Editorial: Issues of our time

This edition of EYE follows the ruling from the inquest into Ruth Perry's tragic death; that her school's Ofsted inspection was a contributing factor in her subsequent suicide last January. Helen Osgood from Community union calls for urgent reform to Ofsted, sharing ways to create a better system for education settings and children.

Focus: Maximising the procurement process to protect both cost and quality

The cost of living crisis is continuing to squeeze everyone's budgets. Sarah Hardwell, nursery director for Little Peanuts Day Nursery and Forest School in York, discusses all things procurement when setting up her nursery, and shares tips for how settings can make the most of this process to maximise savings without compromising on quality.

Wiggle into Nature: A partnership project working outdoors

Melanie Evans, Education and Wellbeing officer at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, shares more about a project which gave children under 5 and their families opportunities to explore local green spaces, reserves and parks. The project was supported by Spurgeons Children's Centres and combined the play-based and child-centred ethos of Forest School, with the compassion and connection promoted through the communication style of Spurgeons' Five to Thrive approach.

Book reviews: Professional books & Picture books

Richard Willis, visiting professor at the University of South Wales, reviews a book containing activities to help early years professionals work with young children who are neurodivergent. Meg Barclay, educational consultant and early years reviewer for the School Library Association, reviews picture books which support children who are about to become siblings for the first time, help children understand emotions in overwhelming situations and introduce them to animals living in different parts...

Community cohesion: Supporting community cohesion through the nursery

Nurseries can play a vital role in supporting community cohesion by enabling meaningful connection between diverse children and families. In this article, Dr Mona Sakr, associate professor of Early Childhood at Middlesex University, explores why nurseries need to be recognised as key players in community integration and how they can practically help foster connections in the local community.

Opinion: Ofsted: Time for urgent reform and a better system

Helen Osgood, national officer for Education and Early Years at Community union, responds to the ruling from the inquest into Ruth Perry's tragic death that the Ofsted inspection at her school had been a contributing factor in her subsequent suicide a year ago. Helen shares her thoughts on ways Ofsted could be reformed to create a better system for education settings and children.

Opinion: Children in Northern Ireland need play more than ever

Dr Glenda Walsh, head of Early Years Education and assistant director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, outlines the many benefits play brings and argues that young children should be encouraged to play more.

Covid-19 pandemic: Attending early education during the pandemic provided sustained benefits for toddlers' development

New research shows that attending early childhood education and care (ECEC) during the pandemic boosted preschoolers' learning and preparedness for school, with greater gains made by children from less advantaged backgrounds. With further support, ECEC can play a critical role in developing skills in children born during the pandemic and levelling socioeconomic inequalities. Catherine Davies, professor of Language Development at the University of Leeds, explains more.

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