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MARCH e-Newsletter

Two full versions of the articles featured in our March newsletter: the first from Sue on EYP status, and the second from the nursery following their attainment of the Eco-Schools Green Flag award:

SUE SAYS...................

'Early Years Professional - To Be or Not To Be - That is The Question'

I‘m thrilled to be writing my first column for our new-look newsletter as there are always so many exciting developments in early years ........
As one of the first cohort of Early Years Professionals – I was asked to speak at the EYE [Early Years Educator] Conference in London a couple of weeks ago.  My talk was “EYP - To Be or Not To Be – That is the Question” – for I wanted to try to raise awareness that although EYPs are a ‘step in the right direction’ for the early years workforce – they are not the complete ‘FIX’ that the Government thinks they will be. EYPS are not magicians who are able to transform this very rather under-qualified, under-valued sector. 
I believe that we need high calibre practitioners throughout our early years settings and that there should be a minimum entry into the profession.  Workplace based trainees should only be permitted in ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ settings so that poor practice is not perpetuated and taught to NVQ or any other Trainees or undergraduates for otherwise unacceptable and poor expels of practice will only be replicated by those Candidates when they become qualified.
Having qualified as an EYP I know the work that is involved however running a own private nursery for over 20 years has taught me that it take a lot more than a qualification to be able to make an impact on the quality of a setting.  My fear is that as more and more people are pushed towards becoming an through glossy university pamphlets the focus of quality will remain at the top where often it is the more junior members of staff who haven’t received the quality of training that they deserve. 
We look to try and support our junior members of staff in any ways possible and one way I have found that is simple and easy is to make sure you give them access to educational magazines, these are left in the staffroom and they are encourages to take them home for a good read. We subscribe to both Nursery World  and especially the EYE Magazine  – for these journals are an excellent way of keeping abreast of current research, statistics, legislation and professional practice.
Your thoughts and comments are always welcome so drop me an e-mail!!
B.A.Ed. [Hons} Early Childhood Studies.  Mont. Dip.  EYP

Eco-Schools GREEN FLAG Awarded

Eco-Schools Green Flag Awarded.
After three years of hard work we have just been awarded our GREEN FLAG, we are the first nursery school in Herefordshire and only the 1,019 schools in the country.

The project it’s self has been fairly easy to implement and being as we are a rural nursery we have probably found it a bit easier to engage in some of the more nature based activities such as looking at wildlife and composting as I know if space is limited these things might require a bit of lateral thinking.
Over the three years we have seen the Eco-Schools programme evolve, when we first started looking at it there really was a primary and secondary focus with some of the criteria being not exactly fitting in with this age group however he things seem to have improved and it is not a lot clearer and supportive.
One of the areas we found to be really good was the linking with parents on the eco-committees as it’s great to develop those relationships, once we had put a not in our newsletter we soon found some willing ‘eco-warriors’.
The award structure is self evaluating for the bronze and silver levels however the green flag inspection required us to show documented evidence of the changes we have made and how they impacted on the energy usage of the setting and meet all the other criteria. 
We really believe you shouldn’t wait until children are at primary to start teaching them of what are good and bad actions but we should look to embed it from an early age, our little ones were more than capable to picking these things up and they love the practical side of things such as the recycling and the composting.
We’ve had some great parental feedback with lots of stories of children are passing on what they have learnt to the rest of the family and making them think twice about green issues. 

All in all it’s a great initiative that is packed with cross curricular learning opportunities so take a look
Oak House Nursery School
P.S. Without trying to put in a sales pitch, one thing we did find difficult was finding the visual stimulus to help inform children about things like what energy actually is, where our recycled materials go and how they are made into new materials.  That is why we got Early Vision to make the Eco-Vision series - they are bite size video clips which help to fill in all the gaps, and give children the visual stimulus that is so important. Check them out here.

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