Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 4

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Welcome to the fourth issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

If you have any good news stories or examples of good practice, please email workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk.

Hungry Little Minds

speech bubble

Hungry Little Minds is the new Department for Education (DfE) campaign that encourages parents and carers to adopt positive activities and behaviours to boost children’s
communication, language and literacy development.

The three year campaign, that launched with social media and online adverts in July, aims to help parents understand that they have a massive impact on their child’s learning and that reading, playing and chatting with them is a simple thing they can do to help them develop even when they are too young to say much back.

Parents can access tips and activities from the Hungry Little Minds website.

Here in Essex, our well-established Talk, Listen and Cuddle (TLC) campaign already helps parents, carers and families to develop communication skills with their young children, through playful learning at home.

The TLC campaign also supports early years and childcare practitioners to improve the quality of language development in their settings.

Visit our TLC website and encourage and support parents, families and carers to do the same. You will find a huge range of resources about: talking together; 50 things to do before you’re five; games and rhymes; milestones and much more.

Stay up to date with the latest information, tips and ideas about communicating with young children by joining our TLC facebook page .

Building tomorrow's childcare

construction helmet and plans

Have you noticed a new housing development being built? If so, you could apply for money to help you expand your existing provision or even build a new one!

 When developers apply for planning permission to build new houses, they have to consult with the local authority and where we are able to evidence that there will be a need for additional early years and childcare places, developers are required to make a financial contribution to support with the creation of new childcare places.

Small refurbishment or expansion project?  You can apply for all or just some of the money available, it depends on what you want to achieve. The only stipulation is that the funding must create new places.

Many Essex children and families are now benefiting from this funding. To date, across the county, we have funded 17 projects offering 396 new childcare places. As well as providing quality care and education for children aged 0 to 11, these projects have supported parents to access work or training opportunities.

What could you do with some capital funding?

New funding opportunities will be advertised on the Early Years and Childcare website from week beginning 9 September 2019.

Whizz Kids encouraging speech and language

story time

In response to the article about speech and language in issue 3, WhizzKids Preschool in Hockley have shared with us that all practitioners in their setting have been training in Ican's speech initiative, Early Talk Boost.

Terina from the setting explains "Early Talk Boost is a nine week programme that promotes speech and language and has been achieving great results for our children over the last few years. 

The programme is delivered to children three times a week and forms an activity, song, and a story.  Books are shared with the parents, who also read them with their children and return them to pre-school.  The children have really loved the characters in these books, mainly Tizzy and Jake, and the stories are all relatable to the children depicting every day situations.

We also have developed our 'take home bags' on all areas of development that parents can share with their children at home and return. These contain, again, usually an activity, some top tips for parents and a book focused around the area of development in question.  For example, communication and language, personal social and emotional, physical, and also the specific areas of development.  

We feel that working with parents in this way allows us all to hold more open discussions and we feel that we are all active in their child's development as a team."

Early years mental health: the role of the early years practitioner

scrabble letters mental health

In response to the highly successful 'Developing emotional resilience in young children' workshops at our EYFS conferences in spring, the Workforce Development and Performance team are excited to welcome back Cath from Therapeutic Teaching to provide Essex EYFS practitioners with a new training opportunity.

The 'Early years mental health – the role of the early years practitioner' training will support practitioners in early years settings to enhance practice that supports early years mental health for all and evidence-based practices that support vulnerable children. It offers guidance in the assessment and provision for children who display challenging behaviour.

Practitioners are given opportunities to:

  • Recognise the emotions at the core of high-risk behaviour and the role of the practitioner in ‘co-regulating’ with the child as a means to support the child ‘feeling’ their emotion rather than just ‘behaving’ it
  • Work with own case study to develop a deeper understanding of the child’s behaviour
  • Use of practical strategies and interventions that can make a powerful difference to a child’s emotional ‘growth’ and support improvements in behaviour through relationship.  

Practitioners who have attended the training have said:

"Absolutely fantastic; informative and entertaining. (We are) using what we have learned ourselves today, already!’

"(The trainer is) really easy to listen to, down to earth, explains in a way I could understand".

To book your space on this training, please complete this online booking form. The training costs £67 and is taking place in Chelmsford throughout the year.

Essex Teaching Awards

essex teaching award logo

Our annual Essex Teaching Awards ceremony recognises and celebrates the inspirational work of early years and childcare practitioners, teachers and school staff within Essex.

The planning for the Essex Teaching Awards 2020 has begun! Make sure you follow the team on Twitter to keep up to date with what’s going on @EssexTeachAward.

Cultural capital

holding hands around the world

From September 2019, Ofsted inspections will be carried out using the new Education Inspection Framework and Inspectors will make a judgement on the quality of education by evaluating the extent to which the curriculum gives learners ‘the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life’

Although this term is new to many people, it first appeared in the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu in the 1960s and ‘70s to explain his research into the differences in educational achievement amongst pupils in France.

Ofsted have provided a definition of Cultural capital which is “the essential knowledge that children need to be educated citizens” and the Early Years Inspection Handbook explains in more detail how children arrive at a setting with different experiences and how settings are expected to use the curriculum to enhance the opportunities available to all children, particularly the most disadvantaged to prepare them for future success.

Wendy Ratcliff (HMI in Early Years) talks about the judgement being about how settings use the EYFS curriculum and what they know about their children (the experiences children arrive with) to plan for what they need to learn and develop. She gives the example of children who are not exposed to lots of language at home and the correlation between the number of words a child knows and their future success (linking this initiative to the Governments Social Mobility ambition to close the word gap.) when a setting knows this about their children, what opportunities are they providing through the EYFS curriculum and interactions with adults to make the difference for these children?

Cultural Capital may be new terminology to early years, but it refers to best practice that has always been considered by inspectors. It refers to how well a child's home life is understood, what a setting knows about the child and how this information is used to support and extend a child's learning. Are they read to at home? Do they have an opportunity to play outside, is their home language development being supported?

It is not about providing 'cultural' activities (violin or French lessons!), cultural capital is about preparing children with the knowledge and skills for what comes next. This is so important in early years because what children learn during this time will stay with them forever.

Bookstart news

bookstart logo bear

The way Bookstart is delivered in Essex has changed and you’re likely to have a key role in distributing this important resource to families. 

Bookstart in Essex is now being delivered mainly by registrars (Baby Pack) and by preschool settings and childminders (Treasure Pack). Find out more about the new system and make sure you know how it works.

Please email the Bookstart Coordinator, Adrian Ure (adrian.ure@essex.gov.uk) or Lindsay Watkins (lindsay.watkins@essex.gov.uk) with any enquiries.

Competitor analysis

paper boats in different colours

This month, the Business Management Consultants would like to highlight the importance of taking the time to know and understand who your competitors are and what they offer, here are just some of the key points to consider when looking at 'competitor analysis'.


Why get to know our competitors?

Having a full knowledge of local competitors can boost your position in the market but helping you understand what you do differently and what you believe you also could or already do better.

Do you have an up to date record of your competitor charges and fees?

Knowing this can ensure your services and 'offer' are competitively and appropriately priced for target audience

Do you advertise and market your service highlighting the unique selling points (USP) you specifically have compared to your competitors?

Knowing your USP’s could be the element that separates you from your competitors, bringing added appeal and drawing in more families.

Are your competitors thinking of bringing a new offer in such as extended hours or wrap around care?

Try considering your business model and if this is something you can adapt, you may be able to avoid losing families.

Who are your competitors targeting?

Your business plan and model may indicate that you have a different target audience to your competitors, if this is the case, make sure your marketing and advertising are tailored to your specific target audience.

Do you regularly review competitor websites?

This can be a great way to further understand your competitors offer and how they package the hours and products they sell. You may be even able to sign up to email alerts.

For more information about managing your business, visit the Early Years and Childcare website

Teaching online safety guidance

padlock in boys hand

The Department for Education have published Teaching Online Safety in Schools guidance supporting schools to teach pupils how to stay safe online when studying new and existing subjects.

The guide explains that it is for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies but also mentions that the interventions and support information may also be helpful for early years settings, colleges and other post-16 institutions.

This guidance outlines how schools can ensure their pupils understand how to stay safe and behave online as part of forthcoming and existing curriculum requirements.

Training opportunities

Training Venue Time Date
Safeguarding level 2 Hamptons Chelmsford 9:30am - 4:30pm 10 August 19
Safeguarding level 2 County Hall Chelmsford 9:30am - 4:30pm 22 August 19
Safeguarding level 2 Greenacres, Chelmsford 9:30am - 4:30pm 21 September 2019
Creating the wow factor with music and rhymes Wickford CLC 7 - 9:30pm  17 October 2019
Safeguarding level 2 Woodlands Centre, Colchester 9:30am - 4:30pm  18 October 2019
Safeguarding level 2 Latton Bush Centre, Harlow 9:30am - 4:30pm  26 October 2019
Youth Mental Health First Aid training Goodman House Harlow 9am - 4:30pm 12 November 2019
Youth Mental Health First Aid training County Hall Chelmsford 9am - 4:30pm 13 November 2019
An effective room leader Greenacres Chelmsford 9:30am - 4pm 2 December 2019
Safeguarding level 2 Woodlands Centre, Colchester 9:30am - 4:30pm  3 December 2019
Early years mental health – the role of the early years practitioner County Hall Chelmsford 9am for 9:30 start – 3pm 4 December 2019
Safeguarding level 2 Woodlands Centre, Colchester 9:30am - 4:30pm  21 January 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Woodlands Centre, Colchester 9:30am - 4:30pm 4 February 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Greenacres, Chelmsford 9:30am - 4:30pm 8 February 2020
How to deck out your garden on a budget Danbury Outdoors 9.30am – 4.00pm 20 February 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Latton Bush Centre, Harlow 9:30am - 4:30pm  22 February 2020
Early years mental health – the role of the early years practitioner County Hall Chelmsford 9am for 9:30 start – 3pm 27 February 2020
An effective room leader Wickford CLC 9:30am - 4pm 3 March 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Latton Bush Centre, Harlow 9:30am - 4:30pm  11 March 2020
Creating the wow factor with music and rhymes Latton Bush Centre, Harlow 7 - 9:30pm 12 March 2020
Turning small spaces into amazing spaces Greenacres Chelmsford 9:30am - 3:30pm 28 March 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Woodlands Centre, Colchester 9:30am - 4:30pm  14 April 2020
Early years mental health – the role of the early years practitioner County Hall Chelmsford 9am for 9:30 start – 3pm 23 April 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Greenacres, Chelmsford 9:30am - 4:30pm 2 May 2020
How to deck out your garden on a budget Mersea Outdoors 9.30am – 4.00pm 7 May 2020
Creating the wow factor with music and rhymes Woodlands Centre, Colchester 7 - 9:30pm 13 May 2020
An effective room leader Latton Bush Centre, Harlow 9:30am - 4pm 9 June 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Latton Bush Centre, Harlow 9:30am - 4:30pm  11 July 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Woodlands Centre, Colchester 9:30am - 4:30pm 14 July 2020

For more information or to book a place on the above training, please follow each title link.

Please keep an eye out on our website for further upcoming 2019 training opportunities.

Please note: The Youth Mental Health First Aid training is available for settings who support 8-18 year olds (such as after school clubs).

Learning and Development fees and charges

Our prices will increase from 1 September 2019, more information will be provided in next month's issue.


Post it note

We now have an archive page on the Early Years and Childcare website which will host three terms’ worth of newsletters. This is to ensure that all of our information is current and up to date.