Families’ access to nature project

The Families’ Access to Nature Project was undertaken by the Froebel Trust and Early Education between October 2021 and January 2022. Children, their parents, and their early years educators talked to us about their access to nature and being outside together. The document below summarises key findings from the project for early years practitioners interested […]

Teaching in the early years

by Cathy Gunning Teaching in early years is not easily definable. Early teaching and learning is about the process, the journey and the unique child. It is everything concerning every child that makes up their context for effective play and and learning. It is everything the practitioner does or does not do. It is quite […]

Sustained shared thinking (SST)

Sustained shared thinking: An episode in which two or more individuals “work together” in an intellectual way to solve a problem, clarify a concept, evaluate activities, extend a narrative etc. Both parties must contribute to the thinking and it must develop and extend. Siraj-Blatchford et al., REPEY, DfES 2002  “Sustained shared thinking” occurs when two […]

Settling children

Healthy settling for high wellbeing How can we best help children feel at ease so that they are secure and settled in their new provision? To hold children in mind and consider them as the person to put first means supporting their wellbeing as utmost priority. 10 pointers for healthy settling Children confidently leave their […]

Research on early years pedagogy

Early years practice is deeply embedded in research that has been carried out by academics and practitioners.  Please pick and choose from the links below to read at your leisure… All these links are accessible and on the public domain. This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive or selective list. Dalli, C., […]

Reflective practice

by Cathy Gunning Reading a book by Donald Schon early on in my career as a teacher opened my eyes to the world of reflective practice. I think that I had always been a reflective person – self critical, questioning, re-thinking things about my teaching day. But this practice modelled and mentored during my Masters […]

Picture books

The power of picture books How wonderful it is to enjoy children’s picture books and escape into their imaginative worlds reading them aloud with children. They open up such worlds of fascinations, awe, wonder, surprise and awakening. How much feeling and emotion can be portrayed through the characters and story. How much can the characters […]

Messy play

Messy play provides so many explorative and investigative experiences, which promote so many of the characteristics of effective learning.  Some easy ideas to start you off Here are some easy ways you can enhance your continuous early years provision with messy, tactile, multi-sensory play. These ideas could be used large or small, inside or outside, […]


Teaching maths in early years On this page Cathy Gunning explore what maths looks like and means for the early years, hopefully giving you some encouragement and impetus to exlplore more and discover a new love of maths teaching if you have not had that before. Open maths I heard this term for the first […]

Loose parts play

Here are some links to resources to support your play. Loose parts play tookit is such a rich and comprehensive free publication from Inspiring Scotland to support your provision and practice Loose parts outside and intentionality with loose parts blogs by Diane Kashin Loose parts by schema chart by Michelle Thornhill for supporting schematic play with loose parts. This is […]