April 2023 Parenta magazine

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Issue 101<br />

APRIL <strong>2023</strong><br />

FREE<br />

Industry<br />

Experts<br />

Clowning around; how<br />

stupidity can have<br />

stupendous results<br />

Are you feeling groovy?<br />

Supporting children<br />

through difficult<br />

processes of<br />

social connections<br />

+ lots more<br />

EYFS activities<br />

inside!<br />

This month…<br />

Personal, Social and<br />

Emotional<br />

Development<br />

S.P.A.C.E. for music –<br />

musical skills<br />

Celebrate the Spring time with these musical activities that can be used to create a successful and exciting early<br />

childhood music session!<br />


10<br />

12 18<br />

Hello<br />

Welcome to our family<br />

Welcome to the <strong>April</strong> issue of <strong>Parenta</strong> <strong>magazine</strong>!<br />

The clocks have sprung forward and we can look forward to lighter evenings and hopefully warmer temperatures too! <strong>April</strong><br />

has many religious festivals, and we take a whistle-stop tour around the globe to explore some of these. As there is such a<br />

variety of religious festivals occurring, this gives a great opportunity to talk to the children about different cultures. On page<br />

32, we have some great advice on understanding cultural differences within your setting.<br />

We welcome a new guest author this month, Kayla Halls; her article encourages us to develop partnerships with others in the<br />

industry to all our benefit, and Mona Sakr’s article complements this as she continues looking at how early years leaders can<br />

sustain a positive team culture over time.<br />

Also featured in this month’s edition, Frances Turnbull gives some fantastic ideas in ‘SPACE for music’, Gina Bale joins her in<br />

the musical sense as she celebrates International Dance Day and Joanna Grace asks us to ‘join children in their overwhelm’.<br />

Katie White gives us some fun reasons to get in touch with our childish side and Kathryn Peckham delves into how we can<br />

support children through difficult processes of social connections.<br />

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

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

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

www.parenta.com/<strong>magazine</strong>.<br />

Allan<br />

2 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

32<br />

28<br />

36<br />

Regulars<br />

8 Write for us<br />

34 EYFS Activities: Personal, Social and Emotional<br />

Development<br />

News<br />

4 Childcare News<br />

6 Small Stories<br />

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

Advice<br />

14 World Day for Health and Safety at Work<br />

20 <strong>April</strong> religious festivals around the world<br />

24 Teamwork and collaboration<br />

28 Ofsted strategy 2022-27 – what you need to know<br />

32 Understanding cultural differences and potential<br />

culture clashes<br />

Industry Experts<br />

10 Top tips for the terrific twos - Tip eight: join them in<br />

the overwhelm<br />

12 Clowning around; how stupidity can have<br />

stupendous results<br />

18 Collaboration over competition: how leadership<br />

development can support collaboration across<br />

the sector<br />

22 S.P.A.C.E. for music – musical skills<br />

26 Supporting children through difficult processes of<br />

social connections<br />

30 How early years leaders can sustain a positive team<br />

culture over time: using secondary embedding<br />

mechanisms<br />

36 Are you feeling groovy?<br />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 3

Childcare news<br />

and views<br />

HRH The Princess of Wales<br />

launches new Business Taskforce<br />

for Early Childhood<br />

Her Royal Highness The Princess of<br />

Wales has launched her new ‘Business<br />

Taskforce for Early Childhood’. Run by<br />

business, for business, the Business<br />

Taskforce will play an essential role<br />

in The Princess of Wales’ work to<br />

transform the way in which society<br />

prioritises and supports children and<br />

the ecosystems around them in their<br />

earliest years.<br />

The Taskforce met for its first meeting<br />

on 21st March and comprises the<br />

organisations of NatWest, Unilever,<br />

Aviva, Deloitte, IKEA, Co-op, The LEGO<br />

Group and Iceland.<br />

NDNA’s Chief Executive, Purnima<br />

Tanuku, said: “The first five years of a<br />

child’s life lay the foundation for their<br />

future learning and success. We very<br />

much welcome the Royal Foundation’s<br />

efforts to raise the profile of early<br />

childhood.<br />

“Everyone in society has a part to play<br />

in supporting our next generation and<br />

it’s encouraging to see businesses<br />

signing up to the Business Taskforce<br />

for Early Childhood. There are<br />

immediate and long-term benefits<br />

from supporting families with young<br />

children in their earliest years. It’s<br />

good to see businesses being involved<br />

in supporting children to reach their<br />

full potential. Businesses have an<br />

important role to play as employers<br />

and to support families with young<br />

children.”<br />

The story of the new taskforce can be<br />

read in full on the Royal Foundation’s<br />

website here.<br />

Government claims on early<br />

years sufficiency are branded<br />

‘meaningless’ following Early Years<br />

Alliance Fol ”<br />

Many local authorities in England<br />

collect little to no data regarding<br />

whether the early years provision<br />

in their area meets family needs,<br />

according to the results of a Freedom<br />

of Information (FoI) investigation by the<br />

Early Years Alliance.<br />

Although 96% of the 117 local<br />

authorities surveys said that they had<br />

sufficient early years places, fewer than<br />

one in six actually collect data on the<br />

proportion of local parents who are<br />

able to access the number of days or<br />

sessions they need, when they need it<br />

and where they need it.<br />

Despite the government’s recentlyrenewed<br />

commitment to supporting<br />

children with special educational<br />

needs and/or disabilities (SEND)<br />

across the country, less than one in<br />

10 local authorities collect the same<br />

information specifically from parents of<br />

children with SEND.<br />

Early Years Alliance CEO, Neil Leitch,<br />

said: “While there has been a lot of<br />

talk of lowering the cost of early years<br />

provision, much less has been said of<br />

the need to make sure that families<br />

are actually able to access places.<br />

Our sector is in the midst of the worst<br />

staffing crisis for decades, forcing more<br />

and more providers to restrict hours<br />

and limit sessions, all of which have<br />

a direct impact on both children and<br />

their parents.<br />

“Ministers argue that local authorities<br />

are saying they have enough early<br />

years places – but if hardly anyone<br />

is asking whether or not parents are<br />

able to get places for as many days as<br />

they need, at the times they need and<br />

where they need them, then clearly<br />

any government claims of ‘sufficient<br />

places’ are utterly meaningless in<br />

practical terms.<br />

“If you’re a parent who, say, needs a<br />

nursery, pre-school or childminding<br />

place for four days a week, but<br />

can only secure one day a week,<br />

and it’s at a setting 25 minutes<br />

away, then constant assurances<br />

from the Government that all is fine<br />

are understandably going to ring<br />

completely hollow – and this is exactly<br />

the sort of situation that families up<br />

and down the country are currently<br />

facing.<br />

“We know that local authorities work<br />

hard to support families to access the<br />

care and education that they need, but<br />

with more and more settings being<br />

forced to limit spaces, restrict opening<br />

hours, or close alltogether as a result<br />

of sustained underfunding and severe<br />

staffing shortages, this is becoming an<br />

increasingly impossible task.<br />

“As the calls for early years reform<br />

grow ever louder, it’s critical that<br />

alongside building an affordable<br />

4 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

childcare system, we look to build<br />

one that is accessible, as well as<br />

sustainable and high-quality.<br />

“This means a long-term<br />

comprehensive government strategy,<br />

underpinned by adequate investment,<br />

that ensures that all early years settings<br />

are able to offer the care and education<br />

families need, when they need it. It<br />

also means steering well clear of illthought-out<br />

policies like relaxing ratios<br />

that will only worsen the current severe<br />

recruitment and retention crisis and risk<br />

permanently damaging our alreadyfragile<br />

sector.”<br />

https://www.eyalliance.org.uk/<br />

news/<strong>2023</strong>/03/government-claimsabout-early-years-sufficiency-brandedmeaningless-following-alliance<br />

Children’s Minister gives further<br />

details on funding rates for<br />

childcare reforms<br />

The Children’s Minister, Claire Coutinho,<br />

has given more details regarding the<br />

funding childcare providers can expect<br />

to receive - which for the under-twos is<br />

set to rise to around £11 an hour, when<br />

the 30-hour offer to all under-fives is<br />

fully rolled out. This came after major<br />

childcare reforms were announced by<br />

the Chancellor in the Spring Budget,<br />

which will see the Government<br />

introduce more entitlements to ‘free’<br />

childcare for working parents, starting<br />

with two-year-olds from next <strong>April</strong>.<br />

In an exclusive interview with Nursery<br />

World the minister said: “Over the next<br />

couple of years, the entitlements will<br />

also expand to 30 free hours for eligible<br />

working parents of children aged<br />

between nine and 36 months. This will<br />

be fully rolled out by September 2025<br />

giving parents of very young children<br />

more choice as they consider going<br />

back to work.<br />

“And of course, we will match that<br />

again with appropriate funding rates –<br />

set to be around £11 per hour for undertwos<br />

from the introduction of the offer.<br />

This is huge progress on our journey<br />

to deliver flexible and affordable<br />

childcare for hard working families<br />

across Britain. But there is still more to<br />

be done in terms of helping the sector<br />

increase capacity to meet higher levels<br />

of demand.”<br />

She also revealed that funding for twoyear-olds<br />

was likely to rise and be a<br />

national average of around £8 an hour<br />

from this September.<br />

“Alongside the 4 percent increase to<br />

uplift the average rate for three– to<br />

four-year-olds to over £5.50 per hour<br />

from September <strong>2023</strong>, there have been<br />

clear promises from the Chancellor of<br />

more to come,” she said.<br />

You can read the interview with Claire<br />

Coutinho in full here.<br />

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

World can be read here.<br />

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

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

A<br />

have<br />

round-up<br />

caught<br />

of<br />

our<br />

some<br />

eye<br />

news<br />

over<br />

stories<br />

the month<br />

that<br />

have caught our eye over the month<br />

Children soak feet in trays of<br />

cold water at nursery to stay<br />

Education sector cool workers facing<br />

‘devastating’ food insecurity<br />

Nurseries up and down the country have<br />

been More pulling than a out fifth all (21 the per stops cent) to of keep<br />

households children in cool homes in the where hot weather. education<br />

sector workers live faced ‘devastating’<br />

food insecurity in January.<br />

Click here to send in<br />

your stories to<br />

hello@parenta.com<br />

Children 1st opens new nursery<br />

in Derby with its own crazy golf<br />

Around 350,000 course more children<br />

‘pulled into’ poverty, suggests<br />

Children 1st Day Nursery opened its latest<br />

new analysis<br />

nursery in Oakwood creating 20 new job<br />

opportunities An estimated in 350,000 the local more area children and space<br />

were pulled into for poverty 167 children. last year, largely<br />

because the Government cut the £20<br />

universal credit uplift...<br />

Tops Day Nurseries pledges to<br />

plant thousands of trees to tackle<br />

Teaching union climate to hand crisisin petition<br />

to DfE calling for Ofsted to be<br />

Tops Day replaced Nurseries with over 30<br />

nurseries across the south and southwest<br />

The is committed NEU is to to hand helping a petition with the to climate the<br />

Department for Education crisis. asking them<br />

to replace Ofsted with a ‘supportive,<br />

effective and fair’ system.<br />

Click here to send in<br />

your stories to<br />

marketing@parenta.com<br />

Eight in ten Britons think<br />

salaries for early years staff are<br />

too low<br />

New findings show that many people<br />

aren’t aware of how low wages are for<br />

staff working in early years settings...<br />

News analysis: Progress is not<br />

linear<br />

Sue Allingham explains the risks of<br />

local and national expectations in early<br />

years education being set by people<br />

in positions of authority with little to no<br />

understanding of child development.<br />

6 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

Source and image credits to:<br />

Source and image credits to:<br />

Day Nurseries, Nursery World, BBC<br />

Nursery World & Early Years Educator<br />

Donations sought for nursery<br />

and homes burned down by<br />

Celebrating ‘heartbreaking’ the Month heatwave of the fire<br />

Donations are Military urgently Child needed to help<br />

a nursery and families who lost their<br />

In this 3 part series, Debra Barton<br />

homes in Milton Keynes as recordbreaking<br />

temperatures in the UK caused<br />

explains who service children are, &<br />

how practitioners & providers from the<br />

a fence to catch fire.<br />

early childhood & early education sector<br />

can support them and their families.<br />

New training programme will<br />

boost number of Level 3 SENCos<br />

Creating a in positive nurseries impact for<br />

A new training our course planet is being offered<br />

to 5,000 early years practitioners to help<br />

Damien Saul, early childhood specialist at<br />

“address the impact” of the pandemic for<br />

Bright Horizons, shares why he believes<br />

children with special educational needs<br />

that letting children be children and<br />

and disabilities.<br />

having fun will help foster positive learning<br />

opportunities.<br />

Young fathers seek more time<br />

with children, says study<br />

Nurseries in England face sharp<br />

Fathers rise in want business to play rates a more from active <strong>April</strong> role in<br />

Nurseries<br />

family life,<br />

are<br />

but<br />

facing<br />

need<br />

a<br />

more<br />

40 percent<br />

support<br />

rise<br />

from<br />

in<br />

business<br />

employers<br />

rates<br />

and<br />

from<br />

policymakers,<br />

<strong>April</strong>, which<br />

according<br />

is calling<br />

on the Chancellor<br />

to new research.<br />

to make nurseries<br />

exempt from paying them.<br />

Local authorities with declining<br />

childcare places will be ‘hit<br />

hardest’ by proposed funding<br />

changes<br />

Proposed changes to early years<br />

funding in England are likely to hit local<br />

authorities already struggling with<br />

declining childcare places.<br />

Hull volunteers take sensory<br />

equipment to help orphans<br />

evacuated from Ukraine<br />

After a fundraising effort, volunteers have<br />

now installed a special sensory room<br />

with soft flooring and lighting.<br />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 7

Write for us!<br />

We’re always on the lookout<br />

for new authors to contribute<br />

insightful articles for our<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations<br />

to our guest author competition winner, Kathryn Peckham<br />

Congratulations to Kathryn Peckham, our guest<br />

author of the month! Her article, “How does selfesteem<br />

develop and how do we get that for our<br />

children?”, explores how we would all love to<br />

think that we are caring for children in ways that<br />

help value and support their self-esteem. But how<br />

exactly can we be sure? Well done, Kathryn!<br />

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

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

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

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

8 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

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

Top tips for the terrific twos -<br />

Tip eight: join them in<br />

the 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 />

It is common for young children to get<br />

overwhelmed, and to express their<br />

overwhelm with uninhibited emotional<br />

outbursts. There is a glorious freedom<br />

in crying just as loudly as you feel, and<br />

crying without worrying about what your<br />

face looks like, all screwed up and covered<br />

in snot! There is something wonderfully<br />

liberating about a child who is happy to<br />

express their emotions fully.<br />

Yes, it’s wonderful, but it is also loud,<br />

frustrating, embarrassing (you’re on the<br />

school run, in the supermarket, Ofsted<br />

have just turned up in your setting)<br />

and we want it to stop! Plus it is often<br />

unreasonable (to our eyes): you told them<br />

they could not hold the sharp knife, could<br />

not put their hand in the oven, could not<br />

push the other child over.<br />

Often we find ourselves on sides in these<br />

situations. They are on one side “want<br />

knife” and you are on the other “no”. What<br />

to do?<br />

First, if you can, move away, physically<br />

from whatever the situation is. So if it is the<br />

knife, take the knife and put it away, so<br />

that it is physically not a part of the drama<br />

anymore. Then what you are left with is a<br />

screaming two-year-old and a frustrated<br />

adult.<br />

Deal with the frustrated adult first – a few<br />

deep breaths, look away, look at the sky,<br />

remember someone who loves you, do<br />

whatever it takes.<br />

It is very tempting for everyone involved<br />

to continue the conversation. “Want knife”<br />

they stutter between sobs. “You cannot<br />

have the knife” you lovingly explain “the<br />

knife can hurt you”. “WANT KNIFE” comes<br />

the return, complete with a volume shift in<br />

the wailing.<br />

In such a heightened emotional state<br />

no one can reason, whether they are 2<br />

or 102, so step one is to get out of this<br />

state. A lot of 2-year-olds get left until they<br />

calm down. This can be very difficult and<br />

upsetting, both for the 2-year-old and<br />

everyone around them. This is because<br />

they do not yet have the emotional<br />

regulation skills to calm down. It is a bit like<br />

leaving them on a diving board and telling<br />

them to dive down, but without teaching<br />

them how to dive. All they can do is fall,<br />

so they cling on to where they are (the<br />

heightened emotional state).<br />

Physiologically, what happens if a young<br />

child is left to cry it out, is that they<br />

eventually wear out. They do not calm<br />

down. Nor do they learn to calm down.<br />

They simply exhaust themselves. Think<br />

about it, it was only a matter of months<br />

ago that they were a baby, and if they<br />

were distressed they would have been<br />

rocked and soothed by a trusted adult.<br />

The nearness of that adult, the feeling of<br />

that adult’s heartbeat, the smell of that<br />

adult’s pheromones, the movement of that<br />

adult’s body, would all have helped them<br />

to calm down. Two-year-olds still need to<br />

co-regulate with an adult….so….<br />

10 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

Joanna Grace<br />

After you have got out of the physical<br />

situation (put the knife away) and you’re<br />

in the situation with the crying child and<br />

a semi-calm adult (you’ve done your<br />

deep breaths by this point), pause any<br />

conversation you’re having. They may<br />

say “want knife” but you are not going<br />

to respond at this point. It’s not ignoring<br />

them, you’re dealing with things in order.<br />

Go over to them and be with them. If<br />

they will sit on your lap that’s great. If<br />

they’re needing to stomp, sit calmly near<br />

them. Offer them the sounds you would<br />

have made for them when they were a<br />

baby. See them, not as defiant, but as<br />

distressed, lost in that overwhelming crisscross<br />

of neural networks that is their brain.<br />

Feel compassion for the state they’ve<br />

gotten into.<br />

Once they are with you, and the sobs<br />

have faded, then you can try to explain<br />

that knives are sharp….or maybe you<br />

prefer a peaceful life and will strike up a<br />

conversation about beetles!<br />

Joanna Grace is an international<br />

Sensory Engagement and Inclusion<br />

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

and founder of The Sensory Projects.<br />

Consistently rated as “outstanding” by<br />

Ofsted, Joanna has taught in<br />

mainstream and special school settings,<br />

connecting with pupils of all ages and<br />

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

draws on her own experience from her<br />

private and professional life as well as<br />

taking in all the information she can<br />

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

private life includes family members<br />

with disabilities and neurodiverse<br />

conditions and time spent as a<br />

registered foster carer for children with<br />

profound disabilities.<br />

Joanna has published four practitioner<br />

books: “Multiple Multisensory<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 />

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

Clowning around; how<br />

stupidity can have<br />

stupendous results<br />

Stupidity is never recommended as<br />

something that is good for children, or<br />

adults for that matter. It creates images<br />

of loud and unruly children, dangerously<br />

testing the limits of their environment,<br />

behaving badly and causing trouble.<br />

Although this is definitely not something I<br />

want to support, I do feel that if we tarnish<br />

all of silliness with this brush, we could<br />

miss out on some of the real benefits of<br />

this kind of child’s play.<br />

Society teaches us to be ordered,<br />

conforming, agreeable and quiet. Stupidity<br />

epitomises the opposite of this! We<br />

associate stupidity with negative side<br />

effects, including mess, disruption, over<br />

excitability, arguments and noise. Yet<br />

if managed well, I believe this can be<br />

avoided. In this article I’ll outline some of<br />

the reasons why I feel clowning around<br />

has it’s place, and why I not only think we<br />

should encourage it, but even find ways to<br />

join in!<br />

I am a huge advocate for laughter and<br />

playfulness. Since founding The Best<br />

Medicine, I have travelled across the<br />

UK teaching people about the benefits<br />

of silliness and how we can use it as a<br />

tool for reducing stress and anxiety. This<br />

has led me to deliver online courses,<br />

talks and training days, where I provide<br />

simple strategies that can be playfully<br />

implemented for supporting the emotional<br />

needs of children and young people.<br />

So here are my reasons for promoting<br />

‘clowning around’ as a tool for wellness.<br />

It connects us<br />

Play is one of the earliest forms of<br />

communication. Children play before<br />

they learn to walk or talk; it’s an integral<br />

part of a child’s social and emotional<br />

development. Games that encourage a<br />

reciprocal exchange, help children to feel<br />

seen, heard and connected to the people<br />

around them.<br />

I recently invented a rather hilarious game<br />

with my friend’s 2-year-old boy. Whilst<br />

playing with play-dough, I noticed that<br />

he was really enjoying squishing, so I<br />

began rolling up balls of play-dough and<br />

putting them in front of him. I would then<br />

pretend to look away and he would of<br />

course, squish them. When I looked back<br />

12 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

I’d pretend to be disgruntled, as if I had<br />

no clue of how they had been squished,<br />

then I’d roll the play-dough back into more<br />

balls and the game continued. The rule<br />

breaking and mischief generated a lot of<br />

laughter!<br />

Pretending to be ‘stupid’ didn’t take<br />

much effort on my part, but made for an<br />

enjoyable and connected experience for<br />

both of us.<br />

It makes us curious<br />

Curiosity is a natural part of being human.<br />

Children want to know how things work:<br />

what the mud feels like between their<br />

toes, what happens when something<br />

is dropped from a huge height, what it<br />

feels like to stick their fingers into their<br />

porridge. Finding opportunities for children<br />

to explore their sensory curiosities in safe<br />

ways, helps them to better understand<br />

their environment and the limitations of the<br />

materials they come into contact with.<br />

Messy play can be a wonderful way of<br />

clowning around with children. Playing<br />

with interesting textures, smells and<br />

consistencies like custard, paint, jelly or<br />

shaving foam is a great way to enjoy this<br />

curious stupidity together! What’s it like to<br />

slide your feet into cornflour and water?<br />

Can we paint with beetroot, pop balloons<br />

full of paint, or draw in wet sand?<br />

It builds confidence<br />

Role play is one of my favourite forms of<br />

clowning around! Whether it’s adopting<br />

a stupid accent or eccentric outfit, playing<br />

out roles can help children to feel more<br />

confident.<br />

Children don’t often get the chance to<br />

have complete control, and for good<br />

reason! But playing with power dynamics<br />

and authority can help to dispel anxiety<br />

around situations they’re worried about.<br />

For example if a child was worried about<br />

going to the doctors, you could get<br />

them to play the doctor and you could<br />

play the patient. In this interaction you<br />

could play out the child’s fears and have<br />

them reassure you. This not only offers<br />

perspective for the child, but also gives<br />

you an insight into exactly what the child is<br />

feeling anxious about.<br />

Final thoughts<br />

Stupidity isn’t helpful in all situations, but<br />

letting children freely play has so many<br />

benefits. If we are willing, as adults, to<br />

provide spaces where children can play<br />

in this way, we are supporting their need<br />

to connect, their innate curiosity and their<br />

confidence as they grow and develop.<br />

Clowning around embodies a playfulness<br />

that isn’t confined by rules or structure,<br />

something I believe all children should<br />

have access to.<br />

Katie Rose White is a Laughter Facilitator<br />

and founder of The Best Medicine.<br />

She works predominantly with carers,<br />

teachers and healthcare professionals -<br />

teaching playful strategies for boosting<br />

mood, strengthening resilience and<br />

improving wellbeing. She provides<br />

practical workshops, interactive talks<br />

and training days - fusing therapeutic<br />

laughter techniques, playful games<br />

and activities, and mindfulness-based<br />

practices. The techniques are not only<br />

designed to equip participants with tools<br />

for managing their stress, but can also<br />

be used and adapted to the needs of the<br />

people that they are supporting.<br />

Socials:<br />

Katie White<br />

thebestmedicine@outlook.com<br />

www.twitter.com/bestmedicine1<br />

http://www.facebook.com/<br />

thebestmedicinecornwall<br />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 13

World Day for Health<br />

and Safety at Work

Health and safety<br />

policy<br />

A health and safety policy sets out your<br />

setting’s general approach to health and<br />

safety issues. It explains how you, as an<br />

employer, will manage health and safety<br />

in your business. It should clearly say who<br />

does what, when and how. If you have<br />

five or more employees, you must have<br />

a written health and safety policy. If you<br />

have fewer than five employees, then you<br />

do not have to write anything down, but<br />

you may find it useful to do so because<br />

it can act as a reminder and checklist for<br />

things that need to be done.<br />

According to the HSE, the policy should<br />

cover 3 main areas:<br />

Part 1: Statement of intent<br />

This is where you state your general policy<br />

on health and safety at work, including<br />

your commitment to managing health and<br />

safety. It should include your aims and it is<br />

the responsibility of the employer to ensure<br />

that it is reviewed regularly. Under UK law,<br />

employers have a duty of care to towards<br />

their employees to ensure a safe and<br />

healthy environment for all.<br />

Part 2: Responsibilities for<br />

health and safety<br />

This is where you list the names, positions<br />

and roles of the people in your setting who<br />

have specific responsibility for health and<br />

safety issues.<br />

Part 3: Arrangements for<br />

health and safety<br />

In this part of the policy, you should give<br />

details of all the practical arrangements<br />

you have in place, showing how you will<br />

achieve your health and safety policy<br />

aims. Things that could be included could<br />

cover the following although this list is not<br />


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Collaboration over competition:<br />

how leadership development<br />

can support collaboration<br />

across the sector<br />

With early years (EY) leaders working<br />

double time to keep their doors open<br />

in the midst of economic crisis, it’s easy<br />

to see other nurseries as competitors in<br />

business instead of partners in education<br />

and care. However, connecting with<br />

others in the sector can support your<br />

growth as a leader and help your setting<br />

flourish. In our recent study funded by<br />

the Nuffield Foundation, we talked to<br />

participants about the future of leadership<br />

development in EY. The participants<br />

repeatedly emphasised the importance of<br />

valuing collaboration over competition in<br />

EY during these challenging times.<br />

This article considers how leadership<br />

development can support collaboration<br />

across the sector through:

Sharing good practice<br />

Collaboration happens through<br />

conversations where leaders share good<br />

practice, building up the sector through<br />

mutually beneficial actions that support<br />

children and staff. These discussions<br />

with others create a space where we<br />

begin to reflect on our own practice<br />

and make changes we could not have<br />

thought of on our own. As noted by Helen<br />

Williams, Head of Training, Learning and<br />

Development at Mudiad Meithrin, an<br />

EY charity in Wales: “There are so many<br />

examples of good practice going on, such<br />

as taking ten minutes to reflect at the end<br />

of the day. Other people need to hear it.”<br />

Every leader has something unique they<br />

offer to EY. When we collaborate, sharing<br />

our tips and tricks, we build the sector<br />

up, allowing our good practice to reach<br />

beyond our setting walls and add to the<br />

value of the sector as a whole.<br />

The next time you’re chatting with a<br />

fellow leader, don’t be afraid to share the<br />

amazing things happening in your nursery<br />

and to ask about the good practice<br />

happening in theirs. Exchange visits are a<br />

great way to see practice in action and get<br />

the conversation flowing.<br />

Providing professional<br />

challenge<br />

Collaboration isn’t just about sharing the<br />

good. It’s also about opening ourselves up<br />

to growth. Professional challenge provides<br />

opportunity for substantial change<br />

that can have a positive impact on our<br />

settings. When someone asks us the hard<br />

questions, the why and the how, we get to<br />

the roots of our leadership practice.<br />

Audrey Rainey, Director of Services at<br />

Early Years - The Organisation for Young<br />

Children, a non-profit EY organisation<br />

in Northern Ireland, shared that,<br />

“Professional challenge is integral to the<br />

development of our workforce and that’s<br />

what practitioners on the ground also<br />

want. We have to ensure that we’re asking<br />

the right questions and this can only<br />

be further enhanced through engaging<br />

professional dialogues.” Providers of<br />

high-quality leadership development will<br />

ask questions to stimulate professional<br />

challenge.<br />

Mandy Cuttler, Head of Pedagogy<br />

at London Early Years Foundation, a<br />

social enterprise nursery group and<br />

training provider in England, discussed<br />

a strategy for sparking professional<br />

challenge between leaders. “Perhaps<br />

you might recommend someone looks<br />

at a resource and then say, ‘Okay let’s<br />

have a conversation about that.’ Having<br />

conversations, having guided reflection<br />

and challenge and pushing people a little<br />

bit to think critically about what they’re<br />

doing is really important.”<br />

So, how can you provide and receive<br />

professional challenge as a leader?

<strong>April</strong> religious festivals<br />

around the world<br />

When it comes to religious festivals in <strong>April</strong>,<br />

we often think about Easter in the UK,<br />

since Christianity has been the dominant<br />

religion here for many years. However, in<br />

other places of the world, there are many<br />

different religious festivals that occur at<br />

this time of year which you can share with<br />

your children to increase their knowledge<br />

of diversity and culture. So let’s take a<br />

trip around the globe to see what else is<br />

happening during the month of <strong>April</strong>.<br />

Mahavir Jayanti - <strong>April</strong> 4th<br />

https://jainworld.com/<br />

This holiday celebrates the birthday<br />

of Lord Mahavira, the last Tirthankara,<br />

or great teacher of one of the world’s<br />

oldest religions - Jainism. This year the<br />

celebration falls on <strong>April</strong> 4th but can also<br />

be celebrated in March depending on<br />

the lunar calendar. Jainism is an Indian<br />

religion that traces its spiritual ideas and<br />

history through the lives of 24 supreme<br />

preachers of Dharma. Tradition states that<br />

the first preacher lived millions of years<br />

ago and the 24th preacher was born in<br />

599 BCE.<br />

Dharma is a concept found in other Indian<br />

religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism<br />

and Hinduism and is usually translated<br />

as meaning “righteousness”, “merit” or<br />

“religious and moral duties” that govern<br />

an individual’s conduct and behaviour.<br />

Jainism also promotes the idea of karma<br />

and reincarnation. The spiritual goal of<br />

Jainism is to become liberated from the<br />

endless cycle of rebirth and to achieve an<br />

all-knowing state called ‘moksha’.<br />

To celebrate the day, followers go to the<br />

temple to hear readings from the Jain<br />

scriptures and learn about the life of<br />

Mahavira. People then return home from<br />

their spiritual worship to celebrate with a<br />

feast.<br />

Passover - <strong>April</strong> 5th - 13th<br />

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/<br />

passover<br />

The Jewish Passover holiday lasts for 7<br />

days and is one of the Jewish religion’s<br />

most sacred and widely observed holidays<br />

as it commemorates the Israelites being<br />

freed from slavery in ancient Egypt under<br />

the leadership of Moses. In <strong>2023</strong>, it runs<br />

from <strong>April</strong> 5th to <strong>April</strong> 13th. In Hebrew, it<br />

is called Pesach. During the week, Jews<br />

observe the week-long festival with a<br />

number of important rituals, including<br />

a traditional Passover meal known as a<br />

seder, the removal of leavened products<br />

from their home, and the substitution of<br />

bread with matzo (a cracker-like food,<br />

which reminds Jews that when their<br />

ancestors left Egypt, they had no time to<br />

allow their bread to rise). They also retell<br />

the story of the Jewish exodus and the 10<br />

plagues of Egypt which, according to the<br />

Old Testament, God brought to Egypt after<br />

the Pharoah refused to release the Jewish<br />

people from slavery. The last plague was<br />

a visit from the Angel of Death who took<br />

the first born son of each household in<br />

Egypt. Moses told the Jews to place a<br />

lamb’s blood cross on the door so that the<br />

Angel of Death would ‘pass over’ Jewish<br />

households, sparing their first borns.<br />

Easter weekend – 7th –<br />

10th <strong>April</strong><br />

https://www.whyeaster.com/story/theeaster-story<br />

Easter is the most important holiday<br />

in Christianity as it celebrates the<br />

resurrection of Jesus Christ after being<br />

crucified on Good Friday. Many Christian<br />

20 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

communities around the world will hold<br />

Good Friday parades in which people<br />

follow a representative coffin or effigy of<br />

Christ through the streets as a funeral<br />

procession. Many Christians will go to<br />

church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday<br />

to celebrate the resurrection and have a<br />

feast and special meals. Easter Sunday is<br />

the major celebration when people give<br />

chocolate eggs representing rebirth and<br />

renewal. It commemorates the time when<br />

Mary Magdalene found Jesus’s empty<br />

tomb with the large sealing stone rolled<br />

away and was told by an angel that Jesus<br />

had been resurrected to life. At Easter,<br />

children often go on Easter egg hunts,<br />

looking for eggs that have been hidden<br />

around the house and garden by the<br />

mischievous Easter Bunny.<br />

Feast of the Divine Mercy -<br />

<strong>April</strong> 16th<br />

https://mycatholickids.com/divine-mercysunday-greatest-gift/<br />

The Feast of Divine Mercy is a mainly<br />

Catholic feast, held on the Sunday after<br />

Easter Sunday, ending the Octave (8 days)<br />

including Easter Sunday and the Sunday<br />

following it. According to Catholics, Jesus<br />

appeared several times to a Polish nun<br />

called Saint Faustina Kowalska who<br />

was canonised by Pope Jonh Paul II in<br />

2000. According to Faustina, Jesus asked<br />

her directly to set up the feast day to<br />

celebrate God’s mercy, and was given<br />

special prayers so that all people could<br />

turn to God and find refuge and solace<br />

in his Divine Mercy. There are three main<br />

components to the devotion of Divine<br />

Mercy which are:<br />

1. Asking for and obtaining the mercy<br />

of God<br />

2. Trusting in Christ’s mercy, and<br />

3. Showing mercy to others<br />

Catholics are also reminded that Jesus<br />

promised that if they sincerely ask<br />

forgiveness for their sins and attend<br />

confession close to Divine Mercy Sunday,<br />

then all their sins will be forgiven.<br />

According to her diary, Sister Faustina<br />

was also asked by Jesus to paint and<br />

image of Divine Mercy and did so. In the<br />

image, Jesus is portrayed with one hand<br />

outstretched blessing the world, while his<br />

other hand rests on the side wounded by<br />

the soldier’s spear. From the wound in his<br />

side stream blood and water. Below the<br />

image are the words, “Jesus I Trust in You.”<br />

Eid al-Fitr - <strong>April</strong> 21st -<br />

22nd<br />

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

z4cmkmn<br />

This holiday marks the end of the Islamic<br />

month of Ramadan and is a celebration to<br />

mark the end of a month of fasting during<br />

daylight hours that adults following the<br />

Muslim faith participate in. People fast to<br />

strengthen their spiritual relationship with<br />

Allah (God), and to commemorate the<br />

revelation of the Quran, the Muslim holy<br />

book.<br />

Eid-al-Fitr celebrates the month’s spiritual<br />

successes and a big meal is the usual<br />

primary celebration shared by family and<br />

friends. People also visit their mosques<br />

and celebrate within local communities.<br />

This year, Eid-al-Fitr is from <strong>April</strong> 21st to<br />

<strong>April</strong> 22nd.<br />

Earth Day – <strong>April</strong> 21st<br />

https://www.earthday.org/<br />

Although not strictly attributed to any<br />

particular religion, there are many people<br />

around the world who participate in this<br />

annual celebration of the planet and our<br />

relationship with it. Earth Day was first<br />

celebrated in 1970 in America to raise<br />

awareness of environmental ignorance<br />

and demand a new way forward. Today it<br />

is celebrated in more than 190 countries,<br />

and people around the globe get involved<br />

in litter picks, and other environmental<br />

events.<br />

Whichever festival you are celebrating this<br />

<strong>April</strong>, we’d love to know about them, so<br />

send us your pictures and stories to us at<br />

hello@parenta.com.<br />

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

S.P.A.C.E. for music –<br />

musical skills<br />

What are the essential ‘ingredients’ of an<br />

early childhood music session? As an early<br />

years music specialist with a particular<br />

interest in movement in learning music, I<br />

love the concept of SPACE, so used it as an<br />

acronym for the skills that develop in music<br />

sessions. One of my first articles looked<br />

at the life skills and benefits of holding<br />

music sessions for children in nurseries<br />

and early childhood using the acronym,<br />

S.P.A.C.E.: Social, Physical, Academic,<br />

Creative, Emotional. Today we are going<br />

to look at the musical activities that can be<br />

used to create a successful early childhood<br />

music session, using the same S.P.A.C.E.<br />

acronym, this time for Sing, Play, Act,<br />

Create, Explore.<br />

Sing<br />

Many children respond positively to<br />

singing. From infancy, singing has been<br />

shown to reduce infant distress, neonatal<br />

crying and infantile colic, while improving<br />

their movement, heart rate, auditory<br />

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

2018). Singing could actually be considered<br />

an essential pre-requisite for any early<br />

childhood music session, and thankfully,<br />

many early years childhood experts<br />

recognise this.<br />

We sing before we play on the<br />

instruments because:<br />

Singing provides immediate feedback and<br />

shows understanding.<br />

Singing is a powerful and effective way<br />

to involve children in making music. This<br />

is because it is engaging and inclusive.<br />

Musically, the ability to sing songs, or even<br />

sing the notes before you put them on<br />

an instrument, makes instrumental play<br />

vastly easier. Getting into that habit in early<br />

childhood is a skill for life. Musically, too,<br />

singing provides immediate feedback on<br />

whether or not children are listening and<br />

can understand and respond accurately –<br />

you can hear immediately whether a child<br />

is singing too high or low, too loud or quiet.<br />

Games involving matching notes helps the<br />

brain to develop the awareness needed to<br />

sing in tune.<br />

Play<br />

Play is children’s work, and many cultures<br />

accept that play is a natural and essential<br />

aspect to not only childhood but all<br />

through life. In childhood, play involves<br />

repeating common or significant events to<br />

which children can explore and respond.<br />

Usually these will be based on family life,<br />

going to school, doctors or shopping, and<br />

culturally significant celebrations.<br />

We play games and instruments every<br />

time because:<br />

Games are fun and easily hold attention<br />

because you have to respond immediately.<br />

Games teach self-control. Only if you can<br />

control your responses and reactions,<br />

then you can join in, and even win.<br />

Games teach the players about following<br />

rules, and ‘other-mindedness’, or<br />

becoming aware of the way others think.<br />

Musical games often involve sequential<br />

movements or dances, with no winners or<br />

losers, but focus on turn-taking, sequences<br />

and pattern-recognition – important life<br />

skills. Musically, they teach timing, the<br />

value and effects of silence, and orchestral<br />

or co-operative working.<br />

Act<br />

Acting allows children to explore different<br />

types of people, unfamiliar situations,<br />

and express a wide range of emotions<br />

in a safe, non-judgemental place for a<br />

brief period. Knowing that people will<br />

return to who they were before, can allow<br />

children to express extreme emotions and<br />

experience the results of these emotions<br />

for a brief period without long lasting<br />

consequences.<br />

22 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

We act out the story or characters<br />

because:<br />

Acting develops empathy and helps to<br />

develop subtle changes in dynamics like<br />

loud and quiet.<br />

Acting is a non-threatening form of game<br />

that develops empathy. As a human<br />

being, empathy is an important skill that<br />

allows us to manage our expectations of<br />

others’ actions. As a musician, this is even<br />

more important as it allows us the ability to<br />

experience and bring across the emotions<br />

and intentions of the music, making it<br />

an emotive experience that touches our<br />

audience.<br />

Create<br />

Creating music is the point of music:<br />

the doing, the living-in-the-moment<br />

experience of making something (music)<br />

out of nothing (silence). Some people only<br />

recognise the formal performance, but the<br />

joy of creating music is in the learning, the<br />

repeated rehearsals, the exploration of<br />

timings and volumes, creating moods and<br />

the expression of feelings that go beyond<br />

words.<br />

We create our own music because:<br />

Understanding and creating original music<br />

shows true musicality.<br />

Creating is any act of making music,<br />

whether learning a new song, or<br />

performing it for an audience. At nursery<br />

level, children naturally live in the<br />

moment, so the concept of learning a<br />

song and perfecting it through repeated<br />

rehearsals towards a performance can be<br />

challenging and may just seem to be a<br />

different way or place to play. The process<br />

of controlling those notes and beats<br />

through singing, drumming or strumming,<br />

turns children into music creators.<br />

Explore<br />

Exploring music could be music<br />

appreciation or ‘improvisation’.<br />

Improvisation is making up new music,<br />

which takes the process of learning music<br />

full circle. Improvisation uses newly learnt<br />

musical skills in a new situation, either by<br />

creating a new song or by using the skill in<br />

a new and creative way.<br />

We explore new ways to make sounds<br />

because:<br />

Improvisation is the ability to respond<br />

musically to a feeling or story.<br />

Exploring music can be looking at the<br />

way a song has been made, or it can<br />

be creating a brand new song – like<br />

improvisation. Improvisation can be a<br />

whole new song with a made-up tune, or<br />

just part of the song could have a madeup<br />

tune. At nursery level, children may<br />

not have the skill to make up a song that<br />

they could repeat, but they do have the<br />

confidence and creativity to make up part<br />

of a song on the spur of the moment.<br />

Introducing music at the pre-school/<br />

nursery level is considered essential<br />

because of the important part that music<br />

plays in life. Used to celebrate all important<br />

life events, it is also an expression of<br />

individuals, common life experiences, and<br />

collectively, even a comment on society. So<br />

while we are not delivering music sessions<br />

with the intention of every child becoming<br />

a musician, we are teaching musical<br />

skills so that every child, every citizen, can<br />

experience the profound impact that music<br />

can have on life.<br />

References:<br />

Gebuza, G., Zaleska, M., Kažmierczak,<br />

M., Mieczkowska, E., & Gierszewska, M.<br />

(2018). The effect of music on the cardiac<br />

activity of a fetus in a cardiotocographic<br />

examination. Advances in Clinical and<br />

Experimental Medicine, 27(5), 615–621.<br />

https://doi.org/doi: 10.17219/acem/68693<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 />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 23

Teamwork and<br />

collaboration<br />

Effective teamwork and collaboration are<br />

crucial in early years, as the learning and<br />

development of the children in your care<br />

are reliant on you and your colleagues<br />

striving to work in harmony to deliver the<br />

best outcomes possible.<br />

In this article, we will look at ways to help<br />

you nurture teamwork and collaboration in<br />

your setting.<br />

Let’s start at the beginning; to be able to<br />

implement these two essential elements,<br />

the following need to be addressed:<br />

Clear goals<br />

Set clear goals for yourself and your team<br />

- and ensure that everyone understands<br />

the objectives, i.e. what the desired<br />

outcome is. Make sure that everyone<br />

understands their responsibilities towards<br />

achieving the goals of the setting - which<br />

will often tie in with your ethos - your<br />

set of collective ideas and professional<br />

values. Underpinning this will be a culture<br />

of respect, honesty and kindness always<br />

with the child at the centre. The goals<br />

themselves could be tied into a specific<br />

project, e.g. a garden or recycling project,<br />

or on a larger scale, the main objectives<br />

of the setting for that particular year. The<br />

main thing is that everyone understands<br />

what they are working towards, and why.<br />

Involve the whole team when setting these<br />

goals - ask for their input and ideas, and<br />

make sure to consider them.<br />

The project or team leader should<br />

regularly check in with their team to<br />

monitor progress towards achieving their<br />

goals – you could do this in your weekly<br />

team meetings as well as in individual<br />

reviews. Providing feedback and support<br />

and celebrating successes along the way<br />

– however small they seem – will keep the<br />

team motivated and engaged.<br />

Effective communication<br />

Ensure that there is open and transparent<br />

communication among team members<br />

and promote active listening, respect, and<br />

positive feedback. Let’s explore how we<br />

can develop effective communication in<br />

our team.<br />

Use positive language<br />

Using positive language when<br />

communicating with your team members,<br />

especially when providing feedback, helps<br />

to build trust and can them to share ideas<br />

and opinions openly.<br />

Active listening<br />

You can ensure that everyone listens<br />

attentively to others by repeating what<br />

they heard to clarify understanding –<br />

this may sound a little silly, but you may<br />

be surprised how much more can be<br />

remembered and taken on board by<br />

repeating it back!<br />

Providing Feedback<br />

Giving timely and constructive feedback<br />

to your team members will help with<br />

continuous improvement, remembering<br />

that it should be given in a supportive and<br />

respectful way.<br />

Celebrate successes<br />

When the pressure is on to complete<br />

a project in a certain time, the smaller<br />

milestones can be forgotten in the grand<br />

scheme of the bigger picture. Celebrating<br />

all achievements and successes within the<br />

team will reinforce positive behaviours and<br />

motivate team members. This will almost<br />

certainly help to create a positive and<br />

collaborative team environment.<br />

Build trust<br />

If you can foster an environment where<br />

team members trust each other and feel<br />

comfortable expressing their opinions and<br />

ideas, then that is a recipe for success.<br />

Diversity<br />

Diversity in a team can lead to more<br />

creative and effective solutions – invite your<br />

team members to bring their unique skills,<br />

experiences, and perspectives to the table.<br />

Promote collaboration and foster a positive<br />

team culture<br />

Urge team members to collaborate on<br />

tasks and share ideas and at the same<br />

time, you will be able to foster a culture of<br />

teamwork and make sure that everyone<br />

feels included and valued.<br />

Address conflict<br />

Conflict is inevitable in any team, but<br />

it’s important to address it early and<br />

constructively by making sure team<br />

members resolve any disagreements<br />

respectfully and courteously.<br />

Collaboration within the team is essential<br />

for achieving these shared goals we’ve<br />

discussed and for building a strong team<br />

dynamic. Here are some strategies you<br />

can put in place:<br />

Set clear expectations<br />

Make it clear to your team that<br />

collaboration is a priority and a key to<br />

success. Communicate your expectations<br />

and support your team members when<br />

working together.<br />

Develop relationships<br />

Encourage team members to get to<br />

know one another on a personal level.<br />

Team-building activities, social events,<br />

24 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

and informal check-ins can help to build<br />

relationships and create a positive team<br />

dynamic (more on this later).<br />

Define roles and<br />

responsibilities<br />

Make sure that everyone understands their<br />

role and responsibilities within the team<br />

early on in the project or objective setting,<br />

which will help to avoid confusion and<br />

ensure that everyone is working towards<br />

the same goals.<br />

Open communication<br />

Similar to building trust we discussed<br />

above, if team members feel they can<br />

communicate openly and honestly with<br />

one another, then an environment will be<br />

created where everyone feels comfortable<br />

sharing their ideas, opinions, and<br />

feedback.<br />

Resources<br />

Provide your team with the tools and<br />

resources they need to collaborate<br />

effectively. Some may not have worked in<br />

a team before, so some CPD training could<br />

be beneficial: “Communication” is a useful<br />

CPD e-learning course, which you can<br />

access here.<br />

We know that great teamwork is an<br />

essential part of building a strong<br />

and effective team – here are some<br />

practical activities that can help to<br />

foster teamwork and collaboration:<br />

Icebreaker games<br />

Start team meetings or training sessions<br />

with games, e.g. ask each team member<br />

to share a personal story or play a game<br />

that requires teamwork and problemsolving.<br />

Team-building exercises<br />

These can be indoor or outdoor activities,<br />

such as obstacle courses, scavenger<br />

hunts, or building challenges.<br />

Volunteer work<br />

Why not suggest to your team to volunteer<br />

for a cause or charity that they care about?<br />

This can be a great way to bond as a team<br />

and work towards a common goal that is<br />

meaningful to everyone.<br />

Group brainstorming<br />

Provide a problem or challenge for the<br />

team to solve and then everyone can<br />

contribute their ideas and perspectives.<br />

Role-playing exercises<br />

These can help to develop communication<br />

and problem-solving skills. E.g. ask team<br />

members to act out a scenario that<br />

requires collaboration and teamwork.<br />

Collaborative project<br />

work<br />

Assign a project that requires the team to<br />

work together to achieve a common goal.<br />

This can be a long-term project or a shortterm<br />

task, such as organising an event in a<br />

few months or creating a presentation for<br />

a parents’ show round.<br />

Team evening<br />

Organise a team evening so that staff<br />

can socialise and get to know each other<br />

outside of work. This can help to build<br />

strong relationships and a positive team<br />

dynamic.<br />

By implementing these ideas and<br />

incorporating these practical activities,<br />

you will develop a culture of effective<br />

communication in your team, which<br />

will lead to improved collaboration,<br />

stronger team dynamics, and<br />

ultimately the best outcome for the<br />

children in your care.<br />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 25

Supporting children<br />

through difficult processes<br />

of social connections<br />

From the day they are born, children are<br />

learning to understand and manage<br />

their emotions and behaviours. This is a<br />

complex process that will take years and<br />

many experiences to perfect, some of<br />

which will be more successful than others.<br />

It is then so important to acknowledge<br />

their early attempts and recognise the<br />

learning that is occurring, rather than<br />

being too quick to correct a less than<br />

perfect reaction to emotions they cannot<br />

fully manage.<br />

When you see children being unkind<br />

it can be a natural reaction to wade<br />

in with chastisements. But early years<br />

relationships experienced by someone<br />

who has not yet learnt to manage their<br />

feelings needs guidance and support, not<br />

cross faces. Confusing emotions may be<br />

running high already, so when you model<br />

kindness and understanding this shows<br />

them they have nothing to be frightened<br />

of, you are there to support them, they<br />

can manage this and they will not always<br />

feel this way. And as you place a strong<br />

value on empathy and caring acts, your<br />

children will be more motivated to respond<br />

in similar ways, helping to form this part of<br />

their identity.<br />

Reminding children of kind and<br />

compassionate behaviours is much more<br />

effective than reprimands which only<br />

draw attention to negative behaviours.<br />

When you take the time to talk to them<br />

about what they are doing they can learn<br />

from their actions and the consequences<br />

they have experienced. And as you<br />

imprint these responses in their mind,<br />

help them to see themselves as a caring,<br />

compassionate person.<br />

You can support this process every time<br />

you share a book with an emotional theme<br />

or talk about the emotions they are feeling.<br />

Show children that everyone has negative<br />

feelings sometimes, but that we have<br />

choices in how we respond to them: “I can<br />

see you’re very angry right now, please<br />

use your words and tell me why you are<br />

angry. I am listening, there is no need to<br />

hit or throw to get my attention, just use<br />

your words”.<br />

The best way of supporting children’s<br />

development and social skills is through<br />

opportunities to play with children of their<br />

own age. When they are very young they<br />

will be observing all the responses they<br />

see modelled around them until they are<br />

ready for more immersive games that they<br />

will even be devising their own rules for.<br />

This takes lots of opportunities to practice<br />

so if you have a shy or reluctant child,<br />

support their attempts by demonstrating<br />

some social interactions yourself, avoid<br />

any pressure or expectation and make<br />

sure they have a place of safety to return<br />

to. Offer lots of opportunities for mixing<br />

in different situations and environments,<br />

especially those that offer<br />

imaginative play where they<br />

can safely develop their<br />

confidence, creativity, and<br />

self-control in ways that allow<br />

for interpretation.<br />

For older children, set up a group task<br />

that involves some cooperation, perhaps<br />

building a den or getting things ready for<br />

a picnic. It might not be the best lunch<br />

they have ever had, but so much will be<br />

learnt from the experience of working<br />

together, communicating within a place of<br />

safety and the satisfaction when the task<br />

is completed. And if there is conflict, talk<br />

with them about a solution, showing good<br />

principles of cooperation as you listen and<br />

get everyone involved.<br />

Develop children’s social and emotional<br />

development through the games that you<br />

play. Simple board games help introduce<br />

the social rules of sharing, turn-taking and<br />

cooperation and offer opportunities to<br />

manage conflict when things don’t go well.<br />

This also offers you an insight into why a<br />

child may be struggling and the particular<br />

social skills they need supporting with.<br />

As you look to develop a child’s social<br />

skills, be mindful of the fact that you<br />

are also shaping their own personal<br />

identity, informing their ideas of the<br />

person they are and who they are likely<br />

to become. Talk openly about feelings<br />

and relationships, chosen behaviours and<br />

26 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

consequences so that children are better<br />

able to understand another person’s<br />

perspective, gaining a broader, less selfcentred<br />

perspective as you allow deeper<br />

friendships to grow.<br />

As you connect with their feelings and<br />

the feelings of those around them, you<br />

can ask questions such as: “Imagine how<br />

you would feel if that happened to you.”<br />

But try to bypass blame or suggestions of<br />

labelling, and instead phrase in ways that<br />

invite good intentions with statements such<br />

as: “I’m sure you didn’t mean to” or “you<br />

probably didn’t realise”. Not only does this<br />

avoid excuses and make it more likely that<br />

a child will hear what you have to say, but<br />

it invites them to create this positive image<br />

of themselves.<br />

You may find some children react<br />

defensively in social situations. While you<br />

are keen for them to engage and practice<br />

their skills, they may seem keen to avoid,<br />

or quick to sabotage any opportunity. But<br />

don’t we all seek to avoid what makes<br />

us feel uncomfortable? Pressuring them<br />

into it will only establish a contest of wills<br />

and associate more negativity around<br />

it, making matters worse. Be patient,<br />

allow them to go at their own pace as<br />

they develop their own character, the last<br />

thing you want is a child who doesn’t feel<br />

like they can be themselves. And lastly,<br />

manage your expectations. Social skills<br />

can be difficult to work through - both<br />

physically and mentally, so take a close<br />

look at how much you are expecting of<br />

them as you accept them for who they are,<br />

while offering them the early years support<br />

and encouragement to be all they can<br />

possibly be.<br />

This is the last article from “The Happy<br />

Child”. Next time we will begin looking at<br />

“The Learning Child” as we consider how<br />

to nurture the deepest levels of learning<br />

and understanding in children through<br />

their earliest experiences. 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 wide<br />

approach to reflective practice and active<br />

CPD or a more personalised approach<br />

with the Nurturing Childhoods Practitioner<br />

Accreditation, gain recognition for the<br />

nurturing practice you deliver. Through<br />

12 online sessions over the year, join me<br />

and hundreds of nurturing practitioners as<br />

together we really begin developing the<br />

potential of all children in 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 />

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

Ofsted strategy 2022-27<br />

– what you need to know<br />

Introduction<br />

In <strong>April</strong> 2022, Ofsted published its new<br />

five-year strategy for 2022–2027 in which it<br />

set out its aims, values and priorities for its<br />

work in the next few years. You can access<br />

the whole strategy document, as well as a<br />

one-page summary, here.<br />

Since Ofsted is involved in inspecting all<br />

educational institutions including primary,<br />

middle and secondary schools, as well<br />

as colleges and higher educational<br />

establishments, not all of the strategy is<br />

directly related to early years. However,<br />

one of the main points in the new strategy<br />

document is to have a greater focus on<br />

early years and we have listed in this<br />

article, some of the main things that the<br />

early years sector needs to be aware of<br />

regarding the new strategy going forward.<br />

The purpose of the<br />

strategy<br />

Times change, and Ofsted recognised that<br />

it needs to change its strategy periodically<br />

to address this. Its guiding principle is<br />

“to improve lives by raising standards<br />

in education and children’s social care.”<br />

Ofsted identifies itself as “a force for<br />

improvement through the intelligent,<br />

responsible and focused use of inspection,<br />

regulation and insights.” The 2022-27<br />

strategy sets out how Ofsted will do this,<br />

and recognises that improving children’s<br />

lives is ”more important than ever<br />

following the disruption and distress of the<br />

past two years”.<br />

Ofsted’s main values<br />

Throughout the 2022-27 strategy, there<br />

are 4 recurring Ofsted values which can<br />

be seen as the guiding principles which<br />

underpin the wider strategy. These are:<br />

☑ Children and learners first<br />

☑ Independence<br />

☑ Accountability and transparency<br />

☑ Evidence-led inspections and<br />

interventions<br />

Priorities for 2022-27<br />

Ofsted has identified 8 main priorities for<br />

the strategy period which are:<br />

☑ Inspections that raise standards -<br />

inspections help education and social<br />

care recover and improve their work<br />

☑ Right-touch regulation – this refers<br />

to Ofsted ensuring high-quality care,<br />

education and safeguarding for<br />

children<br />

28 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

☑ Making the most of insights and<br />

research – Ofsted is keen to share<br />

insights gained through research and<br />

analysis. It wants this research to be<br />

used by practitioners, policymakers<br />

and decision-makers throughout the<br />

system to improve it<br />

☑ The best start in life – this refers<br />

to a greater focus on early years in<br />

this strategy. Ofsted wants to develop<br />

the evidence base about early years<br />

education, including curriculum and<br />

pedagogy, and encourage the sector<br />

to act on it<br />

☑ Keeping children safe –<br />

safeguarding and welfare are still top<br />

priorities across the board<br />

☑ Keeping pace with sector changes<br />

– this relates to ensuring that<br />

Ofsted is keeping up with changes<br />

and adapting accordingly, such as<br />

reviewing its approach to multiacademy<br />

trusts and unregulated<br />

schools<br />

☑ Accessible and engaged – Ofsted<br />

wants to be open and accessible to<br />

its different audiences, and wants to<br />

better understand their needs<br />

☑ A skilled workforce – this relates<br />

to Ofsted’s own workforce ensuring<br />

they have the tools, knowledge and<br />

expertise they need<br />

The tools that Ofsted<br />

uses<br />

Below are some of the tools that Ofsted<br />

has identified it can use to raise standards.<br />

They include:<br />

☑ Frameworks and handbooks<br />

☑ Risk assessments<br />

☑ Inspections and visit processes<br />

☑ Reports and summaries<br />

☑ Insights from evidence and research<br />

☑ Application and registration<br />

administration<br />

☑ Judgements<br />

What are the main things<br />

for early years settings<br />

to be aware of?<br />

There are several main areas that early<br />

years settings need to be aware of in the<br />

new strategy. These are:<br />

1. There is to be a greater focus on<br />

early years through the “best start<br />

in life” priority and inspectors will<br />

receive training to enhance their<br />

understanding of effective and highquality<br />

early education. In launching<br />

the strategy, the Chief Inspector,<br />

Amanda Spielman, acknowledged<br />

the importance of early years,<br />

saying: “Each of us has only one<br />

childhood, and it shapes the rest of<br />

our lives. That’s why this strategy<br />

has a particular emphasis on giving<br />

all children the best possible start.”<br />

She also acknowledged that not all<br />

children get this.<br />

2. Ofsted will also aim to assess<br />

the impact of the pandemic on<br />

children’s physical, social and wider<br />

development. Recent research<br />

about the ‘ghost’ children missing<br />

from education after the pandemic<br />

makes sobering reading with 22%<br />

of children missing more than 10%<br />

of their schooling last year. The new<br />

strategy will aim to assess this impact,<br />

especially in early years since Ofsted<br />

is aware that the children coming into<br />

formal schooling in this period, may<br />

have been severely disadvantaged by<br />

lockdowns and other issues created<br />

by the pandemic which can affect<br />

their education.<br />

3. The strategy includes plans to<br />

increase the sharing of data and<br />

insights especially in group-owned<br />

early years providers and to simplify<br />

regulations relating to childminders.<br />

4. Frequency of inspections are likely<br />

to increase as Ofsted is aiming to<br />

inspect all schools in England by July<br />

2025. They also plan to increase the<br />

amount of longer, Section 5 fullygraded<br />

inspections to allow more<br />

time for professional dialogues and<br />

evidence-gathering. If standards need<br />

to be improved, in most cases, this will<br />

need to be done within 9 – 12 months.<br />

5. Ofsted is committed to publishing<br />

a series of evidence-led research<br />

reports, especially designed for early<br />

years. It will explore literature relating<br />

to early years education, drawing on a<br />

range of sources, including academic<br />

and policy literature, looking for<br />

evidence-based research which can<br />

improve early years education. The<br />

first report has been published and<br />

can be accessed here. Subsequent<br />

reviews, to be published at a later<br />

date, will explore the 3 prime, and<br />

4 secondary early years foundation<br />

stages’ (EYFS), areas of learning.<br />

6. Ofsted is developing a SEND<br />

inspection framework which is aimed<br />

at local authorities and agencies,<br />

focusing on the strategic oversight<br />

and commissioning of SEND services<br />

and alternative provision. Whilst not<br />

directly related early years individually,<br />

settings may be involved in helping<br />

Ofsted assess how children with SEND<br />

are identified and assessed and the<br />

quality of provision offered by local<br />

authorities in this area. In these new<br />

inspections, individual children’s<br />

progress may be tracked to get an<br />

overview of what it is like for children<br />

in that area to have SEND.<br />

7. There will still be an emphasis<br />

of safeguarding, ensuring that<br />

safeguarding practices are<br />

embedded throughout educational<br />

establishments.<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> is running a webinar on this topic<br />

on <strong>April</strong> 21st from 10.00 am to 12.00<br />

pm with guest speakers, Wendy Ratcliffe<br />

and Phil Minns. You can register to join<br />

this essential insight here: https://www.<br />

parenta.com/webinars/<br />

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

How early years leaders can<br />

sustain a positive team culture<br />

over time: using secondary<br />

embedding mechanisms<br />

How it feels to work in an organisation<br />

makes all the difference to whether<br />

employees join in the first place and<br />

whether they stick it out over time.<br />

Retention in early years is – as we all know<br />

– a huge challenge at the moment. So<br />

the pressure is on leaders to find ways to<br />

ensure that employees are happy in their<br />

work, feel a strong sense of belonging and<br />

decide to stick it out in early years.<br />

Supporting retention depends on<br />

sustaining a positive team culture over<br />

time. It’s not just about that first push for a<br />

great team culture, but also about making<br />

sure that everyone holds onto this positive<br />

culture. It’s not an easy thing to do.<br />

Professor Edgar H. Schein talks about<br />

the power of embedding mechanisms<br />

that leaders can use to support a positive<br />

workplace culture. Primary embedding<br />

mechanisms are the things that leaders do<br />

to try and introduce a new culture or shift<br />

an existing culture. We considered a few<br />

key primary embedding mechanisms in<br />

last month’s article. Secondary embedding<br />

mechanisms – which we’ll talk about in<br />

this article – are the actions that leaders<br />

take to help keep that positive culture<br />

strong over time.<br />

In this article, we’ll talk about three<br />

secondary embedding mechanisms that<br />

leaders can try to help sustain a positive<br />

workplace culture as the months and<br />

years flow on:<br />

⚙ Daily routines<br />

⚙ Weekly and monthly reporting<br />

⚙ Annual circles<br />

If you’re feeling pretty good about the<br />

organisational culture in your setting, this<br />

article is definitely for you. If you think<br />

there’s more work to do in establishing<br />

a strong culture in the first place, you<br />

can circle back to last month’s article on<br />

primary embedding mechanisms and start<br />

from there.<br />

Daily routines and<br />

habits<br />

How you organise the day, including how<br />

you open and close the day, matter for<br />

team culture.<br />

If you’ve worked hard to build a culture<br />

of supportiveness and gratitude across<br />

the organisation, it is important to make<br />

30 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

sure that people greet each other at<br />

the start of the day properly and say<br />

goodbye and thank you to one another<br />

at the end of the day. We’re talking about<br />

minute interactions but over time, they<br />

make all the difference to how it feels to<br />

work somewhere. Imagine the difference<br />

between coming into your workplace<br />

everyday and being met with warm smiles<br />

and genuine questions about how you are<br />

that day versus coming into a workplace<br />

where you are expected to just ‘get on<br />

with it’ without any kind of interpersonal<br />

connection. If you want to sustain a culture<br />

of warmth and connection over time,<br />

modelling and noticing greetings is an<br />

essential part of the daily routine.<br />

If you want to continue to build on a culture<br />

of conscientiousness where everyone<br />

takes what they are doing seriously, then<br />

you might partly support this through<br />

daily tick sheets to ensure that everything<br />

you want to happen day to day (from an<br />

hour outside with the children minimum,<br />

to a certain number of observations) have<br />

actually happened.<br />

Weekly and monthly<br />

reporting<br />

Moving beyond what happens over the<br />

course of the day, we can think about<br />

what employees are expected to report<br />

on each week and each month. This will<br />

depend on the workplace culture you want<br />

to sustain.<br />

For example, if you want to keep a culture<br />

of continuous learning strong among<br />

your team, you might create a system<br />

of monthly reporting structured around<br />

professional learning conversations. Staff<br />

might need to meet with their mentor<br />

or supervisor on a monthly basis to talk<br />

about what professional learning they<br />

want to undertake for that coming month.<br />

This could then be broken down further<br />

on a weekly basis, with weekly checkins<br />

(shorter than the monthly sessions)<br />

to ensure that this professional learning<br />

doesn’t fall by the wayside.<br />

Alternatively or alongside this, you could<br />

use monthly team meetings as a chance<br />

to cascade professional learning among<br />

the team. So in each month’s meeting,<br />

20-30 minutes is dedicated to a member<br />

of staff sharing what they have learned in<br />

that past month.<br />

These are ways to cement the commitment<br />

to continuous professional learning. It’s all<br />

too easy to say that professional learning<br />

is important and invest in it as a one-off,<br />

but maintaining this commitment over time<br />

depends on showing that you return to<br />

professional learning time and time again<br />

through weekly and monthly reporting.<br />

Annual cycles<br />

Thinking about the annual cycle of your<br />

setting gives you a chance to think about<br />

the rites, rituals and ceremonies that<br />

cement the organisational culture.<br />

If you are consolidating a culture of<br />

celebrating each other and supporting<br />

one another, an annual awards ceremony<br />

for the staff might be one way to do this. It<br />

gives you a chance to explicitly celebrate<br />

the workplace culture and show gratitude<br />

to those who go above and beyond in<br />

maintaining the positive workplace culture.<br />

Cycling back to the culture of<br />

conscientiousness, this might feed into the<br />

creation of an annual promotions round.<br />

Having a particular point of the year when<br />

promotions and pay-rises are considered<br />

(even if there is not much available) gives<br />

staff something to work towards. It shows<br />

that there is progression in the setting<br />

and this feeds into a culture of success,<br />

aspiration and personal development.<br />

There are many smaller phases of activity<br />

that feed into these bigger ‘moments’ in<br />

the annual calendar. An awards ceremony<br />

requires you to have a nominations<br />

phase (itself a powerful culture-building<br />

tool) and the promotions round requires<br />

not only people’s preparation towards<br />

their application for promotion, but also<br />

a thorough feedback phase where you<br />

can support individuals with personal<br />

development plans.<br />

Knowing the key points of a year in your<br />

setting, and organising the annual cycle<br />

around these highlights, is a powerful<br />

way to embed and sustain the workplace<br />

culture you want to create.<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 />

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

Understanding cultural<br />

differences and potential<br />

culture clashes<br />

Educational institutions are required by<br />

law to promote British Values, which have<br />

been defined as:<br />

▪ democracy<br />

▪ the rule of law<br />

▪ individual liberty<br />

▪ mutual respect and tolerance of those<br />

with different faiths and beliefs<br />

The last point here, “mutual respect and<br />

tolerance of those with different faiths<br />

and beliefs” covers a great deal of what<br />

we know as culture in our society. Britain<br />

is known for being multi-cultural and it<br />

is one of the things that make Britain a<br />

progressive and dynamic place to live.<br />

But how do we go about understanding<br />

cultural differences when they exist, and<br />

how can we educate our young people to<br />

be aware of potential culture clashes and<br />

give them the skills required for “mutual<br />

respect and tolerance”?<br />

What is culture?<br />

One online definition of culture is – “the<br />

ideas, customs, and social behaviour of<br />

a particular people or society”. When we<br />

think about different cultures, there are<br />

often differences we can identify between<br />

for example, people who live in Britain and<br />

people who live in Qatar, Ethiopia, China or<br />

the Amazon jungle. Compared to people<br />

who live in Britain, these cultures can have<br />

major differences in:<br />

▪ Language<br />

▪ Religion<br />

▪ History<br />

▪ Family setup and values<br />

▪ Food and Drink<br />

▪ Clothes and music<br />

However, there may also be cultural<br />

differences that arise closer to home,<br />

within our local communities too, and<br />

we may find that our setting has children<br />

from a wide range of cultures, faiths and<br />

family set-ups. Some children may not<br />

have English as their first language either,<br />

which could potentially cause clashes if<br />

these things are not managed carefully<br />

and thoughtfully. So read on to see how<br />

we can help our children to not only<br />

understand cultural differences, but learn<br />

to accept and cherish them too.<br />

Language<br />

Language is one of the biggest things<br />

that helps define a culture. People who<br />

speak the same language have an<br />

instant communication bond and if there<br />

is common ground through language,<br />

there is often common ground on other<br />

important issues too. Or at least, a<br />

common language provides a mechanism<br />

32 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

through which people can at least talk<br />

through differences. Where there are<br />

different languages, they can also be a<br />

‘language barrier’, which often makes<br />

communication more difficult between<br />

different people. Nuances can be lost<br />

through a lack of vocabulary on both<br />

sides, and misunderstanding and conflict<br />

can result.<br />

Overcoming language barriers may take<br />

time, but there are things you can do to<br />

ease the process which include:<br />

▪ Learning a few words in the new<br />

language, and teaching other children<br />

and adults these too may help them<br />

settle in more quickly and feel more<br />

accepted – e.g. how to say “hello” and<br />

“how are you?”<br />

▪ Using visual symbols and putting up<br />

some translations of objects in the<br />

child’s language around the setting,<br />

can also help a new child fit in more<br />

easily<br />

▪ Singing songs in different languages<br />

helps children differentiate different<br />

vocal sounds which can help with<br />

phonic awareness and phoneme<br />

differentiation, useful in learning to<br />

read<br />

Remember too that some languages are<br />

non-verbal, e.g. British Sign Language.<br />

Religion<br />

Religion, like language, is one of the major<br />

factors that can unite or divide people,<br />

but that does not mean that tolerance<br />

of other faiths cannot be promoted. In<br />

fact, learning and reading about different<br />

religions is often something that settings<br />

find easiest, since there are usually many<br />

resources available to help when it comes<br />

to celebrating major religious festivals. So,<br />

for example, within your setting you may<br />

tell Christian stories at Easter, but you<br />

could also celebrate various Muslim Eids,<br />

Hanukkah and Diwali to name but a few.<br />

Explaining different religious views can<br />

help bridge gaps and promote tolerance<br />

between children. Some easy ways to<br />

promote this in your setting could be by:<br />

▪ Commemorating various religious<br />

festivals<br />

▪ Reading stories about religious<br />

characters<br />

▪ Explaining religious symbols, beliefs<br />

and their meanings<br />

History<br />

History may have an important role in<br />

either defining a culture or explaining<br />

some of its beliefs and practices.<br />

Understanding the way that different<br />

cultures have been portrayed throughout<br />

history, may go some way to appreciating<br />

how different people see things. Looking<br />

at the history of the Jewish people can<br />

help understand cultural persecution, but<br />

this can be extended to understanding the<br />

Black perspective of racism for example,<br />

or even the Catholic/Protestant divide<br />

that still exists in some areas of Northern<br />

Ireland. Where cultures have been at war<br />

or conflict has arisen in history, then it is<br />

important to recognise this, and to try to<br />

see the events from both perspectives.<br />

Family setup and values<br />

One thing that sociologists point to in<br />

talking about culture is the way that<br />

families differ across the world. A<br />

traditional nuclear family (one man, one<br />

woman living together as husband/wife<br />

with their children) may have been the<br />

norm several years ago in England, but<br />

it may not reflect the majority of family<br />

setups in our society now, or indeed<br />

recognise the importance of extended<br />

family to these children. For example, you<br />

may need to guide children to think about<br />

things like:<br />

▪ How different cultures view the role of<br />

grandparents or elders<br />

▪ The variety of different backgrounds<br />

and experiences that children can<br />

have (making sure this is ageappropriate)<br />

Food and drink<br />

Learning about different cultures’ attitudes<br />

towards food and drink can be fun.<br />

Experimenting with different foods and<br />

learning about where our food comes<br />

from is an important part of our education.<br />

Remember too however, that food can be<br />

linked to religion in many cultures and so<br />

certain foods may be banned or hold a<br />

special religious value. For example, Jews<br />

do not eat pork, Hindus do not eat beef<br />

and many Buddhists are vegetarian. You<br />

will need to be aware of these differences<br />

in culture within your setting to avoid<br />

embarrassment to either your staff or the<br />

children when it comes to food.<br />

Clothes and music<br />

These are two other areas of potential<br />

cultural clashes within settings and it is<br />

important that your setting has a policy<br />

which takes into account different religious<br />

beliefs, especially if you have a uniform.<br />

This could be true for staff and children.<br />

Some religions such as Islam have strict<br />

rules about head coverings, which people<br />

may or may not observe. Others may feel<br />

the need to wear religious jewellery.<br />

As with anything, it is often much easier to<br />

celebrate the things we have in common<br />

than try to navigate around differences,<br />

so remember that even though there are<br />

cultural differences, as human beings, we<br />

have much more in common with each<br />

other than we have things that separate<br />

us.<br />

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

EYFS activities:<br />

Personal, Social and<br />

Emotional Development<br />

Easter-themed Tuff tray<br />

Tuff trays provide an excellent opportunity for children to engage in sensory play, helping them to<br />

develop their sensory processing skills. Activities with small objects or tools, such as scooping and<br />

pouring, help to develop a child’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.<br />

They can be used to create different themes and scenarios, such as a beach or construction site,<br />

which can stimulate a child’s imagination and encourage creative play and can be used in one-toone<br />

time or in group activities, which encourage children to work together, share resources, and<br />

develop their social skills.<br />

You will need:<br />

• Tuff tray(s)<br />

• Dyed rice (various colours)<br />

• Easter-themed toys (chicks, carrots,<br />

bunnies/lambs, mini eggs etc.)<br />

The important thing to remember is to aim<br />

to use a wide range of textures, objects and<br />

colours to help build nerve connections in<br />

the brain, motor skills, language and shape<br />

and colour recognition. Layer the dyed rice in<br />

a container to cover the base of the tray and<br />

arrange the various Easter objects on top – use<br />

as many different textures as you can – share<br />

this activity with parents too!<br />

You can find this activity and many more<br />

wonderful ideas here, on the Two Hearts One<br />

Roof website.<br />

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

Feelings jars<br />

Feeling jars, also known as sensory bottles or<br />

calm-down bottles, can offer several benefits to<br />

children, including:<br />

• Promoting emotional regulation especially<br />

when they are feeling overwhelmed,<br />

anxious, or upset.<br />

• Encouraging mindfulness by focusing<br />

their attention on the present moment<br />

and observing the sensory experience of<br />

watching the materials move and settle in<br />

the jar.<br />

• Developing sensory skills such as visual<br />

perception, proprioception (the sense of<br />

body position and movement), and tactile<br />

sensitivity.<br />

• Providing a calming distraction for children<br />

who may be experiencing sensory overload<br />

or need a break from a challenging task.<br />

• Supporting language development by<br />

encouraging children to describe what they<br />

see, hear, and feel while observing the<br />

materials in the jar.<br />

How to create your feeling jars<br />

• Gather several empty jars, and either<br />

label them or draw faces on each one to<br />

represent a different emotion e.g. happy,<br />

excited, sad, angry, worried etc.<br />

• Fill a container or tray with a variety of<br />

fluffy pom poms<br />

• Let each child fill the jar of the emotion<br />

they are feeling at that time with the pom<br />

poms and encourage them to tell you what<br />

they are feeling and what is causing that<br />

emotion for them.<br />

• If they are feeling angry or sad, bring out<br />

the happy/calm jar and have them talk<br />

about what makes them feel calm/happy.<br />

After some time, ask if they are willing to<br />

take out some of the pom poms from the<br />

negative jar and into the positive one.<br />

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

Mosswood Connections website here.<br />

Social games<br />

Social games can help young children develop<br />

important skills such as turn-taking, sharing,<br />

cooperation, and communication which are<br />

essential for building positive relationships with<br />

others and navigating social situations.<br />

Many games involve communication and<br />

language use, meaning children can learn<br />

new vocabulary, practice their grammar, and<br />

develop their understanding of conversational<br />

norms. They can also help with cognitive skills<br />

such as problem-solving, decision-making, and<br />

strategic thinking.<br />

Scavenger hunt<br />

An absolute favourite! Allow the children to<br />

work together to find a hidden object or prize<br />

by searching around the room. This encourages<br />

teamwork, social skills and decision-making<br />

and is a great game for children to play at<br />

home with their parents and carers.<br />

Roll the ball<br />

• Get a small soft ball and encourage the<br />

children to roll it back and forth between<br />

them. You can get their attention by saying<br />

their name and rolling the ball towards<br />

them.<br />

• Encourage them to have a go at pushing<br />

the ball back to you (or to another child)<br />

and help them with saying the name of<br />

the person they are rolling it to, verbalising<br />

whose turn it is and associating people<br />

with their own names.

Are you feeling groovy?<br />

Dig out your dance shoes as it’s time to<br />

Lindy hop, jitterbug, disco, northern soul,<br />

freestyle, tango, street, ballet, hip hop, tap,<br />

and more. The art and fun of moving and<br />

grooving will be celebrated on the 29th of<br />

<strong>April</strong> on International Dance Day.<br />

Why is dance important?<br />

Dance is the universal language of the<br />

human spirit and promotes emotional<br />

and physical well-being and engages<br />

children and adults cognitively. It allows<br />

us to tell stories about our past, present,<br />

and future. It enables us to communicate<br />

other perspectives and personally lived<br />

experiences when it can be too difficult<br />

to put into words. Most importantly for<br />

your little ones, dancing is fun. For older<br />

children and adults participating in a<br />

structured form of dance, for example<br />

ballet, develops resilience, creativity,<br />

persistence, and empathy.<br />

History of International<br />

Dance Day which is held on<br />

the 29th <strong>April</strong><br />

Created in 1982 by the Dance Committee<br />

of the International Theatre partner for<br />

the performing arts of UNESCO (United<br />

Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural<br />

Organisation) with the aim of raising the<br />

profile of dance as an art form, it has<br />

come to represent much more as it is now<br />

seen to bring people together, from across<br />

the world, through the universal language<br />

of dance.<br />

Image credit: https://cmbv.fr/en/introducingbaroque/ballet-de-cour<br />

Why the 29th of <strong>April</strong>?<br />

This date was chosen to acknowledge<br />

the birth of the French dancer and<br />

choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre<br />

in 1727 (d 1810). Other choreographers<br />

(Weaver, Hesse, Hilverding and Angiolini<br />

to name a few) contributed greatly to<br />

the evolution of ‘ballet d’action’ but none<br />

of them achieved the lasting renown of<br />

Noverre. Noverre disliked the abstractions<br />

and symbols that dominated ‘ballet de<br />

cour’ (court ballet) and preferred truth and<br />

beautiful nature. He protested the use<br />

of masks, preferring to see the dancer’s<br />

facial expressions which reinforced the<br />

gestures and movements that heightened<br />

the emotion he was trying to communicate<br />

to the audience. This all seems so obvious<br />

now, but at that time there was a real<br />

need for change, and this is why his<br />

date of birth was chosen to celebrate<br />

International Dance Day.<br />

Jean-Georges Noverre<br />

(born <strong>April</strong> 29, 1727, Paris, France, and<br />

died October 19, 1810, Saint-Germain-en-<br />

Laye), distinguished French choreographer<br />

whose revolutionary treatise, Lettres sur la<br />

danse et sur les ballets (1760), still valid,<br />

brought about major reforms in ballet<br />

production, stressing the importance of<br />

dramatic motivation, which he called ballet<br />

d’action, and decrying overemphasis on<br />

technical virtuosity. His first choreographic<br />

success, “Les Fêtes chinoises” (1754),<br />

attracted the attention of David Garrick,<br />

who presented it in London in 1755. After<br />

producing such masterpieces as “Medée<br />

et Jason” and “Psyché et l’Amour” (at<br />

Stuttgart, 1760–67), he was appointed<br />

ballet master at the Paris Opéra in 1776.<br />

www.britannica.com/biography/Jean<br />

-Georges-Noverre<br />

How can you get involved?<br />

1. Simple, just push back the furniture,<br />

choose the music, and enjoy the<br />

sensation of moving your body.<br />

2. Introduce your little ones to a full<br />

vocabulary of music ranging from<br />

classical to rock.<br />

3. Why not designate a week of<br />

dance in your setting and watch a<br />

dance performance (ensure ageappropriate)<br />

either live or streamed?<br />

4. Discover the different types of dances<br />

from around the world.<br />

5. Let the children share their own dance<br />

work if they attend formal extracurricular<br />

classes.<br />

6. Younger children could re-enact their<br />

favourite storybook through dance<br />

and movement.<br />

7. For older children, you could present<br />

them with a few pieces of music<br />

(something without words as you<br />

want them to be inspired by the<br />

emotion of the music) and let them<br />

create and tell a story through<br />

movement.<br />

8. Have a week of lunchtime dance<br />

parties and/or end-of-the-day disco –<br />

get that glitterball out.<br />

9. Watch “Strictly...” together for<br />

inspiration.<br />

Don’t panic…<br />

To create a dance, just like cooking, all<br />

you need are the ingredients to work with.<br />

I have listed the key ingredients in our<br />

recipe for dance. Just pick a couple, and<br />

you are ready to cook. Adapt, develop,<br />

and extend the ingredients as appropriate<br />

to their age and abilities whilst ensuring<br />

everyone can join the fun.<br />

36 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

Shopping list<br />

Actions: what the body does<br />

Travelling<br />

Jumping<br />

Turning<br />

Gestures<br />

Stillness<br />

ACTIVITY: ask the children to show you<br />

ways of moving and jumping around, over,<br />

in and through imaginary or real puddles.<br />

Dynamics: how the body<br />

moves<br />

Force – gentle or strong<br />

Speed – fast or slow<br />

Continuity (flow) – continuous or<br />

abrupt<br />

ACTIVITY: ask the children to show you<br />

which parts of their body they can shake<br />

or circle to warm them up. Reinforce the<br />

names of the body parts and how they<br />

move while you create a fun warm-up<br />

together.<br />

Space: where the body<br />

moves<br />

Level: high, medium, low<br />

Pathways: floor and air patterns<br />

Directions: forwards, backwards,<br />

sideways, up, down, diagonally<br />

Shape (body or group): curved,<br />

narrow, wide, twisted, angular<br />

Formations: line, circle, square,<br />

wedge, v-shaped, cluster, scattered<br />

Position and proximity: near, far,<br />

under, through, around, behind, in<br />

front, above, below, besides, facing,<br />

side by side, back-to-back<br />

Design: straight, angular, circular,<br />

curved, spiral, zigzag, symmetric,<br />

asymmetric<br />

Personal: around the body<br />

General: in the room<br />

ACTIVITY: Choose a design, it can be<br />

a shape, number or letter and ask the<br />

children to find as many ways as possible<br />

to create the pattern with their bodies at<br />

different levels in the air, or floor.<br />

Relationships: how we<br />

dance with each other<br />

Position: side by side, back to back,<br />

one behind the other, facing, near, far<br />

Contact: touch, hold, pull, push, lean,<br />

catch, lift, turn<br />

Use of number (e.g. in a group of 4):<br />

4, 2 + 2, 1 + 1 + 1 + 1, 3 +1<br />

Time: unison (same time) or canon<br />

(one after the other)<br />

Devices: copy, mirror, lead and<br />

follow, meet, and part, act and<br />

react, complement, counterpoint<br />

(performing different phrases<br />

simultaneously)<br />

ACTIVITY: with a partner let the children<br />

explore ways of pulling, pushing, and<br />

leaning on each other or mirroring. They<br />

can then take turns moving around, over<br />

and under each other’s shapes.<br />

Ingredients ☑ ✔, recipe ☑ ✔, now we are<br />

ready to get out the disco lights, put on<br />

our twinkle toes and listen to the words of<br />

ABBA “you can dance, you can jive, having<br />

the time of your life…” and find your inner<br />

“Dancing Queen” have lots of fun as I<br />

know I will!<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 />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 37

Testimonials<br />

“I am really happy that I did my course with <strong>Parenta</strong>. Lovely people and very helpful. All course are<br />

very nice and I have learned a lot. Thank you!”<br />

Ewa Pretkiel-Lleshi<br />

“Excellent, I love the flipped learning and the staff are very friendly and always offer support when<br />

needed.”<br />

Laura Christmas<br />

“I have not yet started the company however for my recruitment process on completing my interview<br />

I was welcomed with a lot of support from staff members especially Paul. Very good company. I’m<br />

looking forward to completing my course with <strong>Parenta</strong>.”<br />

Serylove<br />

“Paul Burton was the man I spoke with on my journey. He was truly amazing and put everything he<br />

had into helping and supporting me along the way. Thank you Paul!”<br />

Stuart Potter<br />

“Always so helpful and knowledgeable about the system. I’m always able to solve the issue after I<br />

have spoken to one of your lovely team.”<br />

Karen Conroy<br />

“Shauna was very helpful and clear in her instructions, I feel a lot more confident now, and she sent<br />

me the recording which is helpful to look back.”<br />

Paula Johnson<br />

38 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | parenta.com

Congratulations<br />

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

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

and have now gained their qualifications.<br />

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

to Level 3 and Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner – that’s a huge achievement in<br />

the current climate.<br />

All your 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 />

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

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

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

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

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 39

Four Software Solutions…<br />

One Reduced Price!<br />

Was £99 a month now from only £35 + VAT a month!<br />

We have REDUCED our software prices<br />

to support the early years sector -<br />

making it the most affordable software<br />

solutions package on the market!<br />

Nursery Management<br />

Daily Diaries<br />

EYFS Tracker<br />

Parent Communication App<br />


Every tool you need to run<br />

your setting efficiently –<br />

from one single platform.<br />

The Lowest Priced Software<br />

On The Market!<br />

Gives you back more<br />

hours in the day to spend<br />

time with the children in<br />

your care.<br />

Simple pricing plans,<br />

based on the number of<br />

children registered in your<br />

setting.<br />

0800 002 9242 sales@parenta.com

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