Category

Education

The importance of role-play in Early Years

By | Education, play, Relationships
by Antonia Burton
Head of Lower School, Chinthurst School

Children love role-play! Acting out stories, playful manipulation of ideas and emotions, and interacting with each other in imaginary ways are essential for a child’s cognitive and social development. Over the last 75 years a number of theorists and researchers have identified the value of such imaginative play as a vital component to the normal development of a child.

Between the ages of one and a half and six, studies have consistently demonstrated that pretend play increases language usage and children’s awareness that their thoughts may be different from their friends. Role-play allows children to express positive and negative feelings and fosters divergent thinking, the ability to come up with many different ideas, story themes and symbols.

So how are these benefits harnessed in an Early Years setting?
Plenty of free unstructured play is essential. Children should have the space and time to initiate play spontaneously. It should arise from their own imagination without the direction of an adult and it encourages risk taking and creativity and helps the children to practise collaboration and decision making.

However, structured play, in the form of a themed play corner is invaluable in stimulating make believe games. An ‘airport’ or ‘doctor’s surgery’ enable children to choose and assign roles and work through any problems that arise. As pretend play progresses, children need to socialise and cooperate with peers and this helps them to learn to control impulses and respect the decisions of others.

Children’s communication and language skills also benefit hugely as they must collaborate and listen to each other as they role-play. Children will draw upon pictures built up in their minds from past experiences and recreate these scenes, helping them to solve problems and draw their own conclusions – so developing essential cognitive skills.

Taking on the roles of different characters encourages children to empathise with each other. They gain an understanding of different perspectives which develops their ability to relate to each other. Pretend play offers a safe place to act out real life situations. Children cope with worries by acting them out so role-play gives them a setting to work things through and help them to address their fears.

Moreover, the use of costumes and props in a theatrical way can help to improve a child’s gross and fine motor skills. From dressing themselves in a character’s costume to putting the props away when the game has finished, role-play builds hand/eye co-ordination as well as developing visual discrimination.

Children often interact with literacy and numeracy skills during pretend play. They may have to count things out as part of their character or ‘write’ on a notepad. Acting out a favourite story book can be an invaluable aid to comprehension skills too.

The introduction of drama teaching at the age of three and four can really boost the effectiveness of imaginative play and help children to develop soft skills and emotional intelligence. Drama gives children further opportunities to rehearse roles, characters and a broad spectrum of life situations helping them to explore ideas and feelings. Drama promotes self-esteem and gives children the confidence to present themselves in front of an ‘audience’, all whilst having great fun.

At home, a dressing up box, even if it is just hats and masks, can stimulate a child’s imagination and initiate fantastic role-play scenarios. It is important to let your children define objects for use and to allow them to be whatever they would like to be. The benefits really are amazing!

Chinthurst School is a leading co-educational school for pupils agedthree to 11 and is part of the Reigate Grammar School (RGS) family.

Kindergarten children benefit from a bright and spacious environment where their confidence and self-esteemare developed through role play and specialist drama teaching.

At 11, children proceed to a range of top independent and state schools and can take advantage of an early offer entrance arrangement to RGS in Year 5, should this be their chosen path.

rugbytots

Learning life lessons from rugby

By | children's health, Education, family, fun for children, Sport, Uncategorized
by Rebecca and Esther
Rugbytots Brighton & Worthing

We read it every day – the negative effects that too much screen time and television time are having on our children. In fact, only last month Brighton & Hove Independent published results of a survey1 stating that 80% of our children are failing to hit the Chief Medical Officer’s target of at least an hour of physical activity every day.
With technological advancements come social issues including mental health problems as we become a 24 hour society that can’t switch off. This means that children are being bombarded with information whilst becoming more socially disconnected – preferring instead to communicate via messaging apps and social media channels.

However, we are also living in an age where children have never had so many opportunities to try new things, have experiences, travel and learn life skills through their hobbies and interests. Although technology can be a distraction for parents and children, it is also the gateway to finding out what’s going on in your area such as sports, dance, arts and crafts classes. Parents can take advantage of taster classes and children can then decide which classes they want to take.

Sports such as rugby are built on teamwork and respect. Played from an early age it develops more than just strength and fitness. When you think of rugby it might conjure up images of burly men with cauliflower ears covered in mud – but there are so many fun variations and games for children, including tag rugby, which doesn’t have any tackling.

In a team sport everyone participates, and nobody is left out. Sports such as rugby also teach skills like kicking, passing and catching which are transferable life skills, valuable in all sports.

A skill that you wouldn’t normally expect to hear associated with rugby is creativity; this is something that we focus on at our rugby sessions and the strategic elements of the game mean children are introduced to problem solving from an early age. During games they have to constantly think about situation awareness and make quick decisions which, in turn, help increase mental agility and self-confidence.

Let’s look at the positive effects playing rugby can have on children:

Fun
Children learn how to enjoy sport, fitness and healthy competition with girls and boys from all backgrounds coming together to have fun.

Social
Rugby enables positive emotions, promotes bonding and builds friendships which in turn boost self-esteem and confidence.

Respect
Children are taught to respect teammates, coaches, opponents, referees and learn how to deal with healthy conflict.

Teamwork and sportsmanship
Children learn to make decisions that will benefit their peers plus gain essential social skills like team spirit, cooperation and sportsmanship.

Concentration
By learning the strategic elements of the game children’s concentration, memory and analytical skills are enhanced.

Physical
Rugby develops hand/eye co-ordination, works on fine and gross motor skill development, improves balance and promotes good listening skills.

Competition
Rugby promotes a sense of healthy competition and teaches children about winning and losing and the skills needed to cope with both.

Character building
Team sports increase confidence, self-respect and teach children how to conduct themselves in game situations, making them more self-aware.

Rebecca and Esther took over Rugbytots, Brighton & Worthing, which is aimed
at 2 to 7 year olds, in November 2018.
They are friends who were looking for
a new challenge since having children.
They have a real passion for working
with kids and getting them to be more
active whilst having lots of fun.
The Rugbytots franchise ticked all the boxes and they plan to further build on its success
by adding more weekend sessions and
taking Rugbytots into school curriculums,
after- school clubs and nurseries.
Click on www.rugbytots.co.uk to find out more.

Dyslexia and foreign languages

By | Education, Language

by Helen Abbott
Banstead Prep School

How can a child with dyslexia be expected to cope with a foreign language? If children are struggling to learn to read and write in their own language, why should we expect them to learn another?

In every school I have been in, both secondary and primary, I have been told by at least one parent (not asked) that their child is dyslexic and therefore ‘will not be able’ to learn another language. What amazes me is that I have never, not once, been asked specifically what I do to assist dyslexic children during lessons. The assumption seems to be that there is nothing I can do. Dyslexic pupils may have a slightly longer path to fluency than some others, but the idea that they cannot learn a language is both absurd and nonsensical (which mean pretty much the same thing but repetition is a useful tool in anyone’s learning). I am hoping I can clear up this misconception and answer the question I have never been asked: how can a child with dyslexia cope with a foreign language?

Language learning today is no longer about sitting with a textbook in front of you, reciting conjugations of verbs and learning reams of vocabulary off by heart. Variety and pace are the key and the best language lessons are filled with a range of multi-sensory activities, especially kinaesthetic ones which involve moving around the classroom and manipulating objects physically. In other words, methods that have been proven to help children with dyslexia in their learning. Various studies have shown that ‘overlearning’ is helpful for dyslexic children and to this end, multi-sensory learning, where children experience a piece of vocabulary or even grammar through the different senses is very useful. Colour coding is also helpful, as is associating words with pictures, sounds or even tastes and smells. If the child finds listening difficult, then having a word repeated in a plethora of different ways can help. Enter today’s language classroom and you should find one or more of these activities being demonstrated at any given moment.

To me, it seems obvious that the topics studied in languages lend themselves to a range of that sensory learning that is so important for anyone who finds words on their own quite scary and off-putting. Café and restaurant role-plays are surely asking for a taste experience (croissant anyone?), while learning about colours immediately suggests bringing in a rainbow of sweets for the class to try (or is that just me?) The topic of transport is great fun when you add sounds to it, as is the animal kingdom with the range of beastly noises associated. All of which are invariably accompanied by visual images with words next to them as this is often the starting point for any language learning and pictures are usually easier to remember than the word.

However, the overall winner in my view is kinaesthetic or tactile learning, in which activities all involve some kind of physical action. Wandering around the classroom on a treasure hunt adds an element of fun, while rearranging chopped up vocabulary into sentences is an activity often mentioned in guides to help dyslexic children remember word order. Games of snap, dominoes, pelmanism or Kim’s game involve handling and manipulating objects physically as well as using pictures with or without words that implant a visual memory in the brain. These are all typical language learning activities.

Finally, even the dinosaurs amongst us in language learning must recognise colour coding as an essential tool in remembering grammatical ideas such as genders (yes, it’s still blue for a boy, pink for a girl!) or to differentiate nouns, verbs and adverbs. Additionally, using different shades of colour or presenting information on a coloured background aids understanding, eases access to the content and reduces the visual stress so often suffered by dyslexic children.

Is that sufficient or do dyslexic children need more help? Clearly it depends on the individual as every child learns differently regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. Most dyslexic children should also be provided with scaffolded worksheets where they have to write the minimum amount required to make good or excellent progress. We must remember that writing is only one of the skills required in learning a language and in my view the least important – how many times as an adult have you been required to write down your food order in a foreign restaurant (or an English one for that matter?) Spelling mistakes should be corrected less frequently and all activities should be supported with another sensory option (for example, listening with a written prompt; speaking with pictures; reading with phrases highlighted in clear colours).

The argument persists that dyslexic children often have word retrieval problems in their own language or a weaker working memory and can therefore remember fewer words. It is completely unnecessary for them to learn a huge quantity of language on one topic. A range of topics is good – a couple of useful adjectives, some adverbs to add flavour. Twenty words for animals instead of two or three – why? They simply do not need to learn to say that they have a hamster if they don’t have one! Focus should be on committing essential vocabulary to memory, rather than confusing matters with an indecent amount of terms that will never realistically be used. Common sense could and should prevail!

Who wants to deny any pupil the opportunity to participate in activities that will develop their communication skills, their social experience and will raise their awareness of other cultures and communities? Let us not forget that language learning has very little to do with success in exams and much more to do with being able to travel to other countries and have a more intimate experience of the values and beliefs of another society. Teachers aim to instil a love of learning in each and every child and it should not matter how children reach their goal or even how close they get to it, as long as they enjoy the process. Make languages fun for all and you will reach children whatever way they learn best and surely, that is the ultimate goal.

Banstead Prep School is a co-educational prep school and nursery for girls and boys aged 2-11 where there’s more to a
good education than learning. www.bansteadprep.com

The benefits of ‘bouncing’!

By | children's health, Education, family, fun for children, Health, Mental health, Party, play, Uncategorized

by Springfit Gymnastics and Trampoline Clubs

There are many benefits to participating in trampolining and gymnastics. They are great sports for all ages and fitness levels, and for people who enjoy both individual sports and teamwork. They provide a chance to set your own goals and work at your own pace.

Here are just a few of the reasons to get involved with gymnastics and trampolining in 2019.

Health and fitness
The moves taught are designed on a progressive scale to allow further development to make them harder and more intricate. With each level achieved through suitably planned training, participants are able to improve their joint health, maintain muscular development and improve cardiovascular fitness, making you feel healthier and more alert. Unlike running, trampolining has comparatively low joint impact for an intense exercise routine. It has been proven that trampolining improves your metabolic rate, helping you stay fit and healthy!

Mental health
Both gymnastics and trampolining are extremely beneficial for improving concentration and mental focus. These activities are great for a child’s cognitive development – encouraging them to use their imagination and gain a better understanding of their body and capabilities. The physical activities you perform will also make you feel happier, more positive, and even more self-confident. Endorphins, the positive mood-enhancing natural chemicals released by all exercise are triggered, and in trampolining especially, the sheer fun factor of jumping up and down will make you smile, make you laugh and make you feel really happy. It’s hard to feel blue when you’re bouncing!

Co-ordination and motor skills
Flexibility is a big factor in gymnastics and trampolining. In order to achieve the various positions needed to perform moves, teaching suppleness is of vital importance. Increasing flexibility can also be an effective aid to the reduction
of injury.

Co-ordination can also be improved. David Beckham, NASA trainee astronauts and many other professionals use gymnastics and trampolining to and develop the skills that allow you to undertake a number of items requiring concentration at the same time: bouncing, balancing, maintaining the body’s position, and anticipating the next action in order to learn to perform skilful activities.

Education
Gymnastics provides a unique and valuable social education and experience. It provides an ideal opportunity to learn about teamwork; sportsmanship; fair play and dedication. The time required to master the fundamental skills requires a great amount of patience, dedication, perseverance and planning. Regular gymnastics, therefore, helps people learn to work hard for objectives that can take years to achieve.

One of the most interesting elements of the activities is that the gymnast can experience a variety of effects in practice rather than just in theory. For example, physicists discuss the principle of conservation of angular momentum; the gymnast experiences it.

Conclusion
If you’re still not convinced, I have saved possibly the most persuasive benefit until last. It’s really good fun! Learning how to jump, tumble, flip, swing, and come as close to self-powered flight as is possible is anything but boring. There is always another step to learn; it is possible to learn something new every single class you attend. A regular workout releases endorphins (the happiness chemicals that improve mood) and trampolining could even be an answer to those who want to keep up their fitness but have struggled with joint difficulties.

There are so many diverse and wide-reaching disciplines involved within the sport that make it accessible to all ages and abilities, with benefits at every stage. So what are you waiting for? Join in!

For supporting studies relating to the benefits evidenced here please see www.springfit.org.
Springfit host many classes in the local area which provide the benefits listed above.
If you are keen to get your kids involved in something new, or perhaps try a new sport yourself then get in touch!
We have classes for all ages and abilities!

How women can empower themselves with good health

By | beauty, Education, family, Food & Eating, Health, Relationships, sleep, Uncategorized
by Dr Mathi Woodhouse
GP at Your Doctor – www.your-doctor.co.uk

1 Being proactive about your health is vital both in terms of strengthening your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms and preventing future illness and disease. Planning, testing, check-ups and addressing all kinds of areas of mental to sexual health matters all take time. People often do not prioritise their own health. Be proactive now.

2 Have you ever wondered what your biological age is? Telomere testing can reveal your biological age through a simple blood test. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Lifestyle can influence the rate which your telomeres shorten faster that simple tests can reveal. Eat well, exercise often, sleep well, and address stress levels. These can all reduce the inflammatory process and therefore slow the rate of telomere shortening.

3 Don’t miss your vaginal smear. In 2013 60% of all new HIV diagnoses were to young adolescent women and girls. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted infection, it accounts for around 70% of all cervical cancers. Sexual health in women is of the utmost importance and more importantly is totally preventable. Take measures for safe sex, and ensure all available screening is seized. A cervical smear should be available at least once every three years until the age of 65. Oral contraceptive pills protect against pregnancy but offer no protection against infection. Ensure you take measures to keep yourself clear of pelvic disease. Use condoms and get yourself tested for STDs if you’re worried. Do not wait.

4 Feel those boobs. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths amongst women. Early detection can result in great long-term outcomes. A simple examination once a month after your period is the best time to check. Pay particular attention to dimples in the skin and inversion of the nipple. If you are unsure have a doctor give you a quick tutorial. It’s simple, easy and a potential lifesaver. If you are above 50 you should be able to have routine mammography to screen for breast cancer; ensure this happens.

5 Hot flushes… if you feel perimenopausal there are many non-hormonal ways to assist. Soya, red clover and black cohosh are all approved herbal remedies to fight your fluctuating hormones. If these symptoms are really bothersome and you want to avoid HRT, your doctor may be able to offer some alternatives.

6 Women are more likely to have greater emotional intelligence and empathy. They typically have a larger limbic system which supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory. Use it!

7 Eating well goes without saying. A large proportion of women are anaemic without knowing. Tiredness, poor skin and hair loss, and pallor are all signs of this. Eat foods rich in iron such as dark green vegetables, small servings of red meat, and legumes. Keeping your folate and calcium levels up also will help in preserving good health prior/during pregnancy and your bones will be strong beyond the menopause.

8 Eat to energise yourself. Stick to a diet low in saturated fats, salt and processed sugars. Increase your intake of omega 3 through nuts, avocados, or oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna. Eat enough fibre by increasing your portions of fruit and vegetables. Experts believe that 30g of fibre a day can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

9 Sleep is crucial in maintaining your physical and mental health, it supports many facets of healthy brain function. Good quality, deep sleep is important for all of us, especially multi-tasking women. To really train your body to sleep well, allow a period of de-stressing before bedtime, get into bed at a decent hour and keep the room dark. Avoid browsing the Internet on your phone or laptop in bed and limit caffeine and alcohol.

10 Stress management is one of the key pillars to good health. Much of our stress is caused by too many responsibilities. Start saying ‘no’ to requests that are asking too much of you. Meditation, practicing some mindfulness and deep breathing are all worth investing in a few minutes per day. Find a quiet moment to sit down and focus on yourself. Positive thoughts and self-worth can make leaps and bounds to self-esteem and mood.

11 Drink less alcohol. Women should stick to no more than 14 units per week allowing at least three alcohol free days per week. High alcohol intake can lead to a heart disease, diabetes and liver damage. Binge drinking can cause serious injury, collapse, and irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories and sugar which can have a big impact on weight management and the risk of diabetes.

12 Smoking is the largest single preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK yet some 9.4 million people in the UK smoke every day. Set a date and time to stop smoking. Slowly cutting down on cigarettes can have a psychological effect that makes the cigarettes seem far more precious than they actually are. Put the money aside that you would have otherwise spent on cigarettes and watch your money grow!

Reduce Reuse Recycle

By | Education, family, Food & Eating, Health, recycling

Recycling at home

The ‘war on waste’ has been at the forefront of discussion around recycling recently, in the classroom and at home. These ideas can be challenging for pupils, however, by introducing them gradually using engaging and challenging resources, children can become prepared for the world they will inherit.
PlanBee, a leading online provider of primary school resources, has recently announced the launch of its new ESR (Education for Social Responsibility) packs. As the company celebrates these fantastic social responsibility resources, Oli Ryan, former teacher and resource creator at PlanBee, reveals his tips for encouraging children’s involvement in recycling at home.

Waste reduction tips:
Knowing how things are made, and the effort and resources that go into products we use, is central to understanding the importance of reducing wasteful or excessive use of everyday items.

Here are some tips for getting children to help reduce waste at home:
1. Go hunting for information books in the library, or for fun videos online, which show how everyday household products and items are manufactured.
2. Show children how little toothpaste, shower gel or toilet roll they actually need when they use it. You’ll reduce waste and save money!
3. Encourage friendly sibling competition. Ask “Who can make X last the longest?” Consider asking this about consumable items like shampoo, felt-tipped pens or colouring books. You can incentivise little challenges like these with simple rewards such as choosing a board game to play together, or a book to read at bedtime.

Tips on how to reuse:
Finding creative ways to reuse old materials is a great way to encourage your children’s creativity and natural curiosity.

Here are three ideas to try at home:
1. Keep a box of cellophane, cardboard and plastic packaging for children to use for art projects.
2. Plastic packaging in particular is great for green-fingered children. Virtually any container can be used as a plant pot or a watering can.
3. Think outside the box! Set challenges to keep kids preoccupied on rainy days or during school holidays – can they make a bird feeder using only scrap materials? Old packaging is great for 3D model making, which can assist your children when starting a project from scratch. Popular ideas from the classroom include building model robots, bridges or entire cityscapes using old boxes and bottles.

Simple recycling tips:
When it comes to recycling at home, children can be your best friends. We’ve all been guilty at times of throwing something away that could have been recycled, but once children know the benefits of recycling, they’ll often be more than happy to help.

Check out our top tips below:
1. Recycling is, essentially, fun – especially for children! There are little things nearly all children enjoy, like jumping on cardboard boxes to squash them down, or crushing aluminium cans with a can crusher – very satisfying!
2. Did you know that while plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles can be recycled, they have to be washed out first? Ask the children to do it – playing with squirty bottles and water is another simple pleasure most children will enjoy! Slightly older children will enjoy helping to recycle glass containers at the bottle bank: they love throwing bottles into the bank and hearing them smash!
3. Ask your children about recycling in all areas of their lives. Challenging them to consider what recycling is done in school, at home, and in other places they spend time, will encourage them to think holistically about reducing waste in every aspect of their lives.

Looking for more information and ideas on how to encourage education for social responsibility at home and in the classroom? Become a PlanBee member to gain access to an extensive range of KS1 and KS2 lesson resources.
www.planbee.com

Helping children make sense of the news

By | children's health, Education, family, Mental health
by Katie Harrison
Early Years educational expert and founder of Picture News

Children are naturally interested in the world around them and what’s going on right now. It can therefore be empowering for children to learn about the world and to realise that they are a big part of it.

What’s going on in the world can provide many real-life learning opportunities for children that they not only find interesting but can also challenge their perceptions of the world around them. Current affairs can also provide many opportunities for developing respect and empathy towards others.

But teachers are stretched, schools are under-resourced and teaching and talking about current affairs is often neglected. Teachers have considerable curriculum pressures and because the news is always changing and developing, they simply do not have time to create their own plans
and resources.

At home, discussing the news might not be a part of everyday conversations. The increased use of technology might mean there are fewer opportunities for having a chat and as a lot of the news can be quite negative, many parents may want to shield and protect their children from it.

Having discussions with children, albeit at times difficult, is important. It’s what helps children to learn, to grow and to understand the world we live in.

Child-friendly news is important because it makes information accessible and encourages children to think critically about events and key issues.

Alongside the stories we hear or read about, another very accessible way for children to learn about the news is through images. Pictures tell a story; they lead to intrigue and provide a context in which we can discuss and learn about what’s happening.

Learning about the news gives children plenty of opportunities to relate and empathise with people in circumstances very different to their own. Thinking about something that’s happening to someone else in the world connects them to a shared humanity.

It’s crucial that we help young people grow up with understanding and they are informed citizens with enquiring minds that question everything.

There are many ways to do this and using pictures is particularly powerful because they naturally stimulate discussion, get children asking ‘big questions’ and encourage further dialogue.

Top tips for talking to children about sensitive news:
• Honesty is the best policy. Tell the truth! Lies will lead to mistrust and confusion. The truth usually comes out in the end anyway!
• Don’t talk too much. Children need time to process information.
• Stay as calm as possible.
• Don’t let the topic become the elephant in the room.
• Provide reassurance and model good self-care by being an emotional role model.
• Understanding a bit about how children perceive the world in each phase of their development helps you deliver information about it in the most age-appropriate way.

Katie Harrison is an Early Years educational expert and founder of Picture News – a new service for schools helping them teach children about the news. Find out more at www.picture-news.co.uk

The danger of expecting ‘the best’

By | Education

Often parents are driven to want their daughter to be ‘the best.’ At Prep School level this is only ever short-lived – how often is the tallest girl still the tallest by 14 or the top scorer still the most academically successful later on in their schooling? Rarely is this the case, since development is not linear and there are peaks and troughs along the way.

It is impossible for everyone to be the fastest swimmer, the quickest at mental arithmetic, to have perfect pitch, to be the life and soul of the party or the best listening ear. In fact, we have to be careful sometimes what we wish for. Being ‘the best’ is an incredibly stressful position and can lead to a feeling of isolation and a fear of failing. The fall from dizzy heights of success can be a painful experience and undoubtedly it can be lonely at the top. Our job is to ensure that the girls are ready and armed to cope with such challenges and the inevitable ups and downs they will face.

Girls at Prep School should be in the phase of discovery and still able and encouraged to take risks and build their natural resilience. In doing so they will be encouraged to be the best that they can possibly be and find out for themselves where their own strengths lie. What we don’t want is Annabel to be more like Emily – we want Annabel to be more like Annabel – the best and truest version of herself.

Learning often happens when we are taken out of our comfort zones. Young children do not fear failure, in fact they relish it – how many of your daughters loved to play ‘peek-a-boo,’ or later on ‘tag’ but really aimed to be caught, not to get away? They are playing out success and failure and enjoying that moment when their building brick tower tumbles to the floor.

It is only as children become slightly older that they begin to grapple with the complexities and demands which come with being successful. Our job is to be the gentle palm in the small of their backs to guide and lead, to inspire and support and to catch when the occasional but necessary fall comes about. The key is for us to tap into what motivates, excites and stimulates the girls in order that they can find pleasure and satisfaction in meeting the challenges they face. In doing so, they will develop a lifelong love of learning. Truly creative and original thought requires failure. Every girl has a distinctive set of drivers and talents; if we spend time discovering what they are we have gone a long way in encouraging their failure and ultimate success.

St Catherine’s Prep School, Bramley extends a warm welcome to parents who would like to visit the school.
Open Mornings: Friday 16th November, Friday 1st February 2019 and Tuesday 5th March 2019.
Taster afternoon (Year 1 – Year 6) Thursday 22nd November.
Please contact Sally Manhire, Prep School Registrar, on 01483 899665.
www.stcatherines.info

Maternity leave – how is it spent?

By | Education, Finance, Uncategorized, Work employment

Research has revealed the top things that pregnant women plan to do during their maternity leave, with 15% stating that they plan to start their own business and become a ‘mumpreneur’. According to the poll, a third of new mums go back to work earlier than they are required to, with the majority citing ‘financial reasons’ behind their decision to return early.
The days of maternity leave being used to rest and relax, have tea breaks and bond with other new mums are long gone, according to new research that has found British women have far more ambitious plans to keep busy during their leave. Taking up a new hobbies, setting up businesses and learning a new language are among the top things that expectant mums plan to do while away from work.

The team at www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into the financial situations that Britons find themselves in. 2,319
British women aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they had given birth in the past five years, were quizzed about their maternity leave and how they spent their time.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘How did you plan to spend your maternity leave?’ to which the most common responses were ‘taking up a new hobby’ (18%), ‘setting up a business’ (15%), ‘learning a new language’ (12%) and ‘travelling’ (9%). All respondents were then asked if they had spent their leave doing what they had planned to do, with the results revealing that half of those who wanted to set up a business did indeed become ‘mumpreneurs’ (50%) and 41% of those who wanted to learn a new language realised their dreams, though just 11% of pregnant women who planned to travel ended up venturing abroad.

All respondents were then asked ‘Did you return to work before your full maternity entitlement was up?’ to which 55% of respondents stated that they used their full entitlement, whilst the remaining respondents either made the decision to return to work early (33%) or chose not to return to work at all (11%).

Those who returned to work early, without using their full maternity entitlement, were asked to share the reasons why they had done so. When provided with a list of possible reasons and told to select all
that applied, the top five responses were as follows:

1. Financial reasons – 81%
2. Needed more adult company in the day – 70%
3. Worried about long-term job security – 52%
4. My child was in day-care, and it gave me something to do – 46%
5. I felt the company needed me back – 39%

All respondents who had returned to work were then asked ‘Did your return to work go as you had planned?’ to which 74% admitted that it hadn’t. When asked to elaborate, 44% of those who planned to return to work full-time ended up returning part-time, compared to 13% who planned to return to work
part-time and ended up working full-time.

George Charles, spokesperson for www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, made the following comments: “It’s fantastic to see that so many women are using their maternity leave to do something positive. Obviously they’re already doing something incredible, by raising a child, but it’s important that they take the time to do something for themselves at the same time. Taking up a hobby, meeting new people and studying something new, these are great ways to pass the time, keep occupied and also get your child engaging with others too. They’ll also leave you in a better position when it comes to returning to the working world – assuming that’s something you wish to do.”