Training Talk - The Best Gift

Gabriella Jozwiak
Monday, January 8, 2018

After a refresher in Froebellian principles, manager Tatiana Carvalho has found that open-ended resources have propelled children to new levels of creativity.

Visitors to any of three Baby Room nurseries in south London have to bend down to see display boards, which staff have lowered to child-height after completing a Froebel Travelling Tutor course from Early Education. This year the chain updated its approach in line with education principles of German pedagogue Friedrich Froebel. Developed with support from the Froebel Trust, the course aims to provide in-house tuition without requiring written work.

All 30 staff attended a one-day introduction in November. This included Froebel’s ideas about learning through nature and the importance of play. A month later, the group met for a second day. This covered Froebel’s theory of gifts – wooden blocks – and his ‘occupations’, or resources, including sticks, clay and scissors. ‘We had a chance to get down on the floor and play with blocks, and could see it was tailored to be open-ended play, as opposed to a pre-made resource where children’s creativity was limited,’ says manager Tatiana Carvalho.

Since training, Baby Room has refurbished its settings and introduced resources to support open-ended and natural play. Staff also take children out on more local community trips. As a result, Ms Carvalho says children are more confident and have developed better language skills. ‘They’re able to tell you exactly what they’re making,’ she says. ‘When playing with blocks, when you ask what they’re doing, it’s something you wouldn’t even have dreamed of.’

Ms Carvalho says introducing the changes was easy because all staff trained together and understood the aim. The Froebel Trust also provided ongoing support and resources to the nurseries.

Early Education offers five short Froebel courses, covering: an introduction; gifts and occupations; the importance of engaging with nature and outdoor learning; play and the symbolic life of the child; and lullabies and family songs, finger plays, action songs, and movement games.

See Nursery World’s Learning From Froebel poster and feature series by Professor Tina Bruce and Jane Dyke, www.nurseryworld.co.uk

https://www.early-education.org.uk/froebel

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