How many times do you come back from a walk to school or a stroll to the park and find your child holding leaves, twigs, and muddy grasses? ...or how often do you find rock and pebbles in trouser pockets (or in the bottom of the washing machine!)? Nature is wonderful; it's ever changing and it's all around us - children can enjoy nature in so many ways no matter where you live.
Here are some activities to encourage an appreciation of nature... and help with some other areas of development too!
1. Nature Bowl: Whenever your child hands you an acorn or a pine cone to look after, ask instead for it to be put in the special "nature bowl". Have any old bowl or basket and keep it in an accessible place so precious treasures can be stored and appreciated. Encourage counting by each time more things are added (or taken away!) count the bowlful together. Encourage sorting by sorting the items into sizes, or shapes or colours. Encourage naming by finding out the name of each item and what it is/does?
2. Practice finding and looking: Collect some nature items (pine cones, acorns, twigs) and hide them in a sand pit. See how many the children can find again in one minute. Use a stop watch to time and count the items together. Ask the little ones to hide the items next time and see if you can find any more quickly. Encourage Problem Solving.
3. Birds: put out a bird bath (shallow bowl of water!) and see if any birds come to have a dip! Go out and choose a bird feeder. You can get some very reasonable ones at shops. Make sure the children choose it. Get them to help put it up and fill it and encourage them to keep an eye on it so it can be refilled. Try to make it their responsibility. Encourage problem solving, and self confidence.
4. Tent-making: give the children some blankets, branches, old boxes and see whether they can build a den in the garden or park. Leave them to it and see how they get on. If they need help, guide rather than take over. Just show them how to balance things and give some tips. Encourage creative thinking, physical movement and problem solving.
5. Mud pies: make some mud pies together with wet mud and allow it to dry. Roll the mud into shapes and place on an old try in the sun to harden. Use twigs to stick into the pies and leaves to decorate. Encourage creativity and problem solving.
6. Name all the insects you can: bee, spider, ladybird, butterfly, caterpillar etc. and as you call out each one, try to move like they do. Wriggle like a worm, glide like a moth, dart like a wasp. Encourage understanding of the world problem solving and physical movement.
How can you encourage a healthy and enthusiastic learner and good personal, social and emotional development? There is so much that can be done in the home and in the childcare setting to encourage effective PSED. Here are just a few ideas that can be incorporated into your typical day.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development lies at the very heart of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and in essence every single activity a child does, whether climbing a tree, writing their first letter or counting all the way to 11, influences their own sense of worth and self confidence.
As each hurdle is mastered; each skill practiced and learned, so their emotional well being and self esteem are built up and strengthened thus creating a more confident and happy child.
The best way to encourage personal, social and emotional development is through play.
The EYFS has just gone through review by Dame Care Tickell. Amongst her recommendations is that the EYFS is slimmed down and it is likely that the areas of learning will be reduced from six core areas to three. So important is Personal, Social and Emotional Development that it is one of the areas that will be preserved. Dame Clare Tickell's report suggests:-
A new focus on three prime areas which are the foundations for children’s ability to learn and develop healthily: personal, social and emotional development; communication and language; and physical development.
A childminder is required to record observations as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and yet, how do you actually 'make' and record observations in a setting while trying to do other things and look after the children?
The easiest was is to use ToucanLearn's unique Daily Diary. By logging what you see, what the children say, any milestones etc on the Daily Diary you get a great personal record for yourself to monitor and to share with parents too... and you don't impact on the care you are giving by having to scratch around for paper and note books. Sign up at our website and start using ToucanLearn for free!
Use a digital camera or mobile phone to record what happens. Take pictures of special crafts, achievements or just everyday shots of the little ones going about their playing.
Take video of the children mastering tasks and having fun. Try to encourage them not to act up in front of the camera but to just be as 'normal' as they can... may be hard!
Have a note book somewhere central at all times and jot down observations. You can then stick them on a poster or add them to the ToucanLearn.
Maintain a weekly observation chart and add an entry each week in order to monitor overall progress.
A review has stated that nursery and childminding targets should be scaled back to allow teachers and carers more time actually teaching the children. Carers are spending so much time on paperwork that they are not spending enough time with the children, inspiring, guiding and helping them.
Dame Clare Tickell, co-author of the report, said that the Early Years Foundation Stage has helped boost standards, but it has also become too focused with meeting targets. The review calls for the EYFS to be radically changed thus reducing the number of goals for under fives from 69 to just 17.
It was said that the current scheme is "cumbersome, repetitive and unnecessarily bureaucratic." Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the changes would be "a victory for common sense".
It points out that:
Instead, general checks should take place including:
These along with the health visitor checks at age 2 would indicate any educational needs. The report also states that everyone working with under fives should have, at least, A levels, thus ensuring a high quality workforce.
We'll have to wait and see the repercussions!
If your baby or toddler attends a playgroup or nursery, they will be assigned a key worker who takes on the responsibility of liaising between your child and you, the parents. The key worker assumes the role of primary carer for your little one, ensuring that they settle into the nursery setting, integrate with the other children, and generally ensure your baby's welfare whilst they are in their care.
The key worker is also responsible for reporting on the six areas of learning and development within the Early Years Foundation Stage and to this end, they will make regular observations and report back to the parents. They will also raise any concerns about development should they notice anything.
The key worker does not shadow your child the whole time or play solely with their key wards. A key worker will take responsibility for several children simultaneously and may only make observational notes on an occasional basis rather than every day.
You should always be made aware who your child's key worker is, this information is usually displayed on a notice board within the setting, and the preschool may hold 'parent's evenings' where you can interface directly with the key worker to be told of progress and any concerns. Over time your key worker may change, and you should be informed at the time. If you ever have concerns about how your child is setting into their day setting, then do not hesitate to raise them with your key worker.
We've progressed a long way from the Victorian days when children were best kept our of sight and out of mind, but the sad truth is that modern living often means that your children spend more time with a childminder than they do with you. Are you kept informed of how your children are doing, and do you have a good idea of their progress?
The government's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requires for child minders, carers and nursery teachers actively to keep records of every child's progress. Make sure that you are getting the level of information you want about your children and how they are developing. If you aren't hearing enough, then ask for more - if you feel your childminder is being too diligent, then they will be delighted to be asked to reign back a bit and tell you just what you want to hear!
At ToucanLearn, every child receives their own Daily Diary designed especially for childminders to share information with parents. By sharing the Daily Diary you can stay informed about what your children are doing every day. This service can be used for free, but premium members can also upload photos to keep a photographic record of everything they do too.
We know from feedback that we receive about our service that many parents are able to view what their children are doing throughout the day - they can see pictures of new artwork once it has been uploaded, and they can read what their little ones are making, doing and eating during the day. Here at ToucanLearn we're dedicated to helping working parents share as much information about their children as they can. If you don't feel you are getting the information you want from your childminder, why not ask them to start posting a Daily Diary in ToucanLearn? Our FREE service means they don't even have to spend a penny to do so!
It has been suggested by Jean Gross, Communications expert and adviser to the EYFS Review, that the equal weighting given to the areas of the EYFS may do better if it were changed.
Currently the six areas of learning and development are given equal weighting throughout the age range it covers.
However, there is talk of changing the weighting especially in the younger age ranges. Perhaps there should be an increased emphasis in the personal, social and emotional development and the communication and language areas.
Ms Gross has in he past spoken about the importance of bonding and attachment between babies and their parents and the value of talking to your baby! ToucanLearn agrees and as our activities with babies demonstrate, there is so much you can do to start the "conversation" and bonding with your babies by simply chatting to them. They can't speak back to you, or contribute to a conversation, but they look, watch and listen and learn as you talk to them and involve them in your life! This can only be a good thing!
More research will follow and decisions will be made as to how, if at all, EYFS will change.
The Institute of Education says that there is huge support for the Early Years Foundation Stage among early years practitioners following a study carried out by the Government to assess the popularity of EYFS among the groups of people working within the framework. It seems the majority of people who work with children are very happy with the framework and the guidance that the EYFS provides. Great changes are not required.
The Areas of Learning and Development were seen as largely appropriate although teachers did note that the focus seemed to be on numeracy, literary and communication rather than social, personal and emotional goals.
Assessing children, especially the younger ones, was also seen as difficult and following development of each child was not always deemed appropriate.
We hope that for all childminders, services such as ToucanLearn help! If you aren't already signed up to our EYFS activity programme, sign up FREE now!
Many families don't have the luxury of a parent staying at home to raise their children, many families require two incomes to support themselves, and it's a sad truth that your childminder may see more of your young children than you do. Given the amount of time spent away from your children, how do you know that they are in good hands? ...that your nanny, childminder or nursery is really great with them?
Part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) mandates good lines of communication between carers and parents. It is important for parents to know what their children have been doing, what they are learning and how they are progressing. ToucanLearn's Daily Diary offers one way in which carers can share their experiences with parents. Nanny's don't have to follow EYFS but it is still good practice for you to develop a formal or informal way that lets them tell you what has been happening.
If you have doubts about the quality of your child care, you should raise it with the care provider in the first instance. If matters remain unresolved, you can take complaints to OFSTED. They will investigate not only people registered as OFSTED carers, but also people providing care services that aren't enrolled on their registers. You can find out more about how OFSTED respond to complaints in this document. Child services are, understandably, a hugely important and sensitive area. OFSTED will take your issues seriously, and will work with both sides to ensure a high standard of care, and the implementation of best practice.
There's no doubt that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirements place a huge burden on childminders and teachers, but linking your activities to the EYFS and planning topics in advance need not be as difficult as you might imagine. Every activity you choose to undertake with babies and toddlers will have some learning benefits, and it's usually pretty easy to stretch activities to cover almost any of the areas of learning and devlopment.
Let's look at three basic activities, and see how we can adjust them to cover all six of the areas of learning and development.
(1) Finger Painting
Sit your little one down with a large sheet of paper and some poster paints, and ask them to create a 'picture' dipping their fingers in the paint and drawing on their canvas. You can easily cover each of the areas of learning and development:-
(2) A Walk in the Park
Take a stroll out to your nearest park and observe what's happening around you, at the same time, covering all the areas of learning and development:-
(3) Make-Believe Restaurant
Set up a restaurant with your little one(s), pretend you have a nice restaurant, beautiful tables, and lots of customers. Pretend to make and serve food, and let's see how we can fit it to those areas of learninf and development once more:-
All of the activities we present in ToucanLearn are tagged with the key areas of learning and development they support, we flag the specific focus areas within each area that they compliment. However, with just a little bit of imagination, you can expand any activity to cover almost any of the areas of learning and development.
Why don't you decide on a theme to pursue each week? It might be counting, shapes, colours, animals, countries or anything else. Choose a theme, and adjust each activity you undertake to fit in with the theme. It's easier than you might think, and you'll have a lot of fun together at the same time!
It stands to reason that art and craft assists to develop fine muscle control in your babies, and that kicking, running and chasing games improve their physical strength and control, but how do you kick start your baby's ability to think and solve problems? Funnily enough, abstract thinking and analytical skills are the focus of many Fisher Price toys created for babies and toddlers. You may not have thought about it, but toys such as shape sorters, simple jigsaws starting with just two pieces per puzzle, old fashioned building blocks and musical instruments all help to develop analytical and thinking skills in babies and toddlers.
Walk into a toyshop and so many of the toys available today were available in a similar form in our own childhood - many were available in similar form during our parents and grandparents childhoods too! Science has long told us that interacting with such toys helps us explore the world and develop our thinking, perhaps what is more surprising is that there are so few innovations in childrens toys over the last two generations. That comes down to the fact that human development hasn't evolved in that time, and for a long time we have had a pretty good understanding of it.
When nurturing your children, or children that you work with, introduce a good balance of 'thinking' games and activities. This is only one area of child development, but it can be easy to overlook the importance of this area if you particularly enjoy more physical activities. That is one reason that the Early Years Foundation Stage is so important - by following the guidelines and ticking off boxes for areas that you have pursued, you will automatically be delivering a well balanced development plan to your little ones. If you aren't the most creative person and struggle for ideas in areas of EYFS, or you simply want ideas that you can adopt and develop, then sign up to ToucanLearn now! We offer hundreds of activities concentrating on key development skills, and for premium members we link them all to EYFS too so that you can track progress with your little ones. If you are toying with the idea of subscribing to ToucanLearn, then there are several hundred good reasons for doing so!
The EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) is a set of guidelines provided by the government to set the standards for the learning, development and care of children. It covers babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers from birth to age 5.
It gives childminders, carers and nurseries guidelines within which they can care for and guide the children. It provides targets for children and a means by which to measure a child's progress.
There are six Areas of Learning and Development defined in the Early Years Foundation Stage. These are as follows:
Since 2008 all childminders registered in England who look after children must deliver the EYFS and be inspected by OFSTED. Although childminders are trained professionals, its not restricted to them alone and parents can also learn a great deal from the EYFS and the guidelines it offers.
All of ToucanLearn's activities are linked to the EYFS Areas of Learning and Development which means premium members can search for activities within each area and encourage and entertain their children with appropriate crafts, games and activities.
The EYFS makes it easy for childminders and parents to see what each child should be doing. ToucanLearn gives a practical implementation and a whole lot of fun!
In the first few months following birth, your baby is experiencing the world through its senses, and it is those experiences that help form connections inside the brain and these connections that shape the individual mind of your baby. At birth, a baby is barely able to see but they have an acute sense of smell. At three days old they can recognise the smell of their mother's breast milk and the odour of their parents, yet they can still see only centimetres in front of them. They have an innate ability to recognise faces and are attracted to faces close by.
By three months their brains have developed considerably and they are able to control themselves better - they can choose where to look rather than being fixated on moving objects nearby. They might move their arms and legs seemingly randomly, but this is helping them to build up muscles, an essential component on the way to being able to roll, crawl and later walk. This movement allows them to interact with their physical surroundings and this intensifies the rate at which the brain develops as it is exposed to new experiences. Research shows that babies who are denied the opportunity to interact physically with their surroundings develop at a slower rate so it is particularly important to work with babies suffering physical or mental disability to ensure that they can develop as best they can.
Interacting with your baby is especially important even during these early months - try to spend time with your newborn baby stimulating them. Stimulate their vision by exposing them to high contrast patterns and making movement in front of them; stimulate their hearing by playing background sounds and music, and rattling toys in front of them. Stimulate their sense of feel by touching stroking them and letting them hold your fingers and baby toys.
It would be easy to ignore your newborn baby and leave them lying in another room for their first few months while you get on with the chores you have to do, but the more time you can spend with your baby, the more rewarding for both you and your little one!
Don't forget that here at ToucanLearn we have activities suitable from birth onwards. Our early activities are simple and aimed at helping to stimulate early development in your child. All our activities link into the Early Years Foundation Stage Areas of Learning and Development, so you can monitor that you are giving your baby a broad range of activities even at this early stage.
ToucanLearn has just got better - all our activities now link to the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning! Over the last few months we've been working to tie in our activities to the government's curriculum for preschool children (from birth to 5 years). There are six areas of learning, each broken down into different focal points, click here to read more specific information on each of the areas and their constituent parts.
Our EYFS information is only available to PREMIUM Members - but annual PREMIUM membership costs less than a pizza! PREMIUM Members are able to search for activities with a focus on each of the six areas of learning, making planning really easy. Record your activitiy in your blog and over time you will see which areas you have covered and in how much depth.
Whilst EYFS is of primary interest for childminders, carers and nannies, the easy way in which ToucanLearn presents this information makes it easy for parents to follow a government led learning path without having to invest time in understanding the wider EYFS programme.
This is the first in a series of new features coming over the next few months, so watch out for our further announcements!!
<< Previous ::
|<< <||> >>|
Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!
Sign up FREE to ToucanLearn to follow our activity based learning programme for babies, toddlers and children. We offer hundreds of fun learning craft, games and activities - every activity is aimed at the capabilities of your specific children. Download custom activity sheets, and log their progress in each child's unique Daily Diary!
You'll also find sticker and reward charts, certificates, number and letter practice. Every activity links into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development.
Fill in our Daily Diary to log progress against the EYFS and add photo entries instantly simply by sending them straight from your phone. You can share diaries back with parents or childminders so that everyone can enjoy watching your children develop.
activities animals art babies baby behaviour books «child development» childcare childminder children christmas colours communication confidence cooking counting craft «daily diary» development doctor drawing eating eyfs family «fine motor skills» food fruit fun games garden happy health healthy «healthy eating» ideas insects language «language development» learning letters «make believe» music nature numbers nursery ofsted outdoors parenting park pictures play playing pregnancy «pretend play» reading relax research routine safety school shapes sleep speech sun television toddler toddlers toucanlearn «toucanlearn blog» toys vegetables water words writing
©2021 by ToucanLearn Ltd.Credits: Run your own website!