Voices from the Foundations: Life in the EYs

#4 FREE stories to support PSED during the Coronavirus pandemic


Hi everyone,

I hope you are all safe and well.  I just wanted to share with you an email I received today from the wonderful Sue Rogers, from the Early Education London branch.


She has kindly shared some resources I think you might like to share with children and families at this difficult time.... please have a look, feel free to download and share far and wide! Please note "George" is only for families who have suffered a bereavement during this crisis.


Over to you Sue!


Dear Elaine,

During lockdown I have written three books for Early Years children to help them talk about their experiences, fears and worries. They are available as PDF’s and have been designed to work on a tablet or computer and work best in ‘single page’ mode.
I’m not looking for any form of endorsement, I am just sharing them with everyone I know who might find them helpful.
They are completely free and can be shared widely. They have a short life - when Coronavirus is over, so are these books!
I hope you like them and that get the opportunity to share them with children.

Best wishes

Sue Rogers
Teddy's Birthday
‘Teddy’ is a free resource for
parents and teachers.
This book is intended to stimulate
conversation to help young children
explore feelings and emotions that may
have arisen in them as a result of the
2020 Coronavirus pandemic.
Teddy's Birthday.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.3 MB]
‘George’ is a free resource for parents and teachers
and is intended only to be used with children who
have experienced family bereavement as a result of
the Coronavirus pandemic. It is a tool to stimulate
conversation and to help children explore their feelings
and emotions at this very difficult time.
Adobe Acrobat document [876.5 KB]
‘Pim’ is a free resource for parents and teachers.
Pim is finding ‘lockdown’ difficult and is angry because
he misses school and his friends. This book is intended to
stimulate conversation to help young children explore feelings
and emotions that may have arisen in them as a result of the
2020 Coronavirus pandemic.
Adobe Acrobat document [1.4 MB]

Wash your hands....a powerful message from one of our members 





When I was 4 years old, my mum kept telling me to wash my hands and not to touch things as they had germs on them. I liked to play in the garden, making mud pies and generally getting dirty like most 4 year olds. Anyway, 'go and wash your hands' and 'Urgh, put that down it has germs on' was said to me so many times that I began to worry about it. I got scared. I started to feel things crawling on me - everywhere. When I closed my eyes I kept seeing 'germs'... everywhere. I remember they were like the cells you see under a microscope, dividing and multiplying. This gradually got worse until I wouldn't touch anything or wear any clothing at all. I remember my nan coming round with a newly knitted two piece outfit that she'd made from 'special germ free wool' that she'd told me she'd bought. I wouldn't wear it. It was itchy and I could feel the germs all over me. My mum tried to bribe me into wearing something by saying I could wear my bridesmaid dress. But I couldn't. Eventually I was taken to the doctor - wrapped in a dressing gown, that I wouldn't actually wear. My symptoms were a result of stress and anxiety around 'germs'. My mum was told I was having a 'nervous breakdown'. I was 4 years old!



I'm now 46 and I don't have many memories of such a young age but I can remember this like it was yesterday - the memory is vivid. It has upset me even writing this as it was such an awful time for me.

I just wanted to say to everyone, please be careful how you share the germ/hygiene message with these young children returning to school or other early years settings. Of course they need to know they have to wash their hands and that there are germs out there - just don't go on and on about it.




‘Voices from the Foundations: Life in the Early Years’: Time to turn up the volume. By Nathan Archer

Feb 15, 2020

There is a great deal of concern around recent and forthcoming policy developments in early childhood education and care. The ongoing funding crisis, changes to curriculum frameworks, assessment and regulation, closures of children’s centres and more are preoccupying our thoughts in early years. There is uncertainty, instability and confusion across the sector.

In response to this there are many charities and membership bodies working hard to represent early years practitioners, (see the Early Years Coalition) ensuring policy makers hear other perspectives from practitioners ‘on the ground’ and from research.


In addition to these organisations, some individuals and groups have taken direct action (e.g. March of the Four Year olds against baseline testing, meeting MPs about early entitlement funding) whilst others are standing their ground or challenging decisions at a local level. But some people can’t or don’t feel comfortable, for a range of reasons, with this kind of activism that is public and visible. It’s just too challenging.


But what we all have is experiences. Stories. Voices. And often these go unheard in policy developments. So, in all the noise of these policy shifts, various responses and competing arguments – where and how is your voice heard? How do you stand your ground in the face of unwanted changes? How do you share your values and principles on early education and care?


Keeping Early Years Unique have set up ‘Voices from the Foundations: Life in the Early Years’ as a webpage for you to post or blog anonymously. This platform offers a place for you to write about life in your setting or school from your perspective, and aims to ‘turn up the volume on inaudible voices‘(Clough 2002).


This is a place to share your experiences, voice your concerns and connect with others. Whether you consider yourself an advocate/activist or not, sharing your story is an act of solidarity with other early childhood educators.


As Ishiguro said:

Stories can entertain, sometimes teach or argue a point. But for me the essential thing is that they communicate feelings. That they appeal to what we share as human beings across our borders and divides…But in the end, stories are about one person saying to another: This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I’m saying? Does it also feel this way to you? (Ishiguro 2017)


We encourage you to take a few minutes to share your voice – and be part of a movement.


Send your stories to keyuchat@gmail.com. Be part of the change. Be heard. Speak up for EYs. It's time. 





Clough, P. (2002) Narratives and Fictions in Education Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Ishiguro, K. (2017) My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs. New York: Penguin Random House.


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I am a teacher. I have been teaching EYs for over 15 years.




There is change ahead always and I know that we are expecting some early years reforms in TWO YEARS time but...


1. Why is the DFE asking me to be an early adopter of the early years reforms? 

2. Why is the Local Authority bribing me to sign up and saying I will be exempt from moderation if I do as though that would be a good thing?

3. Why is an Ofsted representative sharing the link for me to join now!? 

4. WHY ON EARTH is Ruth Miskin (of RWI phonics programme) emailing me to “get in first’? 


Has the world gone mad? 


The real questions to ask ourselves are:


1. WHY oh WHY would we risk de-skilling our staff by asking them to teach a different programme of study/curriculum to what we are teaching now OR will be teaching in two years time?!?!?! 


2. We will be exempt from moderation only because they will not know HOW to moderate us!? 


3. What about the children while we test out more curriculum reforms? Such risk of weaker cohorts since their early adopter curriculum is not supported by guidance, a framework,  exemplification or evidence? 


Do they think we are daft?

Do you have the answers? 



Write a comment


  • Shahina Khan (Sunday, February 09 20 09:13 pm GMT)

    Hi as an Early Years skilful professional why should I be an adopter I should be given the responsibility to be a reformer
    The children don’t need a new curriculum. Early years don’t need to new curriculum they need to be seen and affirm as curriculum makers/creators ITMP
    The Ofsted inspector should highly qualified in only Early years field so they inspect from the same perspective
    My biggest concern is that Early years staff hasn’t understood the curriculum fully and how come they will understand the new one and how long this will take

  • Helen Moylett (Sunday, February 09 20 10:48 pm GMT)

    Put children first! These so called ‘reforms’ are an injustice being perpetrated on children, families and EY practitioners. The primary assessment consultation has been used as a vehicle to re-write the all early learning goals supposedly to make the EYFSP a lighter workload. There is no evidence this was asked for. DfE has also re-written the areas of learning although they were not included in the consultation and thus they have changed the entire EYFS without anyone’s consent. All of it is about trying to align EYFS more closely with Y1 and builds on Ofsted’s Bold Beginnings. Ruth Miskin is selling her wares because DfE and Ofsted have encouraged commercial phonics schemes. Resist and encourage your HT to do the same. The LA is shooting itself in its already very weakened foot if it encourages early adoption via bribery or any other way.

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