Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 8

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Welcome to the eighth issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

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

Does this newsletter work for you?

feedback written on chalk board

Now that this newsletter has been live for over seven months, we would like to ask for your feedback about whether this publication meets yours and your setting's needs.

Please complete our short survey to tell us how we can make this newsletter better for you.

Mental health and wellbeing in the early years conference

padlock in hand

The 'Mental health and wellbeing in the early years' conference is taking place on Wednesday 25 March 2020 at Writtle University.

This training day includes a key note and workshop from Therapeutic Teaching, covering the role of the key person as a secondary attachment figure, and the impact of insecure attachment on the young child’s ability to relate to key adults, and the subsequent impact on the early years practitioner’s mental wellbeing.

An interactive workshop from Essex Music Services will also take place to explore how to use music to feel good, communicate and develop relationships.

There will be plenty of opportunities to network and visit a variety of informative market stalls.

To book your places, please complete the online booking form.

Conference costs

£80 per person (Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided.)

Early bird discount (£75 per person) if we receive your booking on or before Friday 31 January 2020.

Group booking discount 5% discount on group bookings of three or more delegates from the same setting. If you and other local childminders would like to take advantage of this discount, please email workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk

£134 per delegate for Essex local authority and academy / other (school practitioners working in the early years foundation stage in reception classes in maintained, private, independent and academy schools).

Early years recruitment service

person puzzle piece

The Essex Education Recruitment Service are inviting early years and childcare settings to publish unlimited job vacancies on to the Essex Schools Jobs website. Essex settings can use this service between January and December 2020 for a set fee of £300.

Key benefits:

  • One off payment of £300 for unlimited advertising until 31 December 2020
  • Large pool of registered potential applicants from early years to college staff (over 35,000 active applicants already registered)
  • Interactive and user friendly website which enables posts to be published immediately
  • Unlimited access to your account where you can view, shortlist, manage and communicate with applicants
  • Contact applicants directly or communicate via the website.

Once you have completed the registration form, you will receive a log in, confirmation email and user guide within three working days, your setting will then be invoiced within 30 days.

If you have any queries, please email workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk. 

Introducing the new Essex County Council SEND Teams for families

hands together

The SEND Strategy and Innovation team have created a slide pack to share with parents how the Essex County Council SEND teams will work from January 2020.

The video explains why change is needed, the new and different roles and the benefits of the changes. The video is around 15 minutes.

Please share the link to the slide pack on the Essex Local Offer with the families you support and on your social media platforms. 

Home learning environment

dad daughter with bowls

The term 'home learning environment' is an umbrella term that encompasses everything that parents do with their children at home. Whether they cook together, go shopping together or share a book together all of these activities are part of the home learning environment.

Research has shown that the quality of the home learning environment is crucial in children’s later achievements. Additionally, research has shown that what parents do is far more important than their socioeconomic status. This means that getting children expensive toys will not have the same impact as talking to them, reading stories, singing songs, going on adventures together either in the local park, local library or further afield and in general spending quality time together.

The Talk, Listen and Cuddle website has a wealth of information for you to share with your parents; from the baby cards to the “50 things to do before you are 5” poster, these resources can be used to influence the home learning environment and to support your parents to enjoy spending time with their children.

Friendship video from Talk, Listen, Cuddle

tlc logo

Earlier this month, Talk, Listen, Cuddle celebrated Friendship Friday by asking children in Essex what makes a good friend?

You can see their answers in this short video.

How did your setting celebrate Friendship Friday? Email workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk to share.

Celebrating childminding with Kayte Cooling-Smith

trophy and confetti

"I came into childcare as a childminder when registered in June 2016 and received Outstanding at my first inspection. I won Nursery World's Childminder of the year 2019 - a totally unexpected but valuable recognition of childminding in its professional capacity.

I have received valuable support from a fellow childminding colleague as this enables us to work and support each other in a positive manner; particularly helpful for anyone just starting out to help avoid isolation.

I offer whole family, post-natal support when settling a child into my setting and have a real passion for nature to reconnect children with their natural world. I see this as a development of outside play, it does not take a lot of additional resources. I feel an environment is more enriching when children have real world, natural experiences and are exposed to natural textures, sounds, sights and smells.

My resources are offered in baskets to enable children to transport them wherever they wish to, inside or out.

I recommend researching Elizabeth Jarman Communication Friendly Spaces approach to support the children."

Electronic course packs

From autumn onwards, electronic course packs will be sent to delegates who book on to any of the training below, at least a week before the event.

This gives you the option to bring them to your training in a format that suits your own individual learning style, and replaces hard copy course packs being provided at the training. 

Before attending the training, you can either print the packs or download them to an electronic device. If you are bringing an electronic device to the training, please download the resources beforehand so you can access them on the day without WiFi if necessary.

Training opportunities

Our new training programme is now available on our website as we’re no longer using EES (CPD Online). This is a temporary arrangement until our new booking system is live.

Training Venue Date
Safeguarding level 2 Various venues September - December 2019
Safeguarding level 2 Various venues January - March 2020
Mental health and wellbeing in the early years conference Writtle University 25 March 2019
Stepping into management Various venues Various dates
Supporting children learning English as an additional language (EAL) Various venues Various dates
The role of the ENCO Various venues Various dates
The role of the ENCO for childminders Various venues Various dates
Creating the wow factor with music and rhymes Various venues Various dates
Effective interaction in the early years training Various venues Various dates
An effective room leader Various venues Various dates
eSafety in the early years training event Danbury Outdoors 26 February 2020
Early years mental health – the role of the early years practitioner County Hall, Chelmsford Various dates
How to deck out your garden on a budget Various venues Various dates
Turning small spaces into amazing spaces Greenacres Chelmsford 28 March 2020
CERTSEY: Level 3 Certificate for SENCOs in Early Years (PVI sector) Various venues Various dates

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

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

To improve our offer to you, our eLearning training is currently under review. We look forward to its launch on our new booking system. 


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.