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March 2023 Parenta magazine

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Issue 100<br />

MARCH <strong>2023</strong><br />

FREE<br />

Industry<br />

Experts<br />

Top tips for the<br />

terrific twos -<br />

Tip seven: overwhelm<br />

The power of love<br />

languages<br />

Taking singing home:<br />

how singing helps your<br />

health<br />

+ lots more<br />

Prize Draw<br />

Give Aways<br />

Inside!<br />

Celebrating 100<br />

editions of <strong>Parenta</strong>!<br />

Thank you to all our readers and amazing industry expert guest authors for being part of our community - here’s to the next<br />

100 editions!<br />

NATIONAL CAREERS WEEK • RAMADAN • ZERO DISCRIMINATION DAY


hello<br />

welcome to our family<br />

Hello and welcome to the <strong>March</strong> edition of the <strong>Parenta</strong> <strong>magazine</strong> - celebrating 100 editions!<br />

We have much to celebrate this month, not least the fact our <strong>magazine</strong> has reached the milestone of 100<br />

editions! Over the past several years, we have strived to provide you with valuable information, advice and<br />

guidance on all aspects of early years childcare and we’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with some of the<br />

leading experts in the early years. Thank you for being part of our community, and here’s to the next 100 editions!<br />

Turn to page 7 for the chance to win some fantastic prizes!<br />

We celebrate the Muslim tradition of Ramadan this month and have some great ideas for you to be able to celebrate in all settings, of all<br />

faiths, including some wonderful recipes in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, once fasting has finished.<br />

Also featured in this month’s edition; Frances Turnbull looks at the benefits of singing on our health, Stacey Kelly gives us an insight into<br />

the power of love languages, Kathryn Peckham discusses ‘safe space policies’, and Joanna Grace helps us to look at the bigger picture<br />

when children feel overwhelmed.<br />

Pam McFarlane concludes her series dealing with the sensitive topic of the death of a staff member, focusing on duty of care, Dr Mona<br />

Sakr shows us how early years leaders can make positive workplace culture stick, Safeguarding expert Yvonne Sinclair discusses<br />

the summary of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and looks at the Truth Project, and Gina Bale shows us the<br />

importance of keeping an open mind when allowing the children to let their imaginations run wild with authentic learning.<br />

It’s a packed 100th edition, and as usual, everything you read in the <strong>magazine</strong> is written to help with the efficient running of your setting<br />

and to promote the health, happiness and well-being of the children in your care.<br />

We are holding a special webinar this month for all who work in childcare, which looks at how collectively, we can tackle the<br />

challenges of the skills gap and staff shortage crisis in our industry. Join us on 9th <strong>March</strong> with guest speakers Neil Leitch<br />

from EY Alliance, Purnima Tanuku from NDNA, June O’Sullivan from LEYF and Mark Child from Skillsfirst. You can register for<br />

this here.<br />

Please feel free to share the <strong>magazine</strong> with friends, parents and colleagues – they can sign up to receive their copy at www.parenta.com/<br />

<strong>magazine</strong>.<br />

MARCH <strong>2023</strong> ISSUE 100<br />

IN THIS EDITION<br />

Regulars<br />

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

34 EYFS Activities: Communication and<br />

Language<br />

News<br />

4 Childcare news and views<br />

6 Small stories<br />

7 100th Edition Give Aways!<br />

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

learners!<br />

Advice<br />

16 Safeguarding focus on honour-based<br />

abuse/violence and forced marriage<br />

18 Ramadan<br />

22 How to avoid spreading infection in your<br />

setting & the importance of vaccinations<br />

26 National Careers Week<br />

32 Zero Discrimination Day<br />

Safety and safeguarding: IICSA summary 14<br />

How to avoid spreading infection in your setting<br />

& the importance of vaccinations 22<br />

Allan<br />

Top tips for<br />

the terrific<br />

twos -Tip seven:<br />

overwhelm<br />

10<br />

The early brain is a densely<br />

overgrown forest. Little babies<br />

find the world full of wonder...<br />

Dealing with<br />

the death of a<br />

staff member<br />

12<br />

How can we, as managers<br />

and leaders, recognise and<br />

support issues that impact our<br />

staff members?<br />

2 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

Taking singing home:<br />

how singing helps<br />

your health<br />

This month, we are looking at what<br />

happens to your health when you take<br />

the singing home.<br />

20<br />

Industry Experts<br />

10 Top tips for the terrific twos -<br />

Tip seven: overwhelm<br />

12 Dealing with the death of a staff<br />

member - duty of care<br />

20 Taking singing home: how singing<br />

helps your health<br />

24 The power of love languages<br />

28 Do your children have a safe harbour to<br />

return to when things get stormy?<br />

30 How early years leaders can make a<br />

positive workplace culture stick: the<br />

power of embedding mechanisms<br />

36 The importance of not having a<br />

narrow view of imagination and<br />

authentic learning<br />

National Careers Week 26<br />

The importance of not having a narrow view of<br />

imagination and authentic learning 36


Childcare news<br />

and views<br />

Ofsted chief calls for reversal<br />

of declining early years<br />

apprenticeships<br />

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda<br />

Spielman, has said that more needs<br />

to be done to address the fall in<br />

apprenticeship starts in the early<br />

years sector, but also warns childcare<br />

providers not to use apprentices<br />

to replace “skilled, experienced<br />

practitioners” which “isn’t fair to<br />

children or apprentices” and “can’t be<br />

a long-term solution”.<br />

She told Saturday’s Ofsted Big<br />

Conversation that apprenticeships<br />

are a part of the solution to address<br />

declining staff numbers in the<br />

early years sector, but said that<br />

“unfortunately fewer young people are<br />

even beginning these programmes at<br />

the moment”.<br />

According to the education watchdog,<br />

the number of new apprentices<br />

starting in the sector had fallen from<br />

27,000 six years ago to just 16,000 last<br />

year – which represents a drop of 40%.<br />

Problems with employers releasing<br />

apprentices for their off-the-job training<br />

was highlighted as one of the main<br />

issues.<br />

“This may seem like a short-term fix,<br />

but it can delay or disrupt their training<br />

and cause problems down the road,”<br />

she said.<br />

She added that she hoped a recent<br />

consultation on improving Level 3 Early<br />

Years Educators course criteria will help<br />

inform necessary changes, explaining<br />

that “it’s so important that people<br />

coming into the sector get off to the<br />

right start, and this means equipping<br />

them with the knowledge they need”.<br />

The full story, as reported in FE Week<br />

can be found here.<br />

Treasury considering expansion of<br />

free childcare: sector could face an<br />

“entire collapse”<br />

Early years industry leaders are<br />

worried that an “entire collapse” of<br />

the childcare market if alleged plans<br />

to expand free childcare for the under<br />

twos is launched without sufficient<br />

funding for the sector.<br />

The Department for Education has sent<br />

proposals to the Treasury to “improve<br />

the cost, flexibility, and availability<br />

of childcare” for working parents<br />

which include an extension of the<br />

free 30-hours-a-week entitlement to<br />

include children aged nine months<br />

to three years. This is according to a<br />

report on 10th February <strong>2023</strong> in The<br />

Guardian.<br />

However, offering parents more<br />

funded hours under current levels of<br />

government investment will not only<br />

lead to “lower quality” early education<br />

and “more closures” of childcare<br />

settings but will ultimately lead to<br />

a complete “collapse” of the sector,<br />

leaders have warned.<br />

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Early<br />

Years Alliance, said that promising<br />

more “free childcare” without<br />

adequately funding is “what got us<br />

into the current crisis” and it is critical<br />

that ministers “don’t make the same<br />

mistake again”.<br />

He added: “The harsh reality is<br />

that for years now, the existing socalled<br />

‘free childcare’ schemes have<br />

been grossly underfunded because<br />

adequately investing in these<br />

policies was, in government’s own<br />

words, ‘unaffordable’. We are deeply<br />

concerned, therefore, about any<br />

suggestion of expanding upon the<br />

current early entitlement offers without<br />

first acknowledging and addressing<br />

the significant shortfalls in government<br />

funding that already exist.<br />

Put simply, if the government extends<br />

the 30-hour offer to parents of oneand<br />

two-year-olds without first<br />

ensuring that funding actually covers<br />

the cost of delivering places, the entire<br />

early years sector will collapse.”<br />

Jonathan Broadbery, Director of<br />

Policy and Communications at NDNA<br />

said: “We have been talking to the<br />

Government for years about fixing<br />

the problems with how childcare is<br />

delivered in this country. Before any<br />

plans for expanding childcare are<br />

considered, the current funding crisis in<br />

the early years sector must be fixed.<br />

“In the UK, the level of investment in<br />

our youngest children’s education and<br />

care is among the lowest in developed<br />

countries. Whilst expanding the offer<br />

to parents of younger children would<br />

help grow our economy, investing in<br />

high-quality early education and care<br />

is vital for children’s development in<br />

those crucial first five years. This cannot<br />

be done on the cheap.<br />

“Chronic underfunding means<br />

providers cannot cover their costs and<br />

constrains efforts to drive up quality.<br />

With the right investment, childcare<br />

providers can deliver the high-quality<br />

services that support our children<br />

to flourish and grow. However, an<br />

underfunded expansion of the current<br />

system would do even more damage<br />

to working families and fail the children<br />

at the heart of this policy.”<br />

The full story, as reported in Children &<br />

Young People Now can be read here.<br />

New resource linking sustainability<br />

to the EYFS launched<br />

A new resource which links climate<br />

education and green skills to the EYFS<br />

has been launched by educational<br />

charity NCFE and developed in<br />

partnerships with Dr Diane Boyd, Senior<br />

Early Years lecturer at Liverpool John<br />

Moores University.<br />

Sustainability Matters in Early<br />

Childhood contains ideas, activities,<br />

and experiences that promote the<br />

“creativity and curiosity” of young<br />

children to take steps towards a<br />

greener future by engaging with the<br />

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).<br />

Ideas detailed in the resource include<br />

growing vegetables, being part of<br />

the eco-school initiative or engaging<br />

in decision-making in areas such<br />

as recycling, weather and energy<br />

monitoring.<br />

Janet King, Sector Manager for<br />

Education and Childcare at NCFE, said,<br />

“There’s no better place to start thinking<br />

about sustainability than the early<br />

years.<br />

“Small steps taken and advocated<br />

by practitioners through everyday<br />

conversation, experience, and<br />

opportunity supports best practice.<br />

The resource allows for this in a fun,<br />

engaging, interactive and inclusive<br />

way”.<br />

The full story, as reported in Nursery<br />

World can be found here.<br />

You can watch Dr Diane Boyd as<br />

guest speaker on <strong>Parenta</strong>’s webinar:<br />

Sustainability Matters in Early<br />

Childhood here.<br />

4 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 5


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

have caught our eye over the month<br />

Celebrating 100 editions<br />

of our <strong>Parenta</strong> <strong>magazine</strong>!<br />

We are thrilled that our <strong>magazine</strong> has reached this incredible milestone, and we could not have done<br />

it without our dedicated readers and contributors.<br />

Over the past several years, we have been committed to providing you with valuable information,<br />

resources, and insights on all aspects of early years childcare. We have worked tirelessly to bring<br />

you articles, industry expert opinions, and practical tips to help you navigate the complex world of<br />

childcare and early education.<br />

We have been fortunate to work with some of the leading experts in the field of early years childcare,<br />

and we have been inspired by the feedback and support we have received from our readers. We<br />

are excited to continue our journey and look forward to bringing you more valuable insights and<br />

resources.<br />

Thank you for being part of our community, and here’s to the next 100 editions!<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> announces reduced<br />

software prices to support the<br />

early years sector<br />

All primary children in London to<br />

receive free school meals for<br />

a year<br />

Grandson of nursery group CEO<br />

held a sponsored silence in aid of<br />

earthquake victims<br />

To celebrate, we have some fantastic prizes to give away! Simply email<br />

marketing@parenta.com with the subject of “100th <strong>magazine</strong> edition giveaway” and you<br />

will be automatically put into a draw for one of these prizes. Winners of the prizes will be<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> announced that it is reducing its<br />

software prices to support the industry<br />

during these challenging times.<br />

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is<br />

providing emergency funding for a year to<br />

enable all primary school children in the<br />

capital to have free school meals.<br />

Oliver Hancock pledged to stay silence<br />

for 24 hours on 19th February to help all<br />

those impacted by the natural disaster.<br />

Sarah Moseley Giveaway Prize:<br />

drawn at random and notified by 29th <strong>March</strong>.<br />

Teaching Reading To All Learners Including Those With Complex Needs: A Framework for Progression<br />

Source and image<br />

Within an Inclusive Reading Curriculum<br />

Dr Sarah Moseley’s book provides professionals with the knowledge and confidence to develop reading for<br />

all learners.<br />

credits to:<br />

Nursery World, BBC News, Early<br />

Years Educator<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> Giveaway Prize:<br />

1500+ piece arts and crafts set:<br />

The children will have hours of fun with this!<br />

With feathers, pom poms, sequins, googly eyes, beads, safety scissors and more, their<br />

imaginations will run wild! The kit comes in a handy storage bag too so you won’t spend hours<br />

clearing up the rooms in your setting.<br />

Gina Bale Giveaway Prize:<br />

Click here to send in<br />

your stories to<br />

marketing@parenta.com<br />

Luton nursery school recognised<br />

for mental health education<br />

Rothesay Nursery School in Luton,<br />

Bedfordshire, is the first early years<br />

provider to be named an ambassador<br />

for mental health.<br />

Government announces wider<br />

roll out of Family Hubs to local<br />

authorities<br />

The government has announced the<br />

wider roll out of family hubs to local<br />

communities.<br />

Little Magic Train’s “Picnic on the Moon”: Sensory Activity Adventure<br />

The children will learn about transport to the Moon and the different rockets that have landed<br />

there. They’ll discover gravity, how high you can jump on the Moon - and best of all you will meet<br />

an Alien!<br />

Stacey Kelly Giveaway Prize:<br />

Early Years Story Box Transition Bundle:<br />

Oaky Owl’s Last Day and Monty Mouse’s First Day.<br />

These two delightful books, written and illustrated by Stacey Kelly help with reassuring children as<br />

they leave their setting, move on and helps them to settle into their new setting.<br />

6 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 7


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

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

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

8 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

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parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 9


Top tips for the terrific twos -<br />

Tip seven: overwhelm<br />

My second son recently turned two. Friends have commented that my first son skipped the terrible twos. They presume my professional<br />

skill set will get us through them again. I don’t fancy my chances. This series of articles presents ten tips for negotiating this time with<br />

small ones. Know that with every strike of the keys, I remind myself that advice is easy to give and hard to follow. I will be attempting to<br />

practice what I preach this coming year: wish me luck!<br />

Little by little, those pathways are built,<br />

tracks appear in the forest and now<br />

someone walking through has a vague<br />

idea of where to go. At this time in the lives<br />

of little ones, you will see them beginning<br />

to make sense of the world: reaching for<br />

an object they see to grab it with their<br />

hand, lifting food to their mouths. An<br />

image of neural pathways at this time will<br />

show a cobweb of pathways lacing across<br />

the brain.<br />

They keep having new experiences and<br />

pathways keep on being laid in the forest.<br />

Now is about the time, if our metaphorical<br />

forest were a real one, that we would see<br />

campaigners lashing themselves to trees<br />

and trying to protect what is left of the<br />

greenery. Because as children approach<br />

the age of two, they have had so many<br />

experiences in their lives that there are<br />

roads everywhere in this forest. An image<br />

of neural pathways at this time looks like<br />

a child has been left alone with a biro for<br />

too long, a dense scribble of line over line<br />

crossing over and intersecting with one<br />

another covers the whole brain. This brain<br />

is a very difficult place to navigate within!<br />

Just like the overgrown forest without any<br />

pathways it is hard to navigate across, so<br />

is the forest that has been nearly entirely<br />

replaced with pathways. When paths lead<br />

everywhere, how can you possibly know<br />

which way to go? Information comes<br />

into the brain – and fires across it in all<br />

directions. It is this that creates the wonder<br />

and awe. It is this that makes the blade of<br />

grass so interesting. It is this that makes<br />

them want to stop and stare at a beetle on<br />

the path. And it is also this that makes it all<br />

too much for them at times. Whilst a blade<br />

of grass can be fascinating, the average<br />

family living room with voices, a TV and<br />

toys would be overloading. Children are<br />

amazing and mostly they handle it, but<br />

every so often, they do not!<br />

What happens next in the brain is<br />

interesting too. It recognises that it is not<br />

useful to have SO MANY pathways, and<br />

so it decides which are most used and lets<br />

the rest grow over. By the time you are 6,<br />

you have a brain that is bespoke to your<br />

early environment. The brain continues to<br />

change and grow and adapt, but never<br />

again do you have as many pathways as<br />

you do aged two. So when they do get<br />

overwhelmed by it all, understand that if<br />

we were in their brain, we would probably<br />

be overwhelmed too.<br />

In my next article I’ll look at what to do<br />

when the overwhelm hits.<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 />

In the very first article of this series when I<br />

pitched for switching the language of the<br />

terrible twos to the terrific twos, I made<br />

mention of just how extraordinary a brain<br />

is at aged two. It is worth revisiting this<br />

now as we consider a famous feature of<br />

the ‘T-Twos’: the meltdown, the tantrum,<br />

the overwhelmed small person letting it all<br />

out at full volume. What is going on here?<br />

Well to understand, it is worth tracing<br />

back to what has been happening so<br />

far in their young lives. From birth they<br />

have been working on wiring their brains.<br />

It’s an incredible process, founded in<br />

the experiences they have. Sensory<br />

experiences, so things they see, hear,<br />

taste, touch and feel, send little electronic<br />

pulses through the brain, and at first these<br />

leave just a trace, but with time and with<br />

repetition, what was a trace becomes<br />

an established neural pathway. As more<br />

pathways find their way into the brain they<br />

meet each other and connect, and the<br />

brain forms networks of neural pathways.<br />

These are the foundations for cognition.<br />

I always imagine it in terms of a forest.<br />

The early brain is a densely overgrown<br />

forest. When the baby has an experience<br />

it sends someone walking through the<br />

forest. If this just happens once, the forest<br />

remains pretty much the same, save for<br />

a few bent over blades of grass. But if it<br />

happens repeatedly, a little muddy track is<br />

formed, and in time, it becomes a road: an<br />

established neural pathway.<br />

When babies are born there are no<br />

pathways in the forest, it’s all trees.<br />

Imagine being a person trying to navigate<br />

from one side of the forest to the other.<br />

You would get lost, there are no clues as to<br />

which way to go. Without roads, the forest<br />

is a confusing place. Little babies find the<br />

world…maybe not confusing, but full of<br />

wonder. Everything is strange and new. An<br />

image of neural pathways at this time will<br />

show a few little sprouts scattered over the<br />

brain.<br />

Joanna has published four practitioner<br />

books: “Multiple Multisensory<br />

Rooms: Myth Busting the Magic”,<br />

“Sensory Stories for Children and<br />

Teens”, “Sensory-Being for Sensory<br />

Beings”, “Sharing Sensory Stories<br />

and Conversations with People with<br />

Dementia” and “The Subtle Spectrum”.<br />

Plus three inclusive sensory story<br />

children’s books: “Spike and Mole”,<br />

“Voyage to Arghan” and “Ernest and I”<br />

which all sell globally and her son has<br />

recently become the UK’s youngest<br />

published author with his book,<br />

“My Mummy is Autistic” which was<br />

foreworded by Chris Packham.<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 />

10 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 11


Dealing with the death<br />

of a staff member – duty<br />

of care<br />

Over the past two months, we have<br />

looked at how to deal with the death of a<br />

colleague and how we can manage this<br />

sad scenario with our staff, parents and<br />

children.<br />

This article looks at how we, as managers<br />

and leaders, can recognise and support<br />

issues that impact our staff members.<br />

Unfortunately, causes of death include<br />

vulnerability in the three areas below:


Safety and safeguarding:<br />

Introduction<br />

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual<br />

Abuse (IICSA) was established in 2015,<br />

following serious concerns where some<br />

organisations in England and Wales had<br />

failed their duty to safeguard children<br />

and the aftermath of the highly publicised<br />

Jimmy Savile scandal.<br />

The independent inquiry looked into a<br />

wide range of allegations of child sexual<br />

abuse within institutions and how they<br />

responded to the incidents. Although there<br />

were 20 recommendations, this summary<br />

will focus on those relating to early years<br />

and educational settings.<br />

The Truth Project<br />

The Truth Project, which was concluded<br />

in October 2021, was set up to offer<br />

more than 6000 victims and survivors of<br />

CSA who were abused within a family,<br />

an institution or in another context, the<br />

opportunity to share their experiences<br />

and put forward suggestions for change.<br />

Their experiences and views helped inform<br />

what needs to be changed to help prevent<br />

it happening in the future and shape the<br />

Inquiry’s final recommendations.<br />

What is Child Sexual<br />

Abuse (CSA)?<br />

Sexual abuse of children involves forcing<br />

or enticing a child or young person to take<br />

part in sexual activities, whether or not the<br />

child is aware of what is happening.<br />

The activities may involve physical contact,<br />

including abuse by penetration or nonpenetrative<br />

acts (such as masturbation,<br />

kissing, rubbing and touching outside<br />

clothing). They may also include noncontact<br />

activities, such as involving children<br />

in looking at, or in the production of,<br />

sexual images, watching sexual activities,<br />

encouraging children to behave in sexually<br />

inappropriate ways, or grooming a child<br />

IICSA summary<br />

in preparation for abuse including via the<br />

internet. Child sexual abuse includes child<br />

sexual exploitation (CSE).<br />

The Truth Programme<br />

statistics<br />

Of the 6000+ victims and survivors<br />

involved in the programme, it was<br />

identified:<br />

47% first experienced CSA under the<br />

age of 7 years old<br />

12% of those were under the age of 3<br />

36% stated at least one of their<br />

incidents took place outside the family<br />

home – schools were the most frequently<br />

reported locations<br />

70% were female<br />

90% were from white ethnic<br />

background<br />

45% stated they now have an illness/<br />

condition that affects their everyday life<br />

The final report<br />

The final report is made up of two parts:<br />

the first part sets out to represent the<br />

voices of the 6000+ victims and survivors<br />

with regards to their experiences.<br />

The second part records the Inquiry’s<br />

conclusions and recommendations.<br />

Conclusions<br />

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)<br />

of abuse have a significant and ongoing<br />

impact well into adulthood.<br />

Many victims disclosed abuse to trusted<br />

adults thinking action would be taken yet<br />

nothing happened. In fact, disclosure of<br />

abuse by the victims were often met with<br />

embarrassment, fear or disbelief by those<br />

who were entrusted to safeguard them. In<br />

some incidents, the children disclosing the<br />

abuse had been accused of lying or the<br />

incidents blamed on their lifestyle choices.<br />

The report has a number of common<br />

themes emerging:


Safeguarding focus on<br />

honour-based abuse/<br />

violence and forced<br />

marriage<br />

Safeguarding comes in many different<br />

forms in all educational settings. We<br />

often have a focus on the children in our<br />

settings, but equally, there are young<br />

people in their teens and potentially<br />

staff in their early adult life who may<br />

need protection from different types of<br />

abuse and violence. In this article, we<br />

focus on the safeguarding categories of<br />

honour-based abuse/violence and forced<br />

marriage.<br />

What are honour-based<br />

abuse and violence?<br />

Honour-based abuse is a term which<br />

refers to a collection of practices used to<br />

control the behaviour of people within<br />

families (or other social groups) in order<br />

to protect perceived cultural and religious<br />

beliefs, values and social norms in the<br />

name of ‘honour’. It can include violence,<br />

threats of violence, intimidation and<br />

coercion (including psychological, physical,<br />

sexual, financial or emotional abuse)<br />

against a person who is alleged to have<br />

breached a family’s or community’s code<br />

of behaviour, thereby bringing perceived<br />

‘dishonour’ or ‘disrespect’ on the family or<br />

community.<br />

The victims of honour-based violence<br />

(HBV) are predominantly women although<br />

not exclusively, and there are usually<br />

a number of perpetrators or potential<br />

perpetrators who are involved in abusive<br />

and controlling behaviours. These can<br />

range from controlling finances and whom<br />

people are allowed to see and speak to,<br />

to acid attacks and murder. It can also be<br />

difficult to collect evidence in honour-based<br />

abuse cases if families effectively ‘close<br />

ranks’ and protect perpetrators.<br />

Forced marriage<br />

Consent to legally marry someone must<br />

be given freely and in full by both parties.<br />

Forced marriage is a criminal offence in the<br />

UK, as is deceiving someone into leaving<br />

the UK in order to force them into marrying<br />

someone. For an offence to be committed,<br />

the perpetrator forcing someone to marry<br />

must:


Ramadan<br />

What is Ramadan?<br />

Ramadan is a special celebration in<br />

the Muslim faith of the month when the<br />

Muslim Holy book, the Quran, was first<br />

revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.<br />

According to the Quran, the actual night of<br />

this revelation is known as Laylat al-Qadr<br />

(“The Night of Power”). Ramadan lasts<br />

for 30 days and is a time for reflection,<br />

contemplation, and celebration within<br />

the Muslim community, and is celebrated<br />

by almost 4 million Muslim people in<br />

the UK representing about 6.5% of the<br />

total population. Worldwide, there are<br />

approximately 2.2 billion people who<br />

follow Islam.<br />

When is Ramadan?<br />

The Islamic calendar is different to the<br />

traditional Gregorian calendar that we<br />

use in the West, and Ramadan is the<br />

ninth month of this Islamic calendar. The<br />

exact dates of Ramadan change every<br />

year, because Islam uses a lunar calendar<br />

based on the changing cycles of the<br />

moon, rather than the movement of the<br />

earth around the sun, which gives us a<br />

year in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore<br />

every year, the exact dates of Ramadan<br />

(and every other Islamic festival) vary and<br />

fall approximately 10 days earlier each<br />

year.<br />

In <strong>2023</strong>, Ramadan starts on Wednesday<br />

22 <strong>March</strong>, and is due to end on Friday<br />

21 April, with the 3-day festival called Eid<br />

al-Fitr running from Saturday 22 April,<br />

with Laylat al-Qadr being celebrated on<br />

Monday 17 April.<br />

How is Ramadan<br />

celebrated?<br />

As with many religious festivals, Ramadan<br />

is a time for prayer and good deeds<br />

and it is a month when families and<br />

friends come together and celebrate with<br />

their wider communities. Muslims are<br />

encouraged to give up bad habits during<br />

Ramadan, and many Muslims will try to<br />

read the whole Quran at least once during<br />

Ramadan or carry out other religious acts<br />

of worship or sacrifice. Ways in which<br />

Muslims uphold traditions include:<br />

⭐ Greeting others by wishing them a<br />

happy Ramadan during the month.<br />

Two traditional Ramadan greetings<br />

which you could teach to the children<br />

in your setting are:<br />

Ramadan Mubarak – Happy<br />

Ramadan<br />

Ramadan Kareem - Have a<br />

generous Ramadan<br />

⭐ Fasting – also known as sawm (see<br />

below for more information)<br />

⭐ Zakat – this means “purification,” and<br />

it encourages all Muslims who are<br />

able, to donate some of their income<br />

or wealth to the poor, or get involved<br />

in an act of charity. Zakat is one of<br />

the five pillars of Islam, central to the<br />

Islamic faith<br />

⭐ Decorations - Ramadan decorations<br />

are not necessarily part of the<br />

longstanding tradition, but they have<br />

become increasingly popular in recent<br />

years. They often involve fabric with<br />

red patterns and lanterns, although<br />

there are a wide variety of decorations<br />

used to celebrate Ramadan<br />

nowadays<br />

Fasting during<br />

Ramadan<br />

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims<br />

don’t eat or drink during daylight hours.<br />

This is called fasting. Since the timing<br />

of Ramadan moves over a number of<br />

years, this can vary between about 8 and<br />

14 hours a day depending on whether<br />

Ramadan falls in winter or summer.<br />

Certain people such as children under 14,<br />

the elderly or travellers are not expected<br />

to fast but most other Muslims do. The<br />

reason for fasting is to teach people selfdiscipline,<br />

allow for physical cleaning, and<br />

to remind them of the suffering of the poor.<br />

However, it is not that people cannot eat<br />

at all – they just refrain from eating during<br />

daylight hours. At other times, such as<br />

just before dawn, people have one meal<br />

(known as the suhoor), and another one<br />

(known as the iftar), directly after sunset.<br />

Breaking the fast – Eid<br />

al-Fitr<br />

The end of Ramadan is marked by a big<br />

celebration called Eid al-Fitr or the Festival<br />

of the Breaking of the Fast, and as you<br />

can imagine, it involves special meals and<br />

celebrations with friends, family and the<br />

local community. People celebrate not only<br />

the end of Ramadan, but also thank Allah<br />

for giving them the strength and devotion<br />

during the last month. Many mosques<br />

hold special services and people are<br />

allowed to eat during daylight hours as<br />

special community gatherings during the<br />

Eid (festival).<br />

The exact timing of the start of the festival<br />

depends on when the moon is first sighted<br />

but it is expected to start on Saturday 22<br />

April or Sunday 23 April <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Ramadan recipes for<br />

Eid al-Fitr<br />

Once fasting is over, the feast can begin<br />

and there are a number of traditional<br />

dishes that are served including:<br />

⭐ Dates – these are a traditional way to<br />

ease back into eating after fasting<br />

⭐ Soups – popular varieties are<br />

vegetable, lentil, chicken and<br />

vermicelli<br />

⭐ Fattoush - Fattoush is a salad made<br />

of fresh vegetables and served with<br />

either pita or crispy bread<br />

⭐ Tharid – this is one of the most typical<br />

Ramadan dishes, and consists of<br />

Arabian meat and a vegetable<br />

stew over crispy bread. There are<br />

many variations on the dish, like the<br />

Levantine fatteh, Moroccan trid, and<br />

Iranian dizi<br />

⭐ Kebabs and samosas – meat and/or<br />

vegetarian versions<br />

⭐ Baklava – a sweet dessert made with<br />

nuts and honey<br />

How to celebrate<br />

Ramadan in your<br />

setting<br />

This Ramadan, why not encourage your<br />

staff and children to celebrate the month of<br />

Ramadan in different ways. Think about:<br />

⭐ Zakat – organising a charity collection<br />

of old clothes or toys that you can<br />

donate to a local children’s hospital or<br />

charity<br />

⭐ Trying new foods – see https://www.<br />

islamicity.org/food/ for lots of useful<br />

recipes<br />

⭐ Create some Ramadan crafts based<br />

around the sun and the moon – see<br />

https://artsycraftsymom.com/10-<br />

ramadan-crafts-and-activities-forkids/<br />

for some useful ideas which are<br />

easy and fun<br />

⭐ Read stories about Ramadan and<br />

Eid al-Fitr during storytime. There are<br />

a number of dedicated children’s<br />

books on the subject including “It’s<br />

Ramadan, Curious George” by A.<br />

H. Rey, “Eid al-Fitr” by Grace Jones,<br />

“Ramadan Moon” by Na’ima B.<br />

Robert, and “Rashad’s Ramadan and<br />

Eid al-Fitr” by Lisa Bullard to name but<br />

a few<br />

⭐ Tell children about the different<br />

religions around the world<br />

⭐ Sing some songs about Ramadan –<br />

there are lots of age-appropriate and<br />

catchy songs on YouTube<br />

⭐ Create a display about how you have<br />

celebrated Ramadan and hold a<br />

special party at the end to mark the<br />

end of the fast<br />

References and more<br />

information<br />

⭐ https://mcb.org.uk/2021-census-asuk-population-grows-so-do-britishmuslim-communities/<br />

⭐ https://www.prb.org/resources/theglobal-muslim-population/<br />

⭐ https://www.muslimaid.org/what-wedo/religious-dues/when-is-ramadan/<br />

⭐ https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/<br />

topics/zpdtsbk/articles/zjc2bdm<br />

18 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 19


Taking singing home: how<br />

singing helps your health<br />

One of my jobs involves researching the<br />

effects of singing on health, so this month,<br />

we are looking at what happens to your<br />

health when you take the singing home.<br />

There have been a few articles and TV<br />

programs on the benefits of singing for<br />

neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s<br />

(memory related) and Parkinson’s<br />

(movement related). But did you know that<br />

singing also helps heart conditions, lung<br />

conditions and diabetes, too?<br />

The NHS Core 20 PLUS 5 (Core20PLUS5:<br />

An Approach to Reducing Inequalities,<br />

2021) plan aims to target the 5 key clinical<br />

areas of health inequality starting with<br />

the most deprived 20% of the population<br />

(who do not conventionally access health<br />

care). These areas of health inequality<br />

include severe mental health, chronic<br />

respiratory disease, cancer, hypertension,<br />

and maternity care, where a number<br />

of early interventions and support are<br />

being offered. Interestingly, singing has<br />

been found to improve heart rate, blood<br />

pressure, pain and stress (Ribeiro et al.,<br />

2018) of mothers, and also improves the<br />

foetal movement, heart rate, auditory<br />

memory and mental health (Gebuza et al.,<br />

2018) of babies.<br />

Many children attending nurseries will<br />

have family members with different<br />

health conditions, particularly as a result<br />

of COVID-19 – either having had the<br />

illness, or as an after effect of lockdown<br />

(Kerker et al., <strong>2023</strong>). For example,<br />

anxiety and depression amongst women<br />

has increased because they have<br />

experienced more stress and strain from<br />

all of the environmental changes made<br />

by governments. These have directly<br />

impacted babies and young children<br />

though increased maternal cortisol<br />

levels, which affect growth, neurological<br />

development and even changing gut<br />

microbacteria.<br />

Maternal mental health is known to<br />

impact the attachment of infants, leading<br />

to insecure attachment, which impacts<br />

their behaviour as they grow, and their<br />

future relationships as adults. When<br />

infants are unsure of what behaviour to<br />

expect from their parent, they can show<br />

signs of sleep disturbance, fussiness<br />

and impaired emotional regulation. At<br />

school, this can be seen in aggression and<br />

delayed language development. Children<br />

of depressed mothers have also been<br />

found to have higher rates of accidents,<br />

emergency department visits, and lower<br />

rates of immunisation and other medical<br />

appointment attendance.<br />

With the earlier findings on the effects of<br />

maternal singing, groups have developed<br />

sessions incorporating singing and<br />

mindfulness. Research has showed that<br />

these groups have created a safe space<br />

for people to connect (Foulkes, 2021) as<br />

well as increase their self-confidence,<br />

feelings of relaxation and become more<br />

energised. These results could potentially<br />

have a powerful effect on struggling<br />

families.<br />

Listening to music has powerful benefits<br />

and has been used effectively in many<br />

medical situations. However singing<br />

together with others appears to have a<br />

far greater effect (Lynch & Wilson, 2018),<br />

particularly on mindfulness – the ability to<br />

be aware of the present moment. We have<br />

included a few songs below that could<br />

be a great starting off point for families<br />

wanting to include more singing at home,<br />

where parents and children are able to<br />

confidently sing together.<br />

Twinkle twinkle<br />

Twinkle, twinkle, little star<br />

How I wonder what you are<br />

Up above the world so high<br />

Like a diamond in the sky<br />

Twinkle, twinkle, little star<br />

How I wonder what you are<br />

This lovely, traditional song about stars<br />

feels like it is full of gentle hope and<br />

daydream, wondering about things we<br />

don’t yet understand, and appreciating<br />

their beauty.<br />

Wind the bobbin up<br />

Wind the bobbin up<br />

Wind the bobbin up<br />

Pull, pull, clap-clap-clap<br />

Wind it back again<br />

Wind it back again<br />

Pull, pull, clap-clap-clap<br />

Point to the ceiling<br />

Point to the floor<br />

Point to the window and<br />

Point to the door<br />

Clap your hands together<br />

One, two, three<br />

Put your hands<br />

Upon your knees<br />

Rolling hands over and over, then<br />

changing direction, and clapping, then<br />

pointing and clapping, this song spells it all<br />

out. Following non-threatening instructions<br />

is a helpful mindfulness technique, helping<br />

us to live in and appreciate the present.<br />

Wheels on the bus<br />

The wheels on the bus go round and<br />

round<br />

Round and round, round and round<br />

The wheels on the bus go round and<br />

round<br />

All day long<br />

The wipers on the bus go swish-swishswish<br />

Swish-swish-swish, swish-swish-swish<br />

The wipers on the bus go swish-swishswish<br />

All day long<br />

The bell on the bus goes ding-ding-ding<br />

Ding-ding-ding, ding-ding-ding<br />

The bell on the bus goes ding-ding-ding<br />

All day long<br />

The driver on the bus says, “Tickets<br />

please,”<br />

“Tickets please, tickets please,”<br />

The driver on the bus says, “Tickets<br />

please,”<br />

All day long<br />

The doors on the bus go open-and-shut<br />

Open-and-shut, open-and-shut<br />

The doors on the bus go open-and-shut<br />

All day long<br />

The horn on the bus goes beep-beepbeep<br />

Beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep<br />

The horn on the bus goes beep-beepbeep<br />

All day long<br />

This has become a song about the types<br />

of people on the bus, but this version<br />

emphasises the parts on the bus,<br />

encouraging attention to detail – great for<br />

living in the moment.<br />

Baa baa black sheep<br />

Baa baa black sheep<br />

Have you any wool?<br />

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

One for the master and one for the dame<br />

One for the little boy that<br />

Lives down the lane<br />

These days we use this song to imitate<br />

sheep noises, and to develop counting<br />

– although originally it was a satirical<br />

song that adults sang, mocking the<br />

government’s tax policies!<br />

Society has become increasingly more<br />

involved, with more and more to do and<br />

consider. It is almost certain that this will<br />

take a toll on our mental health, which<br />

eventually impacts our physical health.<br />

Earlier this week, I read an article on<br />

medieval peasants that only worked a<br />

3-day week, with leisurely meals, and 25<br />

weeks off a year, including 4-5 days off<br />

each month. They had a lot less freedom<br />

than we have today which may not make<br />

the time off worthwhile! But this is where<br />

the idea of mindfulness can help us to find<br />

a balance between learning from the past,<br />

living in our present and anticipating a<br />

hopeful future.<br />

References<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 />

20 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 21


How to avoid spreading<br />

infection in your setting & the<br />

importance of vaccinations<br />

It’s inevitable that wherever young children<br />

are together in a group, there will be a<br />

high chance that infections will spread.<br />

When working in early years, it’s an<br />

occupational hazard; with the children<br />

touching each other and the toys – often<br />

at the same time as wiping their noses<br />

and rubbing their eyes! We know all too<br />

well how quickly viruses and infections<br />

can spread, and often children can be<br />

contagious for some time before they<br />

show certain symptoms. For the first<br />

few years of their lives, their bodies<br />

are building up immunity to infections<br />

and they will have neither completed<br />

their vaccination programme nor have<br />

developed good hygiene habits.<br />

In this article, we look at some of the<br />

more common infections in children and<br />

their causes, how we can prevent their<br />

spread and explore the importance of<br />

vaccinations.<br />

What causes an infection?<br />

Infections in children can be caused by<br />

a variety of harmful microorganisms,<br />

including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and<br />

parasites. These microorganisms can<br />

invade the body and cause symptoms<br />

such as fever, cough, runny nose,<br />

diarrhoea, and skin rashes.<br />

The specific cause of infection will vary,<br />

depending on the type of microorganism<br />

and the method of transmission. Common<br />

causes of infections in children include<br />

close contact with infected individuals,<br />

poor hygiene, underdeveloped immune<br />

system, if a child is unvaccinated or comes<br />

into contact with contaminated food<br />

or water, or exposure to contaminated<br />

environments.<br />

The most common infections in<br />

children affect their respiratory system,<br />

gastrointestinal system, skin, ears and<br />

eyes.<br />

“Prevention is better than<br />

cure!”<br />

Completely preventing the spread of<br />

infections in an early years setting may<br />

seem like a daunting task; it requires a<br />

combination of good hygiene practices<br />

and environmental controls. Here are<br />

some steps you can take:


The power of<br />

love languages<br />

We all communicate love in different ways<br />

and according to American author, Gary<br />

Chapman, there are 5 love languages.<br />

His theory is that we all express and<br />

experience love in these 5 different ways:


National Careers Week<br />

the well-being of their staff at all levels.<br />

To this end, we have covered information<br />

in two categories which we hope you will<br />

find useful.<br />

It’s that time of year when young people<br />

across the country start turning their<br />

attention to revision, exams and what<br />

they will do when they leave school, either<br />

after completing their GCSEs or higher<br />

exams such as A Levels and T Levels.<br />

National Careers Week (NCW) runs from<br />

6th – 11th <strong>March</strong> with the aim of being a<br />

focus for careers guidance, and offering<br />

lots of free advice, information and useful<br />

downloadable resources to help young<br />

people navigate this important time.<br />

NCW is also a one-week celebration<br />

of all things ‘careers’ in the UK and it is<br />

sponsored by a whole host of diverse<br />

industries and work sectors from the<br />

BBC to Careers in Racing, the WWF to the<br />

financial sector and from Maritime UK<br />

to the UK Space Agency, so there really<br />

is something out there for everyone,<br />

whatever their interests.<br />

The NCW website is available throughout<br />

the year and is full of resources, webinar<br />

and event details, advice and information,<br />

not only for young people but also for<br />

educators, employers and parents too.<br />

And as we head towards a greener<br />

economy, last year saw the launch of<br />

the Green Careers NCW category which<br />

showcases new jobs in the burgeoning<br />

green industry sector.<br />

Social media plays a big part in advertising<br />

and raising awareness of the week<br />

and participants can use the hashtag<br />

#NCW<strong>2023</strong>! this year to link up to others<br />

and raise the profile of the week across<br />

their social media partners. Previous years<br />

have proved a vital link for young people.<br />

During the pandemic, NCW2021 and<br />

NCW2022 reached over 1 million young<br />

people and had over half a million views<br />

of the 2022 Virtual Careers Fair online<br />

and over 14,000 resource downloads. All<br />

these things are designed to help inspire<br />

and inform young people so they can take<br />

positive actions towards the future of their<br />

choosing.<br />

NCW and early years<br />

At first glance, early years practitioners<br />

may see little relevance in NCW and the<br />

early years, since the children in our care<br />

have not even started school, let alone be<br />

thinking about their next career move! But<br />

obviously, the early years profession has<br />

a very keen interest in NCW since many<br />

new recruits into the early years sector<br />

join at age 16 or 18 on apprenticeship<br />

programmes and the week represents<br />

an opportunity to raise awareness of the<br />

profession and recruit some new staff.<br />

In addition, there may be existing staff<br />

whose own children (or indeed the staff<br />

themselves) are trying to decide on their<br />

next course of action, for whom some<br />

extra information and resources would<br />

be very beneficial. Transitions can be a<br />

stressful time for families, so anything you<br />

can do to help support your own staff will<br />

also help reduce stress levels and show<br />

that you are an employer who cares about<br />

1. Raising awareness of the early years<br />

sector and recruiting staff<br />

2. Supporting staff with their own or their<br />

children’s choices<br />

1. Raising awareness and<br />

recruiting new staff<br />

NCW is the perfect opportunity to get<br />

out into your local community and raise<br />

awareness of the early years sector, how<br />

important it is for our society and the<br />

advantages of starting a career in such<br />

a vital social occupation. Starting a Level<br />

2 apprenticeship at the age of 16 is just<br />

the beginning of what could be a life-long<br />

career in early years, leading on to Level 3<br />

qualifications (equivalent to A’ Level) and<br />

eventually to Level 6/7 qualifications and<br />

research degrees that can drive new ideas<br />

and pedagogical thinking for the benefit<br />

of our youngest children and the wider<br />

society too.<br />

Here are some ideas to help you make the<br />

most of NCW<strong>2023</strong>!<br />

✨ Make contact with your local<br />

secondary schools and colleges and<br />

talk to their Careers Officers – perhaps<br />

you could arrange a stand at a<br />

careers fair or meet relevant interested<br />

students to get your apprenticeship<br />

recruitment information in front of<br />

potential local candidates<br />

✨ Use your social media presence to<br />

advertise your involvement in NCW<br />

and use the hashtag #NCW<strong>2023</strong>! You<br />

can also download the campaign<br />

graphics here<br />

✨ Host or sponsor a space at the NCW<br />

Virtual Careers Fair to showcase your<br />

organisation – contact nick.newman@<br />

ncwcic.co.uk<br />

✨ Talk to <strong>Parenta</strong> about apprenticeship<br />

recruitment opportunities. <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

recruit and train hundreds of Level<br />

2 and Level 3 apprentices each<br />

year, and there are even courses for<br />

Team Leaders, Supervisors and Lead<br />

Practitioners up to Level 5<br />

2. Supporting existing<br />

staff and their children<br />

National Careers Week has lots of very<br />

useful information for parents and<br />

educators including newsletters, lesson<br />

plans and a Parent’s Guide which explains<br />

all the options that young people have<br />

after GCSEs. It provides parents with<br />

the information they need to help their<br />

teenage children make the right choices to<br />

create successful futures after GCSE and<br />

sixth form. This includes information about:<br />

✨ A Levels<br />

✨ T Levels<br />

✨ BTECs<br />

✨ Apprenticeships<br />

✨ Traineeships<br />

✨ Internships<br />

✨ Other qualifications and exam retakes<br />

✨ University<br />

✨ HNCs and HNDs<br />

✨ Gap years<br />

✨ Starting work<br />

✨ Starting your own business<br />

✨ Work experience<br />

Some ideas to help your<br />

staff during NCW<br />

✨ Hold an informal careers event and<br />

allow staff and their children time<br />

to research and access some of the<br />

information available from NCW. You<br />

could collate some prospectuses or<br />

brochures from local colleges and<br />

if you have any contacts there, why<br />

not invite them to speak. It’s often<br />

also useful to hear information from<br />

people who have studied at a college<br />

as well as an official brochure<br />

✨ Set up a careers display board in<br />

your staff room or other communal<br />

area and promote the idea of lifelong<br />

learning and CPD courses so that staff<br />

know what is available<br />

✨ Talk about continued learning at staff<br />

meetings and allocate a learning<br />

budget for staff so they feel that<br />

they are supported throughout their<br />

careers, not just at the beginning<br />

✨ Chat to your own staff about their<br />

own career development – are there<br />

courses or further CPD areas that staff<br />

wish to explore – remember, although<br />

NCW is primarily aimed at teenagers,<br />

there is nothing to stop you expanding<br />

it to have a discussion with all your<br />

staff about their own futures in the<br />

industry<br />

✨ <strong>Parenta</strong> also offer a variety of short<br />

online CPD courses to upskill existing<br />

staff so look at CPD eLearning Courses<br />

from <strong>Parenta</strong> - Develop your Childcare<br />

Career for more information<br />

Whatever you do for this year’s NCW, let us<br />

know your plans and send your stories to<br />

us at <strong>Parenta</strong> by emailing:<br />

hello@parenta.com.<br />

26 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 27


Do your children have a<br />

safe harbour to return to<br />

when things get stormy?<br />

There are times in all our lives when we<br />

need that little bit of extra support. When<br />

things feel a little too tough to handle<br />

by ourselves we all need a safe place to<br />

return to. But for a child who may not have<br />

been with you for very long or who is not<br />

used to feeling this way, does your “Safe<br />

Space Policy” ensure they know how to<br />

find you before they begin to struggle?<br />

Many things can cause children’s emotions<br />

to spike including conflicts with their<br />

friends, difficult experiences in the nursery<br />

environment, issues at home or even an<br />

impending illness or sleep disruption.<br />

In fact, studies show that about 2.5% of<br />

children at any time are feeling some level<br />

of sadness. But whilst children’s feelings<br />

need careful monitoring, should you seek<br />

to remove anxiety altogether?<br />

Anxiety refers to feeling worried, nervous<br />

or uneasy about something whose<br />

outcome we are uncertain of. But life is<br />

unpredictable and full of uncertainties as<br />

we face every kind of experience. Learning<br />

to cope with anxiety means learning<br />

to manage this uncertainty and move<br />

forward with courage despite our fears. So<br />

rather than seeking to eliminate anxiety,<br />

we need to support our children’s feelings<br />

as we teach them how to recognise their<br />

emotions, to manage their anxieties and<br />

to have faith in their abilities to do so.<br />

But before a child can begin to manage<br />

themselves through difficult times<br />

of uncertainty, they need to have<br />

established a sense of security within all<br />

their environments. And this starts with<br />

secure attachments to the caring adults<br />

around them. When this fundamental<br />

component of early years safety is in<br />

place, children’s well-being can flourish as<br />

they feel able to take risks and handle life’s<br />

unpredictability’s, knowing you are there to<br />

catch them if they fall.<br />

Every time you connect with children’s<br />

thoughts and emotions you are forging<br />

the links that allow these deep-rooted<br />

attachments to occur. This will not be the<br />

same for every child – nor indeed, for<br />

every day. You will then need a varied tool<br />

kit at your disposal. But through nondemanding<br />

exchanges, you are laying the<br />

groundwork that is so important to a child.<br />

Establishing a sense of security, as well as<br />

offering a safe harbour for them to return<br />

to whenever things get tough.<br />

Research at Boston University showed that<br />

connecting with an anxious child in an<br />

attentive, but non demanding way for just<br />

five minutes a day had a profound impact.<br />

Simply gather a few non-competitive toys<br />

such as crayons, dolls or building blocks<br />

and play together. As you do so, keep all<br />

your attention on them, rather than other<br />

conversations or distractions. Avoid asking<br />

questions, correcting or giving instruction<br />

as you allow the child to direct. It is<br />

important that they experience this time<br />

without tension or worry, as you create a<br />

warm and relaxed atmosphere around<br />

them.<br />

With these ‘safe space guidelines’ in<br />

place, you can help children manage their<br />

anxieties before they become a crisis. With<br />

your strong attachment, you will become<br />

aware of the patterns of your children’s<br />

thoughts and emotions, ready to respond<br />

to any changes that suggest things are<br />

becoming more difficult. And ready to act,<br />

with the support and guidance they have<br />

learnt to trust in.<br />

Known in psychology as social referencing,<br />

children look to a person they trust to take<br />

their cues, secure in the knowledge that<br />

you are there for them and ready to catch<br />

them if they stumble. These memories<br />

of spending safe time together and<br />

connecting establishes you as someone<br />

they can trust. Without this, a child can<br />

feel like they are facing their fears or more<br />

difficult times alone. This is especially<br />

important for anxious children who may<br />

feel this way a lot of the time and lays<br />

the groundwork for when things become<br />

particularly bad.<br />

Without it, an anxious child may simply<br />

learn to avoid anything connected to<br />

their anxieties. While this may offer<br />

some immediate and temporary relief,<br />

it can see anxiety in these areas grow.<br />

Instead, connect with your children as<br />

you help them manage and move past<br />

their fears with compassion and gentle<br />

encouragement throughout the nursery<br />

environment.<br />

For example, when a child sees a spider,<br />

they will look to you to see how you<br />

respond, learning from your reaction. If<br />

you are relaxed, they are more likely to<br />

be. If you react with an increased set of<br />

emotions, their anxiety around spiders will<br />

likely grow in preparation for the next time<br />

they encounter an eight-legged friend.<br />

Especially if anxiety is becoming a default<br />

reaction. You don’t need to avoid your<br />

own anxiety, look to deny it or even look to<br />

belittle its power. Instead, help each other<br />

to be brave together, doing something<br />

even though you may be afraid of it.<br />

If you feel nervous around spiders, use<br />

this as an opportunity to face your fears<br />

together. Talk about what it is you don’t<br />

like, explore with them how sometimes<br />

our fears may be irrational – you know<br />

the spider can’t hurt you, but you feel<br />

frightened anyway. And help them to<br />

see that there may be things they feel<br />

braver about than you do, helping their<br />

confidence to grow.<br />

Through these exchanges, get to know<br />

your children so you can be ready to<br />

recognise when things are becoming too<br />

much for them to handle. Take the time to<br />

really connect and build the safe harbours<br />

they know they can always return to.<br />

Increased or prolonged anxiety can be<br />

dangerous and needs resolving. So, if<br />

you are ever worried, then it is probably<br />

something to be worried about. And if<br />

you are working with a child who seems<br />

to have been struggling for what seems<br />

like weeks, it may be time to consider<br />

professional intervention. Especially if<br />

you feel like prolonged periods of difficult<br />

emotions have come on suddenly, or<br />

without any obvious explanations.<br />

Next time, as we continue our reflections<br />

of ‘the happy child’, we will look at<br />

supporting children through difficult<br />

processes of social connections. But in the<br />

meantime, bring focus back to nurturing<br />

all of children’s growth and development<br />

with a Nurturing Childhoods Accreditation.<br />

Whether you are looking for a setting<br />

wide approach to reflective practice<br />

and active CPD or a more personalised<br />

approach with the Nurturing Childhoods<br />

Practitioner Accreditation, gain recognition<br />

for the nurturing practice you deliver.<br />

Through 12 online sessions throughout the<br />

year join me and hundreds of nurturing<br />

practitioners as together we really begin<br />

developing the potential of all children in<br />

their early years.<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 online<br />

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 />

For more information and practical<br />

guidance on developing the features of<br />

lifelong learning, Kathryn has published<br />

a book: “Developing School Readiness,<br />

Creating Lifelong Learners”.<br />

Get in contact at www.kathrynpeckham.<br />

co.uk or email info@kathrynpeckham.<br />

co.uk.<br />

28 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 29


How early years leaders can<br />

make a positive workplace<br />

culture stick: the power of<br />

embedding mechanisms<br />

We know that a positive workplace culture<br />

matters. It’s a huge player in why people<br />

join particular nurseries and why they<br />

choose to stay. In a time when recruitment<br />

and retention are such huge challenges for<br />

the sector, and when pay and progression<br />

are limited, it’s vital that leaders know how<br />

to embed an organisational culture that<br />

makes staff excited about coming to work<br />

every single day.<br />

But how do leaders actually embed a<br />

positive culture? According to the leading<br />

figure in organisational culture research,<br />

Professor Edgar H. Schein, there are<br />

a range of what he calls ‘embedding<br />

mechanisms’ that leaders can use to help<br />

a positive workplace culture to stick.<br />

He separates these mechanisms into<br />

‘primary embedding mechanisms’ – the<br />

things that leaders do straight away as<br />

they try to build up a particular culture<br />

in the organisation – and ‘secondary<br />

embedding mechanisms’, which are vital<br />

for helping to sustain that positive culture<br />

over time.<br />

In this article, we’ll look at the primary<br />

embedding mechanisms that<br />

leaders can use as they try to<br />

cultivate a new workplace<br />

culture across a nursery. We’ll look at three<br />

in particular:<br />

⚙ Paying attention: what you notice and<br />

celebrate day to day<br />

⚙ Allocating resources: where the time<br />

and money goes<br />

⚙ Role modelling, training and coaching:<br />

showing how you’d like things to be<br />

Paying attention: what you<br />

notice and celebrate day to<br />

day<br />

If you want to embed a positive workplace<br />

culture that emphasises supportiveness<br />

across a team, as a leader, you’ll need to<br />

pay attention to the quality of support as it<br />

shows up in day to day interactions across<br />

the nursery. This means being on the<br />

lookout for how staff show support to one<br />

another at the moment.<br />

For example, you might notice that a<br />

particular member of staff is great at<br />

cheering others up when they’re feeling<br />

tired or demotivated. You might see how<br />

this individual’s attitude and emotional<br />

attunement helps others to get through<br />

the day. Saying the simple words “thank<br />

you” to this person sends a message<br />

throughout the organisation about what<br />

matters to you as a leader and how<br />

important you think this kind of supportive<br />

attitude is across the nursery.<br />

Leaders can go further than just saying<br />

thank you of course. You can celebrate<br />

supportiveness more concretely and<br />

encourage others to celebrate it also. This<br />

might mean putting up a noticeboard for<br />

example in the staff room where staff can<br />

share examples of how they felt supported<br />

by someone else. You could have a small<br />

budget available for staff to buy each<br />

other small, silly tokens to show support<br />

or to show their appreciation for others’<br />

support. Over the longer-term, you might<br />

even invest in a staff award ceremony –<br />

on whatever scale works for you – where<br />

there is an award specifically for showing<br />

support to others in the team. All of these<br />

celebratory actions are powerful because<br />

they reinforce the idea that showing<br />

support matters.<br />

And of course this doesn’t apply to just<br />

supportiveness. You could do the same<br />

thing for kindness, for joy, for showing<br />

initiative – whatever you see as the<br />

fundamental qualities of workplace culture<br />

that you really want to make stick.<br />

Allocating resources: where<br />

the time and money goes<br />

When it comes to valuing particular<br />

qualities in the workplace culture, as<br />

leaders we need to put our money where<br />

our mouth is. We need to show that we<br />

care about these qualities of the culture<br />

through directing resources in their<br />

direction. It’s not just money that matters<br />

and speaks, but also the allocation of time.<br />

So, for example, in a team meeting, you<br />

might show that being supportive matters<br />

by dedicating the first 15 minutes of the<br />

meeting to connecting with one another on<br />

an emotional and personal level, helping<br />

to support flow more readily across the<br />

team. Team meetings are precious time<br />

where there’s a lot to get done. But if<br />

support really does matter to the culture,<br />

then fostering this support is a priority.<br />

Does pay and progression in the nursery<br />

clearly relate to the qualities that you’re<br />

hoping to embed? If we look at promotion<br />

criteria for example, is being supportive<br />

explicitly recognised?<br />

On a more day to day basis, is there a<br />

small budget that staff can tap into in order<br />

to support colleagues through difficult<br />

times or even just show appreciation of<br />

colleagues that have been supportive? It<br />

could be a personalised mug costing less<br />

than £20, but for an employee it makes all<br />

the difference to know that what they’re<br />

doing for the team matters, along with<br />

being a sign to the whole team about<br />

what’s most important in the nursery.<br />

Role modelling, training<br />

and coaching: showing how<br />

you’d like things to be<br />

Sometimes it can feel like a positive<br />

workplace culture is something that’s<br />

hard to pin down and therefore hard to<br />

teach. But once you get a clear grip on the<br />

qualities that you want to see more of, you<br />

can begin to not only model that quality<br />

through your own style of leading, but<br />

also use training and coaching to enable<br />

staff to bring more of that quality into their<br />

practice and teamwork.<br />

If you want to develop a team that feel<br />

emotionally connected to one another and<br />

where the support flows freely, it could<br />

work well to invest in training around<br />

emotional intelligence, attunement and<br />

even attachment styles. This is powerful<br />

on many levels because it impacts not only<br />

on how staff interact with each other, but<br />

their understanding of young children and<br />

families as well. Follow-up coaching, which<br />

focuses on these qualities, is a great way<br />

to help staff to embed the quality in their<br />

practice over time.<br />

To help a particular quality in the<br />

workplace culture to stick, you can start by<br />

celebrating that quality in action, directing<br />

resources towards it, role modelling what<br />

it looks like and investing in training and<br />

coaching to foster the quality in practice.<br />

Mona Sakr<br />

Dr Mona Sakr is a Senior Lecturer in<br />

Education and Early Childhood. As a<br />

researcher in Early Years (EY) provision,<br />

she has published extensively on<br />

creative, digital and playful pedagogies<br />

including the books “Digital Play in<br />

Early Childhood: What’s the Problem?”<br />

(Sage) and “Creativity and Making in<br />

Early Childhood: Challenging Practitioner<br />

Perspectives” (Bloomsbury).<br />

Mona’s current research is an<br />

exploration of pedagogical,<br />

organisational and community<br />

leadership in EY and how leadership can<br />

be more effectively developed across<br />

EY. Current funded research includes a<br />

Nuffield Foundation project looking at<br />

online leadership development across<br />

the EY sector, a BELMAS project looking<br />

at leadership in the baby room of<br />

nurseries and a BERA project examining<br />

ethnicity in the early years workforce.<br />

Forthcoming books (include an<br />

introduction to social leadership in early<br />

childhood education and care (written<br />

with June O’Sullivan, CEO of London Early<br />

Years Foundation), and an edited volume<br />

on EY pedagogical leadership around<br />

the globe.<br />

Email: m.sakr@mdx.ac.uk<br />

Twitter: @DrMonaSakr<br />

30 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 31


Zero Discrimination<br />

Day<br />

<strong>March</strong> 1st is Zero Discrimination Day – a<br />

day when the UN and partner agencies<br />

around the world celebrate the right of<br />

everyone to live a full and productive life -<br />

and live it with dignity.<br />

According to the official website:<br />

“Zero Discrimination Day highlights how<br />

people can become informed about and<br />

promote inclusion, compassion, peace<br />

and, above all, a movement for change.<br />

Zero Discrimination Day is helping to<br />

create a global movement of solidarity to<br />

end all forms of discrimination”<br />

It is closely tied to some of the United<br />

Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals<br />

for 2030 to help improve the lives of<br />

everyone across the planet. The symbol<br />

for the day is a butterfly, chosen because<br />

it represents transformation which is what<br />

the day is about – transforming the world<br />

into a fairer and more tolerant place.<br />

History of the day<br />

Zero Discrimination Day was first<br />

celebrated on <strong>March</strong> 1, 2014, and was<br />

launched by UNAIDS Executive Director,<br />

Michel Sidibé, on 27 February of that year<br />

with a major event in Beijing. A lot of the<br />

focus for the day is aimed at ending the<br />

discrimination that many people living<br />

with AIDS face on a daily basis. Whilst<br />

advances in the treatment of AIDS has<br />

meant that it is now no longer the death<br />

warrant it once was in the West, it is still a<br />

major problem in many under-developed<br />

nations with 38.4 million people living with<br />

HIV globally in 2021. Every year, 1.5 million<br />

people become infected with the disease<br />

according to 2021 figures.<br />

However, Zero Discrimination Day also<br />

focuses on different areas where there is<br />

other discrimination too. In 2020, the focus<br />

was on discrimination against women and<br />

girls, and in 2019 and 2022, a light was<br />

shone on the laws that countries have that<br />

continue to allow discrimination between<br />

people.<br />

In <strong>2023</strong>, the theme is “Save lives:<br />

decriminalise” since many areas of the<br />

world still have laws which criminalise<br />

aspects surrounding sexuality and HIV/<br />

AIDS. In the world today:<br />

❤ 134 countries explicitly criminalise or<br />

otherwise prosecute HIV exposure,<br />

non-disclosure or transmission<br />

❤ 20 countries criminalise and/or<br />

prosecute transgender persons<br />

❤ 153 countries criminalise at least one<br />

aspect of sex work; and 67 countries<br />

now criminalise consensual same-sex<br />

sexual activity<br />

❤ 48 countries still place restrictions<br />

on entry into their territory for people<br />

living with HIV<br />

❤ 53 countries report that they require<br />

mandatory HIV testing, for example<br />

for marriage certificates or for<br />

performing certain professions<br />

❤ 106 countries require parental consent<br />

for adolescents to access HIV testing<br />

Zero Discrimination Day<br />

and early years<br />

When thinking the relevance of the day<br />

to early years, you may want to steer<br />

away from AIDS/HIV, but a good place to<br />

start would be to focus on celebrating the<br />

diversity of people and the backgrounds<br />

they come from. You could start by thinking<br />

about the different types of families that<br />

children can come from, remembering<br />

that there are many. Sociologists have<br />

identified a number of types of family and<br />

household set ups that include:<br />

❤ Nuclear family – one man, one<br />

woman and their children<br />

❤ Single parent families<br />

❤ Same sex families<br />

❤ Extended families – where<br />

grandparents, aunts, uncles and<br />

cousins may all live in the same<br />

household<br />

❤ Reconstituted or blended families<br />

– where at least one parent may<br />

have children from another marriage<br />

(sometimes called step-families)<br />

❤ Foster families<br />

❤ Adopted families<br />

❤ Kinship families where children are<br />

looked after by aunts, uncles, siblings<br />

or grandparents<br />

❤ Special guardians looking after<br />

children<br />

traumatic for some children, especially<br />

if they have been taken into care, are<br />

refugees or have lost a parent through<br />

bereavement and/or family breakdowns.<br />

Children may not be able to express<br />

how they feel in these situations, but<br />

talking about families may be a trigger<br />

for some challenging behaviours in some<br />

children as they struggle to come to terms<br />

with these emotions. What is needed is<br />

patience and understanding here, and a<br />

recognition on the part of the early years<br />

practitioner that these problems exist and<br />

are real for these children.<br />

How to celebrate Zero<br />

Discrimination Day in your<br />

setting<br />

need to be mindful of unconscious<br />

bias that can be introduced which<br />

can reinforce stereotypes or<br />

generalisations.<br />

2. That children can see the families<br />

that they grow up in, represented in<br />

the world around them. This means<br />

that children hear stories and see<br />

images of families that are diverse,<br />

multicultural and represent our wider<br />

society. One family set up should not<br />

be favoured over and above others as<br />

this can create problems in the minds<br />

of children if they feel they are not<br />

from a family set up that is accepted.<br />

So, in celebrating Zero Discrimination Day,<br />

think about how you can:<br />

❤ Refugees who may be fostered<br />

❤ Compound families – where there<br />

may be 3 parents living in the same<br />

household, either by divorce or in<br />

polygamous societies<br />

❤ Communes<br />

❤ Religious communities<br />

❤ Children living in care homes<br />

There will be more, as each family is<br />

unique, and this is why it is important to<br />

make sure that children understand the<br />

diverse nature of families in the UK and<br />

the world today and that each family unit<br />

is valid and accepted just as it is.<br />

Another important thing to remember<br />

when talking about families is to<br />

understand that even the subject can be<br />

Obviously, you will need to make sure that<br />

any information you give to the children<br />

about this day is age appropriate. There<br />

are 2 main issues that our youngest<br />

children need to understand about<br />

tolerance in pre-school:<br />

1. That tolerance of different races,<br />

religions and sexualities is promoted<br />

in the UK (it’s one of the British Values<br />

after all). This can be done in an age<br />

appropriate way by talking about<br />

relationships which are based on<br />

love, whether that is between a man/<br />

woman, 2 women or 2 men, or even<br />

a single parent/foster parent and their<br />

child. The emphasis should be on the<br />

fact that the people love each other<br />

and want to be together. Younger<br />

children are much more accepting of<br />

all kinds of relationships than many<br />

adults, and early years practitioners<br />

❤ Celebrate diversity by celebrating<br />

all the wonderful people in your<br />

children’s life, whether parents, carers,<br />

family or friends<br />

❤ Talk about it – read some storytime<br />

books about diversity – see here for<br />

a list of pre-school appropriate books<br />

including “My Mums Love Me” by<br />

Anna Membrino and “My Daddies!”<br />

by Gareth Peters.<br />

❤ Participate in campaigns via the<br />

website or through local awareness<br />

groups<br />

❤ Make a display of the different<br />

families that make up your setting<br />

❤ Use the butterfly motif in your arts and<br />

crafts work – you could incorporate<br />

the PRIDE rainbow too<br />

32 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 33


EYFS activities:<br />

Physical<br />

Development<br />

‘Spring’ into reading!<br />

The children will just love jumping, clapping and hopping with this all-time favourite activity, using<br />

the popular “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” song. It gives a great opportunity for some In the<br />

Moment Planning and allows the children to have fun exploring their physical capabilities.<br />

• Create some action cards, such as jump,<br />

clap, hop on one leg, then on the other,<br />

hand on head etc.<br />

Emerging from winter hibernation<br />

Now that the time is approaching for those<br />

hibernating animals to start to reappear<br />

around our countryside, it’s a good time to<br />

explore what happens to them when they<br />

hibernate and where do they go when they<br />

disappear for the winter?<br />

• Gather a selection of soft toy animals<br />

that hibernate in the winter, e.g. bats,<br />

hedgehogs, dormice, squirrels, bees, frogs<br />

and snakes.<br />

• You can also use some picture books/<br />

stories about hibernating animals. Go<br />

through the concept of hibernation with<br />

the children, passing around the soft toy<br />

animals.<br />

• Encourage the children to build dens<br />

or cosy hiding spots for the animals<br />

to hibernate in, within the setting.<br />

This allows children to move around,<br />

whilst simultaneously improving their<br />

concentration and understanding of<br />

hibernation.<br />

You can find this activity and more on the Early<br />

Years Educator website here.<br />

• Place these around the room, creating little<br />

‘activity stations’.<br />

• Lead the children around the circuit,<br />

encouraging them to perform the action<br />

shown on the card at each area.<br />

• Ask questions like ‘I wonder how many<br />

times we can jump?’ or ‘Let’s clap 5<br />

times’. These can not only encourage<br />

physical activity, but also mathematical<br />

development as you count with them.<br />

You can find these and more activities at Early<br />

Years Educator here.<br />

Active Stories<br />

Active stories are a great way to facilitate<br />

active learning, build motor skills and<br />

encourage imagination and creativity.<br />

• The stories can be simple; based on<br />

everyday activities such as cleaning the<br />

house, or adventures such as pirates on the<br />

high seas, or you can find inspiration from<br />

children’s favourite books.<br />

• The idea is to incorporate any move or skill<br />

you want into the story, and collectively act<br />

it out. For example, on a jungle adventure,<br />

you could crouch under branches, jump<br />

over streams or leap from stepping stones.<br />

• To involve the children further, you can ask<br />

for suggestions such as: ‘what animal shall<br />

we be today?’ or ‘where are we travelling<br />

to’. These open questions will just add to<br />

their imagination!<br />

You can find this activity and more on the<br />

Teach Early Years website here.<br />

34 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com


The importance of not having<br />

a narrow view of imagination<br />

and authentic learning<br />

Authentic learning is a very positive<br />

experience for your little ones, but<br />

sometimes if a very narrow view is taken, it<br />

can be the opposite in the long term.<br />

Piaget believed the learner must be<br />

active to be engaged in real learning and<br />

that authentic learning is a pedagogical<br />

approach that allows children to explore<br />

and problem-solve.<br />

This is where things can go wrong if<br />

you are too rigid. Imagination is key to<br />

exploration and problem-solving! If we<br />

don’t nurture their imagination, they will<br />

not gain the full experience and potential<br />

of the learning process through play.<br />

How we support children through<br />

authentic learning is so important. We all<br />

know that the trick to engaging children is<br />

for them to be CURIOUS. We want children<br />

to be curious to find out about their own<br />

environment and ask questions. I have<br />

found that over the last 30-plus years that<br />

using imagination when seeing the world<br />

or outer space, helps create a sense of<br />

belonging, and appreciation of their own<br />

world around them. In other words, think<br />

outside your immediate surroundings<br />

otherwise learning can become very<br />

insular and ultimately boring for some.<br />

There are many ways of using imagination<br />

to enhance authentic learning for example,<br />

what could be better than a magical<br />

adventure into our amazing solar system<br />

to learn about night and day? You never<br />

know you may even meet an alien on your<br />

adventure...<br />

Let them enjoy and see the fun of maths<br />

with imagination ranging from countdown<br />

to blast off and comparing sizes, and<br />

properties of different planets. Create<br />

invitation activities for your little ones.<br />

Blasting off into space can be a wonderful<br />

multi-sensory experience from the<br />

dashboard of the rocket to the sensation of<br />

taking off and moving. For some extra fun<br />

use, a hairdryer (or battery-operated fan),<br />

attached to the inner tube of a loo roll and<br />

with crinkly paper attached. Outer space<br />

is full of endless fun and mirth especially<br />

when you learn that farts are the reason<br />

astronauts have a bean-free diet. Who<br />

knew farts could be so dangerous?<br />

Farts aside, when you look up, on a<br />

clear night, at the moon you can see the<br />

craters making the moon an authentic<br />

experience as it exists in their immediate<br />

surroundings. You could extend that<br />

experience by creating an activity using<br />

moon sand or flour to see the impact<br />

on the moon, or earth when they drop<br />

different-sized pebbles with different<br />

forces. Add a bit of imagination and add<br />

dinosaurs to the mix. Go back in time<br />

and find out what happened when the<br />

extinction-sized meteor hit the earth.<br />

Poor dinosaurs! This is part of our history<br />

on Earth and a great way to inspire<br />

the next generation of scientists and<br />

palaeontologists with fossil-hunting<br />

activities – all this from a trip into outer<br />

space!<br />

While you are in outer space you can<br />

increase their vocabulary with words from<br />

gravity to satellites. Do peek at the bunnyhopping<br />

astronauts on the Moon as a<br />

fun way to look at gravity. https://www.<br />

youtube.com/watch?v=HKdwcLytloU<br />

Between your bunny hopping or avoiding<br />

meteors you could spend a few moments<br />

watching the oceans on Earth and discover<br />

how the moon affects the tides. The way<br />

this is presented will depend on their age<br />

and abilities.<br />

A follow-on from this could be a fun day<br />

trip to the seaside. The children will love<br />

searching for and counting sea creatures,<br />

shells, and pebbles. At the same time,<br />

you can point out the marks in the sand of<br />

the high and low tides which are a direct<br />

link to the moon. This shows the impact<br />

of the moon on their natural environment.<br />

I do hope you can see how much fun<br />

and authentic learning there is with a<br />

sprinkling of imagination. Please do not<br />

discount space travel and trips to the<br />

moon by viewing them as something they<br />

won’t experience directly. In fact, if you are<br />

working on the ‘Seasons’ a journey to the<br />

moon, is a wonderful way of looking at<br />

why we have longer days in the summer<br />

and shorter in the winter. The moon helps<br />

the earth to maintain its tilt which gives us<br />

our seasons as we travel around the sun.<br />

Did you know the other planets in the solar<br />

system that have a tilt also have seasons?<br />

Why not celebrate the winter and summer<br />

solstice and the children can monitor the<br />

length of the day around those events? So<br />

many exciting early STEM activities with the<br />

magical ingredient I-M-A-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N!<br />

I know some may feel still feel that a trip<br />

to the moon and learning about satellites<br />

is not authentic learning as the children<br />

will never experience it. But every time<br />

you check your Google maps or watch<br />

Sky (other brands are available) just think<br />

about those satellites in space giving your<br />

directions and bouncing a signal to your<br />

TV.<br />

Most importantly… you may have the<br />

next Neil Armstrong, Bill Gates or Steve<br />

Jobs sitting right in front of you. If we don’t<br />

inspire and stimulate their imagination,<br />

they will never be confident to explore and<br />

see the world and fulfil their full potential.<br />

We need creative and imaginative minds<br />

to help improve the world. Everything we<br />

see around us that is man-made came<br />

from our imagination. If we become too<br />

insular in our learning and only focus on<br />

the immediate surrounding, as I have<br />

seen in some early-years settings, we can<br />

have too narrow a view of what authentic<br />

learning is. This narrow view is curtailing<br />

their imagination and creativity. Every child<br />

is different, and one size doesn’t fit all.<br />

Imagination is disappearing in our little<br />

ones. I have seen this myself over the last<br />

30 years of teaching, making me sad. This<br />

is the reason for my passion for creating<br />

opportunities for imaginative role-play and<br />

play. Children need the imagination to be<br />

able to be CURIOUS to wonder WHAT, IF,<br />

WHY, and HOW?<br />

There are no limits to how imagination,<br />

role play, and play lead to valuable and<br />

amazing authentic learning experiences<br />

for your little ones. Using role-play to<br />

visit far-flung places can help them<br />

become ethical and informed about the<br />

sustainability of our planet. Learning<br />

about other countries, cultures, and<br />

places enable them to become more<br />

knowledgeable. This knowledge will help<br />

them to respect the needs and rights of<br />

others, as a member of a diverse society.<br />

Creativity, imagination, and the arts make<br />

us human and connect on so many<br />

different levels.<br />

References:<br />

https://www.discover<strong>magazine</strong>.com/<br />

the-sciences/farts-an-underappreciatedthreat-to-astronauts<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 />

Email: gina@littlemagictrain.com<br />

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/<br />

gina-bale/<br />

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/<br />

Littlemagictrain<br />

36 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 37


Testimonials<br />

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Nurture Team Diary<br />

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Julia Gowthaman<br />

“My name is Vicky and I have just finished my Level 3 Early Years Educator - all thanks to the efforts of<br />

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Emily took me on when I was significantly behind in my course compared to where I should have been<br />

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

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

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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 />

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Emily was a constant source of support and guidance; she was also a confidence booster when I<br />

needed it and motivated me to see the course through. Emily made sure that I knew she was always<br />

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I am so grateful, and I just cannot thank Emily enough for all of the help and support she has given<br />

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she didn’t pick me up as a learner. I can only hope that every apprentice coming into <strong>Parenta</strong> gets a<br />

tutor like Emily.<br />

She is a dream to work with!”<br />

Vicky Reynolds<br />

38 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 39


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