Magazine June 2019

June is the perfect month to teach the children about butterflies. Learning about their life cycle is a great way to introduce them to biology and environmental topics. We have a wonderful activity for making your own butterfly life cycle … and June wouldn’t be complete without a Father’s Day craft too! We’ve got a lovely template that you can download so the children can make their own stick puppet for the father figures in their lives. Don’t forget to send us your photos! We really hope you enjoy all the new stories, advice articles and craft activities in this month’s magazine – all of which are written to help you with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care.

June is the perfect month to teach the children about butterflies. Learning about their life cycle is a great way to introduce them to biology and environmental topics. We have a wonderful activity for making your own butterfly life cycle … and June wouldn’t be complete without a Father’s Day craft too! We’ve got a lovely template that you can download so the children can make their own stick puppet for the father figures in their lives. Don’t forget to send us your photos!

We really hope you enjoy all the new stories, advice articles and craft activities in this month’s magazine – all of which are written to help you with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care.


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Issue 55<br />

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

FREE<br />



Exploring the real<br />

heroes in our lives<br />

How to help parents<br />

boost their child’s<br />

vocabulary<br />

Using stories to nurture<br />

self-awareness<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to<br />

WIN<br />

£50<br />

p 31<br />


Gina Smith shares some great tips and advice to<br />

help children cope with the transition into school<br />


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

<strong>June</strong> is a busy month here at Parenta HQ. The team is really looking forward to Childcare Expo Manchester on 14th<br />

and 15th <strong>June</strong> and will be on hand to give you valuable advice and guidance on apprenticeships and upskilling your<br />

staff. We will also be demonstrating all our software solutions – do come and visit us – you’ll find us on stand B46!<br />

The excitement is mounting for the annual Parenta Trust Rally which sets off at the end of the month. Teams of cars and<br />

motorbikes will cross eight counties in five days, travelling 2,000 miles to raise vital funds for our charity, Parenta Trust who<br />

builds pre-schools for young children in deprived areas of the world. Look out for more rally news next month!<br />

The weather is warming up, visits to the beach are on the horizon for some; and with that, comes the temptation to let the little ones swim in<br />

the sea. Tragically, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children in the UK. The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK)<br />

runs an annual Drowning Prevention Week (14th – 24th <strong>June</strong>) to raise awareness of the problem and to reduce the number of drowning (and<br />

near-drowning) incidences that happen. Advice on how it’s never too early to start water safety education can be found on page 14.<br />

<strong>June</strong> is the perfect month to teach the children about butterflies. Learning about their life cycle is a great way to introduce them to biology<br />

and environmental topics. We have a wonderful activity for making your own butterfly life cycle … and <strong>June</strong> wouldn’t be complete without<br />

a Father’s Day craft too! We’ve got a lovely template that you can download so the children can make their own stick puppet for the father<br />

figures in their lives. Don’t forget to send us your photos!<br />

Congratulations to our guest author competition winner! Joanna Grace’s article and activity “Secrets of the search jar” proved to be very<br />

popular with our readers. We’re always on the lookout for new authors to contribute insightful articles for our monthly magazine. 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 shopping vouchers, turn to page 31 for details.<br />

We really hope you enjoy all the new stories, advice articles and craft activities in this month’s magazine – all of which are written to help you<br />

with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care.<br />

Please feel free to share with friends and colleagues!<br />

Allan<br />


Read about the journey<br />

of a mother and teacher<br />

who was so inspired by<br />

the Finnish education<br />

system that she started<br />

The Family Learning<br />

School.<br />

hello<br />


6<br />

JUNE <strong>2019</strong> ISSUE 55<br />



17 What our customers say<br />

23 Father’s Day stick puppet craft<br />

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

NEWS<br />

4 Local MP officially opens award-winning day<br />

nurseries in Plymouth<br />

5 Elmscot Broussa Nursery strengthens community<br />

spirit<br />

6 Family Learning School - a new model of<br />

education<br />

8 Parenta Trust news<br />

ADVICE<br />

10 Learning Disability Week<br />

14 Drowning Prevention Week<br />

18 The life cycle of a butterfly<br />

22 Father’s Day<br />

26 Diabetes Week - #SeeDiabetesDifferently<br />

38 7 tips for nystagmus success in the classroom<br />


Tracy Newberry gives tips on how to soothe a restless baby 24<br />

Stacey Kelly shares how to use stories to nurture self-awareness 28<br />

7 tips for nystagmus success in the classroom 38<br />

CHANGE<br />

32<br />

This time of year can<br />

be stressful for young<br />

children, as they<br />

approach big changes<br />

in their lives. Gina Smith<br />

shares tips on how to<br />

help children with the<br />

transition into school.<br />


Joanna Grace shares some great<br />

practical advice for negotiating with<br />

children who seem set on digging<br />

their heels in and resisting your every<br />

instruction.<br />

12<br />

12 Communication hacks<br />

20 Exploring the real heroes in our lives<br />

24 How to soothe a restless baby<br />

28 Using stories to nurture self-awareness<br />

32 Coping with change<br />

36 How to help parents boost their child’s<br />

vocabulary<br />

Drowning Prevention Week 14

Local MP officially opens awardwinning<br />

day nurseries in Plymouth<br />

Elmscot Broussa Nursery<br />

strengthens community spirit<br />

Luke Pollard has met with<br />

local childcare provider,<br />

Cheryl Hadland, of Tops Day<br />

Nurseries at the nurseries in<br />

Stonehouse and Devonport<br />

and pledged his commitment<br />

to support local childcare<br />

providers.<br />

Elmscot Broussa Day Nursery and Nursery School has been strengthening bonds with the local<br />

community this month by welcoming the ambulance service and Broussa families into the<br />

nursery, as well as visiting care home residents.<br />

Luke Pollard MP joined Cheryl<br />

Hadland, managing Director of Tops<br />

Day Nurseries, during the official<br />

openings for Tops Stonehouse on<br />

Wolsdon Street and Tops Devonport,<br />

based at Greenark Children’s centre<br />

on Friday 3rd May <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

Throughout the open day, colleagues,<br />

parents and Luke Pollard MP signed a<br />

specially-made pledge board agreeing<br />

to banish single-use plastic, and<br />

reduce waste to landfill. As one of<br />

the South’s leading eco-sustainable<br />

day nursery groups, with 29 settings<br />

across the south coast, Tops are<br />

leading the way in sustainable<br />

childcare. One of the group’s settings<br />

was even the first nursery setting in<br />

the UK to achieve the Surfers Against<br />

Sewage: Plastic Free Schools status.<br />

Speaking after the official opening<br />

event, Cheryl Hadland said:<br />

“I am delighted Luke Pollard MP has<br />

pledged his support for childcare<br />

providers, families and children in<br />

Plymouth.<br />

“At Tops Day Nurseries, we provide<br />

top-quality early education to our<br />

children, and we’re pleased that the<br />

Government’s 30 hours childcare<br />

policy means that more 3- and 4-year-<br />

-olds can benefit from our services.<br />

“However, funding in Plymouth is<br />

less than the cost of delivery, and<br />

this reduces our ability to pay our<br />

staff what they deserve and burdens<br />

parents with having to pay more<br />

towards their children’s education and<br />

care than any other parent in Europe.<br />

We also want a healthier environment<br />

and future for our children and<br />

grandchildren. This is why I look<br />

forward to working with our local MP<br />

to campaign for a more sustainable<br />

future for childcare providers, parents<br />

and children.”<br />

Luke Pollard MP commented:<br />

“It was great to meet Cheryl Hadland<br />

at Tops Day Nurseries in Plymouth:<br />

Stonehouse and Devonport, and hear<br />

about the great work Tops does to give<br />

children the best start in life possible.<br />

I was particularly impressed at their<br />

commitment to reducing one-use<br />

plastic and reducing their impact on<br />

climate change.<br />

“It is great news that some 3- and<br />

4-year-old children in Plymouth are<br />

now able to receive 30 hours funded<br />

childcare, however, I understand<br />

that many settings and parents of<br />

small children are facing financial<br />

challenges, and I will be making<br />

representations in Parliament and to<br />

the Government to help ensure that<br />

every child in Plymouth is able to<br />

access a high quality early education<br />

and also that we work to improve<br />

Plymouth’s effort to reduce oneuse<br />

plastic and air pollution, and to<br />

process waste more efficiently, in<br />

order to provide a healthier future for<br />

our children.”<br />

During the visit from the ambulance<br />

service, the children explored the<br />

ambulance and were even allowed to<br />

sit in the driver’s seat. The paramedic<br />

explained to the children about her<br />

job and what the team does during an<br />

emergency.<br />

The children’s family members were<br />

invited to take part in creative activities<br />

and see what their children enjoy<br />

doing at nursery. This included baking,<br />

dance, music and painting – which<br />

the adults and children all loved, and<br />

created a great talking point even<br />

outside of nursery.<br />

Elmscot Broussa has also been<br />

enabling the children to build<br />

intergenerational relationships through<br />

visits to a local care home to visit the<br />

residents. The residents read books<br />

with the children and even told some<br />

of their own stories.<br />

Community activities such as these<br />

are of great benefit within the early<br />

years sector and build upon key<br />

areas of development within the EYFS<br />

curriculum. Children are provided with<br />

opportunities to build and strengthen<br />

relationships, develop confidence in<br />

their abilities, enhance communication<br />

skills, as well as learn from different<br />

generations. In particular, both the<br />

children and elderly people within<br />

the community gain socio-emotional<br />

values from experiences enjoyed<br />

together.<br />

Annette Derby, Nursery Manager at<br />

Elmscot Broussa, said: “Forging links<br />

with the community and building a<br />

strong community spirit are aspects of<br />

our nursery life that we take pride in.<br />

Providing the children with enabling<br />

environments allows them to learn<br />

about other people who are different<br />

to themselves and creates a sense of<br />

belonging.”<br />

Elmscot Broussa is part of the Elmscot<br />

Group of Day Nurseries and Nursery<br />

Schools, providing outstanding<br />

childcare and education to over 1,800<br />

children across Cheshire.<br />

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

Family Learning School - a<br />

new model of education<br />

In April 2017, Julie Dunford - an experienced teacher, educational leader and nursery/pre-school<br />

owner, and Alida Smith - with her background in business and finance - followed their maternal<br />

instincts and turned down their daughters’ places at their local “outstanding” primary schools. The<br />

reason? To embark on a journey to set up a new type of school, one not seen before here in the UK.<br />

Before too long, they found support among like-minded parents and educationalists, and within two<br />

years, their vision is even bigger. They have established a brand new model of primary education for<br />

the UK: The Family Learning School.<br />

Julie explains the history and<br />

philosophy behind The Family<br />

Learning School: “I set up my<br />

childcare business when I had<br />

my first daughter as I needed<br />

to continue working but wanted<br />

to be at home with her at the<br />

same time. As a primary and<br />

secondary languages teacher,<br />

I was keen to learn about the<br />

early years sector and within<br />

two years, my business grew<br />

substantially. I now own a<br />

small familial nursery/preschool<br />

where I have a manager<br />

and a team of 3 childcare<br />

assistants.<br />

“I absolutely love the early<br />

years and find it unbelievably<br />

rewarding. I have learned<br />

so much about childhood<br />

development and the best<br />

ways of supporting and<br />

facilitating children’s learning,<br />

from simply watching and<br />

interacting with children as<br />

they learn through playing<br />

together in mixed aged groups.<br />

Children are all so different,<br />

with their own innate abilities,<br />

passions and talents, and<br />

they all learn in different ways<br />

and at different rates. Most<br />

importantly, they all deserve<br />

to have a childhood full of fun,<br />

love, cuddles, tickles and mess!<br />

Alida was one of my childcare<br />

clients who embraced the<br />

childcare ethos I had created<br />

at my setting and shared my<br />

educational philosophies.<br />

“Despite being offered places<br />

at our first choice, “outstanding”<br />

primary schools, we felt flat and<br />

unexcited about our daughters<br />

starting school. Large class<br />

sizes, limited space, decreasing<br />

numbers of support staff, an<br />

increase in academic focus and<br />

testing, and schools’ reliance<br />

on generating data to satisfy<br />

the government’s accountability<br />

measures, were among our<br />

main concerns.<br />

“We set about researching other<br />

education systems and travelled<br />

to Finland to find out why they<br />

consistently top the Programme<br />

for International Student<br />

Assessment (PISA) charts.<br />

While our children are starting<br />

school at 4 and their play-time<br />

is being gradually reduced,<br />

Finnish children are only learning<br />

through play and exploration<br />

until the age of 7. Children are<br />

only tested once in secondary<br />

school – this is because the<br />

teachers are highly regarded<br />

professionals, trusted by parents<br />

and school leaders to do their<br />

jobs and ensure the children<br />

in their care thrive personally<br />

and academically, without the<br />

need for data as evidence. They<br />

understand that “less is more” in<br />

terms of the curriculum and do<br />

not cram in too much. Teachers<br />

stay with the same class for at<br />

least three years and if a child<br />

doesn’t grasp a concept one<br />

year, teachers do not worry as<br />

they are confident they will the<br />

following year. The learning<br />

environments we experienced<br />

were relaxed, productive and<br />

calm.<br />

“We returned to the UK, and<br />

inspired by Finland and our<br />

extensive secondary research,<br />

have since created a flexible,<br />

progressive educational model<br />

that prioritises children’s<br />

happiness and well-being. It<br />

nurtures, builds confidence<br />

and teaches vital life skills; and<br />

instils a lifetime love of learning<br />

and exploration. The outcomes<br />

for the children within our first<br />

class this year have exceeded<br />

all our expectations and since<br />

releasing our promotional<br />

video, we are receiving interest<br />

and encouragement from<br />

across the globe, as well as all<br />

over the UK.<br />

“Our model is based on small,<br />

mixed-aged classes of 15<br />

children, from 3—11 years<br />

old, interacting and learning<br />

together. They take part in<br />

child-led ‘Forest Education’<br />

one day a week, and also take<br />

educational trips one day a<br />

week. These “adventures” range<br />

from physical activities such as<br />

horse riding, trampolining and<br />

climbing, to cultural visits such<br />

as museums, art galleries and<br />

theatres. At the school site on<br />

the other days, there is a focus<br />

on creativity and freedom to<br />

learn through play - both in and<br />

outdoors - and their academic<br />

lessons are in very small groups<br />

based on the children’s interests<br />

and strengths, rather than<br />

simply by their age.<br />

“Younger children naturally<br />

learn from observing and<br />

playing with older children,<br />

and the older children develop<br />

empathy and look after the<br />

younger ones. As well as<br />

developing academically, it has<br />

been very special watching<br />

the relationships develop and<br />

seeing them grow in their<br />

ability to effectively collaborate,<br />

communicate and co-operate in<br />

different learning environments.<br />

“Family Learning is at the<br />

heart of our model, which<br />

means building a community<br />

around the school is essential.<br />

We attract parents who are<br />

truly engaged in their child’s<br />

education and appreciate the<br />

amount of communication<br />

and feedback we provide.<br />

Parents are asked to offer a<br />

skill that they can either teach<br />

the children, or to support the<br />

running of the school. The<br />

children have gained so much<br />

from sessions delivered by<br />

their parents and grandparents<br />

and it’s wonderful to see the<br />

impact of intergenerational<br />

relationships and interactions<br />

from these experiences, as<br />

well as when we visit our local<br />

nursing home.<br />

“We do not set homework but<br />

instead provide ideas around<br />

topics we are covering in<br />

school, called “Family Learning<br />

Opportunities”. There is no<br />

pressure to complete them<br />

and it is stressed that it is the<br />

engagement in the activity as a<br />

family that is important, rather<br />

than the end product.<br />

“Testing is not necessary as<br />

Family Learning is at the heart<br />

of our model, which means<br />

building a community around<br />

the school is essential<br />

we teach in small groups, offer<br />

plenty of individual support,<br />

observe and interact with the<br />

children all day, and therefore<br />

know exactly where their<br />

strengths and interests lie, and<br />

where they need more support.<br />

We monitor progress in every<br />

area (emotional and social<br />

development, communication<br />

skills, confidence, physical<br />

ability, creativity, ability to<br />

collaborate and support others,<br />

global and environmental<br />

awareness etc.) as well as their<br />

developing reading, writing<br />

and numeracy skills.<br />

“We had absolutely no idea of<br />

the never-ending challenges<br />

that lay ahead when we turned<br />

down our school places, but we<br />

were convinced we both had<br />

the necessary drive, ambition,<br />

determination and requisite skill<br />

sets between us to achieve our<br />

vision.<br />

“Although independent, we are<br />

a not-for-profit organisation,<br />

and we are voluntary directors.<br />

This is truly a “passion<br />

project”; far from a moneymaking<br />

venture. After two<br />

challenging but successful<br />

years, we want to see The<br />

Family Learning School (FLS)<br />

become an established and<br />

exemplary model of primary<br />

education, with sites across<br />

the UK - and despite not being<br />

eligible for government funding,<br />

our dream is to make this<br />

model accessible to as many<br />

families as possible and to be<br />

advocates for ALL children.<br />

“It is becoming increasingly<br />

clear that teachers and<br />

parents believe our children<br />

deserve more and they want<br />

other options. Our world is<br />

changing so fast, but increasing<br />

pressure on our children to<br />

pass standardised tests is<br />

having a devastating impact<br />

on their mental health, while<br />

doing nothing to equip them<br />

to actually deal with the world<br />

around them.<br />

“We desperately need a<br />

revolution in the way our future<br />

generations are educated. We<br />

personally didn’t want to be<br />

moaning at the school gates<br />

for 7 years, regretfully knowing<br />

that we had the capability to<br />

bring about the change.<br />

“FLS is a new model of<br />

education we are offering the<br />

UK. It is a call for action and<br />

we intend to show our political<br />

leaders that there is a better<br />

way of educating our children.<br />

It continues to be such an<br />

enormous amount of work and<br />

so many barriers have been put<br />

in our way by local councils and<br />

other public bodies. But with<br />

every metaphorical wall that we<br />

smash down for our children,<br />

we move closer to our goal.”<br />

Family Learning School is<br />

expanding in South London,<br />

with 45 children starting in<br />

September <strong>2019</strong>. If you are<br />

interested in learning more,<br />

either as a family or as an<br />

educator, please visit the<br />

website or follow them on<br />

Facebook to get in touch.<br />

Website:<br />

familylearningschool.com<br />

Facebook:<br />

@familylearningschool<br />

6 Parenta.com <strong>June</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 7

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

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

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

are deprived of a basic education.<br />

In the poorest areas, children are<br />

sent out to fetch water, carry out<br />

domestic chores and look after their<br />

siblings. Very often, this means that<br />

they miss out on going to pre-school<br />

and receiving additional education<br />

throughout their childhood. They<br />

are not given the opportunity they<br />

deserve to develop to their full<br />

potential.<br />

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

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

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

forward to a much brighter future.<br />

The Parenta Trust sponsorship<br />

programme gives disadvantaged<br />

pre-school children the chance to lay<br />

NEWS<br />

Parenta Trust news<br />

the foundations for their learning in a<br />

safe and loving environment. Having<br />

a basic education means these young<br />

children can break out of the cycle of<br />

poverty and look forward to a much<br />

brighter future.<br />

Sponsorship plays a hugely important<br />

role in shaping the lives of young<br />

pre-school boys and girls across<br />

the world. With the support of their<br />

sponsors, the children are given a<br />

bright start to their life and receive a<br />

pre-school education, with its effects<br />

lasting a lifetime.<br />

Each sponsored child benefits from<br />

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

uniform, a daily hot meal, school<br />

supplies and the knowledge that<br />

someone really cares.<br />

For as<br />

little as 56p<br />

a day, you<br />

can change a<br />

child’s life<br />

How sponsorship saved<br />

Bridget’s life...<br />

We met Bridget on a trip to Uganda<br />

in 2014. Nothing could’ve prepared<br />

us for her story but, sadly, her case<br />

is not a one-off. Bridget was rescued<br />

from a shrine where she was about<br />

to be sacrificed by her parents. Saved<br />

at the last moment from a shocking<br />

fate, she now attends one of our preschools<br />

where she can lead a happy<br />

and safe life. She is cared for, has a<br />

sponsor and has the education she<br />

needs to brighten her future. There<br />

are many more vulnerable children<br />

like Bridget who need your help. By<br />

sponsoring a pre-school child, you<br />

make a real difference to their lives.<br />

To find out how you can make a<br />

difference and sponsor a child, visit<br />

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

Did you know...<br />

How does it work?<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

we offer a FREE recruitment service?<br />

Here at Parenta, we train nearly 3,000 nursery staff each year!<br />

Let us know about your vacancy for a childcare apprentice and what type of person you’re<br />

looking for. We’ll advertise the role for free on our job board and other job platforms.<br />

When we receive suitable CVs, we’ll put forward any candidates we feel would be a good match<br />

for your setting.<br />

Once you’ve found your ideal apprentice, we’ll help them transition into their new role and sign<br />

them up for their childcare apprenticeship.<br />

On the 1 st April, the contribution that you pay when you are a non-levy employer dropped to 5% - it could be as<br />

little as £100 for 19+ or free for 16—18-year-olds. There has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice!<br />

It’s as easy as<br />

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

a child and that we can change their lives for the better, is incredible. You form a special<br />

connection with your sponsored child and are able to share in their milestones as they grow. In<br />

fact, you’ll soon find that your sponsored child feels like a part of your own family! Each year,<br />

we receive a couple of letters from them as well as a card at Christmas time. The children<br />

that we sponsor love to hear from us! One of the most rewarding things about sponsoring a<br />

child is when that letter arrives and you hear about what they’ve been up to and how you have<br />

helped them, it fills you with pride and happiness!”<br />

View all of our current vacancies here: jobs.parenta.com<br />

What are you waiting for?<br />

Let us help you find your perfect apprentice, today.<br />

8 Parenta.com <strong>June</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 9<br />

0800 002 9242 hello@parenta.com

Learning Disability Week<br />

Can you imagine how your life would be different if you had a<br />

learning disability? How would it affect you and the lives of the<br />

people you love?<br />

Maybe you’d find it more difficult to live independently? Perhaps<br />

everyday tasks that we all take for granted; like cooking, keeping<br />

clean or going out to socialise with friends, would be something<br />

you could no longer do.<br />

You might be like one-third of people<br />

with learning disabilities who, on a<br />

typical Saturday, spend less than 1<br />

hour outside their home. Maybe you’d<br />

soon feel alone and cut off from others,<br />

like 17.8% of people with a learning<br />

disability do.<br />

Whoever you were, wouldn’t it be nice<br />

to know that there were people out<br />

there who cared, and who you could<br />

rely on to make things just that little bit<br />

easier?<br />

The charity, Mencap, does just that, and<br />

leads the way in helping people with<br />

learning disabilities feel included and<br />

get the help they need.<br />

For parents and carers of children with<br />

learning disabilities, getting an initial<br />

diagnosis; dealing with healthcare<br />

professionals and the child’s special<br />

educational needs (SEN); and sorting<br />

out childcare or portage (a homebased,<br />

early intervention and support<br />

service), can be a difficult and isolating<br />

time. That’s why awareness weeks and<br />

inclusion events are more important<br />

than ever.<br />

There are 1.4 million people in the<br />

UK with a learning disability and<br />

approximately 193,707 children of<br />

school age. There are some conditions<br />

where people are more likely to have an<br />

associated learning disability such as;<br />

What is a learning disability?<br />

According to Mencap, a learning<br />

disability is “a reduced intellectual<br />

ability and difficulty with everyday<br />

activities” such as household tasks,<br />

socialising or managing money – 3<br />

things that often cause the most<br />

problems.<br />

It is often confused with learning<br />

difficulties, such as those experienced<br />

by people with dyslexia or some mental<br />

health problems. However, learning<br />

difficulties do not affect people’s<br />

intellect, whereas learning disabilities<br />

do. Learning disabilities are usually<br />

caused by problems when the brain<br />

is still developing during pregnancy,<br />

in birth or in the first few months of<br />

life. The level of disability can be mild,<br />

moderate, severe or profound, and<br />

affects people for their whole life as<br />

they can take longer to learn and may<br />

need additional support to interact<br />

with others, understand information or<br />

develop new skills.<br />

• Down’s syndrome<br />

• Williams syndrome<br />

• Asperger’s syndrome<br />

• Autism<br />

• Fragile X syndrome<br />

• Global development delay<br />

• Cerebral palsy<br />

• Challenging behaviour<br />

The degree of disability varies greatly<br />

and children with a learning disability<br />

will have special educational needs,<br />

although not all people with SEN have a<br />

learning disability.<br />

Learning Disability Week <strong>2019</strong><br />

The week runs from 17th to 23rd <strong>June</strong><br />

and this year, is all about sport and<br />

inclusion. The goal for the week is for<br />

as many people as possible – those with<br />

and without a learning disability – to get<br />

involved in inclusive sporting activities<br />

in their local communities. Mencap is<br />

encouraging everyone to share their<br />

photos with them and raise awareness<br />

by advertising the week on social media<br />

sites using the hashtag #LDWeek19.<br />

Sport is well known for bringing people<br />

together, whether it’s the Olympics or a<br />

local amateur football match, sport can<br />

cross boundaries and create shared<br />

memories. For those taking part, it can<br />

reduce loneliness and isolation; improve<br />

health and wellbeing; and allows for<br />

greater social inclusion and a sense of<br />

empowerment.<br />

Another benefit is that it can help<br />

improve and change negative attitudes<br />

and prejudices which unfortunately still<br />

exist towards many people with learning<br />

disabilities – a much-needed change<br />

that is fundamental to Mencap’s raison<br />

d’être.<br />

The Mencap website has information<br />

and listings of many events around<br />

the country that people are planning,<br />

including an interactive map where<br />

you can find out about events near<br />

you. There’s still plenty of time to plan<br />

your own event or attend one of those<br />

already being advertised. There are<br />

different categories, including:<br />

• Treat me well events<br />

• Network partner here we are local<br />

events<br />

• Royal Mencap Society events<br />

• Round the world challenge activities<br />

Not all settings will have children who<br />

have learning disabilities, but that does<br />

not stop everyone getting involved in<br />

the week in some way. Children with<br />

learning disabilities have the right to<br />

early years childcare just like everyone<br />

else and childcare providers, by law,<br />

“must not deny disabled children access<br />

to childcare because they are disabled”.<br />

In addition, “providers must make sure<br />

they try their best to meet the needs of<br />

the children with a learning disability”.<br />

How to get involved<br />

You could raise money for the charity,<br />

for example by doing something fun<br />

and active, such as a sponsored football<br />

match, walk/run or just a multi-activity<br />

sports day.<br />

You could set up a stand at your summer<br />

fair to raise awareness; or set up some<br />

fun and ‘sporty’ stalls such as a ‘shoot<br />

a hoop’ challenge; a fastest-over-10-<br />

metres race; or a good old-fashioned<br />

egg and spoon race! Be creative and get<br />

active!<br />

If you have children in your setting with<br />

learning disabilities, you could consider<br />

The Round The World Challenge which<br />

is run in partnership with Sport England<br />

and The National Lottery. It’s a great way<br />

to improve inclusion and get your whole<br />

setting involved whilst teaching your little<br />

ones something about the world at the<br />

same time. You can register here. and<br />

there are events in different regions run<br />

by specially-trained staff.<br />

Mencap’s vision is a world where people<br />

with learning disabilities are valued<br />

equally, listened to and included, but<br />

it’s clear that there is still a long way to<br />

go for that vision to be realised in our<br />

society.<br />

What will you do this year in order to<br />

bring their goal just that little bit closer?<br />

For more information, click here.<br />

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


Negotiating with children who seem set on digging their heels in and resisting your every<br />

instruction is tricky. Here are a few communication hacks that have stood me in good stead.<br />


Scenario: Ethan is playing in the<br />

sand and isn’t likely to want to stop<br />

for snack time.<br />

1. Get alongside Ethan and play<br />

in the sand. Show genuine<br />

connection with what he is doing.<br />

After all, how willing would you<br />

be to listen to someone who<br />

never listened to you? Listen first,<br />

to demonstrate the skill.<br />

2. Give him a choice. Do not<br />

present this as a demand, more<br />

a casual consideration as a part<br />

of play. “Which do you want to<br />

do first: wash your hands, or<br />

put this truck away?” When he<br />

chooses, reinforce and praise<br />

his choice and move as if it is<br />

about to happen. (This is not<br />

a conversation about stopping<br />

playing so do not bring that up).<br />

For extra support, use a visual time<br />

prompt such as a one minute sand<br />

timer. Use this to narrate time, not<br />

enforce your rule of law. Observe the<br />

timer with the child: “Oh look, in a<br />

minute this is going to be over, what<br />

do you want to do first….”, Rather<br />

than “you have one minute and then<br />

this has to stop.”<br />


Scenario: Ava is not helping with<br />

the tidying up.<br />

1. Do not engage with the defiance.<br />

Pause your attention on Ava for a<br />

moment or so and then return it<br />

and offer Ava the power: “Ava, I<br />

am putting you in charge, which<br />

toys do you think I need to pick<br />

up first?” Let her take the reins<br />

and give you an instruction.<br />

Follow the instruction that you<br />

are given. As with before, why<br />

should we expect someone just<br />

to do as we say if we are not<br />

willing to do the same? We do not<br />

want to teach children that they<br />

have to do what they are told by<br />

people who are older than them,<br />

just because they are older than<br />

them. In some situations, to have<br />

learnt this could be dangerous.<br />

2. Once you have followed an order<br />

or two, change the question<br />

“Gosh there is a lot of tidying<br />

up to do, which toys am I going<br />

to pick up next and which ones<br />

are you going to do?” When she<br />

makes the choice, reinforce it<br />

so that she realises she has just<br />

said what she is going to do. In<br />

your reinforcement, give clear<br />

guidance to how she is going to<br />

do it: “Okay so I am putting the<br />

trucks away and you are picking<br />

up the dollies, and putting them<br />

all in their bed in the blue box?”<br />

3. Reinforce her success at tidying<br />

up: “Those dollies are all very<br />

comfy now you have put them<br />

away, what are you going to tidy<br />

up next?”<br />


Scenario: It is storytime and Lydia<br />

is not coming to sit down with<br />

everyone else.<br />

1. Resist the urge to give Lydia<br />

instructions right away, instead<br />

use your attention like a torch<br />

beam to guide and direct the<br />

children. Narrate what you are<br />

doing: “I am looking at all the<br />

children who are sitting nicely on<br />

the carpet.”<br />

2. Create an attention bridge<br />

between the behaviour you are<br />

looking for and the behaviour<br />

you want to stop: “I am watching<br />

everyone walk to the carpet”.<br />

If you are worried about the<br />

children who are sitting on the<br />

carpet getting up again, involve<br />

them in this, saying: “Sittingdown<br />

children can you watch the<br />

children walking to the carpet?”<br />

– by mentioning them as ‘sittingdown’,<br />

you are continuing to<br />

reinforce that behaviour.<br />

3. If you have to give Lydia direct<br />

instructions, tell her what you<br />

are going to watch; think of the<br />

smallest first step towards doing<br />

the right thing, if you can spot<br />

something she is already doing<br />

then use that: “Lydia I can see<br />

you looking at the carpet, you are<br />

choosing your spot, I am ready<br />

to watch you walk over nicely.” If<br />

she moves, then keep that beam<br />

of attention on the movement. If<br />

she doesn’t, quickly go back to<br />

regarding the children who are<br />

doing what you were looking for.<br />

Do we want them to just follow orders?<br />

Some people will think that these hacks<br />

are a dangerous softening of discipline;<br />

children should be seen and not heard,<br />

should do as the grown-ups say. But should<br />

they? Is our aim really to bring up children<br />

who unquestioningly do as they are told<br />

by adults? Believe it or not, I was actually<br />

pleased, and his teacher was too, when my<br />

son was first naughty at school. Before then,<br />

I had worried he was not confident enough<br />

to do his own thing. A child who meekly<br />

follows every order should be as concerning<br />

to us as one that follows none.<br />

The strategies above give the children the<br />

opportunity to make choices and to exert<br />

control. By deploying them, we are teaching<br />

the foundations of responsibility – a far<br />

better long-term outcome than blanket<br />

submission to our will.<br />

Think about how we talk about<br />

behaviour<br />

Remember that a lot of the rules in our<br />

settings are there for our benefit, to make<br />

it easier for us to deal with a large group<br />

of children (we are out numbered - we<br />

need the rule of law). It is easy for us to get<br />

fixed on our rules and not recognise the<br />

bigger picture. The child who doesn’t want<br />

to stop playing with the sand may possess<br />

a brilliant ability to focus on a task for a<br />

long time. The child who will not help with<br />

tidying up might need support structuring<br />

an approach to a task with no clear start<br />

point. The child who will not come and sit<br />

down might be testing out how their power<br />

holds up to ours, or may feel a need to be<br />

noticed in a crowd. A wilful child is not a<br />

naughty one, it is a resilient one. Repeatedly<br />

having your will defeated sows the seeds of<br />

depression in later life, and teaches children<br />

that no matter what they do, someone else<br />

has dominion over their lives.<br />

We meet a lot of children, and we see a lot<br />

of ‘behaviour.’ We need to be very careful<br />

how we report behaviour to parents. Parents<br />

know their children better than anyone, but<br />

as their child grows up, they constantly meet<br />

them as they are now. Finding out who they<br />

are in your setting is news to them. Passing<br />

on information about behaviour should be<br />

done as carefully and as thoughtfully as<br />

a doctor passing on information about a<br />

medical problem.<br />

Telling a parent that their child shouts too<br />

much, or runs inside, is a blunt presentation<br />

of a perceived negative, and it does not<br />

help them to do anything about it. It does<br />

not matter how cutely you dress it up, they<br />

hear it as a negative and they will worry<br />

about it. You know that pretty much all<br />

of the ‘behaviour’ that you deal with is<br />

simply a natural part of growing up. Our<br />

weaknesses and strengths are often two<br />

sides of the same coin. Instead of reporting<br />

‘naughtiness’, present the strength a<br />

child exhibits through their behaviour to<br />

their parent and then give the associated<br />

learning that needs to come with it:<br />

“Ethan has such spectacular focus, today<br />

he didn’t want to stop playing with the sand<br />

for snack time. We used a timer to help him<br />

realise it was ending and then he made a<br />

choice about what to do next.”<br />

“Ava took responsibility for the tidying up<br />

today, she told me where to put the trucks,<br />

she knows where everything goes in the<br />

classroom. At first when we were tidying<br />

up she didn’t join in at all, it can be a bit<br />

overwhelming for children when we switch<br />

from playing to tidying – and the room is<br />

quite chaotic at that time – but once we had<br />

given Ava the chance, she was able to sort<br />

that chaos out for us.”<br />

“Lydia always makes her own mind up about<br />

her actions. She stood back and watched<br />

when the other children sat down for<br />

storytime today. We guided her by telling her<br />

where our attention would be and then she<br />

came over happily and joined in, we were<br />

really pleased with her choice.”<br />

Remember our aim is not to control the<br />

children in our settings but to contribute to<br />

them growing up and becoming physicallyand<br />

mentally-healthy, responsible adults<br />

who think and reason for themselves. Signs<br />

that they are already taking control, and<br />

reasoning, should not be squashed - they<br />

should be built upon and celebrated.<br />

Joanna is running Exploring the Impact of<br />

the Senses on Behaviour in Birmingham<br />

on the 28th <strong>June</strong>: a day well suited to those<br />

supporting children whose behaviour seems<br />

to be a bit different from what you would<br />

ordinarily expect.<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 />

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

Drowning Prevention Week<br />

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children in the UK, and every<br />

year, over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland; approximately one person every 10 hours.<br />

According to the Royal Life Saving Society’s Director of Education, Mike Dunn, you are more likely to<br />

die from drowning than you are from being hit by a car or in a fire.<br />

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS<br />

UK) thinks that every drowning is<br />

preventable, and they exist to offer<br />

education and advice to “make sure no<br />

one ever drowns”.<br />

The society run an annual Drowning<br />

Prevention Week to raise awareness<br />

of the problem and to reduce the<br />

number of drowning and near drowning<br />

incidences that happen. This year, the<br />

campaign starts on Friday <strong>June</strong> 14th and<br />

finishes on Monday <strong>June</strong> 24th and has 3<br />

major aims:<br />

1. To increase the number of children<br />

receiving water safety education<br />

2. To reduce the number of drowning<br />

incidences<br />

3. To promote drowning prevention<br />

projects and initiatives at local and<br />

national level<br />

The campaign focuses on showing<br />

people how to be safe and have fun near<br />

water, and encourages schools, clubs,<br />

leisure centres and communities, to<br />

promote water safety education through<br />

events, lessons, games and activities, in<br />

a bid to make people more aware of the<br />

dangers that water poses, especially in<br />

the summer months, when more of us<br />

are tempted to enter the water at lakes,<br />

beaches and swimming pools.<br />

The first thing to remember is to always<br />

follow the water safety code. The<br />

message is simple but needs to be<br />

reiterated, often. You can download a<br />

poster like the one shown, here.<br />

Always follow the<br />

water safety code<br />

Whenever you are around water:<br />

STOP and think<br />

stay together<br />

In an emergency:<br />

Call 999 or 112<br />

float<br />

Always follow the Water Safety Code<br />


• 52% of accidental drownings happen in open water<br />

• More than 80% of all accidental drownings are male<br />

• More than 56% never intended to be in the water<br />

• Around 34% of accidental drownings happen in the summer<br />

• The highest percentage of drownings occur in the age range<br />

20–29 years old<br />

Statistics from RLSS UK website<br />

Look for the dangers. Always read<br />

the signs.<br />

Never swim alone. Always go with<br />

friends or family.<br />

Shout for help and phone 999 or 112.<br />

If you fall in, float or swim on your<br />

back. Throw something that<br />

floats to anyone who has fallen in.<br />

rlss.org.uk<br />

When we think about drowning, many<br />

people wrongly assume that it is mostly<br />

people who have gone swimming and<br />

maybe got into trouble, but over half of<br />

accidental drownings occur in people<br />

who never intended to be in the water<br />

in the first place. And when you really<br />

think about where we interact with<br />

water, you realise that the problem is<br />

not just confined to lakes, beaches and<br />

swimming pools, but also to the safe<br />

use of paddling pools, ponds, streams,<br />

puddles and yes, baths. People can<br />

drown in only a few centimetres of<br />

water so learning about water safety in<br />

different environments is vital.<br />

The RLSS UK website has lots of useful<br />

advice and information relevant to<br />

different situations, including water<br />

safety for:<br />

• Open water places<br />

• Winter water and ice<br />

• Summer water advice<br />

• Commercial swimming pools<br />

• Residential swimming pools<br />

• Water at home (paddling pools,<br />

ponds, baths, water storage<br />

containers etc.)<br />

• Holidays<br />

• The beach<br />

• During a flood<br />

• Anglers<br />

In addition, the site offers advice on how<br />

to help someone who is drowning, coldwater<br />

shock, lifeguard and first aider<br />

training and links to other campaigns,<br />

schemes and awards they run. And they<br />

have many free, educational resources,<br />

and videos to help you, at whatever level<br />

you need.<br />

It’s vital to get these important<br />

messages across to all ages and there<br />

are many ways for everyone to get<br />

involved; parents, teachers, educators,<br />

nurseries, community groups and of<br />

course, children, to make as many<br />

people as possible aware of the key<br />

messages - things that could ultimately<br />

save their own, or someone else’s life.<br />


If you want to get involved in this year’s Drowning Prevention Week, you can register<br />

on the website here, and gain access to their many different resources. There are<br />

resources for schools, parents, community groups, and others so you can use these<br />

to plan an education session for your children, staff or parents.<br />

Consider the following activities:<br />

1. Run a water safety educational session – you can buy or make related<br />

certificates to give out to show a child’s participation in the session<br />

2. Organise a water fun day, raising awareness of water safety at the same time<br />

3. Hold a stall at a local summer fair to share key messages<br />

4. Download and put up the water safety code poster<br />

5. Share the messages on your social media platforms letting everyone know you<br />

are supporting the awareness week. Suitable images are available from the<br />

website<br />

6. Hold a fundraiser for the charity<br />

If you download the Drowning Prevention Week Toolkit, you will find many useful<br />

ideas and activities along with risk assessment forms, email and letter templates<br />

and examples of press releases for local news outlets, to get you started.<br />


Whilst drownings at home are less frequent that at other places, the RLSS UK believe<br />

they are more preventable. So it is important to pass on the advice for water safety<br />

at home so that nurseries can ensure they are using water safely in their settings<br />

and they are taking action to pass this advice on to their parents and staff.<br />

• Always use self-closing gates, fences<br />

and locks to prevent children from<br />

gaining access to pools of water<br />

• Securely cover all water storage<br />

tanks and drains<br />

• Empty paddling pools and buckets<br />

as soon as they have been used.<br />

Always turn paddling pools upside<br />

down once empty<br />

• Always supervise bath time (never<br />

leave children unattended). Empty the<br />

bath as soon as possible after use<br />

• Vulnerable adults and people who<br />

suffer from sudden seizures should<br />

consider using showers rather than<br />

baths<br />

rlss.org.uk<br />

And if you needed any more<br />

motivation, there are some<br />

heart-wrenching true stories<br />

on the website about young<br />

people who have lost their<br />

lives by drowning. Don’t let<br />

the people you know and love<br />

become a statistic – spread the<br />

word and take action to prevent<br />

drowning today.<br />

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

Invest in the development<br />

of your team...<br />

What our customers say<br />


By providing training for your staff, you will:<br />

Improve morale Enhance your setting’s reputation<br />

Support children’s safety Reduce staff turnover<br />

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

Outstanding! Amazing tutor, who has<br />

supported me not only through my course<br />

but also with personal issues too. She really<br />

is a wonderful lady and a credit to Parenta.<br />

Thank you so much for the opportunity and I<br />

look forward to completing level 3 with you!<br />

Linda Alexander - Marden Pre-School<br />


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

Jamie - thank you for your training<br />

- very informative and thank you<br />

for all your help!<br />

Ingrid<br />

We help hundreds of childcare providers train their staff every year.<br />

Investing in staff training and development is essential for not only<br />

upskilling your workforce, but reducing recruitment costs, attracting top<br />

talent and helping to prevent skills shortages.<br />

On the 1 st April, the contribution that you pay when you are a non-levy<br />

employer dropped to 5% - it could be as little as £100 for 19+ or free for<br />

16—18-year-olds. There has never been a better time to upskill your staff!<br />

Let us help you with your training needs – call us today!<br />

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

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

I found Chloe to be very helpful and informative, providing me<br />

with all the answers and assistance to enable my daughter to<br />

start her training course with Parenta.<br />

Felicity Vaughan<br />


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

Many thanks Jamie for all your advice on<br />

how to solve my problem and for your<br />

patience checking my actions for me. Very<br />

much appreciated.<br />

Cheryl - Little Learners at Sellindge Pre-<br />

School<br />


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

Parenta are a great company to<br />

train with. I have found the services<br />

professional, with excellent support<br />

offered throughout from my<br />

assessor.<br />

SOFTWARE SUPPORT - APRIL <strong>2019</strong><br />

All the customer service callers I spoke to were very nice and<br />

patient with me. Always a pleasure speaking to the staff.<br />

Emmanuella - Bright Futures<br />

Sarah Holbourne<br />

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

The life cycle of of a a butterfly<br />

butterfly<br />

Everyone loves butterflies. These fragile and beautiful creatures grace all continents (except<br />

Antarctica), and herald in the summer. They pollinate flowers, help scientists monitor the<br />

environment and ecosystems, and are an important element in the food chain.<br />

There are approximately 20,000 global species of butterfly of<br />

which 71 have been recorded in Britain and Ireland. Learning<br />

about their life cycle is a great way to introduce environmental<br />

topics, as well as the idea that things change and develop as<br />

they grow, just like frogs, chickens and humans!<br />

Here’s some information and a few ideas for activities, which<br />

can really help you bring the subject to life!<br />

Butterfly life cycle<br />

There are four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly:<br />

1. Eggs<br />

2. Caterpillar/larva<br />

3. Pupa/chrysalis<br />

4. Adult butterfly<br />

Each stage has a different purpose and the butterfly needs to go through all four stages before it can reproduce. The process is<br />

called metamorphosis and can take from one month to one year, depending on the butterfly species.<br />

Related activities<br />

Arts and crafts<br />

1. Make some models of the different stages of the life cycle. You could<br />

use, playdough, clay or paper to create the eggs; egg boxes to make the<br />

caterpillars; kitchen roll inserts for the chrysalis; and pipe-cleaners and tissue<br />

paper to make some beautiful adult butterflies.<br />

2. Little people’s handprints make excellent ‘wings’ for butterfly pictures and<br />

you can use their footprints for the body too! See this website for some great<br />

examples you can easily recreate.<br />

3. Why not create butterfly pictures by dropping different colours of paint onto<br />

one side of a piece of paper, then folding the paper in half to print a mirrored<br />

image on the opposite side? You can use paper plates too, and then cut them<br />

into different wing shapes.<br />

4. There are many free-to-download colouring pages on the web which include<br />

all stages of the life cycle, but some good ones can be found here.<br />

Practical nature<br />

1. One of the best ways for children<br />

to learn about caterpillars and<br />

butterflies is to allow them to<br />

raise their own. There are different<br />

butterfly packs available which<br />

allow you to look after caterpillars,<br />

watch them grow into butterflies<br />

and finally release them. You can<br />

buy starter and refill packs here<br />

and there is a lot of information and<br />

other resources on this site related<br />

to nature too.<br />

2. Go out into your garden, local<br />

park or wooded area and hunt<br />

for butterfly eggs, caterpillars or<br />

adult butterflies. Just be careful<br />

and mindful that they are living<br />

creatures.<br />

Creative<br />

Stage 1:<br />

Egg<br />

Stage 2:<br />

Larva/caterpillar<br />

Stage 3:<br />

pupa/chrysalis<br />

Stage 4:<br />

Adult Butterfly<br />

You can also introduce the idea of<br />

the butterfly life cycle using creative<br />

movement and music. Encourage the<br />

children to start out as an egg, curled<br />

up tightly; then have them emerge as a<br />

caterpillar and crawl around to explore<br />

their surroundings. You can then get<br />

them to wiggle to ‘shed their skin’ and<br />

find a safe place to become a chrysalis.<br />

Finally, have them fly around as an adult<br />

butterfly.<br />

Every butterfly starts life as an egg and<br />

if you look closely at some eggs (such as<br />

Monarch butterfly eggs), you can see the<br />

tiny caterpillar growing inside it.<br />

The shape of the egg depends on the<br />

butterfly that laid it, and adult butterflies<br />

lay eggs on leaves of certain plants,<br />

so their offspring have food when they<br />

hatch. But be careful if you are looking<br />

for butterfly eggs outside, as many<br />

butterflies like to lay their eggs on<br />

stinging nettle leaves for that added bit<br />

of protection!<br />

The larva stage of a butterfly’s life cycle<br />

is what we all recognise as a caterpillar,<br />

and the main purpose of this stage, is<br />

for the caterpillar to eat and grow. The<br />

caterpillar often starts by eating its own<br />

eggshell, moving onto the leaf where the<br />

egg sat. Newly hatched caterpillars are<br />

very small and cannot move to another<br />

plant so it’s important that the adult<br />

butterfly lays its eggs on the right plant.<br />

Caterpillars are very vulnerable at this<br />

stage and need to eat and grow quickly.<br />

When they start to eat, they start to<br />

expand but their exoskeleton (skin) is<br />

not like ours and does not expand with<br />

them as they grow. Instead, a caterpillar<br />

sheds its skin several times - a bit like<br />

discarding clothes that no longer fit<br />

and changing to something bigger. The<br />

process is called ‘moulting’.<br />

Once the caterpillar is large enough,<br />

it finds a safe place and attaches<br />

itself to a branch, leaf or twig. Some<br />

caterpillars hang upside down, some<br />

hang the right way up, and others create<br />

a kind of hammock. The caterpillar<br />

then sheds its skin for the final time<br />

revealing the chrysalis, which hardens<br />

over time to form a protective shell. It’s<br />

here that the caterpillar has its greatest<br />

metamorphosis, undergoing a seemingly<br />

magical transformation.<br />

You can think of this stage a bit like<br />

recycling a plastic bottle – melting it<br />

down and re-forming it into a carrier<br />

bag or plate. In the chrysalis stage,<br />

most of the caterpillar’s cells change, to<br />

become something like a stem cell, then<br />

reorganise themselves as something<br />

completely different - an adult butterfly.<br />

After about 2 weeks, the adult butterfly<br />

emerges from the chrysalis for the final<br />

stage of its life cycle. When the butterfly<br />

first comes out however, its wings are<br />

wet and small since they have been<br />

folded up inside the chrysalis. The<br />

butterfly needs to rest for a few hours<br />

after emerging, to dry its wings and<br />

pump blood into them, causing them<br />

to expand. The adult butterfly can then<br />

fulfil its final role; to mate and ensure<br />

the continuation of the species. Female<br />

butterflies will then find suitable plants<br />

on which to lay their eggs and the whole<br />

cycle starts again.<br />

Whatever you do, have fun and<br />

appreciate these miraculous little<br />

creatures.<br />

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

Exploring the real heroes in our lives<br />

This is the penultimate article in this series looking at superhero play, prior to the publication of my<br />

book Calling all Superheroes. It considers real-life heroes and encouraging children to think about<br />

how ordinary people can, and do, do extraordinary things.<br />

own or smiling at someone who feels<br />

very sad and asking if you can help.<br />

These everyday acts of kindness can<br />

make a huge difference to someone’s<br />

day and even their life! We can explain<br />

that heroes come in all shapes and<br />

sizes – men, women, boys, girls, all<br />

nationalities, all ethnic groups, all<br />

socio-economic statuses and so on.<br />

Everyone can be a hero when they show<br />

compassion or care for others.<br />

We can encourage children to engage<br />

in socio-dramatic play and pretend they<br />

are a variety of everyday heroes. Here<br />

are some ideas of how to play with the<br />

concept of real-life heroes and promote<br />

this in your setting:<br />

The young children we are working<br />

with are surrounded by stories of<br />

heroism in real-life, for example, the<br />

firefighters during the horrific events at<br />

the Grenfell Tower fire in London. They<br />

showed bravery, emotional resilience<br />

and physical strength amid such<br />

terrifying circumstances. As firefighters<br />

are ordinary people, we can explain<br />

to the children that they can also be<br />

brave, resilient and strong. Playing<br />

at superheroes should not be limited<br />

to those with superpowers or extrahuman<br />

strength, instead, children can<br />

explore heroic abilities relating to reallife<br />

scenarios too. We want our children<br />

to develop a growth mindset where<br />

the sky’s the limit, or rather, where<br />

there are no limits! This will require us<br />

role-modelling, sharing stories of adults<br />

and children overcoming adversity and<br />

problem-solving in everyday scenarios.<br />

One child that I have had the pleasure<br />

of working with is Tom. His dad is his<br />

superhero as this note that he wrote<br />

implies. It says, “To dad Soopu Hirow<br />

(superhero) luve (love) Tom.” He gave<br />

this note to his father and told him that<br />

the crosses were kisses.<br />

Tom looked upon his dad as his hero<br />

and many of our children will look<br />

up to other people as their heroes.<br />

Sometimes these heroes are fictional,<br />

like Superman; sometimes they are<br />

famous, like a pop star or footballer;<br />

and sometimes they are heroes from<br />

our everyday lives, like Tom’s Dad<br />

or Uncle Fred! One idea is to talk to<br />

children about heroism, who real-life<br />

heroes are, and what makes them<br />

special. Harris defines ‘everyday<br />

heroes’ as, “heroes (in the local<br />

community or among the students) who<br />

are not wearing costumes and masks”<br />

(2016, p.212). You might like to explain<br />

that heroes come in all shapes and<br />

sizes and many are people that we can<br />

meet everyday and look after us, for<br />

example, mummies, daddies, doctors<br />

and nurses. Heroes do not need to be<br />

famous, they can be individuals who<br />

overcome adversity or do something<br />

very special to help others. Perhaps<br />

your children would like to draw a<br />

picture of their hero or make a card for<br />

their hero and invite them to talk about<br />

why they are great.<br />

When discussing heroes with young<br />

children, here are a few questions<br />

that you might want to ask:<br />

What is a hero? Focus on all<br />

heroes, not just superheroes.<br />

(Ordinary people who do<br />

extraordinary things?)<br />

How can someone act like a hero<br />

- what does heroism mean to<br />

you? (Doing good, being<br />

the first to help, putting<br />

the needs of others first?)<br />

What do heroes have<br />

in common? (Amazing<br />

at what they do? Help<br />

us? Brave? Overcome<br />

problems?)<br />

Do you have any heroes?<br />

How can we be kind-hearted<br />

and caring heroes to our friends?<br />

We also need to teach children about<br />

how small actions are also heroic in<br />

their own way and might make a big<br />

difference for someone<br />

else. For example,<br />

asking someone to<br />

play with you if<br />

they are on<br />

their<br />

Invite visitors into your setting who<br />

could be described as heroes, for<br />

example, fire-fighters, park rangers<br />

or police officers. Ask them to explain<br />

their daily activities, equipment,<br />

training, and why they enjoy their jobs.<br />

Follow the children’s lead and allow<br />

them to plan areas, gather resources,<br />

imagine things and improvise.<br />

Provide artefacts or props and<br />

encourage the children to create<br />

their own props, labels and signs to<br />

enhance their play.<br />

Offer opportunities for role-play inside<br />

and outside.<br />

Plan an event with the children which<br />

encourages them to be heroes too –<br />

for example a sponsored walk which<br />

raises money for charity or helping to<br />

remove plastic from the local beach, or<br />

visiting a residential care home for the<br />

elderly.<br />

Show the children the various icons<br />

and logos that many heroes have<br />

and create a logo for an<br />

everyday hero of their choice.<br />

Encourage the children to<br />

make ‘My Hero!’ cards for<br />

someone in their family<br />

who has inspired them.<br />

Show children newspaper cuttings of<br />

heroes and heroic acts – courage or<br />

service to community.<br />

Show children pictures of figures,<br />

living and dead, who have been called<br />

heroes – choose people you admire.<br />

Notice and encourage kindness, for<br />

example through creating a kindness<br />

jar or promoting acts of kindness at<br />

specific times of year.<br />

Encourage children to be involved in<br />

community projects, serving others in<br />

some way, for example collecting food<br />

for the local food bank.<br />

Read stories and rhymes to the<br />

children which focus on heroism and<br />

overcoming difficulties.<br />

Create a display about ‘Our Heroes’ to<br />

celebrate everyday heroism.<br />

Exploring the real-life heroes can be a<br />

great way of combining the children’s<br />

interest in superhero play with teaching<br />

skills and attributes that we want<br />

to encourage, like kindness,<br />

compassion, bravery, resilience and<br />

inner strength. So put on your x-ray<br />

specs to view those heroes all<br />

around you and also don’t forget<br />

to look into a mirror and see the<br />

hero that lives in you!<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 />

Reference<br />

Harris, K. I. (2016). Heroes of resiliency and reciprocity:<br />

teachers’ supporting role for reconceptualizing superhero<br />

play in early childhood settings. Pastoral Care in Education,<br />

34(4), 202–217.<br />

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

Father’s Day<br />

Father’s Day stick puppet craft<br />

On Sunday 16th <strong>June</strong>, the nation dedicates a day to members of the family who we consider to be<br />

father figures. In many countries, Father’s Day traditionally falls on the third Sunday in <strong>June</strong> and<br />

unlike Mother’s Day, this event is celebrated by the UK and the USA on the same day.<br />

Whilst France, Greece and Saudi Arabia<br />

also celebrate Father’s Day in <strong>June</strong>,<br />

other countries like Fiji, Papua New<br />

Guinea, and Australia all celebrate<br />

in September. This is thought to be<br />

because, in the northern hemisphere,<br />

spring is March to <strong>June</strong>. The reverse<br />

is true for countries in the southern<br />

hemisphere, where spring falls from<br />

September to December.<br />

How did it all begin?<br />

The history of Father’s Day can be traced<br />

back over 100 years, to 1909, in the USA.<br />

According to one tale, a lady called<br />

Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a<br />

Mother’s Day sermon at church when<br />

she had an idea - calling upon her<br />

local pastor to consider a similar day<br />

to be held to honour fathers. Dodd was<br />

the daughter of an American Civil War<br />

veteran who single-handedly raised 6<br />

children.<br />

Dodd initially suggested that the day be<br />

celebrated on 5th <strong>June</strong> 1910, which was<br />

the anniversary of her father’s death.<br />

However, this did not leave much time<br />

for the pastors to prepare their sermons.<br />

Therefore, it was decided that the<br />

celebration would be postponed until<br />

the third Sunday in <strong>June</strong>. On the day,<br />

Dodd selflessly delivered Father’s Day<br />

gifts to those who were too ill to leave<br />

their homes.<br />

In the 1920s, Dodd went to study at the<br />

Art Institute of Chicago and stopped<br />

promoting awareness of the celebration.<br />

Without her efforts, the familiarity<br />

of Father’s Day faded somewhat.<br />

In the 1930s, Dodd returned to her<br />

hometown of Spokane, Washington,<br />

and took up the reins for the cause<br />

once more. This time, she began<br />

raising awareness of Father’s Day at<br />

a national level. Initially, there was<br />

some resistance to recognising Father’s<br />

Day. Many Americans thought it was<br />

another attempt by retailers to copy the<br />

commercial success of Mother’s Day.<br />

Even the papers mocked Dodd’s idea.<br />

Making the day an official national<br />

holiday<br />

In 1966, President Johnson issued a<br />

statement honouring fathers, which<br />

supported the idea that the third<br />

Sunday in <strong>June</strong> would be Father’s Day. It<br />

was President Nixon who, in 1972, made<br />

the day a permanent national holiday in<br />

the USA. He said it was “…an occasion<br />

for the renewal of the love and gratitude<br />

we bear our fathers.”<br />

According to another story, Father’s Day<br />

first began because of a woman named<br />

Grace Golden Clayton from Fairmount, in<br />

West Virginia. An orphan, Grace lobbied<br />

her local Methodist ministers for a<br />

church service to honour fathers in 1908.<br />

The story goes that she was inspired to<br />

do this after a mining disaster killed 362<br />

local men. Their deaths orphaned more<br />

than 1,000 children and Grace wanted to<br />

pay tribute to the children’s dead fathers<br />

- as well as her own.<br />

There are, however, alternative theories<br />

as to how the day came about. Some<br />

people believe Father’s Day to have<br />

roots in paganism. Many pagans<br />

believe that the sun was the father of<br />

the universe and, because the summer<br />

solstice (longest day) takes place on a<br />

similar date to Father’s Day, there are<br />

those who believe that this was actually<br />

the original link.<br />

Traditions on Father’s Day<br />

On the day, people traditionally<br />

post or hand-deliver Father’s<br />

Day cards. Many people try<br />

to visit their fathers in person<br />

and gather the whole family<br />

for a meal. Some dads are<br />

lucky enough to receive<br />

breakfast in bed or a<br />

home-cooked Sunday roast<br />

dinner, as well as gifts. But<br />

it’s not just fathers who are<br />

honoured on this day. Those<br />

who are considered to hold a<br />

fatherly role in the family, such<br />

as grandfathers or stepfathers,<br />

are similarly cherished<br />

and celebrated.<br />

You will need:<br />

> > White paper<br />

> > A printer<br />

> > Colouring pens/pencils/markers<br />

> > Scissors<br />

> > Lolly sticks<br />

> > Glue<br />

Instructions:<br />

1. Click here to download<br />

our free template, once<br />

downloaded, print it.<br />

2. Colour in the template with<br />

pens, pencils or markers, in<br />

any colours you like, see if<br />

you can use every colour you<br />

have!<br />

3. Carefully cut out the template.<br />

4. Put some glue on the back of<br />

the template, place the lolly<br />

stick on the bottom part so it<br />

sticks out, like feet, and then<br />

carefully glue on the front part<br />

of the template.<br />

Voilà!<br />

Happy Father’s<br />

Day!<br />

We’d love to see what designs<br />

the children at your setting<br />

came up with! Share photos<br />

with us on Facebook or<br />

email us at marketing@<br />

parenta.com<br />

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

How to soothe a restless baby<br />

Anyone who has tried without success to soothe a crying and restless baby, can vouch<br />

for the fact that it can be both exhausting and upsetting - for parents and childcare<br />

practitioners alike. However much experience you may have with children, it’s only natural<br />

to be concerned when none of the usual techniques seem to work and you struggle to calm<br />

baby down.<br />

For babies, the world is an incredibly<br />

fascinating, stimulating and utterly<br />

exciting place. Everything is brand<br />

new, and although amazing,<br />

at times it can also be a little<br />

overwhelming.<br />

The overstimulation of senses is<br />

one of many reasons a baby may<br />

be restless, but other reasons can,<br />

of course, include tiredness and<br />

trapped wind.<br />

With this in mind, here are five ways<br />

that can work wonders to soothe<br />

and calm a baby.<br />

Change of scenery<br />

Babies, just like adults,<br />

need a change of<br />

scenery and fresh air.<br />

As babies become<br />

a little older,<br />

they<br />

love being out and about for their<br />

walk or play - and if it falls around<br />

the same time each day; they come<br />

to expect it. They can even get a<br />

little bit grumpy if it doesn’t happen!<br />

Sometimes, just going into the<br />

garden or taking a walk around the<br />

block can be a welcome change<br />

of scenery, greatly helping to keep<br />

them content.<br />

Quiet time<br />

As well as being understimulated,<br />

babies can also quickly become<br />

overstimulated, just as adults can.<br />

If you find there is a lot of noise<br />

and general coming and<br />

going of people and<br />

you notice that baby<br />

is turning their<br />

head away, it may<br />

be a good sign<br />

they have ‘had<br />

enough’. Babies<br />

can become<br />

‘sensory<br />

overloaded’ and<br />

will need you to<br />

help them take<br />

it down a level. You can do this by<br />

going somewhere a little quieter –<br />

similar to when we’ve had a busy<br />

day – it’s wonderful to have a few<br />

minutes of quiet time to catch our<br />

breath.<br />

Relieving wind<br />

For the beginning part of a baby’s<br />

life, they will rely on us to wind them<br />

and help to relieve gas; their little<br />

bodies can’t quite do it all on their<br />

own just yet. When a baby has wind,<br />

it is often painful. Wind may come<br />

in the form of a burp or gas in their<br />

tummy. Often, burping a baby to get<br />

rid of wind helps soothe them. This<br />

can be done by laying baby down<br />

on his/her back and doing bicycle<br />

movements with his legs and also by<br />

pushing the legs gently up towards<br />

his/her tummy. Laying baby on your<br />

lap and rubbing his back can also<br />

help to relieve gas.<br />

“Shush-pat”<br />

This is a wonderful tool to use if<br />

baby has become overstimulated<br />

or overtired. By picking them up<br />

Use this as a rough guide:<br />

Age<br />

and allowing their head to rest on<br />

your shoulder, patting between the<br />

shoulder blades, in a very rhythmic<br />

way and shushing (not into - but<br />

past baby’s ear), you begin to take<br />

the attention away from the crying<br />

and focus it on the rhythmic motion<br />

of your patting and the soothing<br />

sound of your shushing. This should<br />

allow you to be able to help baby<br />

be calm enough so that you can lay<br />

baby in their cot and help them from<br />

there, continuing to pat and shush if<br />

needed, again, helping to focus the<br />

attention on falling asleep.<br />

And finally…<br />

Often, an upset baby is a tired baby.<br />

A baby’s ‘awake time’ is the amount<br />

of time a baby can comfortably<br />

stay awake for between naps and<br />

bedtime, before becoming tired<br />

again – and then overtired if you<br />

miss this window.<br />

Young babies are often<br />

misdiagnosed as having colic when<br />

in fact they are overtired, as on<br />

paper, the symptoms are incredibly<br />

similar.<br />

Awake time<br />

0 - 12 weeks 45 mins - 1 hour<br />

12 - 16 weeks 1 - 1.5 hours<br />

17 - 25 weeks 1.5 - 2 hours<br />

6 - 8 months 2 - 3 hours<br />

9 - 12 months 3 - 4 hours<br />

13 months - 2.5 years 5 - 7+ hours<br />

Tracy Newberry<br />

The content in this guide<br />

has been kindly provided by<br />

baby sleep coach and sleep<br />

consultant Tracy Newberry -<br />

mother of two and founder of<br />

Happy Baby and Me. Known<br />

as ‘The Gentle Baby Sleep<br />

Coach’, Tracy specialises in<br />

working with parents whose<br />

babies are between 6–11<br />

months, solving their little<br />

one’s sleep issues without<br />

using any of the ‘cry-it-out’<br />

methods. This significantly<br />

reduces stress and protects<br />

the bond parents work so<br />

hard to build. With over 14<br />

years’ experience working<br />

with babies as a nanny and<br />

as a baby sleep coach, Tracy<br />

prides herself on helping<br />

babies sleep gently, with<br />

love, kindness and the utmost<br />

respect.<br />

Website:<br />

www.happybabyandme.com<br />

Facebook:<br />

www.facebook.com/<br />

HappyBabyAndMe<br />

LinkedIn:<br />

www.linkedin.com/in/<br />

tracynewberry<br />

*Note that as little ones get older, they can have different awake times during the day. E.g. a 9/10-month-old baby<br />

may need a 2-hour stretch between waking up for the day and their morning nap, then a 3-hour gap between<br />

waking from their morning nap and going down for their afternoon nap. Then a 3.5/4-hour gap from waking up after<br />

the afternoon nap until going down for bedtime again.<br />

Once you spot your baby’s tired signs, reduce stimulation and start getting your baby ready for their nap by doing a<br />

short nap routine.<br />

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

Diabetes<br />

Week -<br />

#SeeDiabetesDifferently<br />

Week<br />

#SeeDiabetesDifferently<br />

What comes to mind when you<br />

think of diabetes? Older and<br />

more obese people? Insulin<br />

injections? Poor eyesight? A<br />

life without chocolate?<br />

All these things have been<br />

associated with diabetes in<br />

the past, and some still are<br />

today; but is this all diabetes<br />

is about? Or are there<br />

misconceptions, prejudices<br />

and stereotypes about<br />

diabetes that could do with an<br />

overhaul?<br />

Every year, Diabetes UK, a leading UK<br />

diabetes charity, organise ‘Diabetes<br />

Week’ to raise awareness, education<br />

levels, and money to fund future<br />

research on diabetes. This year, it runs<br />

from 10—16th <strong>June</strong> and has the theme<br />

of “#SeeDiabetesDifferently”. The aim<br />

is “to help people know more about<br />

diabetes - not just as a condition, but<br />

about how it feels to live with it.”<br />

Someone is diagnosed with diabetes<br />

every two minutes and there are 4.7<br />

million people in the UK living with<br />

diabetes. Diabetes UK think “every<br />

one is different”, so here are 7 major<br />

myths about diabetes that may need<br />

reconsidering – one for each day of<br />

Diabetes Week.<br />

MYTH<br />

1<br />

Diabetes only affects older, overweight people<br />

The media often talk about diabetes along with images of obese or<br />

overweight people, and greasy, ‘take-away’ food. Whilst there is a link<br />

between the rise in obesity and increasing incidence of Type 2 diabetes,<br />

diabetes can affect people of all ages, weights and body types. Around onefifth<br />

of people with Type 2 diabetes are of a normal weight, or underweight.<br />

That said, being overweight is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, so reducing<br />

weight is usually recommended to reduce risk.<br />

There are also at least 6,000 children and young people under 25 with Type<br />

2 diabetes in England and Wales and the incidence is increasing. What’s<br />

important here is that childcare providers are up-to-speed with diabetes<br />

information and know what to do if children in their care have the condition.<br />

You could set up a diabetes policy within your setting to make sure that you<br />

are effectively able to look after children with diabetes.<br />

MYTH<br />

2<br />

Type 2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes and<br />

does not need insulin<br />

All types of diabetes are serious and there is no such thing as ‘mild<br />

diabetes’. If left untreated, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can cause serious<br />

complications that can be fatal. It is a chronic disease that occurs when the<br />

pancreas either does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot<br />

effectively use the insulin that the pancreas produces, leading to ineffective<br />

control the body’s blood sugar levels, which can damage other systems such<br />

as blood vessels, nerves and organs.<br />

Type 2 diabetes can often be managed by lifestyle changes but in some<br />

cases, as the degree of insulin resistance increases, insulin may be needed,<br />

just like Type 1 diabetes.<br />

MYTH<br />

3<br />

People with diabetes cannot drive<br />

Being able to drive and be independent is something that many people value<br />

highly. If you have diabetes and manage it well, research suggests that you<br />

are no less safe on the roads than other people, so developing diabetes<br />

does not automatically mean you cannot drive. Charities like Diabetes UK<br />

offer advice on all aspects of living with diabetes including how it might<br />

affect a person’s ability to drive.<br />

MYTH<br />

4<br />

People with diabetes can’t do certain jobs<br />

To some extent, this is true. There are still positions, such as some roles in the<br />

Armed Forces, which are not available to people with diabetes. However, the<br />

number of jobs that people are excluded from, is decreasing and charities are<br />

campaigning to remove prejudice and ‘blanket bans’ around employment.<br />

MYTH<br />

5<br />

People with diabetes can’t eat sugar or fruit and<br />

should eat only ‘diabetic’ food<br />

Eating is one of life’s pleasures and restricting what you eat can be difficult<br />

whether you have diabetes or not! People with diabetes need to eat a healthy,<br />

balanced diet in order to control their blood sugar effectively. Since everyone<br />

is different, dietary advice can be a tricky area, and it is recommended that<br />

people diagnosed with diabetes, see a dietician as soon as possible to get<br />

tailored advice for their specific situation. And it’s perfectly possible to eat fruit<br />

and sugar in moderation and still manage glucose levels effectively.<br />

So-called ‘diabetic’ foods are often labelled as such because they include<br />

sugar replacements, but patients should contact their dietician before buying<br />

them. It is certainly not the case that people with diabetes can only eat<br />

‘diabetic’ food.<br />

MYTH<br />

6<br />

It’s difficult to travel if you have diabetes<br />

People with diabetes travel all over the world on all forms of transport.<br />

Preparation and planning are key, as it’s even more important for people<br />

with diabetes to ensure that they have access to the correct medicines,<br />

advice, emergency help and insurance when they travel – but they can still<br />

fulfil their travel dreams.<br />

MYTH<br />

7<br />

Diabetes is contagious<br />

You cannot catch diabetes like you might catch a cold! It is a ‘noncommunicable<br />

illness’ so is not passed on by touch, coughing, sneezing,<br />

blood, or any other person-to-person contact. Some types of diabetes<br />

have been linked to genetic factors, but this just means a person may have<br />

increased risk of developing diabetes if they have a genetic predisposition.<br />

Obviously in the space of one<br />

article, we cannot tackle every<br />

myth or misconception, or lay out<br />

a comprehensive guide to the<br />

condition, its symptoms, treatments<br />

and complications. But hopefully<br />

we have straightened out some<br />

myths so you can indeed begin to<br />

#SeeDiabetesDifferently.<br />

What will you do in<br />

your setting to support<br />

Diabetes Week?<br />

We’d love to hear about<br />

your involvement. Please<br />

email us at marketing@<br />

parenta.com.<br />

For more information about<br />

diabetes, visit:<br />

• Diabetes UK -<br />

www.diabetes.org.uk<br />

• Diabetes.co.uk -<br />

www.diabetes.co.uk<br />

• NHS website -<br />

www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes<br />

• WHO -<br />

www.who.int/news-room/factsheets/detail/diabetes<br />

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

Using stories<br />

to nurture selfawareness<br />

Stories are an amazing tool to teach children<br />

about different concepts and circumstances<br />

in life. They are also excellent for supporting<br />

children through difficult times. If you are<br />

going through a hard time yourself, it is always<br />

easier if you know someone who has been<br />

through something similar. The fact that they<br />

have experienced the same thing and come<br />

out the other side is reassuring and shows you<br />

that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.<br />

Characters in storybooks can be that ‘friend’<br />

for children. At big moments in their lives, like<br />

starting school for example, stories can help to<br />

not only prepare children for what is about to<br />

happen, but also reassure them they’ll be okay<br />

and take away the fear of the unknown, which<br />

is linked to anxiety.<br />

By reading the story and then<br />

taking the time to talk about<br />

the different characters and<br />

their feelings, you can also<br />

give children the opportunity<br />

to identify with them and<br />

therefore explore their own<br />

thoughts and feelings too.<br />

This is fantastic because<br />

it develops children’s own<br />

self-awareness, which has<br />

a huge impact on their<br />

emotional well-being.<br />

I stumbled across a simple,<br />

yet amazing way to use<br />

stories when my daughter<br />

was 3 years old. Like many<br />

parents, I was hit by the<br />

dreaded ‘witching hour’.<br />

At 4pm on the dot, my<br />

daughter would go into an<br />

almighty meltdown. Being<br />

a former teacher, I just<br />

couldn’t understand how I<br />

could control a room full of<br />

children, yet I had zero ability<br />

to navigate afternoons with<br />

the beautiful little human<br />

that I had created. It was<br />

completely new territory at<br />

the time and I have to say<br />

that it had me in a frenzy!<br />

Having worked with children<br />

for years, I understood that<br />

there were many reasons<br />

for the meltdowns – she<br />

was tired, she wanted my<br />

undivided attention, but I<br />

was running around trying<br />

to do the 1 million jobs<br />

that needed doing before<br />

bedtime; she was hungry –<br />

the list goes on! However,<br />

despite knowing this, I still<br />

found myself struggling<br />

to get through this time<br />

without feeling like I was<br />

going to have a meltdown<br />

myself. I decided that the<br />

only answer was to put my<br />

teacher’s cap back on and<br />

try to approach it from a<br />

different angle. I always<br />

made my own resources<br />

and had written and<br />

illustrated storybooks from<br />

my daughter being 4 months<br />

old, so I decided to try to<br />

create some fun resources<br />

to keep her entertained.<br />

Because I already had the<br />

illustrations from my books<br />

on my computer, I quickly<br />

downloaded them and used<br />

them to make some fun craft<br />

activities.<br />

Not only did this work and<br />

our afternoon went without<br />

one single cry or scream,<br />

something else amazing<br />

happened. My daughter<br />

was familiar with all of the<br />

books that I had written,<br />

so when we were doing a<br />

craft activity based on one<br />

of my characters called<br />

Bunty Bee, my little girl<br />

started to talk about her.<br />

She started to tell me that<br />

Bunty had helped the fairy<br />

to find magic dust and that<br />

I then asked open-ended questions<br />

that related the story back to my<br />

daughter’s life and she proceeded to<br />

tell me all about the times that she<br />

is kind and how she helps her friends<br />

at pre-school.<br />

she was kind. I then asked<br />

how she thought it made<br />

the fairy feel when Bunty<br />

helped her and why it was<br />

important to ask for help.<br />

I then asked open-ended<br />

questions that related the<br />

story back to my daughter’s<br />

life and she proceeded to<br />

tell me all about the times<br />

that she is kind and how she<br />

helps her friends at preschool.<br />

We’d had so much<br />

fun together doing the craft<br />

activity and had developed<br />

so many different areas of<br />

learning. However, because<br />

this activity also linked to<br />

a story that my daughter<br />

was familiar with, it gave<br />

us so many opportunities<br />

to explore the characters<br />

and storylines as we were<br />

doing it, which allowed her<br />

to explore her own thoughts,<br />

feelings and actions!<br />

I know myself, if someone<br />

said to me that we were<br />

going to talk about feelings,<br />

I would probably clam up<br />

and feel a bit uncomfortable.<br />

However, if I was with a<br />

friend doing something fun<br />

and just chit-chatting about<br />

life, I’d probably naturally<br />

open up more because the<br />

focus wouldn’t be on me.<br />

By creating activities that<br />

could stand alone and that<br />

were fun, but that also had<br />

a theme underpinned by a<br />

story, this provided a similar<br />

safe space for children to do<br />

the same.<br />

The moment I realised the<br />

amazing power of this, my<br />

business Early Years Story<br />

Box was born and I created a<br />

range of resources to go with<br />

every book I had written. To<br />

this day, my children love<br />

to do the activities and I’m<br />

always blown away by the<br />

wonderful conversations that<br />

take place as we are having<br />

fun together as a family.<br />

If you don’t have the time to<br />

create your own storybooks<br />

and resources you can<br />

access all of mine for just<br />

£9.99 per year using the<br />

code PARENTA. I will also<br />

send you 2 free storybooks<br />

as a welcome gift!<br />

Find out more here:<br />

www.earlyyearsstorybox.<br />

com/subscribe<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 />

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


PEOPLE<br />


HELP TOO.<br />

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

We’re always on the lookout for<br />

new authors to contribute insightful<br />

articles for our monthly magazine.<br />

As a nursery practitioner,<br />

you work tirelessly to ensure<br />

the children in your setting<br />

receive the very best care.<br />

Unfortunately, not all children<br />

in deprived areas of the world<br />

have access to a pre-school<br />

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For as little as 56p a<br />

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• A school uniform<br />

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• The knowledge that<br />

someone truly cares<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 />

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 “The secrets of the<br />

search jar” was very popular with our readers. Well<br />

done, Joanna!<br />


<strong>June</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 31

Coping with change<br />

This time of year can become stressful for young children, and for us all, as they approach<br />

big changes in their lives. A major change for young children is when they leave your setting<br />

to start school. Some children will cope with this transition easily whilst others will really<br />

struggle with it; especially if they are the eldest child or only child in their family, therefore<br />

they haven’t had the advantage of watching an older sibling go to school every day.<br />

Here are some tips to help<br />

children cope with the<br />

transition into school:<br />

Put school uniform in<br />

the role-play area<br />

This is such an effective<br />

yet simple way of helping<br />

children get use to one<br />

aspect of school life – the<br />

uniform. Ask around and<br />

see if anyone has any<br />

old uniform and book<br />

bags that they no longer<br />

need. The children can<br />

then role-play schools –<br />

if you observe this play<br />

carefully you may become<br />

aware of any worries that<br />

some children have that<br />

they are not otherwise<br />

able to express. Another<br />

great thing about this is<br />

that children can practise<br />

getting changed in and<br />

out of their uniform –<br />

something that they are<br />

going to need to do at<br />

school when getting<br />

changed for P.E. (The<br />

reception teachers will<br />

really appreciate this!)<br />

Create a transition book<br />

With the help of the<br />

school, create a transition<br />

book that tells a child, in<br />

very simple terms, what<br />

their new school is going<br />

to be like i.e. I am going<br />

to ____ school. I will be in<br />

the ___ class. My teacher<br />

will be ____ . This is where<br />

I will hang my coat etc.<br />

Put one sentence on each<br />

page and include a photo<br />

above each sentence.<br />

That way, the book is clear<br />

and simple yet very, very<br />

effective. If you then give<br />

this to the family, they<br />

can read it with the child<br />

over the summer or at any<br />

point that the child may be<br />

having a ‘wobble’ about<br />

starting school.<br />

School visits<br />

Most parents will be keen<br />

to take their children to<br />

all school visits, and I’m<br />

sure that you will welcome<br />

school staff who would<br />

like to visit your setting<br />

(most reception teachers<br />

will do this at some point<br />

during the summer term,<br />

if they haven’t already).<br />

If you have a child that<br />

you think is going to<br />

particularly struggle with<br />

transition, then it would be<br />

worth having a chat with<br />

the school to see if you<br />

can arrange some extra<br />

visits for them.<br />

Help the child<br />

understand when the<br />

changes are happening<br />

One of the problems with<br />

an upcoming change<br />

is that young children<br />

have little concept of<br />

time, so they don’t really<br />

understand when it is<br />

happening. In this case a<br />

visual calendar can help.<br />

Just use a calendar or print<br />

a calendar month off the<br />

computer. On it, highlight<br />

any key events that the<br />

child knows of such as<br />

a holiday or a family<br />

birthday, plus mark their<br />

last day with you and their<br />

first day at school. You<br />

might need to use visuals<br />

to highlight these such as<br />

One of the problems with<br />

an upcoming change is that<br />

young children have little<br />

concept of time, so they don’t<br />

really understand when it is<br />

happening.<br />

a visual symbol, drawing<br />

or photo. The child can<br />

then cross off, either week<br />

by week or day by day, the<br />

time until they start school.<br />

This allows them to visually<br />

get an idea of when they<br />

start school, thus removing<br />

the unknown and easing<br />

anxiety.<br />

Help children<br />

prepare for school<br />

expectations &<br />

routines<br />

Gently helping children<br />

to learn some simple<br />

skills that they will need<br />

to use at school such as<br />

lining up and not calling<br />

out at carpet time is a<br />

great way of helping<br />

them understand what<br />

school is like. That way,<br />

the expectations at school<br />

won’t come as such a<br />

shock to them.<br />

Be positive<br />

Be positive about school –<br />

this may seem obvious but<br />

it is very easy to slip into<br />

lines such as ‘you won’t<br />

be able to do that when<br />

you start school’. This just<br />

instils fear into children<br />

and even if the child<br />

you’re saying it to isn’t<br />

that bothered, there may<br />

be other, more sensitive<br />

children listening in.<br />

Whilst the big upcoming<br />

change that we know<br />

about is starting school,<br />

there are often other<br />

big upheavals in a little<br />

person’s life that can<br />

benefit from the same<br />

support – the birth of<br />

a new sibling, moving<br />

house etc. You can apply<br />

many of the tips above to<br />

these sorts of scenarios.<br />

There are also excellent<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<br />

need different resources.<br />

Create Visual Aids is<br />

dedicated to making visual<br />

symbols exactly how the<br />

individual needs them.<br />

Website:<br />

www.createvisualaids.com<br />

Email:<br />

gina@createvisualsaids.com<br />

books available to support<br />

children through different<br />

changes in their lives.<br />

As well as being hard for<br />

children, change can also<br />

be tough for adults! I’m<br />

sure you will be sad to<br />

say goodbye to some of<br />

the characters that you<br />

have got to know so well,<br />

but by putting steps like<br />

these into place, you can<br />

be sure that you have<br />

done your best to help<br />

them transition into school<br />

happily.<br />

32 Parenta.com <strong>June</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 33

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helps learners find an<br />

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How to help parents<br />

boost their child’s<br />

vocabulary<br />

A child learning to speak their first words is one of those magical<br />

times and once they start, there’s usually no stopping them. But,<br />

children need to know how to put those words into context and<br />

there’s no better way of doing that than with a story!<br />

As Philip Pulman said: “Storytelling is one of the most important,<br />

most humane, most liberating and most democratic things that<br />

human beings can do.”<br />

Reading to their child from a young<br />

age is one of the best things a parent<br />

can do for them (as well as feed and<br />

love them obviously). But sadly, not<br />

all parents can or do. This can be for<br />

any number of reasons. It may be<br />

that they weren’t read to as a child,<br />

so they don’t associate the benefits<br />

of reading to their children or maybe<br />

they struggle with their own literacy<br />

skills and are frightened to admit it.<br />

But being able to make up stories<br />

can help to overcome some of those<br />

issues and it’s not as difficult as you<br />

might think. Believe it or not, we tell<br />

stories every day, it’s what make us<br />

human!<br />


Improves language<br />

Listening to stories helps us put<br />

things into context and this is how we<br />

learn best. It can also invoke a love of<br />

language and develops vocabulary.<br />

After all, who doesn’t like trying to<br />

use a pun or two?<br />

Bonding<br />

Children with the biggest emotional<br />

and behavioural difficulties respond<br />

best to stories and it’s a great way<br />

for parents to bond with their child<br />

too. It’s spending that special time<br />

with them that’s so important.<br />

Cognitive<br />

Stories develop our thinking and<br />

reasoning skills. They help to develop<br />

imagination and help us to paint a<br />

picture as well as developing our<br />

memories.<br />

Social & emotional<br />

Stories help us to understand<br />

emotions, they give us an insight<br />

into the minds of others and can be<br />

used to help us deal with difficult<br />

situations.<br />

Morals<br />

Stories help children develop their<br />

capacity to think about moral issues as<br />

they have an innate interest in fairness.<br />

So, if you would like to help the<br />

parents of the children in your setting<br />

be more engaged, there are lots of<br />

ideas you can suggest to them:-<br />


1. What toys does the child have?<br />

Get them to make up a story<br />

about what their favourite toy<br />

does when their child is at<br />

nursery. All our stories feature a<br />

little dog called Pojo, who gets<br />

itchy paws when his owner, Sam,<br />

goes to sleep or school. Children<br />

will love making up a story about<br />

their toy going on an adventure.<br />

2. Are there stories from within the<br />

family that the parents can retell?<br />

Children find it fascinating hearing<br />

stories of what their parents or<br />

grandparents did when they were<br />

little.<br />

3. Use props. Puppets are great<br />

as it allows the child to act as<br />

the storyteller. Or why not get a<br />

box and put a variety of random<br />

things into it such as jewellery,<br />

candles, bus or train tickets and<br />

a toy and then make up a story<br />

incorporating those things in the<br />

box. It’s amazing to hear the<br />

stories they come out with.<br />

4. Why not adapt some wellknown<br />

fairy tales by changing<br />

the characters so, for example,<br />

change “The Three Little Pigs” to<br />

‘three little spacemen’ and see<br />

how it changes the story.<br />

5. Play a story relay – one person<br />

starts the story with one sentence<br />

and the other follows on; keep<br />

it going until you’ve finished<br />

your story. If they’re out for a<br />

picnic, why not use the location<br />

and a person they can see and<br />

incorporate them into a story?<br />



1. Put parents at ease by starting off<br />

with a short, fun game such as<br />

the storytelling relay (mentioned<br />

above), by getting everyone to<br />

say a sentence of the story – we<br />

often use “Cinderella” with some<br />

hilarious adaptations.<br />

2. Give them enough time to practice<br />

one game before going onto<br />

another; this will build confidence.<br />

3. Why not start a storytelling club<br />

after school/nursery and make it<br />

a regular social event?<br />

4. Be prepared – plan what activities<br />

and stories you want to cover.<br />

5. Make sure you tell parents why<br />

stories are important and make<br />

sure they know their role.<br />

The key to it all is to have fun with<br />

making up stories. The more you do it,<br />

the easier it gets, I promise!! I’ve lost<br />

count of the times someone has come<br />

on one of our workshops thinking they<br />

couldn’t make up a story and by the<br />

end, they are usually some of the best<br />

storytellers.<br />



Tonya Meers<br />

Tonya Meers is the Chief<br />

Storyteller at Little Creative<br />

Days. Tonya believes that<br />

stories are the most versatile<br />

and powerful educational<br />

tool you can use and there<br />

isn’t anything that you can’t<br />

teach through a story.<br />

She is co-author of the<br />

multi-award-winning<br />

Pojo series of educational<br />

creative storytelling kits,<br />

which have won awards<br />

for their promotion of<br />

communication and<br />

language skills for early<br />

years and primary schoolaged<br />

children.<br />

In addition, she and her<br />

storytelling sister/business<br />

partner also deliver training<br />

and workshops for early<br />

years practitioners, local<br />

authorities and primary<br />

schools. They offer a range<br />

of interactive workshops<br />

to encourage, engage and<br />

enable children to develop a<br />

love of literacy.<br />

You can contact Tonya at<br />

Little Creative Days via<br />

email@littlecreativedays.co.uk,<br />

on Twitter @littlecreative or<br />

via Facebook.<br />

If you would<br />

like us to come<br />

into your setting to run a<br />

workshop on how to engage<br />

parents, email me at:<br />

email@littlecreativedays.co.uk<br />

We also run a free, same-day,<br />

parent workshop following<br />

any of our paid<br />

workshops.<br />

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

7 tips for<br />

nystagmus success<br />

in the classroom<br />

Having just released my book “Can I Tell You<br />

About Nystagmus?” I jumped at the chance<br />

of being able to raise the awareness around<br />

the condition, in support of Nystagmus<br />

Awareness Day, 20th <strong>June</strong> <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

For those who don’t know, nystagmus is an involuntary<br />

continuous wobble of the eyes. During your time<br />

teaching, it is likely you will come across a child who has<br />

nystagmus, as it is one of the most common forms of<br />

childhood visual impairment. It affects approximately 1<br />

in 1,000 people. It can either be congenital (from birth)<br />

or acquired. Those with nystagmus have a ‘null point’ or<br />

a point in which their eyes wobble less. This can cause<br />

them to have a head tilt in order to gain the clearest<br />

view possible. There is NO cure. Therefore, having a<br />

broad understanding and a host of helpful strategies<br />

will help you and your students.<br />

When I was planning this article I sought some advice<br />

from Sandy Turner, Headteacher at the primary school,<br />

The Link. Sandy and her school had recently been<br />

host to the launch of the aforementioned book, “Can<br />

I Tell You About Nystagmus?” where she and her<br />

staff engaged in some live training with me about<br />

the condition. When I asked her what might be most<br />

helpful for early years practitioners, she emphasised the<br />

importance of considering the fact that the curriculum is<br />

taught through play and games in<br />

a free-flow environment.<br />

So with this in mind,<br />

I’ve compiled 7<br />

nystagmus hacks you<br />

can use in and around<br />

your setting whilst<br />

teaching the children in<br />

your care.<br />

Position: Always, always, allllllways<br />

(you catch my emphasis?!) position a<br />

child in the most comfortable way to<br />

accommodate their null point. Do not sit<br />

them at the back and do not expect them<br />

to share books.<br />

Triggers: Nystagmus can change across<br />

a day - things that make Nystagmus<br />

worse are: stress, tiredness, fatigue,<br />

illness and excitement.<br />

Playing: Physical games that require<br />

hand/eye coordination can sometimes<br />

be a challenge. Games such as football<br />

or catch can be challenging as judging<br />

depth and speed is a huge challenge for<br />

those with nystagmus.<br />

TIP: Consider adapting the games, e.g.<br />

oversized balls or brightly-coloured balls or<br />

reducing the number of participants to make<br />

a slower and more visually-clear way to play<br />

games that require hand and eye coordination.<br />

Clutter: In early years environments, freeflow<br />

and daily environmental changes<br />

for activities, can be hard for someone<br />

with a visual impairment. Often the skill<br />

of memory is used to be able to navigate<br />

familiar environments and so areas<br />

that are packed with different toys and<br />

activities can lead to something called<br />

‘crowding’, in which it becomes hard to<br />

visually see everything. This can frustrate<br />

and lead to impacted play as they may<br />

not be able to see what they want.<br />

TIP: Limit clutter and give adequate processing<br />

times. Pre-select a few toys and show them<br />

away from the clutter so they can choose what<br />

they want without getting overwhelmed. Give<br />

them more time to react and process.<br />

Body language: Some people with<br />

Nystagmus can find it difficult to give eye<br />

contact, which might be misinterpreted<br />

by others and could impact on social<br />

interactions with peers.<br />

TIP: Don’t emphasise the need for front-facing<br />

eye contact - especially for school photos!<br />

Let them look at the camera in the most<br />

comfortable position for them.<br />

Fatigue: Having wobbly eyes can make<br />

some with nystagmus fatigue very easily.<br />

nystagmus fluctuates throughout the day<br />

with its intensity. Having a quiet or lessbusy<br />

area available to the child for them<br />

to play in if they get fatigue, increases<br />

independence and coping skills across<br />

the day.<br />

Safety: Nystagmus can affect depth<br />

perception - so think stairs, steps and<br />

changes in flooring, which could be<br />

harder to see and navigate. This can<br />

affect judging speed - so think about<br />

children rushing around them or balls<br />

being thrown at them in P.E. and being<br />

able to react. On school trips, be aware<br />

that new environments can raise anxiety,<br />

unfamiliar faces, places and information<br />

having to be processed. This can<br />

affect nystagmus making it worse and<br />

increasing fatigue. Lots of pre-visual and<br />

auditory explanations can reduce this.<br />

Factoring in breaks and finding quiet<br />

areas to relax in, can be beneficial too.<br />

These are just a few ideas to help you better support<br />

children with nystagmus as well as other visual<br />

impairments. Within the book, there are many more<br />

helpful ideas, as well as a handy checklist to make<br />

sure you are set each term! You can grab a copy<br />

from Amazon and other online retailers. For more<br />

information on the book, or if you would like me to<br />

come and visit your school, visit nadineneckles.co.uk<br />

for more information.<br />

Nadine Neckles, is a special needs blogger and life<br />

coach who has written for leading disability charities<br />

including Carers UK, Caring in the Chaos and Firefly.<br />

She is also mum and full-time carer to her six-year-old<br />

daughter who has nystagmus and Chromosome 18qsyndrome,<br />

a rare genetic condition. She is the inspiration<br />

behind her first book “Can I Tell You About Nystagmus?”.<br />

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

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