and imply that all children go through the sequential process. This article aims to introduce the concept of individuality of…
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…
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…