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Places to Play from Herts for learning

Don’t we all love a glossy new book, whether that’s a novel, a new recipe book or one that can help us in our work. Those of us who work with children are usually busy people who don’t have huge amounts of time to sit and read; so to have a book which gives us valuable information plus beautiful photo’s would just hit the spot.  At Herts for Learning we think we have done just that with our award winning ‘Places to Play Every Day’ resources for 3-5 year olds.

‘Places to Play Every Day’ was devised by expert Early Years Advisers from Herts for Learning, to help practitioners create learning spaces that inspire, challenge and motivate children aged 3 – 5 in their pre-school and Early Years settings.

From our consultancy work with a wide range of providers we discovered that there was a need for a user friendly resource for busy practitioners who needed a one stop shop to help them refresh their continuous provision whether that was in a nursery, reception class, preschool or childminder setting.

First of all, what do we mean by continuous provision? These are the toys, resources, equipment and activities that we set up every day to interest, stimulate, excite, challenge and motivate children to immerse themselves in exploring activity areas Early Years practitioners set up to support their development and learning.

‘Places to Play Every Day’ sets out clear guidance on how to arrange each activity zone in their setting, such as, the maths or sand area. The photographs provide excellent examples and ideas for materials or equipment that could be included in each area.

Let’s have a delve inside, because in the best Blue Peter,  ‘Here’s one I made earlier,’ tradition there are lots of photo’s to help practitioners and teachers to develop high quality continuous provision. The photos show resources, storage, displays and ideas for organising the learning environment in order to inspire and engage children across a range of contexts, both indoors and outdoors. 

We have also provided easy to read information that includes lists of resources settings should have in each area, the skill development children can experience, and the adult’s role to support learning.  There are also prompts for adults to help them ask the right kind of questions and examples of vocabulary that can support learning, as well as other considerations to improve provision. 

It can sometimes be a bit daunting coming into a new setting or starting out as a childminder and not being quite sure how to provide great continuous provision. ‘Places to Play Every Day’ is a great support to both experienced practitioners and those who are starting out. This book gives everyone a great start or a welcome refresher of what makes high quality provision, no matter what stage you are at in your Early Years career.

But look! At Herts for Learning we know it would be difficult and not always necessary to revamp your entire provision. So we devised a supporting audit book that enables you to evaluate each area, plus audits for behaviours for learning so that you can really see what you have in place and address any gaps or identify areas for further development. The ‘Places to Play Every Day’ Audit book is fully photocopiable so you can use it again and again.  Using both together gives you that one stop shop to truly enhance and develop your setting and give your children that wow factor to motivate their engagement in all areas of learning. 

Don’t just take our word for it as `Places to Play` has been awarded by nationally acclaimed Nursery World as the winner in the category of Staff Resource for 2017. In addition to this the publication was also awarded 4 stars in the CPD Category of the Early Years Excellence Awards in 2017. It is being used in over 400 settings in Hertfordshire and surrounding areas and is positively evidenced in outcomes for children in Ofsted reports:

`The indoor and outdoor learning environments are well organised so that children are learning to cooperate, make decisions and develop independence` (Hertfordshire setting Ofsted report 2017).

Herts for Learning Early Years team feel that these publications will be an invaluable resource to support all practitioners working with children aged 3-5 years to enable them to develop a high quality learning environment to fully meet children’s needs.

The two publications complement each other as one provides clear guidance and the other enables ongoing self-evaluation to support high quality provision.

Places to Play Every Day plus the Audits book are flying off the shelves at our offer of £48 if bought together. If you would like to have a copy to develop your own provision then place your order.

About the author

My name is Jane Greenslade and I am an Early Years Consultant with Herts for Learning supporting early years settings in Hertfordshire. I thoroughly enjoy my work with practitioners and feel very privileged to be able to support them to develop their provision.  I lead on the early Phonics and Maths training for Young in Herts and have a special interest in using music to support development and learning with young children. 

Herts for Learning Early Years team is a not for profit schools company and is responsive to current national priorities and to the locally identified needs of Early Years practitioners, and is committed to raising early achievement in schools, academies and other settings. We provide support and challenge for self-evaluation through a quality assurance process, focusing on leadership, action planning and professional development.

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