Kevin’s-Hub Writing & Number Workbooks review.

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My daughter has been doing incredibly well at her nursery school, just after Easter her hours were increased so that she is now doing THREE whole days a week. We read her a different story every night and she often borrows up to a couple of books a week from her nursery’s library. As her pictures were starting to become recognisable and her speech was rapidly improving and developing, along with her recognition for colours, numbers, shapes and every day objects – I wanted to do all I could to help her learning across all areas.

wb5

Kevin Walker’s series of learning workbooks ‘Kevin’s-Hub’ for kids ages 3-5 seemed like a perfect way to do this. The activities seem perfect for kids in the suggested age bracket. My daughter has only just turned three and so at the moment some of the activities in the booklet are more challenging- but this doesn’t deter her from trying them.

wb4

I LOVE that these workbooks have a handy parent guide with parent tips- that reiterate the importance of not rushing your child when they are trying to work through these pages. I also like that the workbook seems to flow in order of difficulty, meaning that you are always working towards something slightly more advanced- a little like stepping stones.

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She loves using a pencil, following the dot-to-dots to make lines. She loves identifying shapes, numbers, colours and got incredibly excited when she was pointing out everyday objects that had been included in the book. We noticed the certificate at the end and knowing that if she completes the whole book, she can have her little award seems to really drive and encourage her.

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The only area for improvement that I can possibly think of is maybe including a list of tools that could be helpful to use alongside these workbooks- like coins and colouring pencils, as when I first wanted to use them we’d only packed a pencil, which meant if we proceeded we would have gone against the request to work in the book’s learning order. Although these books are challenging for a three year old, they are not in anyway unreachable or unattainable – which makes me think that maybe this workbook may prove to be not challenging enough for all five year olds? I guess that’s the risk of a work book that covers such a wide age range, and if this is the case – I guess the ‘next level up’ workbook could be purchased.

These are fantastic fun for at home extracurricular learning – I definitely recommend using them if you feel like your child would benefit from a little extra learning every now and then! I’d even say that some of the activities in the books are suitable from about two and half if your child is demonstrating wanting to learn more – maybe if they’re used to a nursery setting? At the very least these workbooks boost pencil control confidence, at the best they’re helping your child to develop and learn additional aspects from an early age.

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3 yr old

bilingual

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Moving from a Childminder to a Nursery

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In the new year, I was fortunate enough to start a new job that I love. With the new job came some pretty big moves for our family too, one of those being Olivia moving from a childminder to a nursery.

Olivia started going to a childminder in September 2017, when I started studying for my BPTC in London. I was commuting 4 days a week from Aldershot, while my husband was working through the week too. She was only 16 months old then, and this was her first formal childcare setting as I’d had a year of maternity leave while I finished my undergrad, and then the summer waiting for my BPTC to start.

She started off with a maximum of 28 hours a week, though because of Jamie’s job it was flexible which worked well with our childminder.

Come April 2018, she had a lot more hours in tandem with Jamie’s deployment, and in June it went to full time with the childminder when I started working in Reading.

Olivia was really settled with her childminder and had lots of friends. The childminder worked in a group with 2 other childminders, so although the setting Olivia went to was small, with only 3 children, she was constantly with a group of more children and engaged in lots of activities.

So what are the Pros and Cons of using a childminder as opposed to a nursery?

Childminder

+ The approach is really personal. Your childminder only has a handful of children compared to those at a nursery, and they get to know you and your child really well.

+ It’s a lot more flexible. If you have a part-time space, you may be able to add extra hours on as and when they’re needed.

+ Childminders usually have a wider age range of children in their setting.

+ They will normally take your children to local baby/toddler groups to socialise with other children and widen their own friendship groups and experiences.

+ Depending on the spaces they have, you can end up with your child having one-to-one time with the childminder, although this might not be the case everywhere.

+ The costs are usually much lower than nurseries!

+ Must be Ofsted registered.

– The one-to-one time can be a bit boring for your child, but they wouldn’t normally be on their own in the setting if the childminder’s spaces are full.

– You are at the mercy of when your childminder wants time off! If you work throughout half term, you may have to find cover, but hopefully you would be informed of their planned holidays well in advance.

– Your childminder might not accept government funding schemes such as tax-free childcare or childcare vouchers – it’s best to check! I was fortunate that mine did.

Nursery

+ The setting really prepares children for school as it is much more formal than a childminder.

+ There are a lot more children! Your child can learn to socialise with a class size full of kids, preparing them well for school class sizes.

+ You have the option of either term time or full time places.

+ There is no risk of your childminder being sick and having no back up childcare, as nurseries are staffed by a group of people rather than just one.

+ Your child is usually assigned a key worker, who they will have one-to-one or small group time with during the days that they are at nursery.

+ The children can get involved in school-like activities, such as sponsorships and show and tell.

+ Nurseries sometimes offer hot cooked meals on site, a much better option than a packed lunch!

+ Nurseries should always accept government funding schemes.

+ Must be Ofsted registered.

– Depending on the nursery, they may charge more or not accept younger children (under 1 year or under 6 months), so if you want to go back to work sooner rather than later, they might not be the best option.

– Nurseries do tend to be more expensive to cover staff and building costs.

I honestly can’t praise the childcare Olivia had from her childminder enough, and was really sad to have to move her, but with the new job I began working in a new location, down in Portsmouth, and on full-time hours it would have been impossible to try and keep her in the same place because drop offs and pick ups simply weren’t feasible. Plus with Jamie on ceremonial duties and due to go away again later this year, there were no guarantees that even he would have been around to collect her!

I was of course filled with anxiety and trepidation on her behalf at the thought of her moving to a nursery, worrying whether she would make new friends or not… But my little munchkin settled so well, which is a massive relief!

So, what are my tips for coping with this move, as a parent, and for helping your child prepare for it?

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, go and see the new setting before your child goes for their first day. It’s a good opportunity for you to see the layout, what their routine will be, and who will be working with them.
  2. Ask questions – as many as possible, so that you feel 100% comfortable with the setting.
  3. Check the Ofsted report. Even if somewhere has a grade of Outstanding, it’s important to look at when the grade was given, as Ofsted inspections can be once every 3 years. The reports tell you a lot about the setting regardless of the grade, including parents’ comments.
  4. Take advantage of “settling-in sessions” to ease your little one into the new setting.
  5. And finally, try to prepare your child for the change by talking about it. This can be difficult if your child is still quite young, but I spoke to Olivia for about a month about going to a new playgroup and seeing lots of little boys and girls, and making new friends.

Have you made a similar change with your child? Has anything else helped you to make the transition?

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Review of Petit Fernand labels for school supplies and more!

Hi everyone!

Today we are reviewing some absolutely gorgeous name labels from Petit Fernand! We received these labels in return for a review on our blog, but all of the opinions are our own…

Here’s what we were given to try out – PERSONALISED iron-on name labels with all of our little ones’ names on, and more PERSONALISED stick-on name labels for stationary, lunchboxes, etc.

What did we think of them?

Sarah

When our personalised labels arrived, I was really surprised at the little booklet that they came in! Inside these little booklets, we had our strips of iron-on clothing labels with instructions, and greaseproof paper to use to transfer them. We also had our strips of sticky labels for school and nursery supplies, and added sticky labels of adorable dinosaur and other characters on them!

Having the extra stickers actually made it a lot easier for me to get some time to get to work labelling Olivia’s clothes, as Olivia had some stickers to occupy herself with, too!

My daughter goes to a childminder during the week, and while it’s nowhere near as busy as her going to a nursery, these personalised labels give me added peace of mind that when she’s at playgroup, her bits won’t go missing!

Thankfully, we’ve not had that problem yet, but my childminder did mention to me before we got these labels that she could never remember which denim jacket was Olivia’s! So what was the first thing I labelled? Her denim jacket!

The iron-on labels were my absolute favourite – you can choose your own backgrounds and icons for the labels, and type in the name and if you want to use surnames you have the option to do that too! You’re not ridiculously restricted in character length, so labelling clothes with gorgeous personalisations has never been easier! They took all of 20 seconds to stick on, and I even ironed some onto Olivia’s big winter coat that needed a good wash before she can wear it again. I’m pleased to say that even in my VERY temperamental washing machine, which is quite tough on clothes no matter what cycle it’s on, all of the labels from Petit Fernand that I’ve ironed on have stayed in exactly the same condition post-wash, whether it’s a 30 degree super spin wash or a 40 or 60 degree hot wash!

Olivia’s winter coat and name label after a 30 degree wash
(and after me accidentally leaving the washing out in the
scorching sun for a whole weekend – oops!)
Olivia’s newly labelled cardigan
has survived multiple washes
already, both hot and cold!

I also can’t wait to order more of these for my stepdaughter when she goes on school trips and even if the girls go to summer camps/residentials with school – these labels will be a godsend!

Aimee

When these labels arrived, I was so excited to try them out. I used the iron on labels for Evie’s nursery bag and coat and the sticky ones for her water bottle.

The iron on labels were very easy to use and really quick to put on, but one thing I would say is that after a few days, they started to crinkle on the bag but that may be down my daughter chucking it down after nursery.

The sticky labels were perfect and still as good as new. The picture shown is after over a week and it’s still going strong.

All in all, these are perfect for nursery, school or even for adults for work! I’d definitely use them again and can’t wait to try the others on her new nursery stuff.

Charlie

Our personalised labels
on Imogen’s beakers!

The stickers are thicker than I thought they would be, so they’re strong. They’re perfect for adding my daughter’s name to items like her lunch box and beakers, giving them a personal touch, which is great because I’ve noticed a lot of other children with the same beakers.

I had a few problems with the iron on labels at first because I’m silly and didn’t realise they peeled off the plastic background. I had cut one out to use and burnt my daughter’s school bag. Once I realised they peeled off then I was able to fix them onto my daughter’s nursery jumper and blankie and they came out really well. I was impressed! Before using these, I was writing my daughter’s initials on the clothes tags of her clothes, but these look far nicer. I look forward to putting them on her other clothes.

Amazingly, Petit Fernand also have a range of super cute personalised wedding labels! You can use these for party favours, invitations or to personalise a gift – if you’re particularly crafty the possibilities will be endless!

So how much do they cost?

On to the oh so important question of pricing… You can get a strip of 10 labels for £3 each up to 30 labels, and after that they’re only £1.50 for more of the same! That’s the same for the one line wedding labels too – amazing, right?!

The pricing is really reasonable and for such lovely and good quality labels that will last your children as long as they’re in the same clothes!

But I know what you’re thinking… I’ve got 3 kids and there’s no way I can get 3 sets of labels for each of them! Well… you don’t have to! The normal label strips or the value discovery packs allow you to customise EACH INDIVIDUAL LABEL so you can get the exact amount that you need without having to buy loads extra!

What’s the verdict?

All in all we definitely all recommend these labels! They arrived quickly, were affordable, easy to use and great quality! If you want some of your own, there’s a chance to win 2 weeks from today (28th July) in our
 
BIG BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY
 
Hope to see you there!