Loving the darkness

While winter’s lack of daylight hours and long, dark evenings may make most of us feel like hibernating, consider ways in which you can explore the excitement of darkness with children.

Focus: What children learn from messy play

In this extract from Messy Play in the Early Years, Sue Gascoyne provides a theoretical perspective on children's ‘material engagements’, while keeping hands-on practice clearly in view. A deeper understanding of messy play is key to making it an exciting learning opportunity for all children.

Implementing change

In part two of Dr Sue Allingham's series exploring Ofsted's new nursery and school inspection frameworks, she discusses what it means to implement a curriculum.

Making it real

With new approaches to learning developing all the time, from forest schools to the Curiosity Approach, practitioners risk implementing half-hearted attempts at pedagogy, says Chloe Webster.

Everything to play for

Do children value learning as much as play? Rachel Hingston conducts interviews and observes children's behaviour in their learning environment to discover whether play always trumps learning.

Pedagogy made powerful

The London Early Years Foundation degree is leading the way for staff development. Karen Hart speaks with its senior lecturer and one of its first students, to learn about progress and next steps.

Tuff decisions

Ailsa Chapman re-visits that stalwart of early years resourcing – the tuff tray, and suggests ways to extend its scope, with a range of imaginative ideas that children can take in any direction.

Next steps: becoming independent learners

Kathryn Solly provides an update on the developmental progress of her grandchildren, Emilia and Jack, exploring their relationships and communication skills, including the use of sign language.

What makes a good leader

Having a clear vision, thinking creatively and strong interpersonal skills provide the makings of an effective leader but a setting can only work harmoniously if everyone in a team understands their role.

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