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You'll find seven stories and more in a unique new centre dedicated to the making and enjoying of books for children. Dan Levy takes a look Last summer saw the launch of an exciting new exhibition space in the up-and-coming Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle. On 19 August the doors to the Seven Stories were opened, after ten years in the making and a staggering cost of 6m.

Help yourself! Children can get their fill of learning in their outdoor area with the help of a water butt installed by practitioners at Cockfield Primary School nursery, as Judith Cowley explains

Chains that allow each setting to plan its own curriculum can still guarantee a coherent approach, as Judith Barrett discovers Next spring, when the Government reissues its guidance to early years practitioners, Birth to Three Matters and the Foundation Stage will re-emerge as one shiny, new, streamlined framework for working with children from birth to five years old.

Ofsted's new inspection system, based on no-notice visits, is dividing the childcare sector. Karen Faux investigates When BBC One's programme Nurseries Undercover: The Real Story filmed children being pulled around by the arm and called 'minger' and 'imbecile', it ignited widespread fear and paranoia about the state of the nation's nurseries. Even for those who took a more measured view, this was a worrying indictment of nursery regulation in the UK.

Reflecting on their own lives, connecting with a group and experiencing nature put children in touch with spirituality Clearly, some children are raised in families who offer wonderful support for their spiritual growth. Likewise, there are many examples of positive practice in settings. The following aspects all contribute to a child's spiritual development.

I read and file information from Nursery World into three categories: 'Outdoor play', 'On display' and 'Our bright idea'. I also collect the posters and All About pullouts. These are used over and over again as we revisit projects. Especially useful and informative have been the outdoor play items. Many of our children play enthusiastically outdoors. The most popular area is water play. There are various containers, plastic drain pipes and guttering between different-sized water troughs ...

Packed with inspiration, these workshops will help you to create an ideal learning environment - indoors or out. Dan Levy gives a taste of what's on offer The Special Nature of the Outdoors in the Early Years (Friday 6 May, 12.30pm)

People in every time and place 'construct' different childhoods (James and Prout 1997; Hendrick 2003). That is, they hold certain beliefs and values that guide their behaviours and policies, which in turn reinforce or change their beliefs and behaviours...

Just as children must learn how to learn, so do students of childcare, and it starts with thinking about how you are going to tackle a course Congratulations. You have decided on your career and you are going to work with children, a worthy choice. But I imagine by now that the full force of your decision has hit home. It's not the easy option it first seemed, is it? 'Working with children - how difficult could it be?' How many times have you heard someone say that?

On behalf of our readers, staff in nurseries and schools around the country have put a wide range of products through their paces to assess their value in the workplace and have given each item a star rating UNDER-THREES

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