The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Early Years

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

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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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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Alex Masters

Early years pupil premium funding: expert advice from Dr Julian Grenier

How should you implement the early years pupil premium funding? Watch this two-minute video interview with Dr Julian Grenier , headteacher and national leader of education, for advice you can begin using today. The Department for Education’s introduction of the early years pupil premium in April...
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Alex Masters

The early years funding challenge

The DfE’s decision to introduce an early years pupil premium was welcomed with open arms. But with opportunity comes challenge, as content lead Alex Masters discovers Did you know that 90% of all brain development occurs by the age of five ? Did you also know that recent research shows a 19-month...
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Tom Kerslake

Early years in 2015: what lies ahead?

Last year proved to be an uneasy time for the early years sector, and an extremely turbulent year for education in general. From a range of concerns about nursery funding and provision, to Michael Wilshaw’s ‘unsure start’ debacle , the sector certainly experienced its own tremors last year. The...
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Alex Masters

The state of play: how Lego can lead to deeper learning

‘Play is the beginning of knowledge,’ so a wise man once said. Indeed, recent studies have found clear links between play and deeper learning...so much so that there have been calls for Ofsted to stress the importance of play in its inspection framework. There are many compelling cases for the link...
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