Thursday, 10 October 2013

Early Years / Education Blogs

A few years ago I did a mini-research project about Web 2.0 with our undergraduate students. One of the questions on the survey was "Do you find your subject blog [that's this site!] useful?" I was delighted that almost every student answered 'yes'. But then the next question asked "Do you read other blogs?", and almost every student replied 'no'. When I spoke to a few of the respondents about this, the general response was essentially 'most blogs aren't up to much.' Whether you agree with that statement or not, it seems a shame to dismiss so many websites so easily - a few years ago the Technorati website used to have a tagline which read "55 million blogs, some of them MUST be good."

So today's post contains some links to a selection of early years / education blogs that I think are worth looking at, and they come in all shapes and sizes. One of the best things about having a blogging space is that its content is only limited by your imagination. So while some of the sites here are full of personal opinions, others take a more detached view of professional issues; some are quite academic in tone, while others are more light-hearted; some provide practical advice and tips for practitioners, others document class activities for parents and other family members. And if you run out of inspiration, you can always invite someone else to write a guest blog on your site. If you can think of a topic, there's probably a blog for it!

The list below is really only a tiny snapshot of the useful blogs out there, but should give you a flavour of the sort of information that's available. So without further ado:

Children's Services Blog - information on social care, children and families from Community Care
Class Blogs at Rosendale Primary School - documenting learning through blog posts
The ELHQ Blog - teaching resources and practical advice articles
Freeing the Angel - personal reflections on education and classroom issues
The Full Montessori - personal reflections and practical information on Montessori education
Identity Crisis? No, I'm a Nursery Teacher! - reflections on classroom activities
Inside the Secret Garden - discussion of various early childhood and care issues
Kathy Brodie - personal and professional reflections on various early years issues
LauraChildcare -  personal and professional reflections on various early years issues
Learning for Life - reflections and photos of creative play activities
London Early Years Foundation Blog - personal and professional reflections on various early years issues
New Teacher's Blog - reflections on teacher professionalism
Rethinking Childhood - thoughts on outdoor play / education and risk in early childhood
Technology in Early Childhood - using technology in kindergarten and preschool classrooms
Tracy Seed - personal and professional thoughts on training and development in education and early years

If all this gets you interested in starting your own blog, from my experience there's a couple of things you should bear in mind. First of all, ask yourself what you want to achieve with it - if you just start a blog because you feel you ought to, you're not likely to keep it up for long, and there's no 'hook' to keep readers coming back for more. Also, remember to post often - again, if you're not providing a regular stream of new material, there's little reason for people to visit your site regularly.

Finally, if you know of a really excellent early childhood / education blog, please share it with other readers of this site by leaving a comment below (Rule Number 3 of blogging - only a fraction of site visitors ever leave comments!). I'd love to get a good response so that I can put together a further list of great blogs for a future post on here.


Anonymous said...

How would you define early childhood care? Does that mean preschool? Is it just a glorified state-funded day care center or babysitting service?

David Renfree said...

Good question - ask a hundred different practitioners and you'll get a hundred different answers!

I think I'm going to ask this to my Twitter followers as I'd be interested in the response myself... Will post replies here shortly.

Mark said...

Hi David,

I was actually actively searching for Early Childhood Education blogs when I came upon your list, which I intend to gradually work through.

I'd like to ask though; how did you come upon these blogs?

Putting "Early Childhood Education Blogs" into Google gives me websites by magazines and institutions. I'm really more interested in blogs by individuals (students, parents, practitioners, etc).

And would you mind giving me some constructive criticism on my own site, because of your expertise in this area.

Thanks David.

Warmest regards,

David Renfree said...

Hi Mark

I'd been wanting to do this post for a while, but like you I just came across lots of magazines, institutions etc. So instead I just bookmarked useful sites as and when I came across them, and then once I had a half decent collection I wrote the post. Not very hi-tech, but it worked!

I like the design of your site - I think my comments would be much what I've said above. To encourage visitors you need to blog often, and be clear about what you're offering - eg practical advice, access to research etc? If you build it, they will come :-)


Mark said...

Ok, thanks. :)

Warmest regards,