Practical

Expressive arts and design: Flights of fancy

Karen Hart suggests ways to turn old carboard boxes and paper and card into simple models and artworks which will encourage children to explore ideas to do with flight and weightlessness, developing vocabulary along the way.

Literacy: What to wish for

Claire Hewson focuses on wish fulfilment stories which can help children to learn valuable life lessons, since they always carry a cautionary message. By discussing the stories with children we can help them to explore these ideas in relation to their own lives.

Maths: Tuff problems

For young children, mathematical learning and development is all about the concepts of quantity, space and distance. At this early stage, the hands on exploration of these concepts is of key importance – and a Tuff Tray makes the perfect resource.

Physical development: Full of beans

Beanbags are easy for young children to hold, catch and throw. They can be visually pleasing, tactile and can have the added element of weight, smell and sound. Jenni Clarke shares some simple, fun and increasingly challenging physical activities to share with young children.

Personal social and emotional development: A day with Elmer

The creator of Elmer, the famous patchwork elephant, is David McKee, writer and illustrator. Judith Harries looks at how to explore his books which are renowned for tackling issues such as cultural differences, acceptance of others, and how to form positive relationships.

Steady under foot

When we talk about fine motor skills and coordination, it is often only hand-eye coordination that we consider. However, foot-eye coordination is just as important, says Kathy Brodie.

Find quality time

It is important for parents to find the time to interact directly with their child whenever they can. That means ensuring too many other things do not get in the way, says Annette Rawstrone.

Catch the moment

A trip or outing is full of new sights, events and experiences and by photographing them children can make sense of their memories. This also gives the practitioner a unique insight into their thinking.

At full tilt

Challenging play is all about opportunities for extending physical limits and experiencing excitement – along with a little fear and uncertainty. From this children ultimately gain self-esteem and resiliance.

Get to know Percy

This month Nick Butterworth is in the spotlight. Use his books to support children to make connections with others, learning to share their thoughts and ideas about family and trips out of the setting.

A book about me

Claire Hewson provides a guide to using Apple’s My story app to enable children to create a book all about themselves. Help them to gain the skills to insert their own drawings, photos and text.

Sticky situation!

Take time to make a tactile exploration of number. Claire Hewson suggests using petroleum jelly, flour and glitter to make slimy tracings and repeating patterns which children can identify and compare.

Down to detail

Using magnification to observe tiny objects or discover the patterns in larger ones is a fascinating occupation. Use this as a springboard to create miniature artworks which reflect the natural world.

Up in the clouds

What could be more educational than sitting outdoors on a sunny day and looking up at the clouds? Karen Hart suggests creative activities that encourage children to engage imaginatively with the world.

Connect with nature

Being outdoors can be a great adventure, especially at this time of year when there are so many mini-beasts, animals and birds to discover. Kathy Brodie takes her pick of the best resources that can support children’s learning.

Take your cue to get conversations rolling

In this Practical Pre-School Book extract Jenny Barber outlines how carefully considered interactions can be used to support children at different developmental stages, encouraging their confidence and ideas.

Being the best you can be

Jenny Barber provides practical guidance on how the process of appraisals and supervisions work together to ensure that staff are supported to develop their confidence and achieve the best for all children.

Make a smart decision

Looking for an app that keeps your parents in the loop while being simple to use, inexpensive and with lots of exciting features? Sal McKeown discovers how Piota has exceeded this remit for one nursery school.

Quietly getting on with it

It is important to develop a support plan for a child with hearing loss, so that all staff understand how practice and resources can be adapted to ensure he makes progress with learning, language and social interactions.

Red, white and blue...

Ailsa Chapman reflects on a month that saw her class celebrating the Royal Wedding in a way that encompassed many learning areas. Her next challenge is to complete 52 end-of-term reports.

Friends and partners

The mark of a high quality pre-school is having practitioners who are friendly and professional, and who will want to get to know parents in order to better support their children, says Annette Rawstrone.

Snap happy

Photos are a great resource for one-to-one time and group discussion. Make them a focus for discussing holiday destinations, memories and expectations, drawing on their own experiences.

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