Your early years news, features and guides round up: 17th – 11th August 2017

Here is our pick of the headlines affecting early years childcare in Wales from the past few weeks.

The big headline affecting Wales is the Welsh Governments plan to increase the number of Welsh speakers (age 3+) to 1 million by 2050. The strategy is clearly set out and we all have a part to play in reaching the target. The following link makes for interesting reading.

The childcare sector is essential to ensuring that Welsh Government meet their target and an element of this means delivering the Active Offer. Delivering the active offer takes the onus off the service user to ask for a Welsh service and puts it on the service provider to offer it without having to be asked for. We will be guiding you through the Active Offer in the next couple of issues of smalltalk. If you have any concerns regarding the Active Offer, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Business Wales

There are many good reasons for you to use Welsh in your business, and whether you’re a large or small enterprise, there’s more support than ever before to help. Visit for info.

Early years Education

Early years maths: Are we letting our boys down?

The slightest mention of ‘maths’ can send a shiver down the spines of the best of us! As practitioners, parents and carers we mustn’t show our fear to our pre-schoolers.

This article refers to the shortening gap between girls’ and boys’ grades in most early years subjects in England. In particular maths. We don’t have access to the Welsh Government figures, but there are some useful tips on how you can incorporate maths into activities. One suggestion, which is particularly useful for active boys who are always racing around with bikes and scooters is to “use a tape measure and stopwatch to time who is quickest and who can drive the slowest”.

Welsh Government have published How is my child doing in the Foundation Phase? A parents and carers guide to the curriculum and to opportunities and challenges their child will face.

Each setting should have received a copy for every child registered. If not, please share this link with your parents

Have you signed up to Hwb yet? Hwb is a digital learning platform for all 3 – 19 education institutes in Wales. It provides a space for practitioners, teachers and educators to share and access a range of digital tools and resources which supports the learning of 3 to 19 year olds in Wales. We go into more detail in the next issue of smalltalk, which will be dropping through your mailboxes early-September



Our Early Years Co-ordinator, Kelcie, attended the International Skogsmulle Symposium, hosted by Ignite at Dare Valley Country Park in the grounds of Wales’ first Nature Kindergarten last week.

The day consisted to listening to a number of inspiring key note speakers from the Minister for Lifelong Learning in Wales to educational consultants and passionate outdoor learning advocates.

Skogsmulle is a Swedish early years pedagogy: it is an experiential learning methodology for children aged 5-7 years. Skogsmulle facilitates play focused development by providing nature-based learning activities in the outdoors that stimulate children’s imagination to enhance physical, mental and social development. Using the concept of a fantasy character, stories and songs; Skogsmulle becomes a way of teaching children appropriate to their age of development.

Skogsmulle is embedded in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Japan and has recently been introduced in Wales.

For more info visit:

The summer 2015 & autumn 2016 issues of smalltalk also featured articles on the global nature-based pedagogy. Please contact for more info on these articles.


The Cwlwm partnership have produced a very useful guide to setting up or extending their provision to include wraparound care. For full details visit


Children today live in a hybrid world where play & technology are one. This interesting new info sheet from Play Wales takes a critical look at children and

young people’s use of mobile phones and other mobile devices, focusing on play.

Ref: SHEETS/Play and digital technology.pdf

The ‘Playing Out’ initiative, works with local councils to temporarily pedestrianise roads for an hour or two each week to allow children to play safely near their homes. A pilot study has shown that by closing roads to allow children to play safely has increased activity five-fold.

Visit the Playing Out website for more info on how you can get involved in this initiative


Being fit and active doesn’t just prevent children from becoming overweight it also develops gross and fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination to track words on a page, improvements in core muscle strength used for attention and focus, retention of facts, letters and instructions given by the teacher (auditory), and stronger development of handwriting with fine motor skills.



The Guardian started off the summer holidays with the headline ‘Half of children needing summer food bank support are in primary school’ and within a matter of days we heard that a food bank in Swansea had run out of supplies. So many families rely on free school meals that they really struggle to feed themselves during the holidays. So much so that Welsh Government have invested £500,000 of its education budget into lunch clubs, which include all-day activities in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

There has been an outbreak of measles in Newport & Torfaen. With new cases being reported. Parents are being urged to make sure they have had the MMR vaccination prior to returning to school in a couple of weeks time. With many children still away on holiday health officials are concerned that the start of the new term could lead to further cases.



Are you looking to develop your career within the Early Years? Then don’t forget to keep an eye on our jobs page

Current jobs being advertised are:

Gweithiwr Datblygu & Cymorth Gymraeg – Conwy (CDC Cymru) | Development & Welsh Language Worker – Conwy (Wales PPA)

After School Club Playworker – Supertots, Pontprennau

…& finally

Huge congratulations to the team at Wales PPA’s Fun Start Playgroup in Cardiff on becoming Cardiff’s first preschool to complete the Cardiff Healthy and Sustainable Preschool Scheme.

Also, congratulations to all at Sunflower Tots in Newport for being recognised by Estyn as being an example of ‘best practice’. It has been held up as an example of how robust planning and management can benefit youngsters. You can read this and other examples of best practice on the Estyn website.
















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