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What age barriers?

  • Everyone sees the benefit to care home residents of intergenerational partnerships, says Joanne Coltone, but what do the practitioners, children and parents make of it?




Just another spoon…

  • Annie Denny, nutrition manager for the Early Years Nutrition Partnership, discusses the role of recognition and reward when encouraging healthy eating, and the fine line between encouragement and pressurising




10 ways to say thank you

  • It may not be all about money, but a financial reward for high achievement wouldn’t go amiss, says Jonathan Amponsah, particularly if there are no tax-penalties for you or your team member



Sue Churchill, Editor

Sue Churchill, Editor

Some Christmas thoughts…

How do you measure success? It’s a big topic to handle just before Christmas, and not as straightforward as you might think. Perhaps this question should be prefaced by another: what do we mean by success? We put it to several of our contributors and all of them varied slightly. One of the first people I approached was Ruth Pimentel. Many of you will respond with an “Ah yes” to her distinctive name and most probably associate her with the successful Toad Hall group of nurseries, but her CV also includes heading the Action for Children nurseries, consultancy work and her current role as CEO at Kindred Education. Ruth provided an overview of both the business and management challenges, but significantly said: “A successful bottom line means quality on the top line.” That was the common viewpoint of the contributors who approached the challenge to define and map the route to quality. But each had a slightly different handle on it. So, take your pick: from Neil Leitch from the Early Learning Alliance, who takes the people and training route to quality and success, and Linda Baston- Pitt, who stresses staff wellbeing, to Rachel Lyons, who looks at the role of the room manager, and, finally, Matthew Martin, who provides tips for developing your workforce. Such a big topic just now, when everyone wants to wind down but knows it is an impossibility what with the complications of winter colds and juggling two winter festivals and all they entail – the concerts, the nativity play, the invites to parents. But the spectre of falling registers is ever there and cannot be ignored. As all successful nursery owners and directors know, there’s no switching off until Christmas Eve. Ah yes, when that time comes and before you lock the door behind you, just read the words of wisdom from Dan Weir, who urges everyone to make sure their insurance cover includes the worst-case scenario. Winter brings to mind burst pipes and everything that spins off from that. Be sure you put your mind at rest. That’s one side of winter, but there is another, which Francis Smith alerts us to: the arrival of migrating birds from Scandinavia. Everyone can get some pleasure from learning to identify our winter visitors while being out in the fresh air, getting some exercise after Christmas dinner and making the most of the winter sun. So, that’s it. All that remains is to wish you all a very happy Christmas and – bearing in mind this issue’s topic – a successful new year.

Sue Churchill

Editor, Nursery Management Today