Tag Archive for: day nurseries

How Quiet Time Nurtures Young Minds

In what can often be a noisy and chaotic environment, the importance of incorporating regular periods of quiet time for children, particularly those under five, cannot be overstated. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding moments of tranquillity is indeed a rare gem. This rings especially true for little ones, who are constantly absorbing the world around them as they energetically play and go about their busy lives. So let’s take a look, today, at some of the many benefits of quiet time for little ones.

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” (Ram Dass)

Mindful Development

In the formative years of a child’s life, the brain is like a sponge, absorbing information at an astonishing rate. Regular quiet time provides a respite from the sensory overload, allowing the young mind to process and consolidate what it has learned. In this way, quiet periods will contribute to enhanced cognitive development and levels of concentration.

Emotional Well-being

Just as adults benefit from moments of reflection, children too need time to process their emotions. Quiet time serves as a sanctuary where they can explore and understand their feelings as they face life’s challenges. Such emotional awareness lays the foundation for better self-regulation and enhanced emotional resilience.

Enhanced Creativity

Unstructured quiet time also encourages imaginative play and creativity. Whether it’s drawing, storytelling, or simply daydreaming, such activities foster the development of a child’s creative instincts. Creativity is a powerful thing and the ability to think laterally, outside the box, is a valuable skill that will serve them well in their future endeavours.

Quality Sleep

Establishing a routine that includes quiet time aids in promoting healthy sleep patterns too. A well-rested child is more alert, focused, and better equipped to face the day’s challenges. The calming effect of quiet time, particularly close to bedtime, prepares them well for a peaceful night’s sleep as well as contributing to their overall well-being.

Bonding Opportunities

Quiet time need not be a solitary activity. Indeed, it presents an excellent opportunity for bonding between parents and children. Engaging in calming activities together, such as reading or quiet conversations, helps to strengthen the parent-child connection, potentially profoundly.

Social Skills Development

Because quiet time offers a unique opportunity for children to engage in solitary play, it can also foster independence. In contrast, when they engage in quiet ‘group’ activities, such as board games or collaborative art projects, it can also help children to improve social skills. Here, they will learn the importance of cooperation, sharing, and taking turns – essential skills for navigating the social landscape as they grow.

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” (Etty Hillesum)

Stress Reduction

Children, like adults, experience stress, albeit in different forms. Whether it’s the challenges of learning new skills or navigating social interactions, these pressures can build up. Regular quiet time acts as a stress-reducing mechanism, providing a calming space where children can unwind, recharge, and develop resilience in the face of life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Outdoor Quiet Time

While the indoors offer a controlled environment, taking quiet time outdoors introduces children to the calming effects of nature. Whether it’s a quiet walk with parents in the park or sitting in a garden, the sights and sounds of the natural world contribute to a real sense of peace and connection with the environment.

“The best thinking has been done in solitude.” (Thomas A. Edison)

Embracing Serenity for Lifelong Benefits

The importance of integrating regular periods of quiet time into a child’s routine cannot be overstressed. Quiet time is a wonderful facilitator for their holistic development, nurturing their cognitive, social and emotional development and laying foundations for a well-rounded and resilient individual. It not only represents a healthy pause button in children’s busy lives but also provides these valuable skills and habits that will serve them well into adulthood. So let’s embrace serenity and create a regular space in which our children can explore, imagine, and connect.

High-Quality Childcare Services in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery provides high-quality weekday childcare — and a full ‘early years’ education — for babies and children under five. Our nursery and preschool is located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham and is graded by Ofsted as a ‘Good Provider’, so little ones are in good hands. Indeed, we nurture every aspect of children’s learning and development, bringing out the best in them in every area, so they are well-rounded and able individuals who are ‘school-ready’ by the time they leave us. We also support all Government-funded childcare schemes, which helps with affordability for eligible families. To explore the opportunity to send your child to Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, please get in touch using one of the following options:

As well as providing high-quality childcare in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, we may also be suitable for families nearby in Ladywood, Harborne, Bearwood and Smethwick.

It's Time for an Autumn Scavenger Hunt! (With Free Reference Sheet)

Autumn is a wonderful time for children to discover some of the magic of nature. It’s one of nature’s most beautiful stages in the year when trees are sprouting seeds in a myriad of fascinating forms, and leaves can be seen in an array of astoundingly beautiful colours. They gradually fall to the ground, rustling underfoot as children walk, helping to give the outdoors a truly distinct feel that’s unlike any other time of year. The air is also cool and crisp, often resulting in crystal-clear views over long distances. It’s a photographer’s dream and, for children, a truly magical time. In autumn they can find an absolute treasure trove of natural wonders if they take some time to get outdoors.

With that in mind, we present today our Autumn Scavenger Hunt reference sheet for families to download, right here, for free. Why not print it out and get outdoors with the kids? Challenge them to find a red leaf, a yellow one, a purple one, or maybe even a multicoloured one. Can they find some acorns, the ‘winged’ seed from a sycamore, maple or acer tree, or a wild hazelnut? Have they ever seen a sweet chestnut? Have they ever found a fir cone? And have they ever noticed how beautiful conkers are? Our Autumn Scavenger Hunt activity gives them the opportunity to do all of these things. Take a look at the reference sheet below and click it to download your own copy.

Autumn Scavenger Hunt reference sheet (preview — click to view or download)

As well as being nothing short of miraculous, nature holds many benefits for children, helping them cognitively, academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This autumn scavenger hunt is therefore a hugely worthwhile activity. Click the bold link to learn more as it’s incredible just how many benefits there are for little ones that spend time in nature. Nature-based activities like this are also huge fun and allow ample opportunities to learn through exploration and discovery. And, as we’ve explained before, outdoor play is also incredibly important for children.

A Good Nursery With Forest School Sessions in Edgbaston, near Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, we understand the importance of nature in the early years and this is why our under-fives benefit from  Forest School sessions. If you are looking for a good nursery, for your baby, toddler or preschooler near Birmingham, then look no further than Leaps & Bounds. We provide the highest quality childcare service in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

If you would like a nursery or preschool place for your child, contact us using an option below and we’ll be happy to show you and your little one around and explain the next steps. We look forward to hearing from you.

Outdoor Safety for Little Ones

We should mention that young children should, of course, be supervised and accompanied by a responsible and vigilant adult when venturing outdoors. There are many hazards and dangers out there, so take a look at our top tips for outdoor safety article to give you some ideas on keeping children safe outside. Also, ensure children watch out for those prickly chestnut cases and keep everything well away from their little mouths! And teach them about safety — they too will need to learn how to risk assess.

 

The Magic of Learning Through Play in the Early Years

Learning through play is nature’s most powerful tool in any child’s learning and development. When children play, it’s not simply about having fun; the process of playing is a crucial conduit through which children learn new skills, about the world around them, and themselves.

Play: the Most Natural Way to Learn & Develop

Learning through play is nature's most powerful tool in any child's learning and development.The positive difference between discovering things through play and being told such things is truly profound. Learning through play and discovery comes totally naturally — and effortlessly to children. Contrast that with learning from a textbook or lecture and you can straight away see why the play method is going to be most effective, as well as being more fun. Indeed, perhaps it is the most effective approach because play is a fun — and a more natural — way to learn.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the role of play in early childhood and learn more about the benefits when children learn through play.

What are Some of the Benefits of Learning Through Play?

Through play, children make sense of their surroundings, learn about activities, objects and natural things and get to understand the significance of their stimulated senses. Active play also directly contributes to positive changes in their bodies, including the honing of balance and coordination as well as in the building of strength and fitness. And, through play, they get to better understand other children and adults, both individually and as a whole. Through all of this, they also get to clarify their place in the world and, of course, facilitate the learning of countless new skills.

Enhanced Cognitive Skills

Cognitive function is one area profoundly affected when children play. Play takes so many forms that, through its many facets, children are constantly learning. Play represents a real workout for the brain as children learn to problem-solve, build, create, interact, understand things around them, and much more. Through such activities, their brain synapses multiply continuously, allowing them to fine-tune a multitude of cognitive skills that are built on constantly.

Enhanced Social & Communication Skills

Group play gives children the perfect opportunity to learn from each other, improve social skills, enhance language skills, and build relationshipsPlay can also naturally be a multi-person enterprise. As such, group play gives children the perfect opportunity to learn from each other, improve social skills, enhance language skills, and build relationships. Such skills will allow them to better communicate, cooperate, share, take turns, negotiate, resolve conflicts and fit in. The making of friends is one natural result of this. That’s important.

Improved Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is another key skill that’s enhanced through childhood play. Play can involve many facets that allow children to see things from another perspective. Role-play is a classic example. Through such endeavours, children will develop key traits like empathy, perception and the understanding of peers. They’ll also be better equipped to manage their own emotions and handle those of others.

Feeding Creativity

Play is also a perfect tool through which to be creative. Indeed, creativity is a natural part of play, coming instinctively to children as they create games, make-believe situations, role-play, problem-solve and invent. Such creativity is also a core part of the fun of playing, making games more exciting and memorable in the process.

Making Sense of the Senses

In infancy, sensory play is one of the very foundations of every child's early learning and development.Babies also learn through play and one of the key ways they do so is through the senses. In infancy, sensory play is one of the very foundations of every child’s early learning and development. It helps them make sense of everything around them, enables them to fine-tune motor skills, and strengthens muscles as they play and explore objects or materials nearby.

Insights Into Maths & Science

Playing in the early years is also going to involve concepts like counting, addition, subtraction and basic science from time to time. Whether building towers with wooden blocks, experimenting at bath time, or creating a new den, mathematics and science are at the heart of so many childhood games and pastimes. Again, play is a natural way for children to learn and discover.

Development of Risk-Assessment Skills

When children play, they will naturally learn to assess risk, learn from mistakes, and grow more resilient in the process. A study by the University of Cambridge backs up the importance of facilitating such learning.

“…meeting challenges and learning how to manage risk is one of the main elements of play [that] should be supported and encouraged.” (University of Cambridge, 2012)

Improved Well-Being

Play is enormous fun for children and therefore it will naturally contribute to their happiness and well-being.One should not overlook one of the most simple yet fundamental benefits of learning through play; play is enormous fun for children and therefore it will naturally contribute to their happiness and well-being. Indeed levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that’s released when humans are under stress, are shown to reduce simply through the act of playing.

Nurturing a Love of Learning

Play really is a magical tool because, quite simply, it makes learning fun. Because of that, children will naturally enjoy learning. That’s going to stand them in great stead as they progress from nursery and preschool to school, further education potentially and into adulthood. As such, this love for learning will benefit them personally and professionally once they’re older.

Learning Through Play at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Early years practitioners at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery fully understand the transformative benefits of learning through play. That’s why we nurture such an approach whenever possible. Play at the nursery will be a mixture of structured and unstructured (‘free’) play, allowing focus to be put on both specific areas of learning, where appropriate, and natural discovery. Learning goals will be baked into the learning and development programme that’s tailored to suit each individual child. Equipment, toys, resources and the design of the various spaces around the nursery/preschool are also designed to safely optimise each child’s learning through various kinds of play. Our practitioners will also carefully observe children’s progress and help them get the most from their experiences and activities throughout the day. Such continuous assessment and tailored support will bring out the very best in every child in a holistic way. This 360-degree facilitation will allow children to simply thrive, in readiness for school at the age of 5.

If you would like to explore the possibility of your child attending a ‘Good Provider’ of childcare and early years education like Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, please get in touch using an option below. We support free ‘childcare hours’ through the various Government-funded childcare schemes to make childcare more affordable for eligible children.

We are a high-quality nursery/preschool in Edgbaston, close to Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

 

Child Safety Outdoors: a 20-Point Checklist for Parents & Caregivers

Playing outdoors and in nature is extremely beneficial for children but there are many potential dangers to be mindful of.Whether in a garden, playground, park or the countryside, playing outdoors is extremely beneficial for children. However, it also comes with its own inherent dangers. So, as parents and caregivers, we have to strike a careful balance between allowing children the freedom to explore and discover while at the same time ensuring they stay out of harm’s way. There are, after all, hazards everywhere outdoors. With that in mind, today’s post outlines 20 key things to be mindful of to help keep children safe when they’re playing outside.

1. Vigilance

Vigilance at all times is the real key to child safety when they’re playing outdoors. Parents, caregivers and anyone supervising children should proactively keep eyes and ears open continuously, ready to spot the signs of danger — in whatever form it may potentially take.

2. Stranger Danger

Stranger danger is, of course, also one of the major concerns for anyone in charge of looking after children, particularly when they’re playing outdoors. So, ensure children are all in eyeshot and accounted for at all times and that nobody is around them that shouldn’t be. Those who may want to do children harm can also be rather cunning, so watch out for distraction techniques, people handing out sweets or gaining trust from children in other devious ways too. Ensure children are also educated about this topic and know what to do and what not to do if approached by a stranger.

3. Traffic Dangers

Playing outdoors can sometimes also bring children closer to areas where there may be traffic and this too is terribly dangerous. Supervising adults will therefore need to keep children well away from vehicles, for example by locating play somewhere safer, as well as teaching children to know how to avoid traffic dangers themselves.

4. Water Hazards

Water features, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, swimming pools, hot tubs and even puddles are potentially very dangerous for children.Water hazards are responsible for several child deaths each year, so things like ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, swimming pools and hot tubs are not places children, particularly the very young, should play anywhere near. An infant or child can drown in just a few inches of water, so even puddles are potentially dangerous if children are left unattended. Adult supervision and vigilance around the dangers of water are therefore of paramount importance.

5. Trip Hazards

Adults and children alike must be mindful of potential trip hazards outdoors, particularly when running.Children, especially the youngest, are often so engrossed in playing that they don’t take enough notice of their surroundings (especially children who are dyspraxic). This is even more the case when playing outdoors with all the different types of terrain around them. Trip hazards like tree roots, steps, and raised flowerbeds may therefore be something both they and you need to look out for. Teaching them to watch their step, quite literally, and to watch where they are going could save them from many a painful bruise.

6. Unlevel Terrain

Similarly, slopes and drops in the height of terrain can be hazardous, especially when children are not concentrating on anything but their game or activity outdoors. Encourage them to be aware of their surroundings at all times and this can help them to stay safe and avoid some nasty accidents.

7. Climbing – Danger of Falls

Falls after climbing can be potentially serious, so it's essential to instruct children to be careful and mindful of the risks.Climbing frames and climbing into trees, tree houses and raised dens are all firm favourites among children. However, whenever children climb higher, there’s an inherent danger that they could fall back down again if they or their supervising adult are not vigilant. Falls after climbing can be potentially serious, so it’s essential to instruct them suitably and to encourage them to be careful and mindful of the risks.

8. Sharp Things

The world around us also has sharp things everywhere! Whether it’s thorns on a rose bush, brambles, jagged sticks, sharp rocks, or garden tools lying around the garden, they are simply everywhere when you think about it. Supervising adults therefore need to do whatever they can to ensure tools are locked safely away and to keep children away from all other sharp objects associated with the outdoors if children are playing. Children also need to be educated about them, so they can eventually self-manage and assess risks themselves.

9. Dangerous Plants

As we all know, some plants are poisonous and some can even burn and give people nasty blisters if they come into contact with the skin. Which plants are planted in gardens and which children play near are therefore things for parents and caregivers to consider carefully. And, of course, it’s crucial for children to understand that they should not try to eat leaves, berries, or anything not sanctioned by a more knowledgeable parent.

10. Poisonous Fungi

Adults must ensure children understand that they can look but not touch fungi, however beautiful and interesting some may appear.Fungi are potentially even more toxic, many potentially leading to death if eaten. Adults must ensure children therefore understand that they can look but not touch fungi, however beautiful and interesting some may appear.

11. Choking Hazards

The outdoors is also filled with a myriad of different things that are the type of size that could, in theory, fit into a child’s mouth. Children therefore need to learn quickly that they must never put objects in their mouths, for example, acorns, conkers (which are poisonous), stones, twigs and even toys. Any of these could lead to the child choking.

12. Dangerous Animals

Wild animals and even some domesticated ones can sometimes be dangerous to a child. Whether it’s an out-of-control dog, an adder in the bracken, or a wild animal protecting its young, each animal can be a danger to a child in the right (or rather wrong) circumstances. So, children need to learn to respect other creatures and not assume they’ll always be friendly. Even farm animals can potentially harm a child, perhaps unintentionally, simply due to their larger size and weight. So again, an awareness of one’s surroundings, vigilance, respect and some common sense need to come into play when children are playing near animals.

13. Insect Stings & Bites

Bee, wasp and hornet stings can be very painful for children.Playing outdoors can also bring children closer to insects that may have a nasty bite or sting. Midge bites can be annoying but bee, wasp and hornet stings can really hurt! Even some kinds of ants have a nasty nip, so a good practice is for parents or supervising adults to do a visual ‘sweep’ of the play area to ensure no such critters are living there. Even better — get children to learn by your example.

14. Germs

Children and supervising adults need to be mindful of the harm germs can potentially do, so teaching good hygiene is of paramount importance.Germs are, of course, everywhere, but some are worse than others, particularly outdoors. Children and supervising adults need to be mindful of the harm they could potentially do. It’s therefore always wise for adults to teach children good hygiene practices including washing hands regularly, watching out for anything mouldy or grubby, avoiding doggy doos, not touching faces or eyes with dirty hands, and so on.

15. Breaking Rules

Setting some ground rules when children are playing outdoors is always wise. Ensure they know what they are and are not allowed to do, with their safety and well-being in mind. Then, of course, watch to ensure they stick to these rules and, if not, stop them in their tracks and explain why they must not do what they were going to do!

16. Straying Children

Setting physical boundaries for outdoor play is essential for children’s safety. Indeed, it can help to avoid the chance of children getting lost or straying too close to hazards. Before beginning play, they should therefore be made aware of the precise area they are allowed to play in. Pointing out some physical boundary markers is sensible, particularly if they’re playing in a park, in the countryside, or somewhere unfamiliar. Trees, bushes, plants or any physical landmarks can be used to denote boundaries, for example.

17. Changing Elements

Don’t forget to prepare children for whatever weather may come when they’re playing outside. Sun cream and sun hats will be needed on sunny days and it’s always good practice to pack a raincoat in case the weather turns. A spare jumper and perhaps even other spare clothes can also be packed in a backpack just in case they’re needed — or in case children suddenly become cold. Layers are good, if so.

18. Keeping Hydrated

When children are having fun and adventures outside, it’s all too easy for them to overlook the need to keep hydrated. Supervising adults can step in there, though, to offer drink breaks at appropriate intervals.

19. Fire Hazards

Children must be educated about the dangers of fire, appropriate safety protocols and the rules that apply to them if they go anywhere near a bonfire, campfire or barbecue.We’re all familiar with photographs of children enjoying marshmallows toasted over a campfire and indeed such moments can be quite magical. However, children must be educated about the dangers of fire, appropriate safety protocols and the rules that apply to them if they go anywhere near a bonfire, campfire or barbecue. A responsible adult must also always be present and constantly vigilant while overseeing outdoor play anywhere near a source of heat.

20. Preparation

We’ve only scratched the surface above, but it’s clear that there are many potential dangers to children when they’re playing outdoors. It’s therefore crucial for supervising adults to stay close and keep eyes and ears firmly open whenever children play outside.

One of the best ways to protect children outdoors, though, is to prepare well. For example, scour the outdoor location for hazards before play commences, ensure you’ve packed a ready supply of sun cream, rain macs and spare clothes for children, and brief children about potential dangers before they even venture outdoors. Such preparation will stand you and your little one in good stead.

An Edgbaston Nursery & Forest School for Your Child

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, we know the incredible importance of outdoor play and the many benefits that nature brings to children. That’s why we run our own Forest School, where children under five can spend time in The Great Outdoors, where they will learn and benefit in so many ways.

Learn more about Forest School here or enquire about a possible nursery place for your child at Leaps & Bounds. We’re a high-quality nursery and preschool located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, also close to Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

To register for a place, pay a visit with your child, or get answers to any questions, get in touch today:

Please note: the above list is not exhaustive and therefore parents/caregivers/supervising adults should always do their own risk assessments.

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.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a Government welfare benefit that was introduced to streamline the support available to eligible individuals and families. Its primary goal is to provide financial assistance to those who need it, taking into account various aspects of an individual or family’s financial situation.

Without getting too bogged down in unnecessary detail here, Universal Credit is thus named because it is replacing several existing benefits, including Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (‘JSA’), Child Tax Credit, and others. Today, however, we’ll focus purely on the childcare funding element.

Who is Eligible for Childcare Funding Through Universal Credit?

Childcare funding through Universal Credit is primarily intended for parents on low incomes.Childcare funding through Universal Credit is primarily intended for parents on low incomes who require childcare services to either maintain current employment, increase working hours, or transition into paid work within a month. Eligibility caveats for you — and your partner if you have one — include the following:

  • Except for a few exceptions, you usually both have to be in paid work, or have an offer of paid work for a position starting within a month.
  • Earnings and income must fall within specific thresholds to qualify.
  • The childcare provider you use must be officially registered/approved by OFSTED or equivalent.
  • You must be living in the UK.
  • You must be 18 or over, although there are exceptions for some aged 16 or 17.
  • You should be below State Pension age.
  • You must jointly have no more than £16k in savings or investments.
  • The child(ren) for whom you are applying must be below the age of 17 (eligibility ends at the end of the August following their 16th birthday).

How Much Childcare Funding Can You Get Through Universal Credit?

The amount of childcare funding available through Universal Credit varies according to your individual circumstances. Generally speaking, though, Universal Credit can cover up to 85% of your childcare costs as follows:

The maximum available for one child is £950.92 per month;
The maximum available for 2 or more is £1,630.15 per month.

(Correct at date of publishing, late September 2023).

What Can the Childcare Funding be Used For?

Universal Credit childcare funding can be used for various childcare services, so long as they're properly registered.Universal Credit childcare funding can be used for various childcare services, so long as they’re properly registered (e.g. with OFSTED or their equivalent in Wales and Scotland). Permitted types of childcare provision include:

  • Nurseries: Licensed nurseries that provide care and early education for young children.
  • Childminders: Individuals registered to provide childcare services in their homes.
  • After-School Clubs: Organised programmes that offer care and activities for school-age children after school hours.
  • Holiday Clubs: Similar to after-school clubs but available during school holidays.
  • Preschools: Educational settings for children aged up to 5.
  • Approved Childcare Providers: Some approved providers outside traditional settings may also be eligible for funding.

As well as funding standard nursery/preschool-type childcare sessions that allow you to work, the funding can also be used for other types of childcare provision that will help you transition back into work. It can potentially fund settling-in sessions before work to help your child transition into a new childcare setting, childcare provision for your child while you commute to your job, childcare required because of changing work patterns as part of a zero-hours contract, and childcare provision during the month following the loss of a job.

Caveats:

You cannot claim Universal Credit for Childcare at the same time as:

Tax credits
Tax-Free Childcare

How to Claim Your Childcare Costs Via Universal Credit

Except in special circumstances, you need to pay childcare costs up front and then claim back the eligible part of it through the scheme.Except in special circumstances, you will need to pay for your childcare up front and then claim back the eligible part of it through the scheme. To successfully make your claim, you’ll typically need to:

  • Keep records of your childcare provider’s registration number and contact details.
  • Document your childcare costs with receipts or invoices.
  • Provide evidence of your work or job offers.
  • Claim within 2 months (latest) of incurring the childcare costs otherwise you may miss out.
  • Regularly update the Universal Credit system with any changes in your childcare situation.
  • To get started, apply for your online Universal Credits account here.

More information is available through the official Government website or via the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

Nursery Places at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, we support all Government-funded childcare schemes so, even if you don’t qualify for free childcare support through Universal Credit, you may qualify for one or more of the alternative childcare funding schemes. These are there to help families with affordability, which nowadays is more important than ever. Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery offers a first-class childcare and early education service for babies, toddlers and preschoolers under five, offering them the very best start in life in a warm, nurturing environment. If you would like to explore the possibility of your child having a place at Leaps & Bounds, please do get in touch using one of the following options:

Rated as a Good Provider of childcare and early education by OFSTED, Leaps and Bounds is a nursery/preschool located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick. We also operate our own Forest School, enabling children to benefit from everything that nature has to offer.

Information in this guide is given in good faith and is believed to be correct at the time of writing (late September 2023). Please check the Government website for the most up-to-date information.

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.

Why Identification Matters

Identifying Special Educational Needs & Disabilities in children is the first crucial first step in being able to help them. Only through identification can timely support and tailored interventions be put in place to help mitigate issues that may otherwise hold children back. It will empower parents, caregivers, early years practitioners and any supporting professionals to understand a child’s unique needs and thereby facilitate the provision of the right kinds of assistance.

The Benefits of Early Identification

The right support will enhance a child's learning experiences, improve their quality of life, and also foster a sense of inclusivity.Early identification of SEND is of crucial importance and offers numerous benefits for children affected. Put simply, it allows support measures to be put in place at the earliest opportunity, thereby minimising any delay in the child’s learning and development progress. Timely interventions can lead to enhancements like better communication skills, increased independence, and vastly improved overall development. Such help will enhance a child’s learning experiences, improve their quality of life, and also foster a sense of inclusivity. Inclusion is incredibly important to children’s mental health and well-being — and avoids them feeling isolated and ‘different’.

How Identification Works

Identifying SEND in children involves close collaboration between parents, caregivers, childcare nursery staff, the setting’s SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), healthcare professionals and, where needed, any specialists. This collaborative effort between parties emphasises the “Assess, Plan, Do, and Review” approach, which is a circular and evolving strategy to identify any areas of concern and ultimately to support the child. For children under five, the EYFS framework for early years settings also incorporates a similar, complementary approach. For children specifically aged two, the official ‘Progress Check at 2‘ will also be a key tool within the assessment and planning stages.

The Tailored Support Plan

A collaborative effort between various parties uses an "Assess, Plan, Do, and Review" approach, culminating in a tailored support plan for the child.The resulting tailored support plan is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual child. Through the ‘review’ element embedded in the approach, such plans evolve over time as their effectiveness is continuously assessed. As adjustments are deemed to be required, they are fine-tuned en route as and whenever necessary. Specialists like speech and language therapists or other professional expertise may also be brought in to provide additional support if appropriate.

Recourse to an EHC Assessment

Should, for whatever reason, the support plan be deemed ineffective, parents, health visitors, healthcare professionals or even family members are also at liberty to request an Education, Health & Care Assessment (‘EHC’). If the application for such an assessment proves successful, it will be organised by the child’s local authority. More information about EHC assessments is available here.

Special Funding from the Local Authority

Special funding and the support of specialist professionals may be available for children with special educational needs and disabilities.Additionally, the child’s local authority may provide special funding through their own ‘Area SENCo’ (Area Special Educational Needs Coordinator). If sanctioned, this funding can be used for tailored support like additional staff, extra learning resources, specialist equipment, or bespoke activities tailored to the child’s specific needs. The Area SENCo also assists with transitioning children from early years settings to school.

The Local Offer

Local authorities publish what’s known as a ‘Local Offer’ on their online information portal. This explains what support is available for young people with special educational needs or disabilities. This resource is designed to help families understand the services and assistance potentially available, for their child, in their local area. By way of example, the local authority for Edgbaston is Birmingham City Council, whose Local Offer portal can be found here.

Childcare Funding for Children with SEND

Eligible children under five with SEND may be able to access additional funding to cover some of the costs associated with childcare.Eligible children under five with SEND may be able to access additional funding to cover some of the costs associated with childcare. This is a significant topic in its own right and, as such, may indeed merit its own separate blog post. We may look at that in due course, so watch this space. However, to give you a flavour, a few examples of childcare funding available specifically to eligible children with SEND include:

  • an upgrade, potentially to £4,000 of childcare support, through the Government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme for those with disabilities;
  • additional childcare hours for children aged 2 if they are receiving Disability Living Allowance (‘DLA’);
  • additional childcare hours for children aged 2 if they are the subject of an Education, Health & Care (‘EHC’) plan.

Our Commitment

At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, we are committed to supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities. Identification of issues, early intervention and collaboration between ourselves, parents, caregivers, and specialists like healthcare professionals, is essential for the well-being and development of children with SEND. Such support can make a hugely positive impact on their lives. With that in mind, we take all measures necessary to facilitate this, in a warm and nurturing environment that promotes inclusive learning for all.

Contact Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Please don’t hesitate to contact us about nursery places for babies, toddlers and preschoolers under five, or to discuss how we can assist your child. With Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, your child will be in good hands. Ofsted rates us as a Good Provider of childcare and early years education and we also support the various Government-funded childcare schemes, making childcare more affordable for eligible families.

To enquire about a nursery/preschool place for your child, arrange a free guided tour, or ask any questions, please contact us through one of the options below.

Leaps and Bounds is a good nursery and preschool in Edgbaston, near Birmingham. For those requiring high-quality childcare for under-fives near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne or Smethwick, we are also conveniently close, so do consider us for your childcare needs if you live or work in any of those nearby locations.

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.

Eye Colour

Phenomena known as the 'Tyndall effect' and 'Rayleigh scattering' also have some effect on eye colour.For the purpose of this article, eye colour refers to the appearance of the iris, the coloured ring immediately surrounding the eye’s pupil. The iris is like a diaphragm that controls how much light can enter the eye at any given moment.

While pigmentation of the iris governs most of our perception of eye colour, phenomena known as the ‘Tyndall effect’ and ‘Rayleigh scattering’ also have some effect on eye colour. Without getting too technical, that’s all about how light is scattered. To keep things simple, think of it as akin to why the sky is blue.

Let’s Bust the Blue Eye Myth

While it may be true that a good proportion of babies in Northern Europe are born initially with blue or grey eyes, this is not the case worldwide. Indeed, estimates suggest that brown eyes are by far the most common eye colour in infancy when looked at globally. Blue is, however, the next most common.

So, How Does Baby Eye Colour Work?

Estimates suggest that brown eyes are by far the most common eye colour in infancy when looked at globally.Generally, nature is often guided by the principle of adaptation in order to optimise survival. The evolution of eye colour is no exception. In regions with high levels of sunlight, such as near the equator, darker eye colours are more prevalent. This is due to the increased need for protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays —with dark irises like brown ones having more protection than lighter irises, like blue, grey, or green. As humans migrated across different environments back in ancient times, changes in eye colour are likely to have provided advantages in terms of UV protection as part of adaptation to new habitats. The pigmentation and UV protection are accomplished through something called melanin.

Pigmentation: The Melanin Effect

The gradual transformation of baby eyes is closely tied to the production of melanin, a protein that’s secreted by a particular type of cell, called a melanocyte. The visible result is a pigment that’s responsible for colouring various aspects of our bodies, including skin, hair and, as it turns out, eye colour. As babies grow and their exposure to light increases, the production of melanin begins to intensify. This pigment infusion leads to subtle changes to the hue, gradually steering the eyes toward other colour shades. For example, eyes that start off in the newborn child as grey or blue may indeed eventually become something quite different, for example, green, hazel, or brown, as more melanin pigmentation is formed. It’s quite magical to see in such a small infant.

The Role of Genetics

Genetics also play a significant role in a child's eventual eye colour.While the colour journey is strongly affected by the melanin effect, genetics also play a significant role in laying the groundwork. While predicting eye colour solely on the eye colour of parents offers a fair estimation, eye colour inheritance is really a much more complex thing. At a cellular level, it involves one specific chromosome that affects iris colour and multiple genes, which control aspects like the initial amount of melanin in a newborn’s eyes and how the melanocyte cells behave in respect to further melanin production. With genes being passed to the child from both parents as well as the parents’ ancestors, the child’s final eye colour is not easy to 100% predict based purely on parental eye colour. Indeed, eye colour can sometimes ‘skip’ generations and surprise us all!

Blue eyes are the result of a unique genetic makeup. It’s thought that a mutation in a gene called OCA2 in a single common ancestor 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, is responsible for this striking trait in all humans with blue eyes today.

How Long Does it Take?

The most remarkable shifts in eye colour tend to take place between the ages of six to nine months. By this time, the iris possesses sufficient pigment to offer a clearer glimpse of what the final eye colour is likely to be. Irises of infants can change colour up to about the age of three years old before it is fairly permanent. However, they can continue to change subtly throughout adolescence and early adulthood due to ongoing melanin production.

Heterochromia

Heterochromia is a condition where a person has two different coloured eyes or two different colours in one eye.Heterochromia is a rare condition, affecting less than 1% of people, where an individual has two different coloured eyes or two different colours in one eye. It can be genetic or caused by injury, disease, or medications.

We’ve learnt that the evolution of eye colour in infants is a captivating story of genetics, adaptation, and heritage. As parents, we have a front-row seat to this intriguing transformation, gaining fascinating insights into elements of human evolution, survival and the broader narrative of life’s journey on the planet.

Your High-Quality Nursery & Preschool in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.This article was brought to you by Leaps & Bounds, a nursery and preschool offering high-quality weekday childcare and early years education in Edgbaston, near Birmingham. If you have a baby or child under five and live or work in the area, why not consider us for your childcare needs? Ofsted rates us as a Good Provider, so you know your child is in good hands, and we also support all Government-funded childcare schemes for eligible families.  We may also be a convenient choice for those near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick. To register your child for a place, discuss the possibility, arrange a tour or simply to ask any questions, please get in touch using one of the following options:

 

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.

What is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a neurological condition that affects a child’s ability to plan and coordinate movements. Children with dyspraxia may seem clumsy and may struggle with certain tasks that involve physical coordination (we’ll give some examples later in this article). It’s important to note that dyspraxia is not related to muscle weakness, intelligence or cognitive impairment. In contrast, it’s a disorder caused through the brain’s inability to send accurate signals to the body’s muscles.

Points to Note

  • The prevalence of dyspraxia is generally estimated to be around 5-6% of the UK population. However, estimates vary because symptoms manifest differently in different individuals and so may not always be recognised or diagnosed. This can therefore impact the accuracy of prevalence estimates.
  • A definitive diagnosis is not possible before the age of 4 to 5.
  • More boys than girls are affected by dyspraxia.
  • Children affected by dyspraxia may sometimes also be affected by other conditions like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and speech issues.
  • Dyspraxia is a lifelong condition that currently has no known cure. However, there are various interventions, therapies, and strategies that can help individuals with dyspraxia manage their challenges and improve their quality of life.

Recognising the Signs

While signs of dyspraxia may start to emerge during the early years of a child’s life, official diagnosis is a complex process and may not be fully possible before the age of 4 to 5. Diagnosis also typically becomes more accurate as a child gets older, as developmental milestones become more apparent.

For parents and caregivers, recognising the signs of possible dyspraxia in young children is crucial for timely intervention and support. Bear in mind, though, that children develop at different rates, so some variations in motor skills are normal. That said, some possible signs follow below.

• Signs in Infancy

In infancy and when children are toddlers, it might be challenging to differentiate between typical developmental variations and early signs of dyspraxia. Some children may exhibit mild motor delays, such as late rolling over, crawling, or walking, without necessarily having dyspraxia — so it’s tricky! If you have concerns, it’s a good idea to monitor your child’s progress and discuss any observations with your paediatrician or health visitor. They can provide guidance and monitor your child’s development over time.

• Signs in Preschool Years

During the preschool years (around ages 3 to 5), certain signs of dyspraxia may become more noticeable. Children with dyspraxia might struggle with activities that require fine motor skills, such as holding a pencil, using scissors, zipping jackets, or buttoning clothes. They may also have challenges with gross motor skills like jumping, hopping, and running. Some may regularly bump into things, have frequent falls and have poor balance. At this stage, if you observe persistent difficulties that seem beyond typical developmental variations, consider consulting an occupational therapist or a developmental specialist for a comprehensive assessment.

• Signs in School-Age Children

As children enter school and face more structured activities that involve motor coordination, the challenges associated with dyspraxia may become even more apparent. Difficulties with handwriting, tying shoelaces, participating in sports, ball games, and other motor-based tasks may lead to increased concerns. If these challenges continue and impact your child’s daily functioning, seeking a professional evaluation becomes even more important. Occupational therapists, paediatric neurologists, and developmental paediatricians are skilled in assessing and diagnosing conditions like dyspraxia.

• Other Potential Signs of Dyspraxia

There are also a few additional possible signs to look out for, although not all children affected by dyspraxia will exhibit them:

  • Possible delayed speech and language development;
  • A possible lack of spatial awareness including difficulty understanding personal space and boundaries;
  • Possible difficulty following directions (left/right/etc.);
  • Occasionally, a heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli, like touch, texture, or noise.

As we said before, however, having any of the above symptoms does not necessarily mean the child has dyspraxia, but it is a possibility.

Supporting Children with Dyspraxia

Early intervention and tailored support can make a significant difference in the lives of children with dyspraxia. The following are some strategies that parents and caregivers can implement to help children with dyspraxia thrive.

Professional Assessment — If you suspect your child might have dyspraxia, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a paediatrician or occupational therapist. A thorough evaluation can provide a clear diagnosis and guide appropriate interventions.

Motor Skill Development — Occupational therapy can be highly beneficial for improving motor skills and coordination. Occupational therapists use specialised activities and exercises to target specific areas of difficulty.

Physical Activities — Engage your child in activities that promote movement and coordination. Choose activities that can help improve motor skills in an enjoyable and engaging way.

Speech and Language Therapy — For children with dyspraxia who also have speech and language difficulties, speech therapy can help improve such skills.

Sensory Integration Therapy — Some children with dyspraxia also experience sensory sensitivities. Sensory integration therapy aims to help individuals process sensory information more effectively, which can have a positive impact on their overall functioning.

Structured Routines — Establishing structured daily routines can provide a sense of predictability and help children with dyspraxia manage their tasks more effectively.

Supportive Learning Environments — Collaboration with teachers and childcare providers will create a supportive learning environment that accommodates the child’s needs. This might include modified activities, extra time for tasks, assistive technology, modified tools, and providing visual cues.

Communication and Patience — Open communication with the child and patience are key. Encourage your child to express their feelings and frustrations, and provide reassurance and understanding in return.

Self-Advocacy and Coping Strategies — As individuals with dyspraxia grow older, they can develop their own self-awareness and advocacy skills. Learning coping strategies, time management techniques, and self-advocacy can help them navigate challenges and achieve their goals.

Summing Up

Dyspraxia is a complex condition that can present challenges, but with early recognition and appropriate support, children with dyspraxia can lead fulfilling and successful lives. By seeking professional guidance, implementing targeted interventions, and creating a supportive environment, parents and caregivers can play a vital role in helping children navigate the world with confidence and resilience.

Leaps & Bounds Nursery, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, we will offer all possible support for children who are potentially affected by dyspraxia. This includes watching out for the signs and putting in place tailored support programmes wherever appropriate. With the right support and resources in place, dyspraxic children can overcome challenges and achieve their full potential.

Leaps & Bounds is officially a Good Provider of childcare and early years education — and that’s according to Ofsted, who are totally independent. We are perfect if you are looking for a good nursery or preschool in Edgbaston, or near Birmingham, also being convenient to those looking for high-quality childcare for under-fives near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick. We support all Government-funded childcare schemes for eligible families too. So, if you would like to give your baby, toddler or under-five child a wonderful start in life, consider Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery for their childcare and early years education. We’ll bring out the very best in them to ensure they’re school-ready and primed to thrive by the time they leave us to start school. Book a tour, register your child for a nursery place or get in touch with any queries below — we’ll be delighted to help.

* This article relates to the developmental version of dyspraxia, not the type caused through physical trauma or brain injury. Medical professionals may also refer to developmental dyspraxia as Developmental Coordination Disorder (‘DCD’) or Specific Developmental Disorder of Motor Function (‘SDDMF’). In this, for simplicity and brevity, we refer to the condition simply as dyspraxia.

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.

The Magic & Science of Composting

Composting is like a fantastic magic show happening right in your garden! But instead of a magician, tiny creatures called decomposers work their magic. Tiny bacteria feast on the kitchen scraps and leaves, breaking them down into smaller pieces with the help of enzymes that are released. Fungi also have special powers to break down tough materials like wood and turn them into compost. As the decomposers work their magic, they will eventually create something called humus, which is like gold for the soil!Wiggly worms and other minibeasts also love to munch on the decomposed scraps, breaking them down into smaller and smaller pieces.

As these decomposers work their magic, they will eventually create something called humus. Fully-formed humus is dark, crumbly, and filled with nutrients that plants love. It is also the Latin word for soil. When you spread the humus around your garden, it’s like giving your plants a fantastic, nutritious meal. They grow big, strong, and healthy, thanks to the compost magic!

Getting Started

To begin composting, you’ll need a composting area. You have a few options:

A wire composter is an easy option, so long as adults can ensure there are no sharp edges that could hurt people and wildlife.Palettes or Spare Wood: Families can build a simple compost bin using palettes or spare wood. This creates a cosy space for your compost to break down. Ensure there are gaps between wood slats, so that minibeasts can come and go as they please.

Wire Composter: A wire composter is an easy option, so long as adults can ensure there are no sharp edges that might hurt children, themselves and wildlife. This option is like a big basket that keeps your compost in one place.

Commercial Composters: You can also buy special composting bins from stores. These are convenient and keep everything tidy. However, they’re not as much fun as you’ll miss out on the composter creation part of the activity!

What Goes In?

Now that you have your composting area ready, it’s time to start composting! You can add things like:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, crushed egg shells, smaller pieces of garden waste and tea/coffee grounds are perfect for composting.Fruit and vegetable scraps — those banana peels, apple cores and carrot tops are perfect for composting.
  • Eggshells — after you enjoy your breakfast or lunch eggs, crush the shells to help them break down faster and add them to the compost.
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags — if your household makes real coffee, save the used coffee grounds for the compost bin. Similarly, tea bags can go in, but be sure to remove staples, which some tea bags have to attach their ‘tag’ to a string.
  • Garden waste — leaves, grass clippings, and small plant trimmings can also join the compost party.
  • Shredded paper and cardboard — if they have no glossy or coloured ink and do not have plastic lamination (they should tear easily if not), these can go in too.

What Stays Out?

Composting is magical, but some things just don’t belong in the compost bin. Never add:

  • In dry weather, it helps to water the compost heap to keep it moist.Meat, seafood and dairy — keep these out as they can attract pests and make your compost smell unpleasant.
  • Oily or greasy food items — don’t include these as they don’t compost well.
  • Pet waste — never add this as it might contain harmful bacteria.
  • Plastic, glass or metal — only natural stuff can become compost, so no plastic wrappers, glass or metal cans should go into the composter.
  • Diseased plant material — keep this out of the composter otherwise it could spread diseases to healthy plants.

3 Composting Tips for Kids:

  1. Decorating the outside of the composter with colourful drawings or paintings will add another creative facet to this children's activity.Become a compost hero by helping collect kitchen scraps. Ask parents for a special container to store things like fruit peels, vegetable scraps, and eggshells. Once it’s full, take it to the compost bin with a big smile, knowing you’re making a difference!
  2. Get parents to help turn over the rotting compost occasionally with a spade or fork, or to supervise children doing it if they’re old and strong enough. Mixing everything up helps the compost break down faster. It’s like giving compost a good stir to make it even yummier for the plants!
  3. Why not decorate the composter? Children could turn it into an art project! Ask parents’ permission to decorate the outside of the composter with colourful drawings or paintings. Make it look like a happy home for all those minibeasts and decomposers living inside.

The Big Reveal

Composting takes time, just like growing your favourite plants. You have to be patient and wait for the magic to happen. After a few weeks or months, it’s time to unveil the finished compost! Your compost will look dark and crumbly, and it will smell earthy – like the scent of fresh soil after the rain. This is the moment when you realise you’ve been nurturing something incredible!

The Superpowers of Compost

Composting has amazing benefits for everyone:

Various minibeasts, such as insects, worms, and grubs, will eventually call the compost heap home.For Your Family — Composting not only teaches children about nature, recycling, and caring for the environment but is also a wonderful opportunity to observe and learn about the various minibeasts, such as insects, worms, and grubs, that call the compost home. It’s like having a little ecosystem in your garden!

For Your Garden — The finished compost becomes a valuable resource for your garden! When you spread that nutrient-rich compost around your plants, it’s like giving them a delicious and nutritious meal. Plants love compost because it helps them grow big, strong, and healthy. So, by composting, you’re not just reducing waste; you’re also creating a superfood for your garden!

For the Environment — When we compost, we help reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfills. Less waste means a happier, healthier planet for plants, animals, and all of us. Additionally, composting conserves water and reduces the need for harmful chemical fertilisers, making it beneficial for the entire ecosystem. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Congratulations on embarking on the composting journey, young environmentalists and parents alike! With this newfound knowledge, you can work together as a family to make our planet greener and cleaner. Happy composting!

A Nursery & Forest School in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Leaps & Bounds is officially a ‘Good’ nursery & preschool, offering high-quality childcare in Edgbaston, near Birmingham. With an interest in nature, we have our own Forest School too, giving little ones access to outdoor play, exploration and learning. We provide children with a wonderful early years education in all areas of the EYFS and much more, so they’re set up well for success once they leave us to begin school around the age of five.

To register your child for a place, book in for a guided tour with your child, or ask a question, please simply get in touch:

Leaps & Bounds is a nursery and preschool, with its own Forest School, in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

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.

Download the Free Minibeasts Poster

Right-click the preview image below or this link and you can then save a high-resolution version of the poster. Once the file is saved, open it in Acrobat Reader to view it on screen and, from there, you will be able to print it out for your child. Some browsers also allow you to view the PDF on screen by left-clicking, however, availability of this option will depend on your device set-up and browser settings.

Preview of the Minibeasts Poster for children. To download it, see instructions above.

About Minibeasts

Although there are differing definitions of minibeasts, think of them simply as small creatures for the purposes of this activity and poster. We’ve featured 30 fairly common minibeasts that we think are most likely to be spotted by children and families. Indeed, many will be present from time to time in people’s gardens if you know where and when to look (that’s perhaps a topic for another separate guide in due course). Examples include beetles, worms, bees, moths, woodlice, ants, millipedes, larvae and many more. Note that we’ve only included one image for each, so be aware that those you or your child spot may not look exactly the same as shown. After all, there are as many as 25,000 species of minibeast in the UK and we couldn’t feature them all! So, take a look at the poster and encourage children to get minibeast-spotting, under suitable supervision of course, when they’re next playing outdoors. It’s a fun, free, and educational activity!

Look, Don’t Touch!

Teach Respect & Empathy for Wildlife

Remember to supervise children, especially the very young, for the sake of their safety and that of the minibeasts too. Each minibeast is an individual, with its own feelings, needs and the right to get on with its life peacefully. With that in mind, remember to teach children to respect all other creatures and to “look but don’t touch”. They’re busy little beings, going about their business, and no doubt do not want to be disturbed or manhandled — they’re very delicate too. Kindness, respect, care and empathy are wonderful lessons to teach children.

A tip is to perhaps get children to give each minibeast they spot a name. For example, Brian for a bee, Sally for a spider, or Wally for a worm. This reinforces the message that each one is an individual in their own right.

Our Forest School Programme at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston

Children at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston also get to benefit from our Forest School programme. With a focus on nature, this gives children under five the chance to learn and benefit from spending time in the natural environment locally. As well as learning about the world around them, it teaches them about other creatures, plants, trees, the seasons, life cycles, food chains and, most importantly, about their own place in the world. Forest School is fun, educational, transformational and incredibly beneficial to children and, for this reason, we also include Forest School resources on-site at the nursery itself. This includes things like seed and plant-growing areas, where children cultivate plants and vegetables.

Your High-Quality Nursery in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Why not consider Leaps & Bounds for your child’s weekday childcare? Rated as a ‘Good Provider’ by Ofsted, we are a nursery and preschool in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, with our own Forest School. Subject, of course, to available spaces, we also accept eligible families that use Government childcare funding schemes. Register for a place, arrange a tour or ask a question and we’ll be happy to help.

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery and Preschool is located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.