Practical

Expressive art and design: Raise your voice

Children's musical experience begins very early in their life, from hearing their mother's singing in the womb to spontaneous singing as they play. This is the first in a series of articles providing practical inspiration to develop their musicality.

Parent: The ‘how’ of learning

Most parents have heard of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) but it is also important to be familiar with the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) which are integral to it. Annette Rawstrone provides the first of a four part guide.

Understanding the world: Breathe easy

Air pollution is one of the most complex aspects of the environmental crisis facing our planet. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by its seriousness; what can we do to make a difference, and how can we address such a difficult issue with young children?

PSED: Brrr-illiant books for Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time of year to teach children the importance of helping others and sharing. The books of Raymond Briggs are a fantastic resource for instilling children with these values during the festive period.

Physical development: Kicking around

Try stopping a young child from kicking a fir cone, stone or ball – it's not easy. There is a natural tendency for children to interact with their environment and the objects in it, so encourage them and support their skills by playing football.

Communication and language: Keep them guessing

Karen Hart suggests guessing and memory games that will support children to explore new vocabulary linked to seasonal celebrations and make choices which they can confidently communicate to their group.

Literacy: Time for giving

Use the classic picture book The Smartest Giant in Town to help children reflect upon the joy of receiving and giving a gift. Explore ideas for giving, including a bake sale, to raise funds for a charity.

Mathematics: Number melt down

Children's natural fascination with snow and ice provides a strong impetus for counting when practitioners weave in rhymes and use resources imaginatively. Extend this to small world play with penguins and icy landscapes.

Communication and language: Upcycle old books

In part four of her series on sustainability, Hilary White explores the different ways we can reuse materials such as picture books to teach children the value of breathing new life into old objects.

Mathematics: Monkey Do!

The fourth part of this series linking maths and children's books focuses on Monkey Do! by Allan Ahlberg and Andre Amstutz. As the Monkey jumps from page to page, use it as an opportunity to teach children in your setting about positional language.

Literacy: A rhyme hunt

Judith Harries discusses how children can use the word play, onomatopoeia and rhyme found in Michael Rosen's much-loved children's books to develop their speaking skills and cooperative play.

Understanding the World: Chain reaction

The first in this ‘little scientist’ series explores the nature of chemistry and outlines some simple but exciting experiments, which will ignite children's curiosity and encourage them to make predictions based on what they see.

Parent: Drawing and painting

Drawing chalk pictures on the ground, painting fences with water and even leaving smudged fingerprints on the wall are all examples of children experimenting with mark making. Find out how you can encourage them to push their skills further.

Expressive Art and Design: ‘A spider on my knee!’

Autumn brings plenty of inspiration for artworks – from the appearance of many spiders to the vibrant patterns that feature in Diwali celebrations. Karen Hart explores how you can mark these seasonal changes and festivities in your setting.

PSED: More than a feeling

Emojis have become a key part of how we interact using technology and present lots of potential for learning. Judith Harries suggests we embrace this new form of communication to help children recognise their own and others' feelings.

Physical development: Take a swing

Hitting a ball with a stick is fun. Add in a target and it becomes a challenge. Use the correct terminology and it becomes a new hobby. Let children experiment with golf equipment and develop their own swing style, says Jenni Clarke.

Let's all wash our hands

As the autumn and winter months bring more opportunities for cold and flu bugs to spread now is the time to be extra vigilant about handwashing in your setting. Try these activities linked to the EYFS which will educate children about the importance of regular handwashing and give them the physical skills to carry it out effectively.

Exterminate the germs

At its most fundamental level, mastering hygiene and self-care practices involves children working on physical development skills. Jenni Clarke suggests activities that will build their confidence.

Steps to clean living

Hilary White kicks off a new series exploring how early years settings can make practical changes to become eco-friendly, while creating a dynamic environment for children to learn about conservation.

Communication and Language: Right at home

The experience children take from their first days at pre-school can have a lasting effect on the way they anticipate future transitions. Communicating effectively – and helping them to do the same – is key to success.

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