We’ve Won An Award!

March 24, 2016

We’ve had some very exciting news at nursery this week… we have won an award!

The award is based on the reviews that you, as parents/carers have given our nursery in 2015/2016.  Your supportive, kind and honest words have meant that we are now classed as one of the top ten nurseries in the whole of the UK!  Thank you!

We are all incredibly proud and we couldn’t have done it without you, your children and the amazing team that strive to make sure everyone goes home happy!

You can read more about the award here: www.daynurseries.co.uk/awards/

If you haven’t submitted a review it’s never too late… add your comments here : daynurseries/review

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Award certificate Mar16

What we have been up to..

March 11, 2016

What a lovely day to end the week on, it looks like spring may have sprung! The children have enjoyed talking about Spring: the lambs being born and flowers growing, it’s an exciting season :)

We’ve been super busy this week and have had lots of fun. So here’s a bit about what we’ve been up to……

In language group the older children have been looking at blending sounds to make words. They have been using their listening skills to work out what words we are sounding out and then using their letter knowledge to write the words.

In number group we have been looking at simple addition and subtraction and using this throughout our nursery day. We use it at tea time when setting out the plates and cups, during small group games when handing out pieces and at many different opportunities that arise throughout the day.

With some of the younger children we have been looking at colour recognition. This means we have had lots of block play, fun with the ball pool and stacking cups. We’ve enjoyed posting games, such as “can you post the red letter” and tea parties with coloured plates and cups.

On Wednesday we made some tasty cheese straws, the children had a go at grating the cheese and many were very taken with the taste of the Red Leicester cheese which we used in them. The children made their cheesy pastry in to various shapes and enjoyed them as an afternoon snack.

At the easel we have had some textured paint, we added sand to one pot and glitter to another, the children have been exploring the different ways they can apply the paint and how the different textures look and feel.

In the hall we had a balancing obstacle course where the children had to navigate around corners and up and down various objects. We then had some funny races. The children had a go at sliding across the floor on their tummies, pulling themselves along on their bottoms, walking backwards and tip toeing. These games involved lots of laughing and cheering each other on.

Junk modelling has become very popular again and the children are becoming more and more creative with what they are doing. This week we have had telescopes, tanks, stages and laptops and many more!

We hope you’ve had a lovely week and are looking forward to the weekend. 

2 year funding event – 18th August

August 13, 2015

Do you have questions about the 2 year old funding?  Are you not sure if you qualify?  It maybe a little distance to travel but if you’re in Woking,  Lisa from the Surrey team who manages the 2 year old funding  will be on hand at The Peacock Shopping Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GH on Tuesday 18 August from 9.30 am – 6pm. She’ll be joined by the Family Information Service Team who can also advise on broader issues including childcare.

If you are in Hampshire, the funding eligibility still applies, so please go and see Lisa who will be more than helpful and be able to answer your questions.

Spread the word about free childcare

August 5, 2015

It’s around this time that people start looking for childcare for the little ones to start in September. We know childcare costs can be quite inhibitive, but don’t forget that children aged 2 can also qualify for up to 15 hours a week free childcare.

Research shows that children attending nursery / preschool get developmental and social advantages.  Their interaction with children the same age and other adults, and the wide variety of activities that each setting offers keeps children stimulated.

If you have a friend whose annual family income is less than £16000, their 2 year old could be eligible for a place. You’ll find more information by using the link below:

The Orchard Preschool Bramley, Surrey  www.surreycc.gov.uk/feet

The Orchard Nursery Farnborough, Hampshire  http://www3.hants.gov.uk/2-year-old-offer-2

Or call and ask any of the team who will happily help.  Contact us.

We’ve started our Forest School training..

July 6, 2015

It’s an exciting week in Bramley as Lindsay, setting manager, is deep in the woods of Cranleigh learning about how to develop children’s confidence and self esteem through outdoor learning.  The principles of Forest schools is based on a respect for children and young people and their capacity to instigate, test and maintain curiosity in the world around them.

” It believes in children’s right to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); the right to access risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world; and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction, to build a resilience that will enable continued and creative engagement with their peers and their potential. ” source: Forest School Training

Children are encouraged to direct their own learning based on what hey find outside and what interests them.  Simple things like counting sticks, looking at the changing leaf colours and seeing where bugs live, all compliment the Early Years Foundation Curriculum, and with an excellent Forest School leader ‘scaffold’s’ a child’s learning bringing out the best in each child.
We look forward to hearing how Lindsay’s week has been and updating you further on how the training is being implemented into your child’s day with us.
You can read more about Forest Schools on a wiki page here.

Are you our next Early Years Practitioner…?

We look after children from aged 2 – 4 years 11 months and are looking for an early Years Practitioner to join our team. We are closed for the summer but will reopen on Tuesday 1st September and open all year round.

The role will initially be for two days, Monday and Thursday between the hours of 8am – 5.30pm. It could become five days a week before Christmas or again you can stay two days a week.

You will look after the children ensuring we adhere to the Early Years Curriculum and we also incorporate Forest School elements into our learning. You will be:

– minimum level 3 qualification or equivalent

– have an understanding of a play based approach to children’s learning and development

– have a knowledge of child protection procedures

– have excellent communication skills – both written and verbal

– patient and have resilience whilst we build the preschool together

– interested in taking on more responsibility as the team and the preschool grows

We are committed to ensuring everyone in our team is responsible for safeguarding and the welfare of all of our children. If you are interested in this role, please contact us and we will send an application form. The successful candidate will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS disclosure.

Application deadline is Wednesday 29th July 2015.

Interviews will take place on Monday 3rd August 2015.

The role will start on Tuesday 1st September 2015.

email rhoda@theorchardnursery.co.uk for more details.

Tax-Free Childcare scheme

Recent developments in the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme, has meant that it’s unlikely to launch until early 2017.  However, it’s worth knowing your childcare voucher options now, as it may be too late to sign up for an alternative scheme next year.

The Government announced a new childcare voucher scheme called Tax-Free Childcare, which is likely to launch in early 2017.  For those entitled to the scheme, it should cover 20% of childcare costs for children up to the age of 12.  For children with disabilities, this is extended to the age of 17, because their childcare costs can stay high into their teenage years.

Will I qualify?

To qualify all parents in the household must be working, not earning more than £150,000 and not receiving tax credits or Universal credit.  The plan is to make the new scheme available to families with children under 5 first, then phasing it in for older children.

Which scheme do I go for?

If you already use a childcare voucher scheme e.g. Sodexho, EdenRed you can either stay in the scheme you are in or move to the the Tax-Free Childcare scheme – BUT you won’t be able to change back once you have moved.  It’s difficult to work out which scheme to be part of, as both schemes are different.  You need to investigate both options now and sign up for the childcare voucher scheme if that’s preferable to you, before it’s too late.

If one parent isn’t working, you won’t be eligible for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, likewise if you claim tax credits or have older children – childcare vouchers can be claimed up until the age of 15.

Only one parent can claim for the new scheme, whereas both of you can claim for the existing voucher scheme.

The Tax-Free Childcare Info Hub has a handy calculator which may help you decide:   Tax-Free Calculator

Advantages of the new scheme:

Tax-free Childcare is available to any eligible working family and you don’t have to rely on your employer to offer the scheme, unlike teh existing childcare voucher scheme.

It’s also available to the self employed, and there are benefits to the newly self employed people too.  It’s also available to people on paid sick leave, maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

Parents with more than one child may be better off with the new scheme as the existing childcare voucher scheme saving is limited to £933 per parent, whereas Tax-Free Childcare offers up to 20% of savings per child per year.

How will it work?

If eligible you will be able to set up an online account and pay into it to cover the cost of a registered childcare provider.  This means someone who is Ofsted registered – you won’t be able to use the scheme to pay for family or friends who look after your child unless they are registered.  The Government will ‘top up’ your account with an extra 20p for every 8-p you pay in.  You can pay money in when you want to, and build up a balance to pay for additional childcare over the summer holidays if required.  Other people can pay money into your account too!

More information about the new scheme, and the existing scheme can be found by reading http://www.tax-free-childcare.info/parents/ and we will keep you informed of developments as we know them.


Top Tips for reading together

June 18, 2015

Remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to read with your child.  Reading should be a fun activity – so relax and take the time to find whatever methods work best for you and your children. Here are some tips you could try:

1. Sometimes stop at key words or phrases and let your child say the word they know is coming next. Children are amazingly able to remember key words and phrases in books that are read over and over. Some young children can recite a whole book! Try an easy experiment. After reading the same book to a child several times, pause at key words or phrases and see if they can fill in the blanks.

2. Point to words as you read them. This can help your child recognise new letters and words, which will help as he or she learns to read. Make clear that it’s ok if they ask you what words mean as you go along.

3. Talk about the story as you read. It’s great to be interactive like this. Ask your child things (like what do they think might happen next, or why did a character do something). Give them a chance to ask questions too – and take time to answer.

4. Read slowly enough for your child to build mental pictures. When children listen to stories, they form pictures in their minds. If you read too fast, you stop your child ‘seeing’ what’s happening. Think carefully about their age and development and read at the best speed.

5. Especially with younger children, focus on the 3 R’s: Rhythm, Rhyme, and Repetition. Try to emphasise these elements in your reading – feel free to stress the first letters of words, slow down so the rhythm flows well, point out where sounds and words repeat. Babies and very young children are more likely to pay attention if you do!

6. Be an actor! Use different voices for different characters – this can be fun and make the story come to life. Try making different characters talk higher or deeper, faster or slower, or in different accents. If you have trouble thinking up voices, ask your child for ideas as to how a certain character might talk – they could even read one character’s lines for you…

7. Let your child turn the pages. This encourages them to get involved in the reading process, and is also a good way for you to monitor how well they are able to follow the story.

8. Ask questions as you read, to give your child a chance to think about what might happen next, or to get a sense of how they are interpreting the action, or what they think of particular characters. Doing this can help your child feel part of the story, not just a ‘sponge’ soaking up words you throw at them. .

9. Especially if you’re reading a ‘chapter’ book, take a minute to make sure you and your child can remember what’s happened earlier. Don’t worry if you burn up ‘valuable reading time’ doing this – making sure everyone is understanding the story is a very good way to get your brains working.

10. Try to finish each day’s reading at an exciting point in the story. Most books are written with this in mind, so you can finish at the end of a chapter – but sometimes you could stop in the middle of a paragraph, just to shake things up a bit (and feel free to jump a page or two if sometimes you feel a section is dragging a bit!)

source: Fatherhood Institute, June 2015


Funding Available!

May 14, 2015

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year. Some 2-year-olds are also eligible.

You can start claiming free childcare after your child turns 3. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Some 2-year-olds in England can get free early education and childcare.  To get the free hours for a two year old you must be getting one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit and have an annual income under £16,190
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit

Children are also entitled to the free hours if:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special educational need (SEN) or an education health and care plan
  • they get disability living allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If your child is eligible please talk to us and we will sort out the relevant paperwork.

For more information on free childcare please click on the following links:

Hampshire Family Information Service

April 1, 2015

Hampshire Family Information Service (FIS) is a free, confidential and impartial service for parents and carers.

They provide information and guidance on childcare, early years education and related services in Hampshire for children and young people aged 0 -19 (including those with additional needs).  You can read about the funding available for two, three and four year olds, looking for a school place and trying to find the work / life balance!

There’s parenting tips and information about children’s health too.  It’s updated frequently and worth a look.  To that, simply click on the link below…