Nursery News


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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Enabling Environments

Enabling Environments

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.<

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Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds

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

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Healthy Body, Happy Me Week

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

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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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Archie’s First Pantomime

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

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Chatterbox Challenge

Chatterbox Challenge

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

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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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E Safety for All

E Safety for All

24 Nov 14

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.

‘Home hackers’ spy on you and your children… with YOUR webcam Footage from inside homes, offices and shops is being intercepted and broadcast live on the internet –

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All About Me

All About Me

25 Sep 14

September has been a time of transitions with children settling into their new rooms and also making relationships with new friends. Our recent STAY & PLAY presented the perfect opportunity for families to be invited into the nursery to have a look through their children’s Learning Journals. Some parents enjoyed decorating Learning Journal’s with their children, but most loved looking through the photos with their

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Simmy & Squidge - new friends at Holly Bank

Simmy & Squidge - new friends at Holly Bank

15 Sep 14

At Holly Bank Nursery there have been a number of new faces! We welcome all our new children that have recently started and we also welcome our new Guinea Pigs, Simmy and Squidge. The children have enjoyed looking after the guinea pigs and have developed their understanding of them by finding out how they like to live and what food they like to eat. The children have been very

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Goodbye Bluebells

Goodbye Bluebells

03 Aug 14

The Holly Bank Preschool children and parents really enjoyed their leavers picnic and we were pleased that it almost stayed dry!

All the children received a certificate to show how well they had done and that they are now ready for school! They even wore the special graduation hat for a photograph. We will miss you all a lot, please do come back and tell us all

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Fun in the Sun

Fun in the Sun

01 Aug 14

All the children at Holly bank have been enjoying the lovely weather we’ve been having by spending time doing lots of water play to keep cool. The children have really enjoyed the sensory experiences this provides and have been observing how the water changes. They have painted with it, made footprints and watched it all disappear in the sun.

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Baby Birds at Holly Bank

Baby Birds at Holly Bank

03 Jul 14

Here at Holly Bank we have some birds nesting in the bushes. The toddlers have really enjoyed watching the Mummy and Daddy bird come with worms and other food for the baby birds in the nest. We can’t really see the baby birds, but we can hear them chirping from the nest. Hopefully we’ll see them as they get a bit bigger and learn to

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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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Charity Car Wash

Charity Car Wash

08 Apr 14

On Saturday 5th April all the staff from Holly Bank nursery got together to help raise money for Water Aid. To discourage our friends and parents from using the commerical car wash companies who use gallons of water they put on our own cheap, easy and environmentally friendly Charity Car Wash. Conserving as much water as possible the Nursery Practitioners worked up a lather on over 25 cars! They also

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Healthy Body Happy Me at Holly Bank

Healthy Body Happy Me at Holly Bank

28 Mar 14

All week the children at Holly Bank have been taking part in the NDNA’s* 'Healthy Body Happy Me' week. We have learnt about keeping active and how fun it is to spend time outside in the fresh air (but we already knew that!) We’ve also learnt about germs and how it’s really important to wash our hands properly to keep the nasty bugs

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A Letter from Lydia

A Letter from Lydia

26 Mar 14

When Louise from Holly Bank went to visit Finland her little bear Lydia decided she wanted to stay!

Lydia promised to write to all the children at Holly Bank to tell them all about the nursery in Finland she is now living in and they have just received their first letter! All the children are very excited and are going to write back and tell her

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Chinese New Year at Holly Bank

Chinese New Year at Holly Bank

03 Feb 14

The Bluebell children at Holly Bank have been learning all about Chinese New Year! They have been very busy creating an array of artwork for our display board, inluding Chinese dragons. We all got to taste various Chinese snacks and learn about different foods from around the world.

One lucky boy has jumped on a plane and flown all the way to China with his mummy and

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Yummy Apple Pie Gifts

Yummy Apple Pie Gifts

08 Nov 13

The Children in Poppies at Holly Bank Nursery have been busy making good use of their abundance of apples this year, making a special apple pie to take up to the care home as a treat for all the residents.This yummy treat was gratefully received and they are looking forward to the mince pies at Christmas!

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Mini Beasts visit Holly Bank

Mini Beasts visit Holly Bank

08 Oct 13

The children at Holly Bank Nursery have enjoyed a very special visit from Zoo Lab who brought all sorts of insects and mini beasts that we haven’t seen before, including a giant snail named Flash, an albino corn snake named Rizzle and a tarantula!

We learnt lots about what they like to eat, where they live ,how they see and even how some of them

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Apple Picking at Holly Bank

Apple Picking at Holly Bank

18 Sep 13

The children in Bluebells have enjoyed picking the apples from our very own apple trees in the garden this morning. We brought them inside, peeled and washed them before enjoying them for our snack this afternoon.

The Poppies room have also been busy exploring the apples, talking about the different patterns and shapes they can make when creating their apple print pictures.

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Mini Musicians at Holly Bank

Mini Musicians at Holly Bank

24 Jul 13

The boys and girls at Hollybank enjoyed a visit from Liz today who brought some special musical instruments for them to play with and explore. The children had a lovely, musical time creating loud ,quiet ,high and low sounds on instruments such as recorders, accordions, guitars and flutes. With all the fantastic tunes being played everybody enjoyed some dancing and singing in the garden!

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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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Going on a bear hunt

Going on a bear hunt

03 Jun 13

This afternoon the pre-school children at Holly Bank  went on a bear hunt in Clayton Fields behind the nursery. 

We’re going on a bear hunt, We’re going to catch a big one, What a beautiful day! We’re not scared.

Uh oh, grass long wavy grass. We can’t go over it, we can’t go

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Pre-loved donations

Pre-loved donations

07 May 13

The nurseries recently asked parents to donate any pre-loved baby equipment such as cots, moses baskets, prams, car seats and stair gates for a special collection for the local charity Talkthru.

The charity would like to thank all the families that donated items to their baby equipment project, all of which will go to families who are experiencing financial hardship. Several items have gone out to clients

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Make a change today

Make a change today

15 Feb 13

The Minister Elizabeth Truss has recently published a highly controversial paper “More Great Childcare”.  There are a number of proposed changes but a key issue is her proposal to change the staffing ratios in order to force nurseries to reduce fees to parents. While we agree with the principle of making childcare affordable we do not agree that forcing staff to care for larger groups is

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Snow time

Snow time

29 Jan 13

The children have had a wonderful time playing in the snow over the last couple of weeks.  They have been sledging, throwing snow balls, making snow angels, snowmen, snow dogs and even a snow woolly mammoth.

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

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Children helping children

Children helping children

18 Dec 12

The children, parents and staff at Portland Nurseries have been donating toys to our local charity the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice to help raise funds this Christmas.

The Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice has been raising awareness around their toy appeal over recent weeks, and we have shown our support with many kind donations from our families. 

Children at

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World Food Day

World Food Day

16 Nov 12

To celebrate World Food Day on October 16th the children at Holly Bank took part in food tasting activities to discover different foods from around the world. The babies experienced a mouth-watering medley of exotic fruits such as passion fruit, pomegranate and mango. While the toddlers tasted dips from tzatziki to sweet chill. Our amazing cook Karl made some healthy tortilla crisps for the children to dip into

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Jan White renowned expert in Outdoor Play leads company training day

Jan White renowned expert in Outdoor Play leads company training day

06 Nov 12

We were very lucky to have Jan White, the world renowned expert on Outdoor play lead our staff training day this month. Jan posed the question  “How can our outdoor space become an ‘enabling environment’ with the potential to support each child to be a unique, competent learner and to make progress at their own pace in a challenging and enjoyable way?”

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Nursery Staff applaud Outstanding Contribution to Special Needs and their Rising Stars

Nursery Staff applaud Outstanding Contribution to Special Needs and their Rising Stars

06 Nov 12

All 80 staff from Harlequin, Holly Bank, Oakwood House and Portland House Nurseries gathered at the Textile Centre for Excellence on Friday November 2nd 2012 for their training day followed by the Portland Nurseries Annual review and Awards presentation.

Pam Burrell, who has worked at Portland House for over 15 years, received an Outstanding Contribution Award for her work across all four nurseries for Special Needs. Rosemary Murphy OBE  

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Outstanding Achievement

Outstanding Achievement

05 Oct 12

A big thank you to all the parents, family and friends who have helped us raise an outstanding £4752 for our chosen charity the Forget Me Not Children's Hospice. 

Fundraising highlights have included a Den Making Festival, where the children, staff and parents came together to build their own dens out of the nurseries natural woodland resource’s, Sponsored Olympics, Tandem Sky Diving, Travelling

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Peas in a pod

Peas in a pod

11 Sep 12

Peas, strawberries, tomatoes, beans and potatoes, just some of the tasty fruit and vegetables the children at Holly Bank have been growing this year in their vegetable plot. The peas and strawberries were so tasty we ate them straight from the pod. Our nursery cook used the potatoes for lunch so all the children could taste them. A big thank you to Kirsty (Callum's Mummy) for

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Sky high for charity

Sky high for charity

10 Sep 12

A big cheer  to our four very daring staff  members who recently took part in a tandem sky dive to raise money for our chosen charity the Forget Me Not Children's Hospice. Sarah Craven from Harlequin, Vickie Sykes from Holly Bank, Stacey Smith and Kayleigh Moorhouse from Oakwood House all jumped from a plane with a qualified instructor which saw them free fall from 15,000 feet reaching

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Start Pre-school with us

Start Pre-school with us

13 Jun 12

The transition into pre-school is a very special milestone in your child’s development. Your child will have grown in confidence and ability and is now ready to develop all the skills needed for the new challenge of school. Our pre –school rooms are led by Early Years Professionals (EYPs) and childcare practitioners who plan for the individual needs of each child.

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Get Children Outdoors

Get Children Outdoors

29 May 12

We have found a great website which is all about inspiring  parents and teachers to find new ways of using the world beyond their front door to connect to their children and foster their sense of identity. 

There are some really fun ideas to do outside with your children from Mud Pies, Leaf Kebabs to Build an Imaginary Land. Follow the link to the

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Natural hideouts for children

Natural hideouts for children

21 May 12

The Willow Den at Holly Bank is a magical place for the children to develop their imagination and spend time exploring the outdoors.  In the space of a week the willow den can become a space ship, a train, an igloo, a castle, a secret hideout and that’s just the start. It also becomes a quiet place for the children to sit together and listen to

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