Sheryl Kinnison – An insight to a day in the life of a Nursery Chef…..

Here at Daybreak Nurseries we are always very conscious of our children’s nutrition and reflect this in our seasonal menus. We have key members of staff who devise healthy but exciting tea menus. They also sit down with our chefs and discuss the lunch menu in great detail in order to be able to provide the best options for all children, taking into account a varied diet and making sure all food groups are included sufficiently throughout the nursery day.

Q: Welcome back to Daybreak – what do you enjoy about being here and preparing the children’s meals?
Thank you, I’m really excited to be back and to start evolving the menu to include some really interesting flavours. It is so rewarding for me to be part of the nursery and see for myself the children really enjoying See the source imagetheir food.

Q. Are there any particular foods that you can recommend to new parents cooking meals for their children?
I find that they relish meals that are full of flavour – curries, for example – with lots of vegetables both blended into the sauce and some such as butternut squash or sweet potato in the curry. With the meat I cook it thoroughly so that it is really tender and not difficult to chew.
Q. What made you choose this as a career?
Being a mum myself I am passionate about nutrition and ensuring that children have the opportunity to have well-balanced meals. By working at Daybreak I can really contribute to this and have a work-life balance that earlier on in my career in catering was really difficult to achieve.

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Q. Is there a dish that you have prepared for Daybreak’s children that has been their favourite?
That would have to be the lamb tagine – not only does it fill the nursery with appetising aromas it is a dish that is sweet, full of flavour and colour – like sunshine on a plate – makes us all happy!
Q. Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to follow a similar career path?
Yes, work hard, put in the groundwork – start in professional kitchens to really learn the craft. The hours are tough but you learn from scratch and eventually it will all come together.


Thank you Sheryl for a lovely interview and we look forward to trying out lots of delicious dishes in the future!


Firework Safety – a handy help on the DO’s and DONT’s around the festive season.

Bonfire night safety…
Take a look at this very important safety guide for a fun filled Bonfire Night!


Did you know?
Fireworks can travel up to speeds of 150mph?!
It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18.
If three sparklers are burnt together they will generate the same heat as a blowtorch!
Until 1959 it was illegal not to celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK.
Bonfire Nights original name is ‘Bonfire’!

As we all know, fireworks are dangerous. It is important to be very careful and carry out special precautions, always ensure an adult carries out these safety tips;
Lay out firework on its bottom or stand, ensure there are not any flammable materials or plants nearby.
An adult must always warn people before they are setting off the firework.
Please always stand well back at a firework display!
Remember to stay warm! We all know November is a cold month! Wrap up in your most comfortable snug clothing and don’t forget your thick socks, hats, jumpers, coats and scarves – and those ear muffs!
Always stay alert for health issues – if you or any other of your party suffer from heart problems, asthma or bronchitis it might be a safer idea to have fun at fireworks night inside! You can always turn of your lights for a better display!

The DO’S at Bonfire Night.
DO stand away from the bonfire and fireworks
DO light only one sparkler at a time, holding it at arm’s length.
DO only use sparklers if supervised by an adult.
DO keep a bucket of water ready for emergencies.

The DONT’S at Bonfire Night.
DON’T go near a firework after it has been lit.
DON’T go near a firework after it has been set off, let an adult clean up.
DON’T hold sparklers without any gloves,
DON’T give sparklers to children under the age of 5 years.
DON’T keep the bonfire in the way of objects.
DON’T use fireworks after 11pm. It is illegal.

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Sparkler fun!
Find an open space outdoors that is not too windy.
Always wear gloves to avoid getting burnt.
Get an adult to light the sparkler whilst you are holding the base of the stick.
Only light one sparkler at a time. Remember that sparklers are very bright and heated once they are first ignited.
Always hold a sparkler horizontally and away from your body and face as much as possible!
Have fun with your sparkler! You could try writing your name in the night sky.
Always extinguish a sparkler in a bucket of water.
Never touch the end of a sparkler, even long after it has stopped burning.




What does being “school ready” mean?

Hello Megan, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us today!
How are you liking your new adventure at big school?
“It’s great”megan
Are you making lots of friends?
What do you talk about with them/play at playtime?
“I ask if it’s ok to play with them”
“Can we play babies”
What do you find most exciting about your school day?
“Playing with my friends”
Is there anything that is a bit tricky for you to do/understand?
“Writing my numbers”
Is it exciting to see mummy/daddy at home time?
“Would like if daddy could pick me up one day”
What is your favourite time of the day?
“Playing outside”
Is there anything in particular you have enjoyed learning about so far at school?
“Harvest ….then paused…. We started learning the song today”

What class are you in?

What School do you go to?
“St Peter’s”

And finally, what is your favourite thing about School?
“Seeing my friends”

Thank you Kylie and Megan- we wish you all the best for school, please come and visit us very soon!

Claudia Winkleman’s Fancy Dress Campaign Success: A reminder of safety at Halloween.

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Claudia Winkleman‘s campaign to raise the safety standards on children’s fancy dress outfits after her daughter’s Halloween costume caught fire, has been a success.
Sainsbury’s have promised their children’s dress up range will meet the same strict fire safety standards that apply to nightwear.
Tesco and Asda will be applying more rigorous testing, and Marks & Spencer will also do so on future lines.
Winkleman sparked debate after her Watchdog appearance found that children’s costumes are considered as “toys” rather than “costumes” and don’t go through the same vigorous testing as clothes.
Winkleman is pleased with the news, telling The Mirror: “I love Sainsbury’s for it. Others are doing it too. I had to so something.”

Winkleman’s eight-year-old daughter, Matilda, suffered horrific burns after her Halloween fancy dress costume caught fire in Halloween 2014.
She said in an interview with BBC 1’sWatchdog: “It was like horrific birthday candles you blow out and they come back. It was really, really fast.”
An experiment was completed on Watchdog to see how flammable children’s costumes were, which found that when some fancy dress items were lit with a candle, they were set alight in a matter of seconds and began to melt.
At the time, Rachel Burrows from parenting site Netmums said to HuffPost UK Parents: “Selling children’s costumes as toys not clothes to avoid stringent safety tests is appalling. While it may benefit the manufacturer, it has already left children injured and could well lead to a child’s death.”

The Watchdog investigation and Winkleman’s campaign has proven to be a success.
James Brown, director of non-food at Sainbury’s said: “”We have looked at every detail of our children’s dress-up range in creating our new standard and believe that it will be industry-leading.
“This has not been a simple task, but the safety of children is our number one priority and introducing more rigorous safety standards for our children’s dress-up is the right thing to do.
“All clothing carries some fire risk, but we hope that introducing our own rigorous testing standards that test clothes as clothes rather than as toys will be the first step towards safer testing across the industry.”
A Tesco spokesperson commented: “There’s nothing more important to us than the safety of the products we sell and we will always act when we hear customers are concerned.
“We’ve re-tested all of our F&F/Tesco children’s fancy dress costumes and can confirm they all meet the legally required toy test and the kids nightwear test – we won’t be selling costumes that do not meet this stricter regulation.”
A spokesperson from Asda added: “While all of our products meet the current industry standards, we are always looking at ways of improving our own testing methods.
“We recognise children’s dress-up costumes are no longer occasional wear and George has already taken steps to introduce an additional test that goes over and above current requirements to ensure that they are fit for everyday use.”
M&S told HuffPot Uk Parents: “We do not currently sell children’s fancy dress clothing. However, any future ranges would meet the very high safety standards we set ourselves, which go over and above all the relevant safety regulations.”

For information on Halloween safety tips, follow the useful link below.


The End of Maternity Leave: a poem for Mummy



Please read a lovely poem for a mums first day back into the big wide world of work after her maternity leave. 

The End of Maternity Leave: a poem for Mummy on her first day back at work
It’s a date that’s been in the diary for months, yet nobody has been looking forward to it. The emotional day when a new mum heads back to work at the end of maternity leave.
If you’re lucky enough to have wangled some shared parental leave, so that dad can take over at home, I’m sure it softens the blow slightly. But for the vast majority of new parents, the end of maternity leave means that, for the first time in their life, your little pride and joy will be someone else’s responsibility. And I think every parent that’s been through it can agree, this is a mammoth, highly-charged adjustment for mums (especially) to process.



You’ve cared for me tirelessly,
since the day I popped out
and I’ve loved every minute,
of that, there’s no doubt..

But it’s time now to head back
to your nine to five;
I know it seems scary, but
I know you’ll survive..

Just think of the freedom
you’ll have, once you’re there,
with no nappies to change,
or me, pulling your hair..

Like drinking a cuppa
before it’s gone cold,
and dealing with grown ups
who do as they’re told..
Or grabbing a sandwich
when lunch hour hits,
without having to chop it
into small bite sized bits..
And wearing clean clothes
(that I’ve not yet stained),
while mingling with adults
who are all potty trained!

Plus, I’ll be just fine mum,
so don’t get distraught.
You’ve prepared me so well
with all that you’ve taught..

I won’t scream the place down;
I’ll smile on cue;
I’ll eat all my lunch up
and sleep when asked too..

Of course, I’ll miss you,
but the hours will fly by…
so be a brave mummy,
and try not to cry..
You’ve left me in safe hands.
It’ll be a right laugh!
I’ll fill you in later,
when you give me my bath…
It’s time to head off now,
or else you’ll be late!
Just try to enjoy it…
I know you’ll be great..

I see you’re still nervous
but, really, we’ll be alright.
So chin up, head down
and I’ll see you tonight!



Daybreak nurseries – Staff averages….

As you are aware by now, here at Daybreak we have a diverse team of staff whom have a wide variety of ages between them.

Many have been through the process of starting Daybreak as their first job and many have joined us as they have worked through their childcare careers. Here at Daybreak we very much like to focus on our staff, especially celebrating their birthdays and the experience they have gained throughout working with us and other experiences they have implemented here.
As we are focusing on Staff perspectives we would like to show you a simple graph for each nursery setting, stating the age range and overall age of staff!

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We hope you enjoy what we have taken the time to do, we were very interested to see the outcome!
See below for the averages we have drawn up and stay tuned for more to come!

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10 Years Service



Hi Louise, thank you for the taking the time to speak about your amazing achievement of 10 years’ service here with us at Daybreak. I understand that you have progressed from a nursery assistant all the way up to the senior team and now organise events and marketing. What an amazing achievement!

Such broad range of skills learnt whilst working full time.

Question 1

What was it that inspired you to come into childcare 10 years ago, when you first started at Daybreak?

Hi Laura, wow! 10 years?! Time flies by so quick it seems…. Well, I firstly thought of studying childcare before I had started to work at all. I used to attend a local college, where I studied the basics of childcare. After my year at college I went on to childmind for a year or so, when I then decided I wanted a slight change, to work with children within a setting, the rest is history!

Question 2

During 10 years’ service you must have experienced a few Ofsted inspections, describe to us how you felt during your first inspection to now?

Well, my first Ofsted inspection is going back several years ago! I believe I had worked with Daybreak for roughly a year or so and I had become a keyworker in the Toddlers room. I remember having been nervous about being approached by an inspector and that I may say something incorrect, I continued to carry out my daily tasks of interaction and engaging with the children in my care, ensuring their needs were met. Staff that had experienced an Ofsted inspection before were good to direct myself and others in a professional manner which as I remember put my mind at ease. A big sigh of relief swept through the setting as our hard work paid off!

Now that I have 10 years’ experience under my belt, I use my knowledge to speak with the inspectors about Daybreak and how we work and adapt to suit every child’s needs. I like to think back to my early days at the setting to reassure new staff at present if they are in the hand of an Ofsted inspector.


Question 3

You will have seen and experienced many situations in 10 years; Ofsted inspections, changes to the EYFS curriculum, new and returning families, staffing, training. Is there anything that sticks out over the years as a fond memory or situation?

Is there a particular challenge or hurdle that you have had to overcome in relation to a particular situation over the past 10 years that stands out?

Fond memories are truly great to reflect on, especially those in which involve new siblings of returning families. It’s a lovely thought to know that Daybreak are in mind for the ‘next child and returning to nursery with transitions. For me, a new challenge that sticks out and I found quite hard to overcome at the time was my transition from working in the toddler’s room for about 4 years to begin working in the baby room!

I was very anxious at first as the babies seemed very young and I hadn’t experienced caring for this age range much at all. But, with the help of senior staff guidance and the room leader, I gained confidence to overcome and to just enjoy the babies. Every age range at nursery are a pleasure to look after, but after learning so much about babies I must say that having the delight to care for them and watch their characters unravel is a very fond memory for me.

Question 4

What is it you enjoy most about coming to work?

When working at a well-established setting, it’s great to come into work and see a variety of long and trusted faces. Whether they are returning families, or the staff I have worked with over the past 10 years. It is always a delight to walk into any room at nursery and be greeted by the children with a welcoming hug or smile.

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Question 5

What are you most proud of in your career?

Now, this is a tough question!

There are many things that I feel quite personal about regarding my achievements at Daybreak. For me, having a good, open and honest relationship with others is important. I always feel most rewarded when new staff ask me advice – being able to offer an opinion using my reflection of experience. I achieved a great deal of experience and am very proud of my time spent as a room leader, I must say that this is a very hard role to have within a nursery, to have an overall care of the children and of the staff is very much a hard job to have and I take my hat off to every room leader out there, as I know exactly how tough it can be.

Question 6

Do you have any advice for anyone not sure if childcare is the right path for them?

The most important advice I can give is to be 100% certain that childcare is the right path for you. Most importantly for yourself to thrive in something you want to achieve in this profession, also the children in your care. Through my experience I have learnt that a child can really sense a vibe off of another person, this does take effect on how their mood or emotions may be. A happy adult encourages a happy child, which equals more of an initiative for a child to explore a happy environment.

Question 7

What would you do differently if you had your career path ahead of you again?

There are so many experiences that I have definitely learnt a lot from. Mainly for myself from a personal review is that I wish I had got stuck into studying childcare, more so whilst I had the chance to, to not be so shy in my first year or so at Daybreak as it took a long while for me to open up and put my own stamp onto a given project or activity.

Question 8

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years???

I enjoy all aspects of childcare, so it’s quite a hard question for me to answer.

 I would like to say I will have a family of my own, the possibility of imparting my knowledge of nursery life onto others would be a great achievement too!

I am currently still enjoying new challenges and responsibilities given to me within my role at Daybreak. It is tricky having to look into the next 10 years, I’m sure that I will still be involved in the childcare industry, as I know this is something I would like to do for many years to come!

Lou & Tiff

Thank you so much for inviting me to this interview.