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Issue 113<br />

APRIL <strong>2024</strong><br />

COVER<br />

Strategies to try when<br />

they won’t eat!<br />

Ways to build<br />

self-worth in children<br />

The fascinating<br />

world of schemas<br />

+ lots more<br />

EYFS activities<br />

inside!<br />

This month…<br />

Physical<br />

Development<br />

Celebrating International<br />

Dance Day<br />

Dealing with bad debt in early years settings<br />

Discover how your business is doing compared to others

12<br />

34<br />

24<br />

Hello<br />

Welcome to our family<br />

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

We’re not quite sure how the first quarter of the year has passed already, but we are sure the little ones in settings all over<br />

the country are eagerly spotting the flowers, blossoms and insects just about making an appearance!<br />

In <strong>April</strong>, our focus turns to SEND – we delve into meeting the diverse needs of children and the importance of early<br />

intervention, visual communication, the role of STEM and how we can meet the diverse needs of all children. Our <strong>magazine</strong> is<br />

packed with insightful advice and guidance on these matters.<br />

Save the date! Join us on 25th <strong>April</strong> for what will be a highly-engaging webinar, “Your Toolkit for an All-Inclusive Literacy<br />

Curriculum” with Dr Sarah Moseley and Paloma Forde. You can register at www.parenta.com/webinars and don’t forget you<br />

will earn a CPD certificate if you attend!<br />

Just a few of the fantastic articles we have in store for you this month include Joanna Grace’s new eating strategies series,<br />

essential Prevent duty guidance with Yvonne Sinclair, and Dance and Music top tips with Frances Turnbull and Gina Bale.<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 />

22<br />

Regulars<br />

10 Write for us<br />

36 EYFS Activities: Physical development<br />

News<br />

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

6 Counting the costs: dealing with bad debt in<br />

early years settings<br />

8 Childcare news and views<br />

Advice<br />

28<br />

14 Inclusive practice in EYFS: Meeting the diverse needs<br />

of children and the importance of early intervention<br />

22 International Children’s Book Day<br />

26 The role of STEM in SEND<br />

30 Strategies for coping with stress<br />

Industry Experts<br />

38<br />

12 Strategies to try when they won’t eat: Part 1<br />

18 Using visual communication to support children<br />

with SEND<br />

20 Safeguarding: Prevent for early years<br />

24 Ways to build self-worth in children<br />

28 The fascinating world of schemas<br />

32 Musical medicine: A dream to communicate<br />

34 Nature’s makerspace - the magic of sticks: part 2<br />

38 Celebrating International Dance Day: Uniting the arts,<br />

economy, and well-being<br />

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

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

What do our customers<br />

say this month?<br />

“I have nothing but praise for the <strong>Parenta</strong> team.<br />

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Joanne Lee<br />

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Abs<br />

“Paul and Lorraine at the <strong>Parenta</strong> Team are extremely<br />

helpful and supportive for any queries we have at<br />

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Always on hand to help, a brilliant working partnership<br />

to find eager individuals ready to embark on their<br />

career in Early Years. Lorraine recently went above and<br />

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Emily Stoker<br />

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I could ever wish for. She is full of passion and patience<br />

for everyone. She has always believed in me and<br />

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Thank you Najma!”<br />

Iwona B<br />

“Regarding the most recent free <strong>Parenta</strong> webinar - it<br />

was very interesting and I learnt a lot!”<br />

luwaseun Ponmile<br />

Charisse Vanes<br />

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directs and gives brilliant guidance!<br />

“<strong>Parenta</strong> have helped me to redevelop my website.<br />

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An absolute asset to <strong>Parenta</strong>”<br />

and efficient. I’m so glad that I decided to use them to<br />

Little Robins<br />

help with this.”<br />

Rachel Luntz<br />

Congratulations<br />

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

Massive CONGRATULATIONS to Alma, who has<br />

completed her Level 2 EYP and gained<br />

her qualification!<br />

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

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

Counting<br />

the costs<br />

Dr Allan Presland<br />

Dealing with bad debt in<br />

early years settings<br />

I was recently reading a post from one of<br />

the many Early Years Facebook groups I<br />

follow. This post was from a nursery owner<br />

asking about bad debt.<br />

The post talked about how a parent had<br />

placed their child at the nursery for about<br />

6 weeks and then left the setting having<br />

paid nothing during that time. The post<br />

didn’t mention funding, but the implication<br />

was that she had lost 6 weeks of income<br />

and the question to the community was<br />

what should she do about it?<br />

To my surprise, many responded to just<br />

put it down to experience and write off<br />

the money. A few were indignant and<br />

suggested fighting back, either through<br />

the courts, and a few more suggested<br />

letting local competitors know, so they<br />

didn’t fall prey to the same situation.<br />

Before we go any further though with<br />

solutions, let’s give some thought to the<br />

true cost of this theft. And before anyone<br />

says it’s not theft, I’m afraid it is – running<br />

a nursery is hard enough as it is, without<br />

people stealing income, and when you<br />

consider that only 50% of nurseries are<br />

profitable, this may be enough to push<br />

some settings too far. So, let’s call it what it<br />

is – it’s theft.<br />

Secondly, let’s consider what it truly costs.<br />

As in my previous articles, let’s make the<br />

maths super simple by assuming that<br />

the full-time place for a child is £ 1,000. If<br />

this child attended for 6 weeks (assuming<br />

without funding) then the cost that the<br />

parent should have incurred is £1,500. So<br />

that’s £ 1,500 of income that has been lost.<br />

That’s not great, but I’m afraid it’s only part<br />

of the story.<br />

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

Let’s assume that the setting in question<br />

has a 5% profit margin. To earn that<br />

£1,500 with a 5% profit margin you would<br />

need to invoice £30,000! This is because<br />

with a 5% profit margin, you earn 1/20th of<br />

everything you bill (100/5=20). Therefore, if<br />

you multiply that £1,500 of bad debt by 20<br />

you get to the earned value.<br />

Armed with this information, I hope this<br />

will have changed the position of many<br />

who said simply write off the money and<br />

put it down to experience. The fact of the<br />

matter is, that you really cannot afford to<br />

do this, and I would recommend using<br />

one of the low-cost online debt legal firms<br />

to issue a “letter-before-action” against<br />

this parent.<br />

Far more important though, is the need to<br />

be proactive about this in the first place.<br />

The most successful settings rarely suffer<br />

from bad debt. They achieve this by:

Childcare news<br />

and views<br />

Decrease in availability of childcare:<br />

Coram family and childcare<br />

In its 23rd annual survey, Coram Family<br />

and Childcare has disclosed a sustained<br />

decline in childcare accessibility throughout<br />

England, encompassing all areas of<br />

provision. Anticipating the forthcoming<br />

expansion of childcare services in <strong>April</strong>,<br />

councils have expressed apprehension<br />

regarding the implementation of the policy<br />

and the adequacy of available slots.<br />

The survey revealed that a part-time<br />

nursery place for a child under two now<br />

costs an average of £158 per week in<br />

Great Britain, up 7% from 2023.<br />

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of<br />

the National Day Nurseries Association<br />

(NDNA) said: “The findings from the Coram<br />

report echo the concerns we have seen<br />

from providers. Although early years<br />

settings have been working hard to deliver<br />

the places parents need, rising costs,<br />

uncertainty on funding and workforce<br />

pressures have made it a real challenge.<br />

A spokesman for Kensington Palace said:<br />

“The Princess has been kept updated<br />

throughout the process.”<br />

It asked health visitors to use a version of<br />

a tool known as the Alarm Distress Baby<br />

Scale (ADBB), which focuses on a baby’s<br />

social behaviours such as eye contact,<br />

facial expression, vocalisation and activity<br />

levels, to help experts and families better<br />

understand the ways babies express their<br />

feelings.<br />

Those who used it reported an increase in<br />

their knowledge and skills in interpreting<br />

baby behaviour, which left them better<br />

able to support families.<br />

The report recommends expanding the<br />

use of the tool to health visiting teams in<br />

more areas of the UK.<br />

The trial was inspired by the Princess of<br />

Wales’s trip to Denmark in 2022, where<br />

she met families who had benefited from<br />

the ADBB system and returned home<br />

wanting to see if it would translate to<br />

Britain. It has been funded by the Royal<br />

Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.<br />

Health visitors from South Warwickshire<br />

described the training as “hugely<br />

beneficial” and “of great importance” to<br />

their practice, requiring minimal additional<br />

time during appointments. They also<br />

reported that it allowed them to have more<br />

meaningful conversations with parents<br />

about their baby’s emotional well-being,<br />

boosting positive parent-infant attachment<br />

and identifying families in greater need of<br />

support.<br />

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

Daily Telegraph can be found here:<br />

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/royalfamily/<strong>2024</strong>/03/21/catherine-princesswales-works-from-home-early-yearseases/<br />

Latest Early Years Ofsted blog:<br />

The Holiday Activities and Food<br />

programme<br />

In October 2021, the government<br />

announced a 3-year funding settlement of<br />

over £200 million each year for the ‘holiday<br />

activities and food (HAF) programme’;<br />

2023 to <strong>2024</strong> is the second year of<br />

the funding settlement, following the<br />

successful rollout of the programme across<br />

all areas of England in 2021.<br />

“The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF)<br />

programme is funded by the Department<br />

for Education (DfE). The programme aims to<br />

help families with enrichment activities and<br />

food for children throughout the holiday<br />

periods and is for children who receive<br />

free school meals, although providers<br />

are encouraged to make it open to all.<br />

HAF providers are encouraged to check if<br />

they are required to register with Ofsted<br />

and the DfE has updated its childcare<br />

exemptions guidance with information<br />

about HAF provision to clarify the terms of<br />

registration.” The requirement to register<br />

with Ofsted depends on:<br />

The nature of the childcare you are<br />

providing<br />

The ages of the children<br />

The number of days you will provide<br />

care each year<br />

Even if you are not required to register, you<br />

may be eligible to register on the voluntary<br />

part of the Childcare Register if you meet<br />

the requirements. This is necessary if<br />

you want parents to be able to use their<br />

Tax-Free Childcare entitlements. If you are<br />

considering setting up HAF provision, you<br />

should work with your local authority to<br />

determine whether you need to register<br />

with Ofsted.”<br />

The DfE states that this blog provides<br />

some pointers, but please make sure you<br />

read the childcare registration exemption<br />

guidance to determine whether the type<br />

of provision you are offering requires<br />

registration with Ofsted or if you can rely<br />

on a registration exemption. It is your<br />

responsibility to get this right. It is an<br />

offence to provide childcare that requires<br />

registration without being registered with<br />

Ofsted.<br />

The blog can be read in full on the official<br />

government website here:<br />

https://earlyyears.blog.gov.<br />

uk/<strong>2024</strong>/03/19/the-holiday-activities-andfood-programme-when-you-need-toregister-with-ofsted/<br />

Full details of the holiday activities and<br />

food programme can be read here:<br />

https://www.gov.uk/government/<br />

publications/holiday-activities-and-foodprogramme/holiday-activities-and-foodprogramme-2023<br />

“Our provider survey found a similar<br />

parental fee increase, which puts a lot of<br />

pressure on families, but providers report<br />

that their staffing bill alone will increase<br />

by an average of 14% from <strong>April</strong>. These<br />

figures are not sustainable.”<br />

“We also know that accessing support<br />

for children with SEND is becoming more<br />

difficult for providers with councils likely to<br />

be overspent in their high-needs budget.<br />

This makes it more challenging to meet<br />

the individual needs of those children<br />

and harder to provide the right places for<br />

them.”<br />

“The Budget was an opportunity to provide<br />

immediate support to the sector but the<br />

much-needed additional funding will not<br />

arrive until 2025. This worrying report<br />

shows that families, providers and councils<br />

are facing immediate challenges ahead of<br />

<strong>April</strong>’s expansion.”<br />

The story in full can be read on the BBC<br />

website here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/<br />

news/education-68580918<br />

Princess of Wales eases back to work<br />

with childcare project<br />

The Princess of Wales has been working<br />

from home on her early years project to<br />

improve the lives of babies, as she eases<br />

back into normal life after her abdominal<br />

surgery and her recently announced<br />

cancer treatment.<br />

Kensington Palace confirmed that she had<br />

been kept up to date with her campaign<br />

and the “overwhelmingly positive” results<br />

of a study she inspired.<br />

The Princess’s Royal Foundation Centre<br />

for Early Childhood has funded a trial of a<br />

baby observation tool, which is to be used<br />

by health visitors to improve how they spot<br />

signs of social and emotional development<br />

in young children. Having personally<br />

suggested that the tool could be used in<br />

Britain after seeing a similar system during<br />

a royal visit to Denmark, the Princess has<br />

been particularly invested in the fourmonth<br />

trial.<br />

They identified behavioural concerns in 10<br />

per cent of the babies during the study as<br />

a result of using the tool.<br />

Christian Guy, executive director of the<br />

Centre for Early Childhood, said: “The<br />

results of the initial phase of testing are<br />

so encouraging. We now want to move<br />

quickly to ensure we build on this work,<br />

bringing the benefits of this model to more<br />

health visitors across the country so that,<br />

ultimately, more babies and their families<br />

get the support they need to thrive.”<br />

Dr Jane Barlow, professor of evidencebased<br />

intervention and policy evaluation<br />

at the University of Oxford, who oversaw<br />

the evaluation of the trial, said: “It is truly<br />

exciting to think about the impact this<br />

could have on families right across the<br />

country as we enter the next phase of this<br />

research.”<br />

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

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

Write for us!<br />

P R<br />

I C E<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 />

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P R<br />

I C E<br />

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

Congratulations to Frances Turnbull, our guest<br />

author of the month! Her enlightening article,<br />

“Musical Medicine: Building Resilience In Early<br />

Years” explores using music as a coping strategy<br />

for children. Well done Frances!<br />

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

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

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

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

10 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

Call 0800 002 9242 and quote ’Magazine’

Strategies to try<br />

when they won’t<br />

Joanna Grace<br />

eat: part 1<br />

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

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

In my last article, we explored the reality<br />

of eating difficulties prompted by sensory<br />

differences. I encourage you, if you have<br />

not read it, to click back and read that<br />

article first as for any of these strategies<br />

to work, you need to have a good sense<br />

of what the difficulties are that are being<br />

faced. Suffice to say here as a reminder<br />

that this is very much NOT about children<br />

being naughty and fussy and everything<br />

about them, and the adults who love<br />

them, being frightened and overwhelmed.<br />

As a professional coming into this, you<br />

have a choice between joining in with the<br />

pressure and the fear or standing back<br />

and offering possible ways out. I will say<br />

up front that I have no magic wands,<br />

these are just things I have found useful<br />

in the past when supporting children (and<br />

adults) who have struggled to eat because<br />

of sensory processing differences.<br />

All or nothing<br />

Often when you are supporting a child<br />

who struggles with eating, conversations<br />

with their family become all or nothing.<br />

The question is: “Have they eaten?” and<br />

the answer is yes or no. If you answer<br />

yes, the family member breathes a sigh of<br />

relief, pressure has been taken off them. If<br />

you answer no the family member draws<br />

breath in and fastens their resolve for the<br />

battle they know they have to face when<br />

they get home. Carrying on with this all-ornothing<br />

narrative ignores the complexity<br />

of what the child is facing and can make it<br />

feel like we are getting nowhere.<br />

Try breaking eating down into its sensory<br />

components. There are the smells of<br />

eating, the tastes of eating, the sound of<br />

eating, the look of food, and the texture<br />

of food. To be able to eat, a person has<br />

to be able to manage all of these things.<br />

Suppose I asked you to do five things you<br />

find difficult and asked you to do them all<br />

at once. It would be a bit much,<br />

wouldn’t it?<br />

But what if I gave you a chance to practice<br />

them one by one? Food can be looked at<br />

in photos – that do not pose any threat of<br />

an expectation of consumption, it can be<br />

watched on cooking shows, and in adverts<br />

(often the junk food children are willing to<br />

eat is the food they’ve encountered visually<br />

in a non-threatening way multiple times<br />

through adverts). Food can be played with<br />

outside away from any environment that<br />

suggests a requirement to eat, so that it is<br />

touched and felt.<br />

Things that are not food but share textural<br />

similarities with food can be explored in<br />

a tactile way, and then gradually blended<br />

with food. The smells of food can be<br />

offered without the sight or feel of food<br />

(opaque aware boxes with food inside,<br />

pinged in the microwave to release the<br />

scent and then opened just a fraction). The<br />

sounds of eating can be made at other<br />

times – the monster in the story could<br />

chomp upon an apple, and they can be<br />

heard on sound clips accessed online.<br />

What if at pick-up time you proudly told<br />

that anxious parent: “He’s done well<br />

today, he’s touched two different types of<br />

food and smelled one, we even did some<br />

chomping noises together when we were<br />

playing on the rope bridge at playtime”?<br />

You turn that all-or-nothing conversation<br />

into a journey, a journey you are on with<br />

that family – because it is not just the child<br />

who feels alone and frightened when<br />

faced across the table by the loved one<br />

who usually protects them but who is<br />

asking them to eat, it is the adult too – they<br />

need a friend like you.<br />

Go bold<br />

Sometimes when children (and adults)<br />

struggle with eating through sensory<br />

reasons, people try to start with bland<br />

soft foods, as they would with a child (or<br />

adult) who was nervous about new foods.<br />

This can work, but do you remember how<br />

in article 8 in this series, I explained that<br />

sensing is a skill we develop? There are<br />

early (easier) parts to this skill and later<br />

(harder) parts to this skill. In that article I<br />

gave the example of babies and sight; we<br />

know they see light and dark better than<br />

they see colour; this is because it is easier<br />

to understand what is light and what is<br />

dark than to understand what is yellow<br />

and what is green. The big bold contrasts<br />

were the easier option, and the subtler<br />

more nuanced; gentle aspects were the<br />

harder option.<br />

So it can seem counterintuitive but when<br />

you think about it from the position of<br />

sensory development, it makes sense:<br />

sometimes children who struggle to eat<br />

due to sensory differences respond better<br />

to big bold flavours or sensations than<br />

they do to seemingly ‘easier’ food. Try<br />

crunchy crisps or toasted pitta bread, try<br />

bold flavours- salty, spicy.<br />

At this point, it becomes relevant to tell<br />

you that I was one of these children. I<br />

limited my diet to mostly beige food (at<br />

least that takes the visual stimulation out<br />

of it, one less sensory task to manage)<br />

and repeatedly ate the same foods,<br />

often packaged foods as they are more<br />

predictable than home-cooked foods. I<br />

can pinpoint when I began to eat a wider<br />

range of foods to a moment at university<br />

(notice that this was a moment when the<br />

decision was all in my hands and there<br />

were no external pressures on what I<br />

should do whatsoever) when I considered<br />

that pickled onions might taste similar<br />

to the pickled onion crisps I regularly ate<br />

for my lunch. My starting point for eating<br />

vegetables was pickled onions!<br />

Make sure to read part 2 of Joanna’s<br />

article next month in the May edition<br />

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

Don’t miss out, subscribe now at:<br />

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

Scan here for<br />

more resources<br />

from Joanna:<br />

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

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

Inclusive practice in EYFS:<br />

Meeting the diverse needs of children and the<br />

What is inclusive<br />

practice?<br />

Inclusive practice in education is concerned<br />

with removing barriers to learning so that<br />

ALL children are able to access learning<br />

and everyone has equal opportunities to<br />

learn throughout their time in education.<br />

In early years, this is crucial to understand<br />

because it can set the tone of education<br />

for the child moving onto school and can<br />

sometimes ‘make or break’ the child’s<br />

experience of learning environments,<br />

setting them up to succeed or to fail<br />

later on.<br />

Early identification of children who need<br />

additional help is vital to ensure a positive<br />

learning experience for them and to help<br />

them get the support and resources<br />

they need for future learning. However,<br />

inclusive practice is not just about children<br />

with special needs or disabilities. It is<br />

much more than that and early years<br />

practitioners should understand the wider<br />

aspects of inclusive practice.<br />

The UK Government have defined inclusive<br />

education as:<br />

✏ A fundamental right to education<br />

✏ A principle that values students’<br />

well-being, dignity, autonomy, and<br />

contribution to society<br />

✏ A continuing process to eliminate<br />

barriers to education and promote<br />

reform in the culture, policy, and<br />

practice in schools to include all<br />

students<br />

One of the main aims of inclusive<br />

education is to assist students with<br />

disabilities and other disadvantages to be<br />

taught with their peers in a mainstream<br />

classroom for a majority of the school day.<br />

There is the assumption that all children<br />

have a right to be in the same educational<br />

space and not subject to segregation from<br />

their peers. However, for this to happen,<br />

the United Nations have identified that it<br />

means most educational establishments<br />

importance of early intervention<br />

have to rethink their policies, practices and the delivery of their education to allow this. And<br />

this starts in early years because attitudes and experiences here can affect the person’s<br />

whole life. Inclusive education requires changes to:<br />

Taken from UNICEF’s “Inclusive Education” -<br />

https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_summary_accessible_220917_0.pdf<br />

What are barriers to<br />

learning?<br />

There are many barriers that children<br />

can have that can affect their access to<br />

learning. These barriers can affect anyone,<br />

but often affect children with:<br />

✏ Special Educational Needs (SEN)<br />

✏ Disabilities<br />

✏ Different abilities to others in the class<br />

✏ EAL or those from different countries/<br />

cultures<br />

✏ Different or alternative religious beliefs<br />

✏ Disadvantaged backgrounds<br />

✏ Different learning styles<br />

✏ Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)<br />

✏ Looked after or previously looked after<br />

children<br />

How can settings ensure<br />

they have inclusive<br />

practice?<br />

For early years settings, inclusive practice<br />

must begin with valuing and respecting<br />

the diversity and differences in our<br />

society and actively promoting the ideas<br />

of tolerance and acceptance as well as<br />

making positive adjustments to include<br />

everyone. Inequalities exist, but the goal<br />

of inclusive practice is to limit the impact of<br />

these. The Equality Act 2010 lists personal<br />

characteristics that are protected under<br />

British law and no child or family should be<br />

discriminated against because of them.<br />

They are:<br />

✏ Age<br />

✏ Disability<br />

✏ Gender reassignment<br />

✏ Race including colour, nationality,<br />

ethnic or national origin<br />

✏ Religion or belief<br />

✏ Sex<br />

✏ Sexual orientation<br />

✏ Marriage or civil partnership status<br />

✏ Pregnancy<br />

Inclusive practice can mean actively<br />

challenging long-held views or beliefs and<br />

educating staff, children and families. It<br />

is not just our staff that we may need to<br />

educate, but prejudice exists in society,<br />

and we can experience this through the<br />

views and ideas that our children and<br />

families present.<br />

Start with a policy<br />

Write an inclusive practice policy and set<br />

out your aims so that you have a clear<br />

vision and guidelines to refer to. You could<br />

consider aims including:<br />

✏ A commitment to inclusive practice<br />

at all levels and in all the setting’s<br />

activities – this will not just affect the<br />

care and education of the children,<br />

but also your recruitment, advertising<br />

and social media too – for example,<br />

are your recruitment practices robust<br />

enough, and is your local community<br />

reflected in your advertising, displays<br />

and social media?<br />

✏ Developing a ‘can-do’ attitude<br />

and ethos<br />

✏ The early identification of children who<br />

need special consideration with their<br />

physical, social, emotional, sensory<br />

needs, communication or cognitive<br />

development<br />

✏ Making it a priority to offer children<br />

relevant and specialist support<br />

✏ A belief that all children can have high<br />

levels of achievement given the right<br />

support<br />

✏ Creating a supportive partnership with<br />

parents and caregivers to expand<br />

the reach of the setting regarding<br />

inclusive practice<br />

✏ Challenging all aspects of<br />

discrimination in practice or beliefs<br />

Practical things you<br />

can do<br />

Once you have written a policy, identify<br />

tasks to lead you towards your goals such<br />

as:<br />

✏ Support staff with training and strong<br />

leadership<br />

✏ Offer parent/carer consultations to<br />

introduce your ideas and promote<br />

good home links<br />

✏ Ensure your curriculum reflects many<br />

different cultures, races and religions<br />

and encourage appreciation of other<br />

cultures – this could be by learning<br />

about and celebrating different<br />

religious festivals for example<br />

✏ Invite community leaders into the<br />

setting<br />

✏ Train staff to be attentive and report<br />

early signs that children may need<br />

additional help<br />

✏ Read stories about diversity and<br />

disability<br />

✏ Audit all your adverts and social<br />

media to ensure they are in line with<br />

inclusivity<br />

✏ Plan events and activities that actively<br />

promote inclusive practice<br />

✏ Write plans for each child to ensure<br />

that their needs are identified and<br />

make adjustments to meet these<br />

needs<br />

✏ Encourage an attitude of reflection<br />

and monitoring so that you can learn<br />

from mistakes – sometimes culture<br />

changes take time<br />

✏ Audit how your curriculum is delivered<br />

and identify improvements – e.g. look<br />

at the design of classroom spaces,<br />

learning styles such as hands-on or<br />

sensory approaches to learning<br />

✏ Work with your SENCo and ensure all<br />

staff are aware of any special needs<br />

that children have and that these are<br />

being fully catered for<br />

✏ Look at your posters and displays – do<br />

they reflect the diversity in society?<br />

✏ Celebrate differences through<br />

awareness days and events and<br />

make diversity the norm as opposed<br />

to the exception<br />

✏ Encourage all children to play and<br />

learn together<br />

✏ Offer additional and specific support<br />

to EAL children<br />

✏ Address all issues of racism, bullying,<br />

sexism and other non-inclusive<br />

attitudes through strong leadership<br />

and modelling good practice<br />

These ideas and tasks are only the start of<br />

the journey. Inclusive practice in education<br />

is and ongoing topic that will require early<br />

years managers to be proactive as well<br />

as reflective, and to keep up with best<br />

practice going forward. However, the<br />

importance of embedding these ideas<br />

and practices cannot be underestimated<br />

if we are going to move society forward<br />

in its views on diversity, inclusion and<br />

disabilities.<br />

References and more<br />

information<br />

✏<br />

✏<br />

✏<br />

✏<br />

https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/<br />

unicef.org.eca/files/IE_summary_<br />

accessible_220917_0.pdf<br />

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

media/5c6eb77340f0b647b214c599/374_<br />

Implementing_Inclusive_Education.pdf<br />

https://birthto5matters.org.uk/inclusivepractice-and-equalities/<br />

Promoting Equality and Diversity in the<br />

Classroom | Principles (cpdonline.co.uk)<br />

Scan here for<br />

more references<br />

& information:<br />

14 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 15

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Using visual<br />

communication to<br />

support children<br />

Gina Smith<br />

with SEND<br />

Communication is a tricky business for any<br />

young children. They are just developing<br />

their language skills and are learning<br />

to both understand, and use, spoken<br />

words. When a child has additional needs,<br />

chances are they find communication even<br />

harder.<br />

If a child is unable to communicate using<br />

spoken words, it is likely to affect them in<br />

at least one of two key ways:<br />

1) They don’t understand what is being<br />

communicated to them. This means<br />

that they might not know what is<br />

happening and when - and therefore<br />

don’t understand key information<br />

such as when they are going to be<br />

collected and see their main carer<br />

again. This can make life feel scary<br />

and out of control. Needing to know<br />

what is happening in their day is<br />

particularly important for someone<br />

with autism who might struggle with<br />

change.<br />

2) They can’t communicate their wants<br />

and needs to you. This leaves them<br />

feeling hugely frustrated. When<br />

we are frustrated, our behaviour<br />

changes.<br />

So, what can we do to help children with<br />

SEND in our setting? We can give them an<br />

alternative way of communicating.<br />

AAC stands for augmentative and<br />

alternative communication and refers to<br />

any means of communicating outside of<br />

using spoken words – so, for example,<br />

sign language, facial expressions, physical<br />

prompts and using signs and symbols.<br />

One alternative way of communicating is<br />

to use pictures or visual symbols, and here<br />

are a few reasons why pictures are such<br />

a great way of communicating for small<br />

children, especially those with SEND:

Yvonne Sinclair<br />

The updated Prevent duty guidance<br />

(England and Wales (2023), came into<br />

effect on 31st December 2023.<br />

The statutory ‘Prevent duty’ guidance refers<br />

to the legal obligation placed on schools,<br />

childcare providers, and other institutions<br />

to take steps to prevent individuals from<br />

being drawn into terrorism or extremism<br />

as part of their wider safeguarding duties.<br />

The Prevent duty is part of a broader<br />

counter-terrorism strategy known as<br />

CONTEST.<br />

While it remains rare for children and<br />

families to become involved in terrorist<br />

activity, children may be exposed to<br />

terrorist and extremist influences or<br />

prejudiced views from older siblings and<br />

the adults around them.<br />

In this article, I will be focusing on the key<br />

areas which relate to the responsibilities<br />

for early years settings.<br />

What are your legal<br />

requirements?<br />

Under Schedule 6 of the Counterterrorism<br />

and Security Act 2015, the Prevent duty is<br />

a legal obligation for specified authorities,<br />

including early years settings such as<br />

nurseries, pre-schools and of course<br />

schools.<br />

This is reiterated in Section 3 of the<br />

Statutory Framework for the Early Years<br />

Foundation Stage, Keeping Children<br />

Safe in Education 2023, and reflected in<br />

Ofsted’s current inspection framework for<br />

early years provision.<br />

Safeguarding:<br />

Safeguarding leads, deputies and senior<br />

leaders should familiarise themselves with<br />

the revised Prevent duty guidance: for<br />

England and Wales, especially paragraphs<br />

57-76, which are specifically concerned<br />

with schools and childcare.<br />

The guidance is set out in terms of four<br />

general themes:<br />

1. Risk assessment<br />

2. Working in partnership<br />

3. Staff training<br />

4. IT policies<br />

Prevent for<br />

early years<br />

In addition, the safeguarding team should<br />

be aware of local procedures for making a<br />

Prevent referral.<br />

Preventing radicalisation<br />

Children may be susceptible to extremist<br />

ideology and radicalisation. Similar to<br />

protecting children from other forms of<br />

harm and abuse, protecting children<br />

from this risk should be a part of your<br />

safeguarding approach.<br />

Extremism is the vocal or active opposition<br />

to our fundamental values, including<br />

democracy, the rule of law, individual<br />

liberty and the mutual respect and<br />

tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.<br />

This also includes calling for the death of<br />

members of the armed forces.<br />

Radicalisation refers to the process by<br />

which a person comes to support terrorism<br />

and extremist ideologies associated with<br />

terrorist groups.<br />

Terrorism is an action that endangers<br />

or causes serious violence to a person/<br />

people; causes serious property damage;<br />

or seriously interferes or disrupts an<br />

electronic system. The use or threat must<br />

be designed to influence the government<br />

or to intimidate the public and is made to<br />

advance a political, religious, or ideological<br />

cause.<br />

Early years<br />

The latest EYFS guidance states the<br />

steps which providers must take to keep<br />

children safe and promote their welfare.<br />

This includes being alert to any issues<br />

of concern in the child’s life at home or<br />

elsewhere.<br />

This means consideration should be given<br />

to the risk of extremism and radicalisation.<br />

Inevitably the risk of radicalisation will vary<br />

across settings, but no area, or setting can<br />

be deemed risk-free.<br />

Section 3 sets out the expectations,<br />

requirements, and recommendations, by<br />

following the guidance, it will mean that<br />

you are well placed to comply with the<br />

Prevent duty.<br />

The guidance requires that there should<br />

be a trained designated senior person,<br />

responsible for overseeing Prevent<br />

delivery. The lead person should ensure<br />

staff complete appropriate training to<br />

understand the risk of radicalisation,<br />

manage risk, build capabilities to deal with<br />

radicalisation, share information, record<br />

keeping, escalation pathways including<br />

Prevent referrals, and understand the role<br />

they play in countering terrorism, from<br />

induction.<br />

For early years, the foundation stage<br />

statutory framework supports providers<br />

to do this in an age-appropriate way, by<br />

ensuring children learn right from wrong,<br />

mix and share with other children, and<br />

value others’ views.<br />

The British values include:<br />

⚙ Democracy<br />

⚙ The rule of law<br />

⚙ Individual liberty<br />

⚙ Mutual respect & tolerance of those<br />

with different faiths and beliefs<br />

For early years this simply means that<br />

children should:<br />

⚙ Have opportunities to have a voice<br />

⚙ Have a clear understanding of the<br />

differences between right and wrong<br />

⚙ Accept responsibility for their<br />

behaviour<br />

⚙ Develop self-knowledge and selfconfidence<br />

⚙ Show respect for others, having an<br />

appreciation of their own or other<br />

cultures<br />

Will the updates change the<br />

Ofsted inspection process?<br />

Currently, there will be no changes to the<br />

Ofsted Inspection Framework regarding<br />

Prevent activity. Read the latest Education<br />

Inspection Framework 2023.<br />

What should you do now?<br />

1. The lead person should read the<br />

latest statutory guidance Prevent duty<br />

guidance: for England and Wales.<br />

2. Review relevant setting policies and<br />

consider your Prevent risk assessment<br />

and action plan.<br />

3. Be aware of The Prevent Duty:<br />

Safeguarding learners vulnerable to<br />

radicalisation.<br />

4. Review your settings training needs<br />

to determine who the appropriate<br />

members of staff are and how<br />

frequently training should occur, being<br />

proportionate to the risk of terrorism<br />

and extremism in their local area.<br />

Also, consider what type of training is<br />

needed for staff in different roles.<br />

5. The Home Office offers free GOV.<br />

UK online Prevent duty training to<br />

support those under the duty: Prevent<br />

Duty: Lean how to Support People<br />

Susceptible to Radicalisation.<br />

If you would like interactive, live<br />

trainer-led whole setting training,<br />

details can be found here:<br />

safeguardingsupport.com/<br />

catalogue/90-prevent-awarenesstraining/<br />

Consider the Educate Against Hate<br />

website for valuable resources: www.<br />

educateagainsthate.com/.<br />

Consider information sharing to reiterate<br />

that sharing information on Prevent<br />

should be treated the same as wider<br />

safeguarding. The National Referral<br />

Form (NRF) is being rolled out nationally<br />

with the aim for all Prevent partners to<br />

adopt this approach. The referral form<br />

means that there is greater consistency<br />

of outcome both within and across a local<br />

authority. Providers should continue to<br />

follow their existing processes for sharing<br />

information about learners susceptible to<br />

radicalisation and be aware of the Prevent<br />

referral process in their local authority. It<br />

also highlights existing KCSIE expectations<br />

that, where appropriate, as with any<br />

other safeguarding concern, any Prevent<br />

concerns should be securely transferred<br />

when a child moves school or college.<br />

Resources<br />

⚙ Early Years Statutory Framework<br />

(EYFS): www.gov.uk/government/<br />

publications/early-years-foundationstage-framework--2<br />

⚙ The Prevent Duty Departmental<br />

advice for schools and childcare<br />

providers: www.gov.uk/government/<br />

publications/protecting-children-fromradicalisation-the-prevent-duty<br />

⚙ Home Office Statutory guidance:<br />

Prevent duty guidance: www.gov.uk/<br />

government/publications/preventduty-guidance<br />

⚙ Education Inspection Framework:<br />

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

publications/education-inspectionframework/education-inspectionframework-for-september-2023<br />

⚙ Protecting children from radicalisation:<br />

the prevent duty: www.gov.uk/<br />

government/publications/protectingchildren-from-radicalisation-theprevent-duty<br />

⚙ Work-based learners and the<br />

Prevent Statutory duty: www.gov.<br />

uk/government/publications/workbased-learners-and-the-preventstatutory-duty<br />

⚙ Channel Guidance: www.gov.uk/<br />

government/publications/channeland-prevent-multi-agency-panelpmap-guidance<br />

⚙ Keeping children safe in education:<br />

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

publications/keeping-children-safe-ineducation--2<br />

⚙ Working together to safeguard<br />

children: www.gov.uk/government/<br />

publications/working-together-tosafeguard-children--2<br />

⚙ Educate Against Hate’s Prevent duty<br />

resources: educateagainsthate.com/<br />

⚙ Proscribed terrorist groups or<br />

organisations: www.gov.uk/<br />

government/publications/proscribedterror-groups-or-organisations--2<br />

Scan here for<br />

more resources<br />

from Yvonne:<br />

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

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

International<br />

Children’s Book Day<br />

In March, many of us celebrated World<br />

Book Day and lots of schools and nurseries<br />

held dress up days, with children turning<br />

up as their favourite book character. On<br />

Tuesday, 2nd <strong>April</strong>, there is another chance<br />

to celebrate the great world of literature on<br />

International Children’s Book Day (ICBD),<br />

organised each year by IBBY.<br />

IBBY is the International Board on Books<br />

for Young People, which is a non-profit<br />

organisation representing an international<br />

network of people from all over the world<br />

who are committed to bringing books and<br />

children together. It was founded in Zurich,<br />

Switzerland in 1953 and has 80 national<br />

sections in all corners of the world. Each<br />

year, a different section organises the<br />

International Children’s Book Day and in<br />

<strong>2024</strong>, it is the turn of Japan. The theme<br />

this year is “Cross the Seas on the Wing of<br />

your Imagination”, and you can show your<br />

support for the day by posting on social<br />

media with the hashtag, #ICBD24.<br />

Their mission is far-reaching and includes<br />

promoting publishing and supporting<br />

developing countries, including:

Ways to build<br />

self-worth in<br />

Stacey Kelly<br />

children<br />

Self-worth, or the intrinsic feeling of being<br />

good enough and deserving of love and<br />

respect, in my opinion, is one of the most<br />

important (if not the most important!)<br />

attributes a person can have. A person’s<br />

self-worth underpins their decisions,<br />

relationships, thoughts, and feelings and<br />

in many instances, contributes to the<br />

different outcomes - both positive and<br />

negative - in life. The impact of having a<br />

lack of self-worth can be so detrimental<br />

because ultimately a person’s choices in<br />

life will be strongly influenced by how they<br />

truly feel about themselves deep inside.<br />

Here are some examples of how a lack<br />

of self-worth could potentially impact a<br />


The role of STEM<br />

This is what inclusive practice is all about –<br />

removing the barriers that students face to<br />

allow them to access the learning.<br />

We’ve listed a few ideas below to help you<br />

do this.<br />


Priya Kanabar<br />

The<br />

fascinating<br />

world of<br />

schemas<br />

Transportation<br />

Children take objects from one place to<br />

another; being active in their play and<br />

use a range of contexts to determine the<br />

direction of their play.<br />

You may see:

Strategies for coping<br />

with stress<br />

community can help reduce feelings<br />

of loneliness

Frances Turnbull<br />

Musical<br />

medicine<br />

A dream to communicate<br />

– early support can prevent falling<br />


Nature’s<br />

makerspace<br />

Sandra Duncan &<br />

Dr Zlata Stankovic-<br />

Ramirez<br />

The magic of sticks: part 2<br />

This is a continuation of Sandra and Zlata’s<br />

article from the March edition of <strong>Parenta</strong><br />

Magazine, check out part 1 first here:<br />

https://www.parenta.com/<strong>2024</strong>/02/21/<br />

creativity-sticks/<br />

Makerspaces are messy<br />

Mess is often a natural part of play,<br />

especially when working with loose parts<br />

and natural materials. While it is important<br />

to consider the potential mess that may<br />

arise, it is equally important to recognise<br />

the value of messy play in children’s<br />

development. Children learn through<br />

hands-on experiences. The messier,<br />

the better. In fact, Maria Montessori<br />

(1964) believed that children absorb their<br />

environments and you only have to look<br />

at their clothing at the end of a day of<br />

play to realise that she was absolutely<br />

correct. Embrace the mess as part of the<br />

learning process and offer opportunities<br />

for children to engage in messy play while<br />

maintaining a manageable and organised<br />

Makerspace.<br />

Makerspaces are messy so here are<br />

some considerations when it comes to<br />

managing the mess with natural loose<br />

parts. By implementing these strategies,<br />

you can strike a balance between allowing<br />

for the benefits of messy play with natural<br />

loose parts while also managing the<br />

cleanup process effectively.<br />

Designate an area where<br />

a mess is OK<br />

Select an area where mess is expected<br />

and anticipated. This should be a<br />

designated area that is perhaps a little off<br />

the beaten path or in the back corner of<br />

the classroom. Consider using a large mat,<br />

tarp, or picnic tablecloth (with felt backing)<br />

to contain the mess and make cleanup<br />

easier.<br />

Set expectations of the<br />

space<br />

Establish clear expectations and ground<br />

rules with the children regarding the use<br />

and handling of the natural loose parts.<br />

Model responsibility and emphasise the<br />

importance of picking up and returning<br />

materials to their appropriate places.<br />

Encourage children to be mindful of the<br />

messes they have created and to take<br />

ownership of keeping a tidy Makerspace.<br />

By providing tools for cleaning up, such<br />

as small dustpans, brooms, brushes, and<br />

nearby trash containers, this encourages<br />

everyone to become guardians of the<br />

space.<br />

Use appropriate<br />

containers<br />

Intentionally select storage containers<br />

being sure children can easily manage<br />

and transport them. Storage containers<br />

with handles helps ease the cleanup<br />

process. Clear transparent or low-sided<br />

storage containers help children return<br />

contents to the correct place. Appropriate<br />

storage containers also keep materials<br />

from scattering too far, making cleanup<br />

more manageable. Be sure shelves<br />

are easily accessible for uncomplicated<br />

retrieval and return of loose parts.<br />

Set cleanup routines<br />

Establish consistent cleanup procedures<br />

and encourage children to help with<br />

tidying up by providing guidance and<br />

support as needed. Make the cleanup a<br />

collaborative effort by involving children<br />

in sorting and organising the loose parts<br />

back into their designated containers.<br />

This fosters a sense of responsibility and<br />

promotes their understanding of the<br />

importance of maintaining a clean and<br />

organised environment.<br />

An invitation for story<br />

making with Makerspaces<br />

There’s something powerful about creating<br />

with nature. Natural objects have a special<br />

weight to them when they come with<br />

a story--not just any story, but one that<br />

comes from the children’s hearts and<br />

imaginations. Children’s stories are not just<br />

a string of words, but ideas, notions, and<br />

hypotheses. But, there is something more<br />

that you will find if you listen intently while<br />

they spin their nature stories: wishes and<br />

dreams. Children live in the present, but<br />

they are capable of much more if we give<br />

them the space, time, and materials such<br />

as the simple stick.<br />

Sticks are fascinating to young children<br />

- and so are all of nature’s gifts. The<br />

potential of these gifts is limitless. And,<br />

every moment is open to possibilities.<br />

The day-to-day lives of childhood might<br />

seem mundane to an adult but to a<br />

child, life is filled with adventure and<br />

excitement. Create a nature’s makerspace<br />

in your classroom that celebrates natural<br />

materials, exploration, and creativity. A<br />

nature’s makerspace is fun, engaging,<br />

and paramount to preserving the magic of<br />

childhood.<br />

Safety tips<br />

Although there are risks when playing with<br />

sticks, the benefits definitely outweigh the<br />

negatives. Research studies have shown<br />

that engaging with natural materials has<br />

a positive effect on young children (i.e.,<br />

improved well-being, focus, empathy,<br />

and brain development). Therefore, it is<br />

important to bring the outside in (Duncan<br />

& Martin, 2018) but it is also necessary to<br />

think about children’s safety. Be sure there<br />

are no pointed, jagged, or sharp pieces.<br />

Begin with short and chunky pieces and<br />

gradually increase in size as children<br />

demonstrate safe and appropriate use of<br />

the sticks.<br />

Stick etiquette<br />

There’s been much conversation about<br />

risky play with young children and experts<br />

such as Keeler (2020) and Sandseter<br />

(2009) agree that all children need to have<br />

opportunities to experience risky play.<br />

Examples of risky play include playing at<br />

high heights and speeds as well as roughand-tumble<br />

play. Playing with sticks could<br />

be classified as risky and dangerous. With<br />

simple agreed-upon rules, however, sticks<br />

can become an integral part of classroom<br />


EYFS activities:<br />

Physical<br />

development<br />

Physical development lays the foundation for a child’s overall well-being. It encompasses the development of gross<br />

and fine motor skills, coordination, balance, and spatial awareness. By engaging in physical play and sensory<br />

exploration, children develop confidence, resilience, and a positive attitude towards physical activity. Not only that,<br />

but these activities also provide opportunities for social interaction, promoting teamwork and co-operation<br />

among peers.<br />

Mud painting - a favourite with the children!<br />

Painting with mud is a fantastic and fun activity<br />

that the children will love. They can use their<br />

senses and let their creativity run wild.<br />

You will need:<br />

• Mud<br />

• Food colouring or liquid watercolour paint<br />

• Water<br />

• Thick cardstock paper or cardboard<br />

• Pots or containers<br />

• Paintbrushes<br />

Getting started:<br />

1. Scoop some mud into each pot/container<br />

2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of food colouring or<br />

watercolour paint to each one, then add a<br />

small amount of water and mix until you<br />

have a suitable consistency<br />

3. Lay out the cardstock/cardboard onto a flat<br />

surface and place down the paint pots and<br />

paintbrushes<br />

4. Invite the children to begin painting with the<br />

mud paint<br />

5. Keep an eye on the consistency of the paint;<br />

if it becomes too thick, be sure to add a<br />

little more water to thin it out<br />

36 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

6. Encourage the children to let their<br />

imagination run wild and explore their<br />

creativity as they paint. They can use<br />

their fingers, hands, or brushes to create<br />

different textures and patterns<br />

More on this activity and others can be<br />

found here: http://www.learnplayimagine.<br />

com/2014/03/mud-paint-recipe.html<br />

Rainbow ice – lot’s of fun!<br />

A great and simple activity to get the senses<br />

tingling!<br />

You will need:<br />

• Water<br />

• Ice cube trays<br />

• Food colouring<br />

Preparing the ice cubes:<br />

1. Place the ice cube trays on a flat surface<br />

2. Add a few drops of food colouring to the<br />

trays, adding a different colour to each<br />

compartment to create a variety<br />

3. Fill the ice cube trays with water, being<br />

careful not to overfill them to avoid mixing<br />

colours<br />

4. Place the trays in the freezer overnight or<br />

until the water is completely frozen<br />

Activity ideas:<br />

1. Colour matching: Remove the ice cubes<br />

from the trays and mix them up on the<br />

table. Encourage the children to match the<br />

colours of the ice cubes to corresponding<br />

items or cards with the same colours. You<br />

Glowing rice sensory tray<br />

A simple activity that the children will love!<br />

You will need:<br />

• White rice<br />

• Zip-seal bags<br />

• Neon paint (different colours)<br />

• Water<br />

• Baking paper (optional)<br />

Preparing the rice:<br />

1. Place a cup of uncooked white rice into a<br />

large zip-seal bag, using one bag for each<br />

colour you’re using<br />

2. Add 1 tablespoon of neon paint to each zipseal<br />

bag containing rice<br />

3. Pour roughly 2-3 tablespoons of water into<br />

each bag<br />

4. Seal up the bags and then shake, knead,<br />

and mix until the rice is fully coated in the<br />

paint<br />

can even let the children try picking them<br />

up using various items such as tongs, to<br />

develop their motor skills.<br />

2. Tuff tray exploration: Place the ice cubes<br />

into a tuff tray or shallow container. Let<br />

the children explore the ice cubes, feeling<br />

their texture and observing how the colours<br />

mix as they melt. Feel free to add in other<br />

objects, so they can hunt for the treasure<br />

among the ice.<br />

More on this activity and others can be found<br />

here: https://handsonaswegrow.com/rainbowice-cube-sensory-play-for-toddlers/<br />

5. Open the zip-seal bags and allow the rice<br />

to dry naturally. Alternatively, you can lay<br />

the rice out on baking paper to speed up<br />

the drying process<br />

6. It takes approximately 4-6 hours for the rice<br />

to dry completely<br />

Playtime:<br />

• Ensure the rice is not clumped together<br />

and pour it into a tuff tray or large shallow<br />

container<br />

• Add in some kitchen utensils, scoopers,<br />

cups and other toys<br />

• Let the children explore and play with the<br />

glowing rice, encouraging imaginative play,<br />

sensory exploration, and fine motor skills<br />

development<br />

• Dim the lights to experience the full effect<br />

of the neon paint<br />

More on this activity and others can be found<br />

here: https://www.growingajeweledrose.<br />


Gina Bale<br />

International Dance Day is more than<br />

just a celebration of movement; it’s a<br />

testament to the profound impact of dance<br />

within the broader context of the arts. As<br />

we delve into the significance of this day,<br />

it becomes evident that dance not only<br />

enriches our cultural experiences but also<br />

plays a pivotal role in our economy and<br />

well-being.<br />

The economic value of dance<br />

According to the Office for National<br />

Statistics (2019), the arts and culture sector<br />

significantly outperforms the wider UK<br />

economy in terms of gross value added*<br />

per worker. This highlights the economic<br />

prowess of the arts, with dance being a<br />

notable contributor. With 2.4 million people<br />

employed in the arts in 2022, it’s clear that<br />

dance plays a vital role in sustaining a<br />

thriving workforce.<br />

Celebrating<br />

International<br />

Dance Day<br />

Uniting the arts, economy,<br />

and well-being<br />

Between 2009 and 2016, the gross value<br />

added per worker in the arts and culture<br />

was £62,000 compared to £46,800 for<br />

the wider UK economy. (Source: Office for<br />

National Statistics 2019.)<br />

Government recognition and<br />

cultural significance<br />

In June 2023, the government underscored<br />

the importance of the creative industries,<br />

emphasising their role beyond economic<br />

contributions.<br />

Did you know that these industries,<br />

including dance, shape our societal fabric,<br />

influencing our values and enriching our<br />

lives? Dance is a quintessential form of<br />

expression. Dance fosters joy, inspiration,<br />

and cultural exchange, which on an<br />

international stage strengthens our global<br />

image.<br />

The intersection of dance and<br />

well-being<br />

King’s College London is at the forefront<br />

of research exploring the therapeutic<br />

benefits of dance. Their initiatives such<br />

as ‘Dance for Parkinson’s’, ‘Melodies<br />

for mums with postnatal depression’,<br />

and ‘Stroke odysseys’ underscore the<br />

profound impact of dance on well-being.<br />

Beyond mere entertainment, dance<br />

emerges as a powerful tool for healing<br />

and self-expression, offering hope and<br />

solace to individuals facing various health<br />

challenges.<br />

As we celebrate International Dance<br />

Day, it’s imperative to recognise the<br />

interconnectedness of dance with the<br />

arts, economy, and well-being. Through<br />

its multifaceted contributions, dance<br />

transcends boundaries, enriching lives,<br />

fostering creativity, and promoting societal<br />

well-being.<br />

Together we need to embrace the<br />

transformative power of dance, not only<br />

on this day but every day, as we continue<br />

to cherish and celebrate its profound<br />

significance in our lives and communities.<br />

Here are some ways you can celebrate<br />

dance and the arts with your little ones.<br />

1. Host a dance party: Encourage the<br />

children to move freely to different<br />

types of music. Encourage them<br />

to express themselves through<br />

movement and explore various dance<br />

styles ranging from hip-hop to ballet.<br />

2. Designate a week of dance in your<br />

setting: Watch a dance performance<br />

(ensure age-appropriate) either live or<br />

streamed.<br />

3. Storytime dance: Choose a<br />

children’s book, with a theme related<br />

to dance or movement. After reading<br />

the story, lead the children in a dance<br />

activity inspired by the characters or<br />

events in the book. This encourages<br />

creativity and imagination while<br />

incorporating literacy skills.<br />

4. Freeze dance: Play upbeat music<br />

and have the children dance around<br />

the room. When the music stops, they<br />

must freeze in place like statues. This<br />

game helps develop listening skills,<br />

coordination, and impulse control.<br />

5. Dance props exploration: Provide<br />

a variety of props such as scarves,<br />

ribbons, or rhythm instruments.<br />

Encourage the children to move and<br />

dance with the props, exploring<br />

different ways to incorporate them<br />

into their movements. This activity<br />

stimulates creativity and fine motor<br />

skills.<br />

6. Animal dance: Assign each child an<br />

animal and ask them to move like that<br />

animal. For example, they can hop like<br />

a bunny, slither like a snake, or flutter<br />

like a butterfly. This activity promotes<br />

gross motor skills and encourages<br />

imaginative play.<br />

7. Dance story sequencing: Choose<br />

a simple dance routine and break it<br />

down into steps. Have the children<br />

practice each step individually before<br />

putting them together to create<br />

a sequence. This activity teaches<br />

sequencing skills, following directions,<br />

and spatial awareness.<br />

8. Cultural dance exploration:<br />

a) Introduce children to dances<br />

from the UK and other countries or<br />

cultures from around the world. Show<br />

videos and try out basic steps of<br />

dances such as the Maypole, Tango,<br />

Adumu (Maasai jumping dance),<br />

Irish stepdance (Riverdance), Bon or<br />

Awa Odori AKA Fools Dance (Japan),<br />

Flamenco, Kathakali, or Bollywood<br />

together.<br />

b) Look at the different musical<br />

instruments used to create the specific<br />

sounds for the dance.<br />

c) The traditional costumes and makeup<br />

worn when performing.<br />

d) The history behind the dances and<br />

when and why they are performed.<br />

9. Dance collaborations: Pair children<br />

up or form small groups and<br />

encourage them to create their dance<br />

routines. Provide them with props,<br />

music, and guidance as needed.<br />

Allow them to perform their routines<br />

for the class, fostering collaboration,<br />

creativity, and confidence.<br />

10. Dance and emotions: Discuss<br />

different emotions with the children<br />

and how they can be expressed<br />

through dance. Play music that<br />

evokes various feelings such as<br />

happiness, sadness, or excitement,<br />

and encourage the children to dance<br />

accordingly. This activity promotes<br />

emotional awareness and selfexpression.<br />

11. Dance relay race: Set up a simple<br />

obstacle course or markers around<br />

the room. Divide the children into<br />

teams and have them take turns<br />

dancing, from one point to another.<br />

This activity combines physical<br />

activity with dance, teamwork, and<br />

coordination.<br />

These activities are not only fun but also<br />

promote physical development, creativity,<br />

social skills, and cultural awareness in<br />

early years students.<br />

As we celebrate International Dance Day,<br />

it’s imperative to recognise the profound<br />

significance of dance in uniting the arts,<br />

economy, and well-being. Beyond mere<br />

movement, dance is a catalyst for cultural<br />

exchange, economic growth, and holistic<br />

health. From its economic contributions<br />

highlighted by the Office for National<br />

Statistics to its therapeutic benefits<br />

explored by institutions like King’s College<br />

London, dance embodies the essence of<br />

human expression and connection.<br />

So together, let’s embrace the<br />

transformative power of dance, fostering<br />

creativity, resilience, and community,<br />

not only on this day but every day as it<br />

enriches our lives and shapes our shared<br />

future.<br />

* Gross value added (GVA) is an economic<br />

productivity metric that measures the<br />

contribution of a corporate subsidiary,<br />

company, or municipality to an economy,<br />

producer, sector, or region.<br />

Scan here for<br />

more resources<br />

from Gina:<br />

38 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | parenta.com<br />

parenta.com | <strong>April</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 39

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