💻🧠👥 CPD for the autumn term 🍁☕️❄️

Our summer online training webinars for early years and primary professionals have all finished and we are preparing our autumn offer in advance (very advance – the weather is sweltering and it is comforting to think of the chilly season ahead). Booking will go live for these sessions (and others, subject to tutor availability) soon, so please bookmark this page or subscribe to updates.

tion: a variety of heirloom pumpkins and squashes on a slatted bench sit before a whitewashed wall, with training dates overlaid.

Pricing is per participant, invitations (Teams/Zoom) are sent to each participant for their sole use. All webinars include an additional 10-minute Q&A session at the end where the tutor can discuss specific queries relating to your setting or practice, relating to the topic covered.

We are also accepting suggestions for our online webinars, so please get in contact if you have any requests for us to consider – this is often the cheapest way for you to get bespoke training!

🌿🌸 Food for thought: outdoor learning films 🌼🌱

Inspiring Scotland has produced these three wonderful short films about outdoor Early Learning and Childcare (ELC):

Outdoor ELC for practitioners: what’s it like to work in a fully outdoor nursery? https://youtu.be/FmLrG5DuZwE

Outdoor ELC for parents: why do parents choose an outdoor nursery experience for their child? https://youtu.be/b01cgoM-RKA

Outdoor ELC for children: what do children think of their outdoor nursery? https://youtu.be/KkpEajokuII

Lockdown Learning Sparks #3: a collection of resources, videos, activities, information and fun!

***Here is a collection of the resources originally collated on a Facebook post offering support to parents supporting their children’s learning at home due to the COVID-19 schools closure in the UK. It will be added to and updated every 2 days (with requests or new finds), so please subscribe to get updates.***

I have organised the links as they were, by subject, rather than by age or Key Stage (though it is noted where relevant, e.g. GCSE AQA material) as you know your child best and the purpose of these Learning Sparks isn’t to replace school, but rather to encourage learning!

As always, if you manage to do just one thing a day during the schools closure, let it be reading! Read far and wide, travel by page and explore new lands! Language and literacy are the trunk of the tree of learning and knowledge – without it, no new branches can grow.

 

ALL SUBJECTS

  • BBC Bitesize (EYFS, primary KS1 up to secondary KS4)
  • BBC Live Lessons (BBC Teach)
  • Norfolk Library Service resources
  • BBC televised lessons
  • Home learning resources (Norfolk County Council, for younger children) includes suggestions such as:
    • painting, water play and slime making is a great way to get creative with messy play
    • get children involved in planting seeds, bug hunts
    • get children to write a diary each day – history in the making!
    • get children involved in the kitchen, helping to make dinner or doing some baking is a super way to develop maths skills such as weighing and measuring
  • 60 Second Recap
  • What to Expect When is a super booklet about 0-5 year old’s learning. Each age range has a “ How can you help me with my learning?” section with ideas for activities!
  • Channel4 Education has a page full of links to useful sites, games and careers advice (for those older children preparing for the world of work)
  • The School Run is offering a free 14 day trial of its printable and interactive resources for primary school-age
  • SEN Teacher is offering access to its resources (all subjects)
  • Twinkl are offering a month’s free access to their premium site, including worksheets, activities and crafts for pre-school and primary aged children, as well as older children (KS3-4)
  • Encyclopedia Britannica is offering a free 7 day trial of its ‘Encyclopedia Britannica Kids’ site
  • General resources and games from TeachingIdeas
  • Free home learning packs from TTS for early years and primary (EYFS – KS2)
  • Lessons and videos from the powerhouse that is TEDEd: everything from ethical conundrums, to the physics of ballet’s hardest move (fouetté), life cycles of recycled materials and more irreverent topics such as ‘Why are cats so weird?’
  • Games and videos on all subjects for pre-schoolers (EYFS) from Sesame Street
  • General knowledge from TED Talks (please note, individual speakers are not selected but apply to speak – so exercise caution, further research and critical thinking when listening to their ideas!)
  • SchoolHouse is offering resources on a range of topics including:
    • Art, Craft & Design
    • English
    • Environment, Ecology, Nature
    • Geography
    • History
    • Languages
    • Maths
    • Music
    • Science
  • “The Great Indoors”: general activities from the Scouts
  • Bewilderwood suggestions for activities to do at home (one per week)
  • A big list of free subscriptions for home learning during social distancing (please note: I have not checked and verified all of these as it is not my list!)
person reading a book

Literacy (and communication skills)

I have included links to a range of different reading schemes, please let me know if your child’s school uses a different scheme so I can add resources to support you further.

  • Bookstart: interactive stories, games and reading ideas for 0-5s from the Book Trust
  • Cbeebies’ Storytime app (also available on Android)
  • U.K. Gov’s Hungry Little Minds site lists activities and approved apps for young children – covering speaking, listening, phonics and reading skills
  • Cbeebies Bedtime Stories: books read by different celebrities (some with fabulous voices!)
  • Explore More brings you engaging education resources, suitable for children of all ages. With a new story each week, take your children on a captivating adventure for learning. The first story is Troll Hunters!
  • Teach Your Monster to Read app is a phonics and reading game that’s helped children learn to read. The app covers the first two years of learning to read, from matching letters and sounds to enjoying small books.
  • Free audio books from Audible!
  • Mr. Thorne Does Phonics videos
  • Jolly Phonics: letter sound songs in alphabetic order
  • Read, Write, Inc.
  • Letters and Sounds framework: an oldie but a goodie – there are activities for ages 2+ as strong awareness of sounds and talking is the foundation of excellent reading and writing!
    • Examples of some games in practice (Aspect 4: Rhythm and Rhyme)
    • Silly Soup (Kate version) activity: my favourite of the Phase 1 activities is Silly Soup. I use it for onset rhymes, alliteration (same starting letter – especially good if focusing on learning to listen to and discriminate between different letter sounds) and rhyming.
      Collect up a variety of items that meet your aim (e.g. rhymes), a big spoon and a bowl. Get everyone who is playing to sit in a circle so they can see the selection of rhyming objects (e.g. rat, hat, toy cat, Lego sports bat) placed on the floor. Use the bowl and spoon as props to act out the song. Invite the children, in turn, to choose an object to put into the soup and place it in the bowl. Name the item and use its name frequently – e.g. “yes, it’s an orange cat. It’s a small cat.”
      After each turn, let the choosing child stir the soup (or if a small group pass it round so everyone stirs on each turn, start with the choosing child) and sing the following song to recite the growing list of things that end up in the soup.
      Sing the first part of the song to the tune of ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’:
      “I am making silly soup
      I’m making soup that’s silly
      I’m going to pop it in the fridge
      To make it nice and chilly…
      In goes… a fox… a box… some socks…”
  • Letterland resources (some videos) – let me know if your child’s school uses a different scheme.
  • Penguin provides tips and tricks on helping children learn to read
  • PhonicsPlay is offering free access during March 2020 (may be extended)
  • Response to a parent’s request to teach their child to read (in comments of post):
    • A few other tips if the aim is to prepare to read:
      – when you’re reading, keep a steady pace and use your finger to point to the words as you read (the first step in reading is learning that all those funny squiggles have meaning – not just the special ones that make up names!)
      – make up pretend stories together; whether that’s getting her to make up a narrative with some small world toys or dolls, or getting together a pile of toys and taking turns to pull out a different toy and add to your story (like the old paper folding “write a line and pass it on” thing we did as kids!)
      – talk, talk, talk: the bigger a vocabulary a child has, the easier it is to learn to read. Try giving her some really interesting alternatives for words she knows as she plays – a bit of a fancy commentary if you will! So give her some lovely describing words “what an ENORMOUS jump!”, “what a MAGNIFICENT drawing” etc. Children love a big word! 
      – Let her choose a book and tell you the story. You can encourage this when you are reading by drawing her attention to the illustrations, sequences (“what do you think might happen next?”) and motivations (“how do you think the tiger feels?”) of the characters. Also, the understanding that illustrations can provide clues is very useful for early reading!
      – You could also try this ^ with drawings – get a really big sheet of paper and tell the story together as you draw. My cousin’s son loves this when we do it on his chalkboard – he’s told me stories about monsters getting locked up for eating pies off windows and brave girls who fight tigers. 
      – talk about books you like, make talking about likes and dislikes part of the chat after finishing a story
      – role model reading/writing; for example, can she help you make a shopping list? Or write a letter to grandparents? Use big, spaced letters and sound out the letters as you write.
      – ^Similar to above, you could make a story book together. Children are often fascinated by adults scribing for them – and might ask “what’s that word?”
      – hunting for special letters, can she find the letter “P” around the house, in books, on DVD boxes, etc.
    • – songs and rhymes are also really important (you can’t read a word if you can’t say a word!), they’re ideal for having fun with words and sometimes older children delight in changing the words (e.g. the classic “Twinkle Twinkle chocolate bar, my dad drives a rusty car!”) to songs they know really well.
      – I Spy is a cracker of a game, when children are starting to recognise and differentiate between the different starting (onset) sounds of words. Try to always choose a word with a clear first letter – no silent “k”s or “ph” sounds! 
  • Emotional well-being conversations: visual boards to help talk about Coronavirus
  • Postcards of Kindness is a lovely group which promotes the sending of postcards, letters, drawings, etc. to care home residents across the UK.
    Talk about meaningful writing! This is also an opportunity to talk to children about life and ageing, as they may have questions (if their own grandparents do not access residential care or they do not see their grandparents for whatever reason). (Also covers citizenship).
  • Sir Linkalot is offering free access codes to all during the COVID-19 schools closure. Also available on Android.
  • Stay-at-home play ideas and free resources from World Book Day
  • David Walliams is doing “Audio Elevenses” – a free short audio book – every day!
  • StoryLine Online – celebrities reading children’s books, everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Rami Malek!
  • The Kaligo app is a digital handwriting exercise book (age 3-5+): designed to teach children how to write using a stylus and tablet, built on an AI machine learning platform. A self-paced approach enables children to progress at their own speed according to their own ability, whilst AI Machine learning provides real-time corrective feedback.

Science

time lapse photo of northern lights

Geography and Natural History

multicolored abacus photography

Maths

  • White Rose Maths is offering free video maths lessons from EYFS children right up to Year 8! Just follow these four easy steps…
    • Click on the set of lessons for your child’s year group
    • Watch the video (either on your own or with your child)
    • Find a calm space where your child can work for about 20-30 minutes.
    • Use the video guidance to support your child as they work through a lesson
  • Sumdog provides maths games for 5-14 year olds
  • Power Maths: schemes of work, links to buy workbooks (Amazon!) and resources.
  • Try the matchbox challenge: find a matchbox or a very small container. Challenge yourselves to fit as many things they can find, from the garden if you can or around the house if you don’t have a garden or outdoor space! This is a super activity to about size, shape (rotating to make more fit!), number, textures, colours, numbers, etc.!
personal computer motherboard

ICT/computer science

  • Girls Who Code Clubs are FREE programs intended to get girls ages 11-18 excited about coding and computer science.
  • Learning Spark #2: Big Hero 6 (EYFS-KS3)
  • Minecraft is making its educational worlds free to access until the end of June (12 lessons). They include tours of the International Space Station and the inside of a human eye. The worlds offer creative writing and puzzles as well as build challenges. For example:
    • puzzle games to teach students how to code and think like programmers
    • a tour of Washington DC’s most historic sites, including the White House, the Pentagon and the Lincoln Memorial
    • a game about generating power from alternative energy sources, such as wind and nuclear.
photo of kids playing with flour

Home economics (essential life skills!)

  • Children love to help around the house – here are some ideas of different things to do at different ages. From a young age, children will relish the responsibility and sense of ‘helping’ – even if it is just helping to wipe their high chair tray!
  • Live and recorded baking tutorials from Bread Ahead bakery in London – including some delicious doughnuts!
  • Real-life cooking videos set to music from Mob Kitchen, showing a range of recipes including hearty meals for a group to store cupboard hacks.
  • Gordon Ramsey delivers a lesson on how to cook the perfect scrambled eggs.
  • BBC Good Food has thousands of recipes and their YouTube channel makes them highly accessible for children, especially useful when demonstrating techniques such as folding in flour.
  • An essential life skill depending on the availability of bread in your local shop currently – baking bread! The simplest recipe has just 4 ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt. Lots of lovely physical skills required to knead and fold the bread – perfect for developing muscles for writing AND keeping children busy!
  • Jamie Oliver has launched a Keep Cooking and Carry On series which focuses on recipes and dishes for these unique times! His easy-to-follow, super-flexible recipes include lots of useful swaps. “Let’s celebrate freezer faves, big up the store cupboard and get creative with whatever we have to hand.”
  • Pop to Italy and learn to make pasta with Nonna Nerina live!
egyptian symbols

Art and history

woman wearing white sleeveless top

Physical activity and education

  • NHS 10 Minute Shake Up (Change4Life) – Disney themed
  • PE with Joe Wicks (The Body Coach)
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga:
  • NHS Eat Well promotes staying healthy – through good diet and appropriate exercise
  • Cbeebies’ Waybuloo demonstrates yoga for the youngest children (more episodes on YouTube)
  • Get outside in the garden! Have you got chalks to make marks? A tree to climb? A magnifying glass or binoculars for examining insects and spotting wildlife? Can you learn the names of leaves or practice cartwheels?
  • Lots (150) of sensory learning activities to challenge children’s senses, muscles, balance, spatial awareness, proprioception (where your body finishes and the rest of the world begins) and more!

blue jeans

Drama, music and dance (also PE)

  • Get The Globe’s plays here! For authenticity, you can watch while standing up and throw snacks at your screen if you don’t like the performance.
  • English National Ballet is doing live streams of company ballet classes.
  • Fender are offering three months’ worth of free guitar lessons via their ‘Fender Play’ service.
  • National Theatre Live is broadcasting shows online on Thursdays (available on demand for 7 days after). Shows will include: One Man, Two Guvnors, Jane Eyre, Twelfth Night and Treasure Island.
woman dancing

Languages (including English)

  • Duolingo has over 32 languages to explore through games and quick revision tasks
  • Memrise also has a range of languages (and other topics) to learn
  • The British Council is offering a range of English learning and some general topics
man in white t shirt and brown pants painting cardboard house

Support for parents and carers

Supporting children’s learning at home is tricky at a time like this. These websites aim to help:

  • The NHS’s Every Mind Matters website covers “Mental wellbeing while staying at home”
  • Child Mind Institute: “We know parents are struggling to balance work, child care and self-care while keeping worries — both your children’s and your own — under control. You don’t have to do it alone.”
  • British Council‘s “COVID-19 support for parents” page has practical tips
  • Twinkl parent pages
  • For parents wanting some reassurance – or to take home education very seriously the Open University is offering a course ‘Parents and toddlers: Teaching and learning at home’
  • Screen time: you can find more information on how to support your child’s learning through apps and get advice on screen time. Currently, the World Health Organisation recommends that children under 2 ‘should not spend any time passively watching screens’.
  • A note on educational apps (from gov website):
    Choosing an app for your child – the FEED test. There are lots of apps that say they are ‘educational’, but you’ll want to reassure yourself that’s the case and that they are right for your child. The FEED check may help.
    Fun – Will your child enjoy the app? Will it keep their attention?
    Educational – Is there a clear educational aim? Do you know what your child will learn? Will it keep them learning and allow them to progress?
    Engaging – Will it help your child if they get stuck? Will it give them feedback and let them know when they’ve got challenges right?
    Design – Is it attractive and easy to use? Is it inclusive and does it avoid gender and racial stereotypes? Can an adult change the settings? Is it safe, with links to the internet and adverts protected behind a parental gate?
woman reading book

A-Level/University Level (or very keen secondary students!)

  • Academic Earth: free courses from top universities around the world
  • EdX
  • Open University:discover topics such as ’60 second adventures in thought’, ‘project management’ and ‘bon départ: beginner’s French’
  • Kialo Edu, the tool used by educators world-wide to teach critical thinking and facilitate thoughtful classroom debate. Kialo Edu is a free version of Kialo, the world’s most popular argument mapping site.

Community support during COVID-19: resources and ideas for supporting 0-18 year olds’ learning at home #BetterTogether📚💛👩🏼‍🏫👩🏼‍💻

**FEEL FREE TO SHARE – LIST IN COMMENTS IS PUBLIC** And so the world has begun homeschooling/digitally educating children en masse. If you need assistance with understanding something that has been assigned for your child or if you need more resources, please let me know. I am a teacher and will be more than happy to help answer questions. We’ve already set up a high school study group for students in our family and I’ve got stacks of learning resources/activity ideas for children aged 0-8 – I’m sure we can find a way to make it digital! (I’m also a dab hand at turning Disney films and BBC documentaries into relevant learning 😉) #BetterTogether📚💛👩🏼‍🏫👩🏼‍💻
— Read on m.facebook.com/story.php

Learning for life: curiosity and enthusiasm!

All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.

Martin H. Fischer

I was reminded of this quote on a trip to Canada in February. The enthusiasm of children out in the deep snow reflected my own (snow-deprived living in East Anglia) excitement to get outside and play! I especially wanted to try out frozen bubble blowing (with temperatures forecasted to be -11 or lower).

Later in the trip, we visited the Royal Ontario Museum where children were exploring a woodland scene (see photo) – noticing tiny details and making links with their previous real-life experiences in the woods.

As practitioners we can cultivate our own curiosity and inquiring nature, to role model those effective characteristics of learning and communicate (without sometimes jaded adult eyes) that the world is indeed fascinating! When I returned to work, I was able to show children a time-lapse of a bubble freezing beautifully in real-time. The awe and wonder (and subsequent conversations about how we could do it again) reaffirmed the notion that working in early years is a little bit magic.

Continuity: supporting learning between home and setting

It is so important to recognise parents as children’s first and most enduring teachers – we may be experts on child development but they are the experts on their own child! Together we have a far more profound impact than working in separate silos.

A recent example was a blog post I published for my nursery talking about a sunflower activity the children had been enjoying. It referenced the prior learning (investigating decay in the autumn term), encouraged families to watch a time lapse of a sunflower growing together and reminded them of a facility we offer to print photographs from home for children to share. As the children had planted two sets of seeds (one for home, one for nursery) it created a tangible link. Our children absolutely love sharing their home experiences with their friends and staff – they eagerly tell me how big their sunflower is (“it’s almost as tall as daddy..!”) and tell me how they’re helping it to grow (“water, but not too much – just right!”). Parents also join in these conversations – sharing their expertise (we have a few green-fingered carers who know far more about effective growing than we do!) and telling us funny tales about little people remembering at bedtime that they haven’t watered their sunflower so going out in their pyjamas and wellies with a watering can.

Learning and understanding: perspectives and experiences

This kind of continuity between home and setting has also been supported by our “What Does Your Day Look Like?” book. We created a sheet with prompts to enable our pre-school children and parents to share what their world looks like – from the special routines they have when they wake up to what mummy and daddy’s lunch times look like when they are at work (a tricky concept for little people that is sometimes tied up with anxiety – what does “going to work” mean? What does “work” look like – is it a place or an activity – or both!?).

The prompts are open-ended so parents and children can decide what is the most important for each section. Staff completed example ones to get the ball rolling – some chose to draw their day, some used photos, some used text. We made the examples diverse to showcase no one way is best or preferred. Completed pages go in to a special A3 book of experiences – children are able to return to review this book (similar to their “All About Me” photo albums) with their peers or Key Person.

This is also lovely if they’re having a tough day and are feeling a bit wobbly; being able to say “that’s mummy’s lunchbox, she’ll be having her lunch now too – just like you. After lunch, mummy will collect you because you’re going to the park – see, just like the photo?” is a lovely bit of reassurance and containment to help remind children of the day’s routine (now, next) and that mummy is doing similar things elsewhere, but will return.

By valuing children’s lived experiences – in all their wonderful diversity – we hope to celebrate and champion their perspectives and ways of being. This also links to the funds of knowledge research that I feel is vital for early years practitioners to empathise and make meaning for children within the educational setting.

 

 

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