Attractive, educational, interesting.

A. Squash-EE numbers sets (309187) – I chose these because the set ticked so many boxes as a good educational resource. They could well be young children’s first experience with numbers where they will be attractive for their colour and feel or they can be used for older preschoolers for recognition, sequencing, concepts or cardinal or ordinal numbers, creative play etc. I just think, as a basic introduction to number they are more interesting and attractive to see, touch, use or feel than most other number kits.

A Ph.D in block play begins here!

B. Santoys Jumbo Blocks (124230) – blocks in mathematical proportion such as these, offer so much for children’s development – creative construction, mathematics, ego enhancement, communication, skill building, coordination and problem solving all wrapped up in these beautifully made and proportioned blocks. My own research, for my Ph.D in block play demonstrated the enormous contribution these blocks do make. Obviously in a centre more than one set would be needed and I should add, that it can get noisy so maybe provide carpet and one or two ceiling sound baffles.

I simply adore the Worry Woos.

C. Worry Woos – I simply adore the Worry Woos – not just for the looks and cuddliness of the plush toys, nor for the story books that go with each plush toy but because they offer so much in the area of developing children’s emotional intelligence. I regard these so highly, and the feedback from preschools and schools has been so enthusiastic, that I think there should be at least one or two sets in every centre or school. I’ve now written guidelines to help teachers use them in group situations.

Emotional awareness is second to none in a child's development.

D. Hape Eggspressions (270629) – I chose these because the set offered very young children probably their very first entry into the world of their emotions. Just as important is the beautiful feel, texture and mix they offer. We know that emotional awareness and development is second to none in children’s health, success and happiness. These Hape figures offer the materials, the booklet but also the opportunity to stack and mix – so children may be able to understand that they could, for example, be sad and angry at the same time. The opportunities for group discussion about these emotions offers potential way beyond these eggspressions.

Potential, fun, stimulating.

E. Hape Bamboo Pallina (309021) – I chose this item because of its game potential for slightly older preschoolers; the children are no just learning eye-hand coordination (and colours and shapes) but are doing so in a fun way. The rods and the balls can also be used in other creative or sequencing activities and the basket can also act as a storage device or lobbing target. I gave this one top points for Ego satisfaction and Communication as the contest and chatter during the game would be highly stimulating. 

About Dr John

Child and Family Psychologist

B.A PhD., M.A.C.E., M.A.P.S

Our partnership with respected child psychologist Dr John Irvine is a philosophical connection that helps shape our vision that physical and emotional development is at the core of education.

We share a love of child centred learning through exploration, problem solving and play. We share a desire to have all children excel in their cultural, emotional and academic development. Together we embrace the importance of providing quality practical guidance for parents and educational professionals.

Dr John was a teacher before becoming a child psychologist. He was awarded the Shell Prize for Arts and the University Medal during his studies at the University of New England.

He is a sought after speaker and author of several books, including Who’d Be A Parent, A Handbook for Happy Families and Thriving at School.