A Damascene moment!

Written by Sian Wyman, Course Lead EYITT and Senior Lecturer Early Years, University of Gloucestershire, UK

Can I firstly say a big thank you to all organisers and everyone who attended I had a thoroughly enjoyable week and learnt a great deal and made lots of friends from different countries.

I came along as an early years specialist whose view of play and the reasons for children to play has changed over my career. Stemming from play must be purposeful and have learning developing from it to realising that play is needed for play’s sake and children will learn different skills from it without adult’s interfering .I feel passionately that if children spend 20% of their school life in the playground it should be enjoyable and not boring. I nearly wrote meaningful and learning there! But now after my week away know better.

I really am inspired by the play cycle and want to teach all teachers and early years practitioners about it so they have the confidence to stand back and let children play without interfering. I am going to create a large poster to go in all my partner schools and settings relating to this.

I can’t wait to start training schools on the play friendly agenda and get all dinner staff and teachers involved allowing all ages outside at the same time in different areas. But to be mindful that it is the child’s space and not to put our agenda on it. So we must all start with the child’s voice and what do they want within reason and budget. I want to open teacher’s minds to the world of play initially outside the classroom and then enhance playful pedagogies inside.

For team building we can have a go at loose part play and building dens but as for touchy feely stuff I think I will give that a miss.

Thank you all for making me feel so welcome and humble at the same time. Such a clever group of people who speak so many languages (apart from the Brits! Which is an embarrassment). I look forward to keeping up acquaintances and letting you know what is happening in Gloucestershire.

Sian with fellow trainers during the training week in Slovakia

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