How to use this guide

If you are new to Early Years Education ideas then skimming the headings in the Guide will give you an overview of existing practices (http://meshguides.org/guides/node/1343). Just dip into those relevant to you.

If you are working with children 0-7 years over a long period then you should find plenty of ideas in the guide to stimulate their development.

This guide is designed with several readers in mind.

Daily interactions and managing young children’s experience of trauma and disruption

In this Guide a number of activities are designed to help children become resilient in what is a traumatic situation for the adults around them as well as the children themselves.

The activities are intended to:

Child friendly spaces and clubs

To support the children, families and carers in your new community, two initiatives are particularly helpful:

Child-Friendly Spaces*: Children need to continue their education and play activities even in the midst of the conflict or disaster.  Child-Friendly Spaces are supervised areas that provide quiet areas, opportunities for play and talk. Perhaps where parents can safely leave their children to attend distribution points and perhaps find relatives.


The advice in this MESHGuide is based on research from many disciplines together with the professional judgement of the members of the Editorial Board who are educators with experience in many countries and settings. References are given to support readers who want to understand the knowledge base more deeply.

Contributions are welcome. This resource will be added to overtime. Just email: editorialteam@meshguides.org


The practices outlined in this MESHGuide draw on research findings from many disciplines. The focus on early years education is often said to be on the development of the ‘whole child’. In reading this guide we hope you will find it easy to see how research from neuroscience is linked to that related to fine and gross motor skill development, which is linked to physical development, which is linked to nutrition and so on.

The materials referenced below provide further reading.

Aid Agency sources

Below are some examples of Aid Agency initiatives. Submissions are invited.

Save the children - Emergent literacy


UNESCO - LEARNING TOGETHER ACROSS GENERATIONS: Guidelines for Family Literacy and Learning Programmes

Child Development: Overview

Child Development: Overview

Numeracy/mathematics specific activities - Jennifer Wray

With thanks to  Jennifer Wray, University of Sydney.

Here is a list of concepts which can be developed through counting, sorting and grouping activities, and the role play, games, songs, rhymes and play reported in other sections in this Guide.

Number sense

• more/less, ‘knowing’ how many in a group of up to 5 objects without counting (subitising)

• counting with understanding (including finger counting), numeral recognition

Areas for further research

There is a huge volume of material relevant to those working in this area. We recommend funds are spent on synthesis and dissemination so that existing knowledge is available to all - parents and carers included.  If you are undertaking research into early years please let us know. If you wish to fund research into Early Years you are welcome to ask the Editorial Board for advice email: editorialteam@meshguides.org. Guides are designed to be added to as new knowledge becomes available.  


Transferability 5*

The advice here has drawn on successful projects in many countries and research underpinning early years education. The MESH Early Years Editorial Board considers the advice is widely applicable. Comments are welcome: editorialteam@meshguides.org.


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