smalltalk - autumn 2022

smalltalk…supporting the early years sector in Wales for over 30-years.

Published quarterly since spring 1986, and mailed free of charge to all Early Years Wales members. smalltalk is the must-read title for early years education and early years childcare providers in Wales.

Whether you are looking for ideas to implement within the setting or to help you with your training and development, wanting to keep up to date with the latest curriculum changes or changes in legislation, our 64-page, fully bilingual, full-colour magazine is packed full of articles to inspire you to embed and inform high-quality practice, whilst continuing to run a successful business.

Welcome to the autumn 2022 edition of smalltalk

What’s on the cover?

On page 16 we introduce you to Kamal Ali. Kamal is the inventor of the world's first interactive prayer mat for children. Kamal talks to us about the importance of prayer in the Muslim faith and the journey Muslim children take when learning to pray. Why not enter our competition to win a prayer mat for your setting?

The M-word! Menopause and the workplace. With menopausal women making up one of the biggest groups of workers, we consider how settings can support staff with their symptoms (page 21)

Want to know how Bronwen the butterfly is helping pre-schoolers have a positive impact on pollinators in Monmouth? Turn to page 10. You can encourage pollinators into your setting by building your own bee hotel. We show you how on page 13.

Brighten our mascots day!

In case you missed it and are wondering who the star of our front cover is? We’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the Early Years Wales team. Awel - the kite, joined us in October to support our young dashers in the Cardiff Half Toddler Dash.
Awel’s role is to be available to attend community and setting-based events. To be in with a chance of receiving an extra special visit from Awel, why not give Awel a whole new look by printing the image below. Send your creations to [email protected](link sends e-mail)

Read on for a full list of contents...

4. Advertising feature: Quality for All (QfA) relaunch

After listening to your feedback, QfA has undergone some major changes.

5. Birth to five matters; how Early Years Wales will be supporting you in your Welsh language journey in 2023

Our newly expanded Welsh Language Support Team, tell us how they will be supporting you to develop a bilingual workforce in 2023.

6. Advertising feature: Block play (A Train the Trainer course)

Early Years Wales & Community Playthings working in partnership to deliver Block play training to members.

8. How play and play-based learning encompasses the curriculum for the non-maintained funded nursery settings.

How creating authentic environments for children enables meaningful and joyful learning experiences.

10. Preschools are Perfect for Pollinators: We need pollinators, and they need our help!

How Bronwen the butterfly and pre-schoolers in Monmouth are having a positive impact on pollinators and other wildlife.

13. Make a bee hotel

Bees and bugs need somewhere to live, just like we do. Why not encourage pollinators into your setting by building your very own Bee Hotel.

14. The best classrooms have no walls

The Curriculum for funded non-maintained settings emphasises the importance of being outdoors. We take a look at how some of our members are embracing their outdoor spaces.

16. An insight into the Muslim child’s experience of prayer

The importance of prayer in a Muslim child’s life and practical ways Islam can be introduced into early years settings.


Thanks to the team at my Salah Mat, we’ve got an interactive children’s prayer mat and a selection of children’s books to giveaway to one lucky setting.

21. easyfundraising: Raise free funds for your setting

#DYK by signing up to easyfundraising, you can raise free funds for your setting by simply shopping online!

Cover story...

21. The M-word! Menopause and the workplace

Menopausal women make up one of the fastest growing demographics in the workforce and it’s only going to keep growing. Our cover story this issue looks at how our settings can support their staff with their menopausal symptoms.

22. Supporting menopause in the workplace

Too often menopause is misrecognised and mishandled. Caroline Vollans provides really useful advice to managers when it comes to ensuring staff are sufficiently supported.

24. Tips for accessing support with your menopausal symptoms

Every woman experiences the menopause differently. The Wales Menopause Network are passionate about ensuring women in Wales receive equitable menopause care.

27. A year in Wales

Only the Welsh would turn bog snorkelling into a sport! We’ve put together a list of some of the major events and festivals taking place in Wales this year... you’re welcome!

28. Talk PANTS

Free NSPCC resources for parents and practitioners.

30. UK-GDPR What you need to know

Top tips for collecting, using, storing, sharing and retaining personal data.

32. Advertising feature: Adventures with Alice

We’ve teamed up with Alice Sharp Ltd to offer Early Years Wales members exclusive discount on this multi-award winning professional development programme.

Members: don't forget to log in prior to adding items to your cart to access your member discount. To become a member visit our membership page.