Sign up now to receive The Tale of Mummyhood newsletter!

<p>Thankyou!</p>

Category: Education

How to Find the Right School for your Children

How to Find the Right School for your Children

When our eldest daughter started school, I dreaded it. It wasn’t even full-time education, just her pre-school nursery placement that meant she was out of my care for fifteen hours during the week. They were 15 hours that I’d never had to leave her before though and not only that, I would be leaving her with someone I knew very little about. As a parent, I don’t think it’s easy to hand your child over at any point never mind to a stranger, but as far as school is concerned it’s the standard thing to do.

As it happened, we were lucky and found a school that both Hubs and I were comfortable with. It wasn’t an easy task though and I know it caused both of us a headache or two. Maybe we over thought it, but in our house education is paramount. However, it has to be an education in the right environment that supports both parent and child to the nth degree.

Here’s how to find the right school for your children;

Do your research – 

The first step to finding the right school for you and your children is to research all of the school in your local area. Education may seem pretty standard, but you’d be surprised how different schools can be. They all offer a different approach to education, some you will agree with and some you won’t. Find out what kind of school interests you most, that way you’ll be able to make an informed decision on where you’d like to visit.

Look around as many schools as you have time to visit – 

Once you have a list of all of the schools you are interested in, make time to visit as many as you can. If I were you, I’d visit them all. You’ll never get a full picture of a school unless you wander around when the kids are in their lessons. You get to see how the teachers work, what kind of interventions are used and how well the kids respond in their learning environment.

Talk to every member of staff – 

Talking to every staff member can help you gain a better understanding of what they offer as a school. You’ll get a good idea of their level of knowledge and you’ll be able to make a judgement on their enthusiasm for the job. You’ll never get someone who is completely on the ball all of the time, but you’ll get an insight into their teaching style and whether you like it or not.

Look round the whole school, not just the nursery area – 

Once your child is settled into nursery, it’s probably safe to assume they’ll be in that school for a while as they go through the year groups. For this reason, it’s good to check out the whole school, not just the pre-school area, before to make a decision. If the upper school isn’t right for you as a family, you’ll know you need to look elsewhere.

Trust your instinct –

There’s nothing more reliable than parental instinct when it comes to making important life decisions for your family. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You’ll know if you need to move on to the next school.

Let them go – 

As hard as it may seem, once you have found the right place, it’s time to let them go. You’ll probably cry and feel like you’ve lost a huge part of you for a while, but school is an amazing developmental stage. Your kids will come home with snippets from their day that will make your heart happy!

Share Button
Sports Day. I Just don’t Find Forced Competition Fun.

Sports Day. I Just don’t Find Forced Competition Fun.

Ok, I know this title will have readers turning their nose up before we even begin. I know this is an unpopular opinion, as each person I’ve had this conversation with has disagreed wholeheartedly. The thing is though, I just don’t like sports day. In fact, I hate it. No, it’s not because I’m rubbish at sport, I’m actually pretty good. It’s also not because I’m unfit, I’m really not. I’m not a stranger to exercise, I think it’s a very important part of life and I do think sports should be celebrated in schools. I just can’t stand the forced competition of sports day.

I know, I know. I’m a total party pooper. I’m the parent that’s spoiling the fun for her kids. Just bare with me a minute though and picture this; a sports hall packed full of of three and 4 years olds, each bringing with them about 3 generations of ‘support’. The immediate race for a school bench on the front row, parents giving each other the side eye and immediately disliking the person who got there first. A room full of knackered toddlers and tired out teachers ready to make them compete against against each other, for the amusement of the parents who are probably still falling out over seats. If you think this sounds fun, you’re a better person than me.

 

Life isn’t always about competition –

I’m told that sports day is so important because it sets the bar for life. Children need to learn how to thrive and how to come out on top. They also need to learn disappointment and the fact that life can be a bit rubbish sometimes. I do agree that they need to experience all of this, I just don’t believe that a room full of screaming adults is the best place to start dishing out life lessons.

The thing that bothered me most about sports day at my daughter’s school, was the sheer lack of self-awareness displayed by the majority of adults in the room. It went from being ‘fun’, to being forced competition in a matter of seconds. Parents were literally shouting at their children to run faster and amazingly, were unable to hide their disappointment when they lost. Oh but if they won, well you’ve never seen a celebration like it. In my opinion, setting a very poor example for their impressionable offspring.

Like I said, I do think sports are a good thing and I think there are ways to enjoy them together. I just can’t grasp why, in 2018, we still force our children to compete against each other from such a tender age. I don’t see how it benefits them and frankly I think it brings out the worst in many parents.

The trouble is, that the kids seem to love sports day. They absolutely lap it up and leave with huge smiles across their faces. Mine included. So it would seem that I need to settle myself in for the next decade of forced competition sports days. It appears that I’m among the minority.

 

 

Share Button
Teachers. Do They Get the Respect They Deserve?

Teachers. Do They Get the Respect They Deserve?

I know immediately that the answer to this question is no. Teachers definitely do not always get the respect they deserve. I’m not just saying this because I’m married to an ex-teacher. I’m also not just saying this because I know a lot of teachers and I don’t want to upset them. Over the past decade I’ve witnessed numerous individuals working in the education system, be worn down by the sheer lack of respect that they get from students, parents and their employers.

Since Hubs left the profession a few years ago, I don’t suppose I’ve given it much thought. With the biggest starting school recently though, I’ve been thrown back in to the education system and its been a reminder of how hard teachers really do work. One of the main reasons I’m so impressed with the staff at my daughter’s school is because I am ‘that parent’. You know the one that looks at every single school within a ten-mile radius before deciding on the right one. The parent that wants to know what their child has been up to, for every second that they’ve been in another person’s care. Unfortunately for the school in question, I’m the parent that ALWAYS wants to help out too. Putting up with this is a lot of hard work, yet teachers make people like me feel at ease each and everyday. That’s before they even start teaching for the day.

The thing is, I find trusting other people with my children a difficult thing to do. They’ve been in my care since they were born, then all of a sudden I’m expected to leave them with a stranger to find their way in the world. I know it’s natural progression and thankfully the biggest loves school. Her teachers have given her an incredible start. This really makes me wonder though; how many parents recognise the effort teachers put in, to make sure their child is happy, safe and thriving in their school setting?

 

When teachers go above and beyond –

On meeting our daughter’s nursery teacher, I knew within seconds that she was ‘the one’. How ridiculous does that sound? It’s true though, I just knew that this lady and her team were the right people for the job. The whole team has such a high level of early years knowledge, they make the whole teaching process look so easy. The scene I witness daily is the image of the perfect learning environment.

One of the things I love most about the staff that teach in the school we chose, is that they work tirelessly to continue to develop their student’s social and emotional skills. The emphasis on learning through play creates a breeding ground for a fun education. They endeavour to provide a safe learning environment for children to flourish and they’re absolutely nailing it. Another thing that I’m incredibly impressed with are the links the class has with parents and upper school. No stone has been left unturned, to make the beginning of our daughter’s school career the best it can possibly be. I’m so grateful that the school we have chosen has such an amazing open door policy. After all, school is a journey for the whole family, parents and siblings included.

 

When the community get it wrong –

 

‘Those teachers, they get thirteen weeks holiday every year!’

‘I wish I had a job where you could finish at 3pm.’

‘I’d love a job where you only have to mark a few books.’

 

These are just a few of the things I’ve heard said about teachers. If you’re honest, I imagine you’ve heard them a few times too, you’ve probably even been guilty of saying them. Just in case you were wondering though, all of these statements are so wrong! Teachers may have 13 weeks per year when they don’t have to work in a school with children. That doesn’t mean that they’re not sat at their desk at home grafting until the wee, small hours every night. Believe me, they are. As for finishing work at 3pm each day, see the above statement. Oh and a few books to mark? What about reports, lesson plans and everything else teachers have to tackle on a daily basis? Teachers work damn hard and they deserve all the respect in the world for doing so. 

 

 

Share Button
Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

*We were gifted Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

I’m always talking about how important I think it is that children are introduced to reading. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, I could always be found curled up, getting myself lost in the magic of a fairy tale. That’s why I spend a lot of my time encouraging our children to read. I want them to love books as much as I do and I also want them to learn from them as much as I have.

That’s why when I was asked to review Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 written by B.C.R Fegan, I couldn’t miss the chance to add another fun read to our children’s library. We have story time in our house every night before bed, as well as at numerous times throughout the day. It’s always fun time and my eldest has even started to read books by herself, making up stories from the illustrations on each page!

 

 

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, the verdict –

 

When this book arrived I was a little worried that our girls would find it a little daunting. Initially it looks a little spooky and for this reason it may not be suitable for the younger readers among us. For the recommended ages of 3-8 though, it’s spot on.  Having said that, as soon as I started reading it becomes immediately clear that this is a very light-hearted and extremely entertaining tale!

First of all, I thought the book was very well written. It’s important to me that the books we read as a family are well written, I don’t want our girls to read books that aren’t going to teach them something along the way.  It’s easy to read with a quirky rhyme that keeps the reader smiling and wanting more. The illustrations are fun too and match the story perfectly.

I love how this book makes counting fun for children too. Our eldest daughter is just getting to grips with her numbers and this is the ideal way to make learning them exciting, it’s great for the nursery preparation we are undertaking over here right now.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this book! It has a well deserved spot on our bookshelf and will be a regular read when we fancy a little giggle too! 

 

If you’d like the chance to win your own copy of Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, all you have to do is enter our giveaway using the form below, please do take a peek at the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

Win a Copy of Children’s Book, Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

Share Button
Knowledge is Power – Learning to Inspire the Next Generation

Knowledge is Power – Learning to Inspire the Next Generation

I’ve always found it difficult to switch my brain off. As far back as I can remember I have loved to read and learn about the world around us. We’ve always been an outdoorsy family too, learning about nature and wildlife is still one of my favourite things to do. In my early twenties, prior to having children, I went from one course to another, as my interests changed and grew. My thirst for knowledge always being the driving force behind my endeavours.

I fell rapidly out of learning when I got pregnant with our eldest daughter. As is the case with many mothers, pregnancy takes its toll and everything else in our lives often gets put on the back-burner. I had hyperemesis, so getting through each minute was a task, never mind each day. Picking up a book was just impossible. Especially the second time around when I had a two month old baby to take care of too.

Fast forward two years and two children later, life seems to be back on an even keel. We have two children that sleep at night and we have a good routine during the day. Now I’m finding that my thirst for knowledge has never been stronger. I struggle to watch naff television or read books that aren’t teaching me something. Mostly because I feel that I should be filling my free time with as much work as possible. I feel that if I am going to do something other than looking after the children or work, it has to be something that I’m going to benefit and learn from.

 

Photo credit

 

Getting back on track –

One thing that really bothered me is that until recently, I hadn’t picked up a book for over two years. Not only did I feel like my brain needed a workout, but I find that reading is a great way to escape from everyday life. With two toddlers in the house, it’s often a welcome distraction. So, although I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions, this year I vowed to read more. To nourish my mind and get back into the swing of learning.

I kick started the year with A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray. When I first picked up this book there were two things that struck me. One was that I only knew about 4 of the women who were included in this book. Secondly I’m bringing up two future strong women, how am I supposed to do this if I’m not able to teach them about the strong women of our past. I need to be able to educate them on the women that paved the way to the opportunities that are available to them today.

This book marked the beginning of my mission to educate myself further, so that I’m able to inspire the next generation. Hopefully instigating a thirst for knowledge in them too. I think it’s so important for the next generation to appreciate that there’s so much that can be achieved, even when it may appear that the odds aren’t in their favour. I’m not saying I’m going to push our girls too far, that would only saturate their minds beyond their years. There’s an amazing world out there though, with so much experience to gain down whichever path they choose to take. I just want to be able to enrich their lives. To give them the privilege of an education and ultimately, to give them the power of knowledge.

 

Photo Credit

 

A final word –

Not only do I want to empower my girls, I also want to empower myself. Having children makes you see the world in a whole new light. I’m only too aware that nothing is set in stone. There are no certainties in this life and I don’t want to waste a minute of it. I want a wealth of knowledge that I can can draw on at any point. When I look back over my life I want it to have been enriched with history and culture. I want to look back on an education to be proud of. 

 

Photo Credit

 

Share Button
Preparing your Child for Nursery – Including Tips on Working Towards EYFS Goals

Preparing your Child for Nursery – Including Tips on Working Towards EYFS Goals

Education has always been a priority in our house. We love to learn, just about as much as we love to have fun, it’s even better if we manage to combine the two. My husband is a perpetual learner and I’ve always been keen on keeping my brain in shape wherever I can. Educating ourselves is one thing, but with two little people under our belts education has become even more important. With nursery just around the corner I find myself drawn to enriching our children’s lives as much as I can.

Ever since our children were born, I’ve had a clear idea of the level of education they would receive at home. First and foremost, I recognise that it’s essential to make our children’s world as fun as it can possibly be. They are happy, healthy and loved which is paramount. Within the realms of fun though, I knew I wanted to teach them as much as I could along the way. I took some time out to educate myself on the Early Years Foundation Stage goals (EYFS), so that I’m aware of what goals our girls should be achieving and when.

Now that our eldest daughter is close to three years of age and therefore about to begin her school career, at an educational, state nursery. I’m keen to get her as nursery ready as can be.

 

The key thing to remember with EYFS goals, is that ultimately they’re just guidelines. I personally believe that it’s necessary to have an idea of where your child is on the scale, without getting hung up on, or upset about them not hitting every goal by a certain age. 

 

Photo Credit

 

How do we work on reaching EYFS goals, age 2-3 years?

 

Communication and language –

  • Reading together, recognising characters, discussing the story.
  • Role play.
  • Listening to fun and educational nursery rhymes.
  • Involvement in everyday activities, discussion, fun and giving them responsibility.

Physical development –

  • Visiting soft play centres.
  • Toddler play groups.
  • Outdoor exploration.
  • Messy play.
  • Use of different equipment and teaching how to use them e.g) sieves, pouring from jugs, holding and using scissors.
  • Practicing climbing stairs using the hand rail.

Personal, social and emotional development –

  • Making conservation.
  • Toddler groups – interaction with peers.
  • Organised classes – taking instruction and interaction with peers.

Literacy –

  • Arts and crafts – painting and drawing lines, patterns and shapes.
  • Flash cards – first words, recognising items.
  • Use of favourite characters to engage them in story telling.
  • Rhyme and verse to instigate learning phonics in a fun environment.

Mathematics –

  • Arts and crafts – painting and drawing numbers.
  • Flash cards – recognising numbers and putting them in order.
  • Rhyme and verse to instigate learning numbers in a fun environment.

Understanding the world –

  • Toddler groups – interaction and exploration of different situations with different people.
  • Allowing children to develop meaningful relationships with their peers.
  • Teaching them about themselves – how to recognise themselves and introduce themselves to others.

Expressive arts and design –

  • Organised classes e.g) dance.
  • Exposure to music, learning to enjoy rhythm using fun and educational songs.
  • Free play.
  • Messy play.
  • Role play.
  • Arts and crafts.

Photo Credit

 

Not everyone chooses to prepare their children for nursery in the same way. Here are few words from my fellow bloggers, giving an insight into how they got their children nursery ready;

 

 

Becka from Mummy Est. 2014: ‘I’ve always believed that the ‘Prime Areas’ are the most important part of the EYFS. I think that supporting skills such as having experience around other children (such as toddler groups), knowing their own name and identity, being able to communicate (signing, speaking or symbols) and having basic self care such as getting shoes on and off, washing own hands etc. These sort of basics I believe help children have a starting point to grow from.’

Beth from Twinderelmo: ‘We let ours choose their own water bottle and lunchbag so they were excited to go and use them. In terms of EYFS, we just practised their name. Jolly phonics is a great place to start and they used to watch on YouTube.’ 

Suzy from Our Bucket List Lives: ‘I let nursery prepare my little one. Because they are linked to the school they prepare the children by teaching them the basics for reaching those goals. I did no ‘learning’ with him at home at that age as I wanted him to enjoy the time he had with mein a non learning sense. I did no letters or phonics and he is doing really well because he has been taught by one person and not more than one. We did some maths such as counting to 20 and down from 20. If you aren’t sending your child to a nursery linked with a primary school then I’d concentrate on lots of play based activities that strengthen there grip and movement. I’d do a lot of counting songs with them and other similar rhymes. Again if there’s no chance for nusery then toddler groups, especially at centres, are great for children. They tried to get Jamie to get himself changed too early in his life and it made him scared of jumpers. I’m all for when they’re ready with regards to getting himself dressed.’

Jessica from Beauties and the Bibs:  ‘I wouldn’t worry about if they are ready academically that’s what nursery is there for. I would say make sure they are ready emotionally so if your offered settling in sessions take them and talk about nursery at home so they know what will happen.’

Jenni from The Bear and the Fox: ‘We found that reading books together about nursery beforehand really helped. I shared some of our favourites here…http://www.thebearandthefox.com/2017/09/books-starting-nursery-pre-school/’

Michelle from Seeing Rainbows: ‘All I did was encourage to draw, colour and know/write their name. I also took them to playgroup from very young to encourage socialisation and attempt to avoid shyness. But of course none of this is necessary, every child is different and nursery will encourage all these things anyway!’

Emma from Bubba Blue and Me: ‘I didnt prepare him because he’s been in day nursery from a year old. So socially and psychologically it was just another step for him the same as going to school. At home we just did normal things through play. Lots of communication, singing and activities that helped with motor control. He wasn’t interested in phonics or writing even though they did it at nursery. I just made sure there were plenty of books and drawing things available for when he wanted to use them.’

Sinead from Sinead Latham: ‘We spoke a lot about exploring a new school (nursery), making new friends and having a teacher just for them. They had a good 2 weeks settling in period so when they went full time all the kids were ready. 
As for EYFS at home. We focus on play, imagination and encouraging his love of books. He’s too little for extra ‘teaching’ at home, he’s got enough of that ahead of him.’

Pete from Household Money Saving: ‘We took are daughter out to quite a few groups. One was a music group near to us that was run by the local library. A lot of the time, they would need to sit quietly in a circle and listen to the lady explain. We thought this was great leading up to nursery, and something she would never have learned at home.’

Jade from Thrifty Yorkshire Mum: ‘Our local nursery used to run ‘stay and play’ sessions, essentially a playgroup where we stayed with him. This got my son used to the environment, and members of staff. I also spent a lot of time explaining what he’d be doing etc. He’s a sensitive little boy but thankfully settled in very quickly.’

 

Thankyou to everyone who took the time to contribute to this post!

Share Button
%d bloggers like this: