smalltalk - February 2024

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

Published 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 February 2024 edition of smalltalk

What’s on the cover?

The Belonging Issue

  • On page 9, we get a new managers perspective on embracing cultural diversity
  • On page 12, Hana Hersi, Director and Founder of Sprouts Arabic Montessori Playgroup in Butetown looks at the importance of Heritage Languages and why early years educators have an essential role to play in supporting their promotion in settings.
  • Celebrating and talking about culture and diversity in the early years means more than just providing a range of cultural resources. Shifting from 'Non-racist' to 'Anti-racist' practice: Whole organisation and setting approaches is Early Years Wales' new training programme for 2024. Read all about it on page 16.
  • Nature Notes; A Musical Journey Around the World  is a contemporary resource that has been developed to encourage the child's interest in language, heritage, and diversity as per the recommendations of the Curriculum for Wales

Read on for a full list of contents...

4. One Big Happy Family

We hear how animals play such an important role in the practice of award-winning childminder, Kare Wright.

5. A New Year Message from Our New Chair

We're delighted to introduce David Dallimore, our new Chair.

6. What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)?

One in 1000 children in the UK are diagnosed with JIA. We hear from one parent of a young person with JIA on how it affects families, how to spot the signs and how we can help children with JIA in a preschool setting.

9. A New Managers Perspective on Embracing Cultural Diversity

How, by increasing their use of the Welsh language, St Padarns Playgroup in Aberystwyth learnt to fully immerse themselves into Cynefin.

12. Fostering Multilingual Minds: The Essential Role of Early Years Educators in Heritage Language Support

We look at the importance of Heritage Languages for children in the early years with Hana Hersi, Director and Founder of Sprouts Arabic Montessori Playgroup in Butetown.

14. Nature Notes: A Musical Journey Around the World

This new musical resource focuses on celebrating the diversity of our varied Welsh heritage.

16. Shifting From 'Non-Racist' to 'Anti-racist' Practice: Whole Organisation and Setting Approaches

This brand-new training programme developed by Early Years Wales, specifically for leaders and managers in the 0-4 space looksa t how adopting an anti-racist approach requires us to look at the way racism is built into ur settings.

18. Taking Care of Our Teeth

Mary Wilson, Consultant in Dental Public Health talks to us in detail about the Designed to Smile programme and how as early years professionals we can support families with toothbrushing at home.

21. Early Years Wales Insurance Scheme

Robert Lewis and the team from Towergate Insurance Brokers, talk to us through the key benefits of the Early Years Wales Insurance Scheme.

22. The Fungus Among Us!

Children's author Jessica Dawn Birks takes us on a magical underground journey, as we learn about the fascinating lives of mushrooms and how you can go mushrooming with your little ones safely.


To accompany her article Jessica is offering 6 lucky settings the chance to win a copy of her book - The Fungus Among Us, the accompanying Foraging Log, and a mushroom-carved pen for filling it in with!

27. Through the Eyes of a Child

This new resource consists of a series of 10 posters designed to be used as a guide for professional development.

28. 30 Children a day are Burned by Hot Drinks

Good first aid following a burn or a scald can make an enormous difference in recovery times and the severity of scarring. The Children's Burns Trust reveal the shocking stats and offer some good advice in the prevention of hot drink burns.

30. Little Smarties Baby Bank - supporting families as they grow

Baby Banks are becoming a lifeline to more and more families. Little Smarties Baby Bank in Cardiff explains how the referrals process and partnership working enables them to have the biggest impact on their community.

32. easyfundraising

Most of us shop online these days, what better way to raise money for your setting than by signing up to easyfundraising and asking your community to too!