Stay Connected and Creative on Dot Day!

Even though early years settings and schools in England reopen to all in September, the face of education continues to change and adapt. For other early learners across the world, their education continues to be home based or blended with some school days.

No matter where you are teaching and learning though, creativity and connections have been challenged!

International Dot Day, themed around the story The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, falls on September 15th-ish each year. This global celebration of bravery, creativity and connections encourages young children to make their mark on the world.

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Challenge Young Children for Change.

“Education is a great equaliser. It is a powerful force for equity and opportunity, and it empowers the next generation to discover the world around them”. Lisa Jackson, Apple.

Young people have made their voices heard on important global issues such as climate change, equity and equality. Through protests, demonstrations and discussions young people are speaking out and standing up for change.

How can we prepare our youngest learners to be engaged and active in meaningful discussions about change in their future?

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Sunny day or rainy day? Every day is a creative day!

May 21st is the start of Outdoor Classroom Day so enjoy this global showcase of outdoor creativity with RAINBOW and RAINDROP!

Why not get outside this week and create with seasonal photography? Learn more about RAINBOW and RAINDROP.

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Back To School: A Journal For My Teacher

Telling somebody how you feel might take more than words for some children. Inspired by the traditional early years ‘All About Me’ templates for starting school, I’ve made this Pages journal for children to share their experiences of home with their teacher when they return to school.

There are 4 activities and children use photography, video, drawing and sound to express their emotions when reflecting on their time learning at home.

This is what the journal looks like:

Download the Pages journal here.

MONKEYCOW: layer up your password!

The first Thursday of every May is World Password Day. This date is a global reminder of the importance of password security but also an opportunity to review latest research and recommendations for online safety.

The National Cyber Security Centre recommends to ‘Think Random’ when setting passwords. Choosing three random words that are memorable, but not personal to you, makes it easy to remember but also difficult to guess your password.

A good way to create a strong and memorable password is to use three random words. Numbers and symbols can still be used if needed, for example 3redhousemonkeys27!

Be creative and use words memorable to you, so that people can’t guess your password. Your social media accounts can give away vital clues about yourself so don’t use words such as your child’s name or favourite sports team which are easy for people to guess.

National Cyber Security Centre, Think Random

But how might you teach password security to children? It sounds like a really dry lesson for any learners let alone young children!

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Weaving Learning Between School and Homes.

Writing about home learning from an early years perspective doesn’t feel too out of the ordinary as parent partnerships play a key role in early childhood development.

“Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.”

Development Matters, 2012

In Development Matters, the enabling environments principle promises that early years practitioners build relationships with the families of the children they educate. The document goes on to say that formative assessment in the early years is most effective when it includes observations, interactions and information from parents:

“Observe children as they act and interact in their play, everyday activities and planned activities, and learn from parents about what the child does at home“.

Therefore, extending learning to the home from an early years setting should be more like a tweak to what we already have in place for parent partnerships.

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Technology at Home: free apps and advice for early years.

If school closures have taught us anything it’s that every teacher matters! We know that the motivation to learn not only comes from good quality resources but from the positive relationships children form with their teachers. This is the greatest challenge with distant learning. There are heaps of free learning materials out there and even more companies are opening up their subscription software as extended free trials. This is most effective when they are resources you are already using in school, so free home access keeps learning consistent

Let’s not get carried away and bombard our families with all of this amazing content in one go though.

What I’ve learned listening to my Apple Distinguished Educator peers who have already transitioned to distance learning, is that simplicity, consistency and relationship is important.

Free Apps for Home

Software is effective as it gives all children access to the same quality resource. It is a great equaliser. We can use software to create a level playing field of access to quality information and resources. But the motivation to learn over the longer time will come from the guided learning with an adult. Remember that relationships are key to learning! Find software which requires conversation with an adult and not only moving through levels in games.

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