The Early Years 2013 How Children Learn Conference; Exploring child development throughout the early years. Part Three   1 comment

After a second night in Conference Aston hotel, where despite the comfortable bed and the large room, Penny did not sleep very well (nothing new there) Penny was at the Lakeside Center in time for a cup of hot chocolate and a chat to the lady she met last year and a couple of people that she had not spoken to before, conversation was about the cost of conferences in general – and the noted reduction in attendees at this conference, and about the workshops, and gender differences in children.

We were then ushered into the hall for what turned out to be an inspiration session ‘What is autism? Detection in the early years’ by a young man called Joshua Muggleton. Joshua is not only very qualified in this field and works as an assistant psychologist, and is a published author – he also has Asperger’s.

(Need to add that Penny’s colleague Jackie Noakes was also attending the conference for day two – and so may have further info to add)

There is a little bit about Joshua (and his books) HERE

As many of you know Penny has a grandson with Asperger’s, so Penny was very keen to hear Joshua’s presentation . From Penny’s experience Joshua hit the ‘nail on the head’ as he described the difficulties that those with Asperger’s and high functioning Autism have to live with, the coping strategies, the ‘bungy jump’ effect when anxieties get too high and those  strategies ‘go out of the window’. Joshua explained very clearly how the world is for those with  Autistic spectrum disorders – and used a couple of key words ‘Why would I (the child) want to do that’ , by thinking of things from the child’s perspective things can be understood more – such as for some children adults are a ‘tool’ not a person, such as the need for things to be the same, such as the difficulties caused by not understanding the social rules or niceties

Penny is not going to say any more as those interested will look out for Joshua’s book or for him speaking at events – but as a taster here is a bit from You Tube 

The next session was by Dr, Sue Rogers whose talk was on ‘Playing and exploring; an enabling pedagogy’  You can read about Sue HERE

For Penny the most interesting aspect of this session was the fact Sue had already started to reflect on her presentation in light of Joshua’s presentation – and in fact the two of them had a couple of short discussions – Penny is sure that both Joshua and Sue will now consider each others views / presentations / knowledge to help inform their own work .

In a nutshell, Sue’s presentation was about helping children to be ‘school ready’ within the legal framework but without all the formal activities — so an appropriate curriculum,  in fact the presentation was about all the things that Penny believes in. However in light of Joshua’s talk – Sue added things in relation to the adults role and the difficulties if the child has additional needs – including lack of eye contact which can have huge impact on learning social behaviour.

It was then time for the coffee break where Penny spent time catching up with her colleague Jackie – Jackie is a social media friend and as passionate about childminding as Penny – and as against childminding agencies as Penny. Penny and Jackie had met in person at last years conference- and so had a lot to chat about.

Following the format from the previous day – it was time for workshops. Penny attended the one with Peter Elfer called ‘ What do early years practitioners feel about their work with young children? The provision for ‘supervision’ in the new EYFS.

Peter led a very interesting discussion about how practitioners feel – including the more negative feelings. The discussion covered feelings about children that ‘love’, children that no matter how hard you try you can’t bond with, feeling about colleagues, and managers, what happens when things not going well personally at home or at work – and of course supervision. Some interesting ideas were put forward such as a home visit for staff returning after maternity leave – and taking staff out (in rota) for lunch – or supervision but also to show that value staff and there to listen and to be proactive in solving issues.

Time went very quickly and it was time for lunch – another excellent buffet. Penny and Jackie spent most of the lunch break talking to a practitioner from a international school in Switzerland. This was a really interesting discussion and informative for all – as we discussed practice differences and legal frameworks.

The session after lunch was back in the main hall and was on ‘Behaving like a two year old’ with Dr. Kay Mathieson. You can read about Kay HERE

Kay spoke with passion – and with excellent acting skills, including facial expressions. Her portrayal of a two year is fantastic and has to be seen to be believed. Those who think two year olds are just smaller version of three year olds really need to listen to Kay – or read some of her stuff – as should those who think all two years are the same developmentally – when it is clear they are not.

And then it was time for the final session of the day, and of the conference – this honour fell to  Judith Stevens who had been the chair of the whole conference. Her presentation was on ‘How do children develop their understanding of number’.  You can read an article by Judith on maths in the revised early years foundation stage HERE Luckily Judith is not only a great speaker – she also understands the needs of adults who have been sat still a lot of the day and who are thinking that a post lunch nap might be good. So those in the audience had an active part – looking at collections of things and thinking how children might sort them, about the language they might use – including language based on number stories (this involved some standing up and listening and then sitting again – which was a visual reinforcement  of our own differences and similarities with words used to describe size.

Following the closing of the conference, Penny said goodbye to her friend Jackie, and personally that Judith and Neil for an excellent conference, before rushing to catch the train home

Posted September 28, 2013 by psw260259 in Conferences that I have attended

One response to “The Early Years 2013 How Children Learn Conference; Exploring child development throughout the early years. Part Three

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  1. Pingback: Early Years 2014 ‘How Children Learn’ conference 19th September 2014 | Penny's Place Childminding

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