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

We have had a great start to summer, enjoying outdoor adventures and playing in the sun. What a fantastic amount of sunshine we are having this summer! The children are busy exploring the garden, learning about nature, and creating wonderful things with natural resources they can find in our garden.

The time has come when we bid farewell to our preschool children as they spread their wings and embark on a new adventure at school starting in September. We sincerely hope you will stay connected and feel welcome to visit us.

Have a fantastic summer, and we hope to see you at our upcoming nursery events.

Learning focus as the moment


Our babies gardening project has been thriving, and the babies have been cultivating their green thumbs with enthusiasm. They have been observing all different types of plants in our baby garden, they learn how to care for them, and even planted their own small herb garden. The babies feel different textures in the soil, seeds and plants and they are able to smell the flowers, hear the bees and birds, see the different colours of the plants and taste any vegetables, herbs or fruits you grow together. This is a fun educational tool that allows them to explore and learn about their senses and nature.


The toddlers have been loving the new mud kitchen tools we have. Playing in the mud kitchen works incredibly well as part of their physical, social and emotional development encouraging role play, sharing and turn taking. The kitchen style environment promotes role play amongst children and it's not uncommon to see our little learners taking on the role of a chef in a restaurant kitchen or mum or dad cooking at home. They have been learning all about numbers, counting pots and pans and how many stirs with the spoon. We collected natural materials such as leaves, sticks and mud to make mud pies and leaf stew. The children love mixing water and using a funnel to measure, looking at the numbers. After a well prepared mud meal toddlers love exploring our forest and sitting in their leaf/stick made den too!


We welcomed Summer term in preschool with lots of activities for the children to play and learn outdoors. As you know Oakwood House Nursery is also a Forest School which is an approach to educating children in the outdoors environment on a regular basis in all weathers. Children learn best from first hand experiences. Using a range of activities (both designed by the practitioners and instigated by the children themselves) is what Forest School is all about.

Furthermore, children enjoyed focused activities to encourage them to work as a team, develop an understanding of the world and other people around us with lots of learning prompts to cultivate those important life skills like problem solving, listening, leadership, and creative thinking. Nurturing teamwork skills also develops higher levels of self-confidence, self-esteem, empathy, and compassion


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 Recourses 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

Our Forest School activities teach the children about caring for, managing and understanding the woodland environment supporting them to acquire new skills as they are ready for them so that activities hold a degree of challenge and excitement, whilst remaining safe and controlled. Through the Forest School activities children are able to develop a lifelong love and understanding of the natural environment, whilst developing the core purposes of the Forest School ethos which is the development of self-esteem, confidence and social skills.

Through carefully planned activities, both our preschool and toddler age experience the magic that a woodland environment can offer, from searching for worms and looking at their different sizes, investigating the flowers, the colours and smells and different types we have in the garden, to creating stories outdoors using the bridge and the angry troll who lives underneath.

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

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!

We would like to welcome our new staff members to the Oakwood team:

Dotty is a Qualified Teacher who has joined the preschool team

Olivia is a new Nursery assistant who has transitioned from the Portland House nursery to join the Toddler room team.

Lola is a Nursery assistant who has joined the Toddler room team

Nina is our new apprentice, she has transitioned from the Harlequin nursery to join the Toddler room team


Joni who has come to the end of her apprenticeship and she’s now a qualified Level 3 early years educator.

Diary Dates

Photographer - Preschool Photographs Thursday 6th July (for school leavers only)

School Leavers’ Picnic and Graduation – Thursday 20th July, 3.00pm-5.00pm. Please speak to your child’s keyworker to confirm you will be attending.

Pirate Day Charity fund raising Event Monday 31st July (details to follow)

Charity Events

Pirate day Monday 31st July

We are organising another pirate day and we are inviting all children and staff to come to nursery dressed as a pirate (shorts and tee-shirts would be perfect!) and a donation of £2.00 to go into our charity treasure pot would be gratefully received.

A fun-filled day of pirate activities and adventures are planned, from making pirate hats and eye patches to singing sea shanty songs, pirate stories and maybe even walking the plank!!

We will also be having a sponsored treasure hunt for our little pirates to find some “riches” around the nursery islands. Further details and a Treasure Hunt sponsorship form will be emailed out in the coming weeks.

Other information

Lost and Found property

We kindly request your cooperation in labelling your child's belongings, including shoes, clothes, hats and other personal items. Clear labelling with your child's name will help ensure that everything is returned to its rightful owner. This simple step will save time and minimise any potential mix-ups. Please check the Lost and Found property boxes periodically to retrieve any misplaced items.

Mobile Phones

Please can I remind parents that the use of mobile phones on nursery premises is strictly prohibited, you must not take any photographs or videos at nursery or at any nursery events. Using your mobile phone breaks the statutory welfare requirements and is also a breach of safeguarding policies to which we must adhere.

Community Library

You are kindly reminded to return any books you have at home from the Community Library and/or if you have any books you’d like to donate, please pop them in the box!

You and your children are welcome to access the community lending library at any point during our opening hours. Reading books together is key to developing early communication and language skills and we hope our lending library will help promote literacy while building community spirit.

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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