Dawn, who has been teaching at Guildford College for three years, has published her first book titled Making Play Work in Early Years Settings: Tales from the Sandpit following the success of her blog by the same name.
The book discusses the advantages of a play-based curriculum in an educational setting for young children. It teaches practical advice which Dawn hopes will be used by people working in early years setting and students up to degree level.
Dawn speaks passionately about the importance of play in the way that young children learn, and that a lack of engaging learning through play can cause high levels of stress and anxiety in children as young as four years old.
She said: “In recent times, approaches to teaching are a lot more about learning outcomes and end goals for our youngest children. We’ve learnt in the last few years is that this has caused an awful lot of stress and anxiety in our children, and as far as I’m concerned that’s totally unacceptable.
“I don’t have all the answers by any means at all. I’m not saying you have to do it this way, they’re just ways I have found that work, but also things that haven’t worked and why I think they haven’t worked.”
The inspiration behind Making Play Work in Early Years Settings: Tales from the Sandpit
The idea for the book came about when Dawn’s blog ‘Tales from the Sandpit’ started to gain significant recognition on social media.
Dawn explained: “I already had these ideas and have written about them in my blog, but I needed to expand it and give a lot more practical advice”
The book was published by Sage Publications after Dawn was put into contact with the publishers by Greg Bottrill, a fellow early years author.
Greg Bottrill and his published works were a source of inspiration for Dawn, who said of him: “He’s so approachable and supportive, and if I can be that for the next generation then that would be my dream.”
Dawn’s continued plans for teaching
Dawn hopes her book will serve as a useful teaching tool during her lessons. Some of her students have already bought the book, and other local teachers in early years education have started implementing the content into their teaching.
“I think it’s a bit less challenging for them if they have a book where they know the person who’s written it. I’ve tried to write the book using my own voice, as if I’m talking to you,” added Dawn.
Dawn also hopes that, from reading her book, her students gain the confidence to use their professional judgement.
She said: “I want them to recognise their own professional judgement and think ‘I know what’s best for these children, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to listen to them and value the children in front of me.’”
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