Parenta Magazine February 2019

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Issue 51<br />

FEBRUARY <strong>2019</strong><br />

FREE<br />



7 WAYS<br />

to market your<br />

new setting on<br />

a budget<br />

A neurogenesis<br />

workout for<br />

everyone!<br />

The power<br />

of calm<br />

“The Giants” in<br />

the world of early<br />

years<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to<br />

WIN<br />



£50<br />

p 23<br />


hello<br />


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

We hope that you and your staff have had a good start to <strong>2019</strong>. We have some fabulous articles in store<br />

for you this month, all aimed at helping you with the smooth and successful running of your setting and the<br />

health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care.<br />

Advice this month includes valuable top tips on how to hire your perfect apprentice, and we offer some practical<br />

guidance on how best to meet the needs of children in the care system. We understand that a lot of settings are<br />

struggling financially due to funding cuts etc., so to try and help, we have included a guide on “How to market your nursery on a<br />

small budget”.<br />

Two topical subjects which are close to everybody’s heart when it comes to the wellbeing of children are internet safety and child<br />

obesity. How can we keep our children “internet safe” in this day and age, when using the internet is part of everyday life? Safer<br />

Internet Day is on 5th <strong>February</strong> and aims to raise awareness of the benefits and risks posed by the internet, at the same time<br />

promoting safe, responsible and positive use of it for children and young people. We look at how important internet safety is, even<br />

in early years, and look at ways you can get involved.<br />

Child obesity is rising at an alarming rate in the UK and we have a few ideas for things you can do in your setting to encourage<br />

healthier options to tackle this sensitive but worrying topic.<br />

We love to bring you ideas for arts and crafts and this month is no exception! To help you celebrate Chinese New Year, we have<br />

devised five, fun activities to bring some happiness and affluence to you and your children in this coming year - The Year of the Pig!<br />

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we bring you fluffy slime which will give you hours of messy play! We really enjoy seeing photos of the<br />

crafts the children in your setting have made – please feel free to share your crafty creations on social media, remembering to tag<br />

us @theparentagroup.<br />

Congratulations to our guest author competition winner! Joanna Grace’s article “Rainbow emotional regulation” looked at how we<br />

can support children’s emotional regulation by labelling the full spectrum of their emotions. If you have written on a topic relevant<br />

to early years and would like to be in with a chance to win £50 in shopping vouchers, turn to page 22 for details.<br />

We hope you enjoy <strong>February</strong>’s issue of our magazine and wish you a happy (Chinese) New Year!<br />

Allan<br />

SAFER 16<br />


The aim of “Safer<br />

Internet Day” is to<br />

raise awareness of the<br />

benefits and risks posed<br />

by the internet.<br />



Tamsin Grimmer<br />

discusses ways to deal<br />

with aggression and<br />

violent play.<br />

10<br />


Stacey Kelly explores how to help equip<br />

children with a good moral compass to<br />

help guide them.<br />

28<br />

FEBRUARY <strong>2019</strong> ISSUE 51<br />



18 Focus on the <strong>Parenta</strong> assessors<br />

22 Fluffy slime craft<br />

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

27 What our customers say<br />

32 <strong>Parenta</strong> job board<br />

NEWS<br />

4 Launch of new ‘Fire It Up’ campaign for<br />

apprenticeships<br />

6 <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust news<br />

ADVICE<br />

8 7 ways to market your new nursery on a small<br />

budget<br />

12 Hiring your perfect apprentice<br />

14 <strong>Parenta</strong> and Morton Michel Partnership – what<br />

does this mean for you?<br />

16 Safer Internet Day<br />

30 Understanding the needs of children in the care<br />

system: part 2<br />

34 Chinese New Year – year of the pig craft ideas<br />

38 Encouraging healthier options to tackle<br />

childhood obesity<br />


10 “I’m the goodie and you’re the baddie…!”<br />

Dealing with aggression and violent play<br />

20 Neurogenesis workout for everyone<br />

24 Supporting children with a language delay<br />

28 The power of calm<br />

36 “The Giants”: part 1<br />

Gina Smith examines building language skills and<br />

how to support children with a language delay. 24<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> and Morton Michel Partnership - get your<br />

FREE insurance review now! 14<br />

Encouraging healthier options to tackle childhood obesity. 38<br />

Professor Sean MacBlain reflects on the ideas of<br />

philosophers, theorists and practitioners who laid many<br />

of the foundations of practice in the field of early years.<br />


Launch of new ‘Fire<br />

It Up’ campaign for<br />

apprenticeships<br />

15% more after completing an<br />

apprenticeship and 4% more<br />

than those who left with a level 2<br />

vocational qualification<br />

Damian Hinds said that the figures show<br />

the benefits of apprenticeships for both<br />

young people and businesses.<br />

Alim Jalloh, a Channel 4 apprentice and<br />

campaign star said:<br />

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has said that employers<br />

are realising the advantages of apprenticeships in their<br />

workplace. Big companies like Lloyds Banking Group and<br />

Marks & Spencer are already taking on apprentices under<br />

the new, government apprenticeship programmes.<br />

Mr Hinds wants both parents and<br />

schools to encourage apprenticeships<br />

beside the usual academic route for<br />

further education, especially when the<br />

young people are making decisions<br />

about their future.<br />

The Government launched the new<br />

‘Fire It Up’ campaign on Thursday,<br />

17th January. The scheme is aiming<br />

to promote apprenticeships, not<br />

only for young people, but parents<br />

and employers. It will also confront<br />

the largest school trusts who have<br />

not issued information about how<br />

providers of vocational education can<br />

talk to the pupils in their school. It will<br />

also raise awareness of the variety of<br />

apprenticeships available for people of<br />

all ages and backgrounds.<br />

The Prime Minister said in prime<br />

minister’s questions on Wednesday<br />

that it is vital for young people to see<br />

that there are different routes into their<br />

career – and that an apprenticeship<br />

can be an important one for some of<br />

them. The Government is also contacting<br />

local authorities to remind them to have<br />

everything they need to show the pupils<br />

the full range of information about all<br />

the different career routes they can take.<br />

Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary,<br />

said:<br />

“We are seeing the apprenticeship<br />

system in this country come of age, with<br />

leading employers waking up to the<br />

benefits apprenticeships can bring.<br />

“The sad truth is that outdated and<br />

snobby attitudes are still putting people<br />

off apprenticeships which means<br />

they’re missing out on great jobs and<br />

higher salaries – many of them in the<br />

sorts of firms graduates look to land<br />

jobs with after university.<br />

“It’s vital that we challenge people’s<br />

thinking about apprenticeships which is<br />

why the Government’s new ‘Fire It Up’<br />

campaign will aim to shift deeply-held<br />

views and drive more people towards<br />

an apprenticeship.<br />

“At the same time, we need to<br />

make sure that young people have<br />

access to information about all of the<br />

opportunities that are out there, so<br />

we are taking action to make sure all<br />

schools invite a wide range of providers<br />

in to help young people choose the<br />

right career path for them.”<br />

The new apprenticeship programme is<br />

offering high-quality training and many<br />

career options. The new ‘standards’<br />

were created in collaboration with<br />

leading companies to ensure the<br />

standard of the programme is high.<br />

The range of apprenticeships available<br />

is wide; from aerospace engineering<br />

and teaching, to fashion and law. The<br />

apprentices also have the opportunity<br />

to study up to degree level and will<br />

receive around 700 hours of training,<br />

140 more than a year before.<br />

TV and social media adverts, as<br />

well as a new website, were created<br />

specifically for the campaign to provide<br />

more information and guidance, as well<br />

as giving access to all the available<br />

apprenticeships across the country.<br />

Check out the Fire it Up campaign<br />

website.<br />

Back in January 2017, the Government<br />

backed the ‘Baker Clause’ to help<br />

young people understand the career<br />

options available to them; either doing<br />

an apprenticeship or following an<br />

academic route. It requires schools to<br />

invite in a wide range of education and<br />

training providers, to help young people<br />

make the best decisions for their future.<br />

Anne Milton, Apprenticeship and Skills<br />

Minister, is currently contacting the 10<br />

biggest multi-academy trusts which<br />

are not following the clause, to remind<br />

them of their legal duty. If there is any<br />

proof that they don’t follow the clause,<br />

the Government will take action.<br />

The Careers & Enterprise Company<br />

is working with schools to raise<br />

awareness of technical options and<br />

apprenticeships, as well as giving<br />

young people a chance to encounter<br />

the real world of work.<br />

The advantages of apprenticeships in<br />

workplaces have been highlighted in a<br />

recent analysis, and include:<br />

• 71% of apprentices said that their<br />

chances of earning higher wages<br />

in the future have grown and 80%<br />

said that the possibility of them<br />

completing higher levels of training<br />

has also increased<br />

• 90% of apprentices who completed<br />

their course, secured a paid position<br />

or went on to further learning, and<br />

88% carried on with their current<br />

employment<br />

• Employers noticed that productivity<br />

was improved by 78%, as well<br />

as product or service quality by<br />

74%. They also noted that 68% of<br />

apprentices brought new ideas<br />

to the business and 83% would<br />

recommend an apprenticeship to<br />

other firms<br />

• 64% of young people consider<br />

choosing an apprenticeship as an<br />

option after leaving school instead<br />

of going down the academic route,<br />

according to a recent study by<br />

Sutton Trust. This represents a 9%<br />

rise since 2014<br />

• The survey also provides an insight<br />

into earning potential, with 23%<br />

of men on an apprenticeship,<br />

earning more than those who<br />

only left school with GCSEs, and<br />

around 16% more than those who<br />

only completed a level 2 vocational<br />

qualification. Women earn around<br />

“Young people like me are thinking<br />

about their options. University is a good<br />

idea, but it is not for everyone. Ultimately<br />

it wasn’t for me because I didn’t feel it<br />

was preparing me for the job I really<br />

wanted. My apprenticeship was an<br />

amazing combination of world-class,<br />

on-the-job learning, hyper-relevant<br />

qualifications, with a clear potential<br />

career ahead of me. All while earning a<br />

salary!”<br />

The Government has started to change<br />

how technical and vocational education<br />

works in the country. It involves<br />

getting employers to provide the highquality<br />

training and a wide range of<br />

apprenticeships, as well as introducing<br />

gold standard ‘T Levels’ from 2020 – the<br />

technical equivalent to A Levels.<br />

Last December the secretary shared his<br />

10-year ambition to put more people<br />

into a skilled job with better wages, and<br />

to be on the same educational level as<br />

the best in the world. This includes:<br />

• Higher Technical Qualifications –<br />

these level 4 and 5 qualifications,<br />

like Diplomas of Higher Education<br />

and Foundation Degrees, are an<br />

alternative to a degree level, and<br />

will sit between A Levels and a<br />

degree. It will help people get into<br />

skilled careers<br />

• Changing the pupil destination<br />

measure – this new information<br />

will show pupils a separate<br />

measure of how many people go<br />

on to university, higher technical<br />

apprenticeships or Higher Technical<br />

Qualifications<br />

• Matching skills to a job – new<br />

guidance and support for Skills<br />

Advisory Panels, including<br />

cooperation between public and<br />

private sector employers, local<br />

authorities, schools and universities<br />

– to assess what skills are needed<br />

in their local area<br />

4 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 5

NEWS<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> Trust news<br />

In this month’s news from <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust, we learn how the charity and its supporters change the<br />

lives of hundreds of children who attend <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust schools in East Africa.<br />

In many countries, pre-school children<br />

are deprived of a basic education. In the<br />

poorest areas, children are sent out to<br />

fetch water, carry out domestic chores<br />

and look after their siblings. Very often,<br />

this means that they miss out on going<br />

to pre-school and receiving additional<br />

education throughout their childhood.<br />

They are not given the opportunity they<br />

deserve to develop to their full potential.<br />

Maidstone to Monaco - 26 - 30 June <strong>2019</strong><br />

2000 MILES • 8 COUNTRIES • 5 DAYS<br />


ROADS!<br />

CRAZY<br />



SCENERY!<br />

It doesn’t sound much, but for as<br />

little as 56p per day, a child’s life<br />

can be changed, and they can look<br />

forward to a much brighter future.<br />

“Sponsoring a <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust child is so rewarding. To know that our support gives hope to a child and that we can<br />

change their lives for the better, is incredible. You form a special connection with your sponsored child and are able<br />

to share in their milestones as they grow. In fact, you’ll soon find that your sponsored child feels like a part of your own<br />

family! Each year, we receive a couple of letters from them as well as a card at Christmas time. The children that we<br />

sponsor love to hear from us! One of the most rewarding things about sponsoring a child is when that letter arrives and<br />

you hear about what they’ve been up to and how you have helped them. It fills you with pride and happiness!”<br />

The <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust sponsorship<br />

programme gives disadvantaged preschool<br />

children the chance to lay the<br />

foundations for their learning in a safe<br />

and loving environment. Having a basic<br />

education means these young children<br />

can break out of the cycle of poverty and<br />

look forward to a much brighter future.<br />

Sponsorship plays a hugely important<br />

role in shaping the lives of young preschool<br />

boys and girls across the world.<br />

With the support of their sponsors, the<br />

children are given a bright start to their<br />

life and receive a pre-school education,<br />

with its effects lasting a lifetime.<br />

Each sponsored child benefits from a<br />

pre-school education, a school uniform,<br />

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

knowledge that someone really cares.<br />

6 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com<br />

How sponsorship saved Bridget’s life...<br />

We met Bridget on a trip to Uganda in 2014. Nothing could’ve prepared us for<br />

her story but, sadly, her case is not a one-off. Bridget was rescued from a shrine<br />

where she was about to be sacrificed by her parents. Saved at the last moment<br />

from a shocking fate, she now attends one of our pre-schools where she can<br />

lead a happy and safe life. She is cared for, has a sponsor and has the education<br />

she needs to brighten her future. There are many more vulnerable children like<br />

Bridget who need your help. By sponsoring a pre-school child, you make a real<br />

difference to their lives.<br />

To find out how you can make a difference and sponsor a child, visit<br />

parentatrust.com/sponsor-a-child<br />

Other ways to support the work of <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust<br />

The <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust runs many exciting fundraising activities throughout the year, including an annual car rally from the <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

office in Maidstone via the Alps to Monaco. To find out more and keep up-to-date with the latest events, follow our Facebook<br />

page or visit www.parentatrust.com.<br />



To be a part of this adventure, register today at parentatrust.com<br />

WHY?<br />

Our mission is to raise funds<br />

to build pre-schools in the most<br />

deprived areas of the world.<br />

Register today, to help us allow young<br />

children to break out of the cycle of poverty<br />

and look forward to a bright future.

7 ways to market your new<br />

nursery on a small budget<br />

Once you have committed to the idea of opening a day nursery, marketing your setting to parents in the<br />

early stages will become a crucial part of making sure your childcare business is a success. If money is an<br />

issue and you only have a very small budget to advertise your nursery with, why not consider using these<br />

tools to help spread the word of your presence?<br />

1<br />

2<br />

Create a Twitter page<br />

Twitter has over 26 million users in the UK alone, so reaching parents has never been easier! Letting people know<br />

about your setting is only a tweet and a hashtag away. If the thought of setting up a social media page scares you,<br />

ask about our support service.<br />

Encourage word-of-mouth<br />

For those parents who register their interest in your day nursery, encourage them to spread the word to their friends.<br />

According to a survey by the government, parents are most likely to receive information about childcare through wordof-mouth<br />

than any other source.<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 />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

Try to win an award<br />

This won’t necessarily apply until you’ve settled into the first few months of being open, but you could try applying for a<br />

nursery award such as those hosted by Nursery Management Today. Past categories have included: Nursery Outdoor<br />

Learning Environment Award, Green Nursery Award and Nursery Team of the Year.<br />

Build a nursery website<br />

The single most important thing you can do to advertise your setting is to have a childcare website! Each<br />

lead a website brings in could be worth £10,800 every year, helping to make your service sustainable in the<br />

long term.<br />

Put up posters in community centres<br />

Ask permission to put up posters advertising your setting in local<br />

community centres, leisure centres and other places that parents are<br />

likely to take their babies and toddlers on a regular basis.<br />

Create a Facebook page<br />

With an audience of 30 million<br />

users in the UK alone, Facebook<br />

is a perfect tool to market your<br />

new setting. Again, if you want<br />

support in setting up a social<br />

media page for your childcare<br />

business, we can walk you through<br />

the process.<br />

Contact your local<br />

council<br />

Visit the website of your local<br />

county council and see if<br />

they have a list of local<br />

nurseries and childcare<br />

providers. If they do,<br />

contact them to see what you<br />

need to do to add your setting’s<br />

name to the list too.<br />

Packages start from as little as £19.99 per month<br />


8 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 9

“I’m the goodie<br />

and you’re<br />

and the you’re baddie…!” the Dealing with<br />

baddie…!” aggression and violent play<br />

Dealing with aggression and violent play<br />

Rough-and-tumble play:<br />

• Helps to develop our sense of proprioception, working out where our bodies are in relation to<br />

space and people around us.<br />

• Is a very social activity which contributes to our understanding of social rules.<br />

• Improves self-regulation as children need to learn when to stop and to balance what they<br />

want with the desires of others.<br />

• Develops empathy and helps with ‘theory-of-mind’ as children learn that other people have<br />

feelings and emotions that might be different to their own.<br />

• Enables children to safely manage risk for themselves.<br />

• Allows children to manage aggressive feelings in a safe environment.<br />

• Develops gross motor skills and physical dexterity.<br />

• Offers children the opportunity to win and not gloat, or lose and accept defeat graciously.<br />

• Provides an opportunity for children to use their imaginations as they create their<br />

narratives.<br />

• Allows children to bond with adults and other children.<br />

• Is enjoyable for those who participate.<br />

• Even enables children to learn about pain in an appropriate way!<br />

Despite the many benefits, many early childhood educators do not feel comfortable with this<br />

play. There are usually several anxieties that educators express when responding to roughand-tumble<br />

play. Firstly, they fear that if a child gets hurt or upset, they may be blamed for<br />

allowing this play to happen; secondly, they feel that this type of play is not ‘effective practice’<br />

and therefore shouldn’t be encouraged; and thirdly, they are concerned that rough-and-tumble<br />

play will lead to real fighting and violence.<br />

Here are some tips to help you to distinguish between aggressive play or real violence:<br />

Tamsin Grimmer<br />

Tamsin Grimmer is an<br />

experienced early years<br />

consultant and trainer and<br />

parent who is passionate about<br />

young children’s learning and<br />

development. She believes<br />

that all children deserve<br />

practitioners who are inspiring,<br />

dynamic, reflective and<br />

committed to improving on their<br />

current best. Tamsin particularly<br />

enjoys planning and delivering<br />

training and supporting<br />

early years practitioners and<br />

teachers to improve outcomes<br />

for young children.<br />

Within early childhood education, we understand the importance of building secure attachments<br />

with children and we strive to follow their interests and cater for their individual needs. If a child<br />

cries, we tend to them; if they need a nappy change, we change it; if they are hungry, we feed<br />

them; if they need reassurance, we reassure them. If they need a hug or a cuddle, we cuddle them<br />

– there should be no hesitation. Why is it, when they need to ‘rough-and-tumble’, we are horrified<br />

and try to redirect their attention elsewhere?<br />

Take a moment to think<br />

back to your own childhood.<br />

What sort of games can<br />

you remember playing? Did<br />

they ever involve running,<br />

chasing, being chased,<br />

tickling, wrestling or fighting<br />

baddies? Did your play<br />

make links with the popular<br />

culture of the time? For me,<br />

the answers to both these<br />

questions are ‘yes!’ Now<br />

consider what you were<br />

learning through playing in<br />

these ways. What skills were<br />

you practising? Perhaps<br />

to socialise? How to take<br />

risks or set limits? Were you<br />

learning about friendship<br />

and family roles? Roughand-tumble<br />

play is a natural<br />

thing for children to want to<br />

engage in. We need to work<br />

out for ourselves how we<br />

can enable this play whilst<br />

setting appropriate limits<br />

that keep children safe.<br />

Rough-and-tumble play is<br />

very physical and active<br />

play and could involve<br />

actions such as wrestling,<br />

tickling, pinning others down,<br />

pouncing, climbing or sitting<br />

on each other, ‘bundles’ and<br />

chasing games like ‘tag’<br />

and ‘it’. It could be argued<br />

that play-fighting is also a<br />

form of rough-and-tumble<br />

play. When you observe<br />

children playing in this<br />

way, you will hear lots of<br />

giggling and laughing and<br />

you will see children smiling<br />

and grinning, you may also<br />

observe some pretence and<br />

imaginative storytelling.<br />

Rough-and-tumble play is<br />

regularly linked to fantasyplay<br />

or pretence, and can<br />

involve rule-negotiation<br />

and concepts of fairness<br />

and justice. It can support<br />

children to develop these<br />

ideas further throughout<br />

their lives and there are<br />

many noted benefits.<br />

• Watch body language and facial expressions – are their eyes smiling or are they frowning?<br />

• Listen for laughter, play-shouting and giggling, not crying or screaming in pain.<br />

• Closely observe the play, listen to any words spoken – is there a narrative? Are the<br />

comments personal?<br />

• Are all children consenting to this play and willingly joining in?<br />

• Are there positive rewards for all players? – i.e. this is not bullying when one child<br />

dominates the play.<br />

• Do stronger children sometimes allow their opponents to win?<br />

• Closely watch the contact, is it unrelenting, hard and harsh (violent) or relatively gentle and<br />

playful?<br />

• Do children sometimes change roles or take alternate roles? For example, the chaser starts<br />

to be chased.<br />

• Do the children know each other well? Rough-and-tumble promotes attachments -<br />

children tend not to rough-and-tumble with strangers!<br />

• Count the number of children involved. Violence tends to involve two children, rough-andtumble<br />

or aggressive play can incorporate several children at once.<br />

• Violent acts often draw a crowd whereas aggressive play does not draw spectators in the<br />

same way.<br />

• Ask the children - most children know that rough-and-tumble or aggressive play is not real<br />

fighting. They will tell you if things go too far.<br />

Tamsin has written two<br />

books - “Observing and<br />

Developing Schematic<br />

Behaviour in Young Children”<br />

and “School Readiness and<br />

the Characteristics of Effective<br />

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 />

In the light of the many benefits linked to aggressive play, perhaps early childhood educators should focus their efforts on<br />

closely observing children in order to recognise the difference between violence and aggressive play. This will enable them to<br />

permit this play in appropriate ways and in a safe environment. The educator’s role then becomes one of effective supervision,<br />

role-modelling and close observation to ensure that all children are happy and still consenting to the game.<br />

So next time you’re told, “I’m the goodie and you’re the baddie…” join in and enjoy this play for what it is… play!<br />

10 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 11

Hiring your perfect<br />

apprentice<br />

If you are looking to fill a skills gap in your team and<br />

are considering taking on an apprentice, but are unsure<br />

of all the facts, look no further. The team of recruitment<br />

experts at <strong>Parenta</strong> are on hand to give guidance to early<br />

years settings looking to upskill their staff and hire a new<br />

apprentice. Julie Allen, <strong>Parenta</strong>’s Recruitment Manager,<br />

gives her advice and top tips:<br />

Provide your recruiter with your<br />

apprentice requirements in detail –<br />

take your time and be as thorough as<br />

you can. This will help find a candidate<br />

who’s tailored specifically to your needs<br />

and will also get the vacancy filled<br />

quicker.<br />

Set time aside to communicate with<br />

recruiters – their role is to help you as<br />

much as they can! If a CV is sent over<br />

to you that looks suitable, get back to<br />

the recruiter straight away to let them<br />

know. If you delay, the candidate may<br />

have found a position elsewhere.<br />

Make sure you give feedback to your<br />

recruiter. This will help the candidate<br />

to improve when applying for other roles<br />

and will also help the recruiter when<br />

finding more suitable candidates for you.<br />

Discuss and manage expectations<br />

once you have hired your apprentice.<br />

Young apprentices may not have much<br />

of an idea what is expected of them<br />

in a workplace such as dress code,<br />

punctuality and attitude. Talk to them<br />

regularly about how they’re getting on<br />

in the first few weeks and give them<br />

feedback.<br />

Talk to us!<br />

Ask <strong>Parenta</strong>’s recruitment team for information on<br />

anything to do with apprenticeships if there’s something<br />

you’re unsure about. The team are up to speed on<br />

all legislation changes that occur - including funding,<br />

contribution, minimum wage, off-the-job training etc.<br />

To date, <strong>Parenta</strong> has worked with and provided support<br />

to thousands of settings, trained over 18,000 learners<br />

and helped them successfully complete their childcare<br />

apprenticeship training.<br />

We offer a FREE recruitment service. Wether you<br />

want to advertise a position or recruit, we can help you.<br />

Take a look at our website for more information:<br />

parenta.com/childcare-apprenticeships-employers<br />

Get in touch to find out more about how we work<br />

together with settings and help them with their<br />

apprenticeship solutions.<br />

0800 002 9242 hello@parenta.com<br />

Prepare a full job description with<br />

duties and send to the recruiter. You<br />

can also give information about the<br />

ethos of your nursery. Include as much<br />

information as possible - this will help<br />

candidates get a feel for your setting<br />

and what they would be doing before<br />

attending an interview.<br />

Ask candidates to prepare or<br />

research something prior to<br />

interview. For example, ask them to<br />

prepare an EYFS activity, or research<br />

what ‘safeguarding’ means. This will<br />

help you see if the candidate has made<br />

time to prepare for their interview.<br />

Hold a trial day or session for your<br />

potential apprentice. This will show<br />

if the candidate interacts well with<br />

the children and uses their initiative.<br />

Do let the apprentice know what<br />

you’re hoping to get out of the session<br />

beforehand - many will be nervous!<br />

Set a probation period and make it<br />

clear to your apprentice. If things aren’t<br />

going to work out, you’ll usually know in<br />

the first few weeks!<br />

Arrange an enrolment meeting with<br />

your training provider in plenty of<br />

time before the apprentice starts the<br />

training. This will help your apprentice<br />

to understand which apprenticeship<br />

they’re completing. Make sure to check<br />

through the paperwork thoroughly so<br />

that nothing is missed, and the signup<br />

process will be quick and easy.<br />

If the apprentices that you hire are<br />

aged 16–18, you won’t need to pay<br />

anything at all for their training. If they<br />

are aged over 18, you could be eligible for<br />

a grant to help cover your costs. From April<br />

<strong>2019</strong>, the government is introducing a 50%<br />

reduction in apprenticeship contributions<br />

from providers – from 10% to 5% – even<br />

more reason to take on an apprentice!<br />

12 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 13

<strong>Parenta</strong> and Morton Michel Partnership<br />

– what does this mean for you?<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong><br />

is excited<br />

to announce<br />

that we are<br />

now working in<br />

partnership with<br />

Morton Michel to offer<br />

all childcare practitioners<br />

even more benefits.<br />

Morton Michel is one of the largest childcare insurance providers to the Early Years sector<br />

with over 50 years’ experience. They are renowned for their tailored policies, excellent service,<br />

additional benefits and competitive premiums so you can be sure you have the right cover at<br />

the right price.<br />

By quoting this unique offer code MMPARENTA<strong>2019</strong> you will be entitled to a FREE insurance<br />

review, with absolutely no obligation! As part of your review, our trusted partner Morton<br />

Michel will look at your insurance needs and provide a quote tailored specifically for your<br />

childcare business!<br />

If you proceed with your quote, you will receive the following additional benefits:<br />

››<br />

Discounts on all <strong>Parenta</strong> software products and childcare websites<br />

››<br />

Free recruitment service to fill all your childcare vacancies<br />

››<br />

Free access to 40+ RoSPA-accredited, CPD-certified online Early Years training courses<br />

››<br />

Free access to the online Early Years Advisory Service provided by Croner-i<br />

››<br />

Free downloads and resources including business forms, educational posts and arts and<br />

crafts ideas<br />

››<br />

Exclusive discounts on paediatric first aid training<br />

››<br />

Amazing discounts on days out to the UK’s<br />

top theme parks and attractions including<br />

LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, Chessington<br />

World of Adventures Resort, SEA LIFE Centres<br />

and many more<br />

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Great savings on Haven holidays<br />

››<br />

Discounted Kids Pass with access to deals<br />

at thousands of attractions, restaurants and<br />

cinemas across the UK<br />

››<br />

Subscription discounts to leading childcare<br />

magazines<br />

And so much more!<br />

What<br />

are you<br />

waiting for? Don’t<br />

miss out on these<br />

amazing benefits.<br />

Visit parenta.com/<br />

mmreviewm to start<br />

your FREE insurance<br />

review.<br />

14 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 15

Safer<br />

Internet<br />

Day<br />

Tuesday 5th <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> is this year’s “Safer Internet Day” and will be celebrated<br />

by hundreds of organisations, schools, colleges and pre-schools around the world.<br />

The aim is to raise awareness of the benefits and risks posed by the internet, and to<br />

promote the safe, responsible and positive use of it (and other digital technologies), for<br />

children and young people.<br />

The day is coordinated in<br />

the UK by the UK Safer<br />

Internet Centre, which is<br />

a partnership formed by<br />

three charities: Childnet<br />

International, the South<br />

West Grid for Learning<br />

(SWGfL) and the Internet<br />

Watch Foundation (IWF),<br />

supported by the European<br />

Commission. Safer Internet<br />

Day has grown over the<br />

years and is now marked in<br />

over a hundred countries, so<br />

why not get involved in your<br />

own setting this year?<br />

The theme for this year’s<br />

day is “Together for a better<br />

internet” and will explore<br />

how ‘giving consent’ works<br />

in an online context. This<br />

means looking at how<br />

children (and parents) give<br />

their permission for their<br />

images, videos or personal<br />

information to be shared<br />

online; offering information<br />

and advice about how to<br />

ask for consent; as well as<br />

looking at the responsibilities<br />

children have for themselves<br />

and their friends.<br />

With so many opportunities<br />

out there for taking,<br />

uploading and sharing<br />

images and information<br />

nowadays, this topic is<br />

something that should<br />

be openly talked about<br />

and clearly addressed.<br />

It is not about scaring<br />

children but helping them<br />

understand the risks and<br />

develop good habits by<br />

taking responsibility for<br />

themselves and others.<br />

There are many ways<br />

to get involved and the<br />

Safer Internet Day website<br />

has many downloadable<br />

resources which are<br />

specifically aimed at preschool<br />

settings including:<br />

• Lesson plans for 3–5<br />

and 5–7-year-olds<br />

• An assembly<br />

presentation and script<br />

• A poster<br />

• Supporting resources<br />

• Social media activities<br />

As an organisation who<br />

is actively involved in the<br />

education and care of<br />

young children, you can<br />

register as a supporter of<br />

Safer Internet Day, use their<br />

campaign toolkit to spread<br />

the message, and gain<br />

access to SIDTV to use as<br />

conversation starters. You<br />

can also sign up for their<br />

free newsletter too, with<br />

packs being available in<br />

English and Welsh.<br />

Other ways you might consider marking the day in your setting are:<br />

Lead by example – check policies and permissions<br />

Make sure that you have robust and published policies related to the use of data<br />

(compliant with European GDPR), permissions for the taking and sharing of photographs,<br />

digital access and use of the internet. This should apply to the staff as well as the<br />

children. Remember that this should include all devices that are capable of storing data,<br />

taking pictures/video or accessing the internet, so will include computers, smartphones,<br />

smartwatches, voice-recorders, tablets and gaming-platforms.<br />

Run a training session for staff and/or parents<br />

Keeping children safe online has to be a collaboration between the child, pre-school,<br />

peers, staff and parents. Free downloadable resources for parents are available at<br />

www.childnet.com to help start discussions. You can also contact SWGfL, a partner in<br />

the UK Safer Internet Centre, at: www.saferinternet.org.uk/e-safety-training-events as<br />

they run bespoke training sessions that you could tailor for your setting. Training can be<br />

organised for children from aged 3, as well as adults, carers, parents and staff.<br />

Make an internet display<br />

You could organise a craft activity to create a wall mural or poster display about positive<br />

things that the children use the internet for, and to begin to raise awareness of some<br />

of the risks involved, including consent, photos, videos and sharing. Remember, there<br />

are many more positive things about the internet than there are negative, so keeping a<br />

balance here is important.<br />

Publicise your support on your own website<br />

Add an article or information to your own pre-school website linking to the Safer Internet<br />

Day site, inviting parents’ help and telling everyone what you are doing to support the<br />

initiative.<br />

Introduce ‘Smartie’ and ‘Digiduck’<br />

Lead a session in your nursery about safer internet use by using some of the ‘Smartie<br />

the Penguin’ or ‘Digiduck’ resources, available at: www.childnet.com/resources. This<br />

site is run by one of the Safer Internet Day partners and includes information, resources,<br />

videos, and questions to help introduce the topic to children and get them involved.<br />

Attend a free training session<br />

You could attend one of the free events which will be taking place around the country.<br />

The events are completely free to attend so you could organise a delegation of staff<br />

and parents. The sessions themselves are run at different venues, last for 2 hours, and<br />

all delegates receive exclusive access to an area of online resources following their<br />

attendance. A list of free events can be found at: www.saferinternet.org.uk/trainingevents/online-safety-live-free-e-safety-events<br />

Be SMART!<br />

The SMART rules have<br />

been set up to help<br />

children understand how<br />

to keep themselves safer<br />

online. The acronym<br />

SMART reminds children<br />

of key internet issues, so<br />

you could make a poster<br />

and talk about the issues<br />

involved.<br />

S<br />

M<br />

A<br />

R<br />

T<br />

Safe – don’t give out personal information.<br />

Meet – be wary of meeting people you have met<br />

online. Only do so with carers/parent’s permission and<br />

when they can be there too.<br />

Accepting – be aware of who you accept as ‘friends’<br />

and what you accept online – they could contain nasty<br />

viruses or worse!<br />

Reliable – are the things you read online reliable? It<br />

could all be lies!<br />

Tell a trusted adult if someone, or something,<br />

makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or<br />

someone you know is being bullied online.<br />

16 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 17

Focus on<br />

the <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

assessors<br />

Here at <strong>Parenta</strong>, we train more<br />

than 2,500 nursery staff per<br />

year, using the knowledge and<br />

support of our in-house experts<br />

and skilled team of assessors.<br />

This month, we take a look at<br />

how we deliver outstanding<br />

training and discover how our<br />

assessors support our learners.<br />

What are the benefits of employing an apprentice?<br />

• If they’re 16-18, you won’t pay a penny for their training<br />

• You can watch them grow and progress<br />

• You can meet your future recruitment needs<br />

• You can mould them into your own style of practitioner<br />

• You could be eligible for a grant to help cover your costs<br />

What is the role of a <strong>Parenta</strong> assessor?<br />

The role of an assessor encompasses<br />

so much – it’s varied, that’s for sure!<br />

It involves building a relationship with<br />

both the learner and the setting and<br />

providing quality assessment that meets<br />

the needs of both. We support, motivate<br />

and guide our learners to develop their<br />

knowledge and practice, and hopefully<br />

are instrumental in supporting them to<br />

become good quality practitioners that<br />

will have a positive impact upon the early<br />

years industry.<br />

More specifically, we complete inductions,<br />

prepare plans and observe our leaners<br />

– completing what we call ‘learner<br />

reviews’ every 6 or 10 weeks. We mark<br />

assignments and tailor the plan to each<br />

individual learner’s needs. We also<br />

offer additional learning support where<br />

required. We ensure that the setting is<br />

involved with the training from day one<br />

and give them regular updates on the<br />

learners. We also assist with functional<br />

skills, invigilate exams and deliver<br />

teaching and learning.<br />

What’s the most rewarding part of<br />

being an assessor?<br />

To see learners achieve a qualification - for<br />

some it will be the first qualification they<br />

have gained. To also see learners progress<br />

from level 2 to level 3 and seeing their<br />

career develop. It’s very rewarding when<br />

you have a learner achieve their functional<br />

skills, in particular, for those learners<br />

that have had to work extremely hard<br />

in preparing for them and who are very<br />

anxious about sitting exams. Watching<br />

18 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com<br />

their confidence grow is fantastic and also<br />

keeping in touch with them after they have<br />

completed their qualification. When they<br />

tell us they have been promoted, it fills us<br />

with pride!<br />

When the settings want <strong>Parenta</strong> to train<br />

other members of their staff and they<br />

request that the same assessor from<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> provides the training – that really<br />

shows that a good partnership has been<br />

formed.<br />

What is the most challenging part of<br />

an assessor’s role?<br />

All our assessors are very passionate in<br />

wanting to ensure that learners receive the<br />

support they need throughout their course,<br />

so when a learner withdraws because<br />

they decide that a career in childcare is<br />

not the right path for them, can be very<br />

disappointing. It can be frustrating for<br />

settings too as they have also invested<br />

a lot of time in developing the learners<br />

- we both want to help them get started<br />

into the world of work whilst gaining a<br />

qualification. Another challenging part<br />

is finding the time to meet the learner’s<br />

needs, in particular, if you have learners<br />

who have additional learning needs<br />

or other barriers to learning and need<br />

additional visits.<br />

What are the biggest changes you’ve<br />

seen since becoming an assessor?<br />

It’s incredible to see just how much<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> has grown as a company! We<br />

have developed different courses to<br />

ensure we can offer training to assist<br />

learners from the start of their career<br />

within the early years sector as well as<br />

develop them throughout their journey to<br />

management level. Regulatory changes<br />

are something we constantly have to keep<br />

on top of, to ensure our plans for our<br />

leaners are up-to-date at all times and<br />

compliant with Ofsted requirements.<br />

Here’s some of the amazing<br />

feedback our assessors receive:<br />

“I’m not sure if you will remember me<br />

but you were mine and Heidi’s assessor<br />

for our level 3 qualification last year<br />

(completed within our childcare settings).<br />

I just wanted to thank you and to let you<br />

know that because of my qualification,<br />

I have been able to move away from<br />

childminding and since September of<br />

this year, I have been working as a SEN<br />

teaching assistant in a secondary school<br />

which I am absolutely loving.”<br />

“I have been working in early years for<br />

over 20 years. I was approached by Pam<br />

who recommended the level 5. I am a<br />

full-time manager of a very busy setting<br />

and was optimistic at how I was going<br />

to fit in the study time. Pam, from the<br />

beginning, made me believe in my own<br />

abilities. The way the course is set out and<br />

managed really supported my learning<br />

style. I have thoroughly loved learning with<br />

such an incredible mentor. Pam has so<br />

much passion in early years which inspired<br />

and motivated me throughout the course.<br />

I would highly recommend <strong>Parenta</strong> to<br />

others seeking to develop their skills and<br />

knowledge further.”<br />

Take advantage of <strong>Parenta</strong>’s FREE recruitment service<br />

to maximise your occupancy.<br />

Visit: bit.ly/parenta-apprentice for more information<br />

Training with<br />

Tamsin Grimmer!<br />

If you have enjoyed reading Tamsin’s<br />

articles every month, why not invite her to deliver<br />

bespoke training at your setting? Tamsin regularly<br />

shares her expertise at conferences, INSET<br />

meetings, CPD sessions, workshops and seminars.<br />

Tamsin has a keen interest in how young children<br />

learn and develop. She has written two books<br />

on early childhood education “Observing and<br />

Developing Schematic Behaviour in Young<br />

Children” and “School Readiness and the<br />

Characteristics of Effective Learning”. She is<br />

currently writing a third on “Superhero Play”.<br />

Twitter: @tamsingrimmer<br />

Facebook: www.facebook.com/earlyyears.consultancy.5<br />

Websites: www.lindenlearning.org<br />

www.tamsingrimmer.co.uk<br />

Email: tamsin.grimmer@lindenlearning.org<br />

Linden Learning is a specialist provider of consultancy, training and<br />

coaching. We are committed to providing the highest quality service at a<br />

realistic price. Because our offer is flexible and builds on what you already<br />

do, you only pay for what you really need, giving you confidence that our<br />

services are cost effective.

Neurogenesis<br />

workout for<br />

everyone<br />

In the final<br />

article<br />

exploring<br />

sensory support for<br />

emotional regulation,<br />

Sensory Engagement Specialist<br />

and Sensory Projects founder, Joanna Grace,<br />

explores how gentle exercise can support<br />

brain development for children of all abilities.<br />

This article is based on one of Joanna’s free<br />

leaflet guides, more can be found at: www.<br />

thesensoryprojects.co.uk/guides<br />

What is neurogenesis?<br />

Neurogenesis is the birth<br />

of neurons in the brain.<br />

Neurons are the building<br />

blocks of the brain, so<br />

having them in plentiful<br />

supply is wonderful for<br />

promoting cognitive growth<br />

and learning.<br />

Exercise<br />

Sustained, gentle-aerobic<br />

exercise has been shown<br />

to increase neurogenesis,<br />

and in so doing, improve<br />

brain function and prevent<br />

cognitive decline. So, great<br />

for growing minds and older<br />

minds alike. If we keep<br />

moving, we support our<br />

children’s learning and stop<br />

our own brains from growing<br />

foggy!<br />

We always knew there was<br />

a reason it was important to<br />

let the children run around<br />

and let off steam; it is not<br />

to get it out of the way so<br />

they can get on with their<br />

learning, it actively helps<br />

them to learn.<br />

Two challenges to<br />

neurogenesis<br />

You are likely to face two<br />

challenges to neurogenesispromoting<br />

activity in your<br />

setting:<br />

1. Children whose fitness<br />

levels discourage them<br />

from sustaining exercise.<br />

2. Children with physical<br />

disabilities for whom<br />

running around is a<br />

bigger challenge or<br />

simply not an option at<br />

all.<br />

Let’s address these in order:<br />

Fitness<br />

In the modern world we are<br />

witnessing a rise in child<br />

and adult obesity. A child<br />

who gets out of breath<br />

quickly is unlikely to want<br />

to play a game like chase,<br />

as ultimately, they’re going<br />

to fail. You may witness this<br />

child performing short bursts<br />

of activity, e.g. sprinting<br />

across to grab a toy or peer,<br />

but you are unlikely to see<br />

them maintaining activity.<br />

If, in a playground situation,<br />

your choice is between<br />

playing and not playing<br />

chase, and the chase on<br />

offer requires a sustained<br />

level of high activity, chances<br />

are you will choose not to<br />

play.<br />

As these children opt out<br />

of the high-energy games<br />

typically played by ablebodied<br />

children, they set<br />

themselves on a back foot,<br />

both with their physical<br />

health and also with their<br />

opportunities to promote<br />

neurogenesis.<br />

The good news is,<br />

neurogenesis does not<br />

require us to sprint, or<br />

leap, or do burpees (if you<br />

don’t know what a burpee<br />

is, count yourself lucky). It<br />

requires sustained, gentleaerobic<br />

exercise. This<br />

means you can keep it up<br />

(sustained), and that is a<br />

level that is bespoke to you.<br />

For example, for some it<br />

might be walking, whereas<br />

for others, it might be<br />

jogging, and it is continuous<br />

(aerobic), so it is not a turntaking<br />

game such as a relay.<br />

Ideal games and activities<br />

for neurogenesis:<br />

• Hunting games that<br />

require continuous<br />

movement, e.g. Easter<br />

egg hunt.<br />

• Circle games in which<br />

the children on the<br />

outside of the circle<br />

move around and sing,<br />

e.g. Ring-a-ring-a-roses.<br />

• A good stomp through<br />

nature.<br />

• Walk and talk – not all<br />

stories have to be told<br />

seated.<br />

• Dancing – hold a brain<br />

disco!<br />

Ability<br />

To support someone with<br />

a different level of physical<br />

ability, for example someone<br />

who uses a wheelchair,<br />

begin by identifying their<br />

capacity for movement. So<br />

if all they can move is their<br />

arms, then you know their<br />

neurogenesis work out is<br />

going to involve their arms.<br />

Consider alternative forms<br />

of exercise. For example,<br />

did you know that singing<br />

actually counts as a workout?<br />

Even if they cannot complete<br />

a full activity, encourage<br />

them to think about doing<br />

it. So, for example, you may<br />

have a child who has broken<br />

a leg and is not allowed<br />

to run, but they can still<br />

make the arm movements<br />

associated with running and<br />

imagine the rest. Studies<br />

have shown, amazingly,<br />

that imagining ourselves<br />

exercising burns slightly<br />

more calories than thinking<br />

about something else. So<br />

when you are sat at home<br />

wondering whether it is<br />

worth leaving the sofa to go<br />

to the gym, imagine yourself<br />

on the running machine and<br />

you’re half way there…well,<br />

not really half way there, but<br />

a nudge closer than a total<br />

couch potato!<br />

Once you have identified<br />

their capacity, you are<br />

simply looking for ways to<br />

encourage them to sustain<br />

the movements they are able<br />

to make. Silly songs and daft<br />

improvised games are easy<br />

ways to do this. What about<br />

associating movements with<br />

particular words in a story<br />

and having the children<br />

perform these movements<br />

as the words crop up in the<br />

story, and then reading the<br />

story again slightly faster,<br />

and again, until you all fall<br />

into jumbled silliness?<br />

Movement is not a break<br />

from learning, it is a fuel for<br />

the brain and does wonders<br />

for everyone’s wellbeing.<br />

Find something you love and<br />

get active!<br />

Joanna Grace<br />

Joanna Grace is an<br />

international Sensory<br />

Engagement and Inclusion<br />

Specialist, trainer, author, TEDx<br />

speaker and founder of The<br />

Sensory Projects.<br />

Consistently rated as<br />

“outstanding” by Ofsted,<br />

Joanna has taught in<br />

mainstream and specialschool<br />

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 has published several<br />

books: “Sensory Stories for<br />

Children and Teens”, “Sensory-<br />

Being for Sensory Beings”<br />

and “Sharing Sensory Stories”<br />

and “Conversations with<br />

People with Dementia”. Her<br />

latest two books, “Ernest and<br />

I”, and “Voyage to Arghan”<br />

were launched at TES SEN in<br />

October.<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 />

20 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 21

Fluffy slime craft<br />

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

You will need:<br />

> > 2/3 cup white PVA glue<br />

> > Elmer’s slime activator – we purchased this from Hobbycraft<br />

(please remember to read and follow the instructions on the bottle before use)<br />

> > 2-3 cups shaving foam (not gel)<br />

> > Food colouring<br />

> > Optional: glitter<br />

> > You will also need a bowl, a glass and a spoon<br />

We’re always on the lookout for<br />

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 />

1<br />

Pour the PVA glue<br />

into the bowl<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 />

DECEMBER 2018’s WINNER<br />

Joanna Grace<br />

2<br />

Add shaving cream and<br />

food colouring to the<br />

bowl and mix it, if using<br />

glitter add this now<br />

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

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

feature in our <strong>Parenta</strong> magazine for <strong>2019</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 />

Congratulations to our guest author competition<br />

winner! Joanna Grace’s article “Rainbow emotional<br />

regulation” was very popular with our readers.<br />

Well done, Joanna!<br />

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

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

3<br />

Add Elmer’s slime<br />

activator and mix<br />

4<br />

Mix it until it starts to turn into slime. You then have to<br />

knead it for 5 minutes until it forms and stops being sticky<br />

(you can put some baby oil on your hand to stop the<br />

slime from sticking to your hands too much).<br />

22 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 23

Supporting children with a language delay<br />

Being able to speak clearly, express ideas and understand others are fundamental building<br />

blocks for a child’s development. Building language skills is not only important for the EYFS area of<br />

‘communication and language’, but also for so many other areas of development. If a child does<br />

not have at least age-appropriate language skills, then they are going to struggle to develop their<br />

‘personal, social and emotional’ development by building relationships with others and using their<br />

words to solve problems. They will find it difficult to name different aspects of ‘shape, space and<br />

measure’ and demonstrate their ‘understanding of the world’. Once children start school and build<br />

their confidence at writing they will need language in order to be able to make their writing more<br />

varied and interesting. Language is at the basis of so much of their learning that it is essential that<br />

we do all that we can to nurture its development at an early age.<br />

Many children suffer from a language delay as a result of a condition such<br />

as autism or Down’s syndrome, and other times, the delay happens on<br />

its own. As an adult in a child’s setting, you are a key person for them to<br />

learn language from. Children learn by observing and copying behaviour<br />

therefore you should model good speech and language skills as much<br />

as possible. When talking to young children and children with additional<br />

needs, it is really important to keep language to a minimum until a<br />

child is ready for more. Wherever possible keep your language to a few<br />

key words. Use effective questioning but be careful not to ask closed<br />

questions or to bombard a child.<br />

Here are a few things to be mindful of when speaking to children that<br />

need extra help with their language development:<br />

Get a child’s attention before speaking to them – Use their name and, if<br />

necessary, gently touch their arm to let them know you are talking to them.<br />

Listen – I mean really listen. Remove distractions, maintain eye<br />

contact and give the child that is speaking your complete<br />

attention. Yes, this is really difficult in a room full of lots of<br />

children, however, if you can show a child that what they have<br />

to say is so interesting and of the utmost importance to you,<br />

then they are bound to want to tell you more. Sadly, in a world<br />

of mobile phones and other technology, some children aren’t<br />

getting this attention at home.<br />

Speak clearly and calmly and give one instruction at a time.<br />

Model language and describe/comment on what a child is<br />

doing. ‘You are drawing a flower’; ‘you are using red paint’.<br />

Give children time to answer – patience is vital here. It can be very<br />

confusing for a child if you ask one question and then quickly say it<br />

again in another way. Children need both time to process what you<br />

have said, and time to find the words to respond.<br />

Use visuals – for those that really struggle to understand what you<br />

are saying, support your words by using real objects or visual images.<br />

When it is the child’s turn to speak, allow them to use visuals if they<br />

can’t find the words. If they communicate with you using a visual, you<br />

can then model the words.<br />

Remember – you are not the one that needs practise talking - they are!<br />

Obviously, confidence is key when it<br />

comes to talking. If you have a child<br />

that is particularly nervous to talk<br />

in front of others, then try to<br />

build on the situation in which<br />

they are most comfortable. If<br />

this is just with one particular<br />

adult or child, then don’t<br />

expect them to speak in front<br />

of others at first. Allow<br />

them to work with that<br />

person and encourage<br />

speech within that<br />

situation. You can<br />

gradually bring others<br />

into the group as they<br />

grow in confidence.<br />

In addition to things that you can do with your own language, here are some<br />

activities for extending speaking and language opportunities in your setting:<br />

Singing songs/nursery rhymes – you will already be doing this but do it more! Being<br />

able to hear rhyme and alliteration is such an important skill.<br />

Give children microphones, costumes and a role-play stage – children love the<br />

chance to be in a show!<br />

Describing and guessing games – how about Kim’s game or, for older children,<br />

‘guess who?’<br />

Share things from home – ask a child to fill a bag with things from home that are<br />

special to them. Encourage them to share these items with you and a small group of<br />

children. You could also ask parents or carers to send in photos of family members and<br />

pets, or of a special holiday, for children to talk about. Doing this activity one-to-one<br />

with a particularly quiet child is a great way of getting them to begin talking.<br />

Experiences – give children the opportunity and motivation to learn new words<br />

by offering them new and different experiences. Let them hold an animal or visit a<br />

fire station and then encourage them to talk about what they see/hear/smell. Such<br />

opportunities will bring words to their vocabulary that don’t otherwise occur daily.<br />

Likewise, use messy play - few children can resist reacting verbally when they get their<br />

hands in something sensory for the first time!<br />

Use all of the senses – building on the point above, extend these experiences<br />

by giving children the opportunity to use all of their senses. Let them see, smell,<br />

feel, and even taste a lemon – they might not like it, but they’ll more than likely<br />

have something to say about it! Can they hear anything when you squeeze a cut<br />

lemon?<br />

Circle time – use this as an opportunity for children to talk about their<br />

feelings – not just as an opportunity to develop vocabulary but also to<br />

address the frustration and anger that some children with a language<br />

delay may be feeling.<br />

Puppets – some children will find the confidence to speak when speaking<br />

‘through’ something else (this could be a puppet, but could also be a walkie<br />

talkie, or even wearing sunglasses). If they are taking on the role of someone else<br />

such as a lovable puppet, they might just find their voice.<br />

The above tips and activities aren’t just relevant for children with a language delay –<br />

they are great for all children so have fun exploring and hopefully your setting will be<br />

full of the sound of happy chattering.<br />

Gina Smith<br />

Gina Smith is an<br />

experienced teacher with<br />

experience of teaching<br />

in both mainstream and<br />

special education. She<br />

is the creator of ‘Create<br />

Visual Aids’ - a business<br />

that provides both homes<br />

and education settings with<br />

bespoke visual resources.<br />

Gina recognises the fact<br />

that no two children are<br />

the same and therefore<br />

individuals are likely to need<br />

different resources. Create<br />

Visual Aids is dedicated<br />

to making visual symbols<br />

exactly how the individual<br />

needs them.<br />

Website:<br />

www.createvisualaids.com<br />

Email:<br />

gina@createvisualaids.com<br />

24 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 25

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<strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 27

Being consistent<br />

with these consequences<br />

is crucial because<br />

children’s internal<br />

programming forms<br />

through repetition.<br />

The power of calm<br />

We all want children to be intrinsically motivated to do the right thing and to have a good moral compass<br />

guiding them. In order for them to have this, they need to learn consequences and develop their empathy,<br />

so that they know right from wrong and understand the impact that their actions have on others.<br />

When a child misbehaves, it is firstly<br />

important to look at why they are<br />

misbehaving and to try to understand<br />

their reaction. Children are not<br />

equipped with the ability to always<br />

articulate themselves clearly, which<br />

can lead to them feeling angry and<br />

frustrated. If a child is being defiant,<br />

is there a reason for this? Were<br />

they engrossed in a task and then<br />

commanded to immediately stop what<br />

they were doing without any warning?<br />

If a child lashes out at another child,<br />

what led to that? Did the other child<br />

take their toy off them? If a child<br />

is acting up, are they trying to get<br />

attention? If so, is it their self-esteem<br />

that needs building? There are many<br />

reasons children behave the way that<br />

they do and in order for us to nurture<br />

their empathy and understanding<br />

of right and wrong, we first need to<br />

show empathy ourselves and gain<br />

a better understanding of the child.<br />

I’m not saying that the circumstances<br />

surrounding the incident justify ‘bad’<br />

behaviour. However, if we can initially<br />

look at the bigger picture and translate<br />

the language that their behaviour is<br />

speaking, we not only give children the<br />

opportunity to develop their own selfawareness,<br />

but we also build respect,<br />

which over time, will automatically<br />

result in better choices.<br />

If we get lost in the drama ourselves<br />

by reacting with anger and shouting,<br />

we not only miss the opportunity for<br />

real growth, but end up controlling<br />

children’s behaviour through them<br />

fearing our reaction, rather than them<br />

making better choices based on what<br />

is right. It is very important to set strong<br />

boundaries and to allow children to<br />

face the consequences of their actions.<br />

However, it is important to do this in<br />

a calm way because a child that feels<br />

safe, will take on far more than one<br />

who is fearful.<br />

If a child has done something that is<br />

unacceptable, but you can see why and<br />

how it has happened, it is important<br />

for that child to face consequences.<br />

However, it is as equally important for<br />

you to acknowledge their feelings and<br />

to express that although their actions<br />

were wrong, you understand. By doing<br />

this and by talking about alternative<br />

ways for them to react in the future, this<br />

instantly develops their self-awareness<br />

because it allows them (with your help)<br />

to identify their own emotions, reactions<br />

and triggers. It also makes that child<br />

feel heard and builds respect between<br />

you both, which will more likely result<br />

in them taking on board what you have<br />

said.<br />

I am a big believer in allowing children<br />

to face natural consequences, rather<br />

than using punishment. When children<br />

face a consequence related to their<br />

actions, it naturally teaches them about<br />

cause and effect and leads to them<br />

making decisions based on right and<br />

wrong, rather than fear of punishment.<br />

A person that is intrinsically motivated<br />

to do the right thing will always succeed<br />

more than one who is suppressing their<br />

behaviour based on external factors,<br />

because they are acting through instinct<br />

rather than control.<br />

Being consistent with these<br />

consequences is crucial because<br />

children’s internal programming forms<br />

through repetition. However, also using<br />

the incident as an opportunity to learn<br />

and grow is just as important because<br />

self-awareness is the foundation of<br />

emotional intelligence. A person that<br />

understands themselves, their emotions<br />

and the impact that their actions have<br />

on themselves and others, will be far<br />

more likely to have better relationships<br />

in life, follow their true path and<br />

purpose and have more self-esteem<br />

and confidence, because they will<br />

understand themselves and accept their<br />

strengths and weaknesses.<br />

By being assertive but calm and using<br />

difficult situations as an opportunity for<br />

children to gain a better understanding<br />

of themselves, we not only build selfesteem,<br />

empathy and respect, but<br />

also a foundation for happiness and<br />

success. We all make mistakes in life<br />

and at times get things wrong. Life<br />

is one big learning curve throughout<br />

childhood and adulthood. When we<br />

know better, we do better, but no<br />

matter how old you are, you will always<br />

flourish more if you feel accepted and<br />

loved throughout the good times and<br />

the bad. By remaining calm, setting<br />

strong boundaries and taking the time<br />

to understand children, we are giving<br />

them a safe space to develop and to<br />

become the best and happiest versions<br />

of themselves.<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 fulfilment,<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 />

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off or contact Stacey for an<br />

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Website:<br />

www.earlyyearsstorybox.com<br />

Email:<br />

stacey@earlyyearsstorybox.com<br />

Facebook:<br />

facebook.com/earlyyearsstorybox<br />

Twitter:<br />

twitter.com/eystorybox<br />

Instagram:<br />

instagram.com/earlyyearsstorybox<br />

LinkedIn:<br />

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

28 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 29

Understanding the needs of children<br />

in the care system: part 2<br />

In the second of our series looking at the challenges faced by children in care, we offer<br />

some practical advice on how best to meet the needs of these children.<br />

Ways to help children in care<br />

Communication with the foster<br />

family<br />

Foster carers write regular<br />

reports about how the children in<br />

their charge are coping, so it is<br />

important that you communicate<br />

any incidents you notice which<br />

might reflect changes in the child’s<br />

wellbeing, or in their general<br />

mental or developmental<br />

state. Patterns of behaviour<br />

can then be identified,<br />

so interventions can be<br />

sought. This is particularly<br />

important around the time<br />

that children have contact<br />

with their birth family, which<br />

can be upsetting for children.<br />

Unique safeguarding issues<br />

around children in care<br />

Safeguarding all children is<br />

important, but children in care may<br />

have very strict guidelines about<br />

who they can and cannot see. It is<br />

extremely important that your<br />

setting is very vigilant<br />

about who collects<br />

the child. In some<br />

cases, birth family<br />

members have been known to turn<br />

up to nurseries to gain access to<br />

the children, so be especially wary<br />

of people phoning up claiming to<br />

be family members.<br />

Understanding ‘irrational’ fears<br />

Many children in care have<br />

suffered abuse, leaving them with<br />

psychological scars. This can result<br />

in unusual or seemingly ‘irrational’<br />

anxieties such as a fear of going<br />

to the toilet or enclosed spaces,<br />

or anxieties about specific people<br />

(e.g. people with dark hair, men,<br />

people who speak in a particular<br />

tone). They may have been abused<br />

in these places by similar-looking<br />

people. The reason for these<br />

anxieties might not be<br />

immediately obvious<br />

to others, but may<br />

have a deeprooted,<br />

logical<br />

explanation.<br />

Keep an open<br />

mind as to why a child shies away<br />

from certain people or activities,<br />

and try to help them by speaking<br />

calmly and offering alternative<br />

solutions.<br />

Photos and publicity<br />

You will not usually be allowed<br />

to publish photos of children in<br />

care. This is because the child’s<br />

location might be withheld from<br />

the birth family. However, you<br />

will need to be sensitive to this<br />

when taking photos and try not<br />

to make it obvious that one child<br />

in your setting is not allowed to<br />

be included, which can add to the<br />

stigma of being in care.<br />

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day<br />

Celebrating Mother’s Day and<br />

Father’s Day is something<br />

that comes quite<br />

naturally to preschools,<br />

but be<br />

aware that for<br />

many children,<br />

making a card saying<br />

“the best mummy<br />

ever” will not only be inaccurate,<br />

but could potentially bring back<br />

traumatic memories.<br />

Try to be sensitive around these<br />

days and suggest other people<br />

the children could write to instead.<br />

There is no ‘hard-and-fast’ rule<br />

here, so it’s best to ask the foster<br />

carers for advice when it comes to<br />

celebrating these family days.<br />

Siblings<br />

Another area of concern for<br />

children in care is their relationship<br />

with siblings. Children can be split<br />

up from siblings when they go<br />

into care simply because of the<br />

availability of foster placements at<br />

the time. You might find then that<br />

children only see their siblings at<br />

your setting, which could either<br />

be a source of joy or anxiety for<br />

them. Be understanding and<br />

patient in this situation.<br />

Keeping to routines and<br />

boundaries<br />

Routines and boundaries are<br />

usually extremely important for<br />

children in care, but they may not<br />

fully understand them or have had<br />

many boundaries previously set or<br />

enforced. This can result in children<br />

resisting instructions or simply not<br />

understanding what is expected<br />

of them in social situations, so<br />

good nurseries will offer extra<br />

help in understanding and<br />

following instructions.<br />

Often children are living in a<br />

constant state of anxiety and<br />

their behaviour will reflect this.<br />

Try to educate the children about<br />

other behaviour options they have<br />

in difficult situations, especially<br />

when their learned-behaviourpattern,<br />

(usually based on a coping<br />

strategy from a previous traumatic<br />

experience) is currently one that<br />

is no longer appropriate – such<br />

as tantrums or aggression. Staff<br />

need to explain the options and be<br />

particularly patient here.<br />

Nutrition and understanding a<br />

child’s relationship with food<br />

Some children are taken into<br />

care due to neglect and may not<br />

have had enough food; or food<br />

may have been used as a way of<br />

controlling them or inappropriately<br />

‘rewarding’ them. These children<br />

may have developed an unhealthy<br />

relationship with food as a result.<br />

Some children have never had to<br />

sit down to eat, so patience and<br />

understanding are again needed<br />

to help children overcome any food<br />

issues they may have.<br />

Christmas and birthdays can<br />

bring back painful memories<br />

Birthdays, religious celebrations<br />

like Christmas or other festivals<br />

are usually happy occasions where<br />

presents are exchanged, and<br />

children are made to feel special.<br />

But think how you might feel about<br />

these days if you were never made<br />

to feel special?<br />

Many children in care have<br />

experienced situations like this and<br />

these occasions may bring back<br />

negative or traumatic memories for<br />

the child, which can seem irrational<br />

to others. Abusive adults often use<br />

gifts to ‘buy’ children’s secrecy<br />

too, so caution and care is often<br />

needed around these subjects to<br />

help the child overcome them.<br />

In conclusion, children in care<br />

can benefit greatly from the<br />

‘normalisation’ and physical, social<br />

and developmental education that<br />

pre-school settings offer. They may<br />

just need extra understanding,<br />

time and patience from staff within<br />

your setting to help them thrive and<br />

become the young people they are<br />

meant to be.<br />

30 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 31

<strong>Parenta</strong> job board<br />

www.jobs.parenta.com<br />

Childcare Apprentice Required:<br />

To make use of our FREE recruitment service<br />

get in touch contact@parenta.com<br />

Tiny Tots Preschool Cheshunt Hertfordshire EN7 6DX<br />

Playdays Nursery Chiswick London W4 2ND<br />

Playdays Nursery Wimbledon London SW19 7PB<br />

Little Learners Nursery Group Walthamstow London E17 8ER<br />

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Chinese New Year – year<br />

of the pig craft ideas<br />

The Chinese New Year starts on 5th <strong>February</strong> and lasts until January 24th, 2020. This year it will<br />

be the “Year of the Earth Pig” and the pig is the 12th sign in the Chinese zodiac. Legend has it that<br />

all the animals were invited to a party, but the pig overslept and turned up late, so had to settle for<br />

12th place!<br />

Unlike the 12 astrological zodiac signs which change every<br />

month, the Chinese zodiac signs only come around once<br />

every 12 years, so the next year of the pig will not be until<br />

2031.<br />

In China, the pig is not thought to be a smart animal since<br />

it likes to eat and sleep a lot, but on the positive side, it<br />

also does not harm others and has a happy disposition.<br />

The pig is thought to bring luck and affluence and is<br />

regarded as a good omen, signifying wealth.<br />

To help you celebrate Chinese New Year in your setting,<br />

we have devised 5 craft ideas to bring some happiness<br />

and affluence to you and your children.<br />


PLAY<br />


This is a fun, sensory craft which uses natural homemade<br />

play dough.<br />

1. Mix the following ingredients together:<br />

• 1 cup of flour<br />

• ¼ cup of salt<br />

2. In a separate jug, mix the following together:<br />

• ½ cup of water<br />

• 3 to 5 drops of natural food colouring - pink is<br />

good for pigs!<br />

3. Gradually add the coloured water to the flour and<br />

salt, mixing it carefully until it is not sticky<br />

4. Mould your play dough into a pig shape. You can be<br />

as complex or as simple as you want here<br />

5. Add some eyes and don’t forget the curly tail<br />

PIG AND<br />


MOBILE<br />

Chinese lanterns are synonymous with Chinese<br />

celebrations so why not combine the year of the pig theme<br />

with these easy-to-make favourites?<br />

Lanterns<br />

1. Fold a rectangular piece of paper in half, along the<br />

long edge<br />

2. Draw straight lines from the fold about 2/3 of the<br />

way up the paper<br />

3. Cut carefully along the straight lines<br />

4. Unfold the paper and roll it to form a cylinder,<br />

sticking the edges together<br />

5. Attach ribbons or strips of paper to the bottom edge<br />

of the cylinder and squash gently to form the lantern<br />

shape<br />

6. Add a strip of paper to the top to hang<br />

Pigs<br />

1. Draw and cut out 2 circles of paper, making one<br />

slightly larger than the other<br />

2. Draw and cut out 2 triangles<br />

3. Draw and cut out 4 rectangles<br />

4. Assemble the pieces together to form the pig<br />

5. Fold over the ears<br />

6. Draw on eyes and a nose<br />

7. Add a curly tail using a pipe-cleaner or string<br />

Once you have made your pigs and lanterns, string them<br />

together to form a mobile to decorate your setting. You<br />

could also add some cardboard gold coins to the mobile<br />

to signify wealth.<br />

PAPER<br />


MASK<br />

This fun and simple craft which starts with a paper plate.<br />

You can use pink plates or simply paint some white ones<br />

using colours of your choice.<br />

1. Use one paper plate for the base of the mask<br />

2. Carefully draw on and cut out some eye holes<br />

3. Cut out a smaller circle and 2 triangles from a second<br />

paper plate to form the nose and ears<br />

4. Stick these onto the first plate to add the nose/eye<br />

details<br />

5. Attach a string or elastic to the sides of the plate to<br />

tie the mask to the face<br />

6. Once you have all created a mask, why not have<br />

some fun making pig noises and running around the<br />

farmyard! You could make it an active play game by<br />

playing ‘catch the tail of the pig!’<br />



WILD<br />

ART PIGS<br />

This is a great way to combine some outdoor play time with<br />

marking the Chinese New Year. All you need to do is dress<br />

up in warm clothes and go outside into the park or your<br />

garden space to look for items to make some wild art.<br />

Some good things to look out for include:<br />

• Twigs<br />

• Leaves in different colours<br />

• Pine cones<br />

• Acorn shells<br />

• Seed pods<br />

• Flower petals<br />

• Moss<br />

• Mud<br />

• Grasses<br />

• Feathers<br />

• Wool (caught on a fence)<br />

• Stones and pebbles<br />

Create your own picture of a pig using the things you have<br />

collected. You can create a wild art gallery in the park or<br />

your garden but remember to take some photographs of<br />

your creations to display in your setting later.<br />

A variation of this is to collect the elements from outside<br />

and bring them back to create the artwork in your setting.<br />

You could give each child a piece of paper or paper plate<br />

to create their design.<br />

Chinese writing is a great way to introduce children to different cultures, languages and ways of communicating. Practicing<br />

Chinese writing can also help encourage mark-making and fine motor skills and is perfect for a painting session.<br />

Choose from some common phrases below and create a display to celebrate their work.<br />

Have a good New Year<br />

新 年 好<br />

(xīn nián hǎo)<br />

新 年 好<br />

Have a Happy New Year<br />

新 年 快 乐<br />

(xīn nián kuài lè)<br />

Year of the pig<br />

一 年 的 豬<br />

(Yī nián de zhū)<br />

Pig<br />

豬<br />

(Zhū)<br />

34 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 35

“The Giants”: part 1<br />

It is useful from time to time, to reflect on the ideas and wisdom of those philosophers, theorists and<br />

practitioners who, in previous generations, laid down many of the foundations of practice in the field<br />

of early years. In this first article I will look at the following ‘giants’ in the world of early years: Locke,<br />

Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, and the McMillan sisters. What is notable about these wonderful visionaries<br />

is their legacy, which continues to inform our thinking, even today. It must be remembered, however, that<br />

the world in which they developed their ideas on children’s development and learning was vastly different<br />

to that of today.<br />

John Locke (1632–1704) lived in a<br />

period when thinking was characterised<br />

largely by superstition and ignorance<br />

and yet he is considered to be one of<br />

our most enlightened thinkers. Despite<br />

being criticised and even ridiculed for his<br />

controversial ideas, Locke emphasised<br />

the importance of experience on the lives<br />

of young children and went as far as<br />

proposing that we should view the minds<br />

of newly-born infants as blank slates or<br />

‘tabula rasa’ to be written on by all of<br />

the experiences they encountered. Unlike<br />

many of his time, he also believed that<br />

learning should be enjoyable; that play<br />

should be an essential part of children’s<br />

development; and that adults should take<br />

care not to hinder children from ‘being<br />

children’. Locke believed that young<br />

children should not have to deal with<br />

aspects of learning that were too “serious”<br />

for, he believed, “their minds, nor bodies<br />

will bear it” and, “It injures their health”.<br />

He also saw pressures placed on children<br />

at a young age as being responsible for<br />

why, “a great many have hated books and<br />

learning all their lives ...” Today, we see<br />

many of Locke’s original ideas in use in<br />

early years settings where, for example,<br />

focused play and new experiences that<br />

are enjoyable, are seen as important for<br />

developing children’s learning.<br />

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)<br />

formed his ideas at a time when children<br />

were often viewed as ‘little adults’ and<br />

put to work from an early age with little,<br />

if any, experience of play or education.<br />

Rousseau believed that children were<br />

born good and inherited much of what<br />

would make up their individual characters<br />

and potential. He knew, however, that<br />

the societies children were born into,<br />

played a major part in influencing their<br />

development and he recognised the<br />

potential harm that aspects of some<br />

societies could bring to perverting thinking<br />

in children. The education of many young<br />

children at the time was often severe<br />

and an unhappy experience, with little<br />

consideration given to their feelings.<br />

Rousseau challenged this type of thinking,<br />

believing that childhood should be a time<br />

of happiness and set out his ideas on<br />

educating children in his celebrated book,<br />

“Emile” (1911), about the life of a young<br />

boy named Emile, as he progressed<br />

through stages from infancy to adulthood.<br />

Rousseau believed that children’s<br />

education should follow their natural<br />

growth and he viewed the role of the<br />

teacher as creating learning environments<br />

where children could be introduced to<br />

new and purposeful learning. We see<br />

many of Rousseau’s original ideas still in<br />

place within early years settings where<br />

children’s learning follows their natural<br />

growth and where careful consideration<br />

is given to ensuring that learning is<br />

enjoyable and that learning environments<br />

support purposeful learning.<br />

Johann Pestalozzi (1746–1827) was<br />

born in Zurich, Switzerland. His father<br />

died when he was only five years of<br />

age and for much of his life, he lived in<br />

poverty. This deeply affected Johann<br />

though it also provided him with the<br />

means to understand, at first-hand,<br />

how children were affected by poverty.<br />

Pestalozzi was heavily influenced by<br />

Rousseau and because of the importance<br />

he placed on teaching, he is often<br />

referred to as ‘the father of modern<br />

education’. Pestalozzi viewed much of<br />

the education on offer to children in<br />

his own time as largely irrelevant<br />

and of little use, especially to<br />

children from poor families.<br />

He believed the primary aim<br />

of education was to<br />

develop the head,<br />

the heart and<br />

the hands,<br />

which he<br />

believed<br />

would<br />

result<br />

in children learning right from wrong and<br />

result in a happier society. Importantly,<br />

he viewed much of the education of his<br />

time as uninteresting, irrelevant and<br />

too adult-led. He also proposed that<br />

children should learn through engaging<br />

in activities within their own environments<br />

and be free to follow their own interests.<br />

He recognised how spontaneity could<br />

be a key feature of children’s learning<br />

and that children should not be limited<br />

to receiving ‘set’ answers from adults<br />

to the questions they posed, but should<br />

be encouraged to explore their own<br />

thinking. He believed that the home<br />

should be the basis for all future<br />

learning and where children should<br />

find happiness. The legacy offered by<br />

Pestalozzi can be seen, for example, in<br />

how early years practitioners and parents<br />

today encourage spontaneity in their<br />

children, and encourage them to learn by<br />

engaging in activities within the exciting<br />

environments they create.<br />

Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852)<br />

was one of the first theorists to fully<br />

acknowledge the importance of play and<br />

the contribution it made, not only<br />

to children’s learning but also<br />

their social and emotional<br />

development. Froebel<br />

developed a range<br />

of educational<br />

materials,<br />

which<br />

he referred to as, ‘gifts’; these included<br />

objects of different shapes that could<br />

be used to stimulate children’s thinking.<br />

Gift one, for example, was a set of six<br />

small soft balls, possibly knitted or made<br />

of rubber, and in different colours. Gift<br />

two was a box containing a wooden<br />

cylinder, cube and sphere containing<br />

holes. Gift three was a box containing<br />

eight, one-inch wooden cubes. Froebel<br />

believed in the importance of children<br />

learning through engaging in tasks that<br />

were purposeful and that had meaning<br />

for them. He also emphasised the<br />

importance of children spending time<br />

outdoors and learning through nature<br />

and, importantly, introduced us to the<br />

notion of the ‘kindergarten’. This aspect of<br />

learning is now being addressed through<br />

the implementation of ‘Forest Schools’.<br />

Rachel and Margaret McMillan<br />

(1859–1917 & 1860–1931) To fully<br />

understand the contributions made by<br />

Rachel and Margaret McMillan we need<br />

to understand the society they lived in.<br />

London, at the time, offered some of the<br />

worst living conditions in Europe and<br />

it was only in 1899 that attendance at<br />

school became compulsory. Following<br />

much effort, the sisters succeeded in<br />

their quest for children to have free<br />

school meals following enactment of the<br />

‘Provision of School Meals Act’ in 1906.<br />

Rachel and Margaret were also influential<br />

in the government introducing medical<br />

inspections of children in<br />

schools, with the first clinic<br />

opening in 1908. They also<br />

recognised the benefits of<br />

open-air learning, being<br />

healthy and children having<br />

access to the outdoors<br />

and involving children in<br />

nurseries in caring for<br />

animals<br />

and<br />

plants,<br />

as a means of developing the values of<br />

caring not just for themselves, but for<br />

others. In subsequent years, Margaret<br />

founded the Rachel McMillan College in<br />

1930 for training teachers and improving<br />

the training of those working with children<br />

in her nurseries. Many of Rachel and<br />

Margaret’s original ideas can now be<br />

seen in the emphasis that practitioners<br />

place on outdoor play, healthy eating,<br />

exercise and caring for others.<br />

In summary, therefore, it is helpful to<br />

stop and reflect every so often on the<br />

ideas and the wisdom of those thinkers<br />

and practitioners who went before us<br />

and who contributed so much to our<br />

practice today. They were in the true<br />

sense, visionaries; who against frequent<br />

criticism, condemnation and even<br />

censure, challenged the thinking of their<br />

time and in doing so, changed for the<br />

better, the lives of countless children. We<br />

are today, because of their efforts, much<br />

better informed.<br />

For further information on the<br />

philosophers, theorists and thinkers<br />

mentioned in this article, see the following<br />

link to Sean’s most recent book: MacBlain,<br />

S.F. (2018) Learning Theories for Early<br />

Years Practice. London: Sage.<br />

Readers can also find some of Sean’s<br />

other publications here.<br />

Prof Sean MacBlain<br />

Professor Sean MacBlain<br />

PhD, C. Psychol., C. Sci.,<br />

FRSM, FHEA, AMBDA is a<br />

distinguished author whose<br />

most recent publication<br />

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

“Learning Theories for<br />

Early Years Practice”.<br />

Other publications include:<br />

MacBlain, (Sage, 2014)<br />

“How Children Learn”;<br />

Gray and MacBlain, (Sage,<br />

2015) “Learning Theories in<br />

Childhood”, now going into<br />

its 3rd edition; MacBlain,<br />

Long and Dunn, (Sage,<br />

2015) “Dyslexia, Literacy<br />

and 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 in<br />

private practice. Sean lives<br />

with his wife, Angela, in<br />

Somerset, England.<br />

36 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 37

Encouraging healthier<br />

options to tackle<br />

childhood obesity<br />

Childhood obesity rates are rising in the UK leading to potential<br />

health problems for these children in later life. Preventing this<br />

is now an important public health issue and the Government’s<br />

approach has been two-fold: prevention policies, and healthcare<br />

services to treat the condition.<br />

The early years are a crucial time for<br />

children’s development, but by the time<br />

they start school, one in five children are<br />

already overweight or obese. And in the<br />

2–4 age group, only one in ten children<br />

currently meet the recommended<br />

levels of physical activity. In 2017, the<br />

Government published an action plan<br />

which outlined strategies for tackling<br />

the problem at national level, but the<br />

problem must be tackled at the grassroots<br />

too, and you have a duty in your<br />

setting to help.<br />

The guidance from the National Institute<br />

for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)<br />

states that:<br />

“All nurseries and childcare<br />

facilities should ensure<br />

that preventing excess<br />

weight gain and improving<br />

children’s diet and activity<br />

levels are priorities.”<br />

Specifically, NICE recommends that<br />

nurseries and childcare facilities should:<br />

• minimise sedentary activities during<br />

play times<br />

• provide regular opportunities for<br />

‘active play’ and structured physical<br />

activities<br />

• implement guidelines on healthy<br />

catering issued by the Department<br />

for Education, the Children’s Food<br />

Trust and Caroline Walker Trust<br />

• ensure that children eat regular,<br />

healthy meals in a supervised,<br />

pleasant, sociable environment,<br />

free from other distractions (e.g.<br />

television)<br />

What can you do in your setting to follow<br />

this advice? Here are a few ideas to help.<br />

Increasing physical activity<br />

Pre-school children who are capable<br />

of walking unaided, are recommended<br />

to have a minimum of 180 minutes<br />

(3 hours) of physical activity spread<br />

throughout the day. Unfortunately,<br />

research has confirmed that most<br />

children in this category are currently<br />

only spending 120–150 minutes per<br />

day in physical activity, and shockingly,<br />

data suggests that children in childcare<br />

settings accumulate less than 60<br />

minutes of moderate or vigorous<br />

physical activity over an 8-hour day.<br />

Increasing physical activity is therefore<br />

vital but for pre-schools and nurseries,<br />

this does not always have to mean<br />

organising additional structured,<br />

physical activity sessions, although these<br />

would certainly help.<br />

A lot of physical activity can be attained<br />

by allowing more ‘physically active<br />

play’ which is initiated by the children<br />

themselves.<br />

It also means increasing time spent:<br />

• Using the major muscle groups such<br />

as buttocks, legs, shoulders and arms<br />

• Skipping, jumping and running –<br />

e.g. to and from school<br />

• Climbing<br />

• Riding a bike or scooter<br />

• Playing running or chasing games<br />

• Playing sport<br />

You should provide these sessions for<br />

short periods, spread throughout the<br />

day, rather than just extending existing<br />

break times. And you should always<br />

make sure that your setting has safe<br />

areas for children to run around in to<br />

minimise risks.<br />

Other things you can do include getting<br />

the children outdoors more, where it is<br />

often easier to combine other learning<br />

goals with things such as gardening<br />

or sporting activities. These can not<br />

only increase physical activity but help<br />

children understand the physical or<br />

scientific world too.<br />

It is also recommended that physical<br />

activity be encouraged from birth, so<br />

remember to include your youngest<br />

members when you are revising your<br />

plans.<br />

Decrease sedentary activities<br />

Decreasing sedentary activities involves<br />

limiting time spent:<br />

• Sitting down watching TV<br />

• Playing on screens, computers or<br />

other devices<br />

• In sedentary, teacher-led activities<br />

• Being strapped into car seats,<br />

buggies or high-chairs<br />

Obviously, there are some positive<br />

activities such as reading and craft<br />

activities that need children to sit down,<br />

so the emphasis here is about the<br />

balance of time spent in each activity.<br />

You could initiate a ‘walk to nursery’<br />

day where you encourage parents to<br />

walk their children to your setting rather<br />

than bring them in a car. This could be a<br />

weekly or monthly event which you could<br />

promote with your parents and carers.<br />

One thing to remember is that a<br />

sedentary lifestyle early on has been<br />

shown to track through childhood,<br />

resulting in teenagers and adults who<br />

have inactive lifestyles too, so it is crucial<br />

to develop good habits in the early years.<br />

Making healthier food choices<br />

If you cater at your establishment, then<br />

you need to follow healthy catering<br />

guidelines issued by the Department<br />

for Education. Helping children make<br />

healthier food choices should be done<br />

in partnership with parents and carers<br />

since most of their early habits will be<br />

learned from them. However, you should<br />

offer education in the early years about<br />

what is, and what isn’t a healthy choice.<br />

This includes:<br />

• The constituents of a balanced diet<br />

• Portion sizes<br />

• Choosing healthy snacks<br />

• The balance between calories in<br />

and calories out<br />

• The ‘hidden’ sugars, salt and fats<br />

• The importance of eating meals free<br />

of distractions such as TV or games<br />

You can increase children’s awareness<br />

and understanding by:<br />

• Holding specific sessions talking<br />

about food and nutrition<br />

• Displaying healthy food posters in<br />

your setting<br />

• If you provide food in your<br />

setting, ensuring that it meets<br />

the requirements set out in the<br />

Government’s guidelines<br />

• Offering free fruit for children at<br />

break times<br />

• Making healthy snacks as part of a<br />

cooking session<br />

• Encouraging children to cook at<br />

home and in your setting<br />

Be mindful always about labelling foods<br />

as ‘good’ or bad’ and about ‘nagging’<br />

children about food, to avoid increasing<br />

the risk of children developing an<br />

unhealthy attitude to food. Remember<br />

too that we all love a ‘treat’ from time to<br />

time and we should be able to enjoy this<br />

in a ‘guilt-free’ way.<br />

Be wary too of labelling the food of other<br />

cultures, special diets or social groups<br />

as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It is better to<br />

use terms such as ‘healthier option’<br />

or ‘low-sugar’ rather than attaching<br />

negative connotations to certain foods.<br />

The message is really about striking<br />

a balance between the food we eat,<br />

the calories we ingest and the physical<br />

activity we do.<br />

There is a lot of information and advice<br />

available on the web about making<br />

healthier choices, tried-and-tested<br />

recipes for schools and packed lunches,<br />

and policy checklists online. Visit the<br />

following webpage to see a list of the<br />

things we’ve found most useful:<br />

bit.ly/feb-childobesity<br />

38 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 39

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