Communication and language development

Profile: Howling success!

Karen Hart talks to children's author Kat Patrick and finds out how her latest picture book is all about encouraging young girls to not be afraid to express their feelings – as loudly as possible!

Communication and language: Talking it through

This is the final article in the series introducing mindfulness, outlining creative activities which encourage children to express their thoughts and anxieties, collaborate and achieve a sense of calm.

Expressive arts and design: My Dad, the Star

Children will enjoy celebrating their dad or special male person by a creating a a unique ‘Avocado Dad’ or a ‘My Dad, the Star’ card. There is also a guide to making a beauiful ‘Me and My Dad’ bookmark.

PSED: At their command

While technology is not specifically covered in the revised EYFS it will feature in many everyday activities in your provision. In this first of a new series, Claire Hewson links Ipads and Bee-Bots to learning co-operatively.

Maths: Thrills and spills

In the first of a series exploring water play, Jenni Clarke suggests how to make the most of opportunities for joyful, spontaneous maths learning, by seizing ‘teachable moments’ and using observation to gauge progress.

Literacy: Make reading fun

The books of Dr Seuss are a fantastic springboard for children to practise repeating refrains and having a go at reading and writing rhymes and missing words. It's all about having ‘lots of good fun that is funny’.

Physical development: Write on

Build children's small muscle strength by exploring mark-making with different tools on different surfaces and see where the learning journey leads you.

Well versed

Rhyme is a fantastic medium for inspiring children to engage with narrative and develop vocabulary. Get into your own poetry rhythm by checking out these activities.

Communication and language: Tall tales

Making up a story orally can sometimes be more powerful than reading out loud from a book. Claire Hewson suggests ways to improvise on a classic fairy story and encourage children to create and tell their own exciting narratives.

Physical development: On point

Try the following ideas for making sustainable wood or cork geoboards, and give your children the invaluable experience of creating their own eco-friendly resources using nails or pins, says Hilary White.

Literacy: Disgustingly good!

Turn to a new page for cooking by linking children's favourite stories to the preparation of tasty treats. One favourite is bound to be The Disgusting Sandwich, says Karen Hart.

Understanding the world: Time to grow

When spring is sprung, it's time to introduce children to some elementary gardening skills. Learning about life cycles and taking responsibility for growing plants will give them an enormous sense of achievement.

Maths: From a solid base

Children are at their most self-absorbed in the construction area which means there are strong opportunities for maths learning. Jenni Clarke suggests ways to support this through in the moment planning.

PSED: Poised for action

This article is the third in the series exploring mindfulness moments, linking children's physical movements to self awareness and self control, while also practising breathing and meditation.

Communication and language: Riotous rhymes

Join in with the zany humour and rhyming fun that are a feature of Colin McNaughton's classic picture books. Support children as they learn new words, try out repeated refrains and design their own aliens.

Physical development: Spatially aware

Exploring the environment in different ways is key to children developing spatial awareness. Claire Hewson suggests games that will help children to experience the effects of their movements and their proximity to others.

PSED: Take a moment

Following on from last month's article on breathing techniques, now is the time to move on to basic meditation skills. Observe how quickly children find their focus, using natural materials as props to articulate their thoughts and feelings.

Understanding the world: Natural symmetry

When a child is excited by something they identify in the natural world, there is a valuable opportunity to seize the moment and extend learning. Jenni Clarke explains how the adult can prompt and support without taking over.

Maths: Taking the biscuit

Cooking is one of the most enjoyable ways to apply mathematical thinking and will help children to transfer their new found counting skills to many other activities and everyday tasks. Observe how they begin to correct their own mistakes.

Literacy: Lasting impression

Picture books are a mainstay of every setting and also one of the more eco-friendly resources available to us. Hilary White provides a guide to taking children through the steps of choosing and buying books online, and learning to care for what arrives.

Expressive arts and design: Fabulous Frida!

Frida Kahlo's art is a fantastic subject for pre-schoolers as there are so many ways to explore her paintings, her life and her art style. It is also an opportunity for children to understand her cultural heritage as a Mexican painter.

Maths: A stones throw

Pebbles are a beautiful, tactile resource which can be used for matching pictures with real objects, investigating number and counting outdoors. You could also lay a trail to support the use of positional language, says Hilary White.

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