Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Walk

Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk Raises Over £1600!

We are incredibly proud of our children, who were selected to feature in the following video, made by Save the Children to celebrate and publicise their Muddy Puddle Walk fundraising event.

Across the country, thousands of nurseries, groups and families joined in the fun – and raised vital funds to help save children’s lives.

You can just about imagine the amount of work which went into making the video with all the preparation, permissions and all the mud to clean up afterwards!! Lots of Muddy Puddles! A huge thank you to all the staff for their help.

A very successful day and a great video. We are very proud of our film star children!

Update: Wow! Not only did everybody have fun on the day the Highbury Team raised over £1600! Well done everyone.

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Who’s In London’s Top 10 Day Nurseries? Bromley Of Course!

It’s party time at Bromley Monkey Puzzle day nursery!

Why?

Well, after only being open for just over 2 years they are celebrating making the Top 10 most recommended day nurseries in London as awarded by DayNurseries.co.uk. The awards are based on over 28,000 reviews from parents, relatives and guardians of children who attend the nurseries.

Industry awards are always well received, but when the award is based on parent and guardian recommendations, it makes it that much more special!

Owner Arlind Marku is understandably over the moon, “We are delighted to be recognised with this award after 18 months of opening. The staff and parents are understandably ecstatic! We aspire to be the best nursery in Bromley and we treat every child as our own and put a great deal of emphasis on parent partnership. I want to thank all the parents for their kind recommendations and especially all of our staff and managers for their hard work, without which this award would not have been possible”.

2017 has already begun brightly at Monkey Puzzle with new nurseries either opening or about to in Cambridge, Kettering, Walderslade, West Norwood and Streatham and this award is a further boost for the network.

So, Arlind and all the wonderful staff at Bromley, congratulations and well done for all the hard work, we are very proud of you!

If you are interested in registering your child at our award winning Bromley Day Nursery get in touch with the team on 0203 417 0474

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Nursery World Nursery Chain League Table 2016

It’s that time of year again when day nursery groups across the country anxiously wait for Nursery World to release the 2016 league table of the 25 largest nursery chains for in the UK.

Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries are pleased to announce that we have improved on last years 9th position rising to 7th. Our performance was based on 44 settings offering 3200 places.

Our growth strategy for 2017 and known new settings would suggest that a top 5 position is likely within a year or so subject to further market consolidation.

Monkey Puzzle’s expansion in 2016 has seen us open 13 new nurseries in Angel Islington, Aylesbury, Chadwell Heath, Edenbridge, Golders Green, Hartley Wintney, Mitcham, Sidcup, Stoke Newington, Streatham, Uxbridge, Ware and Worcester.

5 further settings are also due to open in Q1 of 2017.

The continued growth is a testament to the hard work carried out by those in Head Office, out in the field and of course our new franchisees.

If you are interested in opening a new Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery find out more by registering for an information pack.

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Another Outstanding Inspection For Monkey Puzzle St Albans!

When you have an Ofsted inspection you certainly don’t want any monkeying around, well there certainly wasn’t any as our Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery St Albans has been praised as outstanding in all areas following their most recent inspection.

The St Albans Day Nursery in Ridgmont Road had their latest inspection at the end of last month as part of the new Ofsted inspection framework introduced in September.

After speaking with staff, parents and the children the Ofsted inspector summed up their findings by saying, “The nursery benefits from an extremely motivated management team, who are inspirational and supportive to staff… the children have remarkable learning experience and display very high levels of concentration.”

Not bad eh?

The report was welcomed by proud nursery owner Amanda Griffiths, saying, “It’s very rare to be awarded such a high accolade and I couldn’t be prouder of the nursery manager and the whole team. Our children are the most important part of everything and always come first, an ethos which I believe has helped to create this outstanding culture at the nursery.”

We are all very proud of Amanda, her management team, staff, the parents and of course the children for achieving this rating.

The full report is not currently available online, once Ofsted have updated we will publish the link here.

For further information on the nursery visit their website.

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Highbury Monkey Puzzle Islington Parents Go Back To School!

Parents of children attending Highbury Monkey Puzzle Islington this week went back to school, in a specially organised participative curriculum evening at their children’s nursery.

Anthony Kent, Operations Manager & qualified Early Years Teacher, explained.

“The objective of our EYFS Curriculum Evenings is to offer our parents and families the opportunity to visit the nursery and embark on a voyage of discovery into the life of their children at nursery.

We invited them to join us on an interactive tour of the environment, where they were encouraged to get their hands dirty and try a range of activities and ideas that we share with the children to help them learn through play.

Whilst they enjoy the fun and informative activities around each classroom, our professional team of teachers and practitioners share ideas about how to extend learning, develop speech and language and link ‘easy to use’ ideas with the key areas of the curriculum.

The event is designed to develop parent partnerships, sharing our teacher’s expertise to educate them about the way we teach and assess children’s progress in early years. It also serves to highlight the importance of home learning to further enhance their child’s education, providing some key knowledge of the EYFS curriculum. We share with them some strategies used to engage with each unique child’s interests and learning needs and provided some home learning packs to further bridge the gap between home and nursery life.”

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In the Discoverers room parents tried their hands at messy play, with shaving foam, glitter jelly, sand pits and water trays, whilst our baby room team explained how these types of sensory play help to develop young babies senses and dexterity. The highlight was singing from four fathers, a joint rendition of ‘three little ducks’ around the water tray.

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The Explorers room had paint printing, counting games and shape constructions, parents were encouraged to discuss behaviour management strategies for 2 year olds, along with the importance of daily routines and visual resources to develop communication. The reading area showcased a range of books both traditional favourites like the Gruffalo, to follow their recent theatre trip; and books to support transitions such as new babies, room moves and kind hands.

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Our Inventors room demonstrated the impact of ICT in early years with our ‘augmented reality’ story books displayed on our SMARTboard. We also shared ideas to develop mathematics and literacy, with rhyming games and easy phonics games.

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The Pre-School room was transformed to a working science lab with this months topic, where we explained how to explore science using household items with young children at home.

Joy Wood, Nursery Manager summarised the experience, “ This was a wonderful experience for our parents, and with polite inhibitions swept away, our team really got to know their parents so much better. Most importantly though, our parents have a far greater understanding of our educational activities, and how we can best work together, for the benefit of our children. We also had great fun, with lots of laughter and learning.”

Highbury Monkey Puzzle Islington opened in December 2013 and achieved an Outstanding in all areas in their first Ofsted inspection in June 2014.

For more information on this outstanding day nursery visit their website.

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Help For Mothers Returning To Work

A recent report from the European Commission revealed that more mothers in the UK are failing to return to their jobs after maternity leave. Compared to other mothers around Europe they there are twice as many women who were unemployed or only working part-time due to family commitments. The EU average is 6.3%, whereas in the UK the figure stands at 12.5%.

The report referred to this as a “social challenge” and one the government was taking steps to overcome by improving childcare provisions and increasing the amount of free childcare available to working families.

But is this the only reason?

While improvements in childcare provision are important, to actively reduce the figure goes far
beyond childcare. Businesses realise that with more mothers failing to return to work it is leading to a reduction in the pool of talent from the workforce. To avoid this employers must understand that there are other issues that need addressing to support mothers back to work.

The decision to return to work is not always a financial one. What can hold one back is confidence and self belief. The voice in your head that says “Am I actually capable of going back?” can create fear and doubt.

A lengthy spell of maternity leave can often undermine confidence and the fear of having gaps on their CV’s can lead to mothers feeling disconnected from the world of employment and intimidated. Therefore it is imperative that organisations and employers get behind these women and concentrate on rebuilding confidence and sharpening skills, remembering that development is possible at any stage of a career.

Companies should make sure that they have programmes and procedures in place that offer support to those returning. Remember it can be tiring and daunting to re-enter a competitive environment whilst still having to care for young children. It is the employers responsibility to offer encouragement and the tools to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Skills training, access to networking and mentoring can play a crucial role in helping women feel prepared to return to the workplace, placing them in contact with their peers who are, or have been, in similar circumstances.

The demand for a skilled workforce increases year on year and mothers form a major part of that skills pool, so employers have to invest in programmes that address the barriers that may prevent mothers returning to work, ensuring that they and the country avoid a skills shortage.

For further advice on women returning to work take a look at Women Like Us.

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Top 20 Countries to Raise a Family

The Uk? The US?

Nope.

They both don’t even make it into the top 20, with the UK coming in at a miserable 22!

Well if you were to move to the best country you’d be on a short haul flight to…

Austria!

Austria made it to the top spot closely followed by Finland and Sweden in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the survey published by InterNations.

To rank the top countries to raise a family, InterNations asked expat parents to rate the country they moved to in terms of the quality, cost and availability of childcare and education.

Austria topped the charts due to a social system that is very supportive to parents (take note Mr Cameron!). In Austria companies offer maternity and paternity leave once the children are born and all families receive monthly allowances of between 100 – 200 euros for childcare expenses.

If you were to move to second placed Finland you would be receiving the highest quality of education with 66% rating it as very good, compared to the global average of 21%.

If you want to see where else you could benefit from quality childcare, education and family wellbeing take a look at the list in full.

But before you do, why not try and guess the top 10, you may be surprised!

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Online Eligibility Checker For Free Childcare Launched

If you a parent of preschool children living in West London, discovering whether you are eligible for free childcare has been made a lot easier. Hounslow Council has rolled out an instant response service online for parents to see if they are entitled.

Monkey Puzzle has a Twickenham day nursery covering the Hounslow area, so parents should take the eligibility check to see if they qualify.

The online free childcare checker links directly to the Department of Education system and allows parents and carers to input basic details and receive an instant response.

The details you need are…

Child’s date of birth.

The parent or guardian’s date of birth, surname and National Insurance (NI) number or National Asylum Support Service (NASS) number.

If a family meets the requirements, you can then download a free childcare voucher, which can then be taken to your childcare provider to access the free care immediately, it’s that simple!

So if you live in the area why not check your eligibility and come and see us to arrange your free childcare.

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Monkey Puzzle Highbury Leading The Way


Our Ofsted Outstanding nursery in Highbury have had their success recognised after Capita Conferences have invited Nursery Manager, Joy Wood and Operations Manager Anthony Kent to lead a session at an Early Years Inspection Conference to be held in Central London this October.

Since their opening less than two years ago, the core of their strategy was building strong relationships with parents so they are able to assist in their children’s learning outcomes while also ensuring they understand the common inspection framework and the importance of their role in the early years setting inspection success.

Capita Conferences made their decision to offer an invitation after looking at feedback from parents whose children attend the Islington day nursery, they were particularly impressed by the “overwhelming support and praise by the parents of the learners that attend” and Ofsted reporting that “parents are fully informed of their child’s progress and have access to their own child’s learning journal through using a secure online system.”

The learning journals offered by the nursery has been a particular success and something we believe all our nurseries will benefit from should they choose to adopt the software.

The conference, which will be held on 21 October, will be attended by all early years providers on the childcare register, local authorities and private voluntary organisations.

Joy, who will be leading the conference session, commented, “We are very happy to share our experience and strategies and highlight the importance of working with parents to enable the success of the nursery and their children’s early years education, the two go hand in hand.”

So we want to wish both Joy and Anthony every success on the day and well done to all the management and staff for being recognised as innovative, childcare provision leaders.

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Southport We Have A Problem…

Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery, Southport children, parents and staff were all intently huddled around laptops and tablets on Sunday 28th June at 3.21pm waiting for lift off of the SpaceX-7 rocket flight.

Why?

Well, the Southport day nursery had joined up to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardening, part of which involved sending a selection of rocket seeds to the International Space Station for planting.

How exciting is that!

The RHS Campaign For School Gardening was created to inspire and support schools to provide children with gardening opportunities to enhance their their skills and boost development.

The rocket seed experiment was intended to compare how space effects the seeds compared to those identical seeds that remain on earth.

The rocket blasted off on schedule but just two and a half minutes into its galactic journey things started to go wrong.

Badly wrong…

The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket suffered a catastrophic failure destroying the Dragon capsule holding our seeds and all its other precious cargo.

But we are still hopeful after discussions between the RHS and the European Space Agency confirmed that they were to find another launch opportunity as soon as possible.

While everyone at Monkey Puzzle Southport were disappointed, it has not dampened the children’s enthusiasm for gardening and expect them to be gathered round their computers once more in the not too distant future.