Page 1

Newsletter Summer 2011

Teens & Toddlers at the Angel Update

Out & About

Get Connected

All together now for Royal Celebrations

Helping local parents make the grade

Encouraging baby talk 1

In this issue Update

Out & About

Get Connected

• Angel bridges the generation gap • Staff excel at sector conference • Outstanding for Queensborough • New nursery for LEYF • Degree students shine

• What do you do? • My LEYF experience • Luton Street community projects • Paddington Farm

• Fundraising • Diary dates • Top tips

Welcome Another warm welcome to our newsletter for parents, staff and friends of all kinds - just in time for summer! After well over a century helping children and parents from all walks of life, we are used to facing challenges head on; so whilst significant cuts to contracts and economic pressures make life more difficult than any of us would like, your continued encouragement and support never fails to inspire. In particular, I would like to thank those of you that were able to help with our recent research project, looking at the Social Return on Investment (SROI)* generated when parents, staff, donors, contractors, students and apprentices choose LEYF. Using questionnaires, focus groups and direct interviews, we asked and measured what benefits many of you felt were distinct to LEYF. The results were incredibly positive showing that LEYF is able to clearly demonstrate an additional social value to society when compared to other nurseries. For instance, better long term life chances for children – particularly those from homes unable to offer such a rich learning experience – or greater financial prospects for parents otherwise unable to afford high quality childcare.

in brief For parents, the immediate value was even more tangible when it came to feeling relieved about leaving children somewhere safe, having access to information and advice, along with support to help children learn and develop. Typical comments included: “I don’t think I could trust another nursery like this one” “I don’t have the energy at home to do the things he does here” “LEYF reduces my stress; I have a better relationship with my child and with my husband” By choosing a social enterprise nursery, parents not only discover children receive the best care and education possible; they also help us build a better future for London’s children, as we find innovative ways of doing more good with the limited funds we have available, and from the very heart of the local communities we support.

Since our last issue, LEYF has been officially awarded the Social Enterprise Mark by Chris White MP, Highly Commended at the Nursery World Awards (in both Food and Chain categories), received Sustain’s Good Food on the Public Plate award and shortlisted once again for the Social Enterprise Awards; and although we didn’t win this one, it’s an honour once again to reach the final stages across the whole of England – with over 200 entries to this year’s competition from an incredible 62,000 Social Enterprises now in the UK!

New nursery opens We are delighted to have now officially opened Noah’s Ark in Tower Hamlets as our latest LEYF community nursery. Part of Little Oaks Children’s Centre, the nursery was previously run by the HIV/AIDS charity Mildmay, who are now focusing on their work in Africa, and approached LEYF as a like-minded organisation that could ensure a smooth transition and better future for children, parents and staff in the popular setting.

For parents keen to help us further, we are now looking at ways to improve parent engagement – in particular, tightening the circle of effective learning between the nursery and the home. Please ask ? your nursery manager if you want to get did you know involved in this next exciting phase of our Our FREE 2011-12 Family research. Events & Recipe Calen Thank you for choosing us. We hope you agree that a service designed to maximise social value is one that has true value for everyone - and appreciate how you are leading the way by supporting us, London’s leading childcare Social Enterprise.

June O’Sullivan Chief Executive * SROI is a sophisticated tool for understanding, measuring and reporting on the social, economic and environmental impacts generated by an activity.


Awards Update

dar is now available in print and online – all donations welcome!

Degree students flying high Our parents tell us that quality of staff is one of the most critical factors when choosing a nursery - so we were delighted when 14 of ours recently passed their Foundation Degrees with flying colours. Although clearly hard work, all agreed it had given even greater focus to their thinking and understanding when it came to putting theory into practice in the nursery. As LEYF CEO, June declared herself quite simply ‘very proud’.

Bridging the generation gap at the Angel When David Stevens, manager of our Angel Community Nursery, was approached by the charity Teens and Toddlers about working with them, he was immediately interested. Teens and Toddlers places small groups of young people between the ages of 13-16 into nurseries. Here, whilst studying a set curriculum, they take on the responsibility of looking after a child for one afternoon every week. As LEYF has long been an active supporter of intergenerational practice, David saw the project as an ideal chance to help challenge negative stereotypes. Split into weekly units, the curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, such as looking after children, sexual health and being responsible for your own choices in life. The goal of the initiative, explains Lucille Francis-Hume, Project Manager at Teens and Toddlers, is to support vulnerable young people to develop life skills and aspirations. It also aims to improve emotional literacy, selfmanagement and awareness of others, whilst also giving students practical experience of what it’s like to care for a child. “It’s about how communicating with children and the things you teach them can be replicated in other aspects of your life,” she says. “The social skills the teenagers try to teach the children - like taking turns, sharing and showing respect for each other - they take away and use in other aspects of their own lives: in school and relationships with parents and peers.” Another aim is to help raise the student’s awareness of the implications of teenage pregnancy and help them to make mature decisions. “They learn that looking after children isn’t as easy as you think it’s going to be,” says Francis-Hume.

Learning together Teens & Toddlers shared play at the Angel

build “It helps shy teenagers e skills around confidenc ds and gives disengaged ki it to” something to comm an s d Toddlers

There’s no set criteria for those who get chosen for the project but, as en Francis-Hume explains, what you Lucille Francis-Hume, Te get out of it depends on the type of person you are. “It helps shy teenagers build skills around confidence was positive to see men working with and gives disengaged kids something children. The students are acting as to commit to, showing them that, positive role models for the children, with work and support, they can find whilst male staff were role models for something they’re good at.” them.” Angel’s first group of students started last September, meeting every Tuesday afternoon for 15 weeks. Two sets of four teenagers, girls and boys, alternated between coming into the nursery and studying in a nearby classroom. Permission from each parent was sought before the project began, with everyone very positive about their child being involved. Each teenager worked one-on-one with a child, with the support of nursery staff and facilitators from the charity. The children, David adds, responded well. One of the teenagers spoke a little Italian, so he was able to talk with a toddler whose first language was Italian. Another student became very interested in working with children with special needs and asked if he could do work experience at the nursery. Unusually for a nursery, Angel has a majority of male staff, which FrancisHume says was great for the group. “It

Overall, the project was a success: attendance was high and everyone completed the course. Seven out of the eight students passed their NCFE Level 1 in interpersonal skills. Angel is now hosting a second group, which is reaping the rewards from their first experience: “We feel more confident, so we’ve been strict,” says David. “We’ve given them respect and responsibility by treating them like an adult, so they have to conduct themselves professionally.” For the nursery team, one of the highlights was being invited to the graduation ceremony where the facilitators spoke about each student. “They gave a very heartfelt, genuine assessment of the teenagers,” says David. “It was a great way of acknowledging them and their achievements. You could see what they had got out of the project and how they had changed.” 3

Staff speak up In February this year, three members of staff were invited to speak at the British Early Childhood Education Research Association (BECERA) conference in Birmingham.

As the big day approached and excitement built around the country, wedding fever took hold in our nurseries.

Royal Celebrations at LEYF The recent marriage of HRH Prince William and Katherine Middleton was the perfect excuse for a party, and so many of our nurseries celebrated the day in style… Luton Street invited families, friends and local residents to a traditional street party. More than 300 people came and created “an electric atmosphere”, says manager Julie Weiss. Nursery staff pulled together to help set up for the party – providing comfy sofas for older guests, making decorations and getting the children ready. Everyone brought food, so there was plenty to go around. Local pub, Traders Inn, donated some money which paid for a DJ (a former parent) for the afternoon. The DJ also brought along students from her drama school who entertained everyone with songs from musicals. The day was topped off by the arrival of an ice cream van which gave free ice cream to every child.

In the news Shaping government policy When not busy building a better future for London’s children as CEO of LEYF, June is busy sharing best practice across the sector and helping to shape Early Years policy; having been invited to sit on both the Government’s Big Society Stakeholder Group and Early Years Co-production Steering Group, June has also been approached by influential MP Graham Allen to work with his team on Social Investment, following his success as key speaker at our Margaret Horn Lecture last year. Outstanding! Quoting partnership with parents as ‘outstanding’ and children as having ‘a 4

Parents with children at Queens Park received invitations to the tea party, cleverly designed as a royal scroll, which many of them said they’d keep for posterity. The party was held outside and had a traditional theme, with bunting and newspaper hats. Fish and chips, cucumber sandwiches and lemonade were on the menu and all the children received a special wedding bookmark to remember the day. Meanwhile, the day was equally successful at Bessborough, where nursery staff took the children to watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, “so they knew what it was all about”. In the afternoon, children enjoyed a Royal Wedding Tea Party, wearing tiaras and crowns they had made. On Monday, nursery manager, Mona Majed brought in all the weekend papers, so the children could cut out the photographs and make a display of all the happy memories from the previous weekend. Other nurseries equally inspired were Eastbury, Furze, House of Commons, Angel and Marsham Street – so well done and thanks to you all for your fantastic contributions to the big day!

voice’, our House of Commons Nursery’s first Ofsted - rated ‘Good’, only a few months after opening - was soon followed by Queensborough, rated ‘Outstanding’ for a second time. As the first nursery in Westminster to receive the accolade in 2006, Ofsted commented how clearly everything was embedded in our Bayswater nursery - with “evidence all around”. CRLD arranges international work experience Spanish Early Years undergraduate, Manuel Santiago, recently completed a work placement in our popular Angel nursery. Comparing practice between Spain and England, Manuel carried out a small piece of additional research based on his experience in our nearly all-male setting.

Marion’s presentation, ‘How can we harness the great outdoors to create a ‘life of enquiry’ for practitioners and children in the Early Years’, looked at how outside space can encourage learning and development. David spoke about his experience of being in a predominantly male nursery team for the first time in his career. His presentation, ‘Three Men in a Nursery’, examined how a mixed team can challenge negative gender stereotypes and benefit staff dynamics. Meanwhile, Mine presented on ‘Neuroscience in the Early Years’. All presentations were very well received and generated a lot of interest. David has since been in contact with nurseries outside the UK to help further his research into men in childcare. Marion has been asked to visit various nurseries to help revitalise their outdoor play provision, whilst Mine will be supporting a research project examining the use of neuroscience to prove the benefits of sensory play on development. Mine said of the conference: “It was fantastic, highly useful - the managers really flourished and grew in confidence as a result of their ‘performances’. It made me very proud indeed!”

the headlines

“Business Buddies” Children & Young People Now

“Essential to support future health” Baby London

“A team effort” Teach nursery

“The Shyness Syndrome” Practical Pre-School

“More cash needed for free nursery places scheme to succeed” Channel 4 News

Photo © East London Enquirer

Over in Bayswater, Queensborough celebrated with a Wedding Luncheon and Royal Afternoon Tea. Pictures of the royal family and flags were hung in decoration, whilst girls dressed up as flower girls and boys came in smart shirts. There was a classical theme with bridal music played throughout the day. Everyone had a great time, says manager Jean Hudson, with the most common question being: “when is the bride coming?!”

Party time Furze children celebrate with Councillor Gill

David Stevens, manager of our Angel Community Nursery, Mine Conkbayir, Senior Programme Manager Apprentices from our Centre for Research, Learning and Development (CRLD), and Marion Breslin, manager of our Carlton Hill Community Nursery, gave presentations on a range of subjects.

& about out

What do you do? Mpoyi Tubeka

Mpoyi Tubeka joined the LEYF Apprenticeship Programme in October 2010, having first worked at Queens Park for six-months as part of the Future Jobs 500 scheme. She quickly impressed and is now studying the Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce, earning £100 per week as a trainee nursery assistant at Katharine Bruce. “My job is to nurture and care for the children at the nursery, while making sure they are always learning and developing. I work with the other members of staff to run activities and set up play areas for the children, assist with meal times and all other duties around their welfare. Before the placement I was looking for a job in a nursery for over six months and

ce My eanxdpMeurrisael n Aryan Zohra El Alaoui

I am the “My friends say have only person they their es ever met that lov job so much” uce tharine Br Mpoyi Tubeka, Ka sery Community Nur

struggled to find any nursery worker vacancies. Dream job I want to be a child psychologist; I am interested in how children’s minds work and I want to learn more about the way they develop from birth and throughout their childhood, so hope to study child psychology and development. I have learnt lots on the apprenticeship programme; both my confidence and overall skills have improved. I’ve really learnt from the other staff and feel like part of the team. Local parents Zohra El Alaoui and Mursal Aryan share their experience of studying Level 2 Certificate in Childcare Learning & Development at LEYF. Thanks to A Moveable Feast, the Skills Funding Agency and Gill Springer – a former LEYF nursery practitioner and now Programme Manager at our Centre for Research, Learning & Development - 15 parents from the local community are currently studying for their Level 2 Certificate in Childcare Learning & Development with LEYF.

o study so t d e id c e d I “ and give k r o w ld u o c I ack” b g in h t e m o s oui Zohra El Ala

Mursal “I came to the UK from Afghanistan with my husband in 2006, a year later I had my child. I did my Level 1 in 2009 because I wanted to learn more about being a mum and also because I really like children. I’m now doing Level 2 Certificate in Childc are Learning & Development and I’m really enjoying the course. It’s very different from my country and how we do things there. “Everyone gets so much support, so

Future plans At the end of the Level 3 programme, I really hope LEYF might offer me a permanent role as Nursery Officer - so I know I have to work hard! I love the staff and children at the nursery; they are like a family to me. It’s the best place to work. I really feel I belong. My friends say I am the only person they have ever met that loves their job so much and looks forward to going to work every day!”

nothing is complicated or difficult - and there’s always someone to talk to. In the future, I hope to do my Level 3 training and then work in a nursery.” Zohra “When I moved here from Morocco in 1976, I worked as a nanny but I had no qualifications. Then I got married and had my children, so stopped working. When they didn’t need me anymore, I decided to study so I could work and give something back. The best bit of the course is child development; I used to think my children were just wasting time when, in fact, they were learning through play! “I really enjoy the class; the teacher is fantastic and I’d recommended it to anyone. I would like to do Level 3, so I can work in a nursery or as a childminder.” Once successful, students like Zohra and Mursal are confident and ‘work ready’, with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to find work – and so help reduce economic disadvantage in South Westminster. 5



Nursery profile


Luton Street

Surrounded by housing and an adventure playground on one side, with a busy market and high street on the other, Luton Street is nestled in the very heart of the local community. But when manager Julie Weiss, came to work there two years ago, the central location was exposing the nursery to some unwanted attention. “When I came to the nursery I was warned there was trouble,” Julie says. “Because of vandalism, the garden had to be cleared at the end of each day, which took an hour.” The first break-in happened six weeks after Julie started the job. Paint was thrown over the windows and plants and garden toys destroyed. When CCTV identified a group of local boys aged from 10 to 15, the police were keen for Julie to press charges. Instead, she tried a different approach. Working with the police she opened the nursery on a Saturday and invited the boys and their families to come and visit. Three families turned up and she showed them the damage that had been done. The parents, she says, “were horrified”. Julie received letters of apology from the

boys, who also helped clean up and replant the garden pots. “After that,” she says, “I realised it was about engaging with the community.” She began working hard to make contacts in the Community matters Children, parents and local area, talking in staff enjoy a traditional schools and raising the street party nursery’s profile. The result was dramatic – the nursery had an and explains the vision for the nursery. incident free year. Even better, the In an area that can be challenging, it’s garden doesn’t need to be packed away essential, she says, for the team to “work at night anymore. together, be outstanding practitioners and think outside the box”. Luton Street now regularly runs community projects – engaging both With lots of plans for the future, her one young and old. There are Zumba wish is more time. “There’s so much classes every Wednesday night and, this going on,” she laughs, “I just wish I had a summer, the nursery is hosting a project PA to document it all!” called The Challenge, where teenagers (under supervision) will come in to run creative workshops with the children. Parents are also very involved, with activities such as story telling and cooking with the nursery chef taking place at least two times a week – along with events, such as the summer BBQ and Christmas party. When new staff start, Julie takes them out for a coffee

“There’s so much going on, I just wish I had a PA to document it all!”

of Luton Julie Weiss, Manager ursery Street Community N

Company profile Paddington Farm

Since the late 1980s, LEYF has been taking children for a summer holiday to Paddington farm. Tucked away in the rolling Somerset countryside, Paddington Farm provides a safe atmosphere for children and families who need a break - set over 43 acres and with a large sensory playground, orchards, woodland, ponds, vegetable gardens and farm animals. LEYF’s Chief Executive and the farm’s current Chair, June O’Sullivan is

most “What the children like the bing to is running in the fields, clim and the Tor, going to the seaside basically having space” tive, LEYF June O’Sullivan, Chief Execu


passionate about what it has to offer. “Parents and staff alike have commented on the difference in children who have been,” she says. “And it’s a great credit to our staff at LEYF that parents trust us enough to take their children to the farm without them.” What the children like the most though, says June is “running in the fields, climbing to the Tor, going to the seaside and basically having space”. There’s a real farmhouse kitchen where the staff cook every night and each evening ends with a story. The farm is perfect for a family break. You can either go on your own or book it as a group with friends or relatives. Go to, call 01458 832752 or ask your LEYF nursery manager for more information.

connected Fundraising for

A big

thank you!

Every month, fundraising activity continues to help LEYF grow. Fundraising for our campaign ‘A Better Future’ continues to be a success, with a total of £77,538 now raised – and more importantly nine families helped so far. Being able to offer short-term free nursery places, we really can help reduce child poverty - by giving unemployed parents the ability to look for work, whilst their children receive access to quality care and early education. One parent told us about the difference it has made to her family: “John’s placement in the nursery was very helpful to both him and me. It helped John with speech development and to socialise better, and it gave me time to focus and develop a sense of direction career-wise. I also grew in confidence, being away from the

Research in partnership LEYF recently received £15,000 from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to fund a project looking into developing multi-generational Children’s Centres. The project will be the first stage in fulfilling LEYF’s goal to help transform patterns of delivery in Children’s Centres, bringing adult and children’s services closer together across all ages. Such a multi-generational model of working would mean Children’s Centres could offer a more coordinated and holistic approach to children and family support, and so promote greater community engagement, built on a real sense of belonging and cohesion.  

children for a while, and now I can do things without worrying too much about their safety while they are not with me.” As a direct result, we’re delighted to confirm that John’s mother has now found a job. Elsewhere, a promising relationship with the New West End Company (a leading partner in a £1.5bn regeneration programme for the area) has already resulted in a donation to Micky Star for sensory resources, a trip to Vauxhall City Farm for Bessborough, and a 4-star hotel break in the countryside for a family with a child at another one of our nurseries. Their eldest daughter, aged 16, had recently been diagnosed with cancer and the trip allowed the family to spend some time away together and relax. We have also received another £1,000 from Charlotte Grobien at Give it Away Ltd, which will be used to help more In setting out this vision, LEYF recommends the following 10 steps for all Children’s Centres: • Be at the heart of the public space, welcoming all ages; • Encourage local people and organisations to become members for a nominal fee; • Ensure that support for all children under five is at the very heart of the service; • Offer parents a range of activityled programmes to boost their confidence and abilities; • Make public health and communication services visible and available to as many local people as possible; • Provide after school support for children aged 5 to 18 years; • Offer opportunities for personal and professional development to young people not in education, employment or training;

Brimming with pride Children at Furze really appreciate your donations

parents with financial difficulties and in need of short-term assistance. Finally, Westminster City Council Quality & Access funding has helped us to improve the learning environment in many of our nurseries - including play resources, the revitalisation of outdoor play areas and indoor refurbishment works – whilst HSBC are taking Micky Star, Holcroft and Marsham Street to Vauxhall City Farm, organising a coach, activities and picnic lunch.

“John’s placement in the nursery was very helpful to both him and me” A Better Future campaign

• Operate volunteering and time banking schemes; • Have a community action team based on the premises to encourage local people to use and run services; • Operate as a socially enterprising community resource, connecting people of all ages through a network of activities and support. To carry out the research, LEYF will be working in partnership with the much respected Beth Johnson Foundation, a national organisation that seeks to make a positive impact on the lives of older people. A research paper is due in September 2011, outlining potential areas for development. The findings will then be assessed and a plan drafted for the next stage of the project. For more background on our vision for Children’s Centres, visit 7


Get out, get active and get involved Here’s a round-up of upcoming dates for your diary.

Calendar dates SouthWestFest 24 June – 10 July National Childcare Week begins 11 July Barking Town Show 16-17 July National Parks’ Week begins 25 July Playday 3 August Summer Bank Holiday 29 August Roald Dahl Day 13 September British Food Fortnight begins 17 September Black History Month begins 1 October The Big Draw 1 October Grandparents Day 2 October Children’s Book Week begins 3 October World Food Day 16 October Parents’ Week begins 17 October Halloween 31 October

Top tips

lk Helping your baby ta The first three years in a child’s life are the most intensive for speech and language development. All children vary, but skills in this area appear to develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others. Here are five great ways to get started.

1. Talk to your child

4. Ask questions

Talk as you bathe, feed and dress your child. Talk about what you are doing, where you are going, what you will do when you arrive, and who and what you will see. Acknowledge, encourage and praise all attempts to speak. Show that you understand the word or phrase by fulfilling the request, if appropriate.

Ask questions that require a choice. “Would you like an apple or an orange?” “Do you want to wear your red or blue shirt?”

2. Sing simple songs Sing simple songs and recite nursery rhymes to encourage rhythm and pattern of speech. All good nurseries will have a wealth of nursery rhymes and songs they can share with you!

3. Use photographs Use photographs of familiar people and places, and retell what happened or make up a new story. Babies love to look at faces and will very quickly learn to recognise people in photos.

5. Read to your child Sometimes ‘reading’ is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words. Choose books that are sturdy and have large colourful pictures that are not too detailed. Ask your child “What’s this?” and encourage naming and pointing to familiar objects in the book. Many of our nurseries run communication workshops, so please speak to your nursery manager for more details.

For more tips on how to support your child durin g their EarlyYears, visit s

Don’t forget... LEYF News is your newsletter. If you think you, your child or your nursery should feature on these pages, do let us know. We’d love to hear from you if you have a story to tell. You can contact us at our head office address opposite. LEYF News is a biannual newsletter published by the London Early Years Foundation. This edition was written together with journalists at Society Media, ( and designed and printed by Captiv8 (


London Early Years Foundation 121 Marsham Street London SW1P 4LX Email: Tel: 020 7834 8679

LEYF News, Summer 2011  

All the latest news, stories and tips from the London Early Years Foundation - for parents, staff and friends alike!

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you