In case you missed it! Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 24

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Welcome to the 24th issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

Email to tell us what you want to see in this newsletter.

Early Years and Childcare website maintenance


The Essex Early Years and Childcare website will be offline for maintenance on 8 June 2021 for the afternoon, starting from 2pm.

Implementing the EYFS reforms for September 2021

The Department for Education have now published the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework to be used from 1 September 2021.

To prepare for implementing the changes a new comprehensive government resource has been produced that provides information about each area of learning in the EYFS and gives ideas for activities, alongside guidance to help to improve your practice and other useful resources.

A summary of additional amendments to the Safeguarding & Welfare Requirements and why they have been made can be found here.

Further to the summer term briefings delivered by Early Years Education Partners, the following resources will help you understand the changes:

  • vodcast is aimed at headteachers, senior leadership and governors, and includes presentations and a Q&A from DfE and Ofsted
  • A further vodcast is aimed at Private, Voluntary and Independent settings (PVIs) and childminders and includes presentations from DfE, Dr Julian Grenier and Ofsted
  • Foundation Years recently hosted events focused on the revised EYFS. The recordings and case studies from the events can be found here

Essex Safeguarding Forum

illustration of online meeting or training

Our EYFS Safeguarding Forum is taking place on Tuesday 6 July 2021. As before, this will be online with a choice of attending either the morning or evening session.

  • 9:30 - 11am for the day session
  • 6 - 7:30pm for the evening session

These forums are for Designated Leads and we are offering one place per setting at each session. To book your place, please visit Education Essex online booking system

We hope you will be able to join us.

Addressing disadvantage in the early years: Self-regulation and Executive Function skills

webinar keyboard

We are excited to share with you our new training opportunity; a free two part webinar about self-regulation and executive function.

The training events have two sessions, you will need to attend both sessions to fully benefit from the event.  

Session one will give you the knowledge and strategies to better support the development of Self-Regulation for the children in your setting.  

Session two will go on to do the same with Executive Function. 

The training takes place on the following dates:

Event one

Session one: Monday 14 June 1 - 2:30pm 

Session two: Monday 5 July 1 - 2:30pm 

Event two

Session one: Tuesday 15 June 6:30 – 8:00 

Session two: Tuesday 6 July 6:30 – 8:00 

Event three

Session one: Thursday 17 June 10:00 – 11:30 

Session two: Thursday 8 July 10:00 – 11:30.

For more information and to book your place, please visit Education Essex online booking system.

Essex Therapies Project

logo and webpage link

Essex County Council, Southend Borough Council and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across Essex and Southend have commissioned an ambitious project for children's therapies including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

A key outcome of this work is to have all children's therapy services working to a common framework.  

The Essex Therapies Project web page is now live and contains all the information, surveys and event dates for the project. The project is seeking the views of stakeholders including settings and parents.

Visit the website for more information.

Talk, Listen, Cuddle

TLC logo

Talk Listen and Cuddle (TLC) is an Essex campaign helping, carers and families give their young children the best start to life, developing their communication skills through playful learning at home.

The website offers a wide range of information including downloadable resources and articles to help families understand how to support their child’s language and communication.

Please share the website and Facebook page with parents, sharing individual articles can support specific issues. By following the Facebook page you will find out when there are new articles uploaded onto the website.

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.

The importance of play for learning and how to support children who do not find play easy

We all know the importance of play for young children and we all know how motivated children are by their favourite types of play. Sometimes in discussions around education, including in some government documents, this importance is underplayed. In this workshop, we will look at evidence for the importance of a good preschool experience, including the importance of play. We will then discuss how to help children who find it more difficult to play freely, using the framework of the Development Matters document to guide our discussion.

Music in the EYFS

How do we build on a child’s natural curiosity and exploration of sounds towards the first steps of musical development?  And how can this musical development enhance a child’s capacity on their first steps of their journey of life-long learning?

Watching a child play with any sound makers reveals the pleasure to be found when a simple action results in a sound.  The connection between action and result is repeated ad nauseum and an understanding begins to be built.  ‘I do this, I feel this’. 

As practitioners, we want to encourage those experiences and offer children more tools to refine these skills. There is plenty of research that shows that children who have a strong music education fare better in general in their academic learning.  The foundations of this are set in the first years.

During our session we want to share with you some of the learning, experiences and stories we have gained in working with early years settings.  We plan to explore:

  • How to develop young children’s musical ear and help them to develop their vocal sound production
  • How to help children to acquire skills they need for learning in the first years of their education (self-regulation and executive function in Development Matters)
  • How can music bring children together in a shared experience of sound making and building on their own self-regulation in communicating and coexisting with others?

It goes without saying that this will be a practical session of singing, playing and exploring, especially as one of the best parts of early years practice is learning alongside trainee grown-ups!

Find out more and book your place on the Education Essex online booking system.

Promoting oral health among children and families

Teeth Brushing

Further to our article in last months issue about National Smile Month 17 May – 17 June 2021, we would like to share with you information and guidance around children’s oral health published by the government.

School deferral - FEEE funding

Many children would have received the offer of their school place to start reception in September 2021. Some parents may be considering deferring their child’s school place until they reach statutory school age the term after their fifth birthday. In order to support this decision please discuss with parents the Points to consider  document.

If a parent still would like to defer their child, please can you complete the online form so that we are able to confirm whether the Free Entitlement Funding will be paid.  

Information relating to delayed and deferred entry can be found in the Schools Admission brochure, so please ensure parents are aware of the information.

For more information visit the FEEE page on the Early Years and Childcare website.

Speech, Language and Communication Awareness training

boys in a tunnel

The Speech, Language and Communication (SLC) Awareness training is Essex’s core SLC training and shares definitions, key strategies, and relevant websites and documents.

Listening to your feedback about the training we have decided to make it available for all. This training will be available every month at a variety of different times to meet your needs. For more information and to book your place, please visit the Education Essex online booking system.

You may wish to deepen your knowledge in more advanced courses such as the Level 4 Award, information below.

Level 4 Award in Supporting Children and Young People with Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Research suggests that in some areas 50% of children start school with a speech, language and communication need (SLCN) and that approximately 10% go on to have a long-term SLCN. A focus on ‘talk in the classroom’ therefore can have a profound impact on children and young people’s learning and social interaction. (Communication Trust 2019).

The Level 4 Award in Supporting children and young people with SLCN is designed to give participants confidence in how to deliver effective support for children and young people with SLCN and will result in an exciting portfolio of work to take away.

For more information and to book your place, visit the Eastern Partnership website.

Supporting families

boy holding basket

Sue from Abacus Kindergarten has shared with us an inspiring story about how her setting connected with families during lockdown.

"During this last lockdown we had identified that parents we really struggling to remain in the house with young children but the weather was not very nice.  Therefore, we set up a little treasure hunt every 10 days or so in a local park to encourage the parents to take the children out for some fresh air. 

The first hunt was for the fairy village. We hid lots of little fairies and dolls house furniture around a woodland which led to a fairy village. We sent out a map of where to look and lots of our parents gave positive feedback on how nice it was to have a reason to go for a ramble and the children were so engaged. 

Following this success we hid wooden spoons with the Gruffalo characters on them, with even better response.  We continued linking the hunts to stories, eg The Very Hungry Caterpillar and were pleasantly surprised to see the items remained in place and the families got to enjoy the hunts for long periods.

These hunts didn't really cost much at all but the enjoyment was worth so much!  We all had fun planning them too; good team building!"

If you have any good practice that you would like to share, please email

Connecting to the wild

girl in flowers

Health Awareness Week followed the theme ‘Nature’ (10-17 May).

This year I talked with my children about how playing in nature helps us breathe more deeply, connect more easily and freely, learn about change and unpredictability and encounter the microbes that help build our immunity.

Finally, being with other species, plants and animals, helps us regulate both excitement and fear. Watching a robin devour a centipede fills us with a range of emotions within a single moment, enabling our bodies to manage a spike in our nervous system as our emotions change rapidly. Even watching the breeze move the blossom is mindful and triggers production of telomeres which protects our chromosomes from deterioration. Child trauma can accelerate the aging of chromosomes.

Learn more in Early Years Mental Health or learn more about the role of the nervous system in supporting attachment at the forthcoming Early Years Mental Health conference on 10 June 2021, sign up with the Education Essex online booking system.

Article by Catherine Stephenson from Therapeutic Teaching.

Online training opportunities

You can view the online training opportunities available to the early years workforce on the Training Programme page.


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.