Magazine August 2019

As the hot weather continues for most of us, we bring you some fantastic ideas for activities for the children to do - not just within your setting, but that can be shared with parents as they prepare for the long school holiday. There are around six weeks of summer holidays – that’s 42 days to fill! We look at some of the more traditional ways to keep the little ones occupied, like keeping a summer scrapbook, or holding a teddy bears’ picnic. These give such wonderful opportunities for making precious memories, at the same time as keeping their creative and literacy skills alive. More ideas can be found on page 16 – one for every day of the holiday – and all can be done on even the smallest of budgets! 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.

As the hot weather continues for most of us, we bring you some fantastic ideas for activities for the children to do - not just within your setting, but that can be shared with parents as they prepare for the long school holiday. There are around six weeks of summer holidays – that’s 42 days to fill!

We look at some of the more traditional ways to keep the little ones occupied, like keeping a summer scrapbook, or holding a teddy bears’ picnic. These give such wonderful opportunities for making precious memories, at the same time as keeping their creative and literacy skills alive. More ideas can be found on page 16 – one for every day of the holiday – and all can be done on even the smallest of budgets!

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 57<br />

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

FREE<br />



“You can’t<br />

say autism”<br />

Helping children to<br />

accept those with<br />

additional needs<br />

Should we force<br />

children to say ‘sorry’?<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to<br />

WIN<br />

£50<br />

p19<br />



Tamsin Grimmer discusses how mud kitchen play can help to combat<br />

the increasing problem of nature-deficit disorder<br />


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

As the hot weather continues for most of us, we bring you some fantastic ideas for activities for the<br />

children to do - not just within your setting, but that can be shared with parents as they prepare for the<br />

long school holiday. There are around six weeks of summer holidays – that’s 42 days to fill!<br />

We look at some of the more traditional ways to keep the little ones occupied, like keeping a summer<br />

scrapbook, or holding a teddy bears’ picnic. These give such wonderful opportunities for making precious<br />

memories, at the same time as keeping their creative and literacy skills alive. More ideas can be found on page 16 – one<br />

for every day of the holiday – and all can be done on even the smallest of budgets!<br />

We have such a diverse range of expert advice from our guest authors this month. Turn to page 8 to discover how, through<br />

effective questioning, we can enrich a child’s learning even further than just through child-initiated play. Stacey Kelly’s article on<br />

page 36 called “Should we should force children to say ‘sorry?’” is guaranteed to spark discussion – do give us your thoughts!<br />

On a musical note, on page 10, Frances Turnbull explores the importance of teaching children to love music from an early age<br />

and gives us her top tips on how we can put this into practice; while Galina Zenin illustrates on page 28, how singing can be<br />

incorporated into everyday tasks and used to make the children’s routine transitions during the day run smoothly.<br />

Congratulations to Joanna Grace, our guest author competition winner! Her article “Communication hacks” gives some great<br />

advice for dealing with children’s resistance to instructions. If you have written on a topic relevant to early years and would like<br />

to be in with a chance to win £50 in shopping vouchers, turn to page 19 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<br />

written to help you with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of the children<br />

in your care.<br />

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

Allan<br />

SING IT!<br />

Galina Zenin explores<br />

ways that singing can<br />

be used to make the<br />

transitions in a child’s<br />

everyday routine run<br />

more smoothly<br />

SORRY!<br />

hello<br />


28<br />

36<br />

Stacey Kelly discusses<br />

whether forcing children<br />

to say ‘sorry’ really does<br />

them any good and gives<br />

5 alternative options<br />

which encourage children<br />

to understand the impact<br />

of their actions<br />


Tamsin Grimmer considers the growing<br />

problem that is Nature-Deficit Disorder<br />

and discusses the benefits that a<br />

mud kitchen can bring to a child’s<br />

development<br />

20<br />

AUGUST <strong>2019</strong> ISSUE 57<br />



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

19 Guest author winner announced<br />

30 Clay leaf print craft<br />

31 What our customers say<br />

NEWS<br />

4 Sussex nursery is urging others to go plastic-free<br />

5 Elmscot Woodlands Nursery delivers generous<br />

donation to Uganda<br />

6 From Maidstone to Monaco – the Parenta Trust<br />

rally teams return triumphant!<br />

ADVICE<br />

8 How to extend children’s learning through<br />

effective questioning<br />

12 How to potty train a child during the summer<br />

months<br />

16 Summer outdoor activities – have fun but stay<br />

safe!<br />

22 Summer holidays on a budget – my summer<br />

scrapbook<br />

26 National Colouring Book Day<br />

34 National Playday - 7th <strong>August</strong><br />

38 Healthy cold food for the perfect teddy bears’<br />

picnic<br />


10 Music ABCs for littlies<br />

14 “You can’t say autism”<br />

20 “Why did someone stick those apples on the<br />

trees?” How mud kitchen play can help to<br />

combat Nature-Deficit Disorder<br />

24 Promoting young children’s health – putting it in<br />

to practice<br />

28 Sing your way to smooth transitions<br />

32 Helping children to accept those with additional<br />

needs<br />

36 Should we force children to say ‘sorry’?<br />

42 fun things to do outdoors this summer 16<br />

Extend children’s learning through effective questioning 8<br />

National Colouring Book Day - free templates! 26<br />

National Playday - why not play with water? 34

Sussex nursery is urging others<br />

to go plastic-free<br />

Elmscot Woodlands Nursery delivers<br />

generous donation to Uganda<br />

The owner of Young Friends Nursery and Nature School in Hove, Louise Lloyd-Evans, has<br />

launched an online platform to help other settings go plastic-free.<br />

Elmscot Woodlands Day Nursery and Nursery School has made a wonderful gesture to those<br />

less fortunate by donating and personally delivering items to families in Uganda.<br />

Sustainable Nurseries Against<br />

Plastic (SNAP) was created to<br />

encourage nurseries to share tips<br />

and ideas on how to be more<br />

sustainable.<br />

Until the website, which is still<br />

under construction, goes live,<br />

parents can follow the SNAP group<br />

on Facebook as well as join their<br />

regular meetings.<br />

Children and families who attend the<br />

nursery collected items to donate.<br />

They were able to gather enough to<br />

fill an entire suitcase, ready for one<br />

of the nursery practitioners to take<br />

to Uganda. The donated items were<br />

all things Elmscot Woodlands felt the<br />

children of Uganda would enjoy –<br />

including toys, stationary, basic care<br />

items and books.<br />

The nursery’s approach to running<br />

a sustainable model of childcare<br />

made Ms Lloyd-Evans want to<br />

share ideas and tips with others.<br />

Young Friends Nursery and Nature<br />

School received an Eco-Schools<br />

Green Flag award for their plasticfree<br />

and nature-based ethos.<br />

Speaking to Nursery World, Ms<br />

Lloyd-Evans said: “SNAP was<br />

born from a passion to change<br />

and provide a better world for<br />

our children. In today’s climate,<br />

we have a duty to educate young<br />

people, staff and owners from<br />

day one so it becomes a natural<br />

responsibility.<br />

“I was disturbed by the lack of care<br />

about the environment in nurseries<br />

which are terrible at using singleuse<br />

plastic: shoe covers, glitter, wet<br />

wipes, nappy sacks, disposable<br />

nappies, balloons, the list is<br />

endless. People are scared by<br />

change, so we started to make<br />

them one by one and teach the<br />

children why we were doing so.<br />

“SNAP is about helping nurseries<br />

wake up to sustainability. It’s not<br />

just about providing statistics<br />

and information on the harm we<br />

are doing. It’s creating a groundlevel<br />

discussion for early years<br />

professionals on how we can<br />

change, improve, identify and<br />

share the problems we may face<br />

in doing so, and most importantly<br />

how we can overcome these<br />

together.”<br />

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove said to<br />

Nursery World: “The climate and<br />

environmental crisis is finally<br />

rising up the political agenda and<br />

it’s inspiring initiatives like the<br />

SNAP scheme, that show what<br />

a difference we can make as<br />

communities and as individuals<br />

when we put our minds to it.<br />

“I support the SNAP scheme<br />

wholeheartedly – it’s an amazing<br />

idea that is rightly getting the<br />

recognition it deserves, and I’ll be<br />

doing everything I can to be its<br />

champion!”<br />

Ms Lloyd-Evans added, “I’m<br />

realistic, I don’t expect everyone<br />

to become an eco-school, but we<br />

really ought to be doing the basics.<br />

SNAP can teach other nurseries to<br />

do this in a cost-effective and userfriendly<br />

way.”<br />

Visit the SNAP Facebook page for<br />

more information.<br />

Georgia Heywood, Early Years<br />

Assistant Practitioner at Elmscot<br />

Woodlands, was the one to make<br />

the journey to deliver the donations.<br />

During her two weeks in Kampala,<br />

the capital of Uganda, Georgia<br />

spent time in the many orphanages,<br />

children’s centres, schools and<br />

local villages. The children Georgia<br />

met were even able to receive the<br />

Elmscot Woodlands’ experience, as<br />

she led some play sessions while<br />

volunteering and getting to know<br />

some of the local people.<br />

On her return, Georgia kindly<br />

brought back traditional treasures<br />

and photographs from her time in<br />

Uganda for the children at Elmscot<br />

Woodlands to explore.<br />

Danielle Riley, Nursery Manager at<br />

Elmscot Woodlands said: “We value<br />

and celebrate differences at Elmscot<br />

Woodlands and encourage children<br />

to develop an understanding of<br />

diversity beyond their immediate<br />

family experiences. We strive to<br />

embed a tolerance of differences,<br />

as we think about how we can be<br />

kind to others less fortunate than<br />

ourselves. We highlight to our<br />

families a snippet of global childcare<br />

issues and the reality of the lives of<br />

disadvantaged children.<br />

“This has proven to be an eyeopening<br />

experience for all involved<br />

and we feel privileged to have<br />

been able to make even just a little<br />

difference to the lives of others.”<br />

Do you want to do something to help underprivileged children, but not sure where to start?<br />

Here at Parenta we’re passionate about supporting disadvantaged children across the world by providing them<br />

with the opportunity to receive a quality pre-school education, in a safe and loving environment.<br />

Visit parentatrust.com to find out ways that you can make a huge difference to a child’s life.<br />

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

From Maidstone to<br />

Monaco – the Parenta<br />

Trust rally teams<br />

return triumphant!<br />

NEWS<br />

From Maidstone to Monaco – the Parenta<br />

Trust rally teams return triumphant!<br />


tracker!<br />

As this magazine went to print<br />

last month, the Parenta Trust<br />

rally teams were setting off<br />

on their epic adventure from<br />

Maidstone to Monaco on the<br />

“Drive to Build a School”.<br />

During their five-day escapade, eleven<br />

teams travelled through eight countries,<br />

traversed the Alps and negotiated the<br />

winding roads of the Furka Pass in<br />

some of the hottest temperatures ever<br />

recorded! They camped under the stars<br />

and undertook various challenges along<br />

the way, before reaching their final<br />

destination of Monaco.<br />

After the teams had returned from their<br />

expedition, we spoke to Parenta Trust<br />

founder and trustee, Allan Presland, and<br />

first-time rally participant and Parenta<br />

software developer, Luke Liddell.<br />

Allan said; “A massive thank you goes<br />

out to everyone who supported and<br />

sponsored our teams throughout a very<br />

hot, but incredible journey. This year’s<br />

rally was probably the most successful!<br />

We had a record number of teams enter<br />

- 11 in total – with a diverse range of cars,<br />

not to mention an interesting array of<br />

team names…..’Piston Broke’, ‘Veloce-<br />

Raptor’ and our first all-female team,<br />

Monty2Monty with “Kerry and Perry”!<br />

Although funds are still due in, it looks<br />

as if we have raised about £20,000<br />

which means we are well on our way to<br />

building our next pre-school – for that we<br />

are incredibly grateful. Every day I feel<br />

privileged to have the opportunity to play<br />

a part in the crucial task of giving children<br />

in deprived areas of the world, the chance<br />

to have an early years education.<br />

“A particular highlight for me was the<br />

challenges. From making a promotional<br />

video and bringing a snowman to dinner,<br />

to taking a photograph of themselves<br />

on ice (naked!) - all the challenges were<br />

really well received. Everyone joined<br />

in and there was a great sense of<br />

camaraderie throughout the whole rally.<br />

“We were in France on the hottest day ever<br />

recorded and three of our teams were in<br />

convertibles…with no air conditioning! It<br />

was extremely tough for them – several<br />

people melted somewhat – but they pushed<br />

on and continued with their journey.<br />

“What I find incredible is the resilience of<br />

the people that participated – most of the<br />

cars in the rally cost under £350 and yet<br />

they travelled those distances in that heat,<br />

up and down motorway mountain passes<br />

on some of the fastest driving routes in<br />

Europe…and the cars survived - well,<br />

most of them! Sadly, one of our teams,<br />

Piston Broke, had to pull out before we<br />

reached our final destination.”<br />

Luke’s Story - Team Piston Broke<br />

“Before I had even started working for Parenta, my best mate and I had decided<br />

that we wanted to take part in the Maidstone to Monaco rally. What better way to<br />

have fun with like-minded people, all raising funds for such a worthy cause - and<br />

for the company that I was just about to start working for! We drove my classic MG.<br />

She did us proud, but in hindsight, we probably let her down by not taking enough<br />

breaks, especially in such hot conditions…which is why she broke down halfway<br />

there! We made it home in one piece and we live to tell the tale! We absolutely<br />

loved the experience and even though we didn’t make it to Monaco, I would highly<br />

recommend it. We can’t wait to do it again next year…with a slightly newer car!”<br />

As an early years professional, we know how much giving children a quality education<br />

means to you. Parenta Trust aims to support disadvantaged children across the world by<br />

providing them with a pre-school education.<br />

Read on to find out how you can support the incredible work of Parenta Trust by<br />

sponsoring a child … or even signing up for next year’s Maidstone to Monaco rally!<br />

EYFS Learning<br />

Journey Software<br />

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to track and record detailed and essential observations?<br />

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tracker for 60 days and discover a new way to record observations,<br />

assessments and achievements!<br />

After that, you decide, with no obligation at all if you want to<br />

continue to use our free EYFS software or upgrade for £20 per<br />

month to continue to have access to all the features.<br />

Full details of this special offer can be found here:<br />

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6 Parenta.com <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 7<br />

visit www.parenta.com/footsteps2-60 or call us on 0800 002 9242

How to extend<br />

children’s<br />

learning through<br />

effective<br />

questioning<br />

As an early years practitioner, you<br />

spend the majority of your time<br />

teaching the children in your care<br />

through child-initiated play. But how<br />

can we, as adults, enrich a child’s<br />

learning even further?<br />

encourage them to take<br />

it wherever they want<br />

to – this may not be<br />

exactly what you had in<br />

mind but if you trust the<br />

child to create their own<br />

learning path and then<br />

challenge them along<br />

the way – you could be<br />

pleasantly surprised by<br />

the outcome!<br />

The content in this<br />

article has been kindly<br />

provided by special<br />

education teacher, Gina<br />

Smith. Read Gina’s<br />

latest article for Parenta<br />

on page 32 or click here<br />

for all of the articles<br />

Gina has written for<br />

Parenta!<br />

The famous<br />

psychologist, Lev<br />

Vygotsky introduced<br />

a concept called ‘The<br />

Zone of Proximal<br />

Development’. This<br />

refers to the difference<br />

between what a child<br />

can do both with<br />

and without help.<br />

Whilst he believed<br />

in the importance of<br />

children developing<br />

spontaneously, he also<br />

claimed that children<br />

should not be left to<br />

discover everything on<br />

their own. Instead, we<br />

should provide them<br />

with challenges that<br />

are slightly too hard for<br />

them and gently ‘pull<br />

them along’.<br />

Based on this theory,<br />

we should let children<br />

learn through play,<br />

then extend their<br />

learning even further.<br />

We look at<br />

how to extend<br />

children’s learning<br />

through ‘effective<br />

questioning’.<br />

Because children need<br />

the opportunity to<br />

play an active part in<br />

their own learning, we<br />

should be mindful that<br />

we don’t just give them<br />

experience of ‘directed<br />

learning’ (i.e. telling<br />

them what to do), but<br />

in addition, let some<br />

of their tasks be openended<br />

– we could, for<br />

example, let them<br />

take their learning<br />

through play where<br />

they want to take it!<br />

As the children are<br />

playing, this gives us<br />

the chance to go in and<br />

extend their learning<br />

through gentle<br />

challenges.<br />

A few examples<br />

of these effective<br />

challenges/questions<br />

could be:<br />

• Can you tell me how<br />

you made that?<br />

• Why is the ice<br />

melting?<br />

• How could you<br />

make the tower<br />

even taller?<br />

• What do you need<br />

to do to make the<br />

car go faster?<br />

• What does the<br />

rabbit feel like?<br />

• How is that person<br />

feeling?<br />

• How could you<br />

make your friend<br />

feel happier?<br />

Whilst you’re asking<br />

the questions, you<br />

could record what the<br />

children are doing using<br />

online EYFS learning<br />

journey software if you<br />

want to save time and<br />

not record everything<br />

using pen and paper.<br />

Answers to these<br />

questions are going to<br />

give you some fantastic<br />

observations for the<br />

child’s learning journal!<br />

Effective questioning<br />

can give you some<br />

particularly great<br />

observations in the<br />

areas of ‘Understanding<br />

the World’ and<br />

‘Communication and<br />

Language’. When<br />

questioning the<br />

children, try not to limit<br />

their learning. You could<br />

Sign up today for<br />

your FREE 60-DAY<br />

ACCESS to Footsteps<br />

2 - Parenta’s EYFS<br />

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journey software:<br />

parenta.com/<br />

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Our friendly<br />

customer experience<br />

team will help you<br />

with any questions<br />

you have about this<br />

new software which<br />

has some unique<br />

features! hello@<br />

parenta.com or<br />

0800 002 9242<br />

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

Music ABCs ABCs for<br />

for littlies littlies<br />

“What is the most important musical<br />

thing I can teach my baby/toddler/preschooler?”<br />

This is the most common question that most<br />

parents attending early music sessions ask.<br />

And the most common answer is, teach your<br />

child to love music. But depending on our own<br />

culture or upbringing, we may have insecurities<br />

about being measured up and found not to be<br />

good enough in different ways. On top of which,<br />

different activities come more naturally to some<br />

than others, and people who struggle to keep<br />

up, especially in front of a group, are often<br />

mocked or shamed by their peers for trying. The<br />

good news is that with little ones, they have<br />

no other source of comparison than you – and<br />

you are perfect to them! You are the funniest,<br />

kindest, most important person in the world who<br />

can do no wrong, and as a parent or carer, you<br />

can use this to unleash your inner dancer or<br />

singer and perform without worrying! So, how do<br />

you teach your child to love music? This article is<br />

going to break it down.<br />

A: Be natural<br />

Getting caught up in “appropriate” musical styles or what you<br />

think they “should” like is not helpful to anyone, especially you<br />

and your little one. But if they see you singing comfortably,<br />

playing, dancing and having fun, that will make a greater<br />

impression on them. From birth, little ones are watching their<br />

parents and the important people in their lives. Babies watch<br />

parents to learn how to survive, what to value, and what to<br />

avoid so that they do not get hurt. As they get older, children<br />

learn to watch to see what gives you pleasure, what puts you<br />

in a good mood, and they take in every tiny detail, reading<br />

body language better than any professional profiler! So, play<br />

the music you love, the music that makes you laugh and cry,<br />

the music that makes you feel, that makes you remember.<br />

Share this unique part of your life that they can hold on to for<br />

the times that you may not be around. And when they see<br />

you unselfconsciously sing or dance, it not only gives them<br />

permission to explore these skills, it gives them confidence<br />

that if you can do it, so can they.<br />

B: Get moving<br />

Different types of music can evoke different reactions. By<br />

moving, we can begin to sense the type of song we are<br />

hearing, whether we tap our feet or clap our hands, to<br />

physically moving arms, legs and bodies in time with the<br />

music. Whether you have been taught the difference between<br />

3/4 and 4/4 timing, or whether you can just instinctively<br />

feel when to move makes no difference – as long as you<br />

move. Lullabies like “Rock A Bye Baby” generally get us<br />

swaying gently to the beat, while “The Grand Old Duke Of<br />

York” immediately gets us marching along to the song – it<br />

would be quite strange to march to “Rock A Bye Baby”! These<br />

are examples of fairly powerful movements because of the<br />

emotions they convey. For example, rocking has a relational<br />

element to it, as children are comforted by the closeness, the<br />

smell of mummy or daddy, the sound of the heartbeat and<br />

humming vibrations from your chest, and the warmth, which<br />

makes it a powerful, secret anti-tantrum tool. In comparison,<br />

marching has a communal quality, as an action that is<br />

relatively easy to copy, that can be done altogether by a<br />

group of any size, and feels like an incredible, choregraphed<br />

performance when everyone is caught up in the magic of the<br />

moment! In terms of musical skills, moving helps your little<br />

one to begin to recognise pulse and rhythm!<br />

C: Experiment with sound<br />

You may be a natural at finding a harmony, or you may not yet notice any difference<br />

between the notes in a song – it does not matter to small children because everything<br />

is new and exciting! The first steps to hearing more accurately is hearing the differences<br />

between different objects or instruments, also called timbre (pronounced tamber). What<br />

does metal on metal sound like? What about wood on wood? Glass bottles with different<br />

levels of liquid? Strings tied at different lengths and pulled tight? What happens when you<br />

blow through pipes of different sizes? Hearing the difference between spoons on pans,<br />

or sticks on a plastic tub begins to introduce the idea of low sounds and high sounds.<br />

Imitating these sounds with the voice gets the body used to how it feels to sing a high note<br />

or a low note. Next steps are singing along with your favourite singer, following their ups<br />

and downs, which is great practice for learning to sing in tune. Using funny voices (‘witchy’<br />

voice, ‘fairy’ voice, ‘giant’ voice, ‘dinosaur’ voice, ‘opera’ voice, ‘whispery’ voice) also helps<br />

you to find your own unique sound. Experimenting is a natural part of little ones’ lives, so<br />

they will love experimenting with you! And in musical terms, this experimentation teaches<br />

them to identify pitch and melody!<br />

Once you move to the beat, and hear the differences between sounds, learning music is<br />

all about being able to hear and copy smaller and smaller differences in beats and sounds,<br />

and the next article will provide more suggestions on musical milestones that little ones may<br />

reach. Just as reading takes us to a written world beyond our imagination, music takes us<br />

Frances Turnbull<br />

Musician, researcher and<br />

author, Frances Turnbull, is<br />

a self-taught guitarist who<br />

has played contemporary<br />

and community music from<br />

the age of 12. She delivers<br />

music sessions to the early<br />

years and KS1. Trained in the<br />

music education techniques<br />

of Kodály (specialist<br />

singing), Dalcroze (specialist<br />

movement) and Orff (specialist<br />

percussion instruments), she<br />

has a Bachelor’s degree in<br />

Psychology (Open University)<br />

and a Master’s degree in<br />

Education (University of<br />

Cambridge). She runs a local<br />

community choir, the Bolton<br />

Warblers, and delivers the<br />

Sound Sense initiative aiming<br />

for “A choir in every care<br />

home” within local care and<br />

residential homes, supporting<br />

health and wellbeing through<br />

her community interest<br />

company.<br />

She has represented the<br />

early years music community<br />

at the House of Commons,<br />

advocating for recognition for<br />

early years music educators,<br />

and her table of progressive<br />

music skills for under 7s<br />

features in her curriculum<br />

books.<br />

Frances is the author of<br />

“Learning with Music:<br />

Games and Activities for the<br />

Early Years“, published by<br />

Routledge, <strong>August</strong> 2017.<br />

www.musicaliti.co.uk<br />

to a sonic world full of emotion. By helping your little one develop a love for music, you are giving them many more life skills<br />

than research has been able to identify. You are introducing them to repeated patterns they will use in education; giving them<br />

a healthy space to unwind and destress as life gets more complicated; and introducing them to a lifelong friend that always<br />

knows just how they feel.<br />

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

How to potty train a child<br />

during the summer months<br />

What is your policy on potty training? Do you insist that children are independent and potty trained<br />

before you accept them? Or do you only allow training pants until the child is potty trained?<br />

However you look at it, nurseries deal with children’s ‘nature calls’ on a daily basis!<br />

When it comes to potty training, there<br />

is no magic ‘right age’; only the right<br />

time, which is when the child itself is<br />

ready. The NHS website page on potty<br />

training says that “children are able to<br />

control their bladder and bowels when<br />

they’re physically ready and when they<br />

want to be dry and clean.“ It warns<br />

against comparing one child against<br />

another but offers the following<br />

information as a guide:<br />

“Using a potty is a new skill for your<br />

child to learn. It’s best to take it slowly<br />

and go at your child’s pace.<br />

• by age 1, most babies have stopped<br />

doing poos at night<br />

• by age 2, some children will be dry<br />

during the day, but this is still quite<br />

early<br />

• by age 3, 9 out of 10 children are<br />

dry most days – even then, all<br />

children have the odd accident,<br />

especially when they’re excited,<br />

upset or absorbed in something<br />

else<br />

• by age 4, most children are reliably<br />

dry during the day<br />

• It usually takes a little longer<br />

for children to learn to stay dry<br />

throughout the night. Although most<br />

learn this between the ages of 3<br />

and 5, up to 1 in 5 children aged 5<br />

sometimes wet the bed.”<br />

Many parents feel that the summer is<br />

the perfect time to begin potty training<br />

and you can often assist them by<br />

offering practical support and advice.<br />

Benefits of summer potty training<br />

1. In the summer, little ones tend<br />

to run around outside more, in<br />

less clothing. Weather permitting,<br />

some parents may also allow their<br />

youngsters to go bare-bottomed in<br />

the garden (wearing a longer t-shirt<br />

to cover their modesty!) to help with<br />

potty training.<br />

2. With less restrictions on clothing,<br />

many children become more<br />

acutely aware of their need to<br />

pee, especially if they are wearing<br />

training pants or a swimsuit, as<br />

accidents are more obvious to them.<br />

3. If accidents do happen, it’s often<br />

easier to rinse out a swimsuit or<br />

pair of underpants than heavier<br />

winter clothes.<br />

4. Parents often have more holiday time<br />

so there are less distractions and<br />

more time to allocate to potty training.<br />

5. A full bladder (and consequent<br />

peeing) can be encouraged by<br />

getting children to drink more water,<br />

juices and popsicles.<br />

Training pants or no training pants?<br />

There’s no doubt that nappies are<br />

undergoing a fundamental change –<br />

and we’re not talking ‘poop’ here either!<br />

We mean the increasing awareness<br />

of both nurseries and parents of the<br />

impact of single-use nappies on the<br />

environment. Last month we reported<br />

on the launch of the GECCO real nappy<br />

amidst concerns that disposable nappies<br />

were adding to global plastic pollution.<br />

Training pants are a half-way house<br />

between a ‘soak-up-all’ nappy and<br />

conventional underwear. The benefit is<br />

that children get to practice at pulling<br />

them up/down when using the potty,<br />

but they can catch any ‘mistakes’ if the<br />

child doesn’t get there on time. The child<br />

will also feel the wetness more easily in<br />

training pants than nappies.<br />

Both reusable cloth training pants and<br />

disposable ones are available. The<br />

question of whether to use them is<br />

really a parent/nursery decision based<br />

on several factors including the nursery<br />

policies/resources, parent preferences<br />

and the needs of the child.<br />

Top tips for summer potty training<br />

1. Recognise the signs. The main aim is to get the child to recognise<br />

when they need the toilet and to let you know beforehand, so help<br />

them to recognise their own ‘toilet dance’ and remind them of what<br />

this means. When they are wet, explain that this is a result of them<br />

peeing, so they can begin to recognise the signs themselves.<br />

2. Stay calm, stay patient, be prepared. Toilet training needs<br />

compassion and understanding. Accidents will happen but<br />

it’s just part of the learning process. Stay positive and be<br />

prepared for a few clean-ups. In the grand scheme of<br />

life, they’re nothing.<br />

3. Praise where possible, ignore any ‘mistakes’. Children<br />

respond much better to praise than punishment and want<br />

to get it right too, so praise them when they do, and forgive<br />

them if they don’t. Be positive - there’s always next time.<br />

4. Buy some character undies! If children love their underwear,<br />

they will be less inclined to get it wet, so parents may want<br />

to invest in some underwear that has pictures of the child’s<br />

favourite character on it.<br />

5. Make some ‘potty time’. Many children need to go to the toilet<br />

after eating or drinking, so encourage them to use the potty<br />

after lunch or a snack to see if they need to go. Don’t sit them<br />

there for more than a few minutes, but it could be just the trigger<br />

they need.<br />

6. Use a toilet trainer seat. Children love to be like their older siblings<br />

and adults, so allow them to use the toilet with a trainer seat too.<br />

7. Keep a potty handy. Keep enough potties on hand so that you can<br />

get your child there on time. It’s no good if the potty is upstairs,<br />

outside or in the car!<br />

8. Consider the child’s individual needs. Everyone is different –<br />

treat them as individuals. If you have a disabled child, the NHS<br />

recommends looking at the charity, Contact, and downloading their<br />

parents’ guide to potty training a disabled child.<br />

What to do in the event of problems?<br />

Occasionally, children will suffer problems when<br />

toilet training that are related to other physical or<br />

mental issues. If you or parents are concerned<br />

about a child, there is a lot of information and<br />

advice at ERIC, the Children’s Bowel and Bladder<br />

Charity. Their helpline is available on 0808 169<br />

9949 (Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2pm) or by<br />

email via a webform at www.eric.org.uk/helpline.<br />

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

“You can’t say autism”<br />

Words are labels we use to<br />

convey meaning.<br />

Using labels is easier than<br />

the alternative...<br />

I remember once being told by another professional “Yes, but<br />

you can’t use the word autism.”<br />

TREE<br />

“This is my son, he<br />

has autism ”<br />

We were discussing a child who was having a lot of difficulties<br />

at school and their parents were really struggling with<br />

understanding their child at home.<br />

The child had autism, okay so I am not<br />

a diagnostician, but I would certainly<br />

be willing to bet my next mortgage<br />

payment on the fact that they were<br />

neurodivergent. I had written a report<br />

for their parents explaining that certain<br />

strategies commonly helpful to people<br />

with autism might be useful for them to<br />

adopt at home. I was shocked by the<br />

venom in the response of my colleague.<br />

Why couldn’t I use the word autism?<br />

The ferocity with which they said it made<br />

me feel as if they thought I was insulting<br />

the child. They saw offence in the word.<br />

I am autistic. I was deeply saddened by<br />

their response and it made me wonder<br />

how many professionals are spotting the<br />

signs of autism early on in a child’s life<br />

but not saying so for fear of using this<br />

‘dirty’ word!<br />

Research shows across the board that<br />

with regards to the identification of a<br />

learning disability or a neurodivergent<br />

condition, the sooner they are spotted,<br />

the better the long-term outcomes for<br />

the child. If we hold the child’s best<br />

interests at heart, then we should all be<br />

working to ensure that the early signs<br />

are noted. We should work in a world<br />

when I can say “I think they are autistic”<br />

and if it turns out in a few months’ time<br />

that I am clearly wrong, then it is no<br />

big deal, no one has minded that word<br />

being used in association with that child,<br />

the relevant investigations have been<br />

done and we move on.<br />

If we act like “autism” or indeed any<br />

other condition-associated word is<br />

something only to be spoken of in<br />

hushed tones, then we all dance around<br />

information that would be useful to that<br />

child.<br />

Identification of a difference or disability<br />

means that support can be put in place<br />

that is relevant to your needs, it means<br />

teaching strategies can be adopted<br />

that match your ways of learning, it<br />

means that you can be wholly known<br />

and understood for who you are;<br />

not misunderstood and judged for<br />

something you are not.<br />

People say they are against “labels”<br />

but in saying this, they once again<br />

reveal their own prejudice towards<br />

these conditions. I am female, white,<br />

middle-aged, brown-haired, browneyed,<br />

English, a mother, a daughter,<br />

and so on and so on. If you use any of<br />

these descriptors in association with<br />

me, I won’t be offended. I won’t jump on<br />

your back for “labelling” me. Likewise,<br />

if you call me autistic, I will take it in the<br />

same way as any of these, it is simply a<br />

description of me.<br />

We use the term “label” to refer to a<br />

descriptive term to which prejudice has<br />

been attached.<br />

If I were a child today, I would want to<br />

have my diagnosis as early as possible.<br />

For me, it would make little difference to<br />

my success at school, I was always quiet<br />

and focused. I was not a problem to my<br />

teachers. Like many autistic women I<br />

was a problem to myself. Knowing why<br />

I was different would have helped me<br />

not to feel bad about being so. I would<br />

have loved to have received help making<br />

friends, something that I was not able to<br />

do for myself until my twenties.<br />

If we were a little less afraid of our<br />

own prejudice and spoke more freely<br />

and acceptingly about neurological<br />

differences and disabilities, perhaps we<br />

would create education environments<br />

where understanding and acceptance<br />

blossomed.<br />

...it saves us precious time.<br />

“This is my son, he is very<br />

zzzzz<br />

caring and sensitive. He has an<br />

obsession with trees, he becomes<br />

agitated if he has to wear the colour<br />

blue. He loves maths<br />

and likes to count to<br />

very big numbers. He<br />

will only use a fork if<br />

it has four prongs. He<br />

often walks on tip toes,<br />

he has the whole of the<br />

first series of Doctor Who<br />

memorised along with the<br />

3<br />

names and...”<br />

Sometimes we choose labels<br />

because they appear clean...<br />

6<br />


SCOPIE<br />


PALSY<br />

What those people mean is that<br />

they do not like the pollution<br />

of the labels they use.<br />

9<br />

“PROBLEM”<br />



1<br />

This label means<br />

that big green woody<br />

thing over there.<br />

Labels work if everyone<br />

understands them.<br />

4<br />



7<br />

definition<br />

of autism<br />

“Autism”<br />

SCOPIE<br />

... but this<br />

is just a<br />

temporary<br />

solution.<br />

Promoting awareness and<br />

understanding helps.<br />

10<br />

2<br />

Without understanding labels<br />

get grubby.<br />

5<br />



Some people say they do not<br />

want labels at all, but all<br />

words are labels.<br />

8<br />

No-one should feel sad about<br />

their labels.<br />


JEW<br />

GAY<br />


11<br />

CLEVER<br />

SHORT<br />

POC<br />

MUSLIM<br />

CANCER<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<br />

work, Joanna draws on her<br />

own experience from her<br />

private and professional life<br />

as well as taking in all the<br />

information she can from the<br />

research archives. Joanna’s<br />

private life includes family<br />

members with disabilities and<br />

neurodivergent conditions and<br />

time spent as a registered<br />

foster carer for children with<br />

profound disabilities.<br />

Joanna has published three<br />

practitioner books: “Sensory<br />

Stories for Children and Teens”,<br />

“Sensory-Being for Sensory<br />

Beings” and “Sharing Sensory<br />

Stories and Conversations with<br />

People with Dementia”. and<br />

two inclusive sensory story<br />

children’s books: “Voyage to<br />

Arghan” and “Ernest and I”.<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 />

14 Parenta.com If you want to learn more about autism, or refresh your existing knowledge, why not take a look at our<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 15<br />

eLearning CPD course “Autism Awareness” here?

Summer outdoor<br />

activities – have fun<br />

but stay safe!<br />

There are generally 6 weeks of summer holidays, that’s 42 days<br />

to fill with something to do, including the weekends. The summer<br />

is a great time to get outdoors and give your body a chance<br />

to make some vital vitamin D, a nutrient that is essential to the<br />

body as it helps maintain healthy bones and teeth; supports the<br />

immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems; and may also<br />

protect against a range of conditions such as cancer, Type 1<br />

diabetes, and multiple sclerosis 1 .<br />

Vitamins are nutrients that cannot be<br />

created by the body and therefore<br />

must be taken in through our diet, but<br />

despite its name, vitamin D is actually<br />

considered a pro-hormone because<br />

it can be synthesised by the body in<br />

response to sun exposure.<br />

It is estimated that sensible sun<br />

exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes<br />

2-3 times per week allows most people<br />

to produce sufficient vitamin D, but<br />

vitamin D breaks down quite quickly,<br />

meaning that stores can run low,<br />

especially in winter. Recent data also<br />

suggests that many people are actually<br />

vitamin D deficient and could benefit<br />

from vitamin D supplements.<br />

So correct sun exposure is important, but<br />

obviously, sun exposure has to be safe,<br />

especially for younger children as it can<br />

cause sunburn, heat exhaustion and in<br />

the longer term, over-exposure to UV<br />

rays has been linked to skin cancer, eye<br />

problems and premature ageing.<br />

The NHS have issued the following<br />

advice regarding sun exposure and<br />

young children 2 :<br />

“Children aged under six months should<br />

be kept out of direct strong sunlight.<br />

From March to October in the UK,<br />

children should:<br />

• cover up with suitable clothing<br />

• spend time in the shade (particularly<br />

from 11am to 3pm)<br />

• wear at least SPF15 sunscreen<br />

To ensure they get enough vitamin D,<br />

children aged under five are advised to<br />

take vitamin D supplements even if they<br />

do get out in the sun.“<br />

In Australia, where levels of sun<br />

exposure are generally higher than<br />

in the UK due to the weather, the<br />

government created a ‘Slip, Slop, Slap”<br />

campaign in the 1980s that is still very<br />

popular today, and they have recently<br />

added “Seek and Slide” to the advice. It<br />

stands for:<br />

1. Slip on a shirt<br />

2. Slop on some suntan lotion<br />

3. Slap on a hat<br />

4. Seek some shade, and<br />

5. Slide on some ‘shades’ (sunglasses<br />

to you and me).<br />

The campaign is fronted by a friendly<br />

seagull named Sid, and has a very<br />

catchy little song and video that you<br />

can use with your children to advise<br />

them of the 5 ways to stay safe in the<br />

sun. You can find the updated video on<br />

the SunSmart website 3 and the original<br />

video can be found on YouTube too.<br />

So, once you know how to stay safe in<br />

the sun, there’s no excuse not to get out<br />

there and really make the most of the<br />

warm weather. And to make sure you<br />

don’t run out of ideas, we’ve listed 42<br />

different things you can do outdoors with<br />

pre-schoolers this summer:<br />

Lyrics for the ‘Slip,<br />

Slop, Slap’ song were<br />

written by the founder<br />

of Bonkers Beat Music &<br />

Wellbeing programs, Galina<br />

Zenin. The song is widely<br />

used in Australia. Take a<br />

look at Galina’s article<br />

on page 28!<br />

1. Go on a nature walk and see how many different trees, plants and animals you<br />

can see<br />

2. Create a pavement chalk picture<br />

3. Paddle in a stream – but remember your water safety code though<br />

4. Take a trip to a beach and bury each other in the sand<br />

5. Collect leaves and make a scrapbook of different trees or a forest picture<br />

6. Learn to skip forwards and backwards<br />

7. Visit a local play area and have a picnic<br />

8. Learn a country dance<br />

9. Make some rose-petal perfume<br />

10. Roll down a large hill (avoiding the nettles!)<br />

11. Learn to ride a balance bike or normal bike<br />

12. Make a dandelion or daisy chain<br />

13. Create an outdoor show jumping course and ride over it on a hobby horse or tree<br />

branch<br />

14. Visit a children’s farm<br />

15. Make a den or a tent<br />

16. Visit a steam railway and ride on a steam train – miniature or full size<br />

17. Go on a boat trip<br />

18. Give an outdoor drama/dance performance<br />

19. Make some mud pies<br />

20. Feed the ducks at a local pond or park (bird seed, not bread though)<br />

21. Lie down and look up at the clouds – what shapes and stories can you tell?<br />

22. Learn to do a forward roll<br />

23. Visit a local wildlife or animal centre<br />

24. Play football using your jumpers for goal posts<br />

25. Fill a matchbox with something beginning with every letter of the alphabet – this<br />

one might take a bit of thought and more than a day!<br />

26. Watch the sun set<br />

27. Sit under a tree and write a story or poem<br />

28. Go for a ride on an open-top bus<br />

29. Make a wildlife or bug hotel<br />

30. Set up an outdoor treasure hunt<br />

31. Learn to skim stones on water – or at least see how far you can throw them<br />

32. Go to an open-air swimming pool or start learning to swim<br />

33. Chalk out a pattern and play hopscotch<br />

34. Make giant bubbles with some rope and washing up liquid<br />

35. Hunt for fossils at the beach<br />

36. See how many stones you can balance on top of each other<br />

37. Set up an outdoor assault course<br />

38. Send yourself or your friends a postcard from at least 6 different locations – one<br />

for each week of the holidays<br />

39. Find some unusually-shaped stones, clean and paint them – you can paint them to<br />

look like animals, cars, houses or anything else you can think of<br />

40. Learn to catch a ball and throw a frisbee<br />

41. Create a miniature fairy garden<br />

42. Toast marshmallows on a campfire – with adult supervision and help of course!<br />

References:<br />

16 Parenta.com 1. www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php<br />

2. www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/injuries/skin-injuries/sunburn<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 17<br />

3. www.sunsmart.com.au/tools/videos/current-tv-campaigns/slip-slop-slap-seek-slide-sid-seagull.html

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

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

monthly magazine.<br />

If you’ve got a topic you’d like to write about, why not send an article to us and be in with a chance of winning? Each<br />

month, we’ll be giving 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 childcare<br />

••<br />

Submit an article of between 800–1,000 words to marketing@parenta.com<br />

••<br />

If we choose to feature your article in our magazine, you’ll be eligible to<br />

win £50<br />

••<br />

The winner will be picked based on having the highest number of views<br />

for their article during that month<br />

This competition is open to both new and existing authors, for any articles<br />

submitted to feature in our Parenta magazine for <strong>2019</strong>. The lucky winner<br />

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

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

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

email marketing@parenta.com<br />

Guest author winner announced<br />

Congratulations to<br />

Joanna Grace!<br />

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

0800 002 9242<br />

hello@parenta.com<br />

Congratulations to our guest author competition winner!<br />

Joanna Grace’s article in the June edition of the Parenta magazine,<br />

“Communication hacks” was very popular with our readers.<br />

Well done, Joanna!<br />

A massive thank you to all of our guest authors for writing for us.<br />

You can find all of the past articles from our guest authors on our<br />

website: www.parenta.com/parentablog/guest-authors<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 19

“Why did someone stick stick those those apples<br />

on apples the trees?” on the How trees?” mud kitchen play<br />

How mud kitchen play can help to combat Nature-Deficit Disorder<br />

can help to combat Disorder<br />

I was recently told of a city toddler who, growing up in London, had not seen an apple tree before - let alone<br />

an orchard. His mum took him to visit an orchard and he saw apples growing on a tree for the first time. He<br />

remarked, “Mummy, why did someone stick all those apples in the trees?” This may make us laugh or smile<br />

at his innocent naivety, however, it highlights a more serious issue that modern society is being faced with:<br />

the disconnect between children and nature. The National Trust acknowledged this concern in their Natural<br />

Childhood report, where they noted that, “One in three [children] could not identify a magpie; half could not<br />

tell the difference between a bee and a wasp; yet nine out of ten could recognise a Dalek.”<br />

The term ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’ was<br />

coined by Richard Louv in his controversial<br />

book, “Last Child in the Woods”. Despite<br />

its name, this is not a medical diagnosis;<br />

rather he uses this term as a metaphor to<br />

describe the children of this generation<br />

who are, quite literally, deprived of nature<br />

and the freedom to play outdoors. He<br />

suggests that these children are more<br />

likely to have physical and emotional<br />

illnesses as a direct result of not playing<br />

outside or being connected with nature.<br />

Children in the UK are spending more<br />

and more time inside and a recent Ofcom<br />

Survey found that children aged between<br />

3 and 4 spend an average of 14 hours per<br />

week watching television and a further<br />

9 hours per week online. On top of this,<br />

the 2016 National Statistics NHS Health<br />

survey found that 83% of children aged<br />

between 2 and 4 spend less than an<br />

hour being physically active in a typical<br />

day. With the decline in children playing<br />

outside, it is easy to see why Richard<br />

Louv is concerned and, in fact, why we all<br />

should be.<br />

One way that many settings are<br />

combatting Nature-Deficit Disorder is by<br />

creating a mud kitchen in their outside<br />

area. Mud kitchens are just that – an<br />

outdoor kitchen where children can<br />

make mud pies or use natural materials<br />

like leaves, grass, sticks and stones to<br />

engage in sensory role-play relating to<br />

cooking and eating. Over the years I have<br />

seen many different ways of creating<br />

these, from expensive purpose-built<br />

outdoor play equipment, to pots and pans<br />

‘cooking’ on a plank resting on bricks. I<br />

have even seen mud-free kitchens where<br />

settings choose to use sand or just gravel<br />

or leaves. Personally, I prefer the muddy<br />

20 Parenta.com<br />

variety as there is nothing like a sticky,<br />

gooey mud pie sprinkled with freshly cut<br />

grass to whet the appetite!<br />

Although there are commercially-produced<br />

mud kitchens available on the market, our<br />

own mud kitchen is in an old beach tent<br />

and includes a low table, pots and pans,<br />

and kitchen utensils. I recently added to<br />

this a basket with felt flames around the<br />

rim as an alternative fire pit for them to<br />

cook on. We also have a blackboard on<br />

which to write a menu and, of course, the<br />

vital ingredient of mud!<br />

In her booklet Making a Mud Kitchen,<br />

Jan White suggests that the best mud<br />

kitchens are made in collaboration with<br />

the children who will be using them. Think<br />

about what you are providing and how<br />

it will enhance the children’s learning<br />

experience. For example, if you provide<br />

measuring jugs, this will encourage<br />

children to use numbers as labels and<br />

for counting. Although there are no rules<br />

as to how you design your kitchen, the<br />

following ideas might be helpful:<br />

ff<br />

ff<br />

ff<br />

Find a suitable space outside to<br />

position your mud kitchen, an<br />

enclosed space or corner works well<br />

and helps to define the area.<br />

Provide a worktop space for children<br />

to ‘cook’ on and ensure that it is<br />

child-height.<br />

Collect a variety of kitchen utensils<br />

and cookware and think about how<br />

you will store these. Any vertical<br />

services can be used to hang pots<br />

and utensils, or use cupboards and<br />

shelves under the worktop.<br />

ff<br />

ff<br />

ff<br />

ff<br />

ff<br />

Source pre-loved items for your mud<br />

kitchen by asking for donations from<br />

parents and carers or your own<br />

family and friends. You could also<br />

search in local charity shops or even<br />

ask at the local recycling centre.<br />

Provide mud or sand<br />

alongside other natural<br />

materials that the children<br />

can create with, such as<br />

gravel, stones, leaves,<br />

moss, sticks and grass.<br />

Allow access to a water<br />

source or provide a<br />

bowl containing water.<br />

Remember to conduct a<br />

risk-benefit analysis<br />

and ensure that<br />

children wash their<br />

hands carefully after<br />

playing with the mud kitchen.<br />

Be creative with the space<br />

and ensure that your kitchen<br />

continually evolves as the<br />

children use it.<br />

Within early childhood settings we<br />

can help children to become more<br />

connected or, indeed, re-connected<br />

with nature by presenting our children<br />

with a mud kitchen. We must<br />

ensure that the children we<br />

care for can recognise<br />

a bee and do<br />

know that<br />

apples grow<br />

on trees!<br />

Suggested Kit List for a mud kitchen!<br />

• Cooker - an old microwave or camping stove works really well. Equally some red and<br />

black laminated circles make a great electric hob - just stick them onto the table.<br />

• Pots and pans - the children will need something to cook in. Provide a variety of sizes<br />

and types, like a frying pan, milk pan and large saucepan. Remember that aluminium<br />

pans are lighter for younger children to use.<br />

• Jugs and bowls - offer containers for children to mix their concoctions in.<br />

• Utensils - whisks, spoons, sieves, colanders, ladles – include some unusual ones like<br />

an ice cream scoop or garlic crusher.<br />

• Bakeware - include some cupcake trays or smaller bakeware as the children will love<br />

filling them with mud and sand!<br />

• Small containers and jars - ones with lids attached will reduce the number of pots<br />

which lose a lid! These can be used to store potions or special mixtures, and the<br />

children will enjoy filling and emptying them.<br />

• Large washing up bowl - encourage the children to help to wash up as part of the play.<br />

• Special ingredients - you might want to think about enhancing your mud kitchen with<br />

spices, food colouring and essential oils to add a sensory twist to their creations.<br />

Ideas adapted from Jan White and muddyfaces.co.uk<br />

For further reading materials please<br />

visit: bit.ly/tamsin-august<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 />


Summer holidays<br />

Summer holidays<br />

on a<br />

on<br />

budget<br />

a budget<br />

– my<br />

summer scrapbook<br />

If you decide to embark on a<br />

summer scrapbook adventure, there<br />

are many ways in which you can<br />

make memories and collate content<br />

that won’t break the bank! Here are<br />

a few ideas – but above all…enjoy!<br />

My summer scrapbook<br />

The summer always seems to be a long time coming. Yet, when it eventually<br />

arrives, it can be daunting for those parents who have to think about<br />

entertaining their little ones during the holidays (as well as trying to keep their creative and literacy<br />

skills alive) – all on a budget!<br />

What better way to keep the children’s minds active - whilst making precious memories - than to<br />

create a summer scrapbook?<br />

Scrapbooks not only help preserve<br />

memories for years to come,<br />

they’re also a fun and educational<br />

way for children to occupy those<br />

days when there is nothing planned<br />

or when the weather is inclement<br />

– a regular occurrence during the<br />

British summer!<br />

Here are some of our top tips<br />

for making a super summer<br />

scrapbook!<br />

Make the pages<br />

really stand out!<br />

Low key or lavish?<br />

This depends on the children – there is no right or wrong and try and let them lead<br />

on this if possible – sometimes, ‘less is more’! Some will choose to have simple<br />

drawings (or scribbles!), others might use written captions (age dependent) and<br />

some will want to use physical mementos, such as digital photos, a ticket to an<br />

exhibition, cut-out pictures from an attraction leaflet – in fact, anything that reminds<br />

them of that particular day.<br />

Get started<br />

If you already have some days out planned, make sure you collect as much as you can<br />

from your trips. Postcards, photos, feathers, shells, straws, even sand. You will need<br />

lots of different things to be able to colour, decorate and stick as much as you like!<br />

The great thing about taking photos is that you can take hundreds but only need to print out the best ones. You could make<br />

a photo collage of your favourite snaps and add some colour by sticking coloured or shiny paper around it. The children can<br />

improvise by using bits of wrapping paper or even kitchen foil.<br />

They can add texture by sticking leaves, twigs, grass or sand to the pages – anything that has been collected on their day. If the<br />

children love to paint, they could use a couple of pages to interpret their day out through their painting.<br />

If they run out of things they have collected, they can use little bits from around the house, like buttons, fabric or colourful cutouts<br />

from magazines. The list is endless – you can really let their imaginations run wild!<br />

Scrapbooking can be such a fun and relaxing activity that most children love – the result of which will be a<br />

beautiful keepsake that they will treasure for years to come.<br />

A day of cooking or baking<br />

Let the children pick a recipe, then visit your local shops for<br />

the ingredients and cook something together that you can<br />

all enjoy eating. Cake baking always seems to be a firm<br />

favourite!<br />

Fruit picking<br />

Pick your own (PYO) is a fun, less expensive (and almost<br />

always messy!) way to buy your fruit. Save pennies and find<br />

out where your local PYO farms are - you can even have a little<br />

competition to see who can pick the most fruit!<br />

Den building and camping<br />

Weather permitting, you can build your den outside. All you<br />

need are some boxes or sofa cushions, a few blankets, and<br />

a bit of imagination. If you have a tent, you could arrange a<br />

camping trip in your garden with the children for one night.<br />

Garden races<br />

Hold your own garden races with games that don’t need much<br />

equipment...a sack race with pillowcases, a tug of war with<br />

a dressing gown belt! Jumping over boxes and under old<br />

blankets – you can let your imagination run wild!<br />

Visit your local library<br />

Local libraries are often under-used but can be a real blessing<br />

in the summer holidays. You can borrow audio books (great<br />

for long car journeys) and DVDs as well as normal books, and<br />

many libraries run a Summer Reading Challenge. You can also<br />

use the library to research free events in your local area.<br />

Museums don’t need to be boring<br />

Whether the children are interested in sports, animals, art or<br />

history, there is usually at least one free museum in the area,<br />

some of which will have interactive family-friendly activities<br />

during the holidays.<br />

Have a movie day<br />

Choose a couple of favourite films, get some popcorn (and hot<br />

chocolate if the weather isn’t great) grab the favourite teddies<br />

and blankets and put your feet up with the children.<br />

Dressing-up<br />

As well as delving into the children’s dressing-up box, have<br />

a look in your own wardrobe and play dress-up with your<br />

old clothes. You can also use this as a recycling exercise by<br />

sorting through your clothes together, and taking to the charity<br />

shop or clothes bank the ones that you never wear and the<br />

little ones have grown out of.<br />

Top tip for settings:<br />

Being able to take their summer<br />

scrapbooks into nursery after the<br />

holidays also presents settings with<br />

a great opportunity for children of<br />

different cultures to be able to share<br />

some of their experiences with<br />

others. This is an excellent way of<br />

promoting the British Value of mutual<br />

respect and tolerance of those with<br />

different faiths and beliefs.<br />

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

Promoting young children’s<br />

health – putting it in to practice<br />

Brambles is a pre-school nursery setting with 106 children on roll. Karen Nash is the Manager,<br />

Nicola is the Deputy Manager and Karen Neal is the Family Coordinator. Here, they discuss the Early<br />

Childhood Health Promotion research they carried out in partnership with Jackie Musgrave, who<br />

works at The Open University.<br />

Karen, Nicola and Karen: Why<br />

are you interested in promoting<br />

the health of children?<br />

We have always been committed<br />

to healthy eating and to<br />

becoming a healthy nursery.<br />

For several years we have had<br />

a campaign to encourage the<br />

children, parents and the staff to<br />

think about what they can do to<br />

promote their health. The health<br />

issues that affect the children in<br />

our nursery include dental decay,<br />

speech and language delay,<br />

obesity, infectious diseases and<br />

some mental health problems.<br />

Last autumn, we started to<br />

discuss what we could do to<br />

make the nursery a place where<br />

children could eat even more<br />

healthily. We were becoming<br />

concerned about the quality of<br />

some of the food that children<br />

were bringing in from home.<br />

We are really aware of the<br />

pressure that parents are under<br />

for a range of reasons, but we<br />

wanted to work with parents<br />

to encourage them to provide<br />

similar meals at home to those<br />

they are provided with at nursery.<br />

It was at this time that Jackie<br />

got in touch with us to ask if we<br />

would be willing to be involved<br />

in a piece of research that she<br />

was hoping to carry out. During<br />

our initial meeting to discuss<br />

the research, Jackie described<br />

a toolkit that she had devised<br />

to help practitioners to identify<br />

ways to promote health in<br />

settings.<br />

Jackie: what was your<br />

motivation for doing the child<br />

health promotion research?<br />

I was a Children’s Nurse before<br />

I started teaching children’s<br />

health to early years students at<br />

the local college. When I moved<br />

into higher education, I became<br />

even more fascinated by the<br />

ways that practitioners support<br />

children’s health; adapting<br />

routines and activities to ensure<br />

that children with on-going<br />

health conditions, for example,<br />

eczema and asthma, are<br />

included as much as possible.<br />

More recently, partly because of<br />

the school-readiness agenda,<br />

I started to think about the<br />

ways that practitioners promote<br />

children’s health. I started<br />

to look at publications and<br />

research relating to promoting<br />

health in pre-school children<br />

and realised that there was very<br />

little available that practitioners<br />

could use to develop their<br />

knowledge in general about<br />

health promotion. Neither was<br />

there anything available to guide<br />

thinking about how to identify<br />

health promotion activities in<br />

settings. Most of the publications<br />

relate to health promotion in<br />

school-aged children. It’s as<br />

if children can only have their<br />

health promoted once they get<br />

to school. However, the staff<br />

at Brambles are really aware<br />

of the need to ‘get them early’<br />

and to teach children about<br />

making healthy choices. So,<br />

when I showed them the Toolkit<br />

for Early Childhood Education<br />

and Care Practitioners they were<br />

really interested to be involved<br />

in the research. The Toolkit is in<br />

two parts, the first part includes<br />

information about health<br />

promotion in early childhood.<br />

It includes definitions of health<br />

promotion, there is a section<br />

on the benefits of promoting<br />

children’s health, an explanation<br />

of the ways that many of the<br />

health issues can be prevented.<br />

It also includes clear links about<br />

the ways that the aims of the<br />

Early Years Foundation Stage<br />

can promote health in children<br />

aged 0–5 years. The second<br />

part includes a series of 5 steps:<br />

each step has been designed to<br />

guide practitioners to identify the<br />

health priorities for the children<br />

and families in their setting;<br />

consider ways to select a health<br />

promotion intervention; support<br />

them in preparing an action<br />

plan and finally, to evaluate the<br />

impact of the intervention.<br />

I was delighted when the staff<br />

at Brambles agreed to take<br />

part in the research; Karen N<br />

is the Family Coordinator at the<br />

nursery, so she was my coresearcher.<br />

Karen N: what are your<br />

thoughts about the reasons<br />

for taking part in the health<br />

promotion research?<br />

As Family Coordinator, I work<br />

closely with the parents and I<br />

am very aware of some of the<br />

difficulties that they have in their<br />

lives and how this can impact<br />

on children’s health. It is really<br />

important to be sensitive to that.<br />

However, we wanted to find<br />

ways of working with them to<br />

make eating healthier at home.<br />

Becoming involved with Jackie’s<br />

research helped us put a plan in<br />

place. Discussing the plan with<br />

the practitioners in each of the<br />

rooms made us look at what<br />

we can do to promote health,<br />

in ways that can benefit the<br />

children that are relevant to the<br />

age and stage of development.<br />

Although we started off talking<br />

about healthy eating, we quickly<br />

realised that we needed to look<br />

at healthy drinking too and we<br />

needed to encourage children<br />

to drink more water. We had<br />

gone juice-free last year, but we<br />

were concerned that the children<br />

may not be drinking enough<br />

water, and of course, there is<br />

a risk of the children becoming<br />

dehydrated. Very young children<br />

don’t always make the links<br />

between how they feel when<br />

they are thirsty and may not<br />

have the vocabulary to express<br />

the way they feel. So, part of our<br />

plan included activities aimed<br />

at increasing the children’s<br />

water intake in ways that were<br />

appropriate.<br />

As part of our plan to work with<br />

parents, I sent out questionnaires<br />

to parents to find out more<br />

about their knowledge of healthy<br />

eating. Some of the results were<br />

surprising, especially in relation<br />

to their knowledge about food<br />

types and nutrition in general.<br />

In response to the findings from<br />

the questionnaires, I decided to<br />

create a healthy eating display<br />

board for parents’ evening.<br />

Jackie: How useful was the<br />

parents’ evening health<br />

education display?<br />

The display that Karen created<br />

was fantastic: she set it up in the<br />

entrance to the nursery which<br />

was also the area where the<br />

parents waited before going to<br />

see their child’s practitioner at<br />

the appointed time. Karen had<br />

carefully identified the areas<br />

that the parents had indicated<br />

they wanted more information<br />

about, and then she researched<br />

the information she wanted to<br />

pass on. She decided to make<br />

the display really visual, as<br />

you can see in the photo, she<br />

measured out the actual sugar<br />

content that was in some of the<br />

products that children brought<br />

into the nursery in their lunch<br />

boxes. I was invited to attend<br />

the parents’ evening and it was<br />

striking how many of the parents<br />

took the time to really look at the<br />

display; nearly all were shocked<br />

at the sugar content in some of<br />

the products that they considered<br />

to be healthy. What was really<br />

interesting was that many of the<br />

parents went on to ask Karen<br />

questions about other healthrelated<br />

issues, such as weaning,<br />

dental health and toilet training.<br />

Another really impressive part of<br />

the health education display, was<br />

that Karen had created a recipe<br />

booklet of the children’s favourite<br />

easy-to-cook, cheap but<br />

nutritious meals that were served<br />

at nursery. She had carefully<br />

identified the meals that the<br />

children enjoyed: these included<br />

a West African stew, a Polish<br />

cabbage dish and even pilchard<br />

curry! To show the parents that<br />

the children really did enjoy<br />

the dishes, photos were sent<br />

of the children eating them via<br />

the electronic communication<br />

system. Parents commented that<br />

they were really surprised that<br />

the children did eat the food. To<br />

try and encourage the parents to<br />

cook the dishes at home, Karen<br />

included a list of ingredients as<br />

well as the cooking instructions.<br />

Nicola: what are your<br />

thoughts about the health<br />

promotion research?<br />

The biggest thing that has come<br />

out of it is the staff awareness<br />

of health and wellbeing, not<br />

just for the children, but for<br />

themselves as well; it’s almost<br />

as if they have changed some of<br />

their lifestyle choices too. They’re<br />

embedding it into their own lives<br />

as well as their own practice.<br />

Jackie: what are your<br />

thoughts about how Brambles<br />

have used the Toolkit and how<br />

they have approached their<br />

healthy eating and drinking<br />

campaign for <strong>2019</strong>?<br />

The staff at Brambles have<br />

demonstrated that early years<br />

practitioners have a vital role<br />

to play in promoting children’s<br />

health. Although their campaign<br />

started off as looking at healthy<br />

eating, this quickly included the<br />

need for them to think about<br />

healthy drinking, in particular<br />

how they could teach children<br />

about the need to keep hydrated<br />

with water. They then realised<br />

that whilst healthy eating and<br />

healthy drinking are vitally<br />

important, these concepts also<br />

affect the children’s dental<br />

health and in turn, this can<br />

impact on speech and language<br />

development. If a child is<br />

not given food that will help<br />

jaw muscle development, for<br />

example, fruits and vegetables<br />

that require chewing, this can<br />

mean that the muscles required<br />

for speech don’t develop and<br />

language can be affected. If<br />

children have food that helps<br />

teeth to decay and teeth can<br />

become unsightly, even in<br />

very young children, they can<br />

become aware of this. One<br />

of my students described<br />

how a 7-year-old child had<br />

been referred for speech and<br />

language therapy, and when<br />

he was being assessed by the<br />

therapist, it turned out that his<br />

teeth were so badly decayed, he<br />

tried to conceal this by keeping<br />

his mouth tightly closed and of<br />

course, this meant he wasn’t<br />

able to speak properly. Of course,<br />

there are lots of other ways that<br />

healthy eating and drinking<br />

contribute to healthy living.<br />

At Brambles they have developed<br />

what can be called a ‘whole<br />

systems’ approach to healthy<br />

living. We started calling it the<br />

Rs of Early Childhood Health<br />

Promotion because they have<br />

selected interventions that are<br />

relevant to the children and<br />

families; they are embedding<br />

healthy living activities into the<br />

routines of the nursery; the<br />

practitioners have become role<br />

models for the children, teaching<br />

the children the importance of the<br />

approaches by demonstration<br />

and example. What is also really<br />

important is that the interventions<br />

are realistic and some have<br />

no, or very little, extra resource.<br />

The biggest resource need is<br />

for a commitment to spend<br />

time reflecting and developing<br />

their approach. And of huge<br />

importance, is the way that<br />

Brambles have developed their<br />

health promotion approach<br />

on the foundations of their<br />

relationships with the children<br />

and their families in the setting.<br />

It is so important that we identify<br />

ways of promoting children’s<br />

health and are doing all we can<br />

to turn the tide in relation to some<br />

of the important issues that are<br />

making children unhealthy. After<br />

all, healthy children will have<br />

higher levels of wellbeing and will<br />

learn better. What Brambles are<br />

doing is a great example of highquality<br />

attention to promoting<br />

good health in their children.<br />

Jackie Musgrave<br />

Jackie Musgrave joined<br />

the Open University as<br />

Programme Lead for Early<br />

Childhood in October 2017.<br />

Before that, she worked in<br />

the Centre for Children and<br />

Families at the University of<br />

Worcester from April 2012<br />

as the Course Leader for the<br />

BA (Hons) in Early Childhood<br />

(Professional Practice).<br />

Jackie trained as a General<br />

Nurse and she did postregistration<br />

training to<br />

become a Sick Children’s<br />

Nurse at Birmingham<br />

Children’s Hospital. Her<br />

professional interests as<br />

a Practice Nurse included<br />

chronic disease prevention<br />

programmes, childhood<br />

immunisations and women’s<br />

health promotion.<br />

Jackie graduated with a<br />

Master’s degree in Early<br />

Childhood Education from<br />

the University of Sheffield,<br />

gaining a distinction for<br />

her dissertation as well as<br />

being awarded the Rutland<br />

Prize for Early Childhood<br />

Education. Her doctoral<br />

research explored the<br />

effects of chronic health<br />

conditions on young<br />

children and ways in which<br />

practitioners could create<br />

inclusive environments for<br />

these children.<br />

Jackie’s research-based<br />

book, Supporting Children’s<br />

Health and Wellbeing, was<br />

published by Sage in May<br />

2017.<br />

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

National Colouring Book Day<br />

What will you do on 2nd <strong>August</strong>? Change a few nappies? Get stuck in traffic? Struggle to get<br />

everyone out of the door on time? Chances are that you might be doing at least a few activities<br />

that could cause you some anxiety or stress.<br />

But did you know that 2nd <strong>August</strong> also happens to have the perfect antidote to stress, in that it is<br />

National Colouring Book Day? You didn’t? Then read on, to find out how you can use this age-old,<br />

creative technique to not only entertain the children in your care but reduce your own stress levels<br />

at the same time.<br />

National Colouring Book Day was<br />

started in America in the 1970s when a<br />

company, Dover Publications, launched<br />

the first colouring book for adults.<br />

Until then, colouring in had been<br />

the preserve of children, and mostly<br />

very young children at that. But since<br />

then, colouring for adults has really<br />

taken off, and more recently, as adults<br />

struggle to find non-screen-based<br />

activities for children to keep them<br />

occupied, the humble colouring book<br />

has seen a resurgence in its popularity.<br />

Nowadays, you can get colouring<br />

books on virtually every topic under<br />

the sun, from simple patterns to<br />

complex, meditative mandalas;<br />

animals to the human body; and<br />

characters from every TV show or<br />

popular film have found their way<br />

onto the pages of a colouring book<br />

somewhere!<br />


Children have always loved colouring<br />

in pictures, and for them, it’s a way<br />

to learn and practice many important<br />

skills including:<br />

Development of fine motor skills<br />

In order to colour, children need to<br />

hold pencils/pens or crayons in their<br />

little fingers, so practicing colouring<br />

helps the development of their<br />

muscles in their hands and fingers<br />

and helps them to get a good grip.<br />

Colour and shape recognition<br />

By using different colours, children<br />

can learn to name and distinguish<br />

them, especially if helped by an adult,<br />

who says the name and repeats it.<br />

By blending or colouring over things,<br />

children can also learn about the<br />

subtleties of colour and the affect<br />

they can have on their own work.<br />

Hand and eye coordination<br />

Hand and eye coordination is<br />

extremely important in life when<br />

doing many practical tasks – pouring,<br />

catching and writing to name but a<br />

few. When you look at a very young<br />

child’s colouring, you notice how they<br />

appear to scribble over the image<br />

and find it difficult to stay within<br />

the lines, but by practicing, children<br />

gradually become more adept at<br />

this skill as their hand and eye<br />

coordination improves.<br />

Concentration<br />

Colouring things requires a good<br />

deal of concentration and children<br />

can extend their concentration spans<br />

by practicing and focusing on<br />

tasks, so colouring is great for<br />

developing this skill. You<br />

can even break the task<br />

down if needed, by<br />

say, focusing only<br />

on one part of the picture or on one<br />

colour to start with.<br />

Sense of pride and self-esteem<br />

There is a huge sense of achievement<br />

and pride attained from finishing<br />

something well and feeling you have<br />

done your best. It’s even better if<br />

your work is admired by others too,<br />

so remember to praise the children<br />

for completing their work and watch<br />

them smile.<br />

Creativity<br />

Everyone experiences the world in<br />

different ways and so allowing children<br />

their own version of ‘reality’ can help<br />

with their creativity rather than stifle<br />

it. As they become more confident,<br />

they may also experiment with their<br />

creativity more using special effects<br />

or even ‘pushing the boundaries’, and<br />

colour over the lines again.<br />

Self-expression<br />

Who says you can’t colour the grass<br />

blue and the trees purple? This is<br />

linked to creativity too, as colouring<br />

can be a great way to allow children<br />

to express themselves and their mood.<br />

Art therapists understand that using<br />

different colours can reflect children’s<br />

own experiences or their mood, so<br />

be aware of this and be careful not<br />

to criticise a choice of colour even if it<br />

does not fit with conventional reality.<br />

It could just be the child expressing<br />

themselves in that moment. And<br />

where would Art be generally if we<br />

always had to stick with one version of<br />

‘reality’?<br />

Spatial awareness and boundary<br />

recognition<br />

Learning spatial awareness is<br />

important in everyday life. Colouring<br />

can help with this on a micro level<br />

by making the child aware of 2D<br />

boundaries and of different shapes<br />

and areas.<br />

Handwriting skills<br />

Developing fine motor skills is<br />

essential for the development of<br />

legible handwriting. Colouring helps<br />

develop these muscles so that<br />

mastering letters later on can be more<br />

easily achieved.<br />

Reduced stress and anxiety<br />

Recent studies have shown that<br />

colouring can help reduce stress and<br />

anxiety in adults due to the focused<br />

and creative nature of the activity 1,2 .<br />

Researchers found that colouring for<br />

as little as 10 minutes a day, can have<br />

positive mental health outcomes,<br />

which suggests that colouring is no<br />

longer just for children: you can add<br />

some stress-relief to your staff’s day<br />

as well, by encouraging them to get<br />

involved and colour something in too.<br />



One of the great benefits of colouring<br />

is that you really don’t need a lot<br />

of expensive equipment. There are<br />

colouring books you can buy on a<br />

variety of different topics, and the<br />

internet is full of free, downloadable<br />

resources too.<br />

Why not make your own patterns to<br />

colour by using a large marker pen to<br />

trace or draw the outline of an object<br />

or a pattern and then photocopy them<br />

for the children to colour in?<br />

Think big! Colouring does not have to<br />

be just a two-dimensional activity.<br />

You could colour something in and<br />

then wrap it around a cardboard<br />

tube to make a spaceship; or<br />

download some maths nets from<br />

the internet to create a giant,<br />

colourful dice; or cut out some<br />

paper patterns to make animals,<br />

pencil pot<br />

covers or<br />

murals. And<br />

with a bit of<br />

research, you<br />

can turn your<br />

finished designs<br />

into mugs, T-shirts<br />

or tea towels so use<br />

your imagination<br />

and let us know how<br />

creative you can be!<br />

We’ve created some<br />

free downloadable<br />

pages for you to use in<br />

your setting too. Click<br />

here to access them.<br />

References:<br />

1. www.tandfonline.com/doi/<br />

abs/10.1080/10400419.2017.1<br />

376505<br />

2. files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/<br />

EJ688443.pdf<br />

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

Sing your way to smooth transitions<br />

In early childhood education we all put so much time and effort into coming up with experiences<br />

that are stimulating, enjoyable, challenging and educational. But what about the time between<br />

these experiences? This, at times chaotic, transitional space between parts of the day can not only<br />

be made easier for you and the children in your care, but can also offer an opportunity for further<br />

learning and development.<br />

With the overall wellbeing of children<br />

so crucial to all areas of their ongoing<br />

development, it’s important to be aware<br />

of how we can minimise stress levels<br />

for children through managing calm,<br />

smooth transitions – essential. “Children<br />

who have sustained high stress levels<br />

are less able to learn and develop to<br />

their potential” (Sims, 2008) as a result of<br />

high levels of cortisol or ‘stress hormone’<br />

in their bodies. Today’s children face<br />

fast-paced, busy lives and we can all<br />

contribute to lowering the anxiety and<br />

stress in their days during these pivotal<br />

early years.<br />

Making the transition<br />

It’s a special thing to witness when<br />

children are particularly enjoying an<br />

element of their day, but it’s more<br />

stressful when you know the time is<br />

approaching to move on to something<br />

else. What about the morning rush?<br />

Children can often arrive at the nursery<br />

feeling rushed and tense which leaves<br />

them clinging to mum or dad and<br />

potentially disrupting the morning flow<br />

in the room. So how do we alleviate the<br />

stress of transitions while simultaneously<br />

maximising children’s learning? Enter:<br />

transitional songs.<br />

What are transitional songs?<br />

Both research and experience support<br />

the use of songs to ease children’s<br />

experience with transitions, keeping in<br />

mind that there are several transitions<br />

across a standard day. These are the<br />

transitions we tend to face each day<br />

in settings that can sometimes be<br />

challenging for children:<br />

• Home to the settings<br />

• Activity to activity<br />

• Activity to pack up<br />

• Room to room<br />

• Outside to inside<br />

Throughout numerous conversations and<br />

surveys, educators have identified three<br />

most challenging transitions for the day:<br />

1. Rest time<br />

2. Group time<br />

3. Tidy/pack-away time<br />

At the end of this article, we are sharing<br />

a transitional song to tackle each of<br />

these routines so you can see how<br />

transitional songs can be tailored to<br />

individual situations.<br />

Why use transitional songs?<br />

Before we understand why transitional<br />

songs are so important, we need to<br />

consider why children sometimes<br />

struggle with transitions.<br />

Here are four of the most common<br />

problems that can cause transitions to<br />

be chaotic:<br />

1. Transitions are rushed<br />

2. Children don’t know what is coming<br />

next<br />

3. Children are not ready to stop doing<br />

what they are doing<br />

4. Children have little or no warning of<br />

what is expected of them<br />

A consistent routine, fortified with<br />

music in the form of transitional<br />

songs, will solve all of these problems.<br />

And while routine alone is crucial to a<br />

positive environment for children, the<br />

incorporation of music in any form – in<br />

this case, singing - will always further<br />

improve the scenario. At Bonkers Beat<br />

Music Kinder, we have seen first-hand<br />

the positive impact of singing throughout<br />

the day, an experience backed up by<br />

many other educators who implement<br />

our program in their settings.<br />

Transitional songs can play a pivotal role<br />

for a child’s development. The time spent<br />

struggling to convince children to move on<br />

to the next task can be utilised effectively by<br />

lowering stress levels during transitions and<br />

incorporating singing and its many benefits<br />

into children’s days.<br />

Time to rhyme<br />

There has been ample research telling us<br />

that children who struggle with rhymes are<br />

likely to have difficulties reading (Journal of<br />

Child Psychology & Psychiatry Vol 31, Issue<br />

2, Jan 1990), and this, combined with the<br />

countless benefits of music for wellbeing,<br />

is surely enough for us to consider how we<br />

can use songs in children’s day-to-day lives.<br />

Transitional songs are a simple, useful and<br />

effective way to incorporate songs, rhymes,<br />

poems and music into each and every day.<br />

Transitional songs also serve us well<br />

in encouraging rote learning through<br />

memorisation, which I believe assists<br />

children to retain all the information they<br />

take in every day, so that they can recall it<br />

and apply it when it’s needed.<br />

Tips for using transitional songs<br />

Consistency is key with making transitional<br />

songs effective. Use the same song/s at<br />

the same time/s to see results. Eventually<br />

you may even find children using the songs<br />

without prompting.<br />

Make the songs fun – include some actions<br />

or fun sounds to make!<br />

In my experience transitional songs seem to<br />

work best when the words in the song tell<br />

the children what is happening or what they<br />

are going to be doing.<br />

Try these musical ideas for the top three<br />

most challenging transitions in the day:<br />

1. Rest time<br />

2. Group time<br />

3. Tidy/pack away time<br />

Transitional songs not only ease children<br />

in moving from one activity to another,<br />

but they are also an enjoyable way of<br />

incorporating music and singing into the<br />

day and reaping the rewards on children’s<br />

social and emotional wellbeing. If you are<br />

looking for a way to make your day run<br />

more smoothly, transitional songs could be<br />

the answer.<br />

To find out more about the first music kinder<br />

in Australia visit the Bonkers Beat website.<br />

To share your ideas and views, visit the<br />

Bonkers Beat Facebook page<br />

Galina Zenin<br />

Galina Zenin (B.Mus. Ed.,<br />

Dip. Teach.) is a presenter,<br />

early childhood educator and<br />

qualified music and voice<br />

training teacher, author,<br />

composer and storyteller.<br />

She writes her own music<br />

and brings to her programs<br />

a wealth of European and<br />

Australian experience,<br />

together with a high level of<br />

professionalism.<br />

Her Bonkers Beat® programs<br />

are breakthrough, multiaward-winning<br />

music and<br />

wellbeing programs for early<br />

years that enrich the lives of<br />

young children and boost<br />

settings’ occupancy at the<br />

same time. They have been<br />

introduced in many settings<br />

across Australia, empowering<br />

educators and enhancing<br />

the wellbeing of hundreds of<br />

children and families.<br />

Galina is a recipient of the<br />

2015 National Excellence in<br />

Teaching Award by Australian<br />

Scholarships Group (ASG)<br />

and the creator of Bonkers<br />

Beat Music & Bonkers Gym<br />

Wellbeing Programs. From<br />

keynote address to small<br />

group workshops, she has<br />

inspired audiences on 4<br />

continents and has been<br />

widely featured in the<br />

national media.<br />

You can follow Galina on<br />

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram<br />

and LinkedIn.<br />

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

Clay leaf print craft<br />

What our customers say<br />



• Clay (we used an air drying one)<br />

• Paint<br />

• Paint brushes<br />

• Leaves/flowers or whatever you would like to<br />

print on the clay<br />

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

Fabulous customer service. I never have a<br />

problem getting through to the team and<br />

when I do, they are happy and upbeat and<br />

are always patient. Usually the problems<br />

are operator error from my side but the<br />

team humour my lack of computer skills<br />

and are very patient with me. I cannot<br />

recommend Parenta enough to people.<br />

Great system but an A* customer service.<br />

St Johns Nursery<br />

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

The services on offer have been<br />

fantastic. I have felt nothing but<br />

supported throughout my time of<br />

doing my apprenticeship.<br />

Daniel Burgess<br />

1. Get the clay ready and ask the children to create<br />

different shapes with it.<br />

2. Let the children press their chosen leaves onto the<br />

clay. They might need help, as it needs to be pressed<br />

hard.<br />

3. Leave the leaves and the clay to dry. We left it<br />

overnight.<br />

4. Once the clay is dry, the children can paint it.<br />

5. You are done!<br />

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

I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor throughout my time<br />

of doing my level 3. Laura made me feel comfortable, calm<br />

and most importantly, made me feel confident in myself. Was<br />

happy to have her through everything.<br />

Natasha Douglass - Footsteps Day Nursery<br />

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

Many thanks for your email and<br />

for all the support Parenta has<br />

given Stephanie, Tina is wonderful.<br />

Fruit Tree Nursery<br />

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

I would like to say how much<br />

I have enjoyed doing the<br />

level 2 and level 3 courses<br />

that I have done with<br />

Parenta. My assessor, Amy<br />

Webber, was brilliant all the<br />

way through and supported<br />

me extremely well.<br />

Allison Johnson<br />

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

Helping children to accept those<br />

with additional needs<br />

Inclusion in early years settings and schools is something that is widely discussed thanks to<br />

its advantages and disadvantages. Despite any disadvantages, one major bonus of inclusion<br />

is the opportunity for children to mix with other children with different needs and learn about<br />

differences in others. Throughout their early years and schooling, a child is likely to meet<br />

others with a wide range of abilities and needs.<br />

Young children are very accepting of<br />

differences. They aren’t born judging<br />

others – they learn this. Children will<br />

learn prejudices from their parents or<br />

other outside influences. Therefore<br />

as practitioners, we have a duty to<br />

teach children to accept one another,<br />

no matter what their needs.<br />

To young children, the additional<br />

needs of others may sometimes be<br />

obvious - for example one of their<br />

peers may be a wheelchair user, or<br />

the needs may be hidden. So how<br />

do we teach children to accept and<br />

respect those children around them<br />

with additional needs, whatever they<br />

are?<br />

Teach children that we are all<br />

different. To begin with, we need<br />

to teach children that no two people<br />

are the same. Circle time is a great<br />

opportunity for this. Talk about the<br />

fact that we all look different – some<br />

have curly hair, we have different<br />

eye colours, different skin colour,<br />

some people wear glasses. Then<br />

extend to other differences such as<br />

where people live, what language<br />

they speak, what different things<br />

they like doing. The important thing<br />

to emphasise here is that it is ok to<br />

be different. In fact it is a good thing.<br />

Wouldn’t it be boring if we all looked<br />

exactly the same?<br />

Once we’ve established the fact<br />

that differences are a positive thing,<br />

then you can include the fact that<br />

one girl wears glasses because her<br />

eyes need a little extra help to see,<br />

and another boy uses a wheelchair<br />

because his legs don’t work well.<br />

Teach children that we all have<br />

similarities. As well as differences<br />

we also all have common ground.<br />

Point out the fact that a few children<br />

like a certain book character, a<br />

few have the same lunch box, a<br />

few have the same hair colour etc.<br />

Include the child with special needs<br />

when discussing similarities so that<br />

all children can see that their need<br />

doesn’t define them – they have<br />

lots of other wonderful things about<br />

them that we can learn about.<br />

Extend to the fact that we all<br />

find some things easy and some<br />

things hard. It’s important for<br />

children to realise that we all learn<br />

at different speeds. Use yourself<br />

as an example – there are things<br />

that you learnt to do quickly<br />

and things that you need to<br />

practise again and again. It’s<br />

just the same for all of us. It doesn’t<br />

matter how long we take to learn<br />

something, as long as we try our<br />

hardest and don’t give up. Again, a<br />

good way to tackle this is at circle<br />

time. Ask the children what they<br />

are good at and what they find<br />

hard, again highlighting everyone’s<br />

differences.<br />

Once you’ve helped develop an<br />

understanding and acceptance of<br />

the fact that we all have differences<br />

– with regard to our looks, our<br />

circumstances and the things that<br />

we find easy and hard - then you<br />

can start to talk about the particular<br />

needs that are in your setting if<br />

necessary.<br />

Talk about behaviour head-on.<br />

This is the area that you are most<br />

likely to need to discuss with children<br />

because if one child in your setting<br />

is really struggling with behaviour,<br />

it can easily have a knock-on effect<br />

on others. As we know, children are<br />

constantly observing one another<br />

and tend to copy behaviours, which<br />

can be something that<br />

needs addressing. You<br />

may also have<br />

children<br />

that are worried or upset by another<br />

child’s behaviour. If you have a child<br />

that is displaying negative behaviour,<br />

don’t sweep it under the carpet.<br />

Acknowledge it to the other children<br />

and talk about how the behaviour<br />

makes them feel. Come back to the<br />

fact that we all find some things<br />

easy and some things hard. Now<br />

explain to the rest of the children<br />

that, just as you find it hard to do<br />

e.g. drawing, this child finds it hard<br />

to do the right thing. Reassure the<br />

children that you are dealing with<br />

this child’s behaviour in the best way<br />

for them and that they do not need<br />

to worry.<br />

Ask them to help. Get children<br />

involved. Explain that we can all<br />

help one another by showing each<br />

other the right thing to do. Use<br />

it as an opportunity to reiterate<br />

your expectations and let the<br />

children know how proud you are<br />

of both them, and the child that is<br />

struggling. You can also discuss<br />

practical ways that the children in<br />

your setting can help another child.<br />

Teach children that it is ok to ask<br />

questions. Understanding is key to<br />

acceptance, therefore children need<br />

to feel safe to ask questions about<br />

their friend’s needs. Just encourage<br />

them to do so sensitively.<br />

As in all aspect of life, acceptance is<br />

always going to be a sticky issue that<br />

can cause problems. Children with<br />

special needs, just like all children,<br />

want friends and respect. Thankfully,<br />

if we can educate children to accept<br />

and understand others at a very<br />

young age, then they stand a good<br />

chance of being more tolerant of<br />

others as they grow up.<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 />

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

National Playday<br />

- 7th <strong>August</strong><br />

George Bernard Shaw famously wrote: “We<br />

don’t stop playing because we grow old; we<br />

grow old because we stop playing.” How right<br />

he was!<br />

“Every child has<br />

the right to rest and<br />

leisure, to engage in play<br />

and recreational activities<br />

appropriate to the age of the<br />

child and to participate freely in<br />

cultural life and the arts.”<br />

Article 31. UN Convention on<br />

the Rights of the Child.<br />

It’s summer – why not try some water play?<br />

Since the warm weather is finally kicking in, why not have<br />

fun this Playday with some of our suggested water-based<br />

play ideas.<br />

1. Sprinkler Spree! Everyone loves running through a<br />

sprinkler, thinking that we will somehow dodge the<br />

water droplets and come out dry on the other side. Oh,<br />

how wrong we are!!<br />

Last month, the Government<br />

published the KS1 and KS2<br />

SATs results, and for many<br />

young children, it marked<br />

their first stage in the race to<br />

reach the expected national<br />

standards in academic<br />

subjects by the ages of 7,<br />

11, and 16. To some, this is<br />

the culmination of years of<br />

hard work studying maths,<br />

English and SPAG (spelling,<br />

punctuation and grammar)<br />

and for many year 6<br />

students, much of their last<br />

year at primary school has<br />

been focused on achieving<br />

top results in these exams,<br />

sometimes at the expense of<br />

other curriculum items. It’s<br />

no wonder that ‘playtime’<br />

has become a dirty word in<br />

some circles!<br />

However, in the same month,<br />

we also heard about the<br />

increasing incidence of<br />

mental health problems that<br />

many young people suffer<br />

from nowadays, often due<br />

to the pressures they face<br />

to do well across the board<br />

in exams and academic<br />

subjects, as well as feelings<br />

of inadequacy and low selfesteem<br />

that can be caused<br />

by social media and a culture<br />

which constantly promotes a<br />

comparison with others.<br />

And yet early years<br />

professionals know that<br />

children learn best when<br />

they are engaged, interested<br />

and excited by a subject;<br />

and that often means that<br />

the best learning is done<br />

through PLAY and a holistic<br />

approach to education!<br />

So perhaps the time has<br />

come to put ‘play’ back on<br />

the curriculum and high on<br />

the list! But fear not, the<br />

humble playtime does have<br />

its fair share of supporters<br />

too – in fact it has its very<br />

own awareness day!<br />

Set up in 1987 by 3<br />

London playworkers, Mick<br />

Conway, Paul Bonel and<br />

Kim Holdaway, Playday’s<br />

initial aims were to raise<br />

the profile of play and<br />

alert people locally to the<br />

potential loss of children’s<br />

play services. But their idea<br />

quickly gained momentum<br />

and in 4 years, it went<br />

national, and it is now<br />

the biggest celebration of<br />

children’s play in the UK.<br />

Last year communities<br />

celebrated Playday at more<br />

than 850 events. The United<br />

Nations have even officially<br />

recognised the right to play<br />

in their “Convention on the<br />

Rights of the Child”.<br />

You can read more about<br />

Playday on the official<br />

Playday website, and you<br />

might also be surprised<br />

to know that England,<br />

Scotland, Wales and<br />

Northern Ireland also have<br />

their own charity groups<br />

dedicated to promoting play<br />

in their regions. This year,<br />

Playday is on Wednesday<br />

<strong>August</strong> 7th and there are<br />

hundreds of activities for<br />

you to join in all around the<br />

country. Or you can always<br />

set up your own event too.<br />

The theme for this<br />

year’s Playday is “Play<br />

Builds Children”, and<br />

the organisers and their<br />

coordinating partners want<br />

to “highlight the many ways<br />

in which play is beneficial to<br />

children and young people.”<br />

Recent research has shown<br />

play has many benefits,<br />

not just for the children<br />

undertaking the play, but<br />

also for their families and<br />

wider communities too. It<br />

can:<br />

• improve and maintain<br />

children’s physical and<br />

mental health<br />

• give them the chance<br />

to socialise with other<br />

children of different<br />

ages and social<br />

backgrounds<br />

• increase their<br />

confidence, selfawareness<br />

and selfesteem<br />

• develop imagination<br />

and creativity<br />

• promote independence<br />

• build resilience through<br />

different physical and<br />

mental challenges and<br />

risk-taking<br />

• offer opportunities for<br />

problem-solving and<br />

new encounters<br />

That’s why this year’s theme<br />

says that play can “build<br />

children and communities”<br />

– through their friendships,<br />

their resilience, and their<br />

health and wellbeing.<br />

What can you do on<br />

Playday?<br />

The answer to this is quite<br />

simple – PLAY!<br />

There will be lots of<br />

organised events you can<br />

attend, either as an early<br />

years setting, a family<br />

or an individual. A quick<br />

review of the some of the<br />

events around the country<br />

returned a whole myriad<br />

of activities including: farm<br />

activities, inflatables, crafts,<br />

pop-up play, giant games,<br />

messy play, circus skills,<br />

willow weaving, balance<br />

2. Set up a water run. You could set up a water run<br />

by connecting different items together such as plastic/<br />

wooden tubes, tilted bowls and old pipes. How far can<br />

you get the water to travel?<br />

3. Try some pond-dipping. This is great fun and highly<br />

educational as well, helping you introduce mini-beasts<br />

and different habitats/environments to your setting too.<br />

4. Test your water pouring and maths skills.<br />

Collect together a range of different containers of<br />

different shapes and sizes that could hold water. Get<br />

the children to pour the water from one container to<br />

another and to say whether they think the water will fit<br />

in or not.<br />

5. Jump in muddy puddles! Although it’s summer, there<br />

is no rule to say that you can’t make your own muddy<br />

puddles to jump in. After all, if you can’t jump in a<br />

muddy puddle when you’re a toddler, what has the<br />

world come to?!<br />

bikes, quad bikes, water/<br />

mud slides, hay bales,<br />

bouncy castles, sports, a<br />

mobile skate park, treeplanting,<br />

bolder-climbing,<br />

face painting, magic shows,<br />

water-play activities, Sumowrestling,<br />

Capoeira, and a<br />

plan “to fill a car park with<br />

cardboard boxes!”<br />

So it seems that ‘anything<br />

goes’ as long as you are<br />

playing and having fun!<br />

Check out what is<br />

happening near you by<br />

visiting the Playday website,<br />

and there are lots of<br />

resources to help you if you<br />

want to plan your own event<br />

too, including logos, posters,<br />

tips and an organiser’s<br />

checklist.<br />

For more information:<br />

www.playday.org.uk<br />

Reference for research<br />

on play:<br />

www.playengland.net/wpcontent/uploads/2015/09/<br />

play-for-a-change-low-res.<br />

pdf<br />

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

Should we force children to say ‘sorry’?<br />

If a child does something to upset someone else quite often our automatic reaction is to ask<br />

them to say ‘sorry’. It’s a natural response as we want them to learn manners and to be civilised<br />

human beings. However, if we sit back and think about it, is this really doing them any good?<br />

In a child’s early years, they have a<br />

limited ability to feel empathy and<br />

are literally the centre of their own<br />

world. This therefore means that they<br />

quite often struggle to see things<br />

from another person’s point of view<br />

and won’t truly understand what<br />

‘sorry’ means or be able to say it in a<br />

meaningful way. By forcing them to say<br />

it, we are simply teaching them that an<br />

empty word rectifies their actions and<br />

allows them to avoid consequences.<br />

It may sound extreme, but it also<br />

indirectly teaches them to lie and does<br />

the exact opposite of our intention,<br />

which was to develop their empathy!<br />

Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t<br />

ask children to say sorry as this is an<br />

important thing to do in life. However,<br />

I do think that in a child’s early years,<br />

the emphasis should be more on<br />

developing their understanding of<br />

the situation, so that when they do<br />

eventually say ‘sorry’, they will truly<br />

understand what that means.<br />

Ultimately, we want children to<br />

understand the impact of their<br />

actions and to make positive choices.<br />

However, in order for them to do this,<br />

we have to teach them how.<br />

Instead of insisting that children say<br />

’sorry’, here are 5 alternative options:<br />

1. Natural consequences<br />

It’s important for children to learn<br />

about cause and effect, therefore<br />

it is crucial that they learn natural<br />

consequences. If a child hits<br />

another child with a toy, the natural<br />

consequence would be for that toy to<br />

be taken away temporarily until they<br />

can learn to play with it safely. If a<br />

child hits someone, then that child<br />

needs to be moved away (not isolated)<br />

because the natural consequence is<br />

that their friend probably won’t want<br />

to be near them for a while. If we<br />

come from a place of consequences<br />

and teaching, rather than a place<br />

of punishment and control, we will<br />

give children more opportunities<br />

to understand their behaviour and<br />

therefore develop their self-awareness<br />

and empathy.<br />

2. Acknowledge feelings<br />

Quite often we only acknowledge the<br />

feelings of the child who has been<br />

hurt or upset. However, it is important<br />

to do the same for the other child too.<br />

Have you ever been in a situation<br />

where you have felt so frustrated,<br />

yet nobody seemed to listen or<br />

understand? It is infuriating isn’t<br />

it? Well, it is the same for children.<br />

Even though their actions may have<br />

been wrong, they are still feeling<br />

strong emotions. By asking children<br />

how they feel you are giving them<br />

an opportunity to learn and grow.<br />

Behaviour is communication and if we<br />

can support children to identify the<br />

emotions and situation that have led<br />

to their behaviour, we can help them<br />

to develop better coping strategies in<br />

the future.<br />

3. Develop empathy<br />

As well as identifying their own<br />

feelings, it is also important to ask<br />

children how they think their actions<br />

might have made the other person feel<br />

by asking questions such as:<br />

• You did [action], how do you think<br />

this made [child] feel?<br />

• How would you feel if somebody<br />

did [action] to you?<br />

By asking these questions in a<br />

supportive and gentle way, we give<br />

children a safe space to explore what<br />

has happened and to hopefully see<br />

things from a different perspective,<br />

which again will develop their<br />

empathy.<br />

4. Find an alternative solution<br />

By giving children the opportunity<br />

to think about how they could do<br />

things differently in the future, you<br />

are planting positive seeds in their<br />

minds and supporting them to find an<br />

alternative way of coping with their<br />

emotions. Give them lots of praise for<br />

their response and prompt them if<br />

needed with questions like this:<br />

• If we feel angry inside because<br />

someone has taken our toy, what<br />

can we do instead of hitting them?<br />

• Could we ask nicely for it back?<br />

• Could we tell a grown up?<br />

• What would you do next time that<br />

doesn’t hurt/upset someone?<br />

5. Model the apology<br />

You can ask children if they want to<br />

say sorry but if they choose not, this<br />

gives you a great opportunity to model<br />

how to do it by apologising on their<br />

behalf. If your apology is heartfelt and<br />

explains why you are sorry (I am sorry<br />

that [child] did [action] and that you<br />

are feeling sad) children will see that<br />

emotion and care are attached to this<br />

word. You can also model apologies<br />

when you make a mistake yourself.<br />

Even though we are adults, we are still<br />

human and make mistakes and it is<br />

important to lead by example so that<br />

children see it as the norm.<br />

Apologising for your actions is<br />

important. However, if there is no<br />

meaning or care behind it, the word<br />

‘sorry’ becomes worthless and simply a<br />

tool to get away with things. Actions are<br />

more important than words. A person<br />

can say ‘sorry’ a million times but if their<br />

actions never change, the word means<br />

nothing. It is important for children to<br />

learn to say it, but if we focus more on<br />

supporting them to understand and<br />

change their actions, when they do<br />

eventually say ‘sorry’ it will be heartfelt<br />

and for the right reasons.<br />

Stacey Kelly<br />

Stacey Kelly is a former<br />

teacher, a parent to 2<br />

beautiful babies and the<br />

founder of Early Years Story<br />

Box, which is a subscription<br />

website providing children’s<br />

storybooks and early years<br />

resources. She is passionate<br />

about building children’s<br />

imagination, creativity and<br />

self-belief and about creating<br />

awareness of the impact<br />

that the early years have<br />

on a child’s future. Stacey<br />

loves her role as a writer,<br />

illustrator and public speaker<br />

and believes in the power of<br />

personal development. She is<br />

also on a mission to empower<br />

children to live a life full of<br />

happiness and fulfilment,<br />

which is why she launched<br />

the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude<br />

Movement.<br />

Sign up to Stacey’s premium<br />

membership here and use the<br />

code PARENTA20 to get 20%<br />

off or contact Stacey for an<br />

online demo.<br />

Website:<br />

www.earlyyearsstorybox.com<br />

Email:<br />

stacey@earlyyearsstorybox.com<br />

Facebook:<br />

facebook.com/earlyyearsstorybox<br />

Twitter:<br />

twitter.com/eystorybox<br />

Instagram:<br />

instagram.com/earlyyearsstorybox<br />

LinkedIn:<br />

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

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

Healthy cold food for the<br />

perfect teddy bears’ picnic<br />

“If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise<br />

If you go down in the woods today, you’d better go in disguise<br />

For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain<br />

Because today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic”<br />

Everyone loves a teddy bears’ picnic – including the teddies, of course!<br />

Ice lollies<br />

Everyone loves an ice lolly on<br />

a hot summer day and the<br />

children can get involved with<br />

helping to make them. You can<br />

buy some lolly moulds and<br />

sticks easily in any household<br />

store. For a quick and simple<br />

lolly, make up some fruit squash,<br />

use fruit juices or yoghurts and put them in the freezer<br />

to set. You can also make more natural ice lollies by<br />

whizzing up in a blender strawberries, natural yoghurt or<br />

apple/orange juice and adding honey for sweetness.<br />

Crudities for kids<br />

There’s nothing like a<br />

delicious dip to tempt<br />

children to eat their<br />

veggies! Chop<br />

up some carrots,<br />

peppers, cucumber<br />

and celery – you could let<br />

the children make faces out of<br />

the different shapes on their plates! You can prepare in<br />

advance a couple of tasty dips which can be enjoyed by<br />

children and adults alike - some easy to make healthy<br />

dips can be found here.<br />

The great thing about having a teddy bears’ picnic is that you don’t have to wait for the good weather to arrive -<br />

you can have one pretty much anywhere. It can be just as much fun whether it’s indoors or outdoors and is a great<br />

form of entertainment for little ones of all ages! You will almost certainly find that even the quieter children become<br />

engaged and animated when it’s time to get the teddies out and have some fun! Children just love to compare their<br />

teddies, play teddy bear games and of course, eat some scrumptious food.<br />

With the warm weather upon us, here are some ideas for<br />

healthy, cold, tasty treats for your very own teddy bears’<br />

picnic…and they won’t break the bank!<br />

Two-ingredient strawberry ice cream<br />

Ice cream is usually a firm favourite with children and this delicious vegan-friendly, gluten/<br />

dairy free, and no added sugar ice cream is sure to be no exception! You can prepare the fruit<br />

in advance by chopping up a punnet of strawberries and 4 or 5 bananas. The children can<br />

help by placing the fruit into zip-seal freezer bags and sealing them tight, being careful to<br />

squeeze out the air without squeezing out the fruit! Freeze for 6 hours, break up into chunks<br />

and blitz in a blender until it is the consistency of a smoothie. Pour it into a big dish, cover<br />

and freeze for a further hour. The children can then spoon the ice cream straight from the<br />

freezer and serve it to each other in a cone or in a cup. Don’t forget the sauce and sprinkles!<br />

Fruit and vegetable teddies<br />

Cut up some fruit and<br />

vegetables into<br />

different shapes.<br />

You need some<br />

round shapes to be<br />

the head and body,<br />

and some longer, thinner<br />

shapes for the arms, legs and<br />

ears. Get the children to make some edible 2D teddies<br />

on a plate. For example, you could use half an apple<br />

for the body; some celery for legs and arms; a slice of<br />

orange for the head and some grapes for ears. Don’t<br />

forget some raisins for eyes! Use your imagination and<br />

see what lovely teddies you can create.... but sorry,<br />

teddy.....you’re going to get eaten!<br />

Sugar-free still lemonade<br />

Lemonade is loved by children<br />

everywhere – not so much by<br />

parents and carers when it is<br />

packed with sugar! Let the<br />

children get messy with this<br />

sugar-free, non-fizzy lemonade<br />

which is fun to make. Use a<br />

natural sweetener like honey and<br />

add a couple of tablespoons to a cup of 5 or 6 freshly<br />

squeezed lemons. Add this to a jug of iced water and a<br />

few squeezed limes too.<br />

If you want to learn more about diet and nutrition, or refresh your existing knowledge, why not take a look at<br />

our eLearning CPD course “Diet and Nutrition” here?<br />

For more healthy summer food ideas, read our top tips for favourite fun summer<br />

food activities including making your own here.<br />

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


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