Connecting with Emotions

Asking questions about feelings happens every day in early learning classrooms. Whether it be a conversation about moments in play, events in stories or when our young learners are unwell. We regular ask children to communicate their emotions. We are skilled at using signs, symbols and language to scaffold these conversations. There are years upon years of quality PSED resources to help us plan meaningful activities to build emotional literacy too.

“Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable.” Early Learning Goal: Managing Feelings and Behaviour

They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.” Early Learning Goal: Making Relationships

They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this.” Early Learning Goal: People and Communities

They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.” Early Learning Goal: Being Imaginative

They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.” Early Learning Goal: Speaking

Emotional understanding is referred to throughout Early Years Outcomes and the goals that 5 year olds should achieve by the end of the first year of school. So this year for Safer Internet Day, let’s talk about feelings when using devices and communicate how we might feel during different uses.

Continue reading

Have a Safer Internet Day with PENGUINPIG!

This year’s Safer Internet Day takes place on 11th February 2020 and even though online safety should be embedded across the curriculum all year, this event is a chance for school aged children across the country to speak up about their experiences online. For Safer Internet Day this year I have designed an activity themed around the story PENGUINPIG for our younger learners at school.

51STsS0odHL._SX429_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

“PENGUINPIG is the number one best-selling story about a little girl who reads of an exciting creature known as a penguinpig on the Internet. Filled with delight and intrigue, she decides that she must go and find one.

However, her parents are far too busy to take her and so she decides that she will sneak out and find the adorable PENGUINPIG all on her own. Carefully, she follows the instructions from the website – but does she find her delightful PENGUINPIG?

Amazon.co.uk

Stuart Spendlow’s storybook is perfect for younger children and is a great way to begin early conversations about safety online. Stuart writes a whimsical story that early learners can relate to; they can easily spot the mistakes the little girl makes. The moral of the story gives practitioners the opportunity to talk about pop-ups, adverts in games and messages young children might see when they are using mobile devices.

Continue reading

50 Things To Do This Summer: Number 49 “Make a PicCollage”

20258296_10154877180516676_8084499640987879277_n

I am an advocate for using Spread The Happiness resources for more effective partnerships with parents.

 

Last year Shonette Bason-Wood introduced 50 Things To Do This Summer; a checklist of activities to get families having fun together. It's full of real simple ideas that sometimes get forgotten in busy life, but when we look over it as adults, we remember those things from our childhood – well most of them!

Number 49: "Make a PicCollage"

icon

Technology is part of children's lives now and 'screen time' gets a lot of bad press. Not all screen time is the same though. No doubt many of us are in settings where children's communication, language, social and physical development are behind age-typical development so we are quick to assume this is because of their use of technology.

Continue reading

Face to Face with the Experts

Introducing video conferencing software as a way of connecting my class and extending our reach is my one best thing. FaceTime calls are the back bone to the Connecting Classes Across Continents project that I collaborate on with a group of early learning Apple Distinguished Educators. We use the software to share learning and exchange knowledge between our classes.

I’ve been using FaceTime beyond this project though. Video conferencing can bring many more experts in to our classrooms. Those days when the fire engine visits schools and the police officers join us for question and answer are so valuable. There are many more experts that we can learn from who aren’t in our local area though. That’s where softwares like FaceTime extend our reach for knowledge exchange.

Continue reading

Connecting Classes Across Continents… 2 years on!

Connecting Classes Across Continents is a collaboration I began with Apple Distinguished Educators who teach in the early years. We met in San Diego in July 2014 and began planning how we could use FaceTime and social media to build a personal learning network for our young learners, In the beginning we had classes connecting between South Carolina, Maine, Ireland and my class in England. The process is simple, we looked at what we taught throughout the year and found topics which overlapped or linked so that our classes could exchange knowledge over a video call.
Over the last two years my classes have made short video calls to these classes to talk about their place in the world, ask questions about the different places and share stories or festivals from their home country. We have shared Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, Christmas food similarities and differences and Chinese New Year. Connecting with real children celebrating these festivals made the learning so much more real as we could have genuine discussions with real people involved in these celebrations.

Continue reading

Early Years and Online Safety: my top resources!

Digital Citizenship and online safety is such an important part of the National Curriculum and confidence to teach this subject is growing amongst teachers in upper primary years. But what is happening lower down school?

In the early years we have always been good at providing children with opportunities to develop relationship skills and problem solve in their peer groups. We have access to many age appropriate resources to discuss stranger danger and bullying. Over the last year I’ve started to see good materials published to bring online safety in to our curriculum. I want to share some of these today.

Continue reading

Maily! e-mail that’s possible in early years.

This year the national Anti-Bullying Week in the UK challenged teachers to bring an e-safety focus to their classroom. As an early years teacher, talking about safety online is quite tricky and modelling good practise online has always been my focus. My class regular experience positive uses of the internet and our Connected Classes are an important part of our classroom life. As a class we make FaceTime calls to other early years children around the world, we share books that we have written on the iPads with them and we often help each other out with answering questions about our localities.

For Anti-Bullying Week though, I wanted to make these experiences more personal for the children. This is how I found Maily on the App Store.

Maily.

This is a free app and it is free to set up an account and to use the service. There are no adverts or in app purchases either. Maily is designed for the travelling or far reaching family though. It’s there for the kids to be able to send a special message to mum when she’s working away, or the grandparents that live in Spain.

FullSizeRender 17It’s perfect for early years though. Maily has very little reading involved, it’s all pictorial and within a couple of taps your children have opened their inbox, scrolled their contact lists to find a friend, wrote an e-mail and sent it. All within the app, inside one secure account.

Continue reading

An Outdoors Photography Project for Early Years: Taking Your “One Best Image”.

In the summer term we take our Foundation Unit to Sherwood Pines, a Forestry England site here in Nottinghamshire. As the name suggests, it’s a large woodland with tall pine trees and a great outdoor education team and facilities for all ages. During the day we did all of the outdoor education activities you could think of in a forest: mini beast hunts, woodland art (Andy Goldsworthy), story trails (The Gruffalo) and for the purpose of this blog post, photography.

DSC_1091 Continue reading

E-Safety and the Foundation Stage.

Toward the end of the summer term 2014, I presented at the Nottinghamshire County Council ICT Subject Leader’s network. The focus of my presentation was on the successes of our school blogs and social media presence, and the road ahead. The network meeting had a wider theme of e-safety and I discussed how a blogging system and social media presence that is embedded in a school models acceptable use of the internet to pupils on a daily basis. You can read more about the launch of our school blogs and social media tools here. There are parents who regularly tweet and use Instagram with us, which models acceptable use at home.

Continue reading

Skype Calls in the Foundation Stage.

Today was such an exciting day.

Over the half term I organised a Skype call with a K class at Avenues School in New York City.

It was the first time that I had planned a video call with any class, let alone Foundation children, and I didn’t know what to expect at all.

The call was an incredible experience and surprised me on so many levels. I was amazed at how confident the children were (both my class and the Eagles class at Avenues). They very quickly understood the concept of the link and listened so attentively to the speakers so that they could answer the questions.

Continue reading