Author: Mrs Pascall

Children’s Play

“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)

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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.

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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).

#wonderisers

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.

Online Training Opportunities

Welcome back to all our #FalkirkWonderisers.  We are so proud to see all the amazing play and learning that has been taking place already in our ELC settings and primary schools.  It is wonderful to see all the smiling faces back in our settings.

For those of you looking to continue your development of play pedagogy through high quality CLPL, we wanted to draw your attention to these upcoming training opportunities from Anna Ephgrave and Deirdre Grogan.

*Update June 16th 2020* Supporting Transitions from Home-Early Years-P1 in 2020.

On Monday 8th June over 50 dedicated early learning and childcare and primary practitioners and leaders came together online to discuss transitions.  We aimed to share ideas about creative ways to support our youngest children back into our settings this year; whether they are returning to ELC or starting ELC or Primary 1 for the first time.  They were ably led and supported in this discussion by Jackie Ballantyne from Education Scotland.

To read a summary of the discussion please click here 

Evaluation of 2019-2020 ELC Thematic Review

Calling all our #fabfalkirkfolk

If you can spare a few minutes, please help our team evaluate the 2019-2020 ELC thematic review process by completing a short evaluation form on Glow using this link.

Your feedback will be used to make improvements to the future quality assurance of Falkirk’s Early Learning and Childcare provision and we really appreciate you taking part.

Please note, there are different forms for EYOS, SEYOs and senior leaders to complete as part of this evaluation and you will need to login using your Glow account to access the forms.   They are stored in the folder called “Thematic Review 2019-2020 Evaluation forms”.

The deadline for returning evaluation forms is May 18th 2020.

If you have any difficulty accessing these, please contact Fiona Pascall or Margaret Aitken.

 

 

 

Learning Together at Home

As a result of school and nursery closure we are aware that as parents you may be worried about how your children will learn over the coming weeks.   We also know that this time of uncertainty and change in routine can be very unsettling for children.  Many of us are parents ourselves and know that extended periods of time at home can be challenging as a family.

Please do not panic about providing the curriculum for your children the way settings do. At this young age all learning in settings is through play and play is the greatest work a child can engage in.  Thanks to the huge commitment of staff throughout the authority we are pleased to offer a wide range of suggestions on activities for you to do with your children at home in the Sway below.

Every Monday, we will update our blog  with further tips and ideas of how to support your child’s learning at home.  A link to these will also be posted on our FCEYcentralteam Twitter  account @FCEYteam.

If you would like to share the home learning adventures you have with your child, please feel free to tweet them adding #FCLearnAtHome.

Go to this Sway

 

Creating an ‘Environment of Wonder’.

St Patrick’s ELC’s journey to developing a quality environment as part of providing 1140hr provision.

As a staff team, we were passionate about creating an environment that cultivates children’s curiosity, creativity and wonder. We worked very hard to develop a shared vision for our new 1140 environment, recognising the impact our environment has on our children as ‘the 3rd educator’.

This involved looking inwards: self-evaluating our environment and the barriers we faced e.g. comfort, light, space, barriers to free flow play to our outdoor environment; using Building the Ambition to support our self-evaluation.

 

Next, looking outwards: Falkirk Opens its Doors to Play was an immeasurable support – getting into other quality environments and taking inspiration from good practice within our authority. Following these visits, our team consulted on aspects of good practice which would fit our vision. In addition we took time to research examples of quality environments and resources shared on on-line platforms which proved to be a great support to us. We found inspiration from pages that share their environments and resources, such as ‘The Curiosity Approach’, and as a team, we shared and discussed ideas, challenging each other in a supportive manner.

Then looking forwards: by getting involved in all aspects of planning for our environment. We worked very closely with our Architect at the planning stage, making changes such as; the position of our kitchen, adding extra windows, changing the boundaries of our garden etc. As a team (including our children, parents and staff) we made all decisions re. décor and furnishings of our environment.

 

 

 

Staff embraced the opportunity to make real environmental change and a shift in the resources we provided to support learning. Staff created a wish list in keeping with our research and carefully selected interesting items and resources to purchase with our budget.

  

Staff worked extremely hard to get all our resources in place and create a warm, welcoming, homely environment for our children and opened our doors in August on the first day of term to our children as an Early Learning Centre delivering 1140 hours of provision.  At that point, our environment continued to be an on-going daily priority. It was a focus of our daily dialogue; discussing how our children were using their environment, changes that were required and improvements we could make.

Come Along – Play-Based Pedagogy Sharing Practice Event

“Play is the Way! Come along to find out first-hand how Falkirk teachers and early years practitioners are using Froebelian principles and play-based pedagogy to deliver inspiring, motivating and developmentally appropriate learning experiences for Falkirk’s bairns. 2018 ENTHUSE winner, Nicola Connor, will also join us from West Lothian to share practical ways to promote STEM in your classroom through play and playful learning experiences.”

The Falkirk early years team are looking forward to hosting this play-based pedagogy workshop on behalf of Education Scotland’s Teacher Leadership Programme on February 10th 2020 in Camelon Education Centre  from 4PM-6PM and hope to see lots of our own Fab Falkirk folk there.  Please use the link below to sign up and come along to hear about some of the great learning and teaching happening in our schools and early learning settings.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/play-based-pedagogy-sharing-practice-session-tickets-86787891921?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Food Hygiene Refresher Course

Food Hygiene Refresher Training                                

A small reminder that all Falkirk ELC practitioners whose Elementary Food Hygiene certificate is approaching 5 years old should sign up for a two hour refresher course using CPD manager.  Refresher courses are run every 6 months and places are limited so please ensure you plan ahead if your certificate will be 5 years old within the next year and sign up promptly to reserve your space.  The next course will be held on March 4th 2020 from 4-6 PM in Camelon Education Centre.