January 2024 Parenta magazine_website

  • No tags were found...

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

Issue 110<br />

JANUARY <strong>2024</strong><br />

Planning: Risk<br />

Assessments<br />

COVER<br />

Inclusive Early Years<br />

World Religion Day<br />

+ lots more<br />

EYFS activities<br />

inside!<br />

This month…<br />

Literacy<br />

Promoting language<br />

development with music<br />

Improving the business of childcare - part one<br />

Implementing the new EYFS changes

6<br />

28<br />

20<br />

Hello<br />

Welcome to our family<br />

Welcome to the <strong>January</strong> edition of <strong>Parenta</strong> <strong>magazine</strong> and a happy new year to all our readers!<br />

We hope that everyone has had a lovely festive break and is ready to take on <strong>2024</strong> and all it brings. We kick start the new<br />

year with a packed issue, with articles covering a variety of topics, including essential energy-saving tips for the winter,<br />

exploring ways to help with inclusion in your setting, getting serious about professional learning and crucially, how to<br />

implement the new changes to the EYFS.<br />

Our focus in <strong>January</strong> is on the many elements of planning in early years education; so don’t forget to register for our webinar<br />

on the 16th and join us, together with experienced early years experts, where we’ll delve into effective planning strategies<br />

and practical solutions. You can register at www.parenta.com/webinars and remember you will earn a CPD certificate if you<br />

attend!<br />

Also, in this issue, Joanna Grace helps us to unlock children’s learning potential, Gina Bale and Frances Turnbull encourage<br />

us to keep the children active with music, movement and dance, and we explore World Religion Day and the International<br />

Day of Education.<br />

Don’t forget to share the magic of our <strong>magazine</strong> with your friends, colleagues, and parents alike. They can receive their own<br />

copy in digital or printed format by signing up at www.parenta.com/<strong>magazine</strong>.<br />

Allan<br />

12<br />

Regulars<br />

10 Write for us<br />

36 EYFS Activities: Literacy<br />

News<br />

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

6 Improving the business of childcare: part 1<br />

8 Childcare news and views<br />

Advice<br />

14 Big Energy Saving Week<br />

22 World Religion Day<br />

26 Planning: risk assessments<br />

30 Celebrating International Day of Education<br />

34 How to implement the new EYFS changes<br />

24<br />

Industry Experts<br />

34<br />

12 I think they have sensory needs what can I do?<br />

Part 2 - provide and adopt<br />

18 Inclusive early years: Meeting the needs of all<br />

20 Recognising early years learning potential<br />

24 Embedding culture in your early years ethos<br />

28 Professional learning for baby room educators<br />

32 Promoting language development with music<br />

38 Child development: Dance and movement - part 1<br />

2 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 3

What do our customers<br />

say this month?<br />

“The support we have received from Shauna has been<br />

fantastic, she will always do everything she can to help<br />

us. Thank you!”<br />

Sheffield Hallam<br />

“Very helpful in sorting out my queries especially when<br />

I’ve made silly errors. <strong>Parenta</strong> explain everything so I<br />

can remember for next time. I love the new thing when<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> send records of the conversation so I can go<br />

back to them when errors arise, so I can remember<br />

what steps I need to take. <strong>Parenta</strong> are very friendly and<br />

make me feel at ease.”<br />

Rosendale<br />

“Brilliant!<br />

I am really impressed with the support we have<br />

received so far. A big thank you to Charlotte for her<br />

patience and explaining invoices to me again.<br />

Much appreciated.”<br />

Liesl de Villiers<br />

“Just finished my Level 3 Early Years course with<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> and they supported me so well with passing<br />

my exams! Both of my tutors I had, Darryl Jones and<br />

Ayse Drew, were amazing. Very friendly and easily<br />

approachable when I needed help with anything.<br />

When I needed extra support, they were very quick<br />

to get back to me, and also gave me good advice<br />

whenever I needed it.”<br />

Zoe Staples<br />

“Absolutely fantastic. Mel has been super supportive<br />

and made observations and teaching and learning<br />

sessions feel comfortable. Mel has been easy to<br />

contact and approachable to ask for help and I’ve<br />

always felt confident in all I do due to Mel having<br />

faith in me especially at EPA time!<br />

Thank you so much Mel!”<br />

“Always lovely to talk to Jamie - he is and always<br />

has been really easy to chat with and pass on his<br />

knowledge and ready to help.<br />

Keep up the good work and being such a<br />

lovely person.”<br />

Winterbourne<br />

Congratulations<br />

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

Jason Smith<br />

“Thank you so much for the <strong>website</strong>, it’s perfect.”<br />

Kaira Gowers<br />

Massive CONGRATULATIONS to all our <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

learners who have completed their apprenticeships<br />

and gained their qualifications!<br />

4 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 5

Improving the<br />

business of<br />

Dr. Allan Presland<br />

childcare: part 1<br />

In 2017, I published the book, “Improving<br />

the Business of Childcare” which went<br />

to number 1 on the Amazon chart in two<br />

categories, Nursery & Pre-school and<br />

Coaching & Mentoring. I wrote the book<br />

having visited over 1,000 settings during<br />

my career, which enabled me to see the<br />

patterns between settings which were<br />

successful (profitable) and those who were<br />

not. The response to the book has been<br />

far more than I could ever have conceived,<br />

and I am both humbled and thrilled.<br />

But it wasn’t until a recent webinar that<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong> held in November of last year<br />

that I truly understood the impact. The<br />

webinar, Financial Solutions for Early<br />

Years Settings, featured both myself and<br />

an incredible lady, called Ann Speight, a<br />

setting owner, who gave a presentation<br />

which encompassed her journey to<br />

make her setting successful, including<br />

her recognition of the importance of<br />

profitability.<br />

After both presentations, as always, we<br />

opened the floor for Q&A, and this is<br />

where I realised the true value of the book<br />

to someone like Ann. Now, I don’t know<br />

Ann. In fact, I had never met her before the<br />

webinar. And yet here was a lady talking<br />

about me as if she knew me, and telling<br />

story after story about her learnings from<br />

my book and explaining how she made<br />

all her staff read it too! And then to top it<br />

all, in front of everyone on the webinar,<br />

she pulled out a very dog-eared copy, with<br />

little sticky labels poking from loads of<br />

pages, and explained that every time they<br />

got stuck, and whenever they were at a<br />

loss, they turned back to the book.<br />

The most staggering part of all though,<br />

was Ann’s closing words. She explained<br />

that, whilst she always knew that she ran<br />

an independent business on a commercial<br />

basis, the book gave her ‘permission’ to<br />

be open about the need to be profitable,<br />

and for her, this acknowledgement to<br />

herself was the game-changer.<br />

Thank you, Ann. Your kind words have<br />

inspired me to commit to writing this<br />

monthly column, and I hope I can add<br />

value and ideas to many, many more<br />

nursery operators to help them to become<br />

more successful.<br />

So let me start this month by talking about<br />

the first item I always ask any business<br />

owner when I’m looking to support them.<br />

That first question is “How much is a lead<br />

worth to you?” And the reason I ask the<br />

question is because most businesses are<br />

constrained by sales in some way, and<br />

those who understand the answer to this<br />

question usually have the rest of their<br />

business sorted out.<br />

And so, let’s work through that question in<br />

the context of childcare. To keep the maths<br />

super simple, we’ll assume a full-time<br />

place at our make-believe setting is £1,000<br />

per month. Of course, you can adapt the<br />

maths to your own set of circumstances.<br />

Let’s assume that a lead comes in from the<br />

parents of a baby who is 6 months old. In<br />

this case, the child is likely to be with you<br />

for around 4 years. So, the value of that<br />

lead is:-<br />

4 years, 12 months @ £1,000 a month =<br />

£48,000 in total.<br />

Let’s just round this up to £50,000 to<br />

account for any extras you charge.<br />

Now, let’s just stop for a moment and take<br />

stock. Did you realise that a lead is worth<br />

£50,000 to you? And now you do know,<br />

are your systems for generating new leads<br />

sufficiently robust to ensure you are 100%<br />

full? Is your <strong>website</strong> genuinely generating<br />

enough leads to ensure you are 100%<br />

full? Have you refined your show-rounds<br />

to ensure they are optimal and clearly<br />

explain why your setting is unique? Do you<br />

compare the success rates of those who<br />

conduct show-rounds? (Hint: Ann does).<br />

And most importantly of all, do you ask<br />

for the business and try to close the sale<br />

during the show-round?<br />

I know already that there are many of you<br />

who will be saying: “I can’t do that” or “this<br />

is not how we operate”. I don’t know if it’s<br />

a British thing, or it just doesn’t feel right<br />

for a sector full of kind and caring people.<br />

Irrespective, if you are not 100% full, this is<br />

what you need to be doing. If your <strong>website</strong><br />

is not generating the leads you need,<br />

replace it with one that will. Create ‘scripts’<br />

for those who do show-rounds so that<br />

your messaging is consistent, and most<br />

important of all, measure the success of<br />

each person who does a show-round to<br />

identify those who have the highest close<br />

rate. This is not to ‘beat up’ those who are<br />

not so good. The opposite is true, you ALL<br />

need to be learning from the best so that<br />

you can bring everyone up to their level.<br />

The point here though, is the most<br />

successful settings are full. And I mean full,<br />

full. No gaps, - with a waiting list. I have<br />

lost count of the number of setting owners<br />

I have argued with who say that 72-75%<br />

occupancy (as the industry average) is<br />

full. It is not. This is false logic. Again,<br />

those settings that are truly successful<br />

have sold 100% of their capacity. And<br />

again, some will ask, “Why is he using the<br />

word capacity?” The answer, is that those<br />

setting owners who think this way, tend to<br />

be more successful.<br />

In conclusion, the most important thing<br />

you can do to move the dial on the success<br />

of your setting is to get full. If you aren’t,<br />

there are numerous further explanations<br />

of how to solve this in my book, but make<br />

sure you start by getting a good lead<br />

generator at the start of your business<br />

processes. That means a <strong>website</strong> that<br />

generates enough leads to ensure you are<br />

truly and absolutely, full.<br />

Allan will continue this series each<br />

month for the rest of the year, so keep<br />

an eye open for next month’s article.<br />

Want to know more? Allan Presland’s<br />

book is on Amazon: “Improving the<br />

Business of Childcare”, by Allan<br />

Presland.<br />

(amazon.co.uk)<br />

Or, take our quiz to see how successful<br />

your setting is compared to others we<br />

work with: https://scorecard.parenta.<br />

com/parenta<br />

6 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 7

Childcare news<br />

and views<br />

New EYFS statutory framework<br />

On 11th December 2023, The Department<br />

for Education published the two versions of<br />

the EYFS statutory framework which apply<br />

from 4th <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>:<br />

EYFS statutory framework for<br />

childminders<br />

EYFS statutory framework for group<br />

and school-based providers<br />

These incorporate the changes set out<br />

in the Government’s response to its<br />

consultation on the proposed changes.<br />

The main changes for group-based<br />

providers include:<br />

A change from “must” to “may” in<br />

relation to “take reasonable steps to<br />

provide opportunities for children to<br />

develop and use their home language<br />

in play and learning, supporting their<br />

language development at home.”<br />

Removing the requirement for staff<br />

to have a Level 2 Maths qualification<br />

alongside a full and relevant Level<br />

3 qualification to count in ratios (NB<br />

Level 2 English will still be required).<br />

Setting managers employed on or<br />

after 4th <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> must hold a<br />

Level 2 Maths qualification, or they<br />

must achieve one within 2 years of<br />

starting in the position.<br />

The flexibility for “Suitable students on<br />

long-term placements and volunteers<br />

(aged 17 or over) and staff working as<br />

apprentices in early education (aged<br />

16 or over) may be included in the<br />

ratios at the level below their level of<br />

study if the provider is satisfied that<br />

they are competent and responsible.”<br />

“No change over unqualified staff” – DfE<br />

confirms.<br />

The Department for Education (DfE) has<br />

clarified that unqualified staff in early years<br />

can maintain their regular work in early<br />

years settings. This clarification comes in<br />

response to confusion within the sector<br />

regarding a new qualifications guidance<br />

document.<br />

The new early years qualification<br />

requirements and standards states that:<br />

“To be included in the staff:child ratios<br />

at Level 2, Level 3 or Level 6, staff must<br />

hold a qualification that is recognised<br />

by the Department for Education as full<br />

and relevant at the appropriate level. Any<br />

individual that does not hold a full and<br />

relevant qualification can only work as an<br />

unqualified member of staff in an early<br />

years setting and therefore cannot count in<br />

the staff: child ratios”, meaning that under<br />

the revised Early Years Foundation Stage<br />

(EYFS), unqualified staff could no longer<br />

work in early years settings.<br />

DfE has confirmed that there have been no<br />

changes to the rules on unqualified staff<br />

and that this guidance does not mean<br />

that unqualified educators are unable to<br />

work in early years settings – only that they<br />

cannot be counted in Level 2, 3 or 6 ratios,<br />

as is currently the case.<br />

The DfE has stated that this document “is<br />

a technical change that puts the existing<br />

information about qualifications that is<br />

currently held on various GOV.uk pages<br />

into one easily accessible document” and<br />

that it “does not introduce any new policy<br />

or requirements, other than the changes to<br />

the Level 2 Maths requirement and use of<br />

students and apprentices in ratios, which<br />

the Department is bringing in following the<br />

consultation.”<br />

The full story, as reported by the Early<br />

Years Alliance can be found here: https://<br />

www.eyalliance.org.uk/news/2023/12/<br />

dfe-confirms-no-change-over-unqualifiedstaff-rules<br />

EYFS profile results 2022-23<br />

The annual statistics on early years<br />

foundation stage profile assessments in<br />

England relating to the 7 areas of learning<br />

and the 17 early learning goals have been<br />

released by the DfE.<br />

These statistics report on teacher<br />

assessments of children’s development<br />

at the end of the early years foundation<br />

stage, specifically the end of the academic<br />

year in which a child turns 5. They cover<br />

the following at national and subnational<br />

levels, including breakdowns by child<br />

characteristics of:<br />

the percentage of children assessed<br />

to be at the ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’<br />

level in the 17 early learning goals<br />

across the 7 areas of learning<br />

the percentage of children with a<br />

good level of development<br />

the average number of early learning<br />

goals for which children are at the<br />

expected level<br />

Headline facts and figures;<br />

The percentages of children with<br />

a good level of development and<br />

at the expected level across all 17<br />

early learning goals have increased<br />

by around 2 percentage points in<br />

2022/23<br />

The increases seen may be<br />

attributable to gradual recovery from<br />

disruption caused by the COVID-19<br />

pandemic (rises were also seen<br />

over the same period in the most<br />

recent phonics and key stage 1<br />

statistics release) and practitioners<br />

having greater familiarisation with<br />

the new assessment framework. For<br />

example, there was also a sharp rise<br />

in assessment outcomes between<br />

2012/13 and 2013/14 following the<br />

EYFS Profile being previously revised at<br />

the start of the 2012/13 academic year<br />

In 2022/23, the average number of<br />

early learning goals at the expected<br />

level remained at 14.1 per child<br />

Physical development was still the<br />

area of learning with the highest<br />

percentage of children at the expected<br />

level (85.2%) in 2022/23, whilst<br />

literacy was still the lowest (69.7%).<br />

Gross motor skills was still the early<br />

learning goal (ELG) with the highest<br />

percentage of children at the expected<br />

level (92.1%), whilst writing was still<br />

the lowest (71.0%)<br />

Compared with a year earlier, all<br />

areas of learning and most ELGs<br />

increased at least slightly<br />

The full results can be found here: https://<br />

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/early-<br />

years-foundation-stage-profile-results-<br />

2022-to-2023<br />

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

have caught our eye over the month<br />

Do you have an early years news story you’d like to see featured in the <strong>Parenta</strong> Magazine?<br />

Send one in today to marketing@parenta.com to be featured in next month’s edition!<br />

We can’t wait to read all about it!<br />

Almost 4 million children not<br />

physically active for at least an<br />

hour a day<br />

Fewer than 1/2 of children are meeting<br />

the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of<br />

taking part in an average of 60 minutes<br />

or more of sport & physical activity a day.<br />

www.nurseryworld.co.uk/news<br />

What is the plan for 30 hours of<br />

free childcare and how will<br />

it work?<br />

The government has announced more<br />

details about the extra help with childcare<br />

costs which it promised in the Spring<br />

budget.<br />

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education<br />

Young children’s understanding<br />

of language nearly back to prepandemic<br />

levels<br />

A new study suggests that young<br />

children’s understanding of language<br />

is nearly back to pre-pandemic norms,<br />

despite ‘pressures on today’s families’.<br />

www.nurseryworld.co.uk/news<br />

8 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 9

Write for us!<br />

We continuously seek new<br />

authors who would like to<br />

provide thought-provoking<br />

articles for our monthly<br />

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

If you have a subject you’re eager to explore<br />

in writing, why not submit an article to us for a<br />

chance to win?<br />

Every month, we’ll be awarding Amazon<br />

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

You can access all the information here:<br />

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

Congratulations<br />

to our guest author competition winner, Frances Turnbull!<br />

Congratulations to Frances Turnbull, our guest<br />

author of the month! Her article, “Creative Balloon<br />

Painting In The Early Years – “99 Red Balloons”<br />

looks at how inspiring using balloons in early years<br />

activities can be!<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 <strong>website</strong>:<br />

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

Call 0800 002 9242 and quote ’Magazine’<br />

10 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com

Joanna Grace<br />

I think they have<br />

sensory needs<br />

what can I do?<br />

Part 2 - provide and adopt<br />

I’m Jo Grace: a Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist and Founder of The Sensory Projects. In this series of 10 articles, I am going<br />

to share some of my passion for understanding the sensory world with you.<br />

If you, as the professional supporting<br />

them, have noticed it, have reflected on<br />

what they are doing and why they are<br />

doing it (as well as when and where<br />

they are doing it) and you’ve started<br />

to have those open conversations with<br />

their families, those families are going<br />

to feel much safer holding the possibility<br />

of this difference in their minds, and not<br />

sweeping it under the carpet or hoping it<br />

will go away, if you also show them that<br />

you are confident in supporting their child.<br />

This isn’t a case of needing to have all<br />

the answers or being confident of what<br />

to do, it is you showing that there will<br />

be professionals like you who see their<br />

children for who they are and want to<br />

understand them and support them.<br />

You are showing them that the world is<br />

changing, not everyone looks at difference<br />

and declares it bad anymore. Some<br />

people notice the difference and are<br />

curious about it. You are those people!<br />

Here are three things to think about:<br />

Developmental or neurological<br />

Some people have sensory processing<br />

differences because they have not yet fully<br />

learned how to process the information<br />

they receive from their senses. We<br />

all learn at different speeds and the<br />

possibility of our learning is affected by<br />

the environments we inhabit (to give an<br />

extreme example, a child brought up in<br />

darkness is not going to have learned how<br />

to use their sight).<br />

People tend to think of sensing as purely<br />

physiological – either you have sense<br />

organs that work, or work partially, or you<br />

do not. But it is more complex than this.<br />

To sense, you need to have the relevant<br />

sense organs working AND your brain<br />

needs to understand how to make sense<br />

of the information those organs bring<br />

to it. Making sense of the information is<br />

something we learn to do over time. It is<br />

why you might offer a baby a black and<br />

white picture book over a more colourful<br />

one, you are recognising that when people<br />

are very young, they have not yet figured<br />

out how to understand all the colour<br />

information, but the information that tells<br />

them that this is light, this is dark, is much<br />

easier to understand, so we start with that.<br />

Children who, for one reason or another,<br />

have not developed their sensory<br />

processing capacities at the same rate as<br />

their peers, may appear to have sensory<br />

processing differences. If offered the<br />

developmentally relevant experiences to<br />

their current level of sensory capabilities,<br />

they may in time be able to master all the<br />

skills and become people who process<br />

sensory information in line with their peers.<br />

Many successful treatments work on this<br />

basis.<br />

However, not all children who have<br />

sensory processing differences can<br />

develop “normal” processing. For some<br />

children, the processing differences are<br />

not due to a delay in that aspect of their<br />

development but instead are a result of<br />

a neurological disability. Here it helps to<br />

think about what we do when we sense.<br />

Yes, we look, we listen, we feel, but it is<br />

more complex than that. Have you ever<br />

asked someone to “shhh” in the car as<br />

you came up to a roundabout you were<br />

unfamiliar with? You asked them to stop<br />

giving you auditory input because you<br />

needed to concentrate on the visual<br />

input. You needed to stop listening to<br />

see better. Our senses interact with each<br />

other in all sorts of ways like this. I often<br />

imagine the sensory control centres in<br />

our brain to be like the mixing decks you<br />

see used in recording studios, with all the<br />

different knobs and sliders available for<br />

turning various aspects of the sound up<br />

and down. Children with developmental<br />

sensory differences are still learning to<br />

control these knobs and sliders.<br />

The children with neurological sensory<br />

processing differences are working with a<br />

control deck that has some broken bits. It<br />

does not matter how much they practice, it<br />

will be very unlikely that they will be able to<br />

achieve ‘normal’ processing.<br />

Keeping this distinction in mind will be<br />

helpful as you maintain your curiosity and<br />

continue your open conversations with the<br />

child’s family.<br />

Find out more in the next part of<br />

Joanna’s article next month in the<br />

February edition of the <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

<strong>magazine</strong>!<br />

Sign up to be the first to read:<br />

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

Scan here for<br />

In this pair of articles, we are considering<br />

how to react to a child in your setting who<br />

appears to have sensory needs. In the first<br />

article, I spoke about the importance of<br />

being curious and seeking to understand<br />

what sensation the child’s behaviour<br />

serves to provide or avoid. I talked about<br />

extending this curiosity into considering the<br />

‘when’ and the ‘where’ of their behaviour<br />

as well as the ‘what’. Are there particular<br />

times or places where they engage with<br />

the behaviour? What do you notice about<br />

these circumstances?<br />

I also wrote about how valuable it<br />

is to have open, non-judgemental<br />

conversations about your understanding of<br />

this child’s differences with their family. It is<br />

not your role to diagnose children or even<br />

to suggest that they should be diagnosed,<br />

but by sharing what you have noticed and<br />

commenting openly on your curiosities,<br />

you create a safe space for families to chat<br />

with you.<br />

Often noticing that your child is a little<br />

different to how you expected them to be,<br />

can be very disorientating, bewildering<br />

and even frightening for families. Families<br />

may even try and stop the behaviour<br />

without seeking to understand it first.<br />

From the outside, this can seem uncaring,<br />

but it is a reaction of fear, and their fear<br />

stems from very deep caring. They know<br />

the world can be cruel to people who are<br />

different so they do not want their child<br />

to be different, and figure if they can stop<br />

the behaviour then they can protect them<br />

from the prejudices they might otherwise<br />

encounter.<br />

It is very normal to want to shy away from<br />

such things, and to try to believe that it is<br />

something they will grow out of or just a<br />

phase, and who knows…. maybe it is. But<br />

if it is not, if this is a child who is processing<br />

the world in a sensorial different way, then<br />

having the people in their life understand<br />

that sooner rather than later, is going to<br />

result in the best outcomes for that child.<br />

more resources<br />

from Joanna:<br />

12 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 13

Big Energy<br />

Saving Week<br />

Everyone’s talking about saving energy<br />

– not only to save the planet through<br />

reduced CO2 emissions, but we all need<br />

to make our pennies go a little further.<br />

It’s not always easy to know what to do<br />

though, so Big Energy Saving Week might<br />

be just the thing you’re looking for to get<br />

some tips and advice. Read on to find out<br />

how you can not only save money for your<br />

setting and help the planet, but we’ve also<br />

listed some ways that you can help the<br />

families in your setting too.<br />

What is Big Energy Saving<br />

Week?<br />

Big Energy Saving Week is an initiative to<br />

help people take control of their energy<br />

consumption and help the planet. At its<br />

heart, Big Energy Saving Week aims to<br />

help people:

M O N E Y<br />

B A C K<br />


M O N E Y<br />

B A C K<br />

Supercharge your occupancy rates and create an online hub that<br />

parents will return to again and again! <strong>Parenta</strong>'s unmatched <strong>website</strong><br />

solutions for nurseries and preschools are tailored for success.<br />

With our software, you<br />

are GUARANTEED to:<br />

Save time<br />

Increase efficiency<br />

Boost productivity<br />

Enjoy speedy invoicing<br />

Ensure compliance<br />

Gain full staff training<br />

and support with<br />

learning the new system<br />

"A very easy <strong>website</strong> process. Love the end results, and that is coming from<br />

someone who did not have a clue where to start!"<br />

Call 0800 002 9242 and quote ’Magazine’<br />

Call 0800 002 9242 and quote ’Magazine’

Dr. Sarah Moseley<br />

In the quest for inclusion in early childhood<br />

education, the framework of Universal<br />

Design for Learning (UDL) emerges as a<br />

powerful tool. UDL promotes the creation<br />

of learning environments that cater<br />

to the diverse needs of all learners by<br />

offering multiple means of representation,<br />

engagement, and expression. Embracing<br />

UDL principles ensures that educational<br />

settings are not only accessible but also<br />

welcoming and conducive to learning for<br />

every child. Recognising and embracing<br />

diversity among learners is not only a<br />

moral imperative but also essential for<br />

fostering an environment that nurtures<br />

the growth and development of every<br />

child. In early years education, laying the<br />

foundation for inclusivity is crucial, setting<br />

the stage for a lifetime of learning and<br />

social interaction. So, what do we need<br />

to know to ensure that our early years<br />

settings are truly inclusive and cater to the<br />

needs of all learners?<br />

Understanding diversity<br />

Inclusion begins with a deep<br />

understanding of the diverse needs,<br />

strengths, and abilities of each child.<br />

We must understand that neurodiversity<br />

includes a wide range of cognitive<br />

functions, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia,<br />

and other neurological variances. These<br />

differences do not signify deficits; instead,<br />

they reflect diverse ways of thinking,<br />

perceiving, and experiencing the world.<br />

Embracing these differences fosters<br />

an inclusive environment where every<br />

child’s unique strength and ability are<br />

valued - and support can be given where<br />

needed. By recognising and celebrating<br />

neurodiversity, we can contribute to<br />

creating a nurturing space that respects<br />

individuality and promotes the holistic<br />

Inclusive<br />

early years<br />

Meeting the needs of all<br />

development of their children within the<br />

early years of education.<br />

Communication, understanding, and an<br />

open-minded approach play pivotal roles<br />

in nurturing a supportive environment<br />

where all children can flourish and thrive.<br />

Recognising and celebrating these<br />

differences contribute to creating a vibrant<br />

learning environment.<br />

Universal design for<br />

learning (UDL): a pathway<br />

to inclusivity<br />

UDL recognises that children possess<br />

varying learning styles, strengths, and<br />

challenges. By employing multiple<br />

means of representation, educators can<br />

present information in diverse ways,<br />

such as through visual, auditory, or<br />

tactile means. For instance, incorporating<br />

pictorial representations alongside<br />

text in storybooks caters to both visual<br />

and linguistic learners, ensuring that<br />

engagement is at the heart of all learning<br />

opportunities and experiences.<br />

By offering multiple means of<br />

engagement, you are encouraging<br />

active participation and motivation from<br />

the start. Interactive learning activities,<br />

games, and collaborative activities provide<br />

opportunities for children to engage<br />

based on their preferences and strengths.<br />

For instance, a child who struggles with<br />

verbal communication might excel in a<br />

collaborative art project, allowing them to<br />

express their understanding and creativity.<br />

Furthermore, UDL supports providing<br />

multiple means of expression,<br />

enabling children to demonstrate their<br />

comprehension and knowledge in various<br />

ways. Some children might prefer verbal<br />

explanations, while others might excel in<br />

conveying their understanding through<br />

drawings, model-making, or other forms<br />

of expression. Allowing diverse avenues<br />

for expression celebrates the individual<br />

strengths of each learner.<br />

Total communication<br />

environment: enriching<br />

inclusive settings<br />

Another critical aspect of fostering<br />

inclusivity in early years education<br />

involves creating a total communication<br />

environment. Total communication<br />

encompasses various modes of<br />

communication, including verbal<br />

language, sign language, visual<br />

supports, gestures, and augmentative<br />

and alternative communication<br />

(AAC) systems. By embracing a total<br />

communication approach, educators<br />

ensure that all children, regardless of their<br />

communication abilities, can effectively<br />

participate and engage in learning<br />

experiences.<br />

For instance, incorporating visual<br />

schedules, picture exchange systems, or<br />

communication boards supports children<br />

with communication challenges, facilitating<br />

their understanding and participation<br />

in daily routines and activities. It’s<br />

important to engage children in regular<br />

conversations about their day, interests,<br />

and feelings. Ask open-ended questions to<br />

encourage them to share more details and<br />

expand their language skills. Or describe<br />

daily activities or routines as you do them<br />

together. This helps build vocabulary<br />

and comprehension skills. For example,<br />

when cooking, talk about the ingredients,<br />

actions, and steps involved.<br />

Ensure that the opportunity to read<br />

books aloud together happens as often<br />

as possible. Encourage children to ask<br />

questions, make predictions about the<br />

story, and discuss the characters and<br />

events. This fosters language development<br />

and strengthens engagement. Incorporate<br />

visual supports like picture books,<br />

flashcards, or drawings to reinforce<br />

learning. Visual aids can assist in<br />

understanding concepts and encourage<br />

communication, you can then expand on<br />

their words or sentences. For instance, if<br />

they say, “doggy,” you can respond with,<br />

“Yes, that’s a big brown doggy playing in<br />

the park.” Additionally, introducing basic<br />

sign language or simple gestures in the<br />

classroom promotes communication<br />

and understanding among all children,<br />

creating an inclusive and supportive<br />

atmosphere.<br />

Above all foster an environment<br />

where communication is encouraged<br />

and valued. Encourage turn-taking<br />

during conversations, and praise and<br />

acknowledge your child’s efforts to<br />

communicate effectively. Remember<br />

every child develops at their own pace.<br />

Be patient, supportive, and encouraging,<br />

celebrating their progress and efforts<br />

along the way.<br />

Collaboration with<br />

specialists and families<br />

In building an inclusive early childhood<br />

education environment, collaboration with<br />

specialists and families is paramount.<br />

Specialists, such as speech therapists,<br />

occupational therapists, and behavioural<br />

analysts, offer invaluable expertise and<br />

support in addressing the diverse needs<br />

of children. Working together with these<br />

professionals enables educators to<br />

implement targeted strategies that cater to<br />

individual requirements.<br />

Moreover, fostering strong partnerships<br />

with families creates a supportive network<br />

that reinforces inclusive practices both<br />

at home and in educational settings.<br />

Families provide invaluable insights<br />

into a child’s strengths, interests, and<br />

challenges, facilitating a holistic approach<br />

to supporting each child’s development.<br />

Continuing professional<br />

development in UDL and<br />

inclusive practices<br />

To effectively implement UDL and<br />

create inclusive environments, ongoing<br />

professional development is essential for<br />

educators. Training sessions, workshops,<br />

and seminars focused on UDL principles,<br />

assistive technology, inclusive teaching<br />

strategies, and understanding diverse<br />

learning needs, empower educators<br />

to refine their practices continually. It<br />

equips them with the knowledge and<br />

tools necessary to adapt and tailor their<br />

approaches to meet the changing needs<br />

of learners in an inclusive classroom.<br />

Nurturing inclusive<br />

environments for lifelong<br />

learning<br />

In conclusion, the journey toward<br />

inclusive early years education involves<br />

embracing diversity, implementing UDL<br />

principles, fostering a total communication<br />

environment, collaborating with specialists<br />

and families, and investing in continuous<br />

professional development. By integrating<br />

these elements, educators create<br />

nurturing environments where every child<br />

feels valued, supported, and capable of<br />

reaching their full potential.<br />

Ultimately, the commitment to inclusivity<br />

in early childhood education extends<br />

far beyond the classroom; it lays the<br />

groundwork for a future society where<br />

diversity is not merely acknowledged but<br />

celebrated. Empowering young learners<br />

with inclusive experiences during their<br />

formative years paves the way for a more<br />

equitable and inclusive world.<br />

Useful links

Recognising<br />

symbolically and engage in more<br />

imaginative play, creating stories and<br />

exploring new worlds.<br />

Dr. Kathryn Peckham<br />

In this article, taken from the course of the<br />

same name at the Nurturing Childhoods<br />

Academy, we are going to be looking at<br />

how you can nurture children’s learning<br />

from the first day you meet them - from the<br />

stimulating environments you create, to<br />

the experiences you offer them.<br />

We all want our children to do well and<br />

achieve all they are capable of in life and<br />

nowhere is this more pronounced than<br />

with their learning. However, there is so<br />

much more to early years learning than<br />

development goals and school readiness,<br />

and the worst thing we can do is look<br />

to accelerate them into the unfulfilling<br />

styles and methods of teaching you may<br />

remember well!<br />

If we want to advance our children’s<br />

interests, capabilities, and motivations, we<br />

need to offer them experiences that ignite<br />

their passions and interest in their world.<br />

early years<br />

Learning techniques for children involve<br />

helping them see how capable they are of<br />

learning, right when their attitudes about<br />

themselves are forming - and all of this<br />

begins from the first time they open their<br />

eyes.<br />

From the moment they are born, a baby’s<br />

brain is hard at work, forming intricate<br />

connections and laying the foundation for<br />

future learning and experiences. At birth,<br />

their brain already comprises billions of<br />

neurons forming the basic building blocks<br />

of the brain’s intricate neural networks.<br />

It is wired for connection and interaction<br />

with others, with billions of synapses being<br />

formed, strengthened or pruned based on<br />

their experiences and interactions with the<br />

world.<br />

The early years are an extraordinary<br />

period filled with boundless energy,<br />

exploration and rapid development,<br />

as a child’s brain undergoes incredible<br />

transformations within their cognitive,<br />

social and emotional growth. During<br />

this stage, a child’s curiosity knows no<br />

bounds as they explore, imagine, and<br />

learning<br />

potential<br />

engage with the world around them,<br />

laying the groundwork for the years to<br />

come when they are more mobile, vocal,<br />

and full of past experiences to fine-tune.<br />

These experiences, received through<br />

their senses, allow the brain to process<br />

information, shaping neural pathways and<br />

facilitating their understanding of the world<br />

around them.<br />

A child is also born with the capacity to<br />

learn any language and young brains<br />

are primed to absorb and understand the<br />

intricate nuances of speech. This is why<br />

language development is a key area of<br />

brain development and why engaging<br />

in conversations, reading, singing and<br />

exposure to a rich linguistic environment<br />

are so important. You will hear language<br />

development leap forward during the<br />

toddler years as children begin to form<br />

sentences, understand instructions, and<br />

engage in basic conversations.<br />

All of which these things supply the<br />

experiences children need for the<br />

remarkable surge in language and<br />

communication skills in the years to come<br />

as they begin constructing more complex<br />

sentences, absorbing words, grammar<br />

and social cues from their environment.<br />

Children also exhibit some remarkable<br />

cognitive milestones as understanding<br />

develops, nurtured through symbolic<br />

play, cause and effect and engaging in<br />

problem-solving abilities. As thinking<br />

becomes more logical and abstract,<br />

children can begin to solve more<br />

complex problems, understand concepts<br />

From the first flutters of their tiny fingers<br />

to the first time they ride a bike, a child’s<br />

brain is also working tirelessly to develop<br />

their motor skills and coordination. The<br />

brain’s motor cortex and cerebellum play<br />

crucial roles in controlling and refining their<br />

movements, allowing children to explore<br />

and interact with their surroundings. But<br />

this needs lots and lots of practice as they<br />

gain greater balance and exhibit more<br />

precise coordination, developing their<br />

fine motor skills, becoming more able to<br />

handle small objects and engage in more<br />

precise movements.<br />

The brain is also responsible for emotional<br />

and social development. Areas such as<br />

the limbic system and prefrontal cortex all<br />

play integral roles in regulating a child’s<br />

emotions, forming their attachments<br />

and developing their social skills. In the<br />

early years, the limbic system undergoes<br />

periods of maturation as children learn to<br />

identify and express their feelings... but<br />

I do mean learn and this will sometimes<br />

come with some familiar frustrations. But<br />

as the prefrontal cortex matures, you will<br />

begin to see better impulse control and<br />

emotional regulation, nurtured through<br />

positive relationships and environments<br />

as children develop healthy emotional<br />

regulation.<br />

So, how do we stimulate all this brain<br />

development then?<br />

✏ First, provide a consistent, nurturing,<br />

and responsive environment that<br />

fosters a sense of loving, security and<br />

emotional well-being<br />

✏ Engage in face-to-face interactions,<br />

talking and singing to develop<br />

language and social skills<br />

✏ Encourage exploration and hands-on<br />

discovery, especially outdoors as you<br />

engage their senses and physical<br />

development<br />

✏ Offer puzzles, sorting games, memory<br />

games and hands-on activities to<br />

stimulate cognitive growth<br />

✏ Encourage curiosity by asking openended<br />

questions that promote critical<br />

thinking and problem-solving skills<br />

✏ Allow free and unstructured time<br />

for imagination and independent<br />

discovery<br />

✏ Read to children, sing songs and<br />

engage in interactive play to expose<br />

them to a variety of words, sounds<br />

and ideas<br />

✏ Offer creative opportunities through<br />

art, music and imaginative play<br />

✏ Support social interactions with<br />

opportunities for parallel and<br />

cooperative play<br />

✏ Emphasise the joy of learning at<br />

every age as you celebrate their<br />

achievements and foster a growth<br />

mindset<br />

✏ Talk to them, with eye contact, smiles<br />

and genuine engagement - every<br />

chance that you get!<br />

Through this whirlwind period of growth<br />

and discovery, a child’s brain is rapidly<br />

evolving to absorb the world around<br />

them, blossoming into a powerhouse<br />

of knowledge, creativity and social<br />

understanding. You have the incredible<br />

opportunity to provide a loving and<br />

stimulating environment that supports<br />

and nourishes growing minds. Embrace<br />

the wonders of this journey, celebrating<br />

the strengths, interests and milestones of<br />

each unique child as their development<br />

unfolds, shaping their brain and laying the<br />

foundations for their future learning and<br />

development.<br />

So, whether you are a parent, practitioner,<br />

or family worker, join me at the Nurturing<br />

Childhoods Academy where you can listen<br />

to talks and access lots more tips and<br />

suggestions. And there are also materials<br />

for you to print out and keep handy, giving<br />

you all the key bits of learning at your<br />

fingertips.<br />

If you become a member of the Nurturing<br />

Childhoods Community, you can come<br />

and talk with other parents and carers<br />

about the experiences you are having. You<br />

might like to swap a funny story or ask<br />

for some advice. You can also read all the<br />

new blogs or have a go with a Childhood<br />

Challenge!<br />

Scan here for<br />

more resources<br />

from Kathryn:<br />

20 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 21

World Religion Day<br />

Arts and crafts<br />

There are lots of craft ideas around the<br />

internet associated with different religions<br />

and you could create different religious<br />

symbols in paper crafts, playdough,<br />

cookery or even outdoors in mark-making<br />

sessions in mud and sand. Think about<br />

making:<br />

⭐ A mobile or bunting to hang around<br />

the setting<br />

⭐ A religion corner or shrine with<br />

different religious statues and symbols<br />

⭐ A map of the world showing where<br />

different religions originated<br />

⭐ A collage of different religious imagery<br />

– look for unusual ideas too such as<br />

totem poles and animal deities<br />

⭐ Lotus flower – represents purity for<br />

Buddhists and Hindus and is also<br />

important in Islam<br />

⭐ Yew – a symbol of rebirth<br />

⭐ Olives, figs and grapevines -<br />

considered plants given to Muslims<br />

by Allah<br />

⭐ Sage – considered by Native<br />

Americans to have healing and<br />

cleansing properties<br />

Take your children on a sensory, natural<br />

journey around world religions using<br />

plants.<br />

Food<br />

religion. You could hold a peace party or<br />

set up a unity tree. Bring a large branch in<br />

from outside and set it securely in a pot.<br />

You can wrap it in paper, ribbon or wool<br />

to add colour if you want to. Ask children<br />

what their wishes are for a peaceful world<br />

and then write them on a piece of card to<br />

hang them on the tree.<br />

However you celebrate, remember to<br />

let us know by sending your news and<br />

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

Answer:<br />

The lotus flower is considered the most<br />

sacred flower in the world due to its<br />

symbolism associated with rebirth, healing<br />

properties, and significance in many<br />

Eastern and Western religions alike.<br />

Do you know the difference between<br />

Hanukkah and Diwali? Can you define the<br />

Five Pillars of Islam or the makeup of the<br />

Holy Trinity? And what would you say was<br />

the world’s most sacred flower? (Answer<br />

at the end).<br />

Nearly seventy-five percent of people in<br />

the world follow one of six major religions,<br />

being:<br />

⭐ Christianity<br />

⭐ Islam<br />

⭐ Judaism<br />

⭐ Buddhism<br />

⭐ Sikhism<br />

⭐ Hinduism<br />

However, there are also many other<br />

religions such as Taoism, Daoism,<br />

Zoroastrianism, Paganism, Confucianism<br />

and hundreds of indigenous religions and<br />

sacred beliefs and practices too.<br />

World Religion Day gives you an<br />

opportunity to not only celebrate these<br />

different religions, but to share new ideas<br />

with your little ones, help them learn about<br />

the world, and promote tolerance and<br />

understanding as set out in the British<br />

Values. And all this whilst having some fun<br />

along the way.<br />

How did it start?<br />

World Religion Day is celebrated around<br />

the world on the third Sunday in <strong>January</strong><br />

each year, so, in <strong>2024</strong>, it falls on Sunday<br />

15th <strong>January</strong>. The day was originally<br />

set up in 1950 by the National Spiritual<br />

Assembly by followers of the Baháʼí Faith<br />

with the aim of promoting understanding<br />

and peace between all religions. In the<br />

Bahá’í faith, all religions are thought to<br />

have common features and should be<br />

respected equally because they believe<br />

there is one God who is known by different<br />

names in all religions.<br />

Religions often differ in their beliefs about:<br />

⭐ Gods and deities<br />

⭐ Holy books and scriptures<br />

⭐ Fundamental ideas on life and death<br />

⭐ Geographical origins<br />

⭐ Major festivals<br />

⭐ The significance of, and rules around<br />

food<br />

⭐ Creation stories<br />

All these topics would make interesting<br />

and fun lessons for your children, and<br />

we’ve listed some ideas to help you<br />

celebrate the day in your setting.<br />

Storytime<br />

Use your storytime to introduce some<br />

of the main stories behind different<br />

religions to your children. There are a lot<br />

of storybooks which tell different religious<br />

stories in age-appropriate ways for<br />

toddlers, and there are also videos and<br />

animations on YouTube.<br />

Creation stories are often fun to read and<br />

compare. You could even ask the children<br />

to come up with their own creation stories<br />

too. How do they think the world was<br />

created?<br />

Remember that you can use drama to act<br />

out some ideas and stories and if you did<br />

a Nativity play, then this is an example of<br />

one religious story.<br />

Songs and music<br />

Music and singing are fundamental to<br />

many religions and there are hundreds<br />

of songs, hymns, mantras and prayers<br />

that you could use to teach the children<br />

about different beliefs. You might want<br />

to focus on songs that sing about unity<br />

and tolerance which would be in keeping<br />

with the day. A traditional folk song which<br />

celebrates this is “We’ve got the whole<br />

world in our hands” which you can find at:<br />

https://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/<br />

wevegotthewholeworld.php, but there are<br />

many others too.<br />

Gardens and outdoor<br />

spaces<br />

Why not celebrate by creating a sensory<br />

area or a trail through your outdoor space<br />

that uses different plants or items of<br />

religious significance like a treasure hunt?<br />

You could make small wooden crosses or<br />

Star of Davids, place Buddha statues or<br />

keywords from religious texts.<br />

Some plants also have different religious<br />

significances such as:<br />

⭐ Basil – important to Christians and<br />

Hindus<br />

⭐ Passionflower – representative of<br />

Jesus’ life<br />

⭐ Mistletoe – important to Druids and<br />

Celts<br />

Use the day to try new foods that are<br />

important to different religions. You could<br />

have small pieces for the children to try or<br />

do some simple cooking with them too.<br />

You could invite people in to share their<br />

knowledge too. Think about:<br />

⭐ Bread – significant to Christians and<br />

many other religions in different forms<br />

⭐ Baklava – a Greek dish made of<br />

33 layers of puff pastry to represent<br />

the years in Jesus’ life, but also<br />

significant in Islam around the month<br />

of Ramadan<br />

⭐ Modak – a sweet dumpling filled with<br />

coconut, thought to be a favourite of<br />

the Hindu gods<br />

⭐ Mooncake – a Chinese bakery<br />

favourite or Simnel cake celebrating<br />

Easter<br />

⭐ Easter eggs and hot-cross buns -<br />

with their symbolism of new life and<br />

regeneration<br />

⭐ Figs and dates – significant to many<br />

Middle Eastern religions<br />

Remember to check about allergies for<br />

both children and staff before introducing<br />

any new foods.<br />

Peace and togetherness<br />

Perhaps one of the best ways to<br />

celebrate World Religion Day is to come<br />

together and celebrate unity, peace and<br />

togetherness, regardless of age, race or<br />

More ideas can be<br />

found at:<br />

⭐ https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/worldreligion-day-teaching-resources/<br />

zs6fsk7<br />

⭐ https://www.twinkl.co.uk/event/<br />

world-religion-day-<strong>2024</strong><br />

⭐ https://www.woodflowers.com/<br />

blogs/how-to-sola/how-flower-areused-in-world-religions<br />

⭐ https://nowpressplay.co.uk/5-worldreligion-day-activities-blog/<br />

Scan here for<br />

more references<br />

& information:<br />

22 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 23

Embedding<br />

culture in your<br />

“That’s because, in a healthy culture,<br />

there are clear expectations. Expectations<br />

around how work gets done, why that<br />

work is important and how teams are<br />

expected to treat each other. There is<br />

also a sense of alignment between the<br />

company vision and core values and how<br />

those values and vision show up in the<br />

workplace.”<br />

What do we look like? What do we sound like? What do we act like?<br />

How do we present ourselves<br />

and our environment; what do<br />

people see?<br />

Our dress code – can we<br />

express our individuality?<br />

How do we communicate with<br />

colleagues, parents and children?<br />

Language – what kind of language<br />

do we use in the staff room/on the<br />

floor/with parents?<br />

How do we behave at work?<br />

Which attributes are evident?<br />

Gossiping<br />

Helpfulness<br />

Pam McFarlane<br />

I am a globetrotter, a wayfarer and a<br />

wanderer. I have visited twenty-two<br />

countries and made my home in four. For<br />

every traveller, the most fascinating part of<br />

travelling is experiencing the local culture<br />

of the places we visit. I have wrestled<br />

(unsuccessfully) in an impromptu wrestling<br />

competition next to a clear blue river in<br />

Mongolia, survived a 7.2 earthquake in<br />

The Philippines and enjoyed the dubious<br />

pleasures of long-drop toilets in the hills of<br />

Venda, South Africa. I have ridden a very<br />

grumpy camel under a moonlit Saharan<br />

desert sky and had a full-blown panic<br />

attack in a crowded, chaotic Moroccan<br />

medina.<br />

Planning to set up a school on a tropical<br />

island seemed a good idea when I was<br />

living in the suburbs of Johannesburg.<br />

However, when I disembarked from a local<br />

ferry onto a seaside market on a small<br />

Philippine island, with the smells of dried<br />

fish and mangoes heavy in the humid air,<br />

I realised I hadn’t quite taken the cultural<br />

difference into account. This was a very<br />

different world, one whose norms I could<br />

not comprehend. I knew instantly that this<br />

society worked in ways that I had to learn<br />

and understand.<br />

There are commonalities between cultures,<br />

especially today in the age of globalisation<br />

and easy online access. In the middle<br />

of a very deprived community in Addis<br />

Ababa, I swapped Facebook details with<br />

a local teacher. Last month I connected<br />

with a teacher in Botswana – we met<br />

over WhatsApp and shared our areas of<br />

interest. I scroll through TikTok as I relax on<br />

my bed and am connected with a myriad<br />

of different cultures whilst dressed in my<br />

pyjamas.<br />

early years ethos<br />

Today, almost worldwide, there is a<br />

common dress code; jeans and T-shirts,<br />

business suits, tracksuits and trainers are<br />

found wherever you go. However, when<br />

you are in a different country, the subtle<br />

and not-so-subtle differences are there.<br />

Architecture, music, transport, language,<br />

clothing, and food, all tell us where we are.<br />

These things tell us what is important and<br />

what is expected.<br />

Culture is defined by the Cambridge<br />

Dictionary as:

Planning: risk<br />

assessments<br />

Are you compliant with your Health &<br />

Safety responsibilities? Do you have all<br />

your necessary risk assessments in place,<br />

working and up-to-date?<br />

Planning is important in early years work,<br />

but planning to reduce risks around<br />

young children is essential. All early years<br />

workers have a duty of care towards<br />

the children they look after to prevent<br />

accidents and injuries, so read on to make<br />

sure your planning is robust in this area.<br />

Why do risk assessments?<br />

It is usually the responsibility of the<br />

owner or the Health and Safety Officer<br />

to ensure that all risk assessments are<br />

completed, and that effective procedures<br />

and protocols are set up using the<br />

information collected. However, ALL early<br />

years staff should have knowledge of risk<br />

assessments to be able to assess each<br />

situation in real time, so that they do not<br />

put children in harm’s way.<br />

Everything has a risk associated with it.<br />

Even lying in bed doing nothing carries<br />

a risk of developing bed sores and<br />

wasted muscles, so there is nothing<br />

that is 100% ‘risk-free’. The purpose of a<br />

risk assessment is to identify potential<br />

dangers and then take action to reduce<br />

them. It is not possible to eliminate every<br />

risk for every situation, but it is possible<br />

to minimise risk. There will be times that<br />

you will have to cross the road or travel on<br />

public transport for example, which have<br />

their own risks, but planning the route<br />

carefully, using a zebra or pelican crossing,<br />

having enough staff to supervise the<br />

children, and wearing high-viz jackets will<br />

minimise these risks. Where this has been<br />

done and the risk is considered low, then<br />

activities can usually go ahead.<br />

When should a risk<br />

assessment be done?<br />

Risk assessments should be undertaken<br />

whenever there are activities or practices<br />

which could pose a risk to the children,<br />

OR to the adults involved in their care.<br />

So, for example, most settings will know<br />

that a risk assessment needs to be done<br />

for a trip out of the setting, but did you<br />

know that it is good practice to do a risk<br />

assessment if a member of staff becomes<br />

pregnant and continues to work in the<br />

setting?<br />

Since there are an infinite number of<br />

things that could happen every day in<br />

any setting, identifying all of them would<br />

be impossible and there is always the<br />

potential for a freak accident that no one<br />

could foresee. However, by considering<br />

what ‘could’ happen carefully, and<br />

identifying common hazards and risks,<br />

you will be doing the best you can to keep<br />

everyone safe.<br />

Below is a list of common situations where<br />

risk assessments should be undertaken in<br />

early years settings:<br />

Access to the centre such as staff<br />

access and security<br />

Children and parents arriving and<br />

leaving the setting<br />

Transport<br />

Feeding children including<br />

lunches and snack times<br />

Allergies<br />

Children needing to use the toilet and/<br />

or personal care routines<br />

Hand washing and teeth<br />

cleaning<br />

The storage,<br />

administration<br />

and recording<br />

of any<br />

medication<br />

All aspects of<br />

outdoor<br />

playgrounds<br />

and play areas<br />

such as gardens, sand pits or ponds/<br />

water<br />

All indoor areas and play equipment<br />

Safety features such as fire alarms/<br />

extinguishers/gates and fences<br />

Additional needs of any babies or<br />

children with SEND<br />

Excursions outside the setting<br />

including going for a walk or on a<br />

visit/trip<br />

Playing with different materials such<br />

as mud, water, sand, art materials<br />

Pregnant members of staff or those<br />

with additional needs<br />

Home visits and personal safety with<br />

parents or visitors<br />

Working from heights or lifting/<br />

carrying/moving things<br />

Storing, preparing and cooking food<br />

Spillages and accident management<br />

Using chemicals such as cleaning<br />

routines<br />

Maintenance of all sites and<br />

equipment<br />

Emergency evacuation and<br />

procedures (e.g. intruder)<br />

Each setting may have additional specific<br />

areas that need risk assessments, (e.g.<br />

Forest School, swimming/paddling pool<br />

etc.,) but the above list is a good start.<br />

Look also at your Health and Safety policy<br />

and legislation from the Health and Safety<br />

Executive www.hse.gov.uk/ for more<br />

information on workplace safety.<br />

How to conduct a risk<br />

assessment<br />

The actions needed for a risk assessment<br />

are:<br />

1. Identify hazards – look for the<br />

dangers involved<br />

2. Assess the risk - decide who/what is<br />

in danger and to what level<br />

3. Identify the precautions and<br />

control measures needed to<br />

reduce the risk to an acceptable<br />

level – what should be done? By<br />

whom? And by when?<br />

4. Record the findings – create a<br />

document and log actions<br />

5. Review the process regularly –<br />

especially in the light of changes, near<br />

misses or accidents<br />

The table to the right is an example of a<br />

risk assessment template that you could<br />

use, and some example entries.<br />

Obviously, these are just examples and<br />

other templates are available on various<br />

<strong>website</strong>s, either free or for a small fee<br />

including:<br />

mindingkids.co.uk/downloads/riskassessments-pack/<br />

www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/riskbenefit-assessment-template-cfeslm-40<br />

www.earlylearninghq.org.uk/latestresources/early-years-setting-riskassessment-template/<br />

In some cases, you may need to do<br />

individual risk assessments for specific<br />

people, for example, for children with<br />

SEND.<br />

Accidents<br />

Early years settings should also pay<br />

particular attention to the risk assessments<br />

for the prevention of accidents because<br />

young children will not always understand<br />

danger in the way that adults do. The six<br />

most common accidents amongst children<br />

are:<br />

Falls/slips<br />

Burns<br />

Area to be assessed<br />

Choking<br />

Drowning<br />

Hanging/suffocating<br />

Poisoning<br />

See www.rospa.com/policy/home-safety/<br />

advice/accidents-to-children for more<br />

information on accident prevention.<br />

Legislation<br />

Playground<br />

equipment<br />

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974<br />

places responsibility on the employer<br />

(i.e. your setting’s governance board or<br />

owners) to ensure that the work setting is<br />

as safe as possible. Insurances must be<br />

in place and each setting must display<br />

a Health and Safety Executive poster<br />

detailing who is responsible for safety in<br />

the setting. Information leaflets should also<br />

be distributed to workers.<br />

Your setting must also comply with<br />

other legal responsibilities such as<br />

keeping COSHH (Control of Substances<br />

Hazardous to Health) files and RIDDOR<br />

(Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and<br />

Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). Risk<br />

Person assessing area<br />

Mrs Jones<br />

Date of assessment 1/9/23 Date of next review 1/9/24<br />

What is the<br />

hazard?<br />

Swings:<br />

children could<br />

fall and injure<br />

themselves<br />

Swings:<br />

chains/ropes<br />

could fail and<br />

children fall<br />

Who is at<br />

risk?<br />

Children,<br />

staff<br />

Children,<br />

staff<br />

Risk before<br />

control<br />

measures<br />

High<br />

Medium<br />

Control<br />

measures put<br />

in place<br />

Child-safe<br />

surfacing<br />

provided around<br />

and under all<br />

equipment<br />

Adult supervision<br />

in required ratio<br />

at all times when<br />

children using<br />

equipment<br />

First aider always<br />

on site<br />

Maintenance<br />

contract in place<br />

with supplier<br />

Date of last<br />

inspection<br />

checked and<br />

recorded<br />

Control<br />

measures<br />

checked/<br />

dates<br />

Yes – 1/9/23<br />

Site Manager<br />

Yes – ongoing<br />

All staff<br />

Yes –<br />

ongoing daily<br />

checks<br />

H&S Officer<br />

Yes –<br />

25/4/23<br />

Office<br />

Manager<br />

Yes – 14/9/23<br />

H&S Officer<br />

Low<br />

Low<br />

Final risk<br />

rating<br />

assessments will be a major part of these<br />

procedures too.<br />

Risk assessments are essential, so plan<br />

them well, record and review them<br />

regularly to stay compliant and keep your<br />

staff and children safe.<br />

Scan here for<br />

more references<br />

& information:<br />

26 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 27

Dr. Mona Sakr<br />

In this article, we consider what makes<br />

working in the baby room different to<br />

working in other parts of the nursery and<br />

why it is essential that more professional<br />

learning is designed, specifically with baby<br />

room educators in mind. We need to grow<br />

the sense of community and confidence<br />

among baby room leaders so that they<br />

can get the support they need to meet the<br />

demands of the job.<br />

The baby room:<br />

distinct experiences<br />

and challenges<br />

Working in the baby room is different to<br />

working in any other part of the nursery<br />

and comes with distinct challenges. To<br />

give just a few examples:<br />

Professional<br />

learning for baby<br />

room educators<br />

❤ Educators in the baby room are at<br />

the forefront of dealing with parents’<br />

anxieties around leaving their babies<br />

in the care of others for the first time.<br />

At the same time as responding to<br />

babies’ intense settling emotions,<br />

educators are also effectively ‘settling<br />

in’ the parents<br />

❤ In the baby room, educators have to<br />

manage individualised routines of<br />

sleep, bottles and feeding, while also<br />

ensuring that getting through these<br />

routines doesn’t completely take over<br />

the day and leave no time for rich<br />

interactions and mindful play<br />

❤ Another challenge in the baby room<br />

is getting outdoors. While children<br />

in the toddler and pre-school rooms<br />

can wander outside by themselves,<br />

babies often have to be carried. This<br />

can make it tricky to spend as much<br />

time in nature or the local area as<br />

you’d like to<br />

The ‘infant practicum’<br />

Research in early childhood education and<br />

care recognises the different experiences<br />

that those working with babies have.<br />

Researchers Susan Recchia and Minsun<br />

Shin coined the term ‘infant practicum’<br />

to talk about the special knowledge,<br />

understanding, expertise and skills that<br />

those working with the very youngest<br />

children develop and contribute. The<br />

infant practicum involves a special kind<br />

of wonder and curiosity that baby room<br />

educators develop as they engage with<br />

babies. Rather than rushing in to do things<br />

for babies or setting up more structured<br />

activities, baby room educators master<br />

sitting back and intently observing. Recchia<br />

and Shin argue that we need to celebrate<br />

this special approach and support all<br />

early years educators to learn from what<br />

happens in the baby room.<br />

Professional learning<br />

for baby room<br />

educators<br />

Given the distinctiveness of what<br />

happens in the baby room and the<br />

special knowledge and skills that baby<br />

room educators need, you would think<br />

that targeted support for baby room<br />

educators would be readily available. You<br />

would think that the availability of this<br />

professional learning would be growing<br />

at this point, when it looks as though<br />

UK nurseries will be asked to extend the<br />

provision in the baby room with subsidised<br />

funding for much younger children to<br />

attend nursery than ever before. Though,<br />

there is a severe lack of professional<br />

learning courses, resources, networks and<br />

coaching that speaks specifically to the<br />

experiences of those working and leading<br />

in the baby room.<br />

Nadine, a baby room leader working<br />

in a seaside town nursery in Scotland<br />

explains that “We are always having<br />

to adapt training that is designed with<br />

older children in mind. We must take the<br />

guidance that is given about working with<br />

toddlers or pre-schoolers and think about<br />

how we can make it work for the babies.<br />

It’s so hard to find anything specific to<br />

what happens in the baby room”.<br />

This must shift. What we need is a<br />

movement of support for baby room<br />

educators. This would look like a growth<br />

in the number of courses and resources<br />

to support what happens in the baby<br />

room. It would look like an opportunity for<br />

baby room leaders to come together and<br />

develop communities of reflection and<br />

connection.<br />

Baby Rooms –<br />

Inspiring Leaders<br />

I set up the project Baby Rooms – Inspiring<br />

Leaders (BRIL) to contribute to this shift.<br />

An initial pot of funding came from the<br />

British Education Leadership Management<br />

and Administration Society (BELMAS) to<br />

support a group of nursery managers,<br />

baby room leaders and early years<br />

trainers to come together and imagine<br />

what a course for baby room leaders<br />

would involve and how it would work.<br />

In September 2022, we ran the first BRIL<br />

course: “An Introduction to Baby Room<br />

Leadership”. The attention the course<br />

received was absolutely overwhelming.<br />

I opened the course with 20 places but<br />

these had gone within the first hour of<br />

mentioning the course on social media. I<br />

increased the number of places to 50 and<br />

these had disappeared within 24 hours.<br />

The waiting list of baby room leaders<br />

eager to join quickly grew. Running the<br />

course for the second time in Autumn of<br />

this year, the response has been equally<br />

positive. It shows just how much of a<br />

demand there is for targeted baby room<br />

leadership development.<br />

Building on the amazing responses to<br />

these free courses, BRIL now has a life of<br />

its own. We’re running a wide range of<br />

courses, from intensive reflection-driven<br />

courses looking at how we respect the<br />

rights of babies in the baby room, to oneoff<br />

workshops brainstorming ideas to grow<br />

more creativity in the baby room. We’ve<br />

also released workbooks and resources<br />

looking at different aspects of baby room<br />

education and baby room leadership,<br />

and we’ve introduced a coaching service.<br />

Everything is targeted specifically to those<br />

working in the baby room.<br />

All of this though is just the tip of the<br />

iceberg. The mission, which is so much<br />

bigger than BRIL, is to generate increasing<br />

levels of confidence and community<br />

among baby room educators so that they<br />

can not only demand better professional<br />

learning, but also generate more of it for<br />

themselves. Baby Room Leader, Nadine,<br />

who was involved in the design of the first<br />

BRIL course, has now gone on to create a<br />

local network of baby room leaders who<br />

regularly visit each other in their settings<br />

and meet up to exchange experiences<br />

and solve problems together.<br />

This is an inspiring example of what can<br />

happen when we commit to valuing what<br />

baby room educators do and taking<br />

seriously the professional learning needs<br />

of those who work with the very youngest<br />

children in the nursery.<br />

Scan here for<br />

more resources<br />

from Mona:<br />

28 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 29

The International Day of Education,<br />

observed globally on 24th <strong>January</strong>, is<br />

“dedicated to promoting the significance<br />

of education in fostering peace and<br />

sustainable development”. For us in the<br />

early years industry, it’s an opportunity<br />

to infuse excitement into learning while<br />

involving both children and staff in a<br />

celebration that transcends the early years<br />

setting.<br />

In this article, we’ll explore the essence<br />

of the International Day of Education<br />

and discuss engaging activities that can<br />

benefit both children and staff, along with<br />

strategies to get parents actively involved<br />

in the celebration.<br />

Understanding the<br />

International Day of<br />

Education<br />

The International Day of Education,<br />

declared by the United Nations, aims<br />

to underline the transformative power<br />

of education and advocate for its<br />

accessibility to all. It serves as a reminder<br />

that education is not only a fundamental<br />

human right but also a key driver of<br />

progress and development worldwide.<br />

Celebrating<br />

International Day of<br />

Education<br />

A joyful journey of learning in early years<br />

lift many out of poverty and pave the path<br />

for a promising future.<br />

According to UNESCO’s statistical data,<br />

an estimated 258 million children are<br />

not in school. The situation is worse for<br />

marginalised communities, those living<br />

in areas with higher inequality, and<br />

underdeveloped countries. The bitter<br />

reality is that there are countless societies<br />

around the world today where education<br />

is dismissed as unnecessary.<br />

International Day of Education is a call<br />

for action - bringing individuals, civil<br />

society, and policymakers to take solid<br />

steps towards ensuring that education<br />

is given to children, as well as improving<br />

youth engagement in education. Learning<br />

programmes should be designed for<br />

the needs of different demographics,<br />

converging to one main goal; equipping<br />

children with the education needed for<br />

employment and better futures.<br />

Here’s how to get the<br />

children, the team<br />

and the parents<br />

involved!<br />

Global learning adventures<br />

Transport children on a journey around<br />

the world by organising activities that<br />

explore different cultures, languages, and<br />

traditions. Incorporate storytelling, music,<br />

and art to make the learning experience<br />

immersive and enjoyable.<br />

Creative arts and crafts<br />

Engage children in hands-on activities<br />

like creating their own crafts related<br />

to different countries. This not only<br />

enhances their creativity but also<br />

reinforces educational concepts.<br />

Why not try these activities<br />

for staff which can be used<br />

for CPD training?<br />

Professional development sessions<br />

Plan professional development sessions<br />

for staff to explore innovative teaching<br />

methods, discuss current trends in early<br />

childhood education, and share best<br />

practices. This can contribute to their<br />

continuous growth as educators.<br />

Collaborative learning<br />

Foster a collaborative learning environment<br />

among staff members. Encourage the<br />

sharing of ideas, strategies, and success<br />

stories, creating a supportive community<br />

within your setting.<br />

Reflective practice sessions<br />

Organise sessions where staff can reflect<br />

on their teaching practices and share<br />

insights. This can enhance self-awareness<br />

and contribute to a culture of continuous<br />

improvement.<br />

Involving parents<br />

Open day celebrations<br />

Designate a special day for parents<br />

to visit the early years setting.<br />

Showcase children’s projects, conduct<br />

demonstrations of learning activities, and<br />

involve parents in interactive sessions.<br />

Communication channels<br />

Utilise various communication channels<br />

such as newsletters, emails, and social<br />

media to keep parents informed about<br />

the significance of the International Day<br />

of Education. Share updates on planned<br />

activities and encourage their active<br />

participation.<br />

Volunteer opportunities<br />

Provide parents with opportunities to<br />

volunteer in organising and participating in<br />

events. This not only strengthens the sense<br />

of community but also demonstrates the<br />

collective commitment to education.<br />

Supporting charities<br />

Aligning itself with the objectives of the<br />

UN’s International Day of Education,<br />

<strong>Parenta</strong>’s charity, the <strong>Parenta</strong> Trust,<br />

aims to support disadvantaged children<br />

across the world by providing them<br />

with the opportunity to receive a quality<br />

pre-school education, in a safe and<br />

loving environment. It is committed to<br />

helping orphaned and underprivileged<br />

children across the world reach their full<br />

potential. The charity’s mission is to make<br />

a difference to these children’s lives and<br />

give them the best possible start - one<br />

that every child deserves. You can find<br />

out more about the early years charity at<br />

www.parentatrust.com.<br />

As we celebrate the International Day<br />

of Education in early years settings, let’s<br />

embrace the opportunity to create a<br />

joyful and enriching learning experience<br />

for children, staff, and parents alike. By<br />

fostering a sense of global awareness,<br />

collaboration, and continuous<br />

improvement, we contribute to the holistic<br />

development of our young learners and<br />

nurture a community that values education<br />

as a beacon of progress. Together,<br />

let’s make every day an educational<br />


Frances Turnbull<br />

While many children start speaking early,<br />

not all children do. In fact, for parents<br />

whose children do not start speaking early,<br />

it can be heart-breaking to hear other<br />

parents talk about their frustrations with<br />

children who won’t stop talking.<br />

Children may not speak fluently for many<br />

reasons, from physical impediments to<br />

neurological or learning differences. When<br />

a delay is identified, it is helpful for parents<br />

to be guided towards medical assessment.<br />

Not only can this eliminate more serious<br />

conditions, but it can also open doors<br />

for early intervention. One easy and<br />

accessible activity that can support<br />

intervention is singing familiar songs.

How to implement the<br />

new EYFS changes<br />

Over the years there have been several<br />

changes to the EYFS, and a revised version<br />

has recently been published.<br />

The Government also recently published<br />

the results of this consultation, with some<br />

changes being rejected.<br />

Settings should now:<br />

☑ Implement any statutory changes –<br />

things you MUST do<br />

☑ Reassess areas where changes are<br />

recommended or suggested – things<br />

you COULD do<br />

☑ Inform and train your staff<br />

☑ Tell your parents/carers about the<br />

changes you implement<br />

Recent changes are designed to:<br />

☑ Offer settings more flexibility on<br />

staffing and relevant qualifications<br />

☑ Make things more practical for<br />

different types of settings<br />

☑ Reduce known burdens, especially in<br />

recruiting and training staff<br />

☑ Help settings provide children with a<br />

high-quality education<br />

The principles of good practice,<br />

characteristics of effective learning, and<br />

curriculum areas are unchanged. The<br />

main changes have to do with staffing<br />

ratios and who can and cannot be<br />

included in calculating staff ratios. These<br />

changes may ease burdens on many<br />

settings as finding qualified staff is difficult,<br />

and budgets are squeezed.<br />

The main change is that the statutory<br />

minimum staff ratio for children aged 2,<br />

has changed from 1:4 to 1:5. This means<br />

that if you have 20 children aged 2 in your<br />

setting, you would need 5 staff under<br />

the old system, but only 4 staff under the<br />

new ratio measures. Although this has<br />

been controversial and opposed by many,<br />

the Government says that the change is<br />

optional, and settings are still free to work<br />

with more staff if they prefer. Managers<br />

will need to decide what is right for their<br />

setting, the children they look after and the<br />

staff they have.<br />

Students and apprentices are not normally<br />

counted in ratios for qualified staff but may<br />

now be counted as unqualified staff in<br />

some circumstances. The 2023 changes<br />

now allow some suitable staff to be<br />

included in the level below the one they<br />

are studying. Therefore, if an apprentice<br />

is studying for a Level 3 qualification, they<br />

can be counted in the ratio of staff with a<br />

Level 2 qualification as long as they are<br />

considered “competent and responsible”<br />

by the setting. If you do this, however,<br />

be prepared to support your decision if<br />

questioned. In truth, Ofsted has said that<br />

they are unlikely to “count heads” as they<br />

inspect a setting, however, the real test,<br />

is whether management feels that they<br />

have left children in the care of enough<br />

competent people, and this would be a<br />

safeguarding concern if the answer is ‘no’.<br />

The changes now also remove the<br />

requirement for Level 3 staff to hold a<br />

Level 2 Maths qualification (equivalent to a<br />

GCSE). Instead, settings must ensure that<br />

their staff are sufficiently knowledgeable<br />

in maths to deliver high-quality provision<br />

in this area. This may relieve the pressure<br />

on settings where staff have good maths<br />

knowledge, but no paper qualifications.<br />

Settings should satisfy themselves that<br />

there are enough staff with a good<br />

enough knowledge of maths or upskill<br />

workers if needed.<br />

In all these areas, the Government is keen<br />

not to be too prescriptive about how staff<br />

are deployed and stresses that the ratios<br />

work across the setting as a whole, not for<br />

each room.<br />

See earlyyears.blog.gov.uk/2023/04/20/<br />

how-staff-to-child-ratios-work for more<br />

information on how ratios work across<br />

the setting.<br />

EAL students<br />

Another change which may alleviate<br />

staffing issues is the requirement that<br />

providers “must” support children with<br />

English as an Additional Language (EAL)<br />

to develop their home language. This<br />

has changed from “must” to may”, which<br />

can help if you have been struggling to<br />

find staff or volunteers who can speak<br />

the child’s first language. However, best<br />

practice would say that helping children<br />

with their first language as well as<br />

teaching them English, benefits them in the<br />

long term, so you may still want to seek<br />

out opportunities to promote this in your<br />

setting.<br />

Changes to supervision<br />

during snack and mealtimes<br />

There is an important word change around<br />

the supervision of children when eating.<br />

Adequate supervision when eating now<br />

requires staff to be in sight AND sound of<br />

children to reduce choking risk. This is a<br />

change from “sight OR sound”. This means<br />

that staff need to be in the same room and<br />

looking at/listening to the children during<br />

snack and lunch times.<br />

There are some other minor changes<br />

around qualifications and the new<br />

separate EYFS versions can be viewed at:<br />

www.gov.uk/government/publications/<br />

early-years-foundation-stageframework--2.<br />

The Government response to the<br />

consultation can be found at:<br />

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/<br />

media/653a7a0ee6c9680014aa9bc6/<br />

Early_years_foundation_stage_regulatory_<br />

changes_-_consultation_response.pdf.<br />

How to implement change<br />

Some people find change stressful, so as<br />

a manager or leader, you will need to take<br />

steps to ensure a smooth transition from<br />

one way of working to another. Always<br />

stress the positive aspects of the change<br />

and try to avoid the tendency to focus on<br />

negative aspects. Make sure you inform<br />

and train your staff accordingly - and offer<br />

them support as and when needed. You<br />

may need to support managers too if they<br />

are responsible for delivering changes.<br />

Practitioners are called on a lot to make a<br />

“professional judgement” so it’s important<br />

to support your staff and managers to<br />

make these, be reflective about what<br />

is working and what is not, and adjust<br />

procedures and practices when needed.<br />

It may be a good idea to contact other<br />

local nurseries, or review industry advice<br />

to see how others are coping with the<br />

changes, and perhaps contact your Local<br />

Authority to see if they have any further<br />

advice or courses relevant to the changes<br />

needed. Some companies like <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

offer CPD for staff which could be useful.<br />

Embedding the changes<br />

As with most aspects of the statutory<br />

guidance, the best way to prove that you<br />

are compliant and following the rules, is<br />

to have strong evidence and to embed<br />

things across the setting. Ofsted inspectors<br />

want to see practices embedded across<br />

the whole setting, rather than a one-off<br />

example as a tick-box exercise.<br />

Creating a parent guide<br />

If you have not already done so, sending<br />

parents a short guide to the changes and<br />

how this will affect their children is useful.<br />

This could be done as:<br />

☑ Article or blog on your <strong>website</strong><br />

☑ Newsletter or information sheet –<br />

either printed and sent/handed out,<br />

emailed home or published online<br />

☑ A video or vlog outlining the changes<br />

☑ An in-person parent information<br />

session<br />

☑ Telephone calls home<br />

At the very least, you should signpost<br />

your parents to sites which show them<br />

the general changes that have been<br />

introduced, but it would be good practice<br />

to personalise the changes so that they<br />

are relevant to their children in your setting.<br />

☑ nationalnurserytraining.com/<br />

navigating-the-2023-changes-to-theeyfs-a-comprehensive-guide/<br />

☑ app.croneri.co.uk/feature-articles/<br />

what-changes-eyfs-mean-providersseptember-2023<br />

Scan here for<br />

more references<br />

& information:<br />

34 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 35

EYFS activities:<br />

Literacy<br />

In the EYFS, literacy plays a pivotal role in fostering crucial developmental skills in young children. Early exposure to<br />

literacy activities, including reading and language-rich interactions, lays the foundation for effective communication<br />

and comprehension.<br />

It not only promotes achievement in language but also enhances cognitive abilities, critical thinking, and problemsolving<br />

skills. Moreover, it nurtures a love for reading and learning, setting the stage for a lifelong journey of<br />

exploration and knowledge.<br />

The emphasis on literacy in the early years is integral to preparing children for academic success and equipping<br />

them with essential tools for communication and self-expression.<br />

Word tracing with pom-poms<br />

You will need:<br />

• Printed word templates or marker pen and<br />

paper<br />

• Plastic tweezers<br />

• Small pom-pom balls<br />

• Collect printed word templates or use<br />

a marker pen to write words on sheets<br />

of paper. Write simple words or create<br />

sentences on the paper, either using<br />

printed templates or a marker pen<br />

• Make sure to write in large print, or use<br />

large word templates for easy placement of<br />

the pom-pom balls<br />

• Introduce the plastic tweezers to the<br />

children and explain the activity, then<br />

instruct them to use the tweezers to pick up<br />

the small pom-pom balls<br />

• Encourage the children to trace the outline<br />

of the words on the paper using the pompom<br />

balls<br />

• Emphasise feeling the words as they trace,<br />

associating the tactile experience with word<br />

recognition<br />

• Make the activity more engaging by<br />

allowing the children to create their own<br />

patterns or designs while tracing the words<br />

• If using sentences, discuss the meaning of<br />

the words and the context of the sentence<br />

to reinforce understanding<br />

By combining a sensory experience with word<br />

learning, this activity provides a playful and<br />

effective way for children to engage with<br />

language while refining their motor skills.<br />

More on this activity and others can be found<br />

here: https://kindergarteniscrazyfun.com/10-<br />

ways-to-teach-sight-words-for-literacy-stationand-guided-reading-group-activities/<br />

Alphabet matching puzzle<br />

You will need:<br />

• Paper plates<br />

• Coloured marker pens<br />

• Child-friendly scissors<br />

• Cut the paper plates in half using scissors<br />

• Aim for slight variations in the cuts for each<br />

plate<br />

• After cutting a plate, use the coloured<br />

marker pens to write a lowercase letter on<br />

one half and the corresponding uppercase<br />

letter on the other<br />

• Consider starting with the letters of the<br />

child’s name for a personalised touch<br />

• Continue this process for all the plates,<br />

creating sets of puzzle pieces with<br />

matching uppercase and lowercase letters<br />

• Once all puzzle pieces are ready, shuffle<br />

them around on a flat surface<br />

• Encourage the children to match the pieces<br />

by connecting the uppercase and lowercase<br />

letters<br />

• Prompt discussions about the alphabet<br />

letters and their sounds as the children<br />

engage in the matching game<br />

• While playing, discuss the similarities and<br />

differences between the uppercase and<br />

lowercase letters<br />

• Reinforce learning by emphasising the<br />

importance of recognising both forms<br />

This simple and interactive activity not only<br />

enhances letter recognition but also provides<br />

an engaging way for children to explore the<br />

alphabet and its characteristics.<br />

More on this activity and others can be found<br />

here: https://toddlerapproved.com/alphabetpaper-plate-puzzles/<br />

Storytime fun<br />

You will need:<br />

• A fun storybook<br />

• Choose an engaging and age-appropriate<br />

storybook that captivates the children’s<br />

interest<br />

• Begin reading the story, and after each<br />

sentence or page, encourage the children to<br />

participate actively<br />

• Prompt them to act out the actions of the<br />

story characters<br />

• Engage the children by asking questions<br />

related to the story<br />

• Encourage them to express themselves<br />

by answering questions and sharing their<br />

thoughts on the narrative<br />

• Watch as their imagination shines through<br />

as they bring the story to life through<br />

actions and responses<br />

• Use this interactive approach to enhance<br />

comprehension skills by ensuring the<br />

children understand the storyline and<br />

characters<br />

• Utilise this opportunity to promote<br />

communication skills by encouraging the<br />

children to articulate their thoughts and<br />

experiences related to the story<br />

• Experiment with different stories and<br />

adapt the level of interaction based on the<br />

children’s age and preferences<br />

• Allow room for creative interpretations and<br />

adaptations of the story actions<br />

By transforming traditional storytime into an<br />

interactive experience, this activity not only<br />

makes reading enjoyable but also contributes<br />

to the holistic development of children,<br />

encompassing comprehension, confidence, and<br />

communication skills.<br />

More on this activity and others can be found<br />

here: https://www.firstdiscoverers.co.uk/earlyyears-literacy-games-activities/<br />

36 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com

Child<br />

development<br />

Gina Bale<br />

Dance and movement - part 1<br />

This is a two-part article on<br />

dance and movement with<br />

information, simple guides,<br />

and questions to help you<br />

include this valuable activity<br />

in your setting.<br />

Dance and movement<br />

Dance and movement allow children to<br />

use their whole body as they explore<br />

movement and develop an awareness<br />

of their physical abilities. It is also unique<br />

as it is both very physical and expressive<br />

all at the same time. Movement is the<br />

fundamental means of human expression.<br />

It doesn’t cost anything to do as no<br />

equipment is needed apart from their<br />

own body (the instrument) and the area<br />

or space (the medium) in which they can<br />

move. This is incredible when you think<br />

of all the skills movement and dance<br />

promote in developing personal, social,<br />

and emotional development, critical<br />

thinking skills, and movement memory,<br />

that will help them in school and life.<br />

Movement memory: is the ability to copy,<br />

repeat and remember actions, phrases,<br />

and patterns. This starts with actions and<br />

rhymes with babies and progresses to a<br />

movement phrase or dance that lasts for<br />

several minutes.<br />

Sadly, despite this, movement and dance<br />

are almost invisible if you compare them to<br />

the volume of music and other visual arts<br />

that are all around us through the medium<br />

of social media, TV, radio, art galleries,<br />

cinemas, <strong>magazine</strong>s, advertisements and<br />

books.<br />

Question: Have you researched the<br />

age-appropriate, opportunities in your<br />

local community for children to dance and<br />

watch dance?<br />

The art of expression<br />

Dance and movement are the universal<br />

language of communication. The way<br />

the body expresses our emotions and<br />

thoughts is critical as we read body<br />

language before we hear and listen to<br />

what is being said. This is known as the<br />

‘Communication Rule Theory’ (created by<br />

Professor Mehrabian and Morton Wiener<br />

in 1967). The 3 C’s of communication are<br />

divided into spoken words, tone of voice,<br />

and body language.<br />

The chart below shows how much we<br />

express our thoughts and emotions with<br />

our bodies.<br />

Question: Have you thought about how<br />

you express your emotions of happiness,<br />

excitement, anger, and sadness in your<br />

body movements?<br />

Body<br />

language<br />

55%<br />

Dance and movement is<br />

for ALL!<br />

Everyone can move and dance no matter<br />

their needs and physical abilities. The<br />

biggest hindrance to children’s movement<br />

is adults. Adults, unconsciously, bring in<br />

their assumptions to the class of children’s<br />

abilities and potential. In our diverse<br />

population, it is also important to be<br />

sensitive to varied beliefs and attitudes<br />

about movement and dance as an activity<br />

in your setting.<br />

Question: What are the obstacles to<br />

incorporating movement and dance<br />

in your setting and how can they be<br />

overcome?<br />

With movement, some children may be<br />

anxious, or resistant and find it easier to<br />

work with adult support and guidance,<br />

while others are confident and selfassured.<br />

Our role is to facilitate and<br />

engage them in the activity.<br />

Spoken word<br />

7%<br />

Tone of<br />

voice<br />

38%<br />

If you are enthusiastic, having fun, and<br />

confident in your movement, this will<br />

encourage your children to become<br />

involved. When they are involved, you are<br />

helping to nurture their physical, creative,<br />

imaginative, emotional, and cognitive<br />

skills.<br />

By incorporating movement and dance in<br />

your setting, you are helping to prepare<br />

them to lead healthy, active lives and feel<br />

confident with the activities within the PE<br />

National Curriculum when they transition<br />

to primary school.<br />

Cultural exploration<br />

All dance has a cultural context and can<br />

be explored with your children. Dance<br />

defines communities but can also bring<br />

them together through the universal nonverbal<br />

communication that is the language<br />

of dance and movement.<br />

Question: Have you explored dance from<br />

different cultures and countries with your<br />

children?<br />

What can our bodies<br />

do?<br />

✨ Actions<br />

Our bodies can travel, turn, jump, gesture<br />

and be still. All children can join in all<br />

these activities with your assistance and<br />

adaption to their physical needs.<br />

Travelling: The transfer of weight to move<br />

across space either by using our feet or<br />

other body parts.<br />

Turning: The body rotates around an axis.<br />

It can be varied by the body shape, size of<br />

the rotation, use of feet, level, and speed.<br />

Jumping: Leaving and landing on the<br />

floor and this can be done with different<br />

types of jumps.<br />

Types of Jumps<br />

One foot to the same foot, one foot to the<br />

other foot, both feet to both feet, one foot<br />

to both feet and both feet to one foot.<br />

Gesture: Moving a part of a body that<br />

does not involve a transfer of or bearing of<br />

weight. This is used to communicate the<br />

meaning of the movement.<br />

Stillness: The ability to control or stop a<br />

movement.<br />

✨ Dynamics<br />

The qualities of movement and dance<br />

are known as the dynamics and how the<br />

body moves. This provides the colour and<br />

textures of a movement. Laban’s analysis<br />

of movement has given us four elements.<br />

Weight, space, time, and flow as every<br />

action the body does has energy, speed,<br />

and continuity.<br />

✨ Space<br />

Where the body moves provides the visual<br />

design of dance. The use of space helps to<br />

communicate the meanings using shape,<br />

level, and air patterns.<br />

✨ Relationships<br />

How we move and dance with each other<br />

varies from the simplest relationship of<br />

leading, following, copying, and mirroring<br />

to the complex use of counterpoint.<br />

Now we know what the body is capable<br />

of, we are ready to create and move and<br />

dance together.<br />

In part 2 of this article, I will cover<br />

movement and dance as an ‘Art’<br />

model and how you can incorporate<br />

this in your setting for ALL children.<br />

Scan here for<br />

more resources<br />

from Gina:<br />

38 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 39

C<br />

C<br />

M<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

K<br />

C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

Online Courses and<br />

Online Online Courses Online Courses and Courses and and<br />

Accreditations Nurturing<br />

Accreditations Accreditations Nurturing Nurturing<br />

Children in their Early Years<br />

Children Children in Children their in their Early in Early their Years Years Early Years<br />

C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

Courses, talks and guides: Written for<br />

Courses,<br />

parents Courses, and<br />

talks<br />

professionals. talks Courses, and guides: and talks guides: Written and<br />

Allowing Written guides: for<br />

us to for Written for<br />

parents<br />

work parents together,<br />

and professionals. and parents<br />

with professionals. and Allowing professionals.<br />

the child at the Allowing us<br />

centre<br />

to us Allowing to us to<br />

work<br />

of all work together,<br />

we do. together, with work the with together, child the at child with the at the centre the child centre at the centre<br />

of all we of all do. we do. of all we do.<br />

Online access: Available any time, any<br />

Online<br />

where. Online access:<br />

Scheduled access: Online Available<br />

to Available access:<br />

meet<br />

any<br />

your<br />

time, any Available<br />

needs time, any<br />

any time, any<br />

where.<br />

and where. your<br />

Scheduled<br />

time Scheduled where.<br />

frame.<br />

to meet Scheduled<br />

Never to meet your<br />

miss<br />

needs your to meet<br />

a needs your needs<br />

and<br />

training<br />

your and time<br />

session your frame. time and your<br />

again. frame. Never time Never miss frame. a miss Never a miss a<br />

training training session session training again. again. session again.<br />

Designed and delivered by experts:<br />

Designed<br />

Both Designed in the<br />

and<br />

field<br />

delivered Designed and of child delivered by and<br />

development<br />

experts: delivered by experts: by experts:<br />

and<br />

Both<br />

practice.<br />

in Both the<br />

Understanding field the Both of field child in of the development child field<br />

the challenges development of child and development and and<br />

practice.<br />

you practice. face<br />

Understanding<br />

and Understanding practice. Understanding<br />

how to meet<br />

the<br />

them.<br />

challenges<br />

challenges the challenges<br />

you face you and face how and you to how face meet to and meet them. how them. to meet them.<br />

Supporting you: Recognising the<br />

Supporting<br />

foundational Supporting you: Supporting<br />

experiences<br />

Recognising you: Recognising you:<br />

children<br />

the Recognising the the<br />

need<br />

foundational<br />

and foundational celebrating<br />

experiences foundational<br />

the experiences work<br />

children experiences<br />

you are children need<br />

doing need children need<br />

to<br />

and<br />

offer<br />

celebrating and them. celebrating and the celebrating work the work you are you the doing are work doing to you are to doing to<br />

offer them. offer them. offer them.<br />

For more information and free samples of the course<br />

For go more to: For www.NurturingChildhoods.co.uk/parenta<br />

more information information For more and information free and samples free samples and of the free of course samples the course of the course<br />

go to: go to: www.NurturingChildhoods.co.uk/parenta<br />

go to: www.NurturingChildhoods.co.uk/parenta Scan Me!<br />

Nurturing<br />

Nurturing<br />

Childhoods<br />

Childhoods Nurturing Nurturing<br />

Childhoods Childhoods<br />

Pssst... Let the Littlemagictrain<br />

take your children on a magical<br />

journey of learning and lots of<br />

fun!<br />

Pssst...<br />

Let the Littlemagictrain take your<br />

children on a magical journey of<br />

learning and lots of fun!<br />

“<br />

“Littlemagictrain has helped children to develop<br />

their confidence and desire to communicate,<br />

describe, understand, and use new vocabulary.<br />

By week 6, I observed clear improvement in<br />

attention, memory and narrative skills.”<br />

“<br />

<br />

<br />

“Littlemagictrain has helped children to develop<br />

their confidence and desire to communicate,<br />

describe, understand, and use new vocabulary.<br />

By week 6, I observed clear improvement in<br />

attention, memory and narrative skills.”<br />

Liz Shoreman, Senior Speech and Language<br />

Therapist and Manager, The Speech Bubble<br />

Liz Shoreman, Senior Speech and Language<br />

Therapist and Manager, The Speech Bubble<br />

“The staff always join in and I can honestly<br />

say it’s one of the best products we’ve<br />

ever invested in!”<br />

“The staff always join in and I can honestly<br />

say it’s one of the best products we’ve<br />

ever invested in!”<br />

Nicky Sanford, Early Years Teacher,<br />

Marcham Pre-school<br />

Nicky Sanford, Early Years Teacher,<br />

Marcham Pre-school<br />

“<br />

“<br />

FREE<br />

Training and<br />

support.<br />

FREE<br />



www.littlemagictrain.com<br />

www.littlemagictrain.com<br />

Or email: Hello@littlemagictrain.com<br />

Or email: Hello@littlemagictrain.com

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!