04
May

Not Everyone Celebrates New Year on 1 January....

The streamers have long since been cleared away, the party food eaten, and we're already halfway through the first month of the year (eeek!). And while 1 January is the accepted start of the New Year in many parts of the world, it's not the only one....so we thought we'd have a quick peek at some other New Year dates we have marked on the calendar for 2020.

The next celebration we have marked is the Chinese New Year, which, in 2020, falls on Saturday 25 January. The festival lasts until the 8th of February, or about 2 weeks, and this year is the Year of the Rat, acording to the Chinese zodiac.

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04
May

Bird Brains And Other Wildlife - The Next RSPB Birdwatch Is Heading Our Way...

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04
May

December - a time for endings, and thinking of new beginnings

When you think about it, life for all of us is a series of new beginnings and first days. Sometimes they’re disguised as endings, but you’ve probably heard that saying about one door closes and another one opens. And while we often think of December as heralding the end of a calendar year, it also means January is just around the corner, with a chance for a new start.

For many of us in the northern hemisphere, September is the start of the new school year, but that isn’t always the case. Many teachers and other professionals start new jobs in January, and many children also change schools.

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04
May

How does Christmas sound to you? The noises, tastes and textures of the festive season

Ah, Christmas-time. Twinkling lights, the red and white of candy canes, the green of pine trees – and then there are the smells and sounds and textures and tastes of this time of year too, all adding to the experience. So we thought we’d take a quick look at some non-visual ways of experiencing this time of year.

Scents and Tastes of Christmas

We don’t know about you, but we know Christmas is on the way when the gorgeous scents of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and oranges, gingerbread, and marzipan start wafting out of bakeries. And it’s even better when those lovely scents accompany the gorgeous tastes of seasonal treats like stollen or mince pies, with or without clotted cream.

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13
Mar

Translating or translanguaging? Helping multilingual pre-schoolers communicate - research from the Victoria University of Wellington

You all know we love to share stories. You all know we adore soundscapes, and making the world come alive with noise, in the nicest possible way. And you know we’re just brimming with enthusiasm for our multilingual resources and our multilingual books.br / br / We love them partly because they help children and caregivers bond over a bedtime story (or two!). We love our multilingual stories partly because they help keep tale alive in their original language and make them accessible in English. And we love our stories partly because, well, our multilingual books are just so much fun. (We know. We might be very slightly biased on that last one.)br / br / Read More
07
Feb

Chinese New Year: Year of the Pig

Happy Chinese New Year!
According to the Chinese calendar, 2019 marks the Year of the Pig, the last animal in a twelve year cycle. The beginning of February sees celebrations for the Chinese New Year around the globe. The exact date varies as the Chinese year uses the lunar calendar. In 2019, the first day of the New Year falls on 5 February. The Lantern Festival closes the celebrations and takes place on 19 February this year.
For over two weeks, there will be music, colourful processions or get-togethers, and, of course, delicious food to share. While the New Year’s Eve dinner is probably the most important meal, special dishes are eaten throughout the whole of the New Year period – usually in the hope of attracting good luck.
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06
Feb

Framily - when Friends become Family

We are 'framily' - friends who become family
Festivals are a great time for families to get together. It’s Chinese New Year (5 Feb) and there will be feasting in this year of the Pig!
But let me share reflections on Christmas and maybe take ideas forward to Chinese New Year.
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06
Feb

New Year Resolutions

Reading ‘Mungo Makes New Friends’ to my 4 year old, she said at the end,
 “Poor Fox. He was just wanting to make friends!”
And that took a totally new perspective on the story.
So I started to think of resolutions, one being not to make judgements too early. You could lose friends. And new year, new beginnings, new meetings... we could remind ourselves of resolutions.
It’s thought that people have been making New Year’s Resolutions for over four thousand years. The Romans were known to make offerings to Janus, god of January, and promise they would do good deeds in the year ahead. Janus had two faces, and was a very unusual god, in that he could look both backwards and forwards, to the year that had just ended, and into the future.
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17
Apr

Once Upon a Storytime

Once upon a (Story)time…
As a pre-schooler, my mother always read me a story in the afternoons. Hearing the words “once upon a time” told me I was about to see the world through a different window for a while. I loved Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and The Magic Porridge Pot, but I also enjoyed tales from other lands. Aschenputtel was as real to me as Cinders. I was especially fascinated by the glass slipper. (It didn’t seem safe to me, even as a child, let alone practical.) In some countries the heroines wore much more sensible fur shoes or bootees, and in some versions, like Raisel, shoes really weren’t much of a feature. 
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17
Apr

Early to bed, early to rise, makes [us all] healthy, wealthy and wise.

This is one of the many nursery rhymes I learned as a child. I wasn’t very old, however, before I realised that for health, there’s a lot more to it than just making sure  you get a good night’s sleep. Diet is also pretty important. And while you need to make sure you get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, it’s just as important that you enjoy what you’re eating.
Now, whenever I visit the supermarket, a greengrocer or a market, I’m astonished at the sheer variety of fruit and vegetables out there, no matter what time of year it is. I’ve tried many of them in various forms, including in pies with a cup of tea or glass of lemonade, depending on whether they’re fruits or vegetables, there are still times when I’m not quite sure what I’m looking at.
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