Nursery News


25 Years of OUTSTANDING Childcare!

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

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Celebrating our Food for Life Early Years Award!

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

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Easter Fun Week

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.

We even

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Gardening work at Harlequin!

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

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Snow Day!

Snow Day!

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

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Exploring Our Local Community

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

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Mud Glorious Mud!

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

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Babies into Books

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

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Creative Christmas

Creative Christmas

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

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EARLY YEARS TOP TRAINER INSPIRES PORTLAND NURSERIES STAFF!

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

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Halloween Stay and Play

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.

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Our Herb Garden!

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

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E Safety for All

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

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Mud Marvellous Mud!

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!

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Whatever Next!

Whatever Next!

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

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World Book Day

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

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RECORD NUMBER OF BABIES BORN TO NURSERY STAFF

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

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Harlequin Daisies visit to Holly Bank

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! 

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Poppies book of the week

Poppies book of the week

02 Mar 15

Harlequin Poppies

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. <

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Celebrating Chinese New Year

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

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Matching games using dinosaurs

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.  <

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Visit to Lindley Library

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

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Men in Childcare - Breaking stereotypes & planting roots for the future

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

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Snow Snow Snow

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

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Room news from Harlequin

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

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Woodland Adventures at Harlequin

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

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Ice and Water FUNdraising

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

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Harlequin’s new bug hotel!

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

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Circle Time

Circle Time

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.

Circle

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Portland Nurseries Staff Training Day

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

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Project Tomato

Project Tomato

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.

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Pancake Day already? That crêped up on us!

Pancake Day already? That crêped up on us!

07 Mar 14

The children at Harlequin Nursery had lots of fun this week learning about Shrove Tuesday, especially the part where they got to try Pancakes! They enjoyed taste testing different types of pancakes with various toppings while talking about all the different tastes, textures and colours and counting all the toppings. They also listened to a story about Easter and learnt why Christians celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

The children

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Oodles and Noodles of Fun for Chinese New Year

Oodles and Noodles of Fun for Chinese New Year

05 Feb 14

Harlequin Nursery on Queens Road has recently been celebrating Chinese New Year with all the children and their families. The children have had a lovely time learning all about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac and enjoying tasty Chinese foods using chopsticks, which was a bit of a challenge! As a very special treat on one boy’s mummy came into nursery and sang some traditional Chinese songs

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Huffing and Puffing at Harlequin - The Three Little Pigs

Huffing and Puffing at Harlequin - The Three Little Pigs

31 Jan 14

During January the children at Harlequin have really enjoyed the 'Three Little Pigs' story and have had lots of fun pretending to be the pigs and the wolf! We went on an adventur to the local library and borrowed the three little pigs book and spent lots of time reading and discussing the story. Then we created our own role play areas outside; a house made of straw, a

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Harlequin children bring cheer to local Grandparents

Harlequin children bring cheer to local Grandparents

10 Oct 13

On Thursday 3rd October, the children at Harlequin nursery visited Thornhill Nursing Home  to celebrate Grandparent's Day. We made cards for the residents and cheered everyone up by singing and dancing to some lovely songs.

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Leaver’s picnic at the park

Leaver’s picnic at the park

11 Jul 13

The Harlequin children starting school this September enjoyed a special Leaver's Picnic at the Lindley duck pond with staff and parents. All the children received a special graduation certificate and especially loved sharing their picnic with the ducks. 

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Caterpillar to beautiful butterfly

Caterpillar to beautiful butterfly

11 Jun 13

There has been lots of excitement at Harlequin over the past few days as some of the nursery caterpillars have emerged from their cocoons into beautiful painted lady butterflies. 

The children, staff and parents were excited to set all five of our butterflies free on Friday evening and a lucky few even had the chance to hold and observe them before they flew away in our

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Victory for the early years sector

Victory for the early years sector

07 Jun 13

A big thank you to those parents who signed the petition demanding the Government rethink plans to change staffing ratios. Nick Clegg announced today that this would no longer be happening.

There has been a lot of coverage in press and on TV and we have provided a link below to what I consider to be a fairly reasoned response. Asking staff, no matter how well qualified,

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Birds nesting at Harlequin

Birds nesting at Harlequin

22 May 13

We are really lucky to have Blue Tits nesting in our nursery garden. At the beginning of Spring we set up a special nesting box with a hidden live webcam inside it so the children can watch from a screen inside the nursery. This has been an amazing experience for the children as they have been able to watch Mrs Bird (named by the children) keep her eggs warm ,

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Eureka!

Eureka!

20 May 13

A group of Pre-school children from Harlequin have recently enjoyed an exciting trip to Eureka to experieince their new 'All about me' exhibition. We explored our senses, measured and weighed ourselves and had lots of fun with all the different activities available (although the train ride there was just as exciting!!)

'All About Me is a really clever new gallery because it’s been designed

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