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Social play is key in preparing children for school

Child development and expert play organisation, Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide, suggest preschool play should place a stronger emphasis on social and emotional development.

A recent international research study by Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide – expert consultancy in child development, play and parenting led by Dr Amanda Gummer – showed that 50 per cent of parents of preschool children feel their child should be spending more time on educational play.

The organisation argues, however, that there is a whole range of skills which help children become curious, excited learners, outside of the core subjects. Confidence, resilience, creativity, and social skills have been cited by the expert team as the key focus for Early Years education, in order to ready children not only for education, but also for future happiness and wellbeing.

Despite the worries expressed by parents, the findings of the study showed that nine out of ten children do in fact spend at least enough time, if not more, on educational play. Conversely, based upon the Good Play Guide’s Balancing Play concept, which promotes a healthy ‘diet’ of varied types of play for children, it was found that three quarters of children aren’t getting enough active, free play.

The Balancing Play concept suggests that a well-rounded development for children depends upon a varied approach to play, with certain aspects, such as active free play, imaginative play, board games, team games, construction play, reading and creative play, making up the bulk of their play time, while screen time, educational play and quiet solitary play should take up significantly less of their day.

Amanda Gummer, founder and MD of the Good Play Guide, explains: “Our Balanced Play Pyramid provides a great way to get a good mix of the different types of play, in a way which helps children reach their full potential while enjoying happy, healthy childhoods.

“There are no time limits for each area of play, so the model can be adjusted to suit each family or setting, but it gives a good guide for parents and educators alike.”

The Good Play Guide offers training and seminars for nurseries and Early Years settings which can be tailored to individual needs. The company is offering a discount of 10 per cent off the price of its Balancing Play seminar to NMT readers. Simply quote NMT10 when booking to claim your discount.

To find out more about the Good Play Guide’s training and seminars, head to

UK’s largest childcare franchise appoints Group Managing Director

Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries has promoted Richard Blunden to the brand-new role of Group Managing Director. Richard, who joined Monkey Puzzle early this year as Franchise Director, was responsible for overseeing development of the network. In his new role as Group Managing Director, Richard will be working closely with owners Mark and Rebecca Crosby, and the company’s business advisors, to develop and embed Monkey Puzzle’s vision, mission, values and strategies across both its network and the head office team.

He will be setting the strategic direction of the Group, planning and implementing long-term business strategies to achieve its continued objective of being market-leading innovators and visionaries within the childcare sector. Richard is an experienced figure in the UK franchising community and has represented some of the largest and most prestigious brands in the franchising and business management arena. He spent the last seven years working for Volkswagen Group in both the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Richard said: “I have never had such passion and motivation than during my time here at Monkey Puzzle. I’m really excited to take on this new challenge, driving forward Mark and Rebecca’s vision of the business through dedicated, committed and happy staff and a professional and driven franchisee network!”

Rebecca said: “From day one, Richard proved to us that he could help evolve our business and drive it forward. Our evolution is not about just growth, it’s about driving operational excellence and quality support into our fantastic network of franchisees and ensuring that everyone is best equipped to deliver outstanding and innovative childcare to parents’ most precious possessions – their children. “We are delighted that Richard will be taking on this new role as we look to reach even more parents and children, while continuing to grow our commitment to ensuring every child in our nurseries thrives.”

For more information contact:

Sarah Jehan: – +44 (0)78930 043 188

Alex Crean: – +44 (0)7753 170 777


London Healthy Work Place Award 2019

Healthy Workplace Awards 2019, City Hall – 18 November 19

Bright Kids Day Nursery in Waltham Forest have created a Healthy and happy place for Londoners to work. The Managing director Bel Oomerjee and the Nursery Manager Amanda O’Brien have been encouraging employees to look after their Well -being. ‘Happier and healthier staff are much more productive’ says Bel, and mental health is the biggest problem in young people by trying to understand and supporting them is a great start to their well-being . Our nursery in the retail park is surrounded by fast food and provides an easy option for young people so we have to teach them about healthy eating and poor diets and have introduce ‘Fruity Fridays’ to encourage them to eat fruits and slowly change their life style and be happier.

NMT Nursery Agenda Midlands 2020

NMT Nursery Agenda Midlands is returning on 31 March to a brand new venue, the Jurys Inn Hinckley Island Hotel, Leicestershire!

On the back of a partnership with one of Europe’s leading manufacturers, a business specialising in children’s furniture and play equipment has been born

Creating Classrooms, based in Northumberland, is bringing Haba furniture to the UK market after being approached by the international company to distribute its goods.

Haba is a leading manufacturer in its native Germany as well as other parts of Europe and America, but has yet to make its mark in the UK.

The company approached Matthew and Colette Giaretta who had worked with Haba on a number of projects across the globe through their successful design firm, Feelgood Designs.

“It feels like a great time to bring this range to the UK and a wonderful opportunity to build on experience we have from project work with our sister company Feelgood Designs. We have some really great projects coming up and are hugely focused on improving spaces for children in the UK” said Matthew, Managing director, who himself is a former primary school teacher.

The HABA name stands for quality, product reliability and concern for our environment. The products are made using real solid wood, carefully selected from sustainable approved regional forests in Germany. Complying to the highest standards of quality and safety, HABA furniture is warranted against manufacturer defects with a 10 year worldwide warranty.

Colette said: “We are delighted to represent the fantastic HABA name in the UK. The furniture range is huge, with options for every style and setting. What the partnership between HABA and creating classrooms allows us to do is present something for every budget. Every nursery can afford something.”

Within the HABA range there is everything from tables and chairs, play houses, changing tables, cots, room partitions and library storage. Active play, gym and outdoor equipment are also available.

Jade Hunter, marketing executive said “It’s really exciting for us to be able to offer something new, enabling schools and nurseries to differentiate themselves. The majority of the HABA range can be customised, allowing companies and nursery chains to apply their branding and create something very special.”

The Creating Classrooms team is a group of Early Years and interior experts with a real passion for creating beautiful, flexible learning areas for children throughout the UK. With in- house room planning and over 13 years of design experience, their friendly team are happy to share ideas to make spaces for education settings and public building, now backed by the experience of one of the worlds market leaders in design for children.

PurpleBee takes off nationwide

PurpleBee announce the launch of their award-winning online leadership, mentoring and  PANCo training programmes for Early Years Professionals.

Following on from the successful pilot of PurpleBee online leadership and mentoring training programmes across the east of England, PurpleBee are  now launching their award-wining courses to Early Years settings nationwide.

Each of the PurpleBee ILM Level 3 and CACHE Level 4 accredited and CPD courses have been specifically designed by experienced Early Years professionals to meet and exceed Ofsted’s expectations around the health and wellbeing of children and families.

In response to Ofsted’s raised expectations regarding health and wellbeing PurpleBee offers the gold standard in training for the nationally-recognised role of PANCo (Physical Activity and Nutrition Co-ordinator).

A PANCo is a champion for change; having a PANCo in your setting gives you the in-house expertise to get a headstart on your health and wellbeing initiatives and build a reputation for being an employer that cares about the health and wellbeing of their team, children and families.

PurpleBee online learning provides busy Early Years Professionals with a cost-effective and flexible way to support their development and apply practical learning to their settings.

Early Years Professionals who enrol on to a PurpleBee course can expect to be proactive – improving their own practice, sharing new knowledge and skills and finding ways to enable others to learn and grow.

Nicole, Deputy Manager, The Old School House. ‘The PurpleBee course was extremely easy to use and is accessible to all. I completed the programme on my phone and found I could flip between my work book and browser easily. I genuinely found the content interesting, and a brilliant balance between, audio, visual and interaction catering for all learning types. I would use PurpleBee Learning again, and thoroughly enjoyed this course finding it extremely relatable in my role’

PurpleBee CEO, Linda Baston-Pitt explains, ‘continued, individual development, positive organisational change and workplace wellbeing are all interlinked. By investing in an organisation that actively supports, nurtures and cultivates strong teams and leaders Early Years employers will naturally create an environment in which staff are happy and children thrive’.

The PurpleBee Training team is a group of Early Years professionals, experts and academics who have come together to bring you the latest and best in Early Years practice. Key members of the team have worked in an award-winning nursery, so their training is rooted in the real world of Early Years childcare and education.

For more information on PurpleBee Leadership, Mentoring and PANCo courses, contact:

CEO – Linda Baston-Pitt
PurpleBee Learning
St Johns Innovation Centre
Cowley Road

t. 01223 421745

Co-op Childcare shining spotlight on child nutrition with new health and wellbeing programme

Co-op Childcare has launched a pioneering new health and wellbeing programme that will teach young children about healthy eating and food provenance, based on research that shows nearly all parents want more education on nutrition in nurseries.

The initiative has been led by research and insight sourced from parents, which shows that 98% would like their children to understand more about where food comes from. Parents also rate a nutritionally balanced menu second only to Ofsted ratings in the most important factors considered when choosing a nursery for their child.

Nutritionally balanced, traceable menus have been launched across all 44 of its nurseries, which have been created with and accredited by the child health charity Startwell and endorsed by celebrity doctor, Dr Hilary Jones. As part of the design of the menus, parents, children and colleagues were asked which foods they’d like to see included, with the final menus incorporating the findings of the survey.

Each setting has also received a growing package from Rocket Gardens for their nursery garden, complete with vegetable patch, strawberry planter and organic herb garden. Enhanced growing areas will be rolled out across the group, to encourage children to interact with nature on a daily basis, planting, tending, picking, and maintaining the plants to improve their knowledge of the journey from earth to plate.

As part of the new programme, colleagues, including nursery staff and chefs, are undertaking specialist nutritional training. This will ensure colleagues are equipped to support parents with advice on nutrition, and chefs can apply their training when developing new recipes.

The new menus will be delivered by food wholesaler Brakes, has rigorously tested accreditations in place to mark the high quality of its food, and ensures all meat and fresh produce is fully traceable back to the supplier.

Rachael Escott, Sales & Marketing manager at Co-op Childcare, said: “We know that children who understand where food comes from are much more likely to have a positive relationship with healthy eating, so it makes sense to start education around this topic early. Many healthy eating programmes start a school age, but we want to encourage good food habits from a much younger age.

“We’ve been working closely with parents, colleagues, and children, to make sure we help the little ones in our care lead the healthiest lives they can.”

Dr Hilary Jones, GP, Medical Broadcaster and Author, said: “Co-op Childcare has committed to delivering healthy, wholesome, varied meals to ensure all the children in its nurseries are getting all the nutrients they need, and the education to understand why nutrition is important.

“With this strong foundation, they can continue on to grow, learn, and flourish and maintain a lifelong, positive relationship with food.”

GECCO Real Nappy campaign

GECCO is a registered charity, established to promote sustainability in Early Years childcare and education. GECCO’s Real Nappy campaign aims to promote reusable, washable nappies to reduce plastic pollution.  GECCO is going to do this by providing information and support, and cloth nappies to staff working in day nurseries, enabling them to support parents to make the change.

Chairman of the GECCO Board, Cheryl Hadland, is passionate about a cultural change towards sustainability, through those responsible for the education of our youngest citizens.  She is also Founder and CEO of Tops Day Nurseries (group of 30 day nurseries in the South and South West of the UK as of May 2019) and of Aspire Training Team – described as a world class training organisation by DfE in the training of Early Years personnel.

Cheryl explains, “There needs to be a behavioural change away from plastic, disposable single-use nappies, towards reusable nappies. Every child has about 6500 nappy changes, generating 1 tonne of plastic waste each. Damage is caused by nappies disintegrating into the environment, forming microplastics which can maim and kill fish, mammals and birds, and filter into the food chain for humans.

Every householder in the UK has about 3% of their domestic rates bill spent on getting rid of single use nappies.  This is whether you have a baby in nappies or not.  It costs around three times the cost of a disposable nappy to get rid of it and unfortunately most go to landfill. Using just one reusable nappy a day for 3 months will stop around 90 single use nappies being thrown away.

GECCO’s Real Nappy campaign has been supported by funds raised by leading whisky auctioneer Whisky.Auction, in partnership with retailer The Whisky Exchange, who hosted an auction of one-off bottles of whisky and rare spirits in November 2018, to raise funds for sustainable ventures and charities battling plastic pollution around the world.

A generous donation of £5,000 has been used to launch the campaign and buy real nappies, which are reusable and washable, and replace plastic disposable nappies.

GECCO, in partnership with Tops Day Nurseries, is giving a pack of reusable nappies to early years professionals with babies and toddler in nappies, so that they can support local parents to use the same, as well as leading by example.

Every Tops Day Nursery across the South of England has a hamper of reusable nappies to loan out to parents to try for free and will be encouraging parents to move to reusable nappies, at least while children are at nursery.

GECCO will also be supporting other day nurseries around the country to support parents to use reusable nappies and is looking for donations of nappies and funds to buy nappies in order to spread the word as quickly as possible – and to help save the planet from plastic waste.

Reusable nappies can be made of bamboo and hemp rather than cotton or microfiber, they are soft and comfortable, don’t cause nappy rash if rinsed normally, are easy to fit with velcro, poppers or clips (no safety pins) and are easy to wash.  They are the responsible, sustainable way to parent, and even the new baby son of Prince Harry and Meghan will be wearing reusable nappies.


A message from The Harvey Group



Dear Fellow Nursery Owner,

I write to you as part of a close-knit family business that has been involved in the care sector for three decades, and as owners and operators of a 60-child, fully occupied, Ofsted rated ‘Good’ nursery in London.

Our mantra
It’s simple: we treat the children we look after as if they are our own, with the wellbeing of our staff, the quality of education we provide, and our adherence to extremely high standards of safety all being paramount in what we offer. We view our nursery and pre-school as a place of education, rather than a glorified crèche, where we teach our children the ability to have confidence, be independent, and to pursue whatever drives them as individuals. We believe passionately in looking after all our of nurseries, ensuring that we invest money, time, and effort, into supporting, maintaining and improving all new additions to our group.

Growth goals
To continue growing our vision, we are actively looking to acquire leasehold nurseries and pre-schools registered for 55 children or more, that have either a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating, within London and the surrounding home counties.

The advantages of dealing with us are:

  • We are a cash buyer.
  • We will pay a competitive price.
  • You will NOT need to pay agency fees, as we will deal directly with you.
  • We will keep your name and preserve your heritage that you have worked so hard to build.
  • We are very hands-on nursery operators, with all the directors themselves working with children on a daily basis; we are NOT private equity, venture capital investors, or a corporate group.
  • We always aim, to the fullest extent possible, keep existing staffing teams in place, we know they are the heroes of your nursery.

I am always available to speak, whether for an informal chat over the phone, or to meet for a coffee. I understand that confidentiality and sensitivity are critical, and therefore all conversations are treated with the strictest confidence.

All correspondence may be directed to me at 07867 50 55 66 or I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours sincerely,




Daniel Harvey