Parenta's October Magazine


As the nights draw in and the autumn leaves begin to fall this month, we’re all set to smile here at Parenta HQ in anticipation of World Smile Day® on October 4th, and we encourage you to do the same in your own settings with some advice on oral health and hygiene to give your smiles that special something! October is also Black History Month so it’s a great time to celebrate the enormous contribution that Black British communities have made, not only to the UK, but to science, the arts and different cultures all around the world. See page 16 for more on how you can get involved in your own setting. The change in season also gives us a great chance to get out and about in nature and Tamsin Grimmer’s article offers some tips on donning the wellies and making the most of the season. There’s also a creative Halloween craft in the form of ‘Fred, the friendly Halloween spider’ to make and enjoy.

Issue 59





Supporting an angry

child in your setting


and inclusive

sensory stories

Tips to get children

outside this autumn

+ lots more

Write for us

for a chance to



p 15




Stacey Kelly asks if we are expecting too much from small children who are

constantly learning about themselves and the world around them


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

As the nights draw in and the autumn leaves begin to fall this month, we’re all set to smile here at Parenta HQ

in anticipation of World Smile Day ® on October 4th, and we encourage you to do the same in your own settings

with some advice on oral health and hygiene to give your smiles that special something!

October is also Black History Month so it’s a great time to celebrate the enormous contribution that Black British

communities have made, not only to the UK, but to science, the arts and different cultures all around the world. See

page 16 for more on how you can get involved in your own setting.

The change in season also gives us a great chance to get out and about in nature and Tamsin Grimmer’s article offers some tips

on donning the wellies and making the most of the season. There’s also a creative Halloween craft in the form of ‘Fred, the friendly

Halloween spider’ to make and enjoy.

As usual, we’ve brought together some of the best early years experts to offer advice on topics as diverse as teaching music to young

children and how to best support an angry child in your setting. And we pose the question of whether we are expecting too much of

the young people in our care.

We are always looking for insightful articles to include in our magazine so see page 15 if you want to be in with a chance of winning

£50 in shopping vouchers. Congratulations go to Stacey Kelly, our guest author competition winner! Her article questioning “Should

we force children to say ‘sorry’?” was very popular with our readers and made us all think about the value of the emotions behind the


Congratulations are also due to Buckingham Gardens Day Nursery who won the Roald Dahl book and puppets following our Roald

Dahl Day competition last month.

We love putting together our magazine and hope you enjoy the variety and insight offered by the news, advice, expert articles and

crafts that we include – all with the aim of helping you run your setting efficiently and to the benefit of your children and staff.

We’d love you to share it with friends, parents and colleagues!



Stacey Kelly asks if we are

expecting too much from

small children who are

constantly learning about

themselves and the world

around them






Joanna Grace discusses

how sensory stories can

be used to help young

children prepare for new

experiences and gives

tips for creating sensory



Tamsin Grimmer explains why autumn

is a wonderful season and gives some

great suggestions for activities that will

get children active and playing outside





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

15 Guest author winner announced

18 Fred the friendly Halloween spider

34 What our customers say


4 Are the proposed changes to EYFS necessary?

5 Should England exempt nurseries from paying

business tax rates?

6 Ofsted’s new education inspection framework


10 Time to think about time

16 Black History Month

20 Cyber security tips for your setting you can’t

afford to miss

22 Give us a smile: the importance of oral health

and World Smile Day ®

26 Learning and laughing together – it’s ‘Family

Learning’ month!

30 What to expect when working in childcare

38 Dyslexia Awareness Week


12 Starting a musical journey part 2: learning how

to learn

24 Ambitious and inclusive sensory stories

28 Do we have unrealistic expectations of children?

32 Let’s go outside this autumn

36 Supporting an angry child in your setting

Tips for helping young children understand time 10

Dyslexia Awareness Week 38

Cyber security tips you can’t afford to miss 20

The second instalment of Frances Turnbull’s four-part

series describing the musical behaviours in children 12

Are the proposed Are the changes proposedto

EYFS necessary?

changes to EYFS


Tes reports that the proposed changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

framework would harm what is already a “world-class” set of guidelines.

In a study produced by a coalition of 12 early

years organisations, “Getting it right in the

Early Years Foundation Stage: a review of the

evidence”, they highlighted that side-lining

self-improvement in the educational plan, and

setting out objectives for pre-schoolers for

language proficiency or numeracy abilities,

could be “adverse” to children’s education.

The report is a response to the Government’s

planned changes to the EYFS and was

launched on the 16th September. As well

as the coalition, it used findings from a

survey conducted with 3,000 early years


The Department for Education issued a review

of early learning goals in July of last year.

The new proposals were tested in 25 schools

across the country and aimed to reduce

the workload of early years teachers when

collecting assessment data, as well as closing

the “language gap” between disadvantaged

children and their peers.

However, “Getting it right in the Early Years

Foundation Stage: a review of the evidence”,

suggests that the review was in fact “a

comprehensive rewrite of the EYFS Statutory


The report continued:

“Many in the early years sector were surprised

that such an extensive process of change

had been embarked upon with very little

engagement with sector representatives and


In the trial version of the EYFS, there is no

longer a need to check the children at the

end of reception year on their “shape, space

and measure” mathematical skills, or their

technology skills.

The report suggests that these goals should

be kept because of their “key role” in maths.

“Regarding shape, space and measures,

there is growing research to suggest

that, rather than omitting these from the

early learning goals, spatial reasoning, in

particular, should be fostered,” said the

report, and it questioned other suggested


“Focusing too soon on literacy and certain

mathematical outcomes during the

foundation years may be detrimental to the

longer-term attainment of those children

who are not yet secure in oral language

outcomes, including an understanding of

how language works in the wider social and

cultural context.

“Care must be taken that delivery of the EYFS

is not skewed towards particular areas of

learning at the expense of others.”

The “Getting it right in the Early Years

Foundation Stage: a review of the evidence”

report also suggested that there is little

to no evidence that the EYFS framework

should be changed, but it suggested that

greater prominence should be given to

characteristics of effective teaching and

learning, including playing and exploring,

active learning and creating, and thinking


Utilising the 3,000 survey responses received

from early years practitioners, the report

indicates that excessive workload is not

a result of the EYFS framework, but the

requirements from Ofsted about evidencing

children, as well as pressure from the

mangers and local authorities.

Practitioners also said that the “language

gap” doesn’t require changes to the

framework, with 87 percent saying that EYFS

meets children’s needs in communication

and learning “well” or “very well”.

They did mention that the early years need

more development in speech and language

therapy, as well as an increase in resources

to enable staff to have more time to spend

with the children and their parents.

The Government announced last year that

they plan of halving the number of children

starting school without reading or speaking

skills by 2028.

Chief Executive of Early Education, Beatrice

Merrick, said: “The EYFS is a world-class

framework that puts the child at the centre

of play-based learning. It’s not perfect – but

any changes need to be sensitive to what it

gets right.

“This extensive evidence base gives the

Government the opportunity to revisit the

proposed changes to the EYFS and come up

with a much-improved draft before going out

to consultation with the sector.”

The Early Years Alliance’s Director of Quality

Improvement, Michael Freeston, said: “This is

a significant report which needs to be taken

seriously by Government. The findings show

that the current framework is doing its job

– practitioners are happy delivering it and

children are getting the early education they


“That is the benchmark any changes to the

EYFS need to meet, and the best way for the

Government to achieve that is to ensure that

proposals are informed by robust evidence

before full consultation with the sector.”

The DfE was contacted by Tes for comment.

Should England Should exempt England nurseries from

paying business tax rates?

exempt nurseries

from paying business tax rates?

Scotland decided to exempt nurseries from paying business tax rates in 2017, which

started the following year. Derek Makay, Holyrood Finance Secretary, said that “Scotland

has always been a leader in education and childcare, and this is the first relief of its kind

anywhere in the UK.”

The changes in tax rates saved the

childcare industry in Scotland around £8

million each year and were praised by

Purnima Tanuku, NDNA’s Chief Executive,

who said: “We congratulate the Scottish

Government for its progressive thinking

regarding early years education.”

The Welsh Government followed Scotland,

and since April 2019, they exempted

nurseries from business rates.

Mark Drakeford, Welsh Finance Secretary,

said that this “will help to create new

childcare jobs, and help to create new

and maintain existing childcare places

across Wales.”

Former Welsh Minister for Children, Huw

Irranca-Davies, added: “By providing

enhanced support for the childcare sector,

we will further improve access to childcare

places, supporting working families

across Wales and make it easier for

people to take up and retain jobs.”

Kidz Kabin Nurseries owner, Linda

Symonds, said to the Parliamentary


“The UK government should follow

Scotland’s lead and abolish business rates

for early years settings.

“Many nurseries are struggling to provide

30 hours of ‘free’ childcare, especially as

local authorities do not pay the fees that

nurseries actually charge.

“Many fall short by 33 percent and

nurseries struggle to make up the loss.

“Since the government set up wraparound

care in schools, many nurseries are losing

children when they reach the age of three,

whereas previously we could rely on most

children of working parents staying until

they started reception.

“Furthermore, since educational

establishments are zero-rated for VAT, we

should be allowed to claim back VAT on

goods and services.

“With increases in the minimum wage,

pensions, rent and business rates – it

is not surprising that so many nurseries

struggle to survive.”

You can sign a petition to support this


4 October 2019 5

Ofsted’s new education inspection


Ofsted’s new education

inspection framework

The much-anticipated details of Ofsted’s changes to its inspection framework were

announced at the beginning of September, amid speculation as to how much impact the

changes would have on the early years sector. The consultation held prior to the new

framework taking effect (which largely supported the proposed changes) received 15,000

responses – more than any other in Ofsted’s history.

These little people

need your help too!

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

Parenta Trust supports disadvantaged children in deprived areas of the world by providing them

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Without this, they miss the opportunity they deserve to develop to their full potential.

Ofsted stated that the initial reaction

from the early years industry was that

it felt the suggested new framework

didn’t completely align with early

years settings, and as such, it

was amended to attach more

importance to the needs of younger


The biggest change is the new

framework itself. This is what inspectors

have started using to grade early years

settings during inspections. Replacing the

common inspection framework is the education

inspection framework (EIF). This aims to raise

standards and rebalance inspections through a

renewed emphasis on four key areas - ‘quality

of education’, ‘behaviour and attitudes’

‘personal development’ and ‘leadership and


The new guides published by the

government to support providers and

schools in preparing for an inspection, can

be found here.


Ofsted has refocused inspections of all

education providers, from early years settings

to further education and skills providers too, to

ensure learners “are receiving a high-quality

education that puts them on a path to future

success”. Ofsted inspectors will spend less time

looking at actual test results, and more time

considering how a nursery, school, college or other

education provider works towards achieving their


Ofsted Parent View

The questions asked in the Parent View

survey have changed, aligning more with

the new education inspection framework.

Whilst some questions have been

adapted or removed altogether, the

focus of others has changed, while still

asking parents how strongly they agree

or disagree with statements about their

child’s setting.

Learner View and Employer View

Since 2nd September, these surveys have been

hosted on a new platform and will now only be

available during an inspection. Questions have

also been adapted to suit the new inspection


Other changes:

• There are new questions relating to SEND.

• Inspections can take place at any time, regardless

of whether children are present or not.

• Regarding ‘overall effectiveness’, inspectors will

now consider the efficiency of the safeguarding

arrangements for the children.

• For childminders, the need to observe a

specific planned activity for discussion with the

inspector has been removed.

• Providers of before and after school or

holiday care will only be inspected for overall

effectiveness and receive a single grade. This

is because they are not required to meet EYFS

learning and developing requirements.

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6 October 2019 7

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Time to think about time

It’s that time of year again when we move the clocks back and everyone gets an extra

hour in bed! Forget the fact that we are only reclaiming the hour we’ lost’ in March, when

we willingly put the clocks forward, and all is well - we pull the duvet snuggly over our

heads and have a well-deserved lie-in!

But have you ever thought about why

we meddle with time? Who started it

and when? And how can we possibly

explain it all to our children?

Einstein’s theory of relativity states

that time is not as constant as our

everyday experiences would have us

believe, but when it comes to catching

the bus for work, there’s no point in

theorising about travelling close to the

speed of light – if you get to the bus

stop late, you miss the bus!

Learning to tell the time is incredibly

important, as is understanding

the concepts of past, present and

future. It allows us to operate within

common boundaries, to agree

on the duration of events, and

to organise ourselves around an

agreed, time framework. It is also

important for children to understand

the organisation of the world, the

natural life cycles that surround

them, and the constant ebb and

flow of their own lives.

Historically, we defined time by

analysing the movement of the

planets: it takes a year for the earth

to orbit the sun and a day for the

world to revolve on its axis. Since

ancient Egyptian times, we have

sub-divided days into 24 hours

and we can thank the ancient

Babylonians for sub-dividing hours

into minutes and seconds, since

they preferred counting in 60s!

Keeping and telling the time

The way we keep time has changed

over the centuries - from stone

circles, sundials, hourglasses and

candles, to analogue and digital

clocks, but even these are prone

to inaccuracy. Nowadays, we

no longer use astronomy as our

reference, but atomic time defined

by the vibration of atoms.

So how can we help our children

understand time? Below are some

tips and suggestions:

Start with the general concept

of time

Most pre-school children are still

learning to count, so tackling a clock

face can be daunting. However,

they will understand the idea that

they do things at different points in

the day – such as getting up in the

morning; eating lunch at midday;

having a nap after lunch; and then

going to bed at night.

Help children by using visuals and

charts to show these different

times and activities and add clocks

showing an appropriate time.

Reinforce this by using time-defining

vocabulary such as ‘morning’,

‘midday’, ‘evening’, ‘day’ and

‘night’, telling the children that: “In

the morning, we get up and have

breakfast” or “at night, we clean our

teeth and go to bed.”

It’s also important to introduce

the concept of things happening

chronologically, or in a time order,

by explaining that they do things in

the present – i.e. ‘now’, but they will

do something else ‘afterwards’ or

‘later’. This helps them understand

the concept of time being split into

different sections.

You can also talk about cyclical

events such as seasons, birthdays,

Christmas or other religious festivals

to help them understand days,

months and years. Talking to them

about what they did on their last

birthday, or what they want to do

on their next birthday, gives them

the idea that these things will come

around again, in time.

Practice counting to 12, to 60,

and in 5s

Children need to be able to

recognise numbers to tell the time,

so practice counting and general

number recognition. Use different

strategies to help children learn

their numbers. Children will often

learn to count by rote before they

can recognise numbers, so help

them by holding up a number

card, and asking them to give you

back the same number of counters

that you have written on the card.

For example, hold up the number

‘3’ and ask them to count out 3


Other ways to help


1. Counting regularly

throughout the day

2. Sing number songs and

nursery rhymes that include

numbers, such as “Ten green

bottles” or “The animals went

in two-by-two”. There are

some suitable counting

songs here.

3. Use blocks with

numbers and count

using an abacus

4. Read number

books together

Use a toy clock to practice

saying the hour

It is generally expected that by the

age of 5 or 6, children will be able to

recognise time by hours and halfhours.

At nursery school, it would

be helpful to explain the concept of

hours on the clock as a steppingstone

towards this goal. Explain what

the 2 different hands on the clock

mean, but then focus

on the little hand

which points to the hour. Use a toy

clock to set the time to different hours

(keeping the big hand on 12) and ask

the children to tell you what time it

is. There are many songs available

to help you. Here are some of our

favourite online ones:





British Summer Time

Benjamin Franklin is credited

with first proposing the idea of

changing the clocks when he

visited Paris in 1784 and later,

a builder called William Willett

(great-great-grandfather of

Coldplay singer, Chris Martin),

campaigned on the subject.

He was a keen golfer and was

annoyed when it got too dark

for him to play. The idea was

discussed by the government

in 1908, but wasn’t put into

practice until 1916, during the

first World War when Germany

did it first. In WW2, the clocks

were changed by 2 hours for

a short while, but this didn’t

last long. Many countries still

don’t do it at all and there are

moves within the European

Parliament to end it altogether,

but this is unlikely to happen

until 2021 at the earliest. So,

for now, in the UK, the clocks

go forward an hour on the last

Sunday in March, and back

on the last Sunday in October.

Enjoy your lie-in!

10 October 2019 11

Starting a musical journey part 2:

Starting a musical

journey part 2: learning

how to learn

Learning how to learn

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

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

google the right keywords to find a local franchise, but it has a waiting list. (A waiting list? For

baby music?!) I look further afield. I find another franchise about an hour’s drive away, with free

spaces. Chatting to the teacher after the session, she suggests that because I live so far away, I

sign up to the same low-cost franchise and start delivering my own sessions – that way, my little

one will definitely attend! Being fairly musical (I had taught myself guitar as a child and sung in

the school choir for a couple years), I did it.

Supporting skills: (Part 1)


In a circle, children can:

(learning relationship)


In a line, children can:

(learning sequencing)


When leaving out the last

line of a song, children

can: (planning skills)

I found out that, firstly, Kodály, Dalcroze

and Orff were names of composers from

Europe; secondly, they had very similar

ideas; and thirdly, they were all, if not

friends, then contemporaries who knew

of each other and had slightly different

views on “the best way to learn music”

as a child. “Learning music as a child” is

the operative phrase, because learning

as an adult is very different – as adults,

we already have experience in learning

that helps us to relate new knowledge

to what we already know. Children have

much less experience, and depending

on the age of the child, community music

leaders may even be their very first

experience with teachers. Researching

the music education approaches, I

noticed a clear progression

in 12 skills, loosely

divided into supporting

skills and musical

skills, and all easily

introduced using easyto-learn

singing games.

This article is part two

of a four-part series

describing the musical

behaviours that we can

see and encourage

from birth to 7

years old.

Supporting skills: (Part 2)


Children use language

by: (language skills)


Weekly sessions:

(concentration skills)


Children can learn:

(memory skills)

Musical skills: (Part 3)


Children keep the pulse

through: (pulse skills)


Children recognise:

(rhythm skills)


Children can use:

(percussion skills)

Children use language by:

(language skills)

Language development plays a big

part in singing. It helps to introduce

and develop awareness of the child’s

surrounding culture and conventions,

and introduces ideas and activities from

history. We see how language develops

from pointing to things, to learning

names. Role-play and games allow

for language concepts to be explored,

particularly games in songs, where

characters may perform or behave in

a particular way in one line, and then

stop in the next. This gives children the

opportunity to practice healthy ways to

express emotions like being happy, sad,

angry or surprised. By allowing children

to experiment with behaviours and

expressions in a safe, undemanding

space, they can safely return to

being themselves within moments,

helping to develop

mastery of emotions

by understanding that

they are temporary


Musical skills: (Part 4)


Listening to music,

children can: (listening



Children match the pitch

by: (pitch skills)


Children recognise:

(interval skills)

Weekly sessions:

(concentration skills)

Private music sessions with new or

unfamiliar people are often advertised

from between 30–60 minutes, and part of

the reason that many children work well

with this arrangement, is the novelty of

seeing a new person or going to a new

place. At home or in a nursery, where the

adult is familiar, it is easier for children to

lose focus and attention – put simply, it

is easier to say ‘no’. However, we know

that to learn effectively, like reading and

writing daily, playing music daily is an

effective source of creative expression.

The compromise is to recognise that

not every music session needs to be

instructive – we can play for enjoyment.

The weekly time guidelines suggest

instructive periods with familiar people,

ranging from 10 minutes of focused

musical play a week, gradually building

to 15-, 20-, 30- and then 45-minute

sessions. Focused musical play involves

deliberate skills scaffolding, sensitively

following the interest of the child, and this

can be done by introducing a new song,

developing a known song (matching the

pulse or rhythm), or even creating a new

song using newly-developed skills.

Age in









Children use language by Weekly sessions Children can learn

pointing at things

pointing at body parts

acting as song characters

acting as song characters

understanding clever or

funny lyrics

acting as different


perform song in character

10 minutes

10 minutes

15 minutes

20 minutes

30 minutes twice a week

45 minutes

45 minutes

Children can learn:

(memory skills)

3 new songs out of 5

6 new songs out of 10

11 new songs out of 20

12 new songs out of 28

16 new songs out of 35

22 new songs out of 42

28 new songs out of 50

Just as children develop skills gradually in languages, sciences and humanities, so music is a

progressive development of skills. Different studies have found that babies can show that they

recognise a minimum of 3 out of 5 new songs. But each year, as we know, children are able to

recognise or sing more and more songs. This means that in their second year, children may recognise

or sing a minimum of an additional 3 songs if they are taught another 5 new songs - in total, they

will recognise or sing 6 out of 10 new songs. In their third year, this increases to learning a minimum

of an extra 6 out of 10 new songs (or a minimum of 11 out of 20 in total). In their fourth year, they can

often recognise or sing one extra song out of 8 new ones (a minimum of 12 out of 28 in total) as they

perfect the songs they already know. In their fifth year, children can recognise an extra 4 out of 7 new

songs (or 16 out of 35 songs); in their sixth year, children can recognise an extra 6 out of 8 new songs

(or 22 out of 42 songs in total). In their seventh year, again, children can recognise a minimum of an

extra 6 out of 8 new songs, or 28 out of 50 new songs altogether - bearing in mind that children will

often exceed the minimum.This recognition may be in the form of eye contact to start, progressing to

movement and singing along, and will vary between children – some will memorise all 50! While it is

true that there are some young children that can sing long and complicated songs, they often have

significantly more experience from home. Choosing child appropriate songs, with smaller pitch ranges

(fewer notes), allows for all children to be successful and therefore enjoy music. By choosing more

complex songs, with wide note variations, it is a little like expecting all children to perform complex

calculus equations in their heads, or perform Olympic gymnastic routines, or create photo-quality

drawings – some children can, but most are not interested enough to practise sufficiently. It can be

challenging to find songs with two and then three notes, but a good starting point is the internet,

which is full of Kodály material, often free.

These foundational skills set the stage for your child’s future success in learning: once we learn

how to learn and not just copy, we can literally learn anything. Sharing skills progressively,

one step at a time, helps both adults and children learn new things more thoroughly, and they

are remembered for much longer. This is why we take out time in the beginning: using limited

pitches/notes helps us to recognise individual notes more clearly; limited rhythms allows us to

repeat rhythms more accurately; introducing dynamics one at a time (instructions on loud or

soft, fast or slow) allows us to explore the emotion created by playing quickly or

quietly, slowly or loudly. And then using these skills in more complex songs

in your favourite style, whether pop or rock, country or classical,

becomes even more fun! Next month, we look at

the ways in which musical skills

develop by looking at

pulse, rhythm and


Frances Turnbull

Musician, researcher and

author, Frances Turnbull, is

a self-taught guitarist who

has played contemporary

and community music from

the age of 12. She delivers

music sessions to the early

years and KS1. Trained in the

music education techniques

of Kodály (specialist

singing), Dalcroze (specialist

movement) and Orff (specialist

percussion instruments), she

has a Bachelor’s degree in

Psychology (Open University)

and a Master’s degree in

Education (University of

Cambridge). She runs a local

community choir, the Bolton

Warblers, and delivers the

Sound Sense initiative aiming

for “A choir in every care

home” within local care and

residential homes, supporting

health and wellbeing through

her community interest


She has represented the

early years music community

at the House of Commons,

advocating for recognition for

early years music educators,

and her table of progressive

music skills for under 7s

features in her curriculum


Frances is the author of

“Learning with Music:

Games and Activities for the

Early Years“, published by

Routledge, August 2017.

12 October 2019 13


Congratulations to the winners of our competition, Buckingham Gardens Day Nursery!

We hope you enjoy your books and puppets!

Thank you to all that entered, we will be running

more competitions in the future so make sure you

are subscribed to our newsletters and following

our social channels so you don’t miss out!

Sign up for our weekly newsletter here:

Follow our Facebook page here:

Follow our Instagram here:

Write for us for a chance to win £50!

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

monthly magazine.

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

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

Here are the details:


Choose a topic that is relevant to early years childcare


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


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


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

Guest author winner announced

Stacey Kelly

Write for us!

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

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

edition of the magazine.

Got any questions or want to run a topic by us? Get in touch via


Congratulations to our guest author

competition winner, Stacey Kelly!

Stacey Kelly’s article in the August edition of the

Parenta magazine, “Should we force children to

say ‘sorry’?” was very popular with our readers.

Well done, Stacey!

A massive thank you to all of our guest authors

for writing for us.

You can find all of the past articles from our

guest authors on our website: www.parenta.


October 2019 15

Black History Month

Black History Month

It’s back - bigger and better than ever - October is Black History Month!

Why celebrate Black History


When we think about British history,

most of us remember what we

were taught in schools – Roman

Britain, the Magna Carta, Henry

VIII, the sinking of the Titanic and

the impact on Britain of the World

Wars. It’s all interesting stuff, but in

selecting these for the curriculum,

other things inevitably get excluded –

things that may have more meaning

and relevance for other sections

of society who aren’t choosing the

syllabus - such as the Black British

community, for example.

Many school subjects seem to focus

only on certain sections of society;

like Kings and Queens for example,

or important men of science, art or

philosophy; and whilst there have

been many thousands of people

contributing to our society since

records began, we often find a

disproportionate focus on a narrow

selection, (usually white males)

often to the detriment of others.

Black History Month aims to temper

this bias by raising awareness

of, and celebrating the enormous

contribution that Black people have

made to modern Britain. In the same

way that International Women’s Day

champions women, Black History

Month does the same for unsung,

Black people and their achievements.

It was originally established in

America in 1926 and they continue

to celebrate it, but they do it in


Who gets involved?

Basically, anyone who wants to

celebrate Black history, contribution

and culture, not just in our own

country but in the world as a whole;

to global economics, science, culture,

politics and the arts. If you can think

of a subject, you can bet your bottom

dollar that there will have been

someone from the Black community

who will have had a positive impact

on it.

You may or may not have any Black

families in your cohort, but you

can still celebrate their enriching

contribution to our country generally,

now and in the past. Over the years,

the focus of Black History Month

has expanded to include the history

of African, Asian and Caribbean

peoples and their contribution to

Britain’s ‘island story’. So, it’s also

the perfect opportunity to visibly

demonstrate your commitment and

support to the wider agendas of

diversity, equality and inclusion.

Theme for 2019

This year’s theme is “Black

Migrations” which will focus on

“the movement of African

Americans to new destinations

and subsequently to new social

realities”. In the past, Britain played

an enormous role in forcibly moving

swathes of Black people through

the slave trade and colonialism;

but we also played a pivotal role

in abolishing them. Our country

has also encouraged migration

through other means such as the

Windrush scheme, and developed

opportunities for migration through

The Commonwealth. These have

enriched our culture, academia and

economy greatly, creating the multicultural

and diverse society we pride

ourselves in today, which has at its

heart, the values of tolerance and

an understanding of different faiths,

cultures and beliefs.

Get a BHM resource pack

A resource pack has been created for

the 2019 campaign and this is the first

year that an educational resource pack

has been produced. It aims to help

organisations facilitate and promote

Black History Month within their own

settings and beyond. You can register

to get your copy here. There is a small

fee (£49.50) but the resources include

posters, a timeline, information on

many Black icons who have shaped

the world as we know it, as well as

worksheets and assembly notes. If you

don’t want to buy the pack, there is a

lot of information for free on the official

website at: www.blackhistorymonth. which has more than enough

material to assist you.

How to get involved

Celebrating an integral part of our society is fun – look at the success of the Notting Hill Carnival if you want to see

what can be achieved when people come together to celebrate themselves and their culture. Here are a few ideas you

could try to catch a bit of the magic.











Set up your own carnival on the theme of ‘Black Migrations’ – think about where people have come from and what

have they brought to British culture that is now an integral part of who we are

Try some African food – there’s such a lot on offer. Why not try some sweet potatoes, yams , piri-piri, alloco or

jollof rice? You’ll find lots of interesting recipes on the internet

Research and celebrate the work of your own local Black heroes

Learn some African or Caribbean dance

Create a circular hands mural using handprints of different skin colours to represent inclusion

Talk about some famous (and ‘not-so-famous-yet’) Black role models. Most of us have heard of Martin Luther

King Jr., Rosa Parks and President Obama – all famous Black African Americans. But remember to include people

from Black British culture and all walks of life too; from writers to rappers, inventors to industry leaders, poets

to Presidents. You will find many ideas on the BHM website, but how about Mo Farah (double, double Olympic

champion), Ignatius Sancho (the first Black British voter), and Joan Armatrading (first female UK singer to be

nominated for a Grammy in the ‘blues’ category) to name but a few

Purchase the BHM resource pack and follow some lesson ideas, adapting them for your children

Hold a cake sale and decorate the cakes with different flags to show where people have come from

Celebrate diversity and inclusion – make a giant poster showing what each student and staff member likes and

appreciates about themselves and/or their own culture – it can be words or pictures or both

Talk about the Windrush generation and they importance of their contribution to life in Britain after the war – you

may even know some people you could invite in to talk to the children about their own experiences

Above all, have fun! The celebration spans the whole of October, so there is plenty of time to get involved in numerous ways.

Get your BHM resource pack at

16 October 2019 17

Fred the




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18 October 2019 19

Cyber Cyber security security tips for your setting tips

you for can’t your setting afford that to you miss can’t afford to miss

‘Cyber security’ is the technology, processes, and practices designed and put in place

to protect networks, devices, computer programmes and data from attack, damage, or

unauthorised access. It can also be referred to as ‘information technology security’.

During 2019, more businesses and charities than ever before have taken positive steps

to improve their cyber security. This is encouraging news and in part, linked to the

introduction of GDPR which requires that personal data must be processed securely using

appropriate technical and organisational measures.





Don’t overshare on social media - information gleaned from social media can be used

to guess passwords or answer security questions on other sites (e.g. your dog’s name,

place of birth, or mother’s maiden name).

Recognise and avoid phishing attacks – be wary of emails that contain links or attachments,

even if they appear to come from valid sources - email spoofing is the creation of emails with a

forged sender address which appears legitimate but is not the spammer’s own address.

Don’t save passwords in your browser – the common practice of ‘’remembering

passwords’’ in browsers is not recommended, should someone gain access to your

computer or mobile device, they’ll be able to access any accounts for which you’ve stored

your login credentials.

Don’t send passwords or account login credentials over public or unsecured Wi-Fi

networks – otherwise you are broadcasting to everyone in the radius of your wireless

signal all your personal and account information.

The “Facts on hacks”

According to the Cyber Security

Breaches Survey 2019, a third

of UK businesses (32%) and

two in ten of UK charities

(22%) identified cyber security

breaches or attacks in the last

12 months. The most common

types are:

Phishing attacks – used

to steal user data e.g. your

login details and credit card

numbers. They occur when an

attacker, masquerading as a

trusted entity, dupes a victim

into opening an email, instant

message, or text message.

Impersonation attacks

– created to dupe you into

revealing information or making

financial transactions. The attack

itself is carried out by sending an

email pretending to be from an

organisation you may work with.

Malware, including

ransomware attacks -

malware is a general term that

is used to describe a number

of malicious types of software,

including adware, Trojans,

spyware and more which are

designed to cause harm or

damage to a computer.

Protect yourself from these attacks –

our top 10 tips!







Don’t underestimate that you are a target – it doesn’t matter how

small or big your childcare business is, realise that you are always a

potential target to hackers.

Lock and turn off computer when not in use – leaving computing

devices on, unattended and connected to the internet opens the door for

rogue attacks.

Back up securely - back up your data regularly, and make sure your

anti-virus and firewall software is always up-to-date.

Beware of browsing – sensitive

browsing such as banking or shopping

should be done on devices that belong

to you, on a network you trust. If it’s on

a public computer or free Wi-Fi – it is

possible that your data could be copied

or stolen.

Make passwords secure and strong – practice good password

management. Eight characters is not enough. Use a strong mix of upper

and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers, use two-factor

authentication where possible, and don’t use the same password for all

online accounts.

Get rid of old data you no longer need – keep your computer and

mobile devices clean, keep only the data you need and safely archive or

destroy older data.

Is your childcare business

website and data secure?

It is imperative that you use a high

quality and trusted source when it

comes to the security and safety of your

data. Parenta’s website platform and

software products’ activities are based

on cloud computing services provided

by Amazon Web Services (AWS), one

of the childcare industry’s most trusted

and secure cloud-based solutions.

Here at Parenta, we build secure and

trusted websites for the childcare

industry with the following features and

security measures:


Fully GDPR Compliant - features

include customisable cookie

notifications, opt-in notifications,

form response page and privacy



Free SSL (secure site) - you will see

a small lock icon in your dashboard

to indicate that the site is secure.


Antivirus, Malware Protection and

Path Management - automated

vulnerability scans are conducted

regularly in order to detect web

application vulnerabilities.


Backup and Restore - Data such

as images, files and scripts are

If you want to learn more about data protection or refresh your existing knowledge, why not take a

look at our CPD course “Data Protection - GDPR”? For the whole of October, we are offering 20% off

this course! Use discount code “TB11VU”. Take a look here.

automatically backed up on a

daily basis via AWS Amazon

Machine Image. In addition, data

is replicated to another AWS data



Monitoring and Alerts - we use

several automated monitoring tools

meant to detect abnormalities and



Delete and Destroy - customer data

will only be stored for as long as

Parenta and its customer has an

active agreement, and as long as it

serves the purposes for which the

data was collected.


Physical Security - password

policy is enforced for any user

on the platform (account owners,

team members, customers). The

password is fully encrypted/



Network & Data Communication

- remote access requires VPN

connection and two-factor



Access Control - all data

communication networks with

external access are protected by

a central firewall. Networks are

separated for functionality and


Our experienced and friendly team

are available to help you with your

website needs! Get in touch today:

0800 002 9242

European Cyber Security Month

(ECSM) is the EU’s annual

awareness campaign that takes

place each October across

Europe. The aim is to raise

awareness of cybersecurity

threats, promote cybersecurity

among the community and

organisations, and provide

resources to protect themselves

online, through education and

sharing of good practices –

whether personal, financial or

professional. The main goal

is to raise awareness, change

behaviour and provide resources

for everyone about how to

protect themselves online.

20 October 2019 21

Give us a smile: the importance of oral

health and Give World us Smile a smile: Day ®

the importance of oral health and World Smile Day®

What does it cost to smile? Nothing! And yet a smile can set the world alight, right?

On Friday 4th October, people across

the globe will be trying to spread

some good cheer, engage in an act of

kindness and make each other smile to

celebrate World Smile Day ® (WSD). So

here at Parenta, we thought we would

do our bit to spread the love by giving

you some advice on putting on your

best smile whilst imparting some vital

information on oral health at the same

time. And we’ve also included some fun

ideas on how to join in with WSD and

spread miles of smiles on the day itself.

How to have a super smile –

look after your teeth!

There’s a wonderful, humorous

poem by Pam Ayres called “Oh I

wish I’d looked after me teeth” which

many parents and nursery workers

from Generation X and before, will

remember fondly. It’s a cautionary

tale about an adult regretting their

childhood lack of concern for their teeth,

resulting in them watching their false

ones “foam in the water beneath!”

Oral hygiene and oral health are

intricately linked. Tooth decay in

children, that had been declining for

decades, has recently started to creep

up again, with the blame focusing on

the high sugar content of much of the

food and drink that children consume.

In 2016–17, hospitals in England

extracted multiple teeth from children

and teenagers a total of 42,911 times

according to statistics obtained by the

Local Government Association 1 . These

figures are up by 17% from 2012–13,

and the NHS is trying to tackle the

problem amid reports that the majority

of tooth decay in under-6-year-olds is

untreated 2 .

Although records also show that just

under a quarter of 5-year-olds in

England had tooth decay in 2017, there

are regional differences, and children

from the most deprived areas have

almost twice the rate of decay as those

from the least deprived areas 3 .

Faced with these alarming statistics,

it’s our duty as nursery professionals

to help educate parents and children

about the importance of good oral

hygiene and health, and to encourage

best practice along the way.

The main steps to good oral health are:

Brush teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes. For

children under 3, it is recommended to use a smear

of an appropriate, age-related children’s fluoride

toothpaste containing no less than 1,000ppm of

fluoride, or a family toothpaste containing between

1,350ppm and 1,500ppm fluoride. For children aged

3–6, use a pea-sized blob of a similar toothpaste.

Parents or carers should brush their child’s teeth (under

3s) or supervise toothbrushing for older children. There

are many fun toothbrushes on the market so allow your

children to choose their favourite.

Reduce sugar intake and use a straw when drinking

sugary drinks which helps to bypass teeth. Sugary

foods include:

• cakes and biscuits

• soft drinks such as cola as well as fruit juice

• sweets and chocolate

• flavoured milks and yoghurts

• sugary breakfast cereals and cereal bars

• jams

• fruit canned in syrup

• sauces and syrups, such as some pasta sauces,

marinades and ketchup

Visit the dentist regularly – most children need to

have a check-up twice a year, although you should

follow your dentist’s advice depending on the needs

of the child. Try to make the visits fun and be patient if

children are nervous.

Fissure sealants and fluoride varnish treatments

can help prevent tooth decay. Fissure sealants involve

covering the back teeth with a thin plastic coating to

prevent food and germs getting into the grooves, and

can last between 5 and 10 years. The NHS recommend

fluoride varnish is offered to children over 3, and should

be given to all those over 3 at risk of tooth decay. It is

painted onto the teeth twice a year by a dentist.

More information is available from the NHS and other

online sources. We’ve listed some relevant websites

at the end of this article. Remember too that dental

treatment for all children under 18 is free and the time

and effort dedicated to oral health will pay off in the


Having embraced the need for good oral health, you’re

all set to show your smile to the world!

What is World Smile Day®?

In 1963, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts,

named Harvey Ball, created an icon which became known as

the ‘smiley face’ or ‘Smiley’. Of course, in 1963, there was no

internet to post on and no social media for things to go viral

on, but nevertheless, Smiley quickly became one of the most

recognised symbols across the world to represent happiness

and smiles. Harvey later became concerned that his idea was

becoming over-commercialised and wanted to do something

to redress the balance, so he suggested everyone devote one

day a year to smiles and engaging in acts of kindness, and

the first World Smile Day ® was held in 1999.

As the official website says:

“The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no

religion. Harvey’s idea was that for at least one day each

year, neither should we”, and he encouraged everyone to “do

an act of kindness, help one person smile!”

It’s a simple idea and there are hundreds of things that you can

do in your setting to celebrate the day. Here are just a few:

• Make your own Smiley wall collage

• Visit a retirement home and spread some joy

• Bake or decorate some cookies with Smiley faces

• Have a happy-themed sing-along session

• Take some selfies wearing Smiley masks that you’ve made

• Donate some meals to the homeless

• Take spare food to a food bank

• Go on a litter pick

• Feed some wildlife

• Have a joke-telling competition

• Dress up in something yellow

Harvey died in 2001, and the Harvey Ball World Smile

Foundation was created in his honour, continuing his legacy

and acting as the official sponsor of World Smile Day ® . So,

let’s get those face muscles moving, those teeth twinkling,

and flash us a super smile to be proud of!

Useful resources on oral health





22 October 2019 23

Ambitious and

inclusive inclusive sensory

stories sensory stories

Ambitious &

I wrote about the Wonders of a Sensory

Story back in 2018 for Parenta and expressed

in that article just how hard it is to even

consider trying to articulate how fabulous

sensory stories are in a single article. When

I first encountered them, they transformed

my teaching and made my practice so much

more inclusive than it had been before. In

this article I am going to give you a glimpse

into how you can do even more with a

sensory story, using them to increase access

to new experiences and extend the impact of

novel educational adventures.

Sensory stories are

concise text, typically 8–10

sentences long, each

sentence of the story is

partnered with a rich and

relevant sensory experience

that supports engagement

with the story and makes

the story accessible to

those unable to access

it through the verbal

narrative. I run a project

called The Sensory Story

Project and if you explore

the webpage associated

with that, you will find lots

of free downloads that will

help you in your sensory

story practice.

How to use a sensory

story to make an event

more accessible

Consider the scenario of

a school trip, perhaps

you are visiting a farm, a

swimming pool or a local

church. For some children

the differences between

this environment and the

one they are used to being

in will inspire extra curiosity

and attention. For other

children, the differences

between the known safe

familiar environment and

this new different place will

cause stress and anxiety.

Children are unlikely to be

able to articulate feelings

of discomfort or of being

unsettled, even children

who are brilliant linguists

would struggle to describe

feelings of unease.

Children distressed by an

unfamiliar environment

communicate that distress

through their behaviour.

For some, this behaviour

will be obviously linked

to distress, they might

cry or refuse to enter a

space. But for many others,

their behaviour will be

an attempt to counteract

the feeling: a child who

feels uneasy needs extra

reassurance, one of the

best ways to be reassured

when you are a child

is to know an adult is

paying attention to you.

Adults keep children safe.

Children know that if the

adult is noticing them,

they will be safe. So you

may see an increase in

those annoying attentiongrabbing


that just seem silly and

unnecessary. It helps to

recognise that the child

is seeking reassurance,

rather than attention; at the

very least it will save you

from getting so frustrated!

Focus on the sensory aspects of

the experience: for example at a

swimming pool you will smell the

chemicals used to clean the pool,

you might be asked to wear a rubber

band against your wrist or ankle,

you might see the steam from the

showers and so on.

Create a sensory story

that very clearly and

accurately describes the

experiences related to

the new environment in

the sequence they will be

encountered. Focus on

the sensory aspects of the

experience: for example

at a swimming pool you

will smell the chemicals

used to clean the pool, you

might be asked to wear a

rubber band against your

wrist or ankle, you might

see the steam from the

showers and so on. Weave

these experiences in order

into your story and then

share your story ahead of

your visit. Tell it often so

that the children get lots

of practice at experiencing

the sensations and can get

excited for the visit ahead.

When you get to the venue,

it will not be so new and

distressing but it will retain

all of its excitement and


How to use a sensory

story to extend the

impact of an event or


We have wonderful

moments that happen in

our settings, perhaps we

all visit a petting zoo, or a

dance troop visit us and

share their fabulous skills

with us. The novelty of

these events makes them

stand out in our memories,

we should make the most

of this impact and not

restrict it to the day that it


Creating a sensory story of

an event or experience

just takes a little bit of

thought and prep work.

You may need to make

sure you have memory

space clear on your phone

so you can record sounds,

or you may want to take

some Tupperware with you

for stashing smells in!

As the event unfolds,

consider it in sensory

story terms, what are the

sounds, sights, smells,

touches and tastes that

define this event? Can you

capture them?

Catch as many as you

can and weave them into

the story, then you will be

able to retell the story and

revisit the wonders of that

special day.

Readers curious to know

more may be interested

in Joanna’s Ambitious

and Inclusive Sensory

Storytelling Course or her


Sensory Stories for Children

and Teens with Special

Educational Needs and


Published by Jessica


Voyage to Arghan - a

sensory story

Ernest and I – a sensory


Published by LDA resources

Joanna Grace

Joanna Grace is an

international Sensory

Engagement and Inclusion

Specialist, trainer, author, TEDx

speaker and founder of The

Sensory Projects.

Consistently rated as

“outstanding” by Ofsted,

Joanna has taught in

mainstream and specialschool

settings, connecting

with pupils of all ages and

abilities. To inform her

work, Joanna draws on her

own experience from her

private and professional life

as well as taking in all the

information she can from the

research archives. Joanna’s

private life includes family

members with disabilities and

neurodivergent conditions and

time spent as a registered

foster carer for children with

profound disabilities.

Joanna has published three

practitioner books: “Sensory

Stories for Children and Teens”,

“Sensory-Being for Sensory

Beings” and “Sharing Sensory

Stories and Conversations with

People with Dementia”. and

two inclusive sensory story

children’s books: “Voyage to

Arghan” and “Ernest and I”.

Joanna is a big fan of social

media and is always happy

to connect with people

via Facebook, Twitter and



24 October 2019 25

Learning Learning and laughing and together

– it’s ‘Family Learning’ month!

laughing together

- it’s ‘Family Learning’ month!

Whether you’re a parent or a practitioner, the importance of educating children outside,

as well as inside, the classroom, can never be underestimated. Although the traditional

‘nuclear’ family has changed considerably over the years, it doesn’t seem to have had

an effect on the desire of parents, grandparents, carers and blended families to learn

together, regardless of how the family is made up!

We know that the majority of children

learn best when they are doing

something for a real purpose….and,

“just because they want to”, of course!

So, playing games that bring to life

and contextualise what the children

learn within the childcare setting, is

a great way for parents and carers to

support this learning.

Engage and educate!

Real-life events and day-today

activities enrich children’s

understanding, by putting these

experiences into action. Here are a

few which can easily be started in the

childcare setting and then continued

and extended at home:

Family history and culture sharing:

demonstrating what a ‘family tree’

is can encourage the children to talk

about where they come from – they

can work at home to make their

own family tree and share it with the

others at their childcare setting.

During story time, they can learn

about different cultures and then

discuss at home and bring something

in which relates to their particular

surroundings – e.g. a pebble from the

beach where they live, or a leaf from

a walk in the woods, or something

that symbolises their particular


Counting the pennies:

Playing ‘shop keepers’ at nursery

can easily be put into practice while

out shopping with family. Counting

coins and pointing out groceries is

an excellent example of fun family


Learning as a family can help

us to become confident, lifelong

learners with all the benefits that

brings - from better health to being

happier! Family learning supports

children to achieve at school and

can be transformative, helping to

find new passions and interests,

and realise our aspirations through

further learning.

What is “Family Learning”?

‘Family learning’ enables families

of all shapes and sizes to learn in a

relaxed and fun atmosphere, which

helps reinforce the importance

of learning at home, outside the

environment of the childcare setting,

or classroom. It allows parents and

carers to reconnect to learning and

gives them an insight into how their

children learn - which in turn helps

to understand how to support them


The Family Learning Festival

The UK’s Family Learning Festival

celebrates the values of learning as a

family. It runs from 19th October until

3rd November and is organised by the

Campaign for Learning, the national

charity that aims to build a culture of

learning everywhere.

“Family learning refers to any

learning activity that involves

both children and adult family

members, where learning

outcomes are intended for both,

and that contributes to a culture

of learning in the family.”

Get involved!

Schools and nurseries, libraries,

museums, galleries and attractions

get involved every year and put

on brilliant and creative events,

showcasing ideas and learning

opportunities that families can do


You can find out what events are

taking place near you by visiting the

Family Learning Festival website at – here,

you can also find some great ideas to

hold your own event!

Why learn as a family?

Do we have unrealistic expectations of

Do we have




of children?

We all want to instil positive values and behaviour in children. However, it’s

important to remember that they are just little people trying to navigate a sometimes,

unfamiliar world and we should not expect a level of perfection that we as adults

don’t even adhere to ourselves. Children are constantly learning about themselves,

about boundaries and limitations and about the world around them. Through this

learning process, there will always be ups and downs because they don’t have all of

the answers. Let’s face it, none of us do, do we?

This is why it is so important to

model the behaviour that we want

to see in children and to not hold

them to a higher standard than we,

as adults, could even live up to.

We all have off days where we can

feel agitated and snappy and days

where we are not quite ourselves.

Children do too, yet we can, at

times, expect them to be on form at

all times, forgetting that they too are

people with changing emotions and


If we were to treat children in the

same way that we treat adults,

would we do the things that we do?


If an adult was busy doing

something that they were really

focused on, would we walk

up to them and close it down

because we had decided that it

was time to do something else?

Or, would we let them know that

we needed to move on to the

next task and give them time to

finish off what they are doing?


If someone was not being their

usual self would we try to find

out the reason why, or would

we just judge their behaviour?


If a person asked you to pass

them something with a polite

and friendly tone, but without

the word ‘please’ attached

to it, would we refuse to give

them what they were asking

for, or deem them as being

rude? Do we honestly say the

word ‘please’ after every single

request that we make?


If an adult made a mistake like

knocking over their drink, would

we get angry with them and

punish them, or would we help

them to clean it up and tell them

not to worry as it was only an


We have to ask how we would feel

and react if we put ourselves in the

shoes of children – if the answer is

that we would get frustrated or feel

annoyed, is there any wonder that

children sometimes react the way

that they do and go into meltdown?

Children learn from what they

consistently see. If we want them

to have nice manners, we need to

have nice manners. If we want them

to be kind, we need to be kind. If we

want them to take responsibility, we

need to take responsibility when we

get things wrong.

Human beings are imperfect by

nature because we don’t come to

this earth with all of the answers.

It is our job to lead by example

and to teach children through our

own actions. However, it is also

important to remember that our

example will never teach them

‘perfection’. We will make mistakes

and have off days and this is

normal. We just need to remember

that children will have these kinds of

days too and that like us, they won’t

and shouldn’t be expected to be

perfect all of time.

A child’s view of the world and

themselves is formed by what

they consistently hear, see and

feel around them. It is our job to

demonstrate the kind of behaviour

we want to see and to instil positive

values that will give them a strong

foundation for the future. Children

need strong boundaries and I

believe that it is important to have

them. However, as we are setting

these boundaries and

leading the way,

we also need

to take a

step back

and ask

ourselves if we are holding children

to a higher standard than we would

be able to live up to as adults.

Respect is one of the most

important qualities that we can instil

in children, but it works both ways.

If we want children to be respectful,

we need to act in a respectful way

around them too and ask ourselves

if our actions would be acceptable

if the shoe was on the

other foot.

Stacey Kelly

Stacey Kelly is a former

teacher, a parent to 2

beautiful babies and the

founder of Early Years Story

Box, which is a subscription

website providing children’s

storybooks and early years

resources. She is passionate

about building children’s

imagination, creativity and

self-belief and about creating

awareness of the impact

that the early years have

on a child’s future. Stacey

loves her role as a writer,

illustrator and public speaker

and believes in the power of

personal development. She is

also on a mission to empower

children to live a life full of

happiness and fulfilment,

which is why she launched

the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude


Sign up to Stacey’s premium

membership here and use the

code PARENTA20 to get 20%

off or contact Stacey for an

online demo.







28 October 2019 29

What to expect when

working in childcare

What to expect when

working in


Have you ever considered working in childcare but don’t know what to expect?

Maybe you’re a parent returning to work, or a school leaver seeking their first

apprentice placement, or maybe you just want a change of scene, and childcare

appeals. Whatever your current status, knowing what to expect will help you make an

informed choice about joining the childcare workforce.

Childcare workers provide care and

supervision for children. They can

work in public and private settings

including residential homes, hospitals,

women’s shelters and educational

establishments. As a childcare worker,

you help shape the lives of exuberant

and inquisitive little people as they work

out what the world is, and their place

in it.

According to Government statistics,

as of March 31, 2019, the number of

childcare providers registered with

Ofsted, were 1 :

• 39,000 childminders

• 27,300 providers on non-domestic

premises (group-based settings)

• 10,100 home childcarers (nannies)

• 200 childcarers on domestic

premises (home-based settings)

That’s 76,600 providers, and 2018

statistics record 700,000 childcare

workers in the sector. 2 Each setting

will offer different advantages and

disadvantages, autonomy and working

conditions, and like any career, starters

and apprentices will have different dayto-day

practices than an experienced,

degree-qualified, nursery manager or


But working in childcare is incredibly

rewarding, so read on to see what to

expect and if this career is for you. In

this article, we have focused on nursery

workers, which can also be known as

nursery nurses, nursery assistants, preschool

assistants, playgroup assistants

and childcare apprentices.

Day-to-day tasks

One great thing about working in childcare, is that everyday will bring something

new. Yes, there will be routines to follow and schedules to keep to, but you will

be working with children, and that means new situations, new ideas and new


Day-to-day tasks can include:

• Planning and supervising activities, e.g. music, mark-making, arts and crafts,


• Helping with language and numeracy skills through games and activities like

phonics and counting

Taking part in trips and activities outside the setting or in an outdoor space

Supporting children at mealtimes

Feeding and changing babies and assisting with toilet training toddlers

Observing children and making notes on their development

Safeguarding children

Managing children’s behaviour in a positive and nurturing way

Helping children’s social, emotional and educational development

Setting-up and packing-away equipment as needed

Dealing with children with special needs

• Following rules and adhering to your setting’s policies and procedures

As you gain more experience, you could progress to become a key worker for one

or more children, which may include liaising with parents or providing reports on

the children’s development.

Skills needed

The main skills needed are:

Excellent communication skills •

• The ability to play and work with

children in a positive and sensitive


Creativity and imagination

Patience and resilience

Organisation skills

• Planning skills

IT skills

• Understanding and knowledge

of childcare, first-aid and child


Physical fitness

Responsible attitude

• Willing to undergo required training

and CPD

Qualifications expected and

regulatory checks

Childcare is a career that you can still get

into without having formal qualifications,

although most settings will expect you

to be able to demonstrate that you have

some interest in the sector or at least

some experience, even as a volunteer.

You can expect there to be competition

for places on college courses and

apprenticeships, and most settings will

expect you to train for at least a level 2 or

level 3 childcare qualification on the job if

you do not already have qualifications.

Childcare qualifications range from level

2 (equivalent to GCSEs) right up to postgraduate

and research level, and the

higher paid jobs with more responsibility,

will inevitably require a higher level of

experience and qualification.

You will also need to have an enhanced

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

check but this is a standard requirement

for anyone working with children.

Environment and working hours

Childcare workers are employed in

different settings, including:

• Dedicated childcare premises or


• Daily childcare settings (such as

those who operate from church halls

or community centres who set-up/

pack-away daily)

• Domestic settings

• Playschemes

• Children’s centres

• Primary schools

The majority of childcare is provided

during normal working hours, although

this can vary if you are employed in a

domestic situation. In a dedicated setting,

you should normally expect to work an

8-hour day, 5 days a week but nurseries

can be open from 7am to 6pm or even

later, and you might need to work a shift

system to cover the operating hours. Your

setting may also work Saturdays in some


Some jobs, such as those in reception

classes in schools, may operate during

term-time only which may appeal.

You will also be with predominantly

female colleagues since only 2% of the

current UK childcare workforce is male.

Earnings & career advancement

According to Total Jobs, the average

salary for childcare jobs is £27,000,

ranging from £20,536 to £37,000 3 . Starter

salaries and apprenticeships are lower,

but apprentices will get at least the

national minimum wage, currently £3.90

per hour.

Tips and advice

Wherever you end up, when you work

with children, you can expect to work

hard for your money. It can be a stressful

environment, but it’s also an incredibly

creative, rewarding and fulfilling one too.

Our advice is to make sure you do your

homework about the setting

you are thinking of working

in. Read their relevant

Ofsted reports, which will give you more

information about the environment and

ethos, and talk to people actually working

in childcare to find out what they think are

the pros and cons of the industry.

If possible, try to gain some experience

as a volunteer before you commit to a

course or apprenticeship, so you are

making an informed decision based on

some practical knowledge or experience.

This could be baby-sitting for friends

and family, as a volunteer or as a nanny.

Visit All for Good, where you can search

for volunteering programs in your area,

including assisting with child care.

For more information on Parenta childcare

apprenticeships, see:









30 October 2019 31

Let’s go outside this autumn

Let’s go outside

this autumn

As the weather gets cooler and the evenings draw in, we

are reminded that it’s no longer summer. In the UK, we

have four seasons, each with a very different climate. Of

all the different times of the year, I think autumn is my

favourite, not least because of the beautiful colourful trees

and yummy fruits that are readily available! In addition,

autumn can be a very special time with young children

and there are lots of lovely activities we can do.

In the past, this time of year was

referred to as ‘Harvest’, but as farming

communities decreased and more and

more people lived in towns, the term

Harvest lost its significance and now

predominantly refers to the process

of reaping or harvesting the crops,

and we use the word ‘autumn’, after

the Latin ‘autumnus’, to describe the

season. There are also a number of

festivals and celebrations that take

place in autumn and we may choose to

acknowledge them in our settings, for

example, All Saints Day (Christian), All

Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), Thanksgiving

(Canada and United States), and Sukkot

(Jewish). So there is lots of scope for


For me, however, the best part about

autumn is depicted in a cool, crisp

morning walk, in dappled sunshine

under trees with fiery leaves. The leaves

of deciduous trees change colour from

green to all shades of red, orange,

yellow, gold and brown. Usually a

leaf is green because of the levels of

chlorophyll and as the sunlight hours

shorten and the air cools in autumn,

the chlorophyll begins to decrease and

the leaf loses its green colour leaving

us with a beautiful landscape. Part

of teaching children about the world

around them will include teaching them

about growth, decay and changes over

time. So talking with children about

the changes they notice with autumn

leaves is a really good introduction to

this. One childminding team shared

with me recently that during an

outside session, a child found a tiny

leaf which magically encapsulated all

of the colours of decay. This tiny leaf

sparked discussions about how leaves

decompose and the cycle of life and


With children there are a number of

things you can do during the autumn.

In the past I have made up rhymes and

songs to sing with the children using a

familiar tune, and taught the children

some actions. For example, (to the tune


“Red rosy apples on the treetop, When

the wind blows the apples will rock,

When autumn comes the leaves will fall,

And down will come apples, leaves and


Often the environment itself will be an

invitation to play for many children,

however, you may also want to extend

their interest in all things autumn with

a few of the ideas below. Most of the

ideas are free and many are outside or

bringing the outside in.

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34 October 2019 35

0800 002 9242

Supporting an angry child in your


Supporting an angry child

in your setting


Separate the feeling from the behaviour – “it is OK to be

angry, it is not OK to hit”. Help the child to understand

that they are not wrong to experience the emotion and

nobody is cross with them for feeling it, they just have to

be careful how they act on it.

All young children display extreme emotion from time to time. If you have a child in your

setting that is repeatedly displaying angry behaviour, then it can be particularly scary,

disruptive and stressful; both for that child and the other children around them. Here are

some strategies to put in place for a child that may be struggling with their anger.


Teach the child about emotions.

Show them different feelings and

help them to recognise these in

their friends, book characters,

and eventually in themselves. On

this journey, it helps if you label

their emotion for them – “I can

see that you are angry”. A child

needs to recognise their emotion

before they are able to address it.



Give the child a strategy. Work with the child (at a time

that they are calm) to come up with a plan, that is right

for them and your setting, for when they are feeling

those physical responses to anger. It may be that they

go to a room by themselves, hit a cushion, squeeze

a sensory ball or spend time outside. Lots of children

find sensory play such as bubbles or water-play very

calming. They need the opportunity to work through their

anger without making things worse by hurting someone

or something.

Verbalise your own feelings to demonstrate how you

handle them. “That made me feel very cross so I’m

going to take some time on my own to calm down”.

Don’t forget that you are one of the child’s role models,

therefore do your best to remain calm when dealing with

both their anger and your own.

Gina Smith

Gina Smith is an

experienced teacher with

experience of teaching

in both mainstream and

special education. She

is the creator of ‘Create

Visual Aids’ - a business

that provides both homes

and education settings with

bespoke visual resources.

Gina recognises the fact

that no two children are

the same and therefore

individuals are likely to

need different resources.

Create Visual Aids is

dedicated to making visual

symbols exactly how the

individual needs them.



Teach children to recognise

the physical responses to

being angry – again, another

tool to helping them recognise

and understand what is going

on. Talk to them about how it

actually feels to be angry – you

become hot, your cheeks go red,

your heart starts beating faster

and harder and you might feel

butterflies in your tummy. If a

child is able to recognise these

signs in their body, then they

are on their way to being able to

recognise their own anger and

handle it appropriately.


Encourage them to talk. There will be a reason for their

anger and hopefully, in time, you will be able to get to

find out what it is and help them with it. It can help to

use puppets or comic strips to encourage a child to talk

about their feelings. It is very likely that the anger is a

result of things happening outside of your setting but you

can still help the child work through their feelings about

it and, if necessary and appropriate, feedback to their

carers. Remember – behaviour is communication.


Don’t forget that the child that is getting really angry is going to feel really scared and out of control at that

time. Your ultimate goal is for that child to be able to come to you and tell you how they are feeling before

it builds to an angry outburst. By remaining calm and showing understanding towards the way they are

feeling, you should gradually be able to earn their trust and lessen the anger.

36 October 2019 37

Dyslexia Awareness Week

Dyslexia Awareness Week

Richard Branson is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs: his Virgin brand

operates over 60 companies in 35 countries; he has written 8 books and has over 41

million followers on social networks; and his net worth in 2019 was reported at just over

£4 billion. That’s a pretty successful life in anyone’s book!

Yet Branson struggled in school and

dropped out at 16 saying “my teachers

thought I was lazy and dumb, and I

couldn’t keep up or fit in - people just

assumed that I was not bright when it

came to academic things.”

It turns out that Richard Branson has

dyslexia, which was little understood

when he was at school and instead of

receiving help and support, he says it

was “treated as a handicap”.

Nowadays, much more is known

about this complex, neurodiverse

condition and many people now

recognise that dyslexic people

have many strengths. So, from

7–13 October, the British Dyslexia

Association (BDA) is promoting

Dyslexia Awareness Week to

encourage everyone to empower

people with dyslexia so that their gifts

can be recognised, and they can fulfil

their true potential. More than 10% of

the UK population has dyslexia, yet

often their needs are not being met,

opportunities are being missed and

we are not maximising the potential

and abilities these people have, to the

detriment of us all.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is not an illness. It is a

difference in the way that people’s

brains work and a difference in how

people learn and process information

through their senses. It primarily

affects a person’s reading and

writing skills although not exclusively.

For example, dyslexic people may

have difficulty processing and

remembering information they see

and hear, especially linking letters to

phonics, which can lead to problems

with literacy. However, many dyslexic

people display positive strengths

in terms of their reasoning, visual

processing skills and creativity.

Dyslexia does not affect a person’s

IQ or intelligence, although because

there is usually a great emphasis on

reading and writing in schools, many

dyslexic people can feel inadequate

due to having a lower reading age

than would normally be expected.

Recognising that a child has dyslexia,

and putting strategies in place to help

them, is therefore vital to avoid selfesteem

problems and to build on the

strengths that the child does have.

Speech and language

difficulties and dyslexia

Speech and language difficulties

in early years have been linked to

later childhood literacy problems

through numerous studies, but there

is much that can be done to help

children in the early years develop

their language skills if problems are

identified early enough. A diagnosis

of dyslexia can only be given after

a diagnostic assessment, but these

are not usually given until the child

is around 7 years old and already

at school. There are other causes

of speech and language problems

too, so the emphasis needs to be on

identifying problems early (whatever

the underlying cause) to allow

interventions as soon as possible.

Signs of dyslexia in the early


The BDA has listed several indicators

which may suggest that a child has

a Specific Learning Difficulty such

as dyslexia. One of the problems

of identifying them in early years

settings, however, is that many

young children will display the same

behaviours and make the same

mistakes, so it can be difficult to

differentiate between dyslexia and

differences in developmental timing.

The BDA suggest that parents and

early years staff should look out for

“the severity of the behaviour and

the length of time it persists” as

this information can give vital clues

leading to a diagnosis of dyslexia.

According to the BDA, indicators for

dyslexia in young children are:

• Difficulty learning nursery rhymes

• Difficulty paying attention, sitting

still, listening to stories

• Likes listening to stories but

shows no interest in letters or


• Difficulty learning to sing or recite

the alphabet

• Slow speech development

• Muddles words e.g. cubumber,


• Difficulty keeping simple rhythm

• Finds it hard to carry out two or

more instructions at one time, but

is better if tasks are broken down

• Forgets names

• Poor auditory discrimination

• Difficulty cutting, sticking and

crayoning in comparison with

their peer group

• Difficulty in dressing, e.g. finds

shoelaces and buttons difficult

• Difficulty with catching, kicking or

throwing a ball

• Often trips, bumps into things,

and falls over

• Difficulty hopping or skipping

• Obvious ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days for

no apparent reason

What to do during Dyslexia

Awareness Week

The aim of the week is to empower

people with dyslexia, which

can only be done if there is wider

understanding and knowledge about

dyslexia, and the myths surrounding it

are challenged.

The BDA are asking nurseries,

educational establishments and

workplaces to spare some time to

hold an awareness session, ideally

facilitated by a SENCO or other

suitable professional, including input

from dyslexic people themselves.

Obviously in an early years setting,

the children will be largely unaware

and undiagnosed but the aim is really

to advance the knowledge of staff

about the condition, and what can be

done to help support children. There

are lots of resources, videos and

information on the BDA website which

are free to access to help you.

The BDA also run awards for dyslexiafriendly

organisations helping to

support people with neurodiverse

conditions. The award, Literacy Leap,

is aimed at early years settings,

focusing on early identification and

supporting children who may be

at risk of dyslexia or other speech

and language disorders with early


What you can do to help children

There are numerous interventions that can help

children with speech and learning or information

processing issues, including:

• online and electronic language development


• breaking words down into small syllables,

prefixes and suffixes

• reading together

• adopting a multi-sensory approach to learning

• taking the pressure off by understanding that

everyone is different

• awareness of visual issues such as fonts,

colours and visual stresses

• teaching to the child’s strengths

The important thing is to recognise

that everyone is different and

interventions should be tailored


38 October 2019 39






Whether you are a

manager looking

to support your

staff by enhancing

their knowledge, or

looking at developing

your own career,

when you study one

of Parenta’s online

CPD courses, you

study in your own

time and at your own

pace – all from the

comfort of your own


Our full list of

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