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A project that boosted learning outcomes for babies also helped nursery staff make great strides in their practice, as explained by Donna Luck, Claire Stevenson and Veronica Lawrence, who devised the project.

Let the children take on a new identity with fun dressing-up activities from Alice Sharp.

Use one of the best known nursery rhymes to soothe babies and inspire imitative play by toddlers, says Judith Stevens.

Jack in a box

To an infant, moving into group care from the familiar relationships of home can be like arriving in a foreign country. But a practitioner's thoughtful, personal interactions can bridge the gap, says Rod Parker-Rees

Offer the under-threes simple objects to manipulate and mark with and hone their skills, suggests Marie Richardson

Walking round the garden, Like a teddy bear, One step, Two steps, Tickly under there! It's really important to introduce rhymes and finger play to very young children. This simple...

Should you give your child a dummy? It's a seemingly simple question but a difficult one to answer. Only you can decide whether your child should have one, but it is worth weighing up the pros and cons.

Let children explore a new line of thinking through play with ribbons, laces and cords, as Alice Sharp suggests.

I hear thunder