The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Early years

Elizabeth Holmes

School readiness: who is ready for whom?

Our definition of a child's readiness for school, and a school's readiness for a child, has undergone major shifts in recent decades. Elizabeth Holmes and Dr Pam Jarvis discuss what has changed. It’s that time of year when school readiness guides start doing the rounds and we hear about children...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Bold Beginnings: think piece or set text?

Ofsted's controversial new report on Reception teaching is an opportunity to discuss what really matters in the early years. As I write this, my four-year-old son, who will start school this September, is working hard on the garden (or ‘farm’ as he describes it, after watching CBeebies’...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Getting it right in the early years: pedagogy and policy

Elizabeth Holmes caught up with Jan Dubiel to clarify what good practice means in early years teaching and learning. In the early years, teaching and learning has an ‘otherness’ about it. Too often this is overlooked as we debate how younger children learn best in our schools. National director of...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Trusting in transitions: getting it right in the early years

Coping effectively with t ransition, especially if difficult or traumatic, is crucial if we are to thrive in later life. The need to get it right in early years is essential. Transition isn’t pretty, but stagnation is hideous. Nikki Rowe Transitions are inevitable. We experience transitions to...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Montessori education (part 2): classroom activities

In the second of this two-part interview with nursery owner and teacher, Nick Peck, Elizabeth Holmes delves into Montessori classroom activities and the contribution that Montessori is making to early years education today. Elizabeth: Can you explain the different types of activities for children...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Montessori education: an international pedagogical movement

With an estimated 22,000 nurseries and schools worldwide and approximately 750 catering for around 30,000 children in the UK , Montessori education is a considered choice for many parents. But what are its key characteristics that distinguish it from other early years approaches? In this first of a...
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Sam Attwater

21 steps to achieving an outstanding early years Ofsted judgement

Sam Attwater outlines the key things your early years setting will need to do to achieve an outstanding Ofsted judgement. The common inspection framework sets out how Ofsted inspects maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills provision and...
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Liz Worthen

The stretch zone is for grownups too

Good leaders find the stretch points for their team and empower them to take action. Proofing the entirety of our primary and secondary Insight magazine is a somewhat arduous task. However, it does give me the opportunity to fully appreciate (and actually read!) the resources which the Optimus team...
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Linda Thornton

Using natural materials to enhance children’s learning

Natural resources encourage children to observe closely and use all their senses. Here are some practical ideas to bring them into early years learning. Providing an interesting and ever-changing environment for children to explore is an ideal way to develop their curiosity, provide opportunities...
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Linda Thornton

How to support personal, social and emotional development for the under-threes

Why is personal, social and emotional development so important for young children, and how you can make sure you are supporting the children in your setting? Personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is possibly the most important of the prime areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation...
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