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Forty Years On

Sylvia Fields, Director of Lincolnshire Montessori is my guest blogger. Sylvia reflects on her forty years in education:

This year my twin sister and I are celebrating forty years in education – and what a journey it has been!

I can trace my first work in early years back to the 1970s. Following the birth of my first son we joined the local playgroup in a church hall, and from that point I knew that all I wanted to do was work with children. In those days – before baby cafe, drop in sessions and mumsnet, the Pre-School Playgroup Association, as it was, played a crucial role as a social function for parents and children. Committee led pre schools were practically the only early years provision in our area, and I was pleased to join with other mums running the group in a voluntary capacity.

Playgroups were very much a women-led movement, and our involvement was about having […]


Smoking and children do not mix…

…We all know it, but it’s a brave (or stupid) person that takes on an issue like this with a team of 230+ – of which probably a good 15% are smokers!

Over the years, Kids Allowed has tried all sorts to reduce the impact of smoking on children and non smoking colleagues.

When we first opened, 8 years ago, we had a team garden for all colleagues and this doubled up as a smoking area for colleagues.

Colleagues who had had a cig on their break had to spray perfume and use a mouth wash / spray to try and disguise the smell, but we all know this is totally ineffective.

We moved to colleagues, in addition to the above, having to put on a jacket so that the smoke did not make their clothes smell – a little better but still not good enough.

We then moved to a total change of clothes – this helped somewhat but […]


Have a Break!

If I am at home early evening I often see a pre-school child and his mum walking past my home. This child has caught my attention as sometimes I notice that he is crying.

On a few occasions, I have had a brief conversation with his mum who looks very tired and unsure what to do. My thoughts are that he is tired and the crying is a reaction to seeing his mum and this is his way of communicating his feelings. (Note to self – add a section in my Supporting Transitions course, around preparing children for the handover to their parents at the end of the day.) In addition, I believe that he is picking up that his mum is tired.

I saw them again as I was walking to my car during the Christmas week and I noticed that he wasn’t crying. When I wished them both Happy Christmas, mum replied ‘I’ll not be […]


Promoting ‘Baby Love’

It’s time to step up our game: Promoting ‘Baby Love’

Guest Blogger: Catherine Rushforth: National Consultant and trainer in Safeguarding and Child Protection.

It is an exciting time in the early years’ sector. Key publications, point to us as those who will be instrumental in making the shift into new ways of working possible. Central to this change is way that we :

– recognise strong emotional attachment between very young children and their parents

And

– intervene early where we see that this attachment is shaky, perhaps inconsistent or appears to be missing completely.

In this blog I will run through why a strong attachment is so essential for children’s development, outline our professional role in assisting parents to build on this key relationship and make a call for all early years’ practitioners to upgrade their practice in this vitally important area.

We know from rapid development in neuroscience that a baby’s brain development is directly effected by the quality of […]


Hire people who are better than you are……….

In the pass and currently I have worked with clients who have a real issue with delegating. They then wonder why their staff do not perform and are not creative/practical thinkers. Which reminds me of this quote ‘Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.’ David Ogilvy-Scottish born British Military intelligence officer and later top advertising executive 1911-1999. Clarity around individual roles and responsibilities is also key. Within my accredited level 4 Leadership and Management course the managers complete this  task. How is leadership distributed in your setting:

Identify different key roles and responsibilities.
Explain how these are shared effectively amongst the team?

 Delegate a task to a member of your team.

Describe the process and implement it.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your decision to do this.

So, if you are micro-managing your staff and do not […]


Practitioner and Child; Positive or Personal Relationships?

For a while now, I have been reflecting on what we in the sector mean by the term ‘positive relationships’ and its impact on interactions between children and practitioners. With this in mind, my thoughts are on whether we should change the term to ‘personal relationships’ and more importantly how we should look at personal relationships between the practitioner and child in our day-to-day practice?

For instance, I have a positive relationship with the staff in my local bank, but this is not a personal relationship. Indeed practitioners need to have a positive relationship with children in order for the relationship to be personal and meaningful. Time and time again, when carrying out my mock inspection visits, I observe practitioners having positive relationships with children, but not on a deeper personal level.  If done on a superficial basis and as part of the daily routine, the relationship is one where it is routine led rather than […]