You know both Spring and Easter have arrived when eggs and fluffy, new-born ducklings can be seen at Treetops Nursery. To explain, the nursery took delivery of a duckling ‘hatching kit’ in late March and children at this Willesden nursery have had an absolutely magical time ever since. Over the course of ten days, the children and staff watched as the little duck eggs were incubated, using specialist equipment, right in the heart of the nursery. After just a few hours, fluffy yellow ducklings had hatched, much to the delight of everyone who saw them. More details follow below …
Background — Incredible Eggs
Let’s start at the beginning. A group of 7 small, family-run farms runs a programme called Incredible Eggs. It provides education in the form of chick-hatching experiences for settings like childcare nurseries, schools and care homes across the UK. As part of this, it helps with wildlife conservation too, breeding several rare and pure poultry breeds to safeguard biodiversity and avoid losing some of the breeds forever. This also includes breeding and releasing the endangered ‘Grey Partridge’ back into the wild as part of the overall programme. Incredible Eggs also supports several charities and social enterprises. Animal welfare is a top priority and the programme aims to give every bird “a good life, and a life worth living.”
The Hatching Experience at Treetops Nursery
The team from Incredible Eggs arrived at the nursery, bringing with them all the equipment we would need, along with the precious duck eggs, of course. They professionally set up the equipment for us and explained to nursery staff everything we needed to know for the days ahead. Printed hatching guides, information sheets, posters and instructions were all supplied, so staff were fully briefed as to what to expect and what they would need to do to ensure the welfare, safety and health of the new arrivals once they came.
The Little Miracles Arrived
The eggs had already been partly incubated while at the farm, so in no time at all, tiny ‘cheeping’ noises could be heard from the eggs as they began pecking away at the egg shells, from the inside. It was absolutely magical for the nursery children and staff to witness the little ducklings gradually break free and …
In this, the first of two new posts relating to the very youngest of children, we’re looking at teething, including when it usually happens and what to do about it as a parent or carer. Teething can be stressful for parents and a painful time for babies, so it’s important to read the signs correctly and act accordingly.
Teeth in Humans
Let’s start at the beginning. Humans usually have two sets of teeth during their lives:
- First, children get their Milk Teeth at a very early age (more details follow below). These are also sometimes referred to as Baby Teeth, Primary Teeth or Deciduous Teeth. We’ll stick with Milk Teeth for the purpose of this article.
- Later, on average by the age of twelve, come the more permanent adult teeth. These are known as the Permanent Teeth or Secondary Teeth. We’ll refer to them simply as adult teeth in this article.
Fun fact: some reptiles grow thousands of new teeth in their lifetimes. Not so for humans, though!
Apart from their two sets of teeth, humans do not ‘grow’ further teeth as they are lost or fall out. This is common to most mammals.
Most babies are born with no teeth showing at all. However, there are exceptions and it’s reasonably common to be born with one or more milk teeth already visible. In total, babies will have a total of 20 milk teeth; 10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower. These are already there at birth as they will have grown during the embryonic stage. However, they are hidden within the gums in most cases.
On average, babies’ teeth start to ‘erupt’ (protrude through the gums) at the age of about 6 months. The process of erupting is known as teething. The order of appearance of milk teeth usually goes …
The Benefits of Exercise
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of regular exercise to children and why it’s so essential, particularly for children under five. Exercise is shown to have a huge range of benefits to humans, and this is especially true for children, as we’ll see.
Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviours.2
Some additional benefits of exercise — including a few that may surprise you — are:
- Less likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease including hyperlipidemia1;
- Less likelihood of strokes1;
- Less likelihood of developing high blood pressure1;
- Less likelihood of developing cancer (including breast, colon, endometrial and lung cancer)1;
- Less likelihood of developing glucose intolerance and insulin resistance1;
- Less likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes1;
- Less likelihood of developing low bone density and subsequent osteoporosis1;
- Less likelihood of becoming obese1;
- An improvement to the symptoms of depression and anxiety;
- Stronger muscles and bones;
- Improved physical fitness;
- Maintenance of a healthier weight;
- The creation of nerve connections in the developing brain, which aids learning;
- Improved social skills and peer relationships through communal exercise and sport activities;
- Healthier levels of self-confidence;
- Improved coordination and motor skills;
- A better quality of sleep.
Last but not least, exercise and physical activity can …
If you are living in England and are bringing up one or more children there, you are usually eligible to receive Child Benefit. This is a payment made by the Government to help with the costs associated with bringing up children. It’s made to those responsible for bringing up children up to 16 or, if they’re still in approved education or training, 20 years of age. This guide will go through the key facts around what you’re entitled to and eligibility.
How Much Do You Get?
If eligible, the Government will pay £21.05 per week for the eldest child and £13.95 per week for each additional child. (Latest information suggests this will increase to £21.15 and £14.00 respectively for 2021/22, from April). It’s usually paid on Mondays or Tuesdays every four weeks, although single parents with certain other benefits may apply for weekly payments instead. Payments need to be paid into a single bank account and only one person can receive them.
There isn’t a limit on the number of children that you can claim for. However ….
Beware the ‘Benefit Cap’
Receiving Child Benefit will not directly reduce the amount of any other benefits that you receive from the Government. It’s important to bear in mind, though, that the total amount of Government benefits, including Child Benefit, are limited by what’s known as the Benefit Cap. Broadly speaking, this limits the amount of total benefits received to an absolute maximum of …
Back in December, we published what turned out to be a very popular checklist for choosing a nursery. Our interactive file was a downloaded multiple times and continues to be shared amongst those looking for a good nursery for their children, right across the UK.
How Does Treetops Nursery Measure Up?
Here we’ll explore how Treetops Nursery measures up when using the Nursery Checklist. As you’ll see, Treetops performs extremely well. Take a look …
The nursery would be extremely hard to beat if you’re looking for high quality childcare from a nursery or pre-school in the Willesden, Willesden Green, Harlesden or Kensal Green areas in north west London and the NW10 postal zone.
The setting is open 51 weeks of the year from Monday to Friday, only closing for a week over Christmas/New Year and during public or bank holidays. It’s open early from 8am right through to 6pm.
The nursery caters for babies from 6 months of age to children up to five years old, so is a perfect setting where children can prepare for the move to school at age five, while allowing parents and carers to …
One of the first things people should look at before settling on a nursery for their children is the latest Ofsted Report for the setting. After all, it’s wise to check the professional and independent feedback that such reports contain. On this note, parents and carers considering Treetops Nursery for their baby or child will be pleased to know that we passed with flying colours in its most recent Ofsted Report. Although it’s been a while since that report, we thought we’d share the outcome so that parents can see for themselves just how good a nursery Treetops is. In fact, we were rated as a good nursery in every single category and we’ll cover that in more detail below.
Treetops Nursery passed with flying colours
First, though, we’ll explain a little about Ofsted and what they checked for during the most recent inspection.
Ofsted is the UK’s official “Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills”. As such, they inspect services providing education and skills and regulate services that care for children and young people. This includes childcare settings, nurseries and pre-schools throughout the UK. Ofsted inspections and the resulting reports are part of this governance.
What they checked
- The Ofsted Inspector observed the quality of the teaching during various activities, both inside and outdoors. They then appraised the impact of this on the children’s learning.
- During the inspection, the Inspector talked with both staff and children, at appropriate moments throughout her visit, to further her insight.
- Joint observations were also undertaken by the Ofsted Inspector, in tandem with the nursery manager and room leaders.
- Meetings were also held with the nursery manager and area manager.
- Documentation was checked by the Inspector. This included ensuring that nursery staff were checked in terms of suitability, training and qualifications for the jobs they were undertaking. These checks would also, of course, ensure that all staff had been checked and deemed suitable for working with children.
- The Inspector also spoke with parents during her visit as well as reading through written feedback supplied by them. All such comments and feedback were taken into consideration when putting together the final Ofsted Report.
The Ofsted Inspector’s Conclusion
In her final Ofsted Report, the Inspector said …
In today’s busy world, fast food and ready meals are a quick, easy and convenient choice. It’s common knowledge, however, that home-cooked food using fresh, high quality ingredients is always a better choice for adults and children alike. Freshly prepared food avoids many of the nastier things like additives, colourings, too much sugar, salt and processed ingredients. However it’s tricky, as we don’t always have time to start meals from scratch when we’re juggling the many demands of today’s frenetic world. Eating healthily is important, though, and even more so for very young children. We’ll explore this in today’s article …
Healthy, Balanced Meals for Children
Eating more healthily requires a balance of factors. These include:
- ideally using fresh, healthy, quality ingredients whenever possible;
- meals that, over the course of each day, represent a balanced diet for children;
- care to ensure children are eating the right portion sizes.
Getting the balance of these right benefits growing children enormously. These include obvious benefits, like maintaining a healthy weight, along with some surprising benefits like the avoidance of certain diseases later in life. We’ll take a closer look …
The Benefits of Healthy Eating for Children
Eating a healthy, balanced diet from an early age:
- helps children to get into the habit of healthy eating as they grow older;
- gives children the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that, critically, their growing bodies need for full and optimum development;
- helps children maintain energy levels needed for their activities each day;
- helps to maintain cognitive function, mood and good mental health;
- helps children avoid obesity and the health risks associated with it;
- helps children to have a better self-image and thereby to be more confident with better self-esteem and mental wellbeing;
- means that children are less likely to be bullied for being overweight;
- helps children to avoid diseases later on including heart and blood pressure issues, diabetes and even …
- Step 1: Download our Nursery Checklist here (Excel format, or PDF also available*).
- Step 2: Fill in the answers to the questions.
- Step 3: Then use the completed checklist to compare the nurseries in an easy, at-a-glance format.
The nursery checklist is a 1-page, A4 document. It prompts you to find the answers to all the right questions. You fill in the relevant section for each nursery that you’re comparing and, optionally, you can score each answer for its quality. At the bottom of the checklist, the total will be automatically computed assuming you are using the Excel version*. The overall winner should be pretty clear to see, top/right of any of the ‘sheets’ (switch using the tabs at the bottom). There you’ll see all the totals compared, one directly above the other. Simple!
Most, if not all, of the information should be readily available from the nursery websites. Failing that, call the nurseries to find answers you don’t know. We’ve included Treetops Nursery as an example, using real information, so you can easily