What a lovely day!!! All the staff met early this morning for a trip into Oxford for a seminar on "Excellence in Early Year".... lovely company, lovely venue, (lovely lunch and cakes!) - what a treat :-)
So what did we learn?
We learnt that much of what we do is already excellent!!
The day re-enforced our thinking about how we support the children, how we record their progress and attainment, how we support the children's independent....
The day encouraged us to think about how much we value the creative process and not just the end result.... which we do well mostly during the year, but there is still that 'niggle' inside us that persuades us to send home a perfect daffodil card for Mother's day for every child, or to create a toilet roll snowman at Christmas.... so we learnt to stand by our knowledge of children's true creative input and allow them to explore and create as their individual mind, thoughts and wishes dictate. Do you a 'guided' painting more about the adults ideas than a 'home-grown' swirl from your child representing their view of snow? your views and comments are most welcome.
We explored ideas about taking writing and mark-making into all areas of the setting, and why certain children are drawn into, or avoid particular areas, and how we can make them 'gender neutral' and inviting for all....
We heard an interesting and thought-provoking talk about muscle development and which actions/skills are difficult to achieve until muscles are well developed with age....
We thought about our displays... who are they for? what is their objective? and do they meet it? or do they overwhelm and distract children from their learning?
After lunch a fascinating discussion around role-play and children's ability to only play with what they know and how this can be enhanced and extended kept us on our toes!!
It was a day full of interesting and thought-provoking discussion... one which was brilliant and valuable, in its own right, but also in being able to share it with all staff first-hand (including Louisa, although she was unable to attend, the organisers sent us away with a complimentary box of chocolates for her!!)
We are grateful to the Committee for authorising our closure and attendance. We come away enthused, keen and with a list of items we'd like to collect!!
Empty Yakult bottles (or similar)
Fabrics, especially with patterns and designs, eg. camoflague
Empty soap dispensers
Different sized spoons
OId cameras digital and film (i.e. 35mm)
copper pots or kettles
Plastic pots and bottles
Any old hats
In fact, anything else you think we can use!!