Magazine November 2018

This month’s magazine is packed with so much advice - including how music can improve children’s confidence, how to help with boys’ literacy, and how to safeguard your staff in your setting. We have some great tips on how you can take part in Road Safety Week and find out how settings celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali. We take a look at the history of Remembrance Sunday and have a wonderful poppy craft for the children to do, in this 100th anniversary year of the end of the First World War.

This month’s magazine is packed with so much advice - including how music can improve children’s confidence, how to help with boys’ literacy, and how to safeguard your staff in your setting. We have some great tips on how you can take part in Road Safety Week and find out how settings celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali. We take a look at the history of Remembrance Sunday and have a wonderful poppy craft for the children to do, in this 100th anniversary year of the end of the First World War.


You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

Issue 48





Spectacular setshifting



children through



environments that

develop potential

+ lots more




Write for us

for a chance to



p 27


Hello and welcome to the November edition of the Parenta magazine!

There have been lots of heart-warming stories in the news this month. A couple which have caught our

eye have been inspired by the Channel 4 programme ‘Old People’s Home for 4-Year-Olds’ which shows

nursery children visiting retirement homes. The show’s purpose is to demonstrate how encouraging the

younger and older generations to mix and share stories can transform the physical, social and emotional

well-being of both age groups.

From ages 60 to 102, residents from the largest retirement community in the UK, Lark Hill Village, and four-year-old

children share daily activities created by experts - including a physiotherapist, a gerontologist and an early years specialist. The

effect that the youngsters have on the behaviour, movement and mobility of the older group will be monitored and measured

over a period of 10 weeks. You can read more here about this fantastic initiative, as well as learning how the children of

Northgate House Nursery got on when they visited the elderly residents of Bradbury House.

This month’s magazine is packed with so much advice - including how music can improve children’s confidence, how to help

with boys’ literacy, and how to safeguard your staff in your setting. We have some great tips on how you can take part in Road

Safety Week and find out how settings celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali. We take a look at the history of Remembrance

Sunday and have a wonderful poppy craft for the children to do, in this 100th anniversary year of the end of the First World War.

Congratulations once again to sensory specialist, Joanna Grace, who has won our guest author competition for a third month

with her incredibly popular article “a sensory look at the fussy eater” – clearly a subject close to many hearts! We are so grateful

to all those who send in their articles for publication. If you have written on a topic relevant to early years and would like to be in

with a chance to win £50 in shopping vouchers, turn to page 27 for details.

Christmas is not too far away – how this year has flown by! Turn to page 23 for details on how to win 1000 Christmas cards for

your setting – printed with your own design!

Happy crafting and best wishes,





It’s vitally important to

help shape children’s

understanding of road

safety from an early

age - take a look at

our activities to get

you started 20


A special bond is

forming as toddlers

and pensioners

enjoy weekly get

togethers as nursery

inspired by Channel 4





Tamsin Grimmer discusses methods

of encouraging little boys to read and

write more




14 The Adventures of Rocket Rabbit & Sidekick

Squirrel Part 4

22 Spotlight on... Bryony Abbott

26 Remembrance Sunday hand-painting poppy


27 Write for us for a chance to win £50

34 What our customers say

38 Parenta job board


4 Northgate House Nursery inspired by television


6 Little green fingers at Tops Day Nurseries

Salisbury Gardening Club

7 Parenta Trust news


8 Recycling Week: Support sustainability in your


12 Celebrating Diwali in your setting

20 Teach your children about road safety with Beep

Beep! Day

24 Remembrance Day - We will remember them

30 Safeguarding staff


10 What are little boys made of?

18 How music can improve children’s confidence

28 Spectacular set-shifting activities

32 Empowering children through stories

36 Creating environments that develop potential

and the ideas of Reuven Feuerstein

Support sustainability in your setting 8

Activities to mark Remembrance Day in your setting 24

Win 1000 Christmas cards for your setting 23

Stacey Kelly discusses the benefits of storytime and

how stories can be used to empower children 32

Northgate House

Nursery inspired

by television


A special bond is forming between the young

children of Northgate House Nursery and the

elderly residents of Bradbury House as they

enjoy weekly get togethers, inspired by a

television documentary.

Nursery, remembers the

exhilaration of the young

children: “When the

children returned after

the first visit I asked them

did they have fun, they all

spoke at once and were

so excited about meeting

a man who was the “same

age nearly”. I asked how

that could be so and they

replied: “well, we are 4

and he is 104 so it’s nearly

the same!”

In modern times, where

families are often

scattered hundreds

of miles apart, the

opportunity to spend time

with different generations

is not always possible.

Paul Bosson reflects, “It

is important that elderly

people can meaningfully

engage with the young,

and vice versa, for the

benefit of society as a

whole. We are delighted

with this intergenerational

partnership and the

pleasure it brings to both

the children of Northgate

House and our residents.”

This wonderful

collaboration has proved

so successful that both

parties are looking at

increasing the visits

and thinking of other

ways to strengthen their


After watching “The

Old People’s Home”

for Four-Year-Olds, the

heart-warming Channel

4 documentary, the

trustees and managers

at Bradbury House, in

Beaconsfield Old Town,

relished the opportunity

to provide their residents

with a similar experience.

Manager of the home,

Wendy Stallwood explains:

“Many of us watched the

Channel 4 documentary

and we were inspired to

see the positive impact

this had, particularly the

improvement in happiness

and health of the

residents. We now have

the opportunity to do the

same for our residents.”

Paul Bosson, Chairman

of Trustees for Bradbury

House, contacted

Northgate House

Nursery, also based in

Beaconsfield. They didn’t

hesitate to get involved in

this wonderful initiative.

Sarah Fahey, director of

the nursery explains: “We

are always looking to

provide our children with

enriching experiences and

recognised how beneficial

this partnership could be

for everyone involved.”

A small group of children

from the nursery visit

the Activity Centre in

Bradbury House every

Thursday morning and

Tuesday afternoon to

engage in speciallychosen

activities that the

different generations are

able to enjoy together.

Beverly Nash, social carer

for Bradbury House,

devises a variety of crafts,

games, imaginative play

and singing activities

for everybody to share.

She explains: “We are

so pleased to see how

involved our residents are

when the children arrive, it

makes them smile; seeing

them all together reading,

singing, reciting nursery

rhymes, brings back fond

memories for us all. You

can really feel the warmth

in the room.”

On the children’s first

visit to the home, they

encountered Ken Medlock,

a gentleman aged 104

years. The children were

four years old, so to

meet somebody a whole

hundred years older than

themselves was hugely

exciting and memorable.

Nadine Higley, manager

of Northgate House

4 Parenta.com November 2018 5

Little green fingers at Tops Day

Nurseries Salisbury Gardening Club

Tops Day Nurseries in Salisbury has recently been inviting their children to experience the

cycle of growth through the implementation of a thriving Gardening Club.


Parenta Trust news

Parenta Trust Charity

Balls, Maidstone and Bath

Change a

life for as

little as

56p a day

Party-goers enjoyed fabulous food and danced until the early

hours at this year’s Parenta Trust charity balls.

Every week, the children aged from

3 months to 5 years are getting

involved in a host of gardening

activities. Babies and toddlers

are being encouraged to explore

different growing environments by

planting seeds and transferring

seedlings to a specially-designed

area of the show-stopping garden.

Pre-school children are being given

the opportunity to take responsibility

for their own growing projects and

have autonomy over nurturing their


The focus of the Gardening Club

is not just about planting but also

places a strong importance on

caring. The children are actively

engaged in tidying the borders of

the garden and weeding. They also

take charge of watering, feeding and

protecting their plants.

As with all events at Tops Day

Nurseries, Gardening Club will

run all year round. Tops Salisbury

is fortunate to have a fantastic

canopied area within the garden

which allows the children to continue

planting, monitoring, and eventually

harvesting, whatever the weather.

According to Deputy Nursery

Manager, Sally, there has been “a

definite increase in our children’s

interest in nature. They love growing

various plants and have also been

really interested in finding out

more about insects and animals.

It’s delightful to see!” Since the

implementation of the Gardening

Club, the nursery has also been

pleased to see an increase in

children’s engagement during

mealtimes. Recipes are often

created by the children using their

own hand-grown produce in Tops

Cooking School.

The two sparkling fun-filled evenings – held on 22nd September at the Great

Danes Mercure Hotel in Maidstone and 20th October at the Hilton in Bath

– raised an incredible £7,000 for Parenta Trust - with all proceeds going

directly to help provide an early years education to the children who need it

most in deprived areas of the world.

Details on how you can support Parenta Trust by way of making a donation,

sponsoring a child in a Parenta Trust pre-school or taking part in a

fundraising event can be found at www.parentatrust.com

Our sponsorship programme gives

orphaned and disadvantaged preschool

children the chance to lay

the foundations for their learning

in a safe and loving environment.

Having a basic education means

these young children can break

out of the cycle of poverty and look

forward to a much brighter future.

Find out more at:


6 Parenta.com November 2018 7

Recycling Week: Support

sustainability in your setting

How we dispose of plastics has become a contentious issue lately, especially with images

circulating on social media of the effects that plastic waste has on marine life and the

environment. Documentaries such as Blue Planet II have also helped bring the problem to the

public’s attention, as well as the work of charities like Surfers Against Sewage.

The lessons and habits laid down for youngsters in early childhood can last a lifetime, so

what better time to teach them about sustainability? Here are some ideas to celebrate

Recycling Week in your setting:

Introduce recycling stations in all your pre-school rooms and teach children how to sort

recyclable materials from items destined for landfill

Back in October 2015, the

Government introduced a 5p bag

charge to retailers with more than

250 staff. Although it was seen

as a radical move at the time,

the Department for Environment,

Food and Rural Affairs has

reported an 86% fall in the number

of disposable bags issued by

participating supermarkets since it

started. Now, Prime Minister Teresa

May is considering extending the

scheme to retailers of all sizes and

increasing the charge.

Elsewhere, Tops Day Nurseries

made headlines this year for

banning the use of glitter in their

settings due to its harmful

effect on the environment. The

nursery chain is rapidly working

towards becoming ‘the most ecosustainable

childcare provider in the

UK’. So far, they’ve taken initiatives

such as replacing plastic milk

bottles with glass ones, stopping

the use of plastic gloves and

investing in bamboo toothbrushes.

Are we heading towards a plastic


Environmental charity Greenpeace

has warned that the equivalent

of one truck-worth of plastic is

emptied into our oceans every

minute of every day. The problem

of plastic is very real and, if current

trends continue, there will be more

plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

It’s alarming to think that even

something as small as a plastic

straw can take up to 200 years

to decompose, according to

global movement 4Ocean.

Plastic bottles can take

even longer, with an estimated

decomposition time of 450 years or


From the 24th to the 30th

September, recycling charity WRAP

is promoting Recycling Week.

The theme of this annual event

is “Recycling. We do. Because it

matters.” The organisation hopes

to change people’s recycling

behaviours and put across the

message about why recycling

plastic is so beneficial.

Educating children about waste

Teaching children about the

importance of recycling and how

waste can negatively impact the

environment is a great driver

for future change. It can help

youngsters learn about the

consequences of their choices and

make them more environmentally

responsible as adults.

Build a worm farm to show children how worms can break down food waste and create

‘super soil’ for vegetables and flowers

Replace single-use items such as plastic straws with reusable ones made of bamboo

or metal. Why not extend this to find sustainable alternatives for items like plastic cups,

aprons and gloves?

Use jars to collect off-cuts/scraps of paper and reuse these for crafts

Create flash cards which show both recyclable and non-recyclable items. Ask

your children which materials should go in the recycling bin and explain how

this item can be recycled

Clean up a local beach or park. This is a great activity for teaching children

about caring for the environment whilst giving something back to the

community. Bring clear trash bags and pickers to help children sort rubbish from


Encourage youngsters to produce posters (either individually or as a class) to

promote Recycling Week and the importance of sustainability. Display these

proudly throughout your setting

We’d love to hear what ideas and activities

you’ve put in place to teach children about

recycling and plastic waste. Share them with us

on Facebook or Twitter using @TheParentaGroup

8 Parenta.com November 2018 9

What are little boys made of?

I have come across a lovely book by Robert Neubecker who has re-written the nursery rhyme ‘What are

little boys made of?’ Instead of ‘slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails’, it says ‘moons and stars and

rockets to Mars!’ It is generally accepted that boys have different interests to girls, and if we consider

research, we know that there are some differences in how men and women respond socially and

behaviourally; however, the basic structure of the brain is more similar than it is different. Therefore, we

cannot make any assumptions like, ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘that’s just what boys are like…’ Instead, we

need to ensure that we are planning experiences that build on boys’ interests and fascinations - activities

that use their strengths and offer opportunities that will tap into their knowledge and skills.

Tamsin Grimmer

Providing equality of

opportunity is not enough! We

cannot say that because we

offer the same opportunities

to both boys and girls in our

settings, we are ensuring that

they can progress in literacy.

If boys rarely want to engage

in mark-making or reading in

our settings, we need to ask


• How can we make markmaking

and reading

more attractive to boys?

• Are we tapping into the

interests and fascinations

of boys?

• In what ways can we

make mark-making

and reading active and

physical experiences?

• Are we expecting boys to

sit still and passively read

or write in our setting?

• Can we incorporate more

opportunities to read

and mark-make using


• Do we praise boys and

encourage competition

and team playing/


Despite boys underachieving

nationally in all measures

relating to literacy within the

EYFS, we must remember

that boys are just as able as

girls and therefore we must

reflect upon our practices to

ensure that boys have plenty

of opportunities to become

engaged in learning. If levels

of engagement are not high,

we must consider our provision

and our values, attitudes and

the quality of the relationships

that we build with boys. In

this way we can endeavour to

understand why boys are not

making as much progress as

girls in the EYFS (and beyond).

Through tracking children’s

progress, one setting noticed

that boys were not achieving

within the writing

aspect of the EYFS.

They observed

boys during

free-play times

and found that

the numerous


and writing

opportunities were

largely untouched

by boys and

they did not

appear keen to use the

mark-making resources that

were available. The setting

decided to approach this by

finding out where the boys

spent the majority of their time

and what they were engaging

in. They found boys were

regularly outside, building

with large blocks, using iPads

and engaging in fantasy play,

often relating to superheroes.

The setting used this

information as a starting point

and found more varied and

interesting ways of markmaking

outside. For example,

using mud and sticks or

drawing a road for the scooters

with large chalks. They

downloaded mark-making

apps onto the iPads and also

stuck paper in unusual places,

such as underneath tables

and on walls. They created a

‘bat-cave’ which had batshaped

black paper, and HB

pencils with torches to shine at

the marks made. In addition,

they introduced different

ways of mark-making inside,

for example, using small

superheroes to make footprints

in paint and using soil and

paper in a builder’s tray for

cars and trucks to ‘drive’

through and leave muddy

tracks on the paper.

Over time, the boys began

to engage more in markmaking

as they found these

activities more interesting

and engaging than what had

previously been on offer.

Here are a few ideas of how to engage boys in mark-making and reading activities:

• Use the interests of your boys as a starting point for planning

• Put paper underneath table-tops and make mark-making as large-scale as possible

• Offer opportunities that allow boys to stand, sit, lie down, or move as they mark-make

• Think about the different mark-making resources that are available. Can you

incorporate mud, clay, sticks, cars, superheroes and so on?

• Ensure that books are available in different places within your setting, e.g. a

construction book next to your construction materials or a book about dinosaurs in the

small world area

• Offer different examples of drawing and writing, e.g. architect’s plans, bus timetables,

train tickets and offer materials so that children can re-create their own versions of


• Display text in different formats and demonstrate writing for a purpose, e.g. football

scores or a party invitation

Here is a list of ideas or themes that many boys are interested in:

- Sport

- Superheroes

- Latest craze

- Cars/Transport

- Construction

- Castles

- Dinosaurs

- Technology

- Mechanisms

- Wild animals

- Wizards

- Dragons

- Cartoons

- Volcanoes

- Aliens

- Toolkits

- Pirates

- Sharks

- Fire-fighters

- Police

- Doctors

- Camouflage

- Horrid Henry

- Monsters

- Films (Paddington, Toy Story etc)

Although this sounds

like a stereotypical list,

we need to focus on the

things that interest and

motivate boys in order

to encourage them to

participate. Of course,

there will also be boys

who are interested in

animals, dolls, dressing

up or colouring so just

go with whatever they

show an interest in!

So what are little boys

made of? Let’s reframe

this rhyme and engage

boys in reading and

mark-making in our


With mud and clay we’re

mark-making today –

that’s what little boys are

made of!

Tamsin Grimmer is an

experienced early years

consultant and trainer and

parent who is passionate

about young children’s

learning and development.

She believes that all children

deserve practitioners who

are inspiring, dynamic,

reflective and committed to

improving on their current

best. Tamsin particularly

enjoys planning and

delivering training and

supporting early years

practitioners and teachers to

improve outcomes for young


Tamsin has written two

books - Observing and

Developing Schematic

Behaviour in Young Children

and School Readiness

and the Characteristics of

Effective Learning.










10 Parenta.com November 2018 11



Suggestions to

celebrate Diwali

in your setting:

in your


Make greetings cards

Wishing friends and loved ones

a “Happy Diwali” with a card

is traditional during this time,

so why not have the children

make or colour in special cards

that they can send home to

their families?

Diwali, also known as the

Festival of Lights, is celebrated

by millions all over the

world. Although the date of

the festival normally falls in

October, this year it will be

held on the 7th November. It is

India’s most important holiday

and can last up to 5 days.

Before Diwali (also known as

Deepavali) takes place, people

clean their homes and places

of work in preparation for the

celebrations. Deepavali is a

Sanskrit word which literally

means “rows of lighted lamps”.

At the beginning of the festival,

devotees light small clay oil

lamps called diyas in their

homes, shops and places of

worship. The Hindu Goddess of

Wealth, Lakshmi, is worshipped

throughout the year but

especially during Diwali. Lamps

are left alight throughout the

night to welcome Lakshmi into

the family home.

Diwali celebrates new

beginnings, the triumph of good

over evil and the victory of light

over darkness. It also marks the

start of the Hindu New Year in

certain parts of Western and

Northern India.

What is the history and

significance of Diwali?

The legendary stories which

accompany Diwali vary

depending on the region of India

which they relate to.

Some believe the festival to be

the celebration of the marriage of

Goddess Lakshmi to Lord Vishnu

– one of the most important

gods in the Hindu holy trinity.

Others believe that Diwali is

a celebration of the Goddess’

birthday, which is said to take

place during this time.

In Northern India, people believe

that the Festival of Lights honours

the mythical Lord Rama’s return

to his kingdom after 14 years’

exile by a demon. Lighting

candles is thought to symbolically

illuminate the path for his

welcome return and celebrate his

subsequent coronation as king.

How do people celebrate at

this time?

In India, Hindus will leave the

windows and doors of their

houses open so that the Goddess

Lakshmi can enter. Beautiful

patterns (rangoli) are drawn on

the floors near the entrance of

the house using materials such

as coloured rice, sand or flower


Diwali is typically a time for:

• Visiting a local temple and

wishing “Happy Diwali” to


• Decorating homes in bright

reds, greens and yellows

• Lighting candles and oil


• Saying small prayers (puja) in


• Wearing traditional dress like


• Saying prayers to the

Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi

• Exchanging gifts with family

and friends

• Preparing festive meals

• Huge firework displays

The last day of the festival is a

special day for siblings and is

called Bhaiya-Dooj. On this day,

brothers give presents to their

sisters, who in turn cook for them

and make them feel cared-for.

Decorate diyas

Buy plain terracotta tealight

holders and help the

children decorate them with

colourful clay paints and other

accessories like glitter, stickers

and bright rhinestones.

Make colourful rangoli

Help the children create their

own rangoli patterns using

pebbles, coloured sand,

rice and paint. Draw some

inspiration from Tops Day

Nurseries and see how the

children created a range

of rangolis using different

materials here.

Let the children sample

Indian food

Preparing feasts forms an

important part of Diwali

celebrations. In your setting,

children could try vegetable

daal, naan bread, onion bhajis

and other traditional foods.

You could also try making a

simple, sweet Indian dessert

such as Sooji Ka Halwi.

How do you celebrate Diwali

in your setting? Share your

stories and images with us by

sending them to


12 Parenta.com November 2018 13

The Adventures of Rocket Rabbit &

Sidekick Squirrel Part 4

The Adventures of

Rocket Rabbit &

Sidekick Squirrel part 4

Previously on Rocket Rabbit and Sidekick Squirrel…

Our heroes found themselves outsmarted by the

clever witch, Agnes and her sidekick Bones. They

were left lying a little bit helpless at her feet…

Quick as a flash, Agnes had used her magic to tie

the heroes up with very tight ropes. She cackled

loudly at her own brilliance, celebrating her victory.

Rocket and Sidekick struggled against the ropes with

all their might but found their efforts useless. They

remained stuck under the witch’s powerful spell.

Sidekick suddenly had a plan, but she had to keep

quiet for a while in order for it to work correctly. She

signalled to Rocket to stop moving and began to talk

loudly to Agnes in order to distract her and hopefully

put her plan into action.

“This is all your fault Rocket,” said Sidekick with a

very obvious wink. “You are always so gung-ho;

wanting to fight, fight, fight. I’m so fed up of you.”

Rocket gasped ever-so dramatically and pretended

to be deeply hurt by her friend’s words. “Oh do be

quiet you silly squirrel!” she said sternly (but Sidekick

knew she was just playing the game and didn’t really

mean it). “If anything, this is all your fault. Always

waiting to see the danger and never acting. You

would rather run away than fight.”

Agnes cackled again, very pleased with the damage

she had thought she had done to her enemies.

While the heroes were busy talking, Agnes had called

her broom over – which had flown itself across the

room and into her outstretched hand. It was really

quite a remarkable broom. It had been in her family

for many years - handed down to her by her mother

… and her grandmother before her.

Agnes climbed onto her broom with a simple grace

and then hooked the heroes onto the back, using a

hook which appeared from nowhere. Rocket looked a

little worried but Sidekick was feeling confident; she

knew how to escape. A quick whistle was all it took

for Bones to join Agnes on her broom and they were

off into the night sky. Hundreds of stars twinkled as

they were whisked along toward the witch’s hideout

and heading for certain doom.

Sidekick waited until they were flying close to a noisy

aeroplane and said in voice so quietly that only

Rocket could hear, “Get the device out of the third

pocket in your belt.”

Rocket felt for her belt with her left paw and counted,

‘one, two, three’ along it. Reaching into the small

pocket, she pulled out what appeared to be a tiny

rectangular metal box. She handed it to Sidekick,

with some difficulty.

Sidekick quickly and expertly unfolded it to reveal a

useful and very sharp pair of scissors. She had soon cut

through the tight ropes and before very long, she and

Rocket were free, but still holding onto the broom. They

had to choose exactly the right moment to let go, when

they could see they could land from a safe height.

“We should wait until we are almost at the witch’s

hideout” whispered Rocket.

“Don’t worry” said Sidekick, all part of my plan.

Beneath them came the muffled familiar

sounds of an engine. Rocket, with her big

rabbit ears was able to hear it above

the roar of the plane which was

still flying next to them. Looking

down, she noticed with glee their

trusty Super-car below them and

on Sidekick’s say so, they both let

go, flew through the air and landed

in the car with a soft bump.

Neither Agnes nor Bones noticed that their prisoners

had escaped. They were far too busy trying to race

the big plane which was slowly flying further and

further ahead. Rocket really hoped that Agnes was

not a sore loser who would put some kind of spell

on the plane to make it slow down or worse – fall

from the sky – it was the kind of mean thing that she

could possibly do.

The heroes landed safely in their car, but somehow

Sidekick had landed in the driving seat – a position

she was no used to! She attempted to switch seats

by shuffling along, but Rocket said, “Stay there,

you can do this, we are going at full speed and it’s

dangerous to change. Besides, we don’t want to lose


Sidekick smiled at her friend’s kind words and

concentrated on driving. Although she was not

used to driving at all, she found that it was rather

good fun and was soon really enjoying herself. She

weaved along the winding road while Rocket kept a

close eye on the broomstick above with the help of a

telescope from her belt.

14 Parenta.com November 2018 15

They soon arrived at the hideout

and it was here that the witch

suddenly realised with shock that

she had lost her two prisoners

along the way. Rocket heard her let

out an angry scream.

Sidekick drove behind a large tree

so that they wouldn’t be spotted

and stopped the car. They watched

in the silvery moonlight as the witch

and skeleton flew into the huge

black castle. The heroes didn’t want

to waste any time, so they gathered

their things and moved slowly and

quietly towards the drawbridge.

They got there just before it started

going up and had to run to stop

themselves from falling off and

into the murky, deep, green water


Once inside, they crept along the

narrow hallway to the left of the

Great Hall. The gadget which

Sidekick was carrying showed that

the baddies had gone this way.

They moved faster and drew their

stun guns. The baddies were back

in the library, trying to find a book

for a spell to help them find the

escaped heroes.

Rocket and Sidekick found them

and were able to plan their attack.

They sprang out when the witch and

skeleton were looking at a huge old

book and caught them by surprise.

Rocket fired her weapon at the witch

and Sidekick fired at Bones at the

same time.

Both baddies were hit and stunned;

unable to move. They were captured

at last and Rocket and Sidekick were

very happy to have finally completed

their mission.

Richard Dodd

Richard has been writing for

as long as he can remember.

English was a subject he

enjoyed in school as it just

made sense to him. He loved

to read and requested his

own bedroom so that he could

have a bookcase! His favourite

childhood authors included

Enid Blyton, R. L. Stine, M. D.

Spenser, and Charles Dickens.

Characters, stories and even

words he has taken in through

all of those books have stayed

with Richard for two decades.

He firmly believes that books

are integral in a person’s

upbringing and that those

experiences will stay with them

throughout their lives.

He can recall parts of those

books in their entirety, from

the tone of voice described by

the author to certain scenes

from The Famous Five or Secret

Seven. Richard loves fiction

and the idea of escaping and

therefore creating an escape

for a reader is the very reason

he writes.

Richard has written four books,

three in the Fluffy the Magic

Penguin series and a standalone

book called ‘The Secret













Maidstone to Monaco

26 th - 30 th June 2019

2000 MILES




• Save hours by reducing planning time by 50%

• Speedy invoicing to all parents and

carers in minutes

• Instant view of all financial


• Manage payments and track


Find out more at


find out more at parentatrust.com

16 Parenta.com

How music can improve

children’s confidence

I do love a good singsong! Take our village pantomime. This is stuffed full

of music and dance. Everyone from the local publican to members of the

WI gather onto our tiny village hall stage in front of friends and family.

It is a riot of fun and laughter. What gets me each time is how everyone

grows in confidence over the weeks building up to the performances.

This is no coincidence. Music does more than give us a good feeling.

Music is universal, engaging and exceptionally social. It is saturated with

positive physical, mental and social outcomes. It affects our behaviour,

plays a key role in our identities and builds confidence.

The benefits of music in the early years

All children love music. Musical confidence grows when children hear and enjoy music. Through

regular, intentional and enjoyable music activities we can help build up musical intelligence,

supporting children’s ability to ‘think’ musically. Research shows over and over again, the

considerable increase in children’s intelligence and thinking-skills after intentional music

instruction and that this has long–term positive effects on intelligence and learning skills.

How do we make use of the incredible gift of music in the early years?

Rhythm: Don’t we all love that bit in ‘Love Actually’ when Hugh Grant dances to ‘Jump’ by

the Pointer Sisters? Just like Hugh, children can’t stop their bodies from moving to music

they love. We must encourage dancing to disco classics, jumping to Holst’s Planets, or

leaping about to The Lion King. The sound and rhythm not only fill senses with well-being

and enjoyment but also builds positive brain-connections as children engage in an activity

they love.

Melody and sound: Research confirms that music and speech functions have lots in

common. Speech functions can benefit from music, and vice versa. It is believed that

regular, intentional singing and listening to music may even aid the prevention of/promote

the support of language, listening and learning difficulties. What an

incentive to include music in our daily routine! In addition, when we

sing, we are using our cardiovascular system, which means that our

lungs are being given a good old clear out. This has a positive effect

on health and well-being. It even makes us more alert. Singing is

hugely beneficial!

Recorded music: Music has become ever-present. It is in the lift as we

enter the department store, browse in a shop, or sit in a café. Music sets the

mood. Why not use this in the setting? Play some Mozart quietly near the book

corner, jazz by the play dough. Intentional music played in this way is not only

soothing; it builds the child’s musical intelligence.

Musical instruments: Oh! The joy of a drum for a young child. And oh! The horror for

the practitioner who is headachy and tired. But there is no other way of putting this –

children need musical instruments around them like they need books, toys or

people. Musical instruments placed amongst favourite toys and activities

can help build confidence, provide joy and support cognitive skills.

What stops us from doing

this in our setting?

Too often we lack the

confidence. We don’t play

an instrument. We feel silly

when we sing. There are

colleagues that are clearly

more musical. We leave it to

them. Musical instruments

can be viewed as noisy,

pointless or irritating, the

children getting overexcited

and boisterous.

But I would urge you to give

it a go! Put your anxiety

aside. Don’t worry about

the noise or be concerned

about what other people are

thinking. Give the children

the chance to hit/bang

something in time to music,

or jump up and down to ‘The

Monkeys on the Bed’.

Add some instruments to

favourite resources, like a

rainstick or handbells in

the role-play area. Place

some shakers and maybe

a tambourine near the

dressing up. Offer some

recorded music to listen to,

showing the children how

to choose what they want.

Let them dance. Let them

sing. Stand back

and see what the

children do. You may

well be surprised by

how inventive they


And finally

We must listen to the

research and then do what

it says.

Music binds people together.

It improves our health and

happiness. It is linked with

intelligence and thinking


We don’t just make a noise

when we provide these

types of

Helen Garnett

Helen Garnett is a mother

of 4, and a committed and

experienced early years

consultant. She co-founded

a pre-school in 2005

and cares passionately

about young children and

connection. As a result,

she has written a book,

‘Developing Empathy in

the Early Years: a guide for

practitioners’ for which she

won the Professional Books

category at the 2018 Nursery

World Awards. She has also

co-written an early years

curriculum and assessment

tool, at present being

implemented in India. Helen

is also on the Think Equal

team, a global initiative led

by Leslee Udwin, developing

empathy in pre-schools and

schools across the world.

activities. We create social

cohesion, positive brainconnections

and build

children’s confidence.

It’s a lot of gain for a little

pain. Try it today!

18 Parenta.com November 2018 19

Teach your children about road

safety with Beep Beep! Day

Road Safety Week takes place on the 19-25th November and is an annual event organised by road

safety charity Brake. Brake works to prevent road death and injury, as well as raising funds to

support the victims of road crashes.

As part of Road Safety Week, thousands

of tots and infants participate in Beep

Beep! Day, which will take place on

Wednesday 21st November. It’s a great

way to educate children about road

safety through themed activities, whilst

also raising awareness amongst parents

and families about how to protect

children on Britain’s roads.

Promoting life-saving messages and

awareness around road safety for

children is vital, especially when you

consider the statistics from the latest

accident report by the Department

for Transport. It found that there were

15,976 child casualties in 2016, of which

38% were pedestrians.

The report stated that, in 2016, 2,033

children were seriously injured in road

traffic accidents and 69 died. Notably,

over a third of these accidents occurred

during the hours of 7 am-9 am or 3

pm-5 pm on a weekday, which coincides

with the time children are normally going

to or leaving school.

Activities for your setting to take part in

It’s vitally important to help shape children’s understanding of road safety and

ingrain this from an early age – these lessons will help to keep tots safe whilst

they’re young and also stay with them as they get older.

To take part in Beep Beep! Day, here are some ideas to get you started:

Get colourful! Have your children dress up in some bright clothing to wear

for the day, whether it be hats, tops or socks, to emphasise the importance of

drivers slowing down to watch out for pedestrians crossing the road.

Make a handprint poster of all the children’s hands to display in your

welcome area, so that everyone understands the importance of holding

hands with a grown-up whilst near a road. You could make the heading of

this poster “Going home? Hold hands!”

Play stop and go games – make mock roads in your playground and use

props to signify traffic lights and zebra crossings. Children could take turns to

be 'drivers' on a ride-on-scooter or bike, supervised by staff. They could also

practice crossing pretend roads safely. Your local authority road safety team

may be able to lend you some equipment to help with this activity, too.

Teach children a road safety song with new verses for familiar songs such

as Wheels on the Bus. For example, swap the lyrics to: “The children and the

grown-ups all hold hands, all hold hands, all hold hands”.

Invite a VIP to your setting to talk about road safety – this could be a

police community support officer, the fire brigade or a local lollipop lady.

Make sure your chosen “VIP” understands the message you are trying to

deliver to children such as hold hands with an adult when crossing, stay on

pavements and away from dangerous traffic etc.

Play a sound game by recording noises in advance such as those of an

ambulance, car or pelican crossing. Let the children listen and guess what

they are. Talk to your group about key road safety words such as pavement,

kerb, road, car, danger, traffic, stop, look and listen.

Teach children about safe places - make a giant poster of pavements,

roads and parks and cut out a selection of pictures from old magazines of

people, buggies, dogs and vehicles. Ask children to stick the images in the

safest places: people on pavements, vehicles on roads.

Consider raising money for Brake by holding a bake sale! Why not bake

yummy traffic light-themed biscuits or cupcakes, with all money raised to be

donated to the charity? For a healthier alternative you could offer traffic light

fruit during break-time such strawberries, kiwis or mango.

To help your setting’s Beep Beep! Day go off with a bang, Brake is providing

organisers with free e-resource packs or, for a fee of £12.50, a bumper pack for 50

children. The bumper pack includes stickers and certificates for children taking part,

promotional posters, activity and song cards and even balloons! Find out more from

the charity’s website.

20 Parenta.com November 2018 21

Spotlight on...

Bryony Abbott

Every month, we put the spotlight

on a member of the Parenta team.

This time around, it’s our marketing

manager. Bryony helps to manage all the marketing

activities for the company including co-ordinating

campaigns, creating marketing materials and ensuring

our sales leads remain high.

What does a typical day look like

to you?

Each day varies for me, however,

most of my efforts are focused on

our digital channels. So I could be

updating or improving our website,

improving engagement on our social

media channels or planning ahead

to make sure we get a head start on

plans for the coming month, as well

as running campaigns to ensure we

are generating leads for the business.

It is also incredibly important that I

analyse our efforts and track what is

working, why and if it’s not, highlight

areas that need improvement.

How has your role progressed

since you started at Parenta?

Originally I started as the Digital

Marketing Executive back in 2014,

I developed from this to Marketing

Executive after becoming heavily

involved in the branding and design

side of the business. Eventually, I

was promoted to Inbound Marketing

Manager, looking at the generation

of leads and managing the day-today

running of the marketing team.

After a little hiatus, I returned to the

company as a Marketing Manager,

which is where I am today!

What do you think makes Parenta

stand out as a company operating

in the early years sector?

From an outsider’s perspective, we

do not specialise in one area, there

are many faces to the business.

You should always

put yourself in the

customer’s shoes,

walk through the

process, and think

about the type

of language and

images that will

appeal to them

From an internal perspective, it is

very much like a family, with a very

caring environment, which I feel feeds

through into the ways we interact

with our customers. I like to think this

reflects what our customers are like.

Since starting your career in

marketing, what’s the single most

important thing you’ve learnt

about how to market a product or

service successfully?

Know your audience! This is so

important, especially when writing

copy/putting together a campaign.

You should also always put yourself

in the customer’s shoes, walk through

the process, and think about the type

of language and images that will

appeal to them, do they tell a story?

Is it appealing? Could the journey

be better? Would you be inclined to

work with that company or buy that


What are you most excited to be

working towards in the coming


A new parenta.com website

and improving our social media

engagement! Watch this space!

In your spare time, what do you

enjoy doing?

Depending on my mood, reading,

painting (I have a huge paint by

numbers to complete!) or watching

movies. I love all kinds of movies,

from Marvel to horror and of course,

Disney! I also have a very playful cat

who loves a cuddle!

printed with your own design!

Enter our “design your own Christmas card” competition with a chance to win

1000 cards for your setting – printed with your own design!

The children at your setting can have hours of festive fun drawing, colouring,

sticking, or however they wish to decorate the cards - you can enter as many

designs as you wish!

To enter, take a photograph of your Christmassy creation and email it to

marketing@parenta.com by Sunday 18 th November.

We will upload your design(s) to our website and social media pages for a

national vote – the design with the most votes will win the incredible prize!

The winner will be announced personally and on social media on Tuesday 27 th

November and in December’s magazine.

Your cards will be printed and delivered to your setting by 1 st December.

Happy Christmas crafting … and good luck!

22 Parenta.com November 2018 23

Remembrance Day - We will

remember them


we will remember them

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them."

From "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon

Remembrance Day, which falls on 11th November 2018, is held in Commonwealth countries to honour

military personnel who have lost their lives to protect the freedom of others. More than 12,000 British

servicemen and women have been killed or injured in the line of duty since 1945.

On Remembrance Day weekend, special

ceremonies are held at war memorials

and poppy wreaths are laid to pay

respect to those who fought for their


In London, the royal family attend

a commemorative ceremony at

The Cenotaph in Whitehall (near

the Houses of Parliament).

The Queen, members of the

Government, politicians and

soldiers lay wreaths at the foot

of this famous war memorial,

followed by a service of

remembrance conducted by

the Bishop of London.

Throughout the UK, a twominute

silence is traditionally

observed on the 11th hour of the

11th day of the 11th month.

This represents the

guns falling silent

on this day in


Why do we wear a poppy?

Many people show their respects on

Remembrance Sunday by wearing a

red poppy. This flower has long been

associated with the First World War

because, once the conflict drew to a

close, it was the only plant to grow

on the barren battlefields of Northern

France and Belgium.

In 1915, a Canadian doctor named John

McCrae was treating soldiers wounded

during the war and noticed poppies

blooming amongst the gravestones.

Inspired by the sight, he went on to write

the famous poem, "In Flanders Fields".

The poem is often read each November in

memory of those who served in war.

The poppy was also adopted as a

symbol of The Royal British Legion, an

organisation which provides support for

people in the forces, veterans and their

families. The current paper version of the

poppy was introduced over 30 years ago

but the sale of these continues to provide

vital funds for the charity.

Activities to mark Remembrance Day in your setting:

Read a story about Remembrance Day

Explain to the children what the day is for: to honour and remember those who died fighting for our country. Some

children may know or know of someone who is currently serving in the armed forces.

Create your own poppy wreath with the children

Let them lay the wreath at a memorial held at a local church. Upon returning to your setting, lead a discussion about

the meaning of Remembrance Day and why we pay our respects to those who served in the war.

Make your very own craft poppies for children to take home

These can be made with a variety of different textures and materials such as potatoes and poppy seeds or even paper

plates and paint!

Send thank you letters and pictures

The children can draw pictures to thank those serving in the armed forces. Make arrangements to send them to

someone serving - this could be a family member of one of your pre-schoolers or a friend of their family.

Visit residents in a care home for a Remembrance-Day-themed tea party

Alternatively you could invite them to visit your setting. Why not help the children bake some shortbread biscuits or

cupcakes beforehand with red “poppy” icing to share with the residents at the party?


2018 is a very special year, as it marks the 100-year anniversary of

the end of the First World War.

How will you be celebrating Remembrance Day in your setting? Let us know by

emailing marketing@parenta.com and sharing your ideas!

24 Parenta.com November 2018 25

Remembrance Sunday

hand-painting poppy craft


1 paper plate

White paper

Green paint

Red paint

Write for us for a chance to win £50

We’re always on the lookout for new authors to contribute insightful

articles for our monthly magazine.

1. Cut your paper plate in half and use one half of the paper plate to pour the

green paint on to.

2. Using the edge of your hand, from the tip of your little finger to your wrist,

dip your hand into the green paint and carefully stamp it along the bottom

of your sheet of paper to create lots of long green lines. These will be the

stems of your flowers.

3. Once you have made your stems, wash the remaining green paint from your


4. Pour out the red paint on to the other half of your paper plate, ready for the

next step.

5. Guide your child, dipping their whole hand into the red paint.

6. Place their paint-covered hand on top of the green stems on your sheet of

paper to create the poppies.

7. Your craft should look something like this!

If you’ve got a topic you’d like to write

about, why not send an article to us and be

in with a chance of winning? Each month,

we’ll be giving away £50 to our “Guest

Author of the Month”.

Here are the details:


Choose a topic that is relevant to early

years childcare


Submit an article of between 600-900

words to marketing@parenta.com


If we choose to feature your article in our

magazine, you’ll be eligible to win £50


The winner will be picked based on

having the highest number of views for

their article during that month

This competition is open to both new and

existing authors, for any articles submitted to

feature in our Parenta magazine for 2018. The

lucky winner will be notified via email and we’ll

also include an announcement in the following

month’s edition of the magazine.

Got any questions or want to run a topic by us?

For more details email marketing@parenta.com


Joanna Grace

Congratulations to our guest author competition

winner who has won for the third consecutive

month! Joanna Grace’s article ‘A sensory look at

the fussy eater’ was incredibly popular with our

readers. Well done, Joanna!

26 Parenta.com November 2018 27




underpinning skills. Meaning that for people at risk of

frontal lobe deficits there is extra potential at stake in

these spectacular set-shifting activities.

Playing at set-shifting

To play at set-shifting, we need to create a play

environment which gives the brain the opportunity

to view one set of resources, or one environment, in

multiple ways. In other words to see something in a

particular way and then shift to see it in another way.

In this first of four articles exploring sensory support for emotional regulation, Sensory

Engagement Specialist and Sensory Projects Founder, Joanna Grace, explores how we can boost

the brain’s ability to set-shift through play. This article is based on one of Joanna’s free leaflet

guides, more can be found at: www.thesensoryprojects.co.uk/guides

What is set-shifting?

Set-shifting is the brain’s ability to move

between one set of cognitive strategies to

a new set in response to changes in the

environment. We need to be able to do this

in order to achieve all sorts of other things,

for example:

• It underpins our ability to pay

attention: To pay attention, we

must switch between what we were

attending to, to what we are asked

to attend to.

• It is fundamental to our ability to

behave in a socially-acceptable

way when faced with challenges:

To behave acceptably we must

be able to switch between our

instinctual response to challenge,

which might be to lash out and kick

or hurt another person, to a more

considered response, which could

be to tell a teacher or ask an adult

for help.

• It is utilised by the brain when it

tackles mathematical problems:

To solve maths problems we need

to switch between functions, for

example one moment adding,

another moment taking away.

These are only a few examples of all the

fantastically brainy things our ability to setshift


Spectacular set-shifting

The brains ability to set-shift is one of its

spectacular functions, underpinning our

ability to interact successfully with the

world around us. It takes us a while to

secure it, with most typically-developing

people’s brains only fully getting the hang

of it in late childhood/early adolescence.

But as with so many things achieved in

later development, its roots begin in our

early experiences and even for very little

children we can begin nurturing these

roots. Practice at experiences associated

with set-shifting are like a work out for the

brain, which is an incredibly flexible organ.

Experiences in early childhood can mean a

lot to later cerebral abilities.

The Frontal Lobe Deficit and setshifting

Unsurprisingly, the frontal lobe is the

part of the brain at the front of our skull,

the part just behind your forehead. The

frontal lobe is the home of set-shifting.

People with various conditions can

experience impairment to their frontal

lobe abilities and this will in turn affect

their capacity to set-shift. For example,

people with Parkinson’s disease, foetal

alcohol spectrum disorder (currently

one of the leading causes of learning

disability in the UK), autistic spectrum

disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity

disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder,

epilepsy and individuals with specific

brain injury to the frontal lobe can all

experience impairment to their frontal

lobe capabilities.

The brain is a fantastically adaptable organ,

and it may be possible to improve abilities

in areas that are impaired by practicing the

As you play at set-shifting, it is important that you check

the understanding of the children playing with you at

each phase of the game. They need to understand the

environment, or the resources, as they are in the first

phase, before you move on to the second phase. Do not

shift before they have ‘got’ what is going on initially. You

are looking to support their change in understanding.







Activities ripe for set-shifting exploration

Choose a toy or resource that the children you

support play with regularly in a particular way.

Invent a totally new way of playing with that

toy and share it with them. For example if they

regularly build models out of toy bricks show

them how to use the bricks to colour in a drawing

on the floor as if building a mosaic out of them

Use stacking bricks to make print paintings

Place damp sand in a tough tray with sandcastle

buckets and spend time making sand castles.

Then remove the buckets and add in large

pencils, spread the sand flat and use it to write in

Turn a piece of furniture upside down and use it

in a different way. If inverting a classroom table,

use tennis balls cut along one side to pop over

the ends of table legs to prevent injury. Turning

a table upside down and making it a boat in an

imaginary game is a wonderful piece of setshifting

Line up a selection of sturdy toys and hit them

with a musical mallet to see what sounds they

make. Order them according to their sounds and

then play them as if they are a glockenspiel

Make grated-cheese sandwiches by sprinkling

grated cheese onto a plate, buttering the bread

and then printing it into the cheese

Activities like these have also been shown to

increase creativity in adults so by playing at

spectacular set-shifting with your children, you may

well find you are better able to come up with new

activity ideas yourself!

The Sensory Projects believe that with the right

knowledge and a little creativity, inexpensive

resources can become effective tools for inclusion.

Find out about The Sensory Projects events here:


Joanna Grace

Joanna Grace is an

international sensory

engagement and inclusion

specialist, trainer, author,

TEDx speaker and founder of

The Sensory Projects.

Consistently rated as

Outstanding by Ofsted,

Joanna has taught in

mainstream and specialschool

settings, connecting

with pupils of all ages and

abilities. To inform her

work, Joanna draws on her

own experience from her

private and professional

life as well as taking in all

the information she can

from the research archives.

Joanna’s private life includes

family members with

disabilities and neurodiverse

conditions and time spent

as a registered foster carer

for children with profound


Joanna has published three

books: Sensory Stories

for children and teens,

Sensory-being for Sensory

Beings and Sharing Sensory

Stories and Conversations

with People with Dementia.

Her latest two books were

launched at TES SEN in


Joanna is a big fan of social

media and is always happy

to connect with people

via Facebook, Twitter and




28 Parenta.com November 2018 29

Safeguarding staff

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2017 requires childcare providers to have policies for

safeguarding and child protection. Most of this is geared towards safeguarding children, but

there is growing evidence that nursery staff also need protecting against unsubstantiated or false

allegations which can destroy an adult’s long-standing reputation and career in seconds.

Allegations usually fall

into the category of

either personal/company

negligence, or child

abuse, including neglect,

sexual, emotional and/or

physical abuse.

Below are some tips and

advice to help safeguard

your staff against this.

Working environment

All staff have the right to

work in an environment

that is compliant with

current health and safety

legislation. Your dedicated

health and safety officer

should ensure this

legislation is adhered to.


should be carried out

and recorded daily so

that problems can be

identified and resolved.

This becomes especially

important if you hire

a community space.

Assessments should

include the temperature,

toilet facilities, suitability

of spaces, electrical and

fire hazards, trip hazards

and security to name but

a few.

Consider the structure and

appropriateness of the

building too. For example,

can you fit glass panels

to doors to protect staff

by making spaces more

visible, whilst also keeping

the children secure?

Protocols and


This is a key requirement

and there should be

robust recruitment

procedures for staff and

volunteers such as DBS

and reference checks.

Specific safeguarding and

child protection training

needs to be provided for

all staff at induction.

Good practice might also

include volunteers if time

and resources allow,

but at the very least,

volunteers should sign to

confirm they have seen

and understood your

child protection policies.

Ignorance is no adequate

defence after all.

Ensure too that your

policies are regularly

reviewed and adhered to

by all staff and that they

have adequate support

from senior leaders during

working hours.

Staff need insurance

which provides advice and

legal cover in the case of

a claim against them. This

might be through a union

or your organisation’s

insurance, but the

accessibility of swift legal

advice may prevent a

potential safeguarding

situation escalating.

Staff should also be

made aware of the roles,

responsibilities and

contact details of your

designated safeguarding

leads, the deputy leads

and the LADO (local

authority designated

officer) as well as their

own responsibilities

towards whistleblowing

and how to report

concerns against other

staff or members of


You should also have a

written policy on how

to deal with allegations

against staff.

Everyday routines

These are things like:

• Drop-off and pick-up

• Nappy changing

• Handling medicines

• Food and allergies

• Accidents

• Touching and/or

comforting children

• Bullying

Ensure you have written

policies for each situation.

For example, staff should

understand when they

can and cannot touch

children, especially in

relation to children who

are crying, distressed or

at risk of harming other

children. There can be

misunderstandings about

this and about what level

of physical intervention

is acceptable, so regular

training can help protect

staff from allegations of

inappropriate physical


You could also offer

parents education so that

they understand that if

one child is threatening

another, it’s the nursery’s

duty to physically

intervene to prevent injury

to one or both parties.

It’s also the management’s

responsibility to ensure

adequate cover for

transport situations and at

the beginning and end of

the day, so that staff are

not inadvertently left alone

with a child.


Activities and events

make learning fun, but

staff should not be put in

compromising situations

because of them, so

ensure that everything

you do is properly riskassessed

and authorised.

Guidelines do not expect

all risks to be eliminated,

but risks should be

recognised, understood,

assessed and minimised.

If parents are made aware

of potential risks and

give their consent, an

accusation of negligence

is much less likely. Try

also, to link all activities

to an appropriate, wellrecognised

learning goal.

Use of technology

Technology is a wonderful,

enriching learning tool

but can also potentially

introduce hazardous

environments for both

children and staff. An

‘innocent’ photograph of

children playing, taken

on a personal mobile

and uploaded to social

media will most likely be

construed negatively if not

authorised or sanctioned


Develop protocols which

cover all technology

including mobiles. You

might consider asking

staff to hand in their

mobiles at the start of the

day or be very vigilant

about their use (e.g. only

in the staff areas).

Staff should not be allowed

to give out personal

details unless agreed

by management and

ensure that all lines of

communication are through

official pre-school emails,

which are more easily

monitored and transparent

than personal ones.

Check there are

appropriate internet filter

and safeguarding settings

on all ICT equipment to

avoid inadvertent slips.

Home visits

If your nursery engages in

home visits, write a homevisit

protocol which is

adhered to. This generally

involves staff going in

pairs and not entering

houses if a parent or a

second member of staff

are not there.

Keeping records

It is imperative that

adequate records are

kept of all potential

safeguarding incidents.

Records should be based

on fact and not opinions

since they may be

produced in court in the

event of any allegations or

legal action. Keep them

factual, accurate and


Safeguarding is not just

about keeping children

safe, but also about

the responsibilities that

employers have to their

staff to ensure that they

are well-informed, welltrained

and properly


Click here for more


30 Parenta.com November 2018 31

Empowering children

through stories

In a world that is becoming more and more digital, it is more

important than ever to emphasise how important stories are in

a child’s development. Computers and tablets are great in many

ways. However, they can never and should never replace that

special moment when you snuggle up with a good old-fashioned


Children have so much to learn about themselves and the world

around them. Stories are powerful tools that communicate

different messages and concepts and also provide children

with opportunities to process thoughts and feelings that can

sometimes become overwhelming.

Here are some benefits of storytime:

Managing feelings

Children have so many big emotions to process and navigate. Relating to

characters in stories can really help little ones to make sense of different

feelings and situations. It also helps them to realise that they are not alone.

Languages & communication

We all speak to our children every day but the language we use can be

repetitive and limited. Stories ensure that children hear different vocabulary

from a range of themes that they wouldn’t necessarily hear in day-to-day life.

Listening & concentration

At first, when reading to children they may want to fidget, turn pages before you have finished reading them or even swap

books every 5 seconds! However, by consistently having storytime, they will develop their ability to concentrate and to sit still

for longer periods of time.


Self-awareness is one of the most important traits a person can have. The ability to understand yourself, your place in the

world and how you impact and react to others can shape your path, your relationships and your general happiness. Stories

allow children to gain an understanding of different concepts and relate them to their own life and behaviour. As well as

reading to children, it is important to spend time talking about different characters and scenes in the book. This allows them

to process information and gain an understanding of their own thoughts, feelings and actions.

Imagination & empathy

Storybooks are an amazing way to develop imagination and empathy because they allow children to transport themselves

into another world or situation and to identify with concepts that are not necessarily a part of their own reality. Asking

children to guess what happens next, what a character is doing or how they think they might be feeling can help to develop

these two important qualities. A child will only ever achieve what their mind allows them to visualise first, which is why

developing imagination is crucial. The ability to empathise with others will also impact their relationships and will help them

to be kinder to others, which will also take them far in life.

Reading for success

Reading to children from early infancy contributes to how well they perform in

school. Studies show that when children are read to, certain parts of the brain

are affected and this has a lasting impact on language, literacy and early

reading skills.

Attachment and bonding

One of the most important things you can give to children is your time. Reading

stories together gives you a great opportunity to spend one-on-one time on a

regular basis. Not only reading the story but also talking about the characters

and truly listening to what children have to say will have a big impact. Not only

will it make children feel valued, which will build self-esteem, but it will also

strengthen your bond, which will give them a sense of safety and security.

As you can see there are so many reasons that storytime is important in a child’s

development. We all want to give children the best start in life and by simply reading

to them every day we can help to create a strong foundation for their future. Who

wouldn’t want to give children the gift of knowledge, empathy, self-awareness and

self-esteem? A simple story a day can do just that!

Stacey Kelly

Stacey Kelly is a former

teacher, a parent to 2

beautiful babies and the

founder of Early Years Story

Box, which is a subscription

website providing children’s

storybooks and early years

resources. She is passionate

about building children’s

imagination, creativity and

self-belief and about creating

awareness of the impact

that the early years have

on a child’s future. Stacey

loves her role as a writer,

illustrator and public speaker

and believes in the power of

personal development. She is

also on a mission to empower

children to live a life full of

happiness and fulfillment,

which is why she launched

the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude


Sign up to Stacey’s Premium

Membership here and use the

code PARENTA20 to get 20%

off or contact Stacey for an

online demo.













32 Parenta.com November 2018 33

What our customers say




We have used the Parenta software for a few years now and love using it. Yes like any system it will not do everything that you want,

however, email the team your suggestions and they will put it forward to the tech guys and programmers to see if it possible to

add. I love working with the team, making suggestions, learning what the system does. The team really do listen to what you want

and are willing to help. Goodness knows how many times I have rung them for advice, and they always happy to assist (even when

I’m the problem!) The services that Parenta offer are amazing from, producing an amazing magazine (of which I have only recently discovered)

and it is full of valuable information, ideas, awards, news, and involving practitioners to have their say too. My staff find the system easy to use,

reducing paperwork and freeing up time to really be involved with the children. Parents say they look forward to their daily emails, as they are

clearly set up, easy to read and fun.

We also use Parenta for our training and again I cannot fault the high-quality service and support they

provide. We have been luckily enough to have the same assessor (Emma) which is important to my team

as she really understands the different learning styles everyone has and she seamlessly adapts her

training to support individuals.

This is a team that really care from the cleaners to the CEO's of the company, they work together

to provide a professional and well delivered services of which I cannot fault. I love working

with them, they embrace change and challenges and really do make the time to build on

relationships with their clients. I know it sounds like I am on a commission

to say nice things, but this is genuine, I really do not have anything

negative to say. Enough grovelling, try the system for yourselves.

Linda Innes - St John’s Nursery Group




Think of it like this – a nursery website is like having your very own

marketing team working on promoting your setting 24 hours a day,

7 days a week, 365 days a year…need we say any more?!

We are childcare specialists

We know the requirements of Ofsted

We understand what will get parents to engage with you


Our nursery has been supported by Parenta’s software and now

Parenta’s apprenticeship training since we began, 3 years ago. Your

services have been invaluable in helping us build our wonderful nursery.

We are now fully occupied (and have been for some time) with a waiting list for every

age group! Our nursery has a distinctive ethos, putting children’s individual

needs at our heart. We believe in natural resources, following children’s own

interests to help them reach their own learning potential

as well as giving them plenty of outdoor time in our all

weather, astro-turf garden.

Chris Ford - Little Adventurers Nursery


Our Assessor, Heather Gamble, was really supportive

& encouraging. Always at the end of

the phone when needed for a query

or assistance. Really lovely lady.

Jane Tuffrey - Zoe Evans Childcare Ltd


Thank you Holly you really are a

lovely person and I’m glad you

are my tutor!

Amanda Smith - St Peter’s Nursery








We suggest what information would benefit your website

We regularly check we are providing the best software

We help you improve areas of your website using stats

We can help, whatever your budget or technical knowledge

34 Parenta.com November 2018 35



environments that

develop potential

and the ideas of

Reuven Feuerstein

I was first introduced to the theoretical work of

Reuven Feuerstein by my friend and mentor the

late Professor Bob Burden when I trained as an

educational psychologist at the University of Exeter. At

the time, I thought Feuerstein’s ideas were wonderful

and they changed the way I came to think about

children’s development, especially how they learn.

In the following article, which explores Feuerstein’s

emphasis on developing children’s potential, I would

like to acknowledge the help of Martine Burke, Lead

Practitioner of an outstanding nursery in Bristol. I

invited Martine to offer an example of an aspect of the

nursery’s work with children that could illustrate how

a creative use of the children’s environment could be

used to develop their potential, which is a central idea,

at the heart of Feuerstein’s theory. Martine came up

with a wonderful example where the children at her

nursery were engaging in activities out of doors (see

example below).

Who is Reuven Feuerstein?

Reuven Feuerstein was born

in Botosani, Romania in 1921

and following the end of

World War II, he worked with

children who had survived the

Holocaust. This experience

was to shape his own thinking

about how children think and

learn. Feuerstein observed

how these children, when

initially assessed using

standardised intelligence

(IQ) did not perform well

but when he worked with

them on an individual basis,

they performed far better

than their test scores had

suggested; more importantly,

he found that their intellectual

performance greatly improved.

This led Reuven to look more

closely at how these children

learned and to question if, in

fact, their intellectual abilities

were fixed from birth. He

then began to explore how

children’s thinking skills could

be developed and improved

so that they could be helped to

reach their potential.

Feuerstein’s ideas

Feuerstein suggested that

practitioners should believe

that a child’s potential for

learning ought to have almost

no limits. He also suggested

that artificial barriers prevent

change in how children learn

and realise their potential.

Reuven also proposed that

all children, no matter what

their degree of difficulty can,

with the appropriate level of

support, become effective

learners. By adopting such a

belief system, practitioners,

he argued, can then be freed

from the type of restricted

thinking that might limit

their vision of what could be

possible for them to achieve

with every child.

Reuven argued that a central

feature in children’s intellectual

learning is, learning how

to learn and he called this

process the ‘Mediated

Learning Experience’ where

adults working with children

ensure that the children

understand what is being

asked of them when they

engage in a new activity.

Practitioners, therefore,

should take great care when

explaining to children why they

are being asked to engage

in a particular activity and

that they understand that

the activity has real value as

opposed to being something

that will occupy them for a

time. A particular strength

of Feuerstein’s theory is that

it places children’s potential

for learning at the very

heart of their activities with

adults. By emphasising the

distinction between ‘ability’

and ‘potential’, Feuerstein

recognised the importance

of adults creating learning

environments where children

can realise their potential.

The following example

shows how practitioners at

an outstanding early years

setting have been using the

outdoors environment to

support children in realising

their potential:


When thinking about the

outdoor environment at

our setting we value the

importance of creating

opportunities for the children

to explore using a wide range

of resources; the children like

to use their imagination with

chosen resources. We are

very fortunate to have access

to a small courtyard garden

area which the youngest of

children can freely access

and which I feel is very

important as they then have

opportunities to make choices

themselves safely, and to

venture off and explore under

supervision. Practitioners

set up activities that include

mark-making, sand and water,

and construction, as well

as allowing the children to

transport resources of choice

from their room to the outside

to extend and support their

play further. We also have

a bigger garden area which

has plenty of spaces for riding

bikes and scooters, climbing

trees, and playing hide and

seek games, as well as having

a range of natural resources

with which to explore. The

children respond very well to

this type of environment and

like to use their imagination

and importantly, their thinking

skills, as well as physical skills,

all of which works to develop

their individual potential.

Recently, I observed one group

of children for a short time

when they were using tyres to

roll, push and move around

the garden. The children were

working well together, showing

good levels of involvement

as well as problem-solving

skills. Practitioners were

carefully supporting their play

by providing more resources

and allowing the children to

take a lead with their play. As

a setting, we have reflected

upon our resources and I

have discussed with my team

the importance of ensuring

that the small garden area

has more problem-solving

opportunities even for the

youngest of the children. We

have decided to make regular

visits to the local ‘Scrapstore’

and create a space where

loose parts can be kept

outside for the children to have

access to.

This example illustrates the

importance of those ideas

that underpin Feuerstein’s

theory, which emphasises the

importance of adults creating

meaningful environments

for young children that give

them opportunities, under

supervision, to develop their

individual potential.

Prof Sean MacBlain

Professor Sean MacBlain

PhD, C. Psychol., C. Sci.,


a distinguished author

whose most recent

publication is: MacBlain

(Sage, 2018) Learning

Theories for Early Years

Practice. Other publications

include: MacBlain (Sage,

2014) How Children Learn;

Gray and MacBlain (Sage,

2015) Learning Theories in

Childhood, now going into

its 3rd edition; MacBlain,

Long and Dunn, (Sage,

2015) Dyslexia, Literacy and

Inclusion: Child-centred

Perspectives; MacBlain,

Dunn and Luke (Sage, 2017)

Contemporary Childhood;

Sean’s publications are used

by students, academics and

practitioners worldwide.

He is currently a senior

academic at Plymouth

Marjon University where

he teaches on a range of

undergraduate programmes

and supervises students at

masters and doctoral level.

Sean worked previously as a

Senior Lecturer in Education

and Developmental

Psychology at Stranmillis

University College, Queens

University Belfast and for

over twenty years as an

educational psychologist

in private practice. Sean

lives with his wife Angela in

Somerset, England.

For further information on creating environments that develop

potential in the early years, see the following link to Sean’s latest

book: MacBlain, S.F. (2018) Learning Theories for Early Years

Practice. London: Sage: https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/


36 Parenta.com November 2018 37

Parenta job board


To make use of our FREE recruitment service

get in touch contact@parenta.com

EYFS Learning

Journey Software

Childcare Apprentice Required:

Busy Bodies Limited Maidstone Kent ME14 2DS

Little Quackers Maidstone Kent ME19 6SD

Kids Will Be Kids Elstree Watford WD6 3JJ

Sudbury Town Nursery School Greenford London UB6 0NA

Hornsey Road Children’s Centre Hornsey London N7 7EN

Ferndale Road Day Nursery Lambeth London SW9 8AZ

Small People South Norwood London SE25 5JR

Ashdon Children’s Nursery Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB10 2ET

Pips Nursery Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB11 4XJ

Club Kingswood Nursery Basildon Essex SS17 9BT

Village End Childcare Ascot Berkshire SL5 8DQ

Patchwork Montessori Maidenhead Buckinghamshire SL6 3AR

Little Roos Marlow Buckinghamshire SL7 1JW

Playdays Farnborough Farnborough Hampshire GU14 6DD

Forest Nursery Chippenham Wiltshire SN15 3QU

Guilden Sutton Day Nursery Chester Cheshire CH3 7EX

The Lighthouse Day Care Nursery Royal Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV32 5JF

Inside Out Nurseries Ltd Bubbenhall Coventry CV8 3BL

Barnabas House Private Nursery Darwen Blackburn BB3 2ED

The Wishing Tree Nursery Brighton East Sussex BN1 8NA

Nanny’s House Portslade East Sussex BN41 2FA

Goldcrest Day Nursery Billericay Essex CM11 2HQ

Little Faces Childcare Chelmsford Essex CM2 8HR

Jam Childcare Sawbridgeworth Essex CM21 9AX

Clever Cloggs Day Nursery Dunmow Essex CM6 1FF

Little Einstein’s Day Camp Brightlingsea Colchester CO7 0BZ

Boxmoor Preschool Crouchfield Hemel Hempstead HP1 1PA

Knowledgems Ilford Essex IG1 4UA

Charlbury Railway Children Charlbury West Oxfordshire OX7 3HH

Bluebells Day Nursery Horsham West Sussex RH13 8JE



parenta.com/fsdemo contact@parenta.com 0800 002 9242

Improve essential safeguarding with new facial detection, tagging and

blurring technology

Save hours of time and reduce your workload to spend more time with

the children

Free set-up and unlimited training and support

Unlimited video, image and document storage

November 2018 39

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!