St Albans nursery listed in The Times Top 100 Best Companies

St Albans nursery listed in The Times Top 100 Best Companies

Grasshoppers Day Nursery in St Albans, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, has been listed in The Times Top 100 Best Companies.

Raelene Herd, deputy manager at the nursery said to the Herts Advertiser that the reason Grasshoppers Day Nursery was on the list, was that it’s not only children who get the best care and attention, but staff do as well. She explained and described the environment as being a “happy, supported staff team who love their work and workplace”.

Staff also confirmed that the nursery is a great place to be.

The nursery’s manager, Jenifer Neville, added: “We are thrilled our company is rated number 40 in The Times Best Companies list and recognised for our charity fund-raising, community initiatives and investment in colleagues.

“Our pride in our nursery and in our company is reflected in our happy and confident children and there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

Original story by: The Herts Advertiser

Norfolk pre-school one of the winners of Books for Schools

Norfolk pre-school one of the winners of Books for Schools

Last October a campaign was launched to encourage communities, including staff and parents, to collect tokens for a chance to win free books for their local schools.

The feedback for the campaign was great, and hundreds of schools around Norfolk entered it, with the four settings with the most tokens getting the biggest prizes.

The Earthsea School in Honingham won the first prize, and Ladybird Pre-school Nursery in Sheringham were second.

Hickling Infant School and Saxlingham Primary won third and fourth place respectively.

All four settings received £2,500 worth of free books each.

Schools which collected more than 1,000 tokens will get £100 worth of free books, with over 250 schools set to receive these. This means over 50,000 pupils will benefit from the books.

Clare Stimpson, admin officer at The Earthsea School who supports children with complex needs, said: “The children and teachers are currently in the process of choosing these books, which will enhance the learning of the children and give them a greater choice.”

Vanessa Harris, Ladybird Nursery’s manager in Sheringham, said to Great Yarmouth Mercury: “We have decided to give every child at the nursery a book as a gift to help promote reading at home. For a small charity pre-school such as we are, this is a huge deal and will allow us to purchase a much wider variety of books than we would be able to.”

Mrs Harris also added that with the remainder of the money, the nursery would buy copies of children’s favourite traditional books.

Original story by: Great Yarmouth Mercury

Children at Barrow nursery receive a letter from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Children at Barrow nursery receive a letter from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Children in Robin class at Old Vicarage Day Nursery in Barrow had a celebration party after they received a letter from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Included in the letter, children received a photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, and their three children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte, as well as one of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Children received the letter after being encouraged by the preschool teacher, Rachel Smith, to write a letter to the royal couple.

Rachel Smith has spoken about the tradition of children sending letters to the royal family and responses they have received over the years.

She told The Mail: “We sent a big Christmas card to Buckingham Palace in December which all the children got involved with and then we received a card back with a lovely photo of Meghan and Harry inside.

“We organised a ‘royal party’ to celebrate and we had party food at snack time with mini cocktail sausages and cakes; then all the children made a crown.

“Everyone came in dressed up in something regal and a couple of the boys came in dressed as St George and the dragon.

“We always celebrate St George’s Day in April and we have been reading stories about it ahead of our royal tea party.

“We always enjoy incorporating different cultural celebrations into the curriculum at nursery, celebrating our own royal family underlines the British Values that we try to teach in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

“So far in 2019, the Hartington Street nursery has celebrated Chinese New Year, and during the course of the year we also celebrate festivals like Diwali, Eid, Hanukkah and Christmas.”

Original story by: The Mail

Boothstown nursery staff to cycle 100 miles for The Fertility Foundation

Boothstown nursery staff to cycle 100 miles for The Fertility Foundation

The staff at Little Acorns Nursery in Boothstown will be amongst a team of nine that are set to cycle on a static bike in Ellesmere shopping centre in Walkden next Saturday.

The staff will be completing the challenge for a campaign set up by one of the parents, Barbara McMillan. The money they raise will go to The Fertility Foundation.

Barbara, who is a teacher at Boothstown Methodist Primary School, set up the campaign after a five-year struggle with infertility, before giving birth to a son, Frankie, in 2016.

Barbara will also be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in September for the same cause and will do a ‘10 peaks’ challenge in 12 hours in April, and ‘24 peaks’ in two days in June in the Peak District in preparation for the big climb.

Barbara said to Leigh Journal: “When I was struggling I did not know that there was any help available.

“I think what The Fertility Foundation is doing is great; they can give people hope.

“They can give grants to people who can’t afford treatment.

“I think raising the awareness of what they do is important.”

Barbara added that she is “so grateful” to Leigh Road Nursery, which her son attends, for all their support.

Aside from the cycling challenge, there will also be a raffle with prizes including a family ticket for four to go to the Geronimo Festival in Cheshire; a family ticket to go to Smithills Open Farm in Bolton; and Water Babies swimming equipment.

“Since I started my fundraising, I have had lots of people sharing their own stories with me.

“It shows that my message is being reached by so many. It is very rewarding,” she added.

You can donate to the crowdfunding page here.

Original story by: Leah Journal


Join the celebration – International Women’s Day 2019

Join the celebration – International Women’s Day 2019

On March 8th, millions of people will come together to honour and celebrate the achievements of women around the world on International Women’s Day. People from all walks of life will recognise and pay tribute to the contribution that women make to their families, communities and countries, and will highlight the work that still needs to be done in gaining equal recognition and opportunities for women worldwide.

This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is “#BalanceforBetter” recognising the need for an improved gender-balance across many industries in which men still heavily outnumber women. Business board rooms, science and politics are three areas where the gender split is still not representative of current population demographics. The high-profile case of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who recently locked herself in her hotel room and was finally given asylum in Canada, highlights the problems that many women still face in seeking basic human rights.

But IWD is also a celebration of women, past and present, who continue to ‘champion the cause’ and defy the gender stereotypes that still exist in many communities. And it’s not just the women who have made it to the top that need to be celebrated. Women all over the world, in every community and at every level, make a huge contribution to the education, care and smooth running of their societies. Without them, much of the world as we know it would not exist, so why not look around your own setting this IWD, give thanks to, and praise the amazing women who are making such a difference?

How to get involved in IWD

The IWD website at has a lot of information on how to participate and plan a campaign in line with this year’s theme. You can register to set up an account and purchase an event pack including posters, banners, pens and postcards – everything you need to create an eye-catching display in your setting. The packs usually sell out though, so order early if you want to be sure of getting one.

There is also a competition that you can enter which will be announced before the day, with last year’s event attracting over 100 groups in the ”Best Practice Competition” to showcase their achievements in helping forge gender parity.

The idea of #BalanceforBetter is that it should be a year-long campaign, not just for March 8th, so collaborations are invited from groups to show how they can tackle gender imbalance over the year to make a tangible difference in the longer term. Details of how to apply are also on the IWD website along with lots of inspirational pictures and stories of groups who participated last year if you need some ideas.

We’ve listed a few of our own thoughts here too, to help you get into the spirit of the event.

How to get involved

  • Advertise your involvement and celebration of the day by signing up for the IWD resource pack and then add logos, branding and links to your own site.
  • Research some famous and inspirational international women and girls from history and the present day and have a story-telling session or two to educate your children of some of the amazing things that women have done and continue to do.
  • Think about inspirational women from your own local community. You could invite them to your setting, asking them to give a short presentation about their work, the challenges they face and the solutions they find to overcome them.
  • Write some ‘thank you’ notes to the women close to the children in your setting, who tirelessly give of themselves to support them. This could include their mothers, female family members, carers, teachers, staff, friends and childminders who the children admire, to show appreciation for the ‘every day’ things they do.
  • Run a staff training session on challenging gender stereotyping. There is a useful document from Stonewall covering this issue, giving advice on the statutory requirements of pre-schools to tackle gender stereotyping and offering practical steps you can take to improve things in your setting. The document can be downloaded free of charge here.

And in case you need some more incentives, here’s a list of some wonderful women you could focus on:

Marie Curie – Polish physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and won the Nobel prize – twice!

Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters – Christabel Pankhurst and Sylvia Pankhurst – leaders of the British suffrage movement whose campaigning eventually helped win the vote for women, 100 years ago.

J. K. Rowling – author and screenwriter of the “Harry Potter” books who struggled as a single mother to write part-time whilst raising her son.

Mary Wollstonecraft – 18th century British author and philosopher and advocate of women’s rights – often considered the ‘mother of modern feminism’. She was also the actual mother of another British writer, Mary Shelley, who grew up to write “Frankenstein”.

Rosa Parks – US civil rights activist who famously refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white person and fought against segregation and oppression.

Dame Kelly Holmes – double Olympic gold medal winner in the 2004 Olympics.

Amelia Earhart – the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, fighting prejudice to become a university adviser on aeronautical engineering and a pioneer for women pilots.

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