Posts Tagged ‘nurseries’

Reducing sugar in our diet

January 31st, 2016 by Sarah Steel

As January draws to a close, many of us will have made some new year resolutions to eat and drink less, or exercise more. However, there has also been a lot in the media about sugar and how bad it is for us. We’ve been focussing on sugar in drinks with our pre-school children in nursery, showing them pictorially how much sugar is in some soft drinks, including those directly targeted at children. A small carton of Capri-sun, which some might think was ‘healthy’ as it is fruity, contains 10g of sugar in just one serving. A 471ml bottle of Friij toffee milkshake contains an amazing 12.9g of sugar.

At nursery we serve only milk and water and encouraging toothbrushing after lunch. There are some great public health resources for anyone interested in cutting down on sugar, do have a look at:

Our display may at least make you think twice, or help when you are explaining to your child why water is so good for them in so many ways!Sugardisplay

Good quality pre-schools are start of lifelong learning

December 14th, 2015 by Sarah Steel

There was an interesting article in the Sunday Times yesterday about a research project at Oxford University, which follows on from previous research on pre-school provision. The study shows that children who are ‘turned-on’ to learning in their pre-school years will go on to achieve greater academic success. The Early Years Foundation Stage now has a real emphasis on practitioners looking at how children learn, as well as what they learn, which we describe as ‘characteristics of effective learning’. It’s always good to know we’re on the right track!

Have a read of the article for yourself:

A to Z of attachment

December 2nd, 2015 by Sarah Steel

This is a lovely document for parents and carers explaining how we can all help children to benefit from the most secure attachments, which will help them to flourish right from the start. As a company we’ve had a real focus on attachments this year, with training carried out by Suzanne Zeedyk and a review of how we work with children and families, particularly during times of transition. Do let me know what you think…….AtoZofAttachmentandResilience2014SouthLan_tcm4-843853 20151105_140407

Do children always want to solve the problem?

November 15th, 2015 by Sarah Steel

In my last blog I wrote about the challenges of ‘product’ over ‘process’, where we feel pressure in early years settings to produce pictures, cards, calendars and ‘stuff’ for children to take home to show parents, rather than allowing them to be fully engaged in all types of play, especially imaginative play, which doesn’t have a visible product. This lovely article, which is written by Judith Pack, was featured by Community Playthings this week in their e-newsletter. We use the beautiful furniture and resources made by Community Playthings in all our nurseries and I know that they are keen proponents of natural play resources and the chance for children to explore nature rather than be limited by expectations of producing something to take home.

Do read what Judith says about children’s love of mystery and I hope you will hear lots of our practitioners around the nurseries asking, ‘I wonder what would happen if…..’

Why does my child never do anything at nursery?

September 23rd, 2015 by Sarah Steel

Today I was involved in a really interesting discussion around how children become effective learners and the need for them to direct their own learning and become independent thinkers. After all, isn’t this what is supposed to make us stand out from the Chinese, as our little free-thinkers can become really successful in adult life, despite a very different approach to learning?  The discussion focused on ‘process vs product’ and how many of us,  as parents, are guilty of wanting a nice picture or hand-made Mother’s Day card to take home and put on our fridge, rather than appreciating some of the experiences our children have had at nursery.

Many of the practitioners I was with were concerned that some times parents want tangible evidence of perceived learning, like pictures and models, which they could take home. Whilst it is fantastic to value work that children have produced and it can really enhance their self-esteem to see it recognised and displayed, not all children choose to learn in this way. At our nurseries we try and capture moments as well as ‘products’ by using photos and videos and sharing them via the child’s e-learning journey. However, perhaps we should all be asking children, ‘what have you had a go at today?’ rather than ‘what did you do/make today?’. This High Scope poem sums it up beautifully:








At quarter to three by the Nursery door
Having rushed round to finish the final chore,
How many times have you heard yourself say?
“Oh I do hope my child has done something today.
He just runs around and messes about
And never seems to notice the painting is out.
I wish I had a child who would make things too,
But the staff don’t make him sit down and glue.
My niece brings home cardboard box models each day,
While mine comes home messy, covered in clay.
Last week he’d played pirates, and hid in a den;
The model that day was a beautiful hen!”
But how does a child bring home in his hand
The pleasure he felt today in the sand?
Has he asked you to share the wonder he felt
As he watched some ice cubes gradually melt?
The excitement of sailing the climbing-frame boat?
The achievement of fastening the buttons on his coat?
Did he tell you he washed up after his tea –?
Expertly prepared by his friend, who is three?
He gave me a cuddle around story-time,
And was keen to join in when we learned a new rhyme.
He pummelled and prodded and pounded the dough,
Then he showed he could walk round the room on tip –toe.
He persevered to finish a puzzle, quite hard,
So he hasn’t had time to make you a card.
He came over and watched some children sew,
And thought perhaps next time he’d have a go.
His experiences gained were richer by far
Than tissue paper flowers in a yoghurt-pot jar.
A child can learn from cutting and sticking
(But not if all he does is the licking)
And if adults resist the temptation to say
“No! Not like that. Do it this way.”
When your child is cutting and gluing
It’s not the result that matters, but DOING.
So next time, don’t ask your child to explain
Why he’s not done a model or painting again;
And when you pick him up, please try not to say
“Haven’t you DONE anything in Nursery today?”

From “High Scope” Winter Issue 33


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