I Heart Nursery World

June 22, 2015

Okay, confession: I heart Nursery World magazine. I have been known to do a little squeal of excitement when I see that tell tale package glistening invitingly on the floor by the front door (yes it does glisten! It’s the little plastic slip it comes in. Lovely, glisten-y plastic slip bursting with nuggets of early years goodness). I’m going to try to sum up why it’s so brilliant: it’s interesting, innovative and insightful. It helps me think outside the box, reminds me why what I’m doing is so important and, most importantly, challenges me – to be better, to think laterally and to question my assumptions.

Case in point: the spring edition has an article entitled “Be inspired” discussing the importance of being “open to ideas from a range of sources, including educational pioneers, overseas settings and children themselves”! This is my thing – this is central to Bonitots’ philosophy and it’s pretty exciting to see that endorsed by a leading early years publication. EXCITE! THEN it gives some examples, including – and this was the mind-blowing bit – some that I hadn’t actually researched! Now, given that my research for Bonitots involved getting my head around more of the world’s most exciting/effective/proven early years approaches than you could shake a stick at, this was exciting for me: stuff I don’t yet know! Woo! Who’s with me?

It covered some of the usual suspects: Montessori, Scotland (creativity-focused), Scandinavia (outdoors-y), Reggio Emilia (arty and project-based) – but also threw Iceland into the mix. Iceland! It transpires that the ash-cloud burping nation has some pretty forward-thinking ideas on the early years.

Interesting idea 1: they give children private spaces where they can explore their interests, strictly sans adults. I like this. Children behave differently when not observed. They’re a bit like electrons in that way. Safety notice: the adults *are* actually observing the children, but unobtrusively and without interrupting.

Interesting idea 2: they invest heavily in block play, leave the blocks out (so children can return to their creations the following day) and have large blocks for building more complex constructions. I like this too: as the article points out, block play is fun, creative and teaches all sorts, from shape, space and measure to forces and movement. I also really like the idea of allowing them to develop their creations over days / weeks rather than in, say, a short session before lunch – what a way to let them develop their skills with some really incredible constructions?

So, how will these little gems impact Bonitots? Firstly, I’m going to reimagine the sensory tent so that it can double as a private play zone for little ones – no adults allowed. Secondly, I’m going to add some large blocks to my collection (I’ve already got a lovely set of small blocks that I’ve had since Ella was a bairn) and I’m going to make sure their block-built creations can stand proud permanently, rather than being thrown into a block box in the corner.

All this is getting added to my “ideas hub” (this is how I keep track of all the brilliant suggestions).

Dinosaur Vegetable Garden!