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Be Sun Safe Everyone

The sun has got his hat on hip, hip, hip, hooray the sun has got his hat and he’s coming out to play!!!

Don’t we just love it when it’s sunny!!! Everything seem’s so much happier, cleaner, brighter and all round just brilliant.

It’s so important to be safe in the sun and a topic that, as a family, is close to our hearts. The man in the centre of our family picture (my dad) sadly passed away just over 8 years ago from melanoma skin cancer.

Please let’s all stay safe in this gorgeous sunshine.

Burning your skin and not using correct protection is so very dangerous. I had planned on writing a long post about sun cream but while researching the subject I found this NHS link and it covers everything.

There’s a small video to watch too, covering staying safe in the sun and it’s only 3 minutes long.
https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/skin/Pages/Sunsafe.aspx

The 22 Bees Project

We were over the moon to ‘Bee’ part of The 22 Bee Project this week

Huge thank you to the lovely Amber for our artwork

4 Cheeky Monkeys loves MCR, 22 never forgotten, #standtogether

https://www.facebook.com/The22BeesProject/

Safeguarding

Warning this is going to be a long post covering Safeguarding

As you all know, at 4 Cheeky Monkeys parents/carers are responsible for the children in their care. However what do you do if you feel a child isn’t safe or cared for correctly or you have any other concerns? I have copied below our Safeguarding Children Policy, this was written for 4 Cheeky Monkeys preschool so some of it refers to Ofsted (we aren’t Ofsted registered now however I do try to run it to the specification Ofsted would require). I am retraining as a childminder at the end of this year so will refresh this policy after that training (if anyone has a better policy please do share it with me)….

Safeguarding Children Policy (including Child Protection)

The Children Act 1989 is based on the principle that the “welfare of the child is paramount”. This policy is underpinned by this and in practice this means that the safety and welfare of children will be the first priority in any decision making. 4 Cheeky Monkeys are committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for children and young people to be cared for and educated in. We believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognize our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by ensuring that they are “growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care”.

This policy is written in line with the statutory guidance issued in “What to do if you are worried a child is being abused” (2006) and is also in line with the procedures outlined in Trafford Safeguarding Children Procedures.

4 Cheeky Monkeys are committed to safeguarding children and young people by:

  • Valuing them as individual, listening to and respecting them.
  • Responding quickly and appropriately to all suspicions or allegations of abuse or causes for concern relating to child welfare.
  • Working in partnership and communicating effectively with parents/career’s and children to ensure they are provided with the opportunities to voice any concerns they may have.
  • Ensuring that access to confidential information is stored and managed in accordance with National Guidance.
  • Sharing information about concerns with agencies on a “need to know basis” in line with the Guide to Information Sharing as summarized in “What to do if you are worried a child is being abused” (2006) and involving children and parents/career’s appropriately.
  • Ensuring all adults working within the setting have been cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and have Enhanced Disclosures.
  • Attending up to date training regularly.

Procedure

If there is a cause for concern regarding an aspect of a child’s care 4 Cheeky Monkeys would consider our local threshold of need guidance and see if the child was showing any indicators in any of the levels. These would then be discussed with a parent/carer. 4 Cheeky Monkeys would seek to provide advice and guidance and promote effective care for the child by working with and in partnership with a parent to support them in their parenting. A record of our discussions with the parents/carer’s would be made and we would continue to monitor the child within our setting, regularly reviewing the situation. 4 Cheeky Monkeys may ring The Multi Agency Referral and Assessment Team (MARAT) for advice at any stage.

If a child and/or family had indicators of need at a level 3 or above we would contact MARAT for advice and/or possible referral.

If concerns were of a child protection nature – if we became concerned that a child may be at risk of experiencing OR experiencing significant harm – this could be Physical, Sexual, Emotional abuse and/or Neglect – I would follow the child protection guidance as outlined in “What to do if you are worried a child is being abused (2006)” and Trafford Safeguarding Children Procedures.

Physical Emotional Abuse

We would record concerns accurately and factually.

We would discuss our concerns with a parent/carer and seek an explanation (unless we believed that by doing so it may place the child at a greater risk).

If we were still concerned or if there was evidence of a non-accidental injury e.g. linear bruising in the pattern of a hand slap then we would contact MARAT to report the concerns and to make a referral and seek advice. A referral would be backed up in writing within 48 hours.

We would also inform Ofsted without delay.

Abuse and Neglect

We would record concerns accurately and factually.

We would discuss my concerns with a parent/carer.

If we were still concerned we would ring MARAT to report the concerns and to make a referral and seek advice. A referral would be backed up in writing within 48 hours.

We would also inform Ofsted without delay.

Sexual Abuse

We would record concerns accurately and factually.

We would ring MARAT to report the concerns and to make a referral and seek advice. A referral would be backed up in writing within 48 hours.

We would also inform Ofsted without delay.

MARAT should acknowledge the referral within one working day. If we had not heard anything after 3 working days we would contact them again to chase it up.

Important Contact Details

MARAT

General Enquiries/Referrals/Advice: 0161 912 5125

Child Protection Referrals: 0161 912 5124

Out of hours: 0161 912 2020

Fax Number: 0161 912 5056

E-mail MARAT@trafford.gov.uk

Local Police

Sale Police Station.

Tatton Road,

Sale,

M33 7ED

Telephone Number (not for sale but local area): 0161 872 5050

Ofsted

Piccadilly Gate

Store Street

Manchester

M12WD

0300 123 1231

www.ofsted.gov.uk

If you think that your child or any other child in our care may be at risk of harm from a 4 Cheeky Monkeys employee you should contact MARAT immediately then notify Ofsted on the above numbers.

If an allegation of abuse is made against a staff member, we would contact MARAT immediately then notify Ofsted. MARAT would work with Ofsted in any subsequent investigation which would consider what actions are necessary to protect the child alleged to have been abused. The employee would not be able to work at 4 Cheeky Monkeys while allegations were being investigated

 

Toddler Group- Stay and Play
Toddler Group- Stay and Play

What to expect at our sessions.

I attended so many toddler groups while childminding and with my own boys. My eldest was born when I was 21 and although I wasn’t a teenage mum I did feel very young, none of my close circle of friends had children.

I remember my first experience of walking into a toddler group, it was a large rectangular shaped room with a line of chairs down both of the long walls facing each other. All the adults were sat talking and the children were tearing up the centre of the room like they’d each eaten their body’s weight in orange smarties (you know they’re the bad ones right?)

I stood in the door way clutching tight to my 6 month old as if we were facing a hurricane, I was mentally running through the conversation I was going to have with my mum the next time I saw her for forcing me to attend this awful place. I think we stayed for about 20 minutes then both left for a nap to recover.

Now I expect you’re waiting for me to say but I persevered and found they were an absolute life line aren’t you??? Well sorry to disappoint – they weren’t!!! However the experience did get slightly better and both the children in my care when I was minding, my boys and I definitely took positive experiences away from these sessions.

While setting up 4 Cheeky Monkeys I made sure it had everything I felt other groups lacked, my top priority was outdoor play. I wanted safe enclosed spaces, lots of variety in resources, toys that had working batteries in, toys that were clean and in good condition… I also wanted to break up the adults sat at the edges children running riot theme a lot of them seemed to favour.

I really didn’t want to ‘cliquey’ unapproachable feel to the group which is something you can’t really stop happening however we planned and arranged the room in a way we hoped would stop this.

Were we successful?

Do you know, I think we’ve come as close as possible and to the degree I’d hoped. Yes there are friends that meet up and have a catch up, but they keep a close eye on their children. The majority of adults move round with their children and engage in play with them. It’s a place you can go and have one to one time with your child however if you speak to any of our regulars they will all happily chat to you. I am confident in saying everyone that attends is lovely, our regulars are as friendly as our staff and will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. It’s been lovely to witness so many friendships evolve both with children but also with lots of adults.

What can you expect during a session?

  • As you enter 4 Cheeky Monkeys you’ll be at the back of the building, Lesley our centre manager is ‘usually’(unless she’s run off to put full signs up or deal with an emergency) stood opposite you at the other end of the room. If you sign in with her she’ll show you where the toilets are.
  • Its then free play until 10am/10.15am when teas and coffees are available for adults to buy we provide free juice and biscuits for the children. I just want to address here why we choose biscuits as it has been asked before and I know everyone is trying to promote healthy eating. To provide toast would be time consuming (Lesley is on her own during sessions) and we’d also have to change our food safety registration to be able to provide hot food – which we don’t really want to go through. We tried fruit in the past this worked out very expensive with a lot of waste and people still asking for biscuits.
  • After snack there is usually a craft activity set up and outdoor play available. Please always supervise your children outside.
  • At 11.10am it’s tidy up time followed by singing and dancing.

 

 

The early days
The early days

That was when I started to look for help and support…

I started Googling and emailing everyone and anyone I thought might be able to help which is how I found the amazing Ralph Rudden.

Ralph was the first person (out of many) to agree to meet up with me and hear about my crazy plan for the run down, derelict scout hut building. We met at the sun shine cafe where he listened to me waffled on about how amazing our project was going to be but (then in a quiet voice I mentioned) how we’d run out of money.

Ralph said not to worry he knew two people I needed to meet with, Andy Hemming from Unltd and Dan Shelston from Trafford Housing Trust.

Ralph has continued to supported us, pointing us in the right direction whenever we’re stuck, he’s such a generous man he always has time to listen and has remained interested in our plans since that very first meeting.

Andy put me forward for the Unltd ‘Do it’ application for £5000. Meeting him was such a big boost in the right direction, the first time I showed him the building I remember he said to me ‘Jeneane, it doesn’t matter what it looks like now, it matters what you’re going to do with it and what you’re going to achieve. We’re investing in you as a person because we believe you’ll be able to do this.’ That has stayed with me five years on, that first conversation gave me the confidence and reassurance that what we we’re doing would work and that other people could see the potential and vision I had. It’s now 2018 and Andy’s on-going support (and gardening business meetings) and advise are invaluable to 4 Cheeky Monkeys.

Dan recommended us for THT’s ‘Give and Gain’ day. Once they were both involved people were happy to invest, support and match fund. Dan Shelton’s, an absolute legend, I’m so very grateful for all his help and advice. I apologise for the millions of emails and questions I bombarded you with on a weekly basis in the early days.

At the same time as meeting Ralph I also felt stuck as to what to do with our setting…should we be a charity, a private business, hand it over to someone else that would then let us run it.

A lady at Blue Orchid gave me the details of an accountant based in Sale that specialized in CIC’s, I met with her and she explained all our options and we decided a CIC would be best for us.

Brooks Institute closed around the time of these meetings and once Unltd awarded the £5000 they we’re happy to match fund via a grant application.

It’s from here the ball started rolling and 4 Cheeky Monkeys became what it is today.

The individuals that have helped since the start getting involved around the same time as Ralph, Andy and Dan have been:

Cllr Rob Chilton he has been very helpful, kind and approachable his advice has been fantastic especially when I’ve had to communicate with Trafford Council.

Mike Morin from MoforLess he has done a lot of our ground work (football area, pram store, growing area…) if anything happens we can’t fix ourselves its Mike we contact. Thank you Mike.

Tom Rock and his team at Rock paving they did an amazing job of our grounds and we’re forever grateful.

 

Above is everyone listed from 2012 to opening in 2104. We’ve had masses of support, grants, funding, donations, volunteers since and I just want to thank everyone. We really appreciate it and wouldn’t be what we are without you all.

 

There’s never “a perfect time”
There’s never “a perfect time”

Lets start at the beginning

Gosh it seems so long ago..

I know lots of you will have read this before so I’ll try and throw in a few bits you don’t know rather than the professional “We set up 4 Cheeky Monkeys as we were disappointed at the lack of affordable, supportive, daily, accessible amenities for families within the Sale area”…which is 100% true but I’ll make  the following a bit more informal.

Back in 2008 I started a Foundation degree in Early Years Child Hood studies, at the time everyone thought I was a bit crazy due to the fact I worked full time as a childminder, I was a single mum of two boys (my youngest was 8 months old) and my parents we’re very poorly, they both had cancer.

I remember my tutor asking me if I really thought I should be enrolling, I said yes because there’s never “a perfect time” to do anything – you can’t ever predict what’s round the corner. The course was hard but I enjoyed every minute and I learnt so much.

Sadly my dad passed away during my final year.

Once my course was complete (I passed YAY) health wise my mum was better and in remission, she registered as my assistant and we worked together childminding.

I always spoke to my mum about how important I thought toddlers groups were but I found:

  • The boys would just run round the open space not really engaging in anything.
  • The toys often didn’t have batteries in or were broken.
  • I had noticed the adults didn’t engage with their children (at all!) it was more of an adults social. I know I have done this as a mum a few times however I wasn’t a mum in these situations I was being paid to do a job, looking after the children in my care, so I would sit on the floor and play with them and generally be where they were.
  • None of the groups had outdoor play and my children (childminded and my own) thrived in outdoor play.

It was through these conversations we started to discuss opening our own group or just a bigger setting to childmind in, my two bed house just wasn’t big enough.
We looked at a couple of buildings in Sale however the old scout hut on Dawlish Road kept popping back up in the conversations we had.
Finding out who owned the building took about 6 months, no one seemed to know who it belonged too, I contacted Trafford Council, the scouting association, the local parish church and then Trafford Council again.
Finally they found it did belong to Trafford Council and we arranged to view it, this is what it looked like, not our first visit and believe it or not this was after some work had been done…

Honestly its only now looking back I see what a state it was in, back then we were over the moon.

We could see so much potential in the setting, we could vision what it would be like, I don’t think I registered just how derelict it had become over the 18 years it had been closed.

Once the council had agreed we could buy the property I took people down to see it – they looked at me as if was crazy.

Undeterred by our friends lack of excitement we started the renovations using our own personal savings, which wasn’t very much when you look at the work the property needed, as you can imagine it ran out in no time.

That was when I started to look for help and support… (to be continued in our next blog)

Video blog post

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