A splash of fun in the school playground!

 playground fun

Our latest creation is bringing a little bit of the forest and stream into an Early Years and Foundation Stage outdoor area.

We were approached by a school who are particularly keen on the Forest School ethos – an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland or natural environment with trees.

The school is surrounded by terraced properties and many of its pupils have never experienced a woodland or forest – so we are making them one in their very own outdoor space.

New cycle track signals start of cycling revolution

New cycle track

A new specialist cycle track is being built in the grounds of an iconic Blackburn Park.

Blackburn with Darwen Council in partnership with Landscape Engineering Ltd have teamed-up to provide a Pump track and training course for cyclists at Witton Country Park.

The exciting new facility is being funded by the Council's Local Transport Plan and is being promoted through the Councils sustainable transport project BwD Connect.

This new facility aims to further strengthen cycling opportunities in the borough for all abilities.

The 50 metre long track will be a looped route known as a pump track, consisting of a series of rollers and berms that can be ridden without pedaling.

Choosing childcare, what are the options around nursery sessions?

young girl

For whatever reason, the decision to leave your child in the care of someone else is a very difficult one. Thankfully there is a world of choice when it comes to options and online search platforms such as that really does help to make difficult decisions easier. 

The Nanny

A Nanny has a more autonomous role, ensuring your child’s wellbeing and safety through responsible supervision within your own home. 

The award winning Cubetto Playset now available

Cubetto Playset

Cubetto is a Montessori-approved coding toy, designed to help children aged three years and up to write their first programs using a friendly wooden robot, powered by a revolutionary coding language made of tangible blocks, instead of text on screens.

Cubetto represents a significant benchmark in the field of computer programming, as it significantly lowering the age barrier for learning to code by removing a screen based interaction.

The aim of the toy is to control Cubetto, a friendly wooden robot who likes to be told where to go and how to get there, by creating sequences of instructions (programs) using the colourful blocks placed on Cubetto’s “board” or “control panel”: 

Creating the perfect sleep environment for your child


Helping your child get into a good sleeping routine can be challenging. A great place to start is to look at your child’s sleep environment. Their physical space can influence their approach to settling down and get to sleep peacefully. The following tips will help you create the perfect sleep environment for your child. 

Calming Colours

The colour painted on your child’s bedroom walls will influence their sleep routine more than you think, so choosing the right colour for a young child’s room should be considered carefully. Colours such as light blue or green evoke calm and peace so are a great choice for your child’s room. Avoid busy prints and bright colours, which may overstimulate your child. 


West Kent College to Host Early Years Conference – 10th February 2017

early years conference

West Kent College is delighted to announce that it is hosting an Early Years Conference on the 10th February next year – an event designed to bring together practitioners, providers, students and those with any interest in teaching or working with children.

The conference will feature interactive workshops, a host of trade stands showcasing useful new resources, and presentations from guest speakers, including the hugely popularinteractive storyteller Vanessa Woolf and Carol Archer, Early Years Advisory teacher from Camden Council, discussing promotion of physical development in limited spaces.

WHAT: Early Years Conference 

WHEN: 10th February 2017, from 9:30am-12:30pm

Dinosaur Douglas Books

Dinosaur Douglas Book cover

Dinosaur Douglas Books are the only books offering a fun, new way to explore health-related subjects for Early Years children, including oral health, vitamin D and obesity. Written in rhyme by children’s author Heather Maisner (over 35 titles), these illustrated books are ideal for bedtime reading and literacy.

When Heather discovered that the average five-year-old was consuming the equivalent of their body weight in sugar each year, she decided something dynamic needed to be done.

Joining forces with Paediatric Consultants at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, she created a fun, rhyming story about naughty Dinosaur Douglas, highlighting the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

The Paw Patrol and Noddy’s WhoWhatWhere Tablet

Paw Patrol Blazon

KD UK’s Noddy’s WhoWhatWhere Tablet features in each episode of the new TV series Noddy, Toyland Detective. The WhoWhatWhere Tablet helps Noddy and friends complete missions through various games. Children can now learn about numbers, colours, letters, instruments, shapes and more; whilst having lots of fun with the Toyland gang. The Tablet helps children develop important learning skills such as hand eye coordination, sound recognition, and imaginative role play. It lets young ones enjoy hours of creative role play and is perfect for both indoor and outdoor play. Suitable for children aged 18+ months.

Top Tips For Getting Your Kids To Eat Their Five A Day!

rainbow pizza

Struggle to ensure your little ones get their five portions of fruit and vegetables a day? Despair at the thought of another fight over a family meal or another lunchbox left untouched? Well don’t worry, there are many ways to introduce more fruit and veg into your family's diet, no matter how fussy they are!

1. Make eating fruit and vegetables fun!

Rather than sticking with toast or a boring bowl of cereal in the morning, why not make breakfast the most important meal of the day by creating a fruit rainbow! Simply combine some frozen pineapple and mango, almond milk, dragon fruit, spinach, kiwi in a blender until smooth to make a yummy smoothie. Then serve in a bowl then top with some granola and sliced fresh or tinned fruits. 

Fully funded courses available in for early years, childcare and play sector professionals across Wales

Yana Hughes and Adele Mitchell

A range of fully funded courses, worth up to £4.7m, aimed at upskilling nurseries and childcare providers are now available to professionals within the early years, childcare and play sector in Wales. 

As part of the Progress for Success ESF programme, the Welsh Government is funding nationally-recognised qualifications at Levels 2 and 3 for individuals working in the childcare sector, with the aim of providing greater educational opportunities for children in Wales.

Itec Skills and Employment has been selected to deliver the programme across 18 local authorities in South, Mid and North Wales including Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent, Flintshire, Wrexham, Cardiff, Newport and Monmouthshire. 

Nursery staff receive individual online training in fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

UK nursery staff are now being trained individually online how to identify those at risk or suffering from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and protect Britain's young girls from extreme child abuse.

Developed by SSS Learning as a 'much needed' catalyst for change in safeguarding training the hour-long course is fully CPD-accredited and certifies individual educators, replacing 'often insufficient' traditional group training methods.

"Performed both in the UK and abroad on girls as young as three years old, FGM is a complex, cross-cultural issue which requires a thorough understanding of its origins, forms and how to efficiently identify those at risk" says SSS Learning Director Sam Preston.

Teals Kiddiwash clean hands competition winners revealed


TEAL Patents’ Kiddiwash Clean Hands competition, exclusive to nurseries across the UK, has announced its five winners with each set to receive a Kiddiwash Xtra - a portable, warm water, hand washing basin which requires no access to mains water or drainage.

Forest School at Garstang Nursery and Pre-school, Futurepath Childcare, M Lindsay Childcare, Roxwell Pre-school and Tweenies Pre-school were all named winners of the competition. Each nursery tasked their pupils with drawing their idea of a sparkling, clean hand for a chance to win the child-friendly handwashing unit for their nursery.

Creativity was key with each of the winning entries using coloured pens and pencils, paint, crayons, gems and glitter to creatively decorate their perfectly clean hands. 

Nursery Rhyme Week a roaring success at Stockton care home

Nursery children at care home

ROARY the Lion helped youngsters from Shaw Start Nursery in Stockton celebrate World Nursery Rhyme Week.

The Middlesbrough FC mascot visited The Beeches Care Home, on Green Lane, to hear the children read their favourite nursery rhymes to the elderly residents.

The event coincided with Hug a Bear Week, so Roary moonlighted as a furry friend for both residents of the care home and nursery children to embrace. He also stopped by Ingleby Care Home, on Lamb Lane, to meet the residents there.

Liz Jones is the Customer Relations Officer for Hill Care, which operates both The Beeches and Ingleby care homes. 

Calling all pipsqueaks! come and join Pip Ahoy!

Pip Ahoy

For all of you craving for the return of the summer, the good news is that Salty Cove will be making its way to Winter Wonderland Manchester this Christmas!
Pip Ahoy! is thrilled to be back this year at Winter Wonderland Manchester 2016 for its fourth year. The festive extravaganza takes place from Saturday, 10th December 2016 to

Monday, 1st January 2017 at EventCity next to the Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester. 

4 Ways Outdoor Playground Equipment Can Boost Social Development


The playground is a place for laughter, energy and happiness. But what is it about the outdoors that provides children with such social stimulation? For one, outdoor play allows children to let off steam, reducing their anxiety levels, but there’s more to it than that just stress-busting. Through the use of outdoor playground equipment, children learn how to interact and cooperate with one another in a way that keeps a smile on everyone’s face.

Playforce continues it research into the impact of physical activity and play on children’s health


A 2105 study by the UK’s leading playground supplier, Playforce, demonstrated that investment in school playgrounds increases children’s physical activity and improves behaviour.  This initial study is now being followed up by further research amongst customers into the evidential impact that investment in play areas has for school-age children.

Mark Wood, TCL Group Managing Director for Play, said:  “As part of our commitment to giving every child the opportunity to live a healthy, active life, we're asking customers that have had a Playforce installation in the last 36 months to complete a short survey.  The survey will look at the impact installing a playground has had on physical activity levels, behaviour and positive attitudes to learning”.

Childcare Expo - It’s more than just an exhibition

Childcare Expo

As an Early Years Practitioner, it’s all about preparation, learning and achieving day to day. At Childcare Expo, you can do all of this in one day. By attending the show dedicated to the early years industry, childcare professionals can save both time and money along with filling up their bags and minds with heaps of useful and inspiring knowledge and tools that they can take straight back to their setting.

Nursery triumph for Gerflor


In 2014 Tavistock House Day Nursery Ltd were given the go-ahead to turn a former boxing club in Hetton, Sunderland into a new pre-school nursery.

At Hetton House Day Nursery they believe that the early years in a child's life are very important. Ensuring that the children and staff would have a safe and comfortable environment that would be fit for purpose would be at the forefront of their planning, which would of course include the best quality flooring possible. The installation would be done by Tyne and Weir-based Aiken Flooring Contracts Ltd, with the final choice of products falling to international flooring and interiors specialist Gerflor, who would supply 513m² of their hugely popular Taralay Impression Control and Tarasafe Ultra products.

World Heart Day: The Difference Between Sudden Cardiac Arrest and A Heart Attack


Thursday 29th September marks World Heart Day, an important day committed to raising awareness about the heart and cardiovascular diseases. It is also a great opportunity to help people understand the important role played by their hearts.

The heart is one of the most vital organs in the body and is fundamental to our health. It’s important to care for our hearts to ensure we live a healthy and fulfilling life.

It's reported that approximately 60,000 sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) take place outside of the hospital each year in the UK. When someone suffers from SCA, every minute is critical to their chances of survival. Therefore, it is important that people understand what to do in case of an emergency.