Whilst all our settings have toy animals, we believe there is no substitute for the real thing! Allowing children to interact with animals gives them the chance to learn in a greater, richer and in a more immersed way.
We love receiving visits from St. George’s Nursery’s super friendly dog – Julio. Previously we have also had visits from a range of different animals such as kittens, a barn owl, guinea pigs and chicks. We have and have had many ‘resident’ pets too at nursery, from snails and fish to caterpillars and rabbits!
It can be particularly beneficial for children with SEND but there are plenty of benefits that animals provide for all children – some are listed below!
Looking after pets and understanding and considering their needs is a huge building block to developing empathy. Pets teach children how to be gentle, compassionate and considerate, as well as to understand boundaries and the importance of caring for others, especially those that are unable to care for themselves. The children learn how to be patient with the animals and how to treat them kindly, which can in turn help them to understand to treat people in the same way.
By interacting with different animals, children are exposed to what else exists in the wider world, what their different needs are, and why we should care for them, all which links nicely with our curriculum.
We have found that many children, especially those that are usually more quiet, really come out of their shell. They are interested and intrigued and want to interact with the animal as well as with their peers.
The task of looking after a pet, and all the responsibilities that come with it, can help children to develop certain habits such as self-discipline and punctuality as well as tidiness. All of these can help children both in their home lives, nursery lives and later on in their lives.
Having a pet around builds on a child’s natural curiosity and encourages them to be more inquisitive as well as to question and interact and connect more.
In particular, animals can help children’s reading skills. Research has shown that children who may be reluctant to read out loud feel more confident reading to animals as they see them as a non-judgemental companion!
Pets are known to have calming qualities and stroking their fur has been found to act a form of therapy, leading to lower blood pressure, which subsequently can lower anxiety levels.
Furthermore, pets provide a sense of security, comfort and companionship, which again in turn reduces anxiety, apprehension or worry.
Having a pet in the classroom brings high levels of enjoyment and joy. Moreover, playing with pets often encourages children to be active promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Talking about race with children may make you feel anxious but here’s how we can start…
👶 Start early; by 6 months of age babies start to notice racial difference & by age 3-4 children have already begun to show signs of racial bias. Even before babies & children can talk they learn through behaviours & actions.
🗣 When children grow older they become more vocal & it’s normal for them to start talking about skin colour. Don’t claim not to see colour, allow them to express their views, concerns & thoughts when it comes to their friends from different backgrounds & different cultures. Encourage open conversation; encourage children to ask questions, share observations & expose them to different cultural opportunities such as books, toys, films & cultural events. Try to choose books & toys that include people of different races & cultures & try to have a diverse friendship circle so they learn from their peers.
📖 Educate Yourself; if you, yourself are not entirely sure about how to address race or confused on how to be “racially appropriate”, EDUCATE yourself before educating your children. This might be uncomfortable for many because you’ll have to acknowledge & face your own bias. This is really important because we’re more likely to pass on racial biases if we don’t identify & work to overcome them. Be open & honest, it’s okay to say “I’m not sure” or “Let’s learn about this together.” You’re not expected to know it all & race is a topic you should plan to revisit again & again in different ways over time.
✊ EMPOWER them to make CHANGE! Be active—don’t be a “bystander” on race. Help your child understand what it means to be a “change agent”. It’s not always enough to speak up about racial inequalities, whenever possible, connect the conversations you have at home to the change you want you & your child to see & think together about how you can bring change into society!
These are just a few simple ways we can teach our children about race & by doing so bring a generational change.
Following the impact of Covid-19, the world is having to adapt to “a new normal.” Many parents have had to adapt to working from home, and it is likely this will continue for months to come. Could this be the end of the world of ‘9-5’ working?
Juggling work commitments, home commitments as well as trying to fit in personal hobbies is not easy at the best of times, but it seems it’s getting harder and harder for most of us.
We appreciate that these are challenging times and we understand that it can be frustrating and often distressing not knowing where to turn when in need of some certainty.
Whether it’s working from home, or whether you do shift work or teacher contracted hours, as your childcare provider, we want to let you know we are here to support you during these changes, and the changes yet to come.
Do an extra couple of hours to yourself in the mornings sound ideal to complete the house chores you always put off whilst the children are at home, or even fit in that exercise class? We’re here for you!
For both new and existing parents, we want to let you know are providing term-time only places, holiday clubs, the flexibility to add on additional hours if you are struggling with working from home as well as flexible childcare hours for shift workers.
We would like to remind you that our opening hours are 7.30am – 6pm. If you would like to discuss any of these options further, or would like any more information, please don’t hesitate to contact your site manager.
From brushing their first tooth to their first trip to the dentist, here’s how to take care of your children’s teeth.
A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health. Follow these tips and you can help keep your kids’ teeth decay-free.
It’s important to use a fluoride toothpaste, as this helps prevent and control tooth decay.
Children aged up to 3 years
Children aged 3 to 6 years
“Being a mother comes with a lot of things; responsibilities, constant learning but most of all emotions. Every day we go through a whirlwind of emotions with our little people. From feeling loved up to moments of frustration due to exhaustion. All these feelings are valid and normal. We can’t always be super happy and it can be difficult to constantly know what to do and what is right.
Guilt. This is a feeling that reoccurs on a daily basis for me. When I was pregnant, I felt guilty because I felt rubbish from the constant sickness and nausea when I had hoped so hard that I would become pregnant. Guilt because I didn’t attend any pre-natal exercise classes to bond with my baby because I was managing a service alone and was left so tired that at the end of a working day, all I wanted to do was sleep. Guilt, because I didn’t go out to make friends with other pregnant women because I wanted to organise myself to start my own business.
After little man arrived, this feeling continued. Guilt that I felt overwhelmed with the 10 hours plus of cluster feeding every day. Guilt that I wasn’t producing enough milk for my baby which was why he was constantly feeding. Guilt that I wasn’t looking forward to breastfeeding because it was painful with sitting as my coccyx had moved during birth. Guilt that I didn’t get out in the early months because I was constantly feeding and the only position I could do it in comfortably was laying down. So on and so on.
It’s hard to come to terms with the reasons behind feeling guilty, and there will always be something that affects us. My recent feeling of guilt has come from the idea of returning to work.
I always knew I wanted to go back to work because I love what I do. Helping others achieve positive experiences gives me a sense of achievement and being. I am passionate about what I do and I love to see the difference I bring to other mothers and their relationships with their babies. This being said, I love seeing my son grow and develop and feel so fortunate to have had spent the last 13 months with him. Unfortunately, however, due to change in circumstance, I have had to re- evaluate my work/ home balance. Before going off on maternity I had planned to go back to work 3 days a week, spend 2 days with my son at home, manage my business 1 day and to spent 1 day as family.
Life had different plans for me and in actual fact I now have to work full time. I sat deliberating with my husband on what was best for us and what was best for me. I knew if I was going back to work, it would have to be to a job I loved and with the niche that I work in, that wouldn’t be easy. Work have offered me some flexibility but I still have to put in the 37.5 hours. I still want to continue supporting women with positive birth experiences and teaching hypnobirthing so it all came down to weighing the importance of each aspect of my life.
I have taken the role and will continue my business too. This has built so much guilt as I know I will only spend 1 hour an evening with my son and will miss 1 weekend a month with him, but what I also know it that this is an opportunity to grow, learn and make the most of the time we have together. I’ll pre plan the night before so I can enjoy that hour with him, playing and bonding. The 3 weekends a month I have with him will be for us. We will make the most of doing things together and enjoying every moment I have with him. I have left the feeling of guilt for holding my son whilst he naps and co- sleeps at night because that is my quality time with him. If things don’t work out at work and it means I have to give it up, we will deal with that at another time. But for now, I acknowledge I will miss some time with my son, but what I will do is make the most of the time I do have with him.
It’s not easy being a parent, not knowing if you are making the right decisions for you and your baby. Regardless of whether you choose to be a stay- at- home mum or a working mum, you have made that decision with good reason. Remember in each case though- make the most of the time with your little person. The house can wait, other people can wait. Do what is right for you and enjoy the precious moments you have together.”
The world is moving in a dangerous direction, and if we want our children to grow up into a natural world anything like our own, we need to act now. A warming globe and wasteful behaviour could threaten food stocks, increase extreme weather, lead to flooding, and destroy precious ecosystems.
Why do we at St. George’s Nursery need to be more sustainable?
Sustainability can be defined as ‘development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
At St. George’s, we’ve been working hard to think of lots of ways that we can act more eco-friendly. Why? Because we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can in order to help minimise the detrimental effects of certain human activities but more importantly we understand that the path to a more sustainable Earth will depend on how we educate the next generation. We want children to grow up with an understanding of how to look after the planet, and in turn, go on to influence others with their behaviour. The earlier you can teach these core principles, the better.
Children should be taught to respect and care for the world they live in from a young age, if they do, they are more likely to preserve it and consume more appropriately. This could help reduce the consumption of plastic in the future. One of the best ways for children to learn about the environment is to experience it.
Our aim is to empower our children, raise environmental awareness amongst parents, children and the wider community, and improve the overall school environment.
So what are we doing to help?
Our eco-committees, made up of both children and staff, have been learning about various topics such as biodiversity, energy, transport, water, waste and litter and have been implementing various new measures around the nursery.
From reducing waste and using more eco-friendly products, to conserving water and energy, we want to continue to educate ourselves and our children to lead healthier lives, make more mindful choices and protect the beautiful world in which we live.
How can parents help?
Help to reinforce what the children are learning at nursery – from recycling, reducing waste and reducing energy consumption to walking more/ taking more public transport to reduce our carbon footprint.
Wherever you live, take your child outside into nature, whether it is in a local park, or just outdoors, they can learn so much about nature from seeing it and being part of it. They need to understand that they have a shared responsibility to protect the animals and trees that they love so much.
“Looking after the world around us has never been more important than it is today. It’s up to us to take positive actions now so that future generations have a whole, healthy planet to grow up in.
But most importantly of all, we act as role models for your children, showing them how to look after the planet, teaching them about the living world and its precious resources, and fostering their love for nature.”
At St. George’s Nursery, we take pride in the fact that we have such dedicated long-term staff, who are passionate about both childcare as well as St. George’s.
Every single one of our staff makes each child and their families feel welcome, ensuring that all children are safe, happy and learning. They go above and beyond to foster an environment where our children, their families and our fellow colleagues feel a part of the family.
39 members of the St. George’s family have been with us for 5+ years! Many of the team members in the list below started with us in their teens! They are constantly building on their knowledge and skills and their passion for what they do continues to grow stronger and stronger.
Below is a list of our long-term employees (10+ years with St. George’s), and how long they have been a part of the St. George’s family. We are grateful to each and every one of the employees below, for their hard work over the years as well as their commitment, loyalty and dedication.
|Site||Name||Years at |
St. George’s Nursery
|Grace Road||Kerry Lakin||20|
|Oadby||Victoria Joseph – Walker||19|
|Grace Road||Kelly Winston||14|
|Grace Road||Angela Brewin||13|
|Grace Road||Tabasam Bhatti||11|
|Grace Road||Bela Patel||10|
“For some children lockdown has been an opportunity to flourish. All that quality unstructured time spent with parents and siblings has been precious, if at times challenging. But in the case of too many other children it’s been a very different story.
With no grandparents, nannies or nurseries to keep their children entertained and stimulated, working from home parents have had little choice but resorting to iPad or TV screen as digital childminder for up to eight hours a day. Cooped up and without the interaction they’d normally get at nursery, primary school or toddler group, under-fives have just not been engaging or speaking enough – and in some cases this has left them unable to string a sentence together.
Shermeena Rabbi, Consultant Speech & Language Therapist says: “Usually children’s vocabulary develops naturally from playing with other children. They learn from interactions at soft play, nursery and toddler classes. Not having these opportunities has left many nursery-aged children with delayed verbal skills”. Citing the parents of a two year old who was barely speaking or engaging with them, “unfortunately their reliance on technology as a pacifier has had negative effects”.”
Encouraging good mental health for children starts from the reflection of good self-care implemented by the people around them. Caregivers & parents are great role models to teach children the importance of self-care and encouraging good mental health habits, here are some simple ways we can implement good self-care and mental health within children:
🏡 Creating a safe, welcoming, and non-judgemental space where children are allowed the freedom of their emotional expression
👩🏽🤝👨🏾 Encourage them to attend social groups/activities that promote their self-confidence and give them a sense of belonging
❤️ Accept who they are & recognise what they are good at.
🥰 Make them feel loved, trusted, understood and more importantly that their feelings are valued
😐 Help them articulate emotions they may have difficulty understanding
🗣 SHARE YOUR OWN FEELINGS in order to help them normalise some of their own.
There are many ways in which we can encourage children and young people to be more self-aware, expressive and understanding of their emotions. Sharing our own emotions may leave us vulnerable but at the same time sharing what we are feeling gives our children permission to do the same, if you can’t implement all of these ways I encourage you to start by simply sharing your emotions with your children.
Check out @theminddoc for more!!