Introducing woodwork in the early years – find out how

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

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A Chinese New Year (Feb 10th) inspiration station

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

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For Christmas learning ideas inspired by Holland, see my article in Teach Nursery magazine.

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.

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Celebrating Diwali (Nov 13th) – see my article in the Oct/Nov issue of Teach Nursery

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.

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Revised EYFS – great self-evaluation audits

All set for the  Revised EYFS, there’s a  new  book, Learning and Playing Indoors, by Terry Gould, Cathy Coates-Mohammed and Judith Brierley( It’s extremely readable and full of practical wisdom, with some very useful self-evaluation audits.

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A great new free teaching resource

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:  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.

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Playful practitioners

An inspiring way to start implementing Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation  Stage  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.

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