End of term fun at Highgate in July

July saw the end of term & lots of sad goodbyes to our children leaving to start school in September!

Before they left, all the school leavers went on a trip to Curious Kids Town on 10th July. They were picked up from nursery by coach & taken to the role play village. They enjoyed taking on lots of different roles, from hairdressers to fire fighters!

On 16th July we had a wonderful graduation celebration which we held at St Mary’s Church. Parents & other family members were welcomed in to come & see their children collect their certificates & celebrate their time with us at Highgate. The children did some beautiful singing of some special songs that they had been learning throughout the term. Each child was individually presented their graduation certificate & then everyone enjoyed a delicious buffet afterwards. A fantastic time was had by all!

We raised lots of money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital from our raffle in July, which saw lots of happy families winning some great prizes such as tickets to Disney on Ice, family days out & activity vouchers!

On 23rd July Highgate hosted a free Parent 1st Aid Training Session. We had a great response from parents who really enjoyed the session & the opportunity to widen their knowledge & understanding.

We had a very warm staff training session on 25th July during the heatwave! It was based around Understanding schemas, the Leuven scale & the key person buddy system.

We’re now looking forward to August & the new term in September where there will be another range of exciting events to tell you all about!

August at Highgate

Here at Highgate we’ve had a busy August!  We celebrated Yorkshire Day by creating Yorkshire Rose flags, decorating pictures of a Yorkshire Rose & the children hosted their own mini tea party, enjoying scones with jam & cream.

 

We have revelled in lots of different sensory activities, exploring different textures, smells & tastes.  The babies loved getting messy in the beans & Pre-School relished tasting & exploring different hot & cold foods.

We held our first introductory session of ‘Rhythm Time’ with our Babies & Toddlers.  The children explored sound with a range of instruments & sang into a microphone, which helped with confidence building & self-esteem.

We made the most of the beautiful summer weather with the children partaking in many trips out to the park & surrounding areas.  They enjoyed playing on the swings & slides, & played group games on the grass. We also made frozen yogurt pops to enjoy.

 

We are now looking forward to the start of a new term & lots more exciting experiences during the Autumn & Winter!

’17-’18 End of year review

However unlikely it may seem to be, we’re suddenly in August drawing the year to a close! Although I usually leave the blogging to others, I’ve decided to proffer this in addition.

Firstly, I’d like to start by congratulating our four fantastic settings and their Managers on what has been an amazing first year to our new and improved Company. We’ve seen an abundance of visitors into nursery, trips out for the children, workshops which lots of our current families will have participated in and enriching extra-curricular events such as Zoolab, Mini Movez and pottery painting. We’ve introduced our Facebook pages which have had a brilliant reception across the board, particularly in terms of keeping parents informed of upcoming occasions and being able to see photos in a timelier fashion. We’ve also, obviously, released our new website with this blog feature!

A year ago, the owner made the decision to employ me as an Area Manager – I am the person who monitors progress in all our branches and provides support to the Managers in all areas of administration, staffing and the general running of the settings. Together, we then decided to employ an overarching Special Educational Needs Coordinator to support the many children we cater for with additional needs – we found Clare Hough who slotted in so perfectly and is now considered invaluable. Next on the agenda in our bid to boost our quality was to find a Quality Practice Manager to spend time in each of the branches evaluating the environments we have on offer and the practice of our staff – Anna Cam came onboard and superseded our hopes and expectations. She does all of what we wanted as well as supporting staff with feedback, targets and tailored training, making her priceless.

We’ve presented a multitude of enriching aspects to how we run our settings over the year – the majority of parents now take advantage of being able to pay their monthly fees by BACS transfer; a termly newsletter is now sent out keeping the information streamlined, more relevant and up to date; ‘Fresh Fruit Friday’ is on offer in each branch on the last Friday of each month providing a tasty, free snack and a great opportunity to model healthy eating choices; a lending library is in operation in each of our settings encouraging children and parents to share literary opportunities together at home; the nursery menus had a huge overhaul which gave the children the chance to experiment with lots of new and exciting dishes that all take into account the recommended nutritional values and portion sizes; we’ve extended our opening hours to 7am-7pm Mon-Fri assisting greatly with many of our working families’ needs; last but by no means least, we’ve undertaken an enormous amount of maintenance and improvements across all four of our branches to ensure the environment is kept to a high standard for each and every one of the children we care for.

There’s been a definite move towards striving for quality and, in that vein, we’ve been making conscious efforts to let our staff know just how valued they are. We’ve introduced Room Coordinators to enable people who’d like to progress in their career with us; several staff incentives to boost morale and keep motivation high have been introduced; and an amazing Christmas celebration which ended 2017 beautifully. Perhaps best of all, July saw the EYCE staff team embark on a ‘seaside jolly’ to Scarborough for the day! The trip was a treat from the owner to thank us all for an extremely successful year and to celebrate a year of the newly branded Company. It was a really lovely day with gorgeous sunshine, beautiful scenery and a relaxing boat trip, all perfectly topped off with an amazing fish and chip lunch!

As I look forward to the new academic year, and more success for Early Years Care and Education Ltd, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all our wonderful employees and to all our existing families for their continued support.

Lisa Mapley – Area Manager

April at Highgate

During the month of April Highgate has been blessed with a multitude of visitors! We started with Donald and his community engagement ambulance. He talked to the toddlers and Pre-School children about his role and what it entails. They learnt about what an ambulance is for, what it does and how it helps people. The children got to actually sit inside the ambulance and even try out the siren! Possibly their favourite part of the visit was the opportunity to try on the uniform that Donald brought. We ended the session by colouring in some pictures that he’d also supplied.

Zoolab came to bring their exotic wildlife for the children to see. The children were able to handle creatures such as a snake, a giant snail, rats, mice and even a gecko. The Zoolab representative explained to the children where the animals come from, where they live and what they eat. We found the session really encouraged the children to ‘have a go’, even when they weren’t very keen at the beginning!

Last but not least we had our monthly enrichment of ‘Mini Movez’. One of the lovely ladies came to Highgate to lead a fun and expressive session themed around what the children were learning. The sessions are always lively and energetic and the Toddler and Pre-School groups take full advantage of this opportunity for active learning which really gets their hearts pumping!

Aside from visitors, there’s been plenty more exciting things happening within nursery. Our Pre-School children have been learning about life cycles this month and have focussed on frogs. We introduced a tank of real tadpoles & the children explored them using magnifying glasses to examine them. At each stage of development, they’ve made efforts to draw observational portraits.  They are very excited that the tadpoles are now developing legs and are eager to see when they will turn into a frog.

Monday 23rd April saw us celebrating St George’s Day. This date marks the anniversary of the English patron saint’s death. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess. Rather than re-enacting the legend (!) we decided to mark the day by holding an afternoon tea party. The children made flags using a variety of different art and craft methods such as colouring, sticking and painting. We then used the flags to decorate the table where they ate scones with clotted cream and jam – yummy!

Throughout April our babies have been experimenting with different sensory experiences. We took advantage of the warm weather, stripped the babies down to their nappies and let them explore ‘gloop’, shaving foam, water, cereals, sand and even ice! We focussed on several of the ‘characteristics of effective learning’ with each of these – ‘playing and exploring’, ‘active learning’ and ‘creating and thinking critically’. It was great to observe the different ways they investigated the different mediums and their textures.