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

MARCH 2020




The power of

an apology

Narrowing the ‘word

gap’ in the early years

The importance of

storytelling in music

+ lots more

Write for us

for a chance to win


page 38

Talking about difference:

Down’s syndrome

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

young children about difference through the lens of disability.



welcome to our family

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

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


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! Turn to page 10 for some ecological and sustainable ideas for “out with the old and in

with the new”.

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

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

make mothers’ hearts melt!

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.

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

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

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

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

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


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




Frances Turnbull

discusses the importance

of storytelling in music

and shares the origins

of some popular nursery




Stacey Kelly explains

why it is so important

to apologise to children

properly and shares her

5 steps to apologising to

a child.



Gina Smith shares some great tips for

ways you can encourage the young

children in your setting to develop their





20 EYFS activities - Mind the (language) gap!

24 Mother’s Day tissue paper flowers

25 Delicious chocolate cupcakes recipe

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

38 Guest author winner announced

Is your website Ofsted-ready? 14


4 Early years news & views

6 Summer-born children struggling with basic key


7 An extra year given to schools for Ofsted’s new


8 Standards are here - register on Government

Gateway to secure funding now!

Mother’s Day - where did it all begin? 25


10 National Old Stuff Day

14 Is your childcare website Ofsted-ready?

18 Time for a Cuppa - 1st–8th March

National Careers Week 36

23 Mother’s Day – where did it all begin?

28 Family Safety Week

32 British Science Week

36 National Careers Week

Industry Experts

12 The importance of an apology

16 Talking about difference: Down’s syndrome

26 Keep on talking and mind the gap!

30 Encouraging independence in young children

34 The importance of storytelling in music

British Science Week 32

Early years news & views

Early years

news & views

Online toolkit

available to help

settings become more


Early Years Eco Wheel is a new online

toolkit available to help settings

become more sustainable and tackle

the climate emergency.

The toolkit was launched at the

Nursery World Show, London in

February 2020 at the first-ever Green

Early Years Choices Champions

Organisation (GECCO) Early Years

Eco-Sustainability Conference.

The aim of The Eco Wheel is to

promote ‘spreading the message’

about climate change and

sustainability by educating children,

parents, employees and the wider


One of the creators of the not-forprofit

scheme, and co-owner of

Natural Choice Nurseries, Nicky

Edwards, said: “We need to not panic

about the climate emergency, but

rapidly shift to ”emergency mode”.

We need to take action as a sector,

and to do that, we need a clear

framework for success.

Petition for British sign language to be taught in

all schools

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

signed by over 100,000 people.

Jade Kilduff launched the campaign after seeing how her brother’s life was

transformed by sign language. The Kilduff family were told that Christian, who has

cerebral palsy and brain damage, would never be able to communicate, so Jade

spent 2 years teaching him sign language.

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

Christian would have to talk through me,” Jade told Sky News.

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

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

make the world more inclusive.”

Very few mainstream schools teach British sign language. There are 12 million

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

could have a wide impact on many

people’s lives.

Sign the petition here

Read more here.

“As part of an NDNA Network for

Bristol, South Gloucestershire and

Gloucestershire, we recognised

that settings need help; they need

a pathway to be successful in the

changes required to become more

sustainable. The Eco Wheel scheme

maps out what to do and gives clear


Read more here.

4 March 2020 | parenta.com

Early years teachers

should be paid the

same as primary

school teachers

In February 2020, Tes reported that

greater value needs to be placed

on roles within early education. A

new study found that some people

have the opinion that jobs in the

early years sector are “unskilled”

or “easy”. Paying early years

educators the same as primary

school educators would go some

way to combat those opinions,

according to the report.

The government is being urged

to “counteract a perception of the

early years as a ‘springboard’ for

teaching in primary education” by

bringing pay across the sectors in

line, and creating a “qualification

equivalency” between Early Years

Teaching Status (EYTS) and Qualified

Teaching Status (QTS).

Early Years Teaching Status and

Qualified Teaching Status differ in

that EYTS only allows practitioners

to work with children up to the age

of five.

Those that want to obtain EYTS

need to have a degree and at least

GCSE grade C/4 in English, Maths

and Science. They are also required

to complete early years initial

teacher training and prove that they

have met the Teachers’ Standards

(Early Years).

Early years teachers in nurseries

do not have QTS and are not on

the same pay scale as teachers in

schools. Early years teachers’ pay is

set by their employers.

The study involved lengthy and

detailed interviews with nursery

managers, staff and childminders,

and was funded by the Nuffield

Foundation and produced with the

Education Policy Institute (EPI).

Read more here.

Fears that changes to

EYFS could result in

“box-ticking” exercise

In February 2020, Children & Young

People Now reported that childcare

leaders have warned that reforms to the

EYFS could result in early assessments

becoming a “box-ticking” exercise.

In a response to the government’s EYFS

consultation, the Early Years Alliance has

voiced serious concerns over the

plans which would see the existing

early learning goals become a

“series of bullet point statements”.

This would risk “moving children’s

learning and development, and

the early years practice that supports

it, from an art to a science”, the Early

Years Alliance said.

The proposed changes also risk a lack

of support for children who are learning

English as a foreign language and

children with disabilities and additional


Read more here.

Report calls for

independent SEND


According to a report published on

19th February 2020, schools and local

authorities should face new independent

inspections that are specifically focused

on pupils with special educational needs.

The idea for a new inspection and

resolution service has been developed

by Great Minds Together, an organisation

that works to support families of children

with SEND or social, emotional and

mental health needs (SEMH).

The inspections would give

schools one of four ratings:

bronze, silver, gold or platinum

and would be carried out annually.

Read more here.

parenta.com | March 2020 5

Summer-born children

struggling with basic key skills

Summer-born children struggling

with basic key skills

Although not a new notion, early years experts have said that there is

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

on academic grades and sporting achievements.

The latest Department for

Education (DfE) data shows

that in 2019, 62% of children in

England born between May and

August had a “good level of

development” based on teacher

assessment at the end of their

first year at school – meaning

38% did not reach this level.

A “good level of development”

means they were reaching the

level expected of them in their

communication and language

skills, physical development,

personal, social and emotional

development as well as literacy

and maths.

In comparison, 81% of their

classmates born between

September and December had

a good level of development –

a 19 percentage point gap.

The statistics also show that

61% of summer-born children

were achieving the expected

level in all the early learning

goals, compared with 79% of

those born in the autumn (a

gap of 18 percentage points).

A Department for Education

spokesman said it is “perfectly

normal to see younger children

performing less well in early

years”, adding that evidence

shows these children make

faster progress, with the gap

narrowing as youngsters move

up through primary school.

6 March 2020 | parenta.com

An extra year given to schools for

Ofsted’s new EIF

An extra year given to schools for

Ofsted’s new EIF

Schools have been told they have an extra year to bring their

curriculum into line with Ofsted’s new inspection framework, after it

announced an extension to its transition period.

The new framework, which places

greater emphasis on curriculum

content and less on outcomes,

came into effect in September

2019. But Ofsted allowed for a

12-month transition period so

that schools can be judged on

the fact that they are currently

in a phase of implementing the

curriculum changes, as opposed

to being judged on being fully

ready. This means that school’s

which have plans in place to

review their curriculum in line with

the new EIF, and can demonstrate

“genuine action” to do so, are not


Ofsted’s national director of

education, Sean Harford, has

now revealed that this ‘grace’

period will be extended for

another year, meaning schools

will have this protection until

July 2021.

Schools can still adopt the

revised early years goals

(EYG) in the EYFS a year before

early years settings – from

September 2020.

In his blog post on 13th

February, he wrote: “We know

that a great curriculum does

not just appear perfectly

formed overnight. It takes

a great deal of thought,

preparation and work to plan

it. I’m also aware, through

conversations with the

Association of School and

College Leaders, and the

National Association of Head

Teachers, that some heads and

senior leaders are concerned

about getting their curriculum

to where they want it to be by

this coming September. Some

schools are further along their

curriculum journey than others.

The decision follows a fierce

backlash against the new

framework, which heads say

penalises schools that have

difficult intakes.

parenta.com | March 2020 7

Standards Standards are here - register are here on

Government Gateway to secure

funding now! secure funding now!

register on Government Gateway to

We want to help you get ready to plan ahead – because Apprenticeship

Standards are here. To secure funding to train your staff or even

to recruit a new apprentice, you need what’s called a ‘Government

Gateway Apprenticeship Account’ to be able to request funds to pay

for your training requirements.

Set up your Government Gateway Account without delay! Follow our simple

steps here which will help you through the process.

• Go to HMRC’s website here

• Click the GREEN sign-in


• Click “Create sign-in details”

• Enter your email address

where asked

• You will now be emailed a

confirmation code. Use this

code to confirm your email


• You will now be issued with a

User ID for your Government

Gateway account

• Please save this and keep

it somewhere safe because

losing it can create a lot of

work in the future

Once you receive your

Government Gateway ID, please

create an account to manage

your apprenticeships

You’ll use your account to:

• Get apprenticeship funding

• Find and save


• Find, save and manage

training providers

• Recruit apprentices

• Add and manage


Set up your Government Gateway

Apprenticeship Account here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our training team on

0800 002 9242 if you have any questions.

Why are Standards replacing


• Standards are replacing

framework across all

apprenticeships which is a

requirement from both ESFA and

Ofsted and affects all training


• The main purpose is to place

greater emphasis on the teaching

and learning (T&L) time between

apprentice and tutor and to involve

the employer in a greater capacity.

What are the key differences

between Standards and Framework?

• The employer is more involved

in the learning plan of their


• The key focus is based around

skills, knowledge and behaviours

(SKB) of an apprentice, which

they acquire throughout their


• The entire learning plan is set out

to prepare apprentices for their

End Point Assessment (EPA).

• Course duration will increase

to potentially 18 months, which

includes a 3 month allocation for

(EPA) End Point Assessment.

• The EPA includes a knowledge

test as well as a professional

discussion underpinned by the

learner’s portfolio.

8 March 2020 | parenta.com

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Share every magical moment

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Focus on childcare,

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Our recruitment team

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Parenta job board, which you

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National Old Stuff Day

National Old

Stuff Day

Have you ever heard the expression: “Out with the old

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

new doors”? If you have, and appreciate their aims, then

National Old Stuff Day on March 2nd will be right up

your street!

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

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

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

sustainable and responsible attitude to have, or whether there is a better way of

doing things?

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

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

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

annual spring clean?

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

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

‘let’s start something brand new” viewpoint. So here goes!

PART ONE: Getting rid of old

stuff in an ecological way

We are probably all guilty of hanging

on to too much stuff; that broken coat

hanger we’ve kept just in case we

find the missing roll of fabric tape we

intend to fix it with; the dilapidated

handbag we had when we were a

teen; and all the clothes that we’ve

grown out of, but are keeping because

we know the time will come when we

can fit back into them!!! The time has

come to get real and follow some rules

to help you declutter.

Take action!

1. Go through your house, your

setting and your life, and work out

what you no longer use, love or

have space for.

2. Once you have a pile of things

you need to get rid of, decide

how you are going to get rid of

them. In the UK, we currently

recycle approximately 45% of our

waste, but other countries such

as Germany and South Korea

recycle between 60% and 70%. To

be more ecological with old stuff,

there are several options:

• Donate it to charity – many

charities like clean cloths, brica-brac,

home furnishings and

even furniture

• Sell it at a car boot sale – this

takes a bit of effort but they’re

usually great fun and you can

make some money as well

• Sell things online – sites

such as wish, eBay, Etsy and

many others are useful for

selling things that are still

useable but which you no

longer need, like high-chairs or

buggies for instance

• Upcycle – this is a great

way to turn something old

into something fun and new.

You can paint old furniture,

repurpose everyday items,

or make new tops from old

dresses. You are really only

limited by your imagination but

if you need some inspiration,

see the websites listed at the

end of this article

• Make something new – have

a go at making a patchwork

quilt with some old clothes;

or an apron, some napkins,

cushion covers or cleaning

10 March 2020 | parenta.com

cloths. You could also get the

children in your setting involved

in some creative crafts using

your old material as resources

• Create some recycled

artwork – everyday junk

is great for creating your

masterpieces, but make sure

you wash out old cartons

and ensure everything is safe

first. Get some ideas for some

models and ideas to use in

your settings here

• Organise a jumble sale in

your setting – another great

way to pass on some of your

old things and have a bit of fun


• Visit your local tip or

recycling centre – even

things that you think are

beyond repair may find a loving

home at your local tip

Whatever you do with your ‘old stuff’,

make sure the bin is the last option

and use the principles of reduce,

reuse and recycle instead. We all

need to take action on a small scale

to create a more sustainable society,

so think carefully before you reach for

the bin bag!

PART TWO: Bring in the new

Once you have dealt with the build-up

of old stuff and cleared some lovely

space in your house or setting, try

not to fill it up with more junk straight

away! Instead, think about the second

part of Old Stuff Day, and bring in

some new ideas and practices into

your life – but it doesn’t have to be

actual, physical things! That’s just

more ‘stuff’! Better to look at this more

philosophically and start with changing

some old or out-dated habits that you


Some ideas to try

1. Sit in a completely different

position on the bus, in your house,

or your office and see what a

different perspective (literally) can

do for your mindset.

2. Take a different route to work and

notice at least 5 new things

3. Listen to a different radio channel

4. Make yourself a different breakfast

– if you usually eat a cooked

breakfast, try some fruit, or vice

versa and continue experimenting

with new food throughout the day

5. Wear your hair in a different style

– practice an ‘up-do’ prior to the

day, or try a wash-in, wash-out

fun hair colour tint for a change

6. Make a phone call instead of

texting people - phone up 3

friends and wish them a ‘Happy

Old Stuff Day’

7. Switch off your TV for the whole

day and read a book instead

8. Go without your mobile phone or

electronic device for the day

9. Take up a new hobby you’ve

always wanted to try

10. Learn to play a musical instrument

Whatever you do, have fun, and

remember to send us your National

Old Stuff Day pictures too.

Ideas for arts and crafts from

sustainable resources:

• www.upcyclethat.com

• www.myrepurposedlife.com

parenta.com | March 2020 11

The importance of an apology

The importance of an


To children, we are always the people

who have the answers. They look to

us for guidance and acceptance and

everything they become depends on

what they see and learn from us. For this

reason, it can sometimes feel like we need

to always have it together and that in

order for children to feel safe, we need

to show strength in front of them and

avoid vulnerability. However, as much

as we do need to give children a safe and

stable environment, we need to remember

that we are only human and therefore,

imperfect by nature.

Everybody has flaws and

has times when they get

things wrong. Mistakes are

not the issue. It is how we

deal with them that matters

and if we want children to

understand this, we need

to lead by example. We are

constantly reinforcing the

importance of an apology

when children get things

wrong, but how often do

we actually say “sorry”

ourselves when we make a


As parents, practitioners

and teachers, we don’t

have all the answers and

let’s face it, when we finally

feel like we are in control, a

new challenge or situation

comes our way and the

learning curve starts again.

There are days when we

are on form and get things

right and there are others

when we know we could

have been a better version

of ourselves. In these

moments, it is important for

us to own our mistakes and

apologise to the tiny people

that are watching our every

move. Apologising will not

lessen a child’s respect for

us. If anything, it will do the

opposite and make them

feel safer with us, knowing

that we tell the truth and

own up to our mistakes.

It was only last week that

my little boy (who is four

years old) shouted at me

and stamped his feet. I

told him that I felt a little

sad that he was doing

that as I was only trying

to help him. I then gave

him space to calm down.

Two minutes later, he

came and patted me on

the back and said, “Sorry

Mummy, I didn’t mean

to shout at you, I’m just

having a bad day and feel

a bit grumpy”. His words

were my words. The week

before I had apologised

to him in the same way.

Our own behaviour is

never going to be perfect,

but by owning that and

apologising, we teach

children the importance

of this, and give them an

opportunity to do the same.

We cannot hold anyone to

a higher standard than we

can live up to ourselves. If

we expect children to say

“sorry” when they make a

mistake, we too should be

prepared to do the same.

Here are 5 steps to

apologising to a child:

Give an unconditional



Focus on why we are sorry

without making it the

child’s fault. By saying “I

am sorry for….. BUT you

were…..” it devalues the

apology. Always own your

behaviour, rather than

pointing the finger.


Own your feelings

We are always telling

children that it is okay to

be sad, angry or frustrated.

However, it is not okay to

take these feelings out on

others. However, we are

only human and sometimes

make this mistake

ourselves. When we do, it

is important to own how we

feel, explain this to children

and then follow it up with

12 March 2020 | parenta.com

did this” or “You did that”…

we start pointing the finger

and that is not what an

apology is about.

Change your



Make sure that you amend

your behaviour after that.

There is nothing worse than

someone who apologises

but keeps doing the same

thing. Children need to see

that an apology results in a

change of actions.

something like “But even

though I felt... it was not

okay for me to…”


Explain your behaviour

It is important to explain

our behaviour so that

children can gain a deeper

understanding. For us,

it is often obvious why

we did what we did, but

children are not always


with the ability to join

the dots. By explaining

our behaviour to them,

we help them to gain

an understanding of the

bigger picture:

• I was late because I

didn’t expect there to

be so much traffic

• I shouted because I am

having a bad day and

feel a bit grumpy

• I wasn’t listening

because I was

distracted by…….

• I was frustrated

because I felt that I

wasn’t being listened to

Always use sentences that

start with “I” so that you are

owning your apology. The

minute we start saying “You


Give them space

This can be hard, but we

need to understand that

children, like us, have

feelings and even though

we have apologised,

they might still feel upset

with us. Explain that you

understand this, that you

will give them space and

that you are there for them

when they are ready. It’s

not always easy to do this

part but it is necessary. An

apology doesn’t always

magically fix the problem.

As adults we understand

this, and it is important to

acknowledge that children

are no different. They too

sometimes need space and

to come around in their

own time.

Children model what they

see. They are never going

to be perfect because no

human being ever is. If we

want them to learn the art

of taking responsibility and

giving sincere apologies,

we need to model this

when we inevitably get

things wrong ourselves. It

doesn’t make us weak in

their eyes, it makes us real

and gives them permission

to not only make mistakes

and learn, but to own

them and become a better

version of themselves as a

result of them.

Stacey Kelly

Stacey Kelly is a former

teacher, a parent to 2

beautiful babies and the

founder of Early Years Story

Box, which is a subscription

website providing children’s

storybooks and early years

resources. She is passionate

about building children’s

imagination, creativity and

self-belief and about creating

awareness of the impact

that the early years have

on a child’s future. Stacey

loves her role as a writer,

illustrator and public speaker

and believes in the power of

personal development. She is

also on a mission to empower

children to live a life full of

happiness and fulfilment,

which is why she launched

the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude


Sign up to Stacey’s premium

membership here and use the

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parenta.com | March 2020 13

Is your childcare website


Is your childcare website Ofstedready?

If you have a childcare website, by the time you receive notification that you will be

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

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

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

do contribute to your final assessment.

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

Ofsted-ready… whenever your inspection!

Here is all you need to know to ensure your childcare website is Ofsted-ready

The “essentials”

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

displayed clearly:

• Setting name

• Postal address

• Telephone number

• Name of Nursery Manager

• Named deputy in the Nursery Manager’s absence

• Details of the SENCo (if applicable)

✔ A copy of your current Ofsted report (or a link to the report on the

Ofsted website) together with your Ofsted registration number.

✔ The age range of children

accepted at your setting

“The current inspection

cycle is from 1 August 2016

to 31 July 2020. Providers

on the Early Years Register

will normally have their

setting inspected at least

once within this four-year

cycle. Newly-registered

providers will normally be

inspected within 30 months

of their registration date.”


14 March 2020 | parenta.com

Ethos, aims and statement

A statement of your setting’s ethos, aims and

values is something that inspectors will be sure to

look for. If you don’t have a statement prepared,

you can make a start by thinking of your ethos as

your morals, values and beliefs for the setting – a

set of attitudes. Each setting is different and will

be passionate about different learning styles or

methods of teaching: e.g. Montessori, Forest School,

or a particular religion - and these should be the

focus for creating your ethos. It’s also important to

include your mission i.e. what you intend to achieve

and what goals you have in mind – almost like a

‘motto’. Nowadays, most nurseries try and include

key words and phrases like ‘resilience’, ‘emotional

intelligence’, ‘wellbeing’ and ‘holistic approach’. Use

key words that you relate to and aspire to, and your

mission or motto will form!


Having your key policies clearly laid out and easy to

find on your website will show Ofsted that you take

the governance of your setting seriously. You could

consider having a dedicated page which includes

policies on such things as health & safety, food

safety, child protection, welfare and safeguarding,

as well as complaints, whistleblowing, and the

PREVENT duty/radicalisation.


A thorough understanding of the EYFS curriculum

is something that your website should reflect,

together with an explanation of how parents can

access further information on the EYFS if they want

to discover more about their child’s learning. Ofsted

does need to see that you are able to identify the

children’s starting point - and also that you’re

ensuring they make progress in learning through

effective planning, observation and assessment.

Using an online EYFS tracker like Footsteps 2 will

enable you instantly identify where each child is in

their development path.

Here would also be a good opportunity to

showcase what you do to promote British Values

in your setting. We’ve created a guide which gives

invaluable information on how intrinsic British

Values are within the EYFS curriculum, and also

gives you some great ideas for activities to promote

British Values in your setting. You could post on

the website images of the children participating

in some EYFS activities to demonstrate your


Best practice for your website:

✔ Ensure all your setting information is upto-date

✔ Check that all links are working

✔ Have a simple and clear navigation to all


✔ Add a blog and update your news

section… weekly if you can!

✔ Always use high resolution photography

Here at Parenta, we have built hundreds of

childcare websites - so we know what Ofsted

is looking for when it views your website

for inspection. We can help you ensure you

include everything you need. Talk to our team

of experts who are on hand to help and can

build you your perfect website, whatever your


parenta.com | March 2020 15

Talking about difference:

Talking about difference: Down’s

Down’s syndrome


In our settings we explore many differences with the children we support, we talk

about the changing seasons, we explore different cultures and ethnicities, we celebrate

festivals and we talk about growing up and growing old.

Difference is a part of life; a very wonderful part.

I live in a rural location lacking in

ethnic diversity. From time to time,

I have heard parents and childcare

professionals mutter something

along the lines of “what’s the point

of them learning about X, there is

none of that around here?” It is an

understandable point of view, one

focused on children learning that

which is immediately relevant to them.

However, it is flawed. Difference

is always immediately relevant to

children, because all children are

different. When we learn to recognise

and understand difference in others,

we are better equipped to recognise

and understand our own differences.

Teach children to embrace difference

and you teach them to embrace


Often in settings, we are trying to get

children to conform, to all sit down, to

all listen, or to all line up. These edicts

serve practical purposes but they also

install a subconscious message, that

to be the same is desirable. Children

can grow to be ashamed of their

differences and to try and hide them.

Upfront, frank conversations about

difference gives children permission to

be authentically themselves and are

great for everyone’s wellbeing.

In this series of four articles, we are

going to explore how we might talk

about difference through the lenses

of disability, neurological divergence

and social and emotional wellbeing

with the children in our settings. We

are starting with Down’s syndrome.

As we discuss differences of any kind,

we model for children how they should

respond to difference and talk about

it. When you talk about children with

Down’s syndrome say “with Down’s

syndrome” not “A Down’s child.” This

indicates that you understand that

Down’s syndrome is not definitive of

that person, it is something they have,

and there is much more to them than

just Down’s syndrome 1 .

You can start a conversation about

difference by asking children to look

around at each other and describe

some of the differences they see. You

are looking for them to notice hair

colour, skin colour, eye colour etc.

Help them to make their descriptions

factual, not judgemental. For example,

if a child says “her hair is a yucky

colour,” change that to a simple

statement of what colour the hair is.

Continue until they are confidently

factually describing difference. You

can ask them what they think the

world would be like if we all looked the

same, hopefully they will agree that it

would be very boring.

Next look at a picture of someone

with Down’s syndrome, if a child in

the setting has Down’s syndrome

16 March 2020 | parenta.com


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

person’s preferences.

Ask the children

to think about

whether they are

different inside.

This will be a tricky

concept for them,

so be ready to help

them out.

then you do not need a picture as

they will already have been part of

the differences spotted during the

first section. Ask the children what

differences they can see. State these

differences as factually as you did the

first set of differences, be very matter

of fact about it. This is not shocking, or

saddening, or strange, (or cute): it is

just difference and difference is very


Explain to the children that the facial

features they are observing mean that

the person they are looking at has

Down’s syndrome and that having

Down’s syndrome means they are a

little bit different inside as well. When

I have talked to young children about

this, I have found that revealing it

as if they have discovered a secret

really captures their attention. At an

age, where discovery is fascinating,

learning that a visual clue tells you

about an unseen thing, is really


Ask the children to think about whether

they are different inside. This will be

a tricky concept for them, so be ready

to help them out. Perhaps a child in

your setting can speak a different

language, perhaps one child is really

good at counting. Use these children

as examples, so let’s say Martha

speaks Spanish and English, you might

ask Martha to stand up. “We all know

Martha can speak another language,

don’t we?” The children nod. “Can

we see that?” This might be tricky

for them as they visually recognise

Martha. You could show them a photo

of someone they do not know and ask

them whether they think that person

can speak Spanish. Help them to

understand that some differences are

visible and some are hidden.

Go back to looking at the picture of the

person with Down’s syndrome, explain

that they have a difference inside that

we cannot see; some of them to do

with Down’s syndrome, some of them

to do with their personality. Tell the

children that having Down’s syndrome

can mean that your brain will take

longer to learn new things. Seek

examples from them of things they

have learned quickly and things it took

them a long time to learn. How did

they learn the things that did not come

easily to them?

Do not shy away from identifying things

children have struggled with or are

struggling to learn. If we talk openly

about these things, it gives the children

the permission to be open about it too,

to ask for help and to not feel guilty that

they do not understand yet.

Ask the children what they would

need to do if their brain took longer

to learn. They may say “ask for help,

try again, practice” etc. Reinforce that

these are good ideas and that people

with Down’s syndrome may need to

employ these strategies too. Ask them

how they can help a friend who is

struggling to learn? They might say,

“tell them the answer, show them how

to do it, help them to do it” etc. Praise

their ideas and tell them that these

would be great to do for a friend who

had Down’s syndrome too.

This conversation will take a few

minutes of your day. It will help

children to think about the strategies

they use when they learn and remind

them how to cope when they are

struggling to learn. And for children

with Down’s syndrome and their

families, having Down’s syndrome

understood as a fact not a tragedy,

could make all the difference!

You could end the chat by watching

some videos of children and adults

with Down’s syndrome doing fun

things, so that the children can see

more differences and similarities –

“they like football like me”, “he likes

cats but she doesn’t” and so on.

For more information about Down’s

syndrome look at www.downssyndrome.org.uk

or follow bloggers

like www.downssideup.com

Joanna Grace

Joanna Grace is an

international Sensory

Engagement and Inclusion

Specialist, trainer, author, TEDx

speaker and founder of The

Sensory Projects.

Consistently rated as

“outstanding” by Ofsted,

Joanna has taught in

mainstream and specialschool

settings, connecting

with pupils of all ages and

abilities. To inform her

work, Joanna draws on her

own experience from her

private and professional life

as well as taking in all the

information she can from the

research archives. Joanna’s

private life includes family

members with disabilities and

neurodivergent conditions and

time spent as a registered

foster carer for children with

profound disabilities.

Joanna has published four

practitioner books: “Multiple

Multisensory Rooms: Myth

Busting the Magic”, “Sensory

Stories for Children and Teens”,

“Sensory-Being for Sensory

Beings” and “Sharing Sensory

Stories and Conversations with

People with Dementia”. and

two inclusive sensory story

children’s books: “Voyage to

Arghan” and “Ernest and I”.

Joanna is a big fan of social

media and is always happy

to connect with people

via Facebook, Twitter and




parenta.com | March 2020 17

Time for a


Time for a Cuppa - 1st–8th March

1st–8th March

We all love a cup of tea and a chat. But talk to anyone

these days about life after 65, and you will probably

discover that we are all slowly coming to terms with the

fact that as we live longer, we might not all necessarily

be living better. The number of people in the UK living

with dementia is rising 1 , as advances in general physical

healthcare keep us alive longer, but mental degeneration

is becoming more of an issue for many people, and that

means dementia.

What is dementia?

According to dementiauk.org, dementia

is “an umbrella term used to describe

a range of progressive neurological

disorders, that is, conditions affecting

the brain.”

There are over 200 different subtypes of

dementia, although most of us will be

familiar with the five most common:

• Alzheimer’s disease,

• vascular dementia

• dementia with Lewy bodies

• frontotemporal dementia

• mixed dementia

Sadly, most of us nowadays know

someone whose lives have been

touched by the condition, be it as a

sufferer themselves, or as friends and

colleagues caring for elderly relatives.

Dementia is tough on everyone,

affecting physical health, everyday

living and causing stress and strain

on emotional relationships that none

of us ever thought we would have to

deal with. If you’ve ever sat with your

parent or life-long partner trying to

explain to them who you are and why

you’ve come to see them, then you’ll

understand what we mean. It’s heartbreaking!

Causes, statistics and risk factors

The causes of dementia are still

largely unknown, but dementia causes

damage to the neurons (nerve cells)

in the brain which prevent messages

being sent from the brain to other

parts of the body, affecting everyday

functions. Each person affected may

experience different symptoms and be

impacted differently.

Dementia impacts people all over the

world and although it mostly affects

older people, there is a type of early

onset dementia which affects people

under the age of 65. The Alzheimer’s

Society reports over 850,000 people

living with dementia in the UK, with

these figures expected to rise to over

one million by 2021 2 . Perhaps the most

startling prediction is that “1 in 3 people

born in the UK this year, will develop

dementia over their lifetime” 3 .

There are a number of risk factors for

dementia, but age is the largest one 4

and there are things that you can do to

reduce your risk, such as improve your

cardiovascular health, stop smoking,

eat a nutritionally-balanced diet and

get plenty of exercise. 5

Time for a Cuppa

During the first week of March each

year, Dementia UK run a fund-raising

campaign to raise money for their

Admiral Nurses, specially trained nurses

who can provide the dementia support

that families need. It’s an annual tea

party that is easy to get involved in and

lots of fun too.

The money raised supports the work

of Admiral Nurses who work with

people who have dementia, and also

with their families, offering oneto-one

support, practical solutions

to everyday problems, as well as

invaluable guidance and advice. They

work in a variety of settings including

people’s homes, the community, care

homes, hospitals and hospices. You

don’t need to raise thousands either;

£50 is enough to pay for 20 families

to call the free helpline for support on

0800 888 6678; £110 funds an Admiral

Nurse for 4 hours to visit a new family

facing dementia.

18 March 2020 | parenta.com

Here’s an action plan of things to do:

1. Decide where and when you want

to hold your event. You might need

to check with the boss or setting

if you are not the one with the

authority to authorise events.

2. Invite family, friends and

colleagues to attend and to also

support your event by baking some

cakes. You could design, or get

your older children to design, an

invitation and/or poster to use, or

use the free downloadable ones on

the Dementia UK website.

3. Bake your cakes – there are free

recipes on the website too, and if

all else fails, you can always buy

some cakes for your sale – this isn’t

about being the best cook!

4. Get ready for your day by printing

off some bunting, flags and

information to use or give out to


5. Decide on your pricing strategy –

50p/£1 per cake or cup of tea – it’s

up to you.

6. Plan extra activities such as:

a. Guess the weight of the cake

b. Raffle – ask people to donate


c. Bring and buy stall

7. Enjoy your event catching up with

friends, family and colleagues; sell

off any unsold cakes at the end of

the day too.

8. Send your money to Dementia UK

knowing that you have made a real

and positive difference to people’s


The week officially runs from 1st–8th

March, although you can hold your

event at any time during the month, or

even, during the year. If dementia is

something that is particularly close to

your heart, you could make it a regular

monthly or bi-monthly event too.

The first event was held in 2009 and

raised £8,000, but since then, there

have been over 8,664 tea parties,

with an average 173,280 slices of cake

being eaten with 21,660 gallons of tea!

But they have also, more importantly,

raised £760,966 and supported 6,000

people affected by dementia.

So get your aprons on and get


Hosting an event is simple. You can

register here for a fund-raising pack

which is full of information, including

tea party tips and tricks, recipes,

invitations and posters, but more

downloadable items are also available

online too.

If you need more information, you

can call the Time for a Cuppa team

on 020 8036 5379 or email them on


Dementia UK say, “every cake you

bake, every cuppa you make and every

pound you raise can make a huge

difference to families facing dementia”.

So what have you got to lose? Start

planning your event for your setting

today and let us know how you get on

by sending your pictures and stories to



1. bit.ly/2vPxv1E

2. bit.ly/2vPxv1E

3. bit.ly/2vPxv1E

4. bit.ly/2SMbNof

5. bit.ly/2V8jTsO

parenta.com | March 2020 19

EYFS activities

EYFS activities - Mind the (language)

Mind the (language) gap!


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

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

vocabulary they need to access the curriculum, which, in turn, negatively impacts

their learning.

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

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

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

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

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

hope you enjoy them!

Communication and Language

Personal, Social and Emotional



Understanding the World


One of the wonderful

things about role-play

is that we can “set the

scene” for the children

but then allow them to let

their imaginations (and

therefore speech) flow,

but we can also roleplay

with them. This is a

great way of supporting

their language and

coaching them to use

the correct terminology

for whatever props or

resources you are using

within the scenario. By

doing this, we naturally

extend children’s

knowledge of different

‘sets’ of words, e.g. words

associated with going to

the doctors (ill, poorly,

sick, stethoscope, tongue

depressor, medicine,

bandage, plaster etc.)

Reading and rhyming

An old favourite and a

wonderful way to engage

children of all ages in your

setting, is to introduce the

concept of rhyming words.

The great thing about this

activity is that it covers

all the learning goals

of the communication

and language criteria.

Matching and rhyming

words is the perfect

way to start with even

the youngest of children

and guarantees much

excitement in the room!

It’s never too early to start

reading to children and

the more rhyming and

facial expressions you

use, the more interaction

you are likely to get back.

Storytime with a


Gather the children in the

reading corner for storytime

with a difference.

Divide them up into small

groups and let each

group decide between

them, what the ending

will be! Each group may

take it in a completely

different direction, but

the important thing

is that they will learn

different words from each

other and there is no

right or wrong.

Get messy!

Child-led messy play

fits in perfectly with

open-ended exploration

and offers so many

opportunities for the

children to experiment

with language. You can

start the ball rolling by

talking about the various

textures of what they

are touching, and then

introduce alliterations

such as slippery, slimy,

sloppy etc. This is certain

to get the children all

talking enthusiastically

and learning new words.

20 March 2020 | parenta.com

Maidstone to Monaco - 24 – 28 June 2020










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and look forward to a bright future.

parenta.com | March 2020 21

EYFS Learning

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And guess what? It comes with a 14 day FREE trial.




Footsteps 2 is designed to make EYFS

tracking easy in your busy setting!

Here are some of the great features:

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2 Year Check Assessment

Parent Portal With Newsfeed

Approval Process

Individual & Group Progress Report

Learning Journey Report

Flagging Overachievers & Underachievers

Suggested Next Steps

Next Steps Report

Report Emailing

+ so much more!

See the full list on our website:

















22 March 2020 | parenta.com

Start your free trial today at parenta.com/eyfs

Mother’s Day

Mother’s - where Day did it – all where begin?

Mother’s Day


(also known

it all

as Mothering


Sunday) is a celebration honouring the mother

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

the family show their gratitude and love for their mothers, as well as the role that other

maternal figures, such as mothers-in-law and grandmothers, hold in family life.

When does Mother’s Day

take place?

The actual date of Mother’s Day in the

UK is not fixed each year. It always

falls exactly three weeks before Easter

Sunday, which itself changes yearly,

depending on the date of the full moon.

Around the world, it falls on different

days. In many countries - USA, Canada,

most European countries, Australia,

New Zealand, India, China, Japan, the

Philippines and South Africa, it is held

on the second Sunday in May. In 2020,

the UK will celebrate Mother’s Day on

Sunday 22nd March.

How did it all start?

The stories of how it began vary,

depending on whether you’re in the

UK or the USA. In the UK, Mother’s Day

was originally a day where domestic

servants were given the day off to

visit their “mother” church. These

servants would typically return to their

hometown and worship in church with

their families. On the way home, it was

common for people to pick wild flowers

to give to their mothers. This was

around the 17th century.

In America, the story of its origin is

very different. The day of celebration

stemmed from a lady called Anna

Jarvis, who held a memorial service for

her mother in Grafton, West Virginia.

She gave away carnations, her mother’s

favourite flower, to all who attended the

service. Red and pink carnations were

given to those with living mothers and

white for those whose mothers had

passed away. Anna wanted everyone

to attend church, and afterwards, for

children to write a note of appreciation

to their mothers.

It had been Anna’s late

mother’s wish that a Mother’s

Day would take place,

and this is something that

she had even prayed for.

Following her mother’s death

in 1905, Anna took steps to

ensure this would happen.

Creating a legacy

for mothers


As part of her late mother’s

wishes, Anna campaigned to

make Mother’s Day a recognised

holiday in the US in 1905. The very

first Mother’s Day in America

was celebrated in 1908 and,

just three years later, all

US states had started to

observe the holiday. Whilst Anna

Jarvis was successful in realising her

mother’s dream, she was resentful of

how commercialised the day quickly

became. By 1920, card companies such

as Hallmark had started making massproduced

Mother’s Day cards. Anna

argued that people should honour their

mothers through handwritten letters,

instead of buying pre-made cards.

Today, people choose to celebrate

this day in a way which is personal

for them. It may be that they buy their

mother a bunch of flowers and a card,

go for afternoon tea, or just choose to

spend quality time together.

Did you know… it’s estimated that, as

a nation, British consumers will spend

£1.4 billion on Mother’s Day cards,

flowers, gifts and other treats?

However, you really don’t have to spend

money to show your appreciation.

Making a home-made card using the

card from an empty cereal packet or old

greetings cards and covering with left

over tissue or wrapping paper or even

flowers from the garden are just as

effective and will mean a lot, knowing

that so much effort has gone into it!

Handprint (or even footprint!) cards

are also fun (not to mention messy!) to

make and are so personal too – a firm

favourite with the children!

We have the most delightful

Mother’s Day craft on the next

page for you to make

with the little ones in your

setting that will be sure

to make mothers’ hearts


parenta.com | March 2020 23

Mother’s Day tissue paper flowers

Mother’s Day

tissue paper flowers

You will need:

• Colourful tissue paper (we used different

colours for the petals, but you’ll also need a

green one for the stem)

• Sticky tape

• Child-friendly scissors

• Pipe cleaners


1. Take two pipe cleaners and wrap them around each

other, then cut in half.

2. Pick up the desired tissue paper and cut about 2-inch

high full-length pieces of the paper.

3. Fold the paper into a square and cut the top part into

a crescent shape, making it looks like a petal, then cut

them up into individual pieces.

4. Pick up the pipe cleaner and start adding petals to one end of

it. Halfway through attaching them, use sticky tape to secure

them to the pipe cleaner. It can be quite fiddly, so it takes

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

5. Once you use all your petals, use some more sticky tape to

secure them to the pipe cleaner stem.

6. Cut out a thin strip of green tissue paper and attach it to

the bottom part of the petals to hide any imperfections and

secure it with a tiny piece of tape.

7. Take another pipe cleaner and cut it in half. Use the cut piece

to create leaves. Wrap it around the ‘stem’ and using your

fingers, create a leaf shape.

8. You have now created a beautiful tissue paper flower for

Mother’s Day!

24 March 2020 | parenta.com

Delicious chocolate cupcakes recipe

Delicious chocolate

cupcake recipe

You will need:

For the cupcakes:

• Warm water (a few


• 40g cocoa powder

• 3 eggs

• 175g unsalted butter (room


• 165g caster sugar

• 115g self-raising flour

• 1 teaspoon baking powder


For the icing:

• 60g unsalted butter

• 30g cocoa powder

• A few tablespoons of milk

• 250g icing sugar

You will also need:

• Cupcake cases

• Mixing bowl

• Mixing spoon

• Decorations

• Baking tin

This is a delicious yet simple cupcake recipe, perfect for baking

for fundraising events or just for fun. Our little chef is 5-years-old

and very proud of his yummy chocolate cupcakes!

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Place cupcake cases on a baking or muffin tin.

3. Put cocoa powder into a bowl and

mix it with water to create a thick

paste, then add all the remaining

ingredients and mix them together.

4. Divide cupcake mixture equally

between the cases and bake

them for 12-15 minutes until


5. Let the cupcakes cool on a

wire rack while you prepare the

buttercream icing.

6. Melt the butter and pour it into a

bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder and mix,

then gradually add the icing sugar and milk,

constantly stirring to create a beautiful and glossy


7. Add the buttercream icing on top of your cupcakes and

decorate to your liking.

8. You are done - enjoy your cupcakes!

parenta.com | March 2020 25

Keep on talking

Keep on talking and

mind the gap!

and mind the gap!

Many of you will have heard of the Oxford Language Report, which is the published

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

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

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

one children lacking the vocabulary that they need to access the curriculum, so that it

negatively affects their learning…

This gap only slightly closes with age

as the same survey found that a large

43% of children still have a limited

vocabulary to the extent that it affects

their learning in year seven, which

is the first year of secondary school.

It makes interesting reading, but is

perhaps not surprising to us in early

years settings, who have anecdotally

noticed a decline in children’s speech,

language and communication

abilities over the past 10 years or so.

I regularly meet practitioners who tell

me that more and more children are

entering their settings with a very poor

vocabulary, and poor communication

and language skills.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the

government either. Justine Greening,

when she was the Education Secretary,

stated that to “close the word gap in

the early years” was one of her four

ambitions in the Social Mobility Plan,

Unlocking talent, fulfilling potential.

Now I have a problem with this phrase,

although I welcome any attention

that the early years receive from

the government if it is linked with

government spending, the phrase

‘close the word gap in the early years’

implies to me that the problem lies

within the early years itself and could

even suggest that there is no word

gap at other ages, which is not true.

This problem is not confined to the

UK either, a US study found that by

the age of 3, children from poorer

backgrounds have heard 30 million

fewer words than those from more

affluent backgrounds. So I welcome

the idea that we need to improve our

communication with young children.

Within those first few years, children

are just beginning to learn how to

communicate. We look after children

during the vital stage from birth to

5 years, when the vast majority of

language learning happens. We

know that children’s brains develop

fastest between the ages of birth

and three, so let’s put our efforts into

supporting children in this phase of

education, let’s encourage investment

in the early years to provide timely

help and intervention and prevent

the word gap from happening in the

first place. Instead of starting with

a deficit model of finding a problem

and wanting to fix it, let’s put more

preventative plans into place which

will support children from birth, or

even better, from before birth.

In an article entitled Keep on talking

one would imagine that I am wanting

us to encourage children to talk more.

However, if we focus too heavily

on over-emphasising vocabulary,

we may not spend enough time

focusing on other factors such as

paying attention, serve and return

conversation and meaningful

communication. Words are important,

but they are only part of the story

of language and communication


So let’s think about how we learn

to communicate and use language.

Usually, children begin with a stage

of preverbal communication in which

babies use sounds and gestures to

get their message across to others.

26 March 2020 | parenta.com

As children learn words, they begin to

take over, but they do not replace other

forms of communication. In fact, the

way we communicate and the gestures

we use can reiterate what we’re saying,

emphasise it or even contradict it. For

example, my husband sometimes plays

a game with our children at the dinner

table, where he takes a mouthful of

food and makes extremely unpleasant

faces, implying that he really doesn’t

like the food, to which our children ask,

“Do you like it?” and he replies, “Yes,

it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever

tasted!” They find this incredibly funny

and sometimes play the inverse game.

We started playing this game when

they were younger to support them to

understand the well-known phrase it’s

not what you say, it’s the way that you

say it…!

Babies are born eager to communicate.

They are hard-wired to seek out others

and interact with them. However,

just because developing language

is innate, it doesn’t mean that it’s an

automatic process. If a child had no

experience of being talked to or few

opportunities for social interaction, they

would not develop healthily and learn

to communicate. Learning language

depends upon children hearing

language in order for them develop

their own communication methods, and

using language is important to develop

their understanding. Through talk,

children are making connections and

they use talk to extend, make explicit

and reshape what they know. Talk

also enables children to play and build

relationships with others, which is vital

for their social development.

Here are some ways that we can support early communication:

• Tune in to the child’s signals and cues to engage in meaningful talk

• Make sure the babies and toddlers can see your face when you talk with


• Listen and respond to their language play

• Copy the facial expressions, sounds and words made by babies and


• Play turn-taking games, sing and coo to babies, encourage sound play

and babbling

• Share pictures and objects when you talk so that a child can link objects

with words

• Use labelling techniques and games, for example show me your fingers,


• Use clear speech and simple phrases, role model appropriate and

accurate language

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

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

and repetition to enable children to identify and decode meanings

• Use non-verbal communication alongside talk, role model facial

expression, body language, gestures and intonation

• Learn a few signs in Makaton or British Sign Language and use them

every day and value all attempts at communication

• Use expressive language which include rhythm and patterns

• Maximise opportunities to develop children’s problem solving skills

through talking whenever they arise

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


• Introduce new vocabulary when appropriate

• Ask open-ended questions to stretch the child

• Set up role-play and other environments which encourage talk

• Have real, genuine and respectful conversations with children

• Read stories every day

Tamsin Grimmer

Tamsin Grimmer is an

experienced early years

consultant and trainer and

parent who is passionate about

young children’s learning and

development. She believes

that all children deserve

practitioners who are inspiring,

dynamic, reflective and

committed to improving on their

current best. Tamsin particularly

enjoys planning and delivering

training and supporting

early years practitioners and

teachers to improve outcomes

for young children.

Tamsin has written two

books - “Observing and

Developing Schematic

Behaviour in Young Children”

and “School Readiness and

the Characteristics of Effective











What you are doing really makes a

difference for the children in your care

and closing the word gap won’t just

happen overnight – it is a reflection of

the support, love and attention given

to children from birth. So remember

to keep on talking because we are

supporting children to become the

skillful communicators of tomorrow.

parenta.com | March 2020 27

Family Safety Safety Week


29 th February - 4 th March

29th February is a special day because it only happens every

4 years. Due to the orbit of the earth around the sun, (which

actually takes 365.25 days and not 365 days exactly), every 4

years we have to add another day to our calendar, hence 29th

February. Leap Day is usually a day for celebrations, marriage

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

Accidents are the biggest killer of

children and young people. Every year

there are approximately 6,000 deaths

as the result of a home accident,

and on the roads, 5,838 children

aged under 15 were injured in 2017

alone. Accidents happen, yes, but

many of them are preventable with

a bit of thought, training and applied

knowledge. So, in order to address

the issues, the Royal Society for the

Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), has

been raising awareness and offering

safety advice for over 100 years, and

on 29th February 2020, their annual

Family Safety Week begins.

RoSPA’s vision is for people to live

a life “free from serious accidental

injury” and their mission is to offer

life-enhancing skills and knowledge

to people in order to reduce these.

Children and over 65s are the most

likely groups to suffer from home

accidents, so Family Safety Week is the

perfect opportunity to raise the topic

with the children, young people and

families in your care.

If you haven’t visited the RoSPA

website recently, then the first

step is to familiarise yourself (and

your colleagues) with the myriad

of information and free resources

that they offer. There are posters,

training packs, videos and a wealth of

information and advice to help people

prevent injuries and accidents, much

of it aimed specifically at the under-5s

and the people that care for them.

This year’s focus is on road safety

for young people. Many adults will

remember growing up with the Green

Cross Code as it was launched in the

1970s, but it is still relevant today with

its simple message.

One of the problems that RoSPA

want people to understand, is the

link between the ‘school-run’ and the

number of child pedestrians who are

killed or seriously injured between the

periods of 8–9am and 3–4pm. They are

also increasingly concerned that due

to cuts to the number of road safety

officers provided by local councils, more

and more of our children are receiving

little or poor pedestrian training. And

it’s too late to think about it when a

child excitedly runs suddenly into the

road – there has to be action taken to

prevent the accidents in the first place.

So, what can you do in your


The safety and safeguarding of our

children is everyone’s responsibility

and it would be advantageous to start

from the premise that some children

in your setting may not have received

any pedestrian training and make sure

that you tell children how they can

keep themselves safer when walking.

Practical training is also extremely

28 March 2020 | parenta.com

useful, and you should remind children

about safety issues every time you

travel outside your setting.

There is a free, downloadable and

practical pedestrian training pack for

teachers of children in years 3 and 4

who can’t get access to a road safety

officer, to help them deliver training in

this vital life skill. But the information

is still relevant to early years and it’s

better to receive more training than

nothing at all.

One way you could celebrate Family

Safety Week is by focusing on a

different safety area each day.

You could think about other times

and areas around the home where

accidents happen that are particularly

relevant for under 5s, including:

• Bath time

• Bedtime

• Mealtimes

• Playing

• Stairs

• Cupboards and storage areas

• Doors

• Going outside the home on roads

and pavements

• Playgrounds

• Swimming

Make it fun

It’s important not to scare children

when talking about safety issues, as

we still need to encourage risk-taking

and adventure too. But it’s vital that

you get the message across and the

risks are minimised. Talking about

health and safety issues is not about

eliminating risk because that is not

real life, but it is about minimising

risk through education, being well

prepared, and taking responsibility.

RoSPA also have a lot of information

about how to prevent common

accidents such as:

• Burns and scalds

• Carbon monoxide poisoning

• Choking

• Drowning

• Injuries from fires

• Poisoning

• Falls

• Strangulation and asphyxiation

The new Keeping Kids Safe campaign

aims to end the tragic toll of 0–4-yearolds

needlessly killed or injured each

year and there is more information

online about this too with lots of videos

and practical advice to follow.

Involve your children’s


It’s not called Family Safety Week for

nothing. In your setting, make sure

you include events, activities and

promotions which you can invite the

whole family to. Read through the list

of ideas below or come up with your

own ways to get the messages across.


Raise awareness and spread

the word by letting parents and

friends know that your setting

is supporting Family Safety

Week using your own social

media and use some of the free

downloadable social media

resources on the website. Use the

hashtag #FSW.


Raise some money for the

Brighter Beginnings Appeal which

is raising money to provide new

parents with life-saving tips and

tools at a time when they need it

most. The money goes towards

providing parent packs, giving

more children a brighter and safer



Run an event for families in your

setting or community. Be inventive

about what the event could be.


Create a display or

performance to raise awareness

in your setting. There are posters

to download, colouring sheets to

colour and you could create some

emergency scenarios using drama

to help teach the children the key



Phone the helpline to ask

questions or at least let your

staff and parents know that the

helpline exists so that they can

use it for any questions they have

about keeping everyone safe. The

number is 0808 801 0822.

Whatever your situation, mark the

week in a fun, exciting and above all,

SAFE way!

For more information, visit the RoSPA


parenta.com | March 2020 29

Encouraging independence in young




in young children

As children progress through your setting, it is important that they grow in their

independence, so that they can grow in confidence, and so that they are ready

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

have the confidence to attempt new things and learn new skills than one that still

depends on adult help for most day to day tasks.

Whether it is getting

dressed, putting shoes

and coats on, toileting by

themselves or seeking

their own activities,

independence can’t help but

build self-esteem. Below are

some tips for encouraging

early years children to begin

to become independent

with every day tasks.

Teach them how to

do each thing – don’t

assume they will

know. We take for granted

the things that we can

do and that some more

independent children can

do, and forget that at

first, children just don’t

know how to do things

independently – you need

to teach each and every

skill just the same as we

teach a child to read and

write. Tidying up is a great

example of this – many

adults get frustrated when

children don’t tidy up but

often they don’t know how.

They don’t remember where

everything came from, so

they can’t put it back. You

need to help them learn the

right place for the things

they play with.

Make sure children

can physically manage

the task. Sometimes

the thing preventing a

child doing something by

themselves is the fact that

they can’t physically do it,

despite knowing what they

need to do. Take wiping

their bottom, for example. A

lot of children aren’t able to

do this successfully because

they are unable to reach

behind them. It’s the same

skill needed to be able to

put on a coat – putting your

arms behind you. You can’t

expect a child to become

independent at this until

they can physically manage

it, therefore throughout each

day, schedule opportunities

for children to develop

these physical skills. So, for

reaching behind their back

children need to practise

clapping behind their back,

passing a bean bag and

pulling off pegs that are

attached to the back of their

clothing. This way, there is

nothing holding them back.

Likewise with tidying up –

can they physically reach

the places that they need

to, to put things away? Can

they manage to open the

30 March 2020 | parenta.com

If you finish a task for a child then you

are teaching them that you can do it

better than they can. Have patience and

let them figure it out for themselves.

drawer? Is there room in

the drawer? If children can’t

physically do the task that is

expected of them, then they

won’t become independent

at it and you are setting

them up to fail.

Don’t do it for them!

I know this seems obvious

but us adults are always in a

hurry. As a parent I certainly

am. If you finish a task for a

child, then you are teaching

them that you can do it

better than they can. Have

patience and let them figure

it out for themselves.

Model it. We all know that

children watch everything

we do. Show them that you

can do things for yourself

and encourage them to do

the same. You can do this

both in real life situations

and in role-play.

Use visuals. If a child

is still learning a skill,

then giving them verbal

instructions is great, but it

may be difficult for some

children to process these

instructions, especially if

you are using too much

language. Plus, the words

have gone as soon as

they have been spoken,

so the child is left trying

to both remember as

well as process what was

said. If you display these

instructions visually using

visual symbols or photos,

then a child can take their

time to process them, follow

them and keep checking

back if they need to.

Praise, praise, praise.

I’m sure you do this anyway,

I hope you do! I can’t stress

this enough. Children

love attention, especially

positive attention so give

lots of it when they achieve

something new.

Give positive and

constructive feedback.

If a child is trying hard

but not just managing a

new skill independently,

it’s helps to give them

constructive feedback

amongst positive feedback.

In teaching, there is a

marking method called ‘star,

star, wish’ where you say

two brilliant things about

a child’s piece of work and

then one thing they could

work on next time – the

thing that you ‘wish’ them to

do next. There is no reason

that this can’t be applied to

verbal feedback.

Peer support – elder

children supporting

younger children. We

know that young children

love to watch, and be like,

older children. What better

way to teach new skills than

by having other children

model it? Get them involved!

Gina Smith

Gina Smith is an

experienced teacher with

experience of teaching

in both mainstream and

special education. She

is the creator of ‘Create

Visual Aids’ - a business

that provides both homes

and education settings with

bespoke visual resources.

Gina recognises the fact

that no two children are

the same and therefore

individuals are likely to

need different resources.

Create Visual Aids is

dedicated to making visual

symbols exactly how the

individual needs them.





Encourage parents

to share what

children are doing

independently at

home. It may be that the

child is able to do more

than you had realised. You

could get parents to share

achievements as a ‘wow’

observation, so that you

can both celebrate it, and

have the same levels of

expectation both at home

and in your setting.

So there we have a few tips

for encouraging children to

do things by themselves.

They don’t just apply to

practical things such as

getting dressed, but also

apply to just ‘being brave’

and having a go at new

things by themselves. Teach

children that it is ok to go

wrong – the important thing

is that we tried!

Good luck and have fun!

parenta.com | March 2020 31

British Science Week

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

Bunsen Week

burners and impossible physics equations? Or green-powered racing cars,

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

long time since your last science lesson, because things have changed a lot.

In the last century, most students

studied science as separate subjects

(physics, chemistry and biology) but

one resulting problem was that in

many schools, girls tended to drop

physics and boys dropped biology

in their GCSE options so, often, they

did not get a broad spectrum science

education. This affected the take up of

many science subjects in universities

and so strategies were developed to

give students a more comprehensive

science education at GCSE level. In

2006, combined science GCSEs were

introduced where students studied

approximately 2/3rds of the content of

the single subjects, and were awarded

2 GCSEs, known as ‘double science’.

‘Triple science’ as it’s known now, is

still available.

Strategies were also developed to help

support and revolutionise the teaching

of science throughout all educational

years, as well as promoting STEM

(science, technology, engineering and

maths) projects and careers. British

Science Week is one such initiative to

highlight and promote a very broad

view of science in the curriculum.

What is British Science Week?

British Science Week celebrates

anything and everything related to

STEM and is a programme of exciting

events running throughout the whole

of the UK. It actually runs for slightly

longer than a week, from the 6–15th

March, and is coordinated by the

British Science Association, and funded

by the Department for Business,

Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

One of the best things about British

Science Week is that there are no

restrictions on who can organise events

or the topics they choose, as long

as there is an underlying element of

science, technology, engineering, or

32 March 2020 | parenta.com

maths. This means that the subsequent

programme is full of amazingly diverse

and varied events which are suitable

for people of all ages and abilities,

limited only by the imagination of the

organisers. Thousands of people get

involved every year, from teachers,

parents and community groups to large

organisations and industry. In 2019,

there were over 82,000 downloads

of the free activity packs, 700 media

posts, 35,000 tweets, reaching an

estimated 68.5 million people, which

is approximately the number of people

in the UK - so British Science Week is a

big deal!

How can you get involved?

The BSW website has lots of

information and advice on how to get

involved and 3 specially designed

activity packs aimed at early years

pupils, primary pupils and secondary

school pupils, based around the

theme of ‘Our Diverse Planet’. You

can download them here. There’s

also a “Fun, Family Science” pack that

parents, carers and grandparents can

use if they want to do some science

outside of an educational, nursery or

school setting. And you can still access

packs from previous years too, so

there’s plenty to choose from.

The packs include lots of activities

based around the ‘Our Diverse Planet’

theme, including word searches,

crosswords, factsheets and colouring

sheets as well as information about

future career choices for older students.

Science is all about experimenting,

so you could also undertake a few

simple experiments in your setting, or

attend some organised events – the

choice is yours. If you want to find out

about local events in your area than

you can use the Science Live area of

the website or volunteer in Operation

Weather Rescue, an ambitious project

aimed at digitising old, handwritten

weather records to preserve them.

If you are organising your own event,

there is a lot of information to help

you as well including downloadable

‘how-to’ guides, posters, logos and

marketing materials. Although it may

be too late for this year, small grants

are available for some projects, so you

can always read the funding guides

and plan ahead if you’d like to apply

for some funding for an event next

year. Contact the organisers by email

bsw@britishscienceassociation.org at

any time for help too.

Get your community involved

We don’t often remember, but the

impact of STEM is all around us and we

often take it for granted without really

thinking about how much science we

rely on all day, every day. One way to

get your children interested in science

is to invite local community members

into your setting to talk about or show

how science has influenced them. Do

you know any parents who are:

• Doctors

• Dentists

• Nurses

• Engineers

• Architects

• Builders

• Chefs or cooks

• Pharmacists

• Accountants

• Researchers

• Data analysts?

You could also partner up with your

local primary school to deliver events

as well which can help with crosscurricular

work and forging new


Science, STEM and the EYFS

There are obvious links to the EYFS

when you try different STEM activities.

Maths is an area of learning in its own

right, but under the “Understanding the

world” heading, you can do lots of STEM

activities based around investigation

and experimentation including growing

things, building things and researching

things. The internet is full of pre-school

STEM activities, but we like some of the

ideas here which are simple to set up

and do.

Some easy science

experiments anyone can do

You don’t need lots of money or

resources either to make British

Science Week fun. The website has a

guide to “Science on a shoestring” for

those on limited budgets, where the

most important thing is to remember

to have fun and be creative!

Think about investigating some

everyday things in your setting, and

you’ll be well on the way to making

British Science Week a success:

• Solids, liquids and gases using ice,

water and steam

• Setting up a weather station

• Growing some plants

• Searching for mini beasts

• Making slime

• Working out how and why things

float or sink

• Growing crystals

• Thinking about geology by looking

at different stones

• Going on a nature walk and

spotting some wildlife

• Building different towers to see

which ones stay upright

• Looking at the properties of

different materials e.g. wood,

cotton wool, wire

• Investigating magnets

parenta.com | March 2020 33

The importance of

The importance of

storytelling in music

storytelling in music

Skills-based or theme-based? Which method is more effective when sharing music in

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

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

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

My articles in the next few months will

cover theme-based ideas for early

years music sessions, and because it

can and has been so hotly debated, I

am using this opportunity to explain

my reasons. And to further illustrate

my point, interspersed in the article, I

have included popular nursery rhymes

– with their originating stories.

Baa baa, black sheep, have you

any wool?

Yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full

One for the master, one for the


One for the little boy who lives

down the lane

Some thought it was a comment on

racism – it was actually about unfair

English taxes on wool in 1272!

Stories allow new ideas to travel

through time and space; give us

choices as we navigate the world;

develop our imagination; allow us

to dream about the impossible.

Historically, people have been

expressing themselves creatively to tell

stories before formal records began.

People with musical skills created

tunes for words, movements or events,

enhancing meaning. People copied

these songs, initially from memory,

and the lack of accuracy led to many

variations until music began to be

written down and ultimately, recorded.

But were we taught or were we born

to tell stories? We still don’t know.

Neither do we know why some stories

and songs seem to have more impact

than others. Creating them may have

something to do with leaving a legacy,

and music therapists have found that

song-writing can be incredibly effective

because even when people are at their

lowest, loneliest points, they still want

to tell their stories. They value music

that reflects them, or helps them to

better understand themselves.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king’s horses and all the

king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together


Some thought it was about an egg

on a wall – it actually tells the story

of a great cannon that was used

to defend the English king against

Parliamentarians, until it literally

fell off the castle walls into the mud

below, in 1648!

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple

intelligences, argued that we can

all be “clever” in different ways, so

he recommended that it was best

to present the same information

in different ways. One example is

learning a scientific principle and then

using it to solve real-world problems:

e.g. “the volume of a non-uniformshaped

object is calculated by the

amount of water that is displaced”.

Alternatively, the story of Archimedes

could be used where, after being

challenged by the king, supposedly

in his bath of water that night, he

shouted, “Eureka!” as he realised

that he could measure the volume of

a non-uniform-shaped object by the

amount of water it displaced.

Honestly, I am more likely to remember

the story – in fact, I actually do. It was

the stories in history that reminded me of

factual dates and sequences of events;

I had to invent tricks for theorems in

34 March 2020 | parenta.com

geometry; even the order of the planets

had a trick (now a breeze, after I put them

to a familiar song, and created a whacky

“story” using their first letters!).

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie

Kissed the girls and made them


When the boys came out to play

Georgie Porgie ran away

Some thought it was about

simple bullying – it was actually a

commentary on a rather large king

who could not be with the woman

he loved and hated the woman he

married, making both of them cry. He

then went to watch an illegal bareknuckle

boxing fight, and when one

fighter was killed, the king ran away

to avoid being implicated!

Thinking back, stories were used when

I was in primary school (in the 80s!) to

teach language and humanities skills,

unlike my daughter’s GCSE English

books, which are split by skills.

She will never get to remember to

write and break paragraphs as

we did, based on witch’s spells

written in the form of haikus.

Doctor Foster went to Gloucester

In a shower of rain

He stepped in a puddle right up

to his middle

And never went there again

Another rhyme, another king, this

time around 1100. Being very clever,

he was nicknamed Dr Foster, and he

went to Gloucester because of the

town’s strategic position near Wales.

Riding his horse through a storm, he

rode through what he thought was a

puddle, but both he and the horse fell

into a deep ditch. Embarrassed about

having to be rescued, he vowed never

to return!

Education research shows that we learn

most successfully if we can relate new

knowledge to what we already know,

so singing about stories develops

musical skills in a natural way. Other

recreational activities like music, such

as film, books, theatre, opera, all use


Practitioners continue to debate the

merits of skills-based sessions or

thematic sessions; whether we should

keep the original song words or change

them to suit the game, purpose or

culture. I, however, have made my

peace with storytelling. I have found

that it is powerful when introducing,

exploring and consolidating ideas. I use

themes that are familiar, change song

lyrics if appropriate, and repeat skills

often and in different ways. The next

articles will cover the themes that I have

successfully used in my music sessions,

from babies through to 7-year-olds.

Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a pail of water

Jack fell down and broke his


And Jill came tumbling after

No kings in this one, as far as we

know, but a sad tale nonetheless!

A young couple often went up a hill

for privacy, and soon Jill became

pregnant. Before the baby was born,

Jack was killed by a rock that fell from

their hill, and as the legend goes, Jill

died in childbirth.

To conclude this article … my whacky

order of the planets rhyme (circa 1990,

before Pluto was recategorized as a

minor/dwarf planet) … think of the tune

to My Fair Lady’s “On The Street Where

You Live”:

Order of the planets by size:

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

Mexico Pies Make Very Easy Ugly Noticeable Steak Joints

Mercury Pluto Mars Venus Earth Uranus Neptune Saturn Jupiter

Order of the planets from the sun:

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

Many Very Energetic Mon...keys Jump Scarily Under Neptune’s Planets

Frances Turnbull

Musician, researcher and

author, Frances Turnbull, is

a self-taught guitarist who

has played contemporary

and community music from

the age of 12. She delivers

music sessions to the early

years and KS1. Trained in the

music education techniques

of Kodály (specialist

singing), Dalcroze (specialist

movement) and Orff (specialist

percussion instruments), she

has a Bachelor’s degree in

Psychology (Open University)

and a Master’s degree in

Education (University of

Cambridge). She runs a local

community choir, the Bolton

Warblers, and delivers the

Sound Sense initiative aiming

for “A choir in every care

home” within local care and

residential homes, supporting

health and wellbeing through

her community interest


She has represented the

early years music community

at the House of Commons,

advocating for recognition for

early years music educators,

and her table of progressive

music skills for under 7s

features in her curriculum


Frances is the author of

“Learning with Music:

Games and Activities for the

Early Years“, published by

Routledge, August 2017.


Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto



parenta.com | March 2020 35

National Careers Week




The first week in March, or the 2–7th

March to be precise, is National

Careers Week, when educational

institutions, employers and careers

advisers across the country will be

shining the spotlight on the manyfaceted

nature of our working lives,

and helping young people and those

looking for career changes later in life,

to make important career choices.

In the last millennia, careers

advice was often limited to a

few traditional professions,

and many people thought

they would do what their

parents had done, start at

the bottom and work their

way up to the top of their

chosen profession over the

course of a working lifetime.

But the reality nowadays is

very different. People, and

especially young people,

are more mobile in career

terms than their parents;

they move sideways,

diagonally and seldom stay

in one industry for their

entire working life. The world

has changed, industries

have changed, and the

aspirations and desires of

young people have changed


Technological advances

account for many of the

differences – the advent

of the internet has had

a massive effect on the

way we shop; high streets

are declining, and service

industries are taking their

place. Predictions about

future jobs include the

increased use of computers

and artificial intelligence

(A.I.) to replace a lot of

manual labour. In a speech

given by Amber Rudd in

2019, on “The future of the

labour market”, she said:

“Automation is driving

the decline of banal and

repetitive tasks. So the jobs

of the future are increasingly

likely to be those that need

human sensibilities, with

personal relationships,

qualitative judgement and

creativity coming to the fore.”

This bodes well for the

childcare industry. However,

the challenge for all

industries is how to meet

these changing needs and

make sure that the young

people coming into the

workforce are well informed,

well prepared and able to

adapt to the changes going


What is National

Careers Week?

National Careers Week

(NCW) is a not-for-profit

company which was set up

to promote the importance

of good careers education

in schools and colleges.

It was founded by, and is

supported by, volunteers

with a wealth of experience

and backgrounds in

education, business and

careers guidance. It is

financially supported by

industry sponsors such as

RBS, Burberry, the NHS and

The Royal Society to name

but a few.

The week itself is dedicated

to celebrating careers

information and guidance to

help support young people

as they leave education.

It encourages educational

establishments to provide

focused careers guidance

and activities across all

ages to help students make

appropriate choices, and

start planning for their

chosen careers.

NCW aims to empower the 3

key stakeholders, as follows:

• Students – by providing

them with access to

resources and by linking

the world of education

to the world of work.

• Educators and

advisors – by

providing them with

free, quality resources

36 March 2020 | parenta.com

mapped against the

Gatsby Benchmarks - 8

guidelines defining the

best careers provision

for secondary schools.

• Organisations –

encouraging them to

promote their training

and career opportunities

to the next generation to

help engage and inspire


How you can get

involved – join the

Pledge Campaign

The Pledge Campaign

encourages individuals and

organisations to make a

pledge to support National

Careers Week, using the

hashtag #NCW2020. As

an early years setting, it

may be a little early to

start talking to the children

in your care about their

chosen careers, but you

can absolutely get involved

in talking to teenagers

and young people about

the early years sector,

encouraging them to ask

questions and showing

them what it means to be

an early years professional.

Some ways you could do this include:

• Promoting NCW with the families and colleagues

within your setting. You may know parents who

have an older child who is interested in joining the

childcare sector, who might appreciate knowing

where to go for more information.

• Allowing staff who may be interested in furthering

their career, to visit a school, college, training

provider or university; or giving them time off, or

time at work to complete some CPD courses which

can improve their career prospects. Parenta can

assist with low-cost, online CPD courses which you

can access from our website here.

• Offering your experience and knowledge to local

education institutions during a break or lunchtime,

or as part of an organised and structured lesson.

An hour of your time talking to students about early

years education can give them an insight into the

industry and some valuable insider knowledge,

so they have a better idea what to expect. A lot of

secondary schools now run Health and Social Care

GCSEs where your input could be welcome too.

• Attend a local career event either as a recruiter

or an adviser. Talk to young people about the

industry and remember to ask questions about

their expectations too, so that you can better

match your needs to theirs.

• Provide some work experience for a young

person. Schools and colleges often struggle to

find work experience placements for students, so

offering your setting as a venue will be one way to

make a difference.

Alternatively, you can make your own pledge to help

with the overall aims of National Careers Week. You

can make a pledge on the NCW website here.

The NCW website is full of advice and information

for educational establishments which are free to

download too, so if you have children of secondary

school age who need some careers advice about the

childcare or other industries, you can always direct

them (and their teachers) to the website too.

Childcare apprenticeships

Another way you can help young people get into the

childcare industry is by offering an apprenticeship to

a school leaver. Parenta train over 3,000 childcare

professionals every year and can offer advice

and training for you and your staff from level 2

qualifications right through to CPD and management.

If you are interested in apprenticeships or recruitment,

contact Parenta for more information.

parenta.com hello@parenta.com 0800 002 9242

parenta.com | March 2020 37

Write for us for a chance to win £50!

Write for us!

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

monthly magazine.

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

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

Here are the details:

• Choose a topic that is relevant to early years childcare

• Submit an article of between 800–1,000 words to marketing@parenta.com

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

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

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

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

edition of the magazine.

Got any questions or want to run a topic by us? Get in touch via marketing@parenta.com

Guest author winner announced


Joanna Grace

Congratulations to our guest author

competition winner, Joanna Grace!

Joanna’s article in the January edition of the

Parenta magazine, “Multisensory room magic?”

was very popular with our readers.

Well done, Joanna!

A massive thank you to all of our guest authors

for writing for us.

You can find all of the past articles from our

guest authors on our website: www.parenta.


38 March 2020 | parenta.com




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Their account balance and invoice


The ability to download invoice and

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future sessions booked

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information about their child including

allergies, illnesses and medication

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We’ve worked with thousands of settings, so we

know exactly what tools you need to make your

business successful. We believe that delivering

great childcare means working closely alongside

parents; and with Parent Portal, they can stay

involved in their child’s day.

Interested? Speak to our team to find

out more on 0800 002 9242 or email us

at hello@parenta.com.

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