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About JohnSB

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    65% H₂O/1KΩ on a hot day

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    Early Childhood Play and Pedagogy
    Education for Sustainable Development
    Science, Design and Technology in Early Childhood
    Equality of Opportunity and Social Justice
    Mucking about in boats and stuff

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  • Your interest in Foundation Stage education

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  1. ​I'm not convinced that the distinction between adult-led and child-led is at all useful. If the adult extends the child's playful learning is the resulting activity adult or child led? What is important is that when there is any interaction between the child and the adult there should be mutual involvement and engagement...essentially a dialogue. If they are sustained, dialogue's are cyclical with each party leading and following! I find the Reggio community use of the term 'provocation' useful - any adult led (teaching moment) that isn't taken up by the child can be considered a failed provocation - the important thing then is not to continue with it...drop it quickly. Generally speaking, the better we observe the child's engagement in free play the better we will get at providing fruitful provocations. Experienced and high aspirational practitioners also have a wider knowledge of potential provocations to draw upon. Comments on: ‘Teaching and play in the early years – a balancing act?’ Ofsted, 2015) Ofsted’s (2015) influential report stresses the importance of answering the question of 'balance', particularly in relation to supporting the teaching and learning of disadvantaged children. The report acknowledges that setting up teaching and play as opposites is a false dichotomy and that good practice involves adults and children in a cyclic interplay, underpinned by accurate assessment and continual quality-enhancing decisions by the practitioner. But this still leaves the question of exactly how practitioners 'weigh up' what Ofsted refer to as: ‘...the extent of their involvement, and fine-tun(e) how formal or informal, structured or unstructured, dependent or independent each learning experience should be to meet the needs of each child most effectively’ (Ofsted, 2015, p5). When most people think about the question of ‘balance’ between teaching and play, they think of them each exerting an equal weight on each side. But that isn’t’ the only way things balance… you can have a ‘balance’ with much more emphasis on play than on teaching! Archimedes suggested he could lift the planet Earth if only we gave him a long enough lever….but of course, he was only speaking metaphorically. The SchemaPlay argument is that the best research evidence that we currently have suggests that the ‘weighting’ placed on play must be substantial, disproportionate, and overriding in comparison to teaching. But we also argue that ‘synergy’ rather than ‘balance’ provides a much better metaphor for teaching and play. This is because an appropriate combination of the two elements, even if they may sometimes be considered 'unbalanced', produce a total learning effect that is much greater than the sum of the two.
  2. I have just put together some draft advice of how you can calculate your preschool Carbon footprint - if anyone has the time or inclination to test it in practice and/or offer further suggestions it would be appreciated: Estimating your preschool’s carbon footprint http://www.carbon-calculator.org.uk Your carbon footprint can be used to set a baseline from which your collective efforts to make improvements can be measured. It may also be sobering to compare your footprint with other preschools. A typical rural Kenya preschool has a carbon footprint of about 3Kg per child. Collect together all the below information and then log onto the Carbon Calculator website to calculate your preschool’s carbon footprint. Below is a list of all the information you will be asked to input: Leave the first four drop down options at the default values ‘Average’ Building or process energy values - Enter the total electricity consumed a year (from electricity bills) - Enter the total gas consumed a year (from gas bills) - Enter any other Energy source that you have Transport Energy Values Carry out the following survey with staff and parents and then calculate a total figure for the preschool: · If you drive you or your child to the preschool by car approximately how much fuel do you use in a year: Petrol = Diesel = Auto LPG = · If you or your child travels in another car or taxi approximately how many miles does this amount to in a year = · If you or your child travels to the preschool in a local bus how many miles does this amount to in a year = · If you or your child travels to the preschool in a train, tram, coach, or tube approximately how many miles does this amount to in a year = Extra Data: What is the approximate floor area of your school in m2? Note: Although this calculator refers to ‘employees’ the total number of children and staff may be entered to obtain a preschool carbon footprint per person as well as a total figure. The final calculation provides the total annual carbon emissions in kilograms of carbon. When you have made the calculations you might think about: · Do you encourage parents to walk their child and/or car sharing? · Do you encourage staff to walk or cycle to the preschool? · Are your school heating pipes insulated? · Does your school building have roof insulation? · Do you have double or triple glazing? · Do you have low energy lights? · Are there presence detectors on the lights installed in parts of the school? · Does your school have photovoltaics (solar electric)? · Does your school have solar thermal? · Does your school have biomass (wood) heating? · Does your school have a ground-source heat pump? · Does your school have a wind turbine? · Does your school have an air-source heat pump? · How is the school heating provided? (Gas / Oil / Coal / Electricity/ Biomass (wood) The Fair Earth Share is the maximum amount of CO2 that scientists have calculated each person can emit before it becomes unsustainable for our planet. It’s around 2,500 Kg per person (per year) so a lot less than the current 10,000 Kgs per person that we are currently producing. If we consider the emissions resulting from the time spent at school as about 10% of this figure then a Fair Earth Share would be 250 Kg. How is your preschool contributing?DRAFTcarbon footprint.docx
  3. "Which disadvantaged groups" - Hmm not sure where you are going with this either... Don't be offended. We all know that young children deserve the best and to recruit and retain the best, salaries must rise substantially. We also have quite enough problems without arguing among ourselves - here is the gov response to the 30 hours of free childcare entitlement: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/30-hour-free-childcare-entitlement
  4. I didn't say that those not attending are mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds. I am more concerned about the lower attendance of children from some disadvantaged groups. These are well documented although some of the evidence is dated. There is a lot of evidence that disadvantaged groups more generally have in the past been less likely to attend preschool. There have certainly been improvements but I don't know if this overall problem has been solved in the past decade or not. It would also be interesting to know about any research that looks at the over-representation of particularly advantaged children in the highest budget/quality preschools. While I wouldn't put a lot of faith in some of the individual Ofsted quality ratings that I have come across, the overall picture in England is apparently showing a clear pattern of progressively lower ratings according to each level of community deprivation. The majority (96%) of disadvantaged two-year-olds in 2014 were also in PVI settings: http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/news/1145056/majority-disadvantaged-olds-pvi-settings
  5. I don't have the statistics but if 5% are not attending that must be close to half a million children - and as I see it this is a social justice/rights issue. Its a problem to be solved even if it were only one child disadvantaged through an accident of birth. On the issue of free places I was just reading the Jo Blanden et al's Impact study..." only 1 in every 4 newly funded places between 2002 and 2007 providing a genuine new place. The other 3 simply switched funding from private to public provision".
  6. Computers/ICT

    Some good sense at last from the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) - they are no longer suggesting ICT is bad for young children. They now accept that a balanced approach should be recommended. As Joanne Orlando suggests, they now advise, as we have been doing for a very long time that we should: - Make sure children have a balanced approach to technology. Technology use should not replace physical activity, sleep or spending time with others. - We should take an active role in children’s screen engagement. This does not mean not allowing your child to do anything independently on their device, but rather to be interested in what they do and provide hands on guidance. - Take a planned approach to managing the time children spend on a screen. Not leaving it to chance every day. (See: http://joanneorlando.com.au/no-limits-can-the-new-guidelin…/
  7. Sustained Shared Thinking

    I just noticed the link for this video has been lost - here is a new one. Its still the best illustration I have seen on video. https://youtu.be/7Lg7Oan5iN4
  8. Details of another project this time concerned with Water Conservation and Hygiene is posted here
  9. Handwashing outdoors

    That's odd it works OK on my browser: http://omepuk.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=86
  10. Handwashing outdoors

    I think we are talking about 'Tippy tap's' - they are really good for outdoor hygiene - and possibly even more valuable for children to learn about water conservation and sustainable development. Tippy Taps are really cool. OMEP have some good resources you can download from here http://omepuk.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=86 Their Tippy Tap project started with this - the follow-up
  11. If you would like to read some more - our first report on the ongoing research is free to download here
  12. I wouldn't worry too much about the knowledge content or how deep the children's understanding is. Sustainable citizenship is an emergent capability (like reading). We shouldn’t be 'teaching' it in the early years - We should be trying to give children the experiences that will lead them towards it... If you can get one simple message across – that literally MILLIONS of people, rich and poor, from cities and countryside in every continent, are pulling together around the world to make it a better place by not wasting so much - and that they (every child) is a wonderful and exciting part of that global community action - then you will have made a really big contribution. The 'day' itself (22nd April) can involve some action – something locally relevant ideally but planting a tree is both a symbolic and valuable contribution in its own right. http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/registerfind-an-event/ The day could also be a celebration of having taken part in the switch off for Earth Hour (March 25th) which again is an event shared by Millions (I think maybe now Billions) of people from all around the world. It might be interesting to make suggestions about how to spend that hour and/or share stories about how people spent it. I think the most important thing of all is probably for the children to be celebrating and feel proud of being involved in this global movement. For them to begin to learn that they have a voice and can make a difference. Of course if you are looking at different aspects of the theme (The energy conservation theme most commonly associated with Earth Hour is associated with reusing, repairing and recycling as well as reducing) - different children will learn different aspects along the way, and if you can get parents involved then they will be re-enforcing and contributing in their own right. http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/
  13. I think it may be worth you taking a look at the discussion at http://eyfs.info/forums/topic/42556-objective-led-planning/
  14. Objective planning

    There is a useful strand on this at http://eyfs.info/forums/topic/42556-objective-led-planning/
  15. socket covers risk assessment

    Yes I think this is the most important point but we shouldn't wait until they interfere with the socket - Electricity is all around them and children need to learn about the dangers from an early age. We need to treat electricity in the same way as other major potential hazards like traffic and deep water. Children need to learn that if a very large electric current passes through them it can kill them. A small electric current from a battery isn't dangerous - like a puddle isn't dangerous. But the electricity supplied in sockets is very very dangerous. Poking something into the holes would be like jumping into the canal or running across a busy road... I have been looking at better ways to teach preschool children about electricity and safety. They need to understand that electricity flows through things, and that we have to take precautions to make sure it never flows through water and people. The importance of keeping electrical devices out of bathrooms has always been an issue. I have been running some trials in a preschool in Bournemouth and will be following this up in the work that I am doing in Kent. Socket covers should not be used, if you have any doubts about this take a look at: http://www.fatallyflawed.org.uk/ I think it is remarkable that despite Computing being introduced in the statutory National curriculum Programmes of Study from Year One, electricity and electrical safety is not included until year 4! Even then it encourages children to be taught that all materials may divided into two discrete categories ‘conductors’ and ‘insulators’. I think this is bad science, it is a false dichotomy and in practical terms it is also a very dangerous assumption to make. Children should be taught about electricity much better and earlier. Three Crucial facts about Electricity and Safety: There is no such thing as a perfect insulatorEvery material can conduct electricity under some conditions. While pure water is a poor conductor, dirty water can be a very good one. Even air conducts electricity at times as can be seen in lightening, and the insulation qualities of rubber and plastics around electrical cables may be reduced through age and damp conditions. The Human Body conducts electricityAccording to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) there were as many as 2,788 accidents involving electricity in the home every year. In 2002, 27 deaths were recorded to have been the direct cause of electrical injury, and 24% of all electrical injuries involved children under the age of 14. When a strong current flows through your body it blocks the electrical signals between the brain and you muscles. In some conditions 50 Volts is enough to cause this ‘electric shock’: It may stop your heart beating It may stop you breathing It may cause a muscle spasm that leads to serious injury Electricity + Water = DangerThe seriousness of an electric shock depends on the size of the voltage, which parts of your body are involved, how damp you are, and the length of time the current is flowing through you. From an electrical safety point of view, the bathroom is probably the most dangerous room in the home. There are special regulations limiting the fitting of electric sockets in bathrooms and electrical devices such as hairdryers, heaters or radios should never be used. Another major site of accidents is in the garden where electrical equipment should never be used in wet or damp conditions.