Magical Mess of the EYFS

Welcome to the Magical Mess of the EYFS – the home for everyone who is used to scratching their head and wondering “is that glitter or do I have nits?” This is a great website with lots of ideas for general teaching and doing P4C in the Early Years.

Magical Mess’ Quests and Questions blog has regular topical suggestions and lesson plans for P4C activities you can do with your early years’ students. Click here to see it.

Magical Mess’ Early Years Blog has fascinating perspectives on the trial, tribulations and triumphs of teaching the youngest children. Click here to see it.

Plans for the new school year

With the new school year just started, I have to step away from my almost five year olds and figure out how to do this philosophical and Thinking  Moves approach with just-turned-three year olds, and I really do mean just turned three. Three of my newbies turned three the week before term started and another four only turned three a few weeks earlier. Many of the class will have just started to understand simple questions and use slightly longer sentences, with some children not yet being at this stage. So how on earth am I going to do this?

I’m not altogether sure but my plan is not to have any formal P4C sessions until January and take a more relaxed Thinking Moves approach until then. I am making a Thinking Moves plan for each of the seven areas of Development Matters to cover all eventualities and will weave these into my weekly planning, provision and play to begin to build some foundational skills ready for January.

Magical Mess Lesson Plan: Young and Old

The stimulus is a story about an old olive tree and a tiny olive. There are many different questions it could lead onto.  The first is the concept of ‘old’ and ‘young’.

This weekend it is our ‘On Parade’ weekend in the town I live in and the town will host many celebrations, bands and events, organised by Armed Forces Veterans and celebrating all things 1940s. The parade will be led by a D Day veteran but also in the parade will be people from the armed forces, cadets and organisations old and young.

Which led me to wonder… what is old? My grandmother is 93 but says that in her head she is still 21. Is she old? Which part matters? The outside or the inside? What about a house built in the 1920s? Is it old? In comparison to what? Can we say, in isolation, that anything is old or is it all comparative? What about the rain, or sand, or the tide? Are they old or young? So that is the basis of the first lesson plan.

Magical Mess lesson plan: Transitions

As the end of summer term approaches, I am very much living in the dreaded limbo of ‘Transition World’ right now. This lesson plan is, therefore, not strictly a philosophical one but more of a social and emotional development one.

That is what I love about Thinking Moves A-Z though. Sure it is an amazing metacognition tool for P4C but it is actually far more transferable and universal than that and can be used for anything you want to teach. So this plan is focused on transitions and can be used for any transition from a move to Reception Class all the way up to the move to High School.

Magical Mess Lesson Plan: Thinking Ahead – Baking a Cake

This lesson is a fun one for Early Years and you can bend it to any topic you are currently doing in class. We are going to bake a cake! This Thinking Move is ‘Ahead’. The ability for children to look ahead and predict what might happen in different alternate realities is a useful skill in all areas of their lives and one they have already been playing with. 

Magical Mess Lesson Plan: Same, Different, Odd One Out

This week I read my new copy of Thinking Moves A-Z by Roger Sutcliffe, Tom Bigglestone and Jason Buckley.  My lesson plan for P4C is based around the skill that is given for D – Divide. Next week I will be basing my planning on the skill for J – Justify.

Magical Mess P4C Plan: Would a Worm Make a Good Pet?

Here is a P4C lesson plan using my QUESTS approach, which could just as easily be used for an Understanding the World or Communication and Language activity.

Miss Magical Mess says:

​In P4C I have found a wagon I can hitch my cart to. Because the underlying principles seem to be the ones that came out in every session I attended in the Early Years conference. That what children need from us in the early years is to learn new words, to hear and ask questions, to respect and care for each other and to make choices. We should be asking “what if?”, “what do you notice?” and “what do you think?” We should be encouraging children to observe and explore, wonder and ask questions, look for similarities and changes. More than anything else we should just enjoy talking to our tots and having high quality interactions. The tiny window in which their brains and personalities are filled with wonder and unencumbered by societal expectations is the tiny window that we are privileged enough to peer into. The Early Years conference reminded me why I am striving to have a philosophical teaching approach in my daily life. 

Thanks to Miss Magical Mess for the wonderful content. You can reach her here