The following extracts from past early years teaching newsletters have a feature which supports your team dialogue around pedagogy and practice dilemmas and reflective practice.
You could use the pedagogic pointers in a staff meeting, self-evaluation exercise or in team meetings. Ideally, use it as an opportunity for evaluation, reflection and then team and setting development. Start with an understanding about how you will treat each other respectfully in the dialogue, share ideas and viewpoints, and take time to explore and find out about dilemmas that might arise.
How do you listen to children and respond to what they say?
Choose some questions below to reflect upon
- In what ways do you actively LISTEN to children and really show interest in what they have to say?
- Reflect on the amount of time you give to each child to speak and share their opinions, and how long you wait (and pause) to listen to a child’s thoughts or reply.
- How do you demonstrate that you value what children think and have to say?
- In what ways do you consult with them about their day and seek their thoughts and opinions?
- Think about the value and priority during the day / week / term you place on hearing children’s thoughts and opinions.
- How do we listen to children who might not use speech, or might not be confident to speak? What other ways can we hear their views?
Useful links to support your dialogue
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) give clarity on the commitments
- Articles 3, 5, 12, 13, 23, 29, 39 focus on this aspect and particularly articles 12 and 13
- Article 12 (respect for the views of the child): Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously.
- Article 13 (freedom of expression): Every child must be free to express their thoughts and opinions
- Children and young people’s commissioner Scotland UN CRC in other languages
- CYPCS simplified list for children
- UNICEF child friendly resources
- Talking point (I CAN) website
- Research paper for deeper thinking: Clark, Alison and McQuail, Susan and Moss, Peter, Great Britain. Department for Education and Skills, corp creator. (2003) Exploring the field of listening to and consulting with young children. [Research report (Great Britain. Department for Education and Skills); no. 445]
How do you maximise children’s experiences of playing and learning using the outside in all weathers?
Start with an agreement about how you will respectfully consider other opinions. Be honest and open, share ideas and viewpoints, and take time to explore and find out about dilemmas or issues that might arise. Consider the following reflective questions
- In what ways do our children have opportunities to be outside, actively playing and learning every day?
- In what ways do you promote the EYFS areas of learning outside and use the space to offer enriching, gross motor activities for the children every day?
- What are our personal values and experiences of outdoor play – and in what ways do they impact how you teach and get involved in children’s play and learning?
- In what ways do you show to children, parents and other adults how you value using your outdoor spaces for all areas of learning?
- If you were to improve two things about your use of outside, what would it be? How could you move forward to develop this?
Supporting outside play and learning
- Early Education’s principles show how valuing young children and the attention to the learning environment is fundamental to high quality child-centred learning.
- Put the pencil down and go outside Community Playthings blog by Kathryn Solly
- 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do (9min watch) TED talk by Gever Tulley (2014)
- The great outdoors by Margaret Edgington (revised 2014)
- Every child a mover by Jan White (2015)
- New report calls for action on EYFS children’s entitlement to outdoor play in Nursery World (2016)
- The historical context of outdoor learning and the role of the practitioner Early Years Foundation Stage Forum blog by Michaela Machan (2016)
- Jan White natural play blogs, including ‘Embracing life with enthusiasm’ which is an invaluable read.
- Young children need to be active. See the government’s recommendations for at least 3 hours of physical activity a day for 0-5 year olds in their Start active, stay active infographics.
- The Froebel Trust pamphlet Outdoor play by Helen Tovey
Useful websites for outside learning
- Creative Star Learning website and blog (as listed previously)
- Learning through landscapes, UK
- Learning through Landscapes Scotland (previously Grounds for learning)
- Muddy faces
- Learning outside the classroom (LoTC)
Huge thanks to our Early Education Associate and passionate outside play expert, Kathryn Solly for her recommended links, websites and additional information for outside play.
See the Outside play and learning pedagogic page on our website.