10 tips To Be Outstanding! - see inside
Issue 2 - Summer 2014 www.eybmag.com
Business Sustainability Series Part 2 - How safe are your IT systems?
EYB Focus On: - Branding Your Setting for Impact - How to do PR Locally
Get The Best Out of Your Team Meetings
A-Z of Partnerships With Fathers Book Bites - Events - Essentials - EYB on the Streets - Features - EYB Focus
The Leadership & Business Magazine for Early Years
GET YOUR COPY OF EYB MAGAZINE ANYWHERE So here is why you should advertise with EYB magazine: 1. ONLINE: The EYB platform is accessible everywhere online via smartphone, computer or tablet. Digital advertising through the EYB online platform will showcase early years and business related services and products to a wide audience. Our client metrics reports and research will help you best understand the value of advertising with EYB. 2. EXPOSURE: EYB is a FREE digital magazine to readers with intelligent content and no pre-commitment thus increasing the opportunity of a wide exposure to the Early Years sector. Our social media community is already talking about EYB which makes a great advertising platform for all new and existing businesses.
3, VALUE: We can afford to offer very competitive rates to
our partners as we are an online publication. With print costs eliminated it leaves us free to share great advertising and editorial packages with the Early Years community.
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editor’s letter H
ello! Welcome to issue two of Early Years Business magazine. Thank you for coming back. Or, if this is the first issue you’ve read, thank you for checking us out! I’m Vanessa, Editor of EYB.
Dr Margaret Simms Dr. Margaret C. Simms is an educator and early years consultant at ProCEEd Consultancy based in Nottinghamshire. Her work focuses on equipping Early Years practitioners, professionals and parents for their increasingly challenging roles. She has extensive experience in Early Years, Further and Higher Education. Margaret set up ‘ProCEEd’ to meet providers’ needs for affordable Early Years consultancy offering training, research, evaluation and events. E: email@example.com www.proceedc.com Twitter: @ProCEEdc
Jon Cooper Jon has been helping people start up businesses for a few years now. Through guides, blogs and events, and he has been privileged to see people chasing their dreams and starting amazing new ventures. With EYB, it’s fantastic to be a part of helping people start and grow a childcare business and think about how we can challenge ourselves and do more with the resources that are available. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorriane Frankish Lorriane currently working for the Pre-school Learning Alliance as a early years tutor, teaching and assessing those with their Level 3 qualification. She has many years experience working as a development worker for Lincolnshire. Recently Lorraine has been responsible for setting up and overseeing fathers’ groups for children centres. E: email@example.com
Jose Dias Jose Dias is the Director at Legacy Early Years and Childcare, a specialist bespoke support agency offering all areas of Business Intervention, Development & Strategy. We have over 20 years of experience in local authorities, private and charity sectors and many, many outstanding Ofsted inspections behind us. E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.leyc.co.uk Special thanks to the EYB Team Deborah Moutia, Jess Milton, Devron Cariba and Jon Cooper. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved No part of Early Years Business magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the editor.
I really appreciate the individual feedback shared over social media and email; it’s amazing how a few nice words have kept us all smiling. As some of you already know, EYB is a resource to help you run your childcare business. We want to inspire and inform you to run a great business that grows as far as your imagination is willing. With that in mind, this edition focuses on the essentials of communications, marketing, information technology (ICT) and partnerships. If you’re interested in advice that you can take away and start using today in your business, make sure you keep reading. Communications, marketing, ICT and partnerships are four areas of your business that can easily slip away if you don’t stop and take stock of how their doing every now and again. With this issue, we want to give you a chance to see if you could be doing more to bring in new customers that will love the service you offer. From why you should be blogging to how to use your local PR, we’ve covered communications, marketing, ICT and partnerships from every angle. One thing I will say is that a lot of what lies ahead relies on your brand guidelines. Never figured those out? Have a quick think about how you want to define your business and how you want it to be viewed by other people. It’s an important step! Early Years Business magazine is still at the start of its journey, so we need you to tell us what your business is looking for. Is there a particular subject you need advice on? Is there something holding your business back? Tweet us at @EYBusiness. We’ll make sure we get an answer for you, but it’ll also show us what could really help other people who are running childcare businesses across the country. This magazine exists to offer real support to real business leaders. We can’t do that without you, so get involved. Get tweeting and let us know if anything from this issue changes how you handle communications, marketing, ICT and partnerships. Thank you!
Vanessa EYB 03
Whatâ€™s inside? REGULARS 06
EYB On The Streets
EYB Book Bites
Keeping An Eye On Two-Year-Old Children
Business Sustainability Series Part 2 - How Safe Are Your IT Systems?
Getting The Best Out Of Managing Team Meetings
A-Z Of Partnerships With Fathers
Nine Steps To Access Business Support
Branding Your Settings For Impact
Benefits Of Blogging
How To Do PR Locally
Vanessa Cariba Editor email@example.com Jon Cooper Early Years Specialist Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Jess Milton Designer email@example.com Debbie Moutia Digital Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org Devron Cariba Editorial Advisor email@example.com Advertising & Sales If you would like to contribute to EYB Magazine contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The content of Early Years Business Magazine is for general information only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation upon which a specific decision should be made. Early Years Business Magazine has done its best to ensure the accuracy and currency of the materials contained on its website but excludes any warranty express or implied as to quality, accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness for a particular purpose of the material contained this website. Early Years Business Magazine will not be liable for any claims, penalties, loss, damages or expenses arising from the use or the inability to use the magazine or from any unauthorised access or alteration to the magazine [by a third party] Images courtesy of Home Retail Group; Microsoft Corporation; SXC; Little Bears Nursery Group; Hutchinson 3G
EYB On The Streets
London desperate for 10,000 more childcare workers The capital is calling out for new recruits to step up to the challenge of childcare. Are you one of the thousands of businesses struggling to build a team? In London, it is estimated that 10,000 more childcare workers are needed to meet the demand of working parents. There are more underbefore, and that means there is a constantly growing need for skilled and passionate people to care for them. This care either needs to come from new childcare businesses people through its doors, or through existing businesses cater for more young people. Since 2010, there has been a 10% increase in the number of three and four year olds entering you witnessed the responded? through without maybe it’s time to
consider expanding. Also, if you’re reading this and wondering if it’s the right time to start a childcare business, it looks like the answer is yes! The trend of growing demand for early years businesses and workers is set to continue when next year’s “tax free childcare” Bill kicks in. to £2,000 a year towards childcare costs per child. So what’s holding people back from jumping on this demand for childcare workers? the pay. Jill Rutter, head of policy and research at the Family and Childcare of early years workers found they are some of the worst paid professionals, earning less than cleaners and people do not stay in this profession for long.” Do you see this as a problem in the industry? Have you had trouble Let us know on Twitter at @EYBusiness.
EYB On The Streets
Get £500 to start your childcare business Are you thinking of starting up an early years business? You could get an extra boost
£500 to anyone at the start of their journey with their business. The Childcare Business Grant £500 to people in England who want to start their own childcare business. Its lifespan appeared to be coming to an end, but it has now been extended until 31 December 2014. has already helped more than 4,500 entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, and it could be a great way to unlock some extra marketing or equipment capital for you. The Childcare Business Grant Scheme, launched in April 2013,
“Without the help of the grant, setting up my business wouldn’t have been possible.” support to more than 7,000 new childcare enterprises. So, you could be one of 3,000 more
extending the scheme until the end of the year. I would urge anyone who is interested to apply as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss out.” Becky Padley, who started her own child minding business in
As well as marketing or equipment, the money could
“Without the help of the grant, setting up my business wouldn’t
rent, as well as any other cost
cash to join the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, join the national childcare register, pay for my
days of starting your business. Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women, said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for people who are starting up their own child minding or nursery business. We to help budding entrepreneurs with some of their start-up costs.
checks and also do some
To apply, head to www. childcarebusinessgrants.dcms.
already applied for a grant,
EYB On The Streets
How the government are helping to give all children a healthy start in life The way children are treated before they are born and in
can grow up in good health and with as many opportunities as possible. There are
and opportunities later in life.
focused on increasing health and safety amongst children. To see a full
children a healthy start in life” policy. There are so many factors that healthy a child is and how able
keen to highlight...
children a healthy start in life” children-a-healthy-start-in-life These policies can help you plan work alongside the programmes
less chance of becoming obese
or look for holes in what they
when they get older.
• Children who grow up in a safe relationship with their parents are more likely to do better as they go through life. These are two of many areas
There is a particular focus on health, and this is something your childcare business could on. Do you nurture a culture of
to help parents so that children
Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill 2014 Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill (SBEEB) is now at it’s Second Stage of reading and as an insight we would encourage our readers to ‘tweet’ updates and follow discussions to assess if there are changes that would support or impact your childcare 08 EYB
business. According to Parliament UK, 99% of the 4.9 million trading businesses in 2013 were small and medium enterprises (SME). This equates to 14,424,000 people being employed by an SME of which a proportion of these will be in Early Years. Similarly the most common deterrents of growing a small business
“Giving all children a healthy start in life” policy page here: healthy-start-in-life” lifestyle in your early years to increase the health of the children and their families you’re you to be asking yourself right now.
recruitment of skills.
to highlight some of the many changes that may (or may not) enable business growth. On one side we see the introduction of schemes that will mean banks will increase loan schemes at lower interest rates; a series of
EYB On The Streets
funding programmes to access start up loans; as well as business and angel partnerships lead by extracted that the Business Rate Relief Scheme 2014 will support up to 360,000 SMEâ€™s which some of the early years businesses The Employer Allowance entitles employee reductions of ÂŁ2,000 in NI contributions.
On the other side of the coin, the SBEEB will introduce the exemption of OFSTED registration in schools for two year olds. So
time for the House of Commons
years business? What does this mean for your email@example.com and we will publish them in the next issue or Tweet us @eybusiness. EYB 09
Keeping an Eye on Two-YearOld Children Dr Margaret Simms shares the links between GCSE English and Mathematics Grade C or above, Early Years Educators, staffing ratios and 2 year olds in school. One way to boost the quality of early years students One can reasonably expect professionals in childcare and early education in England strong grasp of English and Maths to support children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). After consultation with Early Years experts Professor Cathy Nutbrown (CYPN 2012) agreed that, To boost the quality of early years students, beginning a L3 early education or childcare course. At the time, L2 meant either GCSE
Edexcel 2014). Early years educators In March this year requirements for the new Early Years Educator (EYE) course commencing September 2014 left many people confused. An up date in May stated that ‘to make sure the literacy and numeracy of students wishing to become early educators is adequate, all entrants
and GCSE Grade Week 2014) but from August 2014
‘functional skills will not be accepted as 2014). The doubtful good news is that there to GCSE Grade C or
2014) or L2 Functional
and Mathematics’ (DfE 2014). Further Education (FE)
Education (GCE) English and maths ‘Ordinary’
Education (CSE) EYE focus link between English, Maths and EYEs I now focus on EYE itself. EYE is not a course, it is a ‘badge of quality assigned to meet the new ‘full and criteria for promoting the right course content and pedagogical (Freeston 2013) practitioners need to work with children in the EYFS. These
EYB Feature (Ofqual). At the time of writing ‘the EYE badge’ has been pinned on the
Not counted in the ratios
• CACHE L3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce
Early Years Educator badge will not count in the ratios unless they
Credit Framework QCF) • CACHE L3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care (Vocationally Related
English and Maths, but if these grades are essential EYE entry criteria this should not happen.
(Technical) Diploma for the Early Years Practitioner (VRQ) Diploma For the Early Years Practitioner (QCF) • Pearson BTEC L3 Children’s Play, Learning and •Pearson BTEC L3 National Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and •Pearson Edexcel L3 Diploma in Children’s Learning and
ratios My musings cause me to consider a direcopposed by the Early Years Sector and associated organisations - such as the Children’s Society (2013) and National Children’s Bureau (NCB) (2014) that is to increase the ratios of children to choice(DfE 2013)
“Early Years settings will only be able to use if they employ enough
Is this really making our system of Early Years
Early years settings will only be able to use if they employ enough
Settings might be required to meet one of a range of possible criteria. For example Ratios based on the with children – so that
Maths GCSE can use the pp.32-33). Two year olds in school Bearing in mind that the Early Years Sector spoke out against higher ratios, the wording ‘Early years settings will only be able to child ratios if ...’ and Freeston’s comments in June 2013 ‘Only EYE status will be recognised as triggering a my thoughts are that if this direction ratios are likely to change ... only Early Years Educators CSE Grade 1 English and Maths will count in the without the ‘full and go ... Early Years Educators will work the EYFS alongside Early Years Professionals (EYPs) Early Years Teachers (EYTs) and the like ... children will start school at the age of two ... Or is it just me?
Assistants to teachers You will recall that More Great Childcare (DfE -
able in certain listed circumstances. The ‘introduction of Early Years Teachers and Early Years Educators’ supports this intention (pp 31-32). Mentioned in the same breath as Early Years Teachers and ratios Early Years Educators made their debut as ‘assistants to p.7). Later, in The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Setting the standards for learning, for children from birth ‘children aged three sion [not just nursery classes] where a person Status, Early Years Professional Status, Early Years Teacher Status or another is working directly with the children’. Large classes, small children Now I see large classes with one teacher and an assistant. What do you see? EYB EYB 011
1 2 3 4 5 EYB
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Business Sustainability Series Part 2 How safe are your IT systems?
As we continue our business sustainability series, we look at the important subject of protecting your IT infrastructure. Some 82 per cent of Britain’s 4.9million small and medium-sized businesses believe they are not a potential target of cyber attacks from fraudsters because they are too small or don’t have anything worth stealing, according to a study by Kaspersky mistakes to avoid as a childcare business online and some guidelines to avoid cyber-crime.
#1 Train your employees
Hire a trainer with specialist knowledge to train your employees to stay safe online and spot potential threats when using the your own in-house training based on a host of free information already online or to be extra sure,
market. Some of the factors of any training should include how to use strong passwords, spot suspect emails or sites and protect company area then you are opening yourself up to the risk of business interruption.
#2 Know your data – keep it safe
Your data is at the heart of your business so putting in place the
information, customer data, employee information and company intellectual property, should be taken seriously. One of the biggest data collection scoops in early years is between the local authority and childcare businesses for the headcount data collection. Depending on the Local Authority some may use a cloud-based system and others may use spreadsheets to
EYB Feature support their funding proposals. Either way, ensure you with the right access to limit any data breach or mishandling. Once you need to make sure you back up
backed-up and secure. Imagine the impact on your childcare business if your data was lost?
#3 Protect your network and devices
Whether you are a childminder or a nursery, this step applies to reduce a serious risk. Your network
needs protecting and can be appropriate measures are not put in place. You should also protect any business such as mobile phones, tablets and external storage
directed at web browsers through use of compromised or malicious web sites. This problem is made
information. Digital shredding before disposal is the minimum precaution to take for any childcare business.
• The tendency for users to click on links without considering the risks of their actions. • Web page addresses disguised to take you to an unexpected site. • Many web browsers are
Questions to consider:
functionality at the cost of decreased security. • Internet enabled third-party updates. •Many web sites require that users enable certain features or install more software, putting the computer at additional risk. • Many businesses do not know browsers securely. Web browsers and the Internet are constantly changing so keeping an eye on both is worthwhile.
#6 Create clear cyber security policies want to work remotely.
#4 Keep your facilities safe
Needless to say that this is high up on your business priorities as the children’s safety is paramount to any childcare business. But what you should also consider is the safety of your physical items. Do you keep track of anyone entering Do you lock important rooms with asset list of important items?
#5 Protect your website and ensure safe browsing
Websites are being bombarded and
Equally it is important to protect employees and customers from There is an increasing threat from software attacks that take browsers whereby new software
business and personal data to employees. It should be clear about the storing and sharing of data; the use of social media at work; what types of information is held by the business; and the use of BYOD are using third party software as Childcare, Parenta, QuickBooks, include the management how the software is integrated in the business and who is responsible for management.
#7 Properly dispose of end-oflife devices and documents
Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their search for an opportunity, so properly disposing not be taken lightly. The new Apple your new equipment and then put your old pc out with the litter. Urm, not quite I think, as cybercriminals are known to target commercial
• What information do you collect? • How do you store the information? • Who has access to the information? • How do you protect your data? • What steps are you taking to secure your computers, network, email and other tools?
DAY’ Kaspersky Lab, along with Barclays,
carry your business data are protected by strong passwords, regardless of whether the equipment is company or employee-owned. the dangers that can lurk in emails, web-links USB sticks, CDs etc. and consider introducing extra software suspicious-looking items.
online, including how to use strong passwords, spot suspect emails or sites, and protect company information. information stored on computers is backed-up and secure. Imagine how your business would cope if you had to get through the day without it. of any user-friendly Internet security software specially created for small smartphones, laptops, tablets, computers, WiFi and networks. Don’t forget about physical security as well – keep things out of sight and the site locked up Protecting your IT infrastructure can for childcare business users and so we minimise risks, maintain your legal
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Ten tips to take you from ‘good’
We believe Ofsted is not the be-all-and-end-all. No matter what they say today, tomorrow the sun will still rise, the earth will still orbit the sun and children will still come in. So…a great Ofsted brings joy, jubilation and relief, but moreso, it should be seen as the icing on the cake of accomplishment. A veritable feast to be celebrated and, once received, well…then we have to keep it!
Walk through reception, baby room, parents room, and actually look at the environment, the walls, the notice board, the information, detail, care and the quality. Generally when I do this exercise people are surprised at what they see..
Use all the information Ofsted provides to you
Ofsted has an abundance of reports, video clips, articles and information to go along with the evaluation schedule and grade descriptors which spell out how and what they will be looking for. This means you know what to be clear to demonstrate.
Capacity for sustained improvement
As ‘they’ say – Whilst we get lost in the inspection day, remember that our role is to show progress over time. The inspection will take into account the timeframe from last inspection to present day, so show what has changed, why and the result of changes.
Your SEF not your SELF
A big misgiving we see is that there is plenty of ‘self’ information but very little evidence of ‘evaluation’. Don’t hide mistakes, actions or attempts to improve service. Use them as a focal point to demonstrate continuous improvement and aspirational leadership and show this as evaluation of practice.
Get your staff used to being watched
Data, data, data
Throw in challenges like serving lunch 10 minutes late without notice and see how they adapt to everyday circumstances. At last, one to thank the Scouts for…Be Prepared!
Data is a cornerstone of outstanding leadership and management and pivotal in the current inspection framework. Like a car’s MOT, thoroughly analyse data about your setting. Look for patterns, trends and impact. Showcase your data as a tool for decision-making and impacting service. Quick win, your local health authority priorities, e.g. anti-obesity (link this to your healthy menus, healthy snacks and leaflets you have available).
Be every wall and every notice board
We all know how hard it can be to free up time, but we can’t stress enough how important team, room and staff meetings are; with targeted outcomes and timeframes recorded, written up and follow up. This includes individual/group practice supervision. Know everything about your setting - every child’s progress, every employee’s issues, concerns and areas for development in a continuous cycle of self-improvement. Jose Diaz Director @ Legacy Early Years and Childcare A specialist bespoke support agency offering all areas of Business Intervention, Development & Strategy. We have over 20 years of experience in local authorities, private and charity sectors and many, many outstanding Ofsted inspections behind us.
Evidence is key
Take the approach that if I can’t show something in a physical, tangible format; it never happened. Reports, summaries, action plans, consultation, evaluation -whatever it is, have it to hand and show its impact.
Parents and stakeholders
A massive resource for Early Years establishments. Look to channel opinions, consultation and evidence collected and then funnel it back to show how practice has been shaped by those in contact with your service. A ‘you said we did’ board, information booklet, and even feedback on your newsletters all show your holistic approach.
Your children are your evidence
Show the progress children have made and be aspirational in all areas of children’s development. Be confident to showcase your children, their behaviour and their development.
Remember that you are the master of your domain, and nobody knows your setting better than you - its journey, its ups and downs, challenges and tribulations. All of this is your Ofsted journey. Look for evidence in everything and always keep it to demonstrate how things have changed.
Stop playing tug of Get the best out of your team meetings Are you managing your team meetings effectively? If not then it can affect performance, low moral and loss of communications. Dr Margaret Simms outlines how you can structure your meetings to keep your team focused. Managing team meetings Team meetings! Like them or loath them, they are here to stay. If team meetings are to stand a sporting chance of being
Not all Early Years practitioners are born with the skills to manage team meetings measure of those skills may be acquired by engaging in candid Looking back and learning from meetings] helps to construct new knowledge about oneself and the world [of team meetings] (Trodd Rotating chair In the absence of any legislation requiring Early Years managers to chair their own team meetings, managers are free to delegate as they wish. Adopting a rotating turns to manage meetings (with back-up if necessary) this frees managers from the constraints EYB
of keeping order. It also enables Relinquishing power in this way may also help promote unity as
A TM contribution Regardless of who takes the chair, an Early Years team the contributions of the people in it. Contributions to team meetings are undoubtedly contributor is professionally last meeting before approaching the next cannot be understated.
also the contributions of Dewey (1938), and Piaget (1970) to his own work on experiential learning theory and learning style. Meggitt and Bruce (2014, p.533) Cycle (1988) as another example. I highly recommend my tion for anyone desiring to manage Early Years team
It works as follows:
Think of the last team meeting you were in and describe the members during the meeting, including you. Descriptors like
Remember last time? Before running headlong into the next team meeting professeasoned process of learning. A basic four stage cycle works well. The one suggested below takes its lead from an ‘experiential learning process’ that is often attributed to Kolb (1984). acknowledged Kurt Lewin (1890 – 1947) as its founder, citing
domineering, passionate, sarcastic, unkind, gullible, moody, tactless and loyal may come to mind. Record your thoughts any way that suits your learning style. Visual learners may appreciate the spider diagram example in (Fig.1).
EYB Feature apposite facial expression and body language in front of a
members at the last team meeting
at the next team meeting with a the wrong impression. Similarly, or be hurtful to the one being promoted.
attitudes at Thursday’s team meeting
Planning and preparing what? A manager calls a whole team meeting to share information
Meeting atmosphere Get a feel of the atmosphere of the meeting. Was it calm, helpful, boring, hard-going, or
Planning and preparation for team meetings? Yeah! Yeah! Meeting planning and preparation begins once the not until! A quick think is better than nothing, but managing team
“Contributions to team meetings are
nursery. Miscommunication preparing to share information the meeting the manager and
the room, unaware of the strong emotions she has just stirred up preparing their contributions for all the other children. Was the team meeting managed
Consider now the relationships between the attitudes and enlightening factors had on the meeting – and compare to other team meetings Unquestionably, this process will help shatter stumbling blocks and unearth hidden treasures in planning and preparation for the next team meeting.
. Yes, planning is integral to managing preparation and practice. Many a plan made on a Monday fades preparation is made towards its Implementing the plan successfully takes preparation and practice. Some Early Years
and error but with Continuing and whole team training, There are also some ways to including clear communications,
rehearsing pertinent points and EYB
EYB Feature Creative agenda
is required to attend. Where
actual meeting. An agenda – or
programme – is a useful tool for keeping the meeting on track. It is pointless to waste time formatting a Word document and printing out copies of an much for inspiring for professionals in childcare and early education. By setting
“Yes, planning is integral to managing
space (notice board are so ‘old hat’) the team are able to take responsibility in the communication process. an excellent way of working. in a broader and deeper Countdown Remember germane and promptly, stay on point and get the job done with the minimum of fuss and maximum use of the knowledge, skills, experience and insight of team members. Keep an eye on the countdown clock. Earn bonus points for managing team meetings
minutes early or bang on time. EYB
Dr. Margaret C. Simms is an educator and early years consultant at ProCEEd Consultancy here. start, says Ofsted.
Thesis Retention of Early Years Practitioners in Day Nurseries (unpublished).
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A-Z of Partnerships With Fathers
Lorraine Frankish shares her A-Z on inclusiveness of fathers to implement in your childcare business today. A is for Attitude
Fathers matter a great deal to their children. They have an important role within their children’s lives, and increasingly want to be fully involved in their children’s lives. Many children and family services are still predominantly mother-focused and often struggle to engage with fathers as a result. You could start by observing the welcome you give all parents. Are you giving fathers the same attention and warm welcome as you do mothers?
B is for Best practice Working with fathers isn’t about changing everything we do; it’s about making small, simple changes. For example, when sending out newsletters, address them to both mothers and fathers rather than “parents”. This way fathers will feel included.
Check out your settings documentation. Are you getting information from both mothers and fathers? Invite fathers to give their views about how you’re doing and ask if they would do anything differently.
C is for the Complex role of being a parent That includes fathers too!
Of all the jobs in the world, being a parent is one of the most difficult. We all know that children can be challenging and demanding. In order to help parents help their children, we as professionals need to acknowledge this fact and show them ways to be more effective. This important principle applies both to mothers and fathers.
D is for Dad’s groups – why not set one up!
These can work well (especially when they involve activities with fathers and their children) and can be a useful stepping stone into other activities. Why not engage fathers by running sessions where dads and their children work together on an allotment, visit sports facilities or take part in music or photography projects. However, in order to engage successfully with fathers, it is important to find out their needs and assess what you are offering.
E is for Engagement
Engaging with fathers will benefit the whole family. Research shows that children are more likely to achieve their full potential, and it can take the pressure off mothers too.
F is for Fathers Recognise and celebrate the value of fathers. Fatherhood in Britain has changed over recent decades; fathers care of infants and young children has increased eightfold since 1975 and the average dad now spends two hours each weekday with his children while undertaking a quarter of child-related tasks. We should all be working with fathers to support them in becoming the best dads they can be.
G is for Getting it right - a “whole team” approach Working together as a team has always been important when introducing any new policy. Listening to each others views and sharing best practice will help build confidence. Observing each other and evaluating our practice will lead to better outcomes.
H is for Dads having fun with their children Getting to know the fathers to find out what kind of activities they like is vital. If fathers are welcomed into the setting and can see their children having fun and enjoying their learning, they will feel more inclined to want to join in. Tim Kahn’s recent research for the Pre-school Learning Alliance demonstrated that “In terms of the activities that settings offered that were aimed specifically at including fathers, it was not just the topic of the activity that might appeal to fathers, but that consultation with fathers could play an important part in affecting whether fathers chose to attend or not.”
I is for Information
For more information here are some useful organisations: The Fatherhood Institute www.fatherhoodinstitute.org The Pre-school Learning Alliance www.pre-school.org.uk The Department for Children, Schools and Families www.dcsf.gov.uk
J is for Joined-up thinking Clear leadership and a careful planning are important factors in ensuring that everyone in your setting is committed to engaging with fathers. Management and leaders need to support staff to implement new policy. Take a look at job specifications and descriptions; do they reflect the setting’s policy of involving fathers in their child’s learning?
K is for Key issues Do you know who the fathers are and if so how they like to be addressed? In order for fathers to be involved, their details should be included on registration forms – even if they do not live with their children.
L is for Learning Fathers play an active role in their children’s lives and you can learn their perspective about their child. Time spent with dad or important father figures should be encouraged just as much you engaging with fathers.
M is for Making a difference
N is for the National picture
The evidence is there: fathers definitely can make a difference to their child’s learning and development. Make changes now to your parental involvement policy that reflect the importance of working with fathers as well as mothers.
There is now growing evidence that promoting fathers’ involvement in their child’s learning and care can enhance development. Consequently, fatherhood is seen in national policy and practice. Since 1 April 2008, there has been a statutory duty on local authorities to provide mothers, as well as fathers and carers with a range of high quality information, advice and assistance to support their children up to their 20th birthday.
O is for Ongoing monitoring and evaluation Tracking your settings progress in engaging fathers is fundamental to best practice. Monitor the number of fathers who are really involved in your setting. Keep a record of the number of fathers you are involved with, and regularly track progress.
P is for Professionalism Welcome fathers and make them feel like they belong at your setting by being a ‘professional friend’.
Q is for Questions Why not devise a questionnaire to find out what the fathers at your setting think of the service provided, and whether or not they feel included? Use their responses as a discussion point at a staff meeting or training session.
R is for Resources You could set up activities using resources that are traditionally thought of as more likely to engage fathers – e.g. woodwork tools or footballs. However it is important to remember that all fathers are different. We should not make assumptions, but should aim to include them in all our activities. A father would be interested in the contents of a treasure basket for example, once he sees how fascinated his baby is in exploring shells, brushes and spoons.
S is for Keeping it Simple. It’s not rocket science! The simplest way to find out how to engage fathers is to ask them! Ask what they like about your setting and if and why they feel welcome. Ask them how you could improve your provision. Remember that you only need to change certain aspects of your practice to make fathers involvement a reality.
T is for Training Check with your Local Education Authority to see what training is available in your area for early years practitioners. The Fatherhood Institute and the Pre-school Learning Alliance are a good point of reference for raising awareness about working with fathers.
V is for having a Vast amount of experience at your disposal Make it a whole team approach and use your team’s expertise to make your engaging with fathers policy happen. Remember that fathers will have a vast amount of experience to bring to your setting.
W is for the Way Forward The workforce is still strongly female-dominated. However, many centres are actively trying to work with fathers. Having some identifiable strategy for working with fathers matters, fathers often find the activities offered - such as crafts and alternative therapies – unappealing and ‘unmanly’. They prefer more active and practically-focused things to do, such as outdoor activities and DIY. Work with fathers to cater for wider interests in the context of fathers as men, not just as child carers.
Y – Yes we can! We can work with fathers – and because research tells us it will make a difference to the child and the father, we should begin to address the barriers and challenges to make it happen and raise awareness about working with fathers.
U is for Understanding... Understanding first that there will be barriers, and then considering how to tackle them. Understanding that research shows that fathers want to be involved and that this is beneficial to the whole family. As with all early years practice, we need to be continually monitoring and evaluating how well we are working.
X is for the X-factor... That special ingredient that your setting already has for working with parents. Make it include fathers too! You’re probably already working well with mothers. Review your partnership with parents written policy. Will it make fathers too feel welcome? Change the wording so fathers know that you think they count. Put your new approach into practice using the skills you already have. Learn from each other and make the most of your strengths.
Z is for Zoning in We As professionals we know it makes sense, so be pro-active in zoning in on your work involving fathers. Make simple changes and see what a difference you can make. Unless otherwise stated, fathers are defined inclusively to mean both birth fathers and other men who play a significant fatherly role in children’s lives.
Lorraine Frankish works for the Pre-school Learning Alliance as a early years tutor, teaching and assessing those with their Level 3 qualification. She has many years experience working as a development worker for Lincolnshire. Recently she has been responsible for setting up and overseeing fathers groups for children centres.
Next Issue People People People
COMING NOVEMBER 2014 WWW.EYBMAG.COM
Nine steps to access business support There’s a lot of help around when you’re starting a childcare business, it’s just not always obvious where it is. With so many people starting and growing their businesses across the country, there’s never a shortage of support, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find. Here are our nine ways you can get the backup you need to take your childcare business to the next level. Peers
If you’re still viewing other local childcare business as nothing more than the competition, it’s time to re-evaluate your stance. No one is going to have more advice to offer you than someone who has already started a business similar to yours in your local area. And, despite popular opinion, chances are they will be willing to share what they’ve learnt. Local communities need collaboration between childcare business, and the only way to create that is through open sharing of knowledge, not private hording of a few tips and tricks.
On a local level, there are a lot of organisations willing to offer you advice, support and even funding. Make sure you look into all of them. Whether they are provided by councils, charities focused on childcare or education systems, there will be more organisations waiting to help you than you think. All it takes is a quick search on Google to see if there is something relevant in your area. You may not have heard of something because advertising spend on these projects is often very slim, so don’t be afraid to go looking for them yourself rather than waiting for them to come to you.
EYB Focus Banks
People have a certain view of banks. They think the most they can offer is money, if you’re willing to jump through hoops and fill out endless forms. But, this isn’t really the case. Banks are full of insightful people who know a lot about the steps it takes to create a sustainable business.
Do you know why there are so many business books out there? Two reasons. They are worthwhile, and what they can offer is constantly changing. As technology and society changes, so does the advice you need to hear. While some of the classics stay relevant, keeping up to date with the latest business books will help you stay on top of every opportunity.
Do you keep an eye out for the kind of networking events that could help your business? If not, have a look around. www.eventbrite.co.uk is full of inspiring events mixing business advice with the chance to talk to other entrepreneurs who are going through the same thing as you are. Whether you learn something new, or start a partnership that could change the future of your business, it will easily be worth an evening of your time to interact with other business owners.
If you’ve never taken the time to stop by your bank and find out how they can help you, I recommend you do it soon.
StartUp loans Despite what banks can offer, they can’t fund every business. If the support you need is focused on financial backing, look into the government backed StartUp Loans scheme. As well as up to £10,000 in funding, you get a business mentor who will be on hand to help you pinpoint the opportunities and flaws in your business idea. It’s a great chance to get more out of your business, so check out www.startuploans. co.uk.
To discover the top six business books of 2014 so far, flick to page 35.
Digital world On top of printed books, there’s also a constantly updating world of business advice online. There’s no end to the list of websites offering you advice about tax, insurance, technology or just motivation.
We want Early Years Business to be your hub for help on how to grow your childcare business. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to pretend there aren’t some other very insightful people out there. Look around at different websites and see what’s available EYB training (www.virgin.com/entrepreneur is a great starting point). Once you’ve We’re here to help, and we want found your favourites, make sure to help in any way we can. As well you sign up to their newsletters to as the magazine, we’ve got blogs get updates that could help you and guides online to help you get the most out of your business. You down the line. can also contact us on Twitter to let us know if there’s a particular area we can help with. We want EYB to be about you and your businesses, so get in touch!
Mentoring Not everyone is going to have the time to be a mentor to you and your business, but, if you find someone, it can change everything for you. A mentor should be someone with experience in your field, advice to share and contacts that can help you take your business to the next level. If you’re looking for a mentor, make sure you’re attending networking events and talking to a wide range of people. You never know who you might meet. Also, try to offer them something too. It can be as simple as a bit of good publicity, but you don’t want it to be a completely one sided relationship. For one way to find a great business mentor, check out www.mentorsme.co.uk
Branding your setting to make an impact A few little touches can go a long way when it comes to how you set up your childcare business. Whether it’s in your own home, a rented hall, or a permanent space, there’s a lot you can do to make an impact with your branding. It all starts with knowing who your Why branding matters Branding doesn’t always rank highly on a list of priorities when it’s time to start a childcare business, but getting it right can be such a big help down the line. Making sure your communications carry consistent messages, using the same colours in your setting as on your website and highlighting what’s special about your business will make an impact on your customers. It’ll make them remember you the way you want to be rememit will make them talk about you the way you want to be spoken about. Branding matters more than you might think, and branding your setting is the most powerful part of it all. Getting the surroundings of your business right will make young people feel more at home, increase parent’s recognition of you, and get
local parent possible. Know your brand into making your setting look nice, understand your own brand. This includes the big things (those brand guidelines!) and the small things, like what colours you want to be associated with. ered a lot of these things when creating your website, designing your setting or buying products to use in your childcare business, but it will help you to get it all nailed down.
setting, write down the answers to these four questions • In three words, how would I want someone to describe my business? • What three colours do I want to use in my setting and website? competition? • What is my tone of How to brand your setting to make an impact these questions answered, you can start using them to Make sure those three describe your business are If “fun” is there, make sure anyone who walks through the door with you. If “community” is part of your aim, create picture boards of groups of children enjoying themdisplay. The colours are important too. People react well to colour schemes and
something as simple as considering what shade your in with the rest of your setting can impact the way parents will remember and talk about your business. people as possible. If you use a spechildren, create a display board
of letting them know that without them asking. These things business for you. communication with young people and carers. While it has a huge impact on your written work for your website and your emails, it is also about how you speak to people face to face. Go back to those three words and make sure you carry those in the way you interact with local people. Remember, you are building a brand yourself, and the most crucial part of that is embodying what complaining to parents about local education to young people if you are using poor English in your speech. Find the ways to be fun, is your business longs to be. Once you are acting these out yourself, it will become a lot easier for you to see how to brand your setting in the same way. Then, you’ll be able to build an image in the minds of parents and guide them to bringing you new customers to you from their friends and families.
How to do PR locally Childcare businesses don’t need to employ full time staff to handle PR. You definitely don’t need to shell out the kind of money agencies require. Your PR just needs to be local and effective, and it needs to come out of relationships with the people who matter. Why go local? Some people believe focusing on PR can be a complete waste of time. When PR is done wrong, those people are right. If all you care about is how many papers or blogs feature your name, you’re chasing an irrelevant number and your time would be better spent working on your business. But, if you know what your audience is reading, and you can get your business presented in the right light, PR can do wonders to help you bring in new customers. Getting PR right for your childcare business all starts with knowing it’s about local papers, not national titles. It’s about the small blogs with a dedicated following, not the huge ones everyone’s heard of. You can spend weeks chasing a single piece of coverage in a national paper, and there’s a good chance it’ll win fewer customers than one conversation with a local
reporter. That’s because your customers are local. If you’re a running a before school club in Bradford, a glowing review of your business in the Bradford Gazette (that paper may or may not actually exist) is going to bring in far more interested parents than a line in a national title.
The different kinds of coverage There’s more than one way to get your name mentioned. While a long, positive review with great pictures on the front pages is the highest form of PR, it’s not the beginning and end of what you should be searching for. The important thing to remember is that how a piece of coverage portrays you is far more important than how long it is.
Do you have your brand guidelines handy? Those short statements that define who your business is and what it offers. You should keep them with you at all times when hunting down local coverage. If you want to be seen as a fun place to be, you don’t want to be putting out boring coverage. If you want to be known for offering great education, never provide a comment that can be proved factually wrong. These are simple steps, but they are the ones that will help all of your coverage bring in new business. Here’s a list of the different ways you should be looking to win local coverage for your business • Reviews Find out which local journalists and bloggers are parents, and then offer them free spaces in your childcare service. Getting them to write one positive review of what you offer could bring in a lot of new customers. Make sure you have images ready for when they write about you. • Comments If there’s a local story that is relevant to childcare or business, contact someone at the local paper and offer to give a comment on it. Your quote will lead to a nice mention of your business, and will help you get recognised in your local area. • Sponsorship If there are local sports teams or events going on that need a little extra cash, look into whether it will be worth your money to become a sponsor. Local papers will often mention the businesses that have made something possible when they cover a story.
• Good deeds There are a lot of reasons to help the local community. One of these is for the coverage it brings. Local press will be happy to talk about your business if you’re going above and beyond to improve people’s lives in the area. It’s all about relationships As you’ve probably realised, all of these routes to coverage rely on you having someone to talk to. Building relationships with the journalists and bloggers you want to mention you is the most important part of local PR. It’s also the step you should start taking today. Don’t let the first time you contact someone be the moment when you want to get coverage. Send them an email now saying something along the lines of... Hey Dan, I read what you wrote about local businesses in the paper today. Great article! I’m x and I’m running y. It would be brilliant to talk some time, feel free to drop by if you get a second. Thanks. x Dan may not drop by. You may not even get a reply, but you’ll be on his radar and your next email won’t be a complete surprise. An alternative option is to start following these journalists and bloggers on Twitter and replying to the content they share. That’s always a big ego boost and an easy way to build that all important relationship. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there, start building the relationships that matter and winning the coverage that will bring in new customers! EYB 033
The benefits of blogging Should every childcare business be blogging? If you ask me, it’s an easy yes. Sure, it can take time away from other prioritises, but it is worth it. If you’re sitting on the fence, here are the four benefits of blogging that could convince you to start tapping away at your keyboard today. Showing off what you do As an early years business, you need to shout about what you do. If it takes people too long to find out what you offer and why you’re the right choice, you could lose customers. Blogging lets you put real examples of the amazing service you offer online. Don’t be afraid to ask customers for quotes. Positive comments from parents and children will be a huge selling point to anyone checking out your business. Branding Do you know what your brand is about? Have you got your core messages written down somewhere? If not, do it! Once you’ve got that taken care of, there’s no where better to show your values off than on your blog. The content you create should carry the essence of your business. If you give parents a fun place to leave their children, write fun blogs. If your focus is inspiring creativity in young people, make sure your blog is as creative as possible. Something to share Blogging gives other people an extra reason to talk about your childcare business. With such a high percentage of new customers coming from word of mouth, you need to ensure people are mentioning you as much as possible. Not only will writing something funny, insightful or interesting give a parent a reason to tell their friends about you, it will also give them something to link to in an email. 034 EYB
S.E.O. Blogging is the fastest way to get your website ranking higher on Google. The only hitch is, you need to do it regularly (hopefully three times a week) and you need to focus on what your audience is searching for. If you run a nursery in Newcastle, make sure you use those words as often as possible in your blogs. Whatever you do and wherever you do it, make sure you’re writing blogs with those words in. Then, when people search for a nursery in Newcastle, you’ll be as high on the list as possible. Inside tips... Be creative Blogging doesn’t just have to be about writing. People love to look at engaging pictures and watch videos of the services you offer. Get creative in the way you show off what your business does. Use freelancers If you don’t have time to write all the content yourself, check out websites like peopleperhour to see if there’s anyone with the skills to write your content for you. Get other people sharing your blogs To reach as many people as possible, you want everyone to be sharing your blogs. Build up a list of people who would be willing to post what you create on social media. Then, send them a fully written tweet that they can just copy and paste. It’s the best way to get people sharing your blogs.
EYB Regular The six best business books of 2014 (so far)
The number of choices you have when running a business is growing all the time. New ideas, new technology and new opportunities create an ever growing range of ways to improve your business. That’s why there’s always a steady stream of new business books. Here’s a look at the best business books of 2014 so far.
If you need to get more done - Essentialism: the Disciplined Pursuit of Less In a break from traditional business books that deal with proa selection of tips and tricks to help you do more every day. Instead, Essentialism provides a single approach to your day that aims to help you get the most out of each 24 hour slot. It’s all about
focusing on what matters most and putting that at the forefront of your mind. It’s great for anyone bogged down in endless to-do lists.
If you want to hold onto your team - The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age
If you want to inspire your team - Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
and keep them in love with your business? That’s one of the hardest questions for any early years business leader to answer. Luckily, Reid
Ed Catmull, the man behind Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, knows what it takes to keep a team inspired and engaged when times are hard. Along with Amy Wallace, he discusses what he had to do to keep the minds in his team razor sharp and make Pixar the height of its genre. Creativity, Inc. lays out what it takes to inspire your team
has teamed up with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh to share some of what they’ve learnt in the worlds of recruitment and business. Apparently, to retain your top talent you need to see them as allies, not free agents or family.
more creatively and stay committed to your brand. It will also make you a fountain of fun trivia to share at dinner parties. Did you know Toy Story was originally going to be a musical? Inbound Marketing will change the way you run your business forever.
If you’ve been pushing yourself too hard - Thrive: The Third Metric to Creating a Life of WellBeing, Wisdom, and Wonder If you need to be reminded of what matters in life, the story you. After creating The it become a massive success, Arianna collapsed from exhaustion, cutting her eye and breaking her cheekbone. It was a moment that taught her none of her success mattered if she couldn’t take care of herself. An exploration of why true success comes not only from money and power, but from well-being, this book will give you perspective and guidance if you feel you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Arianna uses research in psychology, sports and sleep to show how leading a life that focuses on happiness and health can help you achieve great things.
If you want to learn from the best - Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind learn from the man who created Twitter, Biz Stone. Things a Little Bird Told Me shares the professional life of someone who has achieved the incredible, and learnt a lot of valuable lessons along the way. This book is the embodiment of charm. It’s funny and inspiring without ever going near cheesy. If you want an honest account of how to start and grow a business, read Biz’s story. EYB 035
Early Years Business Magazine is a quarterly leadership and business magazine for professionals working in nursery's, children centres, crec...