Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Recipe for Gingerbread Biscuits

Sometimes biscuits can be difficult for children to make as the dough is too crumbly and fragile.  This gingerbread dough is ideal as it can be rolled, squashed back into a ball and rolled again without falling apart or altering the texture of the finished product.  They can be eaten plain or you can ice/decorte them.

340g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 beaten egg
4 tablespoons of golden syrup
175g soft brown sugar
115g butter
2 tsp ground ginger

  • Preheat your oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5.
  • Put the butter, sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until everything is melted.
  • Sift the flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.
  • Add melted syrup mixture and a beaten egg.
  • Mix everything together and knead into a ball.
  • Place the dough into a plastic bag and chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  I sometimes make it the night before and store it in the fridge, in this case it will need to warm slightly before it can be rolled out.
  • Roll out until it is approximately half a centimetre thick. 
  • Cut into shapes with biscuit cutters and place them on a tray covered in parchment paper. 
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown.
  • Cool slightly on the tray before putting them onto a wire cooling rack.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Understanding Child Development: Schemas

The CBeebies website has an explanation of schemas, repeated patterns in a child’s play.

I currently look after a child who displays trajectory schema which is described by the BBC:
‘Trajectory: diagonal/vertical/horizontal: gazing at your face; dropping things from their cot; making arcs in their spilled food with their hand; playing with the running water in the bathroom; climbing up and jumping off furniture; lining up toys or soft animals; bouncing and kicking balls, throwing.’

This particular child used to throw everything.  As he has developed he is now able to roll cars rather than throw them.  He loves to stand at the low sink at the children’s centre and hold his hands under the water.  Interestingly, he is has just discovered the step up to the sink and spent a length of time practising climbing up and down the step.  Balls are often the toy he chooses to play with, he throws them then runs or crawls after them. 

I have recently observed that a child often envelopes things.  In one particular session he was playing with plastic dinosaurs.  He carefully placed pieces of play dough all over his dinosaur.  It was then taken to the sand tray where he covered it in sand.  He then held it under the tap covering it in water. He repeated the process of covering in play dough then sand, then water over and over again.

The BBC describes an enveloping schema:
‘Enveloping: wrapping oneself up in a bath towel or large piece of fabric; enfolding a doll or stuffed toy in a blanket; painting a sheet of paper in entirely one colour.’

Adults often notice they display schemas too.  I line things up.  The shoes by my front door annoy me if they aren’t placed in pairs, side by side. In my food cupboard all the tins are kept in rows of the same tinned food.  I got rid of the rug in my living room as it really annoyed me if it wasn’t straight against the lines of the wooden floor. 

Have you spotted any patterns in your child’s play? Do you have a schema yourself? 

The cBeebies article explains how a child’s schemas are fundamental to them. ‘Knowing about them makes a wonderful basis for you to better understand your child’s development and support them rather than become frustrated with their behaviours. Through understanding the idea of schemas, you may recognise and value your child’s underlying interests and needs.’

Update to my Safeguarding Children Policy

The Local Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire has re-branded and is now called 'Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board' (NSCB).  They are planning a complete new website, which is expected to have the new branding on.  For now,  their site will look and work the same as always.  Their new email addresses are:
I have updated my safeguarding policy to reflect this change.  Parents are welcome to request a copy of any of my policies. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Making a Car for Hodgie and Puddles

I had recently spent some time with one of the children (he is three years old) looking at Pinterest on my phone.  We were initially trying to find a rhyme or song about firemen.  We came across a fire engine made from a card board box. 
Later in the week an order arrived from Amazon, the box it came in looked perfect for making a model.   Childminding has made me a hoarder, I am always stashing away bit and bobs that might come in handy for arts and crafts.  

I reminded the little boy about what we’d found on Pinterest.  I suggested that he could make a model fire engine or even a car for his cuddly toys (they often come with him to play).  He wanted to make a dark blue car, I suspect because his Mum’s car is this colour.   He sat painting while singing away to himself.  I helped to cut out the windscreen and make a number plate.  The little boy did all the painting, he chose where to put the wheels and stuck them on himself.  We looked at a van parked outside to find out where the number plate and lights needed to be and he carefully glued them onto the car.  When his Mum arrived he was so excited to show her what he had made for his toys, Hodgie and Puddles. 

I am now on a mission to find some bigger boxes, I wonder if the child would like to make a car that he can sit in himself.