Anxiety in Mathematics Learning

Stanford Professor Jo Boaler says that ‘students most effectively learn “mathfacts” working on problems that they enjoy, rather than through exercisesand drills they fear. Speed pressure, timed testing and blind memorization damage children’s experience of math’. http://joboaler.com/blog/

Anxiety starts early in a child’s life. If a child has a negative early experience in education, that early anxiety snowballs, leading to difficulties in learning key skills and avoidance that only get worse as children get older. However, allowing them to learn through means which are hands-on, fun and familiar can instil self-confidence in a child therefore increasing their ability to learn.  A study from Professor Jo Boaler reflects on the effects of negative experiences in maths for a child. read more

Toy Fair Time!

Ever wondered what it’s like to spend two weeks surrounded by toys? My colleaguesfrom our sales team have been manning our exhibition stands at the London and Nuremburg Toy Fairs showcasing over 100 of our new products for 2015. Buyers from well known retailers and education suppliers stopped by to decide what new items (if not all of them) they’d like to stock. It’s always an exciting time of year for us as the tireless work which has gone into developing this abundance of products comes into fruition. Our customers are always so receptive to our new product offering, read on to find out more… read more

Christmas Adverts 2014

“Can I have that?” Please someone tell me I’m not the only one who has heard this question a hundred times in the last 2 weeks?

Every Christmas TV advert that has been on the usual children’s channels has prompted Squirt to ask if she can have whatever toy, game or accessory it’s advertising. She’s even started asking automatically, regardless of if she wants the toy or not. My +1 and I decided it was time of an intervention and have come up with an ‘automated response’ for the dreaded questions. Our answer is “wait and see what you get at Christmas”, which my +1 and I are relieved to say is working. read more

Elf on the Shelf

We are joining in the Elf on the Shelf fun again this year! The Elf of the Shelf tradition started over in America and is quickly becoming popular here in the UK. The Elf on the Shelf pack includes a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Father Christmas manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Father Christmas and the elves about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their scout elf each morning. read more

Get into Gears!

Hi all

Gears! Gears! Gears!® is a very popular brand name in our household! Squirt loves playing with the different gears to make lots of different designs, and it’s something she enjoys with her Dad has he loves playing with construction toys! She was bought the Movin’ Monkeys™ Building Set for her birthday last year. She was a bit young for it at the time, but loved playing with the monkeys and all the different trees – they ended up in the bath on more than one occasion! Now she’s older she lovely building with all the gears and connectors and swinging the monkeys from the springy green vines. read more

#stopbullying

It’s Anti-Bullying Week. The aim of this week of awareness is to make stop bullying, by making it unacceptable for everyone, everywhere! It’s important to highlight the impact of bullying on children and young people in our schools, clubs and in cyberspace. Anti-Bullying Week has been running for over 10 years and aims to just that, prevent bullying by highlighting the impact on the victim. read more

Time is ticking!

Teaching children to tell the time can be a daunting task, some seem to pick it up quickly where others struggle for years to fully understand what all those number positions and hands mean. With the introduction of digital clocks & watches and more recently smart watches, analogue time-telling seems even more distant to some children. My +1 was recently given a smart watch for his birthday, which had countless different faces which can be used. He seems to be able to keep time using it but we certainly won’t be using it to teach Squirt how to tell the time! read more

Countdown to Christmas

Pinch, punch first of the month!

Bonfire night is just a few days away, and Squirt is looking forward to seeing the fireworks! I can’t wait to be wrapped up in scarves and gloves, with a hot chocolate in one hand and a sparkler in the other! We’ll be watching them from afar as Squirt’s not overly fond of the noise, which I think can be the case with a lot of youngsters. If you’ve got some little ones who aren’t keen on their noise, try an indoor light display with some light up toys. read more

British Summertime ends

Well the clocks went back over the weekend, officially the end of British Summer Time! Our days will now become shorter, mornings will be darker and the ground beneath our feet will feel a little firmer. I personally love this time of year! The colours of the trees and the Autumnal fruits remind me of harvest time at school as a child; baking bread and all the assemblies about harvest songs! As an adult, I still enjoy this time of year, and watching Squirt play in the leaves with her cousins, running through puddles and then cuddling up under a duvet with a hot chocolate make this my favourite season. read more

Half Term Already?

Just as it feels like the children have just gone back to school after the summer holidays, half term will be beginning for many schools across the UK today! That means we’re on the slippery slope to Christmas!

Are your children ready for the rest? Squirt is still at nursery so she doesn’t have half term, but I can imagine six weeks of learning can be a long time for the very young learners in the Foundation Stage of school, and in fact other children too. Whether you’ll be using the half term to chill out, or have a jam-packed week planned, I hope you have some hands-on fun! read more