Parenta Magazine September 2019


The new academic year is upon us already and you’ve probably spent the past few weeks busily preparing for your new intake - where did the summer go?!

September is also a busy month here at Parenta HQ. The team is really looking forward to Childcare Expo Midlands in Coventry on 27th and 28th September; and will be on hand to give you valuable advice and guidance on recruitment, apprenticeships and upskilling your staff. We will also be demonstrating all our software solutions – do come and visit us – you’ll find us on stand C12.

Issue 58





How to teach

young children

friendship skills

The importance

of doodling

Starting a musical

journey: changes in

musical behaviour

+ lots more

Write for us

for a chance to



p 27



Avast me hearties! September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate

Day. Find our themed craft and fun activity suggestions inside!


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

The new academic year is upon us already and you’ve probably spent the past few weeks busily preparing for

your new intake - where did the summer go?!

September is also a busy month here at Parenta HQ. The team is really looking forward to Childcare Expo

Midlands in Coventry on 27th and 28th September; and will be on hand to give you valuable advice and

guidance on recruitment, apprenticeships and upskilling your staff. We will also be demonstrating all our software

solutions – do come and visit us – you’ll find us on stand C12.

We celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day on the 19th – and all hands are on deck, for this is our theme of the month. As well as

looking at the origins of this unusual day, we’ve got a treasure hunt activity and a parrot craft for the children that will inspire you to

“parley like a pirate”. More on that on the opposite page!

Another celebration is in order on 13th September - for Roald Dahl Day! We’ve got some great ideas for the children to have fun with;

as well as a competition to win some fantastic Roald Dahl books and matching finger puppets which you can use to make storytime

fun and interactive!

September is “’results month’ and with GCSE and A level results out and the focus on recruitment, it can be easy to overlook improving

the knowledge of those already working in your childcare setting. Turn to page 34 for our top tips on how Continuing Professional

Development (CPD) can keep staff motivated, improve morale and reduce staff turnover!

Congratulations once again to Joanna Grace, our guest author competition winner! Her article “Drinking games for children on

summer days” was really well received by our readers this summer and gave such essential advice for keeping the children hydrated.

We really hope you find the variety of news stories, advice articles and craft activities in this month’s magazine useful – 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


Please feel free to share with friends, parents and colleagues!









14 What our customers say

18 Arrgghh! Have you seen my parrot?

27 Write for us for a chance to win £50!

27 Guest author winner announced


4 Cygnets brings the beach to Bordon to celebrate

15 years!

4 Broussa Day Nursery children welcome local

guide dog

5 Children born prematurely during summer can

face ‘significant’ challenges at school

6 Parenta Trust news


10 World Sepsis Day

16 International Talk Like A Pirate Day

20 Heritage Open Days – celebrating history and


24 Eczema – nutritional advice and lifestyle tips for

your setting

30 Roald Dahl Day

34 The importance of Continuing Professional

Development (CPD) for your staff

Avast me hearties!

Our theme of the month for September is…..pirates!

Ahoy there! It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day on 19th

September so batten down the hatches and all hands on deck

for a month of ‘pirate parley’!

What’s it all about?

It began in 1995 when two friends were playing racquetball (a

game a little like squash) and began shouting

encouragement to each other which rapidly

turned into pirate slang! It sounds farfetched

and not much of a link to

pirates, but if you turn to page 16 you

will discover how it all happened!

“Have you seen my parrot?”

Let the little ones’ imaginations runs wild

with our ‘make your own pirate parrot’

craft. We had such fun making this in the

office and we think it will bring hours

of piratey fun in your setting. On page

18 you will see one that we “prepared


Don’t forget to

send us your

pictures of the


pirate parrots

– have fun!

National Eye Health Week 38

In the first of a four-part

series, Frances Turnbull

offers an insight into how

beneficial music is in

children’s development.


Gina Smith provides

some excellent strategies

that you can use to

help young children

develop their emotional





Tanith Carey shares some great ways

that you can help teach friendship skills

to the young children in your care. Tanith

gives 4 scenarios and describes how you

can help in these situations.

38 National Eye Health Week


8 How to help young children develop their

emotional understanding

12 The importance of doodling

22 Starting a musical journey: changes in your little

one’s musical behaviour

28 Into the woods to take only pictures and leave

only footprints

32 How to teach young children friendship skills

36 Sensory engagement

Enter the


for a chance to win

a set of Roald Dahl

books & finger


Roald Dahl Day! Ways to celebrate & a chance to win! 30

Cygnets brings the beach to

Bordon to celebrate 15 years!

Cygnets Day Nursery celebrated its fifteen-year anniversary on Friday 19th July with a beachthemed

event. Local MP, Damian Hinds, agreed to visit during the event and asked many

questions about the daycare provided.

Bonny Clark, Manager of Cygnets, said: “It was fantastic to see

the children have so much fun with all our beach activities. It

is amazing to think we have been in Bordon 15 years and we

look forward to the next 15! A big thank you to all the parents

who continue to support us and to our staff who did a huge

amount to create an immersive beach experience for the

children, and who work hard daily to provide a high standard

of education.”

Staff and children were dressed in a variety of colourful outfits

and were busy all day enjoying sand pits, inflatable pools,

beach balls and painting their faces. The children particularly

enjoyed the two guest storytellers who made the children

laugh with their engaging and interactive stories. Possibly the

most popular attractions were the opportunity to ride on two

ponies and eating fish and chips and ice cream.

Broussa Day Nursery children

welcome local guide dog

Broussa Day Nursery and Nursery School has recently been visited by a very special guest – Carter

the trainee guide dog.

Children at Broussa Day Nursery welcomed Carter and his

handlers from the Guide Dog Association into the setting and

learned all about the important job he is training for.

It has been a fantastic opportunity for the children to not only

experience and gain confidence being around a different

animal to the ones they have at nursery, but also gain an

understanding about the use of guide dogs.

Broussa Day Nursery teaches children about the world

around them. They receive regular visits from people in the

community and learn about others who may be different

from themselves. This experience with Carter was valuable in

developing an understanding and awareness of those with

sensory impairments.

Children born prematurely during

summer can face ‘significant’

challenges at school

Research conducted by the University of Leeds found that children born only three weeks

premature during the summer, may encounter ‘significant setbacks’ in education especially if they

fall into the earlier school year.

The data, from Born in Bradford birth

cohort study, was collected from 10,000

children, and shows that children born

prematurely are twice as likely not to

achieve a ‘good’ level of development

at the end of reception, compared to

children born at full term.

Children born in the summer months

are most at risk due to starting school

a year early. Those children are three

times less likely to reach a ‘good level of


The research also found that keeping the

children behind for one year before they

start school may not compensate for

their early birth.

The study was the result of conversations

with schools taking part in the Bradford

Opportunity Area Programme, a

Department for Education initiative to

find out if extra support is needed for

those children.

Children who are extremely premature

are always given support with follow up

medical assistance as well as support

from their schools, which are informed

about the situation, whereas children

born three to eight weeks prematurely

don’t get that support.

The research also highlights the

disadvantages faced by those born

between three to eight weeks early, as

well as showing they face them at an

earlier age than previously thought.

A neonatal doctor from the Born

in Bradford study and the Bradford

Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation

Trust, Dr Katherine Pettinger, who coauthored

the study, said to Nursery

World: “While it seems like an obvious

solution, delayed entry for premature

children is not likely to compensate

for being born early, as we found that

within a given school year, the risks to

development faced by children born

prematurely, did not vary depending on

when within that school year they were


“To try to support this at-risk group

better, we instead suggest that schools

should be informed which of their pupils

were born prematurely, so they can be

given extra support, particularly early on

in their schooling.”

There are a number of recommendations

to help those children including;

• Giving the parents of the children

individual advice suitable to their


• Providing teachers with the best

learning resources to support

premature children

• Sharing data between health and

education services

The study is titled “Starting School:

Educational Development as a Function

of Age of Entry and Prematurity”, and it

is published in the journal, Archives of

Disease in Childhood.

4 September 2019 5

Parenta Trust news


Invest in the development

of your team...




We take a look at how our charity, Parenta Trust, together with its supporters, changes the lives of

hundreds of children who attend Parenta Trust schools in deprived areas of the world.

In many third world countries, preschool

children are denied a basic

education. In the poorest of areas,

children are sent out to fetch water,

carry out domestic chores and look

after their siblings. Very often, this

means that they miss out on not only

going to pre-school but also receiving

additional education throughout their


By providing training for your staff, you will:

Improve morale

Support children’s safety

Enhance your setting’s reputation

Reduce staff turnover

We help hundreds of childcare providers train their staff every year.

Investing in staff training and development is essential for not only

upskilling your workforce, but reducing recruitment costs, attracting top

talent and helping to prevent skills shortages.

It doesn’t sound much, but for as

little as 56p per day, a child’s life

can be changed and they can look

forward to a much brighter future.

“Sponsoring a Parenta Trust child

is so rewarding. To know that our

support gives hope to a child and

that we can change their lives for the

better, is incredible. You form a special

connection with your sponsored

child and are able to share in their

milestones as they grow. In fact, you’ll

soon find that your sponsored child

feels like a part of your own family!

Each year, we receive a couple of

letters from them as well as a card at

Christmas time.

“The children that we sponsor love

to hear from us! One of the most

rewarding things about sponsoring a

child is when that letter arrives and you

hear about what they’ve been up to

and how you have helped them. It fills

you with pride and happiness!”

The Parenta Trust sponsorship

programme gives disadvantaged preschool

children the chance to lay the

foundations for their learning in a safe

and loving environment. Having a basic

education means these young children

can break out of the cycle of poverty

and look forward to a much brighter


Sponsorship plays a huge role in

shaping the lives of young pre-school

boys and girls across the world. With

the support of their sponsors, the

children are given a bright start to their

life and receive a pre-school education,

with its effects lasting a lifetime.

Each sponsored child benefits from a

pre-school education, a school uniform,

a daily hot meal, school supplies and

the knowledge that someone really


To find out how you can make a

difference and sponsor a child, visit

Other ways to support the work of

Parenta Trust

The Parenta Trust runs many exciting

fundraising activities throughout the

year, including an annual car rally from

Maidstone via the Alps to Monaco. To

find out more and keep up-to-date with

the latest events, follow our Facebook

page or visit

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

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

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

Let us help you with your training needs – call us today!

0800 002 9242

How sponsorship saved Bridget’s life...

We met Bridget on a trip to Uganda in 2014. Nothing could’ve prepared us

for her story but, sadly, her case is not a one-off. Bridget was rescued from a

shrine where she was about to be sacrificed by her parents. Saved at the last

moment from a shocking fate, she now attends one of our pre-schools where

she can lead a happy and safe life. She is cared for, has a sponsor and has the

education she needs to brighten her future. There are many more vulnerable

children like Bridget who need your help. By sponsoring a pre-school child, you

make a real difference to their lives.

6 September 2019 7

How to help young

children develop their

emotional understanding

Emotions are often very extreme in young children. We’ve all

seen the dramatic responses that children can have to the

most simple of things.

It can be extremely exhausting and

trying when a young child shows a

very extreme reaction to something

that seems so insignificant to

us, such as the colour of their

cup. As their carers, we have to

recognise that these details mean

the world to the child. Children

don’t have the same levels of

responsibility and stresses that

we have in our lives, such as

paying bills, meeting our children’s

needs and meeting deadlines at

work. At any one point in time,

the colour of a cup simply is

the most important thing in that

child’s world right now (lucky

them!). They haven’t yet developed

the maturity to distinguish how

important something really is, and

they don’t have the regulation

strategies necessary to act calmly

when something doesn’t go their

way. These emotions need time to

develop and mature.

There are three sequential steps

that children need to go through

to help develop their emotional


1. Recognise what different

emotions look like in others.

2. Recognise emotions in


3. Begin to deal with their own


The list below offers some

strategies for helping young

children work through the steps



Get children to recognise feelings

in others. Look at characters in

books, people in magazines or

people on television. Ask children

how these people are feeling.

“How can you tell? Why are they

feeling that way?” It can help to

have a set of emotion pictures

available to see if any children

can match an emotion picture

to the person in the picture.


Now start using similar strategies

to get children to recognise how

they are feeling themselves. “Can

you remember a time that you

felt sad? Excited? Angry?” Ask

children to show how they are

feeling with the emotion card.

It’s great to have a display in

your setting that allows a child

to show you, visually, how they

are feeling. There are some

great books available to help

children begin to recognise their

emotions. I love Trace Moroney’s

“When I’m feeling….” series.


Talk about the physical features

of some emotions. “What

happens to your body when you

are worried? Some people feel

as though they have butterflies

in their tummy. Some go red.

Some might get tummy ache

or feel sick.” Making children

aware of this gives children

more clues to help recognise

the emotion in themselves.


When you see a child

experiencing an extreme

emotion, help them to label it

so that they understand what is

happening. “I can see that you

are feeling angry”. Get them

to display their emotion on the

chart or show them the emotion

chart. Ask them: “can you

tell me how you are feeling?”

This gives children a way of

communicating their feeling

with you if they don’t have the

confidence or words to tell you

what they are experiencing.


Empathise with how the child

must have been feeling – “it

must have been really scary for

you when you got angry. I feel

like that when I am angry.”


Give children the tools to

deal with their emotions by

providing them with calming

activities such as bubbles,

sensory play or music.


Put in strategies of how the child

can help themselves when they

are angry. You need to discuss

this with them when they are

calm. Have a plan in place and

explain to the child that it is not

wrong to be angry, but it is wrong

to hurt someone else when you

are angry. “Let’s see if we can

come up with a better plan”.

Perhaps they could go somewhere

safe to let off steam when they

need to. Let them know how you

are going to support them.

Gina Smith

Gina Smith is an

experienced teacher with

experience of teaching

in both mainstream and

special education. She

is the creator of ‘Create

Visual Aids’ - a business

that provides both homes

and education settings with

bespoke visual resources.

Gina recognises the fact

that no two children are

the same and therefore

individuals are likely to

need different resources.

Create Visual Aids is

dedicated to making visual

symbols exactly how the

individual needs them.



These ideas will all help develop

emotional understanding in your

setting. As always, communication

is key. Anything that you can do to

encourage children to communicate

their feelings is going to provide

them with a huge step towards

developing their emotional

understanding and helping them on

the road to good mental health.

8 September 2019 9

World Sepsis Day

Sepsis is a major health problem which negatively impacts the lives of many people across the

globe. It affects between 27–30 million people each year, and of those, between 6 and 9 million

people die as a result. But the most worrying statistic is that sepsis is the most preventable

cause of death worldwide. Unfortunately, depending on the country and education level, only

7–50% of people know about sepsis, and many are unaware of the simple measures that can

be undertaken to prevent it. Many also do not know that the risk of death can be significantly

reduced by early recognition of the symptoms and early effective treatment.

World Sepsis Day (WSD) was

established in 2012 in response to

this global healthcare crisis by the

World Sepsis Alliance; a not-for-profit

charity organisation with the mission

to provide global leadership to reduce

the worldwide burden of sepsis. It

is led by experts from all over the

world and has over 95 member

organisations currently.

September 13th each year is

recognised as World Sepsis Day. It

aims to increase public awareness

of sepsis and to show solidarity with

millions of people across the world

who have lost loved ones, as well as

survivors who might be living with

long-term complications.

What is sepsis?

The WSD website explains that “sepsis

arises when the body’s response to

an infection injures its own tissues

and organs. It may lead to shock,

multi-organ failure, and death -

especially if not recognised early and

treated promptly. Sepsis is the final

common pathway to death from most

infectious diseases worldwide.”

Another expert, and survivor of the

condition, said: “The important thing

to remember is that sepsis is not

caused by any one bacteria or virus.

It’s an overreaction by the body to

infection, which rapidly escalates.”

Most common infections can lead

to sepsis including flu, pneumonia,

urinary infections, infections in the

abdomen, skin or wound infections

and meningitis, but it can also follow

diseases such as yellow fever, malaria

and Ebola infections. Although anyone

can get sepsis, some groups are at

higher risk, such as:


Young children under 1


Older people (60+)


People with no spleen


People with

immunocompromising conditions

such as AIDS


People with chronic heart, liver or

lung conditions


People with diabetes

One of the most misunderstood facts

about sepsis is that it is one of the

few conditions which can hit equally

hard in the developed world as in

less-developed, resource-poorer

27,000,000 - 30,000,000

people per year develop


7,000,000 - 9,000,000 die

- 1 death every 3.5 seconds

Survivors may face lifelong


areas. In fact, the incidence of sepsis

has increased in the developed world

at an annual rate of between 8%

and 13% in the last 10 years, and it is

responsible for more lives lost than

breast and bowel cancer combined.

The best way to prevent sepsis is to

prevent infections in the first place

through the use of vaccinations and

good hygiene practices, including

having access to clean water and

hygienic birth situations.

Signs and symptoms

Early recognition of the signs and

symptoms of sepsis is vital in saving

lives as it increases the chance that

the sepsis can be treated. Some of

the things to look out for include:

Slurred speech or confusion

Extreme shivering or muscle pain/fever

Passing no urine all day

Severe breathlessness

It feels like you’re going to die

Skin mottled or discoloured

If someone already has sepsis,

then they will need to be treated

as a medical emergency and

their infection needs to be treated

immediately. If in doubt, seek medical

attention. Delaying treatment could

be life-threatening.

Use World Sepsis Day to educate

your staff and parents

One of the greatest problems facing

the people trying to combat sepsis

is simply the lack of awareness

about it. Sepsis can take hold very

rapidly (within hours) and the more

people who are aware of it, the

more chance there is of spotting the

symptoms early, giving the person

the best chance of recovery. One

survivor on the website recounts his

own experience of scraping his hand

on a rusty nail. He thought nothing

of it, but 48 hours later, he was in

a coma. That’s why the organisers

of WSD want people to talk about

sepsis, to educate their friends and

colleagues about it, and to use their

personal circles of influence to help

spread the word.

Sign the World Sepsis Declaration

One easy way to support World

Sepsis Day is to share the link for

signing the World Sepsis Declaration

with your colleagues, families and

friends; everyone should be informed

about sepsis. The declaration is a

call to action for governments, NGOs,

healthcare providers, institutions,

businesses, public and private sector

organisations and the general public

alike, asking them to commit to

doing everything possible to stem

the tide of sepsis and to put plans

together to achieve a set of specific

goals by 2020. The current goal is

to reduce sepsis deaths by 20% by

2020. By signing the declaration, you

are showing your support for this.

Now we cannot all set up national

healthcare schemes or vaccination

programmes, but there are many

things we can do as individuals and

nursery professionals to help raise

awareness and increase education

about sepsis in our own circles.

Here are a few suggestions of things

you can do in your setting to help.

1. Download the toolkit here and

run an education session for

your parents and staff. There is

a comprehensive toolkit on the

website consisting of information,

resources and a “What is sepsis?”

video which runs for just 3

minutes, which you can use to get

the main messages over.

2. Sign the Sepsis Declaration

and share the link to it on your

social media channels asking your

friends and family to sign it too.

Symptoms of sepsis

These symptoms might indicate sepsis






Slurred speech

or confusion

S Severe




3. Wear pink for the day and tell

everyone why you are doing it.

4. Hold a pink picnic and serve

all manner of pink food such as

fairy cakes, salmon, shrimps,

raspberries, pink grapefruit and

watermelon. You can always

make some pink bread for

sandwiches using some pink food


5. Participate in the photo

challenge and share your

photos on social media using the

hashtag #WorldSepsisDay.

References from:

Extreme shivering or

muscle pain/fever

It feels like you’re

going to die



Passing no

urine all day

Skin mottled

or discoloured

10 September 2019 11

The importance of doodling

In honour of National Doodle Day, I decided to write an article about doodling and the importance

of it for children. Although it looks like scribbling, doodling is so much more than that. Here are

some of the benefits for children in their early years, followed by a little story about how my

daughter’s doodles have now become something that is making a huge difference to children…



Benefits of doodling:

Develops literacy

Doodling is actually the first

step towards writing and

drawing. Initially children’s

drawings may seem like they

lack structure, but as a child’s

fine motor skills develop and

their understanding of the

world increases, their doodles

will get more meaning. Simple

doodles are the first step to

writing because every shape

needed to create letters will be

first achieved in what seems to

be a simple scribble.

Teaches space and distance

Children do not always understand basic concepts

such as space and distance. Doodling can allow

children to process this information. They will learn

the difference between creating large and small

objects and as they develop, they will learn the

concept of space and distance in order to create an

image that resembles everyday objects.

Develops hand-eye


The more a child doodles,

the more they will develop

their hand-eye coordination

because they will start to

develop their ability to draw an

image that has a likeness to

objects around them. When a

child first starts attempting to

draw a face, there is a process

that they go through trying to

determine where the different

features should be. Over time

they become more accurate,

however, it is the early doodles

that allow them to develop this


Develops fine

motor skills

It is crucial that children develop

their fine motor skills. When a

child holds mark-making tools,

they are developing their ability

to manipulate them. As they

doodle, they see the image

that they have created and

then over time, develop their

ability to control the outcome.

By using a variety of different

sized equipment such as chalk,

paint brushes and pencils,

children will develop their ability

to manage objects of different

shapes and widths.

Develops imagination, creativity

& builds self-esteem

Even though a child’s drawing can seem like

scribbling, quite often they will be able to give you

an in-depth description of what they have created.

By asking open-ended questions about their work,

you allow them to explore their imagination and

construct a story around what they have drawn. By

doing this, you will also build their self-esteem and

confidence because they will feel that you see value

and magic in what they have done.

From doodle to storybook…

After my first child was born, I left

teaching and started to create

storybooks that are now part of a

collection called The Memory Box

Collection. My children have always

seen me drawing and creating books,

so it has been fascinating watching

them copy me. Even when they were

tiny, they would sit next to me and

mimic what I was doing. Their sweet

little scribbles held such meaning to

them and just taking the time to listen

to what they had created, always made

their faces beam with pride. I knew

then how powerful this phase was and

felt excited to see it all unfold.

What started as a ‘scribble’ then

developed into 2 characters that

my daughter created called ‘Yaryo

and Looly’. She told me about these

characters and that they were special.

As I listened and asked her questions

about them, I could see her little eyes

light up. She then asked me if we could

put them into my computer like I do

with my drawings and make a book

together. Of course, I instantly said yes.

The books that I create are given to

children as gifts on special occasions

throughout the year by nurseries and

childminders. Each one has a strong

moral message and aims to develop a

child’s self-awareness. I have always

wanted to create a book that teaches

children to accept themselves and

others for who they are and to embrace

Visit for more

about The Memory Box Collection. Parenta

readers can get a 20% discount using the

code PARENTA20.

their differences. This is also something

that I have emphasised to my children

as I never wanted them to feel that they

couldn’t be their authentic self.

When I saw my daughter’s perfectly

imperfect drawings, I knew that

they would make the most amazing

characters for a storyline about

acceptance. We scanned her drawings

into the computer and used software to

add colour and to make them printready.

My little girl was in control of it

all. I asked her how she thought the

character, Yaryo, looked different to

everyone else and what his friends

might say to make him feel better. It

was incredible to hear her thoughts

about it all, and once she had told me

what she thought, I then took away

what she had said and put it into a

rhyming story. The end result was the

most special book in the collection –

one that is truly having an impact on

children and making a difference.

By seeing the beauty in a scribble and

encouraging my daughter to develop

her own unique concept, she ended

up creating something that will help

so many children to accept themselves

just as they are. Without the process of

doodling, Yaryo and Looly would never

have been created. A scribble is never

just a scribble to its creator and if we

can uncover the hidden meaning in it,

we might just learn a thing or two from

the little people in our lives.

Stacey Kelly

Stacey Kelly is a former

teacher, a parent to 2

beautiful babies and the

founder of Early Years Story

Box, which is a subscription

website providing children’s

storybooks and early years

resources. She is passionate

about building children’s

imagination, creativity and

self-belief and about creating

awareness of the impact

that the early years have

on a child’s future. Stacey

loves her role as a writer,

illustrator and public speaker

and believes in the power of

personal development. She is

also on a mission to empower

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12 September 2019 13

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14 September 2019 15

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Last month, we celebrated National Playday and National Colouring Book Day, and earlier in the

year was International Women’s Day and Safer Internet Day. So, I know you’ll all be wondering

about this month’s awareness day. There’s lots of fun to be had with Roald Dahl Day, (see page

30) but I bet you didn’t know that on September 19th, you can practice your old pirate patter

with International Talk Like A Pirate Day!!

“Ooo arr” we hear you say, “Be that true?” “Aye aye, shiver me timbers, it is, to be sure!”

(OK, back to speaking normally - for a few paragraphs at least!)

An old pirate’s tale…

So, it’s true – September 19th is officially

recognised as International Talk Like A

Pirate Day. It started in 1995 when two

friends (Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers,

and John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur) were

playing racquetball and began shouting

encouragements to each other. These

escalated into pirate slang and by the

end of the match, they had decided

to set up a day to speak in the pirate

tongue and keep some traditional

piratical activities alive. They chose the

19th of September and this sturdy band

of intrepid adventurers (well 2 of them!)

dedicated themselves to keeping their

new-found parlance. For 7 years they stoically

observed the day, when one lucky Monday (or

it could have been a Tuesday… pirates don’t

count the days you know); they found some

scurvy treasure – the email address of

the syndicated columnist, Dave

Barry – who, with his tongue

in his cheek and quill in his

hand, promoted the idea

across his network. The rest,

as they say, is


Nowadays, pirates big and small look forward to hoisting their

main sails, leaving the landlubbers behind and becoming a

swashbuckling buccaneer for the day! There’s even a dedicated

website at where other wouldbe

scallywags can learn more and download some useful

resources such as a pirate glossary, pirate songs, and some

learning resources for junior pirates, their parents and teachers.

So why not get into the swing of Talk Like A Pirate Day in your

own setting, and see what madcap mayhem you can have?

Here are a few ideas to help you

Learn to speak pirate parlance!

Since the day is all about speaking like a pirate, everyone

should at least learn a few pirate phrases. The website has

some great ones for adults and little ones alike, but we’ve put

down a few of our favourites to help you get started.





Shiver me timbers



Scupper that

Davey Jones’ locker





Expressing surprise

A discussion between opposing sides

in an argument

Used to attract attention or as a


Throw that overboard

A fictional place at the bottom of the

sea - death!

Organise a treasure hunt

This is a great way to engage the children

and to help them with some extra learning

and problem-solving opportunities too.

You can do it inside and/or outside,

depending on the weather and the

children can participate individually, in

pairs or in teams. Plan your hunt carefully

and decide if you want to use a map, or

have clues to follow that lead from one

to the next. It’s best to start at the end

(where your treasure will be hidden) and

work backwards towards your designated

starting point, either making-up your own

clues or you could use some of the many

ready-made ones on the internet. There

are some simple rhyming couplet ideas


If you have very young children, you could

do a picture quiz instead of using words, so

that children find the items from a picture.

And for older children you can introduce an

element of maths such as simple counting

or addition to get to the answer.

Make sure that you have some ‘treasure’ at

the end of the trail. It can be anything and

an old shoe box covered in brown paper

makes a good treasure chest.

Dress up as a pirate

Red, white and black are common pirate

colours so ask children to come to the

setting in these colours. You can make

some pirate hats and eye patches using

cardboard and string and cut up some old

pieces of material to make bandanas and

arm bands.

Make some pirate booty

A pirate wouldn’t be a pirate without some

booty, so why not make some treasure

of your own? Cut out different shapes of

coloured card to be jewels or string some

beads together to make necklaces and

bracelets. You can even make and paint

some crowns, bars of gold or coins


Learn a pirate song and jig

Everyone loves and old sea shanty and this

is a great way to increase physical activity

and have some fun doing it. The creators

of Talk Like A Pirate Day have made up a

child-friendly pirate song which is listed

on their website along with several other

lesson plans for historical, art and other

types of educational lessons. You can

adapt them depending on the age of the

children you are working with.

Make a pirate flag

The skull and crossbones is the traditional

pirate flag and you could make

some using either paper, cardboard

or material. There are 32 free,

downloadable stencils here if you don’t

want to draw your own.

Read some stories about pirates

Here are some of our favourite pirate

books for younger children:

• “The Pirates of Scurvy Sands” by

Jonny Duddle

• “Sir Charlie Stinky Socks: The

Pirate’s Curse” by Kristina


• “Pirate Pete” by Nick Sharratt

• “Ten Little Pirates” by Mike


• “Molly Rogers, Pirate Girl” by

Cornelia Funke

And don’t forget those

classics, “Treasure Island”

and “Peter Pan” too.

Above all me hearties,

tis time to weigh

anchor, get all hands

on deck and have

some piratey fun!

For more information, visit

the website at:

16 September 2019 17

Arrgghh! Have

you seen my


These little people

need your help too!

We know how much giving children a quality education means to you.

You will need:

• Cardboard tube, cut in half (such as

the inside of a kitchen roll)

• Coloured paper

• Feathers

• Googly eyes

• Pipe cleaners

• Scissors

• Glue

1. Cut the coloured paper into pieces. You will need a piece

for the body, one for the head, one for belly and one for the

beak, you’ll be wrapping these around the cardboard tube so

make sure they’re big enough!

2. Glue them all in the correct places – use the photo as a

guide. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

3. Make two holes on the opposite sides at the bottom of the

parrot (be very careful!) and run pipe cleaner through the


4. Glue the googly eyes on the head.

5. Make two holes on each side to

make space for the wings and

one on the back for the tail. Stick

the feathers through the holes.

6. Glue last pieces of feather on the

inside of the head so it creates a


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18 September 2019 19

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industry. Minimum of 12 months’ sponsorship applies.

Heritage Open

Days – celebrating

history and


If you have ever walked past an old building

or historic house and garden and wondered

what history lies behind those doors, or what

life might have been like for those that lived

there in years gone by, you may be able to

find out this month!

Every year in September,

places across the country,

the majority of which are

normally closed (or parts of

them closed) to the public,

throw open their doors to

celebrate their heritage,

community and history. It’s

our chance to see hidden

places and try out new

experiences – all of which

are free of charge to explore!

Heritage Open Days is

organised nationally by

the National Trust and

is England’s largest free

festival of history and

culture, bringing together

over 2,000 organisations,

5,000 events and 40,000

volunteers from all walks of

life – that’s one huge festival!

This year’s festival runs from

13th to 22nd September

and celebrates its 25th


How did it all start?

Heritage Open Days started

in 1994 and was inspired

by its European equivalent,

European Heritage Days.

Since then, it has grown into

the country’s largest heritage

festival, growing from 701

events when it began, to

over 5,000 today! It is a

chance for communities

nationwide to come together

to learn, explore and have

fun by sharing the treasures

on their doorstep.

This year, there are hundreds

of properties taking part in

Heritage Open Days that

are holding children’s and

family activities for everyone

to enjoy! By sharing all their

stories, everyone involved

can encourage children to

learn about their heritage in

all sorts of wonderful ways.

You can search for familyfriendly

Heritage Open

Days activities that are

happening in your area on

the website here:

As well as families learning

about the heritage

and culture of the built

environment during Heritage

Open Days, you could also

hold your own themed

activity at your setting, so

you can celebrate all cultures

and heritage, not just


My family tree

Over recent years, exploring

family trees has become

a really popular activity

for many people. Family

heritage is a great topic

to use in your setting

when children start to

get an understanding of

their own families and

realise that all families are

unique. It’s a great way to

build the children’s selfesteem

as they share ‘My

Family Heritage’ with their

classmates. It can also

be used to celebrate the

differences in people and

build tolerance of those who

are different. Learning about

heritage in early years can

get families involved in a

good way!

You will need:


A world map attached

to a board near your

storytime area.


Push pins


A world globe


A picture atlas or book

showing how different

buildings (churches/

castles etc) look in

different countries.


Book - “Everybody Bakes

Bread” by Norah Dooley

(or similar)

1. Explain to the children that a world map is the same as a globe, but flattened out. You can show where you live on

both the globe and the map.

2. Read a story book that illustrates that many people come from different places and cultures. Norah Dooley books are

really good for this as they show that so many different recipes come from different countries

and food is an easy way to introduce the children to different cultures! As you read the

story, mark the places on the map where these recipes originated.

3. Discuss with the children that each of them have ancestors (grandparents, etc.) that

have come from other places. This usually encourages them to say things like, “I’m

Polish!” or “My dad comes from Italy.”

4. Explain that people learn skills and customs from their cultural heritage, passing it down

through the family. People may seem different because of how they dress, what they eat

and how they celebrate holidays. Give some examples of how your family heritage has

influenced you.

5. Let the children know that they have a task to do - to find out what

countries their relatives came from and what famous food comes from

that area. If they don’t have any family members originating from a

different country, you could ask them if they have any friends from

overseas. You could help them put a pin on the map of the different


6. Don’t forget to inform parents of the task!

20 September 2019 21

Starting a musical journey: changes in

your little one’s musical behaviour

It’s 2006 and I have a new baby. I love music, so I look for a local baby music group. I’m not even sure

what to look for, and as a new mum, I cannot find a central directory of services. Finally, I Google the

right keywords to find a local franchise, but it has a waiting list. (A waiting list? For baby music?!) I look

further afield. I find another franchise about an hour’s drive away, with free spaces. Chatting to the

teacher after the session, she suggests that because I live so far away, I sign up to the same low-cost

franchise and start delivering my own sessions – that way, my little one will definitely attend! Being fairly

musical (I had taught myself guitar as a child and sung in the school choir for a couple years), I did it.

Photo by: Dave McNabb from DMC Photography

After completing the franchise training, I had loads more

questions, so I signed up to local training in three styles of

music education that the franchise talked about: Kodály

(pronounced Ko-dye!), Dalcroze (otherwise known as Dalcroze

Eurhythmics, nothing to do with Annie Lennox!) and Orff.

And then signed up to a part-time psychology degree, to

understand child development theory. When I finished that

degree, I completed a part-time Master’s degree in education,

where I focussed on identifying inclusive music activities for

pre-schoolers (3–4 years). Researching the music education

approaches, I noticed a clear progression in 12 skills, loosely

divided into supporting skills and musical skills, and all easily

introduced using easy-to-learn singing games. This article

is part one of a four-part series describing the musical

behaviours that we can see and encourage from birth to 7

years old.

Supporting skills: (Part 1)


In a circle, children can:

(learning relationship)


In a line, children can:

(learning sequencing)


When leaving out the last

line of a song, children

can: (planning skills)

Musical skills: (Part 3)


Children keep the pulse

through: (pulse skills)


Children recognise:

(rhythm skills)


Children can use:

(percussion skills)


Supporting skills: (Part 2)


Children use language

by: (language skills)


Weekly sessions:

(concentration skills)


Children can learn:

(memory skills)

Musical skills: (Part 4)


Listening to music,

children can: (listening



Children match the pitch

by: (pitch skills)


Children recognise:

(interval skills)

In a circle, children can: move in a circle (relationship)

Circle work is important in group sessions because circles

bring equality to the group, as no one is at the front or the

back, and no one can see or be seen more or less. Circles

reduce distraction, and encourage concentration and interest.

In a circle we are both independent and also belong to a

bigger group. Circles are used as music note heads (

Eczema – nutritional advice and

lifestyle tips for your setting

Throughout your career as an early years professional, it is very likely that you will have at least

one child in your care that suffers with eczema. It can be distressing for many children, and for

some - in severe cases - painful. You and everyone in your team all play a key role in helping

parents care for their child’s skin and trying to reduce the discomfort of eczema.

Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is

thought to affect one in five children

and one in twelve adults in the UK. It’s

a non-contagious inflammatory skin

condition that presents itself in many

different forms and it varies hugely

from individual to individual. Affected

skin can range from dry, scaly and

itchy to weeping and bleeding. It

can be hereditary (although not

always) and has a strong link to other

inflammatory conditions such as

asthma, rhinitis and hay fever.

Here are some top lifestyle and

nutritional tips that may be beneficial

in your setting - you can share these

with parents too!

When the signs of eczema appear, it’s

important to identify the root cause

of the problem and work to address

it, to help support the body to find

a resolution. Main triggers include

external irritants like perfumes,

washing powders, toiletries, paint,

dust mites and pet hairs; and

research suggests that 80% of

sufferers have an underlying food

intolerance, which can affect digestive

health and immune function.

If needed - and with a little

imagination - some of the more

unusual foods listed here can be

‘hidden’ and incorporated into your

regular recipes for meals and snacks!




Write for us for a chance to win £50!

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

monthly magazine.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like to write about, why not send an article to us and be in with a chance of

winning? Each month, we’ll be giving away £50 to our “Guest Author of the Month”.

Here are the details:


Choose a topic that is relevant to early years childcare


Submit an article of between 800–1,000 words to


If we choose to feature your article in our magazine, you’ll be eligible to win £50


The winner will be picked based on having the highest number of views for their article during that


This competition is open to both new and existing authors, for any articles submitted to feature in our Parenta

magazine. The lucky winner will be notified via email and we’ll also include an announcement in the following

month’s edition of the magazine.

Got any questions or want to run a topic

by us? For more details, email

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Guest author winner



Congratulations to our guest author competition

winner, Joanna Grace!

Joanna Grace’s article in the July edition of the

Parenta magazine, “Drinking games for children on

summer days” was very popular with our readers.

Well done, Joanna!

A massive thank you to all of our guest authors for

writing for us.

You can find all of the past articles from our guest

authors on our website:


Joanna Grace


26 September 2019 27

visit or call us on 0800 002 9242

Into the woods to take to take only only pictures pictures and

and leave leave only footprints only footprints

How Forest and Beach School activities can help to combat Nature-Deficit Disorder

As I write this article, my children are looking at how we should fill the last few days of their

school summer holidays. Many of the local activities available include Forest School-type

activities, or visiting local natural spaces to explore. I was reflecting upon how during my own

childhood we didn’t pay others to enable us to play in the natural environment, we just went

outside and played! However, nowadays there appears to be a whole generation of children

who are unable to entertain themselves outdoors; could this be more evidence of ‘Nature-

Deficit Disorder’?

The term ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’,

popularised by Richard Louv, is now

a metaphor that is readily used when

thinking about children not spending

enough time outside and in nature.

Many settings underuse the outdoors

and features of our natural landscape

to support learning and development,

yet, if you think about it, nature provides

some wonderful free resources to use.

So several early childhood settings have

chosen to combat this by adopting ideas

from Forest School education and, more

recently, Beach School education.

Forest School education began in the

UK when a team from Bridgwater

& Taunton College visited Denmark

and were impressed by the ‘open

air culture’ and the way that outdoor

learning underpinned all aspects of

their play provision. They returned to

the UK and created their own version

of this ‘Forest School’ which was so

successful that they began offering a

Forest School qualification a few years

later. Over twenty years on, this idea has

blossomed into Forest School education

as we see it today, with many schools

and nurseries investing in training so

that they have a named Forest School

practitioner. In addition, although children

in Scandinavian countries begin formal

education at age six or seven, we can still

take a leaf from their book and consider

how this ethos might support us in our

settings and embrace this open air


Beach Schools have evolved out of the

Forest School approach, when providers

have made regular trips to the seashore

instead of visiting local woodland.

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of

National Day Nurseries Association, said:

“The seashore offers a really unique

environment for discovery and learning all

year round. Young children love to be out

in the elements, playing in and learning

in sand, pebbles and mud.” In addition,

children can learn about building shelters,

make campfires, experience all weathers

and begin to understand the tides and

the unique ecosystem that exists on a


However, using the outdoors as a

teaching resource is not a new idea as

Margaret McMillan famously said: “The

best classroom and the richest cupboard

are roofed only by the sky.” She and her

sister Rachel began the Open-Air Nursery

School & Training Centre in London in

1914 and their whole ethos revolved

around learning through first-hand

experiences, active learning and outdoor

play. For their time, these women were

truly remarkable and were introducing

concepts that, although popular and

commonplace today, were revolutionary

for the education system in the early 20th


According to the Forest School

Association, there are six principles

underpinning the ethos which were

agreed by the UK Forest School

community in 2011.

Principle 1:

Forest School is a long-term process

of frequent and regular sessions in

a woodland or natural environment,

rather than a one-off visit. Planning,

adaptation, observations and reviewing

are integral elements of Forest School.

Principle 2:

Forest School takes place in a woodland

or natural wooded environment

to support the development of a

relationship between the learner and

the natural world.

Principle 3:

Forest School aims to promote the

holistic development of all those

involved, fostering resilient, confident,

independent and creative learners.

Principle 4:

Forest School offers learners the

opportunity to take supported risks

appropriate to the environment and to


Principle 5:

Forest School is run by qualified Forest

School practitioners who continuously

maintain and develop their professional


Principle 6:

Forest School uses a range of

learner-centred processes to create

a community for development and


It could be argued that there is a danger that Forest and

Beach School education is becoming watered down by the

many practitioners who are literally dipping their toes into

the water that is Forest and Beach School education without

the appropriate training. Forest School is an ethos underpinning

qualified practice and we can’t take the children into the woods once

a week and claim to ‘do Forest School’. However, although we may not be following

all of the principles that underpin the Forest School ethos and thus should not call

ourselves a Forest or Beach School, we can all use the natural environment more and

introduce children to the many experiences that they may otherwise not have had. We

must ensure that we are confident and competent in our role when taking children

outside, either into woodland or to the coast and the children’s safety should

always be paramount. In my view, encouraging more outdoor play will help to

combat ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’.

There are many activities that you can engage in with your children which will offer

them a taste of the Forest and Beach School ethos. Here are some top tips and ideas

for outdoor activities:


Most people know Roald Dahl was a children’s author – but did

you know that he was also a “spy, ace fighter pilot, chocolate

historian and a medical inventor?” Then read on to discover more

about his life and legacy, and join millions of others around the

world celebrating Roald Dahl Day on September 13th.

Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales

in 1916 to Norwegian parents. He

attended boarding school in Repton,

Derbyshire, and many events during his

time there were later recounted in his

book, “Boy”. At Repton, students were

invited to trial chocolate bars, which

inspired one of his best-loved stories,

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

At the age of 23, he enlisted in the

Royal Air Force, but sustained injuries at

the start of World War II which left him

temporarily blind. He recovered and

returned to active service as a fighter

pilot, not only surviving the war, but

also writing about his experiences in

his first piece of paid writing, published

in 1942. “The Gremlins” (1943) was his

first children’s story, and was based on

RAF folklore in which small, destructive

creatures were responsible for a variety

of technical problems facing RAF pilots.

After the war, Dahl worked in the

diplomatic and intelligence services

where he was introduced to the creator

of James Bond, Ian Fleming, and the

director, Alfred Hitchcock.

In 1960, his son was injured in an

accident in New York, and Dahl helped

invent the Wade-Dahl-Till valve, which


I’m right and you’re

wrong, I’m big and

you’re small, and

there’s nothing you

can do about it!

subsequently helped alleviate head

injuries in thousands of children.

Despite his colourful early life, Dahl

is best known for writing children’s

stories, which have themselves inspired

generations of children to read and

write, and have been made into films,

animations and hit musicals.


Never grow up...

always down.

Each year on his birthday, people

celebrate his incredible life and work,

so why not join them this September

13th and have some ‘hopscotchy’

(cheerful) fun?!

One of the things Roald Dahl is famous

for is his use of language – or more

specifically, for making up his own

language. It’s called Gobblefunk and

The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary has

been published to prove it. We’ve listed

a few of our favourites below, as well

as some whoopsy whiffling (great)

ways to celebrate Roald Dahl Day in

your setting:









An alien from

outer space



1. Dress up as your favourite character.

There are so many wonderful

characters to choose from: The BFG,

Matilda, Miss Trunchball, Willy Wonka,

The Twits, Fantastic Mr Fox, and The

Enormous Crocodile to name but a

few. You could also raise money for

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s

Charity at the same time by asking

for a small donation on your mufti

day. The charity was set up after

Dahl’s death in 1990, and funds Roald

Dahl Specialist Children’s Nurses in

communities across the UK. These

nurses support children with rare

and serious illnesses and help their

families in times of need.

2. Read some of Dahl’s stories. There

are so many stories and most of

them have a moral core as Dahl

championed children and often set

them against cruel or repugnant

adults, who luckily, always get their



One child a week is

fifty-two a year. Squish

them and squiggle them

and make them


3. Teach numeracy, art or sensory

craft by using some of the free,

downloadable lesson plans from the

official Roald Dahl website. There are

special lessons designed for preschoolers

helped by The Enormous

Crocodile. You can download them

here but beware - The Enormous

Crocodile is grumptious (bad and

greedy) and loves to dine on little

chiddlers (children)!

4. Get crafty and create some

delumptious (delicious) new sweets for

Willy Wonka. You can get the children

to draw them, paint them or use real

ingredients to create something edible.

Let their imagination run riot and see

what amazing inventions they come

up with.

5. Visit the museum. If it’s not too far to

travel, visit the Roald Dahl Museum at

Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire.

Be prepared to spend a few mintinks

(minutes) there as it’s razztwizzler

(exciting and enjoyable).

6. Make up some new Gobblefunk

words. Ask the children what they

would call different things and make

a display of their suggestions. You

could end up with some rommytot

(nonsense) or something giganticus

(grand and spectacular). Whatever

you get, it’ll be a great way to

engage their creative brains and



You should

never, never doubt

something that no

one is sure of.

7. Hold a quiz. We’ve put 5 famous

Dahl quotes around this article,

but can you identify which book

they are from? Answers are at the

bottom of the article but there are

more fun quizzes on the main Roald

Dahl website that you could use to

challenge the children, parents or

your staff too. They may even end up

all biffsquiggled (confused or puzzled)!


We love Roald Dahl here at Parenta and

to celebrate his day on 13th September,

we are giving you the chance to win a

fabulous prize!

To enter, simply send an email to - telling us

what your setting’s favourite Roald Dahl

book is - and you will be entered into

a prize draw to win some Roald Dahl


Closing date for the prize draw is Friday

20th September and the winner will be

announced in October’s magazine. Don’t

forget to include your postal address too!

And whatever you do, have a

gloriumptious (glorious and wonderful)


For more information on the day,

free downloads and a party pack full

of activities, party invites, stickers,

certificates and more, see:


I cannot be right

all the time. Quite

often I is left

instead of right.

30 Answers to quiz: 1. Matilda 2. George’s Marvellous Medicine 3. The Witches 4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 5. The BFG September 2019 31

Photo by Flickr member Wee Sen Goh

How to teach young

children friendship skills

Until the age of three, children view a ‘friend’ as whoever they happen to be playing with at the time.

However, after that, youngsters start to seek out the company of playmates they play particularly

well with. When social scientists looked at what made children become friends, they found that they

are drawn most to their peers with the same level of play interests, social skills and assertiveness.

So, how can you help young children develop the skills they will need to learn to make good friends throughout life?

In my new books “The Friendship Maze” and “What’s My Child Thinking?” - written with child psychologist, Dr Angharad

Rudkin - we look at the latest science on children’s peer relationships at each developmental level. Here are some of the

common friendship issues young children in early years settings encounter - and the best psychology on how to respond.


SCENARIO: You spot two children crying after one of

them has bitten the other.

Around the age of two or three, children may bite others for

a range of reasons: to release frustration, to protect their

turf in a row over a toy, or because they feel threatened.

Children this age often resort to biting because they haven’t

yet developed the higher thinking skills to resist their

primitive impulses to lash out.


First, put yourself in the child’s shoes and try to imagine how

you’d react if another adult grabbed one of your favourite

possessions. Then you will understand how difficult it is for a

young child - who still relies greatly on their instincts - not to

retaliate when someone they like upsets them.

First, give attention to the child on the receiving end. This

will send a message to the child who bit that they will not be

the one to get the primary attention. By the time they lashed

out, the biter’s fight-or-flight reflex will have already kicked

in, so they will not able to process much of what you are

saying. So, rather than shout and raise their stress

levels more, remove them from the situation to allow

their more rational thinking to return.

Tell them: “No, that’s not acceptable. You can be

angry, but you mustn’t hurt”. Try talking through what

they could have done differently. Although their

brain is very much a work in progress, this will help

the child start to use their verbal negotiation skills,

rather than their teeth to get what they want. It will

also guide them on the path to start to master their

impulsive behaviour.


SCENARIO: A child is refusing to share their favourite

dinosaur toy with another child.

According to research, social conflicts at around the ages of

three and four usually break out for three reasons: a child

takes a toy without permission; says they don’t like what

the other one is doing and asserts they can do it better; or

calls them names. While it’s good to start helping children to

learn how to share, children are usually four or five before

they are consistently happy to take turns and let others have

a go with their possessions. When they are still two or three,

a child still believes that if they have to give a toy to another,

they will never get it back.


Your first instinct may be to tell the child in question they

must try to share – and to demonstrate to them how it’s

done. But studies show that young kids are less likely to

learn to share their things if you tell them they have to. So

don’t take away the toy. This is likely to make the child more

possessive and anxious in the future about others taking

away the things they like to play with. Research has found

that children learn how to share best if you talk about how

the other child feels. You could say

something like: “Joe is happy

when you let him play with

Mr Rex” or “He’s sad when

you grab Mr Rex away.’

If a child is bringing their

personal toys into the

setting, suggest they keep

them safely hidden away

during the day until they are

able to play with them on

their own.


SCENARIO: A child always seems to be left out of the other children’s games.

It’s not unusual for children to say they have no friends, from time to time. But if a child

says this a lot and you suspect they are becoming isolated from their peers, see if you can

find out more.


Some children take longer to develop the skills and judgement to understand how to

be accepted into a game. But it is possible to help. Show them how turning their body

towards the game and making helpful suggestions to the children who are playing it, will

increase the chance they will also be included. Social scientists have found that rather

than saying: “Can I come into your game?” - a direct question which can elicit a ‘no’ - it

generally works better for a child to show quiet interest, observe what’s going on, and

then see where they can slip in. It’s also easier for children who are on their own to be

shown how to pair up with another child on their own who will be glad of a playmate, or

to join slightly larger groups of more than three. Make it clear that not all their attempts

will work and not to feel personally rejected. Sometimes other youngsters may be so

wrapped up in their play they don’t want an interruption.


SCENARIO: A row breaks out because a child says they no longer want to play the

game they are losing.

As a child’s social group expands after the age of about four, they will start to compare

their abilities with others, resulting in the start of more openly competitive behaviour.

At this age, a child may also be testing others to find their place in the social hierarchy

because they will believe that being ‘good at’ activities will make them more admired. If

they have a dominant personality, they may want to be ‘top dog’, and winning is one way

to pull rank and impress others. They may not yet have learned that their drive to do

well has to be balanced by a willingness to play cooperatively.


Explain that no one can win all the time and next time the result might be different. If a

child has a meltdown over losing, you could say: “I understand you’re upset, but it’s just

a game and you need to control your frustration.” Ask them: “How can you change how

you play that will keep it fun for everyone?” If a child needs more help, try practising

some turn-taking games, like board or ball games and describe out loud what you are

doing. Start with non-competitive games, so younger children can get used to the to-andfro

of turn-taking – and suggest parents also try this at home.

Tanith Carey

Tanith Carey writes books

which offer a lucid analysis of

the most pressing challenges

facing today’s parents and

childcarers – by looking at the

latest research and presenting

achievable strategies for how

to tackle them. Her books

have been translated into 15

languages, including German,

French, Arabic, Chinese and

Turkish. Her 2019 publications

are “What’s My Child Thinking?

Practical Child Psychology for

Modern Parents” and “The

Friendship Maze: How to

help your child navigate their

way to positive and happier


An award-winning journalist,

Tanith also writes on parenting

for the Daily Telegraph, The

Times, the Guardian and the

Daily Mail, in which she also

serialises and promotes her

books. She is also a regular

presence on TV and radio

programmes, including the NBC

Today Show in the US and Radio

Four Woman’s Hour and You

and Yours.

Her full bio can be found on her

website at

and you can follow her on social

media channels @tanithcarey.

32 September 2019 33

The importance of Continuing Professional

Development (CPD) for your staff

CPD eLearning courses

At this time of year, when GCSEs and A levels are finished, results are out and the focus is

on recruiting those who have just completed their education, it can be easy to overlook the

importance of improving the knowledge of those already working in your childcare setting.

Continuing Professional Development

(CPD) is key for not only upskilling your

existing workforce, but it also reduces

recruitment costs, attracts top talent and

helps to prevent skills shortages within

your setting. If you can ensure that

your team undergoes regular refresher

training on a variety of subjects relevant

to working in early years, it means that

they’ll always be up-to-date with the

latest policies, procedures and practices

– and it certainly doesn’t need to be


Through the training that you already

provide to your staff, you may have

experienced that even though the team

is predominantly hard-working and

passionate, occasionally, some may lack

the drive or confidence to put themselves

forward for their next qualification.

Encouraging your team to continue

their development is great for morale,

motivation and their wellbeing – it has

many benefits for the employer too!

For employers

The main benefit of CPD for employers is

that it can ensure that standards across

the setting are both high and consistent

– this is great for your reputation and

if you have a childcare website, this is

something you should be shouting about

online! Having a number of employees

undertake CPD over a period of time

allows for the sharing of ‘best practice’

and support for each other. CPD also

contributes to maximising staff potential

and provides a useful benchmark for

annual appraisals. Be sure to use CPD

courses which are fully accredited.

For employees

CPD not only helps employees keep their

knowledge and skills current, but it also

ensures that the professional standard

of their qualifications and registrations is

maintained. In addition, it can contribute

to their professional ‘sense of direction’.

Completing CPD helps build confidence

and credibility, allows staff to showcase

their achievements and arms them with

the tools to cope positively with change.

CPD is also beneficial for employees’

career progression as it shows

willingness to improve.

The great thing about CPD accredited

courses relevant to early years childcare

is that there are many available to do

online - which means there are no

deadlines, no time restrictions and no

classroom visits. So study is done in the

learner’s own time and at a pace that

suits them.

There are also a few simple things you

can do to make life easier for your staff

during their CPD training.

Create a revision area

Space permitting, try and have a quiet

area where staff can go to do any

research they need to do, or complete

their assignments online in peace

when they have spare time. Making

your setting ‘revision-friendly’ is not too

difficult if you can provide a table and

put up a sign to let people know that the

area is reserved for staff revision/study.

Celebrate success

Make a point of celebrating staff

members who successfully complete

their training. For instance, you could

bring homemade cakes and special

treats into work when someone passes

a course, or if you have a few members

of staff who are doing online CPD

courses, you could bring treats in on

one day of the month to celebrate all

of them at the same time! Showing this

level of recognition will help incentivise

other members of your team and boost


Tell your staff what it means to you

and set a good example

Whenever you get the chance, whether

in your one-to-one catch ups or when

a new person joins your team, be

vocal about how much you value

people continuing their professional

development and what a positive

impact it has for not just the setting but

the children too. You could enhance

your own knowledge even further and

should lead by example by taking a CPD

accredited online course yourself!

Include training in objectives

When you set out objectives for your

staff, talk to them about working

towards their next qualification. Having

the goal written down can be strong

enough motivation to nudge them

towards taking action and signing up for

a course!






Whether you are a

manager looking

to support your

staff by enhancing

their knowledge, or

looking at developing

your own career,

when you study one

of Parenta’s online

CPD courses, you

study in your own

time and at your own

pace – all from the

comfort of your own


Our full list of

eLearning and eBook

courses can be found

on our website:




Study at

your pace

No classes

to attend

34 September 2019 35


Sensory engagement

Much of my work focuses on children who face significant barriers to their learning, many of these

children have profound and multiple learning disabilities or complex autism and are non-verbal

communicators. The senses are everything to me when I want to connect with them. However

sensory communication affects everyone, and being able to engage a person’s senses is critical to

gaining their attention and supporting their learning.

more readily identifiable

can support children in

remembering to go to the

toilet. In the same way,

supporting visual accessibility

can boost children’s

independence skills.

Remember to consider

this with vision alone, not

cognition. For example here

are the chairs on either side

of my dining room table. My

dining room is very sparse;

you would think that all the

chairs were easily accessible

but as this picture shows

there is a big visual difference

between the chairs on either

side of the table.


If you are looking for a

fabulous visual engagement

activity, try making

improvised light boxes. Find a

plastic box with a flat clear lid

and stick baking paper to the

underside of the lid (to diffuse

the light). Line the box with

silver card or tin foil. Pop in a

handful of battery-operated

fairy lights and enjoy the

gorgeous uplighting: it will

make the activities you place

on the box all the more

visually engaging.

Consider how sensory

information is prioritised in

our minds: it is absolutely

fundamental, it is before

thought. Think of how

we speak about sensory

experiences: “I saw it with

my own eyes”, “I heard it

for myself”. These sensory

references are proof,

evidence that cannot be

argued with. Even at times

when we know our senses

to be fooling us (for example

have you ever felt like you

were falling when you were

in bed?), we cannot override

them with our mind. The

sensory experiences that we

feel, beat the information

that we know intellectually.

Which is why it is so

important that the sensory

information we present

when we seek to teach

children, matches up with

the intellectual content we

hope they will gather from

our teaching.

And making



to the

senses will draw children’s

curiosity before their intellect

wonders what is going on.

Sensory engagement is

essential for learners of all


In this article, I want to get

you started thinking in a

sensory way. We haven’t

got room to go through the

eight sensory systems that

I generally tackle at The

Sensory Projects (yes more

than five!) but if we start with

our most dominant sensory

system: vision, then you will

be off on the right track.

Vision dominates our cerebral

cortex taking up nearly

a third of it. Seeing is the

processing of light by the

retina; brighter items throw

off more light and so place a

bigger processing demand

on our brains. Consider the

child being asked to look at

a red shape held up against

a white wall, compared to

the child being asked to

look at a red shape held up

against a black cloth. The

first child is asked to do a lot

more visually, as they have

to process all the white light

thrown off by the wall as

well as the red of the shape.

Now imagine the child who

has to pick that shape out of

the confusion of a brightly

patterned, multi-coloured

background. It can be

exhausting! Seeing uses a lot

of our brains and it is tiring.

Visual attention

If we support visual attention

then we support children’s

concentration. This can be

as simple as setting up toys

against a dark contrasting

background – Tuff Trays are

great at this and you might

notice how children are more

drawn to toys in this clearlyvisually-denoted


compared to toys laid out on

the carpet or a table top.

When you are showing things

to children, consider the

background you are standing

in front of; be careful of things

like vertical or Venetian blinds

which can be visually very

disturbing. If you have a very

busy visual environment,

consider installing roller

blinds along the walls so that

you can choose to have a

muted, plain backdrop when

you wish.


If a child is feeling stressed,

anxious or unwell, they may

be less able to cope with

a busy visual environment

than usual. An environment

offering relatively low visual

stimulation may help a child

to calm and regulate. Think

of where you would want to

be if you had a migraine; it’s

unlikely to be gazing at your

bright display board.

All of our senses have a

development that they run

through, and experiences

from early sensory

development are easier to

process than those from

later on. The easiness of

processing makes these

experiences naturally

calming. For vision, warm

red tones come very early on

in the development of sight

and most young children will

declare a preference for the

colour red as it is likely to be

the first colour tone they were

able to see.


Take a look around your

environment and imagine

that you were seeing it with

just your eyes, not with

your understanding. Are

the different places clearly

identifiable? Does the route to

the bathroom look different

to the carpet circle? Is it easy

to pick out where the coats

are and where the drawers

are? How much would you

know about your space if

you took it in through vision

alone? Making changes so

that, for example, toilets are

Readers curious to know more may be

interested in Joanna’s courses:

Sensory Engagement for Sensory Beings: A

Beginners Guide

Teaches structured and playful sensory

engagement techniques.

Exploring the Impact the Senses have on


Looks at how we can respond to

behaviour triggered by sensory


Develop Your Sensory Lexiconary

Looks at the development of the sensory

systems and relates this information

to the development of cognition,

communication, engagement and


Joanna Grace

Joanna Grace is an

international Sensory

Engagement and Inclusion

Specialist, trainer, author, TEDx

speaker and founder of The

Sensory Projects.

Consistently rated as

“outstanding” by Ofsted,

Joanna has taught in

mainstream and specialschool

settings, connecting

with pupils of all ages and

abilities. To inform her

work, Joanna draws on her

own experience from her

private and professional life

as well as taking in all the

information she can from the

research archives. Joanna’s

private life includes family

members with disabilities and

neurodivergent conditions and

time spent as a registered

foster carer for children with

profound disabilities.

Joanna has published three

practitioner books: “Sensory

Stories for Children and Teens”,

“Sensory-Being for Sensory

Beings” and “Sharing Sensory

Stories and Conversations with

People with Dementia”. and

two inclusive sensory story

children’s books: “Voyage to

Arghan” and “Ernest and I”.

Joanna is a big fan of social

media and is always happy

to connect with people

via Facebook, Twitter and



36 September 2019 37


Eye Health


What would you do if you

lost your sight? How would

it affect your lifestyle, your

independence and income?

And what impact would it have

on your dependents, family

and friends?

Most of us don’t think about this often,

but once a year, National Eye Health

Week (NEHW) helps to focus our

thoughts on our eyesight and ways

we can look after it better. This year’s

National Eye Health Week will take place

from 23 rd –29 th September, promoting the

importance of good eye health and the

need for regular eye tests for all.


We all know about our 5 main senses

and their associated body parts:

Sight - eyes

Hearing - ears

Taste - tongue

Smell - nose

Touch - skin

Without any one of these, our

interpretation and understanding of the

world would be limited, but vision is

what people fear losing the most; yet

many of us don’t know how to look after

our eyes. National Eye Health Week aims

to change all that, and statistics about

the state of the nation’s sight, make

‘eye-opening’ reading.

13.8 million people in the UK could

be at risk of avoidable sight loss

because they fail to have regular

eye tests 1

Almost two million people in the UK

are living with sight loss yet over

half of sight loss can be avoided 2

Sight loss affects people of all ages 2

The number of people in the UK with

sight loss is forecast to rise by 30%

by 2030 3

A sight test easily detects the early

signs of eye conditions such as

glaucoma, which can be treated if

found early enough

During any sight test, other health

conditions including diabetes

and high blood pressure may be


NEHW aims to raise awareness of the

importance of having regular eye tests

and inspire people to make healthier

lifestyle choices that benefit their eye

health. It’s run in conjunction with The

Eyecare Trust and has official partners

and supporting organisations in the

business and charity sectors. The official

website, at, is full

of information, downloadable resources

and ideas to help you make the most of

the week and have a positive impact.

The official hashtags are #EyeWeek and

#VisionMatters and you can register for

a free resource pack by sending your

name, position, organisation and postal

address to



1. Get tested

Everyone should have an eye test at

least every 2 years. It’s a common

misconception that children’s

eyesight cannot be accurately

checked until they can read, but

a child’s eyes can be tested from

birth. Regular tests can ensure that

any problems are identified early,

and childhood conditions such

as squint, lazy eye (amblyopia),

short-sightedness (myopia) or

long-sightedness (hyperopia) are

picked up early, allowing for the

best treatment outcome. Eye tests

are free for all children under 16 and

adult tests are inexpensive.

2. Eat a rainbow

We’ve all heard about the

importance of eating a balanced

diet and how colourful fruits and

vegetables can help maintain a

healthy weight, increase resistance

to disease and provide optimum

energy, but young eyes also need

the correct nutrients to ensure

healthy development too. Tomatoes,

melons, grapes and blueberries are

packed with eye-friendly nutrients,

as are proteins such as eggs,

chicken and fish (salmon, tuna and

mackerel). Whole grains are good

too. And don’t forget carrots – most

of us are told early on that carrots

can help eyesight because carrots,

sweet potatoes and pumpkin are

just a few veggies that are packed

with beta-carotene; an essential

precursor for Vitamin A, needed for

eye health.

3. Protect your eyes from the sun

The lens at the front of young

children’s eyes is very clear so can

let in more damaging sunlight.

Always protect children’s eyes with

sunglasses whenever the UV index

rises above 3, and check their

sunglasses have a CE;UV 400 or

British Standard Mark to ensure the

correct level of protection.

4. Go outside

Research shows that time spent

playing outside can help prevent the

onset and progression of shortsightedness

in children 4 , so make

time to go outside every day.

5. Act on advice

Follow the advice of the child’s eye

care practitioner such as when and

when not to wear glasses.

6. Stimulate the senses

Children’s eyes continue to

develop from birth until the age of

about eight, so stimulating visual

engagement by using high contrast

toys and mirrors, and playing

games such as peekaboo can

help. You can also encourage good

hand-eye coordination by playing

throwing and catching games,

using building blocks, colouring

and mark-making.

For adults, advice also includes

the importance of reducing alcohol

consumption, stopping smoking and

maintaining a healthy weight, since

these factors affect eye health too.



There are many ways to get involved.

You can organise your own event or see

what other events are being held in your

area. You could:

Tell your parents, staff, friends and

colleagues about the week and ask

them when they last had an eye test

Make a display about eyes; take

photos of eyes, or draw pictures

and make an interesting collage

including some facts and figures

Organise an event such as:

a quiz with lots of questions

about eyes

a lunch with healthy foods to

help eyesight

bring your ‘sunnies’ to nursery


get outdoors to celebrate

the day, but remember your

sunscreen, hats and sunglasses

Invite an optician to come in and

speak to the children, parents and


Add information to your social

media sites or send one of the preprepared

tweets available from the


Run a session on what it might

be like to lose your sight: get the

children to do some simple things

wearing a blindfold and explain to

them the importance of looking after

their eyes at the same time

Let us know what you do and look after

those peepers!


1. Eye Health UK

2. Access Economics (2009)


4. JAMA. 2015;314(11):1142-1148.


38 September 2019 39

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