Staff development day 2/4

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Staff development day 2/4

Well firstly apologies for the break in posting our blogs – our day to day routine has been turned on its heads with the COVID19 lockdown situation.  We are getting back to a new form of ‘normality’ during these strange times so getting back to blogging is one of these routines which is reassuringly familiar for us!

The morning session of our staff development day

So after the icebreaker which we covered in our last blog post we had everyone group into roughly the units they work in.  This was an important aspect as we had post it notes, note paper, markers for everyone to take notes and to write questions on the post it notes which we would collect after each session – this would frame part of a Q&A throughout the day and meant we weren’t interrupted during each mini session.  This was important as it meant we could keep to our timeframe and also that staff could allow us to finish each session as maybe the question they asked was being covered a little down the line.

However after each session/topic we gave an EQUAL amount of time to the Q&A as we did to the presentation.  This was to allow dialogue, to allow us time to answer questions and for us to COLLECTIVELY agree outcomes.  There was a real sense of cohesion using this approach and we believe that everyone felt they had an input into each area and their questions and ideas were given the weight they deserved.

Topics covered :-

  1.  Curriculum and ethos

We recapped our ethos for the team – OUR WHY!  We over emphasise this with our staff team and at times it’s almost like a broken record but OUR WHY is important to us.  If staff don’t understand our why then they cannot deliver our curriculum – you have to understand to do – right?

Our why includes

Playwork passionate

  • playwork,
  • the understanding of the playwork principles – not just what they are but where they originated and why we relate to these
  • playwork types – what each one means and how we can include these across out settings every day

Reggio Inspired

  • What is Reggio Emilia?
  • Its not a curriculum – its an ethos, its a WHY
  • An important aspect to recap on as staff all want to go to Reggio Emilia to see the curriculum – its hard to explain that its not something you can SEE to learn it – its a pedagogy, its an inspiration and above all what happens in the province of Reggio Emilia Nido’s cant be replicated here in NI – but it can inspire and influence our practices


  • We love the Curiosity Approach
  • Again its an ethos and a modern day pedagogy.
  • Its a network of professionals and is a support system.
  • The Curiosity Approach goes beyond an accreditation programme – its a constant source of support for us even after the accreditation process.

Sleepy Hollow Inspired

  • Why we have a qualification?
  • How it is inspired by all of the above
  • Why we must all follow the same approach

2.  Environments

  • We looked at the environments in which we work but also at the wider community.  Each setting is unique and whilst we follow the same approach we need to have an understanding of the local communities in which we work.
  • The importance of understanding and respecting our environments.
  • The importance of the environment as the third educator (even in a playwork setting) – Reggio Emilia


3.  Journalling

  • Again the importance of planning, reflection and evaluation
  • Reflecting and evaluating with children and young people – ensuring that our services are child led.
  • Incorporating journaling into self goals, group goals, staff supervisions and appraisals


4.  Circle time and play councillors

  • What does circle time look like in Sleepy Hollow – why its NOT like the traditional circle time as we would see in pre school settings
  • Time to discuss and share ideas – reflect and also to set the scene of what’s planned that day
  • Appointment of play councillors and their role in ‘running’ our settings
  • A play councillor on an interview panel


5. Play equipment

  • What equipment do we need to play
  • Setting up and clearing a pack away setting
  • How to set up a play kitchen in under a minute using a real sink
  • Creative minds
  • Overlooking obstacles and looking for opportunities
  • Ensuring children are part of the play set up and putting things back where they belong .

That’s all for now folks!

More of the day to follow on part three ……


Awards & Recognition