Category : Articles

Articles

How To Develop Children’s “Extra Senses”

How many senses do we have?

Five, right? – touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell.

However, if you talk to an occupational therapist, you’ll find at least an extra two – vestibular and proprioception – which are vital that you know about.

The vestibular sense is so named because it is sensed in the ‘vestibulum’ system in the inner ear in the semi-circular canals. These are responsible for balance, and it describes both the sense of balance and spatial orientation. The vestibular system detects movement and changes in the position of the head, for example, when your head is upright or tilted (even with your eyes closed).

Proprioception is defined as the perception of stimuli relating to position, posture, equilibrium, or internal condition. Basically this means knowing where your body is in relation to the external environment, for example, being able to sit in a chair without turning round to look, or walk up stairs.

Proprioception is a dynamic sense, allowing us to continuously adapt to a changing environment and is learned through all our other senses and neuro-developmental exercises, usually whilst we are children.

It is vital to know about these, because without good vestibular and proprioception senses, children would not be able to walk, hop, skip, navigate around a room, catch a ball and definitely not be able to manage stairs.

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Articles

The Health Gap by Sir Michael Marmot

You will probably know the name ‘Marmot’ from the Marmot Review (see Review Roundup here) published in 2010 and from a previous blog post of mine entitled ‘Leading scientist affirms importance of Early Years’.

Sir Michael Marmot has been publishing again, and this is an incredibly powerful book with a deceptively simple message, summed up in the first and last sentences:

Why treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick?

Do something, Do more, Do it better

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Articles

Surprisingly Simple Techniques for Challenging Behaviour

I often get asked about children’s behaviour.

It is a massive topic, with many facets. However, I would always start from the perspective that all behaviour, good or unacceptable, is a form of communication. It is how we, as practitioners and adults, respond to that communication that makes all the difference.

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Articles

Developing a Successful Early Years Teacher Network

In November 2008 I wrote about the purpose, and importance, of EYP Networks (you can find the original post here).

Since then we have seen many changes. The Government have changed, over 15,000 people with the Status this time last year (National College for Teaching and Leadership statistics) and the Status has been renamed Early Years Teacher Status, along with a brand new set of Standards.

However, I strongly believed that Early Years Teacher Networks are still vital for the vast majority of people with the Status. In order to test this belief, I asked all my subscribers two questions:

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Articles Viewpoint

One Thousand and Counting…

This week my subscriber list broke through the one thousand mark, which made me sit back and reflect for a moment.

That’s an awful lot of people!

When subscribers sign up, I send them an email, just asking for their most pressing issues and finding out a bit about their concerns and achievements. I will admit at this point that I was a bit dubious about this bit (my husband talked me round though).

What if I was deluged with comments? What if no-one at all replied? What about questions I couldn’t answer?

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Articles

Inclusion and Early Years Practice

Inclusion book imageWhen Keith Savage and I were initially approached to write a book on Inclusion in the Early Years sector, the first thing we discussed was how to manage such an enormous topic. How could you possibly cover all facets of such a complex and emotive subject?

There were two things we agreed on immediately – firstly that it had to be relevant as well as practical and secondly that the content would need both breadth and depth.

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Articles Viewpoint

A View from the Other Side of the World

I am incredibly delighted and excited to have as my guest blogger this week Rebecca McIntosh, from Brisbane, Australia. We started comparing notes about childcare in England and Australia some time ago – and found some fascinating differences as well as some similarities.

Here Rebecca gives us a history of Australian childcare. It is a surprising story I was totally unaware of and really shows how much childcare philosophy varies around the globe. It is well worth a read and a BIG thank you to Rebecca for sharing this history with us.

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Articles

The Beauty of Dens

I love dens. Always have – as a child I would spend hours in the garden with my brother and sister, collecting large branches, reeds, planks of wood – anything to make a den with.

I think the joy was being able to create something from nothing. (I also suspect that I had an enclosure schema going on. Even now I like to sit in the corner of a café, tidy things into boxes and prefer grids to mind maps).

Of course, once you have an enclosed areas such as a den, you can invite others in – or shut them out. The element of self-choice can be very important to children. Sometimes even well meant adult intervention can be disruptive or even destructive to children’s play.

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Articles

How To Get Started With Observation, Assessment and Planning

Exclusive Bonus: Click here to download my Observations Guidelines covering the 12 Key Observation methods for Early Years Practitioners (click to download).

oapcycleObserving children is one of the great joys of being an Early Years practitioner.

For example, watching those first steps, hearing how the children are picking up vocabulary (and making up their own syntax) and putting all this together to make sense of their development is usually an exhilarating part of your job.

However, sometimes completing observations can become a chore and not enjoyable at all. This can be due to the way practitioners have been introduced to the observation, assessment and planning cycle and it can result in them doing a lot on unnecessary work.

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Articles

Role of the Key Person

In previous blogs, I have discussed two very useful techniques to support Sustained Shared Thinking – active listening and positive questioning.

Having discussed some of the skills needed to achieve successful Sustained Shared Thinking, I thought it would be beneficial to step back a little to view the whole of the Key Person role, with respect to Sustained Shared Thinking.

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