Educational consultant and writer Terry Gould and I have written The Little Book of Woodwork to encourage early years teachers to consider introducing woodworking experiences into their settings.
The book begins with an outline of the many learning benefits of woodwork, including the way in which it develops children’s levels of concentration, perseverance and ability to problem-solve.
Descriptions of 30 easy-to-follow ideas follow, organised into four levels, with practical advice about tools, safety, the role of the adult and key vocabulary. The book is available for £6.74 from www.childseyemedia.com
Set up a laptop or mini DVD player next to your small world animal play. Show the section telling the exciting story of the Chinese New Year animal swimming race , in Child’s Eye Media’s Festivals DVD Plus. (Conveyed very simply in five pictures, this section, with the narration turned down, is ideal for encouraging children to re-tell the story in their own words).
When the children have seen the section, encourage them to create their own version, drawing and cutting out any animals they do not have already. Ask how the animals can be be made to swim (e.g. with string). Ask what would make a good smooth surface for pulling the animals along the ‘river’ (e.g. a large sheet of polythene on the floor). When all is ready, the fun can begin! As we know, this story is an excellent way to help children learn about ordinal number, too. To see an excerpt from this award-winning film, go to www.childseyemedia.com
In this article in Teach Nursery magazine (Issue 2.7), read about fun Christmas learning ideas inspired by the Dutch St. Nicholas Day (December 6th). Find out about how, on St. Nicholas’s Eve, children and their families, in their homes, meet Sinterklaas and his helpers and how Sinterklaas ‘interviews’ each child about their thoughts and feelings on their past year, and their plans for the coming year. The ideas in this article are ideal for nurturing in children the characteristics of effective learning.
Celebrating Diwali (Nov 13th) - I have written this article in the Oct/Nov issue of Teach Nursery from the perspective of the Revised EYFS Framework -Understanding the world: People and Communities. The article includes ideas on ways to encourage children to talk about their experiences and feelings celebrating the festival and there are also ideas for hands -on activities for everyone to share.
All set for the Revised EYFS, there’s a new book, Learning and Playing Indoors, by Terry Gould, Cathy Coates-Mohammed and Judith Brierley(www.acblack.com). It’s extremely readable and full of practical wisdom, with some very useful self-evaluation audits.
A great new free teaching resource for young children from the BBC is Counting with Rodd, a series of 10 films on the Class Clips website: www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/ Search: counting with rodd
Each 6-minute episode features the irrepressible Rodd Christensen, who played Spencer in the much – loved Balamory series. In Counting with Rodd, Rodd encourages young children to delight in making their own number discoveries – just as he does: ‘You know, a car has 4 wheels and a horse has 4 legs and so does a chair!’ There’s counting ‘one at a time’, fun movements to join in and an action song for each number.
Rodd’s quirky take on activities that will be familiar to early years children and their adults will inspire lots of chatting and hands-on learning. The films are ideal both at home and as a starter for circle or small group times in early years settings.
An inspiring way to start implementing Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage www.early-education.org.uk is to become engrossed in the distinctive Cosy catalogue ( Tel: 0133 370152). It really is full of truly imaginative resources, with an emphasis on outdoor learning. For example, there’s the 3-in-1 Anyway Up Worm Table – lie underneath the perspex tabletop and watch worms, snails and other mini-beasts meandering along above you, or look up at the clouds and draw what you see or imagine… There are hanging nature keepers for displaying patterns of leaves and irresistible, natural wood, small world accessories , and hundreds more original and creative resources.