With being a male still very active with the children, championing their families but now with an added edge of being more as a leader and motivator for a developing and wonderful Company that is growing from strength to strength. I still pull on what brought me into childcare so many years ago as an […]
The idea of your child starting school can be a scary and daunting time for both parents and the child. Your child might have been at nursery for a while but the leap to ‘Big School’ can feel like a challenge.
Your child starting school will be the cause of a huge bag of mixed emotions, both the excitement about growing up and moving onto the next step, and the sadness at watching them become more independent in the sense that they don’t need us parents as much.
We’ve given some useful tips on how to prepare for their big day and the first few weeks.
How to help your child prepare
- The thought of ‘big school’ can be very appealing for children but the change in itself can be quite frightening and they can be quite anxious. To help them prepare let your child know what to expect by reading them books about starting school and talking to them about it. This will greatly reduce their anxiety. Most fears are related to not knowing what is going to happen and where things are, and these can be talked though thoroughly to the best of your knowledge.
- It’s worth finding out what system the school uses so you can help your child know what to expect. Many have an open day before they start which really helps your child to become familiar with the environment, teachers and other children. Also ask to be shown the places that are really important to your child and their settling in process i.e. their classroom, the toilets, where to go for snacks, where the registration area is, where they hang their coat etc…
- Many schools now offer a home-visit to allow the teacher to see your child in your own home environment, which is fantastic. We encourage you to take this up if offered!
- Teach your child ‘life’ skills like getting dressed and undressed, using the toilet independently, washing their hands and putting things away – every little bit of independence helps.
How do schools support my child in their first weeks?
- However your child reacts to school it really helps to remember that the teachers have done it all before. The school will have familiarity on how best to support your child within their first few weeks of settling in and will have a system in place for managing this.
- Schools encourage children to make friends and the teachers will do sessions about sharing and taking turns to make sure no one is left out.
How can you as a parent support your child in their first weeks?
- It’s common for children to wet themselves during school so ensure you always pack a spare pair of underwear during the first couple of terms. Quite often children do not like school toilets and will hang on until it is too late.
- By labelling your child’s clothes and showing your child where you’ve put their name will ensure they do not lose their PE Kit for example. Most schools will have a lost property.
- Get your child involved in buying their school uniform, a school bag, a lunchbox if needed, and their stationary etc…
- If you need child care beyond school hours, start planning your childcare now. Childminders are particularly good for after school care – local councils provide lists of registered childminders or ask the school office if they know who picks up from there.
- When you pick them up from school talk through the events of their day: Ask them open questions (how, what, where, why) and encourage them to have opinions and ask questions.
Preparing for school is so much more about their dispositions and emotions rather than their achievements and abilities. Sending a confident, independent and happy child to school is the true aim and most important emphasis.
The children at Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries have been taking part in lots of creative play this month including, playing in the snow, making pancakes, decorating valentines cards, learning a new language and creating new inventions!
The children at Acton were very excited to see that some snow had fallen during the night and they could not wait to get outside and explore. The children collected the snow and brought some inside and watched to see what happened.
Acton Park Nursery
The children really enjoyed making their own tea and choosing their toppings.
Jessica – ‘I like cheese’ Carla – ‘I don’t like those’ (points at the peppers), Channice (Staff) – ‘When you’ve made your pizza bread where do we have to put it before we eat it?’ Hina (Staff) – ‘Monroe you have to have a special pizza without cheese, but do you want some peppers?’ Monroe – ‘I want peppers’
Valentines at ‘The Ritz’ at Hathaway
The parents really enjoyed their evening, here’s what they said:
“I just wanted to place in writing a big thank you to everyone at Hathaway involved in our valentine winners dinner back on the 12th February’.A lot of thought had gone into the planning of the event. The food was great (thanks Manprit). Lisa R served the food well and thanks to Ella for looking after Joshua.It was nice to meet parents who have just started on their child’s hungry caterpillars adventure. The two gifts given to us just topped the whole evening off superbly.
Joshua has only six months left at Hathaway so suggest next Valentines is too long to wait to have another competition. Why not St George’s Day and fish and chips possibly?” Christopher Johnson
Book of the month
The children at Northolt have a book of the month and they are role playing this and making the story come to life by painting, role play in the corner and reading the story to their friends. The story of the month is Handas Surprise.
The children have also been trying lots of new fruits at snack time like Mango, Guava, Blueberries, Raspberries, Avocado and Strawberries. Quotes…
“I am making apples and pears”
“I need to use the red for my red apple”
“We need to make fruit from Handas Surprise”
“The monkey eats the Banana”
This month at the Northwood nursery the children have been learning French and have been saying the colours in French rouge, bleu etc…
We also have a French board and children went to France and saw the Eifel Tower and help make it.
We would also like to thank all parents for their support throughout the move, the children are really enjoying getting involved and helping us packing up toys and we have created books with photos of our new temporary location!”
Stanburn Pre-School had great fun hosting a cake sale for our chosen charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital. Our parents were very involved in this event by baking delicious cakes even our mothers who were not confident bakers produced delicious cake. We managed to raise £42.40!
Thank you and well done to all who contributed.
West Twyford Nursery
Staff Training Day
All staff had attended.
The staff members found the training day really helpful, here’s what they said –
“A lot of new information was included”
“The information was really good and related to the setting”
“The training day was very informative”
70% of the staff felt that the training was excellent and the other 30% felt that it was good.
On the 13th February, the children at Yeading nursery celebrated Valentines Day in style by dressing up in onesies and the staff wore red!
All Staff and Parents each donated £1 for dressing up which goes to our chosen charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital. We also done fun activities like making heart shaped biscuits and valentines cards for our family and friends!
One child who wrote Daddy a Valentines card said “My Daddy is special but I love my Mummy & Daddy”. Another child was very excited to dress up in her favourite onesie said “I wore my onesie, it had Rapunzel on it and was pink and purple because it was valentines”
Warrender After School Club
Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries would like to give you an insight into what we have been up to in the last few months.
This summer has been an exciting one at Hungry Caterpillars as we have taken part in many events, including the prestigious Nursery Award Finals. We have also held competitions for parents via our new Facebook page.
Graduation Party features in the Ealing Gazette
The children at our Northolt nursery attended a send-off party they will never forget, which featured in the Ealing Gazette!
The children who recently left for school, attended the LA Fitness Health Club in Rowdell Road with graduation hats, collected their certificates and then had food and a party afterwards.
We would like to thank all parents for getting involved in this celebration and making it a day to remember for all involved.
Click here to read the full article.
West Ealing Fun Day
Our West Ealing nursery has raised more than £300 for Great Ormond Street Hospital
Children at Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries in Hathaway Gardens, West Ealing have thrown a fun day to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Children attended the fair on Saturday 12th July and raised more than £300. Click here to read the full article
Martyna Nawrot makes the Nursery World Awards 2014 Finals
Selected from 1000’s of entries, Martyna Nawrot, Nursery Practitioner at our Acton Park nursery had been shortlisted for the finals at the Nursery World Awards 2014.
The awards were held on 27th September at The Brewery in London. To read the full article click here.
Denham Holiday Club 2014
Although the summer seems like a distant memory now, as the children are all back at school and the nights get darker. I just wanted to say ‘WOW’ what a wonderful summer we had this year at our holiday club. It was great to see so many old faces returning to the club and lots of new faces too. All our newbies settled in quickly and the children enjoyed the fantastic activities on and off site.
Here’s what some of the children had to say…
“Thanks Caterpillar Club. I had a great summer at Caterpillar Club and really loved all the arty stuff. Can’t wait to come again next year” Katie, aged 7 years
“I loved the water fights best, you get really wet but it’s fun” Jack, aged 5 years
Winner of our ‘Facebook’ competition
As part of the launch of our new Facebook page at Hungry Caterpillars anyone who ‘liked’ our page were automatically entered into a competition to win tickets to Legoland.
We are pleased to announce the winner is Debbie Horton. Debbie has 3 children who attended our Holiday Club in the Summer and is thrilled to win the tickets for her family.
“Lily and Kai love the holiday club and Kai used to hide at home time because he didn’t want to leave. Thank you so so much just what we needed a bit of good news”
This Autumn the children across all Hungry Caterpillar nurseries have enjoyed the outdoors and have been getting creative raising money for charities.
Children and staff across the nurseries have all been raising money for their chosen charity
Our Northolt nursery have also been busy this week making little gifts and will be making cakes for sale also for the Great Ormond Street hospital fund. The staff also donated money to dress up and the parents if they wished to get involved. West Ealing Nursery held a “onesie” day to raise money for “Stand Up To Cancer”, children and staff raised a total of £66.00.
We would like to say thank you to all children and parents for your support and contributions.
Children, staff and the maintenance team at our Hathaway nursery have been very creative the last few weeks and built bird boxes.
Our Perivale nursery have been out on nature walks and looked at the surrounding environment and found different types of leaves and seeds pods from a maple leaf. They have been experimenting different ways of using leaves in art work and created leaf collages and also leaf printing.
Our Acton nursery welcomed parents in for a coffee morning and breakfast with the children which they thoroughly enjoyed.
NMT Nursery Awards
The NMT Nursery Awards were held on the 29th November at the London Hilton Metropolitan. Congratulations to both Chris and Kery’s on being short listed for this prestigious event. The Hungry Caterpillars enjoyed a great night! Click here for more information.
Staff Training Day
We recently held our staff training day which went really well and the feedback from the staff is that they gained a lot from the day and they are looking forward to getting back to nursery to put in place their new knowledge. The topics covered were: planning and assessment, risk assessment and safeguarding. We also introduced our new company golden rules for staff as well as the launch of our staff awards which will take place for the first time at our December training day.
For the children and staff at Hungry Caterpillars Christmas is the best time of year. Children have enjoyed being creative making Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, calendars and festive treats.
Children have also met Santa and have loved dressing up in their Christmas outfits performing at their Christmas play to their parents.
Children and parents at our Stanburn Nursery have enjoyed a Christmas concert singing all their favourite Christmas carols.
Father Christmas also made a special visit to the Nursery and gave them all a present for being so good!
Acton Park Nursery
The children at Acton Park Nursery have been doing lots of Christmas arts and crafts including making cards for their parents.
Children have also enjoyed a festive Christmas dinner and a Christmas party with all their favourite Christmas songs.
The children at Perivale Nursery have been wearing Christmas hats and writing letters to Santa and posting them in our letter box to be sent to the North Pole. The children are really excited to see what they get Christmas Day!
The children at Hathaway Nursery have made Christmas cookies and cards ready for their visit from Santa and the reindeers! They have also been enjoying Christmas themed activities having fun with shaving foam, a great sensory activity for all ages!
West Twyford Nursery
Children at our West Twyford Nursery have been enjoying the build up to Christmas and Zoolab came to visit us for an animal Nativity show!
Northolt, Northwood & Acton Nurseries
Children have been enjoying the Christmas festivities, getting creative making Christmas crafts and decorations and performing at their carol concerts.
We highly recommend all parents to like our Facebook page. We will be regularly posting information for parents, relevant news and up-coming events. Please like our page to keep up to date with what is happening at Hungry Caterpillars.
‘Deciding to send your child to nursery can be a difficult decision to make, for others it isn’t a choice but dictated by financial pressures or career demands. Regardless of the reason you can be assured that there are many positive benefits which will have a direct impact on your child’s development now and as they progress to school.’
Day nurseries follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This provides a structure of learning and care for children from birth to five years old. This means the staff are trained to create a safe and stimulating environment for your child to enjoy and develop in.
Kathy Sylva, professor of educational psychology at Oxford University, said that in nurseries of an average to high standard, children who start attending under the age of two go on to form better relationships at primary school.
A study carried out by the University of London, and published in summer 2013, found that children who had spent three years or more in nursery education could advance their academic attainment by up to a year over those whose parents kept them at home until the age of five.
Many working parents feel guilty about leaving their children in nurseries, here are some of the benefits and the reasons why you shouldn’t need to worry.
1. Nursery prepares your child for school
Children benefit immensely from mixing with other children and will therefore be more prepared and better equipped when it comes to starting school.
They will also adapt easily to a learning environment, have greater social skills and they will feel more secure in a different environment. Nursery will have also helped your child develop confidence in relating to adults.
On another note nursery will have encouraged your child to find and use a tissue for their nose, wash their hands, tidy toys and realise they sometimes have to wait for things and take turns
Understanding what is expected of them, having been at nursery, they will have a good idea of how to behave.
2. Nursery encourages playtime
Your child will have a chance to play and learn in a group and one-to-one with a member of staff. They will also benefit from playing with other children, as this can help them to gain confidence and develop their social skills.
An active toddler is likely to remain active later, so it is important to encourage activities both indoors and outdoors. You want your children to love the great outdoors, not the TV, one thing you don’t see at a nursery is a television. At home it is very easy to turn on the TV to give yourself some time off. Play is vitally important as your children will develop muscle control, balance and coordination.
The range of messy play activities at a nursery are far greater than can possibly be available at home, including water, sand, paint and glue.
3. Nursery supports potty training
If you send your children to nursery for several days a week, potty training will prove a breeze. Potty training is obviously not a sole reason to send your children to nursery, but in terms of generally lifestyle assistance, every little helps.
4. Nursery helps children develop social skills and make friends
Socialising with other children is vital for your child’s successful development. They will be eager to engage with their peers and become aware of the attachment they feel towards children they regularly play with.
Toddlers get a lot out of being with other children. Nothing that you can do can make up for the excitement that other children provide.
5. Nursery also benefits parents
Your children are being looked after by nursery practitioners who have had a decent night’s sleep, enjoy their work and are paid to change nappies, manage tantrums and clear up food thrown on the floor. Parents feel more relaxed after having a break from their children, which can only be a good thing for parent and child.
Nursery workers witness the behaviour of our children from a completely different perspective and through experience. With this in mind they can be relied upon to offer constructive advice and opinion on the development of our children.
6. There is financial support available
If one of the reasons you are not sending your child to nursery is due to the costs, see if you can get help.
Some employers will provide childcare vouchers, so check with your human resources department to see if you can get help.
Many parents can also get extra help with the costs of approved or registered childcare through tax credits.
All three-year-olds and four-year-olds in the UK are entitled to a minimum of 10 hours of free early education for 38 weeks a year. Some two-year-olds are also now eligible, but this will depend on your income status.
So when it comes to determining whether they will benefit from being sent to a nursery, take a look at the overall quality of the environment, staff, learning and activities which they will be offered as this is the most important thing to consider.
If you are still anxious about sending your child to nursery you can also speak to other parents, visit the nursery unexpectedly, make sure staff turnover isn’t high and talk to the people actually caring for their child, not just the director.
You may also like to read the following articles by Hungry Caterpillars:
Selecting the right nursery for your child is really important to ensuring your child is getting the right care and support through their early years.
Hungry Caterpillars have put together some great tips on how to choose the nursery that’s right for you and your child.
Where to start – doing your research
There are many different types of nurseries to choose from, large ones, smaller ones, nurseries owned by national corporations, smaller independent nurseries, council-run nurseries and nurseries that may be affiliated to local schools. The one that’s right will depend on you and your family’s circumstances and preference.
1. Recommendation from family and friends is probably going to be really useful but just because they recommend a nursery it doesn’t mean it is going to work for you and your child.
2. Search engines are the easiest way to find nurseries based on their location. Start by looking at the nurseries that are closest to your home or work, think about where would be the most practical location and what would work best for you.
3. Take a look at the nursery website to get a better feel about their standards of care and education. They should include their most recent Ofsted report, their aims and values and testimonials from other parents. The inspection report will highlight where the nursery has excelled and any actions or recommendations that they need to work on so this might be a good starting point.
6. Another avenue to explore are the nurseries social media sites. Many nurseries and childcare providers will have a Facebook, Twitter and a Google + page. You may find other parents have left reviews (good and bad) and you will also get a feel about how the nursery functions and operates.
Compare each nursery
One you have shortlisted the nurseries, contact each one and ask them for some information to be sent to you either by post or email. Most nurseries will have a prospectus or brochure they can send out to you which details everything you need to know, i.e. structure, policies, fees etc… This will then allow you to compare each nursery and put together some questions that you might like to ask them.
A good quality nursery will have an open door policy which allows parents to drop in, unannounced. Some nurseries will go beyond just letting you in and visiting your child, they will encourage you to help with activities or outings.
Nurseries should have clearly established policies and procedures for everything from opening and closing times to dealing with emergencies. They will also have health and safety guidelines and a strict illness policy so you can see that the nursery takes the responsibility of caring for your child seriously.
Plan a visit
You should always visit more than one nursery before you make a decision about where you wish to place your child. By visiting the nurseries you will get a better understanding on the variety of nurseries that are available, some will suit you and your child’s individual needs more than others. We recommend taking your child with you on the visits so you can see how they respond to each nursery.
At your visit
When you first arrive at the nursery for your appointment you should take note of the following things:
• Is there a dedicated parking area for you to take and pick your child up
• Do they have a safe and secure system when answering the door
• Does the nursery meet your expectations i.e. are staff friendly, are the children happy and is the environment clean and tidy
You should find out what types of activities they provide. This might include imaginative play, reading, outdoor activities, painting, drawing, puzzles. All day nurseries have to follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This provides a structure of learning and care for children depending on your child’s age.
Olivia Foley, Director and Founder of Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries suggests the following when weighing up your options.
“As a parent myself, I know how emotive finding the right childcare is for parents. It’s a massive decision and getting it right is essential. My advice is to look at 3 or 4 nurseries before making your mind up. Make sure you ask all the questions that are important to you and the care of your child. Talk to the staff, they are the people that will be caring for your child each day so it’s important that you are able to build a relationship with them and they have right attitude. Once you have visited the nursery, spent time with the manager and staff and seen and asked all the relevant questions, I would recommend that you trust your instincts. If it feels right it probably is.”
Hungry Caterpillars offers nursery, pre-school and crèche in the following areas across West London and Buckinghamshire: Acton, Acton Park, Chalfont St Peter, West Ealing, Hanwell, Pure Gym Northolt, Academy Gardens Northolt, Perivale, Stanmore, West Twyford NW10, Yeading
For more information about our nursery and childcare please contact us on 01895 678682 email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ or fill in our online contact form to book a tour.