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When children are exposed to a wide range of thought-provoking experiences and encouraged to make their own decisions, they will take responsibility for their learning. Marion Dowling shows how.

Early years settings put resources designed to encourage scientific research and exploration to the test with young children and tell Sue Hubberstey about their conclusions.

Sometimes overlooked or left to art activities, pattern is fundamental to children's understanding of mathematics, says Judith Stevens.

As part of regular provision, children in the Foundation Stage Unit at Chilton Primary School have free access to a range of malleable materials.

Playing with sounds promotes young children's acquisition of language, says Steve Grocott

Make the most of water play by offering the best experiences and stocking the essential resources, as suggested by Jane Drake

Movement play is vital to young children's cognitive development as well as physical skills, says Anne O'Connor

Encouraging parents to read to their children is just one aim of the National Year of Reading. Ruth Thomson talks to one nursery chain getting in on the act themselves.

What a noise! Sound out the possibilities for developing listening and speaking skills with these ideas from Alice Sharp.

Practitioners need to identify and observe young children thinking to give them opportunities to move on further, says early years consultant Marion Dowling.