Lisa Atkinson – Always being Picture Perfect in the Early Years

Reading Time: 3 minutes



“The reason we all struggle with insecurity, is because we compare our real life with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Steve Furtick


One of my favourite quotes, yet for some reason, it’s something I am absolutely guilty of.


We all are.


Picture yourself- scrolling through Edutwitter, Instagram and even worse, Pinterest. You’re greeted by stunning images of perfect Early years settings, perfect activities which teachers have spent hours of their time setting up, amazing lighting, not a resource out of place.


It hits you- that weird envious feeling and suddenly you feel like your setting doesn’t compare. You feel like you need to up your game, like you must be getting it wrong because no matter what you do, yours NEVER looks so perfect, so wonderful. You feel the urge to recreate exactly what you’ve seen. You don’t have the budget, so you even consider spending your own money. It’s like a downward spiral.


We’ve all been there. Yet, we are all guilty of spending ages taking hundreds of pictures in the hope of getting that one perfect shot ‘for the ‘Gram’, of staging our photographs to avoid that stain on the carpet, to avoid that bit of border hanging off (Must remember to staple that, I can’t let anyone see it.), to make sure people see our setting at its best.


This is the new way of life; it’s not just happening in Early Years. It happens with teenagers looking at edited photographs of seemingly perfect peers, a new mum struggling with the huge whirlwind of having a new baby- getting no sleep and scrolling through feeds of Mums who look like they have got their sh*t together, looking immaculate. It’s unhealthy for us all.


I’ve been trying to stop posting ‘perfect’ images constantly.

I’m trying to encourage others to be 10% braver and share their setting when it’s actually ‘used’. When the children have had the most wonderful time learning and exploring. When the team have spent hours setting up a beautiful activity, only for it to be trashed within approximately 3.5 seconds of free flow play beginning. It’s real life. We all know it is, so we all need to think about the image we are portraying to our newer members of Early Years, to our NQTs, our trainees.

Let’s all ‘keep it real’ every now and then.

To add your ‘real’ photograph to the #KeepItReal thread, follow this link;




Early Years Reviews Webinars 











1 thought on “Lisa Atkinson – Always being Picture Perfect in the Early Years”

  1. Lea Ellen Archer

    This is so true Lisa. I love that you have posted pictures of your setting after it’s been used and encouraged others to do the same.

    Real life can be “gritty” but it doesn’t mean that the outcome hasn’t worked. In fact it shows that the children have enjoyed themselves in their learning.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.