Teaching in the early years: expert advice from Nursery World

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Will Ofsted’s new definition of teaching in the early years be a game changer for practice in the Foundation Stage in schools, particularly Reception classes? This is one of the key questions to be addressed in Nursery World’s Early Years in Schools supplement, out 25 January, and NW Show masterclass, on 6 February

The definition, within Ofsted Early Years and School Inspection Handbooks (August 2015), makes clear that Foundation Stage practice should not imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working and that teaching includes an array of adult-child interactions during ‘child-initiated play’, responding to children’s interests and careful planning of the ‘enabling environment’. (See full definition below.)


Nursery World Show, February 6, Business Design Centre, London

Forming part of an extensive seminar programme to be held over Nursery World’s two-day show, 'Early years provision in schools - policy and practice' aims to help schools achieve the best outcomes for young children through high-quality ‘enabling environments’ and skilled and supportive practitioners.

Outlining the current challenges and essential starting points for setting children on the path to becoming effective learners is Dr Julian Grenier, head teacher of Sheringham Nursery School and Children's Centre, London (a national Teaching School) and a National Leader of Education (NLE).

Next, Prof Bruce will set out early years best practice underpinned by the principles of the EYFS. As well as touching on her own pioneering work — the ten principles of early childhood education and the 12 features of play — she will focus on the Froebel approach to early education and its continuing relevance to all early years settings today. To follow will be ‘best practice’ case studies.

Rounding off the morning’s session is Jan Dubiel, national development manager at Early Excellence and former QCA lead on the EYFS Profile, who will look at how to build a holistic picture of the child while meeting all 'baseline' requirements.


Free with Nursery World on 25 January

Nursery World’s first Early Years in Schools supplement will look at the principles of best practice in the EYFS and how to create ‘enabling environments’ that support the Characteristics of Effective Learning and promote the best outcomes for children.

Starting with current challenges to early years best practice in schools, the supplement will go on to illustrate play-based practice through case studies and contributions from leading early years consultants and authors.

 Topics include:

  • how to create a play-based enabling environment in Reception;
  • teaching and the role of the adult in the EYFS
  • taking a ‘hands-on’, experiential approach to maths learning
  • the vital contribution of role play to children’s language development
  • the importance of outdoor play in child development

 Authors include:

  • Anna Ephgrave, assistant head teacher responsible for the Early Years at Carterhatch Infant School and Children’s Centre, London and author of The Reception Year in Action
  • Jan Dubiel, national development manager at training and resources company Early Excellence
  • Helen Moylett, early years consultant, working with the Newham Reception Innovation Project
  • Dame Alison Peacock, head teacher of The Wroxham School and Educational Research Centre, Hertfordshire
  • Elaine Bennett, EYFS/Year 1 leader at Friars Primary School, Southend-on-Sea, Essex


‘Teaching in the early years should not be taken to imply a “top down” or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.

‘It takes account of the equipment adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do, as well as taking account of their interests and dispositions to learn (characteristics of effective learning), and how practitioners use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.’

Ofsted Early Years Inspection Handbook, August 2015, page 35, footnote 14 and Ofsted School Inspection Handbook, August 2015, page 59, footnote 61




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