Let’s Get Physical
22 Feb 17
The children have been busy practising their physical skills in the forest at Oakwood House. We have reached great new heights climbing in the bushes. The children used their good judgement to decide which bushes to climb and jump and balance.
Giving the children the time, space and freedom to demonstrate their independence has given them self-confidence and self-belief. The children have also developed their physical
Feed the Birds
14 Feb 17
A great time was had by everyone at Oakwood House Stay and Play on 14th February. We were celebrating National Nest Box Week (14th - 21st February). It is organised by the British Trust for Ornithology and is all about helping birds. It reminds us that now is the time to put up nest boxes for our garden birds at the start of their breeding seasons. Winter
Let me tell you a story… Daisy the bouncing Princess
02 Feb 17
This week is National Storytelling Week. The children have had great fun in the story circle outside. We have had the Gruffalo visit and today the children made up their own story by taking it in turns with each line.
“Once upon a time, a long long time ago there was a princess. The princess was jumping on the bed and fell off. Her mummy came
Burns Night Stay and Play
25 Jan 17
At Oakwood House and Forest School the children, staff, parents and grandparents celebrated the birth date of Scotland’s national bard Robbie Burns on Wednesday 25th January with a Scottish themed Stay & Play. The children tasted haggis, and took part in some Scottish themed activities such as tartan weaving.
The highlight was a visit from Stephanie Ward a bagpipe player. Stephanie talked to the children
Letters in the Forest
25 Jan 17
Today at Oakwood House in Forest School the children collected some sticks and started to form the first letter of their name. The outdoors is a uniquely effective space and the children are often observed talking more, cooperating, socialising, mark making and doing many literacy activities often through their own choice. They then went on to name animals that started with the letter they had made.
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
Welcome to Oakwood Kathryn
19 Jan 17
Oakwood pre-school children have been busy getting to know our new cook Kathryn. They made savoury scones as she talked about the ingredients and explained where they came from. She explained the mixing method of rubbing our fingers and thumb to crumble the butter and flour. We then added the cheese using the same method.
When the milk was added it got really messy!
Billy Goat Gruff
12 Jan 17
In Oakwood House forest school today the pre-school children listened to the story of the 3 billy goat gruff while stood next to the troll bridge in the garden. The children began to stomp over the bridge so the troll could hear them.
“The troll felt sad because he didn’t eat any goats”
We then visited our mud kitchen to make some
Fairies and Potions at Forest School
10 Jan 17
The Oakwood Pre-School children really enjoyed making a magic potion for the fairies today in Forest School.
They collected leaves and mud and added it to the fairy cup and then the special magic potion was mixed together with a fairy stirrer. To the potion they added fairy dust and fairy sprinkles and mixed it all together, smelling it to check it was perfect and making wishes.
04 Jan 17
We have been really busy making Kazoo’s at Oakwood House.
We collected some sticks and cut them to size carefully using the secateurs. We then carefully split the stick with a knife and Amanda our teacher used the knife to make a slight hollow on the inside of each half stick. The children then placed an elastic band between the two halves of the stick.
Babies in the Big Garden!
09 Dec 16
The Oakwood babies have been going on adventures into the big garden. This really helps with their transitions to toddlers.
The babies have been exploring the forest area, finding lots of sticks and leaves. They enjoyed playing ‘peek a boo’ under the tarp and watching the older children. We have also enjoyed exploring the texture of the grass when it was frosty. We squeezed the
Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree!
08 Dec 16
Oakwood House Pre-School 1 have enjoyed using their forest school skills to make their very own Christmas tree using sticks and string. The children collected lots of different sized sticks using mathematical language regarding size such as bigger, smaller and different widths.
“I have a really small one for the top" said one child.
The children practiced their knot tying and helped to decorate
Environmental Printing in the Forest
21 Nov 16
The Toddlers at Oakwood House have enjoyed taking part in some environmental forest art. They collected leaves and berries and put their findings on a piece of fabric. They then used a mallet to bring the natural materials print into the fabric. This activity was great for developing their communication and language skills by widening their vocabulary and listening and responding to instructions. It provided an opportunity for
Spotacular Children In Need
18 Nov 16
At Oakwood House we talked to our older children about empathy and encouraged them to imagine what it’s like in other people’s shoes and also to think about what makes people happy. They learnt about Alana, a seven-year-old girl with painful chronic eczema, and found out how she is being helped by a project funded by BBC Children in Need. They then learnt how they
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
04 Nov 16
The babies at Oakwood House have recently been on a walk to the duck pond in Lindley.
The children enjoyed walking up to the pond, waving to all the people that passed us by!
When we arrived at the duck pond the children loved feeding the ducks some oats Ross the cook gave us from the kitchen. It’s really important not to feed
02 Nov 16
The children at Oakwood House during their forest school session made a bonfire to celebrate bonfire night. We collected lots of different coloured leaves and worked together to build our own bonfire. The children spoke about fireworks and heat when building their bonfire and also fire safety.
“I am going to a bonfire but my mummy said I have to stand back because it will be
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
Oakwood Olympic Games
11 Aug 16
At Oakwood House Stay & Play, Preschool children joined the Toddlers at The Olympic Games opening ceremony waving their flags and carrying the ‘Olympic torch’.
We had several events: stick hurdles, foil shot putt, ribbon long jump, log assault course and the exciting finale ‘The Relay race with Parents’. The sporting event offered an opportunity for us all to see the children try
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
04 Jul 16
The children, parents and staff at Oakwood House had a great time at our leaver’s picnic. We celebrated the wonderful journey of those children who will be leaving this summer to start their new adventure at school in September.
We were joined by Alison from Melody Makers who had us all singing and dancing, which was great fun and we all finished by dancing around
International Mud Day at Oakwood House
29 Jun 16
Today at Oakwood House the children have had an amazing time celebrating international mud day! All age groups have embraced mud play.
During the Forest School session the children explored their senses in the wet and squishy mud! They looked for a suitable place for the ‘Giant’ to build his house and thought the bridge would be a good place, “So the giant can
24 Jun 16
This week in Forest School at Oakwood the children have been very creative making stick men from the resources they have found in the garden.
They have learnt how to use secateurs safely and cut their sticks to size. This type of environmental art is great fun and a huge learning activity. The children learnt sequencing and ordering deciding which sticks to use, how long they needed
Babies Baking in the Mud Kitchen
17 Jun 16
The babies at Oakwood House have had a wonderful time this morning playing in their mud kitchen. They have added water, mixed, sat in it, moved it…
Mud kitchens even for the youngest children offer endless learning opportunities such as the stimulation of their senses, hand eye co-ordination, cause and effect and gross motor skills to name but a few. This is a wonderful open ended
Fly Fly Away
17 Jun 16
The children at Oakwood House have had an exciting time learning about the life cycle of a caterpillar. The caterpillars came in a tub along with some special food and the children observed them daily to see how quickly and how much the caterpillars grew. The children were amazed to see the caterpillars then build a cocoon around themselves.
The caterpillars, in their cocoon, were then
Secret Fairy House
16 Jun 16
The children at Oakwood House found a ‘secret’ fairy house hiding in the bushes and trees.
They looked in amazement at the detail in the house “look it has a slide and a chimney”, it even glittered!
We put leaves and berries inside for the fairies to eat when they return “the door is closed now, maybe just the fairies
The Giant at Oakwood!
15 Jun 16
The Giant has left another letter in the forest today, asking the children to make some ‘bunting’ for him to have a party in the wonderful house the children built for him last week!
The children set off around the garden to look for different coloured natural materials, to make a colourful party bunting.
We spoke about numbers and symmetry and the children
Walk in Lindley
02 Jun 16
Pre-school 1 enjoyed a local walk today to Lindley. We went to the library and loved choosing stories to listen to and talking about what kind of books we would like to buy at the Children’s Bookshop.
The children loved looking around the book shop and spoke about all the different books that they have at home and what they like to read with their families.
A bridge to safety!
01 Jun 16
Today in our forest school session the children enjoyed making a bridge out of natural materials to build over the Trolls cave. The children worked really hard together to move some very big logs around the garden. They used fantastic problem solving skills to figure out how to move the logs.
Some of the logs were too heavy so one child shouted to his friends "we're
24 May 16
Today in our forest school session we made and moulded our very own mud creatures to hide around the garden. We discussed the properties of mud and learnt that if we added water it went sticky! We looked at different shapes and one child said “I want a long shape” another said “I would like mine to be circle”.
We looked at each
17 May 16
After our recent Earth Day Stay and Play the toddlers have done an excellent job at looking after our beans and carrots that we planted. The children have enjoyed taking the watering cans into the garden and also getting their hands stuck in the soil pulling out weeds.
A group of children noticed our beans were getting bigger so decided to have a closer look. “Them
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
Cooking up a Storm!
28 Apr 16
Today during our forest session the children discovered a letter sent from the fairies, telling them that the Sneezy Dragon had been to visit again and eaten all of their food! “We can make them some more!”
The children made two teams and set off to find different, natural materials to use as ‘dinner’. They created a 2 course meal together.
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
Sowing the seeds!
20 Apr 16
In the baby room at Oakwood House the babies have had lots of fun planting seeds and they used trowels to help them put the compost into their own planting pots. We talked about the different names of the herbs which were lemon balm, dill, parsley, rocket, marjoram, basil and chives and the children felt the different textures of the compost and seeds.
The babies brilliant planting
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
The Secret Garden
12 Apr 16
Today at our Forest School session the children have really enjoyed exploring a ‘secret’ part of our garden! We learnt about boundaries and how to keep safe in the area and all worked together to make a bridge to get us to the other side.
“Maybe we could use two logs, so we can put one foot on each side, this will help us
Land of the “knock knocks”
07 Apr 16
The Sneezy Dragon came to play at Oakwood today!
The children quietly tiptoed through the garden, being careful not to wake the dragon. We heard some sneezes along the way, so quickly layed down and covered our eyes. “We have to cover our eyes so the sneezy dragon could not see us” “If we tiptoe the sneezy dragon can’t hear our
23 Mar 16
Parents, staff and children had fun at Oakwoods Easter Stay and Play.
There was an egg hunt outside in which the Easter Bunny made an appearance. The children also worked hard on their Easter Bonnets and decorated eggs.
The staff had baked some amazing cakes for the bake sale and a big Thank you to parents as we raised £222.43 for WaterAid!