Practical

Literacy: Sharing traditions

Sarah Davies urges settings to celebrate ‘International Mother Language Day’ on 21 February. Its a great excuse to bring children, families and the wider community together to share their cultures, songs, stories and rhymes.

Physical development: Do it yourself

Encouraging children to build their own dens and special spaces will help them to extend their physical capabilities, and experiment with ideas and resources. Observe how they persist with trial and error.

PSED: Feel the love

Sam McBratney's Guess How Much I Love You is a simple, classic story that provides a safe space for children to explore their feelings and their place in the world. Support them to think about ways to express how they feel.

Maths: ‘Ten brown cones’

Jenni Clarke provides a guide to how mathematics can be enhanced through in the moment planning, with continuous provision which helps practitioners to identify and extend learning opportunities for all children.

Understanding the world: Banging on

What could be more fun than making your own musical instruments? Start with these simple ideas using recycled objects to inspire children's love of music and appreciation of how sounds are made.

Communication and language: An open book

Book corners need to be inviting and accessible spaces to ensure their constant use. Their popularity will soar when you ask for children's input on how they would like them to be planned and stocked.

Maths: Tying the knot

Furoshiki is an environmentally friendly, Japanese technique for wrapping gifts which will give children the opportunity to test their creative skills and learn about why conventional wrapping paper is bad for the planet.

Maths: Animal countdown

Explore the books of David Walliams as a great resource to introduce key mathematical concepts, such as counting, writing numbers and comparing sizes. Making playdough snakes is guaranteed to be a hit.

PSED: Come into my den

The creation of small, cosy areas are important for allowing children to occupy private spaces, either on their own or with a friend. These secure, comfortable environments provide an ideal place to share emotions and ideas.

Understanding the world: From trash to treasure

What goes on at your local recycling centre is often a subject of fascination for children. Karen Hart suggests ways to build on this curiosity with activities which will help them to understand the importance of managing waste and recycling unwanted objects.

Expressive art and design: Tokens of friendship

Both girls and boys will enjoy making friendship bracelets, using their imaginations to create their own unique designs and deciding which friends and family to gift them to. Observe how they persevere and are proud of what they have made.

Physical development: Get into the groove

In part two of her series on music, Judith Harries outlines ways to tap into children's innate ability to move to the beat. Encourage them to combine singing and movement, and observe how their confidence and enjoyment grows.

Parent: ‘Having a go’

‘Playing and exploring’ focuses on how your child is engaging in what they are investigating and experiencing firsthand. Support your child to develop these important ‘soft skills’ that will put them on the path to becoming a lifelong learner.

Literacy: ‘My family story’

Jenni Clarke kicks off a series exploring ‘in the moment planning’, outlining how this approach to children's learning can be harnessed effectively. Here she provides scenarios for using picture books as a key resource to support a ‘my family’ theme.

Communication and language: Vintage shopper

Teaching children the value of re-using and sharing their old toys by role-playing a charity shop will introduce them to the importance of staying sustainable while developing their confidence and language skills.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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