We are all thoroughly enjoying a fabulous start to the summer having lots of exciting outdoor adventures whilst playing in the glorious sunshine. The children have been busy little bees in all corners of the garden, having a tremendous time investigating and exploring, learning about nature and making marvellous creations. I would like to say a big Thank you to the parents that have given their time over the last term to come in and share their skills, job roles with the children at focused learning group times, this experience has been invaluable to their learning, if any other parents would like to arrange to come in to share their interests, hobbies, talk about their job role or just to do an activity or read a story to the children, please speak to a staff member we would love to arrange a date with you. If there are any parents or family members that are green fingered and would be interested in helping us with organising a gardening club for the children please can you contact the office.

Sadly it is fast approaching that time of year where we say goodbye to our preschool children who are flying the nest and starting their new adventure at school in September; we hope that you all keep in touch and feel welcome to come and visit.

I hope you all have a fantastic summer and that we will see most of you at our upcoming nursery events.

Learning Focus at the moment


We have been learning all about movement in a wide variety of concepts. As it approaches the time for some of our preschool children to transition to school we have been talking about starting school and what this will be like for our children. We have also been learning about transport, as we may be venturing on holidays and visiting places of interest with our families and discussing how we can travel to these destinations, how long it will take and how many people can travel together. We have even been building our own transportation using loose parts and have made some marvellous trains, buses and fire engines which involved a lot of imaginative play and singalongs. We have also incorporated movement into how we move our bodies and looked at how different species of animals move around too, particularly imitating animals and going on bug hunts to observe them closely. Our preschool children have also been very interested in exploring the movement of water and the children have been finding ways to transport this around the garden and also making dams in the streams they’ve created too. We will be looking at tasting and cooking different foods from around the countries we visit and different cultures so look forward to exciting things to tickle your taste buds coming home this term. In our focused sessions we will be continuing learning about syllables and how many there are in our names, objects and counting backwards from 10 to 0 and looking at more than less than with number representation.


As we go on our holiday adventures we are currently learning about the world around us this term and have been doing lots of activities with transport, this involves making patterns using paints moving the transport through it, hiding them in shaving foam and being able to name each vehicle as we find them. We will be planning lots of eco and recycling activities over the coming weeks and this could involve some wonderful transportation vehicle models been taken home. If you could please save your recycle materials we would love some small boxes and containers to build up our resource collection.


Our babies have been exploring water play and enjoying foot spas which are particular favourite on the hot days to cool down. We are thinking about holidays and have been looking at books and pictures that represent travel and learning about the names of the vehicles the sounds that they make and singing lots of action rhymes too.


We are enjoying experimenting in the outdoor garden and have excitedly been making our own bubbles. We have plant our own tomato plants and are very keen to care for the watering them daily, watching them grow and then hopefully we will have some delicious tomatoes to harvest and eat. We have also made our own sensory bottles using natural materials which are very calming. We will be continuing bug hunting in the garden and love to count their legs and hold them carefully. We have been singing lots of counting and action rhymes about bugs.


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.Picture for out

Outdoor Play Focus

At Portland House we are planning on developing a ‘quiet area’ space in the gardens to promote children’s wellbeing, providing a safe space where they can experience the opportunity for down time and relax, have uninterrupted quiet time to listen to nature and enjoy calming activities.

‘Babies and Toddlers often need a soft, quiet, protected place where they can relax and have some space away from loud or busy areas in the classroom. Teaching children to soothe themselves by going to a 'cosy area' can help them feel comforted and better able to cope. They may benefit from a ‘cosy area’ to be by themselves while they adjust to events such as drop off or overly noisy activities such as movement or music.’

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!

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

Kiera is a level 3 early years educator has joined the poppy team

Alannah is an experienced level 6 early years educator, she has transitioned from the Bradley house nursery to join the Daisy baby room team at Portland and will be supporting the teams with our upcoming projects and wellbeing activities.

Rebecca is our lovely new apprentice and will be spending time across all of the rooms during her placement.


Olivia who has come to the end of her apprenticeship and has been successful in securing a position at our Oakwood nursery starting from 26th June.

Maternity news

Melissa will be due to start her maternity leave at the end of the summer as she awaits the arrival of her 3rd baby.

Danni will be officially returning from maternity leave on the 31st august to re-join the toddler team, you may have seen her over the last few weeks during her keep in touch days.

Dairy Dates

Photographer - Wednesday 5th July 9.00- 12.30pm for school leavers.

School leavers sports day Thursday 6th July 10.00-11.00am on Reinwood Fields.

School Leavers’ Picnic and Graduation – Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th July 3.00pm-4.30pmplease speak to your child’s keyworker to confirm which ceremony you will be attending.

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

Charity Events

Litter pick

The Portland Team are once again looking to don their special cleaning outfits for a sponsored litter pick in the local community on the morning of Saturday 12th August. Families are very welcome to join in the fun too and full details of the event will be emailed in the upcoming weeks. Al monies raised will go to our nominated charity The ‘Yorkshire children’s charity’

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

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.

Sun cream

Please could parents help prepare your child for outdoor play by applying sun cream before they come to nursery. We will of course be applying the sun cream routinely throughout the course of the day on the sunny days.

Afterschool and Holiday Club

Just a reminder of our Fun Club at Portland House should you require any After School Care from Lindley and Reinwood Schools as well as our holiday club which offer ad hoc sessions throughout the school holidays – all children welcome. Please email the office if you would like to be added to the mailing list or require further details.

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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