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Something out of nothing

I am often bowled over by an EYFS teacher’s ability to create something out of nothing. When so much in Early Years revolves around child interest, it can often be difficult to plan for the interests of all children. And even if you do it can be in vain, when a group of children totally into superheroes for example, completely reject the phenomenal new area of provision you have slaved over.

A rainy day outdoors last week with no cover and soggy resources led to a frustrated teacher, thinking, as ever, quite literally on her wet feet. The children showed a real interest in jumping in the puddles. Yay! Physical development. Good job as everything else was a tad limited.

The impacting teacher joins in, has fun, talks about the puddles, the weather, asks key questions. The innovating teacher sees something else. They think at a zillion miles an hour how they can extend this learning to something really rather special. The children started to jump from the puddles into a now dry tuff spot. Cue footprints! The innovating teacher will quell the instinct to yell “STOP! SLIPPERY!”. The teacher helped the children, with the use of Building Learning Power, to notice. What could they see in the footprints? There were stripes, zig zags, circles – patterns! We have maths! Woohoo!

Brain spirals again. Grab chalks! Go over the patterns with your chalk. Literacy! More physical development! The children give meaning to their marks. But now the tuff spot is also a wet mess with no visible footprints. The group head over to a ready set up mark making area outdoors under cover where there is an abundance of thick paper. The children jump up and down on the paper, repeating the process of retracing lines. “Can I take it home to show Mummy?” – PSED! They are proud.

The innovating teacher has, naturally, captured all this on her iPad. Assessment!

The opportunities to extend beyond this are ten fold. Learning walks looking for patterns, printing using other tools, sensory activities.

Its great to have a fabulous environment. But on occasion even that can let you down. And it is at that point that the innovating EYFS teacher has the ability to literally create something out of nothing. Which very often leads to the best learning outcomes!


  1. I love the explanation between the ‘impacting’ and the ‘innovating’ teacher. This is uncovering the learning at its most accessible level.

  2. Thank you Mary! These are gradings we use as opposed to Ofsted gradings – much more purposeful regarding the learning!

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