We are hiring!

We are looking for some very special people to join our Dandelion team!

Are you passionate about the early years, the outdoors and developing enquiring minds? Then we’d love to hear from you!

Rates of pay are dependent on qualifications, but your personality, attitude and flexibility, is more important than qualifications!

If you possess a Dandelion brain, then we can train!

Send a CV and cover letter to dandelionsnorfolk@gmail.com
Closing date 18th July 2020.

Interviews week commencing 10th August. Start date September 3rd.

Days and hours are as follows:

Eaton post 1
Tuesday 8-2.15
Wednesday 7.30-2.15
Thursday 8-2.15
Friday 8-2.15

Eaton post 2
Monday – 8-12.15
Tuesday 8-12.15
Wednesday 8-3
Friday 8-2.15

Aylsham
Tuesday 8-12.15
Thursday 8-12.15
(with possible cover across both sites)

Return to Dandelion…

As you will have heard, it is likely that nurseries, including Dandelion, will begin to reopen on June 1st.
 
There has been considerable media coverage about the advantages of outdoor settings at this time and, we are in no doubt, that if children are going to return to education, Dandelion is the best and safest place to do so. We have worked hard to alter routines and put safety measures into place to help to mitigate potential contamination risks. 
 
 

We have created a tour for each site for families to see the changes we have put in place and how drop-offs will look. It will also give you insight into the feel on-site, how snacks are distributed and that we are here to support the emotional well-being of all our little Dandelions. If you’d like to see them or have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact us at dandelionsnorfolk@gmail.com.

You can also see more about our approach, media coverage and testimonials on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Dandelionsnorfolk/

The Pinny Gigs thoughts on Sharona…

Welcome back to the muddy truth of Dandelion, and welcome to a very unusual world where rules have changed, selves are bare, and toilet paper is scarce

What’s also scarce is physical contact, and what a sad loss this is.

Apparently, Tree and I are no longer allowed to hug, though we struggled to do this anyway – short limbs and all that  – but we’ve been told that we need to isolate and protect ourselves because of something called Sharona virus. Lion-Hair pointed out that this was, in fact, a song from 1979 and it is indeed very catchy, but we shouldn’t fear it, or avoid it unless it makes your ears hurt or offends your artistic sensibilities.

So, with that all cleared up, we discussed what we were going to do to manage the coronavirus situation.

The Tall-Hutch cleaners have been putting plans into place, while The Short-Strokers have continued to play and learn, though in a way that shows they have clearly been affected by the crisis – illnesses and doctors are running the whole of Dandelion. The children have covered their faces in spots and dots, and been laying on the floor (for quite a long time) awaiting emergency services. Their play has been creative and fun, but their talk around play shows high levels of worry that needs addressing.

Bobble-Hat-Bouncing-Bean has suggested that families watch Newsround together to help their children understand the situation and how we can help. This will open the useful dialogue that children need. Lion-Hair said that sometimes adults think children are unaware of problems/difficult situations that are happening around them, but children are very tuned-in to their parents’ emotions, and they will sense the anxiety and worry that we feel. It’s vital, she said, that we speak in an age-appropriate way about the situation so as to reassure them, but also to make them aware of the differing needs of others.

We could, she said, speak to our little Dandelions about how we can help others by collecting tins/packets to take to food banks, as they’re struggling to support those in most need. Bobble-Hat said that, even if you’re not a Dandelion, you can drop tins and things at their gate and they’ll deliver them for you.

You could also encourage your Short-Strokers to draw pictures and post through the letterboxes of people you know who are self-isolating and maybe lonely.

Tree says that all he really wants to do is to hug and reassure everyone around him, but I’ve told him that we can send hugs in the form of kind gestures, and we can take pleasure in the certainties in life; the sun will rise and the tide will turn whether we wish it to or not.

We wish you all safe and well,

Love Trump, the small Pinny Giggs who think big things xxx

The road to a friends house is never long…

Aloha Fandelions, Welcome back to the blog of the 4-inch high philosophers.

This week has been very unusual for us, as the majority of Short-Strokers have been on something called a half-term holiday.

You might think, therefore, that we’ve been lonely, or life has been uneventful, but this is most definitely not the case! We have, in fact, had our first opportunity to make new friends at Dandelion’s holiday club. This has been very exciting but also created a little anxiety. I was excited, but Stump hid for a while in his hide-out, inching out minute by minute, assessing the play, the noises, and the faces around us, before feeling confident enough to come and say hello. I thought his behaviour was odd, I’m much more of a jump in kind of Pinny Gig. I laughed at him, but Bouncing-Bean reminded me of our ‘fear and empathy’ conversation, she also told me that Short-Strokers are often shy at first too. Also, depending on a Short-Strokers age and their social skills, they may just watch others from a distance before being ready to play alongside, and then with. This is quite acceptable behaviour, she said.

This made sense, and, as I am a confident Pinny, I thought I’d help Stump to feel more confident too.

I introduced him to one Short-Stroker who seemed quiet and calm, much like Stump; I then played with them both before stepping back and allowing them to grow their friendship. This is the kind of thing the Tall-Hutch-Cleaners do every day. They support little Dandelions to build relationships, support them by co-regulating, and help them to resolve conflicts using set scripts. This all means that Short-Strokers can work towards maintaining and establishing relationships independently; it’s a valuable and vital life skill.

I spoke with Lion-Hair about this thing called friendship, and its importance in our lives. She said that the Dandelions often discuss this concept with the children and they made comments like: Friendship is playing dinosaurs, but not roaring too loud. Pets can be friends. You can have different ideas and still be friends. If I’m lonely I will find a friend. Friends hold your hand. Mums and dads can be friends; anyone can be a friend. Lion-Hair said friendships are central to our lives, and that her life is richer because of her friendship with Bobble-Hat-Bouncing-Bean; she said they laugh together, they cry together, and they are always there for each other; even when you’ve been foolish, or sharp, the other one knows it’s not a permanent character change and it won’t be held against you. Friendship is a special kind of love. I know this is true, as Stump is often foolish and annoying, but my hutch would be empty and cold without him. Meeting these new friends, and considering the concept of friendship, has also coincided with new Pinny Gig arrivals at Eaton. Nala, Jemima, and Matilda will be moving into Eaton next week, and we can’t wait to meet them!

They’re staying at a Short-Strokers house this weekend, and a couple of the ShortStrokers’ pets (they might also be called parents) will be making a run outside for them soon. We’re hoping these new Pinny Gigs will be our friends, but the distance between us is great. Though, as the Danish proverb goes: The road to a friends house is never long with 2-inch legs I fear the truth of that, but on roller skates and with a good friend like Stump to accompany me, what a journey we will have and what memories we will make.

That’s all for now dear friends,

Love Trump – the grassroots philosophers Xxx

It’s a rather blustery day…

Welcome back to Fandelion, and all things windy and wonderful,

Wow, what a windy week…we’ve never experienced this thing called wind before, and we’re not sure we like it! It howled and growled and had icy teeth..what a monster!

The wind was so strong in-fact that The Tall-Hutch-Cleaners had to initiate an emergency evacuation plan and decamped to their emergency venues.

Stump and I were very sad that we couldn’t go with them as the Short-Strokers had a fabulous time. They were climbing the climbing wall at Eaton, walking around the lake at Aylsham, making kites and playing team games, and they also ate hot-cross buns – we wonder what made them so tasty – is being cross often sweet?

Bouncing-Bean-Bobble-Hat said that she was very proud of the little Dandelions during the evacuation, and thrilled with how they managed the change of plans; she said they showed high levels of something called ‘cognitive flexibility’, which is an executive functioning skill, and something Dandelion works hard to develop.

Lion-Hair said that children with high levels of cognitive flexibility adapt easily and calmly to a sudden change to routine, and this is a crucial life skill. She also said that they showed great resilience, both emotional and physical, and this is also an area that Dandelion works hard to develop.

The wind may have been problematic, it may have used its might to tear and claw at trees, it may have changed space and time, but… it proved that Dandelion’s approach benefits children and nurtures vital life skills. There’s always a positive to every situation if you look hard enough.

After the windy days had blown themselves out, Bouncing-Bean and LIon-Hair thought of this quote, and its relevance to the resilient, fabulous, Short-Strokers,…

The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.

Aesop

Well, we’ll say goodbye for now as the wind is building once more, and we must batten down the hutches,

Happy half-term,

Lover Trump, the undeniable truth-tellers xxx

Improving the mental health service in Norfolk and Suffolk

Dandelion was invited to share views on the NSFT (Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust – NHS)  and how they can improve.
We said these things needed to change:
Referral times for children with additional needs – the referral and assessment times are excessively long – delaying early intervention and causing distress – to make this quicker…
Early Years professionals need to be able to make direct referrals for families and children – they see children day in, day out – their expertise and knowledge needs to trusted and accepted as valid – This will save time and be easier for families to access early support
Families with children with suspected addition needs, in-particular ASD, need clear signposting, support and advocacy, both short and long term
Money allocated for mental health support needs to be directed to Early Years settings where early identification and intervention is best provided – some settings will need the training to provide this and money will be needed to ensure this happens
Health visitors need to be more closely connected to Early Years settings
Systems need to be in place that allow multi-agencies – NHS and private, and charity organisations, access to information so that parents and carers don’t have to repeat their stories – this can be distressing and will save time
We also suggested that, in a perfect world, there would be a 4th emergency service, which would be solely for those in mental health crisis, and would include a mental health triage team and a separate A and E area at the NNUH – for too long those in crisis fall to the bottom of the priority list – just because their need is less visible doesn’t make emergency attention less of an urgent priority.
They were very responsive, we can but hope!!
Hayley and Emma xx

Empathy makes the world go round

Happy Day Fandelions,

Thanks for coming back for more news from the ground up!

You’re reading number 4 of the news that really matters.

It’s been an interesting week once more – we’ve had our first experience of a weird, cold, smoky, cloud – a Short-Stroker called it fog.

It was a very odd experience as it hung heavy in the air and we could barely see the Short-Strokers as they ran down the hill to see us. I liked this foggy scene, but this duvet of mist made Stump quite worried, so he hid in the hutch until the weather lifted.

I laughed at him because he was so scared, but Bobble-Hat-Bouncing-Bean came to speak to me, and we talked about how Stump felt when I laughed at him. We also talked about things that I’m afraid of, like the Long-Tailed-Scamper, and cauliflower, and then I thought about how I would feel if Stump laughed at my fears. I felt a hard lumpy sensation in my chest when we talked about these things, and had an overwhelming urge to hug Stump – which is quite tricky when your legs are so small and your bodies are so large. Lion-Hair said the feeling in my chest was a type of sadness because I knew that I had hurt Stump’s feelings and I recognised the feelings that Stump was experiencing. She said that I’m now beginning to develop something called ‘empathy’.

Here at Dandelion, the Tall-Hutch-Cleaners use special scripts and have a special approach that helps children to develop this thing called empathy, though it won’t be fully developed until the Short-Strokers are in key stage 2.

The Tall-Hutch-Cleaners said that Dandelion’s philosophical approach helps children to develop lots of positive characteristics, including empathy. It also teaches us to respect each other’s similarities and differences.

Bobble-Hat-Bouncing-Bean said that we should celebrate all differences, as these things make us special and unique, and it’s ok to be different.

So I told Stump that, although I wasn’t scared of fog, I knew what fear was, and how it made me feel. I couldn’t, and as Lion-Hair said, I shouldn’t, pretend that I know how exactly how something feels if I’ve never experienced anything like it. But, I HAVE experienced fear, although not the fear of fog. I told Stump that I couldn’t imagine how fog fear must feel, but I know fear and I offered to help in any way that I could.

Stump thought this was a good approach and a valuable social skill, so he asked me how he could help me feel better about my fears. I asked him to eat the cauliflower quickly so that I wouldn’t have to look at it for long. As true friends do, he did his best to help me, but eating cauliflower so quickly has its disadvantages.

I ponder how wonderful the world would be if everybody felt this empathy and this feeling for others. I consider how utterly wonderful the world would be if everybody celebrated differences rather than feared or ridiculed others for being different.

What a wonderful world we would all live in.

That’s all from the ground up,

Have a great week,

Love Trump – The Alternative xxxxx

Ps here’s a great article on empathy – https://www.goodstart.org.au/news-and-advice/february-2018/why-teaching-children-empathy-is-important

What’s In A Word…

Hi-di-ho Fandelions,

Welcome back to The Hutch, the furry voice of Dandelion and fun thoughts from within.

What an exciting week we’ve had … mermaids, a meandering stream, wellies full of sloppy mud, and a beach in the wood!

This has all caused great excitement and lots of questions too! And, as you know, we Pinny Giggs love a juicy thought-provoking question.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to understand some of the Short-Strokers questions.

Bobble-Hat-Bouncing-Bean says that it IS sometimes tricky to understand young children because they need to learn how to communicate, and this takes time and support – much like Stump needs time and support to learn how to do his yoga moves each lunchtime!

Lion-Hair agreed, (with the first thought) and said that without words behaviour is language, and this is important to remember. Without words to verbalise our emotions, needs and desires, she said, a person can become very frustrated and so they may cry, or scream, or use physical actions to express an unmet need.

All of the Tall-Hutch-Cleaners know this and are trained by Bobble-Hat-Bouncing-Bean and Lion-Hair in how to support children in developing high-levels of vocabulary and emotional literacy.

This, they said, is absolutely vital for development and learning. Because, If we fail to use high levels of language and a wide range of emotional vocabulary, then how will children understand each other and world around them? How will their lack of language and emotional literacy affect them as they grow, and how will this impact on society? Bobble-Hat talks about more about this in something called a TED Talk (you can watch that here…)

Stump said a TED talk sounds fun and wondered if we could have a Pinny Gig talk here at Dandelion. We did try and speak to the Short-Strokers about this idea, but the Tall-Hutch-Cleaners haven’t taught the Short-Strokers to squeak yet. This was very frustrating and Stump said he felt like biting them in anger when they failed to understand him.

Luckily the Short-Strokers soothed his frustration with the daily yoga session. He was rather flummoxed though when he was told to hold a tree pose – he simply stood staring into the distance and chewed. He said he thought he was meant to stand stock still,  and gawpas I do. Rude, I said. I’m not gawping, I’m pondering and thoughtful.

Stump then asked me to ponder on a joint name for our blog, as he feels it’s unfair that we aren’t both acknowledged as authors. We discussed this in true Dandelion democratic style and have decided to sign-off jointly, from now on, with one name that combines both the name Tree and Stump.

Thanks for joining The Hutch once more, see you next week,

Love

Tree & Stump – inhabitants and commentators on all things Dandelion xxx

 

.

Questions, questions, questions…

Hi-di-ho Dandelion friends, and welcome to our second ever Blog.

Some were closed questions, and some were open and far more conceptual. And, it wasn’t just the children who were asking such a wide variety of questions.

Our new friend, the Long-Tailed-Scamper, who we heard a Short-Stroker call ‘Maisy’, came to meet us, and she was asking questions too.

Questions such as:

Do Pinny Gigs have legs?

How much sleep is enough sleep for a Pinny Gig?

Can a long-tailed-scamper and a Pinny Gig be friends?

What colour is friendship?

Last week was a week of fabulous questions.

Why do we need friends?

These are just some of the questions we’ve been asked this week, and, we’ve realised, WE LOVE QUESTIONS! Why is now our favourite word! Which is a lucky thing, as the Short-Strokers are always using it, especially during shared play and at lunchtime.

We are also incredibly lucky that all Short-Stokers at Dandelion are taught ‘philosophical dialogue skills’ so they are able to ask such questions and think deeply about concepts that are important to everybody, no matter how old they are, or where they live.

The Lion-Haired Dandelion (some call her Hayley) said that EVERYBODY in the whole world is affected by concepts such as love, death, reality, friendship etc so it’s important that we all begin to think about these things and that we learn to form our own ideas and opinions. It’s also important that teachers know how to really, truly, listen, and that they know how to give children the skills to understand themselves, other people and the world around them.

Lion-Hair and Bobble-Hat (some call her Emma) train all the Tall-Hutch-Cleaners, in a special Dandelion way, so that they can supp

ort the Short-Strokers to develop these skills. This only happens at Dandelion, which makes it a very special place indeed.

And so, Stump and I ponder the questions we’ve been asked and, in answer to the Long-Tailed-Scamper’s question, I’m not sure about the possibility of friendship yet. Its teeth are very pointy and its claws are very long. I fear it is hungry.

But, perhaps, I am judging its character by appearance alone and should take a while to talk to her and keep my assumptions in check. I will endeavour to understand the soul behind the fur and teeth.

In fact, I suggest that we all take a while to ponder, to take a paws for breath, and consider those big questions in life. Let’s leave our assumptions behind and seek the truth.

Happy Sunday all,

Tree and Stump xx

Find out more about Pinny Gigs here:

 

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/guineapigs

Find out about our philosophical approach here:

Happy New Year from Tree and Stump!

Do you remember those family Christmas’ when sprout abundance continued into the new year and you’d rather eat the parson’s nose than face another sprout? 

Well, we don’t! Wjust love those little green bowling balls, and our only sorrow is that we don’t get to eat them all year round!

We’ve had the most sproutfully relaxing and loving Christmas, but it’s now the start of

a new school term and the festivities are over. 

We’re feeling the sorrow of parting as we leave our new found friends while we head back to Dandelion. We’d take them with us if we could, but Gemma, a Pinny Gig lover and a tallhutch-cleaning-Dandelion, would be sad to lose Star, Tily, Blossom, Bluebell, and Tulip.

As we sadly pack our hutches and dig out our wellies we’ve reflected on 2019 and our new home.

It’s been boggy, sunny, hot, cold, and everything in-between! The weather‘s been unpredictable, but the love we’ve felt at Dandelion has been consistent. We’ve been stroked and pampered beyond belief!

Apparently strokes are our reward, as we’ve been instrumental in settling children who’ve needed extra support and help to calm any worries. We didn’t know what calm was until we overheard a short-giggling-stroker talking during philosophy lunch. They said that ‘Calm is green’ and ‘trees’ and ‘feels like the sun’. One of these Dandelion-Strokers said that ‘Calm is swinging’ and I heard a tall-hutch-cleaning-Dandelion say that many children (I think these are the short-giggling-strokers) self-calm by moving, and swinging is one type of moving. 

Stump says he’d also like a calming Pinny Gig swing, but I’m not so sure I’d like it. I once saw a Pinny Gig in a round-spinning-ball, the poor guy kept running and running but it didn’t move anywhere!  I was exhausted just watching. No, swinging is not for meI’m happy eating my greens, or ‘calm balls’, as they must really be called, as when I eat sprouts I feel like I’m eating sunshine.

I do hope that the short and tall Dandelions bring us more sprouts next week! We can’t wait to help the new-short-strokers settle-in. We’ll also see the new site improvements, and, who knows, Stump might actually get his swing! 

Happy 2020,

Tree and Stump Dandelion xxx

Be our next extraordinary Dandelion Deputy Manager!

We are looking for a very special Dandelion Deputy Manager…

 “Dandelions is an extraordinary nursery and working here is a living dream. It will challenge you though, it will challenge you physically, mentally and emotionally. But you will always be supported throughout your time at Dandelions by a nurturing team to encourage your development in every way. It could be the most rewarding, life changing and significant thing you ever do” – this is what our staff say about working with us. 

Is this a challenge you welcome? If the answer is yes, we would love to hear from you!

DANDELION EDUCATION IS AN OUTSTANDING MULTI AWARD-WINNING PHILOSOPHY AND FOREST SCHOOL LED NURSERY. YOU WILL BE PART OF A TEAM WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT NURTURING CHILDREN THROUGH A DEEP AND ENRICHING PHILOSOPHICAL EXPERIENCE.  
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE MUST LOVE BEING OUTDOORS, BE FULL OF ENERGY AND CREATIVITY, AND HAVE A FANTASTIC RAPPORT WITH CHILDREN; YOU MUST BE DEDICATED TO SUPPORTING THEIR EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING AND HOLD A LEVEL 3 EARLY YEARS QUALIFICATION. ALSO UNDERSTAND HOW TO NURTURE CHILDREN THROUGH AN ENQUIRY-LED, CHILD/PLAY-BASED APPROACH.

Location:

Aylsham

Hours: 36 hours across 4.5 days

Start: December 2019

Salary: £9 per hour plus benefits. Permanent contract.

Job requirements:

To work as part of a professional team, focusing on the delivery of quality educational childcare, and a diverse curriculum within our setting. To reflect and implement Dandelion’s ethos and approach at all times. To work within the framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

Skills

A relentless passion for the care, learning, and development of young children

Be open and positive to learning and gaining new skills through teamwork and training opportunities offered through the setting

Excellent communication skills

Be a reflective practitioner

At least two years proven experience in a childcare setting

Qualifications 

Essential

Level 3 qualification in the relevant area

GCSE Maths/English, or equivalent

A proven dedication to working with young children

At least 2 years experience of working with children aged 2-5

Some understanding of the importance of Health & Safety, First Aid and Food Hygiene in the workplace

Nice to have

A positive approach to completing relevant short courses and qualifications

Degree (or a willingness to pursue higher qualifications)

Health & Safety certificate

Paediatric First Aid certificate

Safeguarding training

We take care of our team just as well as our team take care of our little Dandelions. Everyone is treated equally and with ongoing respect. We do have high expectations, but this is why Dandelion is a wonderful place for both staff and children. We offer our team an excellent range of perks – 

  • 5.6 weeks paid holidays
  • Well-being supervisions to support and maintain good mental health
  • Thermal tights/socks, to compliment our uniforms!
  • The opportunity to further your qualifications
  • Our very unique and bespoke training program
  • The opportunity to work at our beautiful sites and be out in nature every day!
  • Competitive salaries
  • Career progression opportunities

To apply please send a CV and a covering letter explaining why you would like to become part of the Dandelion team.

To learn more about what we do at Dandelion Education, take a look at our Facebook page or our website. Alternatively please do send us an email to dandelionsnorfolk@gmail.com.

Closing date: November 20th

Interviews: W/C 25th November

Dandelion Education reaches new heights at award celebration!

Dandelion Education reached new heights as Emma & Hayley were invited to The Shard by Nursery Management Today (NMT) to celebrate their Top 5 Inspirational Leader award!

Here is what NMT had to say about our wonderful Dandelion founders;

“Emma and Hayley have created something when they were told it wouldn’t work. Breaking the mould and taking a gamble is truly inspirational.  Hayley and Emma are passionate tenacious advocates for all children. Together they are a force majeure, outspoken when necessary , and focused on improving social mobility for every child. This duo have an unshakeable determination to improve Early Years Education, their innovation and creativity gave birth to a unique business based on the resolute belief that education should be child-led.” 

Hayley said; “…it was a wonderful evening , humbling to be amongst so many dedicated and passionate  professionals.” 
What a brilliant way to celebrate the nursery world’s most inspirational leaders and not a single set of waterproofs insight! If you’d like to find out more about the awards…visithttp://nmt-magazine.co.uk

 

Winners of NMT Top 5 Inspirational Leaders category!

We are very excited to share that our wonderful Dandelion founders and Managing Directors, Emma Harwood and Hayley Room have received an award from Nursery Management Today (NMT) for making a huge difference to the Under 5s childcare/early years sector through incredibly inspirational leadership.

Within this particular category, NMT were looking for exceptional people who are making a significant difference to the children within their care and their parents, and are an inspiration to the people who work round them.

This is an incredible accolade and it’s very clear to see why Emma and Hayley would be amongst the Top 5 exceptional people selected for this. They both work tirelessly to change the narrative in the nursery sector and continually challenge the status quo around the way children are cared for. Pioneers of Dandelion Education, the very first nursery in Britain to combine both PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN (P4C) and FOREST SCHOOL and nurtures all round cognitive development, well-being and resilience.

To celebrate, the 5 winners have been invited to the top of The Shard for a special treat before the NMT Nursery Top 20 dinner for an adrenaline fuelled experience from London’s highest viewing gallery complete with champagne! Being great advocates for tree climbing, Emma and Hayley will be fully prepared for such heights…however, what we’re all wondering is will they be wearing their waterproofs? You’ll have to check back after the event to find out.

Each year, NMT aims to discover, recognise and reward the top 20 people and businesses who are most influential and inspiring within the childcare sector. You can see all of the award winners here http://nmt-magazine.co.uk/top20/

Inclusion should be Invisible in Early Years Settings and Beyond

Meeting the needs of children with SEND is challenging, but the best settings will find ways to adapt, says Hayley Room…

It is a sad fact that we are failing children when it comes to inclusionInclusion means adapting to meet children’s unique individual needs, but in practice, it too often involves attempting to adapt the child, to squeeze them into a one-size-fits-all box. School anxiety, self-harming, anxiety-vomiting, children alone in corridors ‘self-calming’ is not inclusion. Yet these experiences are not unusual; they occur throughout the system from early years to secondary. Funding cuts are forcing families in most need to live in educational limbo while they await places in special schools, places that don’t exist.

Currently 15% of children on school roll (maintained settings) are registered as SEND, and yet 17% of maintained nurseries receive no funding at all. And the PVI sector? Sadly, there appears to be a data black hole – the PVI sector is excluded!

The factors that threaten outstanding SEND support are numerous – from the erosion of funding leading to a reduction in specialist services and access to expertise, and a shortfall of SEND funding for two-year-olds and those using the 30 hours offer, to the excessive amount of time that must be set aside to create reports and assessments. The SEND crisis is the global warming effect on cohorts of children with SEND: the sea is rising and we are watching.

Adapting our practice

At Dandelion, as for all settings, our issue is funding. Like others, we ‘take the hit’. But, a greater problem for us is that we meet children’s needs, and do so without the need for EHC plans (EHCPs). This means that when our children eventually transition to schools, the EHCP process is delayed, hindering their access to support services. Should we therefore leave children to flounder and allow despondency and anxiety to fester? Watch as families and children drown?

The answer is obvious. We adapt, and the focus in always the child. Most vitally, we see the child before the SEND issue. Infuriatingly, you often hear the phrase ‘an autistic child’ or ‘ a disabled child’. No! The child is a child with ASD, or a child with SEND. Just as a child with cancer is a child with cancer, not a cancer child.

We spend unfunded, voluntary time meeting with parents, writing reports and contributing to assessments. Our Masters level-trained SENDCo supports parents and works with our six qualified teachers and seven practitioners, in order to develop graduated plans; we put measures into place that ensure our inclusion is invisible, yet targeted and effective. The child’s voice and the parent’s voice are intrinsic to this process. Our staff are highly qualified. Our lead teacher is senSI trained; one practitioner is completing her dissertation on attachment and our ‘invisible inclusionapproach’. Staff attend regular courses and are encouraged to read around SEND issues.

Along with our staff, our approach consists of

● flexible settling periods;

● personalised visual aids, created and reviewed in partnership with parents and the child;

● dedicated safe spaces, chosen by children, shared with all practitioners and the family;

● gradual transitions into new settings, using flexi-schooling options unique to the child;

● scripted behaviour management approaches;

● our use of Philosophy 4 Children, promoting tolerance, respect, empathy, self-awareness and an awareness of others’ needs;

● a focus on wellbeing and health – a therapy dog, daily yoga and peer massage;

● high adult-to-child ratios enabling unharried interactions – time to listen, interpret and resolve;

● few, but scheduled, interruptions to sessions; and

● unique streamlined and targeted SEND assessments, focusing on the development of executive functioning skills.

The effect is that inclusion at Dandelion is invisible. Children are empowered through a scripted, choice-based approach that enables each one to feel in control. Teaching and behaviour management is often ‘done to’ children; we talk and work with them. They know they are respected, that they are valued. This leads to a reduction in conflict and stress and fewer accidents, thus happier children and strong positive relationships.

Testament to the success of our approach is the Inclusive Practice award we received from Nursery World in 2018, and our many parent testimonials: one parent remarked of their son, “X had become a child who sat beneath a table wearing ear defenders; he began lashing out physically, screaming and running away, but he has now returned to being a confident and secure child, motivated to learn and forming special friendships.”

In this parent’s own words, “X is flourishing.” He is flourishing because Dandelion is inclusive.

Hayley Room is co-managing director of Dandelion Education.

 

We are recruiting!

COME AND JOIN OUR OUTSTANDING MULTI AWARD-WINNING FOREST SCHOOL NURSERY. YOU WILL BE PART OF A TEAM WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT NURTURING CHILDREN THROUGH A DEEP AND ENRICHING PHILOSOPHICAL EXPERIENCE.  
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE MUST LOVE BEING OUTDOORS, BE FULL OF ENERGY AND CREATIVITY, AND HAVE A FANTASTIC RAPPORT WITH CHILDREN; YOU MUST BE DEDICATED TO SUPPORTING THEIR EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING. YOU MUST HOLD A LEVEL 2/3 EARLY YEARS QUALIFICATION, AND UNDERSTAND HOW TO NURTURE CHILDREN THROUGH AN ENQUIRY-LED, CHILD/PLAY-BASED APPROACH.

Location:

Aylsham

Eaton

Hours: 

Aylsham 14 hours per week (M 8-4, T 8.30-12.30, W 8.30-12.30)

Eaton 12 hours per week (Monday-Thursday 8.30-12.30)

Start: ASAP

Salary: National minimum wage – £8.50 per hour dependent on qualifications and experience

Job requirements:

To work as part of a professional team, focusing on the delivery of quality educational childcare, and a diverse curriculum within our setting. To reflect and implement Dandelion’s ethos and approach at all times. To work within the framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

Skills

A relentless passion for the care, learning, and development of young children

Be open and positive to learning and gaining new skills through teamwork and training opportunities offered through the setting

Excellent communication skills

Be a reflective practitioner

At least two years proven experience in a childcare setting

Qualifications 

Essential

Level 2+  qualification in the relevant area

GCSE Maths/English, or equivalent

A proven dedication to working with young children

At least 2 years experience of working with children aged 2-5

Some understanding of the importance of Health & Safety, First Aid and Food Hygiene in the workplace

Nice to have

A positive approach to completing relevant short courses and qualifications

Degree (or a willingness to pursue higher qualifications)

Health & Safety certificate

Paediatric First Aid certificate

Safeguarding training

We take care of our team just as well as our team take care of our little Dandelions. Everyone is treated equally and with ongoing respect. We do have high expectations, but this is why Dandelion is a wonderful place for both staff and children. We offer our team an excellent range of perks – 

  • 5.6 weeks paid holidays
  • The opportunity to further your qualifications
  • Our very unique and bespoke training program
  • The opportunity to work at our beautiful sites and be out in nature every day!
  • Competitive salaries
  • Career progression opportunities

To apply please send a CV and a covering letter explaining why you would like to become part of the Dandelion team.

To learn more about what we do at Dandelion Education, take a look at our Facebook page or our website. Alternatively please do send us an email to dandelionsnorfolk@gmail.com.

Closing date: May 6th

Interviews: W/C 13th May

 

Aylsham site development

The tree surgeons are in, the dead wood is down…Dandelion has arrived in Brick Kiln Wood!
Elder, Hazel, Sycamore, Sweet Chestnut…watchful squirrels…wildlife in abundance…it’s going to be stunning! Watch this space!

We’re hiring!

We’re pleased to announce that, due to popular demand, Dandelion Education Ltd is hiring 2 more staff members!

Are you passionate about working with young children, in a unique, enabling, multi-award winning environment?

Are you interested in delivering bespoke, high-quality care, learning and development of young children?

Then maybe Dandelion is your next adventure!

We’re hiring an:

Early Years Practitioner to work 13.5 h/pw; able to focus on the the delivery of quality educational childcare, and a diverse curriculum, within our setting.

A Forest School Leader to work 6 h/pw, to plan, deliver, and manage, an off-site Dandelion session, ensuring that the session runs efficiently, and that Dandelion continues to deliver outstanding educational childcare.

We’re hosting an informal meet and greet session at our Eaton site, to give you the chance to get to know us and the way we approach early years learning and development. Please email to let us know you’re coming.

If you’re interested in Dandelion and our offering, then take a look at the job descriptions below:

Early Years Practitioner

Forest School Leader

NEW application form

Dandelion is an NMT award winner!

Dandelion Education Ltd, a Norfolk based multi award-winning Nursery, has won a further accolade. On Saturday 3rd December, Dandelion was awarded first place in the Outdoor Learning Environment category in the 16th National NMT Nursery Awards 2018.

Hayley Room and Emma Harwood, founders and managing-directors of Dandelion said: “To receive an award from such a highly regarded magazine, for professionals, completes what has already been a fabulous and successful year. We can’t wait for our 2019 plans to become a reality. Watch this space!”

Winners of the 16th National NMT Nursery Awards were presented with their trophies by host Gethin Jones at the high-profile Gala Night held on Saturday, 1st December at the Hilton London Metropole attended by over 600 guests.

The judging panel stated  that ‘Dandelion Education have a greater emphasis on staff resource rather than environment and ‘man made’ commercial resources andinnovative thinking regarding using natural resources, such as leaves for writing, of bringing stones to life in the outdoors. They support children with additional needs very effectively and were able to evidence the health benefits to both children and staff. The authenticity in their approach really shone through.’

About the Awards:

NMT Nursery Awards 2018 is an annual event organised by Nursery Management Today, the leading business publication in the nursery sector and sponsored by key companies providing services in the sector. The Awards are designed to reward excellence in childcare and celebrate the very best people in the Nursery Sector. There were 17 categories to enter overall and there were four or five finalists in each category with three independent judges. For more information and all categories, please visit www.nmt-magazine.co.uk/awards/

Dandelion’s consultancy continues

We’re heading to Scotland’s Big Bird Nursery for the second time this weekend, to training their staff in Early Reading and writing, and Phonics!

And it doesn’t stop there! We’re also heading to Coventry to Beatle Woods nursery, to support them in the development of a flexi-ed provision. 

Flexi-Education/ Reception Year Deferment

It’s that time of year when many of you will be considering school options for your children.  To help with your decision making, we are holding an Information Session regarding Flexi-Education/ Reception Year DefermentWe know that age 4-5 is too young for children to begin formalised learning.
At Dandelion, we advocate deferring your child’s entry into school by spending at least their reception year with us. We also advocate flexi-educating children, whether this is for their Reception year or beyond. Last year 10% of our children deferred, of these, 38% have chosen to flexi-ed. This brings of our total of flexi-ed children to 15%.

We would like to invite all parents/carers who are interested in this child-led approach, and who would like to know more,  to an information session with Hayley and Emma Dandelion.

Location
Eaton Vale Scout Centre
Church Lane
Eaton Vale
NR4 6NN
Date
Saturday 3rd November
Time
3.30-4.30pm
Please book a free place online and spread the word! (Spaces available to book at the end of the week!)
We advise against bringing children to the session unless unavoidable!

Finalists for Women in Business awards

 

We’re so proud to announce that Dandelion has been announced a finalist in the Children and Families category, for this years Women in Business awards! The ceremony will be held in London on the 11th October, where we will be celebrating our achievements with the Dandelion team.

 

 

‘Sex ed should start in the early years’

Dandelion has had an article published in Early Years magazine! The feature discusses how to approach sex education with children – explaining why it is important why early years setting should be tackling the subject to teach children about relationships, respect, body ownership and appropriate touch.

This is a comment from a reader of Dandelion’s article:

That article is amazing!! Just what I needed to read, I think all of that but sometimes feel I maybe being ‘to adult’ with my child.

We’ve had a thing about “daddy’s willy” recently and this article has helped me realise how we ‘dealt’ with it was the right way forward.

All to much to explain in an email, but just know what you are doing is helping families at home too. I’ve started singing Dandelion’s ‘body song’ at home. 

Thank you!

You can read the article below, or subscribe via this link: https://www.teachwire.net/early-years

 

Rural Business Awards

Dandelion Education has been shortlisted in the East Best Rural Education or Training Business category of the Rural Business Awards 2018/19!

Award news!

We’ve been shortlisted by Nursery World for 3 of their award categories:

  • Health and Well Being
  • Enabling Environment
  • Inclusive Practice

We’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed!

Dandelion to speak at ‘Excelling at Early Years Inspections’ conference

On Thursday 22nd November Dandelion will be a guest speaker at ‘Excelling at Early Years Inspections’ conference in London.

The course aims to provide you with practical advice on how to to attain the best Ofsted rating and ensure positive outcomes for all children.

Dandelion will be discussing how they provide an ‘Outstanding Early Years Curriculum’. The agenda for their session is:

  • Deliver and demonstrate ‘outstanding’ teaching, learning and assessment
  • Introduce a broad and balanced curriculum including learning through play
  • Develop ways to involve parents in supporting their children’s learning and development
  • Create strategies to improve outcomes for all children and prepare them for primary education

If you would like to get a ticket, head to this website.

A visit from Clive Lewis

 

 

Clive Lewis is a British Labour politician who is a member of parliament for Norwich South since 2015.

On June 15th Clive visited Dandelion to get a taste of what we can offer.

A visit from Jan White

On June the 12th Jan White visited us to take a look at what we do at Dandelion. Jane White is an advocate for high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to five.

She is also an the author of Playing and Learning Outdoors: making provision for high quality experiences in the outdoor Environment(Routledge, 2008) and Making a Mud Kitchen (Muddy Faces 2012), editor of Outdoor Provision in the Early Years (Sage, 2011) and I collaborated with Siren Films to make the training DVDs Babies OutdoorsToddlers Outdoors and Two Year-olds Outdoors (Siren Films, 2011).

Parent Partnership Workshop

We will be offering a practical, interactive workshop delivered by experienced teachers offering useful tips on:

  • Positively managing your child’s behaviour,
  • Promoting respectful relationships,
  • Using positive language to manage interactions

This is what the parents thought about our adult training sessions:

The trainers were very knowledgable and gave lots of positive ideas to go forward.

The trainers had  a great dynamic and the role play was great!

“It was good to giggle and not feeling awkward contributing!”

“The workshop was excellent. Exactly what I’d hoped for!”

(more…)

TEDxNorwichED 2018: Dream Big

Emma will be joining a wide range of other inspiring, captivating and interesting speakers at the TEDxNorwichED 2018: Dream Big event taking place on 28th April at The Space, Roundtree Way, Norwich. (more…)

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