Monthly Archives: May 2010

Dads’ Breakfast

What a week for Paint Pots 1, the cook went sick on Tuesday, signed off for 2 weeks, the cooker blew up on Thursday (not literally). The maintenance engineer arrived on Friday and promptly threatened to cut off the gas because the cook who retired 2 years ago had decided to hide 2 of the cooker rings which we don’t use!! Fortunately, he eventually just removed the cooker knobs for those rings and allowed us to use the rest, which was just as well, as the next morning was Dads’ Breakfast.

I reckon there were about 22 dads in total. It was a great success. Mrs W and I shared the cooking – bacon butties, mugs of tea, juice, toast. Everyone had a great time. Alas, it rained for the duration, but that’s England in late May for you. 

For some bizarre reason, we decided to interview a new member of staff in the middle of all this. She was a lovely person but looked very nonplussed by the goings on.  I looked very fetching in my cook’s get-up, complete with hat.

No one suffered food poisoning. The dads and children had a great time, as did the staff. A great success!

Incredible Years

That’s the name of the parenting course I have just completed. It was very good. The other 19 female delegates were gracious to me – the only male.   It reinforced many of the ideas we try and live out in nursery each day but which it is good to remind ourselves of – celebrating childrens achievements, loving them for who they are, focusing on and rewarding desirable behaviours and helping them to overcome the undesirable behaviours.

“Special time” is particularly powerful in showing children they are valued. The idea is to set aside 10 minutes each day between parent and child in which the child gets to choose a shared activity and the parent gives their full attention to it.  We did this as homework after our first day and one lady reported back the next morning how she had expected to be dismissed by her 15 year old son, when she suggested they spend 10 minutes together. But instead, she had been amazed at how he said, “I’m liking that idea!”

They had been having a difficult time recently. In particular, his long, knotty hair was a point over which they argued. 

As neither of them could think of anything to do together immediately, she suggested brushing out the knots in his hair! and he agreed. They had a really good chat, with her telling him how she liked his hair, instead of criticising him. This led on to a family scrabble game – the first time they had all sat down and talked together in a long time.

And all this from 1 simple idea. The point being that what children are looking for is validation and acceptance from their parents.

I don’t know about you but I find that very profound and moving.

Dun Bloggin?

No, we’ve just been away again! So what’s been going on? 

Well it’s the Tesco & Sainsburys vouchers time again – counting up bundles, booking a collection time and choosing equipment from the catalogue. A very generous lady from HSBC bank sent me a huge envelope full of vouchers that her office had collected for us. Aren’t people kind?

The tree man finally decided to come and trim our trees – 6 month’s later!! better late than never? We’ll see.

Mrs A away all week, so I am holding the fort. The cook’s gone sick, signed off for the week and we have a Dads’ Breakfast on Saturday with 20+ male carers signed up so far. May need to get my apron out!

I am on a 3 day parenting course from today. Once again, I will be the only male. I will report back progress.  Also looking at booking in for a PTLLS course (preparing to teach in lifelong learning – or something like that), so we can do some child care / child development training.

Plans for Paint Pots 5 – at West End, continue apace. More on that later

Home Thoughts from Abroad

If you have been wondering why there have been no posts recently, it is because we have been away! on holiday, to the wonderful (and very expensive) Italian island of Capri.

We were staying in AnaCapri, the quieter, more residential part of the island. Of an evening, we sat drinking a coffee in the town square watching the children play.

On the way there, we passed the play park which was padlocked and overgrown, grass growing over the slides, swings and climbing frames.

In the piazza, parents sat around the sides on benches, talking, gesticulating and passing the time of day with one another. Mostly, their children experienced benign neglect – they were allowed to play and socialise with minimal adult intervention.

And what we observed was – happy children, lots of communication, language and imaginative play. Children formed social groups, invented games and had a huge amount of fun.  ALL WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION, EQUIPMENT OR RESOURCES.

Maybe there are some lessons for us here??