Parenta Magazine March 2020

March is the month many of us have been waiting for since last October…the clocks ‘springing’ forward, giving us lighter evenings! This is also the time of year when people start thinking about their annual spring clean; and wanting to get rid of the old stuff in their homes and businesses. Taking part in ‘National Old Stuff Day’ on 2nd March is a great reason to get started with the spring cleaning in your setting! In Tamsin Grimmer’s article this month “Keep on talking and mind the gap”, she reveals that almost half of year one children lack the vocabulary they need to access the curriculum. Using a holistic approach, we have chosen some activities that you can implement in your setting that will help expand the children’s vocabulary, but at the same time covering many areas of learning and development in the EYFS. Have a great month and please don’t forget to put your clocks forward by one hour at 1am on Sunday 29th March! Happy reading!

March is the month many of us have been waiting for since last October…the clocks ‘springing’ forward, giving us lighter evenings!

This is also the time of year when people start thinking about their annual spring clean; and wanting to get rid of the old stuff in their homes and businesses. Taking part in ‘National Old Stuff Day’ on 2nd March is a great reason to get started with the spring cleaning in your setting!

In Tamsin Grimmer’s article this month “Keep on talking and mind the gap”, she reveals that almost half of year one children lack the vocabulary they need to access the curriculum. Using a holistic approach, we have chosen some activities that you can implement in your setting that will help expand the children’s vocabulary, but at the same time covering many areas of learning and development in the EYFS.

Have a great month and please don’t forget to put your clocks forward by one hour at 1am on Sunday 29th March!

Happy reading!


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Issue 64<br />

MARCH <strong>2020</strong><br />

FREE<br />

Industry<br />

Experts<br />

The power of<br />

an apology<br />

Narrowing the ‘word<br />

gap’ in the early years<br />

The importance of<br />

storytelling in music<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to win<br />

£50<br />

page 38<br />

Talking about difference:<br />

Down’s syndrome<br />

In the first of a four-part series, Joanna Grace explores how we might talk to<br />

young children about difference through the lens of disability.<br />


hello<br />

welcome to our family<br />

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

<strong>March</strong> is the month many of us have been waiting for since last October… the clocks ‘springing’ forward, giving us lighter<br />

evenings!<br />

This is also the time of year when people start thinking about their annual spring clean; and wanting to get rid of the old<br />

stuff in their homes and businesses. Taking part in ‘National Old Stuff Day’ on 2nd <strong>March</strong> is a great reason to get started<br />

with the spring cleaning in your setting! Turn to page 10 for some ecological and sustainable ideas for “out with the old and in<br />

with the new”.<br />

We honour the mother of the family in <strong>March</strong> too, as well as celebrating motherhood as a whole. We explore how it all began on page 23;<br />

and if you turn the page, you will find a delightful Mother’s Day craft for you to make with the little ones in your setting that will be sure to<br />

make mothers’ hearts melt!<br />

In Tamsin Grimmer’s article this month “Keep on talking and mind the gap”, she reveals that almost half of year one children lack the<br />

vocabulary they need to access the curriculum. Using a holistic approach, we have chosen some activities that you can implement in your<br />

setting that will help expand the children’s vocabulary, but at the same time covering many areas of learning and development in the EYFS.<br />

Congratulations once again to Joanna Grace, our guest author of the month for January. Her article “Multisensory room magic?” questions the<br />

relevance of some elements of sensory rooms and was very popular with our readers. If you’ve got a topic you’d like to write about, why not<br />

send an article to us and be in with a chance of winning a £50 voucher!<br />

All the news stories, advice, and craft activities in your free <strong>Parenta</strong> magazine have been written to help you with the efficient running of your<br />

setting and to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care. Please feel free to share with friends, parents and<br />

colleagues.<br />

Have a great month and please don’t forget to put your clocks forward by one hour at 1am on Sunday 29th <strong>March</strong>!<br />

Allan<br />

Storytelling<br />

34<br />

Frances Turnbull<br />

discusses the importance<br />

of storytelling in music<br />

and shares the origins<br />

of some popular nursery<br />

rhymes.<br />

Apology<br />

12<br />

Stacey Kelly explains<br />

why it is so important<br />

to apologise to children<br />

properly and shares her<br />

5 steps to apologising to<br />

a child.<br />

Independence<br />

30<br />

Gina Smith shares some great tips for<br />

ways you can encourage the young<br />

children in your setting to develop their<br />


MARCH <strong>2020</strong> ISSUE 64<br />


Regulars<br />

20 EYFS activities - Mind the (language) gap!<br />

24 Mother’s Day tissue paper flowers<br />

25 Delicious chocolate cupcakes recipe<br />

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

38 Guest author winner announced<br />

Is your website Ofsted-ready? 14<br />

News<br />

4 Early years news & views<br />

6 Summer-born children struggling with basic key<br />

skills<br />

7 An extra year given to schools for Ofsted’s new<br />

EIF<br />

8 Standards are here - register on Government<br />

Gateway to secure funding now!<br />

Mother’s Day - where did it all begin? 25<br />

Advice<br />

10 National Old Stuff Day<br />

14 Is your childcare website Ofsted-ready?<br />

18 Time for a Cuppa - 1st–8th <strong>March</strong><br />

National Careers Week 36<br />

23 Mother’s Day – where did it all begin?<br />

28 Family Safety Week<br />

32 British Science Week<br />

36 National Careers Week<br />

Industry Experts<br />

12 The importance of an apology<br />

16 Talking about difference: Down’s syndrome<br />

26 Keep on talking and mind the gap!<br />

30 Encouraging independence in young children<br />

34 The importance of storytelling in music<br />

British Science Week 32

Early years news & views<br />

Early years<br />

news & views<br />

Online toolkit<br />

available to help<br />

settings become more<br />

sustainable<br />

Early Years Eco Wheel is a new online<br />

toolkit available to help settings<br />

become more sustainable and tackle<br />

the climate emergency.<br />

The toolkit was launched at the<br />

Nursery World Show, London in<br />

February <strong>2020</strong> at the first-ever Green<br />

Early Years Choices Champions<br />

Organisation (GECCO) Early Years<br />

Eco-Sustainability Conference.<br />

The aim of The Eco Wheel is to<br />

promote ‘spreading the message’<br />

about climate change and<br />

sustainability by educating children,<br />

parents, employees and the wider<br />

community.<br />

One of the creators of the not-forprofit<br />

scheme, and co-owner of<br />

Natural Choice Nurseries, Nicky<br />

Edwards, said: “We need to not panic<br />

about the climate emergency, but<br />

rapidly shift to ”emergency mode”.<br />

We need to take action as a sector,<br />

and to do that, we need a clear<br />

framework for success.<br />

Petition for British sign language to be taught in<br />

all schools<br />

A teenager’s petition calling for all schools to teach basic sign language has been<br />

signed by over 100,000 people.<br />

Jade Kilduff launched the campaign after seeing how her brother’s life was<br />

transformed by sign language. The Kilduff family were told that Christian, who has<br />

cerebral palsy and brain damage, would never be able to communicate, so Jade<br />

spent 2 years teaching him sign language.<br />

“Christian communicates by using sign language, and a lot of people when talking to<br />

Christian would have to talk through me,” Jade told Sky News.<br />

“And I thought it was unfair that he could only communicate to me and a few of our<br />

family members and I thought if everybody just knew a little bit of sign, then it would<br />

make the world more inclusive.”<br />

Very few mainstream schools teach British sign language. There are 12 million<br />

people in the UK with hearing loss, 50,000 of those are children. Jade’s petition<br />

could have a wide impact on many<br />

people’s lives.<br />

Sign the petition here<br />

Read more here.<br />

“As part of an NDNA Network for<br />

Bristol, South Gloucestershire and<br />

Gloucestershire, we recognised<br />

that settings need help; they need<br />

a pathway to be successful in the<br />

changes required to become more<br />

sustainable. The Eco Wheel scheme<br />

maps out what to do and gives clear<br />

support.”<br />

Read more here.<br />

4 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

Early years teachers<br />

should be paid the<br />

same as primary<br />

school teachers<br />

In February <strong>2020</strong>, Tes reported that<br />

greater value needs to be placed<br />

on roles within early education. A<br />

new study found that some people<br />

have the opinion that jobs in the<br />

early years sector are “unskilled”<br />

or “easy”. Paying early years<br />

educators the same as primary<br />

school educators would go some<br />

way to combat those opinions,<br />

according to the report.<br />

The government is being urged<br />

to “counteract a perception of the<br />

early years as a ‘springboard’ for<br />

teaching in primary education” by<br />

bringing pay across the sectors in<br />

line, and creating a “qualification<br />

equivalency” between Early Years<br />

Teaching Status (EYTS) and Qualified<br />

Teaching Status (QTS).<br />

Early Years Teaching Status and<br />

Qualified Teaching Status differ in<br />

that EYTS only allows practitioners<br />

to work with children up to the age<br />

of five.<br />

Those that want to obtain EYTS<br />

need to have a degree and at least<br />

GCSE grade C/4 in English, Maths<br />

and Science. They are also required<br />

to complete early years initial<br />

teacher training and prove that they<br />

have met the Teachers’ Standards<br />

(Early Years).<br />

Early years teachers in nurseries<br />

do not have QTS and are not on<br />

the same pay scale as teachers in<br />

schools. Early years teachers’ pay is<br />

set by their employers.<br />

The study involved lengthy and<br />

detailed interviews with nursery<br />

managers, staff and childminders,<br />

and was funded by the Nuffield<br />

Foundation and produced with the<br />

Education Policy Institute (EPI).<br />

Read more here.<br />

Fears that changes to<br />

EYFS could result in<br />

“box-ticking” exercise<br />

In February <strong>2020</strong>, Children & Young<br />

People Now reported that childcare<br />

leaders have warned that reforms to the<br />

EYFS could result in early assessments<br />

becoming a “box-ticking” exercise.<br />

In a response to the government’s EYFS<br />

consultation, the Early Years Alliance has<br />

voiced serious concerns over the<br />

plans which would see the existing<br />

early learning goals become a<br />

“series of bullet point statements”.<br />

This would risk “moving children’s<br />

learning and development, and<br />

the early years practice that supports<br />

it, from an art to a science”, the Early<br />

Years Alliance said.<br />

The proposed changes also risk a lack<br />

of support for children who are learning<br />

English as a foreign language and<br />

children with disabilities and additional<br />

needs.<br />

Read more here.<br />

Report calls for<br />

independent SEND<br />

inspections<br />

According to a report published on<br />

19th February <strong>2020</strong>, schools and local<br />

authorities should face new independent<br />

inspections that are specifically focused<br />

on pupils with special educational needs.<br />

The idea for a new inspection and<br />

resolution service has been developed<br />

by Great Minds Together, an organisation<br />

that works to support families of children<br />

with SEND or social, emotional and<br />

mental health needs (SEMH).<br />

The inspections would give<br />

schools one of four ratings:<br />

bronze, silver, gold or platinum<br />

and would be carried out annually.<br />

Read more here.<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 5

Summer-born children<br />

struggling with basic key skills<br />

Summer-born children struggling<br />

with basic key skills<br />

Although not a new notion, early years experts have said that there is<br />

now a “wealth of evidence” that a child’s month of birth has an impact<br />

on academic grades and sporting achievements.<br />

The latest Department for<br />

Education (DfE) data shows<br />

that in 2019, 62% of children in<br />

England born between May and<br />

August had a “good level of<br />

development” based on teacher<br />

assessment at the end of their<br />

first year at school – meaning<br />

38% did not reach this level.<br />

A “good level of development”<br />

means they were reaching the<br />

level expected of them in their<br />

communication and language<br />

skills, physical development,<br />

personal, social and emotional<br />

development as well as literacy<br />

and maths.<br />

In comparison, 81% of their<br />

classmates born between<br />

September and December had<br />

a good level of development –<br />

a 19 percentage point gap.<br />

The statistics also show that<br />

61% of summer-born children<br />

were achieving the expected<br />

level in all the early learning<br />

goals, compared with 79% of<br />

those born in the autumn (a<br />

gap of 18 percentage points).<br />

A Department for Education<br />

spokesman said it is “perfectly<br />

normal to see younger children<br />

performing less well in early<br />

years”, adding that evidence<br />

shows these children make<br />

faster progress, with the gap<br />

narrowing as youngsters move<br />

up through primary school.<br />

6 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

An extra year given to schools for<br />

Ofsted’s new EIF<br />

An extra year given to schools for<br />

Ofsted’s new EIF<br />

Schools have been told they have an extra year to bring their<br />

curriculum into line with Ofsted’s new inspection framework, after it<br />

announced an extension to its transition period.<br />

The new framework, which places<br />

greater emphasis on curriculum<br />

content and less on outcomes,<br />

came into effect in September<br />

2019. But Ofsted allowed for a<br />

12-month transition period so<br />

that schools can be judged on<br />

the fact that they are currently<br />

in a phase of implementing the<br />

curriculum changes, as opposed<br />

to being judged on being fully<br />

ready. This means that school’s<br />

which have plans in place to<br />

review their curriculum in line with<br />

the new EIF, and can demonstrate<br />

“genuine action” to do so, are not<br />

penalised.<br />

Ofsted’s national director of<br />

education, Sean Harford, has<br />

now revealed that this ‘grace’<br />

period will be extended for<br />

another year, meaning schools<br />

will have this protection until<br />

July 2021.<br />

Schools can still adopt the<br />

revised early years goals<br />

(EYG) in the EYFS a year before<br />

early years settings – from<br />

September <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

In his blog post on 13th<br />

February, he wrote: “We know<br />

that a great curriculum does<br />

not just appear perfectly<br />

formed overnight. It takes<br />

a great deal of thought,<br />

preparation and work to plan<br />

it. I’m also aware, through<br />

conversations with the<br />

Association of School and<br />

College Leaders, and the<br />

National Association of Head<br />

Teachers, that some heads and<br />

senior leaders are concerned<br />

about getting their curriculum<br />

to where they want it to be by<br />

this coming September. Some<br />

schools are further along their<br />

curriculum journey than others.<br />

The decision follows a fierce<br />

backlash against the new<br />

framework, which heads say<br />

penalises schools that have<br />

difficult intakes.<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 7

Standards Standards are here - register are here on<br />

Government Gateway to secure<br />

funding now! secure funding now!<br />

register on Government Gateway to<br />

We want to help you get ready to plan ahead – because Apprenticeship<br />

Standards are here. To secure funding to train your staff or even<br />

to recruit a new apprentice, you need what’s called a ‘Government<br />

Gateway Apprenticeship Account’ to be able to request funds to pay<br />

for your training requirements.<br />

Set up your Government Gateway Account without delay! Follow our simple<br />

steps here which will help you through the process.<br />

• Go to HMRC’s website here<br />

• Click the GREEN sign-in<br />

button<br />

• Click “Create sign-in details”<br />

• Enter your email address<br />

where asked<br />

• You will now be emailed a<br />

confirmation code. Use this<br />

code to confirm your email<br />

address<br />

• You will now be issued with a<br />

User ID for your Government<br />

Gateway account<br />

• Please save this and keep<br />

it somewhere safe because<br />

losing it can create a lot of<br />

work in the future<br />

Once you receive your<br />

Government Gateway ID, please<br />

create an account to manage<br />

your apprenticeships<br />

You’ll use your account to:<br />

• Get apprenticeship funding<br />

• Find and save<br />

apprenticeships<br />

• Find, save and manage<br />

training providers<br />

• Recruit apprentices<br />

• Add and manage<br />

apprenticeships<br />

Set up your Government Gateway<br />

Apprenticeship Account here.<br />

Please don’t hesitate to contact our training team on<br />

0800 002 9242 if you have any questions.<br />

Why are Standards replacing<br />

Framework?<br />

• Standards are replacing<br />

framework across all<br />

apprenticeships which is a<br />

requirement from both ESFA and<br />

Ofsted and affects all training<br />

providers.<br />

• The main purpose is to place<br />

greater emphasis on the teaching<br />

and learning (T&L) time between<br />

apprentice and tutor and to involve<br />

the employer in a greater capacity.<br />

What are the key differences<br />

between Standards and Framework?<br />

• The employer is more involved<br />

in the learning plan of their<br />

apprentice.<br />

• The key focus is based around<br />

skills, knowledge and behaviours<br />

(SKB) of an apprentice, which<br />

they acquire throughout their<br />

apprenticeship.<br />

• The entire learning plan is set out<br />

to prepare apprentices for their<br />

End Point Assessment (EPA).<br />

• Course duration will increase<br />

to potentially 18 months, which<br />

includes a 3 month allocation for<br />

(EPA) End Point Assessment.<br />

• The EPA includes a knowledge<br />

test as well as a professional<br />

discussion underpinned by the<br />

learner’s portfolio.<br />

8 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

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A social media page will<br />

open up your setting to<br />

thousands of parents<br />

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Training<br />

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Our recruitment team<br />

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National Old Stuff Day<br />

National Old<br />

Stuff Day<br />

Have you ever heard the expression: “Out with the old<br />

and in with the new? Or how about; “Old ways won’t open<br />

new doors”? If you have, and appreciate their aims, then<br />

National Old Stuff Day on <strong>March</strong> 2nd will be right up<br />

your street!<br />

Contrary to how it may sound, National Old Stuff Day isn’t actually about celebrating<br />

‘old stuff’, but rather a day when you get rid of the old stuff and start something<br />

new. However, in today’s society, we now have to ask ourselves whether that is a<br />

sustainable and responsible attitude to have, or whether there is a better way of<br />

doing things?<br />

Sure, no one wants to end up with a house or work place that looks like it should be<br />

the subject of a TV hoarder exposé, and we all like it when we acquire bright and<br />

shiny new things, so how can we make Old Stuff Day a fun and relevant part of our<br />

annual spring clean?<br />

We think that it would be great to tackle this from 2 standpoints: one from the ‘get<br />

rid of the old stuff in the most ecological way possible’ standpoint; and one from the<br />

‘let’s start something brand new” viewpoint. So here goes!<br />

PART ONE: Getting rid of old<br />

stuff in an ecological way<br />

We are probably all guilty of hanging<br />

on to too much stuff; that broken coat<br />

hanger we’ve kept just in case we<br />

find the missing roll of fabric tape we<br />

intend to fix it with; the dilapidated<br />

handbag we had when we were a<br />

teen; and all the clothes that we’ve<br />

grown out of, but are keeping because<br />

we know the time will come when we<br />

can fit back into them!!! The time has<br />

come to get real and follow some rules<br />

to help you declutter.<br />

Take action!<br />

1. Go through your house, your<br />

setting and your life, and work out<br />

what you no longer use, love or<br />

have space for.<br />

2. Once you have a pile of things<br />

you need to get rid of, decide<br />

how you are going to get rid of<br />

them. In the UK, we currently<br />

recycle approximately 45% of our<br />

waste, but other countries such<br />

as Germany and South Korea<br />

recycle between 60% and 70%. To<br />

be more ecological with old stuff,<br />

there are several options:<br />

• Donate it to charity – many<br />

charities like clean cloths, brica-brac,<br />

home furnishings and<br />

even furniture<br />

• Sell it at a car boot sale – this<br />

takes a bit of effort but they’re<br />

usually great fun and you can<br />

make some money as well<br />

• Sell things online – sites<br />

such as wish, eBay, Etsy and<br />

many others are useful for<br />

selling things that are still<br />

useable but which you no<br />

longer need, like high-chairs or<br />

buggies for instance<br />

• Upcycle – this is a great<br />

way to turn something old<br />

into something fun and new.<br />

You can paint old furniture,<br />

repurpose everyday items,<br />

or make new tops from old<br />

dresses. You are really only<br />

limited by your imagination but<br />

if you need some inspiration,<br />

see the websites listed at the<br />

end of this article<br />

• Make something new – have<br />

a go at making a patchwork<br />

quilt with some old clothes;<br />

or an apron, some napkins,<br />

cushion covers or cleaning<br />

10 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

cloths. You could also get the<br />

children in your setting involved<br />

in some creative crafts using<br />

your old material as resources<br />

• Create some recycled<br />

artwork – everyday junk<br />

is great for creating your<br />

masterpieces, but make sure<br />

you wash out old cartons<br />

and ensure everything is safe<br />

first. Get some ideas for some<br />

models and ideas to use in<br />

your settings here<br />

• Organise a jumble sale in<br />

your setting – another great<br />

way to pass on some of your<br />

old things and have a bit of fun<br />

too<br />

• Visit your local tip or<br />

recycling centre – even<br />

things that you think are<br />

beyond repair may find a loving<br />

home at your local tip<br />

Whatever you do with your ‘old stuff’,<br />

make sure the bin is the last option<br />

and use the principles of reduce,<br />

reuse and recycle instead. We all<br />

need to take action on a small scale<br />

to create a more sustainable society,<br />

so think carefully before you reach for<br />

the bin bag!<br />

PART TWO: Bring in the new<br />

Once you have dealt with the build-up<br />

of old stuff and cleared some lovely<br />

space in your house or setting, try<br />

not to fill it up with more junk straight<br />

away! Instead, think about the second<br />

part of Old Stuff Day, and bring in<br />

some new ideas and practices into<br />

your life – but it doesn’t have to be<br />

actual, physical things! That’s just<br />

more ‘stuff’! Better to look at this more<br />

philosophically and start with changing<br />

some old or out-dated habits that you<br />

have.<br />

Some ideas to try<br />

1. Sit in a completely different<br />

position on the bus, in your house,<br />

or your office and see what a<br />

different perspective (literally) can<br />

do for your mindset.<br />

2. Take a different route to work and<br />

notice at least 5 new things<br />

3. Listen to a different radio channel<br />

4. Make yourself a different breakfast<br />

– if you usually eat a cooked<br />

breakfast, try some fruit, or vice<br />

versa and continue experimenting<br />

with new food throughout the day<br />

5. Wear your hair in a different style<br />

– practice an ‘up-do’ prior to the<br />

day, or try a wash-in, wash-out<br />

fun hair colour tint for a change<br />

6. Make a phone call instead of<br />

texting people - phone up 3<br />

friends and wish them a ‘Happy<br />

Old Stuff Day’<br />

7. Switch off your TV for the whole<br />

day and read a book instead<br />

8. Go without your mobile phone or<br />

electronic device for the day<br />

9. Take up a new hobby you’ve<br />

always wanted to try<br />

10. Learn to play a musical instrument<br />

Whatever you do, have fun, and<br />

remember to send us your National<br />

Old Stuff Day pictures too.<br />

Ideas for arts and crafts from<br />

sustainable resources:<br />

• www.upcyclethat.com<br />

• www.myrepurposedlife.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 11

The importance of an apology<br />

The importance of an<br />

apology<br />

To children, we are always the people<br />

who have the answers. They look to<br />

us for guidance and acceptance and<br />

everything they become depends on<br />

what they see and learn from us. For this<br />

reason, it can sometimes feel like we need<br />

to always have it together and that in<br />

order for children to feel safe, we need<br />

to show strength in front of them and<br />

avoid vulnerability. However, as much<br />

as we do need to give children a safe and<br />

stable environment, we need to remember<br />

that we are only human and therefore,<br />

imperfect by nature.<br />

Everybody has flaws and<br />

has times when they get<br />

things wrong. Mistakes are<br />

not the issue. It is how we<br />

deal with them that matters<br />

and if we want children to<br />

understand this, we need<br />

to lead by example. We are<br />

constantly reinforcing the<br />

importance of an apology<br />

when children get things<br />

wrong, but how often do<br />

we actually say “sorry”<br />

ourselves when we make a<br />

mistake?<br />

As parents, practitioners<br />

and teachers, we don’t<br />

have all the answers and<br />

let’s face it, when we finally<br />

feel like we are in control, a<br />

new challenge or situation<br />

comes our way and the<br />

learning curve starts again.<br />

There are days when we<br />

are on form and get things<br />

right and there are others<br />

when we know we could<br />

have been a better version<br />

of ourselves. In these<br />

moments, it is important for<br />

us to own our mistakes and<br />

apologise to the tiny people<br />

that are watching our every<br />

move. Apologising will not<br />

lessen a child’s respect for<br />

us. If anything, it will do the<br />

opposite and make them<br />

feel safer with us, knowing<br />

that we tell the truth and<br />

own up to our mistakes.<br />

It was only last week that<br />

my little boy (who is four<br />

years old) shouted at me<br />

and stamped his feet. I<br />

told him that I felt a little<br />

sad that he was doing<br />

that as I was only trying<br />

to help him. I then gave<br />

him space to calm down.<br />

Two minutes later, he<br />

came and patted me on<br />

the back and said, “Sorry<br />

Mummy, I didn’t mean<br />

to shout at you, I’m just<br />

having a bad day and feel<br />

a bit grumpy”. His words<br />

were my words. The week<br />

before I had apologised<br />

to him in the same way.<br />

Our own behaviour is<br />

never going to be perfect,<br />

but by owning that and<br />

apologising, we teach<br />

children the importance<br />

of this, and give them an<br />

opportunity to do the same.<br />

We cannot hold anyone to<br />

a higher standard than we<br />

can live up to ourselves. If<br />

we expect children to say<br />

“sorry” when they make a<br />

mistake, we too should be<br />

prepared to do the same.<br />

Here are 5 steps to<br />

apologising to a child:<br />

Give an unconditional<br />

1<br />

apology<br />

Focus on why we are sorry<br />

without making it the<br />

child’s fault. By saying “I<br />

am sorry for….. BUT you<br />

were…..” it devalues the<br />

apology. Always own your<br />

behaviour, rather than<br />

pointing the finger.<br />

2<br />

Own your feelings<br />

We are always telling<br />

children that it is okay to<br />

be sad, angry or frustrated.<br />

However, it is not okay to<br />

take these feelings out on<br />

others. However, we are<br />

only human and sometimes<br />

make this mistake<br />

ourselves. When we do, it<br />

is important to own how we<br />

feel, explain this to children<br />

and then follow it up with<br />

12 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

did this” or “You did that”…<br />

we start pointing the finger<br />

and that is not what an<br />

apology is about.<br />

Change your<br />

4<br />

behaviour<br />

Make sure that you amend<br />

your behaviour after that.<br />

There is nothing worse than<br />

someone who apologises<br />

but keeps doing the same<br />

thing. Children need to see<br />

that an apology results in a<br />

change of actions.<br />

something like “But even<br />

though I felt... it was not<br />

okay for me to…”<br />

3<br />

Explain your behaviour<br />

It is important to explain<br />

our behaviour so that<br />

children can gain a deeper<br />

understanding. For us,<br />

it is often obvious why<br />

we did what we did, but<br />

children are not always<br />

developmentally-equipped<br />

with the ability to join<br />

the dots. By explaining<br />

our behaviour to them,<br />

we help them to gain<br />

an understanding of the<br />

bigger picture:<br />

• I was late because I<br />

didn’t expect there to<br />

be so much traffic<br />

• I shouted because I am<br />

having a bad day and<br />

feel a bit grumpy<br />

• I wasn’t listening<br />

because I was<br />

distracted by…….<br />

• I was frustrated<br />

because I felt that I<br />

wasn’t being listened to<br />

Always use sentences that<br />

start with “I” so that you are<br />

owning your apology. The<br />

minute we start saying “You<br />

5<br />

Give them space<br />

This can be hard, but we<br />

need to understand that<br />

children, like us, have<br />

feelings and even though<br />

we have apologised,<br />

they might still feel upset<br />

with us. Explain that you<br />

understand this, that you<br />

will give them space and<br />

that you are there for them<br />

when they are ready. It’s<br />

not always easy to do this<br />

part but it is necessary. An<br />

apology doesn’t always<br />

magically fix the problem.<br />

As adults we understand<br />

this, and it is important to<br />

acknowledge that children<br />

are no different. They too<br />

sometimes need space and<br />

to come around in their<br />

own time.<br />

Children model what they<br />

see. They are never going<br />

to be perfect because no<br />

human being ever is. If we<br />

want them to learn the art<br />

of taking responsibility and<br />

giving sincere apologies,<br />

we need to model this<br />

when we inevitably get<br />

things wrong ourselves. It<br />

doesn’t make us weak in<br />

their eyes, it makes us real<br />

and gives them permission<br />

to not only make mistakes<br />

and learn, but to own<br />

them and become a better<br />

version of themselves as a<br />

result of them.<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 />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 13

Is your childcare website<br />

Ofsted-ready?<br />

Is your childcare website Ofstedready?<br />

If you have a childcare website, by the time you receive notification that you will be<br />

having an inspection, there’s a good chance that Ofsted may have already reviewed it.<br />

With such short notice of a visit, keeping your website up-to-date could save valuable<br />

time and hassle during that all-important visit countdown... Ofsted’s website findings<br />

do contribute to your final assessment.<br />

By keeping your content, images and information current, you can feel confident your website is always<br />

Ofsted-ready… whenever your inspection!<br />

Here is all you need to know to ensure your childcare website is Ofsted-ready<br />

The “essentials”<br />

✔ It may sound obvious, but it’s critical to have the following contact information on your website,<br />

displayed clearly:<br />

• Setting name<br />

• Postal address<br />

• Telephone number<br />

• Name of Nursery Manager<br />

• Named deputy in the Nursery Manager’s absence<br />

• Details of the SENCo (if applicable)<br />

✔ A copy of your current Ofsted report (or a link to the report on the<br />

Ofsted website) together with your Ofsted registration number.<br />

✔ The age range of children<br />

accepted at your setting<br />

“The current inspection<br />

cycle is from 1 August 2016<br />

to 31 July <strong>2020</strong>. Providers<br />

on the Early Years Register<br />

will normally have their<br />

setting inspected at least<br />

once within this four-year<br />

cycle. Newly-registered<br />

providers will normally be<br />

inspected within 30 months<br />

of their registration date.”<br />

Ofsted<br />

14 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

Ethos, aims and statement<br />

A statement of your setting’s ethos, aims and<br />

values is something that inspectors will be sure to<br />

look for. If you don’t have a statement prepared,<br />

you can make a start by thinking of your ethos as<br />

your morals, values and beliefs for the setting – a<br />

set of attitudes. Each setting is different and will<br />

be passionate about different learning styles or<br />

methods of teaching: e.g. Montessori, Forest School,<br />

or a particular religion - and these should be the<br />

focus for creating your ethos. It’s also important to<br />

include your mission i.e. what you intend to achieve<br />

and what goals you have in mind – almost like a<br />

‘motto’. Nowadays, most nurseries try and include<br />

key words and phrases like ‘resilience’, ‘emotional<br />

intelligence’, ‘wellbeing’ and ‘holistic approach’. Use<br />

key words that you relate to and aspire to, and your<br />

mission or motto will form!<br />

Policies<br />

Having your key policies clearly laid out and easy to<br />

find on your website will show Ofsted that you take<br />

the governance of your setting seriously. You could<br />

consider having a dedicated page which includes<br />

policies on such things as health & safety, food<br />

safety, child protection, welfare and safeguarding,<br />

as well as complaints, whistleblowing, and the<br />

PREVENT duty/radicalisation.<br />

Curriculum<br />

A thorough understanding of the EYFS curriculum<br />

is something that your website should reflect,<br />

together with an explanation of how parents can<br />

access further information on the EYFS if they want<br />

to discover more about their child’s learning. Ofsted<br />

does need to see that you are able to identify the<br />

children’s starting point - and also that you’re<br />

ensuring they make progress in learning through<br />

effective planning, observation and assessment.<br />

Using an online EYFS tracker like Footsteps 2 will<br />

enable you instantly identify where each child is in<br />

their development path.<br />

Here would also be a good opportunity to<br />

showcase what you do to promote British Values<br />

in your setting. We’ve created a guide which gives<br />

invaluable information on how intrinsic British<br />

Values are within the EYFS curriculum, and also<br />

gives you some great ideas for activities to promote<br />

British Values in your setting. You could post on<br />

the website images of the children participating<br />

in some EYFS activities to demonstrate your<br />

understanding.<br />

Best practice for your website:<br />

✔ Ensure all your setting information is upto-date<br />

✔ Check that all links are working<br />

✔ Have a simple and clear navigation to all<br />

sections<br />

✔ Add a blog and update your news<br />

section… weekly if you can!<br />

✔ Always use high resolution photography<br />

Here at <strong>Parenta</strong>, we have built hundreds of<br />

childcare websites - so we know what Ofsted<br />

is looking for when it views your website<br />

for inspection. We can help you ensure you<br />

include everything you need. Talk to our team<br />

of experts who are on hand to help and can<br />

build you your perfect website, whatever your<br />

budget!<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 15

Talking about difference:<br />

Talking about difference: Down’s<br />

Down’s syndrome<br />

syndrome<br />

In our settings we explore many differences with the children we support, we talk<br />

about the changing seasons, we explore different cultures and ethnicities, we celebrate<br />

festivals and we talk about growing up and growing old.<br />

Difference is a part of life; a very wonderful part.<br />

I live in a rural location lacking in<br />

ethnic diversity. From time to time,<br />

I have heard parents and childcare<br />

professionals mutter something<br />

along the lines of “what’s the point<br />

of them learning about X, there is<br />

none of that around here?” It is an<br />

understandable point of view, one<br />

focused on children learning that<br />

which is immediately relevant to them.<br />

However, it is flawed. Difference<br />

is always immediately relevant to<br />

children, because all children are<br />

different. When we learn to recognise<br />

and understand difference in others,<br />

we are better equipped to recognise<br />

and understand our own differences.<br />

Teach children to embrace difference<br />

and you teach them to embrace<br />

themselves.<br />

Often in settings, we are trying to get<br />

children to conform, to all sit down, to<br />

all listen, or to all line up. These edicts<br />

serve practical purposes but they also<br />

install a subconscious message, that<br />

to be the same is desirable. Children<br />

can grow to be ashamed of their<br />

differences and to try and hide them.<br />

Upfront, frank conversations about<br />

difference gives children permission to<br />

be authentically themselves and are<br />

great for everyone’s wellbeing.<br />

In this series of four articles, we are<br />

going to explore how we might talk<br />

about difference through the lenses<br />

of disability, neurological divergence<br />

and social and emotional wellbeing<br />

with the children in our settings. We<br />

are starting with Down’s syndrome.<br />

As we discuss differences of any kind,<br />

we model for children how they should<br />

respond to difference and talk about<br />

it. When you talk about children with<br />

Down’s syndrome say “with Down’s<br />

syndrome” not “A Down’s child.” This<br />

indicates that you understand that<br />

Down’s syndrome is not definitive of<br />

that person, it is something they have,<br />

and there is much more to them than<br />

just Down’s syndrome 1 .<br />

You can start a conversation about<br />

difference by asking children to look<br />

around at each other and describe<br />

some of the differences they see. You<br />

are looking for them to notice hair<br />

colour, skin colour, eye colour etc.<br />

Help them to make their descriptions<br />

factual, not judgemental. For example,<br />

if a child says “her hair is a yucky<br />

colour,” change that to a simple<br />

statement of what colour the hair is.<br />

Continue until they are confidently<br />

factually describing difference. You<br />

can ask them what they think the<br />

world would be like if we all looked the<br />

same, hopefully they will agree that it<br />

would be very boring.<br />

Next look at a picture of someone<br />

with Down’s syndrome, if a child in<br />

the setting has Down’s syndrome<br />

16 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com<br />

1<br />

Of course if a particular person wishes to be referred to differently, we should always respect that<br />

person’s preferences.

“<br />

Ask the children<br />

to think about<br />

whether they are<br />

different inside.<br />

This will be a tricky<br />

concept for them,<br />

so be ready to help<br />

them out.<br />

”<br />

then you do not need a picture as<br />

they will already have been part of<br />

the differences spotted during the<br />

first section. Ask the children what<br />

differences they can see. State these<br />

differences as factually as you did the<br />

first set of differences, be very matter<br />

of fact about it. This is not shocking, or<br />

saddening, or strange, (or cute): it is<br />

just difference and difference is very<br />

normal.<br />

Explain to the children that the facial<br />

features they are observing mean that<br />

the person they are looking at has<br />

Down’s syndrome and that having<br />

Down’s syndrome means they are a<br />

little bit different inside as well. When<br />

I have talked to young children about<br />

this, I have found that revealing it<br />

as if they have discovered a secret<br />

really captures their attention. At an<br />

age, where discovery is fascinating,<br />

learning that a visual clue tells you<br />

about an unseen thing, is really<br />

exciting.<br />

Ask the children to think about whether<br />

they are different inside. This will be<br />

a tricky concept for them, so be ready<br />

to help them out. Perhaps a child in<br />

your setting can speak a different<br />

language, perhaps one child is really<br />

good at counting. Use these children<br />

as examples, so let’s say Martha<br />

speaks Spanish and English, you might<br />

ask Martha to stand up. “We all know<br />

Martha can speak another language,<br />

don’t we?” The children nod. “Can<br />

we see that?” This might be tricky<br />

for them as they visually recognise<br />

Martha. You could show them a photo<br />

of someone they do not know and ask<br />

them whether they think that person<br />

can speak Spanish. Help them to<br />

understand that some differences are<br />

visible and some are hidden.<br />

Go back to looking at the picture of the<br />

person with Down’s syndrome, explain<br />

that they have a difference inside that<br />

we cannot see; some of them to do<br />

with Down’s syndrome, some of them<br />

to do with their personality. Tell the<br />

children that having Down’s syndrome<br />

can mean that your brain will take<br />

longer to learn new things. Seek<br />

examples from them of things they<br />

have learned quickly and things it took<br />

them a long time to learn. How did<br />

they learn the things that did not come<br />

easily to them?<br />

Do not shy away from identifying things<br />

children have struggled with or are<br />

struggling to learn. If we talk openly<br />

about these things, it gives the children<br />

the permission to be open about it too,<br />

to ask for help and to not feel guilty that<br />

they do not understand yet.<br />

Ask the children what they would<br />

need to do if their brain took longer<br />

to learn. They may say “ask for help,<br />

try again, practice” etc. Reinforce that<br />

these are good ideas and that people<br />

with Down’s syndrome may need to<br />

employ these strategies too. Ask them<br />

how they can help a friend who is<br />

struggling to learn? They might say,<br />

“tell them the answer, show them how<br />

to do it, help them to do it” etc. Praise<br />

their ideas and tell them that these<br />

would be great to do for a friend who<br />

had Down’s syndrome too.<br />

This conversation will take a few<br />

minutes of your day. It will help<br />

children to think about the strategies<br />

they use when they learn and remind<br />

them how to cope when they are<br />

struggling to learn. And for children<br />

with Down’s syndrome and their<br />

families, having Down’s syndrome<br />

understood as a fact not a tragedy,<br />

could make all the difference!<br />

You could end the chat by watching<br />

some videos of children and adults<br />

with Down’s syndrome doing fun<br />

things, so that the children can see<br />

more differences and similarities –<br />

“they like football like me”, “he likes<br />

cats but she doesn’t” and so on.<br />

For more information about Down’s<br />

syndrome look at www.downssyndrome.org.uk<br />

or follow bloggers<br />

like www.downssideup.com<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 four<br />

practitioner books: “Multiple<br />

Multisensory Rooms: Myth<br />

Busting the Magic”, “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 />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 17

Time for a<br />

Cuppa<br />

Time for a Cuppa - 1st–8th <strong>March</strong><br />

1st–8th <strong>March</strong><br />

We all love a cup of tea and a chat. But talk to anyone<br />

these days about life after 65, and you will probably<br />

discover that we are all slowly coming to terms with the<br />

fact that as we live longer, we might not all necessarily<br />

be living better. The number of people in the UK living<br />

with dementia is rising 1 , as advances in general physical<br />

healthcare keep us alive longer, but mental degeneration<br />

is becoming more of an issue for many people, and that<br />

means dementia.<br />

What is dementia?<br />

According to dementiauk.org, dementia<br />

is “an umbrella term used to describe<br />

a range of progressive neurological<br />

disorders, that is, conditions affecting<br />

the brain.”<br />

There are over 200 different subtypes of<br />

dementia, although most of us will be<br />

familiar with the five most common:<br />

• Alzheimer’s disease,<br />

• vascular dementia<br />

• dementia with Lewy bodies<br />

• frontotemporal dementia<br />

• mixed dementia<br />

Sadly, most of us nowadays know<br />

someone whose lives have been<br />

touched by the condition, be it as a<br />

sufferer themselves, or as friends and<br />

colleagues caring for elderly relatives.<br />

Dementia is tough on everyone,<br />

affecting physical health, everyday<br />

living and causing stress and strain<br />

on emotional relationships that none<br />

of us ever thought we would have to<br />

deal with. If you’ve ever sat with your<br />

parent or life-long partner trying to<br />

explain to them who you are and why<br />

you’ve come to see them, then you’ll<br />

understand what we mean. It’s heartbreaking!<br />

Causes, statistics and risk factors<br />

The causes of dementia are still<br />

largely unknown, but dementia causes<br />

damage to the neurons (nerve cells)<br />

in the brain which prevent messages<br />

being sent from the brain to other<br />

parts of the body, affecting everyday<br />

functions. Each person affected may<br />

experience different symptoms and be<br />

impacted differently.<br />

Dementia impacts people all over the<br />

world and although it mostly affects<br />

older people, there is a type of early<br />

onset dementia which affects people<br />

under the age of 65. The Alzheimer’s<br />

Society reports over 850,000 people<br />

living with dementia in the UK, with<br />

these figures expected to rise to over<br />

one million by 2021 2 . Perhaps the most<br />

startling prediction is that “1 in 3 people<br />

born in the UK this year, will develop<br />

dementia over their lifetime” 3 .<br />

There are a number of risk factors for<br />

dementia, but age is the largest one 4<br />

and there are things that you can do to<br />

reduce your risk, such as improve your<br />

cardiovascular health, stop smoking,<br />

eat a nutritionally-balanced diet and<br />

get plenty of exercise. 5<br />

Time for a Cuppa<br />

During the first week of <strong>March</strong> each<br />

year, Dementia UK run a fund-raising<br />

campaign to raise money for their<br />

Admiral Nurses, specially trained nurses<br />

who can provide the dementia support<br />

that families need. It’s an annual tea<br />

party that is easy to get involved in and<br />

lots of fun too.<br />

The money raised supports the work<br />

of Admiral Nurses who work with<br />

people who have dementia, and also<br />

with their families, offering oneto-one<br />

support, practical solutions<br />

to everyday problems, as well as<br />

invaluable guidance and advice. They<br />

work in a variety of settings including<br />

people’s homes, the community, care<br />

homes, hospitals and hospices. You<br />

don’t need to raise thousands either;<br />

£50 is enough to pay for 20 families<br />

to call the free helpline for support on<br />

0800 888 6678; £110 funds an Admiral<br />

Nurse for 4 hours to visit a new family<br />

facing dementia.<br />

18 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

Here’s an action plan of things to do:<br />

1. Decide where and when you want<br />

to hold your event. You might need<br />

to check with the boss or setting<br />

if you are not the one with the<br />

authority to authorise events.<br />

2. Invite family, friends and<br />

colleagues to attend and to also<br />

support your event by baking some<br />

cakes. You could design, or get<br />

your older children to design, an<br />

invitation and/or poster to use, or<br />

use the free downloadable ones on<br />

the Dementia UK website.<br />

3. Bake your cakes – there are free<br />

recipes on the website too, and if<br />

all else fails, you can always buy<br />

some cakes for your sale – this isn’t<br />

about being the best cook!<br />

4. Get ready for your day by printing<br />

off some bunting, flags and<br />

information to use or give out to<br />

guests.<br />

5. Decide on your pricing strategy –<br />

50p/£1 per cake or cup of tea – it’s<br />

up to you.<br />

6. Plan extra activities such as:<br />

a. Guess the weight of the cake<br />

b. Raffle – ask people to donate<br />

prizes<br />

c. Bring and buy stall<br />

7. Enjoy your event catching up with<br />

friends, family and colleagues; sell<br />

off any unsold cakes at the end of<br />

the day too.<br />

8. Send your money to Dementia UK<br />

knowing that you have made a real<br />

and positive difference to people’s<br />

lives.<br />

The week officially runs from 1st–8th<br />

<strong>March</strong>, although you can hold your<br />

event at any time during the month, or<br />

even, during the year. If dementia is<br />

something that is particularly close to<br />

your heart, you could make it a regular<br />

monthly or bi-monthly event too.<br />

The first event was held in 2009 and<br />

raised £8,000, but since then, there<br />

have been over 8,664 tea parties,<br />

with an average 173,280 slices of cake<br />

being eaten with 21,660 gallons of tea!<br />

But they have also, more importantly,<br />

raised £760,966 and supported 6,000<br />

people affected by dementia.<br />

So get your aprons on and get<br />

involved!<br />

Hosting an event is simple. You can<br />

register here for a fund-raising pack<br />

which is full of information, including<br />

tea party tips and tricks, recipes,<br />

invitations and posters, but more<br />

downloadable items are also available<br />

online too.<br />

If you need more information, you<br />

can call the Time for a Cuppa team<br />

on 020 8036 5379 or email them on<br />

timeforacuppa@dementiauk.org.<br />

Dementia UK say, “every cake you<br />

bake, every cuppa you make and every<br />

pound you raise can make a huge<br />

difference to families facing dementia”.<br />

So what have you got to lose? Start<br />

planning your event for your setting<br />

today and let us know how you get on<br />

by sending your pictures and stories to<br />

marketing@parenta.com.<br />

References<br />

1. bit.ly/2vPxv1E<br />

2. bit.ly/2vPxv1E<br />

3. bit.ly/2vPxv1E<br />

4. bit.ly/2SMbNof<br />

5. bit.ly/2V8jTsO<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 19

EYFS activities<br />

EYFS activities - Mind the (language)<br />

Mind the (language) gap!<br />

gap!<br />

In Tamsin Grimmer’s article this month, “Keep on talking and mind the gap” (on<br />

page 26), she reveals that on average, 49% of year one children are lacking the<br />

vocabulary they need to access the curriculum, which, in turn, negatively impacts<br />

their learning.<br />

Dedicating time for organic ‘serve and return conversation’, paying attention and meaningful communication – is<br />

more important than just continually trying to add words to the children’s vocabulary. As Tamsin points out in her<br />

article; “words are important, but they are only part of the story of language and communication development.”<br />

Here are some activities that you can implement in your setting that will help expand the children’s vocabulary in a<br />

more holistic way, and at the same time covering many of the areas of learning and development in the EYFS. We<br />

hope you enjoy them!<br />

Communication and Language<br />

Personal, Social and Emotional<br />

Development<br />

Literacy<br />

Understanding the World<br />

Role-play<br />

One of the wonderful<br />

things about role-play<br />

is that we can “set the<br />

scene” for the children<br />

but then allow them to let<br />

their imaginations (and<br />

therefore speech) flow,<br />

but we can also roleplay<br />

with them. This is a<br />

great way of supporting<br />

their language and<br />

coaching them to use<br />

the correct terminology<br />

for whatever props or<br />

resources you are using<br />

within the scenario. By<br />

doing this, we naturally<br />

extend children’s<br />

knowledge of different<br />

‘sets’ of words, e.g. words<br />

associated with going to<br />

the doctors (ill, poorly,<br />

sick, stethoscope, tongue<br />

depressor, medicine,<br />

bandage, plaster etc.)<br />

Reading and rhyming<br />

An old favourite and a<br />

wonderful way to engage<br />

children of all ages in your<br />

setting, is to introduce the<br />

concept of rhyming words.<br />

The great thing about this<br />

activity is that it covers<br />

all the learning goals<br />

of the communication<br />

and language criteria.<br />

Matching and rhyming<br />

words is the perfect<br />

way to start with even<br />

the youngest of children<br />

and guarantees much<br />

excitement in the room!<br />

It’s never too early to start<br />

reading to children and<br />

the more rhyming and<br />

facial expressions you<br />

use, the more interaction<br />

you are likely to get back.<br />

Storytime with a<br />

difference<br />

Gather the children in the<br />

reading corner for storytime<br />

with a difference.<br />

Divide them up into small<br />

groups and let each<br />

group decide between<br />

them, what the ending<br />

will be! Each group may<br />

take it in a completely<br />

different direction, but<br />

the important thing<br />

is that they will learn<br />

different words from each<br />

other and there is no<br />

right or wrong.<br />

Get messy!<br />

Child-led messy play<br />

fits in perfectly with<br />

open-ended exploration<br />

and offers so many<br />

opportunities for the<br />

children to experiment<br />

with language. You can<br />

start the ball rolling by<br />

talking about the various<br />

textures of what they<br />

are touching, and then<br />

introduce alliterations<br />

such as slippery, slimy,<br />

sloppy etc. This is certain<br />

to get the children all<br />

talking enthusiastically<br />

and learning new words.<br />

20 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

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Register today, to help us allow young<br />

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parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 21

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22 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com<br />

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Mother’s Day<br />

Mother’s - where Day did it – all where begin?<br />

Mother’s Day<br />

did<br />

(also known<br />

it all<br />

as Mothering<br />

begin?<br />

Sunday) is a celebration honouring the mother<br />

of the family, as well as motherhood as a whole. It’s an annual event when members of<br />

the family show their gratitude and love for their mothers, as well as the role that other<br />

maternal figures, such as mothers-in-law and grandmothers, hold in family life.<br />

When does Mother’s Day<br />

take place?<br />

The actual date of Mother’s Day in the<br />

UK is not fixed each year. It always<br />

falls exactly three weeks before Easter<br />

Sunday, which itself changes yearly,<br />

depending on the date of the full moon.<br />

Around the world, it falls on different<br />

days. In many countries - USA, Canada,<br />

most European countries, Australia,<br />

New Zealand, India, China, Japan, the<br />

Philippines and South Africa, it is held<br />

on the second Sunday in May. In <strong>2020</strong>,<br />

the UK will celebrate Mother’s Day on<br />

Sunday 22nd <strong>March</strong>.<br />

How did it all start?<br />

The stories of how it began vary,<br />

depending on whether you’re in the<br />

UK or the USA. In the UK, Mother’s Day<br />

was originally a day where domestic<br />

servants were given the day off to<br />

visit their “mother” church. These<br />

servants would typically return to their<br />

hometown and worship in church with<br />

their families. On the way home, it was<br />

common for people to pick wild flowers<br />

to give to their mothers. This was<br />

around the 17th century.<br />

In America, the story of its origin is<br />

very different. The day of celebration<br />

stemmed from a lady called Anna<br />

Jarvis, who held a memorial service for<br />

her mother in Grafton, West Virginia.<br />

She gave away carnations, her mother’s<br />

favourite flower, to all who attended the<br />

service. Red and pink carnations were<br />

given to those with living mothers and<br />

white for those whose mothers had<br />

passed away. Anna wanted everyone<br />

to attend church, and afterwards, for<br />

children to write a note of appreciation<br />

to their mothers.<br />

It had been Anna’s late<br />

mother’s wish that a Mother’s<br />

Day would take place,<br />

and this is something that<br />

she had even prayed for.<br />

Following her mother’s death<br />

in 1905, Anna took steps to<br />

ensure this would happen.<br />

Creating a legacy<br />

for mothers<br />

everywhere<br />

As part of her late mother’s<br />

wishes, Anna campaigned to<br />

make Mother’s Day a recognised<br />

holiday in the US in 1905. The very<br />

first Mother’s Day in America<br />

was celebrated in 1908 and,<br />

just three years later, all<br />

US states had started to<br />

observe the holiday. Whilst Anna<br />

Jarvis was successful in realising her<br />

mother’s dream, she was resentful of<br />

how commercialised the day quickly<br />

became. By 1920, card companies such<br />

as Hallmark had started making massproduced<br />

Mother’s Day cards. Anna<br />

argued that people should honour their<br />

mothers through handwritten letters,<br />

instead of buying pre-made cards.<br />

Today, people choose to celebrate<br />

this day in a way which is personal<br />

for them. It may be that they buy their<br />

mother a bunch of flowers and a card,<br />

go for afternoon tea, or just choose to<br />

spend quality time together.<br />

Did you know… it’s estimated that, as<br />

a nation, British consumers will spend<br />

£1.4 billion on Mother’s Day cards,<br />

flowers, gifts and other treats?<br />

However, you really don’t have to spend<br />

money to show your appreciation.<br />

Making a home-made card using the<br />

card from an empty cereal packet or old<br />

greetings cards and covering with left<br />

over tissue or wrapping paper or even<br />

flowers from the garden are just as<br />

effective and will mean a lot, knowing<br />

that so much effort has gone into it!<br />

Handprint (or even footprint!) cards<br />

are also fun (not to mention messy!) to<br />

make and are so personal too – a firm<br />

favourite with the children!<br />

We have the most delightful<br />

Mother’s Day craft on the next<br />

page for you to make<br />

with the little ones in your<br />

setting that will be sure<br />

to make mothers’ hearts<br />

melt!<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 23

Mother’s Day tissue paper flowers<br />

Mother’s Day<br />

tissue paper flowers<br />

You will need:<br />

• Colourful tissue paper (we used different<br />

colours for the petals, but you’ll also need a<br />

green one for the stem)<br />

• Sticky tape<br />

• Child-friendly scissors<br />

• Pipe cleaners<br />

Instructions:<br />

1. Take two pipe cleaners and wrap them around each<br />

other, then cut in half.<br />

2. Pick up the desired tissue paper and cut about 2-inch<br />

high full-length pieces of the paper.<br />

3. Fold the paper into a square and cut the top part into<br />

a crescent shape, making it looks like a petal, then cut<br />

them up into individual pieces.<br />

4. Pick up the pipe cleaner and start adding petals to one end of<br />

it. Halfway through attaching them, use sticky tape to secure<br />

them to the pipe cleaner. It can be quite fiddly, so it takes<br />

some patience to get it to work, but it’ll be worth it in the end!<br />

5. Once you use all your petals, use some more sticky tape to<br />

secure them to the pipe cleaner stem.<br />

6. Cut out a thin strip of green tissue paper and attach it to<br />

the bottom part of the petals to hide any imperfections and<br />

secure it with a tiny piece of tape.<br />

7. Take another pipe cleaner and cut it in half. Use the cut piece<br />

to create leaves. Wrap it around the ‘stem’ and using your<br />

fingers, create a leaf shape.<br />

8. You have now created a beautiful tissue paper flower for<br />

Mother’s Day!<br />

24 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

Delicious chocolate cupcakes recipe<br />

Delicious chocolate<br />

cupcake recipe<br />

You will need:<br />

For the cupcakes:<br />

• Warm water (a few<br />

tablespoons)<br />

• 40g cocoa powder<br />

• 3 eggs<br />

• 175g unsalted butter (room<br />

temperature)<br />

• 165g caster sugar<br />

• 115g self-raising flour<br />

• 1 teaspoon baking powder<br />

Instructions:<br />

For the icing:<br />

• 60g unsalted butter<br />

• 30g cocoa powder<br />

• A few tablespoons of milk<br />

• 250g icing sugar<br />

You will also need:<br />

• Cupcake cases<br />

• Mixing bowl<br />

• Mixing spoon<br />

• Decorations<br />

• Baking tin<br />

This is a delicious yet simple cupcake recipe, perfect for baking<br />

for fundraising events or just for fun. Our little chef is 5-years-old<br />

and very proud of his yummy chocolate cupcakes!<br />

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.<br />

2. Place cupcake cases on a baking or muffin tin.<br />

3. Put cocoa powder into a bowl and<br />

mix it with water to create a thick<br />

paste, then add all the remaining<br />

ingredients and mix them together.<br />

4. Divide cupcake mixture equally<br />

between the cases and bake<br />

them for 12-15 minutes until<br />

risen.<br />

5. Let the cupcakes cool on a<br />

wire rack while you prepare the<br />

buttercream icing.<br />

6. Melt the butter and pour it into a<br />

bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder and mix,<br />

then gradually add the icing sugar and milk,<br />

constantly stirring to create a beautiful and glossy<br />

buttercream.<br />

7. Add the buttercream icing on top of your cupcakes and<br />

decorate to your liking.<br />

8. You are done - enjoy your cupcakes!<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 25

Keep on talking<br />

Keep on talking and<br />

mind the gap!<br />

and mind the gap!<br />

Many of you will have heard of the Oxford Language Report, which is the published<br />

report detailing the findings of an Oxford University Press (OUP) online survey with over<br />

1,300 primary and secondary school teachers from across the UK surveyed. They found<br />

that there is indeed a word gap that exists within the UK – with on average 49% of year<br />

one children lacking the vocabulary that they need to access the curriculum, so that it<br />

negatively affects their learning…<br />

This gap only slightly closes with age<br />

as the same survey found that a large<br />

43% of children still have a limited<br />

vocabulary to the extent that it affects<br />

their learning in year seven, which<br />

is the first year of secondary school.<br />

It makes interesting reading, but is<br />

perhaps not surprising to us in early<br />

years settings, who have anecdotally<br />

noticed a decline in children’s speech,<br />

language and communication<br />

abilities over the past 10 years or so.<br />

I regularly meet practitioners who tell<br />

me that more and more children are<br />

entering their settings with a very poor<br />

vocabulary, and poor communication<br />

and language skills.<br />

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the<br />

government either. Justine Greening,<br />

when she was the Education Secretary,<br />

stated that to “close the word gap in<br />

the early years” was one of her four<br />

ambitions in the Social Mobility Plan,<br />

Unlocking talent, fulfilling potential.<br />

Now I have a problem with this phrase,<br />

although I welcome any attention<br />

that the early years receive from<br />

the government if it is linked with<br />

government spending, the phrase<br />

‘close the word gap in the early years’<br />

implies to me that the problem lies<br />

within the early years itself and could<br />

even suggest that there is no word<br />

gap at other ages, which is not true.<br />

This problem is not confined to the<br />

UK either, a US study found that by<br />

the age of 3, children from poorer<br />

backgrounds have heard 30 million<br />

fewer words than those from more<br />

affluent backgrounds. So I welcome<br />

the idea that we need to improve our<br />

communication with young children.<br />

Within those first few years, children<br />

are just beginning to learn how to<br />

communicate. We look after children<br />

during the vital stage from birth to<br />

5 years, when the vast majority of<br />

language learning happens. We<br />

know that children’s brains develop<br />

fastest between the ages of birth<br />

and three, so let’s put our efforts into<br />

supporting children in this phase of<br />

education, let’s encourage investment<br />

in the early years to provide timely<br />

help and intervention and prevent<br />

the word gap from happening in the<br />

first place. Instead of starting with<br />

a deficit model of finding a problem<br />

and wanting to fix it, let’s put more<br />

preventative plans into place which<br />

will support children from birth, or<br />

even better, from before birth.<br />

In an article entitled Keep on talking<br />

one would imagine that I am wanting<br />

us to encourage children to talk more.<br />

However, if we focus too heavily<br />

on over-emphasising vocabulary,<br />

we may not spend enough time<br />

focusing on other factors such as<br />

paying attention, serve and return<br />

conversation and meaningful<br />

communication. Words are important,<br />

but they are only part of the story<br />

of language and communication<br />

development.<br />

So let’s think about how we learn<br />

to communicate and use language.<br />

Usually, children begin with a stage<br />

of preverbal communication in which<br />

babies use sounds and gestures to<br />

get their message across to others.<br />

26 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

As children learn words, they begin to<br />

take over, but they do not replace other<br />

forms of communication. In fact, the<br />

way we communicate and the gestures<br />

we use can reiterate what we’re saying,<br />

emphasise it or even contradict it. For<br />

example, my husband sometimes plays<br />

a game with our children at the dinner<br />

table, where he takes a mouthful of<br />

food and makes extremely unpleasant<br />

faces, implying that he really doesn’t<br />

like the food, to which our children ask,<br />

“Do you like it?” and he replies, “Yes,<br />

it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever<br />

tasted!” They find this incredibly funny<br />

and sometimes play the inverse game.<br />

We started playing this game when<br />

they were younger to support them to<br />

understand the well-known phrase it’s<br />

not what you say, it’s the way that you<br />

say it…!<br />

Babies are born eager to communicate.<br />

They are hard-wired to seek out others<br />

and interact with them. However,<br />

just because developing language<br />

is innate, it doesn’t mean that it’s an<br />

automatic process. If a child had no<br />

experience of being talked to or few<br />

opportunities for social interaction, they<br />

would not develop healthily and learn<br />

to communicate. Learning language<br />

depends upon children hearing<br />

language in order for them develop<br />

their own communication methods, and<br />

using language is important to develop<br />

their understanding. Through talk,<br />

children are making connections and<br />

they use talk to extend, make explicit<br />

and reshape what they know. Talk<br />

also enables children to play and build<br />

relationships with others, which is vital<br />

for their social development.<br />

Here are some ways that we can support early communication:<br />

• Tune in to the child’s signals and cues to engage in meaningful talk<br />

• Make sure the babies and toddlers can see your face when you talk with<br />

them<br />

• Listen and respond to their language play<br />

• Copy the facial expressions, sounds and words made by babies and<br />

toddlers<br />

• Play turn-taking games, sing and coo to babies, encourage sound play<br />

and babbling<br />

• Share pictures and objects when you talk so that a child can link objects<br />

with words<br />

• Use labelling techniques and games, for example show me your fingers,<br />

nose<br />

• Use clear speech and simple phrases, role model appropriate and<br />

accurate language<br />

• Use strategies such as motherese/parentese (high pitched voice &<br />

simple words/phrases), recasting (rephrase things), expanding (add to)<br />

and repetition to enable children to identify and decode meanings<br />

• Use non-verbal communication alongside talk, role model facial<br />

expression, body language, gestures and intonation<br />

• Learn a few signs in Makaton or British Sign Language and use them<br />

every day and value all attempts at communication<br />

• Use expressive language which include rhythm and patterns<br />

• Maximise opportunities to develop children’s problem solving skills<br />

through talking whenever they arise<br />

• Model the ‘rules’ of language – e.g. turn-taking, serve and return,<br />

listening<br />

• Introduce new vocabulary when appropriate<br />

• Ask open-ended questions to stretch the child<br />

• Set up role-play and other environments which encourage talk<br />

• Have real, genuine and respectful conversations with children<br />

• Read stories every day<br />

Tamsin Grimmer<br />

Tamsin Grimmer is an<br />

experienced early years<br />

consultant and trainer and<br />

parent who is passionate about<br />

young children’s learning and<br />

development. She believes<br />

that all children deserve<br />

practitioners who are inspiring,<br />

dynamic, reflective and<br />

committed to improving on their<br />

current best. Tamsin particularly<br />

enjoys planning and delivering<br />

training and supporting<br />

early years practitioners and<br />

teachers to improve outcomes<br />

for young children.<br />

Tamsin has written two<br />

books - “Observing and<br />

Developing Schematic<br />

Behaviour in Young Children”<br />

and “School Readiness and<br />

the Characteristics of Effective<br />

Learning”.<br />

Website:<br />

tamsingrimmer.com<br />

Facebook:<br />

facebook.com/earlyyears.<br />

consultancy.5<br />

Twitter:<br />

@tamsingrimmer<br />

Email:<br />

info@tamsingrimmer.co.uk<br />

What you are doing really makes a<br />

difference for the children in your care<br />

and closing the word gap won’t just<br />

happen overnight – it is a reflection of<br />

the support, love and attention given<br />

to children from birth. So remember<br />

to keep on talking because we are<br />

supporting children to become the<br />

skillful communicators of tomorrow.<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 27

Family Safety Safety Week<br />

Week<br />

29 th February - 4 th <strong>March</strong><br />

29th February is a special day because it only happens every<br />

4 years. Due to the orbit of the earth around the sun, (which<br />

actually takes 365.25 days and not 365 days exactly), every 4<br />

years we have to add another day to our calendar, hence 29th<br />

February. Leap Day is usually a day for celebrations, marriage<br />

proposals and fun, but if you’re not careful, it could be your last!<br />

Accidents are the biggest killer of<br />

children and young people. Every year<br />

there are approximately 6,000 deaths<br />

as the result of a home accident,<br />

and on the roads, 5,838 children<br />

aged under 15 were injured in 2017<br />

alone. Accidents happen, yes, but<br />

many of them are preventable with<br />

a bit of thought, training and applied<br />

knowledge. So, in order to address<br />

the issues, the Royal Society for the<br />

Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), has<br />

been raising awareness and offering<br />

safety advice for over 100 years, and<br />

on 29th February <strong>2020</strong>, their annual<br />

Family Safety Week begins.<br />

RoSPA’s vision is for people to live<br />

a life “free from serious accidental<br />

injury” and their mission is to offer<br />

life-enhancing skills and knowledge<br />

to people in order to reduce these.<br />

Children and over 65s are the most<br />

likely groups to suffer from home<br />

accidents, so Family Safety Week is the<br />

perfect opportunity to raise the topic<br />

with the children, young people and<br />

families in your care.<br />

If you haven’t visited the RoSPA<br />

website recently, then the first<br />

step is to familiarise yourself (and<br />

your colleagues) with the myriad<br />

of information and free resources<br />

that they offer. There are posters,<br />

training packs, videos and a wealth of<br />

information and advice to help people<br />

prevent injuries and accidents, much<br />

of it aimed specifically at the under-5s<br />

and the people that care for them.<br />

This year’s focus is on road safety<br />

for young people. Many adults will<br />

remember growing up with the Green<br />

Cross Code as it was launched in the<br />

1970s, but it is still relevant today with<br />

its simple message.<br />

One of the problems that RoSPA<br />

want people to understand, is the<br />

link between the ‘school-run’ and the<br />

number of child pedestrians who are<br />

killed or seriously injured between the<br />

periods of 8–9am and 3–4pm. They are<br />

also increasingly concerned that due<br />

to cuts to the number of road safety<br />

officers provided by local councils, more<br />

and more of our children are receiving<br />

little or poor pedestrian training. And<br />

it’s too late to think about it when a<br />

child excitedly runs suddenly into the<br />

road – there has to be action taken to<br />

prevent the accidents in the first place.<br />

So, what can you do in your<br />

setting?<br />

The safety and safeguarding of our<br />

children is everyone’s responsibility<br />

and it would be advantageous to start<br />

from the premise that some children<br />

in your setting may not have received<br />

any pedestrian training and make sure<br />

that you tell children how they can<br />

keep themselves safer when walking.<br />

Practical training is also extremely<br />

28 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

useful, and you should remind children<br />

about safety issues every time you<br />

travel outside your setting.<br />

There is a free, downloadable and<br />

practical pedestrian training pack for<br />

teachers of children in years 3 and 4<br />

who can’t get access to a road safety<br />

officer, to help them deliver training in<br />

this vital life skill. But the information<br />

is still relevant to early years and it’s<br />

better to receive more training than<br />

nothing at all.<br />

One way you could celebrate Family<br />

Safety Week is by focusing on a<br />

different safety area each day.<br />

You could think about other times<br />

and areas around the home where<br />

accidents happen that are particularly<br />

relevant for under 5s, including:<br />

• Bath time<br />

• Bedtime<br />

• Mealtimes<br />

• Playing<br />

• Stairs<br />

• Cupboards and storage areas<br />

• Doors<br />

• Going outside the home on roads<br />

and pavements<br />

• Playgrounds<br />

• Swimming<br />

Make it fun<br />

It’s important not to scare children<br />

when talking about safety issues, as<br />

we still need to encourage risk-taking<br />

and adventure too. But it’s vital that<br />

you get the message across and the<br />

risks are minimised. Talking about<br />

health and safety issues is not about<br />

eliminating risk because that is not<br />

real life, but it is about minimising<br />

risk through education, being well<br />

prepared, and taking responsibility.<br />

RoSPA also have a lot of information<br />

about how to prevent common<br />

accidents such as:<br />

• Burns and scalds<br />

• Carbon monoxide poisoning<br />

• Choking<br />

• Drowning<br />

• Injuries from fires<br />

• Poisoning<br />

• Falls<br />

• Strangulation and asphyxiation<br />

The new Keeping Kids Safe campaign<br />

aims to end the tragic toll of 0–4-yearolds<br />

needlessly killed or injured each<br />

year and there is more information<br />

online about this too with lots of videos<br />

and practical advice to follow.<br />

Involve your children’s<br />

families<br />

It’s not called Family Safety Week for<br />

nothing. In your setting, make sure<br />

you include events, activities and<br />

promotions which you can invite the<br />

whole family to. Read through the list<br />

of ideas below or come up with your<br />

own ways to get the messages across.<br />

••<br />

Raise awareness and spread<br />

the word by letting parents and<br />

friends know that your setting<br />

is supporting Family Safety<br />

Week using your own social<br />

media and use some of the free<br />

downloadable social media<br />

resources on the website. Use the<br />

hashtag #FSW.<br />

••<br />

Raise some money for the<br />

Brighter Beginnings Appeal which<br />

is raising money to provide new<br />

parents with life-saving tips and<br />

tools at a time when they need it<br />

most. The money goes towards<br />

providing parent packs, giving<br />

more children a brighter and safer<br />

future.<br />

••<br />

Run an event for families in your<br />

setting or community. Be inventive<br />

about what the event could be.<br />

••<br />

Create a display or<br />

performance to raise awareness<br />

in your setting. There are posters<br />

to download, colouring sheets to<br />

colour and you could create some<br />

emergency scenarios using drama<br />

to help teach the children the key<br />

messages.<br />

••<br />

Phone the helpline to ask<br />

questions or at least let your<br />

staff and parents know that the<br />

helpline exists so that they can<br />

use it for any questions they have<br />

about keeping everyone safe. The<br />

number is 0808 801 0822.<br />

Whatever your situation, mark the<br />

week in a fun, exciting and above all,<br />

SAFE way!<br />

For more information, visit the RoSPA<br />

website.<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 29

Encouraging independence in young<br />

children<br />

Encouraging<br />

independence<br />

in young children<br />

As children progress through your setting, it is important that they grow in their<br />

independence, so that they can grow in confidence, and so that they are ready<br />

for future steps such as school. A child that is independent is far more likely to<br />

have the confidence to attempt new things and learn new skills than one that still<br />

depends on adult help for most day to day tasks.<br />

Whether it is getting<br />

dressed, putting shoes<br />

and coats on, toileting by<br />

themselves or seeking<br />

their own activities,<br />

independence can’t help but<br />

build self-esteem. Below are<br />

some tips for encouraging<br />

early years children to begin<br />

to become independent<br />

with every day tasks.<br />

Teach them how to<br />

do each thing – don’t<br />

assume they will<br />

know. We take for granted<br />

the things that we can<br />

do and that some more<br />

independent children can<br />

do, and forget that at<br />

first, children just don’t<br />

know how to do things<br />

independently – you need<br />

to teach each and every<br />

skill just the same as we<br />

teach a child to read and<br />

write. Tidying up is a great<br />

example of this – many<br />

adults get frustrated when<br />

children don’t tidy up but<br />

often they don’t know how.<br />

They don’t remember where<br />

everything came from, so<br />

they can’t put it back. You<br />

need to help them learn the<br />

right place for the things<br />

they play with.<br />

Make sure children<br />

can physically manage<br />

the task. Sometimes<br />

the thing preventing a<br />

child doing something by<br />

themselves is the fact that<br />

they can’t physically do it,<br />

despite knowing what they<br />

need to do. Take wiping<br />

their bottom, for example. A<br />

lot of children aren’t able to<br />

do this successfully because<br />

they are unable to reach<br />

behind them. It’s the same<br />

skill needed to be able to<br />

put on a coat – putting your<br />

arms behind you. You can’t<br />

expect a child to become<br />

independent at this until<br />

they can physically manage<br />

it, therefore throughout each<br />

day, schedule opportunities<br />

for children to develop<br />

these physical skills. So, for<br />

reaching behind their back<br />

children need to practise<br />

clapping behind their back,<br />

passing a bean bag and<br />

pulling off pegs that are<br />

attached to the back of their<br />

clothing. This way, there is<br />

nothing holding them back.<br />

Likewise with tidying up –<br />

can they physically reach<br />

the places that they need<br />

to, to put things away? Can<br />

they manage to open the<br />

30 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

“<br />

If you finish a task for a child then you<br />

are teaching them that you can do it<br />

better than they can. Have patience and<br />

let them figure it out for themselves.<br />

“<br />

drawer? Is there room in<br />

the drawer? If children can’t<br />

physically do the task that is<br />

expected of them, then they<br />

won’t become independent<br />

at it and you are setting<br />

them up to fail.<br />

Don’t do it for them!<br />

I know this seems obvious<br />

but us adults are always in a<br />

hurry. As a parent I certainly<br />

am. If you finish a task for a<br />

child, then you are teaching<br />

them that you can do it<br />

better than they can. Have<br />

patience and let them figure<br />

it out for themselves.<br />

Model it. We all know that<br />

children watch everything<br />

we do. Show them that you<br />

can do things for yourself<br />

and encourage them to do<br />

the same. You can do this<br />

both in real life situations<br />

and in role-play.<br />

Use visuals. If a child<br />

is still learning a skill,<br />

then giving them verbal<br />

instructions is great, but it<br />

may be difficult for some<br />

children to process these<br />

instructions, especially if<br />

you are using too much<br />

language. Plus, the words<br />

have gone as soon as<br />

they have been spoken,<br />

so the child is left trying<br />

to both remember as<br />

well as process what was<br />

said. If you display these<br />

instructions visually using<br />

visual symbols or photos,<br />

then a child can take their<br />

time to process them, follow<br />

them and keep checking<br />

back if they need to.<br />

Praise, praise, praise.<br />

I’m sure you do this anyway,<br />

I hope you do! I can’t stress<br />

this enough. Children<br />

love attention, especially<br />

positive attention so give<br />

lots of it when they achieve<br />

something new.<br />

Give positive and<br />

constructive feedback.<br />

If a child is trying hard<br />

but not just managing a<br />

new skill independently,<br />

it’s helps to give them<br />

constructive feedback<br />

amongst positive feedback.<br />

In teaching, there is a<br />

marking method called ‘star,<br />

star, wish’ where you say<br />

two brilliant things about<br />

a child’s piece of work and<br />

then one thing they could<br />

work on next time – the<br />

thing that you ‘wish’ them to<br />

do next. There is no reason<br />

that this can’t be applied to<br />

verbal feedback.<br />

Peer support – elder<br />

children supporting<br />

younger children. We<br />

know that young children<br />

love to watch, and be like,<br />

older children. What better<br />

way to teach new skills than<br />

by having other children<br />

model it? Get them involved!<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 />

Encourage parents<br />

to share what<br />

children are doing<br />

independently at<br />

home. It may be that the<br />

child is able to do more<br />

than you had realised. You<br />

could get parents to share<br />

achievements as a ‘wow’<br />

observation, so that you<br />

can both celebrate it, and<br />

have the same levels of<br />

expectation both at home<br />

and in your setting.<br />

So there we have a few tips<br />

for encouraging children to<br />

do things by themselves.<br />

They don’t just apply to<br />

practical things such as<br />

getting dressed, but also<br />

apply to just ‘being brave’<br />

and having a go at new<br />

things by themselves. Teach<br />

children that it is ok to go<br />

wrong – the important thing<br />

is that we tried!<br />

Good luck and have fun!<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 31

British Science Week<br />

When you think about science lessons, what do you think of? Crusty old chemistry labs, blueflamed<br />

Bunsen Week<br />

burners and impossible physics equations? Or green-powered racing cars,<br />

destructive robot wars and space exploration? If you answered the first set, then its been a<br />

long time since your last science lesson, because things have changed a lot.<br />

In the last century, most students<br />

studied science as separate subjects<br />

(physics, chemistry and biology) but<br />

one resulting problem was that in<br />

many schools, girls tended to drop<br />

physics and boys dropped biology<br />

in their GCSE options so, often, they<br />

did not get a broad spectrum science<br />

education. This affected the take up of<br />

many science subjects in universities<br />

and so strategies were developed to<br />

give students a more comprehensive<br />

science education at GCSE level. In<br />

2006, combined science GCSEs were<br />

introduced where students studied<br />

approximately 2/3rds of the content of<br />

the single subjects, and were awarded<br />

2 GCSEs, known as ‘double science’.<br />

‘Triple science’ as it’s known now, is<br />

still available.<br />

Strategies were also developed to help<br />

support and revolutionise the teaching<br />

of science throughout all educational<br />

years, as well as promoting STEM<br />

(science, technology, engineering and<br />

maths) projects and careers. British<br />

Science Week is one such initiative to<br />

highlight and promote a very broad<br />

view of science in the curriculum.<br />

What is British Science Week?<br />

British Science Week celebrates<br />

anything and everything related to<br />

STEM and is a programme of exciting<br />

events running throughout the whole<br />

of the UK. It actually runs for slightly<br />

longer than a week, from the 6–15th<br />

<strong>March</strong>, and is coordinated by the<br />

British Science Association, and funded<br />

by the Department for Business,<br />

Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).<br />

One of the best things about British<br />

Science Week is that there are no<br />

restrictions on who can organise events<br />

or the topics they choose, as long<br />

as there is an underlying element of<br />

science, technology, engineering, or<br />

32 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

maths. This means that the subsequent<br />

programme is full of amazingly diverse<br />

and varied events which are suitable<br />

for people of all ages and abilities,<br />

limited only by the imagination of the<br />

organisers. Thousands of people get<br />

involved every year, from teachers,<br />

parents and community groups to large<br />

organisations and industry. In 2019,<br />

there were over 82,000 downloads<br />

of the free activity packs, 700 media<br />

posts, 35,000 tweets, reaching an<br />

estimated 68.5 million people, which<br />

is approximately the number of people<br />

in the UK - so British Science Week is a<br />

big deal!<br />

How can you get involved?<br />

The BSW website has lots of<br />

information and advice on how to get<br />

involved and 3 specially designed<br />

activity packs aimed at early years<br />

pupils, primary pupils and secondary<br />

school pupils, based around the<br />

theme of ‘Our Diverse Planet’. You<br />

can download them here. There’s<br />

also a “Fun, Family Science” pack that<br />

parents, carers and grandparents can<br />

use if they want to do some science<br />

outside of an educational, nursery or<br />

school setting. And you can still access<br />

packs from previous years too, so<br />

there’s plenty to choose from.<br />

The packs include lots of activities<br />

based around the ‘Our Diverse Planet’<br />

theme, including word searches,<br />

crosswords, factsheets and colouring<br />

sheets as well as information about<br />

future career choices for older students.<br />

Science is all about experimenting,<br />

so you could also undertake a few<br />

simple experiments in your setting, or<br />

attend some organised events – the<br />

choice is yours. If you want to find out<br />

about local events in your area than<br />

you can use the Science Live area of<br />

the website or volunteer in Operation<br />

Weather Rescue, an ambitious project<br />

aimed at digitising old, handwritten<br />

weather records to preserve them.<br />

If you are organising your own event,<br />

there is a lot of information to help<br />

you as well including downloadable<br />

‘how-to’ guides, posters, logos and<br />

marketing materials. Although it may<br />

be too late for this year, small grants<br />

are available for some projects, so you<br />

can always read the funding guides<br />

and plan ahead if you’d like to apply<br />

for some funding for an event next<br />

year. Contact the organisers by email<br />

bsw@britishscienceassociation.org at<br />

any time for help too.<br />

Get your community involved<br />

We don’t often remember, but the<br />

impact of STEM is all around us and we<br />

often take it for granted without really<br />

thinking about how much science we<br />

rely on all day, every day. One way to<br />

get your children interested in science<br />

is to invite local community members<br />

into your setting to talk about or show<br />

how science has influenced them. Do<br />

you know any parents who are:<br />

• Doctors<br />

• Dentists<br />

• Nurses<br />

• Engineers<br />

• Architects<br />

• Builders<br />

• Chefs or cooks<br />

• Pharmacists<br />

• Accountants<br />

• Researchers<br />

• Data analysts?<br />

You could also partner up with your<br />

local primary school to deliver events<br />

as well which can help with crosscurricular<br />

work and forging new<br />

partnerships.<br />

Science, STEM and the EYFS<br />

There are obvious links to the EYFS<br />

when you try different STEM activities.<br />

Maths is an area of learning in its own<br />

right, but under the “Understanding the<br />

world” heading, you can do lots of STEM<br />

activities based around investigation<br />

and experimentation including growing<br />

things, building things and researching<br />

things. The internet is full of pre-school<br />

STEM activities, but we like some of the<br />

ideas here which are simple to set up<br />

and do.<br />

Some easy science<br />

experiments anyone can do<br />

You don’t need lots of money or<br />

resources either to make British<br />

Science Week fun. The website has a<br />

guide to “Science on a shoestring” for<br />

those on limited budgets, where the<br />

most important thing is to remember<br />

to have fun and be creative!<br />

Think about investigating some<br />

everyday things in your setting, and<br />

you’ll be well on the way to making<br />

British Science Week a success:<br />

• Solids, liquids and gases using ice,<br />

water and steam<br />

• Setting up a weather station<br />

• Growing some plants<br />

• Searching for mini beasts<br />

• Making slime<br />

• Working out how and why things<br />

float or sink<br />

• Growing crystals<br />

• Thinking about geology by looking<br />

at different stones<br />

• Going on a nature walk and<br />

spotting some wildlife<br />

• Building different towers to see<br />

which ones stay upright<br />

• Looking at the properties of<br />

different materials e.g. wood,<br />

cotton wool, wire<br />

• Investigating magnets<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 33

The importance of<br />

The importance of<br />

storytelling in music<br />

storytelling in music<br />

Skills-based or theme-based? Which method is more effective when sharing music in<br />

the early years? Should it matter? Why? Since 2006, I have done both – and even been<br />

criticised. For both. However, my students (of all ages!) responded best to theme-based<br />

sessions. And from what I have read, this is why: people love stories.<br />

My articles in the next few months will<br />

cover theme-based ideas for early<br />

years music sessions, and because it<br />

can and has been so hotly debated, I<br />

am using this opportunity to explain<br />

my reasons. And to further illustrate<br />

my point, interspersed in the article, I<br />

have included popular nursery rhymes<br />

– with their originating stories.<br />

Baa baa, black sheep, have you<br />

any wool?<br />

Yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full<br />

One for the master, one for the<br />

dame<br />

One for the little boy who lives<br />

down the lane<br />

Some thought it was a comment on<br />

racism – it was actually about unfair<br />

English taxes on wool in 1272!<br />

Stories allow new ideas to travel<br />

through time and space; give us<br />

choices as we navigate the world;<br />

develop our imagination; allow us<br />

to dream about the impossible.<br />

Historically, people have been<br />

expressing themselves creatively to tell<br />

stories before formal records began.<br />

People with musical skills created<br />

tunes for words, movements or events,<br />

enhancing meaning. People copied<br />

these songs, initially from memory,<br />

and the lack of accuracy led to many<br />

variations until music began to be<br />

written down and ultimately, recorded.<br />

But were we taught or were we born<br />

to tell stories? We still don’t know.<br />

Neither do we know why some stories<br />

and songs seem to have more impact<br />

than others. Creating them may have<br />

something to do with leaving a legacy,<br />

and music therapists have found that<br />

song-writing can be incredibly effective<br />

because even when people are at their<br />

lowest, loneliest points, they still want<br />

to tell their stories. They value music<br />

that reflects them, or helps them to<br />

better understand themselves.<br />

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall<br />

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall<br />

All the king’s horses and all the<br />

king’s men<br />

Couldn’t put Humpty together<br />

again<br />

Some thought it was about an egg<br />

on a wall – it actually tells the story<br />

of a great cannon that was used<br />

to defend the English king against<br />

Parliamentarians, until it literally<br />

fell off the castle walls into the mud<br />

below, in 1648!<br />

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple<br />

intelligences, argued that we can<br />

all be “clever” in different ways, so<br />

he recommended that it was best<br />

to present the same information<br />

in different ways. One example is<br />

learning a scientific principle and then<br />

using it to solve real-world problems:<br />

e.g. “the volume of a non-uniformshaped<br />

object is calculated by the<br />

amount of water that is displaced”.<br />

Alternatively, the story of Archimedes<br />

could be used where, after being<br />

challenged by the king, supposedly<br />

in his bath of water that night, he<br />

shouted, “Eureka!” as he realised<br />

that he could measure the volume of<br />

a non-uniform-shaped object by the<br />

amount of water it displaced.<br />

Honestly, I am more likely to remember<br />

the story – in fact, I actually do. It was<br />

the stories in history that reminded me of<br />

factual dates and sequences of events;<br />

I had to invent tricks for theorems in<br />

34 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

geometry; even the order of the planets<br />

had a trick (now a breeze, after I put them<br />

to a familiar song, and created a whacky<br />

“story” using their first letters!).<br />

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie<br />

Kissed the girls and made them<br />

cry<br />

When the boys came out to play<br />

Georgie Porgie ran away<br />

Some thought it was about<br />

simple bullying – it was actually a<br />

commentary on a rather large king<br />

who could not be with the woman<br />

he loved and hated the woman he<br />

married, making both of them cry. He<br />

then went to watch an illegal bareknuckle<br />

boxing fight, and when one<br />

fighter was killed, the king ran away<br />

to avoid being implicated!<br />

Thinking back, stories were used when<br />

I was in primary school (in the 80s!) to<br />

teach language and humanities skills,<br />

unlike my daughter’s GCSE English<br />

books, which are split by skills.<br />

She will never get to remember to<br />

write and break paragraphs as<br />

we did, based on witch’s spells<br />

written in the form of haikus.<br />

Doctor Foster went to Gloucester<br />

In a shower of rain<br />

He stepped in a puddle right up<br />

to his middle<br />

And never went there again<br />

Another rhyme, another king, this<br />

time around 1100. Being very clever,<br />

he was nicknamed Dr Foster, and he<br />

went to Gloucester because of the<br />

town’s strategic position near Wales.<br />

Riding his horse through a storm, he<br />

rode through what he thought was a<br />

puddle, but both he and the horse fell<br />

into a deep ditch. Embarrassed about<br />

having to be rescued, he vowed never<br />

to return!<br />

Education research shows that we learn<br />

most successfully if we can relate new<br />

knowledge to what we already know,<br />

so singing about stories develops<br />

musical skills in a natural way. Other<br />

recreational activities like music, such<br />

as film, books, theatre, opera, all use<br />

storytelling.<br />

Practitioners continue to debate the<br />

merits of skills-based sessions or<br />

thematic sessions; whether we should<br />

keep the original song words or change<br />

them to suit the game, purpose or<br />

culture. I, however, have made my<br />

peace with storytelling. I have found<br />

that it is powerful when introducing,<br />

exploring and consolidating ideas. I use<br />

themes that are familiar, change song<br />

lyrics if appropriate, and repeat skills<br />

often and in different ways. The next<br />

articles will cover the themes that I have<br />

successfully used in my music sessions,<br />

from babies through to 7-year-olds.<br />

Jack and Jill went up the hill<br />

To fetch a pail of water<br />

Jack fell down and broke his<br />

crown<br />

And Jill came tumbling after<br />

No kings in this one, as far as we<br />

know, but a sad tale nonetheless!<br />

A young couple often went up a hill<br />

for privacy, and soon Jill became<br />

pregnant. Before the baby was born,<br />

Jack was killed by a rock that fell from<br />

their hill, and as the legend goes, Jill<br />

died in childbirth.<br />

To conclude this article … my whacky<br />

order of the planets rhyme (circa 1990,<br />

before Pluto was recategorized as a<br />

minor/dwarf planet) … think of the tune<br />

to My Fair Lady’s “On The Street Where<br />

You Live”:<br />

Order of the planets by size:<br />

“I have often walked down this street before, but the pavement always stayed be-”<br />

Mexico Pies Make Very Easy Ugly Noticeable Steak Joints<br />

Mercury Pluto Mars Venus Earth Uranus Neptune Saturn Jupiter<br />

Order of the planets from the sun:<br />

“-neath my feet before, all at once am I several stories high, knowing I’m on the street where you live”<br />

Many Very Energetic Mon...keys Jump Scarily Under Neptune’s Planets<br />

Frances Turnbull<br />

Musician, researcher and<br />

author, Frances Turnbull, is<br />

a self-taught guitarist who<br />

has played contemporary<br />

and community music from<br />

the age of 12. She delivers<br />

music sessions to the early<br />

years and KS1. Trained in the<br />

music education techniques<br />

of Kodály (specialist<br />

singing), Dalcroze (specialist<br />

movement) and Orff (specialist<br />

percussion instruments), she<br />

has a Bachelor’s degree in<br />

Psychology (Open University)<br />

and a Master’s degree in<br />

Education (University of<br />

Cambridge). She runs a local<br />

community choir, the Bolton<br />

Warblers, and delivers the<br />

Sound Sense initiative aiming<br />

for “A choir in every care<br />

home” within local care and<br />

residential homes, supporting<br />

health and wellbeing through<br />

her community interest<br />

company.<br />

She has represented the<br />

early years music community<br />

at the House of Commons,<br />

advocating for recognition for<br />

early years music educators,<br />

and her table of progressive<br />

music skills for under 7s<br />

features in her curriculum<br />

books.<br />

Frances is the author of<br />

“Learning with Music:<br />

Games and Activities for the<br />

Early Years“, published by<br />

Routledge, August 2017.<br />

www.musicaliti.co.uk<br />

Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto<br />

References:<br />

www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/More-Nursery-Rhymes<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 35

National Careers Week<br />

National<br />

Careers<br />

Week<br />

The first week in <strong>March</strong>, or the 2–7th<br />

<strong>March</strong> to be precise, is National<br />

Careers Week, when educational<br />

institutions, employers and careers<br />

advisers across the country will be<br />

shining the spotlight on the manyfaceted<br />

nature of our working lives,<br />

and helping young people and those<br />

looking for career changes later in life,<br />

to make important career choices.<br />

In the last millennia, careers<br />

advice was often limited to a<br />

few traditional professions,<br />

and many people thought<br />

they would do what their<br />

parents had done, start at<br />

the bottom and work their<br />

way up to the top of their<br />

chosen profession over the<br />

course of a working lifetime.<br />

But the reality nowadays is<br />

very different. People, and<br />

especially young people,<br />

are more mobile in career<br />

terms than their parents;<br />

they move sideways,<br />

diagonally and seldom stay<br />

in one industry for their<br />

entire working life. The world<br />

has changed, industries<br />

have changed, and the<br />

aspirations and desires of<br />

young people have changed<br />

accordingly.<br />

Technological advances<br />

account for many of the<br />

differences – the advent<br />

of the internet has had<br />

a massive effect on the<br />

way we shop; high streets<br />

are declining, and service<br />

industries are taking their<br />

place. Predictions about<br />

future jobs include the<br />

increased use of computers<br />

and artificial intelligence<br />

(A.I.) to replace a lot of<br />

manual labour. In a speech<br />

given by Amber Rudd in<br />

2019, on “The future of the<br />

labour market”, she said:<br />

“Automation is driving<br />

the decline of banal and<br />

repetitive tasks. So the jobs<br />

of the future are increasingly<br />

likely to be those that need<br />

human sensibilities, with<br />

personal relationships,<br />

qualitative judgement and<br />

creativity coming to the fore.”<br />

This bodes well for the<br />

childcare industry. However,<br />

the challenge for all<br />

industries is how to meet<br />

these changing needs and<br />

make sure that the young<br />

people coming into the<br />

workforce are well informed,<br />

well prepared and able to<br />

adapt to the changes going<br />

forward.<br />

What is National<br />

Careers Week?<br />

National Careers Week<br />

(NCW) is a not-for-profit<br />

company which was set up<br />

to promote the importance<br />

of good careers education<br />

in schools and colleges.<br />

It was founded by, and is<br />

supported by, volunteers<br />

with a wealth of experience<br />

and backgrounds in<br />

education, business and<br />

careers guidance. It is<br />

financially supported by<br />

industry sponsors such as<br />

RBS, Burberry, the NHS and<br />

The Royal Society to name<br />

but a few.<br />

The week itself is dedicated<br />

to celebrating careers<br />

information and guidance to<br />

help support young people<br />

as they leave education.<br />

It encourages educational<br />

establishments to provide<br />

focused careers guidance<br />

and activities across all<br />

ages to help students make<br />

appropriate choices, and<br />

start planning for their<br />

chosen careers.<br />

NCW aims to empower the 3<br />

key stakeholders, as follows:<br />

• Students – by providing<br />

them with access to<br />

resources and by linking<br />

the world of education<br />

to the world of work.<br />

• Educators and<br />

advisors – by<br />

providing them with<br />

free, quality resources<br />

36 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

mapped against the<br />

Gatsby Benchmarks - 8<br />

guidelines defining the<br />

best careers provision<br />

for secondary schools.<br />

• Organisations –<br />

encouraging them to<br />

promote their training<br />

and career opportunities<br />

to the next generation to<br />

help engage and inspire<br />

them.<br />

How you can get<br />

involved – join the<br />

Pledge Campaign<br />

The Pledge Campaign<br />

encourages individuals and<br />

organisations to make a<br />

pledge to support National<br />

Careers Week, using the<br />

hashtag #NCW<strong>2020</strong>. As<br />

an early years setting, it<br />

may be a little early to<br />

start talking to the children<br />

in your care about their<br />

chosen careers, but you<br />

can absolutely get involved<br />

in talking to teenagers<br />

and young people about<br />

the early years sector,<br />

encouraging them to ask<br />

questions and showing<br />

them what it means to be<br />

an early years professional.<br />

Some ways you could do this include:<br />

• Promoting NCW with the families and colleagues<br />

within your setting. You may know parents who<br />

have an older child who is interested in joining the<br />

childcare sector, who might appreciate knowing<br />

where to go for more information.<br />

• Allowing staff who may be interested in furthering<br />

their career, to visit a school, college, training<br />

provider or university; or giving them time off, or<br />

time at work to complete some CPD courses which<br />

can improve their career prospects. <strong>Parenta</strong> can<br />

assist with low-cost, online CPD courses which you<br />

can access from our website here.<br />

• Offering your experience and knowledge to local<br />

education institutions during a break or lunchtime,<br />

or as part of an organised and structured lesson.<br />

An hour of your time talking to students about early<br />

years education can give them an insight into the<br />

industry and some valuable insider knowledge,<br />

so they have a better idea what to expect. A lot of<br />

secondary schools now run Health and Social Care<br />

GCSEs where your input could be welcome too.<br />

• Attend a local career event either as a recruiter<br />

or an adviser. Talk to young people about the<br />

industry and remember to ask questions about<br />

their expectations too, so that you can better<br />

match your needs to theirs.<br />

• Provide some work experience for a young<br />

person. Schools and colleges often struggle to<br />

find work experience placements for students, so<br />

offering your setting as a venue will be one way to<br />

make a difference.<br />

Alternatively, you can make your own pledge to help<br />

with the overall aims of National Careers Week. You<br />

can make a pledge on the NCW website here.<br />

The NCW website is full of advice and information<br />

for educational establishments which are free to<br />

download too, so if you have children of secondary<br />

school age who need some careers advice about the<br />

childcare or other industries, you can always direct<br />

them (and their teachers) to the website too.<br />

Childcare apprenticeships<br />

Another way you can help young people get into the<br />

childcare industry is by offering an apprenticeship to<br />

a school leaver. <strong>Parenta</strong> train over 3,000 childcare<br />

professionals every year and can offer advice<br />

and training for you and your staff from level 2<br />

qualifications right through to CPD and management.<br />

If you are interested in apprenticeships or recruitment,<br />

contact <strong>Parenta</strong> for more information.<br />

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

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 37

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

Write for us!<br />

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

monthly magazine.<br />

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

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

Here are the details:<br />

• Choose a topic that is relevant to early years childcare<br />

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

• If we choose to feature your article in our magazine, you’ll be eligible to win £50<br />

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

edition of the magazine.<br />

Got any questions or want to run a topic by us? Get in touch via marketing@parenta.com<br />

Guest author winner announced<br />

Congratulations<br />

Joanna Grace<br />

Congratulations to our guest author<br />

competition winner, Joanna Grace!<br />

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

<strong>Parenta</strong> magazine, “Multisensory room magic?”<br />

was very popular with our readers.<br />

Well done, Joanna!<br />

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

for writing for us.<br />

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

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

com/parentablog/guest-authors<br />

38 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | parenta.com

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