Welcome to our new format Autumn 2020 Newsletter.

Each term we will be sharing information from across the Portland Nurseries group. Please keep on reading to find our more about our recent Staff Training Day; Safeguarding information; the Projects we are focusing on; Topic and Book of the month and some staff news!


Between 13th and 16th October each Nursery held their annual Autumn Staff Training Day.

As a company we have always put a strong emphasis on continual training and development. Our teams work hard throughout the year to improve the care and resources we provide for the children. This is done in a variety of ways; through internal and external training courses; conferences; personal development plans and appraisals; coaching and mentoring; networking; professional qualifications and the sharing of high quality practice.

This year has been challenging to say the least with limitations on external training, however we have kept up to date with online training and delivered small workshops in house for this year’s Annual Training Day. This year we focused on four key areas for planning in the here and now with workshops on ‘Planning & Observation’, ‘Lighting the Spark’, ‘The Skilful Practitioner and ‘The Importance of Play’.

Planning, Observation & Assessment - To begin with we looked at how we can use our resources to cover every area of the EYFS and how to plan and differentiate activities to make them accessible for all children. We then went on to look at what makes a good observation including what to observe and how to write it before moving on to assessing children using the EYFS to ensure that they are making good progress and to highlight any areas in which they need support as well as any areas in which they are particularly strong that we can challenge them further in. The most important message was that we should have high expectations for each and every child and feel confident in challenging them appropriately to extend their learning.

Lighting The Spark – The aim of this workshop was:

  • To recognise and be able to ignite a child's spark
  • To understand how to capture a child’s interest
  • To be able to plan a challenging curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all children the knowledge they need to succeed in life.
  • To understand what Cultural Capital means
  • To be understand the importance of engagement

The Skilful Practitioner – During this workshop we learned to deeper understand the importance of the practitioner’s role to facilitate children’s learning and development. Raise confidence in responding to the children’s individual differences by challenging, supporting and providing resources and inventions. During the workshop we considered the importance of pedagogy (teaching strategies) and how different pedagogical approaches work in practice, as well as how different theorists have influenced Early Years education.

We looked at some of the challenges that practitioners can face when teaching young children (particularly when intervening in a child’s self-initiated play) and how we can overcome these, for example by using effective questioning techniques and sustained shared thinking.

One of the most important messages was that we should not try to lead the children in a certain direction, but let them lead their own learning and support them effectively in doing so.

The Importance of Play - Our aim for the workshop was to reflect on our practice and understand the importance of ‘in the moment / spontaneous planning’. Learn to identify our key children’s preferred learning style by using the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning. Alongside ways in which individual children learn and different playing stages and techniques.

As skilful practitioners we need to know the difference between planned teaching and following the child’s lead, when to intervene and to recognise the moment where children are excited and enthused by their discoveries through their play.

“Planning in the moment might mean no forward written planning but it does mean each practitioner must know and understand their individual children, what their interests are, their likes, dislikes, quirky ways, how they play, what they play with, in fact everything about them! “

Everyone found the workshops very useful and have a lot of ideas moving forward. The day was ended with a focus on staff wellbeing.


The Autumn menu has been implemented for a few weeks now and the children are eating and learning abour some new foods. We recently featured in the Huddersfield Examiner with an article praising our healthy eating and variety of



“As stated in our Online Safety Policy, we are committed to support our children, staff and families in using the internet safely.

As part of this commitment we will be providing regular updates and useful resources that can help you as parents and carers to feel confident that your child is safe when using devices such as tablets and smartphones at home. Please check the Nursery News pages each half term to see our latest updates.”

As part of our ongoing commitment to safeguarding, we aim to teach all of the children in our care about how to keep themselves safe.

One topic which is ongoing within the nurseries is “Stranger Danger”.

Children under the age of 5 can be very trusting and do not understand the long term consequences of situations that can be potentially dangerous. It is important that they learn not to talk to, accept anything from or go with a stranger, and that they should always refer back to an adult that they know if this happens.

We teach this through a range of activities including circle times and discussions, and there are things that you can do at home to support this learning.

  1. Talk to your child – tell them what a stranger is and what to do if a stranger approaches them.
  2. Teach them about “safer strangers” – these are people that work in jobs that help people; they are usually wearing a uniform and are people that a child can they go to for help in a variety of situations, even if they do not know them already (police officers, staff members in shops, traffic wardens etc.)
  3. Teach your child about “safer buildings” – explain to them that if they are ever lost they can go to a shop, bank, post office etc. and ask for help.
  4. Try not to scare your child – often children are told that “that police man will take you away if you don’t behave” or that a stranger might take them away if they aren’t holding hands, however this can lead to anxiety and worries which young children may not be able to deal with effectively. Instead we need to equip them with the skills they need to stay safe by giving them the confidence to know who can help and what to do if they become lost or separated from you.

If you would like any further advice on teaching your child about strangers and how to keep safe please contact your nursery manager.


Community Project – We would love to arrange some socially distanced visits to our nurseries from emergency services. It would be wonderful if any parents who are members of any of the emergency services or have any contacts who work in this sector, would be willing to come and share their experience and knowledge with the children.

ECO Schools Project - We will be renewing our eco project Green Flag award at the beginning of 2021, if any parents would like to be involved with the committee or want their children to be involved then please do get in touch.



We love the change in seasons here at nursery. Autumn is a great time of year for themed craft projects, with plenty of inspiration to be found in the colours, events and natural phenomena associated with the season. Plus the main events of the season; Diwali, Halloween and Bonfire Night and the things that are associated with them (eg fireworks, lanterns, spiders, bats and pumpkins).

Take a walk to your local park and collect different coloured leaves, pinecones, acorns, conkers, twigs and sticks.

‘Rainbow’ leaf collage

Get the children to collect lots of leaves, in as many different colours as they can find (this may work well as a cumulative project involving several trips). Back inside, set up a long section of rolled-out paper and help the children sort and stick the leaves onto it by gradations of colour; so for example, starting with all of the dark red leaves at one end of the paper roll, moving onto bright reds, then oranges, yellows, greens etc.

Leaf crown

Each child chooses some leaves; they may be all the same type of leaf, or perhaps a selection of different ones, but all should be fairly large and sturdy. You can then staple them onto a cardboard band to make an autumnal leaf crown.

Conker rolling

For this project you’ll need A3 paper, conkers, and paint in a range of autumnal colours. Get the children to dunk a conker in some paint and roll it over the paper (they may need some help with this); build up layers using different colours.

Pipe cleaner spiders

Take four pipe cleaners in one hand and then wrap another pipe cleaner tightly around the middle with your other hand. Once the pipe cleaners are secure (you may need more than one around the middle), you can shape the legs on either side of the body, and then hang them up with elastic cord.

Pumpkin apple prints

Cut some apples in half and use these to make prints with orange paint on dark-coloured paper. The shapes will look very pumpkin-like, especially with the addition of eyes and mouths once the paint has dried – for these you could use black paint, pen or stickers.

Firework prints

For this activity you’ll need several lengths of cardboard tube with slits cut around the circumference (approximately 5cm long and 5mm wide), so that the tubes can be splayed out into flower-type shapes. The children can then use these to make exploding firework prints on dark-coloured paper with bright-coloured paint.

Bonfire paintings

Get the children to collect handfuls of thin twigs. Back inside, help them stick these onto sheets of dark-coloured paper to make the base of a bonfire. Put out some bowls of red, orange and yellow paint and get the children to add flames by making several handprints of each colour above their twigs. These bonfire paintings can be really effective.


I Don’t Want To Wash My Hands by Tony Ross

The little princess loves getting her hands dirty but hates washing them – until she learns all about the horrible things that lurk on them.

Sweep by Louise Greig, Júlia Sardà (Illustrator)

An uplifting story about confronting big emotions from the author of The Night Box, stunningly illustrated by Julia Sarda.

Ed's bad mood begins as something really small, hardly a thing at all. But before long it grows, gathers pace, and spreads through the whole town. Can Ed sweep his troubles away? A wonderful bedtime story for children aged 3 years and up, perfect for helping children learn to recognise and deal with big emotions.


We have been asked to work with the Yorkshire Children’s Centre to be distributors for the Healthy Start Scheme here in Kirklees. The important means-tested scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers to help buy basic food and vitamins.

We are now a distributor of these vitamins to those families that qualify.

For further details and to see if you are eligible to take part in the scheme, please visit https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/healthy-start-vouchers/do-i-qualify/


Portland House Nursery has had 2 milestone anniversaries in October with Chelsie Hewitt 5 years with Portland Nurseries and Clara West celebrating a massive 15 years!! The children made cards for Chelsie and Clara and helped in the presentation of the flowers and awards.



Parents, please bring in to nursery during the autumn/winter months ahead;

  • Wellingtons- correct size
  • Fleece to go under nursery outdoor coats
  • Hats, scarves and gloves
  • Bag with several changes of seasonal clothes

Please ensure you have labelled clearly with your child’s name.


We are accepting donations for Action for Children for those who would like to come in fancy dress on Friday 30th October.


We will be sending out emails soon to organise an over the phone "parents evening" to give you the opportunity to discuss your child's learning and development.

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Our mailing address is:
Oakwood House, 2 Hungerford Road, Huddersfield HD3 3AL
Portland Nurseries Limited. Company No. 7538309. Registered in England & Wales.

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