SAfE Early Years Conference 2023

For Early Years Leads and their teams in schools, nurseries and early years settings (including maintained and Private, Voluntary, Independent) as well as childminders.


Greg Bottril (Can I Go and Play Now?) will open our conference with a session on Curriculum Based Play.

Many early years environments are feeling the post-covid strain, with phonics and interventions often displacing play-based learning and exploring.  This session will encourage a re-focussing on the role of true play, putting children at the centre of their own development and learning.


Early Years Framework Link: Physical Development- Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.

Laura Henry-Allain MBE (JoJo & Gran Gran) will deliver a session on how to diversify the curriculum in early years.

Laura created and developed the well-loved JoJo & Gran Gran (CBeebies), and brings her expertise as a former nursery manager, Ofsted Inspector, Teacher and Curriculum Manager.

Early Years Framework Link: Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains.

Early Learning Goal – Understanding the World:

People, Culture and Communities – Children at the expected level of development will: Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read.

The beliefs, knowledge, understanding and/or teaching practices this programme aims to address:

  • To support practitioners in developing a high-quality play-based curriculum which meets the needs of all learners
  • How play puts the child at the centre if its own development and learning
  • How to diversify the curriculum in early years to reflect all learners in our communities

Intended Impact on practice:

  • More effective use of play as a tool for learning and development
  • A more diverse curriculum in early years settings

Intended improvement and/or evaluation of impact for pupils, including those with SEND and/or disadvantaged backgrounds:

  • More effective use of play will support all to access learning, development and the curriculum
  • A diverse curriculum allows children to understand the world around them, and for everyone to feel they are part of the world, and that they fit in.

SAfE Subscriber Price:  £100/ SAfE Non-Subscriber £125  (please book your ticket in the normal way, with your school’s unique log in)

Private and voluntary pre-school settings introductory price:  £100

Private and voluntary pre-school settings, please book via this link:  Private and Voluntary Settings Booking Form

£125.00 Excl. VAT


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Use your school’s unique log-in to book SAfE events. If you are not a Surrey school and you do not have a log-in please contact

Event Details

Date: July 06, 2023

Start time: 15:45 BST

End time: 18:00 BST