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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.

Sun Safety at Nursery

We recently read this article from the NDNA (National Day Nurseries Association – www.ndna.org) and thought it would be of interest to parents as these guidelines cover the procedures we currently adhere to.

NDNA advises all nurseries and anyone working with young children to be extra careful in current hot temperatures.

The heat itself can cause many problems particularly for young children and can exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma.

Teaching children about being safe in the sun is an important life lesson. Make sure you lead by example so the children see adults enjoying the sun but being safe in hot weather. Encourage them to be ‘sun safe’, to know the risks and look after their friends to see if they are ok.

This will help instil in children the basis for enjoying the sun safely throughout their life.

Many nurseries have canopies or gazebos that give good shade in the middle of the day. If you have trees, make sure the shade is complete, not speckled as children can still burn under speckled shade.

NDNA’s advice includes the following:

  • Don’t let children outside during the hottest hours (11am until 3pm) unless they are totally shaded, and during the rest of the day don’t let them stay out for long periods of time
  • When they do go out on a hot day, reduce the level of activity – maybe have storytime or quieter activities such as creative, sand or water play
  • Keep lots of fresh chilled water available for children who can self serve, not left out in the sun. Give them gentle reminders – have you had a drink recently?
  • For younger ones, keep offering them drinks throughout the day
  • Make sure staff drink plenty of fluids in front of the children to reinforce this behaviour
  • Make sure the children and staff are all wearing their sun hats and sun cream – encourage the older ones to put it on themselves under supervision. Keep reapplying sun cream as advised on the bottle and explain why this is important.
  • Recommend the use of wide brimmed sun hats and loose fitting clothing to parents for the children
  • Check your outdoor equipment such as slides and swings as they can get extremely hot.
  • Do take babies outdoors but keep them in the shade – however, don’t sit them on the floor if it’s too hot to hold the back of your hand there for longer than five seconds
  • Pushchairs if left outside in the sun can also get very hot – keep them indoors or in the shade when not being used. Do not any coverings over pushchairs such as blankets as this can cause the temperature to increase causing sun stroke
  • Try to keep your nursery as cool as possible, using ventilation, fans and by drawing the curtains against the strong sun if possible
  • Remember some of your children with SEND may be more at risk during the hot days
  • Ensure all staff can identify the symptoms of heatstroke and what action to take
  • If any of your children are behaving differently to normal, or become floppy or unusually tired, then cool them down with wet flannels, cold water, drinks and fans. If you have any concerns contact a health professional.

Successful bid for STEM grant

We are so excited that our bid for a grant from the IOP (Institute of Physics) has been successful and we have been awarded funds to develop our STEM room and outdoor STEM teaching facilities. We will now be able to purchase even more exciting equipment for the children to develop their STEM learning and offer an even more engaging range of activities for them to explore their practical skills.

These new products will enable us to introduce the children to basic coding skills and enhance their practical thinking skills outside with measuring, balancing, and construction tools.

For more information on the IOP and their support for young people see their website at https://www.iop.org/

What is STEM and what does it mean?

You’re going to see us talking quite a lot in the future about STEM

So what exactly is it and how does it benefit your children at Beeches Park Day Nursery?

STEM is essentially Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths learning. These are all important areas that your children need to be comfortable with to excel in the future. STEM helps your children to become future creators, thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, explorers, and inventors. By exposing children to STEM subjects at an early age it sets a foundation for higher learning in their futures and interest in subjects that are shaping the future of the world we live in.

We’re so lucky in our location to be surrounded by industries that visually inspire our STEM learning from distribution centers, medical practice, engineering, to logistics. We can see the lorries and the bustle outside so to be able to learn how the engines work, how goods travel, how things are made, and how we use these processes in our lives gives relevance to what we learn in our STEM room.

Key members of our staff are currently undergoing training to become our official STEM ambassadors so they can effectively teach the subjects in an engaging way across all ages.

It’s all very exciting, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Watch out for more updates as we expand our STEM learning through the room settings.