November 14, 2017 | Leave a Comment
We’re backing Anti-bullying Week 2017. It is being held between the 13th and 17th November and is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
You can follow this years’ Anti-bullying Weeks’ events, tips and articles with the following hashtags:
#AntiBullyingWeek #AllDifferentAllEqual @ABAonline
This year’s theme is ‘All Different, All Equal’ and we can celebrate what makes us #AllDifferentAllEqual
October 1, 2017 | Leave a Comment
Why get involved in Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017? As a mother of a Dyslexic child I know that it is important to create a Dyslexic friendly society, and Dyslexia Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that! There are plenty of ways to get involved and plenty of resources available on the internet and in local Libraries, and schools.
The British Dyslexia Association has lots of ideas on their website, along with free downloads and a free toolkit. You can check out the daily themes from the British Dyslexia Association here.
I found the following important when I realised that my son had problems with reading and writing and recall;
If you think that your child is having difficulties, don’t leave it to late! I found a local independent Dyslexia Consultant, who gave full diagnostic testing, alongside a plan of action for the school to follow. With this in place we could access dyslexia friendly teaching and support.
It’s really important to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made by school, society and at home to help your child reach their full potential. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to be made!
Never underestimate the amount of information available out there! Along with strategies, the volume of information out there will best prepare you and will help you to create an accessible learning environment for your child, and will also help you to educate others on the importance of creating a Dyslexia friendly society for all!
This special week is a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge, and to support and learn from those with Dyslexia.
Please use the hashtag #positivedyslexia2017
The British Dyslexia Association: www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
dyslex.io, a one stop site for everything you need to know! www.dyslex.io
Barrington Stoke: Books in Dyslexia friendly fonts.
Nessy Learning, fun interactive computer learning for children in Primary schools: www.nessy.co.uk
Written by Frankie Gray for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017
August 7, 2017 | Leave a Comment
For children moving on to primary school it can understandably be a scary time. This is true for parents as well. Every child will have a different experience when it comes to starting school, so sometimes it can be helpful to have a ‘helping hand’ and some advice available.
Change can be a big thing for children and starting school is a big one. It may help to start to discuss the topic of school sooner rather than later so they are aware of what to expect. To help ensure a smooth transition, have a go at:
Ask them questions like, ‘are you looking forward to starting school?’, ‘do you have any questions?’ or ‘what are you most or least looking forward to?’. Talking to them will help them to understand what they can expect and helps to answer any questions they might have.
In preparation for the first day, have a look into some books that are about going/ starting school. These are great to read to your children over the holidays or at bed time. They are specifically designed for children to help them to understand the process of going to school.
Arrange a few organised visits to the school . Visit with your child so they are able to get a feel for what it will be like before their first day.
A good way to ensure an easy transition into school is to implement a simple morning routine. Have a go at practicing getting up at a certain time, getting dressed into uniform, eating breakfast and leaving on time to help build up a strong routine. Then have a go at making the journey to school so they are able to see how long it will take. It will also give them the opportunity to see what the journey to and from school will be like each day.
Prior to your child starting school, make plans for the remainder of the days that you have off together. Especially if your child is feeling a little anxious or worried, by taking part in a few fun activities it can help them to focus their mind on other stuff.
Children easily pick up on emotions. If you are anxious or worried this is not going to help your child. It is normal to feel worried for your child’s first day of school but try to relax and remain calm. This hopefully should then reflect onto your child.
Checklist: A few things to ensure…
Starting school for some children, will mark the first step to independence. For others it might just be a simple transition from Nursery to Primary School. You may be worried that your child may struggle to cope with the independence and not having you there to help carry out daily tasks.
To make the transition easier, make the necessary adjustments sooner rather than later. Have a go at practicing the tasks that you find your child struggles with in preparation for their big day. For example:
Tackle any issues prior to their big day. This can help with any worry or anxiousness they might be having.
Starting school is undoubtedly a huge step. However, it is also a hugely exciting time as well. Make sure that your child has everything ready for their first day and all questions that they may have, have been answered. Enjoy the summer break and good luck to all children and parents kicking off this new adventure in September.
Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017
November 17, 2016 | Leave a Comment
Anti-bullying Week 2016 is being held between the 14th and 18th November with the theme ‘power for good’ and is organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance.
You can follow the Anti-bullying Weeks’ events, tips and articles with the following hashtags:
November 4, 2016 | Leave a Comment
For the next couple of weeks the BBC’s LovetoRead campaign will be taking place and the time to start reading is now. The LovetoRead campaign promotes and encourages us to read. And for children, this is an important skill to learn and to continue with their development. Reading is an important life skill that we must all know and on the weekend, the 5th and 6th of November, the LovetoRead weekend will arrive and the opportunity to stop what you’re doing, sit down, relax and read a book you enjoy will be here. Over the course of this campaign, it will be celebrated by many different platforms such as TV, where programmes on Saturdays on BBC 2 will be ‘Books Nights’ which shall involve reading and viewing different authors and much more. Also on radio 2, there will be a host of Authors spending time on the radio talking about their individual books and the enjoyment of reading and there will also be a social media campaign where you can communicate with fellow book readers and make or receive suggestions on books.
Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016
August 14, 2016 | Leave a Comment
Starting school is a new experience that everyone, child or parent, experience in a different way. No school journey is the same and therefore you sometimes need a helping hand when starting the process. If you have never experienced your child starting school for the first time, then this guide is a quick and easy great read for you.
Some children struggle with change; understandably school transitioning is a difficult time. However, the process of change can be simple and easier to deal with if they are tackled with early, by making the topic of school a daily or weekly positive conversation within your household through many different activities.
Here are six simple yet useful tips:
If your child has never attended childcare or pre-school before going to big school, they may struggle with the adjustments of not relying on their parents all the time. To make the adjustments easier, you can focus on and practice the hardest tasks:
Therefore, spending time teaching them how to get dressed is very important and can be done when they are practicing their new morning routine (in the section above)
Every child reacts differently in their first few weeks, so there are different things you could expect:
As they are starting a new school and meeting new children, they can easily be influenced by other children and therefore be prepared for answering back or saying things they would never normally say. But you can nip this in the bud by highlighting the fact that this behavior is not tolerated at home etc. If their behavior is really worrying you, feel free to go into school and speak to their teacher about these changes.
Some children may find it difficult to deal with the transition of being away from their parents for a long period of time. So be prepared for your child to become clingy and upset in the mornings when saying good bye, or not wanting to get up and get ready for school.
Remember that every child reacts differently to big school and some will find it easier than others, but if your child is struggling, don’t let this stress you out as over time they will quickly adapt and fit in well.
Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016
January 22, 2016 | Leave a Comment
Next time you settle down to read a bedtime story to your child, you might want to reflect on the following tale….
Once upon a time, in a language now long extinct, your ancient ancestors may have shared the same, or very similar tales with their own children, as they huddled together around an open fire.
Results from a study, published this week, suggest that some of our most popular folktales, such as Beauty and the Beast and Jack and the Beanstalk, have ancient roots (pardon the pun!) which may date back to the Bronze Age—when giant beanstalks covered vast swathes of Europe! For many researchers this is a surprising result; as, previously, most traditional folktales were thought to have originated in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, these results point to an ancient oral tradition in which stories have been passed from one generation to the next for up to six thousand years. Although the characters and settings of the stories may have changed, the plots have remained largely intact; despite a huge diversification in the languages and cultures that now share them. It’s only in relatively recent times that these stories have been finally committed to paper.
As well as the great cultural and historical significance of this finding, folktales also have an important educational value. For example, storytelling is well known to have an important positive influence on language development and comprehension among young children. Many folktales also carry a strong moral message. For this reason, they continue to provide a huge source of inspiration to modern authors. For example, the plot of the Gruffalo is derived from a folktale from China. In an age of rapid social change and technological progress, it is comforting to know that the weird and wonderful imaginings of our ancient ancestors can still educate and entertain and, in some cases, scare the living daylights out of 21st century children!
Sara Graça da Silva, Jamshid J. Tehrani, 2016. Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales. Royal Society Open Science.
Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Ltd. All rights reserved, 2016.
January 15, 2016 | Leave a Comment
Our recent article, Childcare Information for Parents, highlighted the lack of information currently available to parents regarding wraparound care (before and after school) and children’s holiday clubs. In both cases, this is largely down to a lack of provision. Well, perhaps someone in government has been listening, as the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has since announced a consultation in this area, which could give parents the ‘right to request’ wraparound childcare and holiday care for all children from Reception to Year 9. In order to help deliver on this request, childcare providers would have the ‘right to request’ the use of school facilities and buildings when the school is not using them.
The government is currently seeking the views of parents, carers and schools in order to help formulate their plans. Therefore, if you would like to contribute your views, please use the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/wraparound-and-holiday-childcare
This consultation continues until the 29th of February 2016.
Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Ltd. All rights reserved, 2016.
January 8, 2016 | Leave a Comment
There has been a dramatic shift in eduction funding in the United Kingdom in recent years, away from Higher Education towards Early Years (from age 0-3). This change of emphasis is based on the results of neurological research, which suggests that the Early Years are of critical importance for shaping long-term mental development. Indeed, the early years are frequently portrayed as a short window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential. This has given rise to the term ‘Early Years Determinism’. The phrase ‘Foundation years’, coined by politicians in the UK, further reinforces the importance of early education. It suggests that, if the foundations are firm, the building has a good chance of success. However, if the foundations are bad, it also implies that the building is inevitably doomed to topple and fall, no matter how much effort you put into building it! This all places a lot of extra stress on parents, nannies and carers. The implication being that, if you fall short of expectations in the first three years of parenthood, then your child is condemned to a future of underachievement! Therefore, if your child can’t read the Financial Times by the time they start school, everything is lost! But, is the concept of Early Years Determinism based on reliable scientific evidence?
The most frequently cited evidence in support of Early Years Determinism comes from General Ceausescu’s Romania. After the downfall of Ceausescu, countries in the West were appalled by the extreme levels of child neglect evident within the nation’s state-run orphanages: where children were malnourished, unloved and imprisoned in their cots for up to 23 hours a day without any adult interaction or stimulation. There have been several scientific studies on the effects of this extreme neglect on the long-term development of normal cognitive function. The results of one of the most comprehensive studies revealed that, after several years of adoption in the West, 46% of children, who were deemed ‘globally intact’ (from a total of 54), continued to suffer significant functional impairment in at least one domain; particularly executive functioning, language and memory. However, despite this fact, 63% of all the children included in the study (totalling 85) went on to develop normal levels of cognitive function, as measured by IQ tests, after several years of adoption. This suggests that, even when a child is subjected to the most extreme levels of infant neglect, the human brain is still generally resilient enough to adapt and recover in later life.
Despite the appalling nature of this evidence, parents in the UK should probably take heart. Although most of us would like to be better parents, our shortcomings are almost certainly insignificant compared to the extreme levels of neglect evident in Ceausescu’s Romania. For example, you may not read to your child as frequently as you would like, but the effect of this ‘neglect’ is almost certainly negligible.
As a nation, we worry far too much about the targets and tick-boxes associated with 21st century Early Years Education. Instead we should be more concerned about giving our children the freedom to be children and to explore and discover the world for themselves, through social interaction and play. By developing curiosity and reasoning, through informal education and play, we can better equip our children to determine their own future potential.
Written by Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Ltd. All rights reserved, 2016
November 14, 2015 | Leave a Comment
Would spending time in the woods making fires and being ‘Bear Grylls’ for the day be your child’s or charges idea of heaven? Then we have an excellent woodland activity for them. Forest School is an exciting way to educate children in a natural environment.
Forest school teaches children to be able to look after themselves when in the outdoor environment. They offer a wide range of activities that stimulate children and give them the opportunity to expand ideas themselves.
What activities do the children get up to?
There are many activities for children to do, such as:
• Learning how to make and light fires safely
• Making simple hot food and drinks
• Using woodland materials to make sculptures and pictures
• Simple activities such as making themed stories on the natural world
• Woodcraft activities using simple hand tools and natural woodland resources- green wood and other plant material
• Natural play trails/rope trails
• Using natural resources or tarpaulins to build Den’s
• Finally games to promote the importance of environmental awareness
These Forest School’s are usually on weekly basis and therefore as time progresses, and children become familiar with being outside in the wilderness and the safe practices that they have been taught, they are encouraged to initiate their own play and use this time to develop their own ideas at their own pace. If you are a nanny you can adapt these activities and supervise yourself. You can even attend a Forest School training course and become qualified at Level 1 in Forest School teaching!
Forest School enables and encourages children to become self reliant and independent, which allows children to take responsibility for their own development and learning. This programme also lets children know and understand the importance for the natural world, and shows them how important it is to look after the world too.
The woodland environment lets children improve their physical strength and stamina due to regular access of varied and challenging environment and activities. As well as teaching children the importance of the outdoors, it also lets children use their imagination to write stories and create pictures of their experiences in the woods.
Plus the excitement of spending time in the natural world and feeding them information can lead to expressing their excitement and knowledge at home; leading to teaching other family members all the interesting things they’ve learnt. Resulting in possible family days out in the woods adventuring and practising all the things they have learnt whilst at school.
As well as this, when they become older their interest in the woods and adventuring could be carried on further when they start at secondary school (for example) and therefore want to take part in rewarding activities such as, D of E and therefore getting awards for their hard work and a leadership course they can put on their CV. Search for your local Forest School using a search engine and get creative and learning in the woods.