This week I have been writing a blog post for The Foundation Stage Forum about theory and practice and the role that the internet and social media play in both supporting and hindering us in our quest to get it right.
The advent of Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and blogs has made a whole world of thoughts, ideas and opinions accessible in a way that they never have been before.
It has also opened up the perfect world of the #InstaActivity or the ‘Pinterest worthy’ post. Worlds where beautiful resources in perfect settings lie untouched by children that make us feel inadequate!
These posts can be brilliant for ideas and inspiration as long as we recognise their purpose and not just how gorgeous they look.
I mean, if your provocation isn’t on reclaimed fallen oak furniture covered in organic hessian and enhanced with loose parts foraged by hand from the forest floor – is it even valid?
Well, of course it is! If it supports children’s interests, embodies the Characteristics of Effective Learning and has meaning it is useful.
The far more important question for me rather than ‘what’ have you got out is ‘why’ you have got it out. How could it support children’s learning? In what way does it enhance your provision? And, how do you know?
We need to take our inspiration from the great thinkers and philosophers like Froebel, Steiner, Montessori and Malaguzzi and apply their work to our education system today.
When Maria Montessori was developing her theories and practice she did not do so in the educational climate and culture of 2018. She could not have foreseen how society would change and develop in the decades after her death, yet many of her theories are popular and have longevity because they actively support the stages of child development and are transferable between continents, cultures and education systems.
You might see the tag ‘Montessori Inspired’ attached to lots of images of Early Years environments and activities, this for some has come to mean the use of natural resources or filling your space with blonde wood furniture. Whilst Montessori has no doubt ‘inspired’ that approach through her belief in children learning through their exploration of the natural environment, it doesn’t represent the depth of her core thinking, the thinking that will really make a difference to our practice and their learning.
Bearing that in mind, what I aim to do on my Facebook page and Instagram account is to share some ideas posts, but lots more of provision in action.
Some of you may have come across #Take Over Tuesday on my Instagram account where every other Tuesday I invite people from the world of Early Years to share what they do.
Sometimes this has been practitioners from a range of settings across the world, or home educators all of whom share actual practice that has worked for them. I have also featured people from a different aspect of Early Years like Bloomsbury Publishing or TTS resource production.
Pop over and have a look!
We are all at different stages on a life long learning journey when it comes to our Early Years practice. No one knows everything and there is no such thing as the ‘perfect provision’. Our thinking and ideas change as we go on learning and it is really important to step out from what you know and be inspired all over again.
As well as aspiring keeping our practice ‘unique’ it is more important that we ensure that we keep it ‘real’.
Have a great weekend!