Whittling and Leaf Kebabs
07 Jun 17
Today at Holly Bank the pre-school children were looking closely at all the leaves on the bushes and began comparing and contrasting their shapes and colours.
They collected some sticks and using potato peelers whittled the bark from the sticks. They then used pencil sharpeners to sharpen one end of the stick. The children chose lots of different shaped leaves and began skewering them onto the sticks.
Natural Printing (Hapa Zome)
31 May 17
Hapa Zome is the ancient Japanese art of beating natural dyes into cloth.
This morning the children at Holly Bank went exploring and collected lots of different shaped and coloured leaves and a few buttercups. We had small squares of calico and the children arranged their leaves and flowers in a pattern then placed the cloth on top. They then pounded the squares with mallets. The harder
Fairies at the bottom of our garden
24 May 17
Today whilst exploring in the garden the children at Holly Bank found some fairy wings, they heard the story of the sneezy dragon who had sneezed and burnt all the fairy houses.
The children set to work and collected lots of natural resources found at the bottom of the garden and began to make a fairy village. They even decided to make a 2 story dwelling downstairs for
02 May 17
The pre-school children at Holly Bank were delighted to release their butterflies. The children had looked after them from being caterpillars, watching them cocoon and then emerge as butterflies!
They sang a butterfly song to help them fly away.
Visit to Greenhead Park
28 Apr 17
During spring term the children in Holly Bank Daisies have been learning all things animal. We have been learning the different names of animals such as cow and duck but also developing sounds in our language such as moo and quack.
We took a trip to Greenhead Park to visit the duck pond and the children were fascinated by them. We listened to the sounds they were
What a Masterpiece!
06 Feb 17
Some children in Holly Bank Bluebells became budding artists today when they wanted to paint together. They chose their own colours of red, white and blue and explored mixing the colours and making huge marks across the shared paper.
Fantastic work Bluebells!!
Thank You Samantha for 20 Years Contribution to Outstanding Childcare!
22 Jan 17
Staff and children gathered last week at Oakwood House Nursery & Forest School, to congratulate nursery manager Samantha Richmond for her twenty year contribution to making Huddersfield based Portland Nurseries group “Outstanding”. Samantha is the third employee at Portland Nurseries to have worked for the company for twenty years and she was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a commemorative award, a cheque, a company Holiday
15 Years of Fun!
23 Nov 16
Happy 15 Year Anniversary to our lovely staff members Debbie and Vickie.
Debbie and Vickie were both working at Holly Bank Nursery when Portland Nurseries took over in 2001. They have stayed with us ever since, supporting staff across the company.
They've made a difference to the lives of so many children over the years, and we just wanted to say a huge thank you for
Flexible Term-time Sessions Available at Portland House
16 Nov 16
Portland House is now offering 3, 5 and 7.5 hour a day, term-time sessions in their Sunflower room.
The room will be open from 7.30am - 3.30pm allowing you to use your 15 hours a week of Free Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds in a variety of session patterns.
Morning Session: 3 hrs x 5 days (between 7.30am and 11.30am)
Afternoon Session: 3 hrs x 5 days (from12.30pm to 3.3
14 Oct 16
The Daisies at Holly Bank have enjoyed exploring the Autumn leaves and conkers.
The babies have loved exploring their garden and have been very interested in conkers. They felt how smooth they were, how they rolled and posting them. Indoors they then mixed the conkers with paint to make marks and created some fantastic Autumnal pictures!
06 Oct 16
Pre-schoolers at Holly Bank Nursery had a lovely surprise when Pietro turned four this month!
Pietro had helped his mum and dad make two healthy fruit cakes! One was a hedgehog and the other a dinosaur! His friends sang Happy Birthday to him and then all enjoyed a piece of his fruity hedgehog and dinosaur!
First Aid Training
03 Oct 16
Our staff teams across our nurseries recently updated and gained valuable First Aid knowledge and practical skills on their 12 hour paediatric first aid course. The course was run by Kiss it Better and everyone passed with flying colours.
All our staff are trained in first aid and qualified to level 3 in paediatric first aid. Our forest school staff are also trained in a level 3 outdoor first aid
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
Fruit from the trees!
08 Aug 16
Holly Bank pre-schoolers have finally been able to pick the fruit from their trees!
The children have been observing the apples and bilberries growing in the garden and have enjoyed picking them, cleaning them and tasting them! We were all amazed at how big the apples had grown!
14 Jul 16
The children at Holly Bank Nursery have enjoyed cooking up a feast in their mud kitchen. Using grass, leaves, mud, stones and sticks they pulled, mixed, sprinkled and patted the natural resources to create their concoctions.
The children were also on the hunt for mini beasts! They learnt the use of magnifying glasses to help them look closely at the world around them.
07 Jul 16
Holly Bank Nursery enjoyed a visit from “Rugby Tots” on Thursday to learn multiple skills used in rugby.
Children loved the sporty session and got chance to show off their running, throwing and catching skills.
The rugby session also demonstrated how well the children could listen to instructions and to work as a team.
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
International Mud Day at Holly Bank
29 Jun 16
The preschool children at Holly Bank enjoyed exploring the texture and feel of mud as they created mud pies and cakes in the mud kitchen. The children squished the mud on their hands rubbing the mud up their arms and creating mud masks. The children explored numbers as they counted the mud buns onto the baking trays and added leaves and twigs as candles and decorations.
Children’s interests in spiders!
26 May 16
Preschool children have been on the hunt for mini beasts! They have spotted some big spiders in the basement area at Holly Bank Nursery. The spiders ignited their imaginations and creativity skills and many of the pre-schoolers enjoyed using different materials to create their own spiders!
Our fantastic spiders will be on display in the basement.
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
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
Baby chicks at Holly Bank
08 Apr 16
The children at Holly Bank nursery were delighted when two of their Easter eggs hatched this week! The eggs had been kept warm in an incubator before hatching on Wednesday. The children had chance to observe the baby chicks “pipping” the egg shells to crack out of them.
The children have had chance to hold the baby chicks and we are all surprised as to
Celebrating Science Week
18 Mar 16
As part of British Science Week, pre-school children explored chemical reactions. A few children have been interested in volcanoes and how they erupt. To link with science week the pre-schoolers made a volcano from newspaper and glue, waited for it to dry before painting it to look like a volcano.
The children mixed vinegar and bicarbonate of soda into the volcano mould and were amazed to see
Outing to the Garden Centre
17 Mar 16
Children at Holly Bank Nursery enjoyed a visit to the local garden centre to buy flowers, plants, herbs and bulbs for their garden.
The pre-schoolers challenged themselves to walk to the garden centre and back. They counted their steps in an effort to raise money for water aid. Jointly the children walked well over 10,000 steps and raised £30.00!
The toddlers walked part of the way
From food preparation to table!
01 Feb 16
Preschool children at Holly Bank Nursery have enjoyed preparing their own food to eat.
They helped weigh ingredients, compare quantities and enhanced their fine manipulative skills as they rolled, stretched and twisted the dough to make twisted breadsticks.
The best part was eating the finished product with soup at tea time!
Recycling at Holly Bank
28 Jan 16
Holly Bank Preschool children have been getting more and more involved in composting and recycling.
The children are now keen to recycle their food waste, such as fruit and vegetable peelings, left over fruit from snack time and our egg shells. The children have also been adding their green paper towels to the compost bins after discovering they can decompose to create compost too!
Children in Need
13 Nov 15
The children at Holly Bank Nursery have enjoyed promoting awareness of Children in Need.
The children and staff wore bright clothes, or mix and match clothes, and enjoyed baking and creating pictures over two days of fun filled activities.
We raised a fantastic amount of £168.05 for Children In Need.
Thank you for all your contributions!
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
29 Oct 15
The children at Holly Bank Nursery were very curious when Zoolab came to visit.
Many children have been interested in mini beasts at the bottom of the garden so they were excited to be introduced to other insects such as millipedes, a cockroach, a giant snail, a tarantula and also a rat and a snake!
The children handled the mini beasts very carefully and looked
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!
20 May 15
At the beginning of May the staff at Holly Bank enjoyed an enabling environments training day. The day helped staff to reorganise resources and reflect upon the environment our children learn within. You may have noticed the room layouts have changed slightly as a result of this. The day has been a huge benefit not only to the staff team but to children having fun exploring new open-ended resources.<
22 Apr 15
Holly Bank’s new cook Jamie has been offering the children a helping hand when they planted vegetable seeds this month.
The children have been learning how seeds grow and have helped add compost to the soil beds to then plant carrot, onion and lettuce seeds! Millicent observing soil beds & pointing to lettuce leaves “I can see the leaves, they are starting to grow
Healthy Body, Happy Me Week
09 Mar 15
The children at Holly Bank Nursery have been gearing up for the Healthy Body, Happy Me Week.
The babies enjoyed visiting the local fruit and vegetable shop in Birkby. They noticed the vast array of colours of the fruit and vegetables and on the way back to Nursery they spotted a bright red fire engine!
The Toddlers have enjoyed looking more closely at the
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
Archie’s First Pantomime
19 Feb 15
Archie one of Holly Bank pre-schoolers, is taking part in his first pantomime it is The Cliffites production of Aladdin at St Philips Community Centre, Birchencliffe during half term. Aladdin has been written by his mum Steph and his dad plays the silly policeman PC Ping and granddad is Widow Twankey.
Archie has broken the record as being the youngest person ever to take part in a
16 Feb 15
The Chatterbox Challenge has begun!
Throughout February and March, the children at Holly Bank Nursery will be taking part in a Chatterbox Challenge to raise money for the “I Can Challenge”. This challenge provides a fantastic opportunity to get children chattering and allows parents and carers to join in the fun and support speech and communication at home.
Speech, language and communication skills
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