November 2021 Parenta Magazine

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Issue 84<br />

NOVEMBER <strong>2021</strong><br />

FREE<br />



Industry<br />

Experts<br />

How to support<br />

the reluctant eater<br />

Problem-solving:<br />

the foundation of<br />

all learning?<br />

Keeping children<br />

safe in the early<br />

years<br />

+ lots more<br />

Write for us<br />

for a chance to win<br />

£50<br />

page 6<br />

Celebrating Diwali,<br />

Festival of Light in your setting<br />

Diwali is a festival which you can celebrate in many ways in your setting. We thought it would<br />

be fun to come up with some different ideas based on the Early Learning Goals.<br />


World Toilet Day<br />

hello<br />

welcome to our family<br />

14<br />

World Toilet Day is a United<br />

Nation’s awareness day<br />

which seeks to raise<br />

awareness across the globe<br />

of this issue and to find<br />

some strategies, funds and a<br />

groundswell of support.<br />

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

The month of <strong>November</strong> may bring darker evenings, but it also brings wonderful light. From 2nd to 6th <strong>November</strong>,<br />

over a million Hindus in the UK will celebrate Diwali - a bright, colourful festival celebrating the triumph of the light<br />

over the darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. We take a look at how it can be celebrated in your setting<br />

throughout the whole month, using the Early Learning Goals, and have a beautiful rangoli suncatcher for the children<br />

to make too!<br />

Don’t miss Dr Kathryn Peckham’s CPD booster course giveaway this month. Turn to page 26 to read her article about how important the<br />

Department for Education’s ‘five standards for teachers’ are - plus details on how you can enter this exclusive competition – good luck!<br />

As always, we have such a fantastic selection of advice in the magazine from so many industry experts on topics that really resonate:<br />

Katharine Tate helps us with something that we have all experienced at one time or another, in her article ‘How to support the reluctant<br />

eater’ and treats us to her blueberry power punch smoothie recipe, and Joanna Grace gives us an insight into her world with her ‘little<br />

egg’ – not to mention the benefit of her wealth of experience in working with people with profound disabilities and sensory differences.<br />

Yvonne Sinclair recaps on her advice given at our last webinar and helps us with ‘Keeping children safe in early years provision’, Katie<br />

White takes a closer look at anxiety, and asks ‘Are you taking well-being too seriously?’, Frances Turnbull uses her years of experience in<br />

music for ‘Building successful literacy skills’ and Gina Bale gives some welcome advice for those practitioners who struggle with role play<br />

in her article ‘Are you watching me?’ (PS. don’t forget to watch the video too!)<br />

All the advice, guidance, crafts and recipes you read in our magazine are written to help you with the efficient running of your setting and<br />

to promote the health, happiness and well-being of the children in your care. We hope you love reading it as much as we enjoy making it!<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 continue to stay safe, everyone.<br />

Allan<br />

Road Safety<br />

Week<br />

20<br />

Road Safety Week is the<br />

UK’s biggest road safety<br />

campaign and each year<br />

millions of us heed the call<br />

and try to raise awareness<br />

about the issues.<br />

Keeping children safe<br />

in early years<br />

Safeguarding is not just about<br />

protecting children from deliberate<br />

harm and neglect.<br />

22<br />

NOVEMBER JUNE 2020<strong>2021</strong> ISSUE ISSUE 67 84<br />


Regulars<br />

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

6 Guest author winner announced<br />

10 Blueberry power punch smoothie<br />

11 Diwali rangoli suncatcher<br />

News<br />

4 Childcare news and views<br />

5 Congratulations to our <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

learners!<br />

Advice<br />

14 World Toilet Day<br />

20 Road Safety Week<br />

24 Game-based learning and<br />

gamification<br />

34 Celebrating Diwali, Festival of Lights in<br />

your setting<br />

36 Anti-Bullying Week<br />

Industry Experts<br />

8 How to support the reluctant eater<br />

12 Problem-solving: the foundation of all<br />

learning?<br />

16 Are you watching me?<br />

18 Egg-cellent advice: Hand over hand<br />

work<br />

22 Keeping children safe in early years<br />

provision<br />

26 What should I look for when choosing<br />

CPD courses that are worth investing<br />

time and money in?<br />

30 Are you taking well-being too seriously?<br />

32 Building successful literacy skills in the<br />

early years through music<br />

38 How to help children to deal with big<br />

emotions<br />

What should I look for when choosing CPD courses<br />

that are worth investing time and money in? 26<br />

Are you taking well-being too seriously? 30<br />

Building successful literacy skills in the early years<br />

through music 32<br />

Anti-Bullying Week 36

Childcare<br />

news & views<br />

Congratulations<br />

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

New report shows increasing<br />

childcare funding rate would<br />

give economic gains<br />

A report by the Centre for Progressive<br />

Policy, “Women in the Labour Market”<br />

has revealed that lack of affordable<br />

and accessible childcare is a barrier to<br />

maternal employment, resulting in billions<br />

in lost earnings.<br />

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

in August and September 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 <strong>Parenta</strong> Training!<br />

Its research revealed that almost half (46%)<br />

of mothers had struggled to find suitable<br />

childcare - and concluded the system was<br />

failing because of inadequate government<br />

investment which ultimately led to the<br />

sector struggling to meet demand.<br />

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of<br />

NDNA, and a member of The Women in<br />

the Labour Market Advisory Board for the<br />

Centre for Progressive Policy said: “This<br />

important and detailed report stresses the<br />

economic importance of affordable and<br />

accessible childcare, not just for maternal<br />

employment but for the wider economy.<br />

Research has repeatedly shown the<br />

enormous benefits to children of accessing<br />

high quality early education. This study<br />

lays bare that failings in this policy area<br />

are robbing our economy of billions in lost<br />

earnings.<br />

Access to childcare should not be a<br />

barrier to work and yet almost half our<br />

working mothers struggle to find suitable<br />

childcare. We support recommendations<br />

in the report to increase the funding rate<br />

for childcare places and expanding the<br />

capacity for provision. This Spending<br />

Review period represents a chance for the<br />

Government to get this right for parents<br />

and providers.“<br />

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

here.<br />

Sector returns to pre-pandemic<br />

employment levels<br />

A report by the Office for National Statistics<br />

(ONS) released on 12 October shows the<br />

numbers of employees in early years<br />

returning to pre-pandemic levels, with<br />

unemployment down and vacancies<br />

growing. Its key points were:<br />

• Number of payroll employees<br />

returned to pre-pandemic levels of<br />

29.2 million in September <strong>2021</strong><br />

• Unemployment has decreased by 0.4<br />

percentage points to 4.5%<br />

• The number of job vacancies in July to<br />

September <strong>2021</strong> was a record high of<br />

1.1 million – this is 318,000 higher than<br />

pre-pandemic levels<br />

• Growth in average total pay was<br />

7.2% - but this is compared to last<br />

year when many more people were<br />

furloughed and so on much lower<br />

incomes<br />

• The ONS has calculated - factoring in<br />

the impact of furlough and depressed<br />

earnings during COVID – that the uplift<br />

in wages is between 3.2% and 4.4%<br />

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

here.<br />

Petitions Committee calls for<br />

independent review of childcare<br />

funding<br />

The Petitions Committee has asked for<br />

an independent review to be carried out<br />

into childcare funding and affordability,<br />

as part of its review into support for new<br />

parents and families 18 months after its<br />

initial investigation into the impact of the<br />

coronavirus pandemic.<br />

As part of the report, the Committee<br />

surveyed 8,700 parents about their<br />

experiences, with 93% unable to access<br />

baby and toddler groups in the last 12<br />

months and three-quarters unable to find<br />

affordable childcare. The Committee also<br />

heard evidence from organisations, about<br />

the continued impact of the pandemic on<br />

the early years sector.<br />

In its recommendations, the report calls on<br />

the government to publish a new recovery<br />

strategy for new parents and report on its<br />

progress next summer. It says: “While not<br />

a silver bullet, we hope this will go some<br />

way to ensuring these issues receive the<br />

profile and priority they deserve, but which<br />

they have not received to date.”<br />

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

here.<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 />

August and September’s wall of fame!<br />

B. Parsa<br />

D. Zaviera<br />

J. Mortin<br />

L. Cridland<br />

M. Bowden<br />

M.Hau<br />

N. Weheliye<br />

R. Thorne<br />

S. Smith<br />

S. Akehurst<br />

S. Pocock<br />

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

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

Write for us!<br />

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

When you shop at smile.amazon.co.uk,<br />

Amazon donates<br />

Dr Kathryn Peckham’s<br />

exclusive CPD booster<br />

course giveaway<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, why<br />

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

winning? Each month, we’ll be giving away Amazon<br />

vouchers to our “Guest Author of the Month”. You<br />

can find all the details here:<br />

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

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon<br />

with the same products, prices, and shopping<br />

features as Amazon.com.<br />

The difference is that when you shop on<br />

AmazonSmile and select <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust as your<br />

chosen charity, the AmazonSmile Foundation will<br />

donate 0.5% of the purchase price of what you’ve<br />

bought to <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust.<br />

Click here!<br />

Visit www.parentatrust.com for more information<br />

To be in with a chance<br />

of winning a CPD Booster<br />

of your choice visit Kathryn’s<br />

website www.nurturing<br />

childhoods.co.uk and click<br />

here to enter the competition.<br />

Don’t miss out - the<br />

competition will end on<br />

Friday 26th <strong>November</strong>!<br />

Congratulations<br />

Youngest Chef<br />

Award<br />

to our guest author competition winner, Sonia Mainstone-Cotton!<br />

Congratulations to Sonia Mainstone-Cotton our<br />

guest author of the month! Her article “Supporting<br />

children with social, emotional and mental health<br />

needs” was packed full of important information<br />

about signs to look out for and what we can do to<br />

help children with SEMH needs. Well done Sonia!<br />

Sign up and receive:<br />

Videos and Lesson Plans<br />

Stickers<br />

Posters<br />

Books<br />

Medals<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 />

A fun, practical, purposeful and engaging award that ensures curriculum<br />

coverage and basic life skills to support long-term health and wellbeing for<br />

children aged 3+. The award is a ‘Mini Muncher Challenge’, which includes<br />

5 exciting stand-alone lessons and additional resources/activities.<br />

Find out more at: youngchefoftheyear.com<br />

info@thefoodteacher.co.uk 01582 620178<br />

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

Winner need updating<br />

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

How to support the<br />

reluctant eater<br />

Many children experience a level of reluctance around certain<br />

foods at some point in their development. The transition to solid<br />

foods is not always straightforward and new colours, textures and<br />

tastes can challenge familiarity. This uncertainty can also provide<br />

an opportunity for toddlers and children to assert a level of<br />

independence. This can often be accompanied by inconsistencies<br />

around what children will eat and where, so by understanding<br />

more about why a child may be a reluctant eater, and having<br />

strategies to improve mealtimes, parents and childcare<br />

professionals can be better equipped to support this transition.<br />

Reluctant eating can be based around<br />

both an uneasiness to try new and<br />

unfamiliar foods and rejection of foods<br />

that have previously been accepted and<br />

eaten. The reason behind these is a<br />

basic fear response, which is a normal<br />

stage of a child’s development. This<br />

typically peaks around 2-3 years of age,<br />

but for some, the behaviour can become<br />

deep rooted. This initial fear around<br />

food, known as neophobia, is believed<br />

to be an evolutionary-rooted response.<br />

It served as a protective mechanism to<br />

ensure as hunters and gatherers, we<br />

didn’t eat something poisonous which<br />

would make us sick. Our ancestors<br />

developed their diet around safe colours,<br />

smells and textures and as some foods,<br />

specifically vegetables, have a naturally<br />

bitter taste, acceptance of these foods<br />

was challenged. This natural uncertainty is<br />

evident in modern children as they develop<br />

and expand their food palette.<br />

By understanding that this reluctance is<br />

based around a fear of the unfamiliar,<br />

it can be better understood as an<br />

expression of an innate trait all humans<br />

share. A basic approach to reducing this<br />

level of fear is to make the unfamiliar feel<br />

a lot more familiar. Research has shown<br />

that repeatedly offering a child a new<br />

food increases their readiness to touch,<br />

taste, eat and eventually like the food.<br />

Persistence is certainly key with this stage<br />

of development. If this reluctance is not<br />

addressed, children can grow up with a<br />

hugely restrictive diet that can reduce their<br />

exposure to essential nutrients. Use the<br />

top tips below as strategies to implement<br />

in your setting and share with parents who<br />

are also struggling at home.<br />

Top tips to support the<br />

reluctant eater:<br />

• Relax<br />

Remain positive and don’t expect or<br />

pressurise a child to eat as this can lead<br />

to further problems. If a child will try a<br />

small amount, praise and accept that as<br />

progress.<br />

• Exposure<br />

To reduce the fear response you will need<br />

to plan at least 15-20 exposures before<br />

a child will willingly eat a particular food<br />

and you may need to track progress from<br />

happy to have on their plate, to touching,<br />

tasting and eating and acknowledge small<br />

steps.<br />

• Playtime<br />

Look for other opportunities to increase<br />

exposure. Within childcare settings you<br />

can also read stories about foods, sing<br />

songs, visit a supermarket to look at the<br />

fruit and vegetables, plant some seeds<br />

and get children in the kitchen cutting and<br />

preparing their own food.<br />

• Be realistic<br />

Consider portion size when encouraging<br />

children to eat new foods. 2-3 strawberries<br />

may be an ample portion size for a 2-3<br />

year old.<br />

• Home<br />

Communicate with parents. If a child will<br />

eat within your setting but is reluctant with<br />

the same foods at home, talk to the parents<br />

about your approach, how you serve it and<br />

even share the recipe.<br />

• Health<br />

Use storytime, discussions and mealtimes<br />

as an opportunity to talk about food as our<br />

fuel to keep us growing to help children to<br />

begin to establish a link.<br />

• Support<br />

If a child continues to be reluctant and has<br />

developed a hugely restrictive diet, then<br />

seeking additional support can sometimes<br />

be necessary. This can be accessed<br />

through a child’s GP.<br />

As with any developmental stage, it’s<br />

important to develop an approach and<br />

remain consistent and if parents and<br />

childcare professionals communicate<br />

effectively, a child’s fear response around<br />

food can be reduced and they can widen<br />

their food choices with minimal upheaval.<br />

Perhaps try my delicious smoothie recipe in<br />

your setting. It’s packed full of nutrition and<br />

bursting with colour and flavour.<br />

For more food fun in your setting, sign up to<br />

the Youngest Chef Award. This award is for<br />

Early Years Foundation Stage pupils (ages<br />

3-5) and is written by teachers for early<br />

years practitioners/teachers. It is designed<br />

around the popular children’s book “The<br />

Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle<br />

and has been developed and launched<br />

by The Food Teacher. The award is a<br />

‘Mini Muncher Challenge’, which can be<br />

delivered across 5 sessions (every day over<br />

a single week or once a week over a 5<br />

week period) with 50 minutes of planned<br />

teaching time each session. Find out more<br />

at; https://youngest.youngchefoftheyear.<br />

com/<br />

Katharine Tate<br />

The Food Teacher Founder and<br />

Director, Katharine Tate, has worked<br />

as a teacher and education consultant<br />

internationally in primary and secondary<br />

schools for over 20 years. Qualified as<br />

an award-winning registered nutritional<br />

therapist, Katharine, combines her unique<br />

education and nutrition expertise to<br />

offer schools, organisations and families<br />

advice, education programmes, practical<br />

workshops, and individual/family clinical<br />

consultations. She has written and<br />

published several books: “Heat-Free &<br />

Healthy”, the award-winning<br />

“No Kitchen Cookery for Primary Schools”<br />

a series of mini-books and has also<br />

co-authored the award-winning “Now<br />

We’re Cooking!” Delivering the National<br />

Curriculum through Food. She has also<br />

launched a programme of Young Chef<br />

awards for schools, which support delivery<br />

of the curriculum and nutrition. In<br />

2019, over 4,000 children completed the<br />

awards across the UK.<br />

LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram<br />

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

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

Blueberry power<br />

punch smoothie<br />

By The Food Teacher<br />

Diwali rangoli<br />

suncatcher<br />

Source and image credit: Maggy Woodley - Red Ted Art<br />

A simple and delicious smoothie, packed full of spinach which is high in folate. This can be beneficial<br />

for memory and concentration alongside the flavonoids in the blueberries, which may help to cleanse<br />

the body, keeping the brain active and healthy.<br />

Ingredients:<br />

• Small handful of spinach<br />

• 2 handfuls of frozen/fresh blueberries<br />

What you will need:<br />

• Black craft paper<br />

• Coloured tissue paper (the more colours the better)<br />

• Glue stick<br />

• Pencil<br />

• Scissors<br />

• ½ banana<br />

• ¼ avocado<br />

• Cup of oat milk/coconut water<br />

• Handful of ice cubes/water<br />

depending on thickness<br />

Method:<br />

1. Put the ingredients into a blender/<br />

Nutribullet and blend until smooth<br />

and creamy<br />

2. Pour into a glass<br />

Method:<br />

1. Cut out a large circular shape from the black craft paper -<br />

the larger the circle, the bigger the suncatcher.<br />

2. Fold the circle in half. Once folded, fold in half again. Repeat<br />

this one more time so in total, you have folded the circle in<br />

half three times.<br />

3. Use a pencil to draw patterns on the black folded card, use<br />

any shape you like! This is a great way for the children to<br />

explore the different shapes.<br />

4. Once you have finished drawing out the pattern, cut the<br />

shapes out using your scissors.<br />

5. Once you have cut out your pattern, open up your rangoli<br />

suncatcher.<br />

6. Use the glue stick to attach small square sections of<br />

coloured tissue paper to the shapes on the rangoli.<br />

7. Once you have filled the cut-out patterns with the tissue<br />

paper you are done! You can then hang your rangolis to<br />

make a lovely rangoli display to celebrate Diwali.<br />

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

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

Problem-solving : the<br />

2. Highly appealing<br />

collaborative projects<br />

foundation of all learning?<br />

Collaborative projects encourage possibility<br />

thinking, making plans and solution<br />

strategies.<br />

From birth, children are wired to problem-solve. At every stage of their development we observe<br />

them trying to find a way to solve a problem, whether it is by crossing the room or going down a slide,<br />

building a tower out of bricks or building a friendship.<br />

Problem-solving is as much a part of life as<br />

breathing, and it is our job as practitioners<br />

to a) co-regulate children so that they feel<br />

ready to explore and problem-solve and b)<br />

to encourage children to ever deeper levels<br />

of possibility thinking and problem-solving.<br />

Encouragement and support build up the<br />

problem-solving part of the brain. Anxiety,<br />

stress and fear will shut it down.<br />

Problems can come thick and fast in life.<br />

Recently I watched “Clarkson’s Farm,”<br />

where Jeremy Clarkson wanted to put up<br />

owl boxes using telegraph poles. It was<br />

not a success! The first pole smashed<br />

down onto a nearby fence and crushed it.<br />

Undaunted, Jeremy worked out a way to<br />

make it happen. He found a man whose<br />

job it was to put up telegraph poles. Up<br />

went several owl boxes within the space of<br />

a couple of hours. Problem solved!<br />

It is imperative that we encourage children<br />

to see challenges through a positive lens.<br />

Everything changes for the child when they<br />

identify a challenge, create a solution and<br />

execute the plan successfully. It opens up<br />

a world full of possibility and promise.<br />

Existing knowledge in<br />

‘working theories’<br />

When children come to pre-school, they<br />

already have a profound knowledge<br />

(working theories) of their world. Such<br />

knowledge is accumulated as children<br />

play, socialise, and gather information<br />

about their world. It is only when we<br />

fully understand children’s current<br />

understanding that we can offer them<br />

activities that match/challenge that<br />

understanding. Children experience<br />

frustration when adults are insensitive to<br />

their existing knowledge. Too often we<br />

offer generic, broad activities that children<br />

overlook because they already ‘know’ it!<br />

Their expertise is not being acknowledged,<br />

and crucial problem-solving potential is<br />

being lost. Our planning and provision<br />

must match each child’s prior knowledge.<br />

The problem-solving<br />

environment<br />

As children are wired for problem-solving,<br />

then the environment we provide must<br />

have plenty of problems to solve! A<br />

problem-solving environment encourages<br />

children to guess, speculate, consider,<br />

go down ‘dead ends’, make mistakes<br />

and adjust their thinking. A problemsolving<br />

environment supports thinking,<br />

rationalising, ideas and views. And the<br />

earlier children start to face achievable<br />

challenges, the more confident they get.<br />

The problem-solving<br />

environment needs to<br />

provide:<br />

1. Agency<br />

Take time to sit back and let children work<br />

things out for themselves. Too often we<br />

leap in to help or assist a child facing a<br />

problem. When we wait to see if a child<br />

can solve the problem for themselves, we<br />

give them agency, even during the first<br />

year of life. Maybe they will ask for help<br />

– this is also a solution to a problem. Our<br />

role is to decide how much help we give,<br />

always involving the child in the solution.<br />

We want to build up their agency without<br />

building up frustration - a fine line but an<br />

important one to get right.<br />

Support and extend the children’s possibility<br />

thinking and vocabulary. What if we try<br />

this…? We could…? How about…?<br />

Talk about projects and make plans<br />

together, “You want to make a castle out<br />

of these boxes. How can we make it really<br />

big?” “What about windows? Do we want<br />

those?” “What shall we do with the boxes<br />

we don’t use?”<br />

Talk about solution strategies together. “We<br />

need another chair to make this train fit four<br />

people. Where shall we put it? “Shall we try<br />

using another paint brush?” “Great idea,<br />

how about putting the bridge here, away<br />

from this table?”<br />

3. Opportunities to<br />

manipulate tools<br />

Tools are clearly significant in developing<br />

physical skills but they are also crucially<br />

important for developing problem-solving<br />

skills. Every time a child manipulates a tool,<br />

‘planning of sequential acts that lead to<br />

a goal’ are actively encouraged. Planning<br />

and reaching goals are the central part of<br />

problem-solving. And the good news is<br />

that children’s errors and successes are<br />

equally valuable. The negative feedback<br />

that children receive when they cannot<br />

achieve a goal (gripping a spoon the wrong<br />

way means that they cannot get the food<br />

in their mouths) spurs them on to be more<br />

efficient the next time. They will find another<br />

solution.<br />

Offer a range of fun, varied, challenging<br />

and open-ended tools, such as<br />

construction, mud kitchen, water/sand tray,<br />

woodwork, garden tools, loose parts with<br />

tools (stones, shells, logs, planks, crates,<br />

tyres, tubes, etc., along with relevant tools,<br />

such as a trowel with stones and shells)<br />

musical instruments, etc.<br />

4. Opportunities to revisit<br />

favourite activities over<br />

and over<br />

Revisiting favourite activities enables<br />

children to become experts! They become<br />

keen to initiate and solve problems as they<br />

become ever more familiar with the activity.<br />

They can test out new ideas and solutions,<br />

widening and deepening their expertise.<br />

Conclusion<br />

Children are wired to be curious and<br />

resourceful. They love to explore, and the<br />

more space and freedom they are given,<br />

supported by powerful interventions from<br />

adults, the more they can plan, consider,<br />

think, and investigate.<br />

Confident problem-solvers are more likely<br />

to approach problems independently,<br />

rather than relying on an adult for the<br />

answers. We need to present challenge<br />

as a welcome part of our everyday life,<br />

rather than a separate compartment<br />

named ‘difficult’. When the environment is<br />

inviting, engaging and supportive, we build<br />

powerful problem-solvers for the future.<br />

References<br />

1. Keen R, The Development<br />

of Problem Solving in<br />

Young Children: A<br />

Critical Cognitive<br />

Skill Department of<br />

Psychology, University<br />

of Virginia 2011<br />

2. Arc Pathway<br />

Problem Solving<br />

Strand of Learning<br />

Helen Garnett<br />

Helen Garnett is a mother of 4, and a<br />

committed and experienced early years<br />

consultant. She has a wealth of experience<br />

in teaching, both in the primary and early<br />

years sectors. She co-founded a preschool<br />

in 2005 where she developed a<br />

keen interest in early intervention, leading<br />

her into international work for the early<br />

years 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, and<br />

“Building a Resilient Workforce in the Early<br />

Years”, published by Early Years Alliance<br />

in June 2019. She also writes articles for<br />

early years magazines, such as Nursery<br />

World, Early Years Teacher Organisation,<br />

QA Education, Teach Early Years, and Early<br />

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 />

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

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

World Toilet Day<br />

And children are often the most at risk.<br />

According to the World Toilet Day website,<br />

at least 2 billion people worldwide use a<br />

drinking water source that is contaminated<br />

with faeces, and over 700 children under<br />

5 die every day from diarrhoea linked to<br />

unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene.<br />

In places where there are no toilets, many<br />

girls often do not attend schools whilst<br />

menstruating, meaning that each month,<br />

they miss out on their education, seriously<br />

affecting their future life chances.<br />

What is a sustainable sanitation<br />

system?<br />

Sustainable sanitation starts with having a<br />

toilet in a private, accessible and dignified<br />

setting which effectively captures human<br />

waste. This is usually stored in a tank<br />

which can later be emptied by a collection<br />

service or transported away by pipes,<br />

such as the sewer system. Then comes the<br />

treatment, reuse and safe disposal of the<br />

waste. By doing this, we can not only save<br />

water, but we can reduce greenhouse gas<br />

emissions needed for energy production,<br />

and provide a reliable source of water and<br />

nutrients to agriculture as well. And if you<br />

factor in the jobs within the water treatment<br />

industry too, you get all the economic and<br />

employment benefits that those bring. It all<br />

starts with a toilet!<br />

How to celebrate World Toilet<br />

Day in your setting<br />

Here are some ideas to help you get<br />

involved.<br />

4. Raise some money for a charity related<br />

to water and sanitation such as Toilet<br />

Twinning, Water Aid or The Water<br />

Project – think about having sponsored<br />

events or community sales.<br />

5. Teach the children about the<br />

importance of hand washing and run<br />

a training session on how to wash<br />

hands effectively – you could use music<br />

to help the children remember the<br />

message and a quick YouTube search<br />

reveals a lot of catchy rhymes that will<br />

have you happily singing along all day.<br />

6. Revisit your toilet-training procedures or<br />

train new staff on your nappy changing<br />

practices and protocols.<br />

7. Clean up your own act! Promote a<br />

better understanding in your setting of<br />

what can safely be put down toilets,<br />

and what can’t. Many sewers become<br />

unhygienic and blocked because of the<br />

myriad of items that people try to flush<br />

down the toilet every day. This includes<br />

things like sanitary pads and tampons,<br />

face or cleaning wipes, and disposable<br />

nappies! Our sewage system is not<br />

built to deal with these items, let alone<br />

the U-bend(!) and they cause damage<br />

by clogging the systems. The only<br />

things that should be put down toilets<br />

apart from our wee and poo, is toilet<br />

paper. Even kitchen towel and tissues<br />

can clog systems because they are<br />

designed not to disintegrate on contact<br />

with water, and so can cause havoc.<br />

8. Look at your use of disposable<br />

nappies. Whilst they may appear to<br />

be a time-saving resource, think about<br />

the impact that these nappies are<br />

having on the planet. A disposable<br />

nappy can take hundreds of years to<br />

compost completely and dealing with<br />

these items is problematic. An average<br />

child will use 5,000 nappies before<br />

being toilet trained, which is a lot of<br />

non-biodegradable material. Why not<br />

investigate or trial the use of reusable<br />

nappies in your setting during World<br />

Toilet Day?<br />

Whatever you do on World Toilet Day,<br />

remember to send us your stories and<br />

pictures to hello@parenta.com.<br />

For more information, see:<br />

• https://www.worldtoiletday.info/<br />

• https://www.who.int/news/item/01-<br />

07-<strong>2021</strong>-billions-of-people-will-lackaccess-to-safe-water-sanitation-andhygiene-in-2030-unless-progressquadruples-warn-who-unicef<br />

• https://www.teachearlyyears.com/<br />

under-2s/view/toilet-training<br />

• https://www.telegraph.co.uk/<br />

recommended/kids/best-reusablenappies-tried-tested/<br />

There are some statistics we read that<br />

raise eyebrows, some that cause us to<br />

look twice, and then there are the ones<br />

that shock us into action – or they ought<br />

to! At <strong>Parenta</strong>, we think that the following<br />

fact is one of those statistics that we<br />

should all sit up and take notice of, and it’s<br />

this:<br />

3.6 billion people living on planet<br />

earth in <strong>2021</strong>, do not have access to a<br />

safely managed sanitation service –<br />

i.e. a clean and hygienic toilet!<br />

(WHO/UNICEF, <strong>2021</strong>)<br />

If you really look and understand, it says<br />

just under half of the world’s population<br />

cannot do what comes naturally, in a<br />

secure, private and sanitary place. That<br />

may be all very well if you are living in a<br />

wilderness and need to answer nature’s<br />

call occasionally in the bush, but we are<br />

talking about half the people on the earth,<br />

on a daily basis. Instead of having what<br />

we all take for granted, they are living<br />

with open sewers in the streets, fatal<br />

diseases which should be and could be<br />

preventable, and contaminated drinking<br />

water systems. As the organisers of World<br />

Toilet Day say, “Life without a toilet is dirty,<br />

dangerous and undignified.” Somewhere,<br />

something has gone very wrong.<br />

World Toilet Day is a United Nation’s<br />

awareness day which seeks to raise<br />

awareness across the globe of this issue<br />

and to find some strategies, funds and<br />

a groundswell of support from everyone<br />

from ordinary people to international<br />

consortiums, to change things. The day<br />

is celebrated on 19th <strong>November</strong> each<br />

year and we all need to sit up and take<br />

notice of it if we are to achieve the UN<br />

Sustainable Development Goal number<br />

6 of clean water and sanitation for all by<br />

2030.<br />

Why are toilets important?<br />

The health of the general public depends<br />

on having toilets and safe sanitation. We<br />

know this from history. When communities<br />

gain access to clean water, proper<br />

sanitation via private and public toilets<br />

and a sustainable waste management<br />

infrastructure, it improves their health,<br />

environment, education, gender equality<br />

and economics. Clean water and hand<br />

washing facilities have been vital during<br />

the pandemic to maintain our health<br />

security and to prevent the spread of<br />

COVID-19. But there are also other deadly<br />

diseases such as cholera and typhoid<br />

which are still affecting millions of people<br />

each year due to lack of proper sanitation.<br />

1. Give your own toilets some<br />

appreciation – decorate them with<br />

‘thank you’ cards or little hearts to<br />

show you love and appreciate them.<br />

2. Teach the children about the water<br />

cycle and how human waste<br />

is managed in the UK, and the<br />

differences that exist around the world.<br />

3. Raise awareness and show your<br />

support on your social media sites by<br />

using the hashtag #WorldToiletDay and<br />

by using some of the downloadable<br />

pictures, fact swheets and posters<br />

from the official website (available at<br />

https://www.worldtoiletday.info/.) You<br />

can download a fact sheet in several<br />

different languages including Arabic,<br />

Chinese, Hindi, French, Portuguese,<br />

Russian, Swahili and Spanish.<br />

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

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

Are you watching me?<br />

If you answered YES to any of these<br />

questions, then what are you worrying<br />

about? This is a success, and you are<br />

fabulous!<br />

“Wave your hands in the air like you don’t care, glide by the people as they start to look and stare.” From<br />

“Word up” by Cameo https://youtu.be/MZjAantupsA<br />

Some strategies to help<br />

Cameo said it like it is. Don’t worry about<br />

anyone watching, just glide by, as it’s not<br />

about them or you. All you are thinking<br />

about is the children and what they are<br />

asking you to do and be, at that moment<br />

in time.<br />

A couple of weeks ago, I had an<br />

interesting conversation with Cathy (not<br />

her real name), from a nursery in Wales,<br />

and that conversation was the inspiration<br />

for this article. We started to chat about<br />

how new team members develop their<br />

confidence with role-play and makebelieve<br />

and how they initially respond to it<br />

when they see it. Cathy then set the scene<br />

for what had happened a few days before:<br />

Cathy was lying on the floor snoring with<br />

the children wandering around her going<br />

“sshh” to each other.<br />

Then the door opened and one of the new<br />

team members popped their head around<br />

the door to ask if she was OK and what<br />

was happening.<br />

Cathy’s response to the question was “I<br />

am being a panther”.<br />

That to me summed it up as she was<br />

doing what the children wanted in their<br />

make-believe world of fun and adventure<br />

and the new team member was trying<br />

to understand why she was on the floor.<br />

To me and Cathy, it was the most normal<br />

thing to do, lying on the floor being a<br />

hungry panther snoring and growling<br />

when the children came too close!<br />

This started the conversation of how hard<br />

it can be for some when they first start<br />

working with young children.<br />

When you are new to early years, playing<br />

alongside the children using make-believe,<br />

for the first time, don’t think about the<br />

other adults in the room. Honestly, they<br />

aren’t judging you or thinking about how<br />

you look, they are worried about what they<br />

need to do or wishing they could join in<br />

and have fun as well!<br />

Just focus on the children and their needs<br />

and then you will be an amazing educator<br />

and role model. Isn’t that what it’s all<br />

about?<br />

We all had to start<br />

somewhere<br />

Remember that everyone you think is<br />

amazing at being creative and makes<br />

it look so easy and fun, had to start<br />

somewhere. They will have gone through<br />

the same anxieties and insecurities as you.<br />

It is so hard to do something outside your<br />

comfort zone especially when you have<br />

spent your teenage years trying to be an<br />

adult suppressing your inner child.<br />

The only critic is you!<br />

You are your biggest critic, not the children<br />

or any other adult in the room. This all<br />

comes down to your negative ‘self-talk’<br />

telling you that you are not good at this or<br />

that.<br />

To help yourself, just focus on what went<br />

well. Ask yourself some questions, when<br />

you are on the ground crawling and rolling<br />

around, with the children, being a very<br />

hungry green turtle:<br />

Are the children smiling and happy?<br />

Are the children engaging in the role-play?<br />

Are the children starting to lead the roleplay?<br />

Imposter syndrome<br />

Some of the most amazing and creative<br />

people still have feelings of inadequacy<br />

and that is known as “imposter syndrome”<br />

definitely worth reading the article<br />

“Overcoming Imposter Syndrome” by Gill<br />

Corkindale in the Harvard Business Review.<br />

Remember this doesn’t equate to low selfesteem<br />

or lack of confidence, it can in fact<br />

be linked with perfectionism. I can relate<br />

to this. I have run sessions and while I am<br />

doing them, I feel they are awful, but the<br />

children and team loved them. After the<br />

session, I rack my brain with ways I could<br />

have done it better. I haven’t yet found the<br />

solution to my inner narrative but am still<br />

working on it and trying to do better!<br />

No one is perfect<br />

We all get it wrong sometimes but that’s<br />

how we learn. I have had some sessions<br />

when I just wanted the ground to open<br />

and swallow me up. We all go through<br />

that at work, especially when working<br />

with children. Remember that the most<br />

successful people in the world make<br />

mistakes and it is their failures that make<br />

them who they are. It’s all about getting up<br />

and dusting yourself off to start again.<br />

Making a mistake or getting something<br />

wrong doesn’t mean you are a failure as<br />

everyone experiences this. It is about how<br />

you overcome it and continue to learn.<br />

Your take-away<br />

Perfection is overrated. Accept that you<br />

may not be able to achieve what you want<br />

immediately, and it is totally OK. Don’t dwell<br />

on things, be proactive, ask for help and<br />

guidance.<br />

Remember you were given your job<br />

because of your unique skills and abilities<br />

– be proud of what you have already<br />

achieved. Remember your worth to the<br />

team and don’t compare yourself to others.<br />

If there is one message from this, it’s “don’t<br />

worry about anyone else, just do it and<br />

have fun” as we all bring something unique<br />

to the setting and if we were all the same, it<br />

would be really boring.<br />

Yes, it can be hard forgetting about the<br />

other adults in the room when your innernarrative<br />

tells you they are judging you. It is<br />

just you being your worst critic! Remember,<br />

those who don’t play are, according to<br />

Cameo, trying to “act real cool. But you<br />

got to realise that you’re acting like fools.<br />

If there’s music we can use it, we need to<br />

dance”.<br />

So, what do you say when you get the call<br />

to role-play and dance?<br />

“Ah, word up, everybody say when you<br />

hear the call you got to get it underway”.<br />

https://youtu.be/MZjAantupsA<br />

Bibliography<br />

• Word Up! Songwriters: Jenkins Thomas<br />

Michael /Black Lawrence Ernest<br />

• Word Up! lyrics © Universal Music<br />

Publishing Int. B.v., Rueckbank, Edition<br />

Tromo<br />

Gina Bale<br />

Gina’s background was originally<br />

ballet, but she has spent the last 27<br />

years teaching movement and dance<br />

in mainstream, early years and SEND<br />

settings as well as dance schools.<br />

Whilst teaching, Gina found the time to<br />

create the ‘Hi-5’ dance programme to<br />

run alongside the Australian Children’s<br />

TV series and the Angelina Ballerina<br />

Dance Academy for Hit Entertainment.<br />

Her proudest achievement to date is her<br />

baby Littlemagictrain. She created this<br />

specifically to help children learn through<br />

make-believe, music and movement.<br />

One of the highlights has been seeing<br />

Littlemagictrain delivered by Butlin’s<br />

famous Redcoats with the gorgeous<br />

‘Bonnie Bear’ on the Skyline stage.<br />

Gina has qualifications of teaching<br />

movement and dance from the Royal<br />

Ballet School, Trinity College and Royal<br />

Academy of Dance.<br />

Use the code ‘PARENTA’ for a 20%<br />

discount on Littlemagictrain downloads<br />

from ‘Special Editions’, ‘Speech and<br />

Language Activities’, ‘Games’ and<br />

‘Certificates’.<br />

• G. Corkindale, “Overcoming imposter<br />

syndrome”, Harvard Business Review,<br />

2008, May<br />

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

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

Egg-cellent advice:<br />

Hand over hand work<br />

I do not know how he came to acquire the nick-name ‘Egg’ but ever since he came along, that’s<br />

what my youngest son has been called. I run The Sensory Projects www.TheSensoryProjects.co.uk<br />

(which should now really be called The Sensory Projects and Sons!) My work focuses on people<br />

with profound disabilities and sensory differences, but my son’s advice will apply to your work too.<br />

In this series of articles we are going to share his insights with you, if you are keen for<br />

more, there is an ever growing collection on my Facebook profile: come and make friends.<br />

www.Facebook.com/JoannaGraceTSP<br />

This is article 1 out of a series of 10! The other articles will be released in the following<br />

editions of the <strong>Parenta</strong> magazine.<br />

When my first son went to nursery he<br />

went to two different settings, one looked<br />

like someone’s disorganised living room,<br />

staffed by Grandmas who loved and<br />

adored the children in their care. The other<br />

was top ranked, clinically clean, displays<br />

updated weekly, staff were always avidly<br />

writing notes and observations when you<br />

went in.<br />

Upon picking him up from the pristine<br />

nursery one day, the staff member doing<br />

the hand over with me suddenly realised<br />

that he did not attend on Fridays (he only<br />

did a day, a week at the fancy place) and<br />

rushed to get his picture for me. He’d<br />

worked so hard on it she told me. I watched<br />

as she took it down from the beautifully<br />

presented display. It was a cotton wool<br />

sheep, with stuck on black card legs and<br />

hand drawn eyes. It looked exactly like all<br />

the other cotton wool sheep on that display.<br />

Exactly.<br />

Little Egg<br />

I took it, and she looked a little concerned<br />

that I didn’t instantly gush over his work.<br />

Holding it, felt ... eerie... the thought in my<br />

head was “What did you do to my son<br />

to make him do EXACTLY the same as<br />

everyone else”. I want my son to learn, to<br />

grow, to be able to express himself. That’s<br />

what I expect from a nursery. I don’t want<br />

him enrolled in a tiny little factory mass<br />

producing cute items from Pinterest.<br />

Egg and I recreated the experience (just<br />

once, and just briefly). Here’s his wisdom:<br />

My hands cannot perform the skills needed<br />

to make these pictures. So my hands were<br />

moved for me. The picture was made hand<br />

over hand.<br />

I did not like it.<br />

I learned the skills I’ve worked so hard to<br />

earn are not good enough.<br />

I learned the hands “helping” me are better<br />

than my hands.<br />

Instead of being excited by the skills, my<br />

hands have I learnt to be disappointed that<br />

my hands cannot do more.<br />

This happened because someone wanted<br />

me to produce something that looked a<br />

certain way. They valued that product more<br />

than my self-esteem and well-being.<br />

“My mummy only did this once and only to<br />

show you. If she did this to me every day,<br />

I would lose interest in my own hands. I<br />

would stop thinking of them as things I use<br />

and recognise them as other people’s tools.<br />

I would become passive, I would feel sad.<br />

Diminished.”<br />

(These words first appeared on Jo’s<br />

Facebook profile you are welcome to<br />

send her a friend request to watch out<br />

for more insight www.Facebook.com/<br />

JoannaGraceTSP)<br />

I work with people who have profound and<br />

multiple learning disabilities, often their<br />

ability to move their own hands is limited,<br />

their ability to grip and hold items can<br />

be unreliable. There can occasionally be<br />

justification for very sensitive manipulation<br />

of their hands, but more often than not,<br />

hand over hand work just happens to<br />

them. Kind people unintentionally do harm<br />

by “helping” them in this way. Hand over<br />

hand can be useful to guide a movement<br />

for a skill that can be swiftly learned, or that<br />

needs to be felt to be understood, the way<br />

you might show someone how to shoot<br />

pool. If you are supporting people with<br />

limited movement, try using hand under<br />

hand, to guide their hand to something you<br />

are inviting them to explore. Think of your<br />

own hand as like a little moving platform for<br />

their hand to ride upon, bring their hand to<br />

the item and allow it to slide off your hand<br />

and onto the item for exploration. Do not<br />

grab their hand and do it for them. That<br />

takes them out of the equation, they are not<br />

doing anything, you are, and you’re using<br />

their body as a tool for doing it.<br />

Egg starts nursery in a few weeks. (A<br />

different nursery). I am hoping to be<br />

bringing home a collection of paintings and<br />

sculptures that are difficult to understand<br />

and look nothing like any of the other<br />

children’s!<br />

Joanna provides online and in person<br />

training relating to sensory engagement<br />

and sensory differences, look up www.<br />

TheSensoryProjects.co.uk/online-college<br />

for more information. To view a list of her<br />

books visit www.TheSensoryProjects.co.uk/<br />

books Follow Jo on social media to pick up<br />

new sensory insights, you’ll find her at:<br />

@Jo3Grace on Twitter, Facebook and<br />

LinkedIn.<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 />

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

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

Road Safety Week<br />

“We want a world where everyone is free to move in a safe and healthy way, every day. We work<br />

to stop road deaths and injuries, support people affected by road crashes and campaign for safe<br />

and healthy mobility for all.” - Brake website<br />

This is a vision of the world from Brake, the<br />

national charity who promote road safety,<br />

campaign for safer roads, and look after<br />

those who have been adversely affected<br />

by accidents on the road.<br />

Every 20 minutes, someone is killed or<br />

seriously injured on UK roads. Alarmingly,<br />

road crashes are the leading cause of<br />

the death of children and young people<br />

worldwide, and in the UK, more than six<br />

children under the age of 15 are killed<br />

or seriously injured on roads every day,<br />

mainly while walking or cycling. These<br />

events are preventable with proper<br />

education and a change in our behaviour<br />

and attitude towards road safety. (Statistics<br />

from Brake website).<br />

Road Safety Week is the UK’s biggest<br />

road safety campaign and each year,<br />

millions of us heed the call and try<br />

to raise awareness about the issues<br />

and campaign for safer roads either<br />

nationally or locally in our own areas. It is<br />

coordinated annually by Brake, and this<br />

year, the week runs from the 15th to the<br />

21st <strong>November</strong> and actively encourages<br />

schools, nurseries and childminders to get<br />

involved in the events and educate our<br />

children about road safety. The theme for<br />

<strong>2021</strong> is Road Safety Heroes, which aims to<br />

celebrate the heroic work of all road safety<br />

professionals, thanking them for their<br />

efforts and acknowledging the important<br />

part they play in keeping us all safe. There<br />

are a lot of people involved in road safety<br />

and it isn’t just the obvious ones such as<br />

the police, fire and ambulance crews who<br />

attend accidents. There are many unsung<br />

heroes up and down the country who help<br />

too: from the crossing guards who assist<br />

near school crossings, the people who<br />

design our roads in the first place, to those<br />

who keep watch over us from traffic control<br />

observation centres, and the people who<br />

clear up and fix the roads in the event<br />

of an accident. Each one is doing their<br />

bit to keep us safer and helping us take<br />

responsibility for own safety and that of<br />

other people.<br />

Road safety for early years<br />

It’s never too early to start teaching<br />

our children about road safety and the<br />

organisers of Road Safety Week have<br />

come up with some specific resources<br />

and advice especially for early years<br />

educators which help make the topic<br />

fun and exciting. They are mindful that<br />

when it comes to talking about road<br />

safety for this age group, they need to<br />

get the messages across without scaring<br />

children, so the content has to be sensitive<br />

and age-appropriate. To this end, they<br />

have produced a short video about Road<br />

Safety Heroes which is tailored towards<br />

early years and KS1 children, and a<br />

number of different resources which can<br />

be downloaded from their website after<br />

signing up. These include things like:<br />

• A Road Safety Heroes card game with<br />

simple matching and counting games<br />

to introduce these heroes<br />

• Fact sheets to help you talk about the<br />

different people who are Road Safety<br />

Heroes<br />

• Lesson plans for English/PSHE/<br />

Citizenship and Art<br />

• An assembly presentation with<br />

ideas of how to run a Road Safety<br />

Heroes awards ceremony at your<br />

school or setting (you can purchase<br />

special stickers and certificates on the<br />

website)<br />

• Posters, colouring and activity sheets<br />

• Postcards to colour and send home to<br />

parents<br />

• A recipe for traffic light biscuits<br />

You can access these at a dedicated part<br />

of the Brake website called Zebras so you<br />

won’t be stuck for ideas or resources.<br />

Brake has identified the key messages to<br />

get across to early years children, which<br />

are:<br />

1. Always hold hands with a grown-up<br />

when walking near roads<br />

2. Always cross roads at safe places and<br />

hold a grown-up’s hand<br />

3. Always sit in a child seat when<br />

travelling by car<br />

The best way to teach these messages is<br />

through play, modelling good behaviours<br />

and using the 5 senses to help children<br />

remember the messages, so using songs,<br />

role-plays, rhymes, stories and actions<br />

are all good kinaesthetic learning styles to<br />

adopt at this age.<br />

Remember to educate your staff<br />

too<br />

As early years practitioners, it is also vital<br />

that you ensure your staff are fully aware of<br />

their safeguarding responsibilities when it<br />

comes to road safety and that you always<br />

have adequate staff: children ratios when<br />

walking outside of your setting. This is<br />

where risk assessments come in and you<br />

should make sure that you have conducted<br />

robust risk assessments and planned your<br />

routes carefully whenever you take children<br />

out on the road. Being prepared and<br />

leading by example is important and there<br />

are a number of risk-reducing actions you<br />

can take when walking or cycling including:<br />

1. Wearing high visibility jackets<br />

2. Wearing cycling helmets when on<br />

scooters or bikes<br />

3. Staying on footpaths and using the<br />

safest routes even if they are longer<br />

(e.g. underpasses and bridges)<br />

4. Finding a safe place to cross (Pelican<br />

crossing, zebra/pedestrian crossing)<br />

5. Stopping and waiting until it is safe to<br />

cross a road<br />

6. Looking and listening out for traffic<br />

each way before crossing<br />

Other ways to get involved in<br />

Road Safety Week<br />

• Invite a road safety expert into your<br />

setting to give a talk<br />

• Hold a Road ‘Safe-Tea’ Day by inviting<br />

people to your setting for tea and<br />

cake or a coffee morning. You can<br />

raise money for Brake or use it to raise<br />

awareness of road safety issues in<br />

your area<br />

• Fundraise for Brake to help people<br />

adversely affected by road traffic<br />

accidents<br />

• Hold a dressing up day encouraging<br />

everyone to dress up as their favourite<br />

Road Safety Superhero<br />

• Campaign for better road safety in<br />

your area by writing to your MP or local<br />

councillor<br />

Road safety matters, and by engaging<br />

children and young people with key road<br />

safety issues and working together in your<br />

local communities to improve road safety,<br />

we can create safer spaces and mobility<br />

for all, be that walking, cycling, in a private<br />

vehicle or a public bus; we can help create<br />

safer, greener environments, encourage<br />

active and healthier lifestyles, and prevent<br />

road traffic tragedies to ultimately save lives.<br />

https://www.brake.org.uk/road-safetyweek<br />

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

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

Keeping children safe in<br />

early years provision<br />

• Criminal record and barred list<br />

(including volunteers)<br />

• Checks on people from overseas<br />

• Qualifications<br />

• Identity checks<br />

• Right to work<br />

• Appropriate references<br />

• Disqualification under Childcare Act<br />

2006<br />

• Knowing what they are required to<br />

disclose when applying for a role<br />

• Understanding their disclosure rights<br />

and responsibilities<br />

• Having access to publicly available<br />

guidance and support from<br />

professional advisors<br />

Staff induction<br />

Last month, we were privileged to welcome Yvonne Sinclair to the <strong>Parenta</strong> family when she gave<br />

us the benefit of her incredible safeguarding knowledge and took us through crucial statutory<br />

information during our monthly webinar. If you missed it, you can watch it here.<br />

Safeguarding is not just about protecting<br />

children from deliberate harm and<br />

neglect. It encompasses broader aspects<br />

of care and education to provide a safe<br />

environment for children to learn and<br />

develop. For this to happen, a culture<br />

of vigilance, welfare and appropriate<br />

safeguarding actions must be promoted,<br />

along with the fulfilment of statutory<br />

requirements and best practice, all the<br />

while exercising professional judgement in<br />

keeping children safe. Underpinning this<br />

is the need for correct and appropriate<br />

recruitment procedures and checks. We<br />

must ensure that those given responsibility<br />

to look after children within early years<br />

settings are suitable to effectively carry out<br />

their roles.<br />

A whole-setting safe<br />

culture approach<br />

As outlined in Keeping children safe in<br />

education <strong>2021</strong> (KCSIE): “It is vital that<br />

governing bodies and proprietors create a<br />

culture that safeguards and promotes the<br />

welfare of children. As part of this culture,<br />

it is important that they adopt robust<br />

recruitment procedures that deter and<br />

prevent people who are unsuitable to work<br />

with children from applying for or securing<br />

employment, or volunteering opportunities<br />

in schools.”<br />

A whole-setting safe culture approach<br />

is fundamental to ensure everyone<br />

– regardless of their role and level –<br />

understands what it means to keep<br />

children safe. This includes ensuring<br />

vigorous steps are consistently taken to<br />

prevent, identify and reject unsuitable<br />

individuals throughout each stage of the<br />

recruitment process. Crucially, this also<br />

extends to those recruited via third parties<br />

and agencies.<br />

To ensure a whole-setting safe culture<br />

approach, early years settings must have<br />

effective:<br />

• Child protection arrangements<br />

• Recruitment and selection<br />

• Code of conduct<br />

• Whistle blowing<br />

• Safer working practices<br />

• Induction and supervision<br />

• Staff training to understand their<br />

responsibilities towards keeping<br />

children safe<br />

Serious case review<br />

failures and learnings<br />

One example of serious failings, where<br />

learnings around recruitment and a wholesetting<br />

safe approach were developed, is<br />

the review of ‘Nursery Z’ (2010). Exposed<br />

failures included inadequate:<br />

• Professional, reflective practice<br />

• Whole-setting approach<br />

• Professional code of conduct<br />

• Assumptions in suitability and<br />

competence<br />

• Policies and procedures<br />

• Recruitment and selection<br />

• Training<br />

As the nursery’s management and staff<br />

had not been appropriately trained in<br />

safeguarding, robust recruitment practices<br />

were not adhered to. This, combined with<br />

the other failings listed, meant unsuitable<br />

adults were allowed access to children<br />

and a culture of abuse towards them was<br />

made possible.<br />

Recruitment checks for<br />

early years settings<br />

Employers should ensure that employees<br />

understand that they are expected to<br />

disclose convictions, cautions, court<br />

orders, reprimands, and warnings which<br />

may have happened before and/or<br />

during employment. Furthermore, the<br />

following checks should be carried out as<br />

a minimum by early years settings and in<br />

line with the Statutory framework for the<br />

early years foundation stage (EYFS) and<br />

KCSIE.<br />

All schools are required to have regard<br />

to the government’s KCSIE statutory<br />

guidance. However, other childcare<br />

providers e.g. non-schools, may also<br />

find it helpful to refer to part 3 of the<br />

guidance, which details the recruitment<br />

and selection process, pre-appointment<br />

and vetting checks, and ongoing legal<br />

reporting duties.<br />

In addition, the following should be<br />

recorded by early years settings. Ofsted<br />

inspectors will check that the provider can<br />

produce evidence of the suitability of all<br />

relevant staff and adults.<br />

• Staff qualifications<br />

• Identity checks<br />

• Vetting process has been completed<br />

(including reference number, date a<br />

check was obtained and details of<br />

who obtained it)<br />

• Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act<br />

2006<br />

• First aid<br />

• Mandatory induction<br />

• Effective supervision (including<br />

support, coaching, and training)<br />

Child protection is at the forefront of<br />

ensuring settings are carrying out<br />

their duties to safeguard and promote<br />

the welfare of children. It underpins<br />

relevant aspects of process and policy<br />

development as identified in Ofsted’s<br />

Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years,<br />

Education and Skills to promote a safer<br />

culture for children.<br />

Rehabilitation of<br />

Offenders Act 1974 (ROA)<br />

This act was designed to give people with<br />

a criminal history a clean slate, as once<br />

an offence is spent, the offender is not<br />

required to inform potential employers.<br />

After a number of updates, with the<br />

latest being on 28th <strong>November</strong> 2020, the<br />

latest changes cover new responsibilities<br />

and requirements towards potential<br />

employees, along with changes to<br />

recruitment documentation. This includes:<br />

The daily experience of children in early<br />

years settings and the overall quality of<br />

provision depends on all practitioners<br />

promoting the interest of the child<br />

and fostering a culture of support and<br />

teamwork. They must also have the<br />

following:<br />

• Appropriate qualifications<br />

• Understanding of safeguarding and<br />

child protection responsibilities<br />

• Training, skills, and knowledge<br />

• Emergency evacuation and health and<br />

safety procedures<br />

• Effective supervision and support<br />

It is imperative that employers support staff<br />

to undertake appropriate training and give<br />

them access to professional development<br />

opportunities. This goes a long way to<br />

ensuring staff offer quality and continually<br />

improving learning and development<br />

exercises for children.<br />

Providers must also put appropriate<br />

arrangements in place for the supervision<br />

of staff who have contact with children<br />

and families. Effective supervision provides<br />

support that encourages the confidential<br />

discussion of sensitive issues.<br />

Having read this article, you may wish to<br />

consider your priorities and what needs to<br />

change to ensure safe recruitment in your<br />

early years setting to prevent children being<br />

failed by those given responsibility to care<br />

for them.<br />

Key documents<br />

• KCSIE (<strong>2021</strong>)<br />

• EYFS (<strong>2021</strong>)<br />

• Staffing and Employment Advice for<br />

Schools (<strong>2021</strong>)<br />

• Working Together to Safeguard<br />

Children (2020)<br />

• Ofsted Inspecting Safeguarding in Early<br />

Years, Education and Skills (<strong>2021</strong>)<br />

• DBS Filtering Guide 2020<br />

Yvonne Sinclair<br />

Yvonne Sinclair is an award-winning<br />

Independent Safeguarding Consultant,<br />

Trainer and Presenter specialising in the<br />

education and early years sectors and the<br />

founder of Safeguarding Support Limited.<br />

Yvonne has a wealth of safeguarding<br />

and child protection experience,<br />

having developed the role of National<br />

Safeguarding Officer for a national<br />

children’s charity. In that role she was<br />

responsible for leading on and developing<br />

safeguarding compliance, policy, and<br />

training.<br />

2015 saw Yvonne moving to an become<br />

independent, supporting educational<br />

providers and early years settings<br />

with all aspects of their safeguarding<br />

requirements to ensure organisational<br />

confidence of safeguarding compliance.<br />

Yvonne is AET qualified, trained in child<br />

protection by the NSPCC, an accredited<br />

trainer to deliver Safer Recruitment by the<br />

Safer Recruitment Consortium, a member<br />

of the Association of Child Protection<br />

Professionals (formerly BASPCAN),<br />

Child Protection in Education (CAPE) and<br />

National Association of Designated<br />

Safeguard Leads (NADSL).<br />

Yvonne’s aim is to ensure that<br />

‘safeguarding is simplified’. Find out<br />

more about Yvonne, her team and the<br />

support services they offer at www.<br />

safeguardingsupport.com.<br />

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

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

Game-based learning<br />

and gamification<br />

What is game-based learning?<br />

The clue here is in the title – it is a type of<br />

active learning experience that happens<br />

within a game framework. But it should<br />

have very specific learning objectives with<br />

measurable outcomes. Games often need<br />

a high degree of child interaction within the<br />

game, to access this content which is why<br />

children find them engaging – there are<br />

things to do, buttons to press and feedback<br />

to get. The feedback that children get is key<br />

because as they progress, they learn from<br />

the experience and challenge themselves<br />

to improve with greater complexity and/<br />

or different levels. Games usually offer a<br />

multi-sensory approach to learning, and<br />

help children absorb the lesson through<br />

visual, auditory and kinaesthetic systems.<br />

An example might be a specific game or<br />

app which helps children learn to spell or<br />

a maths game that helps them recognise<br />

numbers within the format of a car race or<br />

shooting gallery.<br />

What is gamification?<br />

Gamification is related, but different. It is<br />

the process of adding game elements<br />

(such as competition or penalties/rewards)<br />

to a learning experience with the aim of<br />

increasing a person’s engagement or<br />

enjoyment. Therefore, gamification may<br />

have game elements, but they tend to<br />

be separate from the learning content<br />

and gamification does not necessarily<br />

have any specific learning outcomes,<br />

although the player can often learn things<br />

through playing the game. Examples in the<br />

classroom might be using a reward system<br />

in which children earn points and go on a<br />

leader board, or a game such as bingo or<br />

Blockbusters used simply to test a pupil’s<br />

knowledge.<br />

Advantages of game-based<br />

learning<br />

Research has shown that playing video<br />

games can lead to brain growth in the<br />

pre-frontal cortex, the hippocampus and<br />

the cerebellum as children try to beat<br />

different levels and use problem-solving<br />

skills. They shift into problem-solving ways<br />

of thinking and are often more engaged<br />

in their learning and video games can<br />

help improve attention and spatial-motor<br />

skills. Other research links game-based<br />

learning to the development of a growth<br />

mindset as there is often an initial ‘trial and<br />

error’ approach which eventually leads to<br />

success, and they begin to see ‘failing’ not<br />

as an inevitable endpoint, but as something<br />

that can be overcome with practice, skill<br />

and effort.<br />

Are there any disadvantages?<br />

There are some cautionary tales around<br />

gamification, especially if the games are<br />

overly competitive and people do not deal<br />

well with losing. Some students may be<br />

reluctant even to try for fear of failing and<br />

the games may demotivate children rather<br />

that engage them. In addition, if students<br />

are left alone in front of electronic devices<br />

at the expense of quality adult or child<br />

interactions, then problems can occur in<br />

language and communication later on.<br />

Does it have to involve<br />

technology?<br />

Game-based learning and gamification do<br />

not have to be about technology. Chess has<br />

been a way of teaching strategic thinking<br />

for hundreds of years, and many teachers<br />

remember playing board games such<br />

as scrabble and ludo as children, which<br />

can be just as helpful to teach spelling/<br />

vocabulary and maths as the latest,<br />

trending app.<br />

What does this mean for early<br />

years?<br />

The market is full of games to help children<br />

learn, and you have probably invested<br />

in some electronic games to help your<br />

students in different areas. There are plenty<br />

of lists on the internet of the best games out<br />

there for early years children, and you can<br />

read reviews and recommendations from<br />

other professionals too. Most children’s TV<br />

channels have online games to support<br />

their children’s programming which are<br />

usually free and offer a degree of online<br />

safety which it is important to consider. But<br />

don’t forget the simplicity and educational<br />

value of a board game and dice too.<br />

Research on game-based learning is still<br />

being collated, but perhaps we, as early<br />

years educators, should remember the<br />

teaching of Lev Vygotsky and his zone<br />

of proximal development, which states<br />

that children can increase their skills and<br />

knowledge better with the help of a “more<br />

knowledgeable other”, and he wasn’t<br />

talking about a tablet or computer – but a<br />

caring and supportive adult!<br />

Education is evolving, and over the years<br />

it has changed a great deal. Gone are<br />

the days where the teacher stands and<br />

dictates from a book whilst students<br />

write down the information word for<br />

word, and learn it by rote. Things have<br />

changed. Researchers found that children<br />

had different ways of learning and that a<br />

teacher-led ‘chalk and talk’ method was<br />

only really useful for a limited number of<br />

students. They began to understand the<br />

importance of play in a child’s education<br />

(Froebel) and about different stages in<br />

a child’s development (Piaget) and how<br />

a child’s ability to learn and succeed<br />

can be influenced by different factors<br />

including social ones and the help of<br />

others (Vygotsky). New buzzwords came<br />

into education such as inclusion, crosscurricular<br />

learning, fixed and growth<br />

mindsets (Dweck) and all the time our<br />

understanding of what works expanded<br />

with each new theory. Straight lines of<br />

front-facing desks were replaced with<br />

smaller groups of children sat around<br />

tables, encouraged to interact with one<br />

another, to play and explore, and to ask<br />

questions of themselves and the teacher.<br />

We got playdough and messy play, Forest<br />

Schools and digital classrooms, as passive<br />

learning was replaced by child-led, active<br />

learning.<br />

Arguably, the biggest innovation in<br />

education recently has been over the last<br />

20 months or so, when many schools in<br />

the UK and around the world were forced<br />

to close their physical doors and take<br />

lessons online into virtual classrooms<br />

due to COVID-19. Forced to abandon<br />

traditional routes, educationalists began<br />

using technology more and more to help<br />

facilitate the learning process. Teachers<br />

learned Zoom, Teams and Google<br />

Classroom, and suddenly, everyone was<br />

trying to find innovative ways to engage a<br />

class of students all studying at home!<br />

This burgeoning of online and virtual<br />

lessons and the ever-evolving technologies<br />

we have in our arsenal, have brought with<br />

it a greater interest in what we now call<br />

“game-based learning” and “gamification”.<br />

Although related, these two concepts are<br />

different but have recently become almost<br />

synonymous with how computers, tablets,<br />

apps and other devices are now being<br />

used to educate our children. But are they<br />

all they are cracked up to be, and how are<br />

they helping?<br />

Research and references<br />

• Challenging games help students<br />

learn: An empirical study on<br />

engagement, flow and immersion<br />

in game-based learning<br />

• Video gaming can increase<br />

brain size and connectivity<br />

• Gaming Mindsets: Implicit Theories<br />

in Serious Game Learning<br />

24 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 25

What should I look for<br />

when choosing CPD<br />

courses that are worth<br />

investing time and<br />

money in?<br />

Research shows that one of the biggest concerns a setting has<br />

when purchasing CPD is the practical realities of their staff being<br />

The EYFS tells us that staff “must<br />

undertake appropriate training and<br />

professional development that continually<br />

improves’’ (<strong>2021</strong>; 3.21). To secure an<br />

“outstanding” judgement, a setting needs<br />

to demonstrate that focused and highly<br />

effective professional development is in<br />

place.<br />

However, there is rarely the luxury of time<br />

or money for all staff to do all the training<br />

they would benefit from. And when you do<br />

make that purchase, how can you be sure<br />

that it is going to be advice you can trust<br />

– or have any impact on practice going<br />

forward?<br />

I was a nursery manager for many years,<br />

utilising various styles and approaches to<br />

training.<br />

• I was good at identifying the training<br />

my staff needed, always sure to pick<br />

CPD-certified providers<br />

• I was great at selecting the staff that<br />

would get the most out of it<br />

• We met before hand, and spoke on<br />

their return, identifying the support<br />

they needed<br />

• And most of the time I was pretty<br />

good at organising numbers so that<br />

they could even attend<br />

But the same pattern would frequently<br />

seem to emerge; tremendously<br />

enthusiastic staff returning from their day<br />

out, but weeks later I would see little in the<br />

way of tangible change. While they had<br />

able to do it.<br />

been inspired and captivated, once back<br />

in the realities of a busy nursery, it was like<br />

they had never been. So, what was going<br />

wrong?<br />

It wasn’t until I left practice and became a<br />

consultant myself that I appreciated what it<br />

means to be a CPD-certified provider. And<br />

the little bearing this can have on realised<br />

improvements.<br />

If you want to affect real change, anything<br />

you invest in needs to have direct and<br />

continued impact on the experiences of<br />

your children. And within a busy nursery,<br />

this is rarely going to happen as a direct<br />

result of sitting in a training room for a day.<br />

• Training needs to be delivered by<br />

people who really understand what<br />

it means to work in a busy school<br />

or setting, with the knowledge and<br />

experience of what children need,<br />

and how to go about offering it<br />

• It needs to be realistic advice that you<br />

can trust and believe in<br />

• And there needs to be some<br />

continuation, with ideas you can<br />

reflect on, and revisit. Maybe even<br />

weeks later<br />

It is for these reasons that all the training<br />

I write follows the Department for<br />

Education’s five standards for teachers’<br />

CPD. Working in the early years, we are<br />

less familiar with these standards – but no<br />

less deserving of them. So, let us look at<br />

what they are.<br />

Standard One - professional<br />

development should focus on<br />

improving and evaluating pupil<br />

outcomes<br />

Training should be clear about its expected<br />

impact. Reflecting on knowledge,<br />

experience and goals, and with tools to<br />

help change practice and evaluate impact.<br />

Reflective practice is something we are<br />

very familiar with in the early years. But<br />

without a clear focus, reflections will<br />

have little impact on the outcomes or<br />

experiences of the children.<br />

Standard Two - professional<br />

development should be<br />

underpinned by robust evidence<br />

and expertise<br />

Training should be explicit about the<br />

evidence underpinning the practices it<br />

advocates. Clearly explaining how and<br />

why its messages are intended to work.<br />

Without underpinning knowledge and<br />

understanding, any advice you receive is<br />

unlikely to gain much traction. How many<br />

times have you asked someone to do<br />

something? Without understanding why,<br />

they are unlikely to continue when you are<br />

not around.<br />

Standard Three - professional<br />

development should include<br />

collaboration and expert challenge<br />

Training should include opportunities to<br />

discuss and ask questions. To consider<br />

the impact of methods being trialled and<br />

to challenge expectations.<br />

Training that overlooks opportunities<br />

to discuss current practice or desired<br />

outcomes with colleagues is likely to<br />

simply wash over you. It may sound<br />

hugely inspirational in the moment, but<br />

with little impact down the line.<br />

Standard Four - professional<br />

development should be sustained<br />

over time<br />

Sustained change takes commitment.<br />

For any new practice to embed, the team<br />

needs to be aware of this commitment<br />

and supported in making the changes<br />

required.<br />

Training often feels deeply inspiring on<br />

the day - even days after – but how many<br />

ideas did you carry through? Unless<br />

messages are revisited and supported<br />

after the demands of the day return, they<br />

will be soon forgotten.<br />

Standard Five - professional<br />

development must be prioritised<br />

by school leadership<br />

To support development, leadership teams<br />

need to see its requirement and their role<br />

within the process, along with tools and<br />

resources to support it.<br />

CPD needs to be a priority and supported<br />

by those managing everyone’s time and<br />

budgets. But this can be tough, so anything<br />

that can simplify the process is going to<br />

help make it a reality.<br />

The Nurturing Childhoods Ethos is to offer<br />

the key adults within every child’s life the<br />

knowledge, understanding and support<br />

required to nurture and develop every<br />

child’s full potential.<br />

By embracing these standards, all CPD<br />

is personalised by the teams within each<br />

setting. Progress is driven by the reflections<br />

it prompts, and precise strengths and<br />

areas for improvement are used to target<br />

what will be highly effective professional<br />

development.<br />

The longer Nurturing Childhoods<br />

Accreditation continues to maintain these<br />

standards by following a setting-based<br />

action-research model, so you will be sure<br />

to see deep and sustainable development<br />

taking root throughout your setting.<br />

And with accompanying courses and<br />

materials available for your parents, you<br />

are in a perfect position to work together in<br />

establishing the knowledge, understanding<br />

and support they need too.<br />

Don’t just take my word for it, visit www.<br />

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

even take a free course.<br />

Kathryn Peckham<br />

As Founder of Nurturing Childhoods,<br />

Dr Kathryn Peckham is a passionate<br />

advocate for children’s access to rich and<br />

meaningful experiences throughout their<br />

foundational early years. Delivering<br />

online courses, training and seminars, she<br />

works with families and settings to identify<br />

and celebrate the impact of effective<br />

childhood experiences as preparation for<br />

all of life’s learning. An active campaigner<br />

for children, she consults on projects,<br />

conducts research for government bodies<br />

and contributes to papers launched in<br />

parliament. Through her consultancy<br />

and research she guides local councils,<br />

practitioners, teachers and parents all<br />

over the world in enhancing children’s<br />

experiences through the experiences<br />

they offer. A highly acclaimed author and<br />

member of parliamentary groups, Kathryn<br />

also teaches a Masters at the Centre for<br />

Research in Early Years.<br />

Get in contact with Kathryn by emailing<br />

info@kathrynpeckham.co.uk<br />

Dr Kathryn Peckham’s exclusive<br />

CPD booster course giveaway<br />

To be in with a chance of winning a CPD Booster<br />

of your choice visit Kathryn’s website<br />

www.nurturing childhoods.co.uk and<br />

click here to enter the competition.<br />

Don’t miss out - the competition will end on<br />

Friday 26th <strong>November</strong>!<br />

26 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 27

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Are you taking<br />

well-being too<br />

seriously?<br />

Yes you probably are, and for good reason! With the effects<br />

of the pandemic still ringing in our ears, teachers, carers and<br />

parents have a big job on their hands. Not only do we have a<br />

responsibility to support children through the chaos, but we’re<br />

also witnessing poor mental health in our friends, family and<br />

colleagues. Anxiety levels have increased, attendance has<br />

dropped, workload has intensified, the pressures have become<br />

insurmountable.<br />

Anxiety breeds anxiety; If we’re running<br />

around like headless chickens, worrying<br />

or ruminating, it’s likely that the children<br />

we’re supporting will also feel uneasy.<br />

As the old phrase goes ‘you can’t pour<br />

from an empty cup’; when it comes to<br />

supporting anxious children, we ourselves<br />

need to feel well.<br />

If we feel calm, our children will feel calm,<br />

it’s not rocket science! Yet sometimes<br />

this piece of the puzzle is overlooked.<br />

Maybe you work in a school and have<br />

been tasked with supporting a nurture<br />

group, you feel under-qualified, have no<br />

idea where to start and enter the space<br />

flustered and unsure. Maybe you bombard<br />

the children with activities, but are met<br />

with disengagement or resistance. Maybe<br />

you’re so concerned over a child’s<br />

well-being that you lay awake at night<br />

worrying about them.<br />

Of course some children do require<br />

specialist support from counsellors,<br />

psychologists or social workers, but<br />

I believe that for children who are<br />

experiencing low levels of anxiety, play<br />

may be the answer.<br />

That’s why I decided to develop a<br />

well-being program where play is at<br />

the foundation of the learning. The<br />

Superpower Boot Camp Well-being<br />

Program is a series of pre-recorded<br />

lessons that can be used directly with<br />

groups of primary aged children. Using<br />

interactive group games and playful<br />

exercises; Superpower Boot Camp<br />

introduces six natural inbuilt superpowers<br />

to the children. These are breath, noticing<br />

the senses, movement, kindness, laughter<br />

and gratitude.<br />

The superpowers are explored and<br />

strengthened in the lessons, with<br />

challenges set in between classes to help<br />

solidify the learning. Below I have listed<br />

three activities which introduce some of<br />

the well-being techniques I cover on the<br />

program.<br />

Balance game<br />

This game explains the difference between<br />

our natural breath and our superpower<br />

breath. The aim is to get the children to<br />

play the game, then after a couple of<br />

rounds instigate a pause, where you<br />

all take three deep breaths into your<br />

belly. Encourage the children to lengthen<br />

their breath, focus on their feet and play<br />

the game again using their Breathing<br />

Superpower. They should find that they<br />

feel stronger and more grounded when<br />

instigating their Breathing Superpower in<br />

comparison to their natural breath.<br />

Instructions<br />

• In pairs, stand facing your partner<br />

• Placing both your feet together and<br />

bringing your palms up to meet your<br />

partners palms in the gap between<br />

you<br />

• The aim of the game is to try and<br />

gently push your partner so they step<br />

off their perch<br />

• If you or your partner step off of your<br />

perch you have lost that round<br />

Elbow link<br />

This game harnesses the children’s<br />

Gratitude Superpower by focusing on the<br />

things that make them smile. I find that<br />

this activity unites a group as they each<br />

respond and connect to their experiences.<br />

Instructions<br />

• Have one person stand up and share<br />

something that makes them smile,<br />

this could be “Going to the beach”<br />

• If this statement resonates with<br />

another child in the group, and they<br />

agree it makes them smile too, have<br />

them stand up and link elbows with<br />

that person<br />

• Then they share something else<br />

that makes them smile, for example<br />

“Playing tag with my friends”<br />

• Whoever agrees that this also makes<br />

them smile, links elbows with that<br />

child, until everyone in the group is<br />

standing with their elbows connected<br />

Secret mission<br />

Challenge the children to do a random<br />

act of kindness for someone without them<br />

noticing! This could be over the course of a<br />

few hours, a day or a whole week. Using<br />

their Kindness Superpower, the aim of this<br />

challenge is to secretly spread kindness<br />

to the people around them. They could<br />

give someone a gift, send an anonymous<br />

Katie White<br />

Katie Rose White is a Laughter Facilitator<br />

and founder of The Best Medicine.<br />

She works predominantly with carers,<br />

teachers and healthcare professionals -<br />

teaching playful strategies for boosting<br />

mood, strengthening resilience and<br />

improving well-being. She provides<br />

practical workshops, interactive talks<br />

and training days - fusing therapeutic<br />

laughter techniques, playful games<br />

and activities, and mindfulness-based<br />

practices. The techniques are not only<br />

designed to equip participants with tools<br />

for managing their stress, but can also<br />

be used and adapted to the needs of the<br />

people that they are supporting.<br />

Email: thebestmedicine@outlook.com<br />

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bestmedicine1<br />

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/<br />

thebestmedicinecornwall<br />

letter or even do a task like the washing up<br />

without getting caught.<br />

Taking a playful spin on well-being doesn’t<br />

water down the learning. Yes supporting<br />

a child’s well-being should be taken<br />

seriously, but don’t forget the fun!<br />

For more information checkout https://<br />

the-best-medicine.teachable.com/p/<br />

superpower-bootcamp-intermediate<br />

30 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 31

Building successful literacy skills<br />

in the early years through music<br />

Literacy skills are fundamental to higher level skills like planning, critical thinking, problemsolving<br />

and socio-emotional development. It all begins with fine motor skills like holding a<br />

pencil effectively, listening to stories and being able to retell them while anticipating events and<br />

consequences, recognising sounds and word shapes, and finally, forming letters and/or words<br />

that can be recognised by others. Music can be used in all of these, whether introducing shapes by<br />

walking in lines and circles, playing instruments accurately to the beat like drumming, or singing<br />

songs with developing storylines.<br />

Research shows that the best environment for developing these skills is a positive one, where adults read together with children (Wirth<br />

et al., <strong>2021</strong>), and where children can express joy in the books and stories that they share (Nordström et al., <strong>2021</strong>). Role-models are<br />

important in childhood (Herrmann et al., <strong>2021</strong>), whether inside or outside of the home, and have the potential to influence future mindsets<br />

and behaviours. We hope that by using these songs, adults will feel empowered to play these games, knowing the thinking and<br />

developmental planning behind them.<br />

Fine motor: Aiken Drum<br />

There was a man lived in the moon<br />

Lived in the moon, lived in the moon<br />

There was a man lived in the moon<br />

And his name was Aiken Drum<br />

And he played upon a ladle<br />

A ladle, a ladle<br />

And he played upon a ladle<br />

And his name was Aiken Drum<br />

And his coat was made of smelly cheese<br />

Smelly cheese, smelly cheese<br />

And his coat was made of smelly cheese<br />

And his name was Aiken Drum<br />

And his shoes were made of pineapples<br />

This song can be used with children taking<br />

turns to sit in a group and play drums or<br />

triangles (instruments with beaters) while<br />

the rest walk around them in a circle, like<br />

the moon going around the earth. Use<br />

children’s suggestions to develop the story.<br />

Literacy: Green Grass<br />

Adult:<br />

There was a hole<br />

Down in the ground<br />

The prettiest hole<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Children:<br />

There was a hole<br />

Down in the ground<br />

The prettiest hole<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Altogether:<br />

And the hole in the ground<br />

And the green grass grew all around and<br />

around<br />

And the green grass grew all around<br />

Adult:<br />

Now in that hole<br />

There was a tree<br />

The prettiest tree<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Children:<br />

Now in that hole<br />

There was a tree<br />

The prettiest tree<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Altogether:<br />

And the tree in the hole<br />

And the hole in the ground<br />

And the green grass grew all around and<br />

around<br />

And the green grass grew all around<br />

Adult:<br />

Now in that tree<br />

There was a nest<br />

The prettiest nest<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Children:<br />

Now in that tree<br />

There was a nest<br />

The prettiest nest<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Altogether:<br />

And the nest in the tree<br />

And the tree in the hole<br />

And the hole in the ground<br />

And the green grass grew all around and<br />

around<br />

And the green grass grew all around<br />

Adult:<br />

Now in that nest<br />

There was a egg<br />

The prettiest egg<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Children:<br />

Now in that nest<br />

There was a egg<br />

The prettiest egg<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Altogether:<br />

And the egg in the nest<br />

And the nest in the tree<br />

And the tree in the hole<br />

And the hole in the ground<br />

And the green grass grew all around and<br />

around<br />

And the green grass grew all around<br />

Adult:<br />

Now in that egg<br />

There was a bird<br />

The prettiest bird<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Children:<br />

Now in that egg<br />

There was a bird<br />

The prettiest bird<br />

That you ever did see<br />

Altogether:<br />

And the bird in the egg<br />

And the egg in the nest<br />

And the nest in the tree<br />

And the tree in the hole<br />

And the hole in the ground<br />

And the green grass grew all around and<br />

around<br />

And the green grass grew all around<br />

This song introduces sequencing,<br />

vocabulary and anticipation. The call-andresponse<br />

format supports the children in<br />

retelling the story within the song – pictures<br />

can be helpful!<br />

Writing: Mulberry Bush<br />

(circle)<br />

Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush<br />

The Mulberry Bush, the mulberry bush<br />

Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush<br />

So early in the morning<br />

This is the way we brush our teeth<br />

Brush our teeth, brush our teeth<br />

This is the way we brush our teeth<br />

So early in the morning<br />

This is the way we put on our shoes<br />

Put on our shoes, put on our shoes<br />

This is the way we put on our shoes<br />

So early in the morning<br />

These songs help the experience of<br />

creating shapes. Lines and circles are used<br />

so often that we introduce them first.<br />

Writing: How many<br />

miles? (line)<br />

How many miles to Babylon?<br />

Three score and ten<br />

Will I get back before you do?<br />

Yes, and back again<br />

Open the gates and let us through!<br />

Not without a beck and bow!<br />

Here’s the beck, here’s the bow<br />

Open the gates and let us through<br />

This fun call-and-response song has<br />

children standing in two lines across from<br />

and facing each other. The first group asks<br />

the question, and the second group replies<br />

until in the end, the second group holds<br />

hands and raises them (‘gates’) for the<br />

other group to walk under – and the groups<br />

swap places. Then the second group has<br />

a turn to ask the questions and go through<br />

the ‘gates’.<br />

These non-competitive games are<br />

fantastic learning tools because they are<br />

self-correcting and rely on participants<br />

concentrating in order for the game to work.<br />

They are improving their literacy without<br />

realising it, until or unless the adult reminds<br />

them of the shapes they were making<br />

during the song/game. And whether<br />

children catch on immediately or learn from<br />

each other makes no difference – they all<br />

get to play, all together.<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 />

32 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 33

Celebrating Diwali, Festival<br />

of Lights in your setting<br />

The Hindu Festival of Lights, known as Diwali or “Deepavali”, meaning ‘rows of lighted lamps’, is a<br />

bright, colourful festival celebrating the triumph of the light over the darkness, and knowledge over<br />

ignorance. Hindu is the third most practiced religion in the world behind Christianity and Islam, and<br />

is considered to be the world’s oldest religion, dating back more than 4,000 years. It is celebrated<br />

by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Muslims and Buddhists around the world, and this year, lands on<br />

2nd - 6th <strong>November</strong>.<br />

Hinduism is an eclectic religion which<br />

does not claim to have any one Prophet<br />

or worship any one God, nor does it have<br />

a single central belief, making it difficult to<br />

describe to lay people. It is perhaps best<br />

described as a ‘way of life’ which can<br />

include many different spiritual and secular<br />

practices including meditation, yoga,<br />

worship, duties, respect for nature, the<br />

seeking and giving of wealth/security and<br />

pleasure, and honour of the family.<br />

How is Diwali celebrated?<br />

Diwali is a 5-day festival in which Hindus<br />

traditionally do certain things on certain<br />

days. Like Easter, its exact days are based<br />

on a lunar calendar, so the dates change<br />

each year.<br />

Day one – people often clean their homes<br />

and clear out old things in preparation for<br />

the main festival.<br />

Day two – houses are decorated with<br />

small, clay oil lamps known as diyas. It is<br />

traditional to draw or use coloured sand<br />

or rice to decorate the floor outside the<br />

front door with a bright, colourful pattern<br />

(rangolis).<br />

Day three – this is the main Diwali festival<br />

and people go to the temples to worship<br />

and honour the Goddess Lakshmi. They<br />

can share food in the temple, decorate<br />

them with rows of diyas and end the day<br />

with feasts and fireworks.<br />

Day four – this is the new year for many<br />

Hindus, and it is celebrated by exchanging<br />

presents with family and friends.<br />

Day five – this day is traditionally a day to<br />

celebrate the sibling relationship and so<br />

people see family, and share traditional<br />

foods such as laddoos and gulab jamun,<br />

celebrating with music and dance.<br />

Celebrating Diwali using the<br />

Early Learning Goals<br />

Diwali is a festival which you can celebrate<br />

in many ways in your setting. We thought<br />

it would be fun to come up with different<br />

ideas based on the Early Learning Goals.<br />

Communication and language<br />

Hindi is one of India’s official languages<br />

along with Urdu, and over 60% of Indians<br />

speak Hindi. It stems from Sanskrit but has<br />

also been greatly influenced by Persian<br />

and Arabic. You could teach the children<br />

a few Hindu words related to Diwali and<br />

here are a few easy ones to get you<br />

started:<br />

• Namaste – Hello – I bow to you<br />

• Haan – Yes<br />

• Nahin - Noहीं<br />

• Alavida – Goodbye<br />

• Yoga - The path of achieving union<br />

with the Divineयोग<br />

• Diya - The traditional oil lamp used in<br />

Diwali<br />

• Sanskrit – The ancient language used<br />

in Hindu religious texts<br />

Physical development<br />

Teach your children some classical Indian<br />

dance, one form of which is known as<br />

Bharatnatyam. It was originally a temple<br />

dance for women and is often used to<br />

tell religious stories. The movements are<br />

characterised by bent legs and turnedout<br />

feet with symbolic hand and arm<br />

gestures called mudras. You can find some<br />

basic steps at https://www.bbc.co.uk/<br />

newsround/54833725 or you could try<br />

some easy Bollywood dancing.<br />

Personal, social and emotional<br />

development<br />

One of the teachings in Hinduism is about<br />

the connectedness of all things and the<br />

idea that we should live a kind life, which<br />

is in balance with nature to create good<br />

karma. You could explore what kindness/<br />

karma mean in your circle time to see what<br />

your children think being kind to others<br />

means. You could have a ‘kindness day’<br />

where the aim is to be kind to everyone you<br />

see, by a kind word or a kind deed such as<br />

sharing toys, or swapping small gifts.<br />

Literacy<br />

There are books that you can use in<br />

storytime about Diwali that explain what<br />

the festival is about and how people<br />

celebrate it. Twinkl has recently released<br />

“Dipal’s Diwali” which explains how the<br />

protagonist, Dipal, celebrates Diwali with<br />

his family, but there are others such as<br />

“Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali!” by Ajanta<br />

Chakraborty and “The Diwali Gift” by<br />

Shweta Chopra.<br />

Mathematics<br />

Since there are 5 days in Diwali, you<br />

can base your number work around the<br />

number 5. This is a good number for early<br />

years children because it is the number<br />

of digits on each hand. Make some hand<br />

prints using paint and then label the<br />

numbers 1 to 5 and get the children to<br />

practice writing their numbers. You can<br />

also cut out paper images of diyas and<br />

arrange them in different patterns, or cut<br />

out different sized circles and petal shapes<br />

and get the children to make their own<br />

rangoli patters with the different shapes.<br />

Explore symmetry too by making folding<br />

paintings. Draw a line down the centre of a<br />

piece of paper and get the children to paint<br />

on only one half of the paper. Then fold it<br />

in half so that the image is transferred onto<br />

the opposite half. When you open it up,<br />

you should have a matching, symmetrical<br />

image on both halves of the paper.<br />

Understanding the world<br />

Teach the children some facts about<br />

India – you could show where it is on the<br />

globe, look at some examples of traditional<br />

Indian dress and talk about some of the<br />

differences that exist between the two<br />

countries. Why not consider things like?<br />

• Climate and weather<br />

• Population<br />

• Diet<br />

• National dress<br />

• Music and dance<br />

• Animals<br />

Expressive arts and design<br />

There are many arts and crafts ideas<br />

that you can use to celebrate Diwali such<br />

as making paper lanterns, pictures of<br />

fireworks or rangoli patterns. You could<br />

decorate the floor outside your setting<br />

with chalk rangolis. Remember to make<br />

them bold and colourful to welcome in the<br />

Goddess Lakshmi into your setting. Another<br />

idea is to make some Indian sweet treats<br />

and there are some simple, no-cooking<br />

recipes which are suitable for toddlers.<br />

Diwali is all about light defeating darkness,<br />

so you could encourage your children to<br />

interpret this themselves and give them free<br />

reign over what to draw to show this.<br />

Remember to send us in your images and<br />

stories to hello@parenta.com to let us know<br />

what you get up to. Happy Diwali!<br />

34 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 35

Anti-Bullying<br />

Week<br />

Wouldn’t it be nice if our children could grow up in a safe, secure<br />

and nurturing environment, free from any form or abuse or<br />

the influence of people who do not have their best interests at<br />

heart? Yet sadly, despite a myriad of safeguarding laws and<br />

interventions, many of our children are still suffering at the<br />

hands or bullies, either in person, or increasingly online, as they<br />

have access to technology and the internet.<br />

According to the latest ONS report on<br />

Bullying in Schools, approximately 17%<br />

of children report being bullied, with the<br />

proportion being higher in younger age<br />

groups: 22% of 10-year-olds and 8% of<br />

15-year-olds. Compared to other OECD<br />

nations, England saw the second highest<br />

proportion of school principals reporting<br />

bullying activity (29%) compared to an<br />

OECD average of only 14%. A poll carried<br />

out for the charity, Anti-Bullying Alliance<br />

(ABA), found that in 2019, 11% of surveyed<br />

children said they missed school due to<br />

bullying, and 19% had avoided friends or<br />

online media because of bullying. One in<br />

four children experience online bullying in<br />

some form or another.<br />

What is bullying?<br />

The ABA define bullying as:<br />

“… the repetitive, intentional hurting of<br />

one person or group by another person or<br />

group, where the relationship involves an<br />

imbalance of power.”<br />

It can be physical, emotional, verbal,<br />

sexual and it can happen face to face<br />

or online, or even indirectly via types of<br />

coercion and exploitation.<br />

Occasionally, there is confusion as to<br />

whether an incident should be classed<br />

as bullying, or a one-off peer-to-peer<br />

disagreement, but there are 4 key<br />

elements that have been identified which<br />

clarify the definition of bullying.<br />

These state that in bullying, the actions are:<br />

• Hurtful<br />

• Repetitive<br />

• Intentional<br />

• And that a power imbalance exists<br />

The power imbalance and repeated<br />

intention are often key to understanding if<br />

an incident is classed as bullying. Power<br />

imbalance can be associated with age,<br />

gender, social status, numbers involved<br />

amongst other things, and our traditional<br />

view of there being a bully and victim<br />

is now evolving as we understand that<br />

bullying often has a much more complex,<br />

social structure. Research is starting to<br />

identify different roles within and around a<br />

bullying situation such as the:<br />

• ‘Target’ – the victim of bullying<br />

• ‘Ringleader’ – the main bully<br />

• ‘Reinforcer’ – people who give the<br />

ringleader power and reinforce their<br />

status<br />

• ‘Assistant’ – people who assist in the<br />

bullying, verbally or physically<br />

• ‘Defender’ – people who defend or<br />

stick up for the target either in person<br />

or by telling an adult<br />

• ‘Outsider’ – bystanders who may<br />

witness and ignore the situation or<br />

who are unaware of the bullying<br />

taking place<br />

Having a greater understanding of<br />

all these roles can help teachers and<br />

practitioners tackle bullying from all<br />

angles. By encouraging more ‘defenders’,<br />

or ‘outsiders’ to report bullying, and by<br />

discouraging ‘assistants’ and ‘reinforcers’,<br />

it becomes less easy for the ‘ringleaders’<br />

to gain access to, and intimidate their<br />

‘targets’. Clearly these are simplifications<br />

but they can help tackle bullying when<br />

everyone’s role is taken into account. Left<br />

unchallenged, bullying can grow and may,<br />

in extreme cases, even eventually lead to<br />

radicalisation, which we all have a duty to<br />

tackle under The Prevent Duty.<br />

Who is at risk?<br />

Bullying can happen to anyone, in any<br />

walk of life, and is not confined to children.<br />

Many adults are the victims of bullying<br />

in their workplace, or by virtue of their<br />

gender, ethnicity, social status or sexuality.<br />

There are several groups that have been<br />

shown to suffer bullying disproportionately,<br />

including:<br />

• Looked after children and ex-looked<br />

after children<br />

• People with SEN and disabilities<br />

• Young carers<br />

• Ethnic or religious minorities<br />

• LGTBQIA+<br />

Bullying and early years<br />

Bullying is wrong and needs to be taken<br />

seriously at all levels. Even children aged<br />

as young as 3 have been observed<br />

displaying bullying behaviour, so it<br />

everyone’s responsibility to promote<br />

tolerance, celebrate rather than ridicule<br />

difference, and tackle bullying head-on<br />

with a whole-school or whole-setting<br />

approach. Early years settings are wellplaced<br />

to challenge prejudices that may<br />

exist in a child’s wider social network, and<br />

to educate and influence them in more<br />

positive ways.<br />

Anti-Bullying Week<br />

Anti-Bullying Week, which runs this year<br />

from 15th to the 19th of <strong>November</strong> is a<br />

great way to open the discussions and<br />

improve staff training on this issue. It is<br />

organised annually by the ABA whose<br />

objective are to:<br />

• Raise the profile of bullying and the<br />

effect it has on the lives of children<br />

and young people<br />

• Create a climate in which everyone<br />

agrees that bullying is unacceptable<br />

• Make sure that teachers, youth<br />

practitioners, parents, carers, children<br />

and young people have the skills<br />

and knowledge to address bullying<br />

effectively<br />

The ABA website is full of information,<br />

videos and advice on how to tackle<br />

bullying and even has a free,<br />

downloadable advice sheet especially<br />

for early years settings which gives<br />

some tips on how to promote positive<br />

communication, empathy and<br />

understanding to tackle the issues early<br />

on, rather than falling into some of the<br />

old traps of dismissing the behaviour as<br />

‘banter’, telling the victims to ‘stand up<br />

for themselves’, and equally-damaging,<br />

labelling people as ‘bullies’ rather than<br />

understanding their behaviour and<br />

communication.<br />

The ABA is a unique coalition of<br />

organisations and individuals, working<br />

together to stop bullying and create safer<br />

environments in which children and young<br />

people can live, grow, play and learn. It<br />

was established by the NSPCC and the<br />

National Children’s Bureau in 2002 and is<br />

hosted by the National Children’s Bureau.<br />

They provide expertise in relation to all<br />

forms of bullying between children and<br />

young people.<br />

This year, the theme is ‘One Kind Word’<br />

and they are promoting the positive use of<br />

kindness as a way to encourage a kinder<br />

society overall, in which empathy and<br />

understanding replace conflict, bullying<br />

and coercion. The week is supported by<br />

CBeebies star, Andy Day, and his band,<br />

Andy and the Odd Socks, and everyone<br />

is encouraged to start the week with Odd<br />

Socks Day by wearing different socks to<br />

school or nursery. Last year, over 80% of<br />

schools and nurseries took part in the<br />

event in some way, and you can download<br />

and an advice sheet on ways to celebrate<br />

anti-bullying week.<br />

ABA covers England and Wales, but<br />

Scotland has their own anti-bullying<br />

agency called Respectme, and in Northern<br />

Ireland, there is the Northern Ireland Anti-<br />

Bullying Forum.<br />

Each organisation has developed their<br />

own resources and activity to support the<br />

week.<br />

Remember too, that staff training can<br />

help practitioners spot bullying behaviour<br />

and the ABA run several free, online CPD<br />

lessons too.<br />

References<br />

• https://researchbriefings.files.<br />

parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8812/<br />

CBP-8812.pdf<br />

• https://www.ons.gov.uk/<br />

peoplepopulationandcommunity/<br />

crimeandjustice/bulletins/<br />

onlinebullyinginenglandandwales/<br />

yearendingmarch2020<br />

36 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 37

How to help children to<br />

deal with big emotions<br />

Children can struggle with big emotions and often when going into a meltdown can find it hard<br />

to self-regulate. Developmentally, young children don’t have the capacity to calm down, so it’s<br />

important that we acknowledge this and take steps to support and nurture them back into a safe<br />

and calm state.<br />

During a tantrum, it’s almost impossible<br />

for a child to see reason because the part<br />

of their brain that is active is closed off to<br />

these things and isn’t capable of applying<br />

a logical perspective. Once we realise that<br />

their reaction is often instinctive and out of<br />

their conscious control, we can make more<br />

effective decisions when responding to the<br />

situation.<br />

Tantrums can be very frustrating, however<br />

in these moments, children need us to<br />

respond with connection and calmness<br />

rather than chaos. The best thing that we<br />

can do for our children is to firstly regulate<br />

ourselves and our own emotions. If we are<br />

adding frustration and anger to the mix, it<br />

won’t help anyone.<br />

Connection and space<br />

The greatest gift we can give anyone is<br />

connection. When people feel connected<br />

and heard they are far more likely to calm<br />

down and listen. During a meltdown, a<br />

child won’t hear your words. However,<br />

they will feel your energy. By just extending<br />

love and care in this moment, you will give<br />

them the time and space to calm down.<br />

Think about when you yourself have lost it.<br />

In that moment you are raging and can’t<br />

think clearly. It’s only once you’ve calmed<br />

down that you can reason and look at a<br />

different perspective. The same applies<br />

to children. Calm always comes before<br />

clarity.<br />

Acknowledge feelings<br />

Quite often tantrums seem irrational.<br />

However, if you look at the situation<br />

through the eyes of a child (with their<br />

limited life experience), you will most<br />

probably gain a better understanding<br />

of why they are feeling and reacting this<br />

way. I remember once giving my little boy<br />

a red felt tip pen instead of the blue one,<br />

he wanted. It all descended into chaos<br />

and he ended up on the floor screaming<br />

and crying. From my adult perspective<br />

this seemed like a massive over reaction.<br />

However, the minute I looked at this<br />

through the lens of a 2-year-old, it made<br />

so much more sense. He was frustrated<br />

that I got it wrong and on top of that, he<br />

didn’t have the ability to talk to me in a<br />

way that could articulate this frustration.<br />

The only way he could express himself<br />

was through a meltdown and because of<br />

his age, he wasn’t able to rationalise and<br />

control himself. He wasn’t being ‘naughty’<br />

or defiant, he was struggling to manage<br />

his feelings and needed my help. I hugged<br />

him through his meltdown and then once<br />

he was calm, I told him that I understood<br />

he was frustrated with mummy getting it<br />

wrong and that I was going to fix it. I then<br />

gave him the blue pen, wiped away his<br />

tears and peace was quickly restored.<br />

Manage expectations<br />

When I am expecting something from my<br />

children, I always ask myself how I would<br />

personally react if I was being treated in the<br />

same way. This helps me to make sure that<br />

my expectations are fair and respectful.<br />

Quite often without meaning to, we<br />

ask things of children that<br />

we wouldn’t ourselves<br />

be okay with.<br />

For example:<br />

If we were engrossed in a project and<br />

someone just came up to us, turned off our<br />

computer and told us it was lunch time, we<br />

would be annoyed. We’d expect to have<br />

some time to round things up and to finish<br />

off what we were doing, and for people to<br />

allow us to manage our own time. Children<br />

are no different. By asking them if they can<br />

be done in 5 minutes, you allow them to<br />

feel in control. Like my own children, they<br />

might negotiate and ask for 10, which is<br />

perfectly okay.<br />

By managing our own time and<br />

expectations we can allow for this and give<br />

children the feeling of autonomy, which<br />

helps them to feel more empowered. If they<br />

then go into a meltdown anyway when<br />

the time comes to pack up, you can gently<br />

remind them that they agreed to this.<br />

This then teaches children about<br />

responsibility and boundaries too.<br />

Children are always going to have<br />

meltdowns and will often struggle to<br />

regulate their own feelings. However, with<br />

our help and compassion they can return<br />

to a state of calm and learn the lessons<br />

necessary to move forward in a better way.<br />

People are more likely to step into their<br />

greatness when they feel understood, loved<br />

and respected. If we can view a meltdown<br />

as a signpost that a child is struggling and<br />

needs our help, rather than viewing it as<br />

‘bad behaviour’, we will not only manage<br />

the situation in a more effective way but<br />

will also teach children the art of kindness,<br />

empathy and care.<br />

?<br />

?<br />

?<br />

Stacey Kelly<br />

Stacey Kelly is a former French and<br />

Spanish teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful<br />

babies and the founder of Early Years<br />

Story Box. After becoming a mum, Stacey<br />

left her teaching career and started<br />

writing and illustrating storybooks to help<br />

support her children through different<br />

transitional stages like leaving nursery<br />

and starting school. Seeing the positive<br />

impact of her books on her children’s<br />

emotional well-being led to Early Years<br />

Story Box being born. Stacey has now<br />

created 35 storybooks, all inspired by<br />

her own children, to help teach different<br />

life lessons and to prepare children for<br />

their next steps. She has an exclusive<br />

collection for childcare settings that are<br />

gifted on special occasions like first/<br />

last days, birthdays, Christmas and/or<br />

Easter and has recently launched a new<br />

collection for parents too. Her mission is<br />

to support as many children as she can<br />

through story-time and to give childcare<br />

settings an affordable and special gifting<br />

solution that truly makes a difference.<br />

Email: stacey@earlyyearsstorybox.com or<br />

Telephone: 07765785595<br />

Website: www.earlyyearsstorybox.com<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 />

38 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 39

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