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County Lines Awareness Week

This week is County Lines Awareness Week 7-11th March 2022
If you are unaware of what County Lines is here is a short explanation…
“County lines are drug distribution networks, spread across the country, using young and vulnerable people to move and store drugs. Often those involved are coerced and groomed into helping through threats, intimidation, and violence. If you are worried that a friend or family member may be involved in county lines you’re not a snitch if you say something, you’re trying to help them leave a dangerous situation and get the support they will need to break free.”
The NSPCC has a really informative website which details all you need to know about County Lines, you can find out more on this link https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/gangs-criminal-exploitation/
Or read through this helpful .pdf from the Unseen group.
If you have any concerns regarding a child who may be at risk contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700

Staffordshire Air Aware Campaign

Did you know that just one minute of idling your car can fill the equivalent of 150 balloons with pollution?  HGVs are more than double that!

We love where our nursery setting is, we’re so accessible for many families in Burton on Trent and surrounding areas with easy access to the A38, but… with commuting comes pollution, especially from idling cars. Plus there are the fast-food drive-throughs nearby and the lorries parked whilst waiting to unload, and come summer we all love a bit of air-conditioning on in the car, don’t we!
What does idling mean?  Idling is a term used when the engine of your car is running and the car is not moving. This means any exhaust fumes emitted are not dispersed whilst the car moves, but are built-up in one area, making a significant spike in pollution.
With this in mind, when we saw the Staffordshire County Council initiative for being more Air Aware we knew we wanted to be involved. So we’ve signed up for the Staffordshire Air Aware Campaign and we’re going to do our bit to make our little corner of Burton on Trent a little less polluted.
We have posters and banners which will be displayed in the car park and surrounding area to promote this campaign and we will be educating our staff, parents, and children on what air pollution means, how it affects us all and the importance of not idling when in your car.
We will also be asking all delivery drivers who visit our nursery to turn off their engines whilst they wait.
These changes will all make a difference and we’re looking forward to #doingourbit
If you would like any more information on this campaign then Staffordshire County Council has a very good video which you can view here:
 

Looking after your mental health over the Christmas period

Looking after your mental health during the festive season

The media portrays the festive season as a time of happiness, gifts, and great company. While this is some people’s experience, for others it can be a challenging and lonely time. The festive period can affect our mental health in many different ways.

Whether or not Christmas is part of your life, your mental health might be affected by it happening around you. It’s a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us and can affect our mental health in lots of different ways.

For example, if you:

  • feel alone or left out because everyone else seems happy when you’re not
  • wish you didn’t have to deal with Christmas or find it stressful because of other events in your life
  • feel frustrated by other people’s views of a ‘perfect’ Christmas, if these feel different to your experiences
  • want to celebrate with someone who’s struggling

Tips for coping during Christmas

If you find Christmas a difficult time of year, here are some tips to help you cope:

Be gentle, generous, and patient with yourself

  • It’s ok to prioritise what’s best for you, even if others don’t seem to understand.
  • Think about what you need and how you might be able to get it.
  • Consider talking to someone you trust about what you need to cope

Plan ahead

Think about what might be difficult about Christmas for you, and if there’s anything that might help you cope. It might be useful to write this down. For example:

  • If you sometimes experience flashbacks, panic attacks, or dissociation, make a note of what helps during these moments, and keep it with you.
  • If you’re going to be somewhere unfamiliar for Christmas, think about what you need to help you cope. Are there things you can bring to make you feel more comfortable? Or is there somewhere you can go to take a break?
  • Certain places may feel very uncomfortable for you, for example, if they bring back difficult memories. Could you plan to spend less time in difficult places, or not go at all? Are there any reasonable excuses for you to stay away?
  • Think about whether you really need to do things if you’re not looking forward to them. Can you do them differently or for less time?
  • Make a list of any services that you might need and their Christmas opening hours. Our page of useful contacts has some suggestions.
  • If you’re worried about feeling lonely or isolated this Christmas, think of some ways to help pass the time. For example, this might be doing something creative or spending time in nature.
  • If you are in a hospital or a care home, see what activities might be running over Christmas that you might want to take part in.
  • If you can’t be with the people you want to see in person, you could arrange a phone or video call to catch up with them on the day. Or try to arrange a visit around Christmas, if there is a time when it’s possible to meet.
  • Try to plan something nice to do after Christmas. Having something to look forward to next year could make a real difference.

Manage relationships

  • If other people’s questions are difficult, you could think of some answers in advance so you’re not caught off guard. For example, about your plans or how you’re doing.
  • Think about how to end difficult conversations. It’s ok to tell someone you don’t want to talk about something, or to change the subject. It might help to practise what you’ll say.
  • Suggest an activity or an easy way to move on, if you want to help end an unwanted conversation. For example, this could be playing a game or taking a screen break if you’re on a video call.
  • If other people don’t seem to understand how you’re feeling, you could share this information with them. You could also think about writing down how you’re feeling and sharing this with them if conversations are difficult.

Look after yourself

  • Set a ‘start’ and ‘finish’ time for what you count as Christmas. Remind yourself that it won’t last forever.
  • Set your boundaries. Say no to things that aren’t helpful for you
  • Let yourself experience your own feelings. Even if they don’t match what’s going on around you, they’re still real and valid.
  • Take time out. Do something to forget that it’s Christmas or distract yourself. For example, you could watch a film or read a book that’s set in the summer. Or you could try learning a new skill.
  • Let yourself have the things you need. For example, if you need to take a break instead of doing an activity, or need a little bit of quiet time.
  • If you can’t avoid something difficult, plan something for yourself afterward to help reduce the stress or distress you might feel.

Talking to other people

  • Let people know you’re struggling. It can often feel like it’s just you when it’s not.
  • It doesn’t have to be people who are already in your life. You could join an online community to talk to others who have similar experiences to yours. Mind’s online community Side by Side is a safe place to connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
  • Tell people what they can stop, start or continue doing to help you. For example, you could let them know any activities you’d like to be involved in, and what they can do to support you during Christmas. Or you could tell them any questions or topics that you find hard to discuss, so they can avoid asking about them.
  • You don’t have to justify yourself to others. But you might feel pressured to, especially if someone asks a lot of questions. It could help to let them know that certain situations are difficult for you and tell them what they can do to help. It might also help to tell them that you understand they may see things
    in a different way.
  • You might not be able to make others understand. That’s OK. It’s not your responsibility to convince other people or get their permission to look after yourself.

Get support

If you’re struggling this Christmas, you may want to find support for your mental health. There are a few ways that you can do this:

  • Call Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone). They’re always open. They have a Welsh language line too.
  • Text SHOUT to 85258. This is a free 24/7 crisis text service run by Shout

 

This article was written by MHPP / Derby University. For more information about the scheme see https://www.derby.ac.uk/business-services/midlands-engine-mental-health-and-productivity-pilot/ and the Start a Chat website can be found at www.mhpp.me/StartaChat

Becoming a Dad, a free guide for Fathers-to-be

The Fatherhood Institute is a small charity that advocates for involved fatherhood.

Becoming Dad is a 68-page guide for expectant and new fathers, which aims to help men do the best possible job of becoming a father. Written and published in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, it is available for free via Time with Dad – a campaign to improve support for fathers.

Join the Time with Dad network below to receive a free PDF of Becoming Dad and receive occasional notifications about the campaign – including opportunities to share your ideas and experiences through surveys and ‘think-ins’; and take part in our policy campaigns.

https://mailchi.mp/fatherhoodinstitute.org/becoming-dad

Maths Champions – how it will benefit your child

As a nursery, we have recently signed up for an exciting project called Maths Champions.

This programme is designed to develop maths teaching in Early Years settings by supporting the practitioners (called the “Maths Champion”) to create and fulfil an action plan for improving maths teaching. The National Day Nurseries Association is providing support to our Maths Champion with online resources and one-to-one advice and our dedicated staff members have already started their learning.

We are particularly passionate about this programme as children’s early maths ability can be correlated with attainment in maths and other subjects in later life. This falls within our STEM teaching and supporting children in subjects that will provide them with a strong start in life in key subject areas.

Maths is historically an area that many early years settings struggle with, but we are already very fortunate to have a Teacher-Led Pre-School, that coupled with this new support means we can offer exceptional teaching to the children in our care and provide for them the stepping stone they need to be exceptional young learners.

Our new Recycled Bottle Greenhouse

We talk lots with the children at the nursery about recycling, climate, and how we can all make small changes to help our planet.  As part of our desire to promote recycling, we have built a recycled bottle greenhouse so the children can enjoy gardening throughout the year and we can all enjoy eating the fruit and vegetables we have produced ourselves.

The greenhouse was built using empty bottle contributions from our children’s families, staff, and several generous donations from one of the parents of a child at nursery. Measuring 8 x 6ft (2.5m x 1.8m) the frame was gifted on a local giving page by a lady whose elderly father loved gardening – we’re so pleased we can give an extra lease of life to it, and keep his love of gardening going.

The greenhouse has used over 1,500 plastic bottles and 150 garden canes in its creation! Each bottle was washed, cut to size, and stacked vertically on the canes which were fixed to the metal framework making insulated child-safe sides.

We hope it will give us lots of fun for years to come as we expand our outdoor area further.

Beeches Park Staff run the Derby Pretty Muddy 5k!

We love to support charities at Beeches Park and Cancer Research UK is close to many of our staff’s hearts. Saturday 9th October saw us head to Markeaton Park in Derby to run the Pretty Muddy 5k Race for Life with a group of staff, management, and colleagues from our sister nursery The Old Forge Day Nursery.

It was an unseasonably warm day and dry but that didn’t stop us from getting thoroughly soaked and really muddy on the exciting course!

We’ve raised a fantastic amount of money for CRUK and we had a great day – although the mud did take quite a lot of washing off…

 

STEM Discovery Day

We had a STEM Discovery Day this week so we could learn the best practices for teaching STEM to young children and so our staff could learn how to effectively engage children in STEM learning. We took part in some exciting experiments looking at building structures, moving liquids, and creating circuits. These experiments are designed to integrate STEM vocabulary throughout the sessions and guide children as to how to reflect on what they have experienced and learned.

Some key areas we looked at were:

  • Recognising that STEM experiences can be planned and unplanned – Teachable moments can happen at any time, carefully planned activities and materials can inspire the children’s natural desire to learn and explore, but these activities can also create spontaneous teaching and learning.
  • Engaging children with thoughtful and intentional learning activities – We are looking at ways to actively engage children in STEM in everyday play, i.e. building ramps, planting in the garden, using a magnifying glass
  • Planning activities to prompt investigation and exploration – there are lots of great activities that can prompt further investigation by children of all ages. Rolling a ball down a ramp, does a bigger ball go slower or faster? Using a balance scale, how can changing the weights change the scales? Making a structure to fit within a boundary, how can we use different shapes to build?
  • Guiding activities with open-ended questions – What, Why, and How questions encourage deeper thinking, thoughtful answers, and continued exploration
  • Understanding that the STEM disciplines are intertwined – for example, growing a vegetable from seed, watching it grow, tasting it, cutting it up, and counting the seeds is both maths and science investigation.
  • Integrate skills to go beyond STEM – Best practice in STEM education includes a focus on critical thinking, collaboration, and language and literacy. We’re creating opportunities for children to communicate their ideas through talking and writing.

STEM exploration happens naturally but as educators, we can refine and further help our children develop these skills for lifelong learning. We can give them the opportunity to ask questions, explore and investigate, learn how to work with others, and use modern technology. We can offer children opportunities to find out how things work, explore with their minds and their senses. We can spark their imaginations to talk about what they are thinking and doing. We can provide opportunities to work one-on-one with our staff and in small groups. We will utilise our outdoor space using our recycled bottled greenhouse for growing, our playground for movement and physical experiments, and our STEM room for focused technology and small-scale experiments.

We’re really looking forward to using this knowledge with the children at Beeches Park Day Nursery as they take part in their own experiments, we’re sure they’ll have just as much fun as we did, and learn some great STEM skills.

5 Star food hygiene award

We’re delighted to have our 5 Star food hygiene award renewed again after a recent inspection.  Our Nursery Cook Anita works really hard to ensure that the children receive nutritious, healthy, and delicious meals every day, home-cooked on the premises.  She makes a wide variety of dishes and freshly baked cakes, biscuits, and deserts and her attention to detail was evident in the report that was produced by ESBC with full marks in every area.

Meet the new Nursery Pets!

This week we were delighted to introduce the children to our new nursery pets.

We have two gorgeous Guinea-Pigs called Timon and Pumba who will be staying with us and playing with the children in all our rooms. We will each take turns in caring for them and the best bit… giving them tasty treats!  We’ve had lots of cuddles already and are looking forward to taking great care of them.