Pause For Thought

Pause for thought

Ongoing developments at the Early Years Professional Development Centre in Leyland.

Listening and attention in under three's

Lady and baby

Having an interest in and being involved in early literacy throughout my career I appreciate the value of phonics as a prime strategy for children learning to read. In the early years we always put emphasis on phase one phonics, developing younger children's phonemic awareness through daily playful, interactive and fun activities. A key skill that is required to develop phonemic awareness is listening and attention. On reflection one of the barriers I have come to recognise is the lack of language and communication skills in younger children before they are expected to begin the rigours of phonics.

Language and communication skills are crucial for children's success in school and beyond. They include the ability to understand others (receptive language) and express oneself (expressive language) using words, gestures, or facial expressions. Research shows us that children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn.






Healthy Eating in Early Years Settings

food 4

 Childhood obesity is one of the most important issues of our generation with the latest NHS figures showing that almost a quarter of primary school aged children in England are overweight or obese, rising to a third by the end of year 6.

Eating healthy and nutritious food and getting regular exercise are essential for children in their early years as this supports healthy growth and development, protects teeth from decay and sets the foundations for future health and well-being. Childcare settings provide an ideal opportunity to encourage children and parents to eat healthily and teach them about healthy lifestyles. Evidence shows that eating habits adopted in early years will be taken forward into later childhood and adult life.







Are you promoting online safety in your setting?

It is so important for us to start talking early to children about being safe online. Effective managers have the necessary blocks and controls in place for electronic devices, but these often just act as stabilizers for the internet, it is important to have frequent informal discussions about their digital lives.

Legally the individual or organisation registered with Ofsted to provide childcare in the setting has a responsibility to ensure there is a safe usage of gadgets on the premises.

  • Consider if you have included online safety in you safeguarding policy.
  • Governing bodies, proprietors, committees and managers should ensure that the appropriate filters (external link) and appropriate monitoring systems are in place.
  • Staff should ensure that they promote the safe use of online devices with children, as part of the technology curriculum

The UK Safer Internet Centre provides guidance on appropriate filtering.

The Ofsted document ‘Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings' was published in August 2016 and regularly refers to Online Safety throughout the guidance for inspectors.

Perhaps one of the most striking statements in this document is this:-

"action is taken to ensure that children are taught about safeguarding risks, including online risks (p12)"

How do we teach early years children about online safety at their level so that they understand without being fearful?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Books - Kent Online Safety Blog has a list of online safety storybooks
2. Watching online DVD's about online safety from Think U Know
3. Practitioner's interactions – chatting about online safety (ensure staff have completed online safety training so they are fully informed about the risks)

Parental awareness sessions are often recommended to ensure that online safety is happening within the home environment too. Here are some ideas:

1. Online safety leaflets for parents from Childnet 
2. Newsletters with online safety web links such as this one from the NSPCC
3. Information evening on online safety (you can often link with the local school for this session)

EYFS loose parts

The value of open-ended play and loose parts

In this article, the early years consultants pause to think about the endless possibilities of open-ended play and loose parts:

EYFS publication staff wellbeing

The five ways to wellbeing

Working with children can be emotionally exhausting, the golden rule is to look after yourself first so you are able to look after others.  Whilst researching the importance of wellbeing for early years practitioners, I came across the five ways to wellbeing.

A review of the most up-to-date evidence suggests that building these five actions into our day-to-day lives is important for well-being:

  • connect
  • be active
  • take notice
  • keep learning
  • give

You are already promoting the five ways to well-being with your children through everyday practice such as;

  • having an effective key person system who connects with each child and helps them to feel valued
  • encouraging the children to be active by encouraging physical activity inside and outdoors
  • helping the children to take notice of similarities, differences and change, and promoting curiosity
  • ensuring children's interests are followed and new experiences are offered so children keep learning
  • developing positive relationships with children and families by giving them respect, time and a friendly smile!

If you would like more information regarding wellbeing we have a publication available for £5 at the Professional Development Centre which provides guidance and tips on promoting staff wellbeing. 

To purchase publications please email or telephone 01772 456405. Please note postage and packing will be added. 

See our other publications for sale.


Observation, assessment and planning in practice

Take a look at the latest update from the early years consultants to see how learning environments can be adapted to the assessment needs of children with examples from the Professional Development Centre.


EYFS music

Music is everywhere

Our next update from the early years consultants looks at the place music has in children's lives.





Learning environment

Introduction to the EYFS Consultants Team

Read our first update to find out more about the EYFS Consultants Team, our centre and the focus of our learning environment this term: