Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 23

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Welcome to the 23rd issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

Email workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk to tell us what you want to see in this newsletter.

Attachment play in the age of COVID19

child and adult holding hands

Our secondary attachments with young children rely greatly on physical proximity and touch. We are all working hard to mediate the impact of COVID restrictions on connection which supports healthy attachments.

For some children their time in setting is the only opportunity to counter the stress they may be experiencing at home. Our communication skills are even more critical to mental health and personal, social and emotional development at this time. It helps to remind ourselves of strategies such as ‘Observe, Wait, Listen (OWL) and making that attention deeply connecting – to see inside their feeling world.

To activate stress-countering neurochemicals we are aiming for a state of interpersonal synchrony- ‘a delicious feeling of oneness with the other’ (Cirelli, 2014). There are lots of ideas on this DVD. Learn more at the forthcoming Early Years Mental Health conference on 10 June 2021, you can find out more and book your place on our new booking system Education Essex.

New booking system!


Our new booking system is live … Education Essex!

Great news! Our courses are now available on our new online booking system Education Essex. It’s easy to register your setting and book any of the courses on offer.

You and your employees will have access to online courses, resources, evaluations and certificates in one place.

Learn how to register your setting and book a course on Education Essex . You will receive 10% off your first booking once you have registered. The discount will be applied to your shopping basket on your first order only. So why not make good use of the one off discount and book your employees onto multiple courses.

Our offer will support practitioners to meet the Early Years Foundation Stage and Ofsted requirements through courses, webinars and eLearning. It includes topics on safeguarding, leadership and management, equality and diversity, mental health and wellbeing and many more.

We are currently in the process of transferring our courses to our new online booking system Education Essex. During this transition some courses will remain hosted on citizen space surveys.

If you need any further help email us at workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk or call 0333 013 9891.

Meeting the needs of every child (Nasen)

Nasen offers a range of training opportunities and resources specifically for leaders and practitioners, working in the Early Years (EY). Nasen is also currently working alongside, The Council for Disabled Children, I CAN, The Communication Trust, Contact, School Improvement Liverpool and Dingley's Promise, as part of the DfE-funded EY SEND Partnership.

There is currently a free two hour webinar available which will provide early years practitioners with a thorough understanding of inclusive practice for SEND in early years settings.

Help for parents to buy food and milk (Healthy Start Scheme)

child eating

The NHS are rolling out an initiative to help pregnant women and vulnerable children access the nutritious food they need to keep healthy and active.

Expectant mothers will qualify for the scheme if they are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have at least one child that’s under four, and are in receipt of certain benefits (full list can be found on the website).

If you are aware of parents in your setting that this scheme could support, you could:

  • Suggest that they speak to their midwife or health visitor about the Healthy Start Scheme
  • Signpost them to their nearest Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service hub for more information
  • Call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823
  • Share the link to the website.

Committee Forum for preschool committee members and managers

Wednesday 5 May 2021 9:30 – 11:30am virtual delivery.

We are pleased to offer the opportunity for you to attend a free committee forum to give support and advice on issues around committee run settings.  We recommend settings book two spaces, one for the setting manager and one for a member of the committee.

The forum will cover various topics including charity structures, Governing document, roles and responsibilities, safeguarding, Ofsted requirements and also committee members new to your setting.

To book your places or to find out more, please view the booking form.

Early Talk Boost

Talk Boost resources

Have you got any children in your setting with language delay? Did you know an intervention programme can help close the gap?

Early Talk Boost is a targeted intervention aimed at three - four year old children with delayed language helping to boost their language skills to narrow the gap between them and their peers. The programme aims to accelerate children’s progress in language and communication by an average of six months, after a nine week intervention. The Early Talk Boost kit is £500 and we will train you to use the kit for FREE.

An increasing number of settings are investing in intervention programmes like Early Talk Boost because research has proven that it has a positive impact on a child’s language and communication skills and consequently their later outcomes in life.

For more information about Early Talk Boost visit the ICAN website or to book your place, complete the booking form.

Exploring the EYFS Conference 2021 sessions

colourful pins

This month we are finding out more about some of the sessions at the upcoming EYFS Conference 2021.

Maths and literacy for a purpose within core provision

For many adults the words maths and play have nothing to do with each other, maths was something we had to endure until we could do something we enjoyed. Play, on the other hand, was something we loved. The session will explore a whole setting/school community approach to maths and teaching through play experiences which support rich language acquisition, exploration and understanding through mathematical opportunities.

Business management

Led by the Essex Early Years Business Management Consultants, this session will provide an update on current issues specifically relating to running a childcare business in the context of post COVID sustainability, managing occupancy and looking at how you can consider remodelling hours/sessions and FEEE offer.

Culturally inclusive environments

Many studies have shown that children are capable of developing a negative bias towards people of a race and cultural background different to their own from a very early age. We also know that children’s sense of belonging and self-worth are formed in the early years.

Every child has the fundamental right to feel fully valued and included.

This thought provoking session explores ways that the learning environment and the responses of the practitioners within it are essential to the development of all children’s understanding of their uniqueness. It will explore sensitive and appropriate ways to promote learning about similarities, differences, beliefs and values.

The value that is placed on fostering a positive awareness of difference and creating an environment that is fully inclusive in the early years is vital: as early years practitioners, you have the ability to influence a generation of children to think, feel and behave in a way that will hopefully create a fairer and more tolerant society.

Next month we will look at some of the other sessions on offer.

Find out more and book your place on our new booking system Education Essex.

Promoting oral health among children and families

Teeth Brushing

It is National Smile Month 17 May – 17 June 2021.  

Dental decay is largely preventable, yet remains a serious problem for many children in Essex often causing pain and infection which can lead to difficulties in eating, drinking, sleeping and missed time from school.

Information on oral health including activities, training and support available for children with SEND can be found on Essex Child and Family Wellbeing website

Adult Community Learning apprenticeships

Adult Community Learning (ACL)  apprenticeship programmes are available across the county with start dates all year round.

Taking on an apprentice is a brilliant way of investing in the future of your setting. As your delivery partner, ACL will put together a programme that is appropriate and applicable to your needs and support you and your apprentice throughout the whole process.

If you need help in recruiting, we can assist with that too. We seek out motivated and enthusiastic individuals who are bursting with potential.

The great news is that apprenticeship programmes are also available to your existing workforce. Types of apprenticeships are:

  • Early Years Practitioner, Level two
  • Early Years Educator Level three
  • Teaching Assistant Level three
  • School Business professional Level four.

For more information, email acl.businessdevelopment@essex.gov.uk.

Saffron Teaching School Hub continuous professional development (CPD) survey


The Saffron Teaching School Hub are developing their 2021 - 2022 CPD programme and would be very grateful if you could complete the short survey on behalf of your setting.

It should only take five minutes and will really help them in planning a CPD package that suits the needs of your setting.

Online training opportunities

You can view the online training opportunities available to the early years workforce on the Training Programme page. Here are a few examples of what's on offer.

We are currently in the process of transferring our courses to our new online booking system Education Essex. During this transition the following courses will remain hosted on citizen space surveys.

  • Autism Education Trust: Good autism practice
  • Autism Education Trust: Leading good autism practice
  • Autism Education Trust: Extending and enhancing good autism practice
  • Committee forum
  • Early years and child strategy workshop
  • Early years mental health: the role of the early years practitioner
  • Early Years Foundation Stage reforms briefing 2021
  • ELKLAN speech and language
  • Safeguarding level 1
  • Talk Boost EYFS
  • Trauma Perceptive Practice: The Essex approach to understanding behaviour and supporting emotional wellbeing

The following courses are now on our new online booking system Education Essex:

  • Business management termly update
  • Early years mental health - Me, You, Us - Understand emotional dynamics in the early years setting
  • Effective room leader
  • EYFS conference 2021
  • EYFS safeguarding forum
  • Safeguarding level 2
  • Stepping into Management
  • Supporting children learning English as an additional language.


Post it note

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