Greg Bottrill Inspires Pre-Prep Practitioners
Our week began on a rather positive note as Early Years consultant, Greg Bottrill, joined Pre-Prep for a day of unconventional learning.
As the bestselling author of Can I Go and Play Now…?, Greg is an expert when it comes to the early years. He dedicates his days to ‘putting the focus back on children, and making them leaders in their own learning’. His transformative approaches to play also help to shift the adult’s role away from being a teacher and more toward a ‘facilitator’.
Greg spent the day working in Reception, where he observed the daily teaching, providing insights and advice where necessary. Drawing upon his own tactics, he shared his knowledge of methods including Adventure Island and the Message Centre – the latter of which helps to support and develop children’s fine motor skills, igniting a love of reading, writing and mathematics. This way of learning demonstrates how mark-making can be a positive and joyful experience.
Greg explained to the pupils that everyone, and everything, has a secret code (a circle with a cross in the centre). He encouraged them to find examples of this code around the room, before challenging them to write their own secret codes. This really engaged the children, and they were quick to respond. He then told the children that the secret code could be a word, sound or number, and the pupils then started writing words and hiding their new codes in blazers, under rugs, and even in shoes! The final stage was to then give the code a sentence.
Reception teacher, Laura Knight, said: “The children had so much fun and, as practitioners, we now feel confident in taking this exercise to the next level. I could see just how much the children got out of it and that was really great to see.”
Greg also inspired the team to make their own ‘tinker tables’ to promote the children’s fine motor skills and small world play. This transformative approach uses tweezers, characters, pegs and boards to teach children how to use their imagination. He also encouraged them to start collaborative groups such as ‘Drawing Club’, another tactic that aids in the development of creativity and encourages parents to unlock their child’s thoughts and fancies.
Commenting, Laura said: “It was a fantastic day and we all took away some valuable lessons. We have since rearranged the classrooms so that the furniture and equipment ‘talk to each other’ and we have also set up our own Message Centres in both of our Reception classes.”
Following the day with the children, Greg led a private forum with practitioners, wherein he summarised the day’s lessons and shared further tips and advice. We now look forward to welcoming Greg back later in the year for a special Early Years talk on ‘Joy, Engagement and the Storylines of Play.’
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