Rainbow packed lunch idea!

Rainbow packed lunch idea!

You will need:

  • Lunch box
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Yellow pepper
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cheese slices
  • Healthy snack bar (we used Nakd blueberry muffin)
  1. Wash your fruit and vegetables and cut them up to your liking.
  2. Arrange your fruit and vegetables in the lunch box starting from the lightest to the darkest.
  3. Use the cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape in your bread and cheese. Butter the bread and arrange a sandwich.
  4. Cut up your healthy snack bar or leave it whole.
  5. You are finished!

You can let the little ones help with cutting up the ingredients, using child-friendly implements. It’s a fantastic way to not only practice their fine motor skills but to encourage them to eat their fruit and veg too! We hope your children will love it as much as we did!

Parenta Trust prepares to rev up its engines for its annual adventure to Monaco

Parenta Trust prepares to rev up its engines for its annual adventure to Monaco

Parenta Trust, is gearing up for its annual fundraising car rally from Maidstone to Monaco and is calling for teams to take part in a “road trip of a lifetime”.

From 24 to 28 June 2020, teams in both two- and four-wheeled vehicles will travel 2,000 miles through eight countries, traverse the Alps and negotiate the winding roads of the Furka Pass. This annual five-day adventure involves camping under the stars and taking part in challenges – before reaching the final destination of glamorous Monaco.

All funds raised from the rally go towards building pre-schools for children in need of a quality education in deprived areas of the world. 

Parenta Trust founder and trustee, Allan Presland said: “The Maidstone to Monaco rally never fails to disappoint.  It’s a fantastic way to bring people together for a great cause and have loads of fun along the way.  Motorbikes, as well as cars, are welcome and all two and four-wheel enthusiasts unite on this five-day journey of fun, laughter and exploration. We already have a few teams signed up who had such a fantastic adventure last year that they can’t wait to do it all over again!

“The support we receive every year is nothing less than astounding; but we are always looking for more people to get involved, so we are appealing for more teams to come and join us and help us with “the drive to build a school”!

From this year, Parenta Trust, working hand-in-hand with Parenta Group, is aligning itself with the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, in particular Goal No. 4, Quality Education which sits perfectly within Parenta’s values and ethos, allowing greater synergy between the training provider and the Trust.  Find out more about Parenta’s alignment with Global Goals.

Click here to find out more and to sign up for Maidstone to Monaco rally!

About Parenta Trust

Parenta Trust supports disadvantaged children across the world by providing quality pre-school education. It was founded by Allan Presland in 2013 after a life-changing trip to Kampala in Uganda.  The stark reality of poverty and lack of education for pre-school children hit him hard on the day he found a young girl on a rubbish tip on top of a cemetery in an area known locally as ‘Kosovo’.  She was scavenging for food and Allan found it heartbreaking that she clearly had to fend for herself to even find food let alone be given an early years education.  He returned to the UK to set up a charity, leveraging his existing network of contacts in the early years sector and his ambitious quest to build one pre-school per year began.

National Apprenticeship Week 2020

National Apprenticeship Week 2020

We love to celebrate our apprentices and their achievements here at Parenta. There’s no better time than National Apprenticeship Week to share with our readers what it means to our learners to complete a childcare course with Parenta Training.

Alice Ya Kra completed her EYE Level 3 in August 2019 and currently works at Kids Inc. Day Nursery in Chingford, London.

She said; “Doing this course has really helped me in my job. Before, when I wasn’t qualified, I couldn’t be counted in the ratios and also wasn’t allowed to be alone with the children. Now, I am able to really use the ideas and knowledge that I have gained during my Level 3 studies and I can now plan so many more activities with the children. My employers are expecting so much more of me now that I’m qualified and that’s a good thing! I now create my own lists of activities and having the qualification has given me confidence to progress my career within this setting.

“I would definitely use Parenta again if I was to carry on my studying (if I was a bit younger!) and in fact, I’ve recommended them to a friend who was offered a job really quickly because she was on a Parenta course! All in all, I had a good experience and am happy with Parenta!”

Farzana Masih completed her EYE Level 3 in April 2019 and currently works at Aston University Nursery and Preschool in Birmingham.

She said; “I was already employed but really wanted to further my knowledge and progress my career so I chose Parenta to do my Level 3. I’ve got so much more in depth knowledge now and can apply everything that I’ve learned in my day-to-day job. I’m planning activities with the children so much better now too!

“I’ve really used this qualification to be able to apply for better positions within the industry which I am actively doing at present, and I am considering doing a higher level qualification with Parenta in the future as what this has shown me is the real potential for career progression. I would definitely recommend Parenta, they have been very supportive and I’ve had a very positive experience.”

For one Parenta learner, 2019 was a year she won’t forget for a long time. Kira Alakija from Noah’s Ark in Duston, Northants was shortlisted in the Northamptonshire Business Awards, in the category of Apprentice of the Year.

She said; “When the judges came to visit me at my setting, they told me that I was the first nominee ever to come from an education background – that made me so proud! I love what I do and I couldn’t have done all of this without the support of my Parenta assessor and my managers at work. The organisers made a point of recognising all the apprentices and their achievements and said that this year it had been really hard to choose one overall winner. It was an experience I will never forget and a great way to end my apprenticeship.”
The year also ended well for Parenta’s very own apprentice, Courtney Berryman, who successfully completed her Level 2 Business Administration. She was lucky enough to have the opportunity of attending the first-ever Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony in October – an event which celebrated the apprentices’ achievements in the same way as a university graduate is recognised, which is planned to continue this year.

Parenta is the UK’s largest vocational training provider within the early years sector, offering apprenticeships at all levels. We train nearly 3,000 nursery staff every year, helping them successfully complete their childcare apprenticeship training. With 20 years’ experience in the industry, we work in partnership with thousands of settings, supporting them with upskilling their existing staff, as well as recruiting new apprentices.

Ask us about our free recruitment service and for advice to help you invest in tomorrow’s generation of childcarers. Our experienced team will be able to advise you on ‘all things apprenticeships’ – from legislation changes to funding, contribution, minimum wage and off-the-job training. To find out more about how we work together with settings and help them with their apprenticeship solutions, call our team on 0800 002 9242 or email recruiter@parenta.com.

National Apprenticeship Week is here!

National Apprenticeship Week is here!

This week-long celebration, organised every year by the National Apprenticeship Service, aims to unite everyone who is passionate about apprenticeships, to encourage more young people to choose this path as a first step (and often fast-track) to a great career, and for companies to promote growth and personal development.

In short, it’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the industry – apprentices, employers and training providers alike – to shout about how great apprenticeships are!

This year’s theme is ‘Look Beyond’ which looks to showcase and celebrate the true meaning of ‘diversity’ within apprenticeships, with a focus on:

  • calling on young people to look beyond traditional routes into employment and explore the diversity of career options and industries now available to them through apprenticeships;
  • calling on employers to look beyond traditional hiring routes and shout about the value they already see from diversifying their workforce by employing apprentices
  • calling on parents and teachers to look beyond old preconceptions around apprenticeships, building understanding of the true value they bring, and sharing this with young people.

Here are our tops tips to get involved:

  • The NAW2020 events map allows you to search for events happening near you during the most exciting week in the apprenticeships calendar. You can also submit your event to be featured here.
  • Improve staff morale; and keep your team motivated to continue their learning by talking to them about the benefits of what further training can offer them.

More information on National Apprenticeship Week can be found here: www.apprenticeships.gov.uk

Parenta offers Level 2 Team Leading, Level 3 and 4 Management and Level 5 Childcare Leadership as work-based apprenticeships, in addition to the Level 2 and Level 3 Childcare.

Help your staff and learners know their options and realise their earning power!

  • Apprentices can get involved with the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network (YAAN) and talk about the benefits of apprenticeships in their local area – this looks great on a CV and gives invaluable skills for the workplace.
  • Encourage your apprentices to sign up for a NUS Apprentice Extra discount card. Not only will they receive loads of discounts at hundreds of shops, they will also receive emails on how they can give feedback and help shape the future of apprenticeships.

Your Parenta assessor will be able to give so much advice on how you can best support your learners in their early career journey.

Neurotypical narratives

Neurotypical narratives

Are neurotypical paradigms damaging people on the autistic spectrum?

I am a purveyor of stories. I know their power. When I got engaged and my mother warned me, “Just don’t make up too many stories,” she knows their power in my life too. On my Ambitious and Inclusive Sensory Stories training day, I tell a story that I heard as a very young child and track its influence on my life now.

We talk about young children as being impressionable. Stories seem like little things, but those first ideas, those first impressions left in a growing mind, shape it from its foundations up. At an age where children are so very impressionable, we read them bedtime stories that tell them that women are passive: the princess waits for rescue, and that men are active: the prince rescues. One story like this would be okay, especially if there was another (like the “Paperbag Princess” by Robert Munsch, or “Princess Smartypants” by Babette Cole) to even things out, but generally there isn’t. Our children are exposed to, not just one story, but many that teach them that they fit into a box: women-passive, men-active, this does neither gender any favours. We all need to be rescued sometimes and we all need to know we have the power to rescue ourselves (and occasionally others).

Autistic people grow up in a world where nearly all the narratives are neurotypical. These narratives teach us what is normal and right, and what is not, and when we cannot fit ourselves into these moulds, we feel that we are in the wrong. We injure ourselves in the trying, like the infamous square peg in a round hole. Two current notable exceptions for children today are the book “The Cloud Spotter” by Tom Mclaughlin (that I discovered thanks to Booktrust’s Special School Library Pack) and the TV show, “Pablo”.

When you don’t fit in, it is common for you to kick back against the hurt of trying to shave your own edges off. Some people kick out at the world, others hurt themselves. Incidents of self-harm and violent behaviour are more common in people with autism than they are in people with neurotypicism. When dealing with behaviour, we tend to think only of the immediate situation: what happened just before this behaviour? What should the consequence, the after, be for this behaviour? These things are important of course but we are all more than the moment we are in; our history and the stories we are told shape us. This is something I touch upon in my course Exploring the Impact the Senses have on Behaviour.

So what are these paradigms? They are not necessarily big stories, they are the little ones: that eye contact is polite, that parties are fun. They are contained within other stories: that we must feel emotions constantly, that to be solitary is a sign of something wrong. They are habituated into our daily rituals: shoes must stay on our feet and coats should be worn in the rain.

As with the gender bias paradigms of the past, they are incredibly hard to spot from within. As a parent, I vet the stories I read my son so that he knows not all women are wet blankets waiting around for someone else to have ideas and that men are allowed to have emotions and interests outside of fighting. Yet as a child, I never questioned why the princess in the tower simply sat and waited, I never questioned why I must sit with my legs crossed always whilst the boy next to me can sit with his knees apart.

Escaping the stories that hold us takes a lot of time, and often outside perspectives are required to help us better see the bars of our own cages. I encourage you to look for narratives told from different perspectives. Look at the start of any minority movement and you will see the power of personal stories shared. I am trying to do my bit by sharing tiny shards of my life on the spectrum in a photo album on Facebook. It can be worth exploring if you want to increase your awareness of neurodivergence.


About the author

Joanna Grace

Joanna Grace is an international Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist, trainer, author, TEDx speaker and founder of The Sensory Projects.

Consistently rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted, Joanna has taught in mainstream and special-school settings, connecting with pupils of all ages and abilities. To inform her work, Joanna draws on her own experience from her private and professional life as well as taking in all the information she can from the research archives. Joanna’s private life includes family members with disabilities and neurodivergent conditions and time spent as a registered foster carer for children with profound disabilities.

Joanna has published four practitioner books: “Multiple Multisensory Rooms: Myth Busting the Magic”“Sensory Stories for Children and Teens”“Sensory-Being for Sensory Beings” and “Sharing Sensory Stories and Conversations with People with Dementia”. and two inclusive sensory story children’s books: “Voyage to Arghan” and “Ernest and I”.

Joanna is a big fan of social media and is always happy to connect with people via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Expression of interest

Complete the form below if you are interested in joining our family. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!