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Nurseries are finding they have to make up the skills shortage among newly recruited staff with extra training and funded courses. Mary Evans reports Staff training in 2002 will continue to be an added hurdle for early years managers as they struggle to deliver high quality childcare in a sector undergoing rapid expansion and wide-ranging reforms.

Staff training in 2002 will continue to be an added hurdle for early years managers as they struggle to deliver high quality childcare in a sector undergoing rapid expansion and wide-ranging reforms.

Christmas decorations using materials you can munch on while you make them will reinforce the healthy food message, says Fiona Hamilton-Fairley With Christmas fast approaching, I thought it would be nice to look at ideas for making some special decorations for the tree as well as some edible goodies which will provide wonderful Christmas presents for friends and family.

Wooden Market Stall (75) and Cash Register (15) from LDA Early Years LDA, Duke Street, Wisbech, Cambs PE13

... Wesco's (01376 503 590) bright and charming Animal Cushions and Giant Floor Cushions make highly visible and desirable goals for the crawling explorer. Our favourites are, in the smaller range, Karen the chicken (34) and, among the giants, Hetty ... terrain for the newly mobile baby. The range includes mats, shallow steps, cubes, wave-shaped wedges and flat ramps. Available in bright, pastel or patterned colourways, they are made from foam and covered with fabric-backed vinyl. Tiny Tot Module ...

Toys for babies of six to 12 months old should appeal to their appropriate motor and sensory skills. Jenny Benjamin examines the options for stimulating objects to stock the nursery By six months old, babies are already seasoned explorers. They have eyeballed, grabbed, fingered, mouthed and dropped many objects, and they are beginning to get an idea, albeit a sensory one, of what their world is like. After six months their explorations become more sophisticated. Their fine motor skills ...

Everybody got in on the act when a nursery school devised an imaginative project, described here by head Sue Chambers At Chertsey Nursery School, we decided to organise a special Design and Technology Fun Week as part of the whole-school project that we have each term. The aim of the week was to:

It's picnic season, and you can keep your menu as healthy as the fresh air. Fiona Hamilton-Fairley has some tips for mobile food Now that the summer is finally here after a dull winter and wet spring, why not make the most of it and put your thoughts together for some picnic food? Eating outdoors can be such fun and after all, it's something we only get to do for a short period of time in our climate.

Are you making the most of your stock of jigsaws? Nursery teacher Brenda Kay offers some fitting tips You can never have too many puzzles in an early years setting. Our own cupboard is bursting at the seams with well-loved and well-used jigsaw puzzles. Weekends find us searching the local charity shops and car boot sales for more. After all, this fun resource can cover all six areas of learning.

The under-threes enjoy having control over moveable objects, and walkers and pull-along toys encourage mobility and agility. And whether you prefer the traditional or latest high-tech variety there's a vast range to choose from Traditional

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