Respect is what strikes you at Ely and Caerau Children's Centre in South Wales: Respect for childhood, for families, for the community. Everything is carefully prepared with the children's well-being in mind. You sense that staff love their task by the lovely artistic touches in every corner.
Carolyn Asante, the manager, explained that staff observe the children continually to learn what excites them. At the end of each day they meet to reflect on children's involvement and plan accordingly for the next day. They have noticed that boys particularly like to be given practical challenges, such as "What can we do about this soggy patch in the garden?"
The team might base a whole context for learning on a child's comment. A child recently said something about a giant, so staff left a large note in the garden cave "I'VE LOST MY KEY!" and buried a big one. Next day the children searched and it became a treasure hunt that continued for days. Carolyn says, "This way of working is infectious! We are not bound by curriculum. We make everything fit round the child, not the other way round."
Click here to see more pictures and hear Carolyn share her vision