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PREFACE by Professor Tina Bruce

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Tina Bruce

Past, Present and Future come together in this excellent book.

The past is there, because it is built on an edifice of sound Froebelian practice, handed down from one generation of practitioners to the next. Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) was an educational pioneer whose influence remains deep, far-reaching and currently unacknowledged, in the UK today. This is evolutionary and leads to continuity.

In the last decade or so, there has been a focus in official documents on evidence-based practice. Although this is an approach which is exemplary in the way that it attempts to bring rigour and to ensure high standards of effective practice, it also leads to swings in one direction and then another as different research studies contradict each other. Research does not on the whole build on the past. It is revolutionary, and so it disturbs current practice. It makes us think about the way we work with children and families.

This book demonstrates the value of steady, handed down, principled, value led practice, which gives a more consistent shape to the practice, and encourages a clarity of understanding, paving the way for rich professional dialogues of a more sophisticated kind. Research then becomes a resource to be used thoughtfully, rather than something which dictates this and then that, with little sense of direction. It helps us to see what, how and when we need to change and modify our practice.

The core experiences in this book, and the ways in which they are offered, have their origin in the Froebel approach to early childhood education and care. Sheena Johnstone was a highly respected Froebel trained tutor at Moray House College, now part of Edinburgh University. She helped her students in very practical sessions, to implement Froebel’s principles, values and practice in ways that were effective, updated and cutting edge in the 1980s in the Scottish context.

The core experiences have, since then, been further developed at Southway Maintained Nursery School. Now, the team at Kate Greenaway Nursery School and Children’s Centre have developed the core experiences and made important links with current official and legally enshrined English documents (The Early Years Foundation Stage, and Every Child Matters). The past is still guiding the present, providing navigational tools which also help practitioners into the future.

The charts at the beginning of the book will give a meaningful shape to the current official documents which are legally enshrined, making sense of practice now, while connecting you with past Froebelian practice that has stood the test of time.

It has been a great pleasure to read Core Experiences for the EYFS, and to write the preface for such an important publication.

Professor Tina Bruce CBE, London, July 2009

PREFACE by Professor Tina Bruce

What this guide is all about

The big picture (1) Aims for Early Childhood Education

The big picture (2) Early Childhood Education and Care

Thinking about how young children learn

What is the adult’s role?

Listening, conversing and sustained shared thinking

Where does planning come from?

Rhythms of the year at Kate Greenaway

Block Play

Introducing children to literature and books

Emergent writing and book-making

Malleable materials


Role Play

Outdoor play and gardening

Small world play

Painting and colour-mixing

Modelling and making with boxes and other materials, including woodwork

Music, movement and dance, including Development Movement Play (DMP from Jabadao)

Sand and water

Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play

Local trips and educational visits

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