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Observations of children captured in the practitioners' own words produced some surprising findings for a research project undertaken by Julian Grenier.

The upcoming review of the Early Years Foundation Stage needs to look carefully at worldwide studies of effective pre-school approaches, says Oli de Botton of the CfBT Education Trust.

Only meaningful dialogue between the Government and the early years sector will avoid ideological swings in policy and achieve a balanced approach to reform of the EYFS, say Margaret Edgington, Richard House and Kim Simpson of the Open EYE Campaign.

What do children really get out of playing outdoors? An action research project into children's fascinations and explorations in nature, described by Annie Davy and Jennie Creese, found the evidence.

Find out about the principles behind the renowned early years centres in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and see how they have inspired practice at settings in the UK with early years consultants Linda Thornton and Pat Brunton (www.alcassociates.co.uk)

Good practice in observation, planning and assessment can always be improved, with the right training, says Mary Evans.

The process of systematically watching and listening to children and documenting what practitioners see and hear is central to good practice, say Professor Chris Pascal and Professor Tony Bertram.

It's not enough to just watch and record what a child does at play. Mary Evans considers how to make observation true to its purpose.

Nursery World's series on Observation, Assessment & Planning in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), by Helen Bromley, early years consultant and literacy specialist.

Follow the line of one child's thinking with Terrie Lambert, a family worker at Pen Green Centre, Corby.