Awards and Latest News

Keep up-to-date with all the latest from Fennies. Stay in touch with important announcements; get an insight into the each of our nursery settings and scroll through our recent awards.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest Fennies news, important announcements and get an insight into the each of our nursery settings


 

Bonfire Night Safety Tips

Bonfire Night Safety Tips

Planning on having Bonfire Night celebrations this year? As firework season gets underway, it’s important to remember that fireworks can be a cause for safety concerns. According to RoSPA  (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), around 1,000 people in the UK visit A&E for treatment from firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night, with half of those injuries occurring in under 18’s.   

Fireworks 

With more and more public displays being canceled this year due to COVID19 restrictions, many people are hosting their own. If you are celebrating at homeyou should consider the health and safety risks of fireworks to keep you and your family safe.  

Children should be kept well away from fireworks and enjoy them from indoors or at a safe distance. RoSPA also recommends that you should keep a torch, a bucket of water, eye protection, and gloves handy as well as storing fireworks in a bucket of soft earth to reduce the risk of accidents.  

Firework Safety Tips:  

  • Light the firework at arm’s length 
  • Never return to a firework once it’s been lit
  • Only one person should be in charge of setting off fireworks
  • Make sure all flames are extinguished at the end of the event 
  • Children should wear ear defenders to protect their ears from loud noises  

It’s worth noting most local councils and fire and rescue services, like the London Fire Brigade, strongly advise against setting off fireworks in private gardens. This is because there are even higher health and safety risk to people nearby. If you’re giving fireworks a miss this year, why not try some indoor bonfire night activities a go with your child instead?  

Fireworks

Sparklers  

Sparklers are a staple at any bonfire night and provide sparkly memorable magic for both children and adults. But sparklers remain one of the most dangerous fireworks with their temperatures reaching 20 times hotter than boiling water!  

The good news is, you can still enjoy sparklers safely, just remember, it isn’t recommended that they are used by children under 5 years old.  

 Sparkler Safety Tips: 

  • Never hold more than one sparkler at a time
  • Always wear gloves when holding a sparkler
  • Babies and toddlers can wriggle and reach out unexpectedly so avoid holding them when holding a sparkler
  • Put the sparkler in a bucket of cold water once it’s finished
  • Always light one sparkler at a time  

Sparkler

“Historically, around 1,000 people visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night… Burn injuries can be life-changing, not just for the injured but also their families, as they can leave just as damaging mental scars as they can physical. It’s even more devastating because these injuries can be avoided, through proper firework and bonfire conduct. We want people to understand the dangers, and follow simple safety steps to ensure everyone has an enjoyable, injury-free celebration.”

Sheila Merrill, Public Health Adviser at RoSPA

Bonfires 

We recommend talking to your child about the dangers of bonfires so that children can better understand why it’s important to stay safe. If you’re having a bonfire this year, make sure you choose a clear, safe place away from fences, sheds, bushes, trees, and roads. Keep well away from where fireworks are being lit and always make sure children and pets away from the bonfire. 

Don’t forget to read up on the UK law on garden bonfires before lighting up.

Bonfire Safety Tips:

  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies
  • Never leave a bonfire unattended
  • Don’t throw any fireworks onto the fire
  • Tie back long hair and avoid wearing loose clothing
  • Spray the embers with water once the fire has died down to prevent it from reigniting 

Child at bonfire

As part of our ongoing dedication to health and safety, Fennies are proud members of RoSPA. This provides us with useful resources, training, and updates to ensure we are working to high standards of health and safety for children, staff, and parents both at nursery and home. 

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Top 10 Bonfire Night Activities for Children

Top 10 Bonfire Night Activities for Children

Although we may not be able to go to a firework display this year, there is still lots of firey-fun to be had! We have put together our favourite 5th of November activities which you and your little one will love– we flame to please!   

Recycled Rockets  

Toilet tube rocket

3, 2, 1… Blast off! You can’t go wrong with this classic bonfire night craft which will spark your creativity from just about anything you have around the house. From cardboard and paint to glitter and pipe cleaners, find out how to make an out of this world recycled rocket! 

Toddler-friendly Toffee Apples  

This is probably the only time you will hear your child beg for an apple! Great for even the fussiest little appetitesthis guided recipe will give you the best tips on how to make the yummiest toffee apples.

Tip! Cut the apple into slices before dipping for a smaller portion

Toffee apples

 Fizzing Fireworks in a Jar  

Remember remember the 5th of November with this unforgettable science experimentAll you will need is an empty jar, food colouring, warm water, and vegetable oil, to create your very own miniature firework display that combines creativity and science all in one.  

  Fireworks in a jar

Swirly Sparkler Sticks

As wonderful as sparklers are it’s hard not to worry about possible accidents, especially when around a child under 5 years old. This is a fun and easy bonfire night craft that will let your child make their own safe (and reusable!) sparklers, find out how. 

Tip! These sparkler sticks double up as perfect bonfire night decorations, win! 

Sizzling Edible Sparklers  

Your kids will love getting messy with these fun and easy chocolate-dipped sparklers! Simply dip breadsticks in melted chocolate and add oodles of sprinkles and edible glitter to make this perfect bonfire night treat.  

Chocolate dipped Breadsticks

Bonfire Collage

At this time of the year, children love to explore how the world is changing around them. Why not make nature your canvas with this crafty bonfire collage? Use anything your little one can collect from the garden from leaves, acorns, and twigs to create their claim to flame masterpieces!  

Tip! Use darker leaves for the top of the flame for a realistic effect  

Spectacular Salt Painting  

Salt painting is a great way of bringing art to life as it combines texture, movement and colour. All you will need to create your 3D masterpiece is table salt, glue black paper, and watercolours. Your child will love the sensory element of feeling the grains of salt as their artwork comes alive when different colours are added, discover how to make your very own.

Tip! Have fun with the colours, when they are mixed together, they look like a real firework!  

Glittery Glowstick Tag  

Who says you need sun for outdoor fun? This game of glow stick tag will have the family laughing for hours on end! All you will need is 2 glow sticks each an open space and you’re ready, set, good to go!  

Glowsticks

Sasha Says

Creative play has so many benefits on children’s minds and bodies and movement is a huge part of this. Our PE Coordinator Sasha Flynn has shared her own bonfire night twist on the classic game Simon Says that will boost your child’s energy, coordination, balance and instruction following skills. Call out the below bonfire night phrases and everyone must follow it with the correct action:  

Catherine Wheel- Everyone must spin around 5 times  

Bonfire- Everyone must wiggle their fingers like a flame  

Rocket- Everyone must crouch down as low as they can and then jump up like a rocket with their arms in the air  

Bang- Everyone must clap their hands together and shout ‘bang!’  

Tip! Play music in the background and do the actions along with the beat  

Sparkly Pompom Sorting  

This simple but effective pom pom sorting game inspired by the Fun-a-Day blog helps build an early understanding of mathematics by counting and sorting. Simply encourage your little one to sort the pom poms into colours and count how many are in each category.  

 Tip! Talk about the texture of the pom poms as they sort  

Glitter Pom Poms

At Fennies, we offer an enhanced delivery of the EYFS framework incorporating creative expression, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning, physical activity and communication and language to prepare children for educational success.

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Do I Need to Give my Child Vitamin Supplements?

Do I Need to Give my Child Vitamin Supplements?

You may hear about vitamin supplements for children but are they really necessary? In this article, EYNP (Early Years Nutrition Partnership) Registered Nutrition Professional Catherine Lippe tells us everything we need to know about vitamin supplements for the under 5’s.

Does my child need a vitamin supplement?

In my opinion, yes. In the UK it is recommended by the NHS that all children aged 6 months to 5 years receive a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C, and D daily. Why? Children under the age of 5 years are growing rapidly yet their tummies remain small in comparison to their rapid growth….so trying to get sufficient nutrition into them in small amounts can be quite tricky. That’s why we would recommend full-fat milk to under 2’s as it is one way of getting more calories in, in a smaller volume. Obviously, the tummy volume will increase as they grow but it takes a while to catch up!

There are some vitamins they may not be able to get enough of through food especially if are going through a period of fussiness which is common in young children. In addition to this vitamin D is not found in many foods so taking a supplement is a good way to ensure your little one is getting enough.

Why are these vitamins so important for my child?

Vitamin A

Supports your child’s immune system and keeps skin healthy. It also supports eyesight in dim light. Vitamin A can be found in cow’s milk, yoghurt, cheese, eggs, carrots, swede, sweet potato mangoes, and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and spinach. For children aged 6months–5 years it is recommended to offer a supplement containing around 200 micrograms of vitamin A daily to ensure they are getting enough.

Vitamin C

Supports your child’s overall health and immune system. It also helps the body to absorb iron. Iron is an important mineral for your child’s growth and development. Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables but a supplement of 20 milligrams (mg) is recommended daily for children aged 6months-5yrs as a safeguard.

Vitamin D

Helps the body to absorb calcium. Together these nutrients support your child’s bone, teeth, and musculoskeletal health. Vitamin D is found in small amounts in a few foods such as oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals, spread, and yoghurts. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight but, in the UK, we don’t get enough sunlight to make all the vitamin D we need so a supplement is especially important. From 6 months-5yrs children should receive a vitamin supplement of 10mcg every day, all year round.

What about babies?
Babies who are having more than 500ml infant formula each day do not any vitamin supplements. This is because the infant formula milks already have the vitamins added. If your baby is breastfed or has less than 500ml formula milk daily they should receive a vitamin D drop containing 8.5-10mcg vitamin D daily from birth. From 6 months onwards a supplement containing vitamins A, C, and D is recommended.

Find out more about The Early Years Nutrition Partnership.

If you have any questions about Fennies Day Nurseries, contact us for more information, or to book a virtual tour, contact Amy Forbes at book.visit@fennies.com or call 020 8770 3222.

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Why Creative Play is Important for Children

Why Creative Play is Important for Children

Engaging in creative activities within art, music, and movement provide your child with opportunities to explore interests and express themselves. This post shares some Fennies favourite activities that you can recreate at home, which are not only important for development but lots of fun! 

Art 

Creating art allows children to explore their imagination and practice a wide range oskills that are not only useful throughout life but crucial for learning. For example, elements of problem-solving, communication, and physical development are all in full swing whilst they paint, colour, stick and splatter. These are all essential as their natural interests can flow into educational, social and cultural aspects of your child’s life. 

 Activity: Vegetable Painting

Use a variety of coloured paints and switch traditional paintbrushes for fruits and vegetables! Slice the vegetable in half and dip into the paint. Print the paint onto the paper and experiment with different pressure and colours to create wonderful patterns. 

What you’ll need:  
A variety of vegetables (the more shapes and sizes the better)
Paper for printing
Lots of colourful paints 

 Remember it’s the process of creative play that’s important not the final result. Your child experimenting with different patterns, materials and tools, is a fundamental component of developing little personalities and exploring identity.  

 It’s great for them to explore and create art with other children to help boost their self-esteem and communication so this is also a great activity to do in a group of friends 

 “There is opportunity for the development of communication skills and vocabulary as they learn to describe their creations and listen to others. This provides a great boost in self-esteem as they take pride in their masterpieces.”
Shanti Flynn, Fennies Head of Education

 At Fennies, children are provided with many opportunities to engage in expressive arts and design throughout their day. We offer focused art sessions and daily arts and crafts activities inspired by world-famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Eva Rothschild. Your child is encouraged to ignite their creative spirit and our practitioner’s effective interactions develop their confidence through every one of their creations. 

Music 

 Music is such an important part of life. Children’s instinctive first response when they hear songs is to move, dance, and sing-along. Music can have a soothing effect on children and is a great mood regulator and motivator!  

 A 2018 study at the National Institutes of Health Kennedy Centre Workshop on Music and the Brain highlighted findings that early exposure to music promotes language development, improves attention span, and other cognitive functions. These are crucial skills that can lead to your child’s educational success.

 Academic achievement isn’t the only benefit of incorporating music into your child’s everyday life. Music contributes to their communication and language skills, improves memory, and develops vocabulary by introducing new words and their meaning.  

Activity: Musical Painting

Whilst your child is painting or drawing, play music in the background. Encourage them to paint in time with the beat and observe how this affects their creations.  

Tip: Elevate this activity by asking what emotions the colours on the page could represent. 

 What you’ll need:
Paper or card
Coloured paint or pens 
Paintbrush (if using paint) 

Movement

Movement has many benefits on children’s minds and bodies, whether it be playing their favourite sport to an everyday walk around the block. But the benefits of movement go far beyond this and plays a key role in their developmental skills.  

 Encouraging movement in different ways builds upon your child’s fine and gross motor skills that implement core strength, balance, and coordination as well as self-confidence, team-building skills, and learning how to follow instructions.  

Activity: Movement Sensory Bottles

Sensory play is a fun way to enhance your child’s development whilst having fun! Fill an empty water bottle with your filling of choice. Once securing the lid encourage your child to shake away and explore the sounds they can hear. 

 What you’ll need:
An empty water bottle 
Your filling of choice (we recommend dried pasta, rice or beads but get creative!) 

Music brings people together and for children, this is no different. It gives them an opportunity to express their feelings with their peers therefore laying important groundwork for important social bonds.  

  At Fennies, each room is specially designed to facilitate movement and adventurous play. From the very first steps in baby rooms which feature soft furnishings as children begin to explore the world through their senses, to preschool rooms which give children the space to invent ways of independently taking on tasks.  

 “Children are natural explorers and can have vivid imaginations. Even before they develop their vocabulary to articulate feelings, they are expressing themselves through sounds, movements and creations.”
Shanti Flynn, Head of Education 

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Fun Physical Activities for Kids to get Active at Home

Fun Physical Activities for Kids to get Active at Home

Children can have an overwhelming amount of energy, constantly running, jumping, and exploring the world around them. Sasha lets us in on a few tips on how to put that energy to good use by encouraging physical activity that builds life-long healthy habits and confident problem-solvers. 

Each activity has the intent to encourage and improve at least one of the areas of learning and development such as communication and language, personal, social, and emotional skills. 

Tips for parents 

1- Be a role model and encourage your child to take part in the activities you enjoy doing 

2- Find what your child enjoys by experimenting with different sports until they find something they love 

3- Make time and prioritise physical activity each day  

4- Consistency is key in whatever activities you choose, doing it regularly is important for maintaining positive effects on your mental and physical well-being  

5- Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t feel as though you’ve been as active as normal. Sometimes just a walk around the block can give you and your child a well-needed breath of fresh air. 

Games with physical benefits 

The NHS recommends that children between the age of 3 and 4 years should be active for at least 3 hours a day. This is because daily activity is crucial to children’s physical development, supporting gross motor skills, muscle health, and bone strength. 

So how can we get children to get active once they get home and not reach for a screen? 

Sasha has pulled together 6 activities that children at Fennies love the most and can be played at home, and best of all they all support the important elements of development. 

Colour, Spot Freeze 

Develop balance and coordination whilst having fun! 

  1. Mark spots on the ground using a cone or coloured card 
  1. Allow your child to move around the space by running, jumping, and sidestepping  
  1. When you call ‘freeze!’ your child must run to the coloured spot and perform a balance of their choice for 5 seconds  

TIP: You can develop this further by adding numbers to the coloured spots and calling out the number your child has to run to. 

Too easy? Add numbers to each spot and call out the number your child must run to and strike a pose! 

Egg and Spoon Race 

This classic game of balance and coordination will have you laughing all the way to the finishing line! 

  1. Create a starting point and a finish line using cones or similar 
  1. When the race begins, your child must place one arm behind their back whilst holding the egg balanced on the spoon  
  1. If the egg is dropped, you must restart the race  

You’ll have an egg-cellent time!  

Games with social benefits  

Being physically active doesn’t have to look like traditional exercise, it’s important to just get moving! Not only is this good for our bodies, but sports make for great practice for developing social skills that we use every day 

Sponge Ball Relay  

Teamwork is in full swing with Sasha’s Sponge Ball Relay with this activity that is great for your child and all their friends! (or you can even join in!) 

Make the below make sense for singular or multiple kids 

  1. Ask the children to line up in pairs or teams and place the same number of sponge balls a few meters away  
  1. Each child takes turns to run and collect the balls and bring them back to the starting line 
  1. Once a child has had their turn, they sit down  

TIP: Mix it up and try different ways of travelling like skipping, hopping, or jumping to collect the ball 

Mastering the art of being a team player not only sets children up for school but is a crucial social skill throughout life.  

The pre-school years are an excellent stage to cultivate teambuilding skills, which in time will develop into empathy, strong communication, compromise and patience.  

Simon Says  

Simon Says can be played just about anywhere and is a great way to keep active come rain or shine 

  1. Call out simple instructions like “Simon says hop on the spot” or “Simon says do 5-star jumps” 
  1. If the instruction doesn’t begin with “Simon Says” it shouldn’t be followed, for example, if you say “spin around and touch the ground” the children must remain still  
  1. If your child follows the instruction they must sit down and stand up as quick as possible  

These activities also help the ability to retain and act on instructions help improve children’s language and communication skills, memory, and concentration. 

Children learn to cooperate with people through teamwork activities. This also promotes social awareness as the children learn to listen and respond to each other’s needs.” 

Sasha Flynn, PE Coordinator  

Games with emotional benefits 

Children have to navigate their way through a fast-paced modern world. Recent studies show that children who take part in regular exercise, develop better concentration, problem-solving skills, and creativity.  

Sasha incorporates elements of problem solving into activities for the children to encourage them to become more confident and independent with decision making, this in time teaches determination and perseverance. 

Storybook Yoga 

Take Storytime to the next level with this Fennies favorite 

  1. Using your child’s favorite book that incorporates animals (we love ‘Dear Zoo’ by Rod Campbell) identify the animals on each page 
  1. Recreate the shape of the animal by moving and stretching in different positions 
  1. Hold the pose for as long as possible and tell your child to breathe deeply  

Exercise has been shown to improve focus and mood in children. Activities such as yoga and breathing techniques can reduce the symptoms of anxiety. 

The Frying Pan  

Balance, problem-solving and communication, ‘The Frying Pan’ has it all  

  1. Balance a bean bag or tennis ball on a tennis racket and encourage your child to walk in straight lines without dropping it  
  1. Create obstacles using cones, cushions, blankets or any household objects  
  1. Encourage the children to use different movements to navigate their way around the space and overcome the obstacles  

“During the sessions children learn to self-regulate their own emotions in a fun and engaging way. They become able to identify their feelings and figure out how to overcome them. We have had great feedback from our parents and the children love practicing this at home.” Jaimie Cooper-Roberts, Fennies Horley Manager 

For more information about Fennies Day Nurseries and to book a virtual tour, please contact Amy Forbes at  book.visit@fennies.com or call 020 8770 3222. 

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Tips on Transitioning From Bottle to Cup

Tips on Transitioning From Bottle to Cup

Moving away from a bottle to a cup can be a tricky time for both children and parents. Bottles can often be a comfort, particularly when baby is ready for sleep. Understanding why this transition is so important and being armed with some tips to help will be useful.

 Top tips for moving from bottle to cup:

  1. Introduce a ‘free flow’ cup to your baby at mealtimes. Initially give your baby a small amount of water and let them play with the cup, throw it on the floor, put it on their head! Whatever helps them to become familiar with the cup
  2. Gradually increase the number of occasions that you offer a cup rather than a bottle and start to offer milk feeds in a cup
  3. Be a good role model for your child by showing them how to use the cup and praise them when they put the cup to their mouth or drink from it
  4. Introduce a cup over the course of a few weeks or months, use the bottle less and less until your baby has all their drinks in the cup
  5. If your baby is over 12 months and they are showing no signs of giving up their bottle, you may need to think about removing the bottle altogether. This can be done by ‘swapping’ the bottle for a ‘grown-up’ reward such as choosing their own cup

Why should I transition from bottle to cup?

Current guidance states that bottles are not recommended for children aged over 12 months. It is important for children to learn to ‘sip’ from a cup rather than to ‘suck’ from a bottle. This development can help to support the strengthening of different muscles in the mouth, which in turn can help in the development of speech. Prolonged use of bottles and dummies may have a detrimental effect on this important development.

Extended bottle feeding may also have a negative impact on dental health. Drinking from a bottle can mean that the sugars present in milk stay in the mouth for longer, which can then lead to an increased risk of dental decay.

Don’t worry if your baby hits 12 months and they are still using a bottle, this can be a slow process so just keep persevering and they will eventually get the hang of using a cup. Maintain a good dental hygiene regime by brushing gums and emerging teeth, avoiding sugary drinks and food, and offering plenty of water to drink.

My baby is very attached to the bottle – what can I do?

Transitioning from a bottle to a cup can be an uphill challenge so don’t worry if your baby doesn’t take to it straight away. The longer they drink from a bottle, the more attached they may become so starting the transition from around 6 months of age, when starting to introduce solid foods, can be a good place to introduce a cup.

Finally, it is important to remember not to beat yourself up if your baby is doing things differently to others. There is no right or wrong way. Try and start the transition from bottle to cup as early as possible (from 6 months), and work with your baby in a calm environment.

For more information, Janet says please visit: NHS.uk

For more information about Fennies Day Nurseries and to book a virtual tour, please contact book.visit@fennies.com or call 020 8770 3222.  

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