1st Edition

Universal Approaches to Support Children’s Physical and Cognitive Development in the Early Years

By Sue Soan, Eve Hutton Copyright 2021
    90 Pages 27 Color Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    90 Pages 27 Color Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    This book has been designed to provide educators with practical strategies and approaches to support the motor and coordination development of children within an educational setting. Difficulties with movement and coordination can significantly affect participation and learning, in Early Years settings and schools, but many of these children can be supported through changes to their educational environment, or the implementation of universal strategies.

    This invaluable resource demonstrates how professionals can positively impact on children’s educational progress, outcomes and social participation.

    This book:

    • Combines perspectives of occupational therapy and special educational needs, using evidence-based research to provide professionals with the knowledge and confidence to enhance quality first teaching skills for all children, in all settings.
    • Promotes inclusion and participation in activities that affect pupil progress, such as handwriting, self-care, lunchtime, physical activities and play.
    • Offers a range of activities, tips and guidance to help improve progress and academic achievement for all children.

    Taking a holistic approach to early learning and teaching, this is a vital resource for teachers and trainee teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs, student occupational therapists and all practitioners working in Early Years settings.

    Foreword  About the authors  Acknowledgement  About this book  Introduction  Section One: Physical skills, movement and learning  Section Two: Personal independence skills for learning and participation  Section Three: Are they sitting comfortably?  Section Four: Confident handwriting  Section Five: Working alongside parents and carers  References and resources  Index


    Sue Soan is a university lecturer, supervising doctoral students on research relating to special educational needs. She is also an educational adviser for fostering organisations and schools and undertakes clinical supervision with school leaders. Prior to 2003 Sue taught in nursery settings, primary mainstream and special schools for over 25 years, as a classroom teacher, a subject coordinator (mathematics), a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and Senior Leader. Her doctoral thesis (2013) explored the education provision of Looked after Children who had experienced early life abuse and neglect. Her research interests include the SENCO role, motor and coordination development, multi-professional working, Looked after Children, autism and clinical supervision. As an authority in her field, she has published in peer reviewed journals and presented her research at national and international conferences. Sue is a school governor at a mainstream primary school and is a Trustee of a national SEN organisation.

    Eve Hutton started her career over 25 years ago as a children’s occupational therapist in the National Health Service (NHS), supporting children with additional needs in Early Years and school settings. She was awarded a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) scholarship, gaining a PhD in Health Services Research at the University of Kent in 2000. Subsequently, she pursed a career in Higher Education, most recently as a reader in Children’s Health and Wellbeing at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her research interests include therapy provision in schools and the therapy support needs of parents of children with complex needs. As an authority in her field, she has published widely in peer reviewed journals and presented her research at national and international conferences. Eve is a school governor at a specialist school for children with profound, severe and complex learning difficulties.

    This book is an excellent resource for occupational (and other) therapists and teachers working in an inclusive education setting. Providing evidence-based practical strategies for facilitating all children’s early physical and cognitive development, the book will contribute greatly to the success of inclusion at the child, classroom and whole-school level. An excellent example of how occupational therapists can collaborate with teachers to develop a curriculum that enables children with special needs to participate optimally in mainstream school settings in the early years. Occupational therapists in both the UK and other contexts worldwide will find inspiration and practical strategies to develop a "client-centred, solution-focused, strength-based, occupation-based, collaborative, context-based, educationally-relevant and evidence-based" role in schools, as recommended in the World Federation of Occupational Therapists’ Position Statement on Occupational Therapy Services in School-Based Practice for Children and Youth (2016). Highly recommended!
    Dr Debbie Kramer-Roy, Director Education of the European MSc in Occupational Therapy, Founding Member of the International School-Based Occupational Therapy (SBOT) Network and RCOT-SS-CYPF Clinical Forum on SBOT, and Prinicipal Investigator of the Collaborative Action Research project "Developing the Role of Occupational Therapy in Inclusive Education in Pakistan".

    Such a helpful book for early years and primary trainee teachers and busy educators! This excellent book offers a wealth of expertise that shows how children’s physical development and cognition are interconnected. Written in a clear and accessible style, it offers lots of straightforward and practical ideas to help support our youngest learners in school.
    Karen Vincent, Senior Lecturer in Early Years and Primary Education, Canterbury Christ Church University

    This book is a ‘must have’ for all early years’ practitioners. It is highly practical and user-friendly, whilst also providing a very comprehensive resource designed to support professionals in the provision of effective strategies to promote early physical and cognitive development. The beautiful illustrations complement the evidence-based strategies proposed by the authors, whose combined expertise and experience in this area make this an absolutely invaluable resource for all. Highly recommended for all formal and informal early years settings.
    Dr Susana Castro-Kemp, Reader in Education, Roehampton University

    Written from the perspectives of a teacher and occupational therapist, this book brings together the best of both worlds in a very accessible and easy to digest way. The straightforward strategies and activities to 'put you in the shoes' of the children will help readers to understand what is happening in the Early Years setting and what can be done to further promote learning and life skills of the whole class.
    Dr Karina Dancza, Assistant Professor Occupational Therapy, Health and Social Sciences Cluster, Singapore Institute of Technology.

    This is such an excellent book for all SENCOs and teachers and I would highly recommend it. It is very informative and is broken down into clear sections so that specific information can be obtained easily. The authors strike an excellent balance between theory and practice making it very easy to read. Suggestions for future practice are sensible and achievable in a busy school environment. The passion they demonstrate for supporting both physical and cognitive development in the early years shines through in each section and is also very clear to see.
    Karen Ward, Key Stage One mainstream teacher and SENCO, The Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School, Wye, Kent 

    This is a really excellent book that is packed with information. Each section provides sound professional advice.
    Maria Elsam, Primary Science Team leader, Chartered Science Teacher, Faculty of Education, Canterbury Christ Church University

    For the busy SENCO this book is a very welcome ‘one-stop’ guide to support the development of their own and their setting’s practice.
    Leanne Bennett, SENCO, Sandwich Infants School.

    The authors provide many practical strategies with ‘Try this’ activities that many teachers will find useful. This is a very practical resource that also includes many reflective activities that challenge how we expect children to learn. The authors provide guidance to specific activities as well as guidance on policies and detailed referencing.
    Mary Mountstephen, SEN Magazine