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Publications & research

Developing close, thoughtful attention to children and families in the early years pedagogy

This evaluation of the impact of Work Discussion (WD) Groups as a model of Professional Support and Reflection was funded by the Froebel Trust. The report was written by Peter Elfer, Sue Greenfield, Sue Robson, Dilys Wilson and Antonia Zachariou from the University of Roehampton.

The aim of WD is to enable practitioners to be more attuned to the child holistically, in the context of that child’s family culture and wider culture, in order to support their practice and strengthen outcomes for children. Here, WD is directly relevant to the implementation of Froebelian principles, not least that every child is part of nature, family, community, culture and society and the right of children to protection from harm or abuse and to the promotion of their overall well-being.

Work Discussion as a model of professional reflection, has its historical roots in the work of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Mental Health Trust (the Tavistock), the main national training centre for professionals working in mental health contexts including psychotherapists, psychiatrists and psychologists.

To read more, please click on the PDF link below. 

Learning and teaching with ICT and technologies in the EYFS


Many of us are aware of screens and technologies in young children increasingly becoming accessible and available in this world of learning. But how do we get the balance right and what is our role as teachers and leaders in EYFS?

We wanted to find out what technologies complement and enhance teaching and learning in the EYFS, and how possible it is to use them with nursery and reception aged children. If planning to develop provision using technologies, how much do we need to budget and how can we action plan?

In the Spring and Summer terms 2018, teaching school partners and members collaborated on a journey of understanding more about Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and new technologies in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). We developed this step by step guidance booklet with case studies to support leaders and practitioners in using technologies in early years.

Free download: Learning and Teaching with ICT and technologies in the EYFS


Homerton Early Years Centre

We are also delighted to share a power point written by Mitali Peckham from Homerton Nursery School, Cambridge, who was a partner in our project.

Further notes from this powerpoint are here

Manor Park Talks 2018-19


With funding from the Education Endowment Foundation, Sheringham Nursery School is working on a collaborative project with a group of private nurseries and primary schools in our local area. The project’s aim is to help children with their early communication. We are approaching this in four main ways:

  • We are working with the UCL Institute of Education to summarise which specific practices are evidenced to support children with their speaking and listening in the early years
  • We are offering free professional development to all participants, drawing on this evidence base.
  • As the project develops, we expect to customise those broader messages about “what works” into “what works for the children in our early years setting?”
  • We are supporting participants with a free monthly group coaching session, focussed on implementation.

Joint practice development

This is all part of a process which we call “joint practice development”. We are not disseminating best practice from Sheringham Nursery School. Instead, we are learning alongside our local early years practitioners.

One of the first products from this work is an A2 poster which summarises the first round of research and reflection we’ve undertaken.

We’re making this poster freely available. You can use it however you want, as long as you don’t charge anyone for it.

Free download:

Manor Park Talks 2013


Professor Tina Bruce writes: ‘This booklet is designed to support practitioners in helping very young children to communicate and develop language in ways which are facilitated through play. It emphasises first hand experiences which are rich in sensory learning and in freedom of movement for the child. It will help practitioners to think their way through their practice, and be reflective practitioners. Who could ask for more?’

Manor Park Talks documents a highly successful community project in Newham, East London, that brought together early years settings, parents, childminders and schools – all with the shared aim of helping children’s early communication.

Like many other urban communities, Manor Park was characterised for a long time by many children starting school with communication difficulties. Working with parents as partners, and supporting each other to improve early years provision, the Manor Park Talks team succeeded in boosting children’s early communication. The gap between the most vulnerable children and the rest had narrowed significantly at the end of the project.

Find out more about the Manor Park Talks project.


Creative Thinking and Learning Project


Written by Anni McTavish with a foreword by Nancy Stewart

Creativity is instinctive in young children, and this booklet is about a project based at Sheringham Nursery School in the London Borough of Newham, which inspired creative practice throughout the learning community. It tells a story about the development of creativity and critical thinking and the impact on young children and their families.

This project focuses on creating and thinking critically – one of the characteristics of effective teaching and learning, so crucial to early learning. Often practitioners ask for help and support to equip an environment creatively. They want children to be able to freely explore their ideas, and seek confidence in providing these opportunities, as well as challenging their own creative thinking.


Pedagogical innovation and leadership in the early years

This report presents the findings of an independent evaluation study by the UCL Institute of Education of our “Outstanding Early Years Teaching” programme, and the participants’ experience of professional learning.

The researchers found that “Significantly, the findings showed evidence of participants’ applying their learning to changing and informing their settings’ practices, and for some, how this has resulted in initiating and leading change in key aspects of practice. Five key themes emerged: pedagogical tools to promote and extend children’s learning, shared and purposeful learning, reflective practice, twitter and virtual learning as an enabler and inhibitor, and perceived impact on practice and leadership. The findings highlighted the agency that was exercised by several practitioners in their development of pedagogical strategies to improve their practice and interactions with the children. Overall, participants were positive about the learning they had gained from being on the programme and appeared to benefit from the impact it had on their practice. The study provided strong evidence for sustaining and potentially scaling up of the early years teaching programme as a model of professional development and learning for nursery and preschool practitioners.” Read on [PDF]

Newham Reception Innovation Project

Find out how east London school leaders are seeking to ‘maximise pupil progress through play-based learning in Reception classes’. This project has been developed by early years consultant Helen Moylett and led by Kaizen Primary School.

Find out more about Newham Reception Innovation project:

Partner Up

Dr Julian Grenier of Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre in East London talks to Marianne Sargent about the East London Partnership, the National Teaching School led by Sheringham Nursery School with Kaizen Primary School.

Find out more about Partner Up:

Including Two-Year Olds in Schools: a briefing for school leaders

Is your school the right environment for two-year-old provision and what would you gain from offering it?

Schools are not the only organisations which can provide high-quality early education and care: but they are well-placed to do so.

This briefing was written by Helen Moylett and Dr Julian Grenier on behalf of Early Education and distributed in partnership with Nursery World


Working as a Community Childcare and Early Education Hub

The Hub is based within Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Newham and reaches out to a growing network of providers which currently includes 7 early years’ settings, 7 local primary schools and a network of more than 20 childminders.

The Hub has brought a new energy to the network and a clear focus across its members on driving up quality, improving parental awareness of childcare options in the area, and creating new opportunities for blended childcare.


Early Years Pupil Premium: Working together in a geographical cluster to raise achievement in mathematics

This EYPP case study sets out how Sheringham Nursery School together with Manor Park’s primary schools identified low attainment in mathematics and a need for a collaborative approach to raising achievement.


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