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Baking a Difference at Children 1st @ St Peter & St Paul

Children and parents from Children 1st @ St Peter and St Paul were very busy last week, getting their aprons and whisks out for a bake off!

The Children 1st ‘Bake Off’ in support of Children in Need got off to a scrumptious start on Monday. Staff were amazed with the support shown by parents and children as this yummy event was launched with the arrival in nursery of some very creative baking.

Pity the poor judge for the day, Lisa Parry, who had the difficult task of deciding the best cake for the day, based on taste and look.  After doing her best ‘Mary Berry’ tasting, Lisa finally selected Emily Craig as the ‘Bake Off’ champion of the day. Her   moist chocolate sponge buns, covered with a soft creamy frosting and decorated with sweeties were mouth wateringly good.

On Tuesday the competition heated up with the arrival of a tiered creation of Pudsey Bear. Judge for the day, Sarah, rose to the challenge of deciding from the wonderful entries of the day, finally selecting as the best tasting cakes those baked by Maria and Sophia Chowdhury who created milk chocolate covered buns which had a beautiful moist, light sponge.  The best designed cake went to Michelle, Santhosh and Shenan Gnanaraj with a tiered cake with Pudsey bear sitting on the top!

More amazing baking arrived for Wednesday’s ‘Bake Off’ and the task of judging did not get any easier. Judge, Julie Atkin, selected a classic Victoria sponge, made by Harry Speer, as the best tasting cake was made by Harry Speer.  The sponge filled with a thick layer of raspberry jam was very light and fluffy. The best design went to Brodi Gaunt who created Pudsey bear cupcakes and matching cake-pops!

On Thursday our bake off winner was Taylor Carrus who made some delicious toffee flavoured cupcakes with a delicious toffee frosting! Yum,yum!!

The week closed with a winning entry from Rico Volpone whose rocky road entry was just divine!

The end of the week meant that we had the difficult task of selecting the overall champion baker. After careful consideration our ‘Star Bakers Award’ went to Shenan, Santhosh and Michelle Gnanaraj who made the tiered yellow Pudsey cake with Pudsey on the top. All of our runners up received a medal bringing to a close a wonderful week.

Nursery Managers, Laura Wildin and Clare Hart and the rest of the staff are overwhelmed with the support shown for BBC Children in Need. The sale of the cakes, Children in Need headbands and keyrings has raised £468.20  all of which will be used to help ensure that children across the UK are having a safe and happy upbringing.

Thank-you to all our families and friends for joining forces with us and baking a difference to improve the lives of young people.

Prepare for a mouth-watering experience as you click through our pictures.

Children 1st @ St Peter & St Paul Bake Off Slideshow

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Learning How to Keep Safe at Children 1st @ Meir Park

Keeping Safe at Children 1st @Meir Park

It is really great when organisations visit nursery to reinforce key safety messages and bring learning to life.

On 5 November we were pleased to welcome firefighters from the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service who came along to talk to the children about keeping safe around fireworks and bonfires.

They also showed us the special equipment they use, the clothing they wear for the job and of course they brought along the all-important fire engine which is always a source of wonder to the children.

Many thanks to the Fire Service for adding their first-hand experience to our topic of ‘People Who Help Us.’

Please share our visit by clicking through the slideshow below.

Children 1st @ Meir Park Fire Service Visit Slideshow

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Top Award Win for Children 1st

Children 1st Win Service Excellence Award at 2014 Midlands Family Business Awards.

 

We are delighted to announce that Children 1st scooped a top award for excellent service at The Midlands Family Business Awards.

Please click here to read the full story.

You can also read more about the awards and our success in the Nottingham Post's roundup of the event. Please click here to view.

 

New Tax Free Childcare Scheme Explained

As you may be aware the Government has announced forthcoming changes to the tax-free childcare schemes.

We have summarised the key points announced to date to provide a guide to help you through the changes.

Launching Autumn 2015.

The new Tax-free Childcare scheme will be introduced in autumn 2015, with the aim of being made available to all families with children under 12 within a year. It will provide 20 per cent support for childcare costs of up to £10,000 per year for each child. For every 80p parents pay in the government will pay in 20p (up to £2,000 per child per year) to cover the cost of childcare.

Eligibility

The scheme will be open to families where both parents work and earn up to £300,000 between them, or single parents earning less than £150,000. It will enable parents to get a 20% rebate per child on the annual cost of childcare of up to £10,000. Unlike the current system of childcare vouchers it does not rely on your employer offering a scheme. Self-employed parents will also be able to get support with childcare costs in Tax-Free Childcare, unlike the current scheme.

Childcare Vouchers

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme will replace the existing childcare vouchers programme. Many parents are likely to benefit from the move. Those who are likely to be better off sticking with the current childcare vouchers scheme are couples where one parent doesn't work, as they won't be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare.

If you are currently eligible to join your employer’s childcare voucher scheme this is likely to help reduce your childcare costs until the new tax-free childcare scheme launches. You may then take the decision to switch schemes at a later date. You do not have to switch to Tax-Free Childcare if you do not wish to. Employer-Supported Childcare will continue to run. However, parents won’t be able to register for Employer-Supported Childcare after Tax-Free Childcare is introduced in autumn 2015. Parents who are already registered by this date will be able to continue using it for as long as their employer offers it.

Currently, the childcare voucher allowance is £55 per week (£243 per month) for 20% tax payers. Because the amount is Tax and NI free, substantial savings can be made up to £933 per annum for a 20% tax payer and £623 for 40% and 45% tax payers. The employer generally deducts the value of your voucher from your gross salary pre-tax as a salary sacrifice.

Tax credits and vouchers

Please be aware that childcare vouchers from your employer may affect the amount of tax credits you get. HMRC have an online calculator you may be able to use to help you decide if you would be better off taking childcare vouchers or not. It is just a guide and your actual tax credits entitlement is worked out when you make a claim or report a change in circumstances: https://www.gov.uk/childcare-vouchers-better-off-calculator

Useful links:

Gov.UK

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-free-childcare-10-things-parents-should-know

Children 1st.

If you would like further information on other support and funding available please visit our Support and Funding page by clicking here.

 

Ready, Steady Cook!

Children 1st @ St. Peter & St. Paul Announce Opening of its Mud Kitchen

To the delight of the children, the new Mud Kitchen at Children 1st @ St Peter & St Paul has been put into action for the first time this week. Once ‘suited and booted’ our excited children were soon hard at work creating wonderful mud mixtures.

Of course this involved many visits to the water tap as it was important to ensure the mud was the right consistency. The children loved filling their containers and carefully carrying the water back to the kitchen. How busy everyone was, transforming the mud into fantastic creations. With plenty of action such as shaping, mixing, stirring, moulding, filling, pouring, sieving, splatting and sharing, the mud kitchen was a hive of activity.

Our mud kitchen is a welcome addition to the facilities for outdoor learning at St Peter & St Paul. Planned for use all year round, creativity and play will change with the seasons according to which natural materials are available. The mud kitchen will form a core element of continuous provision outside, as an area where the children can be inventive, creative, develop language and social skills, solve problems and gain a growing understanding of the natural world. Importantly, all of this can take place while the children are having limitless fun in the mud kitchen.

Check out our first encounter with the mud kitchen by clicking through the slideshow.

Children 1st @ St Peter & St Paul Mud Kitchen Slideshow

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