For Early Years Practitioners
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What is the Purpose of an EYP Network?

As more and more practitioners achieve Early Years Professional (EYP) Status it will be essential for newly registered EYPs to continue to expand professional expertise. The EYP network can be an excellent way to achieve this.

In Cheshire there is a thriving and growing network, led by Alex Sefton and Kim Kellock, where EYPs have already reaped the benefits of meeting and discussing issues with other professionals. The monthly, full day meetings are held at children’s centres around Cheshire and are normally organised around specific training requirements, suggested by members of the group. These have included schema, learning journeys, Masters degrees and the Early Years Foundation Stage. The day is concludes with a guided tour around the children’s centre.

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How Children Learn Book 1 by Linda Pound and Kathy Hughes

This is an amazing reference book – clear, concise and very enjoyable to read. I actually took my copy as holiday reading and thoroughly enjoyed it!

It is a book about educational theorists who have shaped the way we view children’s learning over the years, compiled in chronological order. The reader can appreciate how one theorist has built on, or disputed, the works of previous theorists. So we can see how Chris Astley has built on Piaget’s work on schema, for example.

If that sounds as dull as it comes – don’t worry, it isn’t! The authors have written in an easy to read format with plenty of cross references and further reading for when you want to find out in depth about a particular theorist.

I think this book would be excellent if you are just starting on a course and need to know about who the educational theorists are and their areas of interest. Unusually I would also recommend this book to any experienced practitioner who just needs to brush up on their knowledge – or rekindle the flame that first inspired them to find out about how children do learn.

You can get more information from Practical Pre-school.

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Nobody, Nowhere by Donna Williams

This book will almost certainly make you think about autism in a totally new way. Donna Williams had a very difficult childhood which she has documented with extreme frankness. It is written in separated paragraphs which I initially found broke the flow of the writing, but as I got used to it, and read the content, I realised that this is possibly how the author actually compartmentalises her life. Similarly there are huge sections written about minutiae and a few lines about massive events.

Importantly this book gave me an insight into how a child with autism might view the world, consequently making me empathise more when working with children. Behaviour that, at first glance, seemed irrational or combative made more sense when armed with the knowledge from this book.

 

This excellent book is available from Amazon

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The Jumbled Jigsaw by Donna Williams

This is the second book I have read by Donna Williams and I am just as impressed, though for different reasons.

The first book I read was Nobody, Nowhere and is her autobiography (see earlier article) whereas this one is a text book which covers the very many and varied aspects of autism and its manifestations. I found this immensely thought provoking, particularly the parallels and differences between autism and aspergers.

It has been a book which I have dipped into and out of, not least because there is an awful lot of medical references which I have had to go and look up! None the less it is extremely informative and an excellent addition to the bookshelf for anyone interested in this area of child development.

It is available from Amazon

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Letters and Sounds

Are you able to fit ‘Letters and Sounds’ into your daily routine?

The Rose review of early reading was completed in 2006 by Sir Jim Rose and one of the recommendations was for high quality phonics work. ‘Letters and sounds’ is part of the government’s response to this. Essentially it is a series of activities which meet the criteria identified in the review as being essential to reading phonically as opposed to other methods – picture clues, for example.

The myth is that nurseries have to use ‘Letters and Sounds’. The DFES standards website is categorically clear about this – you do not have to use it if you already have a high quality phonics programme operating successfully. The question then becomes – what would Ofsted call a high quality phonics programme in lieu of Letters and Sounds?

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