Entries by Mark

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Rough Guide to Free Childcare Through Universal Credit

Rough Guide to Free Childcare Through Universal Credit

Today we explain who is eligible, what funding is available and how to claim free childcare through Universal Credit.Universal Credit provides essential financial support to individuals and families in the UK, particularly those who are on low incomes, are jobless or are unable to work. One crucial aspect of this support is childcare funding. In today’s detailed guide, we will delve into the details of free childcare through Universal Credit, explain who is eligible, what funding is available to those who are, how to claim, and more.

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Support for Children Under 5 with SEND: a Guide for Parents

Support for Children Under 5 with SEND: a Guide for Parents

Today's article is a guide explaining the support available to children with possible Special Educational Needs & Disabilities.Today’s article is a guide explaining the support available to children with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities. This is often referred to simply as ‘SEND’ or alternatively ‘SEN and disabilities’. Here, we will explore the importance of identifying SEND in children, the benefits of early intervention, and the various avenues available to help children affected. The information in this post should be useful to parents whose children may be impacted by special needs or disabilities and is one small part of our nursery’s serious commitment to supporting such children.

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Predicting Your Baby’s Eye Colour: Fact vs. Fiction

Predicting Your Baby's Eye Colour: Fact vs. Fiction

While a large proportion of babies in Northern Europe are born initially with blue or grey eyes, this is not the case worldwide.As new parents, there’s an endless array of incredible moments you’ll experience as your baby grows. One of the most mesmerising changes to witness is the transformation of their eye colour. Those initial weeks of gazing into your baby’s eyes might reveal shades like brown, blue or grey, but have you ever wondered why those initial hues often defy expectations and evolve into a completely different colour? In this article, we’re going to delve into the enchanting world of baby eye colour changes to unravel the science and magic behind this captivating phenomenon.

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Dyspraxia in Early Childhood: Signs, Support & Solutions

Dyspraxia in Early Childhood: Signs Support, & Solutions

As parents and caregivers, we all want the best for our children’s development and well-being. While every child is unique and may have their own set of challenges, it’s important to be aware of conditions that might affect their growth and learning. One such condition is dyspraxia, a developmental* disorder that can impact a child’s motor skills, coordination, and overall daily functioning. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of dyspraxia, explain how to recognise its signs, and suggest what can be done to support children who have been diagnosed with the condition.

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A Fun Guide to Composting for Kids – Let’s Get Composting!

A Fun Guide to Composting for Kids - Let’s Get Composting!

Young environmental enthusiasts and parents — welcome to the exciting eco-adventure that is composting! Composting is a fantastic way to turn food scraps and garden waste into nutrient-rich soil that helps plants grow big and strong. In this guide, we’ll explore the wonderful world of composting, explain how to set up your compost area and highlight the amazing benefits it brings to your family, garden, wildlife and the environment.

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30 Minibeasts for Children to Look Out For (With Free Poster!)

30 Minibeasts for Children to Look Out For (With Free Poster!)

Today’s post is all about this wonderful new minibeasts poster for children to download. It’s free and features 30 small creatures that children, including under-fives, can try to spot when they’re out and about. It’s a great introduction to just some of the thousands of minibeast species found throughout Britain. In a typical year, children should indeed be able to spot many of the minibeasts we show, as they’re mostly quite common. Printing the poster out for them, either as A3 for display or reduced to A4 for them to take on outings, is a great way to encourage them to take an interest in nature and The Great Outdoors. As we’ve said before, spending time around nature is extremely beneficial to children, as is outdoor play, so this is a very worthwhile and beneficial children’s activity. It is fun, interesting, educational, supports the EYFS curriculum, and a whole lot more. Read on to learn how to quickly and easily download the free poster for your child.

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The Big Butterfly Count – a Nature-Based Activity for Kids

The Big Butterfly Count - a Nature-Based Activity for Kids

The Big Butterfly Count is an exciting and worthwhile nature-themed activity to engage children this July and August.The Big Butterfly Count is an annual event that takes place each summer across the UK. Anyone can join in and it’s not just for adults — it’s perfect for children too. What’s more, it can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s an exciting and very worthwhile nature-themed activity that’s guaranteed to engage little ones. As well as getting closer to nature and to these enchanting little creatures, children can become little ‘citizen scientists’. That’s because the Big Butterfly Count gives them the opportunity to actively contribute to butterfly and nature conservation while taking part in this fun outdoor activity. In today’s article, we’ll explain how even the youngest nature enthusiasts can get involved in this inspiring event.

“Take part in the world’s largest butterfly survey — and become a citizen scientist!”

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25 Reasons to Choose Leaps & Bounds Nursery

25 Reasons to Choose Leaps & Bounds Nursery for Your Childcare

In today’s article, we give you 25 reasons why Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery would make an excellent choice for your child’s early education and childcare needs. What’s more, Ofsted independently back up many of them. With that in mind, we’ve included several comments from the Ofsted Inspector, who most recently inspected the setting and released her official report in April 2023. Her comments make good reading and represent useful independent feedback about the setting. What’s clear is that, if you have a baby, toddler or preschooler and live or work around the Edgbaston/Birmingham area, Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery would make an excellent choice for your childcare. Let’s take a look.

1. A ‘Good Provider’ Says Ofsted

Quality of education is good at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery and that’s official! Here’s how Ofsted graded us in their latest report (April ’23):

Overall effectivenessGood
The quality of education
Behaviour and attitudesGood
Personal developmentGood
Leadership and managementGood

We’ll take a closer look at some of these below.

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Talk To Your Little One (Here’s Why)

Talk To Your Little One (Here's Why)

As children grow, their brains try to make sense of what they see, hear, smell, touch and taste.As they grow and develop, babies and toddlers are like little sponges that soak up stimuli and information around them. As they do, their brains try to make sense of it all to give meaning and relevance to what the child sees, hears, smells, touches and tastes. When a child is in physical contact with something that stimulates their senses, the connection between cause and effect is at its most obvious. However, when it comes to physically unconnected signals like sound and less tangible things like information, making sense of them can be more difficult as there may be less context for the child to work on. It’s logical, therefore, that interactive help from parents and caregivers is going to help little ones process and put meaning to such inbound data. With help from an adult, the streams of sound and information can be given context and relevance that might otherwise not have been attainable. What’s more, a new study at the University of East Anglia has now confirmed the link between talking with infants and physical changes within their developing brains. Put simply, talking with your infant shapes their brain, quite literally. Let’s take a look at the study.

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Introduction to the Leuven Scale of Well-being & Involvement

Introduction to the Leuven Scale of Well-being & Involvement

The Leuven Scale is a simple but powerful tool that can be used in early years education and childcare settings like Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. The scale is used, through observation, to assess different aspects of children’s development and behaviour, including those with any challenges. The scale is so named because it uses a five-level scale in assessments. For example, the engagement scale will assess whether a child has little or no interest in an activity (Level 1), is easily distracted from the activity (Level 2), superficially engages with the activity (Level 3), shows some motivation and is concentrating on the activity (Level 4) or is highly motivated and interested in the activity (Level 5). Once assessed, the findings can be used to identify areas where additional support may be needed and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and programmes designed to provide that support. The Leuven scale is used for a continuous loop of assessment, planning, actioning and reviewing.Assessment, planning, actioning and reviewing are approached in a continuous, circular way, as illustrated in the accompanying diagram. In this way, any interventions designed to help a child are fully optimised and positively impactful.

The Leuven Scales most widely used in early years settings monitor well-being and involvement, engagement, relationships and classroom behaviour. However, well-being and involvement is usually the prime area of focus in early years settings, so that’s what we’ll concentrate on today.

Read on to learn more about how the Leuven Scale is used in childcare settings, see some examples, learn about its benefits and more.