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Keeping children safe online

This week Ofcom was appointed as the “online harms regulator” for the UK. Part of their role will be to make sure websites where users are able to share content (such as videos, comments or in forums) remove illegal content (such as child abuse images) quickly. They will also have powers to ensure that these …

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The Duchess of Cambridge's Five Big Questions

This week we are reflecting on the Five Big Questions that the Duchess of Cambridge for the Royal Foundation has posed to every adult living in the UK. If you’ve not heard of them, they are part of a survey to try and increase knowledge of what parents understand about the importance of early childhood. …

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Speaking up for children: the DfE’s consultation on reforms to the EYFS

We’d like to start this blog by saying Happy New Year! We know it’s been a while since we last posted, but we are starting 2020 afresh with a New Year’s resolution to continue to contemplate childhoods with a new article every week. Thinking about our 2020 New Year’s resolution has made us reflect back …

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Rockabye baby: infants sleeping outdoors

You may remember in a previous post we told you about some research we are involved in which focuses on young children’s engagement (ie 0-2s) with the outdoors. The project is funded by the Froebel Trust and you can read about it here. One of the interesting things we have discovered through our reading is …

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Discovering the depth of children’s stories

Last week we visited the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford, London. It’s billed as “a place for children and their families to play, learn and create stories together”, comprising of two indoor “Story Worlds” and an outdoor “Story Garden” which are exploratory play spaces designed to promote children’s creativity, imagination and literacy. They give …

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Research big and small

We always get really excited by research and we know that some of you now will be thinking about designing studies for dissertations. In the past, we’ve always had to encourage students not to think ‘too big’ in terms of research, however it is always interesting to hear about what big research teams are doing …

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Tackling children’s knife crime

This week we went to see The National Monument against Violence and Aggression, better known as The Knife Angel. It’s a 20ft high sculpture of an angel made from 100,000 knives either seized or surrendered as part of amnesties. It’s touring round cathedrals in England and is in Rochester until Sunday 29th September 2019. When we …

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Manifesto for young children: We will……

Did you get chance to read the recent children’s manifesto, Guess how much we love you:  Why politicians urgently need to help our children,  ? It was published by the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield. In it she sets out the commitment that all political parties need to make to children to ensure they can …

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What does it mean to be ready for school?

This week we seem to have been talking to lots of people who are experiencing (or whose children are experiencing) transitions – into nurseries, childminders’ settings, primary schools, secondary schools and universities. Transitions can be an unsettling and uncertain time – taking on a new challenge, meeting a lot of new people and absorbing a …

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Summer’s over: How are children socialised to keep themselves safe?

Welcome back to the start of the new academic year; we hope you had a lovely summer and managed to have a little rest and recuperation time. One positive about taking a little time out, is that it gives you chance to put your brain in a different gear and reflect on life in a …

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The power of the picture

We’ve been enjoying the summer so far; both of us have recently had the chance to get away from our computer screens and explore some of the UK. Polly went to Newcastle last week and visited The National Centre for Children’s Books, Seven Stories. The museum aims to “collect, champion and celebrate” children’s literature, and …

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Looking after the earth

We are starting off with an apology this week; our regular readers will have noticed that we have missed a few posts recently. Mostly this is because life has caught up with us and we are furiously focused on meeting the deadline for our next book Understanding Gender and Early Childhood: An introduction to the …

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Celebrating Children’s Day in Poland

Last Saturday (1st June) we were wished a Happy Children’s Day by one of our Polish friends. Whilst in the UK we celebrate Universal Children’s Day on 20th November (which we’ve considered in a previous post), in Poland (along with almost 50 other countries) the dedicated day for celebrating children is 1st June. Our friend …

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Parents’ perspectives of childcare and early years

This week Polly received a letter in the post from the Department for Education (DfE)! She has been randomly selected by Ipsos Mori, an independent research organisation commissioned by the DfE, to complete an online survey about parental views of childcare and out of school activities. The letter arrived with a free reusable shopping bag …

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This fine place so close to home

Thanks to Paula Stone for this week's article; are some children seen as more important than others in our society?     Since reading the article in the Guardian on 25thMarch “Too poor to play: children in social housing blocked from communal playground” I have been deeply, deeply troubled. The story reports how a housing …

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Professional identity; who am I and how do others see me?

A poignant post this week from an early years practitioner who wishes to remain anonymous. Creeping towards 43 years old, with a career in early years that started when I was 16, I recently undertook a role as a nursery teacher in a maintained nursery class.  My experience within the early years sector is vast …

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Is this app ……appropriate?

Another great blog to get us thinking by Dr Paula Stone; let Paula know what you think about this initiative by adding your comments. This week (20 February), the Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced the roll-out of free access to educational apps to families from disadvantaged backgrounds in a bid to boost early literacy …

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‘Get some fresh air’ – The importance of outdoor play

This week’s blog is written by Charlotte Hanks a final year Early Childhood Studies student.     Recently I have been reading ‘Swallows and Amazons’ by Ransome (1930).      I can’t help but think how lovely it is to read about the adventures these children have sailing and camping on an island with no adults around. However, …

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Early writing and motor planning

Rebecca Reynolds is an independent early years literacy consultant. Whilst visiting a school recently I was struck by a little girl next to me who had been asked to attempt to write a cursive ‘b’ after a phonics lesson. The teacher explained that whilst in the phonics lesson the letter was shown in print but …

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OfSTED’s proposed new guidelines for inspection. A step in the right direction?

Thank you Dr Paula Stone for another timely post. On Wednesday, I was heartened to hear the news about OfSTED’s plans to issue new guidelines for inspection that will shift the focus towards quality of education rather than purely educational ‘outcomes’ or attainment.  It is proposed that this will be the biggest overhaul of the inspection …

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‘Hungry, hungry, I am hungry…’; young children and food insecurity.

      When I taught in a primary school there was a Dr Seuss nonsense song that the children loved to sing with great enthusiasm. It was called The Super-Supper March and began ‘Hungry, hungry, I am hungry, I could eat a pickled plum...’. Do you remember it? Perhaps you sang it too. When I …

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Good words are worth much …. (George Herbert)

Dr. Paula Stone is Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her interests are class and education. I have been struck by the number of recent articles and debates around the use of social media and the impact that this is having on young people. As highlighted by Harriet Smithers in her recent blog which …

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Hearing children’s voices

Did you do anything special to celebrate Universal Children’s Day on 20th November this week?  Here is a short piece of writing we were asked to compose around listening to the child’s voice... In times gone by, when we wanted to find out about children we had to draw on research conducted on them. This positioning …

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Is this really the end of the era of austerity? What will this mean for children?

Thank you Dr. Paula Stone for once again giving us lots to ponder on in this week's post. Austerity is a term often bandied about in politics and the media; over recent years it seems to represent ‘a difficult economic situation caused by a government reducing the amount of money it spends’  i.e. not an economic …

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Boys’ toys and girls’ toys; why does it really matter?

  It’s half term already and finally it’s beginning to feel like autumn.  A quick stroll into town reminds us of all the celebrations that happen at this time of year; the shops are full of Halloween paraphernalia, there are reminders it is nearly Bonfire Night, and of course, the countdown to Christmas has already …

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Social media; are the fears surrounding children using social media limiting the positive benefits for young children?

A great post this week from Harriet Smithers who is an Early Childhood Studies student.     Children’s social media use is growing. This has been highlighted in Ofcom’s annual Children and Parent’s Media Attitudes report. The report highlights that 74% of children aged between 12 and 15 have a social media profile. As well …

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To share or not to share?

This week’s post has been written by Karen Matthews, an early years practitioner who has recently completed an MA in Early Childhood Education. Karen is sharing a thought-provoking reflection on how we teach children to share. Imagine this, you have been fitting together different shaped magnets to create a model; you have been at this …

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Play, talk, read, write, repeat

Did you see the new Literacy Trust report ‘Mental wellbeing, reading and writing’that came out this week? The research that underpins it looked to explore any links ‘between mental wellbeing and reading and writing enjoyment and attitudes’ (p. 25). It referenced other studies such as the Millennium Cohort Study which has found parallels between reading …

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Sugar and spice…rats and snails

  Do you remember the nursery rhyme ‘What are little boys made of?’I’m pretty sure that it won’t be recited in early years settings today but I do remember it was a common rhyme in my own childhood. It demonstrates how deeply ingrained the desire to differentiate between the sexes, or genders, is. I was …

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Let’s hear it for the mums! The impact of a mother’s education on outcomes for her children.

It’s the beginning of a new academic year and the first years are arriving on campuses across the UK ready to continue their academic journey – and hopefully have a bit of fun, make some new friends and be inspired and challenged. There’s always one group of students my heart goes out to; those who …

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