Category Archives: news

Win a FREE Climbing Frame For Your School!

Outdoor playspace and playground provider, Timotay Playscapes have launched their exciting competition! They are giving children the opportunity to design their dream climbing frame, which will be manufactured and installed at the winning design’s setting.

Director Stuart said “during these unprecedented time, we wanted to give something back to schools and nursery settings. We wanted to create an educational resource with the activity pack, but also create something for the children to look forward to – what better way than to a new climbing frame”

More information can be found at

Collaboration is key – Inspiring Nurseries

Inspiring Nurseries is a series of informal events (Ofsted Masterclasses and training) offering nursery managers and owners relevant and developmental training provided by an early years specialist. Kate Wilson and Marnie Wills, the people behind Inspiring Nurseries, have been working with children for decades in their own field. Marnie, founder of Sporty Minis, is an expert in children’s physical development whilst Kate, co-founder of Hello Mums, has been providing childcare for over two decades.

“ We understand how challenging the life of a nursery owner or manager is, and we want to facilitate their everyday practises. With this in mind, we realised that providing a space for managers and owners to connect was vital to achieving a better practice, and so we set out Inspiring Nurseries to help nurseries managers and owners to learn about good practice and network with other local nurseries. We wanted to find a way to inspire and inform nurseries and offer training at a location and time convenient for those running the nurseries. Therefore, each event takes place on a weekday evening, so managers and owners do not have to worry about taking a whole day out of work.”

The first Inspiring Nurseries event was with Alison Featherby, an award-winning early years trainer who presented a fantastic Ofsted masterclass and workshop event to 45 nursery managers.

There were so many take home points from her presentation, however, and these are the main ones:

  1. Know your Early Years Inspection Handbook. Share and discuss it with your Leadership team:
  2. Ofsted videos are an excellent way to up-skill yourself and your managers:
  3. The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage; this is an important document to share with your team:
  4. Update your Safeguarding and Child Protection reporting or referring and amend your policy if needed. This document will help you:
  5. Many practitioners need to know more about SEND identification. This website will help with SEND and identifying children who have additional needs:
  6. This document is where the Ofsted definition of teaching was first circulated:

To check out our next Inspiring Nurseries event:

Encouraging Physically Literate Children

Are you an early years or KS1 educator?  Do you feel you know enough about Physical Education?

Children from across the world are spending more time playing indoors and on screens than outdoors and in playgrounds or parks. As a result, they are increasingly failing to develop the basic building blocks of movement. These building blocks include running, throwing, kicking, catching, jumping and balancing. The challenge now is for children to not only develop these skills, but to positively want to be physically active – and to understand why regular physical activity is so important to their future lives and to learn to enjoy this activity. This is known as being Physically Literate – meaning children have the confidence, the skills, the motivation and the knowledge to be active.

So as educators how can we develop physically literate children?

Let me give you the key recipe to success… early exposure to Fundamental Movement Skills.

Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) are the building blocks of movement. They are a set of gross motor skills that involve different body parts such as feet, legs, trunk, arms and head and are essential for children’s participation in sport and physical activity.  As children do not naturally learn these skills as part of their innate growth and development, FMS skills need to be taught with educators providing direction and feedback to children.  The mastery of FMS skills for children happens at different ages and often some children will reach KS2 still developing these skills, hence why it’s important for children to explore and practise these skills in the early childhood years within a structured or directed environment.

It is so important that children have fun, and to be given praise and positive feedback when developing these skills. Children develop individually and at different rates so it’s more important to see skill development is sequential focusing on children progressing at different stages rather being proficient by a certain age.

There are 3 categories of FMS

  • Locomotive – The body moves from one place to another e.g. running skipping or jumping.
  • Non-Locomotive (Stability skills) – The body remains in place but it moves around the horizontal axes. eg- star shape and twisting or bending down.
  • Manipulative skills – Giving or receiving and an object.

In my opinion these are the most important FMS to master early are:

  • Run
  • Jump (for height and distance)
  • Overhand Throw
  • Ball Bounce
  • Catch
  • Leap
  • Kick
  • Forehand Strike (with and without object)

Here is your 5-step guide to a killer FMS lesson:

Step 1 – Choose one of the above FMS

Step 2 – Create an individual challenge for each child with this skill

Step 3 – Add another FMS skill to your challenge.

Step 4 – Can you change your challenge to be in pairs or a team?  This becomes a game

Step 5 – Progress your new game, with these simple principles.  *Space bigger or smaller, * add a time or * change equipment

For more FMS resources, staff inset or EYFS Lessons and KS1 after school clubs check out my website

Childcare: The Forgotten Key Worker

By Clare Roberts, CEO of Kids Planet

At this challenging time when we rightly applaud our NHS frontline workers, and when we need to pull together to fight the Coronavirus Pandemic, why is it that we are punishing the childcare sector?

It’s been reported that childcare is failing NHS workers. That a lack of childcare is forcing key workers to ‘stay at home’.

But what about the many childcare professionals who continue to work in high-risk situations to care for those children of frontline workers?  Those children in our care don’t understand the importance of social distancing. They can’t be cared for, cuddled or nurtured from a ‘safe distance’.  They require and are entitled to the same level of comfort, love and care today as at any other time. And yet the overwhelming commitment and attention being shown to these children are being ignored rather than applauded.  Our staff are making a real difference to the lives of many and still, the sector is criticised.

At Kids Planet, we’ve always encouraged our employees to see childcare as a profession, not just a job. And never have we seen that playout so clearly as during this pandemic.  Childcare practitioners should be applauded for being so incredible, kind, calm and patient during these difficult times.

And yes, as a group, we have been forced to close several of our nurseries.  We are doing our utmost to keep nurseries open where we can, where it is safe and where we have management in place to make it safe for all.

Where nurseries have had to close, the decision has not been taken lightly and has not been one driven by finances. Our staff continue to be paid 100% despite the government’s 80% job retention scheme because we value our staff and we want them to be here when this is all over. We’re not charging parents when their child is not in nursery.  The reality is, we are losing more money by staying open than if we closed all our nurseries; we’ve taken the decision to stay open and remain operational when financially, it doesn’t make sense.

Of course, we recognise that for key workers reliant on childcare to be able to continue to work in our hospitals, the temporary closure of nursery is far from ideal. But our industry rightfully dictates we legally adhere to staff-to-child ratios to ensure children remain safe.  We have a duty of care to uphold, we need to keep our staff and our children secure.

And those staff want to do their bit. They want to come into work, and they want to maintain the close bonds they develop with the children in their care.  We’ve witnessed a tangible sense of community with practitioners demonstrating incredibly positive attitudes, going the extra mile to keep our children secure whilst supporting our critical NHS workers. Their kindness and strength have overwhelmed us all.

We want to work with the community to fight this pandemic, not against them.  And, as childcare providers, we passionately believe in supporting all unsung heroes during this crisis.  This is why we’re donating 60,000 disposable gloves to supermarkets across the North West of England to help customers be better protected when shopping for essential items. We’re trying to do our bit, yet it seems we are being punished, with the efforts of our staff going unrecognised.  Vicky Ford, Minister for Children and Families recently recognised the work we are doing but it seems the wider press do not.

So, we’re asking you – please don’t turn on the sector, we need a balanced view of what’s happening, we need to recognise just how amazing these childcare key workers are.

Why is the childcare sector being punished so readily? Why are childcare professions not being recognised for the essential work they are doing in high-risk situations?  When will it be acknowledged that their dedication, enthusiasm and strength is something to be applauded as part of the wider effort in combating this terrible virus?  When this is all over, and it will be over, who will be there to look after the nation’s young children if we don’t recognise them during this crisis?

Stepping up in crisis: chefs feeding the community

The Coronavirus has disrupted every part of business across the UK. Many people are turning their attention to supporting their communities as much as possible. Led by renowned chef and speaker, Leon Aarts, a group of trained chefs and volunteers have joined forces to support families, the vulnerable and key workers.

Compassion London is an independent charity that aims to tackle food poverty across the capital. The chefs and volunteers have been tirelessly working to prepare and deliver thousands of meals every day to vulnerable groups. The kitchens at the heart of the meal prep are part of The Yum Yum Food Company who are specialists in nursery and school catering.

The charity is also working closely with Westminster Council to support its vulnerable groups, including the homeless.

Annabel Karmel, London-based children’s cookery author and supporter of Compassion London, whose children’s recipes are prepared by the Yum Yum Food Company, said she was ‘hugely concerned’ about the undeniable impact of nursery, school and business closures on the most vulnerable families and individuals.

Together with Leon Aarts, she urges the public to help play a prominent role in ensuring that regular nutritious, hot meals are provided during the crisis.


Founder of the Yum Yum Food Company, Abigail Simon, said that its premises have the capability of producing up to 5,000 meals a day, but that the initiative relies on funding and support:

‘We can do this, but we can’t do it alone. Teams of volunteer chefs and delivery workers are working around the clock, but we need more help.  Whilst we need more on-the-ground support to reach as many areas as possible, we are also reliant on donations. Getting a meal to someone in need costs about £2. One donation of just £10 enables us to provide 5 meals. £100 will help us feed at least 50 children a hot delicious meal.’

Ofsted suspends routine inspections amid Coronavirus outbreak

The Coronavirus has continued to plague industries all over the world. The nursery sector is one of many, many sectors to be impacted with staff shortages and continued lack of funding.

During these unprecedented times, Ofsted has listened to the calls of the sector and has temporarily suspended routine early years inspections. This however, excludes those planned in response to any safeguarding issues.

Ofsted are in daily contact with the DfE to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact across education and social care.

Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s chief inspector, said:

‘I’m grateful for the Secretary of State’s permission to suspend routine inspections. It’s clearly the right thing to do when teachers and social workers are under pressure as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. We all need to support them in their work.

‘We will monitor what’s happening across education and social care and we will reserve the right to inspect where we believe the safety of children could be at risk, or we have other serious concerns. We will also continue to register and regulate social care providers, childminders and nurseries, so that these vital services can continue to support children and their families.’

For more information on the developments from the Government please click on the links below.

Government advice on affected areas
DfE advice for educational settings during the Coronavirus outbreak

Creating inspiring classrooms – perfectly designed to meet the needs of children

Beautiful Grow.Upp playhouses allow imagination to take flight and offer exciting areas of discovery for children aged 0-6 years. Inspired by nature, this unique collection of playhouses, furniture and play cabinets invite children to feel comfortable and creative.

View Grow.upp range

So many places for children to discover!

  • Rest retreats
  • Varied surfaces and mirrors for a sensory experience
  • Stairs and slides for movement and climbing
  • Carefully crafted wooden grooves and ropes for stimulating haptic experiences
  • Multi-faceted lenses and coloured portholes for visual experiences

View Grow.upp play lofts

Responsibility with a capital R

The Grow.Upp range is self-supporting, GS tested and certified to meet the highest safety standards.

With a safety radius of 5 mm on all parts, our playhouses are made to order to ensure correct safety distances to the ceiling and best fit in your space. Platform bases are low noise, anti-bacterial and anti-static, with further safety features such as non-slip edges and extra handrails.

The HABA range is made with solid birch wood veneer of extraordinary quality from PEFC approved sustainable forests.

New play lofts released March 2020

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Get in touch!

T: +44 (0)20 8076 0789

Increase occupancy with our UK made BunkCot

Both Fafunia & The New Factory are proud to work in collaboration in bringing you their space saving product the BunkCot. The BunkCots are designed for Day Nursery settings as they arrive with you fully assembled and complete with mattresses. Each cot is solidly made from Birch Plywood and fitted sheets are also available including a waterproof breathable mattress protector. Delivery times from point of order are between 2 -3 weeks.

Shop for a BunkCot




Day Nursery Imaginators

Founded by Tom Shea, our factory designs, builds, creates and installs all things related to the Nursery industry. With an in house design team we can not only refurbish your setting, we can build you a new one.

Visit our website

BunkCots & More

Fafunia is where you can purchase BunkCots and generally smaller items that are each suitable for day nurseries and many of which are classed as open ended resources.

Visit our website


Our comment on the cots!

  • They are a great space saver
  • We cannot remember a time without them!
  • The babies settle well in them for sleep and the higher mattress saves back ache!

Tried & tested since December 2017!


Helen Hobbs
Managing Director,

Wellies Day Nursery Ltd

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.