Process V Product – which is best?

Process V Product – which is best?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

I have recently read a wonderful article by Dr Gai Lindsey on the need for educators to value the work of children and not reduce creativity to a factory line existence churning out multiple copies of the same thing.   There are so many examples on Pinterest, of cards and pictures made from children’s handprints which, whilst they are cute, involve little learning, are adult directed, remove children from their play and are created by means of a production line.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween


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With Halloween fast approaching here are some great ideas for HALLOWEEN FUN!

Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkin carving, the scarier the better! Child friendly carving sets mean that even young children can participate in this activity and, if carving proves too much for them, they can scoop out the flesh which makes for a great sensory experience.  Put the flesh in a tuff tray and encourage them to pick out the seeds with tweezers.

Want to raise children’s attainment? Then get them outside!


using bricks

Want to raise children’s attainment? Then get them outside!

With access to outdoors on the decline and use of technology on the increase, it is more important than ever that we get children outside and, with growing evidence that limited outdoor access is having a detrimental affect on children. where better to do that than in school.

Richard Louv,  (The Last Child in the Woods), talks about ‘nature deficit disorder‘ where children are becoming disconnected from the natural world.   Tim Gill’s article – ‘children being reared in captivity‘  concurs and discusses the reasons why, over the past two generations, children have become divorced from the natural world and how this has led to the rise of the ‘helicopter parent’, who provides for play by ferrying children from one structured activity to another, leaving them with no time for independent play in an outdoor environment. This ‘battery hen existence’, according to Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, is impacting on children’s health and wellbeing,

Research has shown that it is during unstructured play when children learn best as they take risks, problem solve and develop the skills of negotiation and conflict resolution.

I often wonder what the barrier to learning outside is, in schools? Is it concerns around behaviour, organisation, storage, lack of knowledge, staffing, inclement weather or lack of support from leadership.  In addition, with such a great emphasis on basic skills and so many things having to be squeezed into the school day, educators may be reluctant to lose precious time to outdoors, for what many may perceive, to cater purely for physical development.

All areas of the curriculum however can be taught outside and studies have shown that this can have a massive impact on attainment.

One small, Scottish study recently demonstrated how children made 6 months progress in mental maths, in just a few short weeks, by having maths lessons outside.

‘These results were unexpected and, we think, noteworthy in that for a 12 week programme (2hrs per week) the children gained on average 6 months of Mental Arithmetic and 2 months of General Maths against a similar cohort of children within the control schools.’

Amazing hey?    This is not the only research which shows the positive impact that outdoor learning has across all areas of the curriculum, as well as on behaviour, engagement, health and wellbeing…..the list goes on and on!

Have a look at the film of the Natural Connections Demonstration Project, below, to find out about the impact this 4 year project had on schools, teachers and the children involved, particularly for those in areas of deprivation.


Children learn best through being active and interacting with the the world around them.  Take vocabulary for example, a significant indicator of future success. How is this impacted by being outside?   Being active, using their senses and learning and using new vocabulary in context significantly effects how children retain information.

Quite often, at this time of year, children are asked to write poems or produce some descriptive writing about leaves.  Imagine one group of children being sent outside, prior to writing, to experience playing in the leaves, throwing them in the air and watching how they float to the ground or are blown in the wind. Listening to the sounds they make as they wade through them and smell their damp, musty aroma.  Compare this to a group of children sitting at table, with some pictures of leaves or even some actual leaves. Whose writing do you think will be more evocative? Whose vocabulary is likely to be enriched by the experience?

Things to think about maybe, when planning for next week?


Autumn treats

photography of child pushing the wagon
Photo by Jennifer Murray on

Autumn has well and truly arrived, bringing with it lots of lovely loose materials for children to play and create with.  Here are some great ideas for activities and games you can play with the children.   The best way to start is to get outside and collect the resources together, as that is an adventure in itself!

If your outside area is more concrete jungle than a green one, why don’t you bring large bags with you to collect leaves and bring them back to your setting?  I have done this in the past, much to the delight of the children.  It kept them engaged and entertained for hours and provided a starting point for many activities and interests.

Kids in Crisis

toddler with red adidas sweat shirt
Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on

Kids in Crisis

Many teachers will know of a child who is well behaved at school but who acts completely different when in the presence of their parents, often screaming, shouting and even hitting them at the beginning and/or end of the day. Many parents face this daily struggle and deal with the dismissive attitudes of teachers who assume that it must be down to lack of parenting skills as they have no problems with the child at school.