Welcome to our Summer Newsletter and to all the new families that have started at Holly Bank. We hope your children have settled in well, getting to know others and enjoying their time with us.

What a fantastic amount of sunshine we have had this summer! I have had the pleasure of working most days with the pre-school children. And I have been very impressed with their manners, behaviour and listening and attention which are always conducive in supporting all aspects of learning. I hope this continues into next term along with the nice weather!

This will be the last newsletter for those families whose children are moving to their new schools in September. We'd like to wish you all good luck and we hope you have enjoyed your time here at Holly Bank nursery!

Learning focus at the moment


The Daisies have been learning about the 5 Little Ducks, starting with singing the song and exploring the story sack together and then moving on to being able to play with and learning to count some ducks in the water tray!

After some of the older children moving up to Poppies room, the Daisies have had some new starters who have taken full advantage of the chance to explore every bit of the room and garden and are settling in beautifully!


In Poppies we have been learning lots about our outdoor and natural environments by taking part in some forest school activities.

The Poppies collected some materials and used them to make rods so we could go “fishing” We tried to catch squirrels, sharks and even biscuits in the Willow Garden! This also helped us to learn about maths as we went on to compare sizes and describe whether things were big, small, heavy or light.


Our Bluebells have been discussing plans and ideas for our new mud kitchen/ forest school area. The children have been helping to rake, dig and tidy the space to get it ready and we have planted strawberry plants, carrots, sunflowers and peas. The children have loved collecting sticks and creating their very own dens We are looking forward to working together to make it a special area for Hollybank.


Keeping Under 5s safe online

Ofcom’s research has shown that 86% of 3-4 year olds have access to a tablet at home and 21% have their own tablet.

Children of all ages enjoy using technology. We now see young children going online to play games, talk to family, watch videos and even learn to use voice enabled tech like Alexa and Siri to find out about their world.

Below you will find 8 top tips that you can put in place at home, to help keep your youngest children safe online.

  1. Enjoy going online together
  2. Establish clear boundaries
  3. Supervise your child’s use
  4. Consider the quality and quantity of online activities
  5. Make use of parental tools
  6. Start the conversation early
  7. Choose age appropriate apps and games
  8. Know where to report

For more information visit: Keeping under fives safe online | Childnet

School Transitions

It’s that time of year where many of you will be thinking about how best to support your child’s transition to school. At Portland Nurseries, we believe that preparing children for school starts as soon as children join nursery. Even in our baby room, our practitioners will be supporting the development of hand eye coordination, encouraging a love of books and developing language through singing and play – all essential skills that children need not only for the start of their journey school but also for life.

Whilst there is no definition of “School readiness”, OFSTED state that for a child to be school ready they:

  • are able to separate from their carers
  • are able to listen, speak and have good communication skills
  • have a curious mind, and ask why.
  • respect boundaries
  • are able to share and cooperate appropriately
  • have good physical skills where possible.
  • are be able to recognise their name
  • are be able to engage with books

We strongly feel that for your child to be ready for school with an enquiring mind and eagerness to learn, our main responsibility is to ensure they are confident individuals with well-developed social skills.

Children’s muscles develop at different rates and for some children holding a pencil at this young age can be painful. We endeavour to ensure children are ready for writing by providing activities that develop pre-writing skills as before children can confidently control writing equipment, the muscles in their shoulders, arms and wrists need to be fully developed.

There are various activities that we ensure are available to all children regardless of their age or stage of development, such as play dough and other malleable resources, using scissors or other fine motor equipment, yoga, crawling through tunnels, the list is endless! We also encourage mark making in all areas, ensuring we enthuse children’s desire to learn at their own pace and following their own interests.

Experts child development have discovered that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their year two class. This is because nursery rhymes develop phonic skills. This is the awareness of the sounds within each word, for example understanding ‘sheep’ isn’t made up of the sounds from the letters s-h-e-e-p but rather the sounds sh-ee-p. This awareness of sounds is the starting point for reading.

Knowledge of rhymes helps children progress in reading once they start school. Studies have demonstrated that the better children are at detecting rhymes the quicker and more successful they will be at learning to read.

Therefore, we feel it is more important to focus on phonic awareness through learning and singing rhymes and following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ National Strategies. This age appropriate strategy allows children to develop at their own pace through planned, fun activities.

Our aim is for your child to love coming to nursery, to have fun and to learn though play, as this is definitely benefits your child the most.

Book and Resources Recommendations

Errol’s Garden by Gillian Hibbs

Errol loves gardening, but he doesn’t have a proper garden. Although his home is full of beautiful plants, he longs for an outdoor space where he can grow things. A chance discovery leads to a solution, but Errol can’t do everything on his own. Luckily, help is near at hand. A heart-warming and inclusive tale about how one small boy’s dream of a garden unites a diverse community in a positive and enriching experience for everyone.

Welcome to Our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere! by Moira Butterfield

Children all over the world are very different, but they also have much in common. In this beautifully illustrated book, young children can learn all about what people in other countries eat, wear and play, and how they speak and celebrate. From breakfasts to birthdays, cakes to clothes, and hiccups to hellos, there are so many ways to say and do things - but everyone shares a love of family, friends, food and fun. This delightful book teaches us that despite different languages, customs and traditions, it really is a small world, after all.

Outdoor Play Focus

The children here love the rain.....and mud....and snow! The weather gives our children different experiences and is fantastic for working on skills such as resilience and perseverance.

The children are going to be busy over the next few weeks planting our vegetable beds.

We are also developing our mud kitchen area outside, this will encourage:

  • Independence skills
  • Engage children’s creativity and imagination
  • Children will foster interest in nature
  • Provides versatile opportunities for movement

This area will allow the children to learn so much about the natural environment around them as well as fostering key fine motor skills and exploration.

The children have also been having a wonderful time practising their physical skills and balance and we are all looking forward to spending time investigating the seasonal changes and exploring the outdoor environment and its inhabitants.

Project Update

We have been working over the last 9 months on the Woodland Trust Green Tree award, all 6 of our sites have achieved Gold status and are working towards achieving Platinum by the middle of July. The award centres around helping children understand the importance of looking after their environment especially trees by completing fun tasks.

We are also on track to achieve our annual Eco Schools Green Flag award by the end of this term which again teaches children about the environment, not just locally but worldwide. Each site has an eco-committee who have decided on actions to work on during the year and will be submitting evidence next month.

Following on from the success of our Wellbeing award earlier last year, we have decided to register Bradley House and Fairfield for the award in September and are confident that they will achieve the award just as our other sites have.

Staff News

50 Miles in June

Samantha our HR and Finance manager has walked 50 miles in June to raise money for the charity Breast Cancer Now. Her walks have been around Lindley and also she has done some walks in Cumbria. Huge congratulations and she has raised £375.00!

Welcome to new staff:

Areeg Abdulla- Modern Nursery Apprentice

Mandeep Kaur- Modern Nursery Apprentice

A big congratulations to Tia Welsh got married on 16th June

Diary Dates

Pirate Day

31st July for the full day

Bank Holiday

28th August

Further information

Sun cream

As we will hopefully be soon having some hot sunny days, please could parents help prepare your child for outdoor play by applying sun cream before they come to nursery and providing a sun hat that is clearly labelled with your child’s name. We will of course be applying the sun cream routinely throughout the course of the day on the sunny days.

Polite Reminder

Please would parents refrain from allowing other parents entry into the nursery premises particularly as they are exiting the nursery? All visitors, parents and carers must be authorised entry by a staff member to ensure safeguarding policies are maintained.

We have a strict No Mobile Phone policy, all visitors, parents and carers are not permitted to use their mobiles within the nursery areas indoors nor in the garden. This is a safeguarding legal requirement that we must implement.

Copyright © 2018 Portland Nurseries, All rights reserved.

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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