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Steps Into School

We have all been through different transitions in our life, for example moving home or starting a new job. Or can we clearly remember when we started school? These transitions in life all bring a variety of emotions (perhaps excitement, happiness, sadness,loss etc) and whether they are positive or negative we, as adults, have a degree of choice to go through a certain transition. However, a child doesn’t have a choice when starting school and it is therefore imperative that we support them through this transition to school with the best of our intentions.

Image: Starting School. By, Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Involving your child in the process will help them to feel a degree of ownership and settle well into their new school.

The majority of schools, in the term before new children start, arrange a visit for all new children. The children are then able to meet their new teacher […]


Ten Low-Cost Smart Marketing Moves

The current economic climate has had an impact on budgets, especially marketing and promotion. I am therefore pleased that my friend and colleague from across the pond, Julie Wassom, has taken the time out of her busy schedule to be my guest blog. Julie gives an overview of her 10 unique effective marketing tips.

Julie is a trainer and consultant who has helped thousands of directors and managers worldwide build significant enrolment in their early care and education programmes. An internationally recognized authority on marketing child care services, Julie is president of The Julian Group, Inc., a marketing firm specialising in the early care and education industry. She is the author of The Enrollment Building Success Library of training resources, and the free online newsletter, Wassom’s Child Care Marketing Wisdom.

Julie states:

“How do you generate more enrollment inquiries when you have little time and even less budget for marketing? By making Smart Marketing Moves.

I define Smart Marketing […]


The Weekend that Was!

This weekend was very busy for early years colleagues in the sector including taking part in many professional development activities such as the Nursery Show and the Flourish Summit.

It was busy for me too as I attended the Professional Development Day at Reflections Nursery, in Worthing.  I have visited before and was inspired then and even more inspired now. As a trainer, it is a truly reflective experience to be a delegate and soak up new knowledge. On arrival we were treated to apple juice, which was heated up on the garden fire. The fire is surrounded by pebbles which have been sourced from Worthing sea front.

Image copyright to Reflections Nursery

We were then treated to a tour of the nursery by an Educator at Reflections. I was fortunate to be in the group of the Co- Director, Martin Pace. Martin explained that we were only allowed to take photographs of the outdoor […]


Through the Decades!

One of my missions for the Easter break was to finish a book called ‘Bath Times & Nursery Rhymes-the honest memoirs of a nursery nurse in the 1960s’ written by Pam Weaver. My inquisitive nature drew me to this book. I was interested in reading about the life of a nursery nurse in the sixties as I wanted to compare my nursery nursing training and early work life in the 1980s to Pam’s experience.

Even though I have acquired further qualifications and worked in a variety positions within the sector, I am still an NNEB nursery nurse at heart. I say once a nursery nurse, always a nursery nurse!

The book was an honest and a heartfelt memoir from Pam. There are a few points that I wish to share: Pam remembers meeting up with a man, when he was in his twenties, who she had looked after as a child. He recalled ‘You used […]


Doing nothing?

Part of children being able to create and think critically is that they should be given the opportunity to be reflective. This gives them time to make connections and create.  To foster this practitioners should, at times, stand back and allow children to be quiet in their play, as this can be an indication that they are thinking, processing information and planning their next steps in their play.

I remember this thought provoking anecdote from Vivian Hill, Director of Educational Psychology Training at the Institute of Education when she recalled the time she was called into a school to assess a four year old boy in the nursery department who spent his whole time day-dreaming, head in hands and looking out of the window. “His teachers were worried. I asked him what he was thinking about. ‘I wonder why it’s harder to pedal uphill than down?’ he replied.  He was thinking about elementary physics.” ~ The […]


Got Any Saturday Jobs?

When I was a teenager, most of my friends and I, by the time we were 15, had Saturday jobs. If not on a Saturday, these jobs were either after school or during the holidays.

To me it was more about earning extra ‘pennies’. But I built a foundation of skills for work (which is central in my present day-to-day work) including team work, customer care and having responsibilities as an individual employee.

However I am now finding there are fewer opportunities for teenagers to gain vital work experience whilst they are at school. For example the retail industry tends to plan their staffing over a seven day period, resulting in both full and part time staff covering the shifts. As a consequence there are fewer opportunities for teenagers to be given jobs and to acquire essential skills and expertise for the future.

In years gone by, as teenagers we would walk into a shop, even the large […]


Night, Night!

 “Sleep is the best medication.” Dalai Lama

We all know, as adults, that if we do not get enough sleep this affects us the next day – with symptoms that may range from feeling tired to being really irritable. Therefore, these signs of sleep deprivation may have the same effect on children and can have a negative impact on their day.

To ensure that pre-school children have a decent night’s sleep, they need on average about 12 hours sleep per night. If your child is not ill and your house is not too cold or too hot, (it’s always best to have a thermometer in your child’s bedroom) there is no reason why this can’t be achieved.

It is important that young children have an evening routine and become familiar with this. Children should be given enough notice that bed time is approaching; this can be developed by stating the following “We have five minutes before bed […]


Changes to Childcare-For Parents

Dear Parents

I am a parent of two boys and an early years specialist and have worked within the early years sector for over twenty –six years.

I am writing to you because I want to raise your attention to a government proposal that might affect your child’s learning and development opportunities if you use childcare.

You may have heard that the Minister for Childcare, Ms Truss, is proposing changing the adult to child ratios in early years settings. For daycare settings this will mean that for your children who are aged two – three there will be one adult for six children and within home based settings childminders  will be able to have up to four children aged five and under.

The majority of early years settings, academics and experts are against these higher ratios as, like me, they care about your children and the negative impact this will have on their learning and development. One provider said […]


Sharing books with children: are we really sharing?

As we know, there is a commitment in the prime areas of the EYFS, especially to communication and language. With this in mind, I give a big welcome to my guest blogger, Michael Jones, who is a guru in the area of young children’s communication and language.

 Michael provides training on children’s language development and learning. Michael has a background in speech and language therapy and teaching and led the Every Child a Talker (ECaT) project in three different local authorities. Michael has published widely on the subject of language development. To find out more about his work visit http://www.talk4meaning.co.uk/

 Michael states:

“Most children love sharing books with adults. It can be one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to help children learn to talk.  But there are quite a few children who don’t enjoy sharing books at all: whether in a large group, or on their own with an adult. […]


Elephants Never Forget! Attachment and loss

Like most of the nation, I have been glued to watching Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary titled ‘Africa,’ which is on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Wednesdays.

I am fascinated by the filming and the profound images of nature which in part, to the human eye, seem very cruel.   David’s narrative during the documentary is balanced throughout and thought provoking.

During a recent episode they showed a herd of elephants walking through Kenya, desperately seeking food as a result of the recent drought.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pwtsj/Africa_Savannah/

The most heart pulling clip for me was when the baby elephant could no longer go on, as she was too exhausted and weak.  Her mother, rather than continue with the other herd of elephants, stayed with her and tried to encourage her; stroking and rubbing her calf – demonstrating an instinctive mother- to- baby bond.

Her mother remained with her until the calf passed away and one could clearly […]