Sing at Home Sway 3

#Sway3 #SingatHomeFC Campaign!

Team Falkirk- are we ready to join in to help spread the joy of singing with our #SingAtHomeFC?


As we celebrate the great Robert Burns on 25th January, we have added a wee Scottish rhyme “Wee Willie Winkie”.


  • Ask families to share photographs and videos of them taking part in the Sing at Home songs. You can then share this with us on twitter by tagging @FalkirkFroebel and using the #SingatHomeFC
  • Join in too!! Learn the Makaton signs. Listen to the music and songs. Why not get your own family to join in and share your fabulous singing and Makaton signing with us.

“The Mulberry Bush” is our other song which is a popular seasonal song to get us all moving.

Let us try and create opportunities to spread the joy and the importance of singing and rhymes

Use this link to access the third sway                 

Send the link to your families to encourage them to sing together at home.

Falkirk Early Years Blether Sessions

We hope you are all safe and well. Things are a little different once again but we are heartened to see teams pull together for their children and families.

Whilst ELC settings are closed to many children it is a good time for us to take the chance to join together (albeit virtually) to share ideas and aspects of our good practice.  The Falkirk early learning central team and early years pedagogues would like to invite you to take part in our series of “Falkirk Early Years blether sessions”.  These blethers will provide opportunities for us all to gather and discuss aspects of high-quality practice relating to a range of contexts.  All blethers will take place on our dedicated group on Microsoft Teams called “Falkirk Early Years blether sessions”.   No sign up is required; just join the blethers of your choice after joining the team using the code (please see your SEYO to access the join code). Further details have been sent out to Leadership Teams this afternoon.

As always, please get in touch with your cluster link should you have any questions or need any support.

Christmas Family Songs at Home

#Sway2 #SingatHomeFC Campaign!

Team Falkirk- are we ready to join in to help spread the joy of singing with our Christmas #SingAtHomeFC?

Use this link to access the second sway. Remember to:

  • Send the link to your families to encourage them to sing together at home.
  • Ask families to share photographs and videos of them taking part in the Sing at Home songs. You can then share this with us on twitter by tagging @FalkirkFroebel and using the #SingatHomeFC
  • Join in too!! Learn the Makaton signs. Listen to the music and songs. Why not get your own family to join in and share your fabulous singing and Makaton signing with us.

Christmas Holidays are coming… hoping they will be filled with love and happiness for each and every one of you!

Marvellous Moments for Marvellous Mealtimes

I can honestly say I am absolutely blown away by the commitment and focus our Falkirk practitioners have had in implementing marvellous mealtimes. Just two years ago only two settings in Falkirk were implementing the very beginning of the approach.

Fast forward a few years with some challenges, a lot of possibilities, a few case studies and a few ( a lot!) visitors and we now have Marvellous Mealtimes sweeping across Falkirk.

While this year has been challenging in many ways, it was important not to lose focus of what is truly important to us in early years- to ensure our wee people are at the heart of all we do. As oor Lisa McCabe likes to remind us- “keep the main thing, the main thing” and put simply this is what you have done practitioners of Falkirk!

Of course there is still challenges and hurdles to overcome, however being solution focused, sharing practice and seeking support when needed is paramount in moving forward.

As we move forward in the marvellous mealtime experience and “The Larder” begins to provide opportunities for us to cook and bake with children, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go over a few considerations and top tips.


Baking and cooking should still be happening regularly within your setting. However, as we know, things have had to be adapted and routines altered. The following points will support you in developing baking and cooking. :

  • Cooking and baking should be implemented in small groups- a maximum of 3 children.
  • Children should have access to their own set of ingredients and tools.
  • Children should not prepare foods for others. Simply- they can only eat what they prepare.

Have a look at some of these examples from our #FabFalkirkFolk






In each of these examples you will notice how children have their own ingredients and tools with small groups of children taking part.

Marvellous Mealtimes Top Tips

  • While a small group of children bake or group in a day it doesn’t mean that the larder can’t be used for the whole setting. For example while your wee bakers mix, measure and roll their own bread; a batch for the rest of the children can be made individually by a practitioner for everyone at snack, following the appropriate cooksafe procedures. Access the most up-to-date version of cooksafe here.
  • It’s important children have the right tools. These knives are sturdy and safe but do the job. If we want children to develop the skills for baking and cooking, butter knives for chopping will simply not cut it (no pun intended!). Follow the link here.
  • Maximizing the outdoor space is a great way of continuing the marvellous mealtimes experience. Get your wee people involved in developing their eating spaces outdoors.
  • Be aware of your snack time experience- are there tongs and spoons for children to use? Do children have their own knives for spreading? How long is snack available for? Do children help to plan their snack menu and choose which foods to eat?
And finally…

The Scottish Government have updated their Early Years COVID Guidance including a snack and mealtimes update. You can access this here.

“It is important to continue to ensure that mealtimes are a relaxed and enjoyable time where children can socialise, while implementing practical approaches to prevent the spread and control of infection.” (Scottish Government, 2020)

As always please just get in touch if you have any questions at Remember to access the marvellous mealtimes section on  Falkirk Early Learning – Home 


Falkirk Home Bubble Sing-A-Long

Join in Falkirk with our new #SingatHomeFC Campaign!

We know that singing is a valuable experience in ELC. Due to our current circumstances this won’t be happening as regularly as normal. Hence our mission to encourage our Falkirk families and children to sing at home! Some of our Falkirk Froebel Family have connected as a community of early years practitioners to produce songs, rhymes and music to share with our families through a sing at home campaign.

We have been supported from our wonderful colleagues at Speech and Language Therapy services, YMI and Falkirk High School music teachers to collaborate and produce a series of Sing at home sways.

Each sway will have a minimum of either two lullaby’s, rhymes or songs, with real instruments to accompany them, illustrations, along with Makaton signs for actions. Thank you to all of the fabulous #fabfalkirkfolk that helped make this happen.

We plan to create a series of 8 sways which will be shared over a period of time. Our first Sing at home sway is being launched on St Andrews Day 30th November 2020 hence the  Scottish song choices.

There is also the link to the Froebel Trust  pamphlet which explains the many benefits to songs rhymes and finger plays through a Froebelian perspective.

Helena MacPhail (EYP at Sacred Heart ELC) has been focusing on singing as part of her pedagogue project and her Froebel in Childhood Practice course. Helena has used different resources, including singing spoons, which have been a great success as provocations for sparking spontaneous singing with children. I wonder what ideas our Falkirk practitioners have for encouraging families to sing at home? Remember to share and tag us in your tweets @FalkirkFroebel and use #SingatHomeFC

So Team Falkirk- what do we need you to do?

  • Use this link to access the first sway- Send the link to your families to encourage them to sing together at home. You might use different platforms to communicate with your families such as Seesaw and the link can be easily shared this way. You can also use twitter to encourage families to join in.
  • Ask families to share photographs and videos of them taking part in the Sing at Home songs. You can then share this with us on twitter by tagging @FalkirkFroebel and using the #SingatHomeFC
  • Join in too!! Why not get your own family to join in and share your fabulous singing voices with us!

Let’s go Falkirk! #WeAreFalkirk


“Children’s play is crucial to Scotland’s
wellbeing; socially, economically and
environmentally. Children learn as they play
and bringing more play into the school day
helps foster children’s natural curiosity and
motivation to learn.”

(Maree Todd MSP,  in Play Scotland’s Playful Pedgogy: a guide to getting started , September 2020)


In Falkirk we have embraced play as a vehicle for learning in our early learning and early primary settings for many years.   Our ambition is for children in Falkirk to experience a broad, stimulating curriculum which is informed by their prior learning and interests about the world around them.  As highly skilled practitioners who ask thoughtful questions and facilitate learning with depth, challenge and application we aim to support and guide every child to progress their learning.  We provide a developmentally appropriate approach to teaching in learning; informed by research which shows that young children learn best through play and first hand experiences (Bruce, 2015).    Our Play is the Way approach supports and extends children’s learning by providing them with regular opportunities to:

  • make their own choices and decisions;
  • return to experiences over time to deepen learning and practice skills;
  • discuss thoughts, ask questions and extend their ideas

Adapted from Practice guidance materials for Play Pedagogy in the early stages of primary school (Falkirk Council 2020)

This approach is described in research as play pedagogy and in Falkirk, Play is the Way is our play pedagogy brand.  Through following #playisthewayFC on Twitter, it is clear to see the passion and commitment Falkirk educators have for play pedagogy  and we are so proud of the many inspiring and motivating spaces, experiences and interactions being provided for Falkirk’s children.  Here are just a couple of recent examples from #playisthewayFC.



For more information about play pedagogy click on the links in the text above or access Play is the Way – the full story  for more detailed information and guidance (Glow sign-in required to access Falkirk Council materials).

Falkirk Early Years Pedagogues

Who can believe that the last week of the first term is upon us? It has been a privilege to witness teams across Falkirk work together to ensure their wee people have the very best early learning experience. Our practitioners have gone above and beyond for children and families – we really do have, #fabfalkirkfolk.

Our Early Years Pedagogue team have been working on many interesting projects during the first term. Like everyone else, our team have had to adapt to our current circumstances and develop new ways of working with children, families and teams.

Our Falkirk Early Years Pedagogue poster gives you more information on our role as Equity and Excellence Leads.

We also have to think about the way in which we are sharing our work with practitioners. Each of our Pedagogues have developed a Sway which details their progress in developing different projects. These will be updated monthly and you will be able follow each project as it develops. Follow the links below to have a look at what we have been up to in the last few weeks and get to know our Pedagogues a wee bit better. Remember you will need your Glow login!

Elaine Haughton- Carmuirs ELC

Helena MacPhail- Sacred Heart ELC

Donna Green- Nethermains ELC and Froebel Falkirk Lead

Claudette Wright- Beancross ELC

Louise Harrison- Bowhouse ELC

Lisa Boa- Bainsford ELC

Yvonne Robinson- Victoria ELC and Queen Street ELCC

Our early years pedagogues have been focusing on :

What Matters to Me?

Our What Matters to Me projects stem from Jason Leitch’s TED talk in which he spoke about a what matters to me approach for patients in hospital. We wondered how this approach would look in ELC while thinking about transitions, care planning and responsive and intentional planning. Have a wee look at the video below, we are sure it will definitely get you thinking!

Children’s Creativity

Our Pedagogues will be exploring the progression of children’s creativity using the Duffy Scales. From painting to dancing, our Pedagogues and their teams have their creativity hats on in developing these experiences, spaces and interactions across their settings.

Early Mathematics

Our Pedagogues and their teams will be exploring different mathematical concepts through the use of Cuisenaire rods. We are currently receiving CLPL on this and will begin this project after the October break.

Keep in touch

The Pedagogue sways will also share unique successes and developments within settings that happen out with the identified projects. From nurturing nature, to our fabulous Froebel initiatives, we hope you’ll find these sways useful in sharing our work.

You will also be able to read about our pedagogues in the Falkirk early years newsletter. Look out for our pedagogue ponders section.

You can now also follow us on twitter @FalkirkEYP to keep up to date with our latest developments.

Let us know what you think of our sways and get in touch for more information.


#ArtyMathsFalkirk – Keep Going


After another week of celebrating all things Maths as part of Scottish Maths Week, it is important to think about what’s been achieved.

First of all, I want to say a huge WELL DONE and THANK YOU to everyone across Falkirk’s ELC community for showing, once again, that you are on a mission! As a community, you are always keen to support our initiatives and with a gentle spark, you really embrace the opportunity to develop memorable experiences for children.

Photo: Courtesy of Sacred Heart ELC Class via Twitter

What have you learned about the children and and yourselves?

The energy and enthusiasm shown during Maths Week is very special, so we need to make sure that we reflect on what went well and what have we learned. When we know this, we can keep going and keep improving.

This year we asked you to think about where is the Mathematics in Art. In doing so, we wanted to provide you with the opportunity to look closely at children as they play but through the lens of asking: “where’s the Maths?”

Photo: Courtesy of Queen Street ELC Centre via Twitter

In doing this, I am sure you realised that, even over a short window of time, the awesome potential that  young children have to think and behave mathematically, appropriate to their developmental stage, of course. You will have, I’m sure, noticed children being highly competent in their knowledge of a broad range of essential foundational mathematical concepts.

In using Art as a context, you’ve also been give a reminder that foundations of Maths is more than numerals and counting. Counting is vitally important and we need to make sure we find lots of natural ways, relevant to children, to support them to recognise numbers and count objects. Absolutely.

“Numeracy is not just about being able to count. It is about developing number sense which encourages creativity of thought and it allows children to interact with the world around them”. Realising the Ambition, page 74

But, let’s not forget that for children to develop reasoning skills, essential for the mathematical brain to develop, we must support a range of other essential concepts: Matching. Sorting. Grouping. Categorising. Time. Pattern. Shape. Measure. Movement.

Photo: Courtesy of Wellside Kingergarten via Twitter

So, what next?

You mustn’t lose what you’ve started.

Now that you know what children are capable of, you must keep looking for the Maths within the rich experiences you are offering to children.

Think: how am I seeing the child thinking and behaving mathematically?

Make sure children get the credit for what they know and can do.

After maths week, I am sure children’s profiles will be full of rich observations with numeracy and mathematics featuring prominently. But, for progress to be maintained, you have to keep looking and noting as children play: What maths am I seeing now? What is new? What is different? What is important? What is surprising?

Support and Guidance
This is a good time to remind you all about the excellent resource from Education Scotland. You can find the materials on the National improvement Hub here.

Please take time to read the Guidance Document first of all. It’s only 8 pages long but it talks specifically about Early Level and the important connections with Realising the Ambition.

The other materials, for each of the key areas of Numeracy and Maths within the curriculum, have an Early Level section. I am delighted to say that there is an explicit and very helpful focus on play pedagogy and in keeping with Realising the Ambition.

You can also take a look on Twitter at the fabulous learning throughout Maths Week in Falkirk by clicking the links below:






Arty Maths – Maths Week Scotland – 28 September


It’s Maths Week Scotland next week.

Excited much?????

I’ve always thought about maths and art being connected. Why? Because both disciplines are about noticing and appreciating the world around us.


As human beings we are drawn to things. Sometimes we don’t know why. It’s intuitive or natural. We like something because it has an appeal. In our mind’s eye it is beautiful. Often the reason for our appreciation lies in its order, symmetry, colour, shape even its movement. All of which are basic, natural, mathematical concepts.




Babies, toddlers and young children haven’t yet learned about the properties of shapes or the names of colours, maybe. However, they do naturally distinguish for characteristics in the way they sort or collect things around them.

Matching, sorting and grouping are essential foundational mathematical skills. It is important that we are not tempted to ‘schoolify’ this behaviour too early but rather that we provide children the opportunity to be challenged by objects and watch how they use them.

Back to art. The visual arts (drawing, painting, collage, modelling) are offered everyday in every ELC in the land. But, have you considered the contribution to children’s mathematical thinking that such experiences offer?

I think it is important to think about the visual elements of Art when thinking about the sorts of experiences children should have. When you see the elements, you will quickly recognise the connection with Mathematics.

The visual elements of art are:

  • Line
  • Colour
  • Texture
  • Shape
  • Pattern
  • Form
  • Tone


  • Thinking of your Creation Stations, have you organised the materials in a certain way to help children make choices on the basis of lines or shapes or colours?
  • In this example, materials are organised in colours but also there is thought to strips of papers, so that children can think about lines.


  • Have you thought about giving children different shape of paper to paint or collage on? Think about what children would learn about a triangle if they had to make decisions about what tiny marks they needed to make in the angles?
  • What about different sizes of paper and different painting tools for that size. The mathematical language that will develop will impress and astound you.

3D Modelling

So, 3D modelling is basically a mathematical/STEM experience as well as an arty one!

  • How are the materials organised in your playroom or in the outdoors? Are they all jumbled around? You might want to think about categories to help children make decisions on the basis of shape or colour or function. For example:
    • A box for objects that roll
    • A box for objects that ‘don’t roll’
    • A box for ‘see through’ or transparent objects
    • A box for ‘very small’ objects
    • A box for ‘flat’ objects
    • And on and on and on…….

Clay, Blocks and Wood

Form and pattern are visual elements of art but they are also mathematical concepts that are explored and discovered by children as they design with  clay and blocks and wood. I don’t need to say anymore about this here. Go to our wonderful Froebel in Falkirk menu in the blog for all you need to know.

You will have so many more ideas but hopefully Maths Week Scotland will give the opportunity to notice the maths in the art, to observe closely how children are thinking and behaving mathematically.

I am so excited about #ArtyMaths week in Falkirk. I know that, as always, ELC is going to embrace this opportunity to support children’s progress and to help families understand how their young child’s mathematical brain is developing.

Please do as you always do…..share and tweet. Please tag-in @FCEYTeam @NumHubChamp @FCLisaMcCabe using #ELCArtyMathsWeek #MathsWeekScot
Well done and thank you!


Read more

Launch of New Materials for Falkirk’s ELC Teams

It’s the end of another busy week in Falkirk’s ELC settings and this week’s blog post is about some of the many support materials and CLPL opportunities  which were shared with settings this week.

Early Learning Newsletter  published.

The FCEY central team are excited to be publishing the first newletter for Falkirk’s ELC workforce.  Our newsletter contains snapshots from a few of our #FalkirkWonderisers out in ELC settings and Primary 1 classrooms along with latest news, upcoming events and updates from some  of our professional partners.   Watch out for this term’s newsletter coming soon!

Early Learning Professional Learning Brochure

With these words in mind, the Early Learning team were pleased to launch their professional learning brochure detailing their 2020-2021 CLPL programme.  Falkirk ELC and early primary practitioners can use this brochure to view the fantastic range of CLPL on offer to them in Falkirk this year.  Below is a snapshot of the wealth of opportunities on offer.

Staff Handbooks

The FCEY team have been working hard to produce new and updated staff handbooks to support practitioners working in the many varied roles of our ELC workforce.  The first of these, launched this week are:

  • SEYO handbook
  • Staff Induction handbook
  • ELC Assistant Induction handbook
  • Mentor Guidance handbook

Falkirk Council practitioners can access all  handbooks on the Early Learning Sharepoint on Glow using this link.