Monday, 9 December 2013

Poems that shaped me

So I found some poems whilst sorting papers, I must have printed them over ten years ago. They had a profound impact on me and I remember how special each was. Each shaping a little part of my work with children, some with complex difficulties and the adults and families that work with them. I don't know where they all come from other than if I spoke to the person who wrote them I would be eternally thankful.  

The Gift of the Memorable Child

The child that is my challenge is a gift.
Only he can give me 

the gifts of patience, tolerance, and acceptance –

If I let him.

He will be the one to make me into a true teacher.
And challenge my very soul.

I can learn more from this child
Than from much of my college coursework –

If I choose to.

A child is not something that is “broken”
For me to “fix”.

This child comes to me a unique individual

Worthy of love – just as he is.

Or be yet another to throw my hands up?

Do I have it in me to maybe be the one

that can make a difference?

Is he maybe the one
 that will make a difference in me?
Will I choose to let him?
Cathy Abraham
(No child needs fixing but working with to mould to them to   allow them to each their potential and find a safe place in the world)

I dreamed I stood
in a studio

And watched two
sculptors there.

The clay they used
was a young child’s mind

And they fashioned it with care.
One was a teacher
the tools she used
were books and
music and art;

One was a parent
with a guiding hand
and a gentle loving heart.
And when at last
their work was done

They were proud of
what they had wrought,

For the things they
had worked into the child

could never be
sold or bought.
And each agreed she
would have failed

if she had worked alone,

For behind the parent
stood the school,

and behind the teacher
stood the home

by Ray A. Lingenfelter
(Sometimes we think we are working alone, and have arrogance to think we are right as educators yet only the best outcomes occur when there is a partnership)

Searching for Gold

Look beneath the freckles

Look beneath the grin

Look for that which sparkles

Buried deep within.
Look beyond the whining

Look beyond the tears

Look beyond the runny nose

The frowns, the mess, the fears.
Search for that which glitters

Treasures to unfold

Search beneath the surface

Search and find the gold!
by Jean Warren
(Sometimes, just sometimes a child is difficult to love yet we must search beyond the difficulties to find what is precious and in doing so we find treasures in them and ourselves)

Drop a Pebble in the Water

Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.

And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You've disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you've started them to flow.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute you forget;
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you've stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy ere you dropped that unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn't believe the volume of the one kind word you gave. 

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there's gladness still a-swelling, and there's joy a circling yet,
And you've rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.
James W. Foley
(In everything we do everyday we have a major impact on those around us especially children, this is a huge responsibility and sometimes we forget the little things we do have far reaching consequences in their lives others around them and in to eternity.)

Molder of Dreams

Teachers …

You are the molders of their dreams,
the gods who build or crush
their young beliefs of right or wrong.

You are the spark that sets aflame the
poet's hand, or lights the flame
of some great singer's song.

You are the gods of the young, the very young.
You are the guardian of a million dreams.
Your every smile or frown can heal or pierce a heart.

Yours are a hundred lives, a thousand lives,
yours the pride of loving them, and the sorrow, too.

Your patient work, your touch, make you the gods of hope
who fill their souls with dreams
to make those dreams come true.
(I do not believe I am a god, totally against my own beliefs by whether we like it or not in the eyes of children we can create this, think of the impact for good, bad and ugly we can mould. Never forget our position)


People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends;
succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.
Mother Teresa
(In all things remember this, you may not see the results of this even in your lifetime and you may become complacent please do not!!)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Playdough Angels

Playdough angels. They may not all quite resemble angels but it was a mixture of ages, and allowed to create from the resources available. 
  • skin colour play dough (obviously), there were two shades
  • plastic gems
  • white feathers
  • pipe cleaners (metallic)
  • eyes
  • pom poms
  • match sticks
This is also on allplayonsunday my other blog, check it out for other ideas for Christmas

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Busy Bags

These busy bags were made for church they aren't church specific but these are great for travel or places you need to stay in one place and don't have much scope to pack entertainment.
Felt lollipops (I meant these to have wooden lollipop sticks but turned out I didn't have any)

 Pipe cleaners poked into a tin can lid with holes poked in. (I was going to do match stick posting but little person really likes birthday cakes so thought would like it this way)

 Drawing materials and stickers
 Threading beads, these are chunky enough to be stacked and have characters that can be played with too.
Linking bears and rings, two of each design to match or simply make a chain.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Colour Match Peg

 Mermaid and Rocket pegs matching correct colour tails/ booster

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer (2)

I have actually made this to sell and be mailable in an envelope. It is a version of a previous one I made that was more 3D, But actually I think it's turned out pretty well

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bug Play

 Just a set up of bug play area, with supplementary resources to support play
 Soil, plastic bugs and bug hunting/ hiding materials
Matching plastic ant to picture

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Enabling Environment

The drawer unit and block/ shape play on mirrors and foil (torch to right to shine on for better effect). I will try to post a better photo of this.
 The drawers are always accessible, are labelled with what's inside and you will note there are cards with signs relating to what's in many of the drawers.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tactile Book (My House)

 A tactile book made for a homes project.
The group did not have children with visual impairment but made tactile for interest and would support if there was a child in future.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Collection of Ducks

 Planning for children's interests doesn't always mean activities but the resources you provide to support play, and other areas of learning through a play based situation. This area was set up to encourage speech sounds/ symbolic sounds of a child with limited speech. He had shown an interest in ducks and liked some simple songs.
 All children enjoyed this and the ducks were displayed alongside in baskets, daily it would get back to this. There was exploring, sorting, some duck sounds made by said child LOTS made by everyone else.
Suplemental materials include books e.g. nine ducks nine and song card.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Stammering Poem

I generally don't share much of myself on this blog, and I originally set it up to share ideas etc. relating to SEN and inclusion, it has evolved along the way.

But this post whilst relates to inclusion/ SEN is actually a poem written by myself to describe the experience I have with stammering. This was a big issue when I was a child, but I kind of grew out if it with some occasions when I would but limited impact. At present however whilst not major (by many's terms) it is a feature of my daily life and somewhat frustrating! I hope that you will find it interesting:

I stammer, I stutter
But nothing at all
I stand there in limbo
As I try to recall

The clock it is ticking
My words stuck inside
Not supposed to be hard
But the word it just hides

A repetition of sound
Or a curious stop
Brain in a frenzy
Find a word to just swap!

The options are thus
Words remain hidden
Or lexical battle
Till fault overridden!

The British Stammering Association has so good advice sheets (particularly for children)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Jungle Play Small World

 This was actually for Church Jungle Themed Holiday Club (VBS, for Americans). Here is a close up of the small world play area of the jungle play space.
 It was in a "cosy" sectioned off area of the room.
 A little further away.
 Additional resources to support jungle related play.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Budget Sensory Ideas

Here are two sheets I have devised to support you in creating sensory spaces on a budget/ movable. Sensory environment can be really rewarding/ relaxing/ engaging for all children.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Light Toy

this wonderful light toy that is designed for under water e.g. in the bath, but works equally well outside. It can be used for exploration of for themes e.g. light, stars etc.

It projects well onto ceiling and walls but even better onto close surfaces e.g. an umbrella or chiffon or indeed both as in one of the photos. I placed it in a large shiny Ikea fruit dish that reflected well.

It can be purchased from specialist SEN retailers or ebay and Amazon, search around under the heading "under water light show"  the vary in price from £5-£50 (depending on size/ amount of light sequences/ or just difference)

Here is a link to the one featured here (possibly not the same retailer) 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tennis Ball Money Pouches

We needed a cheap money box craft for a lot of children but they were all soooo expensive! In the end came up with this great craft of using tennis balls with a slit cut in for putting money in and then decorating. As it looked like a mouth most choose to make people and eyes were an option in collage materials. (This is a small selection from the 130 that were decorated, by various ages and abilities a very very successful craft!!)

The collage materials to support were:

  • Googly eyes
  • Wool 
  • Feathers 
  • Small pom poms
  • Pipe cleaners (small lengths)
  • Glitter glue
When cutting do with sharp knife away from children and over a sink/ container all our balls had like a paraffin oil type substance inside that stank (we did cut a week or so in advance and washed out balls with hot water to reduce smell)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Rock Pool in the Garden

After a discussion about how we wished we lived closer to the beach, to explore rock pools thought it was a great idea to make a rock pool in the garden (we'd just been on holiday and been to an aquarium and so had bought these sea creatures)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Cardboard Play House, with lights

 There was a spare big empty box, so..... A little house making project for 14 month old.
Inside battery operated lights poked in and a christmas light. Initially not a hit as she was rather scared of going inside (but after cutting another door so she see all the way through cue lots of crawling through!! And flap in the door become a great letter box for posting favourite lotto cards through!

Water and Sand Play Set Up

An example of set up for water and sand play, to enable choice, mixing sand and water but play separately also.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

More Sensory Play Doughs

In search of ideas for cool "snake" sensory play recipes I remembered this recipe with cornflour (cornstarch) and liquid soap, I used a cheap hand wash but  I'm pretty sure shampoo or bubble bath will work too and you could use scent to relate to theme etc.

It's an amazing consistency a lot more solid than cornflour and water but can also go more liquid when you warm in hands and hold like bottom right picture or pull between two hands (kind of bubble gum ish)

I then posted this on a Facebook group "Parent Toddler Groups Together" and Nicci Eyles told me of another great cornflour dough "Ice Cream" dough and WOW!!! It actually looks like real ice-cream when you scoop! This one is made with cornflour and hair conditioner.

 As with the above dough I'd suggest just keep adding the liquid until it's an appropriate texture. 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Post Christmas Challenge

Ok so rather late, but just went through photos.
Week after Christmas lull, cue a play challenge! And the results
Duplo Dragon Design for Box
Stickers to be added once made (scales, fire, eyes)
 The finished dragon!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bugs V Dinosaurs?

Bugs V Dinosaurs? Walked into play room to see the pending or battle began, paused due to school! Thought I'd share