Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Horrible Nursery Design

A Photo blog post because pictures paint a thousand words.
The floor shouldn't be the most interesting thing in a garden.
And here the children can't even look up without sensory stimulation overload.
I wonder if they call this "The Ladybird Room"?

My eyes hurt!

Because putting children's artwork on the walls would distract from the architecture?
A nursery to avoid. It looks like they put the building first and the children second.

And in this one the nursery owners forgot to tick the 'no giant giraffe' box.
(Quite like it though!)

Sunday, 17 November 2013


Nurseries are good at giving children exactly what they need to eat. The right mount of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, their 5 a day etc. What they're not so good at doing is giving children what they like to eat, and if they don't like it they're not going to eat it. A healthy nutritious meal that a child doesn't eat is not healthy or nutritious.
Too many menus are written without any consideration as to whether children will like it or not. And if they show they don't like a meal by not eating it, it's seen as the child's problem and they just have to jolly well get used to it!

A couple of notable dishes I've had recently were a brown/grey thing with big bits of onion and mushroom. I don't even know what it was called, but grey/brown food is not appetising. The children all stared at it hoping it would go away. I had cottage pie at one place, a nursery favourite. Or it should have been but when I tasted it I didn't taste it. It had no taste to taste. It was like lumpy water. Nurseries can even screw up desserts. A week or two ago I tried some of the children's yoghurt. It was natural unsweetened yoghurt with crushed unsweetened raspberries. It was so sour I thought I was in danger of sucking my whole face into my mouth. I'm the sort of person who eats the lemons you occasionally find floating in drinks, but even I couldn't eat that yoghurt. It was as close to being poisonous as it could be while still being technically edible.

The moral of this tale is "Nurseries! Stop feeding children stuff they don't like!"

Not much of a moral, but this isn't much of a blog.

And maybe when parents visit a nursery they should do it at lunchtime and insist on a sample, and see if the children are tucking in or just pushing their food round like a dead badger in a swimming pool?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Pink Stinks!

Somewhere there is a boardroom of a toy company assessing new items for their range. A designer holds up a nice green spade. It's well built, durable, safe, and looks fun. The board is not happy.
"But why should we sell a spade that only appeals to half the population?" asks a man with a moustache like a walrus. "There's no way a...a...a...."
"Girl, your Lordship?" Suggests a lackey.
"Yes! A girl! there's now way a girl could possibly use that!"
"If a girl were to use a spade like that she would grow up to make a terrible wife!" Wheezes another dusty old fossil.
"They would turn into a lesbian!" Says a third.
The designer smiles and from under the desk produces another spade. It's pink and has pictures of high heels and cupcakes all over it. The board all laugh with relief at the designer who played such a marvellous prank on them all. Imagine suggesting a girl play with something that isn't pink! The very idea!!!

A pink globe. Because girls refuse to believe the sea is blue.

Toys for children on the right. Toys for girls on the left.

Because girls can only handle half as many functions as boys?
A campaign against the pinkification of toys.

Say "no!" to pointless pinkness!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Things Children Have Said.

To an older member of staff: "You've got grey hair so you're going to die". I assume they were going to let nature take it's course...

Talking about traffic lights: "Red means stop. Green means go. Yellow means...everybody get excited!"

On finding 2 boys seemingly kissing: "We wanted to know what each other's tongue tasted like."

A girl was giving an injection to a toy cat: "I'm putting it down. It has a low heartbeat...and I'm sick of it!"

"Last night Mummy got excited and threw wine at Daddy!"

"This is a T-Rex!" said a girl.
"A tyrannosaurus! I replied.
"NO" she said, "It's a T-REX!".
"But what does T-Rex stand for?" I asked.
She said "Because it has great big feet!"

No Backing Paper Policy!

I was at a nursery recently and saw the display boards in the room had no backing paper on them. The children's pictures went directly onto the mottled light grey fibre board. Hideous. Absolutely horrible. It looked like the staff just didn't care but it's actually a policy that the company had brought in to save money. The display of the children's collage rockets looked the worst as they blasted off into the light grey sky!
If you're looking around for a job in a nursery, why would you want to work there? And if you're thinking about sending you child there, why?! There are some things that you see that are just big red flags saying "RUN AWAY!"
Boards need backing! (And borders!)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Garden Plants.

Some 'must have' plants for a nursery garden.

Buddleia. Sometimes known as The Butterfly Bush. Big shrubs
but can be cut back easily. Butterflies LOVE them.

Rosemary. It smells, you can eat it, bees
like it, and it can withstand footballs
and toddlers standing on it.

Runner beans. Easy to grow from seeds. You can eat them, and
can get them growing in fun ways such as pictured above. You can
also harvest the beans easily to save for the next year.

Japanese Maples/ Acers. Expensive, but they are trees! We go
on about different coloured leaves in the autumn, but how many
trees are actually red?

Golden Bamboo. Such useful stuff so it's good to
see it actually growing. The golden type is clump
forming, The wrong stuff will run round your whole

Easy to grow. Nice to eat.



Some nurseries have nothing to do with televisons. Some have a 20 minute TV time. Some nurseries have the occasional film. The opinions of TVs in nursery varies from people who think it makes a nursery more homely to those who believe it's the devil's work and will turn children into rude, aggressive Russel Brand types.
I think a bit of everything in moderation is a good idea. Apart from poison of course. And bagpipes. Anyway, why not use it as a tool? Instead of TV, use the Internet. If the children are interested in farms you go to the book cupboard and dig out all the books you have on farms to support the children's interests. Why not search You Tube for a programme about farms? Everything is there for you on the Internet only a few clicks away.
And what do you do if you have no children who have any kind of SEN, of physical disability? Or like me you live in an area where children rarely meet anyone of a different colour? How can you help children to see the people first, rather than the differences? Books, play people, dolls etc, aren't a patch on real people on a TV or computer screen on Something Special or other shows. Sure, not as good as the real person, but there are no agencies where you can hire people from various minorities in the same way as you can book a mobile farm. Slightly creepy thought.
Don't fear TV. It can be useful.
I carried out an experiment once. I was at a nursery that had a small bit of telly time before tea. One day we got a new fangled Freeview box which meant that we could have Cbeebies on constantly if we wanted, so I tried it. One morning I turned the TV on and left it to see what would happen. All the children went straight to it and watched whatever was on. They were still there 20 minutes later. After 40 minutes there was only one child left. The other 25 had gone off to do something. TV might captivating to children if the other options are dull, but if you give children a free choice between passive TV and a dozen great hands-on activities, children will pick the latter.