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.

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.


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Issue 58<br />

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

FREE<br />



How to teach<br />

young children<br />

friendship skills<br />

The importance<br />

of doodling<br />

Starting a musical<br />

journey: changes in<br />

musical behaviour<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to<br />

WIN<br />

£50<br />

p 27<br />



Avast me hearties! <strong>September</strong> 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate<br />

Day. Find our themed craft and fun activity suggestions inside!<br />


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

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

your new intake - where did the summer go?!<br />

<strong>September</strong> is also a busy month here at <strong>Parenta</strong> HQ. The team is really looking forward to Childcare Expo<br />

Midlands in Coventry on 27th and 28th <strong>September</strong>; and will be on hand to give you valuable advice and<br />

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

solutions – do come and visit us – you’ll find us on stand C12.<br />

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<br />

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<br />

“parley like a pirate”. More on that on the opposite page!<br />

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

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

fun and interactive!<br />

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

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

Development (CPD) can keep staff motivated, improve morale and reduce staff turnover!<br />

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

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

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<br />

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

care.<br />

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

Allan<br />

MUSIC<br />

hello<br />


22<br />

SEPTEMBER <strong>2019</strong> ISSUE 58<br />



14 What our customers say<br />

18 Arrgghh! Have you seen my parrot?<br />

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

27 Guest author winner announced<br />

NEWS<br />

4 Cygnets brings the beach to Bordon to celebrate<br />

15 years!<br />

4 Broussa Day Nursery children welcome local<br />

guide dog<br />

5 Children born prematurely during summer can<br />

face ‘significant’ challenges at school<br />

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

ADVICE<br />

10 World Sepsis Day<br />

16 International Talk Like A Pirate Day<br />

20 Heritage Open Days – celebrating history and<br />

culture!<br />

24 Eczema – nutritional advice and lifestyle tips for<br />

your setting<br />

30 Roald Dahl Day<br />

34 The importance of Continuing Professional<br />

Development (CPD) for your staff<br />

Avast me hearties!<br />

Our theme of the month for <strong>September</strong> is…..pirates!<br />

Ahoy there! It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day on 19th<br />

<strong>September</strong> so batten down the hatches and all hands on deck<br />

for a month of ‘pirate parley’!<br />

What’s it all about?<br />

It began in 1995 when two friends were playing racquetball (a<br />

game a little like squash) and began shouting<br />

encouragement to each other which rapidly<br />

turned into pirate slang! It sounds farfetched<br />

and not much of a link to<br />

pirates, but if you turn to page 16 you<br />

will discover how it all happened!<br />

“Have you seen my parrot?”<br />

Let the little ones’ imaginations runs wild<br />

with our ‘make your own pirate parrot’<br />

craft. We had such fun making this in the<br />

office and we think it will bring hours<br />

of piratey fun in your setting. On page<br />

18 you will see one that we “prepared<br />

earlier”!<br />

Don’t forget to<br />

send us your<br />

pictures of the<br />

children’s<br />

pirate parrots<br />

– have fun!<br />

National Eye Health Week 38<br />

In the first of a four-part<br />

series, Frances Turnbull<br />

offers an insight into how<br />

beneficial music is in<br />

children’s development.<br />


Gina Smith provides<br />

some excellent strategies<br />

that you can use to<br />

help young children<br />

develop their emotional<br />

understanding.<br />

8<br />


32<br />

Tanith Carey shares some great ways<br />

that you can help teach friendship skills<br />

to the young children in your care. Tanith<br />

gives 4 scenarios and describes how you<br />

can help in these situations.<br />

38 National Eye Health Week<br />


8 How to help young children develop their<br />

emotional understanding<br />

12 The importance of doodling<br />

22 Starting a musical journey: changes in your little<br />

one’s musical behaviour<br />

28 Into the woods to take only pictures and leave<br />

only footprints<br />

32 How to teach young children friendship skills<br />

36 Sensory engagement<br />

Enter the<br />

competition<br />

for a chance to win<br />

a set of Roald Dahl<br />

books & finger<br />

puppets!<br />

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

Cygnets brings the beach to<br />

Bordon to celebrate 15 years!<br />

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

event. Local MP, Damian Hinds, agreed to visit during the event and asked many<br />

questions about the daycare provided.<br />

Bonny Clark, Manager of Cygnets, said: “It was fantastic to see<br />

the children have so much fun with all our beach activities. It<br />

is amazing to think we have been in Bordon 15 years and we<br />

look forward to the next 15! A big thank you to all the parents<br />

who continue to support us and to our staff who did a huge<br />

amount to create an immersive beach experience for the<br />

children, and who work hard daily to provide a high standard<br />

of education.”<br />

Staff and children were dressed in a variety of colourful outfits<br />

and were busy all day enjoying sand pits, inflatable pools,<br />

beach balls and painting their faces. The children particularly<br />

enjoyed the two guest storytellers who made the children<br />

laugh with their engaging and interactive stories. Possibly the<br />

most popular attractions were the opportunity to ride on two<br />

ponies and eating fish and chips and ice cream.<br />

Broussa Day Nursery children<br />

welcome local guide dog<br />

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

the trainee guide dog.<br />

Children at Broussa Day Nursery welcomed Carter and his<br />

handlers from the Guide Dog Association into the setting and<br />

learned all about the important job he is training for.<br />

It has been a fantastic opportunity for the children to not only<br />

experience and gain confidence being around a different<br />

animal to the ones they have at nursery, but also gain an<br />

understanding about the use of guide dogs.<br />

Broussa Day Nursery teaches children about the world<br />

around them. They receive regular visits from people in the<br />

community and learn about others who may be different<br />

from themselves. This experience with Carter was valuable in<br />

developing an understanding and awareness of those with<br />

sensory impairments.<br />

Children born prematurely during<br />

summer can face ‘significant’<br />

challenges at school<br />

Research conducted by the University of Leeds found that children born only three weeks<br />

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

fall into the earlier school year.<br />

The data, from Born in Bradford birth<br />

cohort study, was collected from 10,000<br />

children, and shows that children born<br />

prematurely are twice as likely not to<br />

achieve a ‘good’ level of development<br />

at the end of reception, compared to<br />

children born at full term.<br />

Children born in the summer months<br />

are most at risk due to starting school<br />

a year early. Those children are three<br />

times less likely to reach a ‘good level of<br />

development’.<br />

The research also found that keeping the<br />

children behind for one year before they<br />

start school may not compensate for<br />

their early birth.<br />

The study was the result of conversations<br />

with schools taking part in the Bradford<br />

Opportunity Area Programme, a<br />

Department for Education initiative to<br />

find out if extra support is needed for<br />

those children.<br />

Children who are extremely premature<br />

are always given support with follow up<br />

medical assistance as well as support<br />

from their schools, which are informed<br />

about the situation, whereas children<br />

born three to eight weeks prematurely<br />

don’t get that support.<br />

The research also highlights the<br />

disadvantages faced by those born<br />

between three to eight weeks early, as<br />

well as showing they face them at an<br />

earlier age than previously thought.<br />

A neonatal doctor from the Born<br />

in Bradford study and the Bradford<br />

Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation<br />

Trust, Dr Katherine Pettinger, who coauthored<br />

the study, said to Nursery<br />

World: “While it seems like an obvious<br />

solution, delayed entry for premature<br />

children is not likely to compensate<br />

for being born early, as we found that<br />

within a given school year, the risks to<br />

development faced by children born<br />

prematurely, did not vary depending on<br />

when within that school year they were<br />

born.<br />

“To try to support this at-risk group<br />

better, we instead suggest that schools<br />

should be informed which of their pupils<br />

were born prematurely, so they can be<br />

given extra support, particularly early on<br />

in their schooling.”<br />

There are a number of recommendations<br />

to help those children including;<br />

• Giving the parents of the children<br />

individual advice suitable to their<br />

needs<br />

• Providing teachers with the best<br />

learning resources to support<br />

premature children<br />

• Sharing data between health and<br />

education services<br />

The study is titled “Starting School:<br />

Educational Development as a Function<br />

of Age of Entry and Prematurity”, and it<br />

is published in the journal, Archives of<br />

Disease in Childhood.<br />

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

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

NEWS<br />

Invest in the development<br />

of your team...<br />

10%<br />


5%<br />

We take a look at how our charity, <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust, together with its supporters, changes the lives of<br />

hundreds of children who attend <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust schools in deprived areas of the world.<br />

In many third world countries, preschool<br />

children are denied a basic<br />

education. In the poorest of areas,<br />

children are sent out to fetch water,<br />

carry out domestic chores and look<br />

after their siblings. Very often, this<br />

means that they miss out on not only<br />

going to pre-school but also receiving<br />

additional education throughout their<br />

childhood.<br />

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

Improve morale<br />

Support children’s safety<br />

Enhance your setting’s reputation<br />

Reduce staff turnover<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

can be changed and they can look<br />

forward to a much brighter future.<br />

“Sponsoring a <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust child<br />

is so rewarding. To know that our<br />

support gives hope to a child and<br />

that we can change their lives for the<br />

better, is incredible. You form a special<br />

connection with your sponsored<br />

child and are able to share in their<br />

milestones as they grow. In fact, you’ll<br />

soon find that your sponsored child<br />

feels like a part of your own family!<br />

Each year, we receive a couple of<br />

letters from them as well as a card at<br />

Christmas time.<br />

“The children that we sponsor love<br />

to hear from us! One of the most<br />

rewarding things about sponsoring a<br />

child is when that letter arrives and you<br />

hear about what they’ve been up to<br />

and how you have helped them. It fills<br />

you with pride and happiness!”<br />

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

programme gives disadvantaged preschool<br />

children the chance to lay the<br />

foundations for their learning in a safe<br />

and loving environment. Having a basic<br />

education means these young children<br />

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

and look forward to a much brighter<br />

future.<br />

Sponsorship plays a huge role in<br />

shaping the lives of young pre-school<br />

boys and girls across the world. With<br />

the support of their sponsors, the<br />

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

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

with its effects lasting a lifetime.<br />

Each sponsored child benefits from a<br />

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

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

the knowledge that someone really<br />

cares.<br />

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

difference and sponsor a child, visit<br />

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

Other ways to support the work of<br />

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

The <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust runs many exciting<br />

fundraising activities throughout the<br />

year, including an annual car rally from<br />

Maidstone via the Alps to Monaco. To<br />

find out more and keep up-to-date with<br />

the latest events, follow our Facebook<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to help young<br />

children develop their<br />

emotional understanding<br />

Emotions are often very extreme in young children. We’ve all<br />

seen the dramatic responses that children can have to the<br />

most simple of things.<br />

It can be extremely exhausting and<br />

trying when a young child shows a<br />

very extreme reaction to something<br />

that seems so insignificant to<br />

us, such as the colour of their<br />

cup. As their carers, we have to<br />

recognise that these details mean<br />

the world to the child. Children<br />

don’t have the same levels of<br />

responsibility and stresses that<br />

we have in our lives, such as<br />

paying bills, meeting our children’s<br />

needs and meeting deadlines at<br />

work. At any one point in time,<br />

the colour of a cup simply is<br />

the most important thing in that<br />

child’s world right now (lucky<br />

them!). They haven’t yet developed<br />

the maturity to distinguish how<br />

important something really is, and<br />

they don’t have the regulation<br />

strategies necessary to act calmly<br />

when something doesn’t go their<br />

way. These emotions need time to<br />

develop and mature.<br />

There are three sequential steps<br />

that children need to go through<br />

to help develop their emotional<br />

understanding.<br />

1. Recognise what different<br />

emotions look like in others.<br />

2. Recognise emotions in<br />

themselves.<br />

3. Begin to deal with their own<br />

emotions.<br />

The list below offers some<br />

strategies for helping young<br />

children work through the steps<br />

above.<br />

»»<br />

Get children to recognise feelings<br />

in others. Look at characters in<br />

books, people in magazines or<br />

people on television. Ask children<br />

how these people are feeling.<br />

“How can you tell? Why are they<br />

feeling that way?” It can help to<br />

have a set of emotion pictures<br />

available to see if any children<br />

can match an emotion picture<br />

to the person in the picture.<br />

»»<br />

Now start using similar strategies<br />

to get children to recognise how<br />

they are feeling themselves. “Can<br />

you remember a time that you<br />

felt sad? Excited? Angry?” Ask<br />

children to show how they are<br />

feeling with the emotion card.<br />

It’s great to have a display in<br />

your setting that allows a child<br />

to show you, visually, how they<br />

are feeling. There are some<br />

great books available to help<br />

children begin to recognise their<br />

emotions. I love Trace Moroney’s<br />

“When I’m feeling….” series.<br />

»»<br />

Talk about the physical features<br />

of some emotions. “What<br />

happens to your body when you<br />

are worried? Some people feel<br />

as though they have butterflies<br />

in their tummy. Some go red.<br />

Some might get tummy ache<br />

or feel sick.” Making children<br />

aware of this gives children<br />

more clues to help recognise<br />

the emotion in themselves.<br />

»»<br />

When you see a child<br />

experiencing an extreme<br />

emotion, help them to label it<br />

so that they understand what is<br />

happening. “I can see that you<br />

are feeling angry”. Get them<br />

to display their emotion on the<br />

chart or show them the emotion<br />

chart. Ask them: “can you<br />

tell me how you are feeling?”<br />

This gives children a way of<br />

communicating their feeling<br />

with you if they don’t have the<br />

confidence or words to tell you<br />

what they are experiencing.<br />

»»<br />

Empathise with how the child<br />

must have been feeling – “it<br />

must have been really scary for<br />

you when you got angry. I feel<br />

like that when I am angry.”<br />

»»<br />

Give children the tools to<br />

deal with their emotions by<br />

providing them with calming<br />

activities such as bubbles,<br />

sensory play or music.<br />

»»<br />

Put in strategies of how the child<br />

can help themselves when they<br />

are angry. You need to discuss<br />

this with them when they are<br />

calm. Have a plan in place and<br />

explain to the child that it is not<br />

wrong to be angry, but it is wrong<br />

to hurt someone else when you<br />

are angry. “Let’s see if we can<br />

come up with a better plan”.<br />

Perhaps they could go somewhere<br />

safe to let off steam when they<br />

need to. Let them know how you<br />

are going to support them.<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 />

These ideas will all help develop<br />

emotional understanding in your<br />

setting. As always, communication<br />

is key. Anything that you can do to<br />

encourage children to communicate<br />

their feelings is going to provide<br />

them with a huge step towards<br />

developing their emotional<br />

understanding and helping them on<br />

the road to good mental health.<br />

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

World Sepsis Day<br />

Sepsis is a major health problem which negatively impacts the lives of many people across the<br />

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

people die as a result. But the most worrying statistic is that sepsis is the most preventable<br />

cause of death worldwide. Unfortunately, depending on the country and education level, only<br />

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

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

reduced by early recognition of the symptoms and early effective treatment.<br />

World Sepsis Day (WSD) was<br />

established in 2012 in response to<br />

this global healthcare crisis by the<br />

World Sepsis Alliance; a not-for-profit<br />

charity organisation with the mission<br />

to provide global leadership to reduce<br />

the worldwide burden of sepsis. It<br />

is led by experts from all over the<br />

world and has over 95 member<br />

organisations currently.<br />

<strong>September</strong> 13th each year is<br />

recognised as World Sepsis Day. It<br />

aims to increase public awareness<br />

of sepsis and to show solidarity with<br />

millions of people across the world<br />

who have lost loved ones, as well as<br />

survivors who might be living with<br />

long-term complications.<br />

What is sepsis?<br />

The WSD website explains that “sepsis<br />

arises when the body’s response to<br />

an infection injures its own tissues<br />

and organs. It may lead to shock,<br />

multi-organ failure, and death -<br />

especially if not recognised early and<br />

treated promptly. Sepsis is the final<br />

common pathway to death from most<br />

infectious diseases worldwide.”<br />

Another expert, and survivor of the<br />

condition, said: “The important thing<br />

to remember is that sepsis is not<br />

caused by any one bacteria or virus.<br />

It’s an overreaction by the body to<br />

infection, which rapidly escalates.”<br />

Most common infections can lead<br />

to sepsis including flu, pneumonia,<br />

urinary infections, infections in the<br />

abdomen, skin or wound infections<br />

and meningitis, but it can also follow<br />

diseases such as yellow fever, malaria<br />

and Ebola infections. Although anyone<br />

can get sepsis, some groups are at<br />

higher risk, such as:<br />

»»<br />

Young children under 1<br />

»»<br />

Older people (60+)<br />

»»<br />

People with no spleen<br />

»»<br />

People with<br />

immunocompromising conditions<br />

such as AIDS<br />

»»<br />

People with chronic heart, liver or<br />

lung conditions<br />

»»<br />

People with diabetes<br />

One of the most misunderstood facts<br />

about sepsis is that it is one of the<br />

few conditions which can hit equally<br />

hard in the developed world as in<br />

less-developed, resource-poorer<br />

27,000,000 - 30,000,000<br />

people per year develop<br />

sepsis<br />

7,000,000 - 9,000,000 die<br />

- 1 death every 3.5 seconds<br />

Survivors may face lifelong<br />

consequences<br />

areas. In fact, the incidence of sepsis<br />

has increased in the developed world<br />

at an annual rate of between 8%<br />

and 13% in the last 10 years, and it is<br />

responsible for more lives lost than<br />

breast and bowel cancer combined.<br />

The best way to prevent sepsis is to<br />

prevent infections in the first place<br />

through the use of vaccinations and<br />

good hygiene practices, including<br />

having access to clean water and<br />

hygienic birth situations.<br />

Signs and symptoms<br />

Early recognition of the signs and<br />

symptoms of sepsis is vital in saving<br />

lives as it increases the chance that<br />

the sepsis can be treated. Some of<br />

the things to look out for include:<br />

Slurred speech or confusion<br />

Extreme shivering or muscle pain/fever<br />

Passing no urine all day<br />

Severe breathlessness<br />

It feels like you’re going to die<br />

Skin mottled or discoloured<br />

If someone already has sepsis,<br />

then they will need to be treated<br />

as a medical emergency and<br />

their infection needs to be treated<br />

immediately. If in doubt, seek medical<br />

attention. Delaying treatment could<br />

be life-threatening.<br />

Use World Sepsis Day to educate<br />

your staff and parents<br />

One of the greatest problems facing<br />

the people trying to combat sepsis<br />

is simply the lack of awareness<br />

about it. Sepsis can take hold very<br />

rapidly (within hours) and the more<br />

people who are aware of it, the<br />

more chance there is of spotting the<br />

symptoms early, giving the person<br />

the best chance of recovery. One<br />

survivor on the website recounts his<br />

own experience of scraping his hand<br />

on a rusty nail. He thought nothing<br />

of it, but 48 hours later, he was in<br />

a coma. That’s why the organisers<br />

of WSD want people to talk about<br />

sepsis, to educate their friends and<br />

colleagues about it, and to use their<br />

personal circles of influence to help<br />

spread the word.<br />

Sign the World Sepsis Declaration<br />

One easy way to support World<br />

Sepsis Day is to share the link for<br />

signing the World Sepsis Declaration<br />

with your colleagues, families and<br />

friends; everyone should be informed<br />

about sepsis. The declaration is a<br />

call to action for governments, NGOs,<br />

healthcare providers, institutions,<br />

businesses, public and private sector<br />

organisations and the general public<br />

alike, asking them to commit to<br />

doing everything possible to stem<br />

the tide of sepsis and to put plans<br />

together to achieve a set of specific<br />

goals by 2020. The current goal is<br />

to reduce sepsis deaths by 20% by<br />

2020. By signing the declaration, you<br />

are showing your support for this.<br />

Now we cannot all set up national<br />

healthcare schemes or vaccination<br />

programmes, but there are many<br />

things we can do as individuals and<br />

nursery professionals to help raise<br />

awareness and increase education<br />

about sepsis in our own circles.<br />

Here are a few suggestions of things<br />

you can do in your setting to help.<br />

1. Download the toolkit here and<br />

run an education session for<br />

your parents and staff. There is<br />

a comprehensive toolkit on the<br />

website consisting of information,<br />

resources and a “What is sepsis?”<br />

video which runs for just 3<br />

minutes, which you can use to get<br />

the main messages over.<br />

2. Sign the Sepsis Declaration<br />

and share the link to it on your<br />

social media channels asking your<br />

friends and family to sign it too.<br />

Symptoms of sepsis<br />

These symptoms might indicate sepsis<br />

?<br />

?<br />

S<br />

?<br />

?<br />

Slurred speech<br />

or confusion<br />

S Severe<br />

breathlessness<br />

E<br />

I<br />

3. Wear pink for the day and tell<br />

everyone why you are doing it.<br />

4. Hold a pink picnic and serve<br />

all manner of pink food such as<br />

fairy cakes, salmon, shrimps,<br />

raspberries, pink grapefruit and<br />

watermelon. You can always<br />

make some pink bread for<br />

sandwiches using some pink food<br />

colouring.<br />

5. Participate in the photo<br />

challenge and share your<br />

photos on social media using the<br />

hashtag #WorldSepsisDay.<br />

References from:<br />

www.worldsepsisday.org/sepsis<br />

www.global-sepsis-alliance.org<br />

Extreme shivering or<br />

muscle pain/fever<br />

It feels like you’re<br />

going to die<br />

P<br />

S<br />

Passing no<br />

urine all day<br />

Skin mottled<br />

or discoloured<br />

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

The importance of doodling<br />

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

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

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

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

Yaryo<br />

Looly<br />

Benefits of doodling:<br />

Develops literacy<br />

Doodling is actually the first<br />

step towards writing and<br />

drawing. Initially children’s<br />

drawings may seem like they<br />

lack structure, but as a child’s<br />

fine motor skills develop and<br />

their understanding of the<br />

world increases, their doodles<br />

will get more meaning. Simple<br />

doodles are the first step to<br />

writing because every shape<br />

needed to create letters will be<br />

first achieved in what seems to<br />

be a simple scribble.<br />

Teaches space and distance<br />

Children do not always understand basic concepts<br />

such as space and distance. Doodling can allow<br />

children to process this information. They will learn<br />

the difference between creating large and small<br />

objects and as they develop, they will learn the<br />

concept of space and distance in order to create an<br />

image that resembles everyday objects.<br />

Develops hand-eye<br />

coordination<br />

The more a child doodles,<br />

the more they will develop<br />

their hand-eye coordination<br />

because they will start to<br />

develop their ability to draw an<br />

image that has a likeness to<br />

objects around them. When a<br />

child first starts attempting to<br />

draw a face, there is a process<br />

that they go through trying to<br />

determine where the different<br />

features should be. Over time<br />

they become more accurate,<br />

however, it is the early doodles<br />

that allow them to develop this<br />

skill.<br />

Develops fine<br />

motor skills<br />

It is crucial that children develop<br />

their fine motor skills. When a<br />

child holds mark-making tools,<br />

they are developing their ability<br />

to manipulate them. As they<br />

doodle, they see the image<br />

that they have created and<br />

then over time, develop their<br />

ability to control the outcome.<br />

By using a variety of different<br />

sized equipment such as chalk,<br />

paint brushes and pencils,<br />

children will develop their ability<br />

to manage objects of different<br />

shapes and widths.<br />

Develops imagination, creativity<br />

& builds self-esteem<br />

Even though a child’s drawing can seem like<br />

scribbling, quite often they will be able to give you<br />

an in-depth description of what they have created.<br />

By asking open-ended questions about their work,<br />

you allow them to explore their imagination and<br />

construct a story around what they have drawn. By<br />

doing this, you will also build their self-esteem and<br />

confidence because they will feel that you see value<br />

and magic in what they have done.<br />

From doodle to storybook…<br />

After my first child was born, I left<br />

teaching and started to create<br />

storybooks that are now part of a<br />

collection called The Memory Box<br />

Collection. My children have always<br />

seen me drawing and creating books,<br />

so it has been fascinating watching<br />

them copy me. Even when they were<br />

tiny, they would sit next to me and<br />

mimic what I was doing. Their sweet<br />

little scribbles held such meaning to<br />

them and just taking the time to listen<br />

to what they had created, always made<br />

their faces beam with pride. I knew<br />

then how powerful this phase was and<br />

felt excited to see it all unfold.<br />

What started as a ‘scribble’ then<br />

developed into 2 characters that<br />

my daughter created called ‘Yaryo<br />

and Looly’. She told me about these<br />

characters and that they were special.<br />

As I listened and asked her questions<br />

about them, I could see her little eyes<br />

light up. She then asked me if we could<br />

put them into my computer like I do<br />

with my drawings and make a book<br />

together. Of course, I instantly said yes.<br />

The books that I create are given to<br />

children as gifts on special occasions<br />

throughout the year by nurseries and<br />

childminders. Each one has a strong<br />

moral message and aims to develop a<br />

child’s self-awareness. I have always<br />

wanted to create a book that teaches<br />

children to accept themselves and<br />

others for who they are and to embrace<br />

Visit earlyyearsstorybox.com/shop for more<br />

about The Memory Box Collection. <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

readers can get a 20% discount using the<br />

code PARENTA20.<br />

their differences. This is also something<br />

that I have emphasised to my children<br />

as I never wanted them to feel that they<br />

couldn’t be their authentic self.<br />

When I saw my daughter’s perfectly<br />

imperfect drawings, I knew that<br />

they would make the most amazing<br />

characters for a storyline about<br />

acceptance. We scanned her drawings<br />

into the computer and used software to<br />

add colour and to make them printready.<br />

My little girl was in control of it<br />

all. I asked her how she thought the<br />

character, Yaryo, looked different to<br />

everyone else and what his friends<br />

might say to make him feel better. It<br />

was incredible to hear her thoughts<br />

about it all, and once she had told me<br />

what she thought, I then took away<br />

what she had said and put it into a<br />

rhyming story. The end result was the<br />

most special book in the collection –<br />

one that is truly having an impact on<br />

children and making a difference.<br />

By seeing the beauty in a scribble and<br />

encouraging my daughter to develop<br />

her own unique concept, she ended<br />

up creating something that will help<br />

so many children to accept themselves<br />

just as they are. Without the process of<br />

doodling, Yaryo and Looly would never<br />

have been created. A scribble is never<br />

just a scribble to its creator and if we<br />

can uncover the hidden meaning in it,<br />

we might just learn a thing or two from<br />

the little people in our lives.<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 />

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

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International Talk Like A Pirate Day<br />

Last month, we celebrated National Playday and National Colouring Book Day, and earlier in the<br />

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

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

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

with International Talk Like A Pirate Day!!<br />

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

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

An old pirate’s tale…<br />

So, it’s true – <strong>September</strong> 19th is officially<br />

recognised as International Talk Like A<br />

Pirate Day. It started in 1995 when two<br />

friends (Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers,<br />

and John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur) were<br />

playing racquetball and began shouting<br />

encouragements to each other. These<br />

escalated into pirate slang and by the<br />

end of the match, they had decided<br />

to set up a day to speak in the pirate<br />

tongue and keep some traditional<br />

piratical activities alive. They chose the<br />

19th of <strong>September</strong> and this sturdy band<br />

of intrepid adventurers (well 2 of them!)<br />

dedicated themselves to keeping their<br />

new-found parlance. For 7 years they stoically<br />

observed the day, when one lucky Monday (or<br />

it could have been a Tuesday… pirates don’t<br />

count the days you know); they found some<br />

scurvy treasure – the email address of<br />

the syndicated columnist, Dave<br />

Barry – who, with his tongue<br />

in his cheek and quill in his<br />

hand, promoted the idea<br />

across his network. The rest,<br />

as they say, is<br />

history.<br />

Nowadays, pirates big and small look forward to hoisting their<br />

main sails, leaving the landlubbers behind and becoming a<br />

swashbuckling buccaneer for the day! There’s even a dedicated<br />

website at www.talklikeapirate.com where other wouldbe<br />

scallywags can learn more and download some useful<br />

resources such as a pirate glossary, pirate songs, and some<br />

learning resources for junior pirates, their parents and teachers.<br />

So why not get into the swing of Talk Like A Pirate Day in your<br />

own setting, and see what madcap mayhem you can have?<br />

Here are a few ideas to help you<br />

Learn to speak pirate parlance!<br />

Since the day is all about speaking like a pirate, everyone<br />

should at least learn a few pirate phrases. The website has<br />

some great ones for adults and little ones alike, but we’ve put<br />

down a few of our favourites to help you get started.<br />

Ye<br />

Me<br />

Bucko<br />

Booty<br />

Shiver me timbers<br />

Parley<br />

Ahoy<br />

Scupper that<br />

Davey Jones’ locker<br />

You<br />

My<br />

Friend<br />

Treasure<br />

Expressing surprise<br />

A discussion between opposing sides<br />

in an argument<br />

Used to attract attention or as a<br />

greeting<br />

Throw that overboard<br />

A fictional place at the bottom of the<br />

sea - death!<br />

Organise a treasure hunt<br />

This is a great way to engage the children<br />

and to help them with some extra learning<br />

and problem-solving opportunities too.<br />

You can do it inside and/or outside,<br />

depending on the weather and the<br />

children can participate individually, in<br />

pairs or in teams. Plan your hunt carefully<br />

and decide if you want to use a map, or<br />

have clues to follow that lead from one<br />

to the next. It’s best to start at the end<br />

(where your treasure will be hidden) and<br />

work backwards towards your designated<br />

starting point, either making-up your own<br />

clues or you could use some of the many<br />

ready-made ones on the internet. There<br />

are some simple rhyming couplet ideas<br />

here.<br />

If you have very young children, you could<br />

do a picture quiz instead of using words, so<br />

that children find the items from a picture.<br />

And for older children you can introduce an<br />

element of maths such as simple counting<br />

or addition to get to the answer.<br />

Make sure that you have some ‘treasure’ at<br />

the end of the trail. It can be anything and<br />

an old shoe box covered in brown paper<br />

makes a good treasure chest.<br />

Dress up as a pirate<br />

Red, white and black are common pirate<br />

colours so ask children to come to the<br />

setting in these colours. You can make<br />

some pirate hats and eye patches using<br />

cardboard and string and cut up some old<br />

pieces of material to make bandanas and<br />

arm bands.<br />

Make some pirate booty<br />

A pirate wouldn’t be a pirate without some<br />

booty, so why not make some treasure<br />

of your own? Cut out different shapes of<br />

coloured card to be jewels or string some<br />

beads together to make necklaces and<br />

bracelets. You can even make and paint<br />

some crowns, bars of gold or coins<br />

too.<br />

Learn a pirate song and jig<br />

Everyone loves and old sea shanty and this<br />

is a great way to increase physical activity<br />

and have some fun doing it. The creators<br />

of Talk Like A Pirate Day have made up a<br />

child-friendly pirate song which is listed<br />

on their website along with several other<br />

lesson plans for historical, art and other<br />

types of educational lessons. You can<br />

adapt them depending on the age of the<br />

children you are working with.<br />

Make a pirate flag<br />

The skull and crossbones is the traditional<br />

pirate flag and you could make<br />

some using either paper, cardboard<br />

or material. There are 32 free,<br />

downloadable stencils here if you don’t<br />

want to draw your own.<br />

Read some stories about pirates<br />

Here are some of our favourite pirate<br />

books for younger children:<br />

• “The Pirates of Scurvy Sands” by<br />

Jonny Duddle<br />

• “Sir Charlie Stinky Socks: The<br />

Pirate’s Curse” by Kristina<br />

Stephenson<br />

• “Pirate Pete” by Nick Sharratt<br />

• “Ten Little Pirates” by Mike<br />

Brownlow<br />

• “Molly Rogers, Pirate Girl” by<br />

Cornelia Funke<br />

And don’t forget those<br />

classics, “Treasure Island”<br />

and “Peter Pan” too.<br />

Above all me hearties,<br />

tis time to weigh<br />

anchor, get all hands<br />

on deck and have<br />

some piratey fun!<br />

For more information, visit<br />

the website at:<br />

www.talklikeapirate.com<br />

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

Arrgghh! Have<br />

you seen my<br />

parrot?<br />

These little people<br />

need your help too!<br />

We know how much giving children a quality education means to you.<br />

You will need:<br />

• Cardboard tube, cut in half (such as<br />

the inside of a kitchen roll)<br />

• Coloured paper<br />

• Feathers<br />

• Googly eyes<br />

• Pipe cleaners<br />

• Scissors<br />

• Glue<br />

1. Cut the coloured paper into pieces. You will need a piece<br />

for the body, one for the head, one for belly and one for the<br />

beak, you’ll be wrapping these around the cardboard tube so<br />

make sure they’re big enough!<br />

2. Glue them all in the correct places – use the photo as a<br />

guide. It doesn’t have to be perfect!<br />

3. Make two holes on the opposite sides at the bottom of the<br />

parrot (be very careful!) and run pipe cleaner through the<br />

holes.<br />

4. Glue the googly eyes on the head.<br />

5. Make two holes on each side to<br />

make space for the wings and<br />

one on the back for the tail. Stick<br />

the feathers through the holes.<br />

6. Glue last pieces of feather on the<br />

inside of the head so it creates a<br />

crest.<br />

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18 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 19<br />

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industry. Minimum of 12 months’ sponsorship applies.

Heritage Open<br />

Days – celebrating<br />

history and<br />

culture!<br />

If you have ever walked past an old building<br />

or historic house and garden and wondered<br />

what history lies behind those doors, or what<br />

life might have been like for those that lived<br />

there in years gone by, you may be able to<br />

find out this month!<br />

Every year in <strong>September</strong>,<br />

places across the country,<br />

the majority of which are<br />

normally closed (or parts of<br />

them closed) to the public,<br />

throw open their doors to<br />

celebrate their heritage,<br />

community and history. It’s<br />

our chance to see hidden<br />

places and try out new<br />

experiences – all of which<br />

are free of charge to explore!<br />

Heritage Open Days is<br />

organised nationally by<br />

the National Trust and<br />

is England’s largest free<br />

festival of history and<br />

culture, bringing together<br />

over 2,000 organisations,<br />

5,000 events and 40,000<br />

volunteers from all walks of<br />

life – that’s one huge festival!<br />

This year’s festival runs from<br />

13th to 22nd <strong>September</strong><br />

and celebrates its 25th<br />

anniversary!<br />

How did it all start?<br />

Heritage Open Days started<br />

in 1994 and was inspired<br />

by its European equivalent,<br />

European Heritage Days.<br />

Since then, it has grown into<br />

the country’s largest heritage<br />

festival, growing from 701<br />

events when it began, to<br />

over 5,000 today! It is a<br />

chance for communities<br />

nationwide to come together<br />

to learn, explore and have<br />

fun by sharing the treasures<br />

on their doorstep.<br />

This year, there are hundreds<br />

of properties taking part in<br />

Heritage Open Days that<br />

are holding children’s and<br />

family activities for everyone<br />

to enjoy! By sharing all their<br />

stories, everyone involved<br />

can encourage children to<br />

learn about their heritage in<br />

all sorts of wonderful ways.<br />

You can search for familyfriendly<br />

Heritage Open<br />

Days activities that are<br />

happening in your area on<br />

the website here:<br />

heritageopendays.org.uk<br />

As well as families learning<br />

about the heritage<br />

and culture of the built<br />

environment during Heritage<br />

Open Days, you could also<br />

hold your own themed<br />

activity at your setting, so<br />

you can celebrate all cultures<br />

and heritage, not just<br />

buildings!<br />

My family tree<br />

Over recent years, exploring<br />

family trees has become<br />

a really popular activity<br />

for many people. Family<br />

heritage is a great topic<br />

to use in your setting<br />

when children start to<br />

get an understanding of<br />

their own families and<br />

realise that all families are<br />

unique. It’s a great way to<br />

build the children’s selfesteem<br />

as they share ‘My<br />

Family Heritage’ with their<br />

classmates. It can also<br />

be used to celebrate the<br />

differences in people and<br />

build tolerance of those who<br />

are different. Learning about<br />

heritage in early years can<br />

get families involved in a<br />

good way!<br />

You will need:<br />

»»<br />

A world map attached<br />

to a board near your<br />

storytime area.<br />

»»<br />

Push pins<br />

»»<br />

A world globe<br />

»»<br />

A picture atlas or book<br />

showing how different<br />

buildings (churches/<br />

castles etc) look in<br />

different countries.<br />

»»<br />

Book - “Everybody Bakes<br />

Bread” by Norah Dooley<br />

(or similar)<br />

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<br />

both the globe and the map.<br />

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

really good for this as they show that so many different recipes come from different countries<br />

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

story, mark the places on the map where these recipes originated.<br />

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

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

Polish!” or “My dad comes from Italy.”<br />

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

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

and how they celebrate holidays. Give some examples of how your family heritage has<br />

influenced you.<br />

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

countries their relatives came from and what famous food comes from<br />

that area. If they don’t have any family members originating from a<br />

different country, you could ask them if they have any friends from<br />

overseas. You could help them put a pin on the map of the different<br />

locations!<br />

6. Don’t forget to inform parents of the task!<br />

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

Starting a musical journey: changes in<br />

your little one’s musical behaviour<br />

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<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by: Dave McNabb from DMC Photography<br />

After completing the franchise training, I had loads more<br />

questions, so I signed up to local training in three styles of<br />

music education that the franchise talked about: Kodály<br />

(pronounced Ko-dye!), Dalcroze (otherwise known as Dalcroze<br />

Eurhythmics, nothing to do with Annie Lennox!) and Orff.<br />

And then signed up to a part-time psychology degree, to<br />

understand child development theory. When I finished that<br />

degree, I completed a part-time Master’s degree in education,<br />

where I focussed on identifying inclusive music activities for<br />

pre-schoolers (3–4 years). Researching the music education<br />

approaches, I noticed a clear progression in 12 skills, loosely<br />

divided into supporting skills and musical skills, and all easily<br />

introduced using easy-to-learn singing games. This article<br />

is part one of a four-part series describing the musical<br />

behaviours that we can see and encourage from birth to 7<br />

years old.<br />

Supporting skills: (Part 1)<br />

♫♫<br />

In a circle, children can:<br />

(learning relationship)<br />

♫♫<br />

In a line, children can:<br />

(learning sequencing)<br />

♫♫<br />

When leaving out the last<br />

line of a song, children<br />

can: (planning skills)<br />

Musical skills: (Part 3)<br />

♫♫<br />

Children keep the pulse<br />

through: (pulse skills)<br />

♫♫<br />

Children recognise:<br />

(rhythm skills)<br />

♫♫<br />

Children can use:<br />

(percussion skills)<br />


Supporting skills: (Part 2)<br />

♫♫<br />

Children use language<br />

by: (language skills)<br />

♫♫<br />

Weekly sessions:<br />

(concentration skills)<br />

♫♫<br />

Children can learn:<br />

(memory skills)<br />

Musical skills: (Part 4)<br />

♫♫<br />

Listening to music,<br />

children can: (listening<br />

skills)<br />

♫♫<br />

Children match the pitch<br />

by: (pitch skills)<br />

♫♫<br />

Children recognise:<br />

(interval skills)<br />

In a circle, children can: move in a circle (relationship)<br />

Circle work is important in group sessions because circles<br />

bring equality to the group, as no one is at the front or the<br />

back, and no one can see or be seen more or less. Circles<br />

reduce distraction, and encourage concentration and interest.<br />

In a circle we are both independent and also belong to a<br />

bigger group. Circles are used as music note heads (

Eczema – nutritional advice and<br />

lifestyle tips for your setting<br />

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

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

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

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

Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is<br />

thought to affect one in five children<br />

and one in twelve adults in the UK. It’s<br />

a non-contagious inflammatory skin<br />

condition that presents itself in many<br />

different forms and it varies hugely<br />

from individual to individual. Affected<br />

skin can range from dry, scaly and<br />

itchy to weeping and bleeding. It<br />

can be hereditary (although not<br />

always) and has a strong link to other<br />

inflammatory conditions such as<br />

asthma, rhinitis and hay fever.<br />

Here are some top lifestyle and<br />

nutritional tips that may be beneficial<br />

in your setting - you can share these<br />

with parents too!<br />

When the signs of eczema appear, it’s<br />

important to identify the root cause<br />

of the problem and work to address<br />

it, to help support the body to find<br />

a resolution. Main triggers include<br />

external irritants like perfumes,<br />

washing powders, toiletries, paint,<br />

dust mites and pet hairs; and<br />

research suggests that 80% of<br />

sufferers have an underlying food<br />

intolerance, which can affect digestive<br />

health and immune function.<br />

If needed - and with a little<br />

imagination - some of the more<br />

unusual foods listed here can be<br />

‘hidden’ and incorporated into your<br />

regular recipes for meals and snacks!<br />

<br />



tracker!<br />

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<br />

winning? Each 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 win £50<br />

••<br />

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

month<br />

This competition is open to both new and existing authors, for any articles submitted to feature in our <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

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

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

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

by us? For more details, email<br />

marketing@parenta.com<br />

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Guest author winner<br />

announced<br />

Congratulations<br />

Congratulations to our guest author competition<br />

winner, Joanna Grace!<br />

Joanna Grace’s article in the July edition of the<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> magazine, “Drinking games for children on<br />

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

Well done, Joanna!<br />

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

writing for us.<br />

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

authors on our website: www.parenta.com/<br />

parentablog/guest-authors<br />

Joanna Grace<br />


26 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 27<br />

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

Into the woods to take to take only only pictures pictures and<br />

and leave leave only footprints only footprints<br />

How Forest and Beach School activities can help to combat Nature-Deficit Disorder<br />

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

school summer holidays. Many of the local activities available include Forest School-type<br />

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

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

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

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

Deficit Disorder’?<br />

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

popularised by Richard Louv, is now<br />

a metaphor that is readily used when<br />

thinking about children not spending<br />

enough time outside and in nature.<br />

Many settings underuse the outdoors<br />

and features of our natural landscape<br />

to support learning and development,<br />

yet, if you think about it, nature provides<br />

some wonderful free resources to use.<br />

So several early childhood settings have<br />

chosen to combat this by adopting ideas<br />

from Forest School education and, more<br />

recently, Beach School education.<br />

Forest School education began in the<br />

UK when a team from Bridgwater<br />

& Taunton College visited Denmark<br />

and were impressed by the ‘open<br />

air culture’ and the way that outdoor<br />

learning underpinned all aspects of<br />

their play provision. They returned to<br />

the UK and created their own version<br />

of this ‘Forest School’ which was so<br />

successful that they began offering a<br />

Forest School qualification a few years<br />

later. Over twenty years on, this idea has<br />

blossomed into Forest School education<br />

as we see it today, with many schools<br />

and nurseries investing in training so<br />

that they have a named Forest School<br />

practitioner. In addition, although children<br />

in Scandinavian countries begin formal<br />

education at age six or seven, we can still<br />

take a leaf from their book and consider<br />

how this ethos might support us in our<br />

settings and embrace this open air<br />

culture.<br />

Beach Schools have evolved out of the<br />

Forest School approach, when providers<br />

have made regular trips to the seashore<br />

instead of visiting local woodland.<br />

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of<br />

National Day Nurseries Association, said:<br />

“The seashore offers a really unique<br />

environment for discovery and learning all<br />

year round. Young children love to be out<br />

in the elements, playing in and learning<br />

in sand, pebbles and mud.” In addition,<br />

children can learn about building shelters,<br />

make campfires, experience all weathers<br />

and begin to understand the tides and<br />

the unique ecosystem that exists on a<br />

beach.<br />

However, using the outdoors as a<br />

teaching resource is not a new idea as<br />

Margaret McMillan famously said: “The<br />

best classroom and the richest cupboard<br />

are roofed only by the sky.” She and her<br />

sister Rachel began the Open-Air Nursery<br />

School & Training Centre in London in<br />

1914 and their whole ethos revolved<br />

around learning through first-hand<br />

experiences, active learning and outdoor<br />

play. For their time, these women were<br />

truly remarkable and were introducing<br />

concepts that, although popular and<br />

commonplace today, were revolutionary<br />

for the education system in the early 20th<br />

century.<br />

According to the Forest School<br />

Association, there are six principles<br />

underpinning the ethos which were<br />

agreed by the UK Forest School<br />

community in 2011.<br />

Principle 1:<br />

Forest School is a long-term process<br />

of frequent and regular sessions in<br />

a woodland or natural environment,<br />

rather than a one-off visit. Planning,<br />

adaptation, observations and reviewing<br />

are integral elements of Forest School.<br />

Principle 2:<br />

Forest School takes place in a woodland<br />

or natural wooded environment<br />

to support the development of a<br />

relationship between the learner and<br />

the natural world.<br />

Principle 3:<br />

Forest School aims to promote the<br />

holistic development of all those<br />

involved, fostering resilient, confident,<br />

independent and creative learners.<br />

Principle 4:<br />

Forest School offers learners the<br />

opportunity to take supported risks<br />

appropriate to the environment and to<br />

themselves.<br />

Principle 5:<br />

Forest School is run by qualified Forest<br />

School practitioners who continuously<br />

maintain and develop their professional<br />

practice.<br />

Principle 6:<br />

Forest School uses a range of<br />

learner-centred processes to create<br />

a community for development and<br />

learning.<br />

It could be argued that there is a danger that Forest and<br />

Beach School education is becoming watered down by the<br />

many practitioners who are literally dipping their toes into<br />

the water that is Forest and Beach School education without<br />

the appropriate training. Forest School is an ethos underpinning<br />

qualified practice and we can’t take the children into the woods once<br />

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

all of the principles that underpin the Forest School ethos and thus should not call<br />

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

introduce children to the many experiences that they may otherwise not have had. We<br />

must ensure that we are confident and competent in our role when taking children<br />

outside, either into woodland or to the coast and the children’s safety should<br />

always be paramount. In my view, encouraging more outdoor play will help to<br />

combat ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’.<br />

There are many activities that you can engage in with your children which will offer<br />

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

for outdoor activities:


Most people know Roald Dahl was a children’s author – but did<br />

you know that he was also a “spy, ace fighter pilot, chocolate<br />

historian and a medical inventor?” Then read on to discover more<br />

about his life and legacy, and join millions of others around the<br />

world celebrating Roald Dahl Day on <strong>September</strong> 13th.<br />

Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales<br />

in 1916 to Norwegian parents. He<br />

attended boarding school in Repton,<br />

Derbyshire, and many events during his<br />

time there were later recounted in his<br />

book, “Boy”. At Repton, students were<br />

invited to trial chocolate bars, which<br />

inspired one of his best-loved stories,<br />

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.<br />

At the age of 23, he enlisted in the<br />

Royal Air Force, but sustained injuries at<br />

the start of World War II which left him<br />

temporarily blind. He recovered and<br />

returned to active service as a fighter<br />

pilot, not only surviving the war, but<br />

also writing about his experiences in<br />

his first piece of paid writing, published<br />

in 1942. “The Gremlins” (1943) was his<br />

first children’s story, and was based on<br />

RAF folklore in which small, destructive<br />

creatures were responsible for a variety<br />

of technical problems facing RAF pilots.<br />

After the war, Dahl worked in the<br />

diplomatic and intelligence services<br />

where he was introduced to the creator<br />

of James Bond, Ian Fleming, and the<br />

director, Alfred Hitchcock.<br />

In 1960, his son was injured in an<br />

accident in New York, and Dahl helped<br />

invent the Wade-Dahl-Till valve, which<br />

QUOTE 1<br />

I’m right and you’re<br />

wrong, I’m big and<br />

you’re small, and<br />

there’s nothing you<br />

can do about it!<br />

subsequently helped alleviate head<br />

injuries in thousands of children.<br />

Despite his colourful early life, Dahl<br />

is best known for writing children’s<br />

stories, which have themselves inspired<br />

generations of children to read and<br />

write, and have been made into films,<br />

animations and hit musicals.<br />

QUOTE 2<br />

Never grow up...<br />

always down.<br />

Each year on his birthday, people<br />

celebrate his incredible life and work,<br />

so why not join them this <strong>September</strong><br />

13th and have some ‘hopscotchy’<br />

(cheerful) fun?!<br />

One of the things Roald Dahl is famous<br />

for is his use of language – or more<br />

specifically, for making up his own<br />

language. It’s called Gobblefunk and<br />

The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary has<br />

been published to prove it. We’ve listed<br />

a few of our favourites below, as well<br />

as some whoopsy whiffling (great)<br />

ways to celebrate Roald Dahl Day in<br />

your setting:<br />


Hopscotchy<br />

Ucky-mucky<br />

Quogwinkle<br />

Squibbling<br />


Cheerful<br />

Messy<br />

An alien from<br />

outer space<br />

Writing<br />


1. Dress up as your favourite character.<br />

There are so many wonderful<br />

characters to choose from: The BFG,<br />

Matilda, Miss Trunchball, Willy Wonka,<br />

The Twits, Fantastic Mr Fox, and The<br />

Enormous Crocodile to name but a<br />

few. You could also raise money for<br />

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s<br />

Charity at the same time by asking<br />

for a small donation on your mufti<br />

day. The charity was set up after<br />

Dahl’s death in 1990, and funds Roald<br />

Dahl Specialist Children’s Nurses in<br />

communities across the UK. These<br />

nurses support children with rare<br />

and serious illnesses and help their<br />

families in times of need.<br />

2. Read some of Dahl’s stories. There<br />

are so many stories and most of<br />

them have a moral core as Dahl<br />

championed children and often set<br />

them against cruel or repugnant<br />

adults, who luckily, always get their<br />

comeuppance.<br />

QUOTE 3<br />

One child a week is<br />

fifty-two a year. Squish<br />

them and squiggle them<br />

and make them<br />

disappear.<br />

3. Teach numeracy, art or sensory<br />

craft by using some of the free,<br />

downloadable lesson plans from the<br />

official Roald Dahl website. There are<br />

special lessons designed for preschoolers<br />

helped by The Enormous<br />

Crocodile. You can download them<br />

here but beware - The Enormous<br />

Crocodile is grumptious (bad and<br />

greedy) and loves to dine on little<br />

chiddlers (children)!<br />

4. Get crafty and create some<br />

delumptious (delicious) new sweets for<br />

Willy Wonka. You can get the children<br />

to draw them, paint them or use real<br />

ingredients to create something edible.<br />

Let their imagination run riot and see<br />

what amazing inventions they come<br />

up with.<br />

5. Visit the museum. If it’s not too far to<br />

travel, visit the Roald Dahl Museum at<br />

Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire.<br />

Be prepared to spend a few mintinks<br />

(minutes) there as it’s razztwizzler<br />

(exciting and enjoyable).<br />

6. Make up some new Gobblefunk<br />

words. Ask the children what they<br />

would call different things and make<br />

a display of their suggestions. You<br />

could end up with some rommytot<br />

(nonsense) or something giganticus<br />

(grand and spectacular). Whatever<br />

you get, it’ll be a great way to<br />

engage their creative brains and<br />

imaginations.<br />

QUOTE 4<br />

You should<br />

never, never doubt<br />

something that no<br />

one is sure of.<br />

7. Hold a quiz. We’ve put 5 famous<br />

Dahl quotes around this article,<br />

but can you identify which book<br />

they are from? Answers are at the<br />

bottom of the article but there are<br />

more fun quizzes on the main Roald<br />

Dahl website that you could use to<br />

challenge the children, parents or<br />

your staff too. They may even end up<br />

all biffsquiggled (confused or puzzled)!<br />


We love Roald Dahl here at <strong>Parenta</strong> and<br />

to celebrate his day on 13th <strong>September</strong>,<br />

we are giving you the chance to win a<br />

fabulous prize!<br />

To enter, simply send an email to<br />

marketing@parenta.com - telling us<br />

what your setting’s favourite Roald Dahl<br />

book is - and you will be entered into<br />

a prize draw to win some Roald Dahl<br />

goodies.<br />

Closing date for the prize draw is Friday<br />

20th <strong>September</strong> and the winner will be<br />

announced in October’s magazine. Don’t<br />

forget to include your postal address too!<br />

And whatever you do, have a<br />

gloriumptious (glorious and wonderful)<br />

day!<br />

For more information on the day,<br />

free downloads and a party pack full<br />

of activities, party invites, stickers,<br />

certificates and more, see:<br />

www.roalddahl.com<br />

QUOTE 5<br />

I cannot be right<br />

all the time. Quite<br />

often I is left<br />

instead of right.<br />

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

Photo by Flickr member Wee Sen Goh

How to teach young<br />

children friendship skills<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THEY BIT ME!<br />

SCENARIO: You spot two children crying after one of<br />

them has bitten the other.<br />

Around the age of two or three, children may bite others for<br />

a range of reasons: to release frustration, to protect their<br />

turf in a row over a toy, or because they feel threatened.<br />

Children this age often resort to biting because they haven’t<br />

yet developed the higher thinking skills to resist their<br />

primitive impulses to lash out.<br />

HOW TO HELP:<br />

First, put yourself in the child’s shoes and try to imagine how<br />

you’d react if another adult grabbed one of your favourite<br />

possessions. Then you will understand how difficult it is for a<br />

young child - who still relies greatly on their instincts - not to<br />

retaliate when someone they like upsets them.<br />

First, give attention to the child on the receiving end. This<br />

will send a message to the child who bit that they will not be<br />

the one to get the primary attention. By the time they lashed<br />

out, the biter’s fight-or-flight reflex will have already kicked<br />

in, so they will not able to process much of what you are<br />

saying. So, rather than shout and raise their stress<br />

levels more, remove them from the situation to allow<br />

their more rational thinking to return.<br />

Tell them: “No, that’s not acceptable. You can be<br />

angry, but you mustn’t hurt”. Try talking through what<br />

they could have done differently. Although their<br />

brain is very much a work in progress, this will help<br />

the child start to use their verbal negotiation skills,<br />

rather than their teeth to get what they want. It will<br />

also guide them on the path to start to master their<br />

impulsive behaviour.<br />

THAT’S MINE!<br />

SCENARIO: A child is refusing to share their favourite<br />

dinosaur toy with another child.<br />

According to research, social conflicts at around the ages of<br />

three and four usually break out for three reasons: a child<br />

takes a toy without permission; says they don’t like what<br />

the other one is doing and asserts they can do it better; or<br />

calls them names. While it’s good to start helping children to<br />

learn how to share, children are usually four or five before<br />

they are consistently happy to take turns and let others have<br />

a go with their possessions. When they are still two or three,<br />

a child still believes that if they have to give a toy to another,<br />

they will never get it back.<br />

HOW TO HELP:<br />

Your first instinct may be to tell the child in question they<br />

must try to share – and to demonstrate to them how it’s<br />

done. But studies show that young kids are less likely to<br />

learn to share their things if you tell them they have to. So<br />

don’t take away the toy. This is likely to make the child more<br />

possessive and anxious in the future about others taking<br />

away the things they like to play with. Research has found<br />

that children learn how to share best if you talk about how<br />

the other child feels. You could say<br />

something like: “Joe is happy<br />

when you let him play with<br />

Mr Rex” or “He’s sad when<br />

you grab Mr Rex away.’<br />

If a child is bringing their<br />

personal toys into the<br />

setting, suggest they keep<br />

them safely hidden away<br />

during the day until they are<br />

able to play with them on<br />

their own.<br />


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

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

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

find out more.<br />

HOW TO HELP:<br />

Some children take longer to develop the skills and judgement to understand how to<br />

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

towards the game and making helpful suggestions to the children who are playing it, will<br />

increase the chance they will also be included. Social scientists have found that rather<br />

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

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

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

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

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

will work and not to feel personally rejected. Sometimes other youngsters may be so<br />

wrapped up in their play they don’t want an interruption.<br />


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

game they are losing.<br />

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

their abilities with others, resulting in the start of more openly competitive behaviour.<br />

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

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

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

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

well has to be balanced by a willingness to play cooperatively.<br />

HOW TO HELP:<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

of turn-taking – and suggest parents also try this at home.<br />

Tanith Carey<br />

Tanith Carey writes books<br />

which offer a lucid analysis of<br />

the most pressing challenges<br />

facing today’s parents and<br />

childcarers – by looking at the<br />

latest research and presenting<br />

achievable strategies for how<br />

to tackle them. Her books<br />

have been translated into 15<br />

languages, including German,<br />

French, Arabic, Chinese and<br />

Turkish. Her <strong>2019</strong> publications<br />

are “What’s My Child Thinking?<br />

Practical Child Psychology for<br />

Modern Parents” and “The<br />

Friendship Maze: How to<br />

help your child navigate their<br />

way to positive and happier<br />

friendships”.<br />

An award-winning journalist,<br />

Tanith also writes on parenting<br />

for the Daily Telegraph, The<br />

Times, the Guardian and the<br />

Daily Mail, in which she also<br />

serialises and promotes her<br />

books. She is also a regular<br />

presence on TV and radio<br />

programmes, including the NBC<br />

Today Show in the US and Radio<br />

Four Woman’s Hour and You<br />

and Yours.<br />

Her full bio can be found on her<br />

website at www.cliomedia.co.uk<br />

and you can follow her on social<br />

media channels @tanithcarey.<br />

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

The importance of Continuing Professional<br />

Development (CPD) for your staff<br />

CPD eLearning courses<br />

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

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

importance of improving the knowledge of those already working in your childcare setting.<br />

Continuing Professional Development<br />

(CPD) is key for not only upskilling your<br />

existing workforce, but it also reduces<br />

recruitment costs, attracts top talent and<br />

helps to prevent skills shortages within<br />

your setting. If you can ensure that<br />

your team undergoes regular refresher<br />

training on a variety of subjects relevant<br />

to working in early years, it means that<br />

they’ll always be up-to-date with the<br />

latest policies, procedures and practices<br />

– and it certainly doesn’t need to be<br />

expensive!<br />

Through the training that you already<br />

provide to your staff, you may have<br />

experienced that even though the team<br />

is predominantly hard-working and<br />

passionate, occasionally, some may lack<br />

the drive or confidence to put themselves<br />

forward for their next qualification.<br />

Encouraging your team to continue<br />

their development is great for morale,<br />

motivation and their wellbeing – it has<br />

many benefits for the employer too!<br />

For employers<br />

The main benefit of CPD for employers is<br />

that it can ensure that standards across<br />

the setting are both high and consistent<br />

– this is great for your reputation and<br />

if you have a childcare website, this is<br />

something you should be shouting about<br />

online! Having a number of employees<br />

undertake CPD over a period of time<br />

allows for the sharing of ‘best practice’<br />

and support for each other. CPD also<br />

contributes to maximising staff potential<br />

and provides a useful benchmark for<br />

annual appraisals. Be sure to use CPD<br />

courses which are fully accredited.<br />

For employees<br />

CPD not only helps employees keep their<br />

knowledge and skills current, but it also<br />

ensures that the professional standard<br />

of their qualifications and registrations is<br />

maintained. In addition, it can contribute<br />

to their professional ‘sense of direction’.<br />

Completing CPD helps build confidence<br />

and credibility, allows staff to showcase<br />

their achievements and arms them with<br />

the tools to cope positively with change.<br />

CPD is also beneficial for employees’<br />

career progression as it shows<br />

willingness to improve.<br />

The great thing about CPD accredited<br />

courses relevant to early years childcare<br />

is that there are many available to do<br />

online - which means there are no<br />

deadlines, no time restrictions and no<br />

classroom visits. So study is done in the<br />

learner’s own time and at a pace that<br />

suits them.<br />

There are also a few simple things you<br />

can do to make life easier for your staff<br />

during their CPD training.<br />

Create a revision area<br />

Space permitting, try and have a quiet<br />

area where staff can go to do any<br />

research they need to do, or complete<br />

their assignments online in peace<br />

when they have spare time. Making<br />

your setting ‘revision-friendly’ is not too<br />

difficult if you can provide a table and<br />

put up a sign to let people know that the<br />

area is reserved for staff revision/study.<br />

Celebrate success<br />

Make a point of celebrating staff<br />

members who successfully complete<br />

their training. For instance, you could<br />

bring homemade cakes and special<br />

treats into work when someone passes<br />

a course, or if you have a few members<br />

of staff who are doing online CPD<br />

courses, you could bring treats in on<br />

one day of the month to celebrate all<br />

of them at the same time! Showing this<br />

level of recognition will help incentivise<br />

other members of your team and boost<br />

morale.<br />

Tell your staff what it means to you<br />

and set a good example<br />

Whenever you get the chance, whether<br />

in your one-to-one catch ups or when<br />

a new person joins your team, be<br />

vocal about how much you value<br />

people continuing their professional<br />

development and what a positive<br />

impact it has for not just the setting but<br />

the children too. You could enhance<br />

your own knowledge even further and<br />

should lead by example by taking a CPD<br />

accredited online course yourself!<br />

Include training in objectives<br />

When you set out objectives for your<br />

staff, talk to them about working<br />

towards their next qualification. Having<br />

the goal written down can be strong<br />

enough motivation to nudge them<br />

towards taking action and signing up for<br />

a course!<br />

Continuing<br />

Professional<br />

Development<br />

eLearning<br />

courses<br />

Whether you are a<br />

manager looking<br />

to support your<br />

staff by enhancing<br />

their knowledge, or<br />

looking at developing<br />

your own career,<br />

when you study one<br />

of <strong>Parenta</strong>’s online<br />

CPD courses, you<br />

study in your own<br />

time and at your own<br />

pace – all from the<br />

comfort of your own<br />

home!<br />

Our full list of<br />

eLearning and eBook<br />

courses can be found<br />

on our website:<br />

parenta.com<br />


parenta.com/parenta-online-courses<br />

CPD<br />

accredited<br />

Study at<br />

your pace<br />

No classes<br />

to attend<br />

34 <strong>Parenta</strong>.com <strong>September</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 35<br />


Sensory engagement<br />

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

children have profound and multiple learning disabilities or complex autism and are non-verbal<br />

communicators. The senses are everything to me when I want to connect with them. However<br />

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

gaining their attention and supporting their learning.<br />

more readily identifiable<br />

can support children in<br />

remembering to go to the<br />

toilet. In the same way,<br />

supporting visual accessibility<br />

can boost children’s<br />

independence skills.<br />

Remember to consider<br />

this with vision alone, not<br />

cognition. For example here<br />

are the chairs on either side<br />

of my dining room table. My<br />

dining room is very sparse;<br />

you would think that all the<br />

chairs were easily accessible<br />

but as this picture shows<br />

there is a big visual difference<br />

between the chairs on either<br />

side of the table.<br />

Engagement<br />

If you are looking for a<br />

fabulous visual engagement<br />

activity, try making<br />

improvised light boxes. Find a<br />

plastic box with a flat clear lid<br />

and stick baking paper to the<br />

underside of the lid (to diffuse<br />

the light). Line the box with<br />

silver card or tin foil. Pop in a<br />

handful of battery-operated<br />

fairy lights and enjoy the<br />

gorgeous uplighting: it will<br />

make the activities you place<br />

on the box all the more<br />

visually engaging.<br />

Consider how sensory<br />

information is prioritised in<br />

our minds: it is absolutely<br />

fundamental, it is before<br />

thought. Think of how<br />

we speak about sensory<br />

experiences: “I saw it with<br />

my own eyes”, “I heard it<br />

for myself”. These sensory<br />

references are proof,<br />

evidence that cannot be<br />

argued with. Even at times<br />

when we know our senses<br />

to be fooling us (for example<br />

have you ever felt like you<br />

were falling when you were<br />

in bed?), we cannot override<br />

them with our mind. The<br />

sensory experiences that we<br />

feel, beat the information<br />

that we know intellectually.<br />

Which is why it is so<br />

important that the sensory<br />

information we present<br />

when we seek to teach<br />

children, matches up with<br />

the intellectual content we<br />

hope they will gather from<br />

our teaching.<br />

And making<br />

activities<br />

appeal<br />

to the<br />

senses will draw children’s<br />

curiosity before their intellect<br />

wonders what is going on.<br />

Sensory engagement is<br />

essential for learners of all<br />

abilities.<br />

In this article, I want to get<br />

you started thinking in a<br />

sensory way. We haven’t<br />

got room to go through the<br />

eight sensory systems that<br />

I generally tackle at The<br />

Sensory Projects (yes more<br />

than five!) but if we start with<br />

our most dominant sensory<br />

system: vision, then you will<br />

be off on the right track.<br />

Vision dominates our cerebral<br />

cortex taking up nearly<br />

a third of it. Seeing is the<br />

processing of light by the<br />

retina; brighter items throw<br />

off more light and so place a<br />

bigger processing demand<br />

on our brains. Consider the<br />

child being asked to look at<br />

a red shape held up against<br />

a white wall, compared to<br />

the child being asked to<br />

look at a red shape held up<br />

against a black cloth. The<br />

first child is asked to do a lot<br />

more visually, as they have<br />

to process all the white light<br />

thrown off by the wall as<br />

well as the red of the shape.<br />

Now imagine the child who<br />

has to pick that shape out of<br />

the confusion of a brightly<br />

patterned, multi-coloured<br />

background. It can be<br />

exhausting! Seeing uses a lot<br />

of our brains and it is tiring.<br />

Visual attention<br />

If we support visual attention<br />

then we support children’s<br />

concentration. This can be<br />

as simple as setting up toys<br />

against a dark contrasting<br />

background – Tuff Trays are<br />

great at this and you might<br />

notice how children are more<br />

drawn to toys in this clearlyvisually-denoted<br />

environment<br />

compared to toys laid out on<br />

the carpet or a table top.<br />

When you are showing things<br />

to children, consider the<br />

background you are standing<br />

in front of; be careful of things<br />

like vertical or Venetian blinds<br />

which can be visually very<br />

disturbing. If you have a very<br />

busy visual environment,<br />

consider installing roller<br />

blinds along the walls so that<br />

you can choose to have a<br />

muted, plain backdrop when<br />

you wish.<br />

Behaviour<br />

If a child is feeling stressed,<br />

anxious or unwell, they may<br />

be less able to cope with<br />

a busy visual environment<br />

than usual. An environment<br />

offering relatively low visual<br />

stimulation may help a child<br />

to calm and regulate. Think<br />

of where you would want to<br />

be if you had a migraine; it’s<br />

unlikely to be gazing at your<br />

bright display board.<br />

All of our senses have a<br />

development that they run<br />

through, and experiences<br />

from early sensory<br />

development are easier to<br />

process than those from<br />

later on. The easiness of<br />

processing makes these<br />

experiences naturally<br />

calming. For vision, warm<br />

red tones come very early on<br />

in the development of sight<br />

and most young children will<br />

declare a preference for the<br />

colour red as it is likely to be<br />

the first colour tone they were<br />

able to see.<br />

Accessibility<br />

Take a look around your<br />

environment and imagine<br />

that you were seeing it with<br />

just your eyes, not with<br />

your understanding. Are<br />

the different places clearly<br />

identifiable? Does the route to<br />

the bathroom look different<br />

to the carpet circle? Is it easy<br />

to pick out where the coats<br />

are and where the drawers<br />

are? How much would you<br />

know about your space if<br />

you took it in through vision<br />

alone? Making changes so<br />

that, for example, toilets are<br />

Readers curious to know more may be<br />

interested in Joanna’s courses:<br />

Sensory Engagement for Sensory Beings: A<br />

Beginners Guide<br />

Teaches structured and playful sensory<br />

engagement techniques.<br />

Exploring the Impact the Senses have on<br />

Behaviour<br />

Looks at how we can respond to<br />

behaviour triggered by sensory<br />

experiences.<br />

Develop Your Sensory Lexiconary<br />

Looks at the development of the sensory<br />

systems and relates this information<br />

to the development of cognition,<br />

communication, engagement and<br />

wellbeing.<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 />

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

National<br />

Eye Health<br />

Week<br />

What would you do if you<br />

lost your sight? How would<br />

it affect your lifestyle, your<br />

independence and income?<br />

And what impact would it have<br />

on your dependents, family<br />

and friends?<br />

Most of us don’t think about this often,<br />

but once a year, National Eye Health<br />

Week (NEHW) helps to focus our<br />

thoughts on our eyesight and ways<br />

we can look after it better. This year’s<br />

National Eye Health Week will take place<br />

from 23 rd –29 th <strong>September</strong>, promoting the<br />

importance of good eye health and the<br />

need for regular eye tests for all.<br />


We all know about our 5 main senses<br />

and their associated body parts:<br />

Sight - eyes<br />

Hearing - ears<br />

Taste - tongue<br />

Smell - nose<br />

Touch - skin<br />

Without any one of these, our<br />

interpretation and understanding of the<br />

world would be limited, but vision is<br />

what people fear losing the most; yet<br />

many of us don’t know how to look after<br />

our eyes. National Eye Health Week aims<br />

to change all that, and statistics about<br />

the state of the nation’s sight, make<br />

‘eye-opening’ reading.<br />

13.8 million people in the UK could<br />

be at risk of avoidable sight loss<br />

because they fail to have regular<br />

eye tests 1<br />

Almost two million people in the UK<br />

are living with sight loss yet over<br />

half of sight loss can be avoided 2<br />

Sight loss affects people of all ages 2<br />

The number of people in the UK with<br />

sight loss is forecast to rise by 30%<br />

by 2030 3<br />

A sight test easily detects the early<br />

signs of eye conditions such as<br />

glaucoma, which can be treated if<br />

found early enough<br />

During any sight test, other health<br />

conditions including diabetes<br />

and high blood pressure may be<br />

detected<br />

NEHW aims to raise awareness of the<br />

importance of having regular eye tests<br />

and inspire people to make healthier<br />

lifestyle choices that benefit their eye<br />

health. It’s run in conjunction with The<br />

Eyecare Trust and has official partners<br />

and supporting organisations in the<br />

business and charity sectors. The official<br />

website, at visionmatters.org.uk, is full<br />

of information, downloadable resources<br />

and ideas to help you make the most of<br />

the week and have a positive impact.<br />

The official hashtags are #EyeWeek and<br />

#VisionMatters and you can register for<br />

a free resource pack by sending your<br />

name, position, organisation and postal<br />

address to info@visionmatters.org.uk.<br />



1. Get tested<br />

Everyone should have an eye test at<br />

least every 2 years. It’s a common<br />

misconception that children’s<br />

eyesight cannot be accurately<br />

checked until they can read, but<br />

a child’s eyes can be tested from<br />

birth. Regular tests can ensure that<br />

any problems are identified early,<br />

and childhood conditions such<br />

as squint, lazy eye (amblyopia),<br />

short-sightedness (myopia) or<br />

long-sightedness (hyperopia) are<br />

picked up early, allowing for the<br />

best treatment outcome. Eye tests<br />

are free for all children under 16 and<br />

adult tests are inexpensive.<br />

2. Eat a rainbow<br />

We’ve all heard about the<br />

importance of eating a balanced<br />

diet and how colourful fruits and<br />

vegetables can help maintain a<br />

healthy weight, increase resistance<br />

to disease and provide optimum<br />

energy, but young eyes also need<br />

the correct nutrients to ensure<br />

healthy development too. Tomatoes,<br />

melons, grapes and blueberries are<br />

packed with eye-friendly nutrients,<br />

as are proteins such as eggs,<br />

chicken and fish (salmon, tuna and<br />

mackerel). Whole grains are good<br />

too. And don’t forget carrots – most<br />

of us are told early on that carrots<br />

can help eyesight because carrots,<br />

sweet potatoes and pumpkin are<br />

just a few veggies that are packed<br />

with beta-carotene; an essential<br />

precursor for Vitamin A, needed for<br />

eye health.<br />

3. Protect your eyes from the sun<br />

The lens at the front of young<br />

children’s eyes is very clear so can<br />

let in more damaging sunlight.<br />

Always protect children’s eyes with<br />

sunglasses whenever the UV index<br />

rises above 3, and check their<br />

sunglasses have a CE;UV 400 or<br />

British Standard Mark to ensure the<br />

correct level of protection.<br />

4. Go outside<br />

Research shows that time spent<br />

playing outside can help prevent the<br />

onset and progression of shortsightedness<br />

in children 4 , so make<br />

time to go outside every day.<br />

5. Act on advice<br />

Follow the advice of the child’s eye<br />

care practitioner such as when and<br />

when not to wear glasses.<br />

6. Stimulate the senses<br />

Children’s eyes continue to<br />

develop from birth until the age of<br />

about eight, so stimulating visual<br />

engagement by using high contrast<br />

toys and mirrors, and playing<br />

games such as peekaboo can<br />

help. You can also encourage good<br />

hand-eye coordination by playing<br />

throwing and catching games,<br />

using building blocks, colouring<br />

and mark-making.<br />

For adults, advice also includes<br />

the importance of reducing alcohol<br />

consumption, stopping smoking and<br />

maintaining a healthy weight, since<br />

these factors affect eye health too.<br />



There are many ways to get involved.<br />

You can organise your own event or see<br />

what other events are being held in your<br />

area. You could:<br />

Tell your parents, staff, friends and<br />

colleagues about the week and ask<br />

them when they last had an eye test<br />

Make a display about eyes; take<br />

photos of eyes, or draw pictures<br />

and make an interesting collage<br />

including some facts and figures<br />

Organise an event such as:<br />

a quiz with lots of questions<br />

about eyes<br />

a lunch with healthy foods to<br />

help eyesight<br />

bring your ‘sunnies’ to nursery<br />

day<br />

get outdoors to celebrate<br />

the day, but remember your<br />

sunscreen, hats and sunglasses<br />

Invite an optician to come in and<br />

speak to the children, parents and<br />

staff<br />

Add information to your social<br />

media sites or send one of the preprepared<br />

tweets available from the<br />

website<br />

Run a session on what it might<br />

be like to lose your sight: get the<br />

children to do some simple things<br />

wearing a blindfold and explain to<br />

them the importance of looking after<br />

their eyes at the same time<br />

Let us know what you do and look after<br />

those peepers!<br />


1. Eye Health UK<br />

2. Access Economics (2009)<br />

3. RNIB<br />

4. JAMA. 2015;314(11):1142-1148.<br />

doi:10.1001/jama.2015.10803<br />

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

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