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Month: June 2018

Starting school and the EYFS
Starting school and the EYFS

Joe above, ready to rock the socks off school in September, yes even with his shoes on the wrong feet. I can’t believe how fast the years have gone, we opened 4 Cheeky Monkeys two weeks before he was born back in March 2014!!

In preparation for him starting school I signed up to a ‘Family Play and Learn Course’ the school have organised. I really enjoy this morning’s class, it was a brilliant refresher as I haven’t sat and studied the EYFS for quite a while (evident when I got the name of it wrong arghhhh).

This mornings course made me think, I quite often write that we work to Ofsted Standards (although we’re no longer registered with them) and in yesterdays blog I wrote about our setting having resources that cover the 7 areas of the EYFS, but how many of our parents/carers know what that means?

With this in mind I have explained the EYFS a little bit below:
EYFS is the abbreviation used for The Early Years Foundation Stage this is a framework that was published in 2012 by the Department for Education. The framework sets the standard for the development, learning and care of children from birth to five.

If you have a child that attends a nursery or pre-school you’ve probably heard their teacher/key worker refer to the EYFS at progress meetings you’ve attended.

The framework means all early years professionals (adults that work with children under 5) are working to the same set of guidance. This document means if a child were to move location from North England to South England the two childcare settings would be able to liaise easily regarding the child’s learning/development.

This statement is taken from the EYFS:
‘Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.’

The four themes of the EYFS that underpin all the guidance are in bold below
• Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
• Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
• Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
• Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The EYFS sets out 7 areas of learning and development

Children should develop the 3 Prime Areas of Learning first:

Communication and language.
Physical development.
Personal, social and emotional development.

The prime areas help children develop skills in the 4 Specific Areas of Learning:

Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design

The EYFS also looks at how a child learns and develops new skills these are called Characteristics of Effective Learning:

Playing and exploring – engagement
Finding out and exploring. Playing with what they know. Being willing to ‘have a go’.

Active learning – motivation
Being involved and concentrating. Keeping trying. Enjoying achieving what they set out to do.

Creating and thinking critically – thinking
Having their own ideas. Making links. Choosing ways to do things.

I hope I’ve not confused anyone as I know it’s a lot to take in, basically if you plan to cover a prime area you often cover a specific area too, for example:

Singing nursery songs will improve communication and language (prime area) but might also have numbers in the song (mathematics specific area).

Where the Characteristics of effective learning come in here are how the child chooses to learn the song, do they thrive when being active and involved in the singing? Does it have dance moves? That would fall under Playing and exploring characteristic however another child might prefer the same song being sang while looking at the pictures in a book, possibly active learning.

Before I go as I know this is a long blog, I just want to share the following with you:

I read some feedback a couple of days ago about a painting activity, the adult wrote that once the paint colours had been mixed up, the children lost interest and the resources weren’t effective. I was a little sad to read this as the learning potential here was massive:

  • Sensory (touching the paint how does it feel?),
  • the mixing of the paint and the colour change (huge language and communication opportunity),
  • Physical development using the resources correctly did you support the child? (hand eye coordination, problem solving and fine motor skills).

There’s so much your child will learn even in a 3 minute activity, look at play through your child’s eyes and let me know how much fun you both have.

My next blog will cover the 17 Early Learning Goals and your child’s EYFS profile.

The EYR First Mark Making Kit
The EYR First Mark Making Kit

At 4 Cheeky Monkeys we work hard to make sure our setting has equipment available that covers all 7 areas of the EYFS, that our setting above all is safe and we give children opportunities to access new experiences.

We’re passionate about children’s development and put a lot of effort into researching equipment and resources that we feel will aid your child’s development.

Getting the chance to review The EYR First Mark Making Pack for Early Years Resources has been fantastic, all the children enjoyed exploring patterns, colours and textures.

The First Mark Making Pack:

We’re big advocates for getting messy here at 4 Cheeky Monkeys, I have encouraged babies in my care to explore textures such as sand, yoghurt, grass, jelly… These activities have been closely supervised and hugely beneficial, a brilliant tummy time activity!

As well as being lots of fun, Kinaesthetic (touch) experiences are:
• excellent for the development of all the big and small muscles in your growing child’s fingers, arms, shoulders, neck and back
• important for brain development in early childhood, preparing them for later success and learning.

Messy play is wonderful for older children, supporting their development by exploring colour recognition, experimenting with texture, both developing creativity and thinking skills.

Did you know it is crucial for babies and toddlers to have ‘messy moments’ in the early years as that’s when children learn through their senses, this provides an extremely important foundation (Sensory integration) for the developmental process where touch, taste, hearing and vision are part of brain development for later spatial, math and language concepts.

Using the mark making resources

Mark making using coloured glue and string has been very popular with children asking for this activity to be set up. The 260m cotton string and 10 glue spreaders are included in the mark making pack.

































We used the assorted brushes, creative brushes, chubby mark makers,wooden pattern pins and paint scrapers during a painting activity which proved to be lots of messy fun.















We added the polystyrene balls to a tub with some paint to make different patterns, as the balls were light in weight the children used their fingers to move them, as well as paint brushes or as pictured tipped the actual box..Fantastic problem solving!!!

Parents comments:
‘Hadley enjoyed using the easy grip mark makers as they were easy to control’ – child 18 months.

‘My daughter really enjoyed exploring 4 Cheeky Monkeys new mark-making equipment, she loves to paint and get messy so this was perfect for her. There was a variety of equipment for her to use which kept her engaged and entertained’ – child 3 years.

‘My son really enjoyed it. They don’t really get a chance of doing it at home so it is quite a nice idea for them to use their imagination’ – child 2.5 years.

‘Aiden enjoyed using the roller too make lots of different patterns on the paper and enjoyed the fact he could roll the balls in the paint to make a pattern with out getting paint on himself – really enjoyable’ – child 4 years.

‘My daughter appeared to thoroughly enjoy this new mark making activity. The equipment used, I really approved of to encourage the children’s imagination and improve hand/eye coordination’ – child 3 years.

‘Rory enjoyed the sensory play in the sand, he enjoyed the patterns he made using the pen shaper. Brilliant for children learning pen control’ – child 26months.

‘Excellent activity for sensory experience, enjoyed touching the sand and watching it fall through her fingers. Used the pens to make marks in the sand, didn’t want to use the rollers or combs’ – child 1 year.

‘I liked all of the mark making tools. The pens were my personal favourite – they were easy for the children to hold and made deep marks in the sand. The children likes different ones: 2 preferred the pens, 1 the rollers and 1 the comb’ – Childminder of 4 children aged 2, 2, 3 & 3 years.

Thank you to EYR for letting 4 Cheeky Monkeys review this brilliant art set, we’ve got lots more planned over the coming weeks.

EYR website:
Product Link:

What is your favourite activity to do with your child that helps promote their hand eye coordination and fine motor development?


Party Availability as of 10th June
Party Availability as of 10th June

Party Availability

16th June 10am to 12noon available

23rd June Fully booked

30th June 10am to 12noon & 2pm to 4pm

7th July 10am to 12noon & 2pm to 4pm

14th July Fully Booked

21st July 10am to 12noon & 2pm to 4pm

28th July Fully Booked

4th August Fully Booked

11th August Fully Booked

18th August Fully Booked

25th August Fully Booked

1st September 10am to 12noon & 2pm to 4pm

8th September Fully Booked

15th September 10am to 12noon & 2pm to 4pm

22nd September 10am to 12noon & 2pm to 4pm

29th September 10am to 12noon & 2pm to 4pm

2018 so far
2018 so far

Hello everyone Jeneane here,

We’re almost half way through the year and what a busy one it’s been for us at 4 Cheeky Monkeys.

Some of you will know back in March I had a hysterectomy, as a single mum of three boys I really needed some help during my recovery, this lead to us closing 4 Cheeky Monkeys for 5 weeks so Lesley could stay with us while I recovered. I tried to post these closures in as many places as possible but not everyone is online and I know we had a lot of people turn up to find us closed.
Huge apology from me if this happened to you.
I’m feeling so much better now, the first 3 to 4 weeks were really hard, however now 12 weeks on I’m feeling better than I have in years!!

Not doing things by halves I also moved house last week (at the end of May) Arghhhhh. Not being able to lift (post-op) I had to pull in as many friends and family as I could to get us moved. Unfortunately this again resulted in 4 Cheeky Monkeys being closed for a week (sorry).

We’re now in and settled, I’ve told my landlord he’s stuck with us for life as I never want to move again (its soooooo stressful, especially as I’m a hoarder). We had four days of no internet during the move and our Facebook page was offline for a couple of those days– due to chaos of moving.

I wanted to personally say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone for their patience, well wishes and support <3 it’s been a crazy few months.

Lesley is back a 4 Cheeky Monkeys now running our toddler group sessions:

Monday: 9.30am to 11.30am Stay and play
Tuesday: 9.30am to 11.30am Stay and play AND 1pm to 3pm Stay and play
Wednesday: 9.30am to 11.30am Stay and play AND 1pm to 3pm Stay and play
Thursday: 9.30am to 11.30am Stay and play AND 1pm to 3pm Stay and play
Friday: 9.30am to 11.30am Stay and play

We don’t have any closures planned in the next couple of months, however please do ring Lesley on 07952 590940 to double check a session is running.

We have lots of fun activities planned for the coming summers months and we’re looking forward to seeing you all.

Love Jeneane xx