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FSF Newsletter - December 2011

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Welcome to this last newsletter of 2011. As Christmas approaches, the debates and conversations at the FSF subside in their usual way, as eyes and focus swivel towards the 25th. As an antidote to frantic visits to shopping centres we thought you would like to be pointed towards an all-time top five toys webpage (thanks Rea), which will not appeal to bonus driven marketing organisations. For any of you who are currently wishing you hadn't decided to organise a nativitiy play or other Christmas play over the next few days, know that you are not alone with this irreverent article from our archives.

And, if you think you might struggle to find things to do over the festive season and haven't already done so, why not read through the recently published Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey? It's very interesting, including its analysis of salaries for childcare professionals (page 225).

There's a lot to contemplate next year, with (amongst other things) the publication of the final 'new-look' EYFS in Spring, and its implementation in September. No doubt this will fill up more than a few pages of discussions as more is revealed!

But for now, on behalf of the moderators and engineers of the FSF, I would like to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas, and an altogether splendid and successful 2012, and to thank you for your company and conversation over the last year!

LA Scheme

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, which have renewed their LA subscription - members need do nothing; their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

  • for the second year - Lincolnshire
  • for the fourth year - Guernsey, Darlington, ?Windsor & Maidenhead and Norfolk
  • for the fifth year - Brent
  • We're especially happy to welcome back members from Bracknell Forest renewing for the 7th year

Welcome back to you all!

New Content

Positive Behaviour Management

What do we mean by "good behaviour"? We are often quite clear about the behaviour that we don't want to see in our settings! Can we be proactive about this and plan consistent positive behaviour strategies where all children feel happy and secure and want to demonstrate that "good behaviour", however we define it?

All About Clemmie: Part 1

A mother's diary of her daughter Clemmie's development from birth to her first birthday. These snippets of Clemmie's learning and development were first published a few years ago as "Clemmie's Column". We republish them here as two articles for those members who may not have come across them before.

All About Clemmie: Part 2

Continuing Juliet Mickelburgh's diary of her daughter Clemmie's learning and development from her first birthday to her second.

Festivals series: Christmas

Beginning a new series on festivals, Juliet Mickelburgh kicks us off with Christmas!

From The Forum

Sitting on the carpet in nursery

I'm new in nursery and am finding carpet sessions difficult......especailly when there are 27 in a session!


Am I expecting too much for the childrenn to listen to a story? Any useful ideas / songs to get the children's attention and for them to sit and listen on the carpet? I try not to make my sessions more than 10 minutes long.

What you see Is what you get! Observation allocation during session

Just wondering if any of you can share your method of observation allocation and what you do? It seems every setting does something different, as now at my new place, it is again done yet another way, as follows:

each member of staff gets a designated day in which they observe their key children, so the majority of the session is spent with that person either observing and then writing up ........this means that a paid member of staff spends majority of session only doing obs. The staff are keen to change but would like a half hour in which to be able to write up notes as they do not get time otherwise unless they do at home!!

Parents' Photo Policy: no to Facebook

We have just had our nativity. I stood at the front and did my bit about fire exits then the photo bit. We are happy for photos for your own personal albums but please do not put on networking sites such as Facebook. Within an hour of it finishing guess what? Photos on Facebook. I am going to put a reminder on our newsletter. I was looking at our photo policy and it was aimed more at what we do as a staff and does not mention events etc.


Does anyone have something I could adapt please?

Fundraising Event:: ideas for children to make something to sell?

We are holding a fundraising coffee and craft evening on Friday week to launch a little recipe booklet produced by the parents and friends of children presently attending our Playgroup. We are a small playgroup - just 11 children and have lots of parent support for this event - baking pastries and cakes as well as sewn things! ... I am looking for another couple of ideas of simple things the children could make to sell.

Whole group time - when?

Just wondering when other settings timetable whole group time, and for how long. I am trying to organise the morning to allow for maximum self initiated time, and am a little unsure about starting the day with a whole group time, as currently the children self register, then get on with self initiated play. Could others share when they have this time in the morning, and why? New to all this, so would be grateful to hear what is working for people out there!

Storing and collating learning journals: pictures, obs etc.

Okay my query is how do others store their art, obs, wow moments on a daily/weekly basis, ready to transfer to journals.

My staff presently put them all into a large storage box, but with 66 children and 10 staff in the setting, you can imagine this is now a mammoth task when collating into individual children and their own keyperson boxes. I have thought of a large medical type trolley with hanging manilla files for paintings, pictures, photos etc. Just want to make it as easy peasy as possible.

So any wonderful ideas to help with this will be gratefully received.


Snack time: how would you encourage children to avail of snack time?

We have a buffet style snack which is going reasonably well. However there is one little boy who puts off having snack until the very last moment and then says no he doesn't want any. We have a list up on the wall to which all the children add their labels and we call them to come to the table in the order that is on the list - 4 at a time with 1 leader. We did use to have all our snack together but felt that some children were taking longer, others didn't want to go for snack and preferred to continue playing for a while and then have snack and still others refused all together. So we took all of these things on board and decided on this buffet style and it is good as it provides everyone with opportunity to do exactly what they want.


I don't have a problem with this little boy not having snack but it has resulted lately in others deciding in a pact not to go for snack either. I personally don't have a problem with this but we are starting to wonder if this is such a good situation - should we be trying to encourage everyone to have snack as it gives them strength to play, provides nutrition, helps to develop social interaction etc etc.


What do you think? Is there some incentive we could give?


Here's a tip specifically for PRAMS users. If you have a version (you can see the version at the top of the PRAMS program window) which is 2.0.9 or below, you should download and install the latest version from the resource library. 2.0.9 was the last version that did not carry out automatic checks for updates, and some members have been contacting us with problems that are fixed in latest versions. Your data will not be affected by this upgrade.

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