June 2021 Parenta Magazine

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Issue 79<br />

JUNE <strong>2021</strong><br />

FREE<br />

Industry<br />

Experts<br />

Music and understanding<br />

the world in the early<br />

years: the natural world<br />

Teaching children the<br />

true meaning of the<br />

word ‘sorry’<br />

All you need to know<br />

about tantrums<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to win<br />

£50<br />

page 8<br />

Meaningful connections,<br />

full of love<br />

If educators love the children in their care and understand how they prefer to be loved, they will better<br />

understand how to relate to them. Tamsin has written her book to encourage educators to adopt a loving<br />

pedagogy so that it underpins all policy and practice within their setting.<br />


hello<br />

welcome to our family<br />

JUNE 2020 <strong>2021</strong> ISSUE 79 67<br />


Regulars<br />

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

We are in <strong>June</strong> already - which means we’re almost half-way through the year… and the end of this academic year<br />

is drawing closer by the week! What better time than now to start getting ready for September before the madness<br />

of the holiday season starts? Don’t panic if you’ve not even started thinking about this yet – help is at hand. Turn to<br />

page 12 for some top tips we’ve created to help you get organised so that you can be fully prepared for the new term.<br />

<strong>June</strong> is also the month when we expect to be enjoying some warm weather! The lighter evenings are a welcome<br />

return, and the Summer Solstice on 21st - also known as Midsummer’s Day - is the longest day of the year, officially marking the start<br />

of summer. Even if the sun doesn’t make an appearance, this is still the perfect time to celebrate everything warm and sunny with the<br />

children – and we have some fabulous ideas to help your little ones celebrate the beginning of what we hope will be a lovely summer for<br />

everyone.<br />

Inside this month’s issue, guest author, Tamsin Grimmer, gives her valuable advice on meaningful connections and explores a loving<br />

pedagogy in her new book, “Developing a Loving Pedagogy in the Early Years: How Love Fits with Professional Practice”. We are very<br />

lucky to have three copies of this insightful book to give away - turn to page 14 for details. Once again, we have a packed edition and our<br />

industry experts cover many hot topics, including tantrums, drowning prevention, dyslexia and dyscalculia, teaching children the meaning<br />

of ‘sorry’, and so much more!<br />

As always, all the advice and guidance in our magazine is written to help you with the efficient running of your setting and to promote the<br />

health, happiness and wellbeing of the children in your care.<br />

Please feel free to share the magazine with friends, parents and colleagues – they can sign up to receive their own copy here!<br />

Please stay safe, everyone.<br />

Allan<br />

Getting ready<br />

for a new<br />

academic year<br />

12<br />

The new academic year<br />

brings changes and now is<br />

the time to be thinking about<br />

getting ready for September.<br />

18<br />

Music and<br />

understanding the<br />

world in the early<br />

years: the natural<br />

world<br />

Nature-themed songs and<br />

activities for your children.<br />

18<br />

SEN: dyslexia and<br />

dyscalculia<br />

20<br />

Two separate learning difficulties that<br />

can cause children to have problems<br />

with literacy, writing or numeracy, and<br />

are relatively common.<br />

8 Write for us for the chance to win £50!<br />

8 Guest author winner announced<br />

17 Congratulations to our learners<br />

24 Reveal pictures - part 2<br />

25 Lemony lemonade<br />

News<br />

4 Childcare news and views<br />

6 A round up of some news stories<br />

that have caught our eye over the<br />

month<br />

Advice<br />

12 Getting ready for a new academic<br />

year<br />

16 EYFS activity - physical development<br />

20 SEN: dyslexia and dyscalculia<br />

30 Celebrating Summer Solstice<br />

34 Drowning Prevention Week<br />

38 Refugee Awareness Week<br />

Industry Experts<br />

14 Meaningful connections, full of love<br />

18 Music and understanding the world in<br />

the early years: the natural world<br />

22 Celebrating difference and<br />

neurodivergence - part 3<br />

28 Violence against women: the role of<br />

the early years in preventing gender<br />

stereotypes - part 2<br />

32 Teaching children the true meaning of<br />

the word ‘sorry’<br />

36 All you need to know about tantrums<br />

Celebrating difference and neurodivergence - part 3 22<br />

Violence against women: the role of the early years in<br />

preventing gender stereotypes - part 2 28<br />

Drowning Prevention Week 34<br />

Refugee Awareness Week<br />


Childcare<br />

news & views<br />

Free sports class for all children<br />

attending a nursery in England<br />

A £1 million ‘early years sports fund’ has<br />

been launched by the government to give<br />

every child attending nursery in England<br />

the chance to have a free sports and<br />

activity class.<br />

COVID funding crisis causes<br />

cut in services at state-funded<br />

nurseries<br />

A survey by leading unions and charities<br />

has revealed that government-funded<br />

nurseries are facing a survival-threatening<br />

crisis due to COVID funding.<br />

They are losing an average of £70,000 of<br />

income but have to spend an extra £8,000<br />

for additional COVID-related costs, the<br />

poll by Early Education, NAHT, NEU and<br />

UNISON says.<br />

A third of maintained nurseries, which<br />

are financed and controlled by local<br />

authorities, are cutting staff and services<br />

because of the impact of coronavirus,<br />

and uncertainty over the funding they will<br />

receive in the next school year, the survey<br />

found.<br />

Read the full story on the <strong>Parenta</strong> website<br />

here.<br />

Early years settings fear they<br />

will have to turn parents away<br />

due to staffing crisis<br />

A recent report from Nursery World shows<br />

that many early years settings fear they<br />

will need to turn parents away due to staff<br />

shortages, caused by an increased lack of<br />

qualified Level 3 child practitioners.<br />

The DfE temporarily disapplied some<br />

specific staffing requirements within the<br />

EYFS where COVID restrictions prevented<br />

providers from meeting them, which the<br />

Department for Education has confirmed<br />

will end in August. But early years<br />

settings wanting staff to work as room<br />

leaders and requiring them to have a<br />

Level 3 qualification, are finding staffing<br />

particularly hard. The DfE has launched<br />

Level 3 funding for those aged 24 and<br />

over, who do not already hold any Level 3<br />

qualification.<br />

Read the full story on the <strong>Parenta</strong> website<br />

here.<br />

Urgent funding review needed:<br />

Early Years Alliance<br />

Following the findings of a recent survey,<br />

the Early Years Alliance is urging the<br />

government to undertake an urgent review<br />

of early years funding in England.<br />

Its latest survey revealed that just one<br />

in ten parents believe that early years<br />

childcare providers (both nurseries and<br />

childminders) are properly funded. 91%<br />

of survey respondents agreed that early<br />

years professionals should be paid on a<br />

similar scale to school teachers.<br />

Only 12% of parents surveyed believed<br />

that the current offer was financially<br />

sustainable for the early years sector, with<br />

65% agreeing that it was not enough to<br />

sustain settings and professionals, placing<br />

early years providers under threat.<br />

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance,<br />

commented: “While there is no doubt<br />

that the COVID-19 crisis has had a hugely<br />

detrimental impact on the early years<br />

sector, many of the financial difficulties that<br />

nurseries, pre-schools and childminders<br />

are currently facing existed long before the<br />

pandemic.<br />

“We in the sector have long argued that<br />

these challenges are a direct result of<br />

sustained government underfunding, and<br />

as these results show, parents are well<br />

aware of this too, with the vast majority<br />

recognising that the government’s support<br />

for early years providers is not enough for<br />

them to remain financially viable.<br />

Read the full story on the <strong>Parenta</strong> website<br />

here.<br />

Ministers urged to focus on<br />

pre-schools during COVID<br />

recovery<br />

Leading education charity, The Sutton Trust<br />

is urging the UK government to put early<br />

years at the forefront of the post-COVID<br />

education recovery programme; warning<br />

that schools in England “will pick up the<br />

pieces if early years are not prioritised”.<br />

It is calling for increased funding for<br />

the sector, and states: “The pandemic<br />

has reminded us how crucial the early<br />

years sector is for the functioning of our<br />

daily lives and our children’s futures. But<br />

it also laid bare the fragility of a sector<br />

which comprises many small and poorly<br />

funded private and voluntary providers,<br />

particularly those in less well-off areas.”<br />

In a YouGov poll commissioned by the<br />

Trust, 20% of the 570 parents of two to<br />

four-year-olds who took part said they felt<br />

the pandemic had had a negative impact<br />

on their child’s physical development. 25%<br />

said the same of their child’s language<br />

development, and 52% said their child’s<br />

social and emotional development had<br />

been negatively affected. 69% felt that not<br />

being able to play with other children had<br />

had an adverse effect on their child.<br />

The government is shortly due to<br />

announce its long-term plans for<br />

education recovery and funding postpandemic.<br />

It has already pledged £1.7bn<br />

for short-term catchup, including a £350m<br />

national tutoring programme providing<br />

one-to-one and small group tutoring<br />

for those most severely affected by the<br />

disruption to education.<br />

Read the full story on the <strong>Parenta</strong> website<br />

here.<br />

Specialist training available to<br />

help children falling behind in<br />

language and communication<br />

All state schools in England that have a<br />

Reception class are now able to apply for<br />

training and resources to help Receptionaged<br />

pupils who are struggling with<br />

language and communication skills, due<br />

to the pandemic.<br />

Government-funded early years catchup<br />

programme, Nuffield Early Language<br />

Intervention (NELI), has been developed<br />

by researchers from the Universities of<br />

Oxford, Sheffield and York. It gives specific<br />

language support to small groups of<br />

pupils offering catch-up language teaching<br />

sessions run by either a trained teaching<br />

assistant or early years professional. The<br />

government spent £9m on launching the<br />

first wave of the NELI programme and has<br />

now invested an extra £8m in the second<br />

wave of the programme.<br />

Read the full story on the <strong>Parenta</strong> website<br />

here.<br />

With many early years settings facing<br />

financial challenges during the pandemic,<br />

the £1 million early years sports fund has<br />

been created by Super Star Sport UK to<br />

provide every child who attends an early<br />

years setting in England an opportunity to<br />

take part in a sports and activity session.<br />

The aim is to impact as many children’s<br />

lives as possible through participation in<br />

sport - following multiple lockdowns over<br />

the past year or so.<br />

The class will follow the early years<br />

foundation stage guidelines and is<br />

specifically designed to ensure every child<br />

can participate - as well as to aid learning<br />

and development.<br />

The early years sports fund (EYSF) has<br />

committed to ensuring all of the costs<br />

involved are covered, ensuring the children<br />

at the nursery receive a 45-minute sports<br />

and activity lesson at no expense.<br />

Founder of Super Star Sport UK, Angelo<br />

Ciccarelli, said: “Following the COVID-19<br />

pandemic and multiple national<br />

lockdowns, we have seen many early<br />

years providers hit financially. We<br />

understand the strain they have been<br />

through and so wanted to launch a fund<br />

that can support them.<br />

Read the full story on the <strong>Parenta</strong> website<br />

here.<br />

4 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 5

A round up of some news stories that<br />

have caught our eye over the month<br />

Story source and image credits to:<br />

Day Nurseries, Nursery World, B31 Voices, Lancashire Post,<br />

Birmingham Mail, North Wales Chronicle, Children & Young<br />

People Now.<br />

Ofsted inspectors answer burning<br />

early years questions in Q&A session<br />

On 14th May, <strong>Parenta</strong> hosted a live Q&A<br />

session with Ofsted inspectors,<br />

Wendy Ratcliff HMI and Phill Minns HMI.<br />

The most popular questions were around<br />

Development Matters and the new Birth<br />

to 5 Matters, Inspections, COVID-19; and<br />

adapting to the new EYFS coming into effect<br />

in September.<br />

Boris Johnson paid for son’s<br />

childcare costs, confirmed by<br />

Downing Street<br />

At a press brIefing by the PM’s<br />

spokesperson, he was confronted with<br />

claims that Conservative donors were<br />

asked to help fund for a nanny.<br />

Watermead post tribute of the<br />

Duke of Edinburgh to the Queen<br />

After hearing the sad news about the<br />

late Prince Phillip a group of children<br />

and resident artist, Max, created the<br />

masterpiece pictured above, which is<br />

now with her Majesty the Queen.<br />

Peaky Blinders star, Charlotte<br />

Riley, aims to launch a nursery for<br />

film-working parents<br />

The star is aiming to launch the UK’s<br />

first mobile nursery on a double decker<br />

bus. It will be the first of its kind, and will<br />

travel to filming sites.<br />

Shenley Fields Daycare & Nursery<br />

have the Gold award by UNICEF<br />

The Gold award is the highest award by<br />

UNICEF UK and shows commitment to<br />

children’s rights. The Birmingham-based<br />

nursery is only the 4th early years provider<br />

to achieve Gold in the UK.<br />

Nursery Head teacher urges<br />

parents to enrol children after<br />

seeing effects of the pandemic<br />

Chorley-based Head teacher, Susan<br />

Conron, expresses concern of pandemic<br />

impact on language and other key skills,<br />

such as physical activities.<br />

The full session can be watched here.<br />

Click here to send in<br />

your stories to<br />

hello@parenta.com<br />

Busy Bees Ltd expand<br />

nurseries in Italy<br />

Using research from customers and<br />

staff, the Staffordshire based group have<br />

now started a nursery in Milan and also<br />

another setting in Como.<br />

Farah Kawal opens new nursery<br />

in Birmingham at 22 years old<br />

Despite a few parents questioning her<br />

age, Farah started working and gaining<br />

childcare qualifications at 18 and is proud<br />

to own Toddler’s Den, Bordeslet Green.<br />

Plant Parciau Nursery raise<br />

£3000 for Wales Air Ambulance<br />

90 nursery children between six months<br />

and 3 and a half all took part in various<br />

activities to fundraise. They also joined<br />

in educational indoor exercises including<br />

walking a mile a day.<br />

Queen announces that the<br />

Government are to ‘prioritise<br />

early years’<br />

The Government announce the sector will<br />

be prioritised, as the UK recovers from<br />

the pandemic. The strategy for the sector<br />

is yet to be announced.<br />

Bertram Nursery Group changes<br />

branding with an outdoor<br />

learning focus<br />

The nursery group has now changed<br />

their name to Thrive Childcare and<br />

Education. They have also launched a<br />

sub-group, Nature Kindergartens.<br />

6 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 7

Write for us!<br />

We’re always on the lookout<br />

for new authors to contribute<br />

insightful articles for our<br />

monthly magazine.<br />

If you’ve got a topic you’d like to write about,<br />

why not send an article to us and be in with a<br />

chance of winning? Each month, we’ll be giving<br />

away Amazon vouchers to our “Guest Author of<br />

the Month”. You can find all the details here:<br />

https://www.parenta.com/sponsored-content/<br />

Congratulations<br />

to our guest author competition winner, Gina Bale!<br />





Congratulations to Gina Bale, our guest author<br />

of the month! Her article “Movement is for ALL<br />

children” encouraged us to consider how to<br />

introduce movement to children of all abilities and<br />

included some brilliant activities that could be used<br />

in nursery settings. Well done Gina!<br />

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

writing for us. You can find all of the past articles<br />

from our guest authors on our website:<br />

www.parenta.com/parentablog/guest-authors<br />

We have three copies of Tamsin’s new<br />

book to give away. We want to hear from<br />

our readers who have adopted a loving<br />

pedagogy in their settings. Please send in<br />

your stories and anecdotes about how you<br />

demonstrate love to the children in your<br />

care. We will publish them in a future edition<br />

and three lucky readers picked at random<br />

will receive a free copy of her book!<br />

Even if you are not a lucky winner, you<br />

can still purchase Tamsin’s book here and<br />

enjoy 20% discount too!<br />

Discount code: SMA04<br />

Send to marketing@parenta.com<br />

by Friday 25th <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

8 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 9

What our customers say<br />

I am writing today to express my thanks to Jeanette Arnold.<br />

She has been a fantastic support to our apprentice, Shani Brookman, and has given Shani more<br />

support in the last few months than any of the many previous assessors before her.<br />

My name is Erica Salé and<br />

I have recently passed my<br />

TQUK Level 3 Diploma for the<br />

Children’s Workplace (Early<br />

Years Educator) (RQF). I would<br />

like to express my sincere<br />

gratitude to Jeanette Arnold<br />

for her calm and relaxed<br />

manner in which she guided<br />

me through the course. I<br />

found it challenging during<br />

these extraordinary times,<br />

obviously during COVID-19,<br />

I was unable to learn or be<br />

taught face-to-face, but with<br />

the professionalism, clarity<br />

and well-laid-out tasks of<br />

Jeanette, I managed to get<br />

through. Whenever I spoke to<br />

Jeanette for either queries or<br />

professional discussion, I felt<br />

confident and at ease, which<br />

you will see from my feedback<br />

recordings, post discussions.<br />

Again, many thanks to<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong>, but especially<br />

Jeanette, who is a true asset<br />

to your company in these very<br />

unprecedented and difficult<br />

times.<br />

...<br />

Erica Salé<br />

I attended the “Supporting children with SEND”<br />

webinar today. I have to say it was utterly<br />

inspirational and would like you to pass on my<br />

gratitude to all ladies leading the sessions today,<br />

they were all brilliant! Sadly I had to leave the<br />

webinar early and just missed the end of it but I’m<br />

really looking forward to receiving all the info via<br />

email so I can match them up to my notes and pass<br />

on everything to my team. Great work guys, thank<br />

you again.<br />

...<br />

Sally Ward<br />

Jeanette is a pleasure to work in partnership with and is always transparent and honest. She<br />

gives praise and achievable targets that really filled Shani with the self-belief that she could<br />

complete and become an amazing practitioner.<br />

I am not confident Shani would be in the same position now if it wasn’t for Jeanette’s<br />

commitment and encouragement all the way.<br />

It seems very clear to me and I’m sure you would wholeheartedly agree, Jeanette is a complete<br />

asset to your team and every apprentice she works with.<br />

The only shame is that she doesn’t cover my area often or I would absolutely be requesting her<br />

for ALL our learners.<br />

...<br />

Amy<br />

My previous assessor, Pippa, was fantastic.<br />

Since doing my qualifications with <strong>Parenta</strong> and<br />

going through my apprenticeship with them, I’ve<br />

now gone on and have been given a place at<br />

university.<br />

I have been accepted at two universities with<br />

unconditional offers. Considering I had to retake<br />

my Maths and English with <strong>Parenta</strong> and retrain to<br />

get my qualification in childcare, whilst struggling<br />

with my dyslexia, to now be going to university is a<br />

really big change to my life.<br />

Pippa has changed my life completely and is the<br />

most inspirational person I’ve ever met. I will be<br />

eternally grateful for everything she has done.<br />

...<br />

Dawn Carter<br />

10 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 11

Getting ready for a new<br />

academic year<br />

It’s <strong>June</strong>, which means we’re already nearly halfway through the calendar year and are drawing<br />

to the end of the academic year, with all the changes, transitions, goodbyes, and hellos that that<br />

brings. In schools, children usually sit exams and look forward to the long summer holidays and<br />

the adventures that a new term will bring. In the early years sector, the new academic year brings<br />

changes and now is the time to be thinking about getting ready for September before the holiday<br />

season kicks in and it is too late to order that latest piece of furniture or recruit the best staff!<br />

Plan your year<br />

One thing that successful companies do<br />

is to put together a marketing plan for the<br />

year ahead, and you could think about<br />

doing this in your setting to maximise<br />

your time and budgets. Decide when<br />

things need to be ready, and then work<br />

backwards so that you are not running<br />

around at the last minute trying to create<br />

a Facebook post or a video guide on<br />

the day it needs to be published. You<br />

could consider outsourcing some of your<br />

marketing or check if your staff have<br />

hidden skills in this area that you can<br />

make use of and offer them some new<br />

career opportunities too.<br />

Get on top of recruitment<br />

If you are hoping to employ new staff in<br />

September, make sure you are advertising<br />

well in advance, especially if you are<br />

making use of the government-funded<br />

apprenticeship schemes. School leavers<br />

will be looking for jobs early in the year<br />

and you may have secured your new<br />

recruits then, but remember too that many<br />

school leavers are waiting for exam results<br />

that come out in August before deciding<br />

on their next move. <strong>Parenta</strong> can help you<br />

with all your recruitment needs. Just call us<br />

on 0800 002 9242 and leave yourself time<br />

for all the safer recruitment checks you<br />

need to do too.<br />

September when you are dealing with all<br />

manner of new people and challenges.<br />

Order your stock<br />

Everyone will be ordering for the new<br />

year at this time, so make sure you get<br />

your orders in early so that you are not<br />

disappointed and waiting for games/<br />

chairs/tables when you need them most.<br />

Update your training<br />

Plan your CPD schedule for the forthcoming<br />

year – are there courses that you’d like to<br />

attend, or can you schedule in some CPD<br />

each month? <strong>Parenta</strong> have a number of<br />

CPD courses so you could diarise a few<br />

over the year to help you plan. See cpdelearning-courses.parenta.com<br />

for more<br />

information.<br />

Calendars<br />

Update your annual calendar and get<br />

yourself prepared – put in awareness<br />

days/weeks you want to follow, add your<br />

staff and statutory holidays and have<br />

curriculum items marked on such as<br />

religious festivals, days out, and special<br />

days like Halloween or St George’s Day, or<br />

even highlight the time you suspect Ofsted<br />

will be round!<br />

Top ten checklist<br />

1. Check all fire and first aid equipment<br />

making sure it is still in date and<br />

replace as necessary<br />

2. Clear your book corner and replace<br />

any lost or damaged books<br />

3. Check your stationery cupboard and<br />

order new items<br />

4. Organise your recycling centre – can<br />

you recycle anything else?<br />

5. Clear your outside space – how about<br />

creating a vegetable garden or a<br />

nature corner?<br />

6. Get your filing done and sort all your<br />

teaching resources so things are easy<br />

to find<br />

7. Set up any new computer/tablet<br />

software and train your staff on how<br />

to use it<br />

8. Revamp your display boards<br />

9. Update your social media accounts<br />

10. Rename or relabel pegs or lockers with<br />

new student names<br />

And remember, “Time flies when you’re<br />

having fun” so although it may only be <strong>June</strong><br />

now, September will soon be here so follow<br />

our advice and get ahead of the game!<br />

Update your policies and admin<br />

files<br />

With so many changes happening this<br />

year (lockdown ending, social distancing<br />

easing, and the economy opening up<br />

again), it would be easy to miss some<br />

important things, so we’ve created an<br />

‘aide memoire’ to help get you organised<br />

and ahead of the game.<br />

All change in the EYFS and Early<br />

Learning Goals<br />

The new EYFS Framework and new Early<br />

Learning Goals become statutory in<br />

September. Hopefully, you will have been<br />

following our articles over the last few<br />

months and will already have begun to<br />

incorporate some of the new requirements<br />

into your settings. If not, look back through<br />

our last few magazines where we have<br />

explained the changes and what they<br />

mean for you. Remember to look through<br />

the new Development Matters and Birth to<br />

Five Matters advice documents too.<br />

Fill those spaces<br />

Each <strong>June</strong>/July, children leave nursery and<br />

prepare for the transition into the Reception<br />

year. This can leave gaps in your books<br />

(and in your income) come September if<br />

you have not thought ahead and been<br />

marketing your setting effectively. Many<br />

parents begin looking for nursery places<br />

early in the year, months or even years<br />

before they need them, so make sure your<br />

marketing and social media sites are up<br />

to date and that they show your nursery in<br />

the best possible light. You might consider<br />

advertising on different media to fill your<br />

places or ask parents to spread the word<br />

to potential new parents, family and<br />

friends. Think about making use of free<br />

‘advertising’ as well – such as sending<br />

in news stories and images to the local<br />

paper – they are often looking for local<br />

interest stories to fill their pages and a<br />

report of your setting’s summer fete might<br />

be just the one they need.<br />

The summer months are a good time<br />

to update and review your policies and<br />

protocols and update all admin files ready<br />

for the start of the term. There are usually<br />

updates to safeguarding advice each year<br />

and many councils also update their own<br />

policies at this time of year too. Look out<br />

for updated guidance and advice from<br />

children’s services, safeguarding partners,<br />

Ofsted, industry organisations and the<br />

Department for Education.<br />

Check your buildings/rooms<br />

Is it time to update your spaces? Do they<br />

need a lick of paint or is this the time to<br />

build that sensory corner you always<br />

wanted? Some settings don’t operate in<br />

the summer holidays giving them time to<br />

refurbish areas, and others sometimes see<br />

a drop in numbers during the holidays. By<br />

thinking ahead and getting any changes<br />

done now, you will save yourself stress in<br />

12 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 13

Meaningful connections,<br />

full of love<br />

I wonder why you began working with<br />

young children? For me, it was because<br />

of my connection and ability to bond with<br />

them. From an early age, I seemed to be a<br />

magnet for younger children, I remember<br />

looking after them during coffee time at<br />

church and my first job as a young teen<br />

was babysitting. I clearly remember my<br />

first-night babysitting because the parents<br />

of our charges were having dinner with my<br />

parents up the road, and my friend and I<br />

had been asked to look after their children<br />

to enable them to go out. There were<br />

four children all under about 5 and the<br />

youngest was a tiny baby - I remember<br />

holding him and feeling really honoured<br />

that their parents trusted me with their<br />

children. I enjoyed playing games with<br />

them all until their two-year-old decided<br />

to have a tantrum instead of going to<br />

bed and then I remember sitting behind<br />

their sofa with her at one point. I don’t<br />

know what I said or did, but I remember<br />

enjoying their company and thinking it<br />

was great because I was also earning<br />

some pocket money!<br />

I’m still really passionate about young<br />

children today – I love their company and<br />

can’t stop myself looking into a pram and<br />

cooing at every baby I see. Meaningful<br />

connections are full of love and, with<br />

this in mind, I’m really excited to share<br />

that my new book is now available, it’s<br />

called “Developing a Loving Pedagogy:<br />

How Love Fits with Professional Practice”.<br />

I strongly believe that if educators love<br />

the children in their care and understand<br />

how they prefer to be loved, they will<br />

better understand how to relate to them<br />

and will do so more appropriately, which<br />

in turn will enable the children to learn<br />

more effectively. I have written my book<br />

to encourage educators to adopt a loving<br />

pedagogy so that it underpins all policy<br />

and practice within their setting.<br />

14 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

Unfolding a loving pedagogy<br />

Defining love<br />

The Collins Online Dictionary defines the<br />

verb ‘to love’ as involving more than just<br />

emotions, “You say that you love someone<br />

when their happiness is very important<br />

to you, so that you behave in a kind and<br />

caring way towards them” (Collins Online<br />

Dictionary, 2020). So to love someone<br />

includes action – it is not a passive<br />

emotion, but an active set of behaviours.<br />

Love and loving are not words that we<br />

always use in relation to early childhood<br />

settings. They might be viewed as<br />

inappropriate or out-of-bounds in some<br />

way because of their connotations with<br />

sexual intimacy. Part of the problem lies<br />

within the English language where we use<br />

Type of Love<br />

Agápe<br />

Philia<br />

Storgē<br />

Xenia<br />

Pragma<br />

Holding in mind<br />

the same word to express our love for our<br />

family, our children, our friends, our lovers<br />

and even our food! In other languages<br />

and cultures there are a wealth of words<br />

that mean these different aspects of love.<br />

The ancient Greeks had many different<br />

words to describe love, for example,<br />

agápe, éros, philía, philautia, storgē,<br />

xenia, ludus and pragma. It is helpful to<br />

unpick some of these different terms when<br />

thinking about our settings. Agápe, philia,<br />

storgē, xenia and, to a certain extent,<br />

pragma are all types of love which may be<br />

relevant to us as educators. They describe<br />

different aspects of how we might love<br />

the children in our care and have been<br />

explored in the table.<br />

Example from practice<br />

Our love does not depend on the children’s behaviour, it is<br />

unconditional. We genuinely want the best or the greatest good<br />

for the children in our care.<br />

We build up attachments with children which are strengthened<br />

through shared interests and experiences. Our children depend<br />

on and trust us and we encourage them to build strong<br />

friendships with both educators and their peers.<br />

We are acting in loco parentis, protecting children and helping<br />

them to feel safe and secure. Many settings are described as an<br />

extended family, and many educators naturally feel love for the<br />

children in their care.<br />

We offer our children hospitality in our settings, by feeding<br />

them and providing a safe, stimulating and engaging learning<br />

environment. We ensure that we respect others and role model<br />

being kind with caring behaviours.<br />

We have a practical duty to safeguard children and protect<br />

them and ensure that our environment is safe and secure. Also,<br />

putting risk assessments in place is an example of pragma in<br />

action.<br />

The phrase that I have found most useful when defining what love means within settings<br />

is ‘holding children in mind’ (Read, 2014). This reminds me how important it is for us as<br />

educators to be attuned, respond sensitively to children and hold them and their individual<br />

circumstances in mind. In practice, it’s the little things that make the different, for example,<br />

asking about their recent visit to their grandparent’s house or noticing the dragon on their<br />

T-shirt.<br />

Ways that we can be attuned and hold<br />

children in mind include:<br />

• Supporting the child in the moment,<br />

responding sensitively<br />

• Observing and noticing things they are<br />

interested in<br />

• Genuinely listening and acting upon<br />

what we hear<br />

• Co-constructing ideas during play<br />

• Being fascinated by what our children<br />

are doing and wanting to find out more<br />

• Considering the 100 languages of<br />

children<br />

• Using a mosaic approach to better<br />

understand our children<br />

• Interacting sensitively, with our focus on<br />

the child, not our agenda<br />

• Planning interventions for particular<br />

children<br />

• Providing specific resources based on<br />

our knowledge of the children<br />

• Working out our children’s love<br />

languages (see The Language of Love<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> article)<br />

• Adopting a loving pedagogy<br />

Actively listening to children<br />

When we hold children in mind we are<br />

actively listening to them, which helps us<br />

to truly appreciate what children want<br />

and need, plan for this and support them<br />

appropriately. Article 12 of the United Nations<br />

Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNICEF,<br />

1989) explains that children have the right to<br />

have their views taken seriously, particularly<br />

in all matters affecting them. Many educators<br />

endeavour to give their children a voice,<br />

however, occasionally we can be so used to<br />

hearing our children’s voices that we forget<br />

to actively listen to them.<br />

When we are actively listening we are able<br />

to not only tune into any words or sounds,<br />

but also to respond sensitively to the child’s<br />

body language and way of being. In this<br />

way, we are attempting to better understand<br />

our children. There are various ways we can<br />

demonstrate that we value the children we<br />

work with and actively listen to them. For<br />

example:<br />

• Try to see the world from their<br />

perspective<br />

• Listen to their words<br />

• Notice their behaviour and actions<br />

• Interpret their facial expressions and<br />

body language<br />

• Act upon things that they say<br />

• Take their views into consideration<br />

• Plan with their interests and<br />

fascinations in mind<br />

• Include them in the conversation<br />

• Never talk to other adults over their<br />

head<br />

• Get down to their level<br />

• Mirror their actions or body language<br />

• Comment or provide a commentary<br />

about what they are doing<br />

• Observe them whilst playing alongside<br />

• Act as a co-player when invited to join<br />

their play<br />

Meaningful connections with children need<br />

to be full of love: we must keep in mind that<br />

we need to actively listen to them; and be<br />

aware of their needs and interests at all<br />

times. This sums up what I consider a loving<br />

pedagogy to be about: a caring ethos and<br />

approach which underpins our practice; and<br />

allows the children to remain central to all<br />

we do.<br />

References<br />

• Read, V. (2014). Developing attachment<br />

in early years settings: Nurturing secure<br />

relationships from birth to five years.<br />

(Second edition) Abingdon, United<br />

Kingdom: Routledge.<br />

• UNICEF (1989). United Nations<br />

Convention on the Rights of the Child.<br />

Retrieved from http://www.unicef.<br />

org.uk/Documents/Publication-pdfs/<br />

UNCRC_PRESS200910web.pdf<br />



We have three copies of Tamsin’s new book to<br />

give away. We want to hear from our readers who<br />

have adopted a loving pedagogy in their settings.<br />

Please send in your stories and anecdotes about<br />

how you demonstrate love to the children in your<br />

care. We will publish them in a future edition and<br />

three lucky readers picked at random will receive<br />

a free copy of her book!<br />

Tamsin Grimmer<br />

Tamsin Grimmer is an experienced early<br />

years consultant, author and parent who<br />

is passionate about young children’s<br />

learning and development. She believes<br />

that all children deserve practitioners<br />

who are inspiring, dynamic, reflective<br />

and loving. Tamsin particularly enjoys<br />

planning and delivering training and<br />

supporting early years practitioners and<br />

teachers to improve outcomes for young<br />

children.<br />

Tamsin has written four books –<br />

“Observing and Developing Schematic<br />

Behaviour in Young Children” , “School<br />

Readiness and the Characteristics<br />

of Effective Learning”, “Calling all<br />

Superheroes: Supporting and Developing<br />

Superhero Play in the Early Years”,<br />

and “Developing a Loving Pedagogy<br />

in the Early Years: How Love Fits with<br />

Professional Practice”. She is currently<br />

working on her next two, “Supporting<br />

Behaviour and Emotions” and “Self-<br />

Regulation in Early Childhood”.<br />

You can contact Tamsin via Twitter,<br />

her Facebook page, website or email<br />

tamsingrimmer@hotmail.co.uk<br />

Even if you are not a lucky<br />

winner, you can still purchase<br />

Tamsin’s book here and<br />

enjoy 20% discount too!<br />

Discount code: SMA04<br />

Send to marketing@parenta.com by Friday 25th <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 15

EYFS activity –<br />

physical development<br />

Children undergo so much physical development from birth to age 5 that clearly, we are not able to<br />

cover all these changes in one article. We have therefore narrowed it down and focused on how you<br />

can work on an important physical attribute which we think may sometimes be under-estimated<br />

when it comes to looking out for physical development, and which, if not developed properly, can<br />

lead to lots of problems later in life. We’re talking about:<br />

Good posture is vital – the placement of<br />

the skeletal bones and the ability of the<br />

muscular system to support them, has<br />

an impact on our ability to move freely<br />

throughout life. A sedentary lifestyle and<br />

poor posture can contribute to problems<br />

with back pain or arthritis, so helping<br />

children develop a good posture in the<br />

early years is important. Obviously,<br />

children will develop their strength, core<br />

muscles, body control and balance as<br />

they get older, through general and<br />

specific play, practice, and by running,<br />

skipping, jumping etc. But how much<br />

attention are you paying to their posture?<br />

A lot of children nowadays spend<br />

many hours in front of a screen, which<br />

can exacerbate poor posture because<br />

children may slump forward over their<br />

devices or fail to sit in an upright position<br />

when using a keyboard (as do many<br />

adults).<br />

What is good posture?<br />

A child with good posture will have their<br />

weight placed evenly over both hips and<br />

feet when standing. Their back should<br />

be straight with their shoulders back and<br />

chin raised off their chest. Their head,<br />

shoulders, hips, knees and ankles should<br />

be in one straight line. This allows for<br />

the greatest freedom of movement with<br />

the least strain or compensation of one<br />

muscle group over another.<br />

When sitting, the child’s back should be<br />

straight with their shoulders back. Their<br />

buttocks should sit back in the chair<br />

allowing their spine to sit in a natural<br />

slight “S” position. Often children will shift<br />

16 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />


their hips forward in their chairs, allowing<br />

their pelvis to slide forward slightly,<br />

their back becomes rounded and their<br />

shoulders roll forward. This slouching<br />

position puts a strain on the lower back<br />

and also constricts their ability to breathe<br />

fully using their diaphragm.<br />

Fun ways to practice good<br />

posture<br />

1<br />

Remember the old debutante trick of<br />

walking with a book on their head? Well,<br />

rather that using a book, why not ask<br />

children to walk around keeping a bean<br />

bag on their head. You can mark out a<br />

flat ‘obstacle’ course on the floor using<br />

masking tape and get the children to<br />

walk along the lines, balancing the bean<br />

bag. Vary the direction so they have to<br />

turn at intervals, and you could have a<br />

spot where they have to turn 360˚ or even<br />

get them to walk backwards, slowly. You<br />

can develop this activity by changing the<br />

object – can they walk balancing a paper<br />

cup instead, or a plastic ruler? Can they<br />

do it to music, stopping when you stop<br />

the music? You can also bring in some<br />

cross-curricular links and tell some stories<br />

of people in other countries who carry<br />

water or goods on their heads to keep<br />

their hands free!<br />

2<br />

Another way to encourage children to<br />

develop a good posture is to use animals<br />

that they know to point out the differences<br />

between them so that the children start<br />

to learn and feel what is a good posture,<br />

and what is not. Asking them to walk<br />

around “as tall as a giraffe” or “as proudly<br />

as a lion” will generally help them to pull<br />

up out of their back, for example.<br />

3<br />

Practice rising up onto tip toes and walk<br />

around with arms out to the side and<br />

keeping their back straight.<br />

If you notice a child with poor posture,<br />

give a gentle reminder and praise children<br />

you see sitting up straight. If you suspect<br />

a child has a scoliosis of the spine, tell<br />

the parents and recommend they see a<br />

specialist.<br />

See also:<br />

• https://elht.nhs.uk/application/<br />

files/6315/8860/9005/Good_posture_<br />

V4.pdf<br />

• https://www.hss.edu/article_sittingposture-for-kids.asp<br />

• https://www.rehabmart.com/post/7-<br />

amazing-tips-to-help-improve-yourchilds-posture<br />

• https://morleyphysio.com.au/<br />

uncategorized/how-to-teach-yourkids-good-posture/<br />

Congratulations<br />

to all our <strong>Parenta</strong> learners!<br />

Congratulations to all these <strong>Parenta</strong> learners who completed their apprenticeship<br />

in April and have now gained their qualifications.<br />

These range from Childcare Level 2, Childcare Level 3 and Team Leading<br />

to Level 3 and Level 5 Management – that’s a huge achievement in the<br />

current climate.<br />

All that hard work has paid off – well done from all of us here at<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> Training!<br />

Did you know?... <strong>Parenta</strong> has trained over 20,000 apprentices within the early years sector!<br />

Our Level 3 success rate overall is almost 10% higher than the national average.<br />

That’s down to great work from you, our lovely <strong>Parenta</strong> learners!<br />

If you have a learner with us who has recently completed their apprenticeship, please send in<br />

a picture to hello@parenta.com to be included in the magazine.<br />

M. Bowden<br />

M. Brightwell<br />

L. Brown<br />

S. Brown<br />

M. Cox<br />

S. Dispinseri<br />

J. Edwards<br />

K. Ellis<br />

D. Erazo Vasquez<br />

April’s wall of fame!<br />

M. Fonseca Da Silva<br />

A. Grantham<br />

E. Hearn<br />

D. Hyam<br />

C. Mackelden<br />

V. Martinez<br />

C. Meepegama<br />

A. Prickett<br />

A. Quarmby<br />

K. Rose<br />

S. Seager<br />

B. Smith<br />

I. Ucrainet<br />

L. Underwood<br />

E. Williams<br />

V. Yardley<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 17

Music and understanding the world<br />

in the early years: the natural world<br />

Children are fascinated with the natural world and gladly spend hours watching (and trying to play<br />

with) the creatures and environments around them – usually when we least have time! By creating<br />

opportunities for children to explore insects, plants, and animals around them, we allow them to<br />

discover their own hidden interests and abilities.<br />

Over in the meadow in a hive near a door<br />

Lived an old honeybee and her little bees<br />

four<br />

“Buzz!” said the mother; “We buzz!” said<br />

the four<br />

So they buzzed and they buzzed in the hive<br />

near the door<br />

Over in the meadow in a warren so nice<br />

Lived an old mother rabbit and her little<br />

bunnies five<br />

“Hop!” said the mother; “We hop!” said the<br />

five<br />

So they hopped and they hopped in their<br />

warren so nice<br />

Over in the meadow in the stream near the<br />

bend<br />

Lived an old mother fishy and her school of<br />

fishes, ten<br />

“Swim!” said the mother; “We swim!” said<br />

the ten<br />

So they swam and they swam in the stream<br />

near the bend<br />

This song can be explored with younger<br />

children all acting out the actions and<br />

voices of the animals. Older children may<br />

have the patience to begin with one child<br />

and gradually add more children to their<br />

number as they act out each animal.<br />

The ways that we can explore nature<br />

includes recognising the similarities and<br />

differences between the natural world<br />

and other environments. Natural changes<br />

include the colour changes of leaves<br />

from green to orange to brown, showing<br />

the change of seasons, as well as the<br />

changing states of matter, like ice to water<br />

to steam. Songs and musical games<br />

are great ways to remind children of the<br />

natural phenomenon that they find.<br />

Kellert (2002) found that despite<br />

occasional references by biologists<br />

and poets to the wonder that children<br />

experience in nature, actually, very little<br />

had been studied on the experience of<br />

children in nature. Instead, “ecology”<br />

referred to the immediate environment,<br />

e.g. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) Ecology of<br />

Human Development, where ecology<br />

referred to the increasing influence of<br />

relationships on children.<br />

Kellert suggested that interactions with<br />

nature could affect children’s:<br />

• Emotional and feeling capacity<br />

• Thinking patterns and problemsolving<br />

skills, and<br />

• Development of values, beliefs and<br />

moral perspectives<br />

The extent of the impact that nature had<br />

on children depended on whether they<br />

learn:<br />

• Directly, though spontaneous physical<br />

contact and play<br />

• Indirectly through organised activities,<br />

like museums, farms and zoos, or<br />

• Symbolically/vicariously, through<br />

pictures, cartoons/films and books<br />

Preparing children for their encounters with<br />

nature helps to reinforce their experiences,<br />

from singing “rain, rain, go away, come<br />

again another day”, through to “Incy Wincy<br />

Spider”. Here are a few more ideas for<br />

songs about nature.<br />

Frosty Weather<br />

Frosty weather<br />

Windy weather<br />

When the wind blows we<br />

All stick together<br />

This lovely wintry song could be played as<br />

simply as walking in a circle for the first<br />

three lines and all coming together to the<br />

centre of the circle for the last line. Older<br />

children may like to stand opposite each<br />

other, and have one person walk around<br />

the other (do-si-do) for the first line, the<br />

other walks around the first for the second<br />

line, and then link arms, walking around<br />

each other in the last two lines. Lightweight,<br />

transparent scarves would be a<br />

nice touch!<br />

Over In The Meadow<br />

Over in the meadow in the sand, in the<br />

sun<br />

Lived an old mother tiger and her little tiger<br />

one<br />

“Roar!”, said the mother, “I roar,” said the<br />

one<br />

So they roared and they roared in the<br />

sand, in the sun<br />

Over in the meadow, where the stream<br />

runs so blue<br />

Lived an elephant mother and her little<br />

calves two<br />

“Stomp!” said the mother; “We stomp!”<br />

said the two,<br />

So they stomped and they stomped where<br />

the stream runs so blue<br />

Over in the meadow in the sky near a tree<br />

Flew an old mother bluebird and her little<br />

chicks three<br />

“Fly!” said the mother; “We fly!” said the<br />

three<br />

So they flew and were glad in the sky near<br />

the tree<br />

Over in the meadow in a shed near some<br />

sticks<br />

Lived an old mother cow and her little<br />

calves six<br />

“Moo!” said the mother; “We moo!” said<br />

the six<br />

So they moo’d and they moo’d in their shed<br />

near the sticks<br />

Over in the meadow, where the grass is so<br />

even<br />

Lived an old mother mouse and her little<br />

pups seven<br />

“Squeak!” said the mother; “We squeak!”<br />

said the seven<br />

So they squeaked and were glad in the<br />

grass soft and even<br />

Over in the meadow by the old mossy gate<br />

Lived a brown mother fox and her little cubs<br />

eight<br />

“Hunt!” said the mother; “We hunt!” said the<br />

eight<br />

So they crept and they hunted near the old<br />

mossy gate<br />

Over in the meadow where the quiet pools<br />

shine<br />

Lived a green mother frog and her little<br />

froggies nine<br />

“Croak!” said the mother; “We croak!” said<br />

the nine<br />

So they croaked and they splashed where<br />

the quiet pools shine<br />

Spontaneous experiences of nature<br />

continues to massively decline with<br />

each generation. This is because of the<br />

increase in population, buildings and<br />

infrastructure, as well as changes in family<br />

traditions and recreational activities. Kellert<br />

found that indirect and vicarious contact<br />

did not produce the same experience<br />

as direct contact. Forest Schools have<br />

come some way in returning children to<br />

natural environments, with varying levels<br />

of freedom, depending on the school<br />

context. Songs about nature not only help<br />

to reinforce learning but often stay with<br />

people well into adulthood, with fond<br />

memories.<br />

All songs found on Musicaliti’s account on<br />

Soundcloud and YouTube as part of the<br />

Learning With Music series.<br />

References:<br />

• Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology<br />

of human development: Experiments<br />

by nature and design. Harvard<br />

University Press.<br />

• Kellert, S. R. (2002). Experiencing<br />

Nature: Affective, Cognitive and<br />

Evaluative Development in Children.<br />

In Children and Nature: Psychological,<br />

Sociocultural and Evolutionary<br />

Investigations (pp. 117–151). MIT Press.<br />

Frances Turnbull<br />

Musician, researcher and author,<br />

Frances Turnbull, is a self-taught guitarist<br />

who has played contemporary and<br />

community music from the age of 12. She<br />

delivers music sessions to the early years<br />

and KS1. Trained in the music education<br />

techniques of Kodály (specialist singing),<br />

Dalcroze (specialist movement) and Orff<br />

(specialist percussion instruments), she<br />

has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology<br />

(Open University) and a Master’s degree<br />

in Education (University of Cambridge).<br />

She runs a local community choir, the<br />

Bolton Warblers, and delivers the Sound<br />

Sense initiative “A choir in every care<br />

home” within local care and residential<br />

homes, supporting health and wellbeing<br />

through her community interest<br />

company.<br />

She has represented the early years<br />

music community at the House of<br />

Commons, advocating for recognition<br />

for early years music educators, and her<br />

table of progressive music skills for under<br />

7s features in her curriculum books.<br />

Frances is the author of “Learning with<br />

Music: Games and activities for the early<br />

years“, published by Routledge, August<br />

2017.<br />

www.musicaliti.co.uk<br />

18 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 19

SEN: dyslexia and<br />

dyscalculia<br />

Dyslexia and dyscalculia are two separate learning difficulties that can cause children to have<br />

problems with literacy and writing, or with numeracy, and are relatively common in children. It<br />

is estimated that 10% of people have some degree of dyslexia. Although these are not the same<br />

condition, they both come under the umbrella of neurodiverse conditions and there are similarities.<br />

Some dyslexic people also have dyscalculia and vice versa.<br />

There are a number of different types of<br />

dyslexia such as:<br />

• Phonological dyslexia (difficulty<br />

breaking speech into individual<br />

sounds)<br />

• Surface dyslexia (takes longer to<br />

process language)<br />

• Visual dyslexia (the brain does not<br />

receive the full picture of what is seen)<br />

• Primary dyslexia (an inherited<br />

condition)<br />

• Secondary dyslexia (occurs as a result<br />

of a brain problem in the womb)<br />

• Acquired or trauma dyslexia (occurs as<br />

a result of brain trauma or disease)<br />

Some children present with delayed<br />

speech and language and this would<br />

need further help. If you suspect a child<br />

may have dyslexia, it is important to tell<br />

the parents and your SENCo so that testing<br />

can be arranged. Extra help may then<br />

be given and if this is insufficient, then it<br />

may be possible to gain a more in-depth<br />

assessment from a specialist dyslexia<br />

teacher or an educational psychologist,<br />

either through the setting/school or directly<br />

through the British Psychological Society or<br />

via a voluntary organisation, such as a local<br />

branch of the British Dyslexia Association.<br />

These tests may examine a child’s:<br />

• Reading and writing abilities<br />

• Language development and<br />

vocabulary<br />

• Logical reasoning<br />

• Memory<br />

• Visual and auditory processing speeds<br />

• Organisational skills<br />

• Approaches to learning<br />

Although quite difficult to pick up in the<br />

early years, the earlier that a diagnosis is<br />

made, and help becomes available, the<br />

more effective help is likely to be. Strategies<br />

can be implemented so the child does not<br />

miss out on learning which can include 1-1<br />

teaching support and help with phonics,<br />

as well as technology such as the use of<br />

speech recognition software which can help<br />

children record their thoughts and answers<br />

instead of using traditional writing. Some<br />

people use coloured overlays over typed<br />

text which helps the words to stop ‘jumping<br />

around’ on the page.<br />

Dyscalculia<br />

Dyscalculia is a condition that affects a<br />

person’s ability to acquire arithmetical and<br />

mathematical skills. People with dyscalculia<br />

may have difficulty understanding simple<br />

number concepts and lack an intuitive<br />

grasp of numbers. They may struggle to<br />

learn number bonds to 10 and 20 and the<br />

mathematical things they are able to do are<br />

often done mechanically and without much<br />

confidence. In comparison to dyslexia,<br />

dyscalculia is less prevalent, occurring<br />

in 3% – 6% of the population. Dyslexia<br />

is sometimes missed in schools, but<br />

dyscalculia is often even more overlooked.<br />

In the early years, a child with dyscalculia<br />

may struggle to count and/or connect<br />

a number to an object such as knowing<br />

that the number “4” can be applied to the<br />

number of wheels on a car, or the number<br />

of legs a cat has, for example. They may<br />

also struggle to recognise patterns or<br />

shapes so they may not be able to<br />

re-arrange blocks in order of size. In<br />

Reception class, they may display difficulty<br />

in recalling basic number bonds and<br />

understanding the four basic maths<br />

functions (addition, subtraction, division,<br />

multiplication). Dyscalculia is not the same<br />

as maths anxiety, however many children<br />

with dyscalculia can develop maths anxiety<br />

too.<br />

How to help<br />

In an early years setting, it can sometimes<br />

be more difficult to recognise some of<br />

the symptoms and signs of dyslexia and<br />

dyscalculia because of the development<br />

stage of the children, and the basic nature<br />

of the maths and literacy taught at this<br />

stage. However, settings can look out<br />

for students who they feel may be falling<br />

behind their peers in simple literacy or<br />

number tasks, and alert parents to any<br />

concerns as soon as possible. There is a list<br />

of some simple signs to look out for on the<br />

BDA website, and practitioners should also<br />

be looking out for speech and language<br />

difficulties that can be a precursor for<br />

literacy problems later on. Looking out for<br />

children who have difficulty in counting or in<br />

recognising different values or patterns, is<br />

also important.<br />

What is vital though, is to remain patient<br />

with children and focus on the progress<br />

they are making with their effort rather than<br />

simply their attainment. Praise children<br />

for trying rather than just achieving an<br />

outcome (e.g. count to 10), and you will<br />

be developing a growth mindset in the<br />

children, rather than reinforcing a negative<br />

belief that they ‘just can’t do’ maths or<br />

reading. The biggest strategy you have<br />

at this age is to guard against imprinting<br />

children with a fixed mindset about a<br />

particular issue, which can lead to low selfesteem<br />

and cause further anxiety.<br />

For more information, see:<br />

• https://www.geniuswithin.co.uk/whatis-neurodiversity<br />

Dyslexia<br />

Dyslexia is a lifelong problem and<br />

although there is no ‘cure’, there are<br />

strategies that people can use to help<br />

overcome some of the difficulties they face.<br />

Having a diagnosis of dyslexia does not<br />

mean people cannot succeed, although<br />

many may not do as well as their peers at<br />

school, due to some of the problems they<br />

face with reading and writing. However,<br />

there are many very successful people<br />

who are dyslexic, such as Sir Richard<br />

Branson, Tom Cruise, Jamie Oliver, and<br />

Stephen Spielberg, and many people<br />

with dyslexia have skills and abilities in<br />

other areas such as creative thinking and<br />

problem-solving.<br />

Dyslexia often comes to light when<br />

children first begin to learn literacy or<br />

writing skills. They may confuse the<br />

order of letters in words and put letters<br />

the wrong way round such as writing<br />

“b” instead of “d” or “p” instead of “q”.<br />

However, many younger children also do<br />

this when they are first learning letters or<br />

mark-making, so identifying it can be tricky<br />

in the early years. Problems with phonics<br />

and spelling may come to light later, and<br />

as with other special educational needs,<br />

children with dyslexia may have problems<br />

following a set of instructions or may seem<br />

disorganised.<br />

• https://www.dyslexia.uk.net/<br />

• https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/<br />

dyslexia/<br />

• https://www.dyslexicadvantage.org/<br />

• https://www.dyslexia.uk.net/specificlearning-difficulties/dyscalculia/thesigns-of-dyscalculia/<br />

• https://www.parliament.uk/<br />

documents/post/postpn226.pdf<br />

20 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 21

Celebrating difference and<br />

neurodivergence - part 3<br />

Other people are different on the inside<br />

This article is the third article in a series of six from Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist,<br />

Joanna Grace, the activities described in each article build up to form a toolkit for celebrating<br />

difference and neurodivergence within your setting in a way that will benefit both the children and<br />

the adults. Joanna runs online training courses focused on strategies for supporting differently-abled<br />

children and promoting inclusive practice. Click here for more information.<br />

In articles one and two, we explored simple<br />

activities to get children thinking about<br />

their internal and external differences and<br />

we have repeatedly challenged ourselves<br />

to discuss these differences with children<br />

using non-judgemental language. A<br />

challenge, those of you who have taken<br />

it, I am sure will have discovered is harder<br />

that it first appears! The activity associated<br />

with this article is going to extend that<br />

thinking for the children even further, as<br />

they consider not just their own differences<br />

but the differences of others. But before we<br />

move on to that, it’s worth stopping to ask<br />

why we are doing this.<br />

Recognising and accepting difference<br />

allows everyone to be more authentically<br />

themselves. In addition to this, there<br />

are two big reasons why it is especially<br />

valuable for neurodivergent people, and<br />

especially so in the early years.<br />

Firstly<br />

When we publicly acknowledge that the<br />

internal workings of people’s brains are<br />

different, and we do this in an open and<br />

pragmatic manner, we protect against the<br />

misunderstandings that occur when people<br />

presume all brains work in the same way.<br />

I always like to draw the analogy between<br />

different types of computer software<br />

and hardware. Imagine you have two<br />

different computers: one Apple machine,<br />

one Windows. Both work. But they do<br />

so in different ways. When you try to run<br />

a Windows programme on the Apple<br />

computer, it doesn’t work. Not because<br />

the computer is broken, or the programme<br />

is wrong, but simply because of the<br />

mismatch.<br />

A lot of neurodivergent people grow up<br />

in environments set up for neurotypical<br />

people, receiving instructions that work<br />

for neurotypical people. When those<br />

environments and teaching strategies do<br />

not work for them, they are labelled as<br />

broken or disabled, when in fact, what<br />

they are, is different. Think about how<br />

careful you have been being about talking<br />

about difference using non-judgemental<br />

language. As you reflect on the impact of<br />

the misunderstanding described above<br />

you can appreciate the value in your<br />

carefully chosen words.<br />

Secondly<br />

Tremendous damage is caused by<br />

the narratives that develop around<br />

neurodivergent people. I am a big<br />

research geek, if you follow me on<br />

Twitter (@Jo3Grace) you will know how<br />

much I value researched-based practice<br />

and how much research I consume. When<br />

you explore the long term outcomes for<br />

neurodivergent people, so many of the<br />

struggles they face in later life are not<br />

a consequence of their difference but<br />

a consequence of the narratives that<br />

surround their difference.<br />

Here is an example. A child is born with<br />

a neurodivergent condition. One aspect<br />

of this condition is that they have different<br />

sleep patterns (this is a common feature<br />

of many neurodivergent conditions). Of<br />

course they look externally like any other<br />

baby, and no one knows as yet that they<br />

are different on the inside. They struggle<br />

to sleep, they are described as a “fussy”<br />

baby. They get older, in their toddler<br />

years the way they process language<br />

is different to their neurotypical peers<br />

(again this is common for neurodivergent<br />

conditions) receiving instructions they<br />

struggle to follow they often do not do<br />

as they are told. The adults around them<br />

refer to them as “naughty” and they<br />

receive various punishments. They move<br />

on to primary school where their sensory<br />

processing differences (again common<br />

in neurodivergent communities) make it<br />

difficult for them to sit still and focus on<br />

their work. The adults around them refer to<br />

them as “difficult”. All the while the story is<br />

developing that the problem is them. “Of<br />

course he is a naughty child, he was such<br />

a fussy baby what did you expect?” “He’s<br />

being difficult again, he’s always been like<br />

this, even as a baby he was so fussy.”<br />

When they hit their teenage years, their<br />

understanding of self is made up out of<br />

these stories. They believe themselves<br />

to be wrong in some way, to be lesser,<br />

to be bad. Their self esteem is low. They<br />

notice their difference from their peers and<br />

interpret it in the same way that the adults<br />

they have experienced in their life have<br />

taught them to do so. They witness their<br />

peers achieving and themselves failing,<br />

and they blame themselves.<br />

It is no surprise that when I read the<br />

research surrounding these populations,<br />

I find increased rates of mental ill health,<br />

greater likelihood of self-harm or substance<br />

abuse, greater risk of dying by suicide,<br />

lower rates of employment, and so on.<br />

It starts small but the language we use<br />

around difference is the beginnings of these<br />

stories. It is the stories, not the conditions,<br />

that cause the low self esteem and the<br />

mental health difficulties; these stories are<br />

dangerous.<br />

For a wonderfully positive example, I<br />

remember a young man who showed me<br />

around the special school that I worked at<br />

when I was a newly qualified teacher. He<br />

was about 14 when I started at the school<br />

and as a member of the school council, he<br />

had been tasked with giving me, the new<br />

teacher, a tour of the school. He started<br />

out by smartly introducing himself, clearly<br />

proud of the responsibility he had been<br />

given. He then immediately said “I have a<br />

learning disability, it can take me longer to<br />

understand things, and it helps me if you<br />

show me anything you want to explain as<br />

well as tell me about it.” And in his next<br />

breath he went on to talk about how good<br />

he was at swimming.<br />

I was so impressed. Here was a child who<br />

had been openly talked to about their<br />

difference, in his first utterances to me, he<br />

had already given me strategies I could<br />

use to support his understanding, and he<br />

had celebrated his abilities. That young<br />

man will have faced struggles in his life as<br />

he attempted to learn new skills, but the<br />

confidence he had in himself, knowing who<br />

he was and how his brain worked will, I’m<br />

sure, have equipped him to meet those<br />

struggles and overcome them. Imagine<br />

who he would be if he had felt that his<br />

difficulties in learning were in some way his<br />

fault? Which leads me on to why this is so<br />

important in the early years:<br />

Early years<br />

Often times, in early years settings you are<br />

supporting children who may be diagnosed<br />

with a neurodivergent condition later on in<br />

their lives. The differences between children<br />

become more apparent with age. But<br />

the impression we make and the stories<br />

we tell when children are small are the<br />

foundations for the stories other people will<br />

tell. Do you describe the child as “bossy”<br />

or as having “leadership skills”? Do you<br />

say “Peter always fidgets” or “Peter’s body<br />

likes to move”? The differences are subtle<br />

but they set a direction now that points to<br />

where that child might end up. The nuances<br />

matter.<br />

Imagine a start point, and an arrow<br />

pointing out from that start point. We direct<br />

this arrow with our utterances. It points to<br />

where that child ends up. The difference<br />

between “Peter always fidgets” and “Peter’s<br />

body likes to move” is small but the nuance<br />

matters. “Peter always fidgets” blames<br />

Peter, it is something he does, and it always<br />

has a notion of value judgement. Add to<br />

that the tone in which it is said and the<br />

arrow points very definitely in one direction.<br />

“Peter’s body likes to move” is very different,<br />

it’s now not Peter himself, but his body, and<br />

the “likes to move” could be used positively<br />

in a different context; “Let’s choose Peter for<br />

this game because his body likes to move.”<br />

The arrow points in a different way. Your<br />

words set the direction. The child grows and<br />

moves in that direct, a difference of a few<br />

degrees now can make a huge difference<br />

between where that child ends up.<br />

So set yourself that challenge again, that<br />

I have set you in all three of these articles:<br />

How can you tweak how you talk about<br />

difference to remove the judgement?<br />

Explore different turns of phrase, which<br />

would be best? Where do they lead?<br />

The task for the children is to make a reveal<br />

picture as before, but this time, not of<br />

themselves but of someone else. It could be<br />

fun to do one for a child in a book so that<br />

everyone is thinking about the same child.<br />

The question the children are answering<br />

is “What do you think they are thinking?” It<br />

is a very hard question, and you can offer<br />

support by giving possible answers. You<br />

could pair them up with friends and ask<br />

them to draw their friend thinking about<br />

their favourite food. The children could<br />

then find out what each other’s favourite<br />

food is and draw that. What we are<br />

aiming for them to appreciate, is that the<br />

other person maybe thinking differently to<br />

themselves. And whilst they are doing that,<br />

we are going to support them by talking<br />

about difference using non-judgemental<br />

language: good luck!<br />

Jo provides in person and online training to<br />

settings looking to enhance their inclusive<br />

practice for more information visit www.<br />

TheSensoryProjects.co.uk where you can<br />

also find resources to help you include<br />

children of all abilities. Jo is active on social<br />

media and welcomes connection requests<br />

from people curious about inclusive<br />

practice.<br />

Joanna Grace<br />

Joanna Grace is an international<br />

Sensory Engagement and Inclusion<br />

Specialist, trainer, author, TEDx speaker<br />

and founder of The Sensory Projects.<br />

Consistently rated as “outstanding” by<br />

Ofsted, Joanna has taught in<br />

mainstream and special school settings,<br />

connecting with pupils of all ages and<br />

abilities. To inform her work, Joanna<br />

draws on her own experience from her<br />

private and professional life as well as<br />

taking in all the information she can<br />

from the research archives. Joanna’s<br />

private life includes family members<br />

with disabilities and neurodiverse<br />

conditions and time spent as a<br />

registered foster carer for children with<br />

profound disabilities.<br />

Joanna has published four practitioner<br />

books: “Multiple Multisensory Rooms:<br />

Myth Busting the Magic”, “Sensory<br />

Stories for Children and Teens”,<br />

“Sensory-Being for Sensory Beings”<br />

and “Sharing Sensory Stories and<br />

Conversations with People with<br />

Dementia”. and two inclusive sensory<br />

story children’s books: “Voyage to<br />

Arghan” and “Ernest and I”. There is<br />

new book coming out soon called ‘”The<br />

Subtle Spectrum” and her son has<br />

recently become the UK’s youngest<br />

published author with his book, “My<br />

Mummy is Autistic”.<br />

Joanna is a big fan of social media and<br />

is always happy to connect with people<br />

via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.<br />

Website:<br />

thesensoryprojects.co.uk<br />

22 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 23

Reveal Pictures - part 2<br />

Lemony lemonade<br />

This craft is in relation to the “Celebrating difference and neurodivergence - part 3” article by<br />

Joanna Grace, and was created with her son imagining what his baby brother might be thinking<br />

about. This is similar to the activity associated with the previous article.<br />

This recipe has been<br />

kindly supplied by<br />

Katherine Houghton, from<br />

her wonderful cookbook<br />

“Early Years Recipes for<br />

Children”, available to<br />

purchase here.<br />

You will need<br />

Instructions:<br />

• Paper<br />

• Pens/crayons/coloured<br />

pencils<br />

• Glue sticks<br />

• Optional: Cardboard (some<br />

packaging boxes that books<br />

or DVDs are delivered in<br />

are perfect for this as we<br />

discovered)<br />

1. Fold an A4 piece of paper<br />

so that the two end quatres<br />

meet in the middle of the<br />

length, hiding half of the<br />

page.<br />

2. Take a second piece of<br />

paper and attach it to the<br />

first so that it folds down<br />

covering the half page.<br />

3. You now have three layers:<br />

1) the folded outside, 2) the<br />

covering flap 3) the inside.<br />

4. Draw the outline of a head<br />

on the first and third layer.<br />

On the middle layer draw a<br />

brain or alternatively, print<br />

a brain drawing. We have<br />

a free template you could<br />

download here.<br />

5. Ask the children to draw<br />

their own face on the<br />

outside layer.<br />

6. Invite them to colour in the<br />

brain that is revealed when<br />

they look inside their heads:<br />

7. Ask them what their friend<br />

might be thinking and have<br />

them draw this below the<br />

flap.<br />

What do you need?<br />

• 10 x lemons<br />

• Sugar<br />

• Sparkling water<br />

Instructions<br />

1. Wash the lemons<br />

2. Cut the lemons into halves<br />

3. Squeeze the lemons, twist and turn until all the juice is out<br />

4. Add a cup of sugar and stir<br />

5. Pour in a bottle of sparkling water and mix<br />

6. Enjoy the best ever lemonade!<br />

24 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com parenta.com | | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 25

Paediatric First Aid Course<br />

CPD courses….<br />

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0800 002 9242 hello@parenta.com

Violence against women: the role of the early<br />

years in preventing gender stereotypes - part 2<br />

‘Gender equality is a human fight, not a female fight.’ - Frieda Pinto<br />

Last month we looked at violence and how a collaborative effort in the early years can transform<br />

stereotypical attitudes and behaviour in boys, and help reduce violence against women and girls.<br />

This month we look at how we can best support girls to become women of purpose and resolve.<br />

A girl’s identity is informed by her<br />

genes, temperament, parents, home<br />

environment, friends, and the world<br />

around her. Early years providers have the<br />

opportunity to help girls become robust<br />

and confident individuals in their early<br />

years, impacting resilience for life.<br />

Social roles and norms are formed<br />

early and stick around for life unless<br />

challenged. ‘Boys will be boys,’ ‘Girls are<br />

sissies.’ Girls are often seen as ‘bossy’<br />

or ‘interfering’ when displaying their<br />

confidence or assertion. Boys, on the other<br />

hand, are more likely to be praised for<br />

being assertive. What a contradiction!<br />

In a recent meeting with several early<br />

years, primary and secondary teachers,<br />

the conversation turned towards girls’<br />

Age in<br />

months<br />

Outcome<br />

12 She laughs and interacts with people she loves<br />

18<br />

She engages with her parent/carer in her daily<br />

routine<br />

24 She enjoys showing some independence<br />

30<br />

36<br />

She is confident enough to deliberately seek and<br />

keep an adult’s attention<br />

She has the confidence to state her own preferences<br />

and interests, even if different from others<br />

42 She enjoys carrying out small acts of responsibility<br />

48<br />

54<br />

60<br />

She shows confidence by talking freely to familiar/<br />

unfamiliar girls or boys when playing<br />

She has the confidence to independently choose an<br />

activity and then gather and use all the materials<br />

needed<br />

She has the confidence to talk positively about herself<br />

and others<br />

60+<br />

She shows confidence in speaking out, trying out<br />

new activities, asking for help, and sharing ideas<br />

confidence throughout school. It was every<br />

teacher’s experience that girls speak up<br />

less and ‘let the boys do the talking.’ In<br />

short, boys dominated. Even in a gender<br />

equality lesson, it was observed that the<br />

boys answered the questions or debated<br />

the point. The girls were silent. Why<br />

were girls less likely to speak out? The<br />

teachers’ collaborative view was that girls’<br />

confidence gradually weakened as the<br />

girls got older, with a pronounced dip in<br />

secondary school.<br />

Building skills that counter<br />

violence<br />

Young girls need to know that that they<br />

can thrive not only irrespective of, but<br />

because of their gender.<br />

Not yet<br />

reached<br />

Nearly<br />

reached<br />

Reached<br />

Providers need to ensure that girls have a<br />

keen awareness that they are true equals<br />

in every aspect of their development.<br />

This begins with the skill of confidence.<br />

Confidence grows with support and<br />

flourishes when encouraged. It is vital that<br />

we start this process right at the start of a<br />

child’s life.<br />

Gauge the confidence levels of every girl in<br />

your setting. This is a crucial starting point,<br />

as the self-reliance that accompanies<br />

a strong sense of self is key to creating<br />

women who feel empowered.<br />

Start the process by completing<br />

the confidence outcomes below for<br />

each girl. (1)<br />

Suggested support<br />

Provide daily one-to-one interactions, filled<br />

with warmth and laughter<br />

Have a predictable and deeply enjoyable<br />

daily routine<br />

Always be warmly and lovingly responsive to<br />

her social and emotional cues<br />

Continue building a special and warm<br />

relationship<br />

Always be alert to her facial and postural<br />

cues by interpreting and labelling them<br />

Provide plenty of genuinely enjoyable<br />

opportunities for her to help with<br />

Encourage enjoyable and exciting<br />

collaboration with some highly appealing<br />

group activities<br />

Provide highly appealing activities and<br />

events that follow her keen interests<br />

Create a responsive environment, full of<br />

praise and encouragement, always following<br />

her effortful attempts with positive feedback<br />

Create plenty of opportunities for group<br />

activities where she can enjoy collaborative<br />

work with others<br />

How did they do? Have you noticed a<br />

pattern? If each girl’s confidence levels<br />

are strong, keep doing what you are<br />

doing. If there are gaps, then follow the<br />

activities, and then re-assess the girls<br />

after a few weeks.<br />

Choice and voice<br />

Empowerment is the expansion of choice<br />

and the strengthening of voice through<br />

the transformation of power relations, so<br />

women and girls have more control over<br />

their lives and futures. (Eerdewijk et al<br />

2017)<br />

Girls’ habits and practices around choice<br />

and voice are key to their identity. For girls<br />

to be truly empowered, we need to ask<br />

ourselves the following questions:<br />

Does the provision:<br />

• Support girls in making choices and<br />

having control over their actions?<br />

• Empower girls to act and realise<br />

aspirations right from the start,<br />

regardless of social norms, so that<br />

they have achievable hopes and<br />

desires?<br />

• Encourage girls to express<br />

themselves?<br />

• Encourage girls to negotiate?<br />

A new social norm<br />

Social norms are subtle, insidious, and<br />

potentially toxic. They are the breeding<br />

ground for shaping rules about behaviour<br />

and habits that may well be harmful<br />

to both boys and girls. They potentially<br />

devalue the potential of girls across<br />

many areas of learning, particularly later<br />

on in school, where girls may perceive<br />

themselves as not ‘smart’ enough for<br />

science or maths choices.<br />

We need to embrace a mindset where<br />

we are keenly sensitive to all gender and<br />

social norms, ensuring that they never<br />

impact the learning of girls or the future<br />

potential of women. Awareness must<br />

be planted deep within the framework<br />

of what is taught and shared with our<br />

youngest citizens.<br />

Attitudes around girls or women being<br />

weak, or in need of protection, or striving<br />

harder to get ahead are myths based on<br />

the social and gender norms that have<br />

shaped our society for centuries. Such<br />

stereotypical assumptions based on<br />

‘shared’ traits should have no place in our<br />

education system.<br />

Helen Garnett<br />

Helen Garnett is a mother of 4, and<br />

a committed and experienced early<br />

years consultant. She has a wealth<br />

of experience in teaching, both in<br />

the primary and early years sectors.<br />

She co-founded a pre-school in 2005<br />

where she developed a keen interest<br />

in early intervention, leading her into<br />

international work for the early years<br />

sector. Helen cares passionately<br />

about young children and connection.<br />

As a result, she wrote her first book,<br />

“Developing Empathy in the Early Years:<br />

a guide for practitioners” for which she<br />

won the Professional Books category<br />

at the 2018 Nursery World Awards,<br />

and “Building a Resilient Early Years<br />

Workforce”, published by Early Years<br />

Alliance in <strong>June</strong> 2019. She also writes<br />

articles for early years magazines, such<br />

as Nursery World, Early Years Teacher<br />

Organisation, QA Education, Teach Early<br />

Years, and Early Years Educator.<br />

Helen is the co-founder and Education<br />

Director at Arc Pathway, an early years<br />

platform for teachers and parents.<br />

Helen can be contacted via LinkedIn.<br />

Everyone is different. Everyone is diverse.<br />

Everyone is an individual. Our shared<br />

traits are to be celebrated, not conformed<br />

to. This is our new social norm!<br />

References<br />

1. Arc Pathway<br />

28 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 29

Celebrating Summer Solstice<br />

<strong>June</strong> is the month of the year when we all look forward to enjoying some warm weather, lighter<br />

evenings, and a long-awaited summer holiday. It is also the month of the Summer Solstice – the<br />

longest day of the year which officially marks the start of summer.<br />

A little bit of astronomy<br />

Our earth revolves around the sun once<br />

every 365.25 days, which we know as<br />

a year. However, as well as orbiting the<br />

sun, the earth also spins on its own axis<br />

(the imaginary line running from the<br />

North to the South Pole), taking 24 hours<br />

to complete a full rotation and creating<br />

hours of daylight and darkness, which<br />

we call day and night. But that doesn’t<br />

explain why we get seasons (spring,<br />

summer, autumn, and winter), or why we<br />

have some days that have more daylight<br />

(in summer) and some days that have<br />

less daylight (in winter).<br />

This happens because the earth is not<br />

in an upright position relative to the<br />

sun, but is tilted at an angle of 23.5<br />

degrees from the vertical. As the earth<br />

revolves around the sun, the tilt of the<br />

axis remains the same. So, when it is<br />

summer in the northern hemisphere, the<br />

northern hemisphere is tilted towards<br />

the sun, whilst the southern hemisphere<br />

is tilted away from the sun, thereby<br />

experiencing winter. When the earth gets<br />

to the opposite side of the sun in its orbit,<br />

the situation is reversed, and it is winter<br />

in the northern hemisphere and summer<br />

in the southern hemisphere. That’s why<br />

the Australians can enjoy their Christmas<br />

lunch on the beach, while we build<br />

snowmen and snuggle up with a hot<br />

cocoa! The earth’s tilt also explains why<br />

we have seasons and why the amount<br />

of daylight we get varies throughout the<br />

year. There’s a good video for children<br />

which explains the movement of the<br />

earth and why we have seasons here.<br />

So, what is the Summer<br />

Solstice?<br />

The Summer Solstice marks the point<br />

in the year where the earth reaches<br />

its closest inclination to the sun (which<br />

is not the same as its closest distance<br />

from the sun, however). In the northern<br />

hemisphere, this will be on Monday, <strong>June</strong><br />

21, <strong>2021</strong>. This will be the Winter Solstice<br />

in the southern hemisphere. It is also<br />

the day that the UK receives the most<br />

hours of daylight during the year, but the<br />

exact amount of daylight we get varies<br />

according to location. The North Pole<br />

has constant daylight at this time of year<br />

as it is angled towards the sun, whilst<br />

the South Pole experiences continual<br />

darkness. Daylight at the equator is<br />

constant throughout the year with equal<br />

amounts of daylight and darkness.<br />

At Stonehenge in Salisbury, thought by<br />

some to be an ancient astronomical<br />

calendar, Midsummer’s Day will see the<br />

first rays of sun at 04:52 and say goodbye<br />

to them at 21:26 giving almost 17 hours<br />

of daylight. Although, as we well know<br />

in the UK, daylight hours are not the<br />

same as sunshine hours, as our weather,<br />

clouds, and rain can get in the way of<br />

that, but even if this happens, the sun is<br />

still out there….somewhere!<br />

How to celebrate Summer<br />

Solstice in your setting<br />

Summer Solstice is the perfect time to<br />

celebrate everything warm and sunny<br />

with your children, so here are 17 different<br />

ideas to help your little ones celebrate<br />

– one for each hour (or part hour) of<br />

daylight on Midsummer’s Day!<br />

1. Make a sun and earth mobile using<br />

pom-poms or simple circles of<br />

coloured card<br />

2. Plant some seeds – cosmos, dianthus<br />

and nasturtiums are easy to grow,<br />

and should do well if planted at this<br />

time of year<br />

3. Make some sunshine headdresses<br />

or masks or use some face paint to<br />

create representations of the sun and<br />

the earth – then create a dance or act<br />

out the earth moving around the sun<br />

and spinning on its axis<br />

4. Listen to some classical music –<br />

Vivaldi’s “Summer” from his “Four<br />

Seasons” is calming and evokes long<br />

summer days<br />

5. Celebrate with a Midsummer fete or<br />

festival – make sure you serve the<br />

quintessential British summer treat of<br />

strawberries and cream<br />

6. Press some summer flowers and<br />

make them into a solstice greeting<br />

card<br />

7. Create some sunrise or sunset<br />

pictures – you can use different<br />

shades of paper cut out in increasing<br />

sized semi-circles to create the<br />

sunrise/sunset<br />

8. Watch the sunrise live at Stonehenge<br />

via a live link on Facebook here (if you<br />

are up early enough) or watch it in<br />

your setting later on YouTube (so you<br />

can have some extra time in bed!)<br />

9. Make some fairy peg dolls and<br />

have the children create a dance<br />

on Midsummer’s Day – in folklore,<br />

Midsummer is traditionally a day<br />

when magic is strongest, and fairies<br />

and pixies can get up to mischief!<br />

10. Make a simple sundial by using a<br />

long stick and some coloured or<br />

painted stones. Push the stick into the<br />

ground outside in the full sun and use<br />

the stones to mark where the shadow<br />

falls each hour. You can find some<br />

instructions here<br />

11. Make some summer-inspired treats<br />

such as lemon fairy cakes, butterfly<br />

cakes or decorate some pancakes<br />

with sunny faces using bananas,<br />

strawberries, grapes, and raisins<br />

12. Learn some English country dances<br />

based on the idea of circles and<br />

rotation<br />

13. Tell a simplified version of<br />

Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s<br />

Dream” in storytime or read some<br />

educational books based on summer<br />

such as “What can you see in<br />

summer?” by Sian Smith, or “A Perfect<br />

Day” by Lane Smith<br />

14. Make a daisy or dandelion chain,<br />

or a flower headdress to mark the<br />

occasion<br />

15. Meditate with your children, giving<br />

thanks for the day, and incorporate<br />

some simple yoga poses to<br />

strengthen balance and body<br />

awareness<br />

16. Sing some songs that celebrate<br />

summer – a YouTube search using<br />

“summer songs for kids” brings up<br />

many favourite songs as well as<br />

some new ones you might like to try<br />

17. And finally, sit around a small bonfire<br />

(following all safety precautions,<br />

of course) and toast some<br />

marshmallows – the perfect end to a<br />

perfect summer’s day!<br />

And if all that fails, and it does rain….<br />

make a colourful fake fire inside and<br />

eat the marshmallows anyway!<br />

30 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 31

Teaching children the true<br />

meaning of the word ‘sorry’<br />

After a few stand-offs with my toddler, trying to force him to say ‘sorry’ (for walloping his sister<br />

around the head with a toy and calling her ‘poopy head’), I decided to take a step back and<br />

actually question my approach.<br />

Through my business, Early Years<br />

Story Box, I deliver training in the<br />

childcare sector about how the mind<br />

is programmed in early childhood and<br />

how this silently guides us through life.<br />

Quite often our intention as a parent<br />

and practitioner versus the message we<br />

are delivering is inadvertently different.<br />

We can also often get caught up in<br />

subconsciously repeating parenting<br />

patterns and approaches of the<br />

generations before us.<br />

Knowing this, I often analyse my own<br />

actions and question if there is a better<br />

approach than the one I am using and<br />

when I actually sat back and thought<br />

about it, I realised that what I was<br />

teaching my son by forcing an apology<br />

was actually the opposite of my intention.<br />

I wanted to teach him to take<br />

responsibility and to understand the<br />

impact of his actions. However, I realised<br />

that by forcing him to say ‘sorry’ (when<br />

he clearly showed no remorse at all) was<br />

doing the exact opposite. Really it was<br />

just teaching him that ‘sorry’ was a magic<br />

word that can be said in order to avoid<br />

consequences.<br />

After this realisation, I decided to ditch<br />

the forced apologies and take a different<br />

approach that I have now broken down<br />

into 4 steps:<br />

Step 1 - Calmly ask what<br />

has happened and LISTEN<br />

Behaviour is communication, therefore<br />

there is always a reason or trigger for<br />

children to act a certain way. When I<br />

asked my son why he had smacked his<br />

sister and called her ‘poopy head’, it<br />

turned out that she had been winding<br />

him up. Now this does not justify his<br />

actions, however, by knowing this it<br />

gave me a chance to teach him how<br />

to manage his feelings in a more<br />

appropriate way. By simply forcing an<br />

apology, this would have skipped this<br />

whole process.<br />

Step 2 – Acknowledge<br />

EVERYBODY’s feelings<br />

Quite often in this situation we would<br />

naturally focus on the child who has been<br />

hit. However, by also acknowledging my<br />

son’s frustration with his sister winding<br />

him up, it made him feel heard and<br />

opened the lines of communication.<br />

You rarely get the best out of people<br />

when they feel attacked or backed in a<br />

corner and children are no different. By<br />

acknowledging that his actions hurt his<br />

sister (which wasn’t okay), as well as<br />

saying that I understood that his reaction<br />

was caused by frustration, my son felt<br />

understood and therefore was more open<br />

to hear what I had to say.<br />

Step 3 – Identify people’s<br />

feelings<br />

Once I had my son’s attention and he was<br />

calm, I then asked him how he thought his<br />

sister might have felt when he hit her and<br />

called her names. At first, he struggled to<br />

answer this question so I turned it around<br />

and asked him how he would feel if his<br />

sister hit him every time she felt frustrated<br />

with him. He immediately said that it<br />

would make him feel sad so I asked him<br />

if he could see that this would have made<br />

his sister feel the same way. He agreed.<br />

In this moment he realised that his actions<br />

had an impact on others. I also asked<br />

my daughter the same question about<br />

winding her brother up so that she knew<br />

this wasn’t okay either.<br />

Step 4 – Find an<br />

alternative/solution<br />

After going through this whole process<br />

I asked my little boy if he could think of<br />

things he could have done instead of<br />

hitting and name-calling when he felt<br />

frustrated. He said that he could have told<br />

Mummy, which I agreed would have been<br />

better. I then asked him what he could do<br />

to make things right. His response was “I<br />

know, Mummy, I could call her ‘Unicorn<br />

Girl’ instead”. His sister’s eyes lit up and<br />

we all laughed and agreed that this was a<br />

far nicer name than ‘poopy head’.<br />

Step 5 - Model the apology<br />

I then asked my little boy if he wanted to<br />

say sorry for hitting and calling his sister<br />

names. Most of the time this leads to an<br />

apology, but on the odd occasion that<br />

it doesn’t, I say sorry on his behalf and<br />

model the apology by saying something<br />

like “I’m sorry your brother hit you and<br />

called you names because I know he is<br />

kind and wouldn’t want to hurt you”.<br />

At the end of the day ‘sorry’ means<br />

nothing without action. I used to put so<br />

emphasis on this word, when in reality<br />

it is the smallest part of an apology. This<br />

process has not only helped to teach my<br />

children about the true meaning of the<br />

word ‘sorry’ but has also developed their<br />

ability to take responsibility, empathise,<br />

and have compassion. I too have regained<br />

my sanity by avoiding the tireless ‘say<br />

sorry’ stand-offs, that let’s face it, we rarely<br />

win!<br />

SORRY!<br />

Stacey Kelly<br />

Stacey Kelly is a former teacher, a parent<br />

to 2 beautiful babies and the founder<br />

of Early Years Story Box, which is a<br />

subscription website providing children’s<br />

storybooks and early years resources.<br />

She is passionate about building<br />

children’s imagination, creativity and<br />

self-belief and about creating awareness<br />

of the impact that the early years have<br />

on a child’s future. Stacey loves her role<br />

as a writer, illustrator and public speaker<br />

and believes in the power of personal<br />

development. She is also on a mission<br />

to empower children to live a life full<br />

of happiness and fulfilment, which is<br />

why she launched the #ThankYouOaky<br />

Gratitude Movement.<br />

Sign up to Stacey’s Premium Membership<br />

here and use the code PARENTA20 to get<br />

20% off or contact Stacey for an online<br />

demo.<br />

Email: stacey@earlyyearsstorybox.com or<br />

Telephone: 07765785595<br />

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/<br />

earlyyearsstorybox<br />

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/<br />

eystorybox<br />

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/<br />

earlyyearsstorybox<br />

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/<br />

stacey-kelly-a84534b2/<br />

32 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 33

Drowning Prevention Week<br />

Death has been in the headlines continually in the last year. However, one statistic you might not<br />

have heard, is that on average, 402 UK and Irish citizens die each year of accidental drowning,<br />

deaths which the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) argue are completely preventable, stating that<br />

“Even one drowning is one too many”. And they are on a mission to change it.<br />

From the 19th to the 26th <strong>June</strong>, the<br />

RLSS is organising Drowning Prevention<br />

Week as part of their mission to help<br />

everybody enjoy water safely. The<br />

campaign encourages schools, parents,<br />

leisure centres, water sports providers,<br />

and the wider community to use water<br />

resources safely and to take the time<br />

to teach people the skills they need to<br />

enjoy a “lifetime of fun in the water”. The<br />

campaign is needed more than ever this<br />

year because a lot of time and education<br />

has been lost during the pandemic with<br />

swimming pools closed and swimming<br />

lessons cancelled, revealing a large<br />

education gap in water safety.<br />

What is even more worrying is that in<br />

some communities, where engagement<br />

with water safety activities and swimming<br />

has been traditionally low, this gap<br />

seems to have increased and there needs<br />

to be a large and more focused effort to<br />

reach out to these communities and get<br />

the messages across.<br />

Some of these under-represented<br />

communities include the Black community<br />

where 80% of children and 95% of adults<br />

do not swim. Other groups where the<br />

society is keen to get safety messages<br />

across are in younger people, particularly<br />

males since over 80% of those who<br />

drown accidentally are male and 23% are<br />

aged between 16-30, with a massive 46%<br />

reported as never intending to go in the<br />

water.<br />

Sharing is caring!<br />

On July 31 last year, a ten-year-old boy,<br />

Ravi Saini survived for more than an hour<br />

using floating advice he had remembered<br />

seeing on a BBC TV documentary, after<br />

being swept out to sea whilst enjoying<br />

a day out at a beach near Scarborough.<br />

His RNLI rescuers praised him when they<br />

found him floating on his back, with his<br />

arms and legs spread, shouting for help,<br />

and were convinced that his ‘Float to live’<br />

technique (see below) had saved his life.<br />

34 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

One of the best things you can do to help<br />

the campaign, therefore, is to spread the<br />

simple water safety messages, and to<br />

raise awareness of the issue among your<br />

staff, parents and friends.<br />

Last year, the RLSS educated nearly<br />

two million people with essential water<br />

safety advice, and this year, they are<br />

hoping to reach many more. You can<br />

show your support by downloading and<br />

sharing images, templates and banners<br />

from their website to add to your social<br />

media accounts, and use the following<br />

hashtags and Twitter tags with messages<br />

of support:<br />

• #drowningpreventionweek<br />

• #enjoywatersafely<br />

• @RLSSUK<br />

The society is also producing a range of<br />

educational materials and a toolkit to use<br />

in your settings and there are resources<br />

aimed especially at pre-schoolers,<br />

primary, and secondary schools too. The<br />

toolkit includes suggested social media<br />

posts, example emails, and blogs to<br />

advise parents about the week, so a lot<br />

of the work has been done for you. It is<br />

just a matter of getting the message out<br />

to the people you know. And there’s a<br />

prize draw for everyone who uses the<br />

hashtags/tags, giving them the chance to<br />

win a Dryrobe changing robe, so there’s<br />

an extra incentive to get the message out.<br />

What are the main messages?<br />

This year, there are 3 main messages:<br />

1. Throughout 2020 and <strong>2021</strong>, young<br />

people have vitally missed out on<br />

the opportunity to swim, leaving a<br />

dramatic gap in school swimming<br />

and water safety education<br />

2. Drowning is preventable – even one<br />

drowning is one too many<br />

3. Through free, accessible education<br />

and training, everyone can enjoy<br />

water safely<br />

Follow the Water Safety Code<br />

The Water Safety Code is a simple code<br />

to follow whenever you are near water<br />

and is the backbone of all water safety<br />

education. Its messages are simple and<br />

aimed at helping people make the right,<br />

early critical decisions around water,<br />

as well as telling them what to do in an<br />

emergency.<br />

However, water safety is not just about<br />

going swimming and their advice extends<br />

to keeping people safe at home, using the<br />

bath, paddling pools, swimming pools and<br />

aquaparks, and whilst walking near water<br />

in winter too. Check out the website for lots<br />

of helpful advice for families and people<br />

of all ages, and you can even learn how to<br />

gain lifesaving qualifications or participate<br />

in lifesaving competitions.<br />

Below are some of the main messages<br />

and advice to follow.<br />


• Check water sites for hazards, and the safest places to swim,<br />

and always read the signs<br />

• Take time to check the depth and water flow of open water<br />

sites<br />

• Swim with any children in your care – it’s more fun and you<br />

can keep them close and safe<br />

• On beaches, check the high/low tides and ensure you will not<br />

be cut off by the rising tide<br />

• Learn to identify and stay away from dangerous rip-currents<br />

• Do not use inflatable dinghies or lilos in open water<br />

• Do not swim near to, or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or<br />

coral<br />

• Always swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore<br />

‘Float to live’ advice from<br />

the Royal National Lifeboat<br />

Institution (RNLI)<br />

People are urged to follow this potentially<br />

lifesaving advice if they find themselves in<br />

trouble after falling into cold water.<br />



Whenever you are around water:<br />



In an emergency:<br />

CALL 999 OR 112<br />

FLOAT<br />

1. Fight your instinct, not the water<br />

– meaning don’t try to swim hard<br />

or thrash about as this can lead to<br />

breathing in water and drowning,<br />

especially if people are suffering from<br />

cold water shock<br />

Look for the dangers.<br />

Always read the signs.<br />

Never swim alone. Always<br />

go with friends or family.<br />

Shout for help and phone<br />

999 or 112.<br />

If you fall in, float or swim on<br />

your back. Throw something<br />

that floats to anyone who<br />

has fallen in.<br />


• Empty paddling pools as soon as they have been used<br />

• Always turn paddling pools upside down once empty<br />

• Always supervise your children around water, including bath<br />

time<br />

• Never leave children unattended near water, even for a<br />

moment<br />

• Always use gates, fences and locks to prevent children from<br />

gaining access to pools of water<br />

• Securely cover all water storage tanks and drains<br />

2. Instead, relax and float on your back,<br />

spreading your arms and legs out<br />

like a starfish until you have regained<br />

control of your breathing<br />

You can find more advice on the RNLI’s<br />

website including videos on how to teach<br />

children to float.<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 35

All you need to know about tantrums<br />

If there’s one simple word that strikes fear into the heart of both parents and carers, it has to be the<br />

word “tantrum”. After all, they are almost impossible to avoid, difficult to understand, and in the heat of<br />

the moment, can be hard to handle.<br />

place where others are not watching and<br />

where you can deal with it more calmly –<br />

out of the public gaze.<br />

Stay close and be calm. Remain nearby<br />

but don’t try and reason with the child<br />

initially.<br />

At what point are toddler<br />

tantrums a worry?<br />

Seek some professional help if the<br />

tantrums are becoming regularly very<br />

numerous.<br />

Here Tanith Carey, author of “What’s My Child Thinking? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parent”,<br />

with clinical child psychologist Dr. Angharad Rudkin, shares research from the book.<br />

Are tantrums normal? How<br />

common are they?<br />

Yes, they are a normal and necessary part<br />

of a child’s development.<br />

In that moment, the child is handling the<br />

situation the only way they know how,<br />

which is using their bodies and crying.<br />

Tantrums are usually caused by feelings of<br />

overwhelm, powerlessness, or frustration.<br />

All these feelings are common for a small<br />

child, who doesn’t yet have the words to<br />

express how they feel and gets told what<br />

to do all day by adults at a time when they<br />

want to explore the world and become<br />

more independent.<br />

Are tantrums a sign of bad<br />

parenting or childcare?<br />

No, tantrums are not a sign of bad<br />

parenting.<br />

But parents can sometimes react - with the<br />

best intentions – in ways that make them<br />

more serious and last longer!<br />

For one thing, I think the shame that<br />

parents often feel when other people see<br />

their child having a tantrum can make<br />

things worse.<br />

This is because the parent’s brain also<br />

goes into fight-or-flight mode – or they try<br />

to ‘showboat’ firm parenting in a bid to<br />

show ‘who’s in charge.’<br />

This often makes it harder to respond in a<br />

more calm way, which is what your child<br />

needs now.<br />

So I’d say to any parents, be kinder to<br />

yourself and reframe how you think of<br />

tantrums.<br />

Avoid seeing them as a sign of defiance,<br />

or naughtiness, designed to make your life<br />

harder.<br />

Toddler tantrums and the terrible<br />

twos – when do they start?<br />

Why are children at this age<br />

particularly prone to throwing<br />

tantrums, is there any science<br />

behind this?<br />

You are likely to start seeing tantrums<br />

between the age of 18 months and two<br />

years.<br />

At this age, they are also starting to master<br />

control of their bodies and becoming more<br />

independent. However, the fast pace of<br />

this physical development is racing ahead<br />

of their emotional development – hence<br />

the fireworks.<br />

Throughout our lives, our reasoning and<br />

emotions are governed by the frontal<br />

lobes, which also put the brakes on<br />

emotional, impulsive behaviour. But at<br />

this age, this part of the brain is only just<br />

getting wired up. So toddlers can’t slow<br />

themselves down, without help.<br />

What exactly causes tantrums?<br />

Are they caused by the child’s<br />

brain/external factors?<br />

Children at this age want to be the boss<br />

but they’re also learning that the world<br />

is a place where not everyone does their<br />

bidding and that’s why tantrums start to<br />

happen now.<br />

At two, they also understand far more<br />

than they can say at this age, which adds<br />

to their frustration. At the start of this year,<br />

they usually have a bank of between 50 to<br />

200 words.<br />

As their vocabulary lags behind what they<br />

want to express, this leads to irritation -<br />

they are not being understood, which can<br />

manifest as tantrums.<br />

Are some children just ‘better<br />

behaved’ than others?<br />

Some children are more reactive or more<br />

‘wired’ to react and some find it more<br />

difficult to communicate than others. These<br />

children need more help from grownups to<br />

notice their triggers and work out what to do<br />

to handle them.<br />

So it’s not really about being ‘badly<br />

behaved.’<br />

Is there anything you can do, as an<br />

adult, to avoid tantrums?<br />

As a parent, you can reduce the number of<br />

tantrums and how long they last by staying<br />

calm, providing reassurance, and helping a<br />

child to feel heard.<br />

Look for flashpoints like transition times –<br />

when they are switching from one activity to<br />

another – like going from playing with their<br />

toys to having to have a bath.<br />

These can be difficult - and feel like a real<br />

wrench to a toddler engrossed in a play<br />

- so give them lots of warnings. Say you<br />

understand they are sad to have to do<br />

something new, so they won’t feel the need<br />

to protest as much. Also, give them some<br />

time to finish what they are doing and<br />

prepare them for the next step by giving<br />

gentle and firm warnings like: “One more<br />

turn making a Lego tower and then it’s bathtime.”<br />

As a child gets older, get them to notice the<br />

signs they are about to blow.<br />

Help them imagine their anger as a volcano<br />

or something outside themselves so they<br />

find it easier to talk about.<br />

Give them some words to express<br />

themselves. Suggest when they feel like they<br />

are going to get angry, that again he tells<br />

you first: ‘I’m tired, ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I need some<br />

quiet time’ or ‘I want you to listen’.<br />

What are some of the most<br />

effective ways to handle a tantrum?<br />

First, make sure the child won’t get hurt.<br />

In public, try to gently take them to a quiet<br />

When the worst has passed, and the child<br />

starts to settle, get down on their level, use<br />

a soft voice and a gentle touch to soothe<br />

and encourage them to respond more<br />

calmly.<br />

How can I head off a tantrum<br />

before it happens?<br />

You will never be able to avoid tantrums<br />

completely, but you can reduce how often<br />

they happen and how long they last.<br />

To head off tantrums, also give a child<br />

more ‘safe’ power so they feel less of the<br />

need to exercise their will via a tantrum.<br />

For example, if a child is refusing to wear<br />

their coat to go outside tell them: “I can see<br />

this is hard for you today. I can help you<br />

decide what to wear outside if you like”.<br />

By allowing them to say what they want,<br />

they are more likely to relax. Or offer them<br />

the choice of two coats so they feel they<br />

have some input. After a tantrum, don’t<br />

shame or tell a child they have been<br />

naughty.<br />

Chat to your child about what you both<br />

could have done differently – and let them<br />

try to express, even if only in basic words,<br />

how they felt then and how they feel now.<br />

What are some phrases to avoid<br />

and use during a tantrum?<br />

Don’t tell a child to “Stop this now” and<br />

“You’re OK. Say things instead like’ I’m<br />

here”.<br />

Use short simple sentences “Big breaths”<br />

– to remind them to breathe deeply and<br />

calm themselves - and offer a cuddle<br />

when they are starting to calm down.<br />

Is it ever okay to ‘give in’ to a<br />

tantrum?<br />

I don’t think ‘give in’ is a helpful way of<br />

looking at it. It frames the tantrum as a<br />

battle of wills between parent and adult.<br />

Hold onto reasonable limits and manage<br />

the situation and use distraction instead<br />

which still works well at this age.<br />

So five to ten tantrums are a sign of a bad<br />

day. But if these bad days are the norm,<br />

then it might be time to seek some outside<br />

help.<br />

Researchers have found the average<br />

tantrum lasts about 11 minutes though<br />

it probably seems longer than that. But<br />

when a child’s typical tantrums last more<br />

than 25 minutes – and they are regularly<br />

deliberately hurting themselves, then it’s<br />

wise to get the situation looked at.<br />

Is there any advice for keeping<br />

calmer yourself when a child has<br />

a tantrum?<br />

It will be a lot easier to remain calm if you<br />

see tantrums as a necessary phase of<br />

development - a sign that a child’s physical<br />

development has raced ahead of their<br />

emotional development.<br />

It’s not a sign of ‘naughtiness’ or ‘bad<br />

behaviour’. It’s a sign a child is becoming<br />

more independent and learning through,<br />

trial and error, how to manage their<br />

emotions.<br />

Understand instead that at this age their<br />

higher brains just aren’t developed enough<br />

yet to deal with the powerful feelings they<br />

are experiencing. While it’s happening,<br />

take some deep breaths and view it as<br />

like a cloud flying overhead. It will soon<br />

pass. Remember that a child doesn’t enjoy<br />

having a tantrum. What they want most is<br />

to feel safe and back in control.<br />

With your help and time, these outbursts<br />

will get less and less. See it is a necessary<br />

phase that a toddler will pass through.<br />

Tanith Carey<br />

Tanith Carey writes books which offer<br />

a lucid analysis of the most pressing<br />

challenges facing today’s parents and<br />

childcarers – by looking at the latest<br />

research and presenting achievable<br />

strategies for how to tackle them. Her<br />

books have been translated into 15<br />

languages, including German, French,<br />

Arabic, Chinese and Turkish. Her 2019<br />

publications are “What’s My Child Thinking?<br />

Practical Child Psychology for Modern<br />

Parents” and “The Friendship Maze: How<br />

to help your child navigate their way to<br />

positive and happier friendships”.<br />

An award-winning journalist, Tanith also<br />

writes on parenting for the Daily Telegraph,<br />

The Times, the Guardian and the Daily<br />

Mail, in which she also serialises and<br />

promotes her books. She is also a regular<br />

presence on TV and radio programmes,<br />

including the NBC Today Show in the US<br />

and Radio Four Woman’s Hour and You<br />

and Yours.<br />

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

www.cliomedia.co.uk and you can follow<br />

her on social media channels @tanithcarey.<br />

From “What’s my child thinking?<br />

Practical Child Psychology<br />

for Modern Parents” with Dr.<br />

Angharad Rudkin, published by<br />

DK.<br />

36 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 37

Refugee<br />

Awareness Week<br />

Most of us have suffered during the pandemic in one way or<br />

another: we’ve been in lockdown, perhaps lost some income<br />

and have been prevented, temporarily, from seeing friends, and<br />

family. But what if that was a permanent change? What if we<br />

had lost everything we ever owned, had travelled thousands of<br />

miles to find a safe place for ourselves and our children, and<br />

had left behind all our family and everything we knew, with little<br />

or no prospect of ever seeing them again? Understanding this<br />

dilemma is going some way to understanding the challenges<br />

faced by the tens of thousands of people who become refugees<br />

each year through no fault of their own.<br />

It would be easy to think that the life<br />

of these refugees is one of misery and<br />

suffering, and there is no doubt that<br />

many people suffer as a result of being<br />

a refugee. But refugees often have<br />

incredible strength, resilience, and<br />

fortitude and can use their experiences<br />

to help others through telling their stories,<br />

finding their voices, and expressing their<br />

creativity.<br />

Refugee Awareness Week is a weeklong,<br />

UK-wide festival, coordinated by<br />

Counterpoint Arts, which seeks to go<br />

beyond the stereotype and celebrate the<br />

“contributions, creativity and resilience of<br />

refugees and people seeking sanctuary.”<br />

It was founded in 1998 and is held every<br />

year around the 20th <strong>June</strong>, which is World<br />

Refugee Day. This year in the UK, the<br />

week runs from the 14th – 20th <strong>June</strong> with<br />

the theme “We cannot walk alone”. This<br />

is a reference to a line from Martin Luther<br />

King’s iconic “I have a dream” speech,<br />

which describes the interconnectedness<br />

and interdependence of all humans.<br />

During the pandemic, we have heard the<br />

line “no one is safe until we are all safe”,<br />

which also underlines a fundamental fact<br />

of human life – that we must all ultimately,<br />

rely on each other to thrive; for by making<br />

the world a better place for our fellow<br />

humans, we also make it a better place<br />

for us.<br />

The organisers understand that we are<br />

also not all the same; that there are still<br />

differences in experience and access to<br />

power and resources that exist, but that<br />

these different experiences are part of<br />

a ‘bigger us’ which we can use to our<br />

advantage. Refugee Awareness Week<br />

is, therefore, as much about celebrating<br />

the stories of refugees through the arts,<br />

culture, sporting, and education events,<br />

as it is about raising awareness of their<br />

plight, fighting negative stereotypes, and<br />

educating people about the reasons why<br />

people become refugees in the first place.<br />

As the website states:<br />

“Refugee Week is a platform for people<br />

who have sought safety in the UK to<br />

share their experiences, perspectives, and<br />

creative work on their own terms.”<br />

It is a partnership project coordinated and<br />

managed by Counterpoint Arts, working<br />

with many national organisations such as<br />

the British Red Cross, the NEU teaching<br />

union, UNHCR, Refugee Action, various<br />

national refugee organisations, and<br />

Amnesty International, to name but a few.<br />

How to get involved in your<br />

setting<br />

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

Refugee Week, and you do not have to<br />

have refugees in your setting in order to<br />

take part. The idea is that you are making<br />

people aware of the refugee issue and<br />

celebrating their contribution; this could<br />

be locally, nationally, or internationally.<br />

As lockdown eases, it is becoming easier<br />

to hold events again so you might want<br />

to organise something or plan to visit<br />

another event. You can find out what’s on<br />

in your locality by looking on the website<br />

at the events calendar or you can upload<br />

your own event as well. There are also<br />

lots of promotional posters, postcards<br />

and downloadable resources you can<br />

use on the official website which can be<br />

downloaded here.<br />

Simple acts<br />

One of the things that the organisers want<br />

people to promote are some ‘simple acts’<br />

that everyone can do, such as starting a<br />

conversation or reading a story. These are<br />

things that could easily be adapted for<br />

an early years setting by simply doing the<br />

things you normally do, but focusing on<br />

refugee stories or the theme of “We cannot<br />

walk alone”. We’ve listed these acts below<br />

and adapted some of them for pre-school<br />

children.<br />

The simple acts are:<br />

1. Sing a song - learn and share a song<br />

related to togetherness such as “The<br />

More We Get Together” which you can<br />

find on YouTube here or a song about<br />

saying “Hello” in different languages,<br />

which you can find here<br />

2. Watch a film – you can hold a film<br />

event for adults and watch some of the<br />

films recommended on the website or<br />

find some younger age-appropriate<br />

animations that introduce children to<br />

the plight of refugees<br />

3. Have a chat - start a positive<br />

conversation about some of the things<br />

that refugees can bring to a new<br />

country – think of things like food, art,<br />

clothes and culture and stress the<br />

benefits for everyone of cross-cultural<br />

collaboration<br />

4. Read a book – use your storytime to<br />

read some related stories such as “Lily<br />

and the Polar Bears” by Jion Sheibani<br />

or “My Name is Not Refugee” by Kate<br />

Milner<br />

5. Say it loud – create a message<br />

board with messages of support<br />

and welcome – it could be a physical<br />

board in your setting for people you<br />

know, or it could be an online version<br />

that can reach everyone<br />

6. Play a game/learn something new –<br />

play some games which encourage<br />

everyone to join in or are ice-breakers<br />

– it could be a circle game (see here<br />

for a list), or you could learn a new<br />

dance from another country<br />

7. Walk together – on 20th <strong>June</strong>, one of<br />

the events is the ‘Great Walk Together’<br />

where you can join others celebrating<br />

inclusion and togetherness either as a<br />

setting or as different families<br />

8. Join the movement – extend the week<br />

to last all year by planning other<br />

events at different times and make<br />

sure that you are promoting tolerance,<br />

understanding and inclusion<br />

throughout the whole year<br />

Remember, ‘refugees’ is a collective term<br />

but each person is different and their<br />

experiences are unique, and as such,<br />

each will have a unique insight and<br />

different gifts to offer, so celebrate those.<br />

And whatever you decide to do, remember<br />

to tell us your news and send us your<br />

stories and pictures to hello@parenta.com.<br />

38 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>June</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 39

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