When the Daisy Nursery Awards were inaugurated in summer 2020 to recognise the hard work and dedication of teams during the Covid-19 pandemic, they weren’t expected to become a permanent fixture. The work of teams is acknowledged throughout the year as part of the company’s wider staff investment programme, but managing director, Victoria Peterkin, quickly recognised the importance of celebrating individual achievements in the presence of the full company once a year.
Using a peer-voting system, team members select colleagues for 12 award categories including Outstanding Educator of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Outdoor Environment Champion or the coveted Daisy Ambassador. Parents and families are also invited to vote, choosing their Parents’ Choice from their own nursery.
The 2022 awards ceremony was held at the conclusion of the Daisy Nursery AGM in August. After presenting certificates to the entire staff team, our 17 runners-up and 17 award winners came forward to receive their prizes: huge chocolate gifts for the runners-up and hotel stays for the winners. Special guest speakers Dr Andy Cope and Kym Scott presented the awards for Cheer Champion and Awe and Wonder Superhero respectively.
The complete list of winners:
Outstanding Educator of the Year Aster Daisy: Gemma Dore / Runner Up: Mercedes Harris
Outstanding Educator of the Year Butter Daisy: Sadie-Louise Keeble / Runner Up: Jenny Taylor
Outstanding Educator of the Year Crown Daisy Lodge: Amy King / Runner Up: Charlotte Welch
Outstanding Educator of the Year Crown Daisy House: Annetraya Patterson / Runner Up: Jodie Wise
Outstanding Educator of the Year Sunshine Daisy: Chloe Francis / Runner Up: Laura Cobb
Newcomer of the Year: Leanne King / Runner Up: Angela Quinton
Outdoor Environment Champion: Sunita Gurung / Runner Up: Amy McDermott
Team Development: Sophie Poulter / Runner Up: Lily Twinn
Awe and Wonder Superhero: Sophie Keynes / Runner Up: Bonnie Lowther
Cheer Champion: Angela Guy / Runner Up: Lucy Schofield
Learner of the Year: Caitlin Knight / Runner Up: Chloe Mayhew
Daisy Ambassador: Danielle Gill / Runner Up: Rosie Stewart
Parents' Choice Aster Daisy: Beckie Cole / Runner Up: Melissa Jewell
Parents' Choice Butter Daisy: Kira Savage / Runner Up: Chloe Swainland
Parents' Choice Crown Daisy Lodge: Jade Stanistreet / Runner Up: Ellie Keynes
Parents' Choice Crown Daisy House: Katherine Wheeler / Runner Up: Freya Huckle
Parents' Choice Sunshine Daisy: Mandy Amey-Hastings / Runner Up: Sam Simmonds
Daisy Nursery AGM 2022 by Emma
"… an event that is looked forward to and every year the AGM gets bigger and better."
After three learning-rich and fun-packed terms, a busy Summer of Fun and school leaver graduations, the whole company finally come together on a Saturday in August for the Daisy Nursery AGM and training day. A time to reflect on what has been achieved, kickstart another ambitious year, and learn more broadly from sector professionals to develop their practice.
Gathering over 100 colleagues from across four settings is no easy task, but when they meet, the connection between them is palpable, the atmosphere positive, the conversation excited. These people are all working to the same goals, galvanised around a common Daisy Vision and striving for early years excellence.
The AGM 2022 was hosted at Daisy Nursery’s newest setting, Aster Daisy Nursery in Rake, near Petersfield, which is perched on the edge of the stunning South Downs. The high-quality refurbishment of this former country mansion into a spacious, bright and modern nursery with exceptional facilities has been known to draw audible gasps from visitors when they first enter. It was the same for our Daisy teams, many of whom were visiting Aster Daisy for the very first time.
After a tour of the setting and grounds, delegates took part in a morning workshop either exploring Forest School practice in depth with The Forest Approach or, with singing tutor Anne Bradley, learning to sing with confidence when working with children.
Aster Daisy’s gardens were transformed into a mini festival, with a grand marquee as its centrepiece decorated with signature green, white and gold balloons by Balloons by Emma. Delegates could find a woody nook to picnic together, or enter the wellbeing zone for a hand massage from Simone at Hummingbird Healing, to indulge in some mindful colouring – or decorate themselves with jewels, paints or temporary tattoos!
Convening in the marquee in the afternoon, managing director Victoria Peterkin welcomed everyone and, alongside a fun, energetic and very competitive game of Selfie Bingo, shared the successes and learnings of the last year. In spite of many challenges across the sector, Daisy is proud to have opened its new setting, and to continue to thrive. The first visiting speaker, Dr Andy Cope, a self-professed happiness doctor, shared his Art of Brilliance philosophy. Lighting up the space with humour and encouragement, Andy preached the importance being in that 2% of people who exude natural enthusiasm and a can-do attitude to positively transform the atmosphere of a workplace. Guest speaker Kym Scott, an early years consultant, delivered a presentation on the awe and wonder of early years, sharing theory, tools and tips to apply as educators across all age ranges from birth to five.
"Thank you to Vicky and everyone involved in organising the AGM each year. All your hard work and dedication makes me love being a part of the Daisy team."
And then, after sharing sweet treats, a Daisy Nojito and an AGM celebration cake, it was time for Victoria to share her parting thoughts and ambitions for the company in 2023, reminding everyone of the unique and sector-leading Vision that unites them all, and the important role they all play in delivering exceptional care to young children and their families.
The Daisy Awards ceremony celebrated the talents and contributions of every member of staff, with some special recognition categories presented by Victoria, the Head Office team and the guest speakers. Nobody left the day empty-handed. Alongside their certificates, every team member was gifted a goody bag of Daisy-inspired treats and the signature Gerbera flower, their heads full of ideas and inspiration, and hearts full of memories of another year magnificently done.
"I seriously cannot wait for the next one. Can we have 2 AGMs a year please?"
Graduations 2022 by Emma
"… it has been an honour and a privilege to watch your children develop and grow into the little people they are today. You’ve entrusted us with the most important people in your lives; thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of their journeys so far."
This extract from a speech given by one of our nursery managers at their end-of-term pre-school graduation ceremony in August, encapsulates a sentiment felt by everyone at Daisy Nursery. Birth to five years sees the most rapid and significant developmental stages in a young child’s life and, as nursery educators, we share a small piece of the joy at seeing a new skill mastered, a new magic moment that is experienced, a new stage that is reached.
Aster Daisy, Butter Daisy, Crown Daisy and Sunshine Daisy each held a special ceremony this August to wave goodbye to the children leaving their nursery for ‘big school’. Parents and siblings were invited to join in the celebrations, which were marked with moments of laughter, moments of reflection and moments of pride.
In the spirit of Daisy Nursery’s child-led approach, our pre-schoolers led the design and planning for their ceremonies. Forming a committee, they had meetings to discuss everything from décor and catering to format and entertainment, and tried on their graduation caps and gowns for size.
On the day, each nursery garden was set up with gazebos, bunting, balloons, artwork displays, graduation photo booths, or shimmering entranceways. When the moment of the event came, there were full houses of families and team members ready to share in this special moment; and, after goodbye speeches from managers and teams, the brave graduates walked one by one to receive their certificate scroll, and join the group to sing farewell songs. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Goodbye to our school leavers; Daisy Nursery wishes you the very best for your next adventure.
"If you can dream it, you can do it."
HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by Emma
HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations did not pass us by at Daisy Nursery – we celebrated in style! Across all of our four settings, children took part in a programme of activities designed to aid their understanding of the Queen and the Royal Family; to introduce the concepts of commitment, service and legacy; and to connect the world at nursery with the world outside, where our local communities were marking the historic occasion with colourful bunting, Union Jacks and street parties.
At Aster Daisy Nursery, the children created artworks by exploring the colours red, white and blue with paints and rice, and using fine motor skills and different methods and materials to create flags and crown jewels. They role-played at being the Queen’s guards, waved flags and enjoyed a scrummy afternoon tea with homemade royal iced bakes and healthy snacks prepared fresh in the kitchen.
At Butter Daisy Nursery, role play, curiosity and small world play were the order of the day, alongside creating artworks and beautiful bunting. The children enjoyed dressing up and wearing crowns, reading books about the Royal Family, and exploring the personality of the Queen and where they see her portrait in every day life – on stamps and pennies.
As well as creating stunning group artwork and colourful Union Jacks, and enjoying lots of tea parties, Crown Daisy explored the city of London. Using tuff trays filled with items inspired by London, the babies learned about famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace. The older children had water play tuff trays where they transported and colour-mixed, and they created cakes for the Queen with their playdough.
Sunshine Daisy was also awash with the colours red, white and blue as everyone created their Jubilee artwork and Union Jacks. The children explored how to make rubbings, made soldiers’ hats, learned royal-inspired songs like ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and served their own afternoon teas from their outdoor kitchen.
Their week of learning culminated in a special tree-planting ceremony at each nursery, as Daisy Nursery played its part in the national initiative to plant trees for the Jubilee, and leave a green legacy. At the ceremony, children explored photographs of the Queen over the ages and listened to a very special Daisy poem written to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee. Everyone watched as the tree was placed gently into the ground, then fed with compost and watered by the children. The joining together of Daisy Nursery teams, Head Office and children created a memorable sense of occasion. As the trees grow over the coming months and years, revealing their beautiful seasonal cherry blossom each spring, the children will be reminded of that special day.
Daisy Delegates at the Childcare and Education Expo September 2021 by Emma
The company recognises the value of developing its colleagues as rigorously as the children in its care, which is underpinned by the Daisy Vision: ‘Nurturing Educators and Innovative Leaders create Ambitious and Curious Learners’. With a workforce of over 85, structured professional development is vital to that vision.
As well as a wide-ranging programme of online and in-person training for everyone, there’s the annual highlight of a visit to the Childcare & Education Expo by Daisy’s Nursery Managers, with a small team of colleagues. This year, Daisy’s newest recruit is Maddy, who’ll be Manager at Aster Daisy Nursery in Hampshire when it opens in January 2022. Maddy, along with Dani, a Senior Nursery Nurse at flagship Crown Daisy Nursery, shared their experiences throughout the day.
7.00am The team began their journey from Hampshire to Coventry, and on the way discussed their hopes for the event. Dani hadn’t attended the Expo before and didn’t know what to expect but wanted ‘to learn about more ways to help the children, expand my knowledge, and check that my day-to-day practise is right – for that, I’m going to attend seminars and workshops.’ Maddy was ‘invited to the event as a new employee only a couple of weeks ago. The Expo website is really clear about the event, and I was able to quickly get everything I needed from it. For me, today is about supporting everything that goes on behind the scenes at our nurseries. There are so many different ways to approach how classrooms are dressed and the activities inside. It will be so good to see these ideas come together in one place.’
10.00am The team arrived at the Ricoh Arena Midlands to start their Expo experience. It’s important to reflect here on first impressions: the welcome was warm and carefully managed, especially in light of Covid-19 guidance, and the bright-pink themed main arena had instant impact. There was a thoughtful layout, useful information points, and goodie bags which included a guide to the day and an event map. Dani observed ‘I feel like a big kid! Look at all this! I am enjoying walking around, seeing different ways of learning and playing.’ Maddy agreed: ‘the stalls are really great. It is nice to see things in action that you normally only ever see in a catalogue, to see people interacting with them, recognise names, and brands, and see what else they do.’
10.45am Before long, it was time for the first seminar, and both colleagues had chosen Alice Sharp’s Changing Pedagogy, Changing Play from a varied programme of seminars, panels and workshops. A strength of the Expo is that delegates can experience a lot of content for free, with additional seminars and panels only charged on a per-event basis, an approach which suits all budgets.
After the session Maddy reflected that ‘when we study as nursery practitioners we learn about certain key voices, and today we were introduced to the new voices moving things on in pedagogy. I now want to research them, their viewpoints, and the elements of their pedagogy.’ Another colleague was particularly inspired by the provocation to ‘always remember to disrupt how we do things’, and Dani agreed ‘that there are different approaches, for instance, to singing a song like Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes with the children: you can make it interactive, you can change it, turn it into a story, sing it in another way.’ Maddy realised that ‘if your team are excited to do these activities, it will rub off on the children and they’ll be excited to do them too.’
2.00pm In one of the delegate spaces around the arena for conversation, quiet working, or refreshments, Maddy and Dani took a midway moment to reflect. Maddy had been ‘exploring, getting more information, and looking at professional connections I can make for Aster. Everyone has been super welcoming and I wish I had unlimited funds to access everything! There’s such a good variety of services and products, from physical activity, behind-the-scenes, and marketing to online tools. There’s something for everyone across the company.’ Dani had looked for ‘tips and toys that will help the children’s development’ and was especially impressed by a new yoga programme for children.
The Daisy team had planned their day to cover as much of the learning content as possible between them. After lunch and some mindfulness activity, some went to browse the marketplace, while others attended the lunchtime panel What Does the Future Look Like for Early Years?, which was also a useful forum for colleagues across the sector to share reflections from their own settings, largely about what challenges lay ahead as a result of the pandemic.
2.45pm Both colleagues had registered for the afternoon’s Ofsted and the EYFS Reforms seminar, with Phil Minns, HMI and Specialist Adviser for Early Years and Primary Education, Ofsted. Maddy hoped ‘to understand Ofsted changes and what we need to be on top of for the new nursery’ and Dani felt ‘the same – I want to make sure we’re working towards the right things.’ Daisy Nursery has previously achieved Outstanding Ofsted ratings across all areas and all settings, and maintaining that record is important to all colleagues.
Afterwards, Maddy explained that the session looked into ‘assessments, how we’re doing it, the best way to look at the curriculum. It was really interesting and insightful again, great to hear ideas which we can share with the team.’ For Dani, the session ‘gave me an insight into what Ofsted are looking at during assessment… Don’t act any differently to any other day. Be yourself.’
3.30pm After a full day of learning, playing, discussing and planning, the team reconvened to make purchases for the nurseries and test out new products. There was so much innovation on offer, from SEN provision to outdoor play. Natalie found some ‘interesting stones with letters inside, giving directional arrows to help children form their letters. These would be great tools for our pre-school.’
And then it was time to head southwards to Hampshire. ‘My brain is super full’, observed Maddy, as the team grouped for photographs outside the arena. ‘I’ve had a positive day and am excited for next year.’ Dani thought that the ‘whole day has been great. Lots to take in, but worth it and I would do it again tomorrow. It’s been a good reminder to remain passionate about what you’re doing, be assured that the children are learning, find ways to enliven activity so they aren’t bored – and be you!’
And how will all this support their work with Daisy Nursery? For Dani, much of it was about enthusiasm and ambition: ‘learning stuff like this keeps you passionate. Hopefully we can share what we learn with our teams, and inspire them as well. At Daisy no idea is a silly idea, and everybody is valued. If you love an idea, generally the children love it too.’ For Maddy, the chance at the Expo ‘to get an injection of new ideas reminds you how important the Early Years are. Thinking about what you do is really important, knowing that you’re getting it right is really important, and doing it the best you can is really important. When you are surrounded by people in the same industry, it highlights your thinking. It’s really special.’
Daisy Nursery AGM and Training Day August 2021 by Emma
Rain didn’t stop play for the recent Daisy Nursery annual staff meeting and training day. Especially with a bouncy castle on offer…
It’s always a special time in the year for the team of 85 nursery nurses, managers and head office. A chance to kickstart a new academic year with renewed enthusiasm and a refreshed knowledge toolkit, and to reconnect with colleagues from across the three Daisy Nursery settings, whilst reflecting upon the achievements of the past twelve months. This one was particularly special given the challenges of the pandemic, which saw everyone working through one of the hardest periods ever known.
Daisy Nursery didn’t just survive the pandemic: it thrived. While the country was shut down and in upheaval, Daisy’s doors remained open, providing welcome and consistency to the key worker children in its care. The annual meeting was a chance to mark that moment, and to celebrate the colleagues who made it happen.
Welcoming everyone to Crown Daisy Nursery, the flagship site in Aldershot, managing director Victoria Peterkin re-galvanised the team around Daisy’s vision and values. The Early Years Collective, a team of sector specialists including Cheryl Bedding, Kim Esnard, John Warren, Dr Sue Allingham and Jeni Murphy, then delivered a programme of in-depth workshops including Self-Regulation, Baby Brain: Connections and Continuity, Developing Outstanding Practise, EYFS 2021: Principles into Practise, and Clipping the Wings of our Superheroes.
As the day drew to a close, Victoria announced the expansion of the business. A new site will open in January 2022, with more destined to follow. Daisy’s three existing nurseries are in beautiful rural locations which, along with the highest-quality care, have provided the perfect foundations for thousands of children in their ongoing education – earning the company Outstanding Ofsted ratings in all areas.
The day was topped with the inaugural Daisy Nursery team awards, recognising those who went the extra mile last year, and celebrating every single colleague for their contribution to the growth and reputation of the company, and their dedicated, professional care of the children.
With knowledge-buckets, gift bags and hearts completely full, it was time for colleagues to depart – but not without one final bounce…
Summer of Fun and Graduation 2021 by Clare
As the summer approached, the anticipation of our Summer of Fun became tangible and our teams were eager to give the children and our families a month of exciting, ambitious and interesting activities to enrich their already broad curriculum.
After the last year, we felt this would be the perfect occasion to not only celebrate our emergency services and frontline workers, but also to learn about the many different roles and talents within our community. With an overarching theme of ‘Occupations’, as a starting point, we thought, who better to inspire our children than their own parents and their friend’s parents too.
We asked for volunteers to come into the nurseries, and were overwhelmed with the number of awe inspiring offers we had that would enable the children to have the opportunity to learn and explore these from the comfort of their suites, with their friends and key people alongside them.
As the Summer of Fun got underway, we enjoyed visits from so many parents at our different nurseries who showcased their skills – from the fire service, police, a crane driver, a bridge builder, computer experts, sound engineers, hairdressers, health visitors, teachers, bus drivers, sports instructions, beauty therapists as well as some yoga and mindfulness sessions …. The list of talented parents with fabulous occupations is far too long to name!.
We had a go at building our very own bridges – the results were amazing, with structures of a variety of shapes and sizes! We learnt how computers help us every day and we had our very own car wash which was fun to try out. We learnt how important it is to eat healthy food and look after our teeth by brushing regularly. We found out about nature and conservation and heard all about agriculture from a real life scientist. We spent lots of time outside; cooking, hunting for insects, and forestry skills, and enjoyed many adventures as we explored our gardens and nearby meadow and woodlands.
Alongside this we were able to think about how we can work together, we enjoyed dressing up days and themed menus which all made the Summer of Fun so memorable – we had a blast expressing ourselves, dressing up as community heroes, animals, vets and zoo keepers – learning about how we can care for animals as well as venturing on a safari or two! This was followed by a visit from a real farm! Imagine the children’s delight when a hen laid an egg right in front of them.
We immersed ourselves into the world of creative arts, and a wonderful interactive performance and dance activity from a very talented parent with experience of the performing arts, theatre and dance. We all thought about ‘When I Grow Up’ and what we may aspire to be, with many considering becoming a magician after seeing so many clever tricks.
Our Summer of Fun culminated in a farewell afternoon tea and Graduation ceremonies for ‘big’ children who were saying farewell to us as they take their next educational journey to school. The children wore their favourite party clothes and our graduates wore their very special mortar boards and gowns.
It was delightful to be able to welcome parents at a safe and social distance, to join this memorable day. The weather was kind to us allowing the ceremonies to be outside. As the children bid their farewell with their graduation songs and action rhymes, there was not a dry eye to be seen amongst the parents or our team. Everyone was wished well and asked to keep in touch before having their graduation scroll and flower presented to them together with their precious learning journey which documents their time with us, with so many photographs and notes to record special memories.
We now look forward to our next year at Daisy Nursery and a new term, welcoming autumn and excited about the children exploring freely and evolving ideas each and every day.
First Aid by Vicky
During lockdown and the most rigorous of COVID-19 restrictions, we have been unable to attend or host face to face training sessions and have had to rely solely on the virtual courses. Whilst these are great in many ways, first aid is definitely one that needs to be conducted in person. Since restrictions have eased, the Daisy team have taken part in first aid training courses to ensure we made up for lost time, placing huge value in these lifesaving skills.
Paediatric first aid is a vital part of our health and safety procedures. Whilst it is hoped that these skills may never be put into use, it is essential that first aiders are ready to act in case of either minor injury or emergency.
We are very fortunate to have been able to host two paediatric first aid courses at Crown Daisy, taking advantage of the space in the house. In addition to the many existing first aid trained colleagues, we are proud to say that another 20 of us have now either renewed our qualifications or gained our first.
Clare and Byron from our Head Office team also had the opportunity to achieve the qualification in Emergency First Aid at Work. The course was held externally and with this qualification they can be available to support our colleagues at company-wide events such as our AGM, team meetings and other work-based gatherings.
Investment and Renovation by Vicky
Children don’t stay still for long, and nor do we! As custodians of such ancient, beautiful buildings, we recognise that ongoing maintenance and refurbishment is all part and parcel of our roles. Each year I sit down with my Facilities team and Senior Managers, and we discuss the programme of work across the year. Sometimes this may include new fencing for boundaries, new kitchens, mass re-painting, new carpets, investment into resources for a particular suite or landscaping. We always look at what’s working and what’s not, what has been well loved and is a popular environment, and what could we introduce as innovative educators to evolve our settings further.
Over the last twelve months the impact of COVID-19 has been large in all possible areas, particularly on the mental strain of our team, so one of the key parts of investment last term was the introduction of an Employee Assistance scheme to support the wellbeing and mental health of our colleagues and their families too. Although we are still in the early stages of using this new service, it is confidence building for me as a leader just to know the support is there.
Despite the financial challenges of COVID over the last year, our children still deserve the absolute best. So, we made the decision to continue with our improvement plans, designing imaginative spaces that reflect our current cohort of children’s interests and working with them and their needs, to offer the best use of space, layout and design that we can. We have built up a fantastic maintenance support team who completely understand the challenges of working in a nursery building and (unless an emergency) will happily arrange weekend work to allow any internal maintenance jobs to be completed safely and efficiently.
We have also introduced the role of Early Years Co-Ordinator to explore the idea of having someone particularly creative, aesthetically and educationally driven, room based, to be the liaison and the instigator for change in each nursery – evaluating impact on the shop floor so to speak, and able to articulate and suggest enhancements to keep us mindful of embedding and extending high quality care and education for their key children.
My favourite projects this year have ranged from introducing the steampunk style, pipework shelving stations for malleable and mark making play, to completing re-designing the layout of our Baby Lodge to better suit the needs of the children and my colleagues.
In two of our Pre-Schools we really looked at how children play and learn. We liked the idea of positioning a variety of special and perhaps even unusual resources in pots and jars in easy reach, giving these young children freedom and choice in their play and seeing how they would use their whole bodies to stretch up to the top shelf to reach a particular item they wanted, or pull up a chair and become absorbed in writing a postcard to their friend or their Mummy, choosing colours, taking off lids and putting them back on again, gluing stamps and even stapling post stick notes or tracing paper to their message. I am yet to see these stations empty, despite them being launched first in Crown Daisy nearly a year ago – their simplicity and set up is all part of the appeal, there is familiarity with newness, always presented so invitingly, these stations have developed into real habitats of learning and as practitioners we are able to draw so many observations and in turn, assessments from this area.
In the Baby Lodge we worked hard to listen and understand the complexities of this age group and make sure our design could truly meet their needs. This meant designing divided spaces to allow smaller group play and building on the calm, natural environment and bringing this to the forefront of the main room. We heavily invested in physical play as well as completely re-designing the sensory area into a tranquil space, allowing us to incorporate light play, early mathematics, colour and material. The tonal bricks, the knitted soft dinosaurs and the metallic treasures are all easily accessible and enjoyed in small cosy spaces, promoting schematic play.
These are just two of the many, many things we have managed to achieve over the last year for the benefit of our children and each other, and I think if one were to ask any of the team what was their favourite refurbishment or nursery improvement this year, each would have their own answer and articulate why and how it has impacted their own role and the experiences of the children in their suite.
To help us learn from these journeys, we chart our progress in our Daisy File, highlighting our intention behind each refurbishment or project, the process of implementing it and finally, our evaluation of the impact it has had and whether it has achieved our original aims. Each nursery records their own story in their own unique way, allowing us to build a wealth of knowledge to look back on and draw from when needed.
We still have some work to do during the rest of our Term 3 (summer term), and we have already started planning for the academic year to come - so watch this space! We don’t rest on our laurels at Daisy, we don’t do things the same each year because it has always been done that way before; we like to think outside the van the Amazon box arrived in, and hopefully this way of team working will continue to ensure we are striving for excellence on behalf of our children and their families.
Early Years Foundation Stage Reforms by Claudia
In September 2021, the new EYFS will become statutory. The Department for Education (DfE) have been working closely with Ofsted to lighten the workload of early years teachers and practitioners. This has come about from the call to reduce the collection of data and assessments that has been proven not to impact the outcomes for children. The DfE’s drive has been to make the Early Learning Goals more specific in order that teachers can make accurate judgments more easily. Hence why the new document is more concise.
Following the consultation, the DfE said that it would make a number of changes to the reformed education programmes these include:
• Personal Social Emotional Development will include additional information on self-care and healthy eating
• Physical Development will be strengthened to include a greater focus on development from birth to Reception and focus on the links between gross and fine motor skills
• Literacy will include a stronger emphasis on pre-Reception literacy learning, and the link between language comprehension and later reading and writing
• Mathematics will include a greater detail on the importance of shapes, spatial reasoning and measure as part of early maths learning, and how children can foster a love of maths
• Understanding the World will include wider experiences for children
• Expressive Arts and Design will include a wider variety of ways children can develop their creative skills and Technology has been removed.
A need to include oral health alongside the requirement to “promote the good health of children” will be added to the EYFS framework.
These reforms are designed to improve outcomes at 5 years olds for all children.
Alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage sits Development Matters – this is a non-statutory document and what we at Daisy Nursery use to track your child’s development. Historically this has been regarded worldwide as a quality supporting document and many countries have used this to benchmark their own Early Years Curriculum.
Going forwards the new version of the EYFS is condensed to enable the staff to use professional judgments. Dr Julian Grenier: who is responsible for working with the DfE and Ofsted to create this document very much advocates that teachers and practitioners should have the confidence to use their own professional judgment, as they are the key person and working closely with the family and know the children best.
This has divided the industry and some of the key influencers have created another supporting document alongside the ‘Development Matters’. This is called ‘Birth to Five Matters’ As a company we have attended lots of briefings and training sessions to ensure we are fully informed. Our teams have also been consulted as they are the ones working with your children. It was strongly felt that after the events of the pandemic keeping the consistent approach using Development Matters is the best way forward. As parents the approach will remain familiar and ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ will still be assessed. I truly feel that the paired down version will enable the children and staff to take time embedding the important first life skills preparing them fully for their further educational journey.
Communication and Information Sharing at Daisy Nursery by Vicky
Due to popular demand, we have reintroduced our paper newsletters at the end of each term. We look forward to sharing with you more “news from the nurseries” in a more traditional, but fully accessible, medium. In addition to this print, our library of information leaflets are included as part of every new families’ welcome pack, are downloadable from our Parents page of the website, and are available in each nursery’s entrance.
Our day sheets will continue to be issued to every child at every session (unless you request otherwise) as we understand handovers need to be as slick as possible in the current circumstances, without compromising on the information you are getting.
We have a noticeboard outside the front of each nursery so that you can easily see what is on the menu and read about the exciting things we are doing within each of our nurseries.
We use Tapestry to share your child’s learning and development. Once a week, you will receive a ‘Moment of Learning’ observation which contains next steps to give you an idea of what your child is working on at nursery. As well as this, you will receive frequent ‘Magic Moments’. This could be a group activity, the first time your child has achieved something new, something your child was proud of, or something that made us think, ‘wow!’ You can use Tapestry too and we love seeing what the children have been up to at home!
@DaisyNursery Our Twitter account continues to grow from strength to strength and has been a really helpful tool allowing us to connect with other nurseries and early years professionals whilst we are unable to visit or attend face to face training. Please do follow us if you are on Twitter, as we love sharing snapshots of activities set up and special moments throughout the day. If you don’t have or don’t want a Twitter account, we have linked our tweets directly to the News page of our website.
Daisy Nursery Parents is our private Facebook account, set up during lockdown. This network has been a fantastic place to share photos and the manager’s weekly blog directly with lots of you and is fast becoming a community space to connect with other Daisy parents.
To start each new term, and being mindful of the restrictions in place, we host a virtual social for each nursery, allowing us to welcome all our new and continuing families, introduce you to our nursery management teams (and their faces!), and share a brief introduction to the EYFS and each suite’s vision for the term ahead.
At the end of each term, we provide you with the opportunity to have a formal meeting your child’s key person to discuss their individual development, we host these over the platform, School Cloud, and offer parents a variety of times and dates to allow the booking of a mutually convenient appointment.
Finally, just as a reminder, you can always contact any of the team on the nursery phones or email, although they may not always be available if they are teaching, they will endeavour to call or email you back as swiftly as they can.
Older blogs now archived.