A Fond Farewell to Pam!
26 Aug 16
Today we say a fond farewell to Pam Burrell who retired this week to spend time with her new baby granddaughter. Pam is one of our longest serving members of staff, having worked at Portland House for 20 years with young children of all ages and learning capabilities, supporting them and their families to have the best possible start in life.
She has done so much for the
Stay and Play Mini Olympics
24 Aug 16
At Harlequins Stay & Play the children participated in their own mini Olympics.
We had lots of events going on; long jump, egg and spoon race, sack races and a parents race, needless to say the parents were the most competitive! The babies took part in their own mini obstacle course and all the children finished off by receiving a medal.We even had a visit from
17 Aug 16
This week at Harlequin the Poppies children have been in the forest with their torches hunting for bugs!
They found lots to look at: spiders, slugs and wood lice to name a few. The children helped to make a bug den in the snug area where they can use the magnifying glasses to look closely at our pretend bugs! The children then drew lovely pictures of the
Portland House wins the Examiner School Award for Nursery of the Year!
07 Jul 16
A big well done and congratulations to Portland House for winning the Examiner School Award for Nursery of the Year! We are so proud of all of the nurseries in the group and the staff teams who work so hard to provide the best possible learning opportunities and care for all the children who attend. However, this is a brilliant honour for Portland House and one that marks 25 years
12 May 16
Working in teams of two, the pre-school children took part in some woodwork activities using a range of tools from hack saws to screwdrivers and hammers.
Before they started, the children took part in a safety discussion where we talked about how to be careful and sensible.
Allowing them to manage risk and learn a range of new skills, the pre-schoolers worked on
10 May 16
Today in the baby room we have enjoyed making music using lots of different instruments to create loud and soft sounds, both fast and slow.
We encouraged all the children to use the instruments themselves and sang songs such as “Twinkle Twinkle” and our favourite “Horsey, Horsey” because we liked the “clip-clopping” noise the wooden instruments made!
OUTSTANDING again for Harlequin Nursery!
03 May 16
We are delighted to announce that Harlequin have once again been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ grade by Ofsted in all categories!
We would just like to say a big congratulations and well done to all the staff who have done so well to achieve this working together as a new team. The high quality childcare and education we provide would not be possible without all their
02 May 16
Lots of the children have been talking about a troll that is living in our forest area but we don’t see him because he is scared of all the children and staff at the nursery.
To show the troll that we are very kind and caring, the pre-school children worked together making a large card and present to send to the troll.
Healthy Body Happy Me
28 Apr 16
NDNA’s Annual Healthy Body Happy Me campaign encourages better health and happiness by giving children ideas for play, learning and fun, sponsored by Hope Education and Citation Professional Solutions. Each day of the week-long campaign has a special theme promoting healthy messages with fun activities, tips and ideas.
At Harlequin children were taking a look at themselves in the mirror. The children in the Poppies
25 Years of OUTSTANDING Childcare!
20 Apr 16
This summer we will be celebrating 25 years of outstanding childcare!
With four nurseries in the Huddersfield area, we have continually strived to provide local families with the highest standard of early years care and education for generations and have truly become part of the community.
Owners Rosemary and Michael Murphy both qualified teachers opened their first nursery Portland House in September 1991 followed in later years
Celebrating our Food for Life Early Years Award!
18 Apr 16
We're delighted to announce that Oakwood House Nursery and Forest School has become one of the first nurseries in the country to achieve the Soil Association's Food for Life Early Years award.
The award requires nurseries to demonstrate that they are providing tasty, nutritious meals in an environment that encourages good social skills and healthy choices. It acknowledges how we are supporting the development of
Easter Fun Week
21 Mar 16
The children at Harlequin have enjoyed lots of Easter fun this week, helping to make some yummy chocolate Easter nests decorated with chicks and chocolate eggs.
The children had lots of fun getting creative taking turns to use a salad spinner filled with paint to create some lovely eggs pictures as well as gluing and sticking to make Easter cards for their families.
Gardening work at Harlequin!
10 Mar 16
The babies have been watching the big diggers at work while the gardeners have been renovating our grass area.
They are having lots of fun exploring the texture of the new Astro Turf, crawling and walking around exploring. They are also having lots of fun crawling in and out of the new wicker tepee den, playing peak-a-boo games.
We are currently in the process of
03 Mar 16
The poppies children took full advantage of the snow fall we had this month. We made a footprint trail, making “slushy” footprints. We then had lots of giggles as me made ‘snow angels’ by lying on our backs and moving our arms and legs up and down.
We then worked together to create a snow man, rolling the snow around the garden to
Exploring Our Local Community
29 Feb 16
The children at Harlequin have been out and about in the local community during February.
Some of the pre-school children made a shopping list and went to our local grocery shop to buy ingredients to make homemade tomato soup.
Christine, our cook, joined the children on the visit to the shop and helped the children prepare and make the soup on their return to
Mud Glorious Mud!
29 Jan 16
This month at Harlequin the children have been taking full advantage of all the lovely mud that the extra rain fall has provided us with.
They have been demonstrating their culinary skills in our newly developed mud kitchen, and have been holding ‘dinner parties’ for their friends creating a range of pies and desserts.
We have also placed our compost bins in our
Babies into Books
28 Jan 16
All the babies have been very interested in books over the past few weeks, they have been looking at them independently and enjoyed listening to Sarah and Cherelle read them stories.
To expand on this interest the babies went for a walk to the children’s book shop in Lindley, where the babies enjoyed browsing the books and then purchased some new stories for all the
21 Dec 15
The children have been very busy in the Daisies room at Harlequin making little Christmas goody bags for parents,
They were incredibly creative and used a range of different materials to create the items inside.
• We had fun doing some hand and foot prints using red, green and yellow paint. – We used our prints to then make a calendar and a star topper
EARLY YEARS TOP TRAINER INSPIRES PORTLAND NURSERIES STAFF!
03 Nov 15
On Tuesday 3rd November we held our Annual Training Day and Review at the Textile Centre of Excellence to enhance and develop the childcare practice of our 107 strong staff team and reflect on the year past.
General Manager, Anastasia Murphy gave an overview of the previous year and reported that over 84% of the childcare staff now hold a NVQ Level 3 qualification, with many of them going far
Halloween Stay and Play
30 Oct 15
We had a great turn out for our Halloween Stay and Play session on Friday 30th October.
Everyone had a spooktacular time and the children dressed up in some lovely pumpkin themed outfits. We had lots of spooky activities organised and parents and grandparents had fabulous fun making lanterns from pumpkins.
Our Herb Garden!
08 Oct 15
The Harlequin children have recently picked the vegetables and herbs they have been growing in the garden.
As part of our Food for Life Award we are looking forward to tasting all of the lovely produce we will be growing over the coming year! Exploration of the outdoor environment and real experiences of growing things outdoors supports all of the seven Areas of Learning within the Early
E Safety for All
01 Oct 15
Following recent training at Portland House Nurseries and coverage in the national press this news item aims to highlight some of the issues regarding internet usage and offers recommendations to keep you and your children safe.
New technologies, including gaming, can offer our children many exciting and positive experiences. However nurseries and schools are increasingly aware of the negative impact that some online gaming is having on
Mud Marvellous Mud!
01 Jul 15
Children and Early Years Professionals at Portland Nurseries and around the world celebrated International Mud Day on 29 June. The initiative started in 2009 at the World Forum for Early Childhood Care and Education in Belfast, and aims to celebrate nature and the outdoors and bring children together by getting muddy.
All four nurseries in the Portland Nurseries group put a huge focus on outdoor play and love mud!
11 May 15
The children became enthralled with the book Whatever Next, by Jill Murphy. The story is about a bear that goes to the moon. The children decided they wanted to build their own rocket to go to the moon in. They looked carefully at what Baby Bear used to create his rocket and his space helmet.
The children collected a box each and worked together to put
World Book Day
13 Mar 15
World Book Day The children of Harlequin took part in World Book Day and a week of activities with lots of dressing up, favourite books and acting out our favourite stories. Our activities were even “tweeted” about when one of our parents contacted the author of The Queens Hat, Steve Anthony, about her daughter’s props for the day. He tweeted back wishing her a &ldquo
RECORD NUMBER OF BABIES BORN TO NURSERY STAFF
05 Mar 15
Portland Nurseries has seen 35 babies born to employees over the last 3 years and an amazing 17 in the last year alone!
Anastasia Murphy, Joint General Manager of Portland Nurseries’ said “This remarkable number of maternity/paternity leaves has been a challenge to manage but it has been worth it. If you have a predominately female staff team that stays with you for many years, having babies
Harlequin Daisies visit to Holly Bank
05 Mar 15
Harlequin Daisies visited Holly Bank’s soft play room. The children enjoyed bouncing, climbing, sliding and investigating with all their senses. Thank you to Hollybank for letting our children visit, they had a great time!
Poppies book of the week
02 Mar 15
Our Pre-Schoolers book of the Week has been “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. The children have made play dough with porridge, bear collage pictures and used these pictures to measure sizes in Duplo using comparison language and learning the Goldilocks song using Makaton.
Our Poppies have been also looking at stories, what comes next and filling in the missing words. <
Celebrating Chinese New Year
27 Feb 15
Harlequin has been celebrating Chinese New Year in style! We started our celebrations with a Stay and Play where we made Chinese zodiac masks, tasted Chinese food using chopsticks and made Chinese red lanterns. This year one of our children and his family when to Malaysia to celebrate New Year. William’s mum, Liane came in to talk about how Chinese New Year is celebrated and showed
Matching games using dinosaurs
09 Feb 15
The Harlequin Toddlers have been using their interests in dinosaurs to play matching games.
The games helped our children to look at similarities and differences in colour, shape and size. They also helped to develop the children’s mathematical language, for example” big”, “bigger”, “small” “smaller”, in addition to developing sorting and classification skills. <
Visit to Lindley Library
06 Feb 15
The children at Harlequin visited Lindley Library to choose some books about our forthcoming celebrations and projects.
The children chose books on Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Keeping Healthy for Health Body Happy Me week on 16th to 22nd March. We also chose books on recycling for our work towards our Eco Schools Green Flag Award.
The Library will be coming
Men in Childcare - Breaking stereotypes & planting roots for the future
06 Feb 15
Across our nurseries the male practitioners are making their mark on the early year’s sector!
Forest School Practitioner Brook Evans rallied the ‘Portland Nurseries boy’s together at Oakwood House Nursery & Forest School to help the children plant a Christmas tree. The children continually learn the importance of nature and caring for their environment and the Portland Nurseries men have picked up
Snow Snow Snow
23 Jan 15
Here are some of the benefits that snow play can bring to your child
There are many benefits to children’s development through the provision of snow in their environment: they have a chance to explore the snow, its temperature, texture and how it melts when held. If children can experience snow first hand they can investigate its properties and learn whilst having fun and enjoying
Room news from Harlequin
07 Dec 14
Daisies In Daisies we have been getting very festive this season. We have been making lots of decorations to make the nursery look like a winter wonderland. The babies decorated a snowman, a Christmas tree and some snowflakes which have all been hung up in the baby room. Together we have also enjoyed singing lots of Christmas songs too. Merry Christmas from all of us
Woodland Adventures at Harlequin
29 Aug 14
The children at Harlequin have been exploring the woodlands and getting to know the natural environment. They have been looking at how to keep safe in the woodland by using ribbons to mark out where they feel safe, they have also been exploring the leaves on the trees , practicing walking on different natural surfaces and steep slopes and investigating leaves from different trees with staff. Some children picked blackberries
Ice and Water FUNdraising
15 Aug 14
On 5th August, Harlequin held a charity stay and play to raise money for Water Aid. We had lots of water themed activities including Ice Jenga, Ice dinosaur excavations, and Staff Splash!, but all had a message of how important clean water is in keeping us healthy. The children baked buns for their parents to buy and we held a raffle with prizes kindly donated by parents and local
Harlequin’s new bug hotel!
22 Jul 14
Our lovely Poppies at Harlequin have been working hard on their bug hotel, visiting the woods to collect resources to attract minibeasts. We already have some woodlice and ants move in!
Poppies have also been monitoring the temperature and weather, recording their findings morning and afternoon and using our findings to decide when the temperature is cooler. We are really enjoying being outside in all this lovely
09 May 14
WHAT IS CIRCLE TIME?
At Portland Nurseries we believe that Circle Time is an activity where a group of children and practitioners sit together (at the same level) with the purpose of creating space in which children can communicate. It is about discussion, reflection, emotional understanding, personal identity and making connections. Exploring Relationships, feelings, reflections and emotions lies at the core of Circle Time.
Portland Nurseries Staff Training Day
11 Apr 14
On Tuesday 1st April 2014 Portland Nurseries brought over 80 of their employees together from their four sites, Harlequin, Holly Bank, Oakwood House and Portland House to enhance and develop their childcare practice at their Annual Training Day.
As a company we have always put a strong emphasis on continual training and development, holding the Investors in People award for 13 years and ensuring that the staff are trained above
31 Mar 14
Today our Harlequin children have been having some green fingered fun and have built their very own greenhouse! We now have 3 tomato plants to care for; one red, one yellow and one black tomato plant. The children worked together to count out the pieces and used the instructions to build their greenhouse. They recognised shapes and identified how the construction pieces looked like letters from their names.