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!
“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 […]
A few months ago I was contacted by a lady via social media: ‘Are you the Laura that worked in a nursery in North London, in the 80s/90s?’ Included was a picture of two children in carnival costumes.
I immediately recognised the children, who were twins, brother and sister. I was their key person!
Mum and I spoke on the phone. The first thing she said to me was: ‘Laura, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking care of and looking after my children.’ Well, the tears started to roll down my face.
Mum recalled how delighted she was when she saw her two children perform in the Christmas concert I put on. Fast forward to the present day: the boy is a budding actor while the girl works with children.
Mum was a single parent to twins and studying for a degree at the same time. We all know that studying […]
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 […]
Scanning the revised EYFS 2014 I noticed Section 2.5: “Practitioners should encourage parents and/or carers to share information from the progress check with other relevant professionals, including their health visitor…… Providers must have the consent of parents and/or carers to share information directly with other relevant professionals.”
To support this requirement I am sharing a few pointers, which I disseminate during training and consultancy visits with educators and teachers, regarding the importance of the child health book. This book is one way in which parents can communicate their child’s development with the key person.
The “little red book” contains important information that the setting could use to identify the child’s starting points and determine how to further support the child both in the setting and at home.
It is also a positive way to start to build a long term, positive relationship with the parent.
Of course, […]
London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) releases ‘The Twoness of Twos’ – a Report on the Leadership for Two Year Olds:
As parents ‘tighten their belts’ in the current economic climate, they also want to know what are the best saving schemes available for their children.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to share an informative guest blog by Kalpana Fitzpatrick who is a leading UK financial journalist with over 12 years’ experience in consumer and personal finance. She is the founder of Mummy Money Matters, a family finance website. Kalpana regularly appears on TV, radio and in the press as an expert commentator on family finances as well as a consumer expert.
Her aim is to keep finance simple and accessible, as well as helping families make the most of their money. When not doing that, she is Mum to two boys: one aged four years and the other 9 months.
As a parent too, I believe it is important we sow the seeds of positive financial management with […]
My first guest blog for 2014 is Dr. Jo Verrill, who is the Director at Ceeda. Dr. Jo started out life in academic research before founding an independent research agency in 1999; Jo has a passion for delivering research that makes a real difference for early years businesses. Ceeda specialises in customer and employee research for early years childcare providers, working with large national groups and small owner managed businesses across the country.
I passionately promote self-evaluation and reflective practice and, within this blog, Jo explains how carrying out parent and staff surveys can help you to continuously develop your provision.
“Putting families at the heart of your provision
Staff build relationships with families on a day to day basis as a fundamental part of high quality care. Whether it’s feeding back on the day or sharing information about children’s progress and development at home and in the setting, staff working at the grass roots rightly […]
It is always inspiring to hear of a setting delivering outstanding practice with their children and families. With this in mind I am pleased that Lotte Hunter, Operations Director of Building Blocks Nurseries in Wimbledon, has shared her setting’s stance on how to promote positive attachments between child and Educator during the settling-in period.
“A year and a half ago I attended a conference on attachment which inspired me to review our procedures. Forming secure attachments within the nursery is important for a variety of reasons:
When a child feels secure he or she is able to freely and openly engage both with activities and with others in the environment.
Strong attachments during childhood help form ‘attachment models’ in the brain that are called upon when children enter into relationships later in life. These models form the basis of a self-identity of someone who is loveable and worthy of care.
Our settling-in used to take place within the […]
I am very excited to share that I will be leading a training session at the world renowned Chelsea Open Air Nursery School.
Delegates will have the opportunity to have a tour of the amazing learning environment at Chelsea Open Air Nursery.
Image copyright Chelsea Open Air Nursery
Building Parent Partnerships and Championing the Home Learning Environment
Share research about the benefits for the child of positive parent partnerships and a strong home learning environment
Ways to support families to understand that they play a vital role in their child’s education
Listening to parents and valuing their voices
Links to EYFS as it is now a crucial part of the curriculum
What do we currently do? What could we do? How can we promote it? How can we make it meaningful?
Date: Monday 6th January 2014
Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm
Investment: ONLY £30:00 per person!
Places are limited, so please book […]
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.
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.
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