Take a look at our new Early Years catalogue

Our Early Years books offer valuable, jargon-free advice on a range of important issues in the field for any setting. From practical guides on positive learning environments to information on running your own successful Early Years business, each publication provides essential support and easy-to-follow activities to help you deliver the EYFS and enhance your practice.

If you would like to request a free print copy of the catalogue, please email hello@JKP.com.

If you would like to read more articles like this and get the latest news and offers on our Early Years books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Special Education, PSHE and Early Years Resources Facebook page.

Join our Early Years mailing list to receive a free copy of our new catalogue

Early years resourcesSign up to our mailing list to receive a free copy of our new Early Years catalogue.

Our Early Years books offer valuable, jargon-free advice on a range of important issues in the field for any setting. From practical guides on positive learning environments to information on running your own successful Early Years business, each publication provides essential support and easy-to-follow activities to help you deliver the EYFS and enhance your practice.

To request a free print copy of the JKP complete catalogue of books on Early Years, sign up to our mailing list below. Be sure to click any additional areas of interest so we can notify you by email about exciting new titles you might like.

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10 ready-to-use solutions that will help schools meet Ofsted criteria for excellent playtimes

playtimesMichael Follett, author of Creating Excellence in Primary School Playtimes, provides 10 tips to help primary schools meet Ofsted criteria for excellent playtimes.

Imagine childhood without play. It sounds unthinkable but for around 50% of UK children school playtimes are the only time they get to play freely in an open space with their friends. When you think that out of 7 years at primary school, 1.4 of those years is time for play, it is clear that schools are ideally placed to enable children to access 180 days a year of great play opportunities.

As a former teacher, playworker and school improvement adviser I have dedicated the past 17 years to helping schools understand how to improve playtimes. It’s a great project as everyone wins, children are happier and healthier, teachers get more teaching time, leaders more leading time and playtime staff a much more satisfying job. So here are my top ten tips, condensed from my work developing the OPAL Primary Programme with over 200 schools in three continents.

1. Change your culture – A school that values play is a school that understands that play is essential to children’s physical and mental wellbeing and that the recipe for play requires some dirt, some risk, plenty of choices, quite a lot of freedom and a growing amount of trust. Once your school develops a culture of valuing play and understanding the simple conditions it requires to grow and flourish the rest is relatively easy.

2. Use what you have – OPAL’s research has revealed that the average primary school uses its field for between 8-16% of the 180 days there are in the school year. If you have space, don’t spend money on equipment until you find ways to use your valuable space for at least 80% of the year. (OPAL School’s average around 95%).

3. Put someone in charge – Good play in a school takes planning, resources and persistence. 20% of the school day will not improve itself. Traditionally schools dedicate very little leadership attention to the management of what is often the trickiest part of the school day to manage.

4. Be Generous – How many children are in your school – 100, 200, maybe 500? How many hours play is that a year? In a school of 200 children the answer is 160,000 play hours a year. So be generous – don’t build one play house build ten, don’t put in a sand table, build a beach! Children need lots of space and lots of stuff to avoid conflict at playtimes and access to plenty of fuel for their imaginations.

5. Make use of free stuff – Children much prefer to play with stuff than on things. They don’t really mind what you give them to play with, they just need lots of it. So don’t worry about asking the PTA to raise thousands to build a thing to play on, instead think about how you can provide children with many, many things to play with. We are not talking about toys, we are talking about the secret magic ingredients of play called loose parts, which is virtually anything you can think of that is safe enough to play with, from and empty box to an old pan or a bit of wood.

6. Use Nature – Nature changes every day, it re-grows, it is naturally calming and attractive to children. Instead of a play catalogue why not go to a garden centre and see what resources they have that would provide lots of open ended play value?

7. Provide Choices – What is the essence of play? It is surely the freedom to choose for yourself. To be able to decide for your own reasons and motivations where you go, who you play with and what you play with. Look around your playground. Is it an oasis of potential choices waiting to be discovered? The more variety on offer, the more freedom of choice actually means something.

8. Allow time – Play is a human right under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 31 and every school has a legal and moral duty to implement the convention. So don’t regard playtime as a problem to be whittled away or used up with finishing work, but as an opportunity to provide an essential part of a good childhood.

9. Don’t waste your money – Children will always be attracted by newness, so any play equipment, however poor its play value, will be investigated by children for the first six weeks of its presence, but children are around school play equipment for around 1800 hours a year, for several years and it is only worth investing in capital equipment which will continue to present interest and challenge, building strength, fitness and coordination over a number of years, otherwise you are just buying very expensive benches to hang-out on.

10. Keep it up – Providing great play for every child should be the concern of every adult who cares about quality of childhood, because making play better in schools is not up to children, it is up to us the decision makers and power holders, the leaders, staff and parents. We are the people who are in charge; of their time, and their space, and the rules. Governments are not, and children cannot make us provide for their play, it must be done because we ourselves care about children having fun, joy and happiness.

If you would like to read more articles like Michael’s and get the latest news and offers on our education books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Special Education, PSHE and Early Years Resources Facebook page.

Strategies for growing your early years business

early years businessJacqui Burke, author of Building Your Early Years Business, describes the everyday challenge that early years practitioners face in providing a quality childcare service that is also a successful business. Founder of the award-winning specialist people development and training consultancy Flourishing People, and with over 25 years’ experience in the Early Years and Childcare sector, she provides some very sound practical advice for ensuring your early years business takes the next competitive step in order to thrive and grow.

Click here to read the extract

If you would like to read more articles like Jacqui’s and hear the latest news and offers on our Early Years books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Special Educational, PSHE and Early Years Resources Facebook page.

What does the government mean by British Values and the Prevent Duty in the Early Years?

British ValuesAs a formal part of the Early Years Foundation Stage, educators are now required to deliver instruction of British Values and the Prevent Duty in classrooms, nurseries and other early years settings.  In response, Kerry Maddock, author of British Values and the Prevent Duty in the Early Years, outlines what exactly the government means by this legislation and offers clear advice to early years practitioners on how to implement British Values in such a way that also fosters individual liberty. Through case studies, research, and interviews with OFSTED inspectors, her book is an essential guide for any Early Years professional seeking guidance on this statutory requirement.

Click here to read the extract

If you would like to read more articles like Kerry’s and hear the latest news and offers on our Early Years books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Special Educational, PSHE and Early Years Resources Facebook page.

Tips for promoting young children’s wellbeing

Young children's wellbeing

Sonia Mainstone-Cotton, author of Promoting Young Children’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing, provides some very useful and easy tips for supporting young children’s happiness at this important stage in their development.

Wellbeing is a term we hear a lot about for adults and young people, but we don’t hear so much about it for young children. We know that the rates of teenage mental health problems are rising alarmingly, and we are aware that children and young people are feeling increasingly stressed and distressed. I passionately believe if we can help young children to have a good wellbeing then we are setting them off to a great start in life. But to help children have a good wellbeing, we need to be proactive about it.

One critical aspect of a child having good wellbeing is by them knowing that they are loved – that they are loved for the unique and precious individuals they are. Parents and grandparents clearly have a crucial role in letting children know that they are unconditionally loved, but I also believe that key workers, teaching assistants, children’s workers also have a role in showing children that they are loved and wanted. We show this through the words we use and the way we hold children. Part of my job is as a nurture consultant; I have seven children and schools that I support throughout the year. Every time I see one of my nurture children I ensure I show delight in seeing them that day. I smile at them, I look them in the eyes and tell them how lovely it is to see them today, how much I have been looking forward to our time together. Continue reading

Why We Need to Break the Silence Around Suicide, Especially for our Children

Louise Moir explains why she wrote Rafi’s Red Racing Car, details her own experiences, and expresses the need for a breakdown in the stigma that surrounds mental illness and suicide.

I lost my husband to suicide in 2011 following his brief decline into mental ill health that was triggered by a job redundancy. My sons were aged 4 ½ and nineteen months. Rafi’s Red Racing Car is the book that I wished I’d had at that time to help me with the terribly painful and bewildering task of trying to explain to my boys what had happened to their Daddy.

Before their father’s suicide, my children had not yet experienced death of any kind, so they had absolutely no understanding. I quickly learnt that their grief was too raw and overwhelming for them to be able to tolerate me talking directly about the tragedy that had enveloped us all. Very young children are very visual and respond well to explanations in pictorial or metaphoric realms. I found a wealth of good, age appropriate books that helped to explain death and the emotions that surround loss and these helped tremendously. Identifying with the character in the book who was experiencing similar events and emotions to themselves enabled my sons to externalise their own feelings, begin to understand their experience and led to them asking me questions about their own loss.

Continue reading

Early Years List Launch

Early Years behaviourWe’re delighted to announce the launch of our Early Years list. As of now, we’ll be publishing a range of resources written by Early Years specialists offering valuable advice on important issues such as behaviour management, positive learning environments and how to run a successful Early Years business. We’d like to make you aware of a number of ways you can interact with the list:

1. Sign up to our Early Years mailing list to receive news and information on our latest books by filling out the form below

2. Like our Special Ed, PSHE and Early Years Resources Facebook page

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Select your areas of interest so we can send the most relevant information. You can unsubscribe at any time.





Why do two-year-olds behave differently to three and four-year-olds?

Early Years BehaviourLiz Williams, author of Positive Behaviour Management in Early Years Settings, explains how young children will only be able to behave in a way that is appropriate to their own age and stage of development. Observing that the whole early years period is a time in which children develop rapidly, she describes how the stage of development between the ages of two and three is especially fast.

Click here to read the extract

Informed by the author’s wealth of practical experience, Liz’s book is an essential guide to promoting positive behaviour in early years settings. It explains why children may act the way they do, describes the key factors in promoting appropriate behaviour and provides a range of easy to use techniques for improving behaviour and supporting development.

If you would like to read more articles like Liz’s and hear the latest news and offers on our Early Years books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer, and please also tell us about your areas of interest so we can send the most relevant information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Read an extract from Shelly Newstead’s ‘The Busker’s Guide to Risk, Second Edition’

Newstead-Thread_Buskers-Guide-t_978-1-84905-682-3_colourjpg-printWelcome to the second edition of The Busker’s Guide to Risk – and for those of you who are used to these little books by now, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that starting off with a few jokes is not at all out of keeping… so here goes…

Have you heard the one about the children who were banned from making daisy chains in case they ate them?

Or the school that stopped doing egg and spoon races in case a child dropped an egg and then turned out to be allergic to it?

Or what about the children who weren’t allowed to play with cardboard boxes because they were a fire risk? (The boxes, that is, not the children… although any day now…!)

Laugh out loud?  Well, I would- if any of those were actually jokes- you know, like those urban myths that get passed around and exaggerated with every re-telling… But here’s the punchline- they’re not.  All of those seemingly ludicrous things have really happened- to children whom you and I know, up down the UK, in a neighbourhood near you- all in the name of health and safety.

The Busker’s Guide to Risk is part of the Busker’s Guide series for adults who work where children play.  Each Busker’s Guide provides succinct and down to earth introductions to key areas of theory and practice.  Written in a light-hearted style and illustrated with witty cartoons, Busker’s Guides are accessible to practitioners working in a wide range of settings.

>>Click here to download the extract<<