Tag Archive for: preschools

Bee-Friendly Flower Growing for Kids

Easy flower-growing activity for children, to attract bees and other friendly insects to the garden.Today, we follow up last month’s wildlife attracting guide for Under-5s with another, more specific, activity for children to undertake outdoors. This time, we outline easy-to-accomplish flower growing activities that children can enjoy, to attract bees and other friendly insects to the garden. While flowering plants can be purchased commercially ready-grown, we’ll concentrate today on ways children can grow wildlife-friendly flowers themselves, from seed. After all, it’s far cheaper, much more fun as an activity, teaches children more about nature and will also give them a greater sense of achievement. If it all goes well, the result will be some pretty flowers to brighten the place up as well as a host of charming and beautiful little creatures visiting. Children may get to see different types of bee perhaps along with butterflies, hover flies, ladybirds and probably many more wonderful creatures that might otherwise never have visited. Children will generally find flowers, bees and butterflies not only beautiful to look at, but also fascinating once they really start to look closely. After all, what’s not to love about stunning flowers and the cute, colourful pollinators that will visit them!

Sourcing Bee-Friendly Seeds

Forget-me-nots, poppies, sunflowers, sedum, buddleia, nasturtium, daisies, cornflower, cosmos and calendula are easy seeds for children to grow.Parents/guardians of under-fives will need to supervise which seeds to buy — or to harvest free of charge at the end of a previous season. If purchased, they’re inexpensive with seed packets typically costing as little as £1.99 from places like Suttons, garden centres and even online from some supermarkets. Look out for seeds that are marked as suitable for growing bee-friendly and/or butterfly-friendly flowers, or are simply suitable for pollinators. Typical examples include seeds for poppies, sunflowers, forget-me-nots, sedum, buddleia, nasturtium, daisies, cornflower, cosmos and calendula. Even herbs will grow fragrant flowers that’ll attract pollinators if you allow them to grow to maturity. Good examples include mint, basil and thyme, any of which would serve a secondary purpose of being useful to eat — another useful and educational benefit of this activity for young children.

Even easier are seed packets that contain mixed wildflower seeds. As the name suggests, these contain a real mix, resulting in multi-coloured flowers that’ll liven up flower pots, balconies or garden beds and attract a multitude of different pollinator visitors.

Fun-to-Grow Seeds Just for Children

Hover flies are delightful, friendly and peaceful little creatures that may also visit children's flowers.Suttons and other seed suppliers even offer whole ranges of bee-friendly flower seeds just for children. These include a ‘Bug Magnet’ flower seed kit for kids containing Calendula daisy seeds, 8 bug stickers and even a magnifying glass for closer inspection of the visiting bees, butterflies and insects. The price of that example is only £2.49 (price correct at time of writing — even cheaper if you’re a member). Sainsbury’s offers something completely different with their Bee-Friendly Flower Bomb Kits for little ones. Timing of this post is perfect too, as all these seeds can be sown during March, April and May, with flowers appearing anywhere from March to the end of September.

Sowing the Seeds

Children can simply scatter seeds (spaced out as per instructions on seed packets) onto some soft, weed-free soil.Commercially-supplied seeds will usually have instructions for sowing on the packets, so these can be followed easily. Generally speaking, though, there are a couple of main ways to sow flower seeds:

  1. The easiest way is for children to simply scatter seeds (spaced out according to individual instructions) onto some soft soil that’s been pre-prepared so it’s free of weeds. That might be, for example, in a flower bed, window box or in flower pots. The seeds can then be covered by a thin covering of sieved soil or compost and then slightly firmed down.
  2. Alternatively, children can sow the seeds in seed trays, flower pots, used yoghurt or margarine cartons or similar, Children can sow the seeds in seed trays, flower pots, used yoghurt or margarine cartons.so long as whatever they use has drainage holes at the bottom (adults may need to supervise that part, for safety reasons). Drip trays will be needed underneath if this part is initially housed indoors. The earth used can be soil brought in from the outdoors or, of course, compost (suitable for seedlings and ideally peat-free as it’s better for the planet). Using this approach instead of the outdoor scattering approach will allow children to manually space out individual seeds more easily, once they’ve actually sprouted.

Either way, the soil should be kept moist over coming days/weeks, so children should check on progress daily.

Safety Notice

Read the seed packet because some seeds can be poisonous. Therefore, this activity should be undertaken only with the close supervision of a responsible adult. Children will need to be closely monitored when handling seeds and earth, and will need to take appropriate safety precautions, for example keeping hands away from the mouth and eyes and washing their hands with soap and water afterwards.

Along with regular watering, a suitable organic liquid feed will help to bring on some types of seedlings. However, as some liquid feeds can be poisonous, handling of it is best left to a supervising adult.

Soil should be watered regularly so it remains moist.After about ten days to two weeks or so, seedlings should start to appear through the soil. Once they start to grow significantly, it may be necessary for children to ‘thin’ some of them out, by transplanting any that are cramped, so there’s only one plant every few inches. This will allow each plant to grow to a significant size in the coming weeks, free of overcrowding.

Once they’re mature, flowers should begin to appear and then it all starts to look rather beautiful. It may even be fragrant, depending on the plants chosen.

Along Come the Bees, Butterflies & More

Butterflies may also be attracted to bee-friendly flowers.Once flowers are coming through, many types of delightful pollinators will soon follow. These are likely to include various types of bee, different kinds of butterfly, hover flies, ladybirds and potentially many other pollinators.

Children Learn from Nature

Children can then have educational fun taking a closer (but careful) look at the visiting creatures and perhaps even saying ‘hello’. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to encourage children to greet the visiting pollinators in this way because it demonstrates to children that each is a little being that deserves to live safely and be given space, peace and respect. Teaching children to recognise even the smallest creatures as individuals may also help to reduce the chances of children being fearful of them. Children can have educational fun taking a closer (but careful) look at the delightful visiting creatures.After all, little pollinators are generally very harmless, hard-working creatures who just want to go about their business in peace. They are, though, completely charming when you take the time to watch them and this is too easily missed by children if they’re glued to screens or kept indoors too much. Given the opportunity, children learn and benefit so much from nature, so this activity is very worthwhile one for under-fives and, indeed, for children of any age. Learning from/about nature also supports the ‘Understanding the World‘ aspect of the EYFS curriculum, which is so incredibly important to under-fives.

Looking for the Best Childcare Service in Willesden, NW10?

Or the best nursery or pre-school in Harlesden, Willesden or Kensal Green?

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.Today’s guide was brought to you by Treetops Nursery, one of the best nurseries and pre-schools in the Willesden, Willesden Green, Kensal Green, Harlesden and NW10 areas of London. We’re independently rated by Ofsted as a Good early years provider in every category, so you know your baby, toddler or preschooler will be well looked after — and indeed will absolutely thrive — at Treetops Nursery. To register a place for your child, request a visit, ask a question or to find out more, please get in touch:

Next Time:

Next time, we’ll publish a wonderful guide to bird feeders that children can make at home.

15 Baby Facts That May Surprise You

A baby is born, somewhere in the world, every 3 seconds.Today we take a look at some amazing baby facts, many of which may come as a surprise. Human babies are incredible in so many ways, but you may not be aware of just how incredible they really are …

1. One Born Every Minute?

That’s not even close! Did you know that a baby is born, somewhere in the world, every 3 seconds? That equates to 28,800 new babies coming into the world every single day and over 10½ million new babies every year.

2. Babies Favour September

More babies are born in September than in any other month.Studies suggest that more babies are born in September than in any other month. In fact, the top four birth days are all in September with 9th September seeing the most babies born, followed in order by 19th, 12th and 17th September. With September being the first term of the year in the UK, it may come as no surprise that those September babies, being the oldest in the class, tend to be the smartest in their peer groups.

3. Short People Live Longer

Another study suggests that shorter people live longer than taller people, on average. With females being statistically shorter than males, it makes sense, then, that male babies will have lower life expectancies than females.

4. Foetuses have Gills, Fur & a Tail

While they’re foetuses, babies have fur, a tail and gills at certain stages of their development. The gills are slits found in the neck, called pharyngeal arches. These eventually develop into ear and jaw bones before the baby is born. Meanwhile, the tail becomes the child’s coccyx. In regard to having fur, some babies will lose theirs by the time they are born but others may shed it within the first few weeks following birth.

5. A Unique Smile

Baby humans are the only primate babies that smile at their parentsHumans are just one species within a group of 200 primates that includes monkeys, apes and lemurs. Did you know, however, that baby humans are the only primate babies that smile at their parents? That’s unless other primates use some other way of smiling that’s unknown to us, of course — it’s possible!

6. Amazing Brain Growth

Just in the first year, babies’ brains will grow to twice the size, going on to triple from their birth size by the time the child reaches the age of 5. Scientists believe that as many as a million new brain connections are made every single second when you interact with your baby and up to three-quarters of every meal goes towards building the infant’s brain. It does not actually stop developing fully until the age of about 21.

7. Taste Super Powers

When babies are born, they have a staggering 30,000 taste buds.While adults have about 10,000 taste buds on their tongues, new born babies have a staggering 30,000. What’s more, these are spread over their tongues, tonsils, the back of their throat and on the sides and roofs of their mouths. Despite this, it’s not until they’re around 4 months old that they begin to taste salt.

8. Babies Have Nearly 100 More Bones than Adults

While adults have 206 bones, babies are born with an incredible 300. This leads naturally to the question what happens to the missing 94?. Well, they don’t go missing, exactly. Instead, some of them fuse together to form a single bone by the time the individual is an adult. A good example is those that make up the skull, being made up of several separate bones when the child is born, but fusing into a single bone by the time they reach adulthood.

9. Are Babies Born Without Kneecaps?

Babies don't have a bone kneecap when they're born, but they do have one made of cartilage.Well, kind of — they don’t have a bone kneecap when they’re born, but they do have one of sorts, made of cartilage. This hardens to form bony kneecaps by the time the child reaches between 2 and 6 years of age.

Such differences help make the baby more flexible and easier to pass through the birth canal when they’re born.

10. Newborns are Short-Sighted

Babies are born short-sighted, only being able to focus on an area 8 to 14 inches away.When babies are first born, they are short-sighted, only being able to focus on an area eight to fourteen inches away. This is great for seeing their mum, of course, but they have to rely on peripheral vision for more distant visual cues. In time, though, their distance vision will deepen and improve.

11.No Teardrops

Have you ever noticed that new babies don’t produce tears in their first few weeks? They may still ‘cry’ but it’s a tearless version until they’re roughly one month old.

12. Newborns Instinctively Hold Their Breath Underwater

Until 6 months of age, babies automatically hold their breath when under water.For obvious reasons don’t test this but, until they’re about six months old, babies have an automatic ability and instinct to hold their breath when under water. They even automatically adjust their pulse rate and outer blood vessels while they’re submerged.

13. Surprising Gestation Statistics

It’s not clear why, but there are some interesting statistics around the gestation period for different groups. Indian babies apparently stay in the womb for 6 days longer, on average, than white babies. And, in turn, white babies stay 5 days longer, on average, than black babies. That correlates to Indian babies spending an incredible 11 days longer in the womb than black babies. Another interesting statistic is that female babies spend a day longer in the womb than males.

14. The Origins of Memory

What’s your earliest memory? How old were you in that memory? Generally, people don’t recall anything before the age of three. It’s unclear whether this is because their memory syntaxes were not fully formed until then, or because they were not fluent from a language perspective until about that age.

15. The Wonders of Breast Milk

Breast milk adapts itself to perfectly suit the infant drinking it.Did you know that breast milk adapts itself to perfectly suit the infant drinking it? As the baby grows, the milk composition changes automatically, providing the exact calorific content that the infant needs.

What’s more, natural breast milk has all manner of additional benefits over formula milk. Incredibly, it reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by an incredible 50% when taken for a minimum of two months. It also reduces the chances of babies and infants developing a range of diseases and allergies as well as passing on antibodies to the child.

The Highest Quality Childcare in Willesden

Treetops Nursery is a perfect choice if you are looking for outstanding nurseries or pre-schools in Harlesden, Willesden or Kensal Green.

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.Treetops is graded by Ofsted as a Good Nursery — in every category. So, your baby, toddler or preschooler will be exceptionally well catered for at the childcare setting. Our nursery and pre-school is located in Willesden, London NW10 but is also conveniently near to Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green. So, if you live, work or require weekday childcare in any of those locations, you should consider Treetops for your childcare provision. We really give every child the very best start in life at this crucially important time in their lives. We do everything we can to nurture them so that they’re the very best version of themselves in readiness for school by the time they leave us at the age of five.

Please contact us if you’d like to register your child for a place at the nursery, or if you’ve like to visit the setting. We’re also always happy to answer any questions:

Free Childcare Grants for UK Students

This is for parents who wants to study in higher education, but will struggle to afford childcare.Are you a parent who wants to continue studying in higher education, but may struggle to afford childcare costs? If so, we have some great news for you. Student Finance England offers eligible students, who are also parents, a generous grant for their child’s childcare. This may allow them to continue with higher education in the knowledge that their child is being looked after by childcare professionals while they study. It can make a real difference, allowing parents to concentrate on studying and potentially increase household income once they graduate their courses.

Today, we’ll take you through the rules around eligibility for the childcare grant and explain how much is available.

The childcare grant for students is in addition to other student finance.

Eligibility Rules for Student Parents

There's no need to worry about childcare costs if you are elible for a student grant.To be eligible, the following rules apply:

  • The parent’s child(ren) must be under the age of fifteen, or under seventeen if they have special educational needs.
  • The child(ren) concerned must be financially dependent on the applicant.
  • The student/parent also has to be eligible for undergraduate student finance based on household income (even if they don’t claim it).
  • They can’t already be receiving a postgraduate loan.
  • They must be a permanent UK resident.
  • They must be studying full time.
  • They, or their partner, must not also be claiming Tax-Free Childcare or the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.
  • They or their partner must not be in receipt of childcare funding from the NHS.

A few rules also apply in relation to the childcare provider that receives the funding:

  • The childcare provider cannot be related to the applicant or child(ren) if the childcare provision is at home.
  • They should be officially recognised in the UK as a childcare provider, i.e. be registered with Ofsted or on the General Childcare Register.

The childcare grant does not need to be paid back.

How Much Do You Get?

The Childcare Grant for students is worth up to 85% of the cost of childcare while studying in further education.The Childcare Grant for students is worth up to 85% of the cost of your childcare while you’re studying in further education.

If you have one child, it can amount to up to £183.75 a week or 85% of your childcare costs if lower. If you have two or more children, then it’s worth up to £315.03 a week or, again, 85% of your childcare costs if that’s lower. You will have to cover the remainder. (Figures are correct for the academic year 2022-23; figures for 2021-22 are £179.62 and £307.95 respectively).

You don’t receive the grant directly; it’s effectively paid to the childcare setting itself (after all, it’s a grant specifically for childcare). Part of the mechanism for payments to the childcare provider is the setting up of a Childcare Grant Payment Service (CCGPS) account. You’ll receive instructions explaining how to set one of these up once your application for the childcare grant has been approved. Then later, Student Finance England sends funds to the account. Once the course has commenced, you will need to approve payments to the childcare provider on a weekly basis. It is then paid directly to them. Should any funds remain once the academic year is complete, this will be returned to Student Finance England.

How You Apply

Applications for Student Childcare Grants are most commonly made online. You apply for a Student Childcare Grant as part of your application for the standard undergraduate student finance (start here).

They can also be made using a paper form if the student finance application has already been made by the time you apply, or in the event that you later claim for an additional child. Once filled in, the paper application can be sent to Student Finance England, PO Box 210, Darlington, DL1 9HJ or alternatively send it to them via your Student Finance Account.

Treetops Nursery Provides High Quality Childcare in Willesden, North West London

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.We hope the guide to Childcare Grants for students is useful. If you are a student living or intending to study in North West London, Treetops Nursery can certainly help with your childcare needs while you study. We’re Ofsted registered and are officially a Good Nursery, so your child(ren) will be in good hands. We’re a nursery and pre-school in Willesden, NW10 and are also very near to Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green. So, we may be very convenient if you are living in Willesden or in North West London, or are studying for an undergraduate course at a college, university, university-linked hospital or other higher education setting in the region — there are many. Please contact us for more details or to apply for a nursery place for your baby or child under five:

EYFS Early Learning Goals for Under-5s

Early Learning Goals are integrated into the EYFS framework and are used in nurseries and pre-schools.Treetops Nursery adheres to the Early Years Foundation Stage (‘EYFS’) framework. This is a structured approach to learning and development for under-fives and is prescribed, by the UK Government, for childcare settings such as ours. It covers 7 key areas of focus for learning and development, which are explained concisely on our Curriculum page. Today, we look at the Early Learning Goals that are integrated into the EYFS framework, including how and why they are used in nurseries and pre-schools.

The Purpose of the Early Learning Goals

The Early Learning Goals (‘ELGs’) are used as a way for early learning practitioners and childcare professionals to continually gauge the progress of each child’s learning and development. Specifically, they’re used as incremental benchmarks to help ensure that children are successfully heading towards ‘school readiness’ by the time they leave early years settings around the age of 5. This is the point when they move to Reception Year at primary school.

“The ELGs should support teachers1 to make a holistic, best-fit judgement about a child’s development, and their readiness for year 1.” (Department for Education, Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation)

Children are assessed continually against Early Learning Goals that are appropriate for their age. A ‘Key Person’ assigned to each child is a critical part of this. The assessment allows the Key Person and other childcare professionals to tailor the individual learning and development programme so that it is customised to the strengths, interests and any weaknesses of each child.

Parents/carers are also kept informed at all stages and are indeed encouraged to continue helping their child towards the same goals when at home. This tandem approach has been shown to have enormous benefits for the child, both in the short and long term.

Furthermore, if a special educational need is identified during assessment, families and childcare practitioners can then discuss more specialist, professional support for the child, should it be deemed appropriate. Setting goals, and monitoring performance against them, is a great way to identify such needs.

The Goals

The Early Learning Goals prescribed in the Department for Education’s ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation’ document are too lengthy to reproduce in full within the scope of this article today. However, they can be read in full within their document on pages 11 to 15 inclusive. This can be downloaded by following the green link in this paragraph. We also include an abridged overview of the goals below.

In essence, though, the Early Learning Goals are designed to help children become naturally curious, with an enthusiasm to learn, to help them form healthy relationships with adults and peers, and generally to thrive as individuals. Some examples of the types of goals follow …

• Communication and Language Goals

Goals are set for Communication & Language, a prime area of focus within the EYFS framework.Goals for Communication & Language, a prime area of focus within the EYFS framework, include performance against benchmarks for attentive listening, responding appropriately to what they’ve heard, speaking skills, good use of English and self-expression skills.

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development Goals

Goals around physical development, the 2nd of the prime focus areas within the EYFS, include good self-regulation in terms of behaviour around others, demonstrating patience in respect of needs, wants and any impulses, following instructions appropriately, demonstrating confidence and perseverance when challenged, personal skills like independence, the building of good relationships with others and even understanding healthy food choices.

• Physical Development Goals

Goals for physical development centre around gross and fine motor skills.Goals for physical development, the third of the prime focus areas of the EYFS, centre around gross and fine motor skills. For their gross motor skills, goals are set for skills like negotiation around spaces and obstacles, appropriate movement skills for doing so, suitable balance, strength and coordination skills. With regard to fine motor skills, goals are set around things like the ability to appropriately hold and use writing instruments and tools, and demonstrating accuracy when doing so.

• Literacy Goals

Goals for literacy include several around comprehension, vocabulary, reading and writing, understanding letters and words, phonics and spelling.

• Mathematics Goals

Mathematics also has a set of early learning goals.These include understanding numbers, counting, recognising patterns within numbers and number systems, comparison and comprehension of quantities, recalling number bonds and recognition of odds, evens, etc.

• Goals for Understanding the World

These goals cover quite a bit of ground including comprehension and knowledge about people, roles and society around the children as well as more distant, the past and the present, different cultures, other religions and countries, plus a knowledge of the natural world.

• Goals for Expressive Arts & Design

Goals in this specific category centre around use of creative materials, techniques and tools along with creative expression skills themselves. As well as exploring colour, design, form, function and suchlike, children will be expected to appropriately share their creations, speak about them and perform any stories, songs, rhymes and so on.

“Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all areas of learning and development.” (Department for Education, Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation)

Progress Check at 2

A key part of the ongoing assessment against the Early Learning Goals is a progress check at the age of two. Parents/carers will be provided with their child’s assessment at that age and it will include findings in relation to the child’s strengths and any areas that are below expectations. This can then be used “to develop a targeted plan to support the child’s future learning and development involving parents and/or carers and other professionals (for example, the provider’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or health professionals) as appropriate.” More details about the progress check can be found on pages 18 and 19 of the EYFS document (a link is provided in the grey box earlier in this article).

A Great Childcare Nursery in Willesden (near Harlesden & Kensal Green)

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.Treetops Nursery is a wonderful nursery in Willesden, London NW10, also suitable for those looking for nurseries or pre-schools near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green. Ofsted recognise that we offer “good standards and quality of early years provision”,  “good quality of teaching, learning and assessment” and most importantly “good outcomes for children”. If you’d like your baby, toddler or preschooler to benefit from our high quality childcare service, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to show you around, answer questions and more …

1. For the purpose of this article, the term ‘teacher’ is a placeholder for any type of practitioner working with a child.

Should I Send My Child to Nursery?

Should parents send their baby, toddler or under-five child to nursery/pre-school?Many new parents ask themselves whether they should send their baby, toddler or under-five child to nursery/pre-school. What exactly are the benefits to the child? Well, studies have shown that there are clear benefits for children if they attend a good nursery or pre-school in their early years. That good aspect is crucial, though, and as a good nursery ourselves (that’s official), we strongly agree. The benefits are obvious to us, but you don’t need to take our word for it. Today, we’ll look at the findings of independent research, including a recent study by the Department for Education (‘DfE’), demonstrating the clear benefits of sending children to a good nursery and/or pre-school during their early years.

What is a Good Nursery?

A good nursery/pre-school will nurture children's wellbeing, learning and development.First, though, let’s clarify what makes a good nursery superior to a mediocre one. To give just a few examples, a good nursery will educate children under their care — they don’t simply babysit them because parents are at work. They’ll nurture children’s wellbeing, their learning and their development. They’ll create a learning and development programme that’s tailored to the strengths, weaknesses and interests of each individual child. A good nursery will set personal goals and continually assess the child’s progress, actually in partnership with parents. They’ll help every child to achieve personal bests in every area of a good Early Years curriculum. They’ll also do everything they can to help each child become school-ready by the time they leave, so they can move on seamlessly to Reception Year at primary school. Along the way, a good nursery, like Treetops, will help children in a huge number of ways, becoming more able, more self-confident, more independent, well-mannered, knowledgeable, aware of what’s right and wrong, able to socialise with others in an appropriate way — and so much more.

The Benefits of a Good Nursery or Pre-school

Now we’ve established what a good nursery/pre-school is, what did the 2020 DfE study say about sending under-fives to one? Well, they found that there are both short-term and long-term benefits to children if they attend a good nursery/pre-school during their early years.

Early childhood education benefits the educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes of children in both the short and long term.
(Finding of the DfE study, February 2020).

Early childhood education benefits the educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes of children in both the short and long term.When a child gets a good educational grounding during their early years, their behaviour around others is also seen to improve, with better self-regulation, less problems with peers and fewer emotional issues. A 2002 study (Sammons et al.) found that the benefits could be seen from as young as two.

What’s more, a 2011 study from the OECD found that, by the time they reached the age of 15, children who had received a good early years education were outperforming other students by the equivalent of a year. That’s amazing when you think about it.

Looking further ahead, a 2018 study (Sim) found that a decent early years education, in good nurseries, pre-schools and childcare settings, boosted self-confidence and social skills in such a way as to provide “a better foundation for success at school, and subsequently in the workplace.”

“a better foundation for success at school, and subsequently in the workplace.”

Those are far-reaching outcomes! In effect, they’re saying that children’s lives will be positively impacted right into adulthood, simply because they attended a good early years education setting — just like that available at Treetops Nursery in Willesden.

Special Benefits for Disadvantaged Children

A good childcare setting represents a solid foundation for your child's future.The most far-reaching benefits of a good early years education were found to be for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 2020 impact study by the DfE found the following:

  • Children in this category benefit most if they attend a good early years education setting for at least 10 hours a week by the time they’re 2.
  • Similarly, 3 and 4-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit most if they attend for at least 20 hours per week.
  • The results from this are improved verbal abilities and attaining goals expected of their age once they begin school in Reception year.
  • Indeed, those children from backgrounds with particularly poor home learning environments had a marked increase in verbal ability once they moved on to school.
  • So, a kind of levelling-up is provided by decent early years education.

It’s clear that the carefully structured curriculum and approach to learning and development at good early years settings really does help children to be better prepared and able for school at the age of five. This head-start, in turn, helps them to achieve more at school and later in the workplace, with better job prospects, all leading to better lifelong outcomes overall. There is even a link to reduced involvement in crime. These are incredibly important findings.

Good childcare means less poverty and dependency on welfare too, along with lower crime levels.Benefits for Families & the Nation

As well as benefiting children, there are clear benefits to family households too, of course. Without getting too deeply into that in this particular article, obvious benefits include allowing parents/carers to get back to their careers after pausing for parental leave, allowing income levels to be healthier and upward mobility more likely. Overall, good childcare means less poverty and dependency on welfare too, along with lower crime levels.

A Good Nursery in Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green & Willesden Green

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.If you’d like a really solid foundation for your child’s future, then consider childcare at a good nursery like Treetops Nursery in Willesden, London NW10. We offer the highest quality weekday childcare for babies and children aged up to five. Our Willesden nursery and pre-school is near Willesden Green, Harlesden, Kensal Green and those in the NW2 & NW6 postcodes. We also support Government-funded childcare for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds (where eligible).

To register your interest in a nursery place for your child, please get in touch. We’ll be happy to hear from you and can’t wait to show you around and to tell you more …

Food Growing Fun for Kids: Teach Children to Grow Vegetables, Salads & Herbs at Home
Children can grow vegetables, salads and herbs at home, almost free of cost.Did you know that you can grow vegetables, salads and herbs at home, almost free of cost? You don’t need seeds and you don’t even need a garden! Today we’ll explain how you and your child can help the household with an almost endless supply of potentially free, home-grown fresh produce, all year round. Children will have enormous fun with this amazing activity, whilst learning new skills and gaining important knowledge along the way. Even better — you all get to eat the produce once the home-grown ‘crops’ are ready! And it should save money for the household.

Home-Grown Vegetables & Herbs For Free? How?

Show your child how to regrow small off-cuts of vegetables and herbs that you would already have bought as part of your weekly shop.One of the many beauties of this activity is that you don’t need to buy any seeds or plants specifically for the task. You are going to show your child how to regrow small off-cuts of vegetables and herbs that you would already have bought as part of your weekly shop. To explain, some of the parts that you’d normally discard can actually be used to grow new vegetables — lettuce, for example. And, for herbs, there’s an easy and free way to grow new plants from small cuttings of shop-bought herbs that you may have purchased anyway (basil or parsley, for example). Using this approach, you could grow your own vegetables, salads and herbs and, in theory, never have to buy any again! We’ll explain later, in more detail. First, we’ll look at what you and your child will need for your plants to grow in.

No Garden Needed?

As we mentioned above, you do not need a garden or greenhouse for this activity. As a minimum, all you need is a windowsill that gets lots of natural light. During warmer months, of course, a balcony or small outdoor patio or space will allow the activity to spread out and bigger volumes to be grown, but it’s really not essential. In any case, keeping to a windowsill means there’s less likelihood of garden pests eating the produce.

Egg cartons, used yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and the plastic trays from ready meals can make great flower pots.If your household already has flower pots or seed trays, then great. If not, there’s not even any need to buy them if you simply recycle things like empty egg cartons, used yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, the plastic trays from ready meals and suchlike. So long as they’ll hold some earth/compost and some holes are pierced in the bottom for drainage (this is best if done by an adult, for safety), then you’re almost good to go.

The only things you might need to spend a few pounds on, just to get going, are:

  1. Some compost (or use suitably fine, sieved earth, ideally from natural compost, sourced from outdoors if you want to save money). If buying new, choose peat-free compost as it’s better for the planet. Multi-purpose compost is fine, or seed and cuttings compost will also suit.
  2. Drip trays to put under your pots or seed trays. These are simply to catch the water and to protect your home. They’re very cheap to purchase. If you’re on a budget, though, you could simply source suitably sized food trays, for instance left over from ready meals, or use existing saucers and suchlike. So long as they catch any draining water from your pots or seed trays and are watertight underneath, they’ll be fine.

Regrowing Vegetables

Root sections from root vegetables like celery, leaks, lettuce and even garlic can be regrown.Now for the really clever, fun part! Instead of throwing away the ‘root’ part — that you’d normally cut off and discard — from the bottom of vegetables like onions, celery, garlic cloves, beetroot and lettuce, your child should save them, because that’s the part that will regrow if you encourage it. Show your child how to safely cut off and save a section about an inch deep, containing that ‘root’ section, from the bottom of used vegetables from your ordinary, weekly shop. Green onions, spring onions, lemon grass, various types of lettuce, Swiss chard and carrots are all additional examples of vegetables that have this bottom root section that can be harvested for later regrowth. Ginger too, but this takes significantly longer to regrow.

Once saved, simply place the lower sections, root downwards, into water e.g. in a suitable dish or glass. The depth of the water should be such that the top part is not submerged, but the root section is. Your child should ensure that the water level is maintained during a period of one to three weeks, depending on which type of vegetable it is (they grow at different rates). Some time during this period, visible roots will start to grow. Perhaps increase the depth of water once this happens. Once roots are substantial, the new plants can be transferred to the pots or containers of compost. Ensure that the roots are covered in soil but the upper parts protrude into the air as that part will eventually start to grow too. Carrot tops can also be regrown for use as 'greens' in salads and suchlikeThe compost should be kept moist as the vegetable regrows into another one that can, again, be harvested to eat as part of a healthy meal.

Interestingly, carrot tops (the growing green leaves above the root) can also be harvested for use as ‘greens’ in salads and suchlike. Instead of discarding these, pop the tops in water as above and soon enough you’ll see lots of greens growing.

Regrowing Herb Clippings

Herbs like basil, coriander, parsley and rosemary are easy to regrow from cuttings left in water.Herbs like basil, coriander, parsley, rosemary are also easy to regrow. When you’ve used most of them from your weekly shop for meals, save a few clippings from left-over stems. Clipping length will be different depending on the herb used. For example, basil clippings should be about 4 inches (100mm) long and rosemary clippings should be 2 to 3 inches (50-75mm) long. You may need to experiment a bit at first, so save a few different lengths if unsure initially.

In a similar way to the root vegetables above, these clippings need to be dangled and left in water on a windowsill until the roots are a couple of inches (50mm) or so in length. Once again, those can then be transplanted to the pots or containers with compost burying the roots. Again, your child should keep the compost moist until new, substantial herb plants have regrown and are ready again to eat. At this time, the whole process can begin again. Regrowing herbs is a great way to encourage children to try more types of them, to widen their food palettes and preferences.

Growing Seeds from Shop-Bought Vegetables

Another way to regrow shop-bought vegetables is to harvest seeds from inside them.Another way to regrow shop-bought vegetables is to see if they have seeds inside. Tomatoes and peppers are great examples of these. So, when you’re next using them up for meals, get your child to save the seeds from things like peppers (you’d normally discard these anyway) and some seeds from a tomato — each one contains many. These too can be used to grow brand new plants and vegetables for next to nothing. It’s a little more advanced and they need more room, though. The best time to harvest tomato seeds is between summer and autumn, then plant them in spring if they’re intended for the garden. Here’s an advanced method of saving tomato seeds.

Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and squashes are filled with seeds that can potentially give you new vegetables free of charge.It’s similar for marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and squashes, although those need significant space (they’ll want to spread out), so may be more suitable outside once they begin to grow significantly.

Whichever seed you choose to grow from repurposed vegetables, they can be spaced out in your compost pots or trays, then lightly dusted with a thin layer of extra compost to stop them washing away when they’re watered. You can cover them with kitchen roll sheets or cling film initially, as it may help them to germinate faster. Once shoots begin to appear, the child can remove the covering and then ensure that the compost is kept moist, but not soggy, while remaining on the windowsill. Once the seedlings have grown bigger, for example after a month, they will need to be transferred to bigger pots and this may have to happen again when they’re even larger. If allowed to grow to full size and looked after, flowers will eventually appear and later those will turn into new vegetables that will ripen, ready to harvest roughly two months after sewing the seeds.

Children Love Natural Growing Activities

Treetops Nursery has its own plant growing area for the children.Children will love looking after these living things and seeing them grow or regrow. They will learn so much along the way and will have a great sense of achievement when successful. Once they’ve succeeded in producing something they can eat (… and potentially regrow again) they’ll probably want to do it more and try different things. The result, of course, is also fresh produce, which is rich in vitamins and nutrients and good for family health. Children will have been entertained, they’ll understand nature better and they’ll learn skills like patience and being responsible too. A key lesson is also to learn from mistakes — something we all have to do. What’s more, this natural activity for children may even save money for the household. All in all, it’s a great activity from every perspective.

Our Childcare Nursery in Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green & Willesden Green

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenTreetops Nursery has its own plant growing area for the children to use and this is just one of many wonderful outdoor activities that they can enjoy and learn from at the setting.  It is a really popular nursery in Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green, so places are in demand. To register for a place for your baby, toddler or under-five child, please get in touch and we’ll be delighted to show and tell you more:

Rough Guide to Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a brain-related learning difficulty that affects both children and adultsToday, we look at another condition that can affect children: dyscalculia. This is a brain-related learning difficulty that affects both children and adults. Somewhere between 3 and 6 percent of the UK population is affected and some may also have other conditions like dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism. It’s important to know that the condition can affect individuals who are highly intelligent just as much as it affects those anywhere else on the intelligence spectrum. There is no cure for dyscalculia but there are lots of ways to help those with the condition (we’ll come to some of those later). It’s also important to know that, while children with dyscalculia may have issues with numbers, they can often have wonderful skills in other areas, for example in relation to creativity, problem-solving and intuition.

N.B. For clarification, we will look at developmental dyscalculia here, not the type of dyscalculia caused by brain injury or stroke.

The Effects of Dyscalculia

A simple dictionary definition of the condition defines dyscalculia as “severe difficulty in making arithmetical calculations, as a result of brain disorder.” That is rather simplistic, however. The UK’s Dyslexia Association1 describes it in greater detail:

“Dyscalculia is a condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures.”

Those with developmental dyscalculia have problems making sense of numbers, memorising arithmetic facts and making fluent and accurate maths calculations.The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), as used by psychiatric professionals in the U.S., describes how those with developmental dyscalculia have problems making sense of numbers, memorising arithmetic facts and making fluent and accurate maths calculations. Clearly, such limitations can have a profound effect, including in terms of education because maths affects so many learning topics.

Signs of Dyscalculia in Children

Due to the nature of the problem, signs of dyscalculia are unlikely to become evident until a child reaches an age when they begin to learn about numbers and mathematical concepts. Once they start, however, dyscalculic children may show one or more of the following signs:

  • They may have trouble processing and understanding number concepts and, because of this, they will find it difficult to build their own skills around numeracy.
  • Difficulties might include confusion over whether one number is greater or smaller than another and even something as simple as understanding the link between, say, a quantity of three apples and the number 3. Even the link between the number 3 and the word ‘three’ could be lost on them.
  • At pre-school age, counting correctly may prove to be quite a challenge, how it applies to everyday life even more so.
  • Even the concept of what the numbers represent may be an issue.
  • Memory skills may also be affected.
  • Those with the condition may be more prone to continue using their fingers to countThey may be more prone to continue using their fingers to count, long after their peers have moved onto mental arithmetic.
  • ‘Number facts’ will not come easily to children with dyscalculia, including perhaps simple ones like two plus two.
  • Mathematical concepts like addition and subtraction (etc.) will be even more of a challenge.
  • Games and other tasks involving numbers will prove difficult. For example, keeping score in a ball game.
  • Because of all of this, children with dyscalculia may even avoid games and tasks involving numbers. The condition may cause them to have decreased self-confidence; they may become embarrassed around their peers because of their difficulties.
  • As they grow older, understanding and managing money may also become a problem.

Perhaps surprisingly, some dyscalculic children also have difficulty with a sense of direction. This could manifest itself in something as simple as a board game where they cannot grasp the rules around whether, say, a particular chess piece can move to a particular spot on the board. Similarly, some children are poorer than expected at judging distances and coordination. A link between dyscalculia and the way the brain and eyesight work together may be behind this.

Is your child exhibiting any of these symptoms?

If so, don’t automatically assume they have dyscalculia, as something entirely different could well be responsible. If you are concerned, though, speak to a doctor who may refer your child to an educational psychologist, paediatrician or other professional. Bear in mind, though, that there is no de-facto test for dyscalculia. Professional research into the condition is at only a relatively early stage.

How Dyscalculic Children Can be Helped

Speak to the childcare and teaching professionals at your childcare nursery, pre-school, school or education settingAlso, of course, speak to the childcare and teaching professionals at your childcare nursery, pre-school, school or education setting. Just like staff at Treetops Nursery, they will be able to offer some support and also keep an eye out for possible signs. It’s always important for parents and childcare/teaching professionals to be in close contact anyway. In this way, we can all have the same goals in mind, share the same learning and development plans and keep each other informed as each child progresses on their learning journey.

There are many ways children with dyscalculia can be helped. For example:

  • We can give dyscalculic children more time to complete tasks involving numbers. Giving them advanced information and assistance about such tasks will help too.
  • One-to-one help will be the most beneficial as explanations can be deeper, taken at a slower pace and repeated if required.
  • We can all give them lots of practise to build skills and confidence.
  • Larger tasks and problems involving numbers can be broken down into a series of smaller steps and tackled one at a time.
  • Visual reference can help. For example printed multiplication tables.
  • When mental arithmetic is not necessary for a task, let them use a calculator if they’re at an appropriate age for such things.
  • Important words and terms can be highlighted on any printed maths-related task. Doing so can help the dyscalculic child understand more clearly and know where to focus the most attention.
  • Special teaching strategies can help, for example using a multi-sensory approach, special tools or softwareUse of lined or graph paper can sometimes help too, so as to keep corresponding numbers in line and steps more clear.
  • Introducing special teaching strategies can help, for example using a multi-sensory approach or using special tools and software.
  • More than anything, though, it’s about catering to each child’s unique needs, including any Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). At Treetops Nursery, we excel at this with a learning and development programme that’s tailored for each individual. Using this approach brings out the very best in every child.

Looking for the Best Nursery in Willesden, or near Harlesden, Kensal Green or Willesden Green?

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenTreetops is an outstanding nursery based in Willesden, close to Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green. If you have a baby or child aged up to five, do consider us for your weekday childcare. Due to the popularity of our nursery and pre-school, places are in high demand. So, to avoid possible disappointment, let us know as soon as possible if you are considering a nursery place here for your child:

Dyspraxia: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Disorder

Most people have heard of dyslexia, however the disorder known as dyspraxia is less well known. If you are a parent with children, dyspraxia is something to be aware of, so that you can look out for the possible signs. Today we’ll answer commonly asked questions about the disorder.

Q: What is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a condition that impairs a person's ability to fully control motor functions, for example coordinating movement and physical activity.A: Dyspraxia is a condition that impairs a person’s ability to fully control motor functions, for example coordinating movement and physical activity. Children with dyspraxia may therefore appear ‘clumsy’. It can be anything from mild to more severe and obviously the mildest variety is hardest for parents to spot. Dyspraxia is classified as a type of Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (‘DCD’) and indeed healthcare professionals may use this terminology for the condition. They may also refer to it as a Specific Developmental Disorder of Motor Function, or ‘SDDMF’ for short.

The condition affects four times as many males as it does females and can also sometimes be found in those with ADHD, dyslexia and autism. However, as with dyslexia, dyspraxia has nothing to do with the level of a person’s intelligence.

Q: What Causes Dyspraxia?

Children with dyspraxia may appear to be clumsy.A: Dyspraxia can be something people were simply born with (that’s the developmental kind) or, for others, it was acquired through brain trauma, for example because of an injury or stroke. In this post, however, we’ll concentrate on developmental dyspraxia in relation to children.

The reasons for developmental dyspraxia are unclear, however children who were born prematurely or underweight are more prone to the disorder. There is also some evidence to suggest that it can be inherited within families who are prone to the condition. Sadly, children are also more likely to have the disorder if their mothers drank alcohol or took illegal drugs during pregnancy.

Q: What Are the Signs of Dyspraxia?

A: Children with dyspraxia may appear clumsier than their peers. They may also be less naturally good at sport and indeed may even avoid it. Picking up other skills may also be a challenge. Concentration and attention spans can be adversely affected. Following instructions can be a challenge.

Babies may exhibit unusual body positions and have trouble learning to roll or sit. Toddlers under one may adopt strange postures. Infants may be slower at learning to crawl too.

Children with dyspraxia have difficulty with a variety of physical tasks and activities.Children with dyspraxia may also have difficulty:

  • independently dressing, buttoning clothes and tying laces;
  • walking, jumping, skipping and running;
  • using writing instruments to draw and write;
  • mastering the use of cutlery to feed themselves;
  • catching, kicking and throwing balls;
  • stacking objects and playing with some toys;
  • carrying out everyday physical tasks and activities in the most appropriate order.

All of this is because they are less able to coordinate movements and physical actions as well as they would without the condition.

One knock-on effect of this is that they may not reach their development milestones as soon as others in their age group. Indeed, this can be an indicator to watch out for. However, DCD/dyspraxia is often hard to diagnose until children are at least 4 to 5 years of age.

Q: What Are the Knock-On Effects of Dyspraxia?

The posture of toddlers may be odd if they have DCD/dyspraxia.A: Due to its nature and particularly in regard to its negative effect on sports and active play skills, dyspraxia can lead to children becoming less naturally fit, with all the ramifications that brings.

The effects of dyspraxia can also make children less able to make new friends. This may make them feel a bit left out, ‘different‘ and therefore feel rather isolated. This can, in turn, also lead to lower self-esteem, reduced confidence, frustration and even behavioural problems.

Q: How is Dyspraxia Professionally Diagnosed?

A: If you think your child may be dyspraxic, contact your GP to ensure the problem is not caused by something entirely different. Also liaise with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (‘SENCo’) at your child’s childcare setting, pre-school or school, for advice and support. The GP or SENCo may refer your child to a specialist healthcare professional, for example an occupational therapist and/or paediatrician. Assessment and diagnosis is often carried out by both. Learn more about diagnosing dyspraxia and DCD in children here.

Q: Is there a Cure for Dyspraxia?

A: Although a tiny number of children who are deemed to be a little clumsy may grow out of it, there is no cure for dyspraxia for the vast majority. Some children’s challenges will improve with age, however the earlier symptoms are spotted, the sooner parents, carers, guardians and professionals can help the affected child.

Q: How Can We Help Children with Dyspraxia?

Once diagnosed, tailored help is available for children with dyspraxia/DCD.A: Once diagnosed, tailored help is available for children with dyspraxia/DCD, from a variety of specialists. Support may be needed throughout childhood, including at pre-school and school, to help optimise ability around physical tasks and processes. As every child’s challenges will be unique, a support plan will be customised for each. Support may involve a variety of professionals who will aim to help the child overcome their difficulties as far as possible and to build their confidence, self-esteem, abilities etc. The specialists involved may include paediatric occupational therapists, paediatricians, clinical psychologists, educational psychologists or a mixture of several. All will work in tandem, of course, with childcare professionals, teachers, parents and guardians. Learn more about treatment for dyspraxia here.

Q: How Does Treetops Nursery Help Dyspraxic Children?

A: As well as looking out for possible first signs of dyspraxia/DCD — and any other disorder — we will work with any specialists to play our part in any tailored support plans for affected children under our care. This may involve task- and process-oriented activities to help children overcome difficulties. As well as working with any guidance from the specialists it will, of course, involve strategic cooperation with parents, carers or guardians involved in the child’s care. In this way, everyone will be working to the same aims, using the same, shared support plans. Our Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (‘SENCo’) will also be a crucial part of formulating this plan and, indeed, one of their key roles is to promote equality of opportunity irrespective of any special educational needs or disorders (‘SEND’). In ensuring this, every child achieves personal bests in every area, becoming the very best version of themselves.

Looking for Outstanding Nurseries in Willesden, Near Harlesden, Kensal Green or Willesden Green?

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenTreetops Nursery School is a popular nursery and pre-school in Willesden, NW10 (near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green). We offer outstanding childcare for babies and children aged up to 5, Monday to Friday. To express an interest, ask a question, book a tour or pre-register for a place, please get in touch:

Dyslexia Q&A: Answers to frequently asked questions about the condition

Today we’re looking at the dyslexia, particularly in relation to its affect on children, including under-fives. Following are the answers to a series of the most commonly asked questions about the condition.

Q: What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is categorised as a Specific Learning Difficulty ('SpLD')A: Dyslexia is categorised as a Specific Learning Difficulty (‘SpLD’) in the UK. Most notably, it adversely affects a person’s ability to read because of a general difficulty in learning or interpreting letters, words, and often other symbols. Indeed, it was originally referred to as word blindness. There are other ways dyslexia affects people, though, and we’ll come to those in more detail later.

Q: What Causes Dyslexia?

A: The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown, however it tends to run in families, so is most likely to be a genetic issue, i.e. passed down through parents’ genes. It affects the way the brain processes language and this can even be seen brain imaging tests.

Q: Can You Become Dyslexic, or Grow Out of It?

Most notably, dyslexia affects a person's ability to read or interpret letters, words, and often other symbols.A: As it’s a genetic issue, people are born with the condition. Symptoms may begin to show as a child matures during early learning and beyond. As it is something that’s inherent in their physiology, it is not something people can ‘grow out’ of. It is a lifelong issue. It can be managed, of course, with various approaches available to mitigate its effects as far as possible.

Q: Is Dyslexia Linked With Intelligence?

A: No. There is no recognised link between a person’s intelligence and dyslexia. Many dyslexic children are indeed highly intelligent, even gifted in some areas, but sufferers cover the whole range of the intelligence spectrum.

Q: What Are the Early Signs of Possible Dyslexia?

A: Early signs of possible dyslexia may include the following:

  • Someone with dyslexia may describe written letters and words as ‘jumbling up’ or even visibly moving so as to totally confuse their meaning.
  • This often extends to more than just reading, though; some dyslexic children also jumble up words when speaking out loud. This difficulty can impede the speed and depth of their overall speech development.
  • Dyslexic children may be great at answering questions verbally, but poor when asked to do so in writing.They may also have trouble remembering words.
  • Dyslexic children will find learning the alphabet tricky. Because of this, they will not seem interested in attempting to do so and will also have difficulty with writing and spelling.
  • Pronunciation may also be affected. Dyslexic people may switch around syllables without realising. For example, they might say ‘topato’ instead of ‘potato’ and so on.
  • The concept of words rhyming may be lost on dyslexic children. So, they may even have trouble learning simple nursery rhymes.
  • Dyslexia can even affect the speed that children develop fine motor skills. Interestingly, this can extend to difficulty tapping out a regular rhythm on a drum or other percussive instrument.
  • Dyslexic children may also have trouble remembering the order of things like days of the week, number facts (2 plus 2 equals 4 etc.).
  • Taking this a step further, dyslexic children may find following a string of multiple-step instructions tricky to remember. If given in separate instructions one at a time, however, there is no problem.
  • Dyslexic children may also be great at answering questions verbally in class, but poor when asked to do so in written form.

However, just because a child exhibits any of the above symptoms, it does not necessarily mean they are dyslexic. It should also be noted that symptoms of dyslexia vary enormously from person to person. Only a proper test, by a professional, will ensure a correct diagnosis. We’ll come to that later.

Q: How Else Will Dyslexia Affect My Child?

Dyslexia can cause difficulty in writing, spelling, with grammar and even with spoken communication.A: Being unable to easily read will hold children back. If they have trouble reading, they will have trouble reading text books for any of the topics at school. Some classroom and test situations will become more stressful for them as a result.

Difficulty writing, spelling and with grammar will also hold them back and may even make them stand out amongst their peers at school. This could make them feel inferior, even if they’re highly intelligent, and in turn lead to lower self-image and self-confidence.

Such impacts can sometimes also go on to affect whether a dyslexic person later goes on to study in further education. Possible lower grades and degraded communication skills could then go on to impact their life in the workplace once they become adults. As such, dyslexia can be a real vicious circle unless mitigated.

Q: Can Dyslexia Affect Mathematics?

A: Yes it can. Indeed, estimates suggest that up to 90% of dyslexic children have some kind of problem with maths. Because numbers are characters just like letters, they too can get jumbled from the perspective of the dyslexic child. Memorising number facts can also be problematic. This can all make mathematical tasks extremely difficult for some, but by no means all, of those affected by the condition.

Q: How Can Children with Dyslexia be Helped?

A: There are many ways that early years, teaching and other professionals can help children with dyslexia; in fact there is a whole raft of possible measures available. A few examples include:

  • One-to-one help from a teacher, teaching assistant, parent or specialist can really help dyslexic children.One-to-one help from a teacher, teaching assistant or specialist;
  • Allowing extra time to take notes and complete tasks;
  • A system of teaching that might include multiple senses (e.g. sight, touch and hearing together);
  • A different structure to learning and lesson plans, with instant feedback from the supervising adult;
  • Modification of assignments to allow for the difficulties associated with dyslexia;
  • Simple measures like ensuring that a school child has correctly written down sufficient notes for an assignment, before they leave the lesson;
  • Breaking larger tasks down into a set of individual single tasks, to make them easier to follow;
  • Encouraging a child to verbalise is also sometimes fruitful, including for mathematical tasks.
  • Concentrating on phonic skills in a highly structured way, using small, methodical steps;
  • Repetition is also important;
  • Reading together, particularly when it’s fun rather than a chore;
  • Any external dyslexia therapist/professional should also try to work in tandem with nursery, pre-school or school setting professionals.
  • Other possible help can come in the form of audio recordings, audio books, computer text readers and word processing programmes.

These represent just a fraction of the ways in which adults can help children with dyslexia. Special Educational Needs (SEN) support at early years settings and schools, however, is key, particularly if introduced from a young age.

Q: How Can Nurseries Like Treetops Help Dyslexic Children?

A special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) can recommend measures or interventions that may help a child with dyslexia.A: Childcare professionals will be on the look-out for any signs of possible dyslexia (see the list of possible signs earlier in this article). Parents can do the same and, because the condition is thought to be inherited, this is particularly important if one or more of the child’s parents is dyslexic. Signs can be hard to spot, but the earlier the condition is recognised, the sooner the child can be helped. If any signs of possible dyslexia are suspected, supervising adults and childcare professionals can initially monitor the child’s progress going forwards. They can also assess the child against benchmarks for the same age or peer group in case it’s just a temporary blip in their learning progress.

Individual support from childcare and teaching professionals at nursery, pre-school or school can be given where a child is thought to be struggling and dyslexia is suspected. A special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) at the setting can recommend any measures or interventions that may help the child. An alternative teaching approach can be a part of that if required for the individual. Often, however, the symptoms of dyslexia are not so obvious until children are older i.e. are attending school and reading/writing significantly more.

Q: How Can Dyslexia be Properly Diagnosed?

A: If the presence of dyslexia is unclear, parents can consult with a GP to ensure the problem is not caused by something else, e.g. poor eyesight, ADHD or some other condition. Once dyslexia is strongly suspected, an in-depth professional assessment can be arranged to discover whether dyslexia really is the issue. Learn more about how a professional dyslexia assessment can be arranged here.

An Outstanding Nursery in Willesden, Near Harlesden & Kensal Green

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenIf you live or work in north west London and have any concerns about your under-five’s learning and development, Treetops Nursery School would be happy to discuss your child’s needs and possible attendance at this excellent nursery. We are one of the most popular nurseries/pre-schools in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Harlesden and Kensal Green. We certainly bring out the very best in children under our care and also have wonderful facilities. For these reasons, the nursery is in very high demand, so do express an interest at the earliest opportunity if you are thinking of applying for a childcare place here:

Preparing Your Child for School

Foresight and preparation will help them transition smoothly and stress-free.Following up from our post last month about preparing children for nursery, we’ll now take a look at preparing them for school as they approach the age of five. Preparing them well will pay dividends on many levels, not least to make it as stress-free for them as possible. Foresight and preparation will also help them transition smoothly.

Any good nursery or pre-school will, of course, help your child to prepare for starting school. Indeed, attending a good nursery/pre-school is one of the best ways to ensure that your child is well-prepared, in readiness for school, so they can hit the ground running from day one. At Treetops Nursery School in Willesden, ensuring they are ‘school-ready’ by the time they leave us is one of our key goals.

Aside from educational and learning factors, how can parents help prepare their children for School? We’ll explore some of the options.

How Parents Can Prepare Children for School

There are quite a few ways in which parents can help children prepare for the start of Reception Year at school:

  • Your child will be more at ease if they know another friendly child starting on the same day.Have you sat down with your child and forewarned them what’s going to happen, when, how and why? Put their mind at rest so they’re mentally well-prepared, ahead of time.
  • Make sure you ask them if they have any worries or concerns. Allay any fears with common sense advice and ensure they know who to speak to at school if they have an issue.
  • Make it sound like a new adventure! Focus on the positives. Explain how exciting school will be. For example, there will be new friends, new activities, new games and new, exciting opportunities.
  • Tell your child which of their existing friends will be starting at the same school. If there aren’t any, try to reach out to another parent whose child is starting on the same day and arrange a play date for the two. Having a friendly face there from day one will really help them settle in.
  • Ensure your child gets sufficient sleep in the run-up to starting school. In the one or two weeks prior to starting, it is a good idea to get them used to getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast at a particular time. Doing so will help their body clocks adapt in readiness. In the evening, of course, they should be going to bed at a sensible time so they get enough sleep. The last thing they will need is to feel unable to stay awake in their first week of school.
  • Most schools have a prospectus, brochure or website. Take a look through these together. Point out interesting and exciting aspects of the new school. Find answers to any questions your child asks and be positive.
  • Tell them about your first day or week at school, assuming it wasn’t awful, of course. It’s OK to mention if you were a little apprehensive, but that it all turned out well in the end and you made some excellent new friends etc.
  • It will help your child if they visit, so they're familiar with where to go, where to hang their coat and so on.It’s also great if you and your child have already visited the school previously, for example during an open day or evening.
  • Try to ensure that your child can take care of some of their personal needs independently. For example, in respect of the use of the toilet, hygiene, tying shoe laces, dressing and eating.
  • Social skills will also help them. So, a knowledge and confidence in their own communication abilities, social skills, table manners, understanding of right and wrong and so on will stand them in good stead.
  • Encourage them to have a desire to learn. So, give them an insight into all the amazing things they can discover about the world – and themselves – if they delve a little deeper and have an inquisitive nature.

Parents Themselves Must Also Be Prepared

It’s also important, of course, for parents to be prepared.

  • Ensure that your child's uniform is ready, fits nicely, and is labelled with their name.As a parent, you’ll need to know where to go and at what time. That’s the case for both drop-off and pick-up. Ensure you know whether the first day is going to be the same as a ‘normal’ day.
  • Ensure your child knows who will be collecting them and drill them about safety in this regard.
  • Ask the school, well ahead of the start, what safeguarding process they have in place in regard to picking up your child at the end of the day. There may be details you need to know on arrival.
  • Ensure that your child’s uniform, if applicable, and any equipment like sports kit is ready for your child to take. Does everything fit? Are clothes labelled?
  • Make sure you know what equipment your child will need. Ensure he/she knows where it is e.g. in a rucksack, bag or pencil case.
  • Does your child need a packed lunch and/or any snacks? You need to find out.
  • Do you have all the necessary contact details of the school or staff? Do they have yours?
  • Is everything prepared and ready so that your child is not late on the day? Have you timed the route at the appropriate time of day, so you know how long the journey will take? Turning up late will cause unnecessary stress, including for your child.

It almost goes without saying, of course, that enrolling your child in a nursery or pre-school setting well before they’re five will help them educationally, developmentally and in terms of preparedness for reception year.

Are you Looking for a Good Nursery in Willesden, Harlesden or Kensal Green?

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenTreetops is a wonderful nursery and pre-school in Willesden, conveniently close to Willesden Green, Harlesden and Kensal Green. It is one of the most popular nurseries in north west London, with high demand. For this reason, do get in touch as early as possible if you are interested in a childcare place your baby or child at the setting: