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A successful approach to recruiting and retaining staff is having a balance among age groups, as one nursery demonstrates.

Small-world play offers children the chance to explore real and imagined worlds in miniature. Early years settings put a range of small-world play equipment to the test and report back to Nicole Weinstein.

Some nurseries fall back on Mickey Mouse solutions for keeping children occupied. Derek Hayes urges them to think again.

A unique structured therapy programme is changing the prospects of nursery children with speech and language delay. Ruth Thomson reports.

The importance of leaving children to their own devices with imagination and the most basic materials is explored by Helen Huleatt of Community Playthings with Professor Tina Bruce, Lynn McNair and Sian Wyn Siencyn.

Observe how absorbed the children can become in particular schemas when you provide resources and activities suggested by Diana Lawton.

Is independence something that can be taught? How do early years practitioners approach it with the children's parents? Annette Rawstrone spoke to teachers at a Montessori school.

One nursery combines learning through play with family involvement by making science boxes. Mary Evans finds out what it's all about.

Disorders in physical co-ordination could be avoided by early years practitioners giving children simple exercises, as Mary Evans reports.

Try using resources as suggested by Helen Bilton photo at coombes school, Reading, by Teri Pengilley