Magazine September 2018

In this month’s magazine, we’ve brought you some top tips from Tamsin Grimmer to breathe life into story walks. We’ve also featured an article from Helen Garnett which may make you think twice about the method you use to teach numbers and colours to your children!

In this month’s magazine, we’ve brought you some top tips from Tamsin Grimmer to breathe life into story walks. We’ve also featured an article from Helen Garnett which may make you think twice about the method you use to teach numbers and colours to your children!


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Issue 46<br />

SEPTEMBER <strong>2018</strong><br />



Outdoor play<br />

and children’s<br />

mental health<br />

The unexpected truth<br />

about colour and<br />

number recognition<br />

A sensory look at<br />

the fussy eater<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to<br />

WIN<br />

£50<br />

p 34<br />


A creative take on storytelling that encourages children to<br />

use their imagination and extend their vocabulary<br />


hello<br />


Hello and welcome to the <strong>September</strong> edition of the Parenta magazine!<br />

It seems the honeymoon period for the 30 hours has come to an end for parents, as the NDNA have<br />

received reports from settings that parents are increasingly unwilling to pay additional charges to access<br />

the flagship scheme. One year on from its introduction, settings still have a lot of work to do to ensure<br />

that parents understand that the 30 hours are ‘funded’ rather than ‘free’ as advertised by the Government.<br />

Read more about this on page 5.<br />

On a lighter note, in this month’s magazine, we’ve brought you some top tips from Tamsin Grimmer to breathe life into<br />

story walks. We’ve also featured an article from Helen Garnett which may make you think twice about the method you use to<br />

teach numbers and colours to your children!<br />

How would you like to be in with a chance to win an incredible 1000-piece craft hamper for your setting? We’re running a<br />

spooktacular Halloween-themed competition for you to bag this one-of-a-kind prize – full details on how you can enter are on<br />

page 29.<br />

Talking of winners, congratulations to Joanna Grace whose article on messy play received the highest number of views for July.<br />

She received a £50 voucher as her prize! If you’d like to share your thoughts with us on a topic relevant to Early Years, we’d love<br />

to feature your article in the next edition of the magazine.<br />

This month we’ve also created a sensory bin for you to try, themed on the popular children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear<br />

Hunt” on page 12. Why not have a go at making this and tag @TheParentaGroup on social media to show us your sensory<br />

masterpiece?<br />

SEPTEMBER <strong>2018</strong> ISSUE 46<br />



12 How to create a “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”<br />

sensory bin<br />

14 The Adventures of Rocket Rabbit & Sidekick<br />

Squirrel Part 2 – The Badger’s Trap<br />

22 What our customers say<br />

28 Spotlight on... Daniel Spencer<br />

34 Write for us for a chance to win £50<br />

NEWS<br />

4 Children’s charity warns of shortage of 11,000<br />

early years teachers<br />

5 Parents increasingly unwilling to pay extra<br />

charges to access 30-hour scheme<br />

6 Parenta Trust news<br />

8 Nottingham nursery completely transformed<br />

under new ownership<br />

ADVICE<br />

13 World Heart Day <strong>2018</strong>: The importance of a<br />

heart-healthy lifestyle<br />

Activities to mark the changing seasons 32<br />

Nursery transformed under new ownership 8<br />

Best wishes,<br />

Allan<br />


Tamsin Grimmer<br />

shares a creative take<br />

on storytelling that<br />

encourages children to<br />

use their imagination<br />

and extend their<br />

vocabulary 10<br />


It’s World Heart Day<br />

on 29th <strong>September</strong>.<br />

We look at top tips<br />

to keep your heart<br />

healthy along with<br />

ideas to try out in<br />

your setting 13<br />


36<br />

Joanna Grace takes a sensory look<br />

at fussy eaters and shares her advice<br />

on breaking the challenge down into<br />

its tiniest parts<br />

18 Très bien fait! Promoting bilingualism in the Early<br />

Years<br />

26 EYFS activity ideas to try today<br />

32 How to mark the changing of the seasons<br />

during the autumnal equinox<br />

38 World Car Free Day – Will you be doing your bit?<br />


9 The importance of outdoor play for children’s<br />

mental health<br />

10 We’re going on a bear hunt…literally!<br />

20 The unexpected truth about teaching colour and<br />

number recognition<br />

24 Empowering children to embrace failure<br />

30 Bronfenbrenner: children’s learning in a wider<br />

context<br />

36 A sensory look at the fussy eater<br />

Win a 1000 piece craft hamper! 29<br />

Helen Garnett explores whether there is a better way<br />

to teach colour and number recognition to children 20

Children’s charity warns of shortage<br />

of 11,000 early years teachers<br />

Parents increasingly unwilling to pay<br />

extra charges to access 30-hour scheme<br />

Analysis by the charity Save the Children has revealed that there is an acute shortage of early<br />

years teachers in PVI settings in England.<br />

Nurseries and childminders have stated that parents are questioning charges for extras and are<br />

now more likely to say they want the advertised 30 ‘free’ hours.<br />

The figures obtained from a Freedom<br />

of Information request sent to the<br />

Department for Education revealed that<br />

325,000 two-, three- and four-yearolds<br />

in funded places in PVI settings<br />

in England have no access to qualified<br />

early years teachers or someone with<br />

Qualified Teacher Status.<br />

The Freedom of Information request<br />

asked for:<br />

• the number and proportion of<br />

childcare settings in the private,<br />

voluntary and independent sector<br />

who employ an Early Years Teacher<br />

(EYT), Early Years Professional (EYP)<br />

or someone with Qualified Teacher<br />

Status (QTS), and;<br />

• the number of children accessing<br />

funded hours who go to a setting<br />

with an EYT or equivalent.<br />

The charity used the information<br />

obtained to work out the number of PVI<br />

providers who do not employ an early<br />

years teacher or equivalent and the<br />

number of children in funded places who<br />

do not have access to one.<br />

The charity’s analysis found that 10,731<br />

settings out of 21,041 do not have staff<br />

with qualified teacher status, early<br />

years teacher status, or early years<br />

professional status.<br />

Save the Children’s analysis of the data<br />

also showed wide regional variations,<br />

finding that the East Midlands had the<br />

lowest percentage of pre-school children<br />

with access to graduate teachers. Inner<br />

London, however, showed as one of the<br />

top-performing regions, alongside the<br />

North East.<br />

Save the Children director of UK Poverty,<br />

Steven McIntosh, said: “Children who<br />

start behind, stay behind. But highquality<br />

childcare, led by graduate early<br />

years teachers, can ensure children are<br />

ready for school. So instead of lowering<br />

ambitions for childcare quality, the<br />

Government should keep its promise to<br />

address the crisis in training, recruiting<br />

and retaining these underpaid and<br />

undervalued teachers. All of our little<br />

ones should have access to nursery care<br />

led by an early years teacher. Without<br />

action, we’ll be letting down our next<br />

generation.”<br />

Save the Children’s findings come in the<br />

wake of the Government’s decision to<br />

abandon proposals to grow the early<br />

years graduate workforce in poorer<br />

areas and to change the rules to allow<br />

those with Early Years Teacher Status<br />

(EYTS) or Early Years Professional Status<br />

(EYPS) to lead classes in maintained<br />

settings.<br />

Last month, an open letter penned to<br />

children and families minister Nadhim<br />

Zahawi from 12 leading early years<br />

figures stated that they were ‘alarmed’<br />

at the Government’s decision to drop its<br />

commitment to grow the graduate early<br />

years workforce, calling for action to<br />

reverse this decision.<br />

Nadhim Zahawi said of the charity’s<br />

analysis: “Save the Children’s claim is<br />

misleading, university study is just one<br />

route into the early years workforce.<br />

There are over 250,000 dedicated<br />

professionals in the private or voluntary<br />

early years workforce, with many coming<br />

from apprenticeship or on the job<br />

training routes.<br />

“Most recently the secretary of state<br />

announced a £20 million fund to provide<br />

training and professional development<br />

for early years staff in disadvantaged<br />

areas to increase their ability to support<br />

children’s early speech and language<br />

development.”<br />

According to the National Day Nurseries<br />

Association (NDNA), there have been<br />

reports that some settings in deprived<br />

areas have experienced parents who<br />

can’t or won’t pay for meals, and who are<br />

refusing to send their children in with a<br />

packed lunch.<br />

In some cases, parents have moved their<br />

children from one setting to another if it<br />

means not having to pay for extras.<br />

Spokesperson for the Champagne<br />

Nurseries on Lemonade Funding campaign<br />

group and manager of Playsteps Day<br />

Nursery in Swindon, Jo Morris-Golds, said:<br />

“As we go into the second year of full<br />

roll-out, CNLF is hearing from providers<br />

that more parents are refusing to pay<br />

[for extras] as they say it is free. We are<br />

coming out of the honeymoon period.<br />

“For our nursery, the vast majority of<br />

parents are happy to pay, but we are<br />

getting some parents who are dictating<br />

when they want their funded hours, which<br />

goes against our model of delivery. We<br />

can only be flexible to a point.<br />

“I don’t blame parents at all, as the<br />

offer has been advertised as being free<br />

nationally and locally.<br />

“This has acted as a reminder that<br />

educating parents about the 30 hours is<br />

an ongoing process. I didn’t realise how<br />

much work it would be.”<br />

The 30-hour childcare scheme for working<br />

parents of 3- and 4-year-olds was rolled<br />

out in <strong>September</strong> last year. Under the<br />

previous 15-hour scheme, nurseries could<br />

make up the shortfall in funded hours by<br />

charging parents more for additional hours.<br />

Andrea North, a childminder based in<br />

Derbyshire, said: “Parents are increasingly<br />

finding loopholes so they can take up<br />

their 30 hours place without having to pay<br />

anything. As a result, I lost one child to a<br />

nursery in July and am set to lose another<br />

in December – both of them have been<br />

with me since they were babies.”<br />

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of<br />

the NDNA, said, “Our recent research<br />

shows charging parents for extras is<br />

now commonplace, with only a quarter<br />

of nurseries not charging for meals and<br />

extras.<br />

“This is largely because the whole scheme<br />

is underfunded – delivery costs have gone<br />

up while funding has stagnated. This<br />

year, 87 per cent of nurseries say funding<br />

doesn’t cover their costs.<br />

“While we haven’t been aware of nurseries<br />

experiencing widespread problems with<br />

asking parents to pay for meals and<br />

extras, nurseries have been put in a very<br />

difficult position by Government. Most<br />

providers can only make this work by<br />

charging parents for meals and extras.<br />

“Ministers must acknowledge that there<br />

is a problem and either increase funding<br />

so parental charges are no longer crucial<br />

or allow nurseries to make mandatory<br />

charges.<br />

“Either way, the Government must stop<br />

marketing 30 hours as ‘free’ – they are<br />

not free for either the parents or nurseries<br />

and never have been.”<br />

Parents must not be required to pay<br />

additional fees as a condition of taking<br />

up the 30 funded hours, a Department<br />

for Education spokesperson said. Where<br />

parents purchase additional hours<br />

of childcare or pay for extras such as<br />

consumables or other activities, it is a<br />

private matter between them and the<br />

childcare provider.<br />

4 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 5

NEWS<br />


sponsor a child...<br />

For as little as 56p per day, you can change a child’s life.<br />

Becoming a sponsor can truly change lives! It gives children the opportunity<br />

to reach their full potential, receiving opportunities they may otherwise<br />

miss out on. Sponsorship brings real hope to the children who need<br />

it most, helping them feel loved and safe in the knowledge that<br />

someone truly cares.<br />

You’ll be able to see firsthand the difference you’re making with regular<br />

updates, letters and drawings from your sponsored boy or girl.<br />

Each sponsored child benefits from a pre-school education,<br />

a school uniform, a daily hot meal, school supplies and the<br />

knowledge that someone really cares.<br />


Walking for Dan<br />

On 5th July, Brookfield Infant and Junior School in Larkfield, Kent held a special Ugandan Day. This<br />

included a sponsored walk around the school field and collecting water, bread, rice and recycled<br />

school equipment to illustrate how children in Uganda have to walk miles in order to gather food<br />

or access a basic education.<br />

parentatrust.com<br />

The day was called “Walking for Dan”<br />

and was held in memory of former<br />

Parenta head of marketing and trustee<br />

of Parenta Trust Dan Carlton, who sadly<br />

passed away in December 2016. His<br />

mother Rowena taught at the school<br />

for over 26 years and the teachers and<br />

pupils wanted to continue the legacy of<br />

Dan’s fantastic fundraising. They raised<br />

£2000 on the day!<br />

These vital funds will be put towards<br />

the build of the charity’s sixth preschool<br />

in Uganda. Each pre-school can<br />

accommodate between 140-250 children<br />

and is designed to ensure they get the<br />

best possible start in life - one that every<br />

child deserves.<br />

Over the period of a decade, Parenta<br />

Trust has pledged to build 250 schools<br />

for children living in disadvantaged<br />

areas of the world.<br />

We’re excited to announce that we’re holding<br />

two charity balls this year – one in Maidstone<br />

and the other in Bath.<br />

<strong>2018</strong><br />


22<br />

Mercure Great Danes Hotel,<br />

Maidstone<br />

Parenta Trust invites you to our<br />

third black-tie fundraising event<br />

in our hometown of Maidstone. Join us for a<br />

sparkling evening with food, drink, dancing<br />

and of course, a charity raffle brimming with<br />

prizes. Tickets are already selling fast!<br />


<strong>2018</strong><br />

20<br />



Hilton Bath City, Bath<br />

This year, we’re excited to<br />

announce that Parenta Trust will<br />

also host a charity ball in Bath for<br />

the very first time. Dust off your best dinner<br />

jacket or gown to join us for a special evening<br />

raising money for a great cause! All proceeds<br />

will help us fund the build of our next school.<br />

Don’t miss out! Get your tickets here:<br />

www.parentatrust.com/store<br />

6 Parenta.com<br />


Nottingham nursery completely<br />

transformed under new ownership<br />

The importance of outdoor play for<br />

children’s mental health<br />

A new nursery opened last month next door to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, taking<br />

the place of a setting which was previously rated as “Requires improvement” by Ofsted.<br />

Children in modern day society are exposed to stressful environments, pressurised tests from the<br />

early age of 6 and a vast range of new and exciting technologies; it is no surprise that negative<br />

statistics about children’s mental health are increasing year on year.<br />

The outdoors is where children can fully<br />

be themselves. With fewer restrictions,<br />

there is something about the outdoors<br />

that is exciting and exhilarating for<br />

them and creates a form of escapism.<br />

This feeling of freedom in open space<br />

brings with it a sense of happiness and<br />

well-being that is hard to beat.<br />

Healthier and happier minds<br />

Whether it’s watching television or<br />

playing with their latest gadget,<br />

children are spending less time<br />

outdoors than ever before.<br />

The setting, formerly called Young Ones<br />

Day Nursery, was bought by paediatric<br />

nurse and former health visitor Liz<br />

Hudson. The new owner is in no way<br />

affiliated with the old nursery.<br />

Liz completely refurbished the nursery,<br />

including revamping the garden area.<br />

The setting now has spaces for up to<br />

50 children in different rooms, including<br />

a baby room (Cygnets), toddler room<br />

(Swans) and a pre-school room (Wise<br />

Owls). It cares for children from 6 weeks<br />

right up to 5 years old.<br />

The outdoor space has a mud kitchen,<br />

covered play area and a woodland area<br />

complete with wooden climbing frame.<br />

The setting currently employs 5<br />

members of staff, including nursery<br />

manager Rachel Allsopp.<br />

Although Liz has prior experience<br />

working with children as a nurse, this<br />

is the first time she has ever bought a<br />

nursery and made a go of running a<br />

childcare business from scratch.<br />

The refurbished setting - now called<br />

Tiny Robins Day Nursery – was officially<br />

opened on the 18th June.<br />

Setting owner Liz said: “We are very<br />

proud of our new nursery and welcome<br />

all potential parents and carers to come<br />

and have a viewing of the nursery. The<br />

feedback we have had is amazing and<br />

we look forward to meeting more new<br />

families. Our ethos is to nurture each<br />

child to their full potential in a caring and<br />

supportive environment.”<br />

Nursery manager Rachel said: “I’m<br />

so surprised by the nursery, I saw<br />

the setting before Liz started the<br />

transformation and cannot believe<br />

what an amazing environment<br />

she has created. The nursery is so<br />

welcoming and really feels like a family<br />

environment. When parents view the<br />

nursery they give incredible feedback,<br />

some are even booking in advance for<br />

next year.”<br />

Find out more at<br />

http://www.tinyrobinsdaynursery.co.uk<br />

Without regular exposure outside,<br />

children are struggling to keep<br />

engaged during school especially<br />

when they are expected to absorb so<br />

much information for regular tests and<br />

assessments.<br />

Spending time walking, running,<br />

jumping, climbing or simply connecting<br />

with nature outside will bring endless<br />

benefits to children’s overall well-being.<br />

A study by Open University’s<br />

OPENspace Research Centre found that<br />

outdoor play increases life expectancy,<br />

improves well-being and reduces the<br />

symptoms of mental health problems.<br />

Further findings from the study included<br />

higher concentration levels and an<br />

improvement in children’s ability to<br />

function during school.<br />

Vitamin D levels<br />

The outdoors provides natural sunlight,<br />

helping children produce Vitamin D<br />

which releases serotonin into the body.<br />

Due to the fact that Vitamin D is not<br />

found in many foods, children need<br />

sunlight exposure to give themselves<br />

a greater chance of responding to<br />

negative emotions and self-destructive<br />

behaviour.<br />

With demanding routines, school and<br />

homework, children are always learning<br />

new information that they are expected<br />

to absorb daily.<br />

Allowing children to play freely outdoors<br />

will remove them from any stressful<br />

environment and give their minds a<br />

break from their hectic routines.<br />

Using this approach will result in<br />

children feeling balanced, refreshed<br />

and ready to learn rather than<br />

drained, unhappy and fed up from an<br />

overloading of information.<br />

Why sleep is important<br />

Sleep directly impacts a child’s mental<br />

health as they need to give their brains<br />

a rest to recover and process all the<br />

information they have learned during<br />

the day.<br />

Outdoor play improves a child’s sleep<br />

as physical activity releases endorphins<br />

and helps produce melatonin which<br />

makes children feel sleepy. Sleepdeprived<br />

children are often less active<br />

and irritable which impacts their mood<br />

and mental wellbeing.<br />

During a recent study within the UK, it<br />

was discovered that just five minutes<br />

of physical activity in a natural outdoor<br />

environment can rapidly improve a<br />

child’s self-esteem, mental health and<br />

wellbeing… it’s time for children to<br />

embrace the outdoors.<br />

8 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 9<br />

This article has been written by Pentagon Play who design and install outdoor learning environments for schools across the UK.


ON A BEAR<br />

HUNT<br />

... LITERALLY!<br />

We’re going on a bear hunt…literally!<br />

We all enjoy reading lovely books like The Gruffalo or Rosie’s Walk with our young children, but<br />

a great way to really get the children engrossed is to dramatise these stories by actually walking<br />

with the mouse through the wood or strolling with Rosie around the farmyard.<br />

We could call this approach story<br />

walks or tale trails! Drama and<br />

creatively enacting tales are old forms<br />

of storytelling which have engaged<br />

both adults and children alike over the<br />

ages. Children have the opportunity to<br />

be creative and use their imagination,<br />

extend their vocabulary and develop<br />

their social skills whilst re-enacting<br />

a familiar story. Telling stories on<br />

the move is also a lot of fun, children<br />

become totally engrossed and it can<br />

happen inside or outside, whatever the<br />

weather!<br />

Depending on the age and stage of<br />

development of the children in your care,<br />

you may want to prepare the props for<br />

the story walk in advance. However,<br />

you can have a lot of fun setting up the<br />

story props with the children too. For<br />

example, when I was childminding, we<br />

had been reading We’re Going on a Bear<br />

Hunt by Michael Rosen and I suggested<br />

we went on our very own bear hunt. We<br />

talked through the different terrain that<br />

the children in the story visit and thought<br />

about how we could recreate the story<br />

for ourselves. On this occasion, we stuck<br />

to the order and specifics of the book as<br />

a frame but the more familiar children<br />

become with this method of storytelling,<br />

the more creative you can all become;<br />

inventing your own additions to stories<br />

or even making up your own.<br />

The children decided that we would<br />

swish and swash through the grass<br />

outside (which was probably taller<br />

than it should have been, having not<br />

been cut recently) to begin our bear<br />

hunt. We then thought about what we<br />

could use as the river – we didn’t have<br />

a paddling pool or real stream nearby,<br />

but I remembered that I had a blue<br />

blanket and showed it to the children.<br />

Thankfully, they thought it would make<br />

a perfect river! They then decided to<br />

pour some water on the patch of muddy<br />

grass under the swing to make the<br />

squelchy mud and found that we could<br />

‘stumble trip’ under the apple tree for<br />

the dark forest. Our snowstorm was a<br />

white sheet pegged on the washing line<br />

and the dark cave was a small play tent.<br />

Unbeknown to the children, I had hidden<br />

a large teddy bear in the tent. So we set<br />

off on our bear hunt together, visiting the<br />

various places in the story, and when<br />

we started tiptoeing into the cave, the<br />

children all shrieked with joy when they<br />

discovered our very own bear! We then<br />

had to run back through all the places<br />

we’d visited and run into the house…<br />

we had a large throw on the sofa which<br />

was perfect for us to hide under as we<br />

escaped from the bear, exhausted but<br />

exhilarated from our adventure!<br />

You can dramatise any story with a few<br />

basic props in hand, although some<br />

stories perfectly lend themselves to this<br />

sort of story walk, for example:<br />

• We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by<br />

Michael Rosen<br />

• Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins<br />

• The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson<br />

• Whatever next? by Jill Murphy<br />

• Emma Jane’s Aeroplane by Katie<br />

Haworth & Daniel Rieley<br />

• Captain Duck by Jez Alborough<br />

• Up, Up, Up by Susan Reed<br />

• Walking through the Jungle by Julie<br />

Lacome<br />

Traditional tales like The Three Little<br />

Pigs or Goldilocks and the Three Bears<br />

are also great stories to act out with<br />

young children. This type of storytelling<br />

is not static - where children act out a<br />

scene on a stage - but active, where<br />

children physically move from scene to<br />

scene through the setting. The addition<br />

of movement encourages<br />

attention and listening<br />

skills to keep the<br />

children engaged<br />

but also supports<br />

their physical<br />

development.<br />

Story walks are simple<br />

and really good fun<br />

– so grab your<br />

wellies and go<br />

on a bear<br />

hunt<br />

today!<br />

Tamsin Grimmer<br />

Tamsin Grimmer is an<br />

experienced early years<br />

consultant and trainer and<br />

parent who is passionate<br />

about young children’s<br />

learning and development.<br />

She believes that all children<br />

deserve practitioners who<br />

are inspiring, dynamic,<br />

reflective and committed to<br />

improving on their current<br />

best. Tamsin particularly<br />

enjoys planning and<br />

delivering training and<br />

supporting early years<br />

practitioners and teachers to<br />

improve outcomes for young<br />

children.<br />

Tamsin has written two<br />

books - Observing and<br />

Developing Schematic<br />

Behaviour in Young Children<br />

and School Readiness<br />

and the Characteristics of<br />

Effective Learning.<br />

Website:<br />

tamsingrimmer.co.uk<br />

Facebook:<br />

facebook.com/earlyyears.<br />

consultancy.5<br />

Twitter:<br />

@tamsingrimmer<br />

Email:<br />

info@tamsingrimmer.co.uk<br />

10 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 11

How to create How a to “We’re create aGoing on a Bear Hunt”<br />

sensory “We’re bin Going on a Bear Hunt”<br />

1<br />

2<br />

sensory bin<br />

This is a great sensory bin based on the popular children’s<br />

story by Michael Rosen.<br />

To start, take a cardboard box and cut away the top<br />

and one side, giving a nice open area to play with.<br />

Paint the interior of the box white to use as a base.<br />


►►<br />

A box to hold all the items<br />

►►<br />

Grass - shredded green paper<br />

►►<br />

River - dyed orzo pasta<br />

►►<br />

Mud - playdough<br />

►►<br />

Forest - paper trees<br />

►►<br />

Snowstorm - cotton wool<br />

►►<br />

Cave - cardboard<br />

►►<br />

Pond - hair gel and more blue<br />

orzo pasta in a sandwich bag<br />

► ► A teddy bear<br />

►►<br />

Scissors<br />

►►<br />

Glue stick<br />

►►<br />

Paintbrush<br />

►►<br />

Sellotape<br />

World Heart Day <strong>2018</strong>: The<br />

importance of a hearthealthy<br />

lifestyle<br />

World Heart Day is celebrated on the 29th <strong>September</strong> each year.<br />

The day focuses on what measures can be taken to prevent<br />

cardiovascular disease (CVD), which kills 17.5 million people every year<br />

– approximately a third of all deaths globally. By 2030, this figure is<br />

expected to rise to 23 million.<br />

3<br />

“Bear cave!” - Fold a<br />

piece of cardboard to make<br />

a shelter and secure to<br />

the base of the box using<br />

sellotape.<br />

Snow - Simply add chunks of<br />

cotton wool to the box.<br />

4<br />

Now you can add the following onto the white base:<br />

Mud - Roll out brown<br />

playdough, flatten this and lay<br />

it across the bottom of the box.<br />

Finally, settle the bear proudly into his home.<br />

Tip: You can use a variety of age-appropriate<br />

sensory materials, adding whatever you think<br />

would encourage children to play and explore.<br />

You can use alternatives to what has been used<br />

here, maybe even using real water with food<br />

colouring - it’s entirely up to you!<br />

Trees - Cut out the trees on<br />

green paper and use the glue<br />

stick to glue around the edges.<br />

You could also use broccoli to<br />

represent the trees.<br />

River - For the river, dye orzo pasta blue. You could use watereddown<br />

paint for this, but food colouring would work just as well. Take<br />

half a kitchen roll tube and fill this with the blue flowing orzo river.<br />

Grass - Take green sheets of<br />

paper and used a shredder to<br />

create grass. Sprinkle this around<br />

different areas of the box.<br />

Pond - Take a sandwich bag, fill<br />

this with clear hair gel, add some<br />

leftover blue orzo pasta, mix this<br />

all together and seal in the bag.<br />

Add this to the base of the box.<br />

Don’t forget to share your bear hunt sensory bins with us!<br />

Tag @TheParentaGroup in your Facebook / Instagram<br />

posts - we look forward to seeing your take on this<br />

wonderful sensory craft.<br />

‘Cardiovascular disease’ is<br />

a term which describes all<br />

diseases relating to the heart<br />

and circulation. It includes<br />

everything from conditions<br />

that are diagnosed at birth to<br />

conditions developed later in life<br />

such as coronary heart disease,<br />

heart failure, and stroke.<br />

The World Heart Day initiative<br />

was founded in 2000 by the<br />

World Heart Federation as a<br />

platform for raising awareness<br />

of CVD. The day seeks to<br />

promote ways to keep hearts<br />

healthy such as exercising<br />

regularly, eating and drinking<br />

well, and stopping heartdamaging<br />

habits such as<br />

smoking.<br />

The World Heart Federation<br />

wants everyone to make a<br />

heart promise this <strong>September</strong><br />

– a promise to look after your<br />

heart and those of the people<br />

you care about. There are a<br />

number of ways you can do<br />

this, from making improvements<br />

to your diet to taking part in<br />

regular physical activity.<br />

Want to get involved with promoting<br />

awareness of heart health for World Heart<br />

Day <strong>2018</strong>? Find out more and download<br />

the free resources available from<br />

www.world-heart-federation.<br />

org/world-heart-day<br />


Try to eat 5 portions of fruit and<br />

vegetables each day (fresh, tinned or<br />

frozen all count towards this)<br />

Choose unsweetened beverages and<br />

water instead of sugary drinks<br />

Limit the consumption of processed and<br />

pre-packaged food which can be high in<br />

fat, salt and sugar<br />

Walk and cycle short distances rather<br />

than taking the car<br />

Aim to do 30 minutes of moderate activity,<br />

5 times per week – walking, housework<br />

and dancing all count<br />

Take the stairs instead of using a lift or<br />

escalator<br />

Track your progress using a pedometer or<br />

exercise app on your phone<br />


Teach the children about how their heart<br />

works. Help them locate where the heart<br />

is in their bodies, then explain what it<br />

does and how to keep hearts healthy<br />

Let children listen to their hearts through<br />

a stethoscope before and after an<br />

exercise activity to hear how different<br />

they sound<br />

Look at the different foods which help<br />

hearts stay strong such as spinach,<br />

tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries,<br />

broccoli and fish like tuna<br />

Hold a fundraising day to raise money<br />

for a relevant charity such as the British<br />

Heart Foundation. This will help fund<br />

important research to help treat heart<br />

and circulatory diseases in the future<br />

Today in the UK..<br />

• 545 people<br />

will go into<br />

hospital due to<br />

a heart attack<br />

• 180 people<br />

will die from a<br />

heart attack<br />

• 12 babies will<br />

be diagnosed<br />

with a heart<br />

defect<br />

<strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 13

The Adventures of<br />

Rocket Rabbit &<br />

Sidekick Squirrel part 2 -<br />

The Badger’s Trap<br />

“Is it possible that there<br />

are others like<br />

us?” Rocket Rabbit<br />

asked, unsure if<br />

she wanted to know<br />

the answer. If there were<br />

naughty animals running<br />

loose who were as clever<br />

as them – it would be a<br />

disaster!<br />

Previously on Rocket Rabbit & Sidekick Squirrel….<br />

Following their many school visits, our heroes returned<br />

to their hideout - possibly hoping for a little rest. Instead,<br />

they got a call and took a mission – to stop a baddy!<br />

Rocket Rabbit got dressed into her suit and found all<br />

of the things she needed for this important mission.<br />

She has a belt with all kinds of gadgets in it. All sorts<br />

of useful things, designed and built by her best friend<br />

Sidekick Squirrel.<br />

There was a special tool that could open any lock and<br />

even one that held a parachute – in case they ever<br />

needed to jump from somewhere up high.<br />

There was a special remote control for controlling the<br />

Super-Car and the Super-Jet from far away. And there<br />

was even a special tool for keeping track of where all<br />

the special tools are!<br />

The two superheroes were soon dressed in their<br />

superhero costumes and were in the Super-Jet ready to<br />

head out on their mission. Sidekick had taken some time<br />

to gather all the various computers and tablets she may<br />

need whilst on the flight.<br />

Although she still did not know where they were<br />

heading…or why!<br />

Rocket Rabbit helped Sidekick Squirrel to steer the Jet<br />

down the runway …out of the hideout … through the<br />

secret door …and into the air.<br />

Once they were flying at a nice steady height, Rocket<br />

pressed a button so that the Jet was flying itself, as if by<br />

magic.<br />

“Where are we going?” Sidekick Squirrel asked.<br />

“Ah,” said Rocket Rabbit, twitching her long ears. “We<br />

are going to stop a baddy who is trying to steal some<br />

jewels!”<br />

Sidekick didn’t look very excited at all by that news.<br />

Stopping a baddy stealing jewels was something they<br />

did every day!<br />

“It’s a big one.” Rocket said, quickly. “One of the biggest<br />

in years and the really exciting bit is that the police do<br />

not know who the baddy is. People who saw it said that<br />

it is a creature. Not a human!”<br />

That got Sidekick’s attention. Apart from the two of<br />

them, no other animals could talk or dress up or<br />

think about stealing things. This was going to a very<br />

interesting mission.<br />

Sidekick Squirrel put on her thinking<br />

face, with her left paw rubbing her chin. It was<br />

something that she had not thought about before.<br />

Rocket Rabbit was not used to seeing her friend like<br />

this. She waited patiently to the side, leaning on one of<br />

the Jet’s walls, munching on a carrot, as it took them<br />

smoothly towards where they were going.<br />

After a while, Sidekick Squirrel looked up and nodded.<br />

“Yes…There could be others like us.”<br />

The Jet sounded an alarm right at that moment. The two<br />

heroes jumped back in their seats. Sidekick took hold<br />

of one of the Jet’s control levers, Rocket grabbed the<br />

second.<br />

“We are about to find out if there are others.” Rocket<br />

shouted over the noise of the wheels coming out of the<br />

bottom of the Jet.<br />

“Let’s land over there!” she pointed to a small field next<br />

to a huge jewellery shop.<br />

Once they landed, the two hero animals leapt from<br />

under the Jet’s huge window, which slid completely into<br />

the main bit of the spacecraft. They left it open, in case<br />

they needed a quick escape.<br />

No-one else could fly the Jet, so it was safe.<br />

a broken tap and litter blew about the<br />

street from a knocked over bin.<br />

They quickly saw the front of the shop – It was a<br />

complete mess with rubbish everywhere!<br />

Rocket Rabbit took control. She held her finger to her<br />

lips, instructing Sidekick to keep quiet. Then she pointed<br />

left. Sidekick positioned herself to the left of the messy<br />

shop, listening for any sounds inside.<br />

Rocket crept round to the other side, crouched down,<br />

crawling with her ears down.<br />

When she was on the right of the shop, her ears shot up<br />

trying to listen hard for any noises. But she couldn’t hear<br />

anything.<br />

Suddenly, a thunderous crash!<br />

Someone or something was inside the shop!<br />

Both heroes jumped out of their hiding places, ready for<br />

a fight.<br />

Rocket Rabbit and Sidekick Squirrel were creeping slowly<br />

and carefully towards the shop. There were all kinds<br />

of alarms going off and in the street ahead of them,<br />

several cars were upside down, water sprayed from<br />

‘This is what heroes do’ thought Sidekick to herself. ‘Run<br />

towards the loud noise instead of running away like a<br />

normal person!’<br />

14 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 15

They entered the main room of the shop and saw the baddy. A giant badger!<br />

Nearly as tall as a person. She was simply stood in the middle of the room. Like<br />

she was waiting for something.<br />


“Finally!” The badger shouted. “I’ve been waiting for you two to get here.”<br />

EYFS Software<br />

Rocket grabbed the big bag of jewels from The Badger’s paws, before she even<br />

saw it coming.<br />

The Badger did not even seem to care.<br />

Before the heroes realised what was happening, The Badger had pressed a button<br />

and used a magic jetpack to fly out of the shop.<br />

She escaped…just.<br />

As her jetpack steered her out of the completely messy shop and away from our<br />

superheroes, they could just about hear her saying…”You’d better watch out you<br />

two, my boss wants to see you!”<br />

Richard Dodd<br />

Richard has been writing for<br />

as long as he can remember.<br />

English was a subject he<br />

enjoyed in school as it just<br />

made sense to him. He loved<br />

to read and requested his<br />

own bedroom so that he could<br />

have a bookcase! His favourite<br />

childhood authors included<br />

Enid Blyton, R. L. Stine, M. D.<br />

Spenser, and Charles Dickens.<br />

Characters, stories and even<br />

words he has taken in through<br />

all of those books have stayed<br />

with Richard for two decades.<br />

He firmly believes that books<br />

are integral in a person’s<br />

upbringing and that those<br />

experiences will stay with them<br />

throughout their lives.<br />

He can recall parts of those<br />

books in their entirety, from<br />

the tone of voice described by<br />

the author to certain scenes<br />

from The Famous Five or Secret<br />

Seven. Richard loves fiction<br />

and the idea of escaping and<br />

therefore creating an escape<br />

for a reader is the very reason<br />

he writes.<br />

Richard has written four books,<br />

three in the Fluffy the Magic<br />

Penguin series and a standalone<br />

book called ‘The Secret<br />

Passageway’.<br />

contact@parenta.com<br />

Improve safeguarding with stateof-the-art<br />

photo tagging and<br />

blurring<br />

0800 002 9242<br />

Plan activities which can be<br />

converted into observations,<br />

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BOOK A<br />


parenta.com/fsdemo<br />

Record CoEL and Leuven Scales as<br />

part of observations<br />

Facebook:<br />

www.facebook.com/<br />

richarddodd.author/<br />

Email:<br />

Richard.dodd@upburypress.<br />

co.uk<br />

Website:<br />

www.upburypress.co.uk<br />

PART 3!<br />

16 Parenta.com Make sure you read the October edition of the Parenta magazine for part 3!<br />

If you missed the first installment you can read it in our August magazine - visit parenta.com/magazine<br />

We’d love to hear yours and your children’s feedback on the story so far - please email us marketing@parenta.com<br />

View key information at a glance<br />

for all of your children<br />

Analyse the progress of different<br />

groups of children at the same time<br />

with cohort tracking<br />

Save hours by using personalised<br />

templates for observations<br />


*Terms and conditions apply, see our website for details<br />

Come and view a DEMO of the<br />

new and improved Footsteps on<br />


Très bien fait!<br />

Promoting bilingualism<br />

in the Early Years<br />

Here in the UK, we enjoy a melting pot of different cultures and<br />

languages. No doubt you’ll have children in your setting who are<br />

growing up in homes where English is not the first language. In<br />

fact, it has been reported that over 1 in 5 primary school children<br />

use English as an additional language. For these children, their<br />

initial exposure to English may come from their experiences<br />

within a childcare setting.<br />

The diverse range of languages used<br />

today in the UK is astounding. This can<br />

lie partly in the fact that immigrants<br />

from Europe and further afield have<br />

successfully settled in the UK and made<br />

a new life for themselves. The most<br />

widely spoken immigrant language is<br />

Polish, with 546,000 speakers. This is<br />

followed by Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and<br />

Gujarati.<br />

Being able to speak more than one<br />

language has many educational, social<br />

and economic benefits. It can open up<br />

doors for children, especially in a job<br />

market where international companies<br />

are looking to hire bilingual candidates.<br />

It may surprise you to learn that bilingual<br />

employees can earn between 5%-20%<br />

more per hour than their monolingual<br />

counterparts.<br />

Crucially, though, maintaining fluency in<br />

a child’s native language provides them<br />

with a link to their family’s own culture<br />

and heritage.<br />

Research suggests that 54% of people<br />

in Europe are bilingual. However, it is<br />

widely known that Britons have a poor<br />

track record when it comes to their<br />

reputation for being monoglots (only<br />

able to speak one language). And,<br />

whilst English is the most widely spoken<br />

language in the EU, there’s no better<br />

way to strike up a rapport with people<br />

from other cultures then attempting to<br />

speak the local language.<br />

Acquiring and speaking multiple<br />

languages for children in the Early Years<br />

is relatively easy compared to adulthood.<br />

Whilst there seems to be a lot of debate<br />

as to the ‘peak window’ for learning a<br />

second language, there seems to be<br />

some consensus that the earlier a child<br />

learns a second language, the more<br />

quickly they’ll attain native-like language<br />

proficiency. So, whilst children are laying<br />

down the foundation for communication<br />

in infancy, what better time to introduce<br />

them to another language?<br />

The results of a quick Google search<br />

reveal that there are lots of franchises<br />

such as La Jolie Ronde, providing<br />

language learning support for 0-<br />

12-year-olds. The typical format of this<br />

learning combines a weekly lesson with<br />

a fluent speaker as well as storytelling,<br />

songs and games in the target<br />

language.<br />

As a setting, you may be able to afford<br />

to run a weekly class like this or offer it<br />

under the provision that parents pay an<br />

additional fee. But in what ways can you<br />

encourage bilingualism at your setting?<br />

Follow our tips below:<br />

• Introduce songs, nursery rhymes<br />

and games in other languages to<br />

the children<br />

• Invite parents of a child whose first<br />

language isn’t English to come into<br />

the setting and talk about their<br />

culture and traditions, perhaps even<br />

introducing a few simple words in<br />

their home language to the children<br />

• Display words in different languages<br />

around the setting<br />

• Identify and learn some key phrases<br />

in the child’s first language such as<br />

needing the toilet or being thirsty.<br />

Ask the parents to check your<br />

pronunciation of these phrases<br />

• Share songs in multiple languages.<br />

An example of this is singing a good<br />

morning song with a verse in every<br />

language in the setting. Parents can<br />

help with this by sending home the<br />

verse in English and asking them to<br />

translate it into their home language<br />

• Choose books in different<br />

languages<br />

• When a new vacancy arises,<br />

consider employing bilingual<br />

childcare practitioners<br />

• Widen the learning opportunities<br />

for children by labelling parts<br />

of a flower (for example) in two<br />

languages, with the help of a<br />

bilingual child<br />

Exposing all children (whether or not<br />

they’re monolingual) to a range of<br />

languages is important, so that they<br />

can appreciate linguistic diversity and<br />

differences in culture from an early age.<br />

Practitioners can model positive<br />

attitudes towards language learning<br />

by making the effort to speak to a child<br />

whose first language isn’t English in<br />

their native tongue and by embracing<br />

parents’ help with aspects such as<br />

word pronunciation. Taking this further,<br />

there are plenty of opportunities to<br />

help monolingual children learn a<br />

second language by including foreign<br />

languages as a normal part of your<br />

setting’s routine and activities, using<br />

some of the ideas above.<br />

If young children see the value of<br />

bilingualism from an early age, they’re<br />

more likely to want to pursue the love<br />

of learning a language and become<br />

interested in finding out about people<br />

from different cultures. This is of vital<br />

importance in preventing them from<br />

adopting an attitude of segregation or<br />

separation to those who they encounter<br />

or perceive as markedly ‘different’ in the<br />

future.<br />

Did you know?<br />

Every year on the 26th<br />

<strong>September</strong>, the European Day of<br />

Languages is held. Organised by the<br />

European Union and the Council of Europe, it<br />

aims to celebrate both the cultural and linguistic<br />

diversity within Europe and to encourage and<br />

promote language learning. There are 24<br />

official EU languages and around 60<br />

minority languages!

The unexpected<br />

truth about<br />

teaching colour<br />

and number<br />

recognition<br />

Have we got it wrong?<br />

A small group of pre-schoolers are playing<br />

at the sand table. Some exciting props have<br />

been added, along with a dozen or so brightlycoloured<br />

diggers, tractors and trailers. The<br />

children are engaged and happy, and the<br />

practitioner is modelling talking about colours,<br />

numbers and position.<br />

“Look, your blue tractor is going up the hill!”<br />

“You’ve got two tractors!”<br />

This is certainly how I<br />

have presented colours<br />

and numbers in my own<br />

practice. But it seems<br />

that I may well have been<br />

misinformed. According to a<br />

recent study, such traditional<br />

intentional colour and<br />

number recognition teaching<br />

is more likely to confuse<br />

children than help them. And,<br />

considering that pretty well all<br />

practitioners present colours<br />

and numbers in this way, it<br />

may be a very good thing to<br />

explore this a little further.<br />

The obstacles of English<br />

grammar<br />

English colours are<br />

particularly difficult to learn.<br />

Our rules of grammar put the<br />

colour firmly before the noun,<br />

“I’ve got a red balloon.” When<br />

we name colours like this,<br />

they resemble proper nouns:<br />

Red Balloon, a bit like Peter<br />

Smith.<br />

Likewise, with numbers,<br />

English grammar places<br />

the number word before<br />

the object: “We’ve got<br />

three biscuits.” This socalled<br />

prenominal naming<br />

of numbers or colours is<br />

the confusing part. We are<br />

drawing a child’s attention<br />

to the object while asking<br />

them to recognise the colour<br />

or number at the same time.<br />

As a result, their attention<br />

becomes divided, and the<br />

number or colour word can<br />

get lost.<br />

An unexpected result<br />

A study i a few years back<br />

considered how young<br />

children learn colour words.<br />

They conducted a series of<br />

tests on two-year-olds to see<br />

if they could correctly identify<br />

colours in a three-colour<br />

line-up.<br />

There was an unexpected<br />

result. Almost all of these<br />

two-year-olds could not pick<br />

out the right colours. Their<br />

parents were astonished!<br />

Surely their child would pass<br />

the test with flying colours,<br />

if you’ll pardon the pun.<br />

But of course, the contextfree<br />

testing environment<br />

totally stumped the children.<br />

While they were more than<br />

capable of producing colour<br />

words in familiar contexts<br />

like “Yellow banana!”, they<br />

simply could not reliably use<br />

colour words in unfamiliar<br />

contexts.<br />

This testing of colour<br />

recognition was followed up<br />

with postnominal training to<br />

one group of children (saying<br />

the colour after the noun)<br />

and prenominal training<br />

(saying the colour before<br />

the noun) to another group.<br />

It was discovered that the<br />

postnominal group improved<br />

significantly, learning colour<br />

words rapidly. The other<br />

group showed no signs of<br />

learning.<br />

This is an eye-opener.<br />

The children’s colour<br />

recognition was significantly<br />

strengthened when adults<br />

modelled putting the colour<br />

name after the noun: “I’ve<br />

got a balloon that is red.”<br />

The same principle applies<br />

to number recognition<br />

Another study ii tested<br />

number recognition in<br />

children aged between<br />

30 and 40 months. Half<br />

the children were given<br />

prenominally phrased<br />

questions (number before<br />

the object) and the other<br />

half postnominally (number<br />

after the object).<br />

The group with the<br />

postnominally phrased<br />

questions did significantly<br />

better. Following on from<br />

this piece of research, the<br />

two groups were given some<br />

prenominal or postnominal<br />

‘training’ time (hearing<br />

the number words either<br />

before or after some familiar<br />

objects). Once again, the<br />

postnominal ‘training’ group<br />

significantly improved. The<br />

other group did not.<br />

Testing the hypothesis in<br />

our settings<br />

How about we investigate<br />

this in our own settings?<br />

Within highly appealing and<br />

familiar contexts, let’s talk<br />

postnominally with children<br />

about numbers and colours<br />

(number/colour after the<br />

object). For English-speaking<br />

children, we use colour<br />

words prenominally about<br />

70% of the time. Presumably<br />

the same applies for<br />

number words. Imagine the<br />

difference we can make by<br />

changing our approach.<br />

Haul out the tuff box and<br />

fill it with different coloured<br />

wooden blocks. Create an<br />

irresistible world of diggers,<br />

tractors and lorries with sand<br />

play. Put lots of ocean small<br />

world into the water tray,<br />

delivered with a whole load<br />

of greenery that looks like<br />

seaweed.<br />

And then, enjoy the number<br />

and colour chitchat you can<br />

share with the children.<br />

You may occasionally find<br />

yourself talking a bit like<br />

Yoda from Star Wars, but<br />

your efforts will not be in<br />

vain.<br />

“Your blocks, you have 3!”<br />

“Let’s find the tractor that is<br />

blue.”<br />

Can something so simple<br />

make such a difference? Go<br />

ahead and find out!<br />

Helen Garnett<br />

Helen Garnett is a mother<br />

of 4, and a committed and<br />

experienced Early Years<br />

consultant. She co-founded<br />

a pre-school in 2005<br />

and cares passionately<br />

about young children and<br />

connection. As a result,<br />

she has written a book,<br />

‘Developing Empathy in<br />

the Early Years: a guide for<br />

practitioners’. She has also<br />

co-written an Early Years<br />

curriculum and assessment<br />

tool, at present being<br />

implemented in India. Helen<br />

is also on the Think Equal<br />

team, a global initiative led<br />

by Leslee Udwin, developing<br />

empathy in pre-schools and<br />

schools across the world.<br />

i<br />

Michael Ramscar, Kirsten Thorpe and<br />

Katie Denny (2007) Surprise in the learning<br />

of colour words<br />

ii<br />

Michael Ramscar, Melody Dye et al (2011)<br />

The Enigma of Number: Why children find<br />

the meanings of even small number words<br />

hard to learn and how we can help them<br />

do better<br />

20 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 21

What our customers say<br />




Rosie is always so customer-focused<br />

and always makes everything better,<br />

when my user error has made it go<br />

wrong. Thank you.<br />

- Debbie, D-Dee’s Day Nursery<br />

JUNE <strong>2018</strong><br />


Really useful to inspire students and<br />

motivate them to consider [a] career<br />

in childcare.<br />

- Orla Gallagher, Wanstead High School<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

Rebecca was amazing at helping me to find an<br />

apprenticeship and was so nice and helpful and I<br />

am truly grateful for the service.<br />

- Mollie Rose<br />

JULY <strong>2018</strong><br />


I usually speak to Amy & Ellie and<br />

they are absolutely amazing. So helpful,<br />

professional, polite & patient. A big thanks<br />

to them both.<br />

- Diane, Tiddlers Day Nursery Ltd<br />

JULY <strong>2018</strong><br />


Parenta attended our recent annual<br />

Careers Fair. Amelia was professional and<br />

interacted well with all our students. Many students<br />

requested further information on apprenticeships and<br />

we will continue to work with Parenta especially between<br />

<strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> and February 2019 when our Year 11 students<br />

will be choosing and finalising their post-16 plans. We will ask<br />

Parenta to attend next year’s fair. Thank you, your support<br />

of our students is much appreciated.<br />

- Heulwen Davies, St Bernard’s High School<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />


I am feeling confident that with continual support<br />

from Angela that I will succeed in completing my<br />

course. I know I can contact her and she will help<br />

me with anything I need.<br />

- Paula Stoyles, Growing Places<br />

JULY <strong>2018</strong><br />

22 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 23

Empowering children to<br />

embrace failure<br />

We all want children to succeed in life and it is human instinct to want to protect them from pain<br />

and to stop them from repeating the same mistakes that we made in our younger years. We have<br />

all failed at some point and it is never pleasant. However, failure is a part of success and it is<br />

important that we teach our children how to use failure as an opportunity to grow, rather than it<br />

being something they should avoid.<br />

Praising a child only when<br />

they ‘win’ or using phrases<br />

such as ‘Failure isn’t an<br />

option’ or ‘Coming second<br />

is the same as coming<br />

last’ often stems from<br />

well-intentioned people<br />

(usually who have quite a<br />

competitive nature) who<br />

want to mould a child with<br />

a positive and winning<br />

mentality. The problem with<br />

this is that these phrases<br />

and actions teach children<br />

that failure isn’t acceptable,<br />

which in turn, actually<br />

achieves the exact opposite<br />

and programmes their brain<br />

to play it safe.<br />

Every successful person<br />

has failed<br />

People never reach their<br />

brilliance without stepping<br />

out of their comfort zone<br />

and stretching themselves.<br />

However, in order to do<br />

this, it involves being in<br />

unfamiliar situations and<br />

therefore increases the risk<br />

of failure. Every successful<br />

person in the world failed<br />

multiple times before they<br />

perfected their craft and<br />

had their breakthrough<br />

moment. By telling children<br />

that failure isn’t an option,<br />

we are simply teaching<br />

them that they must be<br />

perfect at all times. Not<br />

only is this completely<br />

unrealistic, but it also gives<br />

them a warped idea of what<br />

success actually looks like.<br />

Belief systems are created<br />

95% of what we do is<br />

completely subconscious.<br />

Throughout childhood<br />

what we see, hear and<br />

feel on a repeated basis<br />

creates belief systems that<br />

then become an internal<br />

blueprint. One of the roles<br />

of our subconscious mind is<br />

to keep us safe. But by ‘safe’<br />

We need to teach<br />

children that<br />

failure is a part<br />

of success, that it<br />

is an opportunity<br />

to learn and<br />

grow and a<br />

positive stepping<br />

stone towards<br />

their goals<br />

this means keeping us in<br />

line with our internal beliefs<br />

(even if these beliefs don’t<br />

result in happiness). If a<br />

child is repeatedly told that<br />

failure is not an option, their<br />

subconscious mind (95% of<br />

their mind) will do whatever<br />

it takes in later life to keep<br />

them in alignment with that<br />

belief. It will see failure as<br />

‘danger’ and will result in a<br />

person who avoids it at all<br />

costs or at, the very least,<br />

deals with it badly when it<br />

happens.<br />

Here are some examples<br />

of how a belief that ‘failure<br />

isn’t an option’ could affect<br />

someone. They might:<br />

►►<br />

Always stay in their<br />

comfort zone to avoid<br />

being in unfamiliar<br />

territory and getting it<br />

wrong<br />

►►<br />

Become so much of a<br />

perfectionist that they<br />

procrastinate and spend<br />

too long messing about<br />

rather than just getting<br />

their projects seen by<br />

the right people<br />

►►<br />

Suffer from anxiety when<br />

things do go wrong and<br />

have all of the wind<br />

knocked out of them<br />

Our subconscious mind is<br />

very literal, so it is important<br />

that we programme it with<br />

beliefs that are conducive<br />

to success and happiness.<br />

Although people’s intentions<br />

usually stem from the ‘right<br />

place’, it is important as<br />

practitioners and parents to<br />

listen to the literal message<br />

that our words are giving<br />

children and what that<br />

means if there is a higher<br />

power keeping them in<br />

alignment with it.<br />

Failure is a stepping<br />

stone to success<br />

Everybody fails. It’s how<br />

we deal with failure that<br />

determines the outcome. We<br />

need to teach children that<br />

failure is a part of success,<br />

that it is an opportunity<br />

to learn and grow and a<br />

positive stepping stone<br />

towards their goals. We<br />

also need to praise effort,<br />

motivation and tenacity,<br />

rather than focusing solely<br />

on the outcome. By doing<br />

all of these things, we will<br />

instil the belief that ‘failure<br />

is okay’ and we will also<br />

encourage the qualities<br />

needed to truly succeed.<br />

If the subconscious mind<br />

is programmed to see<br />

failure in a positive way, it<br />

will be more likely to allow<br />

someone to take risks<br />

and to step out of their<br />

comfort zone, which is 100%<br />

necessary for anyone to<br />

reach their true potential.<br />

It won’t take away the<br />

disappointment that comes<br />

with failure, but it will give<br />

children balance around the<br />

inevitable pitfalls on their<br />

journey to success and a<br />

growth mindset that will<br />

support them to spread their<br />

wings rather than play it<br />

safe. It will also give them<br />

the freedom to explore their<br />

own limitations and to pick<br />

themselves up every time<br />

they fall, knowing that they<br />

have become one step<br />

closer to achieving their own<br />

breakthrough moment.<br />

Programme their mind for<br />

success<br />

One of my favourite quotes<br />

from P.T. Barnum in the film<br />

The Greatest Showman<br />

is ‘Comfort, the enemy of<br />

success’. It really is! Let’s<br />

programme our children<br />

with belief systems that<br />

allow them to have the<br />

confidence to step out of<br />

their comfort zone and to<br />

become the best version of<br />

themselves that they can be.<br />

Stacey Kelly<br />

Stacey Kelly is a former<br />

teacher, a parent to 2<br />

beautiful babies and the<br />

founder of Early Years Story<br />

Box, which is a subscription<br />

website providing children’s<br />

storybooks and early years<br />

resources. She is passionate<br />

about building children’s<br />

imagination, creativity and<br />

self-belief and about creating<br />

awareness of the impact<br />

that the Early Years have<br />

on a child’s future. Stacey<br />

loves her role as a writer,<br />

illustrator and public speaker<br />

and believes in the power of<br />

personal development. She is<br />

also on a mission to empower<br />

children to live a life full of<br />

happiness and fulfillment,<br />

which is why she launched<br />

the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude<br />

Movement.<br />

Sign up to Stacey’s Premium<br />

Membership here and use the<br />

code PARENTA20 to get 20%<br />

off or contact Stacey for an<br />

online demo.<br />

Email:<br />

stacey@earlyyearsstorybox.com<br />

Facebook:<br />

facebook.com/<br />

earlyyearsstorybox<br />

Twitter:<br />

twitter.com/eystorybox<br />

Instagram:<br />

instagram.com/<br />

earlyyearsstorybox<br />

LinkedIn:<br />

linkedin.com/in/stacey-kellya84534b2/<br />

24 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 25

EYFS activity ideas<br />

to try today<br />

All of the following activities are suitable for<br />

children aged 22 months – 60 months.<br />

Communication and Language<br />

Physical Development<br />

Personal, Social and Emotional Development<br />

Literacy<br />

Mathematics<br />

Understanding the World<br />


NUMBER<br />



Expressive Arts and Design<br />


1. Find a picture book or story which is popular with<br />

the children, then start collecting items you think<br />

represent different aspects of the story. You could use<br />

soft toys or puppets to represent certain characters<br />

2. Seat the children around you, either on the floor or<br />

around a table<br />

3. Ask the children to guess what story might be in the<br />

sack – you could pull out a familiar soft toy character<br />

which will help them guess. Even if it’s obvious, you<br />

don’t need to confirm to children which story it is<br />

straightaway<br />

4. Let the children take it in turns to feel in the sack and<br />

pull an item out<br />


Story sacks are a great way to engage children, particularly those who may struggle with literacy or<br />

who share books with reluctance. The puppets and props in your story sack will help bring stories to life<br />

and children will love the element of surprise involved in guessing what’s in the sack.<br />

YOU’LL NEED:<br />

• A storybook<br />

• A soft sack<br />

• Props or puppets to represent the story<br />


Understanding<br />

Reading<br />

Speaking<br />

The world<br />

30 - 45<br />

minutes<br />

Instructions:<br />

5. Explore the item in detail and ask the children what it<br />

looks like, smells like and feels like<br />

6. Ask the children to match the item from the sack to<br />

a particular passage of the story or help them flip<br />

through the pages to try and find it<br />

7. Revisit the story and run through the role that the<br />

item plays in it. Ask the children if they can find<br />

other examples of the same thing within the room, if<br />

they’ve seen it before and what they think its purpose<br />

is<br />

8. You could end the session by retelling the story, using<br />

the props from the story sack to bring it to life<br />

15 - 30<br />

minutes<br />

This missing number game is fun for<br />

children and can be adapted depending<br />

on the age/skill level of the group. Children<br />

can reinforce their knowledge of numbers and<br />

practice counting. It’s also a great activity to<br />

help children develop their fine motor skills, by<br />

opening and closing the peg.<br />

YOU’LL NEED:<br />

• A Sharpie pen<br />

• Craft or lolly sticks<br />

• Wooden clothes pegs<br />


Moving & handling<br />

Numbers<br />


1. Write the numbers 1-10 along the length of a stick,<br />

leaving a gap for one of the missing numbers each<br />

time<br />

2. Write the numbers 1-10 along each of the clothes<br />

pegs so that the part that normally attaches to<br />

clothes is showing on the outside<br />

3. Mix the pegs and sticks up a little, so it’s not<br />

obvious which ones are matching<br />

4. See whether the children can attach the right peg<br />

to the right gap for each stick<br />

5. You could also try missing out 2 numbers on some<br />

sticks instead of 1, to make it more challenging for<br />

the children<br />

15 - 30<br />

minutes<br />

Children have a fascination with<br />

shadows but don’t often get the chance<br />

to explore why they appear and how they can be<br />

changed. This is a great activity to help children<br />

explore dark and light, as well as learn new<br />

vocabulary like shadow, light, dark and shape. If you<br />

don’t have a dark corner of your setting, you can<br />

create a DIY fort using blankets covering a dining room<br />

table or chairs.<br />

YOU’LL NEED:<br />

• A dark corner or makeshift fort<br />

• Torches<br />

• Music<br />


Listening and attention<br />

Self-confidence<br />

Exploring and using<br />

media and materials<br />

Speaking<br />

Technology<br />

The world<br />


1. Find a dark corner of your setting or make your<br />

own DIY fort using blankets and chairs<br />

2. Take a small group of children at a time and hand<br />

them torches<br />

3. Let them experiment with darkness and light by<br />

turning the torches on and off<br />

4. Show the children how to make shapes in the<br />

torchlight<br />

5. You could also play music whilst the activity takes<br />

place and see how the children make their shapes<br />

move to the beat of the music<br />

26 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 27

Spotlight on...<br />

Daniel Spencer<br />

Every month, we put the spotlight<br />

on a member of the Parenta team.<br />

This time around, it’s our new<br />

administration manager. Daniel plays a key part in<br />

heading up our admin team which currently comprises<br />

5 members. The team processes learner data to comply<br />

with our contractual requirements as well as assisting the<br />

business by providing timely administrative support.<br />

How has your role changed<br />

since you started at Parenta in<br />

2012?<br />

I started at Parenta as an admin<br />

apprentice before gaining a<br />

permanent job a few months<br />

later in the admin team. I then<br />

worked my way up to being the<br />

team leader for the admin team<br />

and I have recently started in<br />

my role as admin manager. It<br />

is a very different role to being<br />

an apprentice, as I now get to<br />

work on the procedures the team<br />

follow and help to make the<br />

team run more efficiently and<br />

effectively. I also support them<br />

with the knowledge I have gained<br />

over the years.<br />

How has the company invested<br />

in equipping you with the<br />

qualifications and training<br />

you need to succeed in your<br />

career?<br />

During my time at Parenta, I<br />

have completed 3 different<br />

apprenticeship courses - gaining<br />

my Level 2 NVQs in Business<br />

Admin & Team Leading as well as<br />

my Level 3 NVQ in Management.<br />

Each has given me knowledge<br />

that I use in my job role on a daily<br />

basis, especially the team leading<br />

& management courses which<br />

really helped to develop my skills.<br />

Helping people to<br />

solve a problem<br />

is always very<br />

rewarding for me,<br />

personally<br />

What do you find most<br />

rewarding about what you do?<br />

I really enjoy being able to<br />

support the team and help<br />

them to grow and achieve their<br />

goals. Helping people to solve a<br />

problem is always very rewarding<br />

for me, personally.<br />

You took a career break for 1<br />

year – what made you decide<br />

to come back to the Parenta<br />

family in April?<br />

I had been at Parenta for almost<br />

5 years when I decided to leave<br />

as I felt it was time for a bit of a<br />

change and to experience some<br />

new environments, as I’d never<br />

worked anywhere else doing<br />

admin. The opportunity to return<br />

to working with a lot of great<br />

people and to continue growing<br />

my skill set was too good to pass<br />

up and it has been absolutely<br />

lovely to come back!<br />

In the coming months, what<br />

do you hope to achieve in<br />

your new role leading the<br />

administration team?<br />

First and foremost, I will be<br />

supporting the team as much<br />

as I can because they are an<br />

awesome team of hard-working<br />

people! I have a lot of ideas<br />

in my mind to help move the<br />

administration team along in<br />

terms of streamlining some<br />

procedures and I want to work<br />

with the team to come up with<br />

ways of making us more efficient<br />

as we continue to grow. It should<br />

hopefully be a very exciting time<br />

ahead!<br />

What do you enjoy doing in<br />

your spare time?<br />

I’m a gamer and a geek at heart,<br />

so you can often find me either<br />

on my PS4 or watching superhero<br />

films! Aside from that, I enjoy<br />

cooking, reading and walking my<br />

dog, Mika.<br />

win a craft hamper in our<br />

spooktacular halloween<br />

competition!<br />

Enter our Halloween competition with the chance to win a hamper crammed with<br />

1000 craft items!<br />

To enter, download the Halloween craft templates from our website, available here and<br />

get ready to create ghoulish decorations for your setting.<br />

Once you’ve completed your ghastly crafts, send a photo of these displayed in your setting<br />

to marketing@parenta.com by Friday 2nd November <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

We’ll upload this photo to our website and social media pages for a national vote – the one<br />

with the most votes will win our incredible prize!<br />

Happy Halloween crafting and good luck! <br />

28 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 29

Bronfenbrenner: children’s<br />

learning in a wider context<br />

Children are now growing up in a world that is globally interconnected and increasingly shaped by<br />

technology and social media. This increase in digital technology and social media means that the<br />

social nature of learning for many children is now very different to how it was in previous decades.<br />

One theory that helps us understand and explain how this increasingly complicated world impacts<br />

on children’s learning and their development is the Ecological Systems Model, now known as<br />

the Bioecological Model offered by Uri Bronfenbrenner. Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) was born in<br />

Moscow in 1917 and at six years of age moved to the USA with his family where he later became<br />

a co-founder of the hugely important Head Start programme in the USA, which sought to support<br />

disadvantaged pre-school children.<br />

Bronfenbrenner’s theory has placed a<br />

much greater emphasis on how wider<br />

economic, political and cultural factors<br />

impact upon children’s learning and their<br />

development. Here, we might reflect on<br />

how different governments in the UK<br />

have influenced and shaped the direction<br />

of schools and early years provision.<br />

Bronfenbrenner also emphasised how<br />

the unique biology of each child not<br />

only plays a significant part in their<br />

development but importantly, on their<br />

learning. His ideas can perhaps be best<br />

understood as the relationship between<br />

each child’s unique biology and the<br />

environments in which they grow up. An<br />

example would be where brothers and<br />

sisters born into the same family, who<br />

attend the same playgroup and same<br />

school and who have the same wider<br />

family networks will experience all of<br />

these in different ways.<br />

Figure 1 Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model of<br />

individual development<br />

Bronfenbrenner suggested that<br />

children’s development and learning<br />

can be understood and explained by<br />

thinking in terms of a number of the<br />

layers that encompass children as they<br />

grow and develop, with the closest<br />

layer to the child being the Microsystem<br />

(Figure 1) – these are often thought of as<br />

being like a Russian Doll.<br />

The Microsystem refers to<br />

those most immediate<br />

contacts in the child’s<br />

life. Examples<br />

would be the<br />

child’s family,<br />

their nursery or<br />

playgroup, their<br />

neighbours<br />

and their local<br />

community.<br />

Bronfenbrenner<br />

Microsystem: This refers to a child’s immediate environment, for example, their<br />

family, playgroup, neighbourhood, and peer group<br />

Meosystem: This refers to the connections children make between their immediate<br />

environments, for example, their home and their playgroup<br />

Exosystem: This refers to the external settings in the child’s environment that impact<br />

indirectly on their development, for example, their father and mother’s workplaces<br />

Macrosystem: This refers to the child’s wider cultural context, for example, the<br />

economy and changes in government<br />

Chronosystem: The patterns of events and transitions in the child’s life<br />


stressed how a two-way process or<br />

what he referred to as ‘bi-directional<br />

influences’ within the Microsystem<br />

can have quite powerful influences on<br />

young children (see example). What he<br />

is suggesting here is that whilst young<br />

children are influenced by the actions<br />

of others they also, in turn, directly and<br />

indirectly influence the actions of<br />

others with whom they<br />

come into contact<br />

with.<br />

M E O S Y S T E M<br />

M A C R O S Y S T E M<br />

E X O S Y S T E M<br />

C H R O N O S Y S T E M<br />

Example: Bi-directional influences<br />

An infant is lying in her pram and for<br />

no obvious reason makes a loud and<br />

delightful cooing noise. Her mother,<br />

who is in the next room, hears the noise<br />

and runs in and picks her infant up in<br />

her arms; the infant then receives lots<br />

of hugs and attention from her mother.<br />

Whilst the infant initiated this interaction<br />

by making the noise, it is the mother who<br />

has responded. In this way, the infant<br />

has influenced and directed her mother’s<br />

behaviour.<br />

Bronfenbrenner would interpret this<br />

pattern of behaviour between the infant<br />

and her mother as being bi-directional.<br />

Such bi-directional influences, he<br />

believed, are very strong and can set up<br />

patterns of behaviours in adults as well<br />

as children.<br />

The Meosystem relates, for example,<br />

to those connections that are formed<br />

between parents and staff in their<br />

child’s nursery. Parents will often talk<br />

with staff about things such as their<br />

child’s sleeping patterns and what<br />

they like doing at home. Likewise, staff<br />

will share with parents examples of<br />

activities where their child has gained<br />

success and so on. Children also start to<br />

make simple comparisons between the<br />

experiences they have in their nursery<br />

and those they have at home. They also<br />

begin to make comparisons between the<br />

friends they are making at nursery and<br />

friends in their own local community, as<br />

well as their siblings. The Exosystem is<br />

to do with those wider social systems<br />

in which children grow up, for example,<br />

the commitments their parents have<br />

to their jobs and their parents’ level of<br />

income, all of which will have a direct<br />

and/or indirect impact on children. An<br />

example is where recent increases in<br />

early years provision brought about<br />

by successive governments over<br />

the last decades have given<br />

parents much greater choice<br />

about early years provision.<br />

The Macrosystem refers to the<br />

child’s wider cultural context,<br />

for example, the economy<br />

and changes in government,<br />

children’s cultures and the<br />

values of the communities<br />

and wider society in<br />

which they live, the<br />

legal structures that<br />

have been put in<br />

place by successive<br />

governments and so on. Here, one can<br />

think of how austerity over the past<br />

ten or so years have influenced the<br />

lives of many children who have found<br />

themselves living in families with much<br />

lower incomes than previously and the<br />

impact this might have had on their<br />

lives. Bronfenbrenner identified a further<br />

layer, the Chronosystem in which he<br />

attempted to explain how time relates to<br />

the environments in which children grow<br />

and develop.<br />

Summary<br />

Bronfenbrenner’s theory has much to<br />

offer early years practitioners; it provides<br />

a much wider focus on those vast and<br />

often unseen environmental influences<br />

that impact indirectly on the lives of<br />

children. Though Bronfenbrenner’s<br />

theory has been criticised on the<br />

grounds that it does not pay sufficient<br />

attention to the individual development<br />

of children it, nevertheless, offers a<br />

very useful means of thinking about<br />

how wider and often unseen aspects of<br />

society in which children grow up impact<br />

on their development and learning.<br />

For further information on how an<br />

understanding of Bronfenbrenner’s<br />

ideas and those of other theorists can<br />

support practice in the early years,<br />

see my latest book: MacBlain, S.F.<br />

(<strong>2018</strong>) Learning Theories for Early Years<br />

Practice. London: Sage.<br />

Sean MacBlain<br />

Dr Sean MacBlain is a<br />

distinguished author whose<br />

most recent publication<br />

is: MacBlain (Sage, <strong>2018</strong>)<br />

Learning Theories for<br />

Early Years Practice. Other<br />

publications include:<br />

MacBlain (Sage, 2014)<br />

How Children Learn; Gray<br />

and MacBlain (Sage,<br />

2015) Learning Theories in<br />

Childhood, now going into<br />

its 3 rd edition; MacBlain,<br />

Long and Dunn, (Sage,<br />

2015) Dyslexia, Literacy and<br />

Inclusion: Child-centred<br />

Perspectives; MacBlain,<br />

Dunn and Luke (Sage, 2017)<br />

Contemporary Childhood;<br />

Sean’s publications are used<br />

by students, academics and<br />

practitioners worldwide.<br />

He is currently a senior<br />

academic at Plymouth<br />

Marjon University where<br />

he teaches on a range of<br />

undergraduate programmes<br />

and supervises students at<br />

Masters and Doctoral level.<br />

Sean worked previously as a<br />

Senior Lecturer in Education<br />

and Developmental<br />

Psychology at Stranmillis<br />

University College, Queens<br />

University Belfast and for<br />

over twenty years as an<br />

educational psychologist<br />

in private practice. Sean<br />

lives with his wife Angela in<br />

Somerset, England.<br />

30 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 31

How to mark the changing of the<br />

seasons during the autumnal equinox<br />

<strong>September</strong> 23rd is the autumnal equinox when there are equal hours of daylight and darkness.<br />

Equinox literally means “equal night”. It’s the time when we notice the change in the astronomical<br />

seasons from summer to autumn; harvests are gathered in, days become shorter, birds migrate<br />

south and many animals begin a period of gathering food for the leaner months ahead.<br />

It’s interesting to note that the northern<br />

and southern hemispheres celebrate<br />

equinoxes and solstices as opposites.<br />

When the UK is celebrating autumnal<br />

equinox in <strong>September</strong>, our friends in<br />

Australia are welcoming the return of<br />

spring in their vernal equinox.<br />

Wherever you are in the world,<br />

equinoxes and solstices have been<br />

marked for millennia by different cultures<br />

and religions. The autumnal equinox is<br />

also associated strongly with apples as<br />

the symbol of life and immortality and<br />

it’s the time to celebrate reaping what<br />

you have sown.<br />

Whichever culture you are from, the<br />

autumnal equinox is a time of harvests,<br />

celebrations and giving thanks for the<br />

abundance of nature. So here are 10<br />

easy-to-implement ideas to help you<br />

mark this important time in your own<br />

setting.<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

Make a sun and moon mobile<br />

Since the equinox marks a time of equal daylight and darkness, have fun making<br />

a mobile which has an equal amount of suns and moons on it. You can also<br />

add the earth, stars or even some galaxies or planets as a reminder of the<br />

astrological basis of the equinox.<br />

Go outside and investigate the changes in the leaves<br />

The trees are wonderful in <strong>September</strong> and it’s a perfect opportunity to get out<br />

into nature at a local park or in your own outside space. You can have great fun<br />

exploring the natural elements, kicking through leaves, looking at their different<br />

shapes and colours or even try a spot of leaf rubbing.<br />

Make a giant tree picture<br />

This is a seasonal way to decorate your space as well as being creative. You can<br />

either use a branch, secure it in a plant pot and then decorate it with ‘leaves’ that<br />

the children make, or create a giant tree mural. Use handprints for the ‘leaves’<br />

and remember to use autumnal colours such as reds, oranges, yellows and<br />

browns. You could also add images of fruit to represent the harvest by cutting<br />

apples in half and making apple prints.<br />

Create a piece of wild art<br />

Collect some leaves, twigs, acorns and conkers, or whatever you can find in your<br />

local park or garden space and use them to create some autumnal pictures. You<br />

can use the theme of autumn to create a tree or landscape image, or why not<br />

create a picture of a woodland fairy of elf? You can also leave the art in situ for<br />

others to enjoy but take a camera to record the pictures for your space too.<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

9<br />

10<br />

Celebrate with a harvest festival<br />

Communities across the northern hemisphere give thanks for their harvests<br />

in <strong>September</strong>. You could ask parents to donate one small item and then make<br />

hampers to give to local people in need, as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for the<br />

abundance you have, as well as giving something back to your community.<br />

Have an equinox-themed dressing-up day<br />

Everyone loves dressing-up. Encourage your pre-schoolers to dress up as<br />

something associated with the equinox on the day itself. Ideas include:<br />

¥ ¥ Sun<br />

¥ ¥ Moon<br />

¥ ¥ Apple Trees<br />

¥ ¥ Green Man<br />

¥ ¥ Scarecrow<br />

¥ ¥ Autumn Elves or Fairies<br />

An alternative is to make headdresses, masks or banners and have a<br />

procession around your space.<br />

Sing songs about the changes in the seasons<br />

How about singing a version of “London Bridge” using the words “All the leaves<br />

are falling down” or something similar? You could create some physical actions to<br />

accompany the words too and invent some new verses such as “Raking leaves is<br />

so much fun” or “Pick the apples one by one”.<br />

Plant some spring bulbs<br />

Whilst the autumn equinox marks the end of summer, it also represents the<br />

circle of life – summer dies and winter sets in, but in spring, life will start<br />

again. Autumn is the perfect time to plant spring bulbs that will grow in<br />

the new year, heralding the start of the next growing season.<br />

Play a simple counting game based on<br />

‘equals’<br />

Set up areas of the room that represent daylight and night<br />

time. Ask the children to dance to music and when it stops,<br />

they must run to either ‘day’ or ‘night’ but there must be the<br />

same number of children on each side. If you have an odd number,<br />

ask one child to stop the music each turn.<br />

Build a ‘bug hotel’<br />

Autumn is when many animals and insects begin their<br />

hibernation processes, storing food or finding a winter<br />

home. With natural habitats in decline, you could help<br />

our insect friends by creating your own bug hotel. Use<br />

sticks, twigs, straw and hollow bamboo canes so that<br />

hibernating bees and other insects can find<br />

shelter in winter months.<br />

Plant some spring bulbs<br />

Create a piece of wild art<br />

Sing songs about the changes<br />

in the seasons<br />

Build a ‘bug hotel’<br />

32 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 33

Write for us for a chance to win £50<br />

We’re always on the lookout for new authors to contribute insightful<br />

articles for our monthly magazine.<br />

If you’ve got a topic you’d like to write<br />

about, why not send an article to us and be<br />

in with a chance of winning? Each month,<br />

we’ll be giving away £50 to our “Guest<br />

Author of the Month”.<br />

Here are the details:<br />

••<br />

Choose a topic that is relevant to early<br />

years childcare<br />

••<br />

Submit an article of between 600-900<br />

words to marketing@parenta.com<br />

••<br />

If we choose to feature your article in our<br />

magazine, you’ll be eligible to win £50<br />

••<br />

The winner will be picked based on<br />

having the highest number of views for<br />

their article during that month<br />

This competition is open to both new and<br />

existing authors, for any articles submitted to<br />

feature in our Parenta magazine for <strong>2018</strong>. The<br />

lucky winner will be notified via email and we’ll<br />

also include an announcement in the following<br />

month’s edition of the magazine.<br />

Got any questions or want to run a topic by us?<br />

For more details email marketing@parenta.com<br />


Joanna Grace<br />

Inclusion specialist and founder of The Sensory<br />

Projects, Joanna Grace, was July’s winner of our<br />

guest author competition. Here she is at Cornwall’s<br />

Eden Project with her voucher and a copy of the<br />

Parenta magazine. Congratulations Joanna!<br />

Advertise your<br />

business here in<br />

our next issue<br />

Email marketing@parenta.com for details<br />

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34 Parenta.com<br />

Sign up here

A sensory look at the fussy eater<br />

Children who experience their sensory world differently are at increased risk of eating in a restricted<br />

way. Due to the fact that eating is so very important for survival, these children are unlikely to<br />

experience the sensory challenges associated with eating in a ‘no pressure’ environment. Parents<br />

need them to eat, we need them to eat, every one of us is interested in them eating a rich and varied<br />

diet. The pressure is there… but what can we do to support these children?<br />

Celebrate each milestone<br />

The advice given in my<br />

previous blog is a good<br />

route to follow as you begin<br />

to support these children.<br />

Remember that you are<br />

making tiny adjustments<br />

now which will have a big<br />

impact further down the<br />

line. Do not expect magic<br />

wands and do not consider<br />

something which makes<br />

a minute change to be a<br />

failure. Instead, inform<br />

everyone within earshot<br />

(and further, if you have a<br />

megaphone or a helpful<br />

town crier!) as to what<br />

these tiny incremental<br />

steps towards that end<br />

goal look like so that the<br />

child can experience a<br />

community celebrating<br />

their progress rather than<br />

panicking over their lack<br />

of achievement.<br />

Consider this a long-term<br />

project - six months slowly<br />

introducing new tastes is far<br />

more likely to end<br />

up with<br />

a child eating an increased<br />

range of foods than six<br />

months arguing with a child<br />

that they must eat their dinner.<br />

Support the parents of that<br />

child to feel vindicated in<br />

this approach and they are<br />

less likely to face judgement<br />

from family and friends who<br />

mistakenly believe the child<br />

should simply not be allowed<br />

to leave the table until dinner<br />

is finished.<br />

Next, think about the problem<br />

the child is facing from a<br />

sensory point of view. They are<br />

likely to be experiencing some<br />

degree in sensory processing<br />

difficulties (read more about<br />

this in a previous blog). Such<br />

difficulties can mean that<br />

sensations are heightened<br />

or dampened in ways that<br />

make them difficult to tolerate.<br />

Imagine if someone asked<br />

you to eat something that was<br />

as loud as a fire alarm when<br />

you crunched it. Or expected<br />

you to swallow something<br />

with the consistency of a slimy<br />

slug’s trail. Imagine someone<br />

telling you that something that<br />

tasted of pure sulphur was<br />

actually fine. Or<br />

asking<br />

you to chew a pincushion full<br />

of pins. What these children<br />

face is very tough!<br />

Now consider just one sensory<br />

modality - let’s go with touch<br />

as we were talking about<br />

that in the previous blog. You<br />

have a child who struggles,<br />

for one reason or another, to<br />

process tactile experiences.<br />

Touching things is difficult.<br />

Not only are you asking them<br />

to touch something, but you<br />

are asking them to do it WITH<br />

THEIR MOUTH, not at the end<br />

of a tentatively outstretched<br />

arm, not near to their body,<br />

literally inside their face which<br />

is one of the most intimate<br />

and personal spaces on<br />

our bodies. Now add in the<br />

other modalities: not only<br />

are you asking them to deal<br />

with a smell they struggle<br />

with, you are asking them to<br />

contend with taste and lots of<br />

disgusting squelchy repulsive<br />

sounds. And not only are you<br />

expecting them to do these<br />

things WITH THEIR MOUTH,<br />

you are expecting the child<br />

to do them ALL AT ONCE. To a<br />

child who struggles with the<br />

sensory world, this is torture<br />

and it is torture<br />

meted out on them by the<br />

people they love and trust. It<br />

is no wonder we witness such<br />

high levels of distress when<br />

we sit them down to eat!<br />

What can we do?<br />

Progress is unlikely to be<br />

made at mealtimes. Mealtimes<br />

need to become low stress.<br />

Whatever it is that the child<br />

eats, even if it is only crisps,<br />

can be set out and the meal<br />

enjoyed. We will add the other<br />

foods in at other times.<br />

Break down the sensory<br />

challenges children face into<br />

their separate parts and offer<br />

these in the ways described<br />

in my previous post. So, for<br />

example, you might take<br />

the smell of food as one of<br />

them. Consider what smells<br />

they currently tolerate, or<br />

even enjoy, and create a way<br />

to play with these (not too<br />

many at once - it is easy to<br />

overwhelm with smell). Now<br />

add in a smell closer to the<br />

taste of food. Celebrate the<br />

child’s willingness to increase<br />

their smell palate. Be clear to<br />

the adults around them that<br />

this is a step towards better<br />

eating (but, crucially, do not<br />

make it about eating for the<br />

child). Continue the game over<br />

a prolonged period of time<br />

until you are including a rich<br />

array of food smells.<br />

Another sensory modality<br />

challenged by eating is touch.<br />

Think of the different areas<br />

of your body and where you<br />

are more sensitive to touch:<br />

the hands are very sensitive,<br />

the mouth and tongue even<br />

more so. If the child can cope<br />

with touch experiences that<br />

are comparable to food (e.g.<br />

touching a thick fluid with their<br />

hands) then offer an array of<br />

touch experiences for them to<br />

explore in this way and, as the<br />

game becomes established,<br />

introduce foods. When you<br />

start out it is best to make sure<br />

you are not using actual foods<br />

for these games, as they may<br />

alert the child to your ulterior<br />

motive and trigger their<br />

established stress response.<br />

If the child cannot cope with<br />

touches on their fingers and<br />

hands, try another area<br />

of the body – perhaps the<br />

upper arm as this is not so<br />

sensitive, or the feet as these<br />

are less personal. Start from<br />

where ever they are, offer<br />

a repeating predictable<br />

experience and make it fun.<br />

Take the progressive steps<br />

slowly and always take little<br />

ones. Slow and steady wins<br />

the race.<br />

Repetition is key<br />

Isolate and share each<br />

sensory experience associated<br />

with eating whilst repeating<br />

and building these over time.<br />

Once the child is able to cope<br />

with them individually, you<br />

can begin to partner them<br />

together. All the while, you<br />

are moving towards the end<br />

goal of them being able to do<br />

them all at once WITH THEIR<br />

MOUTH. When you begin to<br />

do this breakdown, you gain a<br />

greater awareness of how big<br />

the challenge is that they face.<br />

The best thing<br />

you can do for<br />

these children is to<br />

break the sensory<br />

challenge of eating<br />

down into its tiniest<br />

parts and recognise<br />

and celebrate their<br />

achievements as<br />

they master each<br />

part of the journey<br />

You might think taste needs<br />

to be excluded from this<br />

adventure but you can find<br />

ways to share taste which<br />

mitigate many of the other<br />

challenges. So you might<br />

find you can vary a food they<br />

already accept, e.g. a child<br />

who eats crisps may be willing<br />

to try different flavours. Or<br />

you can offer taste in a very<br />

one-dimensional way, e.g.<br />

blending food so that it is fluid<br />

in the mouth and does not<br />

require chewing and does not<br />

make a noise.<br />

If you want to further boost<br />

your ability to support the<br />

child in this way, you can<br />

learn about how each<br />

sensory system develops. The<br />

experiences we are able to<br />

process in early development<br />

are often more accessible<br />

than those linked to later<br />

development. As you offer the<br />

child the touch experiences,<br />

the smell experiences, the<br />

taste experiences and the<br />

auditory experiences,<br />

you can present these in<br />

developmental order. Doing<br />

this will make it even easier<br />

for the child to come on this<br />

journey with you.<br />

Information about the<br />

development of the senses is<br />

what my Develop Your Sensory<br />

Lexiconary course is all about,<br />

it is also in my book Sensorybeing<br />

for Sensory Beings and<br />

available for free via long<br />

chats with me! If you are<br />

particularly stuck with a child<br />

on this issue, this information<br />

is well worth finding out,<br />

as some of it - particularly<br />

with regards to touch, taste<br />

and smell - can be counterintuitive.<br />

The best thing you can do for<br />

these children is to break the<br />

sensory challenge of eating<br />

down into its tiniest parts and<br />

recognise and celebrate their<br />

achievements as they master<br />

each part of the journey – and<br />

don’t forget to get others on<br />

board with your celebrations!<br />

It might also interest readers<br />

to know that I was once a<br />

fussy eater as a child, yet<br />

my dinner tonight contains<br />

all manner of colourful<br />

vegetables including slimy,<br />

slippery substances like<br />

avocado. For a little extra<br />

insight, here’s a couple of<br />

recent Facebook posts here –<br />

come and make friends!<br />

Joanna Grace<br />

Joanna Grace is an<br />

international Sensory<br />

Engagement and Inclusion<br />

Specialist, Trainer, Author,<br />

TEDx speaker and Founder<br />

of The Sensory Projects.<br />

Consistently rated as<br />

Outstanding by Ofsted,<br />

Joanna has taught in<br />

mainstream and special<br />

school settings, connecting<br />

with pupils of all ages and<br />

abilities. To inform her work,<br />

Joanna draws on her own<br />

experience from her private<br />

and professional life as well<br />

as taking in all the information<br />

she can from the research<br />

archives. Joanna’s private life<br />

includes family members with<br />

disabilities and neurodiverse<br />

conditions and time spent<br />

as a registered foster carer<br />

for children with profound<br />

disabilities.<br />

Joanna’s books Sensory<br />

Stories for children and<br />

teens and Sensory-being for<br />

Sensory Beings sell globally.<br />

She has a further five books<br />

due for publication within<br />

the next two years, including<br />

four children’s books.<br />

Joanna is a big fan of social<br />

media and is always happy<br />

to connect with people<br />

via Facebook, Twitter and<br />

Linkedin<br />

Website:<br />

thesensoryprojects.co.uk<br />

Find out more about Joanna’s 2019 sensory tour<br />

dates and mega early bird tickets here<br />

36 Parenta.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong> 37

World Car Free Day –<br />

Will you be doing your bit?<br />

www.jobs.parenta.com<br />

World Car Free Day takes place on the 22nd <strong>September</strong> and seeks to promote alternative forms of<br />

active and sustainable travel, like cycling and walking.<br />

New figures from the<br />

Government’s National Travel<br />

Survey have shown that<br />

there’s an overall increase in<br />

the number of people using<br />

motor vehicles to travel to a<br />

destination less than two miles<br />

away. Campaigners say this<br />

is having a major effect on<br />

Britain’s air pollution levels.<br />

For young children, exposure<br />

to traffic fumes is associated<br />

with stunted lung development,<br />

according to Chris Griffiths,<br />

co-director of the Asthma UK<br />

Centre for Applied Research.<br />

The British Lung Foundation<br />

also warns that children who<br />

breathe high levels of air<br />

pollution over a long period of<br />

time are at risk of developing<br />

asthma, wheezing, coughs or<br />

even more serious infections,<br />

like pneumonia.<br />

Last year, the shocking results<br />

of Greenpeace’s investigation<br />

into air pollution hit the<br />

headlines; it found that over<br />

1,000 nurseries in England<br />

were located within 150m of<br />

roads which broke the legal<br />

limits for air pollution.<br />

760 of the 1,015 nurseries cited<br />

in Greenpeace’s report were in<br />

London.<br />

During the study, the<br />

environmental campaigning<br />

organisation looked at the EU<br />

legal limit for nitrogen oxide<br />

– the gas released from car<br />

exhausts or during the burning<br />

of substances like diesel and<br />

coal.<br />

It found that some of the most<br />

heavily affected areas of the<br />

country were Birmingham,<br />

Sandwell, Nottingham,<br />

Plymouth, Manchester,<br />

Leicester, Hampshire, Leeds,<br />

Wolverhampton and Salford.<br />

In a bid to help protect schools<br />

and nurseries in the most<br />

polluted parts of London,<br />

Mayor Sadiq Khan recently<br />

announced a new £1m fund to<br />

help reduce the effects of toxic<br />

air on children. As part of this,<br />

detailed air quality audits have<br />

been carried out in 50 schools<br />

in London boroughs, with each<br />

audited school receiving a<br />

£10,000 starter grant to help<br />

cut air pollution.<br />

A further £250,000 will be set<br />

aside to carry out air quality<br />

audits and fit indoor air filters<br />

in 20 of the worst-affected<br />

London nurseries.<br />

So what can your setting do to encourage parents, staff and<br />

families to support World Car Free Day? Here are some ideas:<br />

►►<br />

►►<br />

►►<br />

►►<br />

►►<br />

►►<br />

►►<br />

►►<br />

Send out information to parents in a newsletter detailing your<br />

participation in World Car Free Day and share the activities<br />

you’ll be running to raise awareness of air pollution<br />

Get staff and children to log how many miles they’ve walked<br />

or cycled in the week leading up to World Car Free Day,<br />

giving a certificate or prize to the ones who have totted up<br />

the longest distance<br />

For staff members who must commute lengthy distances to<br />

get to your setting, ask whether they’d consider getting public<br />

transport or participating in a car share as a way to cut down<br />

on air pollution<br />

Ask children to put together posters to display around your<br />

setting which promote active and sustainable methods of<br />

travel<br />

Talk to your children about the impact of air pollution and its<br />

effect on health and the natural environment<br />

Ask parents to turn their car engines off rather than leaving<br />

them idling when parked near your setting<br />

Think about ways you can continue to promote walking<br />

and cycling as alternative forms of transport, perhaps by<br />

extending World Car Free Day so that it’s a regular monthly<br />

occurrence<br />

Run a celebration day with a traffic light-themed bake sale,<br />

with proceeds going to a relevant charity such as Asthma UK<br />

Will your setting be supporting World<br />

Car Free Day in a bid to help cut air<br />

pollution levels? What activities have<br />

you got planned? Let us know by sending an<br />

email to marketing@parenta.com<br />

Childcare Apprentice Required:<br />

Kerry Manning Childminder's Maidstone Kent ME14 2HH<br />

Scribbles Pre School Tonbridge Kent TN11 8RL<br />

Farm Work Play Faversham Kent ME13 9EH<br />

Honey’s Childminding Manor Park London E12 6HW<br />

Hornsey Road Children’s Centre Hornsey London N7 7EN<br />

Cherryli Nursery New Cross London SE4 1QG<br />

Christine Jancso Childminder Ruislip Middlesex HA4 0AP<br />

Kids Will Be Kids Elstree Watford WD6 3JJ<br />

ICan Childminding Greenwich London SE3 9QU<br />

Marylebone Village Nursery Marylebone London W1U 3QY<br />

The Wendy House Day Nursery Royston Hertfordshire SG8 0HW<br />

Pips Nursery Saffron Walden Essex CB11 4XJ<br />

Little Acorns Nursery Brentwood Essex CM13 1SD<br />

The Lighthouse Children’s Day Nursery Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV32 5JF<br />

Boxmoor Preschool Crouchfield Hemel Hempstead HP1 1PA<br />

Pury Play Paulerspury Northamptonshire NN12 7NA<br />

Izzies Nursery Portsmouth Hampshire PO2 7HX<br />

Active Care Bracknell Berkshire RG12 1RL<br />

Edith Rose Day Nursery Ascot Berkshire SL5 7NW<br />

Village End Childcare Ascot Berkshire SL5 8DQ<br />

Little Roos Maidenhead Buckinghamshire SL6 0QH<br />

Patchwork Montessori Maidenhead Buckinghamshire SL6 3AR<br />

Little Roos Marlow Buckinghamshire SL7 1JW<br />

Little Lambs Christian Pre-School and Nursery East Grinstead Mid Sussex RH19 2HA<br />

Northover Fruit Tree Nursery Bromley London BR1 5JR<br />

The Woodland Nursery Sidcup Kent DA14 4QT<br />

Cbabiesafe Worthing West Sussex BN11 3RT<br />

38 Parenta.com<br />

Advertise your vacancy on our job board for FREE - get in touch for<br />

<strong>September</strong><br />

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<strong>2018</strong> 39<br />




Think of it like this – a nursery website is like having your very own<br />

marketing team working on promoting your setting 24 hours a day,<br />

7 days a week, 365 days a year…need we say any more?!<br />

We are childcare specialists<br />

We know the requirements of Ofsted<br />



We understand what will get parents to engage with you<br />


EASILY<br />






We suggest what information would benefit your website<br />

We regularly check we are providing the best software<br />

We help you improve areas of your website using stats<br />

We can help, whatever your budget or technical knowledge<br />


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