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Tag Archives: Parenting

Little Green Fingers

It is my pleasure to have Francis Smith, the owner of Studio Cultivate, with us. I have already had the pleasure of seeing Francis at work in a nursery. Studio Cultivate’s key principle is to realise horticultural potential in people and places. This to me is awesome and connects children with nature and their local environment and provides so many learning opportunities within settings and extension activities for children to do at home.  Of course, I had to ask Francis to write a guest blog for me, to share his amazing work!

Francis writes:

“In my previous role working as a landscape contractor I came across many underused and underappreciated outdoor school spaces. In a city where green space is limited I felt it a real shame that their potential for learning, exploration and general fun was often being overlooked. Eighteen months ago I set up the educational wing of Studio Cultivate, with the ambition of revealing […]


Confident Talkers – Conversations for Early Years

“Why is this special to you?”

“How do you know when your friends are sad?”

Asking children open-ended questions helps them to think critically and expand their vocabulary. It also builds their confidence, aiding their personal, emotional and social development.

In these Confident Talkers cards, I’ve put together 48 such questions to engage and stimulate conversation with children from two to seven years.

Each card contains a thought-provoking question that can be adapted to any number of situations – inside or out and about, playing quietly, on the go, in the car or at the dinner table. You can use different scenarios and objects to set the scene, such as using something the child has created, describing what their lunch tastes like or discuss how they feel about a special event, such as their birthday or other celebration.

By encouraging conversation children learn new words and concepts, develop active listening skills, learn to problem solve and make connections, and most […]


The Child Obesity Catastrophe

It is my absolute delight to have June O’Sullivan MBE, the chief executive officer of London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), as my guest host. June is an inspiring speaker, author and regular commentator on Early Years, social business and child poverty. June has been instrumental in achieving a major strategic and cultural shift for the award-winning LEYF, resulting in increased profile and profitability over the past eight years. June continues to advise the government in order to better implement their vision for Early Years.

June writes:

“Did you know that one in five children under five years is obese? While obesity is highest among older children, already 11% of toddlers are obese and it’s even higher among children living in poverty. Obese children have a 40-70% chance of becoming obese adults. Diet-related ill health costs the NHS £5.8bn every year with childhood obesity-related illnesses, such as asthma, in England […]


Home is home and school is school

I am delighted to hear that the charity Family and Childcare Trust has a dedicated Family Friendly Week. It is right to celebrate the family as a bedrock of society.

There are many pressures on family life: one of my ‘bug bears’ is homework!

My view is that in primary school homework should not be set. School is school and home is home! There is enough of a burden put on children from an early age with SATs in Years 7 and 11.

I have seen parents with their children doing homework on trains, in cars and even walking to school. Parents anecdotally comment that they have to rush back from family events to make sure homework is completed. Children getting into a state because they feel that their homework is not ‘good enough’.

When my boys were little, we had more fun visiting museums and other places of interest […]


Your name’s not down, you’re not coming in

I recently read a story, which quite frankly shocked me, both as a parent and an educational professional.

In brief an 11 year old was unable to join her friends for a special end-of-year treat for pupils who had a 100% attendance record. This child had missed one day to attend her mother’s funeral.

Please read her full story.

I have never been a fan of rewards for 100% attendance at school or work, be they certificates or treats, as this creates a culture of shaming those who haven’t achieved full attendance. There will be a variety of reasons for absence, for example a virus, a long term medical condition, or a sensitive personal issue. It is outright discrimination, creates divisions and can make some children feel under pressure to attend.

It can also lead to children becoming ‘people pleasers’. Yes, attending school is important, but children and parents should […]


EARLY YEARS: valuable ends and effective means

New informative report from the Centre Forum: Sets out ways that early years policy can narrow the opportunity gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.


Me do it! Me do it!

I was in the supermarket the other day when I overheard a child say to her dad ‘Me do it, me do it, Daddy!’ as she tried to help him with the shopping. I smiled to myself as I remembered my eldest son saying the same to my mum when he was little and she was trying to put his coat on him.

These incidents illustrate how, from a young age, children want to be independent, yet, for some reason they are not given the opportunity to be independent. I am not only talking about being physically independent, for example children being able to dress themselves, but more importantly having an independence of mind to make decisions. By this I mean having a choice, even in something as simple as choosing which socks to wear or choosing between an apple or a banana.

Our job as parents is to give our children the tools and skills to […]


Supporting our most vulnerable children

I am a firm believer that children deserve a holistic education, in which we educate their mind, body and soul.

The late great Nelson Mandela, famously quoted: ‘Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.’

With this in mind, I am therefore pleased to have Jane Evans as my guest blogger. Jane has built up a wealth of parenting and early-years knowledge throughout her career as a parenting worker for a domestic violence organisation, a respite foster carer, a childminder, a children’s practitioner in a family centre and a support worker in a child-protection team, whilst also working in and with schools and pre-schools.

She now uses this as the basis for her writing, speaking and the training she delivers on attachment in early years, on parenting and children affected by trauma ‘Tuning In To Children and Parenting Beyond Trauma’.

Jane writes:         

“I am passionate about Early Years, its where my […]


The Work of Family Information Services in England 2013/14

New research published today shows a growing number of local authorities across England are failing in their legal duties to families to provide outreach and childcare brokerage services.

 


Working Parents

I am pleased to be the expert guest on ‘Women Like Us’, the multi-award-winning social enterprise that provides career advice and support to women and works to build a better future for working parents.

Please feel free to share this link with your parents if they have any questions on work life balance, childcare issues and looking for a school, etc.

http://www.womenlikeus.org.uk/conversation/managing-work-family-life/childcare-issues/

Remember that sharing with parents links into your ongoing commitment to parents as partners and compliments the EYFS 2012: ‘how parents can access more information.’

I look forward to hearing from your parents.

Best wishes

Laura

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