Posts Tagged ‘quality’

Working towards Millie’s Mark

February 7th, 2017 by Sarah Steel

As a company, we recognise the enormous importance of ensuring that our staff are well trained to deal with emergencies. We are currently working with the NDNA to complete ‘Millie’s Mark’, which is a quality mark to recognise excellence in the provision of First Aid training to staff. At the moment our Filkins Nursery team are studying the requirements of the assessment process and are updating our policies and procedures, to share with all our nurseries, as well as getting all their staff fully trained in Paediatric First Aid.

Many parents ask about good First Aid training to raise their own awareness, and I recently found this website with some excellent advice on:

http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/first-aid-advice.aspx#first_aid_advice

We will keep you up to date as our work towards Millie’s Mark progresses, but if you’d like to read a bit more about it, then click here:

https://www.milliesmark.comScreen Shot 2017-02-07 at 12.44.45

Getting your child ready for school

September 4th, 2016 by Sarah Steel

So many parents will have children either starting or returning to school this week, so I’d like to share an excellent newsletter from parenting expert, Sue Atkins, in my blog this month. Do have a look, she has some great tips which make a lot of sense.

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c797eaad2e19e02fa90e0b521&id=3127883b0d&e=736d4bb7f1

 

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When it comes to under fives there are a lot of bad news stories – rising obesity, the effects of increased ‘screen time’ on social development, children reaching school age without basic skills required for learning. So you may think that serious early years educators don’t have time for fun stuff – like dancing around to silly songs!

 

Music is Fireworks for The Brain

Luckily for music-lovers like me, 20 years of neuroscience has shown that music is very good for us!  More than virtually any other activity, active music making – music making that involves seeing, hearing, touching, moving – engages all of our senses providing one of the richest learning environments that there is. In fact cat scans show that music activates the whole brain, with each component of music affecting a different part of the brain. So here are my top 5 reasons for making music part of your everyday life.

  1. Music Is Fun Fun: Let’s be honest. This is why we actually love music. It’s so much fun! Whether you’re singing along to the radio, waving your arms at a festival or singing a lullaby to your toddler, music makes us feel good. Why? Research shows that dopamine, a “feel-good hormone” is released every time you listen to music you like. Music has actually been shown to alleviate depression. And we have probably all experienced a bad day that was made better by listening to a song we love.
  1. Music Creates Togetherness: Yes,release your inner hippy! I’m sure we all have lots of special music moments: My favourite is from when my youngest daughter was around 5 years old. She had learned to whistle and we used to spend car journeys whistling our favourite tunes in harmony. It was hysterical and we never did get to the end of a song without collapsing into giggles. You may have sung in a choir, as part of a football crowd or in the car like me and my daugheter. Wherever it was, we have all experienced the bonding that occurs when we share music.  Scientists put it down to the release of prolactin, a hormone that bonds people together.
  1. Music Boosts Language Development: The very earliest exposure to music increases your baby’s mental age, communication skills and language development. A pioneering study in the benefits for babies was the first fully controlled study to assess the effects of music on babies (McMaster University Canada 2012). Within 4 months the babies in the music group were significantly more advanced in communication and social skills. In another study (Johanella Tafuri, Italy, 2008), babies that were sung to by their parents daily were compared to those who were not. It was found that the music babies developed vocalisations at a rate previously unimagined by developmental psychology researchers themselves.
  1. Music Helps Us Move: As soon we can move we respond physically to music: babies sway, toddlers march, pre teens work out their dance routines, some of us pretend to be Beyonce in the evening aerobics class…or is that just me! There are major international corporations making huge amounts of money out of the fact that music encourages us to move…and if it’s good enough for Zumba it’s good enough for us. Walking, marching, jumping, balancing, swaying: all of these physical skills can be developed through actions songs that focus on each particular movement.
  1. Music Develops Confidence One of the wonderful things about music is that it allows children to participate in their own way. One child may love to dance, another may focus on keeping the beat by clapping, another on singing. Children’s self-esteem is directly connected with their perception of themselves as competent. Music allows a child to be express herself in a way that is right for her, encouraging competence and confidence in her skills and providing a context in which those skills can be nurtured and celebrated.

If Music Is So Great, Why Aren’t We Doing It With Our Children Every Day?

I’ve only just scratched the surface of the many benefits that music making has for young children. If you want to know more, check out this video by researcher Anita Collins – it’s very entertaining as well as enlightening!

But here’s the problem…many of us just aren’t confident to do music, either at home or in the setting. We think that music is for just for musicians. This is wrong. Music is for humans. (And musicians are human too you know!)

So just to prove to you that YOU CAN DO IT here is a really fun music activity for you to try. There are 3 steps

  1. Watch the ‘How To Make A Shaker’ video here

(This is easy, cheap and fun to do together!)

  1. Watch the ‘Shakey Shakey’ video here
  2. Download your ‘Shakey Shakey’ song here and listen to it whenever you and your child want to boogie…which is everyday, right?!

Have fun and keep on boogie-ing!

 

 

 

 

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:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-3507098520151021_091151

I was very lucky to spend my Monday this week listening to Dr Suzanne Zeedyk talking to a group of Gloucestershire Early Years folk about why attachment is so critical from birth upwards. We have come a long way in our understanding of attachment theories since John Bowlby published his ground breaking work in the 70s and Zeedyk builds brilliantly on this, with her challenge to us all to help more people across many sectors ‘get it’.

Zeedyk claims that attachment theory is ‘simples’, with 3 clear messages:
1. Babies are born connected – research shows that babies are programmed to connect with their carers from the very start and this is when brain patterns start to develop, reinforced by loving attachments.
2. Connection shapes brain development – neural ‘motorways’ are built by all connections, either negative or positive, so we need to work on shaping the very best connections from the beginning of a child’s life.
3. Society suffers when babies (and adults) don’t feel connected.

She talks in clear terms about how we all need a secure and strong ‘internal teddy bear’ to help us when things get tough. This is such a clear image for us to understand, and who doesn’t recognise the need for some sort of internal calming system at the most difficult of times. If you’d like to learn more about attachment and what you can do as a parent, grandparent or early years professional, then do have a look at Suzanne’s website: and she also has some great videos on YouTube: The_Connected_Baby_DVD_Cover

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