Tag Archives: Best Practice in the Early Years

New and exciting books from Bloomsbury Education…

Today marks the release of an exciting range of titles from Bloomsbury Education. From thrilling historical adventures to fiction that will grab the attention of the most reluctant readers to a brilliantly witty and engaging collection of poetry.

Don’t panic teachers! We’ve not forgotten you! Get ahead of the game this year and grab one of our great new resource books, guaranteed to get ideas flowing and unbeatable lessons planned.

See below for more details on each new title and  don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BloomsburyEd for details about our new titles, giveaways and more!

Land of the Gods


“If they were Romans I was done for: they’d tear me apart, bit by bit, and enjoy doing it…”

When Lucan sees a legion of Roman soldiers near his village it definitely makes sense to hide. But hiding in a wagon could prove to be a dangerous mistake. And falling asleep in the wagon is not the best idea that Lucan has ever had.

Trapped as a Roman slave, can Lucan find his way home… and does he even want to? Find out more here

The Bet

The BetEveryone wants to go on the school trip but no one can afford it. Ed, Zac, Becca and Kat decide to try and work for the money. Soon, it is boys versus girls in a bet to see who can raise the most and that’s when the trouble starts. One thing’s for sure; the competition starts here!

Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, The Bet is aimed at readers aged 11+ and has a manageable length (72 pages) and reading age (9+).                                                                  Find out more here

Sea Wolf

9781472924889Maya’s little brother Ethan is always telling stories about the Sea Wolf, the monster in the sea around Black Rock. Maya doesn’t believe Ethan’s lies but she does believe the sea is dangerous so, when Ethan tries to prove he can kayak to Black Rock, she knows she has to try to save him. Will either of them make it back from the dark and deadly sea?

Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, Sea Wolf is aimed at readers aged 9+ and has a manageable length (64 pages) and reading age (7+). Find out more here

It’s Not My Fault!

Not my faultJoin poets Roger Stevens and Steven Withrow for this magical mixture of poems. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious there’s something here for everyone. Just remember though – whatever happens…
it’s not my fault! Find out more here





Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics: Teaching Primary Computing

9781472921024Computers are just for playing games, right? Many of your pupils will think so. It may be a cultural shift for both the pupils and their parents to change that perception of computing. However, the learning gained from the ‘games’ played on computers in the primary classroom is paramount.

The teaching ideas in this book use mostly free tools, which operate across the many platforms that primary schools use. Based on the National Curriculum, the book is split into year groups, and each chapter offers practitioners an essential summary of all the information and vocabulary they need to successfully implement the activity in the classroom. Find out more here

A Creative Approach to Teaching Spelling

9781472922458A Creative Approach to Teaching Spelling will help teachers address the spelling targets of the new English curriculum and can also be used to support and enhance the growing range of phonic based spelling programmes currently used within schools. It provides a basic summary of the major developments in the teaching of spelling over the last 40 years and outlines current research and approaches. The renewed emphasis on phonic knowledge as a key element of all reading and spelling programmes is highlighted, as are those additional complimentary approaches to teaching spelling that are supported by current research.

The games and activities will help to develop and embed children’s phonological awareness, phonic knowledge and auditory memory. Find out more here

The Little Book of my Neighbourhood 

9781472925077.jpgThis book provides suggestions for activities and visits in your local neighbourhood, together with plans and advice on how to fully explore the area around your setting. Extend the learning with fun follow-up ideas that will encourage you to explore further afield. All activities link to specific aspects of the curriculum areas and early learning goals.

Topics include local space, walks, talks from community members, visits and games, stories and songs. Find out more here



Meeting Alistair Bryce-Clegg

We’ve just attended Childcare Expo in Manchester, and had the privilege of Alistair Bryce-Clegg signing copies of his bestselling book Best Practice in the Early Years and books in the 50 Fantastic Ideas series on our stand.

Alistair 217A1661_Low

To celebrate, we’re continuing our Summer Offer on all Featherstone Early Years books until the end of June! Receive 30% off all of our books with code Feather30 at the checkout.

If you missed Alistair at Childcare Expo, then check out his website abcdoes.com  for lots of fantastic tips on working in the early years, and his brilliant Ted Talk from TEDxNorwichED below.


Herding cats whilst juggling with ferrets – why would anyone want to work in Early Years? Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Author Alistair Bryce-CleggYoung children are truly remarkable beings and masters of ‘the unexpected’. There is one thing that you can be certain of when you work in Early Years and that is, that you can never be certain of anything! Like the moment when you have them eating out of the palm of your hand, gazing at you wide eyed as you deliver pearls of wisdom, and then from amongst the crowd a hand slowly rises. You pause with anticipation, waiting for confirmation that you are indeed the World’s best teacher and that this child is going to utter a statement of learning and understanding – only to be met with the phrase ‘My Granddad’s dead’. Just three little words that can completely kill a moment! Of course no matter what you were talking about, it is not going to be as interesting as death. Usually at this point on your carpet, the children will engage in a ‘dead-off’ each of them trying to outdo the others with the deaths of pets and relatives. It takes a skilled practitioner to be able to Segway from death to ‘Five Little Speckled Frogs’. Difficult, but not impossible!

It is in the very impetuous and inquisitive nature of little children that their potential for learning lies. The more we learn to embrace and enhance their ‘uniqueness’, the more we can enable them to pursue their interests and engage in learning. After all, it’s high-level engagement that will result in high-level attainment. When children are happy and secure they can focus all of their energy on being inquisitive. If they are unhappy, upset or bored then their brains are more focussed on resolving those issues than on exploring the world around them.


Sometimes as an adult, I think that we impose our agenda for learning on children a little too much and that this can result in children switching off, disengaging, fiddling with the person next to them – or usually in the case of boys – fiddling with themselves! The more experience I have in working across the very diverse Early Years sector, the more I am convinced that the more child- initiated we can make learning the more success that we will all have (children and adults).

As a teacher I was completely topic driven and I LOVED it! A topic meant that you could theme everything to one interest or subject and on the whole that made things significantly easier when it came to planning and resourcing. But… the problem with a topic is that it can be too focussed.
It is one thing when as an adult you talk to your children about a subject – a good Early Years Practitioner can make anything sound exciting (with or without the use of a feely bag and some whispering!). It is not the adult-led aspect of a topic that is the issue. It is what the children are expected to do when they leave the adult and enter the realm of their own learning. They may well have loved it when you were regaling them with tales of planets, rockets and space travellers but when they get to the malleable materials area – why do they have to make a planet out of dough? When they get to the junk modelling area – why do they have to make a rocket or complete a writing frame around a journey into space before having to paint stars onto black sugar paper with white paint?

As practitioners we need to think about why we create the areas of provision that we create and what it is that we want children to learn and experience as they work and play in them.
If we are encouraging our children to develop dexterity in the dough then does it matter if they don’t make a planet? If we are teaching them a variety of joining and construction skills in the junk modelling area, do they have to build a rocket? If we want them to mark make or write, do they have to write about space? Of course the answer to all of the above is ‘no’!

When we are planning for children’s learning we need to think of the topic as a stimulus or an enhancement to continuous provision. What is more important is that we clearly identify what it is that our children need to learn and then plan for how we can use our environment and their interests to teach them those next steps and allow them to consolidate and apply the new skills that they have acquired.

So next time you are planning a topic, keep it to your carpet session and your direct input. Plan your continuous provision for skill development and purpose and then enhance it with children’s interests, what you are teaching (basic skills) and what you are talking about (topic). That way you have the most potential to maximise opportunities for learning and engagement and keep fiddling fingers occupied!

Best Practice in the Early Years bookAlistair is a popular Early Years Consultant and ex-headteacher dedicated to helping settings enhance their EYFS practice. He works with individuals, settings and local authorities both nationally and internationally. His latest book Best Practice in the Early Years contains lots of activities and techniques written in his creative and witty style. Click here to find out more.