Inspiring Early Years across the UK: a reflection on the May 2022 National Conference

Cathy Nutbrown, President of Early Education The twelve sessions of the May Annual National Conference 2022 left me reflecting on a strong thread which I felt wove, in different ways, through every contribution. I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts here. Slowing down is very important, slowing down and being patient. These […]

The importance of early experiences

by Leslie Patterson At the very beginning of the 1970s I was lucky enough to attend a playschool, at a time when there was very little early years provision available. It was a very informal provision run by a lovely lady from her house around the corner from where I lived but, despite its informality, […]

Risk: A Forest School Perspective

Guest blog by Sara Knight Why are opportunities for risk and adventure essential for normal development in the early years?  Tim Gill (2007) identifies four arguments: helping children to learn how to manage risk (understanding safety) feeding children’s innate need for risk with reasonable risks in order to prevent them finding greater unmanaged risks for […]

Can guided play enhance younger children’s learning?

Guest blog from Dr Elizabeth Byrne, University of Cambridge Most educators will be aware that “what works” in support of children’s learning and development is the subject of seemingly endless debate, with the role of play in education one of a number of hotly-contested points. It is not unusual to hear both researchers and practitioners […]

The DfE’s new reading framework by Helen Bradford

Introduction In July 2021, DfE published The reading framework: Teaching the foundations of literacy which, it says, focuses on the early stages of teaching reading and the contribution of talk, stories and systematic synthetic phonics (SSP); supports primary school leaders to evaluate their teaching of early reading and best practice for improving early reading (especially in Reception […]

It takes a whole world to raise a child by Professor Cathy Nutbrown:

The Duchess of Cambridge launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood on 18th June 2021 with a substantial report Big change starts small which identifies six areas which form an agenda for change. Described as a “golden opportunity” to make a difference to children’s lives towards a happier, more secure future, it identifies the estimated cost […]

An Early Years qualification for primary school headteachers? by Julie Fisher

A call for universal expertise for applications to primary school headship Transition for children from the Reception class into Year 1 in England remains fraught with challenge. The absence of national principled guidance makes this age group particularly vulnerable to inappropriate expectations and targets. Since the introduction of the National Curriculum the pedagogical direction of […]

Anti-racism in the early years by Rachna Joshi

Introduction Race and racism in society is as important as ever; I am writing not only as a British South Asian who has experienced racism, but as an ally against white supremacy and anti-Black sentiment that perpetuates our consciousness. Structural racism is insidious, and we need to look at ourselves and think about the messages […]