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A new academic year, a new you

You have started the new academic year hopefully refreshed and rejuvenated, with your mind whirring with many things to implement, change, consolidate, research and deliver. But have you stopped to think about how you will develop yourself professionally this year? How will you improve? How will you have opportunity to reflect, develop and understand more about early years pedagogy and your role this year? How will you end this year better, more informed, more experienced, more confident and with a greater understanding of early learning and play in the EYFS?

If you thirst for more and yearn to grow professionally and as a reflective practitioner and leader, have a think on some of these issues below and contact your nearest Nursery School teaching school for information on their professional development courses and support.

Six links to challenge and provoke your pedagogical thinking and practice.

Here are six reads, listens or links which are chosen to give you food for thought, professional challenge, inspiration or controversial opinion. Pick and choose as you wish. They are deliberately listed to provoke your discussion, thinking and pedagogical growth. You could

  1. Listen to The power of everyday heroes by Jaz Ampaw-Farr and ask yourself how you can be 10% braver in your professional or leadership world.
  2. Read David Didau’s blog Are worksheets a waste of time? and reflect on whether worksheets and photocopiable resources are effective and purposeful in the EYFS.
  3. Visit and reflect on how you apply Tina Bruce’s Ten Common Principles in your practice. You can read them online on page 7 of Northern Ireland’s Learning through play resource book.
  4. Watch Nadine Burke Harris’ TED talk to inform your practice about how early trauma impacts childhood and the early years.
  5. Find out more about how the senses impact early childhood development. The early years toolkit on sensory processing by Berkshire NHS Trust is informative.
  6. Reflect on how you use assessment to inform planning and teaching. If using Development Matters check that you follow these 4 crucial principles
  • Children develop at their own rates, and in their own ways. 
  • The development statements and their order should not be taken as necessary steps for individual children. 
  • They should not be used as checklists. 
  • The age/stage bands overlap because these are not fixed age boundaries but suggest a typical range of development. 

Find out more about the work of our Teaching School around appropriate and effective assessment using Development Matters and have a quick look at our forthcoming book.

Further information to support your continuing professional and personal development

For more about pedagogical issues, approaches and early learning, if you’re based in or near to East London get in touch with us at at eastlondonpartnership@gmail.comIf you’re further afield, contact your nearest specialist early years teaching school or nursery school teaching school. Early Education also offers national training and branch training events.

For more about nursery school teaching schools, you can look up your nearest one on the Nursery school teaching schools website. Most NSTS have their own website and many are also on social media. You can follow the #nurseryschoolteachingschools hashtag. By joining your local nursery school teaching school you might find complimentary or discounted rates for joining Early Education. Monthly Early Education pedagogic newsletters are sent via the NSTS to all their members.

If you have enjoyed this blog you can find out further information on Early Education’s membership page and pedagogic pages for members.

Cathy Gunning writes and blogs as Pedagogical Lead for Early Education. She is also a teacher, consultant and mum. Cathy believes in maximising ways to enhance and support children’s wellbeing and early play through quality enriching environments. Cathy started out as a primary teacher in London and her pedagogy was grown, challenged and inspired throughout her work, but mostly during her time as an early years advisory teacher, studying for a masters degree in early years and leading a nursery school and children’s centre. As a reflective practitioner she enjoys continually learning about early education and refining her pedagogy.