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Do any of you have guidelines that staff must follow when producing displays?


In my new setting the displays are appaling - I have never seen anything like it.


I know that in the scheme of things they can wait, but I cringe everytime I pass one!!

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Depends why you're cringing!

I cringe when I see a display such as a photo copy of an animal with a couple of crayon marks on, or when the work has obviously been cut round to fit a certain idea of the NN.

The best displays are the childrens work, and I dont mean the ones which are recognisable as a tree, or a cat or 'my mom'.

I think the best we can do for displays is show the childrens work in a context that will help them to see the over all picture of what was intended.

I like to add a text telling how the work was produced. I often let the children do whatever they want with the paint and rollers, brushes, stikkle bricks etc and then write a small piece 'Today we used the paint, we used rollers to make long lines, the stikkle bricks made small spots etc...' Or base it around the develpment that can take place, 'today we practiced gripping small things, we made these collages...'.


I think most places have their own way of doing things and it seems to me that a lot of work goes into producing displays that really arent for the benefit of anyone other than the NN's involved.




Displays are a big issue for me just in case anyone wants to push me off my soap box :o

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Displaying children’s work is an essential part of building children’s self-esteem. All children’s work should be celebrated and respected so sensitive display techniques are essential.


Issues of gender, culture and disability need to be thought through when it comes to setting up displays. Positive images and multicultural artefacts need to be discussed and planned by staff as a team.


We should not assume that children are predominately visual learners. “We must consider the place of touch, smell, taste and hearing in the setting and offer stimulation to all the senses. “Baskets and displays of natural materials such as cones, leaves, shells, and flowers can be touched, handled and smelt. Displays can include three dimensional objects, textures, scents, sounds and flavours.” (Featherstone and Bayley 2002)


On the display table natural objects, pinecones, conkers and leaves are displayed safely with a natural colour theme. It is located at a child friendly level to encourage children including those with any sensory impairment to feel, touch and smell the objects. The children are positively encouraged to make suggestions and bring objects into the classroom to add to displays. This encourages discussion in the home. “Nature tables are a valuable resource that you must consider and plan very carefully. Such displays can be a positive way of involving both parents and children” Robinson, Beith and Pullan, Early Years Care and Education


“Where children are valued, carefully presented and displayed work on boards, display tables, and centres of interest provides a record of past and present projects. We need to make time for children to be involved in the display of their own work. This often takes longer that putting it up ourselves. “The practitioner should consider the achievements of the individual, and not judge all work against an inflexible standard in order to display the ‘best items.” (Drake 2005)


“Teachers’ transcripts of children’s words carefully caption the work of each child.”

(Featherstone and Bayley 2002


“Act as a scribe to children’ thoughts and comments” (Featherstone and Bayley 2002)


Whatever the type of display, it should be easily accessible to the child visually.

(Drake 2005)


“Reproductions of artists’ work and original works of art from the present and other time, and from different cultures, can provide a stimulating starting point for learning across all areas.”

(Drake 2005)


Do we display children’s work in ways that really respect their representations, or do we try to ‘pretty’ them up to make what we think would be a better display?

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Does depend on your outlook and why they appear to be appaling to you,


our displays are childrens own work in whatever form it comes, not usually mounted, but can be, and as said some annotation on how it was produced, or what the children said about it when making it, children ask to put them on the wall to show everyone or we suggest they may like to. we encourage children to have 'ownership' of the displays rather than us.


Large group pictures are usually with a bit more adult input but generally you can see the childrens work in it, and often have word lists or comments from children displayed with it, as say in day and night picture what they see in day and night what is same or different etc...rainy picture, how they feel, do they like it, words to do with rain from them.


none look particuarly ,tidy, or neat and all who see them say the children have obviously done that and like it because it is bright childfriendly and always changing.



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We stopped doing the 'big all singing all dancing displays' that said more about the staff's ideas than the children a couple of years ago on the advice of our Early Years advisor and do 'instant' displays of children's work as they produce it with a note on the context and learning outcomes.

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I agree with all the wise words so far.

We display the children's work ensuring that each child has something represented - this can also be recycled models, playdough, constructions, puzzles they are proud of or anything else the children have created, including their mark making -we're not so good at annotating, we're workng on this.

Children display their own art where they choose to. What I especially like are the child level displays and we try to make these interactive in some way adding velcro or pockets, asking the children to put up their own work - or annotated photographs of the children and these work especially well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of good advice already, but thought this might be of some use, it’s taken from a display policy created when we were having issues with a general lack of forethought going into display work in one of our nurseries. I say policy in the loosest term as there’s no requirement to have it but it got staff thinking about what they were putting up for all to see…





The quality of display work in the setting has much to say about its values and ethos. The following policy is written giving due considerations to the following principles.


· That the visual appearance of the setting contributes to its image and ethos.

· That the displays in the setting should reflect its life, work and values.

· That displays should be educative, informative and visually stimulating; not only for the nurseries population but for its numerous visitors.

· That such displays have a positive effect on childrens’ interests and motivations.

· That children and adults within the setting respect and look after an environment that has a pleasant, orderly and cared for appearance, and one that they or their peers have helped to create.




· Displays should always relate to recent, current or impending learning of the children.

· Displays should be labelled in order to identify the work by name and to indicate the learning with which the display is connected, through either the display title or questions placed upon the display.

· Displays should be neat and tidy and well arranged, including the correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar, such as the correct use of upper case lettering in titles.

· Displays should be well maintained, modified or removed after they have run their educational course and not be allowed to age or disintegrate.

· Displays should be made secure when any valuable items are included, especially at those times when the nursery or general premises, are at their most vulnerable.


Further purposes of display work


· To show exemplary work in terms of approach, imagination, technique, skills and use of materials.

· To display examples of co-operative work produced by pairs or groups of children, with or without adult support.

· To show a range of responses to a common starting point, relative to their previous achievements.

· To act as a teaching and learning aid.



…We try wherever possible to make the displays interactive, such as colour sorting trays underneath a rainbow display, and make certain that each child has at least one piece of work displayed around the room. To extend on what dasher said about the children displaying their own work we set up a display board in our writing/creative area with everything the children need to put their own work up with a table in front for them to put their models etc. on.


Hope that's of some use to you :o



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