Death – What do we say ?

This week in my setting, I have been asked the dreaded question that turns professionals in early years into babbling , stuttering monkeys.

” What does it mean to die ?”

At first the question had me slammed and panic bells where ringing in my ears and I felt faint. Then all of a sudden courage came forward and said ” You can do this Duncan”. Help them understand ( or try )

I sat with the individual and asked what she thought it means to die and her answer was perfect, what she said was ” when your body is tired and it stops working”.

on reflection I realised that I am rubbish at explaining what it means to die and I’m not sure if I am the right person to tell other peoples children my own interpretation of what it actually means to die.

My question is this – How do others explain this part of life? and do you actually feel comfortable talking about it to the children that you care for ?

I look forward to you views on the subject

Thanks you for reading ,

Earlyyears man


twitter – @tweetmeduncan


Less is more

Recently I have been thinking about my own practice , particularly how I set up children’s experiences. I am a big advocate of adults being facilitators in early years settings however, I often enjoy setting up an experience to observe how children play , problem solve and overall interact.

This past week I have set up 2 main ” experiences”

the first was lots of wooden blocks , paper , scissors , cardboard and glue. What I observed was a lot of solitary play or parallel play going on in those areas. there was little to no communication and children were quite content drawing and cutting and basically bypassing  the other resources that were out.

The second experience was a lot simpler and consisted of two things these where wooden blocks and magnets ( yes I was aware that wooden blocks and magnets don’t go). This experience had the children communicating with each other and questions were being asked. one particular child actually said ” Duncan we need to teach you about magnets”. To me this was amazing , they were problem solving and questioning why I put out those resources.

Eventually the experience had expanded and children where coming in to the area with pieces of material to test if the magnets would work on them – this was after we had a discussion about why the wooden blocks were not effective.

This experience went on for a long period of time and the children where learning so much and engaging throughout the experience and by the end of it we ended up with some many different types of materials, toys , utensils and many more objects than what we started with.

I think my over all point is , its OK to have more simple things displayed out for children to explore instead of bombarding them with all these resources and equipment, as more often than not they will always potentially get more out of a simpler experience rather than a experience that has 1000s of resources and no imagination to discover and investigate.

As usual  I will leave with a quote :

Image result for less is more quotes


Early years man

Twitter – @tweetmeduncan


Grow my pretty…GROW!

I came across an amazing buy today in B&M, it is a “grow your own veg” kit. I shall keep you updated on how the process goes in the next couple of weeks , but safe to say I will have great fun with this little gem !

Early years man x

Competition time !

Hello lovely educators and happy Monday !

Today I am feeling fantastic and decided to have a small competition.

All you have to do is share my blog site on all social media and send me a screenshot as your evidence !

The prize I hear you ask … well it is one of my favourite books called “hector Sylvester”

So get sharing everyone !

And send your screenshots to

Twitter – @tweetmeduncan

Good luck !!!

Lego Club

Hello everyone, it has been a while and i apologise for the lack of blogging that has been going on. I have been so busy with my studies and trying out new approaches that i have not had the time to complete and of my blog goals.
So, recently in work I have been looking at a new approach to encourage development of speech and language for the children who require some support and I have recently participated in some training known as ”Lego therapy”.
How does Lego therapy work?
LEGO play is a multi-sensory and versatile experience, which means it can be tailored to suit each child’s individual needs. However, most LEGO therapy programmes are very similar and follow the same steps:

1. Each child learns a clear set of rules and LEGO building skills.
2. They are then introduced to a group of other children, including some who do not have social skill deficits
3. Everyone in the group agrees upon a project which is achievable for everyone involved – projects are usually certain structures or buildings to create.
4. Each child is assigned a role for the project. Roles are rotated throughout therapy.
5. The group works together to build the LEGO structure according to the principles of play therapy.
What are the rules?
LEGO therapy rules can be customised according to the abilities and skills of each individual. Common rules include:
• Structures must be built together by the group.
• If you break something, you have to fix it or ask for help to fix it.
• If another group member is using something and you want it, ask for it. Don’t just take it.
• Use quiet indoor voices without shouting.
• Use kind and polite words.
• Keep your hands and your feet to yourself.
• Do not put LEGO bricks in your mouth.
• At the end, tidy everything away and put it back where it came from.
The roles of Lego club
• Engineer: oversees the design and ensures the instructions are followed.
• Builder: puts the bricks together.
• Supplier: keeps track of which size, shape and colour bricks are needed and passes them to the builder.
When it comes to the adult’s role in Lego club it is extremely important that you are there as a facilitator and offer little support (only support if it is vital)
In my experience I have seen this approach build children’s confidence in small groups as well as build on the communication. It is an beneficial experience for children who require more support for speech and language.
I could talk and talk all about this type of play and if that is a requirement then please feel free to contact me and I can discuss it further.
Thanks for reading!
Earlyyearsman x




Holiday…2018 goals.

Hey everyone, sorry it has been a while ! I have been so busy with work commitments and family life.

2018 is going to be a fantastic year for me ( I can tell already) !

and I have set myself some goals that I can hopefully achieve with some hard work and determination.

They are :

  • To not be sick on the day of my wedding ( September 2018) I’m so nervous !!!!
  • gain the certificate and graduate my PDA course.
  • Continue to develop my practice by exploring new subjects of interest.
  • meet new friends that work in early years.
  • laugh more , go on adventures and simply take control of my own mind and enjoy life !!

What are your goals for the next 10 months?

Keep reading , keep believing and keep loving.

Duncan –  Early years man.

Twitter – tweetmeduncan

Email –

Weekend !

So this weekend I will be participating in a online training course about 3D mind maps. I am feeling rather positive about this and can’t wait to learn more about this approach to implementing and documenting children’s interests.

Quote of the day #3

So going to write a blog post tonight and was just wondering if anyone would like to hear my views on certain topics , I’d love some feedback !

I am back at work today , very motivated and ready to change and develop this year.

I shall leave with a quote !

thanks !

Twitter – tweetmeduncan

First time Blog – my experience

First time blog post ! how exciting !
So for the last ten years I have had the great privilege to work in the amazing sector known as early years. During the last couple of years I have started to take more of an interest to looking into why there are not enough male role models in the early years profession however, before I discuss that point I would first like to ask the question in a more greater scheme. Instead of asking ”where are all the male role models”  we firstly should be asking ”where are all of the good quality staff?”
during my career I have came across many wonderful and amazing individuals who have went on and carried out amazing things for early years but I have also met some individuals that have seen early years as a ” get out of school quickly” kind of job or the dreaded ” I’ve baby sat for my auntie and uncle a few times and I think id like to work with children.” kind of people. yes I know that it very vague but hopefully you understand where I am coming from !
so, where should we start? When I was in high school I knew I wanted to educate children , I spent many days at my aunties nursery helping in the playroom and having a role model like her encouraged me to work in early years.
So when little sixteen year old Duncan told his guidance teacher that he wanted to work in a children’s nursery, instead of a ” WOW well done” or ”that’s amazing” I was shocked to be told that it was a job with no career path and then I was questioned to why did I want to spend my time cleaning runny noses and changing nappies when I could work at a computer all day and work nine to five and live happily ever after. sorry to burst your bubble guidance teacher but your wrong ! I’m rubbish with computers ( proof is in the blog) .
with my guidance teachers amazingly motivational chat (not!) I applied for college and got accepted thankfully and two years later became a qualified child development officer.
From qualifying in 2010 I have learned a great deal about the Scottish curriculum and local guidelines for our children in early years however, recently I have questioned the quality of the staff in early years. I personally feel that in todays society working with children in an early years establishment still gets a bit of negative feedback. I have heard 1000 times by individuals that they wanted to gain a qualification in this field due to the fact that there uncle Paul said ” your good at babysitting” or the ” I would like to work with children because my mum said I’m good with my younger siblings”
So I personally feel before we encourage more males in to the profession I firstly think we should be looking at our quality of ALL staff no matter gender , sex , race. and we should be focusing on the education side of the job as well as the care and when employing new staff or enrolling new students into courses we should be looking at them in a more holistic approach rather than what’s on their exam results or there application form. I don’t have the answers but it is something I am passionate about to change the stigma of early years from being ”glorified baby sitters” to a more educational profession.
To work in early years I personally feel  you should be a motivated individual , who can roll with the punches and take everyday by the horns. we are also slightly mad and act completely crazy for the children ( and occasionally staff ) we are comedians , musicians, police officers , artists , toilet staff , book readers and many many more. Thank you for your time reading my blog and I look forward to developing along side you readers.
Thank you ,
I shall leave with a quote.
“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
― Jim Henson, It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider