Archive for December 2012

Reading Reform Foundation Discussion Forum   1 comment

This morning I was checking my site sats – and I noticed a couple of viewers had come via a link from ‘rrf’. As I had no idea who this was – I visited the site.

‘rrf’ stands for Reading Reform Foundation Discussion Forum.

On there a thread has been started about phonics – titled ‘I am not against phonics , but…..’

Reading Reform site (not sure if link will work as need to register to read – but hope it does)

Basically they have created a list of quotes from other peoples websites and blogs about phonics and my blog is the first to be mentioned – this is great as it directs people to my site and in particular to my blog about some phonic books that I ordered.

However what I object to is the statement about why they are doing their blog because it ends with the words – ‘ usually daft excuses’ and quote just a short sentence from my blog – which is out of context.

To be fair they have included a link to my blog – so people can read the whole blog if they want to, but by using the word ‘daft’ they are suggesting that the authors of the sites they have quoted from (and I am not the only one), do not have a valid viewpoint, – when in fact all viewpoints are valid, and everyone can disagree with views expressed – there is no obligation to agree with everyone!

I am not against debate or against difference of opinion – but I consider ‘daft’ to be an inappropriate way of describing other people’s views. I put in in the same bracket as ‘stupid’ and as such find it offensive.

As a site that talks about reading and therefore the written word – I would have thought they could have expressed their opinion without using the word ‘daft’

Some examples

‘Some views of those who are against teaching of phonics’

‘ Views of people who disagree with teaching phonic’s to under fives’

‘Views of those who have a different opinion to us about phonics’

or even

‘We disagree with these views’

And I would think a hundred different ways to say what they wanted to say.

I have noticed that others whose sites have been quoted replied that their comments have been taken out of context, and have posted to object to this out of context use.

In my opinion if you want to express your personal opinion about something – you should express your view and within that view say what it is you disagree with – and why.

I feel it is not appropriate or professional to write a blog that starts with calling other people’s views ‘daft’ and that then lists quotes out of context.

To end – I must make it clear that I am not against rrf expressing an opinion, and disagreeing with my views – I am just against the way in which this has been done.

I have registered with the site and if I get ‘approved’ I will comment directly on their site.


The person who started the thread has now removed the word daft, and posted on rrf to apologise for using it in the first place

Posted December 31, 2012 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

Penny’s Place Ethos   Leave a comment

This is another ‘follow up’ document – in previous blogs I have written about my ethos and my theory – ‘The Webb Theory’ but both of these are just blogs – my ramblings – for them to have any meaning these ramblings need to used in practice.

And indeed they are because I produced a document for my Parent Pack to help parents understand me as a person and about my ethos – very important if they are deciding on if they thinking of  asking me to care for their child – and also as a reminder to current parents using my childminding service just what it is that is important to me.

So as with the document in the previous blog, this one is copied and pasted from my Parent Pack- and is of course about me and my setting – but it might provide food for thought and a starting point for others


Penny’s Place


Before considering if Penny’s Place is the right setting to send your child it is important that you find out a little more about me and about my ethos, as this will help you decide if you as parents and I as childminder will get on, agree about things and therefore be able to work together to support and care for your child.

I am sure you will agree – a very important consideration.

I am a very honest person – and being honest is important to me. I cannot cope with lies, or withholding information or with using information creatively to benefit self.

I accept that sometimes, what I might call a white lie or withholding information to benefit another person or prevent them from being upset or hurt – can have a place.

Being so honest does not always ‘sit well’ with others – including family members. Sometimes I have ‘dug myself a hole’ by refusing to sit back and allow others to do or say things which I know to be wrong and I know have the potential to hurt others.

Within my childminding practice I say it as it is – my weekly parents newsletters are full of apologies for not doing things that I should have done – like not  being up to date with learning journeys, like not having the draft of a policy review completed when I said I would. If I have a day where my personal reflection is that – I could have done better – I say so. If I have one of those days when to be honest I wish I could throw myself on the floor and kick and scream in frustration – I say so (have not yet thrown myself on the floor – but if I ever do – I will say so)

So it is easy to see how this personal ethos fits in with my views on childminding – things should be ‘above board’, registration requirements should be met at all times, the children should always come first and must always be safeguarded. This does not mean I am perfect – far from it – but it does mean that I constantly reflect on my own practice, that I also constantly adapt and change my practice, the environment – and yes the paperwork to ensure that on that day, at that moment in time – it is the most appropriate and effective practice (however it is only for that moment in time)

It may also be easy to see why I am not comfortable with the things I see, I hear and I read about the practice of a minority of other childminders – and why if I think a child is at risk – I will phone the safeguarding board or in extreme circumstances the police.

I hasten to add that I expect parents of minded children, family, friends, colleagues and neighbours to report me if they think the children in my care are at risk of harm

SO my ethos and my ‘values and practice’ are based on the – Webb Theory because I have been influence by many other theorist but not significantly by any particular one – to say I am this or that. Hence the ‘Webb Theory’

Of course I don’t expect anyone else to believe in this theory or to follow it – after all I think we all have our own ‘theories’ that have been influence by other theorists – and by the others in our lives such as parents or foster careers, teachers, church leaders and so on  – and of course our own life experience

So in brief – my theory


  • Children are a lot cleverer than they are often given credit for
  • Children learn through play and the best ‘play thing’ is an adult who is in tune with the child’s needs and who has time to interact with the child.
  • The next best ‘play thing’ is the natural outside environment – closely followed by natural items brought inside
  • Children learn through their senses and by ‘doing’ and through experimenting and their own mistakes.
  • Children  like routines and boundaries but also can cope with change – provided a ‘key person’ is there to support them through the changes
  • Children need sleep – tired children cannot function fully and so cannot develop as quickly as they could if rested and refreshed
  • Children need unconditional love and someone who will ‘be there for them’ no matter what has happened or is happening.
  • Children do not need  to experience all aspects of life or a curriculum  before the age of 5 – they need to be allowed to be children, to become secure in the foundations of learning – all those social and emotional skills, those self management skills like dressing, feeding self and toileting. Once they are secure in these areas – they will be ready for more formal learning, to flourish and to in due course reach their full potential.
  • Testing and labelling of children is wrong -all children learn at their own pace – reading and writing at 5 does not mean the child will do well in later life nor does not reading or writing until 9 or 10 mean a children will fail to achieve their full potential.
  • Children will continue to surprise and amaze me – and I think they always will – they are all unique.







Posted December 30, 2012 by psw260259 in Random Things!

The EYFS at Penny’s Place   5 comments

I have just commented on a post on the UK Childminding forum about planning  – and put a link to my blog.

In doing so I  realised that my blog about my planning and recording for EYFS  – in fact had a vital bit of follow up missing.

In that blog I mentioned that I intended to write a document for my Parent Pack – and I did. However I have not shared it and a few people have asked if I did write the document – and on hearing that I did – want to know what it says.


So here it is – copied and pasted from my Parent Pack – so as it is – no changes or fine tuning.

It is of course only applicable for my setting – but some of you may find it helpful, if you are thinking of doing something similar.


Implementation of EYFS 2012

at Penny’s Place


Within the Parent Pack, there is a copy of the ‘official’ parent’s guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and I have to say I agree with most of its content – and in particular the statement

‘Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors’

This is what your child will be doing at Penny’s Place – PLAYING, and through that play exploring, being active, being creative and therefore developing their critical thinking skills.

Your child will not be doing circle time, very many table activities or worksheets – there is plenty of time for those activities once in school. However they will be making choices about what they do, they will learn to share and take turns, they will learn by their own mistakes – including those made when learning to manage their own risks. They will learn respect and manners, they will learn that sometimes they cannot have what they want or do what they what to do – but will also learn why. They will be supported and encouraged, but allowed to find out for themselves how things work, what things do, what happens if …., and they will do all this both inside and outside.

Their interests will be supported – if additional resources are needed – they will be brought (within reason), they will not be hurried on to the next thing and will be allowed time to explore.

Extensive communication both verbal and non verbal through talking, stories, rhymes and music will be evident because being able to communicate effectively to others and to self, is an essential life skill and key to all other learning.

In essence they will be allowed to be children – and as a result will be ‘ready not only for school but for life’

Records about your child

As part of the requirements for EYFS I will keep the following records about your child

Child Record Form


Permission Forms

Starting Assessment

2 – 3 year old progress check

Leaving Assessment

Child Evidence Diary including informal observation and comments from parents

Photographic evidence

Creative work (or photo’s of creative work)

Accident and medication records

If need arises,  formal observations


Please note that although I note the Development Matters documents and the Early Learning Goals – I will only reference assessment to the 7 main areas of learning (3 Prime areas if under 3 years of age)










Posted December 30, 2012 by psw260259 in Revised EYFS

There maybe trouble ahead! Naughty Penny!   4 comments

Penny has been very naughty!!


Mr. Penny’s Place is very tolerant of all the childminding stuff that is stored n HIS garage, in the kitchen, in the middle room, in the conservatory  in the loft, in the shed – and in two of the bedrooms

but even so Mr.Penny’s Place has decided that after the recent purchases by Penny – that really enough was enough!

Penny was told to consider carefully in future if she really needed to buy anything else

Penny promised that she would indeed consider each future purchase very carefully

Then …..

an email came from ELC ……

and Penny just had a quick look …….

then another look …….

and being Penny put in an order two days ago !

It has just arrived


Large dump trucks – three of them. Were £25 each  – paid £30 for the three (so £10 each



Explorer Kits (for when the arboretum re opens) – six of them were £15 each – paid £36 for the six (so £6 each)



Big city trucks – 2 of each sort  – so eight altogether – were £7 each – paid £22.40 for the eight (so £2.80 each)







And for good measure three CD’s  – were £5 each  – paid £2 each


Penny thinks a bargain – think Mr.Penny’s Place may think otherwise!



Posted December 20, 2012 by psw260259 in Random Things!

Wednesday 19th December – Weaving – Lovely   2 comments

After our busy day yesterday – and the planned excitement for Thursday and Friday (cooked Christmas dinner on Thursday – not from scratch but still a Christmas dinner, and mini party two on Friday) plus the fact that the children.are now getting excited and a little bit hyper – we had a much quieter day today.

However this afternoon we did do an activity which worked out really well and so I thought I would do a quick blog to share with you.

I have to admit the idea was not mine – but one that I was told about at a ECHO session at Worcester Uni at the beginning of the month – I say I – but mean ‘we’ as of course I was not the only person there!

To start you need some open weave mats from Matalan – come in gold and silver – and were £2 each or 2 for £3. You also need some ribbon (and thanks to Carol for giving me some of her ribbon in Christmas colours of red and green)

The idea is the children just weaving the ribbon in and out of the holes – and it does not matter which holes or how many holes – will look good however they do it.

We did  have to tape the end of the ribbon together once they had gone ‘in and out’ of the first hole – otherwise they just pulled it right through which of course they found frustrating. Found it also helped to tape the other end of the ribbon once they had finished threading each piece of ribbon.

Also added a star tied on with ribbon with their name on it.

Take a look – what do you think? The parents loved them.




Posted December 20, 2012 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

Tuesday 18th December – Penny ‘lied’ to mindees parents!!   Leave a comment

After my illness from last week and knowing that will not be operating at full steam this week Penny included a bit in the weekly parents newsletter (emailed to parents every Sunday) as follows;

‘I shall be open next week, but I think it will be a ‘laid back’ week with less going on than usual’

Well – that was certainly true of Monday – but Tuesday?

Penny lied! It was not laid back, it was not less than usual – we fitted so much into the morning – that now even Penny can not quite believe that she and the children did  it all!

We started off with Free play (as we always do)

Chinzia is still exploring and discovering circles and spent over 30 mins setting up her ‘party’ which she said was for her friends (not arrived at that point). I noted the circle objects placed carefully within other circle objects – and the ark (part circle?) of the arrangement of dishes – and wonder if this was on purpose or ‘just happened’. My gut feeling is it was on purpose as it is too neat to have just happened – but of course I won’t know unless I observe similar in her play in the future.


Once all the children had arrived (4 today) and breakfast was finished, free play with the heuristic type items in the storage unit and the continuous provision in the conservatory

Shona fitted some plastic tubes onto her fingers


Chinzia made another party


Alex found some glasses to wear (sorry no photo as shows his face)

We did some handprints inside some cards that making – and followed this with some free painting.

Alex carefully applied one colour at at a time and then another colour – with very little mixing of the colours on the paper

Shina painted a lovely ‘pink’ picture – Penny noted that shona very carefully used her brush to paint the edges of the picture in straight lines and although a little did go over the edges most of the paint was on the picture


Chilnzia painted ‘a dinosaur’


Mia was not really that interested and after less than a minute had finished her picture


We then did some dancing to some loud Christmas music – although Mia did not want to dance – she wanted to ‘fly as was in the role of a ‘fairy’ at the time. Of course we also used our Christmas Jingle bells to add to overall sound effect (read headache making noise!)

Mia matched the Christmas lotto game cards to the base boards (on her own – not as a game with a friend)


The children then spotted the new T,shirts and hoodies that had arrived yesterday but only just been unpacked.

‘You got new jumpers Penny’ they said.

Penny held one up to her – ‘Penny too big’ said the four children

‘Who will they fit?’ asked Penny

‘Babies’ – ‘Baby Scarlett Rose and Baby Selena’ they said

We discussed for a while and finally they concluded that the babies were too small.

‘So who will the jumpers fit?’ asked Penny – holding up a pink hoodie

‘Children’ said the three girls

‘It won’t fit me said Alex, folding his arms across his chest in a protective way.

Penny held the pink hoodie up against Shona – ‘It fit me’ she said ‘And me’ said Chinzia ‘And me’ said Mia

‘It won’t fit me’ Stated Alex very firmly

So Penny held up a blue hoodie – the same size as the pink one

”That one will fit me’ said Alex unfolding his arms and smiling

Interestingly the T.shirts are ALL shy blue and both the girls and Alex said they would fit them.


By now the sun was out – and it was a lovely outside – so on with coats and wellies. While the children were independently doing this (only needing help to ‘start’ the zips) Penny got out a few resources for outdoor play – the two plastic rockers. the chalk, the basket of pine cones, the box of pebbles, two trays, the box of wooden circles and the saucepan musical instruments and basket of wooden spoons and bamboo cane ‘beaters’

Chalking is still very popular

Shona drew a ‘helicopter’


Mia drew a ‘radiator’


Alex drew a ‘picture’


Shona and Mia played the musical saucepans together


They played outside for about an hour – then after tidying up outside and inside, the children watched ‘Maisy Mouse’s Christmas DVD – while Penny got the party lunch ready (Mia’s last day before Christmas break)


And even after a leisurely party lunch – it was still only 12:40 – the children were ready for nap / rests. Penny wished she could have a nap – no such luck but an hours peace and quite did help with the headache.

Posted December 19, 2012 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting

Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th December – Re discovering the lightbox   Leave a comment

Catching up on some of the activities that happened last week but didn’t get round to writing the blog due to be ill for second half of week.

My friend Carol …

(sorry to keep mentioning Carol’s name but  we think alike on a lot things and live close enough together for it to be practical to share resources and do things together. I do have other good friends but unfortunately distance makes this kind of mutual support and sharing difficult – which is a shame)

…. share a lightbox which we brought at a bargain price from from Reflections on Learning.

Carol has been using it over the last month or so with her mindees, supporting their shapes topic.

However over the weekend it was returned to Penny’s Place – and as I had brought some new resources I was keen to re introduce the lightbox to the children.

They were duly impressed – and we had the lightbox out on Tuesday and on Wednesday to support their continued interest in exploring it over the two days.

I will let the photo’s speak for themselves – but just to mention the new resources are the blue (ish) stones brought from a garden center last year for £2.99 and the ‘gem’ type things which are actually Christmas tree baubles (just cut the strings off) brought from my favourite resource shop – yes Poundland – three packs of 6, so a total cost of £3.


Posted December 18, 2012 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting