Archive for August 2012

AM – Thursday 30th August – Ballet anyone?(if not other activities available!)   4 comments

First thing this morning was one of those occasion when things just go ‘right’.

To start with  – when Alex and Shona arrived – and while mummy was still chatting to me, they both went and found the wooden threading animals and laces.

These had not been out for a while because the last time they were the children were not interested in threading the lace in and out of the holes – but were very interested in wrapping the threading lace round their neck!

Anyway within what seems like seconds both children had successfully ‘woven’ their laces in and out of the holes and were able to show mummy and Penny (who quickly got out the camera – explaining to mummy that the first time that either of them had done this)



A bit later on (after mummy had gone to work) I observed Shona posting the plastic coins into the musical pig – nothing unusual in that that – she often does this. What was unusual was the counting in the correct order and one to one corresponding as she put  the coins  into the pig.  1 – 5 (and repeated several times)

Don’t worry – Know I have not mentioned it yet – but ballet coming next.

Of course as a early years practitioner – nay scrap that – as a registered childminder (I am more comfortable with the term registered childminder – I know some prefer other titles – but for me it would be like losing my name  – I have been a registered childminder for so long / worked with registered childminders) – anyway …. I always follow the interests of the children and I have very good relationships with my parents and we share information on a daily basis.

So I knew that Chinzia’s mummy was planning on taking Chinzia to ballet – not full blown pink tutu type ballet but music and dance type ballet. I knew that Chinzia was very keen on this – and in fact last week Chinzia and Mia had been pretending to be ballet dancers.

So this morning I decided instead of our usual dancing to nursery rhymes or doing our ‘Busy Feet’ CD, I would ask the children if they would like to do some ballet – they most definitely did!

So I put on some classical music and I modeled some ‘ballet poses’ – in the loosest sense possible as I am a large woman and I last did ballet 45 years ago!!  Anyway we had a great deal of fun and I think the boys have               more of a natural flair for ballet than the girls. This is one of those occasions when I wish I could show their faces – the concentration was fantastic

After our ballet we went outside – loads of superb chalk drawings / mark making. My in my observations noted that Shona is doing fantastic circles and describing them correctly as big circles and small circles, Chinia is giving running commentary about her drawing ‘ It is a rainbow, look Penny I have done blue and white, I need more colours’. Alex is also describing his art work and today was commenting on the size ‘I did big one, look. look little one’. And even Archie is drawing attention to his master pieces ‘ Idid it, I did it’


Alex started to put all the wooden circles in a line – his friends helped – then when Alex announced it was a train track they all without any discussing lined up at one end of the track – and walked along the wooden circles, moving their arms to represent being a train.


All this – and only 11am!

Posted August 30, 2012 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting

Wednesday 29th August – morning after the night before!   1 comment

Those who are keeping up with my blogs will know that last night was not a good night at all as apart from a couple of 5 min naps I did not sleep.

I also had a working day of  7am – 9pm ahead of me.

Did it go ok?     Did I stay awake?      Did I maintain my own standards of practice?    Did I ‘survive’ until 9pm?

So many questions but just one answer ……YES

The weather was not the best heavy rain in the morning and showers on and off the rest of the day.

However as a bonus only 3 mindees – all little ones

Environment was set up much the same as the day before – so I did not have to do too much in the head planning.

We had out the dolls and the doll care sets and the children spent a lot of time dressing and undressing the dolls – and mainly without support ( which I noted as a in the head observation – together with a next steps idea – maybe worth offering the dressing up stuff again now these skills are a bit more developed (last time it was offered just ended up with clothes and accessories EVERYWHERE except being worn!!)

We also had out the big knex – think it is called ‘Kids Knex’ but we always call it big knex. Today was one of those days when the in the head observations were being stored at a alarming rate. All three children made progress in  their construction and imagination skills. Up to today I could be safe saying that Chinzia would make a flower – a pink flower usually and would be made of a stick piece of  Knex and a shape piece joined together – so a two piece simple model. Today well see the photo. Alex and Shona also would usually put two or three pieces together – different ‘named’ models sometimes a ‘hoover’ or ‘a flower’ or ‘a train’ but never more than three pieces of Knex. Today? Again look at the photo’



Posted August 30, 2012 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting

Tuesday night / Wednesday morning – Sleep? What Sleep?   1 comment

You are about to enter the secret world of Penny Webb – childminder by day, restless leg sufferer by night.

Recently I have been sleeping much better – and actually usually manage 4 or even 5 hours sleep.

However I  seem to be entering another period of not sleeping – first sign on Thursday night last week when I was ironing in the middle of the night, then again at weekend when in Chester for twins birthday as did not sleep well and sat in chair a lot of the night so I did not disturb everyone else. Monday night was not good – but then I was very upset – some will know the reason – others will just have to be content to know I was upset.

So in my head I had assumed not sleeping for genuine reasons that anyone could be kept awake with – then I experienced last night!

In the evening I went out for a meal with my good friend Carol – we do this every couple of months and always have lots to talk about – and on this occasion more than usual – my blog, our preparations for implementing the EYFS, mutual friends, our families and the thing that had upset me – and made Carol very angry. Of course we ended on being positive about our future plans both long term and short term.

Anyway we did sit at the table talking for a long time and Carol noted that I was having trouble with my legs – hard not to notice as I can NOT keep still.

Back home – I caught up with emails and social media sites and went to bed around 11.30pm.

I could not get comfortable – so got up – and …..

decided to peel off the sealant from round the bath! (has needed doing for a long time)

Was more difficult than I thought but by 2am had done about half of it, Headed back to bed – still could not sleep – tried reading my current bedtime reading book – all about brain development in babies. No good could not sit or lie still. So got up AGAIN . And did my ironing – this took me to 3:30 am. Decided might as well get dressed and go downstairs  – so I did – turned on laptop and started the process of putting my new paperwork system in place.

By 5am my eyes were closing so I sat on sofa with legs raised and tried to sleep, dozed for 15 mins then woke,walked round a bit, sat down dozed for 5 min …. and so it went on for about an hour – and then it was6 am and  time to take dog for a walk and get ready for the childminding day!

Oh and mindees – who have up to now been playing with dolls and trains – have now stopped their free play game and are lying on the story corner mat – saying ……..

wait for it ………

……..I am not sleeping I am just shutting my eyes!!

Now where id they get that idea from?

Posted August 29, 2012 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting

It is just not right!   10 comments

As you may be aware I attended my twin grandsons birthday party on Sunday. It was to celebrate their 3rd birthdays.

We all had a lovely time especially all the children as the party was held in a soft play centre.

As I can hardly help myself – I spent some time observing the twins – Ben and Joshua playing with their best friend William.

I know William goes to the same nursery as the twins and that they are very close and enjoy doing things together (William is not 100 % sure who is who and so addresses them both as BenJosh)

I could observe this closeness and the similarities in their development, their speech, their confidence when together – but also the need for a familiar person to be within sight – secure in the knowledge that if they encountered difficulties and shouted (or cried) that person would come to their aid. I observed the physical abilities – gross motor very good, particularly ball skills – fine motor (as in eating birthday meal and playing games) still developing but about right for their age. No issues at all – with any of them.

But then I got talking with William’s mummy after some general chat – she said ‘ William is going to miss the twins when they go to school next September’

I asked why William will not be going to school at the same time. Mummy replied he is not three until October – so will go to school a year later than the boys.

Now of course I already knew that Ben and Josh will be going to full time school in September 2013. I have already commented in other posts and places that the odds will be against them

They are twins

They are boys

Their birthday is 27th August

They were born 9 weeks prem

So as I say I knew all this – but standing there talking to William’s mummy it all became a reality.

If the boys had not been born so early they would have a October birthday – just like William.

Even if born a few weeks early as twins often are. they still would have had a September birthday and would be starting school in September 14 – just like William

The twins have made amazing progress and are developing well – just like William

SO why are the twins expected to (in the governments words) be ready for school in Sept 2013 and William will have a whole extra year at nursery?


If the twins and William remain friends after September 13 when the twins go to school – I shall be continuing to observe them at birthday parties and making assessments of their progress – the three children who should all be having another 2 years in nursery and should all start school in September 14 BUT just because born early two of them( Ben and Josh) will start school a whole year earlier than their friend.


If anyone finds themselves in a similar position re school starting, I have been passed on the following links (details in comment section but posting link here so easy to find) which provides information about options available

Click for link to information about options about delayed school entry

Link to Summer Born Children

Saturday 25th August – Different children but otherwise much the same as every other day!   Leave a comment

Third day of my mini break and up early to write some emails for Bright Stars childminding group (sad I know – but had to be done)

Then sort out Bertie and Stan’s’ hotel shed’ – put in their baskets bowl of dried food, bowl of water (and another bowl of water outside) secure door to shed so held ajar with enough of a gap for the dogs to go in and out as they wish. Before you panic Bertie and Stan are used to staying in the shed hotel and our neighbour keeps an eye on them – and if any problems phones Rosie who lives very close. and has a key to the house. If we are away for several days Rosie comes to feed the dogs but on this occasion we will not be leaving until 8:30am on Saturday and be back before tea time on Sunday.


So at 8:30am off we set – Max – our Lab puppy in the back and everything else on the middle seats.We have a good journey and arrive at our daughter Claire’s house in good time. Birthday presents are took upstairs – but the craft box is for now, However both Ben and Josh appear to have forgotten how to talk!

A cup of coffee later and Mummy tells the boys it is time to go and get their birthday cake – but they don’t want to go! They are given a choice – fetch the cake or stay with Granny to do some sticking with their new craft things. Guess what they chose? Yes – to stay with Granny. So Daddy goes out to mend something, Mummy and Granddad go to fetch the cake – and Ben, Josh, Max our Lab, Thomas their Lab (and Max’s brother) and their other dog Alfie all stay with Granny.

As soon as Mummy has gone Ben and Josh remember how to talk – and don’t stop!

We do several ‘sticking’ pictures each, then some ‘writing’ on the postcards that Granny had got on Thursday from the scrap store. Then we went outside and played on the scooters, the swings, the slide and Ben and Josh showed Granny how the could bounce and catch the ball. Then great excitement mummy and Granddad back with the cake – so of course we have to look at it and admire the dinosaur and their names on the cake.

Lunch – and Granny remarks that Ben and Josh seem to have forgotten about saying please and thank you – so thereafter both boys remember – and Ben made sure Granny noticed this improvement in manners by looking at Granny every time he said please or thank you  ( and by saying both to get sweets from the tin Granny had brought with her)

Mummy and Daddy then had to get ready to go to the wedding (reason for visiting on Saturday instead of just Sunday for the party) So Granny suggested they did some more writing on the postcards – and then put them in the envelopes (from in the craft box). This was a huge success and Mummy, Daddy and Granddad all had lots of letters delivered to them. (Note to self – try this activity with the mindees next week)

Mummy and Daddy go to the wedding, and the afternoon has a familiar feel to it – support with toileting, kissing minor bumps better, constant support to share, take turns and tidy up. Providing drinks and getting meals ( oh – ok did not cook – Granddad went to chip shop – but still had to set table and tidy up). Luckily for Granny – towards bedtime Granddad became very popular and Granny got a bit of a break – then PJ time, story and sleep.


Busmans holiday comes to mind – but I loved every minute!

Posted August 26, 2012 by psw260259 in Random Things!

Friday 24th August – A step back in time   Leave a comment

Second day of my mini break – which actually started a lot earlier than I excepted.

Due to discomfort from my legs ( I suffer from restless leg syndrome) I ended up do the ironing at 1am – not the best time but at least it is now done and not still on my ‘to do list.

6am saw me gathering things together ready for our trip to Chester at the weekend for our twin grandsons – Ben and Josh’s 3rd birthday. Our presents to the twins that needed wrapping, the presents from other relatives that needed delivering, some invites for our daughter Rosie’s wedding and some shoes for her sister Claire (the twins mum).

Also starting to take shape was a large box of craft things for Ben and Josh – as Granny has decided that they are the right age now to have their own craft things. All of this was on my bed – the theory being that I could not go to bed until I had finished all the half completed tasks.

However before bedtime (and completing the tasks) – I had a nice day planned. My friend (and ex LA colleague) Barbara was holding a ‘surgery’ in Bromsgrove for all the providers in her area to pop in and pick up their copy of the EYFS – which Worcestershire is providing. Barbara thought that as we already had a pre arranged lunch date that it would be nice if I joined her for the surgery and if any childminders attended – I would have opportunity to talk to the childminders about Bright Stars Childminding Group – and invite them to attend the EYFS training that I am delivering in September.

I have to say I have a very good relationship with a lot of staff in my Early Years team – most of whom are ex colleagues – but now that I am not part of the team and office politics are not involved – I am listened to more now than when I was staff.

Anyhow – Barbara picked me up and off we went.Just like the ‘old days’ when Babara and I sometimes worked together. From my point of view a really good morning as the first person to attend was a fairly new childminder and she was keen to find out more about Bright Stars Childminding Group and the forth coming training. I also got to chat to Barbara about EYFS 12 and various aspects in relation to childminder practitioners.

As I bonus I spoke to another member of Early Years staff – who reassured me that my pack of   paperwork to access the FE funding was in the post – which is excellent news as the new term is only a couple of weeks away and I have two parents trusting me that the paperwork will be in place on time

Lunch then in a pub  – my treat but hardly broke the bank – less than £8 for two meals and two drinks.

Then a trip round the shops and to Poundland (Bromsgrove has a large one) On our shopping trip I brought a set of books – actually early readers (those Biff and Chip ones) but I brought them  not as early readers but for me to read to the children because cover issues like nits, wearing glasses, going to the dentist and so on. A stainless steel tray and t.set, some more craft bits for Ben and Josh – and some bird food.

A really lovely day- and good to spend time with my friend – and to treat myself for a change.

Back home – a quick trip to the supermarket (something for tea – and I had forgot to buy the wrapping paper).Then to empty the contents of the shed into the playroom. This is because our Jack Russell’s Bertie and Stan were not coming to  Chester with us and the shed was to be their ‘hotel’ for one night – so everything out – ready for adding all the things the dogs would need in the morning.

Then to wrap presents, finish putting together the craft box and to pack my bag – when I finally sat down – I fell asleep on the sofa.


Posted August 26, 2012 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting

Michael Rossen likes my views!   1 comment

Although this happened a couple of weeks ago – I have only just decided to comment on it.

When I wrote my first blog about phonics for under fives – I sent it to lots of people via Twitter / Facebook / and other forums.


I was delighted that Michael Rossen not only commented on Twitter but also put my blog on his blog and commented very positively about my blog.

This is the link to Michael’s blog

There is lots of other comments from Michael himself on his blog about phonics and other aspects of teaching reading.


Posted August 25, 2012 by psw260259 in Phonics for children under five