Monthly Archives: June 2010

To Kenya With Love

Last year, all 4 nurseries raised funds for our chosen charity supporting an orphanage and nursery in Kisumu, a slum area in western Kenya.  We managed to donate £500.

This week, an ex work colleague of mine, Chris Wheat (It’s a long story but we used to work together at the TSB), who is the project manager in Kenya, paid us a visit to say thank you, as he was over in UK for a few days.

This is a photo of the climbing frame / play house we have bought for them. It’s fantastic to see so many children using it and getting so much enjoyment from it. It is a spur to us to restart our efforts for the next target. Chris says he will let us know what they need next and we will look at what we can do to buy this for them.

Seeing some of the pictures of the housing and streets around the area makes us very grateful for all that we have in this country.

The Kenyan children have sent us some of their art work. We have been busy putting together a scrap book to send over to them, with some of our drawings, pictures and greetings from England.

It’s another way to show the children about the World around them, to relate to other cultures and to understand that there are other people less fortunate than themselves and what we can do to help them.


Recent scientific and medical advances means there is increasing evidence available of the incredible way in which the brain develops from before birth and on into the first few years of life.  I spent last weeked in the company of some of our country’s most emminent neuroscience researchers and psychoanalysts, discussing the latest findings from research. It was quite technical in places but fascinating.  

Whilst some of the theories regarding the specific mechanisms determining the development of emotions, language and other domains, are still contentious, it is broadly accepted now that the human infant is born with a brain that is still forming and that environmental factors, critically the experiences of love and nurturing in the first few months of life, are vital to the development of a healthy human being, capable of forming attachments, socialisation,  character development, self regulation and the acquisition  and assimilation of knowledge.

Thus is established the bluprint for a “normal” well adjusted and emotionally stable member of society, capable of fulfilling his/her potential for creativity, productivity and making a mark on history.

So why then do we, as a society, continue not to value the vital work done in caring for and developing our youngest citizens?  A friend commented to me last week how, as a teacher, she realised how little her mind was stretched working with preschool aged children. I spent a delightful day in one of our Babies Rooms last week and it was a fantastice experience, full of fun, wonder and delight. I enjoyed the company and experience of 9 separate, developing characters who communicated, expressed themselves, discovered, enjoyed, interacted and created.

Frankly, for me, it is a humbling experience to be a part of something so awesome.  I am amazed at the design and workings of the human body, mind and character. To witness the extraordinary rate of development at this early stage and to actually influence it, hopefully for the better, is a privilege.

More Men?

The end of term signals the start of summer holidays for students, including No. 1 son who is now available to add a little bit more gender balance to the workforce over the coming months. Already today, you could see the children were delighted to have him back. We did have a guy in for an interview last week but with all conscience, we couldn’t really say he was best person for the job. I am having a chat with another man this week. One more male and we’ll be pushing 7% of the workforce!  (over 3 times the national average in Early Years). Come on guys – send us your cvs!

End of Student Placement

A member of staff sneaked out of the room into the manager’s office to tell her that one of the students had just mentioned today was the last day of her placement with us.  ‘Oh no’, said C, ‘I had completely forgotten’.

4 year old P who was in the office “helping”, (she quite often is!) piped up – ‘Well you know what we should do, go out to the local shop for a card and then do that goodbye thing we always do!’

When I arrived, the card was bought and P was busily writing out ‘Thank you for looking after us, with lots of love, Preschool’ into the card. I kid you not!  We do have some very bright children.

The presentation of card and large chocolate bar then followed with the student having no idea what had gone on before hand- Oops, I hope she doesn’t read this!

Paint Pots 5

Off for another meeting tonight with our friends from the West End Community Church for further discussions on converting part of the Kings School Junior in West End, into Paint Pots 5.  It is an exciting space. We are sorting out loos, a kitchen etc and talking leases. Mercifully, planning is already in place.  

We have started attending a series of 6 mandatory seminars from Hampshie County Council on how to run a nursery!

We are hoping to open in time for September, so we are currently interviewing staff, planning resources and talking to builders.

Hopefully things will be more defined after tonight’s meeting.

Burnt Tent

Dear Children,

               We are a bit sad. At the weekend someone climbed into our nursery garden, very late at night, and started a fire.

 The kind man who lives next door woke up and saw the fire. He was very brave and came round with a hose and put the fire out.

Before the fire went out, it burnt down our tent and made a bit of a mess of some of our brand new grass.

Today a policeman may come to see us and a man from the Echo, so please tell your Mum and Dad and check that is ok with them if he would like you to be  in a photograph.