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As children aged one to two discover how to use words, give an added dimension to the process with fun songs, as Alice Sharp suggests.

Try treasure baskets and discovery boxes for babies to become engrossed in self-directed play, in the second part of a series from Claire Stevenson, Donna Luck and Veronica Lawrence.

The research and thinking about infant development available to early years practitioners is highlighted by Jools Page and Cathy Nutbrown from the University of Sheffield's School of Education.

In the first of an occasional series, Claire Stevenson, Donna Luck and Veronica Lawrence look at learning resources designed for children under three and the powerful effects of imagery.

In a safe environment where they feel secure, even very small children can enjoy constructive problem-solving and concentrate for surprising amounts of time, says Anne O'Connor.

Mothers bond with each other as well as their babies in sessions at a children's centre informed by expert talks. Annette Rawstrone reports.

In the bag

An elephant goes like this and that. She's terribly big, And terribly fat. She has no fingers, She has no toes, But goodness gracious, what a nose! Babies and young children...

A small outdoor area provides huge opportunities for play and learning at one pre-school that can draw on Forest School leadership. Michelle Shaw and Ruth Thompson describe how they created it.

'Finger foods' have important implications for a child's development that may be overlooked in today's lifestyles, as Karen Faux discovers.