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.

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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.


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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

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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

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Transition to School – Granby Parkgate

July and August are the months that we see many of our children leave us to go to ‘BIG’ school. This year things have been very different as many children will not have had transition visits into school or indeed had a visit from their new teachers.

However, don’t fear we have been working with all our children to support this new and exciting transition into school and will continue to do so throughout the summer.

We have strong links with all our feeder schools and talk frequently with teaching staff about the children who will be moving onto them. We send an end of term report to school with all your children’s milestones recorded and an overview of who they are, what they enjoy doing and if they will need any additional support in any area of learning and development.

We have made school transition books for all the children who are leaving us which we share daily whilst they are at nursery. The children love to share the pictures with each other of where they are going and who is going to be their new teacher. They all show great pride and enthusiasm in sharing these and this continues to support their up and coming adventure.

Things you can do at home to support your child’s transition into school:

Getting dressed and undressed and using the toilet independently are key skills which can be encouraged at home. These simple things can be really helpful, too: getting familiar with numbers, letters and sounds, singing nursery rhymes, and just doing things with your children like baking, getting out in the garden if you have one and simply chatting with them. It is also very important to help your child develop independence skills and good sleeping habits.

Things are uncertain at the moment, but this doesn’t need to affect the way you talk about transition with your children. We approach a lot of things thinking like an adult, but children tend to be more resilient than adults in many ways. They don’t need to know that things aren’t happening the way they would do normally. They take things at face value and tend to throw themselves into most things – we just sometimes need to shield them from our own worries. The most important thing is to make this a really exciting time and it is really exciting, for them and for their school. We will miss you all and look forward to hearing all about your adventures so please keep in touch, you will always be a part of our Granby family.

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Settling back into Nursery – Granby Wickersley


We reopened our doors to families on Monday 1st June 2020 and we are amazed at how well the children have adapted to our new ‘ways’.

Nursery life has gone in a new direction and we are passionate about ensuring we provide a safe, calm environment embracing the changes we have to make as an early years setting.

One of which was parents were asked not to come into the setting, handing their children over to us at the main door and then collecting them from there at the end of their session as a social distancing measure. This has been very successful, and we have welcomed the children back with lots of happy faces!

We removed our soft toys, soft furnishings and the smaller harder to clean resources but we had many ideas & activities to keep the little ones busy.

We made the most of all our spaces and although we are keeping in our ‘bubbles’ – we strive to maintain some normality into our days – we want to hear their laughter, see their smiles and love to listen to their little voices as they tell us their news.

As practitioners, we feel passionate about reducing the stress and anxiety around children, so we are conscious about being calm whilst also highlighting the necessity of hygiene such as an increased need for hand washing.  We do this in a fun way, making up new words to songs that children love such as Baby Shark.  This, along with role modelling, keeps the children engaged.

Outdoor play is a strong ethos of Granby Nurseries, we believe that it is an essential part of a child’s development as it provides freedom, develops creativity and curiosity, allows risk taking and allows the use of all senses.

We have re looked at our practice outdoors and strengthened it further to ensure children spend more optimal time in the outdoor environment making good use of all the spaces we have. This has provided many learning and calming opportunities such as daily yoga and listening to environmental sounds.

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The World changed – Granby Carlton

Granby Nurseries has been open now for over 25 years, and the past 11 weeks have been like no other we have ever known. On 23rd March 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that most schools and early years settings in the UK would close.

Some schools and early years settings would stay open to children whose parents are key workers like nurses, delivery drivers and teachers.

All three Granby’s stayed open initially to provide care for limited children, whilst other children stayed safe at home with their parents.

On March 26th, the Prime minister- Boris Johnson, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte lead our nation in our first clap for the NHS and keyworkers. At 8 o’clock on Thursday nights people stand outside their front doors and clap to say thank you to those that are helping to keep us safe.

Granby Wickersley and Granby Carlton unfortunately closed from 6th April 2020.

Granby Parkgate remained open throughout the whole lockdown period, supporting families, and creating a safe environment for children.

Granby Wickersley used their Facebook page to communicate with families, sending videos and activities for children to enjoy.

Granby Carlton had created LIVE@11 from 23rd March, doing a fun live session on their Facebook page, for families to watch, Jacqui carried this on throughout lockdown, reading stories from her campervan for families to enjoy, activities and story videos from staff were also posted weekly.

Granby Wickersley and Carlton maintained contact throughout offering families support and advice.

On 11th May Boris Johnson announced that he intended schools and early years settings to reopen from 1st June 2020 – the hard work began. All Granby Directors and Managers worked hard for the next few weeks, writing new documents in time for opening, they communicated and reassured families about opening and measures put in place.

We are day four into opening and welcoming back our families, all staff have been amazing and have worked hard to settle children back in, the children have been amazing, and come back as if they were here yesterday. Granby Nurseries are very proud of what we and our families have achieved and look forward to welcoming more and new families back in the future.

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What difference can I make as a parent? – Granby Parkgate

Listening and Attention

It is essential for a child to master attention and listening skills in order to learn new skills. Attention is linked to concentration and so is an important component in listening. Attention and listening are skills that develop gradually and are important to talk and understand language.

The term receptive language is often used to describe how much a child recognises and understands words and phrases. It is receptive language that develops first, meaning that a young child can understand far more that they can say.


Supporting listening and attention

  • Think about how noisy your home environment is. Background noise such as music or a TV playing or areas where there are many voices will make it harder for your child to concentrate.
  • Create quiet, calm spaces at home, with minimum clutter, as too many toys can make it harder for children to focus.
  • Consider whether your expectations are developmentally appropriate; young children may find it hard to concentrate on an activity for long periods of time.
  • Say your child’s name, gain eye contact and get down to their level before giving them an instruction or telling them something.
  • Use plenty of gestures and facial expressions when talking to your children as these will help them understand what you are saying.
  • Give your child plenty of time to process what you have said before saying something else or asking them again the same question.
  • Repetition when talking helps children to process the repeated words for meaning. Look out for songs with action which have repeated phrases such as ‘The wheels on the bus.’
  • Play ‘ready steady go’ games such as rolling a ball or knocking down a tower as the anticipation before the action may help to increase a child’s attention span.

Most importantly have lots of fun.


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Granby fact – All Granby settings

Granby fact:

At Granby we are very passionate about building the right staff team, to deliver inspiring learning for the families that choose to attend.

We are very proud that 40 of the Granby employees have been employed for over 10 years.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” –Richard Branson.



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Lending Library – Granby Wickersly





We have introduced a   to encourage children and families to share and look at books.

Sharing books will:
Promote strong and loving relationships and secure attachments.

Improve a child’s language and communication skills.

Support the development of fine motor, listening and concentration skills.

Aid social & emotional development, good mental health and well-being.

Helping to lay foundations of good literacy skills and prepare the way for school transitions.

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