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Last term I attended some Ecat training and was given £180 to spend afterwards to help improve our practice in this area.

Although that was great it is the sort of amount of money where it could buy lots of small things but not much in the way of big things, if you see what I mean?

Can anyone suggest one large item that might really help create a communication friendly area in one playroom which we could buy for the £180?

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A dark den - we got ours from TTS - or cheaper pop up tents/shelters work well too. The advantage of the dark den is that it is multi functional - it can be used as a communication friendly space - or a sensory zone with torches and textured fabrics and glow in the dark stuff, and it is quite sturdy too.

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Wow, that's lovely. When I did my Elklan accreditation I purchased a family set of Duplo Lego, i only found it on Lego Educational website or in the Educational catalogues. A fantastic set for language focused play, small groups or one on one play. Think it was about £90.00. I would buy Community play blocks or the set from the Early Excellence site if money allowed.

For a communication friendly space I would invest in smaller items such as pegs for various fabrics for draping with, treasures such as shells, cones, feathers, in fact any natural products.

Enjoy spending. Fx

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When my nursery was part of the ECaT Project there was much more money around - we were all given a fairly substantial amount plus around £100 from which we had to purchase a Flip video camera. The ECaT team felt that the camera would help us all to reflect on our interactions with children when used for peer observations; it is also useful to record observations of children or an activity which could later be watched on the IWB (or on the class computer) with the children - they love to watch themselves on the 'big screen'! We did this when the chicks hatched in the incubator, which was good when other children were absent and could see it themselves when they returned. The children use the camera too.

We bought a battery charger and batteries so that the children's tape recorders could be used all the time and a set of 'talking boxes' from TTS.

Have fun spending!

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