Archive for March 2011

2 de abril: Pieza a pieza hacia adelante

Convivimos con el autismo, sí. Pero no nos ha fastidiado la vida. Erik es un niño feliz y vive con una familia feliz.

 ¿Qué mejor forma de afrontarlo que con una sonrisa?

Así es nuestra actitud: una visión positiva, como la de muchísimas familias que nos acompañan en este camino hacia ADELANTE.

 Gracias, Maite Navarro, por plasmar en este vídeo nuestra forma de sentir:

Tickell Review of the Early Years Foundation Stage

It's a big day for the early years sector with the publication of the report of the Tickell Review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The review was commissioned in July last year by the Department for Education with the intention of making the EYFS less bureaucratic, with plans to implement its recommendations from September.

The final report is full of proposed changes to how the EYFS operates - probably the ones that will capture most attention are recommendations to cut the number of early learning goals from 69 to 17, and a change in focus to three 'prime' areas of learning.

You can read initial reaction to the proposals from the BBC and the Guardian. Also very useful is this page from Nursery World's website which has a series of articles reacting to the review's publication, including a list of key points, a brief interview with Dame Clare Tickell herself, and other useful information.

To read the full text of the review, click here. A further report providing information on the evidence which the review considered is also available.

Education Policy

More new research carried out by the NFER and Office of the Children's Commissioner: Children's and Young People's Views of Education Policy is a report which examines the views of almost 2000 children aged between 8-17 in interviews carried out towards the end of last year. Among the findings of the study was the idea that many children would like to have a say in selecting their own teachers.

To read the full text of the report, click here.

A Sense of Security

I was talking to a group of teachers at the California AEYC Conference about children needing security when coming into the classroom. It was freshly on my mind because I had told my student teachers the same thing. We owe it to the children in our classrooms to have a consistent classroom management plan and expectations. When a child crosses the threshold into the classroom each day, she should feel the security of knowing exactly what to expect for the day. We may think that a challenging child wants to be out of control, but that is not the case. Each child wants to know what is expected and to feel the security of that knowledge.

Our society is so unpredictable right now. As my student teachers work with an at-risk child, I remind them that the school day may be the only dependable part of of that child's day. He may not know what will happen when he leaves school. BUT, for the hours he is in the classroom, he should have the security of knowing exactly what will happen. When a teacher is inconsistent in classroom expectations and consequences, it throws that security off balance. That lack of balance actually creates more negative behaviors. When a teacher says to me, "I just can get the class (or child) under control," my first thought is that she has given up and doesn't want to make the effort to continue to search for something that will work.

One thing I want my student teachers to do when they become the only teacher in the classroom is to maintain good classroom procedures and be consistent in their consequences and rewards. Not only will that curtail negative behaviors, it will also provide the warm security blanket each child needs while at school.

Trying to Get By

The Office of the Children's Commissioner has published some new research carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), which asked children and young people from deprived areas for their views on poverty. Among the findings were a fear that the gap between rich and poor will continue to grow, and concern over how this could impact on the childrens' life chances.

To read the full text of 'Trying to Get By': Consulting with Children and Young People on Child Poverty, click here.

De vuelta con momentos inolvidables

Con Maite, Izaskun y Fátima

¡Qué bien sientan las vacaciones! Erik y yo hemos pasado unos días en Navarra con mis padres. Cada vez que voy me doy cuenta de lo mucho que echo de menos mi país. Ay, no quiero ponerme nostálgica… Sé que un día volveremos, Erik ha avanzado muchísimo en todos los aspectos y su español mejora día a día. Ya habla mejor que mi marido, jeje.

Mientras escribo esta entrada, vuelven los recuerdos de estos días pasados.

La satisfacción de mi padre al irse a solas con su nieto de paseo, a la huerta o de excursión al Monte San Cristóbal; se le quebraba la voz de emoción al decirme cómo habían conversado sin problemas y lo bien que se lo habían pasado recogiendo juntos alcachofas, comparando la altura de los montes o viendo el pedazo de beso que Erik le estampó a la foto de mi abuelita en el cementerio.

Mi madre ya había preparado las comidas favoritas de Erik. Días antes de ir, Erik le dijo por teléfono todo lo que quería comer. “Yaya, no te olvides de hacerme muchas croquetas, quiero cien, y de comprar chichi con hueso”. Tengo grabado el momento en el que mi madre y Erik, sentados en el sofá, leían juntos el cuento de “El oso gruñón”.

Es tan hermoso lo que hemos vivido estos días…

Además de dejarme mimar en todo momento y de desconectar a tope –estaba agotada cuando llegué a Pamplona-, el viaje me ha brindado la oportunidad de los reencuentros y de conocer en carne y hueso a personas a las que quiero muchísimo.

Volvimos a estar con Juana Bayo (¡qué linda la bebé!) y con Julia. Gracias a las dos por las recomendaciones y los libros, sois estupendas y hacéis un trabajo magnífico.

Tuvimos momento parque y merendola con Cristina, Fernando y mamá Cristina. Madre mía, Cristina está hecha ya una mujercita, y tan preciosa como siempre.

Y, uf…. Picnic en Vitoria. A ver si lo puedo contar sin que la emoción me haga bailar las letras del teclado, llevábamos tanto esperándolo…

Una mañana primaveral con un cielo lustroso nos reunimos sobre la hierba cuatro superhéroes y sus familias: Julen, Mikel, Unax y Erik. ¿Os imagináis los poderes de la piedra, el papel, la goma y la electricidad juntos? , jaja. Conectaron genial, compartieron sus pertenencias más preciadas y no pararon de jugar.

… lanzamiento de piedras hasta la luna
… pesca de especies variadas
… remojones para refrescarse
… montañas de pulseras de goma y un ladroncete experto
… florecillas comestibles entre gominolas y chocolate
… tortillas, choricillos caseros, vino del pueblo y coca-cola de dos litros (o más)
… creaciones con trastorno artista
… pegatinas, dibujos y tiras de papel profesionales
… cámaras de fotos que hicieron horas extra
… piezas seleccionadas del puzzle del autismo
… ciervos en lontananza
… mucho azul sobre verde
… besos y achuchones

Gracias: Maite, Julen, Fátima, Mikel, Isi, Izaskun, Unax y Joserra por haber compartido con nosostros ese día tan especial que espero se repita pronto.

BBC News Schools Report

What are children today really like? The BBC set out to investigate by asking 24,000 11-16 year olds across the UK a range of questions about their lives and ideas. The survey covered such areas as religion, aspirations, home life and much more.

An article summarising the main points is available from this link. To read the full results of the survey, click here.

Helping Schools with Special Needs

New research from the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust argues that schools need to change their teaching methods to meet the needs of children with increasingly complex special needs; as more disabled children are surviving to school age, so schools need increased support in providing education to these pupils.

For now only the recommendations from the research are available to read online. From next week a dedicated website with further information about the Complex Learning Difficulties and Disability Research Project will be available.

Childhood & Education on Twitter

Most large organisations and media outlets in the childcare and education sector now have Twitter accounts where they post little snippets of news, details of campaigns etc as and when they happen, making it much easier for interested parties to stay in touch with what's going on. Today's post simply gives you a list of links to these accounts, so that if you're a Twitter user you can subscribe to the ones that interest you. Or you could start following them all, and very quickly you should have an idea of the topics which are currently generating discussion in the sector...

I've tried to pick out the accounts which appear to be most active, and deliberately excluded some which are not updated regularly. If you know of a useful children-related account which I've not included, why not share it with other readers by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post?

Also, for the next few days you'll see a poll on the right-hand side of this page asking you about your Twitter usage. If enough readers are using it, then I can investigate setting up a Twitter service to complement this site.

Without further ado, here are the links:


Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP)

Children & Young People Now

Children’s Society

Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC)

Community Care

Daycare Trust

Department of Education

Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

Family & Parenting Institute

Guardian Teacher Network

Institute of Education

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

National Autistic Society

National Children's Bureau (NCB)

National Literacy Trust

National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

Nursery World




Play England

Save the Children

Save the Children UK

School Food Trust

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

Teachers TV

Times Educational Supplement (TES)

Training & Development Agency for Schools (TDA)


UNICEF Innocenti Centre


Young Minds

Children's Playground Games

The Institute of Education has published the results of a study which examined children's behaviour in school playgrounds over a period of two years. The researchers found that, while children are familiar with computer games and technology, they are incorporating this knowledge into more traditional playground games.

To read the full text of Children's Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age, click here.

It's that time of year. This week is St. Patrick's Day. I know it is that time not just because of the calendar or change of seasons, but also the shamrocks are beginning to pop up in my front yard. When those shamrock leaves start appearing, it brings me back to the years that I spent in Ireland. I had the opportunity to living there when I was in my early 20s. That began my love of Irish literature and folktales. I especially enjoy the author, Eve Bunting. Ms. Bunting moved to the US from Ireland and has become a prolific writer over the years. Although she has written many adolescent stories about critical issues for young people, I have especially enjoyed her books set in Ireland. They bring back such wonderful memories.
I always hoped that my students would have good memories of being in my classroom and the year we spent together. When I run into former students, I'm always surprised by what they remember. Many have told me about trying to catch the leprechaun. Who would have thought...

Breastfeeding & Development

A new research paper from the Institute for Social and Economic Research claims that breastfeeding produces not only healthier but also brighter children. Those children who had been breastfed were found to score more highly than their peers in reading, writing and mathematics tests throughout their time at school.

To read the full text of The Effect of Breastfeeding on Children’s Cognitive Development, click here.

Los buenos monstruos: trabajamos el miedo

Una de las actividades que hemos trabajado en el grupo de juego han sido los “miedos”.

- Identificar los miedos.

- Desmitificar los personajes y situaciones que dan miedo.

- Ofrecer soluciones cuando algo da miedo y aprender a controlarlo de forma positiva.

- Fomentar la creatividad, la imaginación y la diversión.

Iniciamos el tema con la historia de HU, el fantasma. Y a partir de ahí pasamos a concretar “qué me da miedo”. Me encanta escuchar a los niños. Erik, por ejemplo, comentó que le daba miedo “el ruido de la bomba de la calefacción cuando está apagada”, una niña dijo que “las personas que hablan muy alto” y otra: “estar en muy arriba en un sitio”. Los tres coincidieron en: estar solos, la oscuridad y los ¡MONSTRUOS!, “aunque no existen”, jeje, añadieron.

Los monstruos no existen. Pero si existieran, nosotros sólo conocemos a monstruos buenos.

Fue divertidísimo construir cada uno a nuestro “monstruo bueno”. Colocamos sobre la mesa diferentes materiales: vasos de plástico, telas, abalorios, cartulina, ojos….. y a imaginar. Estábamos dos adultos con tres niños para echarles una mano y dirigirles un poco: ¿cuántos ojos tendrá tu monstruo , ¿tiene tu monstruo pelo?, ¿por dónde comerá tu monstruo?, etc.

Cuando terminaron, hicimos fotos de cada niño con su monstruo y del monstruo solo.

Después, pegamos la foto de cada monstruo en una cartulina grande, donde ya teníamos escritas tres preguntas:

¿Dónde vive el monstruo?
¿Qué cóme?
¿Quiénes son sus amigos?

Primero comenzaron con una descripción de su “monstruo bueno”, y por turnos iban respondiendo también a las preguntas.

Al final, niños, adultos y monstruos hicimos una sesión de “stop dance”; es decir, bailar mientras suena la música, y quedarnos quietos cuando se para.

Lo pasamos genial. Y espero que vosotros también os divirtáis.

Support and Aspiration - SEN Green Paper

Today sees the publication of the new green paper on special educational needs (SEN), which sets out the government's plans for reform to the support available within schools. The proposals are wide-ranging, covering plans to replace SEN statements with education and health care plans, and assessing children in a single get-together rather than having them attend a series of meetings.

You can read more about the plans from this BBC article, and this piece from the Guardian.

To read the full text of Support and Aspiration: a New Approach to Special Educational Needs and Disability, click here. An executive summary is also available. Those with an interest in the paper have until 30 June to contact the Department for Education with a response to the proposals.

Prevention and Response to Bullying

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a new study which examines the issue of prejudice-based bullying of children, on the grounds of disability, gender, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation. Among the findings are that such forms of bullying are widespread and can have long-lasting consequences on victims, and that schools require further guidance and support to prevent this type of bullying.

To read the full text of the report, click here.

Men in Families

A new United Nations publication provides an overview of the issues affecting men in modern families. Although the report is international in scope, it contains plenty of useful information on areas such as male carers and fathers in vulnerable families within the UK. You can read the full text of Men in Families and Family Policy in a Changing World by clicking here.

Tito, el barco que quiere volar - Felicidades, Miguel

Con todo nuestro cariño para Miguel, que hoy cumple doce añazos, de parte de Mikel y de Erik.
Las ilustraciones son de Fátima Collado y los pictogramas de ARASAAC. Ains, cómo hemos disfrutado las dos preparando este cuentito para Miguel.
Mil gracias, Inma, por trasmitirnos cómo le ha gustado; todavía sigo emocionada tras haber visto las fotos.
Besazos para toda la familia.

Todas las ilustraciones de este cuento, en el blog de Fátima. Pincha AQUÍ.

Laying the Table

A review of nursery food has called for national guidelines on what under fives should eat and drink in early years settings. Laying the Table: Recommendations for National Food and Nutrition Guidance for Early Years Settings in England is the full title of the new report from the School Food Trust, which has also concluded that many children do not eat recommended levels of fruit and vegetables, and that over 20% of children are overweight by the time they begin reception class.

You can read the full text of the report by clicking here. If you're into tables, statistics etc, then the appendix with background data is also available.

Complex Needs, Complex Challenges

A new report from the National Deaf Children's Society argues that deaf children with additional needs face a difficult future due to poor or non-existent support and medical care. The research, entitled Complex Needs, Complex Challenges, examines the experiences of families who have deaf children with additional complex needs - around 40% of deaf children are estimated to have an additional disability. The timing of the publication is perhaps not coincidental - later this month the government will publish a new Green Paper with proposals on strategies for dealing with special educational needs (SEN).

To access the full text of the report, click here.

Preparando el nuevo especial Autismo para la revista ESF

Ilustración de Miguel Gallardo.
Vamos a por la cuarta edición del especial “Estamos con el Autimo” que con tanto cariño preparamos cada año en la revista literaria En sentido figurado.

El propósito de estos especiales es ofrecer una visión del autismo sin mitos y contribuir a la concienciación para lograr una sociedad inclusiva. Por eso es tan importante vuestra aportación para componer, como en un puzzle, la realidad el autismo.

Os animo, por ello, a colaborar con vuestros artículos, testimonios, reflexiones, cuentos, micros, poemas, fotografías o dibujos de los peques.

Qué ganas tengo de ir recibiendo los textos. Me los podéis enviar por mail a:

El número saldrá en el mes de mayo, en su edición en Internet. Ponemos como plazo límite el 15 de abril, así podremos organizarlo todo bien con tiempo.

Dejo aquí enlazados de nuevo los tres números anteriores, con portada de Miguel Gallardo, autor de María y yo. Juntos, PO-DE-MOS.