Happy Easter

It’s Easter Time!

Easter time is here and it is such a lovely time of year. Time to spend with your families, visits out in nature where spring is in full bloom and the birds are chirping away happily.

Along with this is the joy of the Easter egg hunts and the smiles on little faces when they realise what’s been hidden.

With all the excitement it is easy to forget about the hazards that come with mini chocolates. Choking is a silent hazard. People say when things are silent with little ones around it is the time to worry and this is absolutely true with choking. When a child chokes they can not speak, they can not alert you to what’s happening and they go into a silent panic. Knowing what to do in these situations can help to save a child’s life. Below is a link to the Children Accident Prevention Trust website which has lots of information about preventing choking and also what to do if the worst was to happen.

Two main prevention techniques include…

STAY – stay with your child whenever they are eating

STILL – keep your child still when eating, this can be a difficult task but it much safer for them

Safe from choking | How to prevent choking in children (capt.org.uk)

We hope you all have a wonderful Easter ????

Knowing where to turn for support

Knowing where to turn to for support
It can be really difficult to know where to find support for your child if they have any difficulties, for example with their speech and language or with their communication skills. Here at Little Owl Childcare we are always here to listen to and to support our families the very best we can. It may be that we can point you in the right direction to websites and articles or that we can make referrals for you if necessary to try and get your child the right support that they need. It may be that you just need to have a sit down and a hot drink and to have a chat! We are always here for our families.
Here is a link to the BBC little people website which provides families with some support with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Pathway to handwriting

The pathway to handwriting

As a prime area of development within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Physical Development is key to all other areas of development and their future school years. This is broken down into two main sections gross motor skills, the big muscles groups enabling our little ones to move around and explore their environments and fine motor skills, the smaller muscles within the hands.

Firstly, we develop our big muscles by learning to crawl, walk, run and jump. At the same time we work on strengthening our core muscles. At Highfields we provide our children with lots of opportunities to build these muscles using equipment such as climbing frames, swings and scooters as well as dancing with ribbons and mark making whilst standing. These big movement activities help to strengthen the muscles required to sit at a table with a good posture as well as the shoulder and arm muscles to hold a writing tool and use it correctly.

Within the craft area, which is readily accessible to the children, we have many many resources for them to experiment with. Glue and spreaders, crayons, chalk, pencils, pens, paint and an array materials to paint with. These help to spark the children’s interest in mark making.

Children go through stages of holding a pencil, from a Palmer grasp (fist grip) around 12-15 months, to the digital pronate grasp around 2-3 years, to a static tripod and/or Quadrupod grip at around 3-4 years of age. Children, typically, will not be able to hold a pencil using the correct dynamic tripod grasp until between 5-6 years old.

To get children to this stage we have to do a lot of build up work. This includes lots of fine motor activities such as picking up small objects using just a thumb and forefinger, threading activities and a particular favourite within Highfields is playdough. We make and play with playdough on a regular basis, this is brilliant because the children can play with the dough using rolling pins, cutters, children’s safety knives, and potato mashers, all of which help with the strengthening and development of their small hand and finger muscles. The playdough can be used to enhance their imaginative play being made into sweets, cakes, pizzas and much much more. We then take this one step further and use the dough during Dough Disco sessions. These are small finger dance sessions that get the children to manipulate the dough in specific ways to work the precise muscle groups needed for handwriting a few years into the future.

Below is a link to a handy website with useful information about fine motor development and some lovely activities you can try at home with your little ones.



Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year
We have enjoyed learning about Chinese New Year at our woodland nursery. The children listened carefully to the story ‘Lanterns and Firecrackers’ which gave us an insight to how this festival is prepared for and celebrated. We thought about how some of our own celebrations are similar to Chinese New Year such as New Year and Bonfire Night where we also let off fireworks. The children listened to the story of ‘The Great Race’ and had lots of fun having their own great race on the field near our woodland. The children listened well to the rules and ran when they heard ‘ready, steady, go!’ and stopped at the finish line near one of there teachers. We enjoyed Chinese New Year letters and sounds activities such as playing ‘I spy’ using pictures of animals from ‘The Great Race’ story. We had lots of fun creating our own dragon head; we painted a box red and used natural and craft leaves for the dragon’s facial features. At the end of the week we enjoyed responding to music performing a dragon dance in the woodland. Finally, we explored Chinese food! We had the option of tasting sweet and sour chicken, rice, noodles and prawn crackers!
Happy New Year from our woodland explorers.
Here is a video of a JoJo and Gran Gran episode where JoJo learns all about Chinese New Year. Enjoy!

Lets be safe on-line

The World Wide Web
The internet can be a wonderful place to learn, play games and talk to your friends if it is used safely.  Many children are confident that they know how to be safe online and that they know all about the sites that they visit. However, there are a few reasons children are often more at risk. They may not always think about the consequences of their actions, which can cause them to share too much information about themselves on sites that they shouldn’t. They may think they are talking to someone they know when they are not.
In our Out of School Club we are continuously talking to our children about being safe online and encouraging them to share their worries and concerns if they have any. We encourage them to share information not just about themselves but any worries they have about their friends as well. We constantly reassure the children that we are there to help and listen.

To ensure internet safety for your children, below are some guidelines from Online Safety (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth.

  • Follow the family rules.
  • Never post or trade personal pictures.
  • Never reveal personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name or location.
  • Use only a screen name and don’t share passwords (other than with parents).
  • Never agree to get together in person with anyone you met online without parent’s permission.
  • Keep children’s computer in a common area of the house so it can be seen.
  • Install parental locks on child’s devices.
  • Parents can frequently check children’s browser history.
For further information on safety on-line please visit:

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating for Young Children
A child’s learning and development is impacted by their lifestyle and in particular their diet and activity levels. The importance of a healthy balanced diet is crucial during their early years. We all know how difficult it can be to get children to eat their fruits and vegetables because they are good for them but by doing this through play we help our little ones to understand what foods help their bodies to grow big and strong and which don’t.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar story is a brilliant way to do this as the caterpillar grows big and strong when he eats all the fruits throughout the week but develops a tummy ache when he eats foods that don’t help his body on Saturday. Our children love getting involved with a story sack with physical objects they can hold and move around. We talk about the different foods and whether or not they will help the caterpillar to grow or possibly give him a tummy ache. We also allow the children to explore different foods through messy play, this can be through printing with them in paint to create art work or by using them to develop cutting skills with safety knives. These activities spark some wonderful conversations and get the children asking lots of questions about the foods they eat or foods they have never seen before.
We have provided a link to the NHS’s Healthier Families website which is full of advice and tips to help with leading a healthy balanced lifestyle for the whole family as well as a link to the BBC Food website with some lovely recipes ideas to try with your little ones at home.

Embracing Nature

Embracing Nature
Nature is full of wonder for children. Children get first hand experience’s to feel the roughness of a tree, to look for minibeasts under logs, to observe the changing colour of the leaves and watch leaves dancing in the wind. The outdoors helps to build children’s confidence, social skills, resilience and their gross motor skills.
The article below from ‘The Curiosity Approach’ beautifully explains the importance of ’embracing the authenticity of nature’.