Days of celebration

In June we decided to take some time to celebrate National writing day and World ocean day. In the bumblebee room the children had a grid with numbers on and fruit to match the amount, they then had a go at tracing over the grid with chalk, this helped to develop their fine motor, counting and problem solving skills.

On ocean day we created a tuff tray and added natural resources, the children used tweezers to pluck the litter out and we discussed what a healthy ocean is and what belongs in the sea.

Baby massage

Recently Jo came to visit some of our nursery settings, in order to guide our practitioners on how to perform a baby massage safely and to make it an enjoyable experience for both the babies and practitioners. Overall everyone had a great time and even some of the older children wanted to join in with their own toy babies!

Our poems have been published!📚

Congratulations to Clystheath on the publication of their poems! This is a remarkable achievement that showcases the creativity, dedication, and ability to capture the wonder and joy of childhood through words. The vibrant imagery and engaging rhythm of your work will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on little minds, sparking their imaginations and encouraging their own creative expressions. Celebrating this milestone with you for all your talent and hard work—well done! 🌟

Settling in visits

Settling in visits to a children’s nursery are crucial for both children and their parents, and they play a significant role in facilitating a smooth transition to a new care environment. Here are some key reasons why these visits are so important:

Easing Anxiety and Stress: Starting nursery can be a significant change for young children. Settling in visits help reduce anxiety by allowing children to gradually become familiar with the new environment, routines, staff, and other children. These visits can also help alleviate parents’ worries about how their child will cope with the separation and adjust to the nursery setting.

Building Relationships: These visits provide an opportunity for children, parents, and nursery staff to start building relationships. Strong, trusting relationships between all parties can enhance the child’s comfort and confidence in the nursery. For staff, it’s an opportunity to learn about each child’s needs, preferences, and personality, which is crucial for providing personalised care.

Acclimatisation to New Routines: Nurseries have structured routines that may include specific times for activities such as eating, playing, and napping. Settling in visits allow children to begin understanding and adapting to these new routines in small, manageable increments. This can help prevent feelings of confusion and help children feel more secure as they know what to expect.

Gradual Separation: These visits can be designed to gradually increase the duration that the child spends at the nursery without their parents. Starting with short visits accompanied by a parent or familiar caregiver, and progressively increasing the time spent alone, can help children adjust to being independent in a supportive manner.

Parental Confidence and Comfort: Settling in visits also provide parents with the assurance that their child can cope and will be well cared for. Observing their child interacting positively with nursery staff and other children can reassure parents that they have made the right choice regarding the nursery. It also gives them a chance to ask questions and express any concerns they might have about their child’s care.

Identifying Specific Needs: During settling in visits, nursery staff can observe and identify any specific developmental needs. This early identification allows nursery staff to adapt their care approach or seek additional resources if necessary to support the child’s development effectively.

Emotional Transition: For children, the emotional transition to spending time away from parents and home is significant. These visits help them understand that their parents will return after a period of time, which is critical in developing their sense of security and independence.

Overall, settling in visits ensure that the child, parents, and nursery staff are prepared for a new chapter in the child’s life, paving the way for a positive nursery experience that supports the child’s growth, learning, and development.

Sun Safe Awareness Week 6th-12th May

🌞 Sun Safe Awareness Week, we will be shining a light on keeping our little ones safe under the sun! From fun educational activities to interactive play, we’re empowering children with the knowledge they need to stay protected outdoors.

Don’t forget you can purchase one of our sun hats or polo-shirts by using the order forms at one of the nurseries.

For parents you can find out more information on sun safe awareness at https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sun-safety.html

Spring Crafts at Puffins

Spring has sprung, and what better way to celebrate the season of renewal and growth than with some delightful crafts. On Saturday 27th April 2024 we held a spring crafts event at all our nurseries for both parents and children to attend. There was a range of different activities from colourful flowers to adorable animals, the children had lots of fun sparking their imaginations and giggling alongside peers, it was a great opportunity for parents/carers to meet each other as well as engaging with staff.

Our next event will be the Summer Fete being held on Saturday 20th July 2024.

<strong>Healthy Eating for Nursery Children</strong>

Laying the foundation for healthy eating habits is a gift that lasts a lifetime. As nursery caretakers and parents, we play a pivotal role in shaping the nutritional journey of our little ones. This blog delves into the importance of fostering healthy eating habits in nursery children, exploring practical tips and strategies tailored to the unique needs of our children.

The early years are a crucial period for establishing healthy eating habits. Introducing a balanced and nutritious diet during nursery years sets the stage for a lifetime of good health. It not only supports physical growth but also nurtures cognitive development and overall well-being.

Key Principles for Healthy Eating:

  1. Colourful Plates, Healthy Minds

Encourage a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables to make mealtime visually appealing. The vibrant hues of different fruits and veggies signify a range of essential nutrients, supporting the overall health and vitality of growing bodies.

  • Balanced Meals

Aim for well-balanced meals that include a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. This balance ensures that nursery children receive the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and development.

  • Hydration Matters

Keep little ones well-hydrated with water throughout the day. Water is essential for maintaining energy levels, supporting concentration, and aiding digestion. Limiting sugary drinks helps prevent unnecessary added sugars in their diet.

  • Snack Smart

Choose nutrient-dense snacks to keep hunger at bay between meals. Fresh fruit slices, yogurt, and whole-grain crackers are excellent choices that provide a mix of essential nutrients without relying on empty calories.

  • Family-Style Eating

Embrace a family-style dining approach, where children have the opportunity to serve themselves (with assistance). This not only promotes independence but also allows them to listen to their hunger and fullness cues, fostering a healthy relationship with food.

  • Positive Food Environment

Create a positive and relaxed atmosphere during mealtimes. Avoid using food as a reward or punishment and encourage positive conversations around the table. A stress-free environment promotes a healthy attitude towards eating.

Educational Initiatives:

  1. Food Exploration Activities

Incorporate fun and educational activities that involve exploring different foods. From fruit and vegetable tastings to simple cooking experiences, these activities make learning about healthy eating an enjoyable adventure.

  • Garden to Plate Learning

If possible, involve nursery children in gardening activities. Growing fruits, vegetables, or herbs can be an exciting way to connect them with the food on their plate and instill a sense of appreciation for fresh, wholesome ingredients.

At Puffins, healthy eating is more than just a routine – it’s a foundation for lifelong well-being. By prioritising balanced and nutritious meals, creating positive mealtime experiences, and incorporating educational initiatives, we equip our little ones with the tools they need for a healthy and happy future.

<strong>What support and funding is available for childcare?</strong>

Childcare funding options in England are essential considerations for parents navigating the landscape of early education costs. The UK government provides several schemes to support families in meeting childcare expenses, each with its own set of eligibility criteria and financial assistance. Here are some key aspects of childcare funding in England:

  1. 15/30 Hours Funded Entitlement:
    • 15 Hours Funded Entitlement for 3- & 4-year-olds: All three and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of funded early education per week for 38 weeks of the year (or 11 hours per week all year round). This entitlement starts from the term following the child’s third birthday.
    • 30 Hours Funded Entitlement for 3- & 4-year-olds: Working parents of three and four-year-olds may be eligible for an additional 15 hours of funded childcare, bringing the total to 30 hours per week (or 22 hours all year round). Eligibility criteria include working a minimum number of hours and meeting income requirements.
    • 15 Hours Funded Entitlement for 2-year-olds: From April 1st, working parents of two-year-olds may be eligible for 15 hours of funded childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year (or 11 hours per week all year round). Eligibility criteria include working a minimum number of hours and meeting income requirements.
  2. Tax-Free Childcare:
    • Tax-Free Childcare is a scheme that provides eligible parents with a government contribution of 20% towards their childcare costs, up to a certain limit. For every £8 spent on childcare, the government contributes £2, up to a limit of £2,000 per child per year. It is available for children under the age of 12 (or under 17 for children with disabilities).
  3. Universal Credit:
    • Parents and guardians on Universal Credit may be eligible for childcare support. The amount provided depends on factors such as income and the number of children in the household.
  4. Childcare Vouchers:
    • Childcare Vouchers were a salary sacrifice scheme that allowed eligible parents to receive vouchers to use towards childcare costs. However, this scheme is closed to new applicants as of October 4, 2018. Existing users may continue to use the vouchers as long as their employer continues to offer them.
  5. Discretionary Support:
    • Some local authorities may offer discretionary support or grants to families facing financial challenges with childcare costs. This can vary across different regions.
  6. Early Years Pupil Premium:
    • Early Years Pupil Premium is additional funding for early years providers to enhance the quality of education for three and four-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Important Considerations:

  • Eligibility criteria, application processes, and funding limits can vary between schemes.
  • Families are encouraged to check their eligibility through the government’s Childcare Choices websites and apply for the schemes that best suit their circumstances.
  • It’s essential to communicate directly with childcare providers, as they play a key role in administering these funding options.

<strong>Choosing the Right Nursery: A Guide for Parents</strong>

Sending your child to a nursery is a significant milestone in both your and your child’s life. As a parent, the decision to select the right nursery is crucial, considering it’s the first educational environment outside the home. This article aims to guide parents in the UK through the process of choosing a children’s nursery, ensuring a positive and nurturing start to your child’s educational journey.

Research and Recommendations:

  1. Start Early: Begin your search well in advance. Nurseries often have waiting lists, or limited availability on certain days, so initiating the process early allows you to explore multiple options.
  2. Word of Mouth: Seek recommendations from friends, family, or neighbours who have experience with local nurseries. Personal anecdotes can provide valuable insights into the daily operations and atmosphere of a nursery.
  3. Online Reviews: Utilise online platforms to read reviews from other parents. Websites and social media can offer a glimpse into the experiences of families who have enrolled their children in a particular nursery.

Visit the Nurseries:

  1. Schedule Visits: Arrange visits to the shortlisted nurseries. This hands-on approach allows you to observe the environment, interact with staff, and get a feel for the atmosphere.
  2. Observe Interactions: Pay attention to how staff members interact with the children. A warm and nurturing environment is crucial for a child’s emotional well-being and development.
  3. Ask Questions: Prepare a list of questions to ask during your visit. Inquire about daily routines, curriculum, staff qualifications, and safety protocols. A transparent and informative response is indicative of a well-managed nursery.

Assessing the Environment:

  1. Cleanliness and Safety: Ensure the nursery adheres to high standards of cleanliness and safety. Check for childproofing measures, secure outdoor play areas, and the general tidiness of the facility (although remember that nurseries often provide lots of messy play activities, so sometimes it can look a little chaotic!).
  2. Stimulating Resources: Assess the availability of age-appropriate learning resources. A variety of toys, books, and educational materials contribute to a stimulating and engaging learning environment.
  3. Outdoor Play: Evaluate the outdoor play areas. Adequate outdoor space with safe play equipment is essential for physical development and recreational activities.

Staff Qualifications and Ratios:

  1. Qualified Staff: Inquire about the qualifications and training of the nursery staff. Trained and experienced educators contribute to a positive learning environment.
  2. Staff-to-Child Ratio: Check the staff-to-child ratio, ensuring it aligns with regulatory standards. Lower ratios allow for more individualized attention and supervision.

Considering Practicalities:

  1. Location and Accessibility: Choose a nursery that is convenient in terms of location and accessibility. Consider the commute and whether the nursery fits into your daily schedule seamlessly.
  2. Cost and Fees: Understand the fee structure and what is included. Some nurseries may have additional costs for meals, extracurricular activities, or special events.
  3. Flexibility: Assess the nursery’s flexibility regarding attendance schedules, pickup and drop-off times, and any additional services they may offer.

Final Considerations:

  1. Trust Your Instincts: After visiting and gathering information, trust your instincts. Consider the atmosphere, staff interactions, and overall feeling you have about the nursery.
  2. Communication Channels: Evaluate the nursery’s communication channels. A transparent and open line of communication between staff and parents is vital for a collaborative educational experience.

Choosing a nursery for your child is a significant decision, and it’s essential to find a place that aligns with your values and provides a nurturing environment for your little one. By conducting thorough research, visiting potential nurseries, and considering practical aspects, you can make an informed choice that sets the foundation for your child’s positive educational journey.

Christmas Closedown/Well Wishes

As the end of the year is drawing closer, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank and celebrate our wonderful staff for everything they have done this year. We’d also like to thank all our families for their ongoing support for another year.

Some highlights for this year and memorable moments for Puffins. This year is the first year we have been a registered HAF provider. We have loved welcoming new families to the holiday club and have enjoyed many trips, these to Paignton Zoo, to Bicton park and more recently to a Christmas Pantomime! We have enjoyed fundraising and donated £1,500 to Balloons in the Summer and joining forces with the Exeter University for Children in Need! We have also said goodbye to our After School Club at Clyst St Mary Primary School after 19 wonderful years!

As a whole we are very proud to be Puffins and everything the staff and children have achieved in 2023! Here’s to many more memories in 2024.

Don’t forget, we are closing on Friday 22nd December 2023. We will then reopen all nurseries on Tuesday the 2nd of January 2024 as normal at 7.30am. We hope you all have a wonderful festive period and a Happy New Year! 

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