Interactive Magazine March 2019

As usual, this month’s magazine is full with a variety of practical advice, tips and activities. All of our articles have been written and designed to assist with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care.

As usual, this month’s magazine is full with a variety of practical advice, tips and activities. All of our articles have been written and designed to assist with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care.


Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

Issue 52<br />

MARCH <strong>2019</strong><br />

FREE<br />



Supporting children to<br />

process their emotions<br />

now and in the future<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to<br />

WIN<br />

£50<br />

p 29<br />

“The Giants” in the world<br />

of early years: part 2<br />

Ways to support children<br />

on the autism spectrum<br />

in your setting<br />

+ lots more<br />

Our top tips<br />

for promoting<br />

British Values at<br />

your setting<br />


Tamsin Grimmer discusses using ‘superhero play’ to deal with<br />

notions of killing and death within early childhood<br />


hello<br />

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

It looks as if spring has made an appearance already … in some parts of the country at least! <strong>March</strong> is a month<br />

with many things to celebrate – the beginning of spring, Easter, books, women and mothers and pancakes - to<br />

name but a few!<br />

As usual, this month’s magazine is full with a variety of practical advice, tips and activities. All of our articles<br />

have been written and designed to assist with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the health,<br />

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

International Women’s Day is on the 8th when people from all walks of life recognise and pay tribute to the contribution that women<br />

make to their families, communities and countries. Turn to pages 8 and 9 for ways to get involved in this ever-growing global<br />

celebration of women. The 31st marks Mothering Sunday, where traditionally, it is common for children to give their mother a gift,<br />

flowers or a card … and a break from household chores! We have a really pretty sensory bottle activity for the children to take part in,<br />

to commemorate both these days. We love to see how they get on when participating in the craft ideas that we suggest - please feel<br />

free to share pictures of their creations on social media, remembering to tag us @theparentagroup.<br />

National Apprenticeship Week runs from the 4th to the 8th and is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and get involved in ‘all things<br />

apprenticeships’! We also take a look at the importance of ‘British values’ and give our top tips as to how you can promote them within<br />

your setting, and how you can make sure you’re meeting EYFS legislation.<br />

On the 5th, the nation will be reaching for the frying pans to celebrate Shrove Tuesday by cooking, flipping and eating pancakes. We<br />

look at the origins of Pancake Day and give our top tips for a holding a healthy pancake day, including ideas for various pancake<br />

races that all staff and children can get involved in! In the same week, on the 7th, is World Book Day, when people all over the world<br />

celebrate their favourite books and literary characters by dressing up, reading new books and passing on stories. Find out how you<br />

can encourage children to read with our advice piece on pages 38 and 39.<br />

Congratulations once again to Joanna Grace who has won our guest author competition. Her unusually titled article “Sniff your way to<br />

mental wellbeing” explores how we can use our noses to support wellbeing and contains some great ideas and activities. If you have<br />

written on a topic relevant to early years, and would like to be in with a chance to win £50 in vouchers, turn to page 29 for details.<br />

We hope you enjoy this month’s magazine – please do share it with friends and colleagues!<br />

Allan<br />

“ THE<br />

GIANTS”<br />

Part 2 of Professor Sean<br />

MacBlain’s reflection on<br />

the key figures in the<br />

early years sector who<br />

challenged the thinking<br />

of their time<br />




18<br />

26<br />

Tamsin Grimmer discusses<br />

using ‘superhero play’ to<br />

deal with notions of killing<br />

and death within early<br />

childhood<br />


24<br />

We take a look at each of the British<br />

Values, one by one, and give our top tips<br />

on how you can promote them within your<br />

setting<br />

MARCH <strong>2019</strong> ISSUE 52<br />



14 Focus on... the recruitment team<br />

15 What our customers say<br />

28 Mother’s Day sensory bottle craft<br />

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

32 Parenta job board<br />

NEWS<br />

4 Cultural connections<br />

6 Parenta Trust news<br />

ADVICE<br />

8 Join the celebration - International Women’s Day<br />

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

12 How can you educate children through<br />

gardening?<br />

16 Celebrate St Patrick’s Day<br />

20 National Apprenticeship Week<br />

24 How to promote British values at your setting<br />

30 Pancake Day – healthier options<br />

34 How to get more visitors to your website<br />

38 Tips to encourage young readers<br />


10 New Year: New Start!<br />

18 “The Giants”: part 2<br />

22 Ways to support children on the autism<br />

spectrum in your setting<br />

26 “I’m killing the baddies!” Using ‘superhero play’<br />

to deal with notions of killing and death within<br />

early childhood<br />

36 Supporting children to process their emotions<br />

now and in the future<br />

Healthier options for Pancake Day 30<br />

How can you educate children through gardening? 12<br />

Ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in your setting 16<br />

Read about Toni & Debbie’s 10,000-mile round trip to deliver<br />

a four-day, bespoke training workshop to fellow early years<br />

professionals in Beijing, China<br />


Cultural connections<br />

British early years consultants, Debbie Gunn and Toni Buchan recently shared their<br />

extensive knowledge and experience with early years practitioners on the other<br />

side of the world. Debbie tells us of their cultural exchange here.<br />

What an adventure! A 10,000-mile round trip to deliver a four-day, bespoke<br />

training workshop to early years professionals in Beijing, China. The miles<br />

themselves paled into insignificance as the connections with the Chinese<br />

professional counterparts, now friends, had begun some years ago. This fantastic<br />

opportunity was in December 2018 and we still talk with amazement of going from<br />

Boughton to Beijing and back to Blean. So how did this happen to us?<br />

Toni’s setting, Tiny Tribe was established<br />

in 2016 and is set in four acres of beautiful<br />

woodland just outside Canterbury. Her<br />

early years journey began more than<br />

20 years ago, and she has been, and<br />

continues to be, a practitioner, manager,<br />

academic, lecturer, consultant and<br />

author. Toni has worked in a wide range<br />

of capacities and roles within the field of<br />

children’s services and education in early<br />

years, at primary level and in HE and FE<br />

contexts. Her personal pedagogy is based<br />

on the significance of good wellbeing, play<br />

and nature.<br />

D-Dee’s Day Nursery, my setting, is a<br />

reflective and ever-changing natural<br />

playscape, a place where “unique” is valued.<br />

I opened it in 1996 at just 23 years of age,<br />

with <strong>2019</strong> marking my 27th year in early<br />

years practice. I have been part of every role<br />

within my award-winning setting and still<br />

actively manage and support my team. I am<br />

also the co-founder of the Nursery Owners<br />

Hub Facebook group, and a member of the<br />

leadership team of Champagne Nurseries<br />

Lemonade Funding. My passion is “little<br />

people” and how we can all make a choice<br />

to work together to deliver a unique and<br />

bespoke service which is the highest quality<br />

possible within our settings.<br />

After meeting at Canterbury University a<br />

few years before, and finding connections<br />

within our values and beliefs about the best<br />

physical and psychological environments to<br />

honour the uniqueness of each child that<br />

we worked with, it really made us reflect<br />

deeply on our own practice. Both of us<br />

had by this time become known locally for<br />

some innovative approaches and with our<br />

committed ‘dream teams’ of staff providing<br />

us with the time and space to be able to<br />

share our practice beyond our own gates, it<br />

was time for us to go further than before.<br />

Over the following couple of years, we<br />

engaged with several visits from Chinese<br />

nursery owners, investors, early years<br />

teachers, and even one Chinese region’s<br />

Minister of Education. Their visits to our<br />

respective settings further developed<br />

our mutual understanding of similarlyheld<br />

values across the cultural divide.<br />

Discussions centered on children’s rights,<br />

their individual uniqueness and the<br />

significance of children being genuinely<br />

advocated for. Language, culture and<br />

politics melted away as we shared the<br />

deeply-instinctive driving force behind our<br />

shared pedagogies.<br />

We were invited to link-up and make<br />

connections with Hardoon International<br />

Education Group last year. Hardoon<br />

International currently provides over 3,000<br />

places per day in nine nursery schools based<br />

primarily in Eastern China, with its central<br />

education centre in Beijing. Our programme<br />

of training was created specifically for<br />

their unique needs, linking our everyday<br />

innovative practice from the UK with their<br />

vision for a more creative, forward-thinking,<br />

child-led and progressive model within<br />

Chinese educational structures. We were<br />

asked specifically about the ingredients of<br />

contemporary UK early years practice and to<br />

bring our own ideas.<br />

We were lucky enough to have the<br />

skills of two native-speaking Chinese<br />

colleagues, who worked alongside us to<br />

interpret, using both their knowledge of<br />

our individual professional practice, and a<br />

shared vision alongside their own unfolding<br />

understanding of early years. This<br />

supported and added cultural relevance to<br />

our modules. We were overwhelmed with<br />

the prestige and high regard with which<br />

we were welcomed at all times. The entire<br />

trip was amazing: from the start involving<br />

an opening ceremony including song and<br />

dance from the children themselves; the<br />

signing of a wall to commemorate our<br />

visit; to leading a rendition of ‘Happy and<br />

You Know It’ - complete with Makaton<br />

signing while on the Great Wall of China.<br />

All of these will remain highlights of our<br />

professional careers and are certainly<br />

something that we will never forget.<br />

While working with these amazingly<br />

committed and talented early years<br />

professionals so very far from home,<br />

we quickly recognised some common<br />

threads and values despite the language<br />

barrier. The communist constraints on their<br />

everyday practice were visible and many<br />

of the teachers and practitioners grappled<br />

with what innovation and creativity truly<br />

are. As the passionate educators of their<br />

generation, they understand the urgency<br />

to begin to ignite these qualities in the next<br />

generation of Chinese children, and place<br />

significant value on the impact this could,<br />

and would have on their little people. High<br />

on their agenda was the need to respect<br />

and harness the love for creativity that<br />

comes from the essence of childhood.<br />

Empowering the delegates with the tools to<br />

question and reflect on their own practice<br />

through a series of both practically- and<br />

theoretically-based sessions, added the<br />

most value. We even led a whole morning<br />

of child-led, ‘in the moment’ planning,<br />

whereby thirty children, aged from 2-6<br />

years, were allowed to do activities<br />

deemed ‘too messy’, ‘too noisy’, ‘too<br />

unstructured’ and ‘too out-of-their-comfortzone’<br />

prior to our visit. As we observed<br />

the educators of Hardoon observing their<br />

children, it seemed that we were indeed<br />

sneaking in on their very own ‘eureka’<br />

moments as they watched the real magic<br />

of childhood unfold before their very own<br />

eyes. It was a deep privilege for us to<br />

have witnessed, and totally worth every<br />

one of those 10,000 miles, along with the<br />

experience of teaching in Beijing with a<br />

body still on London time!<br />

Since arriving home, our amazing Chinese<br />

colleagues have continued their leap of<br />

faith. They regularly send us pictures and<br />

videos of their latest adventures and are as<br />

proud of the journey that they are on, as<br />

we are of them too. Sharing our pedagogy<br />

and committing to our international<br />

collaboration with these wonderful teams,<br />

has validated nearly 50 years of our own<br />

combined works, studies and research in<br />

the very best of ways. We have learnt that<br />

we can plan in the moment as well for<br />

adults as for our little people, and that we<br />

will always find it difficult to speak Chinese.<br />

For now our attempts remain limited to<br />

‘nihao’ (hello), no matter how hard we<br />

try. We look forward to visiting again and<br />

leading them on the next steps of their own<br />

learning journeys.<br />

Toni Buchan is the founder, owner and<br />

lead Forest School practitioner of Tiny Tribe<br />

Outdoors. She is the author of the awardwinning<br />

book “The Social Child – laying<br />

the foundations of relationships and<br />

language” (Routledge 2013) and continues<br />

to lecture and consult in all things early<br />

years. www.tinytribeoutdoors.co.uk, info@<br />

tinytribeoutdoors.co.uk<br />

Debbie Gunn is the founder and owner of<br />

the award-winning D-Dee’s Day Nursery.<br />

She also works as an early years consultant<br />

and trainer, delivering bespoke early years<br />

services both within her own setting and<br />

those of others. www.ddeesdaynursery.<br />

co.uk, debbie@ddeesdaynursery.co.uk,<br />

consultancy@ddeesdaynursery.co.uk<br />

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

Please join us on our annual Maidstone to Monaco<br />

Rally on 26th - 30th June!<br />

Check out our video here: bit.ly/ptrally<strong>2019</strong><br />

NEWS<br />

Parenta Trust news<br />



Don’t miss out on the road trip of a lifetime - come<br />

and join us for an automotive adventure!<br />

Here at Parenta Trust, we are raising vital funds to build pre-schools for young children in desperate need<br />

of a quality education in deprived areas of the world.<br />

For as little as 56p a day<br />

YOU CAN<br />

MAKE A<br />


Sponsoring a child provides<br />

• A pre-school education<br />

• Access to clean water<br />

• A school uniform<br />

• A daily hot meal<br />

• School supplies<br />

• The knowledge that<br />

someone truly cares<br />

To take part in this adventure and to help us make a<br />

difference to hundreds of children’s lives, find out more and<br />

register today at parentatrust.com!<br />

The Rally:<br />

»»<br />

2000 miles. 8 countries. 5 days.<br />

»»<br />

Camp under the stars.<br />

»»<br />

Negotiate the winding roads of the Furka pass.<br />

»»<br />

Take part in crazy challenges.<br />

»»<br />

Absorb the stunning scenery of the Alps.<br />

»»<br />

Enjoy plenty of laughter along the way!<br />

The Vehicles:<br />

»»<br />

All cars and motorbikes welcome.<br />

»»<br />

Teams or individuals can enter.<br />

»»<br />

Decoration is a must!<br />

The Dates:<br />

»»<br />

26th–30th June <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

»»<br />

Setting off from Maidstone, Kent.<br />

The Mission:<br />

»»<br />

Raise vital funds to build pre-schools in the most deprived<br />

areas of the world.<br />

»»<br />

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

and look forward to a bright future.<br />

Now in its 6th year, the Maidstone to Monaco Rally is a<br />

fantastic way to bring people together for a great cause and<br />

have fun along the way. Our 5th school opens early in <strong>2019</strong><br />

and in addition, funds raised from last year’s rally and our<br />

two charity balls, means that we are now finalising funds<br />

for our next school. Together, we can raise enough funds<br />

to continue building a new pre-school year on year. With<br />

every pre-school we build, we give another 200 children the<br />

opportunity they deserve to have an early years education.<br />

Register today at parentatrust.com<br />

Together we can make a difference to hundreds of<br />

children in the poorest areas of the world<br />

Parenta Trust was founded by Allan Presland in 2013 after a<br />

life-changing and heartbreaking trip to Kampala in Uganda.<br />

He returned to the UK to set up a charity, leveraging his<br />

existing network of contacts in the early years sector, and his<br />

ambitious quest to build one pre-school per year began.<br />

You’ll be able to see firsthand<br />

the difference you’re<br />

making with regular updates,<br />

letters and drawings from your<br />

sponsored child.<br />


6 Parenta.com

Join the celebration -<br />

International Women’s Day <strong>2019</strong><br />

On <strong>March</strong> 8th, millions of people will come together to honour and celebrate the achievements<br />

of women around the world on International Women’s Day. People from all walks of life will<br />

recognise and pay tribute to the contribution that women make to their families, communities and<br />

countries, and will highlight the work that still needs to be done in gaining equal recognition and<br />

opportunities for women worldwide.<br />

This year, the theme of International<br />

Women’s Day is “#BalanceforBetter”<br />

recognising the need for an improved<br />

gender-balance across many<br />

industries in which men still heavily<br />

outnumber women. Business<br />

board rooms, science and politics<br />

are three areas where the gender<br />

split is still not representative of<br />

current population demographics. The<br />

high-profile case of Rahaf Mohammed<br />

al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman<br />

who recently locked herself in her hotel<br />

room and was finally given asylum in<br />

Canada, highlights the problems that<br />

many women still face in seeking basic<br />

human rights.<br />

But IWD is also a celebration of women,<br />

past and present, who continue to<br />

‘champion the cause’ and defy the<br />

gender stereotypes that still exist in<br />

many communities. And it’s not just the<br />

women who have made it to the top that<br />

need to be celebrated. Women all over<br />

the world, in every community and at<br />

every level, make a huge contribution to<br />

the education, care and smooth running<br />

of their societies. Without them, much of<br />

the world as we know it would not exist,<br />

so why not look around your own setting<br />

this IWD, give thanks to, and praise the<br />

amazing women who are making such<br />

a difference?<br />

How to get involved in IWD<br />

The IWD website at www.<br />

internationalwomensday.com has a lot<br />

of information on how to participate<br />

and plan a campaign in line with this<br />

year’s theme. You can register to set<br />

up an account and purchase an event<br />

pack including posters, banners, pens<br />

and postcards - everything you need<br />

to create an eye-catching display in<br />

your setting. The packs usually sell out<br />

though, so order early if you want to be<br />

sure of getting one.<br />

There is also a competition that you<br />

can enter which will be announced<br />

before the day, with last year’s event<br />

attracting over 100 groups in the ”Best<br />

Practice Competition” to showcase their<br />

achievements in helping forge gender<br />

parity.<br />

The idea of #BalanceforBetter is that it<br />

should be a year-long campaign, not<br />

just for <strong>March</strong> 8th, so collaborations are<br />

invited from groups to show how they<br />

can tackle gender imbalance over the<br />

year to make a tangible difference in the<br />

longer term. Details of how to apply are<br />

also on the IWD website along with lots<br />

of inspirational pictures and stories of<br />

groups who participated last year if you<br />

need some ideas.<br />

We’ve listed a few of our own thoughts<br />

here too, to help you get into the spirit of<br />

the event.<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

How to get involved<br />

Advertise your involvement and celebration of the day by signing up for the IWD resource pack and then add logos,<br />

branding and links to your own site.<br />

Research some famous and inspirational international women and girls from history and the present day and<br />

have a story-telling session or two to educate your children of some of the amazing things that women have done and<br />

continue to do.<br />

Think about inspirational women from your own local community. You could invite them to your setting, asking<br />

them to give a short presentation about their work, the challenges they face and the solutions they find to overcome<br />

them.<br />

Write some ‘thank you’ notes to the women close to the<br />

children in your setting, who tirelessly give of themselves to<br />

support them. This could include their mothers, female family<br />

members, carers, teachers, staff, friends and childminders<br />

who the children admire, to show appreciation for the ‘every<br />

day’ things they do.<br />

Run a staff training session on challenging gender<br />

stereotyping. There is a useful document from Stonewall<br />

covering this issue, giving advice on the statutory requirements<br />

of pre-schools to tackle gender stereotyping and offering practical<br />

steps you can take to improve things in your setting. The document can be<br />

downloaded free of charge here.<br />

And in case you need some more incentives, here’s<br />

a list of some wonderful women you could focus on:<br />

Marie Curie – Polish physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research<br />

on radioactivity and won the Nobel prize – twice!<br />

Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters - Christabel Pankhurst and Sylvia<br />

Pankhurst - leaders of the British suffrage movement whose campaigning eventually<br />

helped win the vote for women, 100 years ago.<br />

J. K. Rowling – author and screenwriter of the “Harry Potter” books who struggled as a<br />

single mother to write part-time whilst raising her son.<br />

Mary Wollstonecraft – 18th century British author and philosopher and advocate of<br />

women’s rights - often considered the ‘mother of modern feminism’. She was also the<br />

actual mother of another British writer, Mary Shelley, who grew up to write “Frankenstein”.<br />

Rosa Parks – US civil rights activist who famously refused to give up her seat on the bus for<br />

a white person and fought against segregation and oppression.<br />

Dame Kelly Holmes – double Olympic gold medal winner in the 2004 Olympics.<br />

Amelia Earhart – the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, fighting prejudice to become a<br />

university adviser on aeronautical engineering and a pioneer for women pilots.<br />

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

New Year: New Start!<br />

Many of you will be entering your settings hoping that one little person in particular has mellowed<br />

in their behaviour over the holidays. This little person does not respond to the behavioural<br />

approaches that work for the other children. The approaches you use are all super, well tried and<br />

tested. It is just that one child. That child is the problem.<br />

As you’re reading this you’re not<br />

thinking that the child is the problem,<br />

you are wondering why they don’t<br />

respond. When we think about a<br />

problem head-on like this, we see<br />

the child separate to the problem. But<br />

when we are just going about<br />

our daily duties and that<br />

child thwarts us yet<br />

again, it<br />

is easy for us, subconsciously at least,<br />

to view the child as the problem. After<br />

all, you are doing the right thing with<br />

the behaviour strategy that you use,<br />

so the fact that it doesn’t work for this<br />

child must mean that this child is in<br />

the wrong. They are “just<br />

naughty” it is “just the<br />

way they are.”<br />

If you ever find yourself thinking that<br />

bad behaviour is just the way a child is<br />

or if you hear a colleague express such<br />

a sentiment, take action. All behaviour<br />

is communication and a child ‘acting<br />

out’ is trying to tell you something.<br />

That child is not a problem, they have<br />

a problem and they are asking for your<br />

help. It is hard when you are small<br />

and do not have the language skills or<br />

the emotional literacy to explain what<br />

is going on. Lashing out through their<br />

behaviour is often the only option some<br />

children have when it comes to trying<br />

to explain to you how hard they are<br />

finding a situation.<br />

On Exploring the Impact of the<br />

Senses on Behaviour, my delegates<br />

and I explore the underpinning routes<br />

to sensory behaviour and look at<br />

a variety of ways you can support<br />

children who express their difficulties<br />

with the sensory world through<br />

behaviour. Many settings are beginning<br />

to understand the need for sensory<br />

provision, but that understanding often<br />

goes little further than having a few<br />

extra sensory toys around the place<br />

and there is more to it than that. There<br />

are simple changes we can make to the<br />

language we use, the speed at which<br />

we expect processing to occur, and to<br />

our environment, that can make a big<br />

difference to children struggling and<br />

expressing their struggles through their<br />

behaviour.<br />

Sensory toys are just one part of<br />

providing for children whose behaviour<br />

you think could be motivated by sensory<br />

needs or differences. Perhaps you have<br />

some already and they’ve not been that<br />

effective? Simply having a sensory toy<br />

can help a little, the child may pick it up<br />

and explore it, they may gain some<br />

sensory pleasure from it, but<br />

it is likely that other toys will<br />

be more interesting. If you<br />

know how to use things like fidgets, gak<br />

or slime, search jars, or settle jars then<br />

you can get more out of their presence<br />

in your setting. Let’s take settle jars as<br />

an example.<br />

A settle jar is like a snow globe:<br />

particles are suspended in fluid, you<br />

can shake them up and watch the<br />

particles settle. They are easy to make,<br />

you just need: a glitter glue pen (you<br />

can usually get a pack of 6 in your local<br />

pound store); a container (clear drinks<br />

bottles are good); and some glitter<br />

or other bits to suspend in the water.<br />

Squeeze the whole glitter glue pen<br />

into the bottle and half fill with warm<br />

water. Put the lid on and shake well<br />

so that the glue mixes into the water.<br />

Remove the lid and add the items<br />

you want to the bottle, some different<br />

glitters or sequins look lovely, you can<br />

use a punch to cut pieces of coloured<br />

cellophane and add them, a couple of<br />

drops of ink can create a lovely effect<br />

too (try using pearlised ink for extra<br />

magic). Once you have all the particles<br />

you want in the bottle, fill it up with<br />

water and secure the lid tightly.<br />

Here’s one way to use it that is a little<br />

bit more than just giving it to a child to<br />

explore. Have it to hand in your setting.<br />

When you see a child beginning to get<br />

wound up, take the bottle over to them<br />

and attract their attention. Explain to<br />

them that they are getting wound up<br />

and as you explain this, shake the jar.<br />

Little children often cannot articulate<br />

their feelings, so doing it for them is a<br />

wonderful way to help develop their<br />

emotional literacy with something<br />

like: “You feel all shaken up inside”<br />

- empathise with them rather than<br />

tell them off. “It’s not nice to feel all<br />

annoyed” - use a range of language;<br />

children have more emotions than just<br />

happy and sad so give them all the<br />

vocabulary they need. “You need to<br />

calm down.”<br />

The instruction to calm down is a very<br />

difficult one for children to follow, it is<br />

an abstract concept and means little<br />

to them, you are asking them to do a<br />

thing which is actually a ‘not’, it is an<br />

absence of something else rather than<br />

a thing in itself: it is very confusing.<br />

Adding support to your instruction<br />

to calm can help a child understand<br />

what to do. Show them the settle jar all<br />

shaken up and place it on a table top<br />

as you say “You need to calm down.”<br />

Model clearly how to do this: take a<br />

deep breath in, look at the swirling<br />

glitter particles and breathe out slowly.<br />

Adding in the sign language for “calm<br />

down” can create an extra layer of<br />

support for this communication and<br />

works well with the settle jar, as the<br />

sign is to hold your hands with their<br />

palms facing down one above another<br />

a small distance apart and then press<br />

them slowly down in turn (similar to the<br />

action you would do if singing “Wind<br />

the bobbin up,” only with your hands<br />

going straight down rather than around<br />

and around). As you press a hand<br />

down, it mirrors the slow downward<br />

motion of the particles and the<br />

downward motion of your chest as you<br />

breathe out.<br />

Continue to watch the bottle and<br />

model the calm breathing needed for<br />

calming down, supporting this with the<br />

sign. Our bodies naturally respond to<br />

the rhythms of the bodies around us.<br />

Screaming at a child to “CALM DOWN”<br />

is far more likely to agitate them than<br />

it is to inspire them to calm. Exude the<br />

calm you are hoping to create, and<br />

watch the glittering particles swirl, and<br />

you will find their simple beauty really<br />

does help you to calm down too.<br />

Here’s to a peaceful new year! For more<br />

tips and information, do join me on<br />

Exploring the Impact of the Senses<br />

on Behaviour which is currently open<br />

for early bird bookings.<br />

Check out<br />

page 28 for our<br />

Mother’s Day<br />

sensory bottle<br />

craft!<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 />

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

How can you educate children<br />

through gardening?<br />

Technological advances mean that children are spending more time indoors. However, it’s<br />

still vital that we inform them of the enjoyment that can be found outdoors….and you don’t<br />

have to go far! It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, there are plenty of opportunities to<br />

get children out into the fresh air.<br />

Play bark suppliers, Compost Direct, have come up with some tips for<br />

childcare providers on how to educate children through gardening.<br />

Early years development<br />

Playing in the garden is a great way to develop the early years skills<br />

in younger children. Messy play aids their sensory and cognitive<br />

development, while allowing them to have fun. Research shows that there<br />

are many advantages to messy play and that this form of activity, albeit<br />

unstructured, can help a child develop immensely. It’s possible to do this<br />

in the garden by using water, sand and mud. You must break down the<br />

usual rules that may face a child, including being solely restricted to a play<br />

mat. You should encourage them to draw shapes using a range of childfriendly<br />

tools. This aids the development of finger and arm muscles which<br />

can help when it comes to tasks such as holding a pen.<br />

The garden also exposes a child to many new textures. It allows them to get<br />

used to handling solid objects and if you let children be around mud, they<br />

will also get used to softer materials which in turn will help them compare<br />

and understand new textures.<br />

General learning<br />

If the weather allows, why not complete tasks outside? Children often spend all day behind a desk when they’re at<br />

school, so change the environment and head outdoors wherever possible. A gazebo or table and chairs can be a great<br />

investment. Eighty-five percent of teachers stated that teaching lessons outdoors led to a positive behavioural impact,<br />

while 92% of pupils also said they preferred lessons that were held outdoors.<br />

About healthy eating<br />

According to studies, if a child embarks on the ‘grow your own veg’ journey, they are more likely to eat<br />

fresh fruit and veg later in life. This means that getting kids outside can improve their diet. A selection of<br />

simple fruit and veg you can grow include strawberries, cabbage, potatoes and radishes. Select a<br />

size of patch you can use and ask the children to keep an eye on what is growing.<br />

Jobs for little helpers<br />

Children love to be in charge, don’t they? Give them some responsibility and set them<br />

tasks to carry out each day. Doing this should see them become excited to spend time<br />

in the garden.<br />

An easy task could be to get them to grow a sunflower. They would have to check daily<br />

how it’s progressing, and it can also help their maths skills as they can measure the<br />

growth. Often, a sunflower will grow to be taller than the child, so this will also keep them<br />

entertained.<br />

12 Parenta.com Source: here | Credit: Jamie Roberts - copywriter at Mediaworks<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 13

Focus on... the recruitment team<br />

What our customers say<br />


Here at Parenta, we work in<br />

partnership with thousands of<br />

settings, supporting them with<br />

upskilling their staff and recruiting<br />

new apprentices. We also train<br />

nearly 3,000 nursery staff every<br />

year, helping them successfully<br />

complete their childcare<br />

apprenticeship training.<br />

This month, we talk to Julie Allen,<br />

Parenta’s Recruitment Manager<br />

and discover how she and her<br />

team manage these successful relationships with both recruiters and learners and get great results!<br />


- JANUARY <strong>2019</strong><br />

I’m not sure who to contact directly<br />

about this matter but I would just like<br />

to feedback my positive experience with<br />

one of your assessors, Clare Long. I had 3<br />

assessors throughout my time completing my<br />

EYE course with your company, and Clare was<br />

by far the best and most supportive. Clare was<br />

so easy to communicate with and made my<br />

time completing my course as stress-free<br />

as possible, and I feel she is a real<br />

asset to your team.<br />

Isobel Westwood<br />

TRAINING - JANUARY <strong>2019</strong><br />

I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to<br />

Jeanette for all of her hard work and patience<br />

with me. I have been very lucky to have her<br />

as my tutor she has been amazing and I don’t<br />

think I would have completed without all of her<br />

support. Thank you.<br />

Betsy Wagland<br />


- JANUARY <strong>2019</strong><br />

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

The role of a Parenta recruiter is truly unique!<br />

From liaising with students still in education,<br />

right the way up to directors responsible<br />

for a large chain of nurseries, no day is the<br />

same … which is why the team have their<br />

finger firmly on the pulse, and are always on<br />

their toes!<br />

How do you know what settings want?<br />

We send each setting that comes to us for<br />

assistance, a survey to complete. This allows<br />

us to be able to advertise their vacancies<br />

to meet their individual requirements.<br />

No setting is the same and our bespoke<br />

recruitment service is free of charge. We<br />

will then screen the applications we receive,<br />

and only submit candidates that meet the<br />

setting’s requirements - this saves them<br />

precious time. We also proactively search<br />

for candidates that we know meet their<br />

requirements.<br />

How do you get in touch with potential<br />

candidates?<br />

The team engage with candidates via email,<br />

telephone, SMS, and social media. We<br />

also meet candidates within their current<br />

education environment during careers talks<br />

and events.<br />

Do you help candidates before they go<br />

for an interview?<br />

Our recruiters conduct a mock interview over<br />

the telephone with the candidates giving<br />

them the very best chance of success at their<br />

face-to-face interview.<br />

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

a recruiter?<br />

Without a doubt, the most rewarding part<br />

of being a recruiter within this industry<br />

is changing people’s lives using our<br />

exceptional AIG (advice, information and<br />

guidance). From the moment they choose a<br />

career in childcare, we fill candidates with<br />

the passion we have for the sector, setting<br />

them up for an outstanding and rewarding<br />

career. There is nothing like giving a person<br />

the lovely news that they have secured<br />

themselves a job!<br />

What is the most challenging part of a<br />

recruiter’s role?<br />

At times, being able to motivate the<br />

candidates over the telephone. Every person<br />

is different and some people are naturally<br />

self-motivated, some verbally, and some<br />

need to be motivated in person.<br />

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

seen over the past few years?<br />

Within the industry, we have seen huge<br />

changes - mainly implemented by the<br />

government - so we as a provider have little<br />

say in things like levy and contributions. Each<br />

change always sets out a new challenge for<br />

any provider, but we as a team are super<br />

resilient and embrace them.<br />

Talk to us!<br />

Here’s some of the amazing feedback<br />

our recruitment team have received:<br />

“Parenta have been a wonderful help in our<br />

search for nursery apprentices. Courtney<br />

has always been extremely professional<br />

and responsive and is a pleasure to deal<br />

with. She has always maintained a good<br />

level of contact with us and seems to have<br />

a really good understanding of our specific<br />

requirements as a nursery. Apprentices<br />

play and important role within our setting<br />

and it is so nice to finally find a company<br />

that understands our needs and gives<br />

exceptional customer service. Thank you<br />

Parenta.”<br />

“Could not recommend Caroline enough!<br />

An extremely approachable and helpful<br />

member of the Parenta staff. It is a<br />

pleasure to deal with her on a regular<br />

basis!”<br />

“Rebecca was amazing at helping me to<br />

find an apprenticeship and was so nice<br />

and helpful and I am truly grateful for the<br />

service.”<br />

Ask Parenta’s recruitment team for information on anything to do with<br />

apprenticeships if there’s something you’re unsure about. They are up-to-speed on<br />

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

off-the-job training etc.<br />

Get in touch to find out more about how we work together with settings and help<br />

them with their apprenticeship solutions.<br />

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

TRAINING - JANUARY <strong>2019</strong><br />

I think the course was really well<br />

laid out, particularly how it was a<br />

mixture of practical observations,<br />

written-word documents and<br />

PowerPoint presentations. My<br />

assessor, Angela, was also the<br />

best assessor I could’ve asked for.<br />

Shakira Newton - Noah’s Ark<br />

Nursery<br />


SUPPORT -<br />

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

Every time I have a question or<br />

a technical problem the team are<br />

there for advise and support.<br />

They always know the solution!<br />

Very easy, simple and<br />

handy. Thank you Emma.<br />

Carly - Seahorse<br />

Nurseries, Wimbledon<br />

Park<br />

Georgie - Curious<br />

14 Parenta.com<br />

Caterpillars<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 15

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day<br />

Sunday 17th <strong>March</strong> is St Patrick’s Day – the patron saint of Ireland, but it is not only<br />

in the ‘emerald isle’ that this day is cherished and celebrated as it’s reported that St<br />

Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.<br />



Use the shamrock to learn to count in 3s<br />

Since we are focusing on the number 3 in the shamrock, why not cut out and colour in some shamrocks, numbering the leaves?<br />

If you have older groups you could count up in sets of 3 – for example, 1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6; 7, 8, 9 and so on.<br />

Gold coin hide and seek<br />

Create a ‘treasure hunt’ around your setting with clues to follow to lead your children to the pot of gold….eventually. You can<br />

use gold chocolate coins for a reward if they solve the clues correctly.<br />

St Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day<br />

in the early 1600s and is observed by the Anglican and<br />

Catholic Church alike. The Church lifted Lenten restrictions<br />

and it became a traditional day of feasting and drinking<br />

which has continued into the present!<br />

Who was St Patrick?<br />

St Patrick lived in the 5th century A.D. and was a British<br />

Christian missionary who introduced Christianity to Ireland,<br />

which at that time, followed mainly the Celtic pagan<br />

religions. He was believed to have been kidnapped at the<br />

age of sixteen, taken by Irish raiders and made to work as<br />

a shepherd, during which time, he reportedly ‘found God’.<br />

After 6 years, he escaped, returned home and became a<br />

priest, vowing to return and bring Christianity to the county<br />

that had enslaved him.<br />

After returning to Northern Ireland, he converted many to<br />

his own religion, and was eventually made a bishop. One<br />

interesting myth says that St Patrick was able to drive the<br />

‘snakes’ out of Ireland, but since Ireland has never had<br />

any snakes, this is most certainly an allegory referring to St<br />

Patrick driving the druids into the south of the country.<br />

The significance of the three-leaf shamrock<br />

The shamrock is a sprig of white clover that grows in the winter<br />

and was used by St Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity because it<br />

had three leaves, representing the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.<br />

It was also said to represent faith, hope and love too.<br />

The shamrock has been used as the emblem of Ireland for<br />

centuries but many people today, confuse it with a lucky<br />

four-leaf clover, and you will upset many an Irish patriot if<br />

you confuse the two on St Patricks’ Day.<br />

How can you celebrate St Patrick’s Day in your<br />

setting?<br />

To help you celebrate St Patrick’s Day in your setting, we<br />

have come up with 3 areas of the EYFS and suggested 3<br />

activities in each. We hope they will help you celebrate the<br />

day in true Irish style.<br />


Hold a ceilidh or try some traditional Irish step<br />

dancing<br />

A ceilidh is a traditional Irish celebration involving dancing<br />

with partners to traditional music. You can use skipping,<br />

gallops and hops to move around the room in an anticlockwise<br />

direction, and you can make up some simple<br />

routines yourself or visit www.setdancing.com.au/freeresources/<br />

for some more ideas and free resources.<br />

If you want to try out some traditional Irish step dancing,<br />

‘Riverdance’-style, have a look at this YouTube video for<br />

some basic steps that all can enjoy.<br />

Organise a St Patrick’s Day parade (inside or<br />

outside)<br />

Traditional St Patrick’s Day parades are held all over the<br />

world so why not organise one for your setting? You could<br />

make some green, white and orange flags and some<br />

carnival-style floats using painted cardboard boxes with<br />

different Irish symbols or images.<br />

Irish-themed cooking<br />

There are a whole host of ideas for St Patrick’s Day recipes<br />

from green cupcakes to shamrock-shaped biscuits. A few<br />

minutes spent searching the internet will reveal lots of<br />

simple recipes for pre-schoolers but we like the ones here<br />

which include lucky green pancakes and a green, white and<br />

orange popcorn and pretzel party mix.<br />

Use the idea of 3s to create a display<br />

St Patrick used the number 3 to explain the Holy Trinity but you could create a display related<br />

to the importance of the number 3 in everyday life: for example, different types of<br />

triangles, <strong>March</strong> being the 3rd month; past, present and future; 3 primary colours of<br />

red, yellow and blue – the list is almost endless.<br />


Decorate your setting in green using shamrocks, leprechauns<br />

and rainbows<br />

The mischievous little leprechaun, sitting with a pot of gold at the end<br />

of a rainbow, is a traditional Irish image. Why not paint a large mural to<br />

show the colours of the rainbow and make a ‘pot of gold’ for the end of<br />

it, guarded by a leprechaun? But be warned, if you introduce a naughty<br />

leprechaun into your setting, who knows what havoc he will wreak during<br />

the week – so plenty of opportunity to have some mischievous fun with your<br />

children here!<br />

Make an Irish harp<br />

A harp is a traditional Irish instrument and you can easily make some using<br />

an old shoe box and some large elastic bands. Stretch the bands around<br />

the box to create the strings. Investigate the difference in sound if you use<br />

different sized boxes.<br />

Sing some themed nursery rhymes<br />

There are some wonderful nursery rhymes and songs on the theme of St<br />

Patrick’s Day. One of our favourites is “I’m a little leprechaun”, sung to the<br />

tune of “I’m a little teapot” which you can find here – guaranteed to have<br />

you singing in the staff room! Find other song ideas here.<br />

However you<br />

celebrate, have<br />

fun, and watch out<br />

for those naughty<br />

leprechauns!<br />

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

“The Giants”: part 2<br />

In my previous article, I wrote about a number of giant figures whose ideas<br />

in many ways, formed the foundations for much of what we see today as<br />

best practice in the early years. In this article, I wish to look at the ideas of<br />

four more giant figures who challenged the thinking of their time and came<br />

to influence how we now think about children’s learning and development:<br />

Rudolf Steiner, John Dewey, Maria Montessori and Susan Isaacs. Though<br />

different, their ideas have, nevertheless, provided us with wonderful<br />

insights into the minds of young children that continue to fascinate.<br />

Prof Sean MacBlain<br />

RUDOLF STEINER (1861 to 1925)<br />

Rudolf founded his first school in<br />

the city of Stuttgart after being<br />

invited to do so by a wealthy<br />

industrialist named Waldorf<br />

Astoria, who at the time, owned<br />

a large cigarette factory and<br />

wanted a school where the<br />

children of his workers could be<br />

educated - hence the legacy by<br />

which Steiner schools are also<br />

sometimes known as Steiner-<br />

Waldorf schools. Currently,<br />

there are many Steiner schools<br />

throughout the world and<br />

despite the original philosophy<br />

remaining constant, many of<br />

these schools and settings have<br />

developed in different ways. I<br />

was fortunate enough to visit a<br />

wonderful Steiner setting some<br />

years ago and I was very taken<br />

by the sense of calm and the<br />

relaxed atmosphere in which<br />

children and adults worked<br />

closely alongside each other.<br />

Rudolf viewed the purpose of<br />

education as that of responding<br />

to the evolving intellectual and<br />

emotional needs of children<br />

and learning as a continuous<br />

process, with practitioners<br />

applying patience as the<br />

process of learning in each<br />

child unfolds. Central to the<br />

Steiner-Waldorf tradition is the<br />

idea that young children learn<br />

through imitation; adults model<br />

behaviours that are beneficial to<br />

children’s learning, and imitation<br />

is seen as a natural process<br />

in children’s development.<br />

The tradition also embraces<br />

the notion of establishing and<br />

maintaining relationships<br />

between practitioners and<br />

children. It is possible to<br />

observe many elements of<br />

Steiner’s original thinking being<br />

applied by practitioners in early<br />

years settings today. We see<br />

imitation in children’s learning<br />

experiences, where adults<br />

take care to actively observe<br />

children and hold back from<br />

hurrying them in their natural<br />

development. Practitioners are<br />

sensitive to how children learn,<br />

the rate at which they learn<br />

and the types of activities and<br />

environments that facilitate<br />

natural learning, and they<br />

model behaviours that children<br />

imitate and learn from, giving<br />

them opportunities to develop<br />

relationships that encourage<br />

strong emotional growth;<br />

creativity is encouraged together<br />

with an appreciation of the<br />

natural world.<br />

JOHN DEWEY (1859 to 1952)<br />

John was born in the USA in<br />

the same year as the infamous<br />

western outlaw ‘Billy the Kid’<br />

and when Queen Victoria was<br />

still monarch. John was a<br />

controversial figure and whilst<br />

his legacy has been embraced<br />

by many, it has also been<br />

rejected by others. It must be<br />

remembered that children’s<br />

learning at the time was defined<br />

by strict codes of behaviour, with<br />

lessons taking place in silence<br />

and children’s learning being<br />

mostly confined to memorising<br />

facts; early years education was<br />

poorly understood and even<br />

more poorly resourced. Many of<br />

John’s ideas were drawn from<br />

his ‘Laboratory Schools’, which<br />

he established in Chicago in 1896<br />

for children from nursery age<br />

through to 12th grade, and he<br />

saw the school as an extension<br />

of the home. John believed that<br />

children require support with<br />

structuring their learning and he<br />

saw the role of teachers as that<br />

of being a guide and facilitator<br />

of new experiences. He believed<br />

that we should understand how<br />

children’s experiences impact<br />

on their learning as no two<br />

children learn from experiences<br />

in the same way. We can see<br />

examples of John’s ideas in<br />

many early years settings where<br />

practitioners work closely with<br />

parents and structure children’s<br />

learning in a way that the<br />

children gain new learning<br />

experiences, and where children<br />

are encouraged to take the lead<br />

in working on their own projects.<br />

MARIA MONTESSORI (1870 to<br />

1952)<br />

Maria was born in Italy and<br />

was the first woman in that<br />

country to become a doctor. At<br />

13 years of age, Maria chose to<br />

attend a single-sex school for<br />

boys as a means of educating<br />

herself to take up a career as an<br />

engineer. Maria took a special<br />

interest in working with children<br />

with learning difficulties who,<br />

at the time, were often thought<br />

to be uneducable; because of<br />

her success with these children,<br />

she was appointed Director of<br />

the Scuola Ortofrenica, one of a<br />

number of institutions that looked<br />

after children with mental health<br />

problems. Maria promoted the<br />

idea of children learning to look<br />

after themselves, as well as their<br />

environments, and the need for<br />

children to develop at their own<br />

pace and be encouraged to see<br />

learning as enjoyable. We can<br />

see examples of these ideas in<br />

all early years settings today.<br />

Maria saw repetition as<br />

important in laying foundations<br />

for future learning, though she<br />

believed that repetition should<br />

promote creative thinking and<br />

stimulate overlearning, resulting<br />

in new understanding. She<br />

placed emphasis on developing<br />

children’s skills of observation<br />

through all of their five senses<br />

and introduced us to the notion<br />

of the ‘Casa dei Bambini’,<br />

or ‘Children’s House’ where<br />

adults create environments that<br />

stimulate children and where<br />

the children are unrestricted<br />

in their learning. She even<br />

designed special furniture for the<br />

Children’s Houses, examples of<br />

which can be seen today in early<br />

years settings. Maria’s influence<br />

can be found almost everywhere<br />

in early years practice where<br />

environments are designed<br />

specifically for children and<br />

where substantial emphasis is<br />

given to promoting creativity and<br />

developing the senses.<br />

SUSAN ISAACS (1885 to 1948)<br />

Susan was born in Lancashire<br />

and after working as an<br />

educationalist, entered the<br />

field of psychoanalysis. In<br />

1924, Isaacs responded to an<br />

advertisement from Geoffrey<br />

and Margaret Pyke who wanted<br />

to set up a nursery school for<br />

children between the ages of<br />

two and seven years, based on<br />

new principles of learning and<br />

development. Susan rose to<br />

the challenge and created the<br />

Malting House School, which she<br />

designed in a way that would<br />

support children’s physical and<br />

social development. Space was<br />

used to stimulate children’s<br />

thinking and learning through<br />

play, and like Maria Montessori’s<br />

furniture, it was adapted for<br />

young children. Places were<br />

given over to quiet play and<br />

rest, and materials were<br />

readily available to stimulate<br />

the children’s imagination<br />

such as beads and blocks and<br />

soft materials. The main room<br />

opened to an outside area<br />

with a playhouse, an area for<br />

gardening, a tool shed and<br />

sandpit. Susan believed strongly<br />

in taking children outdoors to<br />

experience other environments<br />

and engage in different types of<br />

activities. One only has to think<br />

of the recent development of<br />

Forest Schools.<br />

Susan believed that at the heart<br />

of early learning was the need<br />

for children to develop their<br />

emotions and that learning<br />

environments were a necessary<br />

resource in helping them<br />

with this. Children were set<br />

boundaries, and these were<br />

demonstrated rather than<br />

enforced with an emphasis on<br />

consistency, which would build<br />

the children’s sense of security.<br />

She saw the importance of<br />

careful observation of children<br />

in different situations, which<br />

is of course a key element of<br />

practice in early years settings<br />

today. Susan also believed<br />

passionately that early education<br />

should reflect the warmth and<br />

love that children should ideally<br />

receive in their homes, and offer<br />

experiences that children might<br />

not have in their homes; again,<br />

we see examples of this today in<br />

all settings.<br />

Susan saw play as a means<br />

of self-expression, which<br />

enabled children to express<br />

their true feelings and in ways<br />

that allowed them to engage<br />

in rehearsals for dealing with<br />

difficult emotions that they did<br />

not really understand; through<br />

play children could find ‘mental<br />

ease’ and work upon their<br />

‘wishes, fears and fantasies’.<br />


It is always useful to pause and<br />

reflect on how the practice we<br />

see every day in early years<br />

settings evolved and how key<br />

figures who often devoted their<br />

lives to challenging the thinking<br />

of their time, ensured that young<br />

children could have opportunities<br />

to learn and develop in settings<br />

that valued them as unique<br />

individuals. We owe so much<br />

to these ‘giants’, on whose<br />

shoulders, countless others have<br />

stood over generations.<br />

For further information on the<br />

‘giants’ mentioned in this article,<br />

see the following link to Sean’s<br />

most recent book: MacBlain, S.F.<br />

(2018) Learning Theories for Early<br />

Years Practice. London: Sage.<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 />

Readers can also find some of Sean’s other publications here.<br />

18 Parenta.com <strong>March</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 19

National<br />

Apprenticeship Week<br />

The 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW<strong>2019</strong>)<br />

– which runs from 4th to 8th <strong>March</strong> <strong>2019</strong> - is a wonderful<br />

opportunity to celebrate ‘all things apprenticeships’ and<br />

how they benefit not only individuals and employers, but<br />

communities and our economy as a whole.<br />

It’s a chance to shout about all that is great<br />

regarding apprentices and their training providers!<br />

The week brings together<br />

everyone who is passionate about<br />

apprenticeships to encourage more<br />

young people to choose this path<br />

as a first step (and often fasttrack)<br />

to a great career, and for<br />

companies to promote growth and<br />

personal development.<br />

In a bid to challenge outdated<br />

attitudes towards apprenticeships,<br />

this year’s theme of ‘blazing a<br />

trail’ and ‘fire it up’ recognises<br />

and embraces the new changes<br />

that apprenticeships can bring: for<br />

employers “blazing a trail” to new<br />

markets; apprentices to new career<br />

opportunities; and for colleges<br />

and training providers raising the<br />

skills levels for everyone. It aims<br />

to raise awareness of the benefits<br />

and huge variety of apprenticeship<br />

options available for people of<br />

all ages, cultures, abilities and<br />

backgrounds.<br />

There are so many advantages of<br />

hiring apprentices in your childcare<br />

setting. You can watch them grow<br />

and progress as you mould them<br />

into your own style of practitioners,<br />

helping you meet and secure your<br />

future employment needs.<br />



• The NAW<strong>2019</strong> events map<br />

allows you to search for events<br />

happening near you during<br />

the most exciting week in the<br />

apprenticeships’ calendar. You<br />

can also submit your event to be<br />

featured too! nawevents.co.uk<br />

• Keep staff in your setting<br />

motivated to continue their learning – talk to them about the benefits<br />

that further training can offer them. Parenta offers Level 2 Team<br />

Leading, Level 3 and 4 Management and Level 5 Childcare Leadership<br />

as work-based apprenticeships, in addition to the Level 2 and Level 3<br />

Childcare. Help your staff and learners know their options and realise<br />

their earning power!<br />

• Encourage your apprentices to get involved with the Young<br />

Apprentice Ambassador Network (YAAN) to talk about the benefits of<br />

apprenticeships in their local area and give them invaluable skills for<br />

the workplace. amazingapprenticeships.com/yaan<br />

• Encourage your apprentices to sign up for a NUS Apprentice<br />

Extra discount card. Not only will they receive loads of discounts<br />

at hundreds of shops, they will also receive emails on how they<br />

can give feedback and help shape the future of apprenticeships.<br />

apprenticeextra.co.uk<br />

• Ask your Parenta assessor how you can best support your learners in<br />

their early career journey.<br />

Useful handles and hashtags for<br />

NAW<strong>2019</strong>:<br />

• #fireitup<br />

• #blazeatrail<br />

• @fireitup_apps<br />

• @apprenticeships<br />

Useful resources:<br />

• www.parenta.com/<br />

parentablog/staffing-andrecruitment/<br />

Parenta is the UK’s largest vocational training provider<br />

within the early years sector, offering apprenticeships at all<br />

levels. With 20 years’ experience in the industry, we work<br />

in partnership with thousands of settings, supporting them<br />

with upskilling their existing staff, as well as recruiting new<br />

apprentices to start their career in childcare.<br />

Ask us about our free recruitment service and for advice to<br />

help you invest in tomorrow’s generation of childcarers. Our<br />

experienced team will be able to advise you on ‘all things<br />

apprenticeships’ - from legislation changes to funding,<br />

contribution, minimum wage and off-the-job training. To find<br />

out more about how we work together with settings and help<br />

them with their apprenticeship solutions, contact our team on:<br />

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

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

Ways to support children on the<br />

autism spectrum in your setting<br />

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how<br />

people communicate and how they experience<br />

the world. When working in early years, you<br />

are likely to come across children that are on<br />

the autism spectrum. Diagnosis is often made<br />

at a very young age, therefore, as an early<br />

years practitioner, you may find yourself in<br />

the important role of supporting families that<br />

have only recently discovered that their child<br />

has autism. You may also find that there is a<br />

child in the setting whom you suspect is on<br />

the spectrum, however a diagnosis has not<br />

yet been made. Either way, many of the steps<br />

that you can put in place to support a child<br />

with autism, are beneficial for all children, so<br />

by making your setting as autism-friendly as<br />

possible, you will be ready to meet the needs of<br />

lots of different children.<br />

It is important to understand that there is no one<br />

typical child with autism. Individuals can display<br />

different features of autism to different extents.<br />

The following points, therefore, may be relevant to<br />

one child but not to another. Here are some ways<br />

that you can support a child that is on the autism<br />

spectrum in your setting.<br />

• Be aware of your language and speak very clearly,<br />

keeping words to a minimum. Individuals with autism<br />

often take things literally so expressions such as ‘hop in<br />

the car’ or ‘break a leg’ can be confusing.<br />

• Don’t expect this child to understand your body language.<br />

Elements of social communication such as these don’t<br />

come naturally to people on the autism spectrum.<br />

• Allow processing time. Say something, then wait. The<br />

child needs time to process what you have said, and<br />

prepare their response. If you give an instruction in one<br />

tone of voice, then give it in a different tone of voice a<br />

few moments later, the child may have to go back to the<br />

beginning of their processing, hence delaying a response.<br />

• Use visual aids and any other non-verbal communication.<br />

Children with autism find it hard to understand spoken<br />

language and are often visual learners. Using clear,<br />

simple signs such as Makaton or Signalong, can be really<br />

effective and there are short courses you can do to learn<br />

these.<br />

• Display your routine and where possible, stick to it.<br />

People with autism love routines. A child can find it really<br />

distressing to not know what is happening in their day.<br />

Use something such as a visual timetable to show children<br />

what is going to happen in the day in order to ease their<br />

anxiety.<br />

• Following on from the above, deal with change sensitively.<br />

Again, this is where your visual timetable comes in handy.<br />

Whilst changes are sometimes unavoidable, you can help<br />

the child cope with this change by showing them visually<br />

what is going to happen.<br />

• Recognise behaviour triggers (such as change). If<br />

someone is struggling with communication, they are likely<br />

to feel very scared, frustrated or angry at times. Try to<br />

recognise the causes so that you may be able to relieve or<br />

prepare the child for the upcoming trigger.<br />

• Have a safe/calm place for your child to go if life gets too much. Recognise that it<br />

is not wrong to be angry, but that our job is to teach the child the most appropriate<br />

way to express that anger.<br />

• Get to know any special interests that the child has. I’m sure they will make you<br />

aware of them! Using these special interests is a great way to get them to learn<br />

or to join in with something that they might otherwise not want to. For example, if<br />

a child is really into trains, then put numbers on the trains to support recognising<br />

numerals. Pretend to be a train when lining up with other children. Serve meals on<br />

a train place mat if that means that the child will feel more comfortable joining in<br />

with meal times.<br />

• Be aware of any sensory needs that this child may have. People with autism<br />

experience things differently to others. It could be that they really can’t stand<br />

the feel of a certain material on their skin; they may not feel pain as easily as<br />

someone else would; they may not be able to cope with a particular noise that<br />

was otherwise unnoticeable to you, such as the hum of a light or the whine of a<br />

radiator. If you can recognise these needs, then you can help eliminate distress.<br />

• Use social stories – this is a short story that teaches a child how to deal with a<br />

certain social situation. You can find out more about these here.<br />

• Teach awareness and acceptance to others – use your circle times<br />

to talk about the fact that everyone is different, that we all need help<br />

with different things, and that this is OK.<br />

• Build good communication with the child’s parents or<br />

caregivers – perhaps a home/school diary so that you can<br />

be aware of anything that may have bothered the child<br />

at home, and so that you can share the child’s ups and<br />

downs whilst in childcare. Be aware that the parents<br />

may be on the autism spectrum themselves.<br />

• Try to provide a calm environment.<br />

Besides following the steps above, the most helpful thing<br />

that you can do to support someone on the autism spectrum<br />

is to demonstrate empathy – try to understand the world<br />

from the perspective of that child. That way you will find<br />

yourself in the best possible position to support them.<br />

To find out more about autism and related conditions, I<br />

recommend you visit the National Autistic Society’s ‘About<br />

Autism’ page.<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@createvisualsaids.com<br />

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

How to promote British values<br />

at your setting<br />

“British values” - democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for (and tolerance<br />

of) those with different faiths and beliefs - have been embedded in EYFS since its inception over<br />

10 years’ ago. However, since November 2014, childcare providers have to, by law, demonstrate<br />

how they ‘actively promote’ these essential standards during their Ofsted inspections. This<br />

obligation goes hand-in-hand with the legislation introduced in July 2015, which places<br />

additional responsibility on early years providers to prevent children from becoming radicalised<br />

(the Prevent duty).<br />

We take a look at each of the British values, one by one, and give our top tips as to how you can promote them<br />

within your setting, what’s involved and how you can make sure you’re meeting the legislation.<br />

Democracy<br />

• Ensure the children know that their views really<br />

count by encouraging them to respect each<br />

other’s opinions and thoughts. You can help<br />

demonstrate democracy in action, for example, by<br />

letting children discuss what activity should come<br />

next with a show of hands.<br />

• Provide activities that involve turn-taking, sharing<br />

and collaboration.<br />

• Give children plenty of opportunities to develop<br />

their enquiring minds by creating an atmosphere<br />

at your setting where questions are encouraged<br />

and listened to.<br />

Rule of law<br />

• Ensure that children understand not just their<br />

own but other’s behaviour and its consequences,<br />

helping them to distinguish right from wrong –<br />

you can play games with them to support this.<br />

• Work with the children to create the rules and<br />

codes of behaviour – such as agreeing a tidying<br />

up rota – this way they will understand that rules<br />

apply to everyone.<br />

Individual liberty<br />

• Provide opportunities for the children in your<br />

setting to develop their self-knowledge, selfesteem<br />

and increase their confidence in their own<br />

abilities. For example, you could allow them to<br />

take risks (within reason!) on an obstacle course,<br />

talking about their experiences and what they<br />

have learned from them.<br />

• Encourage a range of experiences that allow<br />

children to explore the language of feelings and<br />

responsibility. Reflect on their differences, discuss<br />

them in a group and allow them to understand<br />

that everyone is free to have different ideas.<br />

Mutual respect and tolerance<br />

• Encourage and explain to the children about<br />

the importance of tolerant behaviours, such as<br />

sharing and respecting each other.<br />

• Promote diverse attitudes and challenge<br />

stereotypes, for example, by sharing stories<br />

that reflect and value the diversity of children’s<br />

experiences.<br />

• Provide resources and activities that challenge<br />

gender, cultural and racial stereotyping.<br />

• Create an ethos of inclusivity at your setting<br />

where beliefs, faiths, cultures and races are<br />

valued.<br />

• Arrange visits whereby the children can engage<br />

with the wider community, for example, to a<br />

nursing home, or different places of worship, if<br />

appropriate.<br />

• Encourage the children to acquire appreciation<br />

and respect for their own and other cultures<br />

by discussing with them the similarities and<br />

differences between themselves and others; and<br />

among families, faiths, communities, cultures and<br />

traditions.<br />

• Share and discuss practices, celebrations and<br />

experiences.<br />

This list is not exhaustive! However, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you take the ‘minimal’ approach, for example<br />

only having notices on the walls or multi-faith books on the shelves, you will fall short of “actively promoting”<br />

these values at your setting and you could get penalised during your Ofsted inspection.<br />

Before your next inspection, an easy way of showing Ofsted how you’re meeting these requirements is to create<br />

a page on your childcare website which addresses each of the British values. By the time you receive the call<br />

that you will be having an inspection, Ofsted will have most certainly already looked at your website. With little<br />

notice of an impending visit, keeping your site up-to-date and including information on how you implement British<br />

values could save valuable time and hassle during that all-important visit countdown.<br />

The team at Parenta has years of experience in designing childcare websites and working in<br />

partnership with settings, helping them to become Ofsted-ready with their websites. They are on hand<br />

to guide you if you are uncertain how you can achieve this essential Ofsted criteria.<br />

Call them on 0800 002 9242 or email them at websites@parenta.com.<br />

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

“I’m killing the baddies!” Using<br />

I’m killing the baddies!<br />

‘superhero<br />

Using ‘superhero<br />

play’<br />

play’ to<br />

to<br />

deal<br />

deal<br />

with notions<br />

with notions<br />

of killing and and death death within early within childhood early<br />

childhood<br />

There is something rather shocking about hearing a three- or<br />

four-year-old shouting, “Die, die!” or “I’m gonna kill you!” Yet,<br />

these cries are regularly heard within our early childhood<br />

settings. When we are faced with notions of killing and death,<br />

how should we respond?<br />

Death is difficult for children to<br />

understand. It is an abstract idea and one<br />

which is hard for many adults to grasp.<br />

Theorists 1 consider the concept of death<br />

to be made up of five main components:<br />

• Inevitability - we will all die one<br />

day<br />

• Universality - death applies to all<br />

living things<br />

• Irreversibility - it is permanent<br />

• Cessation - when we die, our<br />

normal physical functions will cease<br />

• Causality - it is a product of cause<br />

and effect<br />

Pre-school-aged children are unable<br />

to understand the ‘dead-ness of dead’<br />

and children generally understand<br />

more about this concept as they grow<br />

older. For example, five-year-olds can<br />

understand that death is inevitable<br />

and irreversible, six- to seven-yearolds<br />

can understand about universality<br />

and cessation but children might not<br />

understand the causality component<br />

until they are nearly 10 years old 1 . This<br />

fits with the idea that children learn in<br />

different ways and at different rates,<br />

making it difficult to generalise about<br />

their levels of understanding. It is<br />

generally accepted that the older the<br />

child, the better their understanding<br />

of death. In the light of this, we cannot<br />

assume that young children fully grasp<br />

what words like ‘kill’, ‘dead’ and ‘die’<br />

mean, and therefore we must not be<br />

concerned if children are using them in<br />

their play.<br />

Some educators may feel that talking<br />

about death is one thing, but killing<br />

is a whole different matter because<br />

killing is about deliberately ending a<br />

life. However killing and death cannot<br />

be separated from each other and the<br />

narrative of killing is commonly observed<br />

within our children’s play. As educators,<br />

we can use their play as an opportunity<br />

to explore these difficult concepts.<br />

When children engage in superhero<br />

play, they are playing with the concepts<br />

of killing and death, winning and losing,<br />

goodies and baddies, good versus evil<br />

and so on. With a few exceptions, most<br />

superheroes fight evil and serve the<br />

purpose of good, however, since some<br />

children are experts on the backstories<br />

of superheroes, be wary of generalising<br />

that ‘all superheroes don’t kill people’<br />

because this is not technically true and<br />

you may stand to be corrected!<br />

Some ideas of how to appropriately support<br />

children in thinking about death include:<br />

• Have an ethos of permission within the setting so that words like ‘kill’, ‘dead’ and ‘die’<br />

are not banned from your vocabulary, but instead, prompt discussion<br />

• Engage in socio-dramatic play in which children role-play events from their lives<br />

• Read stories and books which include death or deal with bereavement and grief<br />

• Provide opportunities for children to make up their own stories (e.g. helicopter stories)<br />

• Use puppets and role-play to prompt discussion<br />

• Introduce children to the idea of life-cycles, for example, butterflies<br />

• Raise some chicks from eggs, butterflies from caterpillars, or look after a class/setting<br />

pet<br />

• Think about changes over time in the natural world e.g. growth and decay<br />

• Share some memories about a special person that you know who has died, and<br />

reminisce about the good times you shared together<br />

• Answer any questions about death as honestly as possible remembering that it’s OK to<br />

say, “I don’t know!”<br />

• Use correct language: dead, death, dying, died, buried etc<br />

Death is somewhat of a taboo subject with<br />

young children, however we need to talk to<br />

them in developmentally-appropriate ways<br />

to help them to gain an understanding of this<br />

difficult concept: the context of superheroes<br />

can provide a useful introduction to this<br />

subject. We have a responsibility to support<br />

children to recognise death as the final part<br />

of the life-cycle in order for them to grow into<br />

well-adjusted adults, who understand that<br />

death is a part of life.<br />

Remember that playing at killing the<br />

baddies, is indeed play and is not fully<br />

understood in terms of the dead-ness<br />

of dead. So we can use this play as an<br />

opportunity to support children to develop<br />

their understanding of death.<br />

Reference<br />

1 - Panagiotaki, G., Hopkins, M., Nobes, G.,<br />

Ward, E., & Griffiths, D. (2018). Children’s and<br />

adults’ understanding of death: Cognitive,<br />

parental, and experiential influences. Journal<br />

of Experimental Child Psychology, 166, 96.<br />

Further reading<br />

• Kübler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and<br />

dying. New York: Macmillan Publishing<br />

Company<br />

• Slaughter, V. (2005). Young children’s<br />

understanding of death. Australian<br />

Psychologist, 40(3), 179–186<br />

• Stickney, D. (1982). Waterbugs and<br />

dragonflies - explaining death to<br />

children. USA: The Pilgrim Press<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 />

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 />

26 Parenta.com <strong>March</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 27

Mother’s Day sensory<br />

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

bottle craft<br />

You will need:<br />

> > A clear plastic bottle with lid<br />

> > Fresh or artificial flowers<br />

> > Coloured insulating tape (yellow, green, blue)<br />

> > Clear sticky tape<br />

> > Extra bits to add inside the bottle (we have used: glitter, pompoms, gems)<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 about,<br />

why not send an article to us and be in with a<br />

chance of winning? Each month, we’ll be giving<br />

away £50 to our “Guest Author of the Month”.<br />

Here are the details:<br />

••<br />

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

childcare<br />

••<br />

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

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 having<br />

the highest number of views for their article<br />

during that month<br />

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

authors, for any articles submitted to feature in<br />

our Parenta magazine for <strong>2019</strong>. The lucky winner<br />

will be notified via email and we’ll also include an<br />

announcement in the following month’s edition of<br />

the magazine.<br />

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

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


Joanna Grace<br />

Congratulations to our guest author competition<br />

winner! Joanna Grace’s article “Sniff your way<br />

to mental wellbeing” was very popular with our<br />

readers. Well done, Joanna!<br />

1. Remove the stems from the flowers and pop them in the bottle.<br />

2. Add all the extra bits you want to include, such as glitter and gems.<br />

3. Fill the bottle with water and secure the lid.<br />

4. Decorate the bottle with insulating tape. You can add grass on the<br />

bottom or the sky with clouds on top.<br />



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

Pancake Day –<br />

healthier options<br />

On Tuesday 5th <strong>March</strong>, the nation will be<br />

reaching for the frying pans to celebrate Shrove<br />

Tuesday by cooking and eating some pancakes!<br />

In Christian traditions, the 40 days immediately<br />

before Easter (known as Lent), are observed to<br />

remind Christians of the time Jesus was fasting<br />

in the desert before beginning his ministry. In<br />

earlier times, many Christians would forego<br />

certain foods during this period including meat,<br />

fish, eggs, fats and milk.<br />

Lent officially begins on Ash Wednesday, so on Shrove<br />

Tuesday (the day immediately before), people traditionally<br />

held festivities to use up their stocks of milk, butter and fats.<br />

Making pancakes was the perfect way to not only do this, but<br />

to have a feast in anticipation of the fasting days to come, and<br />

‘Pancake Day’ was born!<br />

But whilst we all love a simple treat, how can we make our<br />

Shrove Tuesday celebrations a little healthier this year? We’ve<br />

put together some of our favourite options to help you keep up<br />

the tradition but add a healthier twist to the day too.<br />

1. Start with a healthier pancake mix 2. Make the toppings delicious but healthy<br />

A simple and traditional pancake batter includes:<br />

• 300ml (or half a pint) of milk<br />

• 100g flour (plain or self-raising)<br />

• 2 eggs<br />

• A tablespoon of fat (e.g. vegetable oil or butter)<br />

• Pinch of salt<br />

The ingredients should be beaten together and then fried lightly<br />

in a frying pan to create the pancake. The great thing about<br />

pancakes though is that you can vary the amount of fat, eggs and<br />

milk you use, depending on the texture you are trying to achieve.<br />

Making a healthy pancake mix could include reducing the fat<br />

content, changing the milk to semi-skimmed or skimmed milk,<br />

and taking out any butter, but you can always experiment to see<br />

which combinations you prefer.<br />

Add some protein powder to the mix to increase the protein<br />

content, needed by the body to build cells and it can help stave<br />

off hunger-pangs too.<br />

A great and fun alternative that children love too, is to add some<br />

food colouring to the batter to create rainbow pancakes!<br />

‘Sugar and lemon juice’ is a traditional topping which can pile<br />

on the calories; especially if you are not watching how many<br />

‘spoonfuls of sugar’ are being used! Maple syrup, full-fat<br />

cream and ice-cream can have the same effect; but you could<br />

increase your fruit (and vegetable) intake by trying one of these<br />

alternatives:<br />

• Bananas, berries and honey<br />

• Greek or coconut yoghurt mixed with peaches and pears<br />

• Baked apples with a dash of cinnamon<br />

• Fresh strawberries with reduced-sugar jam or compote<br />

• Blueberries, raspberries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce<br />

Pancakes can be savoury as well as sweet, so why not try a<br />

couple of savoury toppings such as?<br />

• Ham, tomato and pineapple cubes<br />

• Goat’s cheese, spinach and bacon<br />

• Cucumbers, spring onions and carrots<br />

• Cream cheese and smoked salmon<br />

Remember that children love to make faces and pictures with<br />

their food, so encourage some creative cookery art during your<br />

sessions.<br />

3. Gluten-free options<br />

Many people nowadays have food<br />

intolerances if not a full-blown allergy,<br />

and simply feel better avoiding certain<br />

foods such as flour, dairy or eggs. Since<br />

flour is one of the 3 main ingredients, you<br />

might think it difficult to replace flour in<br />

a pancake recipe, but you can mash up<br />

two large bananas, a pinch of cinnamon<br />

and some baking powder together with<br />

a whisked egg to form a batter that is<br />

gluten-free.<br />

4. Allergy-aware<br />

Making your pancakes nutritious, whilst<br />

being aware of any allergies that children<br />

have within your setting does not have<br />

to be difficult. If you are inviting people<br />

in to your setting to create pancakes,<br />

remind them of any allergies that you or<br />

the children have and avoid those in your<br />

recipes.<br />

Eggs are one ingredient that can cause<br />

problems for some people, but you can<br />

easily get around this by using coconut oil<br />

or vegetable oil instead of eggs.<br />

However, be aware that this will<br />

increase your fat content.<br />

If people are allergic<br />

to milk, swap to Soya<br />

or Almond milk<br />

for a tasty<br />

alternative.<br />

5. Vegan and vegetarian<br />

options<br />

If you want to create a delicious vegan<br />

option, you can swap normal milk for soya<br />

milk; use self-raising flour instead of plain<br />

flour and 1 teaspoon of soya flour instead<br />

of eggs.<br />

6. And finally - increase<br />

your exercise by running a<br />

pancake race!<br />

Pancake Day is not just about eating –<br />

there’s always great fun to be had in a<br />

traditional pancake race too!<br />

In medieval times, the ‘shriving bell’ (from<br />

the Latin word ‘shrove’ meaning ‘to confess<br />

one’s sins’) would be rung on Shrove<br />

Tuesday, calling people to church. Legend<br />

has it that one local woman realised she<br />

was late when she heard the bell, and ran<br />

out of her cottage as fast as she could, still<br />

clutching her frying pan of pancakes.<br />

Ever since, people have held races up and<br />

down the country; some in fancy dress,<br />

some for charity, but all with a smile and a<br />

lucky flick of the wrist! Holding a pancake<br />

race is a great way to increase the active<br />

play sessions for the children in your<br />

setting.<br />

You don’t have to use real pancakes<br />

if you’d rather not be clearing up 20<br />

dropped ones; it’s just as much fun if you<br />

make a paper pancake or cut one out<br />

of material. And you could cut out some<br />

frying pan-shaped pieces of cardboard<br />

to give to the children to run with. The<br />

emphasis should be on having fun here,<br />

so let your imagination take over and have<br />

a happy and healthy Pancake Day!<br />

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

Parenta job board<br />

Parenta job board<br />

EYFS Learning<br />

Journey Software<br />

Personalised visual resources to support<br />

communication and learning<br />

32 Parenta.com<br />

Our FREE job board is dedicated to all things early years. So, if you’re searching for a job in<br />

childcare or you have a childcare job vacancy you’d like us to promote, we can help! To make use<br />

of our FREE recruitment service, get in touch via contact@parenta.com.<br />

Below is a selection of childcare apprenticeship vacancies we have currently.<br />

More can be found at jobs.parenta.com<br />

Childcare Apprentice Required:<br />

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

Playdays Nursery Chiswick London W4 2ND<br />

Playdays Nursery Wimbledon London SW19 7PB<br />

Blue Pear Day Nursery Penge London SE20 8EU<br />

Little Xplorers Day Nursery Edgware London NW9 9HL<br />

Cubs Club Nursery Stockwell London SW9 9JB<br />

Seahorse Nursery Wimbledon London SW19 6JP<br />

Leap and Learn Bar Hill Cambridgeshire CB23 8DY<br />

The Wendy House Histon Cambridgeshire CB24 9NG<br />

Cornerstone After School Club Rainham Essex RM13 8PJ<br />

Inside Out Nurseries Ltd Bubbenhall Coventry CV8 3BL<br />

Benjamin Rabbit Nursery Chatham Kent ME4 6BA<br />

Parenta (Business Administration) Maidstone Kent ME16 8PZ<br />

Tudor Manor Day Nursery Northampton Northamptonshire NN5 6JU<br />

Staple Hill Stars Pre-School Bristol Somerset and Avon BS16 4NE<br />

Little Roos Day Nursery Taplow Buckinghamshire SL6 0QH<br />

Blossom Day Nursery Basingstoke Hampshire RG24 9XA<br />

Premier Nursery Iver Iver Buckinghamshire SL0 9NG<br />

Young Friends Hove East Sussex BN3 1JP<br />

Brighton College Pre-Prep Brighton West Sussex BN2 0AL<br />

Goldcrest Day Nursery Billericay Essex CM11 2HQ<br />

Claire Campbell Childminding Bromley Kent BR2 9EU<br />

Maidenbower Preschool Playgroup Crawley West Sussex RH10 1EU<br />

BOOK A<br />


parenta.com/fsdemo<br />

0800 002 9242<br />

contact@parenta.com<br />

Improve essential safeguarding with new facial<br />

detection, tagging and blurring technology<br />

Save hours of time and reduce your workload to<br />

spend more time with the children<br />

Free set-up and unlimited training and support<br />

Unlimited video, image and document storage<br />

15% off for readers of Parenta<br />

<strong>Magazine</strong> at www.createvisualaids.com<br />

with the code PARENTA15<br />

hello@createvisualaids.com<br />

create visual aids<br />

Create Visual Aids uses Widgit Symbols (C) Widgit<br />

Software 2002 - <strong>2019</strong><br />

Be the best you<br />

can be!<br />

create_visuals<br />

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

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

training at your setting? Tamsin and colleagues from<br />

Linden Learning are experts in coaching, training<br />

and consultancy and regularly share their expertise<br />

at conferences, INSET meetings, CPD sessions,<br />

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 />

Ring 07793 060 077 to see how Linden Learning can<br />

support your setting to be the best you can be!

How to get more<br />

visitors to your website<br />

The world wide web is a never-ending source of information, and your website is one of the<br />

first places prospective customers will go to find out more about you. So how do you stand<br />

out from the crowd, and ensure you get more visitors than your competitors?<br />

In the competitive world of early years education, marketing your setting is becoming more<br />

and more important. It’s what gets you noticed and it’s what makes the difference between<br />

your business “just about scraping through”, “breaking even” or in a few cases, even<br />

“turning a profit”.<br />

Here, we cover 7 top tips to help you increase traffic to your website.<br />

Content, content, content – get blogging<br />

Pay attention to SEO<br />

(search engine optimisation)<br />

A blog is the single best way to attract new visitors<br />

to your website. It can increase your online visibility<br />

when parents look for childcare providers using<br />

search engines like Google. The result? Increased<br />

occupancy levels without spending a penny!<br />

Not sure where to start? Check out our blogging for<br />

beginners guide.<br />

Get social<br />

One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website<br />

is to use your social media pages.<br />

On most platforms you complete a bio as part of your<br />

page set up, this is the ideal place to add a snippet<br />

about your setting and what makes you unique, it’s<br />

also the perfect spot to drop in the link to your website.<br />

Use your social channels to promote your blog content.<br />

If you’ve taken the effort to write something, share it<br />

and link the post back to the article on your website.<br />

Reuse old posts and ensure you are using relevant<br />

hashtags that relate back to the topic covered.<br />

Making sure your website’s SEO is on point will help<br />

ensure you’re visible in those all-important Google<br />

searches carried out by prospective parents.<br />

How do you optimise your website?<br />

• Include keywords in page titles to help drive more<br />

traffic to your site<br />

• Include meta-descriptions (up to 150 characters)<br />

to summarise the pages content<br />

• Include keywords in your content<br />

Keep your site up-to-date<br />

Every update you make to your website affects the<br />

way search engines interact with and rank your site.<br />

Frequent updates with fresh, original content will<br />

help your site rank much higher on Google and keep<br />

visitors coming back.<br />

Conversely, a website which is infrequently (or never)<br />

updated will be viewed by search engines as ‘dead’.<br />

Why does this matter? It means that your website will<br />

rank much further down in the search results than any<br />

of your competitors who regularly update their pages.<br />

Make sure your site is responsive<br />

Having a fully responsive website means that the<br />

content of your pages will adapt to the device it is<br />

being viewed on. This doesn’t mean two separate<br />

versions of your website – rather, it’s an intelligent<br />

way to present the same information whether the<br />

visitor is using a desktop, mobile or tablet. This is<br />

important because, in 2015, Google started giving<br />

preference to websites which are fully responsive.<br />

If yours isn’t, you’ll struggle to rank highly in search<br />

engine results pages.<br />

Get on 3rd party websites<br />

Make sure you are listed on 3rd party websites<br />

dedicated to childcare such as daynurseries.co.uk.<br />

By ensuring your business is listed on search<br />

platforms such as this, including a full profile about<br />

your business and linking back to your website, you<br />

can easily generate more traffic.<br />

Don’t neglect email marketing<br />

Although a more traditional method, email marketing<br />

can still be a great tool and is an ideal way of<br />

directing traffic back to your website.<br />

Whether you are mailing out your new blog or<br />

information on upcoming events etc., you can still<br />

generate a strong amount of traffic to your site.<br />

View the full guide<br />

on How to... get<br />

more visitors to your<br />

website here.<br />

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

Supporting children<br />

to process their<br />

emotions now and<br />

in the future<br />

Everything a child consistently hears, sees and<br />

feels creates a blueprint for how they view<br />

themselves, the world and their place within it.<br />

The programming that we receive throughout<br />

our early years acts like a ‘default setting’ that<br />

subconsciously controls how we respond to the<br />

world around us.<br />

Only 5% of what we do is<br />

conscious, meaning that<br />

95% of the time we are on<br />

autopilot, with the majority<br />

of our actions, reactions and<br />

decisions being guided by our<br />

subconscious mind, which is<br />

made up of belief systems<br />

that we acquire throughout<br />

our formative years.<br />

It’s therefore crucial that<br />

we look at the consistent<br />

messages that our actions<br />

and words are giving to<br />

children in our care. Our<br />

intentions are always from<br />

the right place. However, the<br />

subconscious mind takes<br />

on the literal messages it is<br />

receiving. Even though our<br />

hearts are in the right place,<br />

these literal messages can<br />

actually have the opposite<br />

effect of what was intended.<br />

An example of this is a family<br />

who want to mould a little<br />

winner and instil a growth<br />

mindset in their child. They<br />

might say things like: “We<br />

are winners. If we come<br />

second, we may as well<br />

come last” or “Failure isn’t<br />

an option – we are going to<br />

win!”. They might also only<br />

ever reward their child when<br />

they come first. Here, their<br />

hearts are in the right place<br />

and they are clearly trying<br />

to plant positive thoughts<br />

into their child. However, the<br />

literal message that is being<br />

given is that failure is not<br />

an option. By programming<br />

a child with this belief, their<br />

subconscious mind is going<br />

to view failure as something<br />

to avoid. This actually creates<br />

the opposite of a winning<br />

mindset, because failure is<br />

a part of success. In order to<br />

reach our brilliance, we have<br />

to step out of our comfort<br />

zone. However, by doing<br />

this, we also risk failing. If a<br />

child’s subconscious mind<br />

is programmed to avoid<br />

failure, they are most likely<br />

never going to fully reach<br />

their potential, because 95%<br />

of what they do is silently<br />

guided by a belief that<br />

prevents them from being<br />

in situations where they can<br />

fail. They might also become<br />

a perfectionist or cope badly<br />

with failure, which will impact<br />

on their resilience and again,<br />

prevent them from soaring to<br />

great heights.<br />

It works the same way for how<br />

children process their thoughts<br />

and feelings, therefore it is<br />

crucial that we look at the<br />

programming that is being<br />

given to children through<br />

our words and actions. If<br />

we want children to process<br />

their emotions in a balanced<br />

way when they are older, we<br />

need to make sure that the<br />

literal messages they receive<br />

when they are younger are<br />

conducive to this happening.<br />

It’s best to look at how we<br />

want our children to function<br />

as teenagers and then ask<br />

ourselves if what we are<br />

doing now is teaching them to<br />

respond in the same way.<br />

We want teenagers to:<br />

• Know that we are there<br />

to support them and<br />

to help them with any<br />

problems they have<br />

• Know that their feelings<br />

are important<br />

• Know that no problem<br />

is too big or small and<br />

that we will help them to<br />

work through things no<br />

matter what<br />

• Come to us, rather than<br />

isolate themselves<br />

The list goes on. However,<br />

if we want children to do all<br />

of these things when they<br />

are teenagers, we need to<br />

programme them with beliefs<br />

that facilitate these actions<br />

when they are younger.<br />

I have a three- and fiveyear-old<br />

and at times their<br />

reactions can be so hard<br />

to navigate. They go into<br />

meltdown over the smallest<br />

things. However, it is also<br />

important to remember<br />

that problems are relative.<br />

Cast your mind back to your<br />

14-year-old self. The problems<br />

you had then will seem<br />

trivial now. However, you will<br />

remember your emotions<br />

being big and painful. This<br />

is because as we get older,<br />

our problems get bigger.<br />

However, the emotion that<br />

we feel in relation to those<br />

problems is pretty consistent.<br />

It is the same with toddlers.<br />

They might lose it over being<br />

given a red pen instead of<br />

a blue pen. However, this<br />

problem to them is huge and<br />

painful. A three-year-old’s<br />

problem through the eyes of<br />

an adult, will always seem<br />

trivial. However, it’s important<br />

to remember that problems<br />

are relative and the emotion a<br />

toddler feels in that moment<br />

will be the same as the<br />

emotion we felt at 14 when<br />

our friend blanked us, or the<br />

emotion we feel in our thirties<br />

when something goes wrong<br />

in life. If we want teenagers<br />

to know that their feelings<br />

are important, we need to<br />

consistently teach children this<br />

when they are younger. It can<br />

be so easy to say things like<br />

“It’s not the end of the world”,<br />

but to them, it is. I have to<br />

remind myself constantly<br />

that although whatever my<br />

children are losing it over is<br />

not a big deal to me, it is to<br />

them, and it’s important that<br />

I acknowledge that and help<br />

them to find a solution.<br />

Now I’m not sat here on my<br />

high horse professing to be<br />

perfect! I am far from it. We<br />

all have bad days, make<br />

mistakes and sometimes react<br />

in ways we shouldn’t. If we<br />

do, this is a great opportunity<br />

to teach children about taking<br />

responsibility and saying<br />

sorry. Modelling perfection<br />

is not great as it creates<br />

the same ‘fear of failure’<br />

belief that I talked about<br />

earlier. The key word here is<br />

‘consistency’ because it is the<br />

consistent messages that will<br />

create a default setting for<br />

our little ones. It’s important<br />

to have strong boundaries<br />

and to teach children about<br />

consequences. However, it<br />

is also important to look at<br />

how we are we doing this<br />

and to make sure that the<br />

literal messages are creating<br />

a blueprint for how we want<br />

children to act in the future.<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 />

code PARENTA20 to get 20%<br />

off or contact Stacey for an<br />

online demo.<br />

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 />

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

Tips to encourage young readers<br />

Helping young children discover the joy of reading is one of the great pleasures of being an early years<br />

practitioner. Sharing stories, discovering letters and learning the alphabet and phonics are the first steps in<br />

helping each child on the path to becoming a competent and independent reader.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 7th is World Book Day, when all over the globe, people will celebrate their favourite books and literary<br />

characters by dressing up, reading new books and passing on stories. But what can you do in your own<br />

setting to help encourage children to read? We’ve listed a few things here to help you.<br />

1 Have a dedicated story-time and reading corner<br />

Make sure you have dedicated time set aside for listening<br />

to stories and learning reading basics – e.g. story-times, a<br />

dedicated space for books and areas that children can retire<br />

to, to read undisturbed. Teaching the alphabet and phonics<br />

also comes under the remit of the EYFS.<br />

2 Show that reading is a part of everyday life<br />

Try to make reading an essential part of the children’s<br />

everyday lives by letting them read a variety of things: this<br />

could be street names, road signs, book covers, posters<br />

and menus for example. Model good reading yourself by<br />

pointing out new words and spelling things out.<br />

3 Set up a book club<br />

Book clubs give people a chance to share their ideas about a<br />

particular book or article and to learn about new books. It’s<br />

a great way to not only encourage reading, but to help with<br />

comprehension and self-expression too and you’ll be surprised<br />

at how much children can say about things they’ve read.<br />

4 Have a book of the week/month<br />

One easy way to encourage more reading is to have a book<br />

of the week/month. You can incorporate some craft activities<br />

into this by making a display in a corner of your setting, and<br />

getting the children to draw certain characters or situations<br />

from your chosen book to display.<br />

5 Explore different genres<br />

We are all different, so why not encourage your young<br />

readers to firstly read books on a genre that they enjoy, and<br />

secondly, try something new. We’ve created a table of book<br />

genres that might interest some of your children, but you<br />

could always add some genres of your own.<br />

Adventure Animals History Illness<br />

Science fiction Fantasy Bullying School life<br />

Holidays Nature Real life Fairies<br />

Information Mystery Suspense Scary<br />

Funny Friendship Plays Comics<br />

Gardening Travel Add your own Add your own<br />

6 Start a lending library or book swap<br />

Books can be expensive, so think about setting up a lending<br />

library in your setting. Ask the children to bring in any books<br />

that they no longer read or like, and to leave for others to<br />

borrow and enjoy.<br />

7 Run a competition or reading challenge<br />

Everyone likes a challenge, so consider running a reading<br />

challenge in which children are encouraged to read different<br />

things over a certain period of time. Local libraries often<br />

hold reading challenges over the long summer holidays,<br />

giving out badges or bookmarks to those who complete the<br />

challenge, and you could offer something similar in your<br />

setting to your oldest children. It doesn’t have to be whole<br />

books, but could be a series of words, phrases or letters.<br />

8 Encourage children to write/tell their own stories<br />

Reading about different topics can stimulate young minds<br />

and inspire new ideas. You can help their creativity by asking<br />

questions about books they’ve read (or listened to) and help<br />

them explore alternative endings or what they think could<br />

happen next in the characters’ lives.<br />

9<br />

Get the parents on side – encourage<br />

bedtime reading<br />

Encouraging reading in your setting is one thing, but getting<br />

the parents of your children to help and continue reading at<br />

home, is another. You could produce an information sheet<br />

with tips to help them encourage reading, which could<br />

include many of the items on this list for starters.<br />

10 Use technology to help – e-readers<br />

Get your children off their tablets and into some books –<br />

that’s usually the advice we expect to see to encourage<br />

reading! Equally, you can help encourage young readers by<br />

using specially-designed apps and services to teach reading<br />

skills. There are some great e-readers which can help<br />

children begin their journey to independent reader status, by<br />

reading words aloud that the children get stuck on, or that<br />

they’ve not seen before.<br />

11 Choose age-appropriate books<br />

Help students access reading by making sure that you<br />

have plenty of age-appropriate books in your library. Ageappropriate<br />

means that not only are topics relevant to a<br />

young person’s understanding of the world, but also that the<br />

balance between words and pictures is fitting, and the text<br />

size is large enough.<br />

12 Encourage acting-out and dressing up!<br />

Everyone loves dressing up, so you could easily invite your<br />

children to dress up as their favourite character to celebrate<br />

World Book Day. Be prepared for lots of Postman Pats,<br />

Fireman Sams, fairies, princes and princesses – and don’t<br />

forget to get your staff to dress up too!<br />

13 Visit your local library<br />

What better way to encourage children to read than taking<br />

them on a visit to your local library? You could research times<br />

when they have ‘parent and toddler’s’ reading sessions or<br />

story-times.<br />

14<br />

Sing songs and nursery rhymes showing the<br />

words as you go<br />

Think about other ways that you can help children read –<br />

you could find some karaoke words to nursery rhymes on<br />

YouTube for example, that will highlight the words of your<br />

favourite songs and rhymes as you sing along.<br />

Whatever you do, find time to encourage this most basic<br />

communication skill and you will be opening the minds of your<br />

young people to a whole world of opportunity and wonder.<br />

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




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 />

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


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

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!