The life of me

The last day of 2018!

The end of the year! As always it flies by, especially if you are a teacher as you count down each term!

This year has brought so much determination, excitement and hope. I have taken risks such as leaving a school that I was happily comfortable with to grow and develop my career as a teacher. I took on the challenge of starting at a school in a very deprived area but it has taught me so much and I throughly enjoy my decision. It has helped me continue to achieve my goals in leadership and I am very much looking forward to continuing that in 2019.

So today I will raise a glass to my achievements but also reflect on the year to come! I think that goal setting is crucial for success. The goals that I set this year helped me to achieve many things and I am going to set more goals for 2019.

These goals will both be personal and career goals. I am also going to set goals for myself that lenses itself to a 2-5 year plan. If you don’t realistically set goals then chances are you won’t reach them!

Wishing my blogger friends a lovely NYE and a happy new year ahead!


The life of me

Counting is a complicated process! These are all of the steps…

When asking children to count, you may not realise how many skills you need to be able to count correctly.

After further study during my Masters in Education and experiences of teaching mastery maths… here are the real steps children have to achieve to be able to COUNT anything!

Firstly children need to know the names of numbers. Numbers are often learnt through a range of nursery rhymes such as 5 little ducks and 10 in a bed etc. This gets children remembering the number names and building up the language needed to count.

So after that children can count right?! Nope!

Children may then say:

5,6,2,1 etc

The next step is the need for children to count the numbers in the right order, this is know as the stable order principle.

So now children know the right order for counting and the number names….that it isn’t it?

Children then have to remember to ‘tag’ also known as the 1:1 principle. So children also have to touch each object too.

But that’s not it! A child has to ask remember to say each number name as they touch each object and get it in the right order which is known as synchrony.

So surely after putting all those skills together I can finally count now?!

Wrong! A child then has to track! This means they know which set has already been counted and which set still needs counting.

After all of that is in place, all children have to remember now is that the last number they say is the total of the set known as the cardinality.

Wow! Who would of thought such a simple question like count the cubes could be so confusing for a young child!

The best thing to do is to assess al children using a little tick sheet of these 7 skills to counting. This will help identify which stage every child is at and how you can help them overcome their barriers.

Pre number is extremely important for children and I will go into more detail in my upcoming blogs.

The life of me

Teaching the early years is easy… said none early years teachers!

If you have worked with children aged 3-5 years old you will know exactly what I’m talking about! When a teacher says oh do you just play all day? Or a parent thinks that this stage of school isn’t that serious….

Well in fact..,

A good start to school in the foundation stage builds the foundations of crucial learning and success in future!

Teachers have to plan creative, engaging independent play activities to develop all areas of a child. From their personal, social and emotional development to their early reading, writing, maths, creativity and physical development.

Whilst preparing provision suitable for all children to access, an early years teacher is also required to gather observations for every child based on every area. The teacher also has to make sure phonics sessions are in place for children’s early reading and writing skills and implementing ways to build and teach children early maths skills.

The early years is where children first grasp a pencil correctly, form letters and write short captions. In some schools teachers are also faced with potty training and building language and vocabulary for children with speak and language problems too!

I think every teacher needs to see a child from their very first starting points in school. In my eyes this is the place that needs to most staff and the most input and time! That way the foundations are built and there will be a minimised possibility of huge learning gaps further up in school.

What are your thoughts?!


The life of me

Is technology taking over childhood?

This week our staff meeting was based on esafety in schools. A local police officer came in to refresh our minds and raise awareness of the apps and devices children are exposed to. Although I am a Primary School teacher it’s shocking to see that so many children as young as 6 are actively using phones, iPads and Xbox’s unsupervised by an adult.

I came out feeling shocked but what better way to raise awareness than to share it?!

I was born in a generation where we ran around our streets playing hide and seek, curby and having amazing street water fights. Our knees were grazed and our bike tryes were worn out and we would laugh until we cried most days!

The scary thing is.. that wasn’t long ago! But now a child’s life is extremely different.

Children are playing the latest games indoors, they are wanting everyone to see a great selfie of themselves. Online friends seem to be so popular for many children who feel like they don’t ‘fit’ in too.

Games so easily take you to online chat rooms, for some children this is a person to talk to and they try to build trust with them. But who is this person? Are they even who they say they are? Children are vulnerable and need to be taught what’s right from wrong and parents and teachers need to make sure they know the dangers of it!

first of all there are many abbreviations such as:

  • PAW (Parents are watching)
  • PITR (Parent in the room)
  • PBB (Parent behind back)
  • POMS (Parent over my shoulder)
  • KPC (Keeping parents clueless)
  • PAH (Parent at home).

Children will use this to hide and divert conversations.

I also found out about a shocking app… a secret calculator!

It looks very similar to the iPhone app, accept when you enter the password such as 4+2=6 the app unlocks and many images or other apps and conversations can be hidden behind it!

This obviously makes keeping children safe much harder. Parents especially need to be so aware of what children are doing and the kinds of apps they have.

We also discussed the addictiveness of certain games which have been created by the help of physiologists of course! Many children prefer to play on games like fortnight and despite age restrictions it is very accessible for many children. There has been a case of a child becoming so addictive to gaming they no longer leave their house and need a nappy due to holding their bladder so long to continue playing it. There are children that become anxious without their phone and new terms have been created by doctors for instance, nomophobia.

There are now centres for support and rehab for the addiction of gaming too, take a look here for more information.

So I think the curriculum in education needs a rethink too. We need to make children aware of the dangers of technology and we need to support their wellbeing. Unfortunately this can’t only be left in the hands of the parents as we will be failing many children in a new and upcoming generation of a technology dominated life!

Please share this post so it reaches as many parents and teachers as possible!!!

Let me know your thoughts.


The life of me

The little red hen!

This half term my class have enjoyed receiving bread from their teaching assistant.

Can we try some?

“No because you didn’t help me make it!”

My class have gone on a trip to Lidl and used technology to find out how to make their own bread.

The children have learnt the story of the little red hen and baked some delicious bread this week too!

This has linked into a range of areas of learning in the EYFS curriculum.

From communication and language, to reading and understanding the world.

Maths has also been included through measuring ingredients for the bread in groups and encouraging the language of heavy, light, empty and full.

In provision children have been independently retelling the story with the help of the little red hen.

They have also enjoyed a range of fine motor skills activities such as making play dough bread and rescuing the farm animals.

We will move onto orally retelling the story using pie corvette strategies and then children will write and recreate their own version too!

Creativity in the early years lenses itself to so much fun.


The life of me

The importance of play in in the early years!

As a trained nursery nurse and an early years specialised teacher I have strong views on child development and the best ways that children learn.

But I’m so shocked to see the views of many reception teachers that believe in formal type teaching for 4 year olds!

I think learning can be created in a play based way which is engaging and enriching for young children rather than children being pushed though a set of instructions sat at a table like a product on a conveyer belt!

I do feel like I’m on a bit of a rant with this rather than a blog post, but my passion for this is so strong!

I enjoy reading about the ways in which children learn and the provision teachers can plan for children to support this.

Play based learning can help children develop critical thinking, problem solving and social skills in self initiated activities with the teacher being the facilitator of this.

(Taken from the conversation).

Although research has provided that this is much more effective than adult led learning, it still isn’t looked upon as being as important in many schools?I personally think this is due to the demands of the curriculum and the pressure of the job. Teachers feel they have to get children to a certain point and the only way they can see them reach that point is through more adult input…

With the whole debate of a child’s ‘readiness’ for school it’s clear to see how teachers are pressurised into doing the opposite of what child development states.

I’m hoping one day this will change, as education is definitely not a one size fits all, and we should be creating a curriculum that fits in with the child rather than a curriculum that we try fit the child into.

I’d love to know your thoughts?


The life of me

Play dough fun and fine motor skills!

This week I made some yellow, ginger spiced play dough for the children and I collected a range of enhancements to develop their fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills are such an important skill for children to develop in Reception to get there fingers moving ready to grasp pens and pencils correctly…

The children have really enjoyed creating different animals that link to jingle animals using pasta, pom poms, googly eyes, straws and a range of tools.

Because I left it open ended some children also enjoyed making delicious play dough cupcakes too! Yummy!

I have also used play dough to develop maths skills and children have enjoyed counting out the right amount using play dough too.

How do you use play dough?!