Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The importance of Role Play for Pre-school children

Imagination and creativity are powerful tools within Pre-School children; this can be instinctive in some children but need encouraging in others. Designated role play areas offer opportunities to explore both real and imaginary worlds, aiding intellectual development, social skills and creativity.

Children are encouraged to explore, investigate and experiment within a variety of both every day and fantasy situations. Roleplay allows the children to express and develop emotional awareness, such as compassion and empathy. It also teaches children an understanding of different perspectives and cultures.

Pre-school roleplay can be a valuable teaching tool enabling the children to make sense of real-life situations and develop interests in subjects such as doctors, nurses or schools. It can also aid understanding of a place they may never get to visit, such as under the sea or space.

Children can take on varying roles, challenging themselves and developing confidence while in ‘character’ in a way that they may not feel comfortable in doing so during everyday play.

Roleplay can be supported within the home environment, no matter how big or small. A simple cardboard box can be transformed into a space rocket or by merely labelling the tins in the kitchen cupboard a shop is created.

Roleplay ideas can be inexpensive and adapted to suit everyone’s creative ability. The internet has many ideas to inspire, but one we use a lot at Abbey Wood is Pinterest.

At Abbey Wood pre-school, our role play areas are usually inspired by the children’s interests, ensuring they are both fully engaged and learning while having fun.

There is nothing more enjoyable than seeing a child’s imagination brought to life.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Pre-school Nursery Education and The Benefit of Pets

Pre-school Nursery Education and The Benefit of Pets

Welcoming a pet into your home can have many wonderful benefits, pets help to boost self-esteem, lower anxiety and aid Social and Emotional Development. Pets quickly become loyal companions, in turn, providing owners with love and joy.

Although there are many positives to come from owning a pet they can also be costly and time-consuming, therefore it is imperative to be realistic about whether you can offer both the time and financial commitment a pet requires, do you travel a lot? Are you out of the house for long periods?

A family pet can offer even the youngest members of the family values and responsibilities; they will, of course, be guided by the older members of the family and their nurturing example, learning the importance of being kind and gentle.

Children can get involved with smaller tasks such as ensuring they have food, water and a clean environment. Helping and learning how to take responsibility for a pet will promote an understanding that like us, pets require food, water, shelter exercise and love, this, in turn, teaches a child about empathy and compassion.

It’s a fascinating time welcoming your new pet into your home, but it is vital that expectations are managed appropriately and that you have undertaken research to ensure the best pet for you. Role play can be a useful way to teach children how to look after a pet, using a stuffed animal to encourage the correct way to stroke an animal, feed an animal or how to make a cosy environment. Books also provide older children with valuable knowledge about the animal, food, habitat etc.

Pets can also be valuable as a pre-school teaching resource, encouraging conversations and enthusiasm for topics such as lifecycles or habitats.
It’s advisable to introduce your new pet gradually and for short periods of times to ensure neither the child or pet becomes overwhelmed. It is vital that you keep a watchful eye on the behaviours of both the animal and child and intervene if necessary, supervision is essential, and children should NEVER be left alone with a pet even when you believe it to be settled in and mellow.

It is important to ensure that your pet has had all its necessary vaccinations as well as regular vet checks to ensure your animal stays fit and healthy.

At Abbey Wood Grange pre-school, we have recently introduced Steve our Syrian Male Hamster to the children. The children are enjoying learning all about Steve’s lifestyle, what he eats when he sleeps and what he likes to play with. Pets in Pre-school are a great teaching aid and the children adore them.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Free Childcare 15 - 30 Hours Free Preschool Education

All children in England are entitled to 570 free hours pre-school per annum. It is usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks, for example. 

You can get it from the term after your child’s 3rd birthday. Some Preschool nurseries are open all year round and you can make your own arrangements to extend these hours at your own cost.

15 hours free preschool childcare

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get free early education or childcare. Some 2-year-olds are also eligible for 15 hours free childcare, for example, if you receive certain benefits.
 There are many scenarios that contribute towards the free childcare and you should contact your local Preschool Nursery for more detailed information.

The free early education and childcare: Must be with an approved childcare provider (such as Abbeywood Lodge who have been approved since 2018). 
When your child starts in reception class (or reaches compulsory school age, if later), this is when the childcare support stops. Contact your local Preschool for more information.

30 Hours Free Childcare Per Week

You may be eligible to get up to 30 hours of free childcare (1,140 hours per year, which you can choose how you take). If you’re entitled to the extra hours, sign up online to get a code to give to your Nursery or childcare provider to reserve your place. You’ll get the extra hours once the next term starts. If you’ve already registered, you can sign in to your childcare account.

Check your early years' childcare funding  eligibility

You can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are in work - or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave, or each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week (this is £120 if you’re over 25).
Please note: This earnings limit doesn’t apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago. You’re not eligible if your child doesn’t usually live with you, the child is your foster child, or either you / your partner has a taxable income over £100,000 per annum.

You can get 30 hours free childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit, tax credits or childcare vouchers.

If you can’t work you may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

It can be confusing!!

Understanding your entitlement can be confusing if you are not able to work it out, or need help, your local pre-school nursery (assuming they accept the Free 15 - 30 hours grant, not all do) is the best place to go for assistance. They will be able to explain your entitlement, what the options are and how to apply, it is also a good opportunity to check out your local pre-school.