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FSF Newsletter - February 2013, 10th Birthday edition!

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Welcome to the FSF newsletter, which comes to you on the occasion of our 10th anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been a decade since the doors opened on Valentine's day 2003, but it is nonetheless true, so let me wish us all a very happy birthday. Whether you're a veteran member of 10 years or have found your way to us more recently, you're all individually a vital part of this amazing community, so many happy returns to us all!

Please can I remind any of you who would like to come to our celebration conference and evening, that we need to have your confirmation forms back by 20th February. The date of the event is April 12th, but if we don't reach the minimum number by 20th February we have to cancel it - and we're not quite there yet! You can find out more and download the form here:


In other news, could the 'weavers' using Tapestry (our online learning journal system) please note that we've added the ability to convert individual child's journals to PDF files. There's a little tutorial showing you how to use this feature, which you can find here:


Following the DfEs recent response to the Nutbrown review of EYFS, outlining their plans for early years childcare (find a link to this from here) they also launched a consultation - this is a quick reminder that this has to be completed before 25th March. You can respond from here. If you'd like to read or join in the discussion following this publication you can find it here.

LA Scheme

We're delighted to welcome Derby City to the FSF LA scheme. Teachers, practitioners, and other providers from Derby City will soon be able to register and subscribe free of charge (visit the LA index page to learn more).

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, which have renewed their LA subscription - members need do nothing, their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

  • for the second year - Rochdale and Slough
  • for the fifth year - Windsor & Maidenhed, Guernsey
  • for the sixth year - LB of Barnet
  • We're especially happy to welcome back members from Leicestershire and East Sussex renewing for their 7th year
  • And finally, we're very pleased to see our friends in Hampshire renewing for the eighth year

Welcome back to you all!

New Content

Aspects of Art: Printing

We continue our series on Art in the early years with a closer look at printing.

Exploring practitioners' perspectives on 'quality' in early years services

Michelle Cottle is a senior lecturer in early childhood studies at the University of Roehampton. Her article discusses some of the issues that may shape early years practitioners’ understandings of ‘quality’ within the context of their particular settings. It draws on data from a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (2009). Michelle discusses the two distinct ways of understanding 'quality': as a locally-determined, changing and dynamic process for each individual setting, or as a static 'target', externally defined and imposed by statutory frameworks and regulations.

Being an EYP Change Agent

Ruksana Mohammed, EYPS programme leader and lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at the University of East London, outlines the qualities and methods of a successful agent for change. EYPs are entrusted to identify what change is valuable, worthwhile and in need of improving, and to then lead the team on to better practice. However, when discussing this concept with trainee EYPs, it normally brings about a confused dialogue; A change agent? What's that then? What change?

From The Forum

Referring suspected neglect

I work in a privately run nursery and a few if the staff have had concerns about one of the little girls, she has been collected late several times left at the nursery until 7pm, she also often comes in wearing the same clothes several days in a row, including the same pants. I noticed when changing her today that she has thrush.

I have introduced a concern book for staff to log concerns and her parents have been spoke to several times about hygiene. To which they reply she likes to dress her self. The nursery is in an affluent area and we don't see many neglect cases. I was wondering what any one thinks about at what stage a referral would be needed?

Boys and weapon play

Anyone got any links to any good research that suggests that weapon play is a good thing and should not be discouraged?

I just need some back up as I'm getting it in the neck that I let the boys make guns and actually encourage it!

Supervision and appraisals

1) How often do we need to be doing supervision and what sort of formats settings are using / recommend?

2) We do our appraisals once a year, is this enough? and can anyone recommend a good format?


Mark making area supporting early writing

At the moment I have a box with word cards in, first-dictionary type books and a display with different types of writing in my mark-making area but find that the children don't really use the cards or the books to support their writing even when shown. They like looking through the word cards and using them as tickets in the role-play area but they don't really go to find one to help them to write a word.

Bearing in mind THAT recent Ofsted video, I don't want to make this too formalised but do want to give them the chance to write words if they are ready and interest but don't see the point in providing random words that the children can't read yet. Any ideas will be appreciated.

Unusual bruising

Can anyone give any suggestions as to how a child could have a circular bruise on the ear lobe - this has happened 3 times and parents have said 'dont know how' each time.

We are obviously worried - any ideas

Fidgeting/Sensory child

We have a child who is 3.5 and constantly fidgets and touches other children. He bounces up an down on his haunches, or sucks his thumb and touches his ear, he will lick other children, suck their thumb, twiddle their hair, touch their clothes etc. Every time he talks to staff he bounces up and down and waves his arms up and down as he talks.

We are trying to support him, however we are also getting a little dizzy!

Cooking activities - large numbers of recipes in this topic!

I have been searching for recipies to do with the under 5s, their are lots out there but my problem is the session only lasts 3 hours. when you take out the time for arriving, tidy up time, singing time etc I'm only left with 1 1/2 hours.

Does anyone know of any good sites or has some good quick recipes they would like to share please?

Paediatrician doesn't agree with me.

Feeling I need some advice regarding a child at my setting, he joined us last Sept and from beginning KP shared with me she had concerns about his general development and having observed him and also carried out the 2-year development check, feel this little boy has a global development delay in all the prime areas.

Initially, bearing in mind the 'softly softly' approach, going down the speech and language checklist with mum asked if okay for me to refer for speech and language assessment. In November, at the review meeting, working in partnership with child's HV, suggested mum go to GP and share our concerns (mum feels that he has made some improvement since starting with us, but think she feels we are 'pushing' for referral and has gone along with it). Was pleased that GP agreed to refer and paediatrician appointment was (for once) very soon (usually takes 3-4 months). Mum returned from appt in December and said 'doctor had no concerns about her child, was developing 'normally', this was confirmed in a letter to the HV.

Now feeling somewhat 'undermined'...not sure if that's the right word, but it is obvious to us that this child has a development delay of about year or more in all prime areas and just for the life of me can't understand why the paed didn't feel the same way!


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