Monthly Archives: July 2010

Graduations

What an emotional week. Staff were just about holding it together as we said goodbye to so many of our older children who are moving on to school in September. I am exhausted, having moved a bouncy castle and inflatable tunnel from one nursery to another, set them up, taken them down and on again.

But what a wonderful experience each ‘graduation’ has been. In the usual Paint Pots way, each one has been very different but equally fantastic –  

At one, Paint Pots balloons were launched symbolising each child going off into their future; there was a Pirate’s Party at another. One nursery gave a musical presentation of Goldilocks and the last one held a ceremony where each child received a card which was read out to parents telling them why this child is special and unique. 

There were many tears from staff and parents but also a lot of laughter.  I asked 4 year old P what a graduation was. She replied – “It’s where grown ups say lots of boring stuff, you stay there until the olden days and then you die!”

What was most rewarding for us was the really heartfelt thanks we received from parents. The comments, cards and presents were quite overwhelming and made us appreciate the hard work and the extra effort our staff do every day.  We received a substantial donation towards resources for the children at one nursery, at another we were given a magnificent clock made by the mum of the family, and we also received a beautiful photo frame inscribed with words of thanks. We had dozens of cards and presents for the staff.  

It has been a wonderful week. It makes us realise why we keep doing what we do and how great the children are, how supportive and appreciative their parents are and how wonderful all our staff are. 

There is nothing more rewarding than to have made a difference in the life of a child.

Annual Report

For the past 2 years we have produced an annual report. We have just finished this year’s and once again, I think it makes interesting reading. It’s amazing to discover or remind ourselves of all the things we have been involved in over the past 12 months. I particularly enjoyed reviewing outings and visitors. Staff and children seem to have been out all over the place, Bournemouth being the furthest point. They have travelled by foot, car, bus, train and ferry. We will have to work on air travel this year – hot air balloons, fighter jets, chinook helicopters, large albatrosses maybe? 

Whilst we have highlighted the headline events of the year, by far the most interesting stuff goes on in the day to day activities, routines and conversations around the nurseries.  We do really need to try and capture some more of these, often very amusing and fascinating insights into children’s development. 

We used to keep a book with children’s funny comments in. Many of these are now in children’s Learning Stories books evidencing areas of development but I think maybe we should produce a valuable Paint Pots archive for posterity.

It could be a best seller!

A future teacher?

There was a great example of how children learn from watching adults behaviour this week.

4 year old P was sat down amongst her friends, holding a clip board on which she had “written” a list of names.

She started to tick them off then looked up to see who was around. ” You’ve haven’t said Good Morning to me yet, C” she said. There was no reply, as C was busy concentrating on her board game.

“C,” said P in her fairly bossy voice, “I say good morning to you and then you say good morning P, back to me.”

There was still no reply so P tried again, in a louder voice this time –

“Good morning, C!”   There was a pretty weary “Good morning, P,” muttered in response. “Thank you, C” said P rather indignantly. She then turned her attention to the next child on her “list”. 

I decided to mess about with her and kept answering when she called another child’s name. Of course, this teasing wound her up a bit, (in a good natured way). “No David,” she said, ” I didn’t say your name yet. You’ll have to wait your turn.”

The next child on her list decided it was probably advisable to respond to his name being called on the register. P then turned her attention to me. 

“Good morning, David.”  No response (deliberately)

I said, “Good morning, David.” Still no response

Louder and more insistent – “Good morning, David!”

“Oh, Good morning, Mrs Elelphant” (or something equally silly).

P laughed then patiently explained what the proper response should be.  I obliged. She then tickd off my “name”, put down her register and asked whether anyone had any news this morning? 

I put my hand up.  P invited me to go and stand by her, face my friends and speak in a nice loud voice.    

As I was wearing a policeman’s hat at the time (for some reason I can’t remember now – I thnk a child put it on me), my news was that I was a policeman that morning and that I was arresting anyone with a light sabre (our regulat Star Wars crew were about to embark on another inter galactic adventure in the conservatory).

“Thank you, David,” said P,”would you like to go and sit back on the mat now?”

“No, I need to go and arrest somebody!”

“Ok, off you go then!” (very matter of fact). She put down her clipboard, looked around the room and headed for the playdough table, very contentedly, registration having been completed to her satisfaction.

Dads’ Breakfast

Another Summer Saturday, another Dads’ (or other male carer) Breakfast, this time at Howard Road. About a dozen showed up. It was a lovely warm morning so we were all out in the garden.

A big thank you to the staff who came in on a Saturday morning to help out, cook, chat and play with the children. It was a great time. There was some very positive feedback. Amazing discoveries included a colony of stag beetle pupae under the logs in our minibeasts area!

A lot of bacon rolls (and vegetarian sausage equivalents) were consumed. Much tea and orange juice was drunk.  Children climbed, scooted, kicked, built, poured, lifted, carried lots of things!

Dads discussed football (of course), jobs, child development, our poor singed nomow grass, children, how much trouble we would be in for getting party dresses dirty in the digging area! and when we are going to do this again!!

Everyone stayed to the end

Working with Hampshire

Child A – ‘Look at my hair, I’ve got a bun, I’ve got a bun!’

Child B – ‘I’ve got a bottom as well, mine is round the back!’

As we work towards opening our first venture across the border into Hampshire, we have been asked to attend a series of workshops on how they run their Early Years support services. It is interesting to see the way a larger organisation operates.

My first impressions are that we may lose the personal touch, where we know virtually everyone who works for Southampton Early Years, but it is also clear that as a larger organisation, they are able to call on greater resources, for example in supporting children with additional needs.

In common, is the need for good relationships and a focus on children. I am confident that these will continue and we look forward to getting to know new colleagues and working with them.