Assessing risk

My little boy had the most fantastic Receotion teacher! He is fab at assessing risks- I know that the experiences he had in his early years have made him who he is today. 

I try so hard to allow my kids to make their own judgements, and assess the situation. Whilst out on a  lovely woodland walk this morning we came across a fallen tree stretching over a little stream… 
Here is how my little poppet tackled it! I try very hard to never say “Be careful!” Even if my heart is sometimes pumping hard in my chest! 

What do you think? 

I spy with my little eye… 

We had great fun this week making this lovely I spy game…

We filled a litre coke bottle full of rice using a funnel… Lots of lovely talk about capacity and measure came from this. 

The children then hunted around the classroom to find items to pop into the bottle. It was fascinating to see how they were guessing whether their item was small enough to fit through the bottle neck, and then testing out the size. Cue lots of talk about size and weight! 

We then placed all the items on a sheet and photographed these so we knew what to look for. The children loved adding tiny items such as paper clips, split pins and even a rice crispy (“no one will ever spy these” they shrieked!) 

The items were then popped into the bottle and shaken profusely. Then the game began.

Great for…. 



Making relationships 





Turn taking 

Have fun… I’d love to hear of any games you have made. Please add comments below x 

Excuse the mess… 

Absolutely no explanation needed here except for- I’m so glad I’m not alone! 

Some days I look at the classroom and I think “How the hecky peck are we ever going to get straight?”

But we always do… 

With Creativity comes mess!


20 questions!!

We’ve all done it!! Well that’s where I’m hoping I’m not alone… 

When my little girl first started school, I was paranoid about her being happy and making friends. To be fair I didn’t really worry about the academic side of things, I just hoped she would makes friends and play with lots of children at playtime.

I was that annoying mum, that pebble in your shoe, that each day would say… What did you do today? Who did you play with? 

Being an EYFS teacher, I now realise what a ridiculous question this was to ask each evening! Of course she wouldn’t know, due to the fact that most Kidkets on the whole, play with such a vast amount of different  children on a daily basis. And actually by my asking this question day in day out, was only adding to my anxieties when my poor tired little poppety just simply said “NO-ONE!!” 

For those of you that don’t know me- I am by no means a perfect mummy, I don’t claim to be, nor would ever pass mummy of the year. I try to do my best, but like we all do, I often get it wrong! But now instead of asking the same boring questions after school, I try to jazz it up, maybe add a little sprinkling of glitter here and there (metaphorically obviously… Here are some of the questions I throw in! 

What did you eat for lunch?

Did you catch anyone picking their nose?

What games did you play at playtime?

What was the funniest thing that happened today?

Did anyone do anything really nice for you?

What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?

Who made you smile today?

Which one of your teachers would win a dance off? Why?

What new fact did you learn today?

Who brought the best food in their lunch box today? What was it?

What challenged you today?

If school were a ride at the fair, which ride would it be? Why?

What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?

If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?

If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?

If your teacher was a colour- what colour would they be? 


What is your teacher’s most important rule?

Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?

Tell me something you learned about a friend today.

What is one thing you did today that was helpful?
When did you feel most proud of yourself today?

Who do you want to make friends with but haven’t yet? Why not?

What is your teacher’s most important rule?

What rule was the hardest to follow today?

Which area of your school is the most fun?

What is one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?

Which person in your class is your exact opposite?

Which playground skill do you plan to master this year?

What was Mr B wearing today? 

If Mrs S was a Disney character which one would she be? 

What questions do you ask your kidlets over tea? Would love to hear them… Please leave a comment x 

A Wave of Light

So tonight it is with a very heavy heart and a few tears that I write this blog post. I know we are by no means alone, and that throughout the country lots of lights will be shining brightly tonight for beautiful babies and children who grew their wings too early and now live amongst the glittery stars! 

    Our baby niece Leia was born on the 8th January 2015 with a congenital heart problem called Pulmonary Stenosis. Leia’s condition went undiagnosed until 24hours after she was born. Leia was transferred from The Trevor Mann unit in Brighton to The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Thomas in London on Friday 9th January 2015.

    Leia had surgery to correct her tiny heart when she was just 4 days old, she was amazing and her medical team were so very proud of her. As were her mummy and daddy (Vickie and Simon) and our wider family. But sadly one week later, despite every indication that she was making a full and speedy recovery, our beautiful baby girl fell asleep and never woke up. The medical team at St Thomas’ tried so hard to bring her back to us, but sadly we had to let her go. Vickie held her whilst she slipped away, and is so glad she could be there with her for every step of her short journey through life. She was so brave and so beautiful!

    Nothing ever prepares you for the shocking and heart wrenching grief you feel when you lose a child. It broke my heart to see such close members of our family reeling with the shock of loosing someone who is so so precious.

    The days and weeks following Leia’s death were the darkest for many members of our family, yet even through this heart ache people were compelled to remember Leia in their own special way. Leia’s daddy Simon, began to draw pencil sketches of his precious girl- he let the pencil do the work! This was his way of finding some comfort. Little did he know he was so talented with in this field!

    My husband Scott, who is the least soppiest person I know, wrote the most amazing poem for Leia which he read at her farewell service. 
    You are probably reading this thinking what the heck has it got to do with early years education, and why I have decided to allow you the access to such a heart breaking time in our lives. 

    Ever since that devastating day, I have been thinking of ways in which I can help Vickie and Simon, whilst raising awareness and thanking the medical team at St Thomas’s London and The Trevor Mann baby unit in Brighton,  who did ALL they could to save our beautiful girl.

    I have decided to host a Christmas shopping evening where friends can get together to enjoy a little festive cheer (mulled or fizz) whilst perusing some lovely gifts for loved ones.. Two of my fav things… Prosecco and shopping!!! LIFE DOESN’T GET BETTER! 

    So where can you help? We are looking for some top notch raffle prizes to get peeps to part with some Pennies for the fabulous Rocking horse charity! 

    If you think you would like to be part of this spectacular event, either by coming along, donating a raffle prize or by buying some raffle tickets I would LOVE to hear from you. 

    Shopping Eve on Fri 13th Nov please message me for venue details 

    May I ask that you share this post far and wide, as tonight we celebrate the blessing we had of having such a poppet in our lives if only for a sprinkling of time! 

    This candle is for you baby girl xx l.  

    Thank you for your help
    Pennie Parry 
    In Memory of Leia Victoria Parry
    “Our perfect little Angel” 

    Number Patters

    Now that our baseline is nearly complete, we have started some focus teaching sessions. This week we are learning the numbers 4,5,6

    Each and every time we introduce a new number we show our children the numeral, we introduce the Numicon piece  

    We sky write the number whilst using the patter…

    0- round the face of a super hero… Is the number zero! 

    1- a straight line down and then we’re done. That’s the way to write a 1! 

    2- around and back on the railroad track, 2,2,2! 

    3- around the tree around the tree,is the number 3!

    4- down across and down some more, is the number 4! 

    5, Hat  neck, big fat tummy

    6- a stick and a hoop do the tricks, is the number 6

    7- across and down from heaven, is the number 7

    8- draw a S and do not wait, that’s the way we write and 8

    9- a hoop and a line, is the way we right the number 9! 

    We then count objects to match the number, focussing on good 1:1 correspondence. The children then go and find that amount of objects. 

    Once this short snappy focus teaching session is complete, I will leave a basket of goodies out near my chair for children to investigate and develop further. I often find lots of them being “teacher” 

    How do you teach number? 

    It would be great to hear your ideas… Please leave a comment below x 


    Funky fingers wk beg 12th Oct 

    Ive decided to write a blog post each fortnight with our Funky Fingers activity. I hope this will be useful, but will also be a great reference for me to nip back and remember what we’ve done! 

    Here’s our timetable…  

    Each day one group completes dough gym… I will post a video on my FB page 

    Here’s  this week’s activities… 

    Sorting different types of pasta- how many can you sort in a minute?   

     Placing glass beads onto numbers 

    Rolling dice… Building a tower with tweezers to match the number on the dice  
    Water Squirters 

    (This pic is taken from Pinterest and is not owned by EYFSmatters)

    We spend just approx 10mins each day on Funky fingers. The children love it, and we definitely notice and improvement and progress with fine motor control. 

    What activities do you use? It would be great to hear what you do in your setting. Please leave a comment below xx 

    Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket…

    As today is National poetry day, we embraced poetry, grabbed it with two hands and ran with it! 

    My year group colleague is the Literacy co-ordinator at our school and found the most fantastic ideas based around twinkle twinkle little star. 

    We began by playing our children this beautiful animation by my good friend Jim!

    We then talked about all of the words that rhyme within this song. The kidlets were just fab at hearing the rhyming words. We talked about how a poem is just like this with lots of rhyming words. 

    During fruit time we read “How to catch a star” by the utterly fabulous Oliver Jeffers. The children adored the book, it truly is magical! 

    We had lots of children who “just got it” but others who didn’t quite understand the concept of reflection. We talked together about what activities they would like to do. It was agreed they’d love to create the night sky with twinkly stars. 

    We set to to create this. We used inks and pipettes and straws to blow the ink across the paper. 

    Once the art work is dry, the children would like to add their own stars. 

    It was fantastic to see lots of examples of COEL in fact I am pretty confident that I observed every characteristic at some point during this little activity. The children were wowed with their finished masterpiece and each one was as individual and special as them! 

    We then decided to try and make some glitter stars in laminated sheets….

    When I say it was a complete and utter disaster I am kidding you not- lets just say I now realise that my scrumptious little lot have a secret love affair with glitter (who doesn’t)and I think I owe our cleaner a big box of chocolates! Ooppsssss

    You know you’ve had an interesting day when you find glitter in your bra!!!

    Ta ta for now, whilst I shimmer off and say Toodledooooooo!!!

    Guest blog- *Every child is a star…give them the chance to sparkle*

    I am delighted to introduce Amelia from Kicks Dance.

    Now this makes me feel very old… Amelia was in Year 5 or 6 when I first moved down south to continue my teaching career, her gorgeous mum used to be a fab colleague of mine, and I taught Amelia’s youngest sister Florence for a year too! I also need to own up to accidentally banging in their dad’s prize Audi TT one day too!! ooppps (sorry Graham!!)

    Here Amelia talks about the joy she feels from making children sparkle……

    “You make me feel like a fairy”


    That isn’t something most people hear on a typical working day. This is why I love my job so much. If I can make a 4 year old feel like a fairy every time she steps into my class, then I’m doing my job right.
    My mum started ‘Kicks Dance’ nearly 8 years ago. After being a primary school teacher for 20 years, she decided that she would take her passion for performing arts and her love of children and start a dance school. My sisters and I all danced from the age of 3 and are trained in the usual Ballet, Tap and Modern. It didn’t take long for my mum to see the benefits. We stayed fit and healthy, coordinated, had good rhythm, musicality and posture…and these were only the physical benefits. She also noticed how dance helped us become motivated, hard – working, disciplined, driven and confident. Many of our best friends we still have today are from dance. I was a very shy and timid child and suffered from anxiety and childhood depression. My mum would be the first person to tell you that I was not the same child in my dance class. I took part in competitions and danced on the stage at a young age. I felt alive when I was dancing. The child I was at school and at home was not the same child that put on ballet shoes and twirled around the hall. Dance gave me a purpose. It gave me the confidence I needed to realise I could do anything I wanted. If I learnt a really hard new step in my dance class, then I could do anything. It didn’t happen overnight, but dance made me the happy, confident person I am today.

    I started dancing when I was 3 and by the time I started school, I had made friends and taken part in a class that gave me the social skills and discipline that others maybe didn’t have. My first year at school was daunting and scary, but school was always ok on the days I knew I had dance class. Dance made me excited and a happier child. However, there was never enough dance at school when I was younger. When we did do ‘dance’ classes, it was always run by a reluctant teacher, to a cassette tape, where we had to roll along the floor pretending to be a plastic bag (ironically…I had to do that in my degree as well! It isn’t any more thrilling when you are 19!).



    “The best dance class I have ever seen! Bringing dance to our school was the best thing we ever did. I have never seen the boys so engaged” (a happy teacher).

    Whilst there is always a place for Ballet and dance schools that offer a stricter syllabus, Kicks Dance is more about having fun, getting fit and enjoying dancing. You don’t have to be able to do flips or hold your leg behind your head. You just have to want to dance and have fun with your friends; “‘Kicks sessions are very inclusive, so even those who don’t have natural talent can participate fully” (a happy mummy). Dance often (or used to) make children feel very segregated if they weren’t good enough, or if they couldn’t get that step as quickly as everyone else. That is absolutely not what dance is about. Programmes such as ‘Strictly come dancing’ and ‘Got to dance’ have made children want to learn how to dance and it is the teacher’s responsibility to take that passion and turn it into something worthwhile.

    At Kicks, we run mainly after-school, weekend & Pre-School classes, but we also teach dance as part of the curriculum in schools, during P.E sessions for Early Years to Year 6. We try to make our classes engaging for both boys and girls (yes…the boys love it too!) and when a class is delivered with passion and enthusiasm (which is very easy to achieve when teaching dance!), the children are hooked from the beginning. Without giving too many of our secrets away (!), our classes always start with some warm up songs, which the children get to know off by heart over the 6 week course…dance teaches children memory and muscle memory. We then do exercises in a circle, routines from the corner, learn a dance in the centre and then play dance based games. It is so lovely to see the excitement on a child’s face when they walk into the hall and see us and realise they don’t have to sit down and do a science lesson…they can be free! The smiles when they work out how to do a step that they have been struggling with, is what makes our jobs worthwhile. Dance teaches children perseverance and patience.


    They don’t realise that the clapping they are doing in that routine is helping them with their rhythm, which in turn is helping them grasp that really hard step in the other routine. They don’t realise that when asked to “freeze on one leg” their core muscles are engaged and their coordination is improving. Whilst they are stood watching in delight as their friends dance from the corner, they are learning to wait their turn. When they decide to hop on one foot, with their arms circling above their head, all they see is fun. We see creativity, coordination and an improvement in gross motor skills. When the Early Years children come into our after-school classes and get changed for dance, they are continuing what they are learning during the school day – getting dressed without mummy’s help! Learning in disguise…the best type of learning in my opinion!

    “He is a much happier boy and Kicks has done that”

    At Kicks we don’t make our children do anything they don’t want to do. Our catchphrase is ‘Every child is a star…give yours the chance to sparkle’. We want to help give children the confidence they deserve. We have met so many children who come to our classes as shy, timid little girls and boys who won’t let go of mummy’s leg. Within less than half a term, the change in them is immense; “My daughter always comes home happy after class. Dance class has also helped her gain some much needed confidence”.

    If you look at the words I have highlighted, I don’t know how you can argue that dance and the arts isn’t one of the best privileges a child can be given:

    Fit. Healthy. Coordinated. Rhythm. Musicality. Posture. Motivated. Hard – working. Disciplined. Driven. Confident. Purpose. Happy. Social. Excited. Memory. Perseverance. Patience. Creativity.


    Remember, you have the ability to make a child feel like a fairy or a superhero.

    *Every child is a star…give them the chance to sparkle*


    By Amelia Russell
    Owner Kicks Dance Horsham & Kicks Dance Crawley