Outdoor sleeping – Granby Carlton

The summer months allows the children at Granby Carlton to take advantage of the wonderful large tress in the outdoor area, for napping under.

One of the greatest benefits to sleeping outdoors is the increased brain activity which allows children to be happier, have better concentration, and an improved memory. This improves children’s cognitive development and allows them to be more explorative and open to learning.


Benefits of outdoor napping for all children.


  1. Better sleep

The cold air helps babies and toddlers sleep better, deeper, and longer. It also helps them fall asleep easier even once they are older.


  1. Less illness

Children who sleep outdoors spend less time in dry, recycled air which can allow the flu, virus and common colds to easily spread among the children.


  1. Improved learning

Children who sleep better are more rested and they can benefit from improved alertness and better cognitive performance.


  1. Calmer babies

By spending more time in nature, looking at the beauty and smelling the fresh air, children who sleep outdoors benefit from nature’s calming effect.


  1. Healthy habits

By spending a lot of time outdoors from a young age, children can internalise these habits early on in their lives which can help them become healthier adults.



Share this

Learning and Development – Granby Parkgate

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential.  Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances.

Each child within our setting is assigned a key person.  Their role is to help ensure that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs.  They will work towards an educational programme promoting the seven areas of learning from the Early Years Foundation Stage.  This framework is mandatory for all early year’s settings and from 1 September 2021 the framework has been updated.

Over the next few months, we will be working to make the changes necessary ready for September 2021.  One of the key features is limiting the amount of data that we collect on the children: reducing the amount of written work that the staff produce on a daily basis, which in turn will give us more time with the children for quality interactions which are not interrupted by data collection. With this in mind we will be looking at the observations that we put onto the app by ensuring that we have a selection of quality and meaningful observations but not necessarily as many.  You may therefore see a reduction in the number of daily observations that you receive on the app.  Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process.  It involves practitioners knowing the children’s level of achievement and interests, and then shaping teaching and learning experiences for each child reflecting that knowledge into their everyday interactions with the children. As the new document states ‘Assessment should not take practitioners away from the children for long periods of time’.

Granby will continue to encourage parents and/or carers to share information about children’s learning at home to ensure that we create a holistic understanding of children’s learning and development.

Share this

Fostering creativity – Granby Wickersley

Fostering creativity in children is important. During this type of play, children manipulate a range of media and materials developing both gross and fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination.

Great opportunities for learning and thinking are possible when children participate in creative play. Working with a range of art materials to make their mark, manipulating play dough into their chosen shapes, creating recipes by mixing dirt and water can further all aspects of child development. It has been identified that ‘A child who is used to thinking creatively can more easily problem-solve’

It is very important, however during creative play, that the emphasis should be on the process and not the end product. For children to be CURIOUS about the world around them, following their own unique style of learning and to be engaged in the joy of DOING rather than the end result is very beneficial and as adult we should resist the temptation in leading the children’s creativity and defining the end result for them.

Share this

Extending learning – Granby Carlton

At Granby, the children are at the centre of everything that we do. We let children learn through play, then extend their learning even further.

So, when a child brought in the book Jack and the Beanstalk, we shared this and then we took their lead and focused on an extended learning project.

Being creative and allowing children to use their imagination to help extend activities can provide the children with further learning opportunities.

Some children absorb information in different ways, so it is important to provide all children with the opportunities to allow them to develop skills.

As early years practitioners, we know that children learn through play and that most of the child’s time at nursery is spent engaged in child-initiated play. How then, as adults, do we extend a child’s learning even further?

Psychologist, Lev Vygotsky identified that children should not be left to discover everything on their own. Instead, we should provide them with challenges that are slightly too hard for them and gently ‘pull them along’. Based on this theory, we need to let children learn through play, then extend their learning even further.

How do we put this into practice? All children need the opportunity to take part in their own learning, we are careful not to just give children experience of directed learning (i.e., telling them what to do), but instead let their tasks be open- ended – let children take their learning where they want to take it, letting them speak to one another and work things out. Practitioners observe and ask open ended questions such as ‘Can you tell me how you made that? Why is the beanstalk so big? How could you make the beanstalk even taller? What does feel like at the top of the beanstalk?



Share this

Speech, Language and Communication Development – Helping our children to TALK – Granby Parkgate

Having a good vocabulary (knowing and understanding words) is important for children when they are learning to talk; it has an impact in lots of different ways. Children with poor vocabulary at 2yrs tend to do less well at school by 7yrs old (Hart & Risley, 2003).  It is therefore important that we work together to support children’s language development.

Using the right language right from the start is vitally important – don’t use slang words such as doggy for dog, otherwise they will have to learn another word later on as they grow.

I know learning new words is important for children but why?

A good vocabulary (the number of words you know and can say) is really important for all children. It is an important building block for helping children to talk in sentences, but it is also really useful for learning to read. So, helping children to develop a good vocabulary is vital.


The link between play and vocabulary development

  • Children need to explore new things. From this they will gradually learn all about the new object.  They learn what it looks like and feels like.
  • The child learns what to do with the object.
  • By 9 months old a child will learn how to use objects appropriately. E.g. if given a hair brush they will brush their hair, a toothbrush is for brushing teeth and a sweeping brush for brushing the floor – this is called ‘defining an object by use’.
  • This type of play is very important because it suggests that the child is storing information in their mind and is developing an internal awareness or idea for various objects.
  • Children need to store information because it means that they can remember it for next time when they use the object. Over time they will gradually add more information about the object including how to recognise and say the word when someone says, for example ‘brush’.
  • Over time the child will hear the word for the object over and over again until eventually they learn the pattern of sounds (phonemes) represents the word e.g. /b/ /r/  /u/  /sh/ = brush.

Play and everyday experiences are crucial for the development of children’s vocabulary.


How many words should children know by when? 

We have typical milestones for how and when children learn new words. Usually:

  • Children say their first words about the age of one (although they understand them for some time before this).
  • By about 18 months children should use about 20 words, but they’ll understand more.
  • By two years old, we expect children to say 50 words and understand between 200 and 500.
  • By three years old they’ll be able to use about 300 words.
  • By the time a child reaches five years old they’ll know and use as many as 2,500 words.

Children between 18 months and 6 years old should therefore learn 8 new words a day.

Is there anything else I can do to help children to learn new words?

Learning new words is tricky. There are lots of things children have to be able to do to understand and say a new word and get it right. They have to remember the sounds they hear and the order they come in, they have to find a meaning for the word and then they have to work out where it might go in a sentence. There are lots of different things you can do to help children’s vocabulary development. Here’s just a few:

  • Find a quiet space, turn off screens, radios and televisions – with no other distractions your little one will be able to hear you better and you can give them your full attention.
  • Having a child’s attention is important for word learning. Saying an object’s name while helping a child to look at it helps them to learn and remember names for objects that they haven’t seen before.
  • Be face to face with your child so they can see your facial expressions and see the words coming out of your mouth. Speak slowly and try to speak in sentences which are only 1 or 2 words longer than the child’s sentences.
  • We know that having words and objects together is really helpful for early language development, from around six to 18 months. So, it helps your child to see the object you are talking about, as well as hearing its name. This helps them to make the connection and gives you the chance to explain what new words mean. Young children will learn more from seeing, feeling and touching an object than from a picture of it.
  • Watch what children are exploring and doing then you can say the name of an object or action. This way you’re modelling the word for them – saying what something is called, showing them the way to say it and letting them know the speech sounds that make up the word.
  • Encourage children to use new words by giving them choices. So, rather than saying “would you like a snack?” ask them “do you want raisins or cucumber?” You can do this when you’re joining in with play during any activity e.g. ‘shall we splash the water or pour it?’ ‘Do you want the big bucket or the small bucket?’ Also add new ‘sophisticated’ words to extend your child’s vocabulary.
  • Repetition is really important. Children need to hear new words lots of times before they learn it properly, so keep saying the word you want them to learn! They may try to copy you and will often take a few attempts to get it right. Repeating experiences gives children a chance to try out things they’re learning and the words for these experiences.
  • Building on what they know already can help children to extend and expand their vocabulary. This is why open ended activities such as sand, water, playdough, painting, craft, home corners (inside and out) can be used as a basis for varying the activities and the vocabulary that goes alongside.
  • Talk about how words are linked together and how they link to words they already know. They might be similar in what they mean (tall, high, long), or be words in the same group (cat, dog, hamster). Talking about these things helps children learn words well. You can also start naming different types of one thing, for example, if you are playing with dinosaurs you might say ‘dinosaur’ for younger children but as children get older you can name the different types of dinosaurs e.g. ‘that’s a tyrannosaurus – he’s got really sharp teeth’ or ‘that one is a herbivore’.
  • There are different types of words and children need to learn them all. So, they need a good vocabulary of doing words (like walking, swimming, eating, pushing, describing words (like big, heavy, red), and words that can be used to name things (like dinosaur, shark, juice).
  • Make it easier for they to talk – dummies can get in the way of talking – try to use they must t sleep time.



Useful links

Talking Point  I CAN’s Talking Point

I CAN Help www.ican.gork.uk

Babbling Babies activity pack

Toddler Talk activity pack

Chatting with Children activity pack

Hungry Little Minds Campaign www.hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk

NSPCC Look, Say, Sing, Play  Look, Say, Sing, Play – Brain-building tips | NSPCC

BBC Tiny Happy People  www.bbc.co.uk/tiny-happy-people 

Share this

Outdoor environment – Granby Wickersley

Children’s physical development is important to focus on and now, during a pandemic, it is even more important to ensure children are accessing it as much as possible as medical evidence states that that there is less likelihood and lower risk of transmission of Covid 19 outdoors than indoors.

As practitioners, we are aware that a good level of physical activity supports children’s mental health and is beneficial for self-regulation. It also allows for children to develop their creativity, problem solving and confidence whilst developing a love for outdoors.

We use all our possible spaces within nursery to ensure children access the outdoor environment as much as possible throughout the day.

Many activities which extend and develop large and fine motor skills are provided and encouraged.

Share this

Taking Risks – Granby Carlton

At Granby we focus on children being the centre of everything we do, we tailor their learning to their own needs and pace.

As part of their learning the EYFS, Characteristics of Effective Learning states:

  • Encourage children to try new activities and to judge risks for themselves. Be sure to support children’s confidence

with words and body language.

  • Taking a risk, engaging in new experiences, and learning by trial and error.
  • Always respect children’s efforts and ideas, so they feel safe to take a risk with a new idea.

Allowing risky play at Granby.

We embrace risk taking as it allows children to push themselves to the limits of their capabilities and allows them space to progress. It also allows children to feel in control of their actions, learning and play; they learn boundaries in a safe, secure environment where they can be supported directly or indirectly by practitioners.

Within the structure of health and safety, we always remember that risk-taking is a very important part of a child’s development. But when trusted with the care of young children, the word ‘risk’ raises all sorts of concerns. How will a three-year-old know that the bridge he has built with his peers between two tyres is safe if he does not take a step onto it?

Practitioners support children to make decisions to  have opportunity to test what they have built, only then will he realise that it is too wobbly, or that the materials he has chosen are not strong enough or that the supporting structure is not stable.

The practitioners provide the open-ended questions to give children the opportunity to test out their ideas and find solutions for themselves wherever possible. Encouraging team working, relationship development and problem solving.

Share this

Wellbeing – Granby Parkgate


Wellbeing is a term we are hearing a lot due to the way Covid-19 has changed our life’s recently – but we don’t often think about it so much for young children.

At Granby we have always been passionate about supporting our children’s wellbeing and allowing them to feel happy, having their needs met, feel safe, secure and loved. All of which will lay the foundation to a great start in their life.

One critical factor in helping children improve their wellbeing is making sure that they know that they are loved for being the unique and precious individuals that they are. Parents, grandparents, family and friends clearly have a crucial role to play in letting children know that they are unconditionally loved; but we also believe that our early years practitioners have their own role to play in showing children that they are loved too.

Practitioners can show children that they are loved through the words they use and the way we interact with them. Spending quality time with children and telling them how lovely it is to see them today are good ways to start the children’s day.

We need to help children understand their feelings and offer emotional language to help give them the vocabulary they need to understand their own feelings, as well as other people’s. Our practitioners offer lots of opportunity for children to find their own ways to manage feelings of sadness when their parents leave them or when things do not quite go their way.

Carefully planned activities to help every child to develop their emotional well-being is vital.  Our practitioners will support children to:

  • focus their thinking
  • regulate strong feelings
  • be patient for what they want
  • bounce back when things get difficult.
  • Learn key words to express their feelings

There are many online resources available to help you and your child with ideas to support your families mental health, including:

  • MindEd, a free educational resource from Health Education England on children and young people’s mental health
  • Every Mind Matters, which includes an online tool and email journey to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing
  • Bereavement UKand the Childhood Bereavement Network, provide information and resources to support bereaved pupils, schools and staff


Barnardo’s See, Hear, Respond service, provides support to children, young people and their families who aren’t currently seeing a social worker or other agency, and who are struggling to cope with the emotional impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). You can access via the ‘See, Hear, Respond’ service self-referral webpage or Freephone 0800 151 7015.


It is also vital to report any safeguarding concerns you have about any child. Contact the NSPCC helpline.


Share this

Loose parts – Granby Wickersley

One of the challenges we have faced in recent times was the advice by Public health due to Covid to remove all soft toys, and any items that are hard to clean, such as those with intricate parts. We therefore had to ‘strip back’ resources and think outside the box with the equipment we used in nursery.

Being able to draw upon our skills and knowledge of children’s interests and furthering development in a variety of ways we ensured that our large ‘loose parts’ resources were plentiful. Loose parts are materials and resources that have no pre-planned use. They are both natural and man-made, they can be bits and bobs from around the house including pots, pans, spoons & pegs and in particular objects from nature which remain the finest source of loose parts and excite all of children’s senses.


The use of Loose parts in nursery is endless. It encourages children’s imagination & creativity as open ended resources can be used as anything, giving free reign to their creativity. The development of both large & fine motor skills are promoted when using the objects as the children can build, manipulate, move, control, design and redesign, continually changing the direction of their play.


The practitioners with the nursery have a unique role during loose parts play. They need to observe and support rather than joining in or controlling the direction of play otherwise the children’s natural creativity can be stumped and they could easily lose interest.

The endless play opportunity of loose parts can be easily recreated at home with simple resources such as boxes, stones, shells and household objects. Children will play for long hours with the simplest of materials.

Think about how many children, when given a toy,  prefer to play with the box that it came in!

Granby Wickersley

Share this

Continued Professional Development – Granby Carlton

At Granby we encourage our practitioners to build on their knowledge and keep up to date with the ever-changing early Years environment.

Over the years Granby has seen many of its management team as well as practitioners gain numerous qualifications such as Early Years Teacher Status, Early Years Foundation degrees, GCSE’s, BSL and Makaton sign language, Safeguarding and First Aid to name but a few.

Currently we have two of the Management team studying Early Mathematics on the Early Years Professional Development Programme (Early Years PDP is designed and managed by Education Development Trust in partnership with Elklan and funded by the Department for Education)

The main purpose is to enhance knowledge, skills, and confidence to share with practitioners, to enable them to plan and implement more opportunities for mathematics every day in our settings.

We will focus on Counting, Cardinality, Measurement, Space, Shape, and pattern. We will also share the knowledge with the F1 parents to encourage development at home, in anticipation of the busy year preparing for school 2021.

During the Early Maths programme, we will audit and enhance our provision to provide the best activities for all children of all abilities within the setting, also working with outside agencies when needed.

We have started by making sure we have the following books, to use within the setting, maths while enjoying a story 😊

Maths books to use with children:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar         by Eric Carle

One to 10 and back again              by Nick Sharratt and Sue Heap

Ten tall giraffes                                 by Brian Moses

Ten in the bed                                   by Penny Dale

Ten terrible dinosaurs                    by Paul Stickland

Mouse count                                      by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Ten little ladybirds                           by Melanie Gerth

One gorilla: a counting book        by Anthony Browne

123 to the Zoo                                   by Eric Carle

Big Fat Hen                                         by Keith Baker

Share this
1 2 3