A little bit about why we engage in lots of positive risk taking,
for those who are interested… Playing adventurously motivates children to develop persistence and an enjoyment rather than fear of challenge and extending and exploring boundaries. A willingness to take risks is an important characteristic of an effective learner. The Early Years Foundation Stage guidance states that an effective learner is willing ‘to have a go’ through initiating activities and seeking challenge, showing a ‘can-do’ attitude, taking a risk, engaging in new experiences, and learning by trial and error. When adults look anxious or repeatedly say to children ‘mind out’, ‘be careful’, ‘don’t do that’, ‘come down or you’ll fall’, there is a danger that they undermine this important disposition to learn by communicating their own anxiety. There is evidence that risk and challenge in a supportive environment is positively linked with emotional well-being, resilience and mental health and that small mistakes and minor accidents can offer some protection against the negative effects of future failure. Managing a small amount of fear and uncertainty, such as balancing along a wobbly plank or rolling fast down a slope and holding your nerve when feeling on the edge of control, is important to emotional well-being. Such play develops children’s resilience and help them to cope physically and emotionally with unexpected events. Vigorous almost out of control play, such as swinging, hanging, rolling or romping – where the normal body position is altered – is crucial for developing children’s sense of balance and sense of their own body in space. Research on children’s neuro-motor skills in primary schools shows that children with immature motor skills do not perform as well on educational measures at eight years old. However, despite an inbuilt sense of danger, children who lack experience can sometimes take risks that are inappropriate, which border on recklessness or which put themselves or others at risk of serious injury. As in many areas of learning, children need the support of experienced others who can help them recognize and assess risk for themselves, teach safe ways of doing things and encourage a ‘can-do’ attitude and a positive disposition to adventurous play. Teaching skills such as testing the strength of a branch before climbing or using a stick to measure the depth of water in a stream before paddling helps children to feel confident in managing risky situations. At Young Friends Nursery we fully support this and as such our children are very effective and confident learners and explorers.
The food at Young Friends is undeniably delicious and our families often ask us how to make certain dishes that Gillian and Kelly lovingly create and that their children talk about at home. Therefore we have created this section especially for you. It is a work in progress but we will aim to put all of the dishes that we feed our children at main mealtimes and also those that our team make with the children during cooking activities. Often we are told that children eat better at nursery than at home. This is a very common state of play – of course it is made easier for us as they have their friends around them eating the same thing and each mealtime is a vibrant experience which the children naturally want to feel a part of. By creating this bridge between our families and the setting we hope it might help a little to encourage variation and healthy eating in every part of their lives.
Stuffed Baked Potatoes With Vegetables and Cheese:
This is an easy one and loved by every single child. Firstly bake the potatoes in the oven so the skins are nice and crispy. Meanwhile fry some onion and fresh vegetables like broccoli, pepper and courgette. Boil some sweetcorn. Scoop out the fluffy baked potato and mix it with the vegetables and some seasoning. Fill up each of the halved potato cases and sprinkle with grated cheese. Put it back in the oven until the cheese is golden brown. We serve this with fresh salad or baked beans.
Tuna, Potato and Spinach Casserole
This never fails.
Onion (finely chopped)
Peppers (finely chopped)
Home made white sauce
1. Prepare dishes (grease them)
2. Slice potatoes thinly and line the bottom of the casserole dish with them
3. On top of this make a layer of raw sliced tomatoes
4. Then a layer of cooked spinach
5 Then create a later of tinned tuna
6. Then another layer of thinly sliced potatoes
7. Then pour the white sauce evenly over the top of the whole dish
8. Sprinkling of cheese is optional
8. Bake for one hour
Chicken Casserole with Vegetables and Potato:
1. Cook the chicken in the oven
2. Chop the carrots, leeks, baby potatoes and boil them all together in a saucepan
3. Once boiled add some stock to thicken it up
4. Shred/chop the chicken into bite sized pieces
5. Mix it all together and add the peas
Sausage and Fresh Vegetable Risotto:
Sausages – veggie and meat
Fresh vegetables, diced
1. Fry the onions and fresh vegetables. We vary this every time but usually use courgettes, peppers, carrots as staples
2. Cook the sausages in the oven
3. Cook the rice
4. Mix it altogether and add some fresh herbs
• 1 red pepper between two children
• 4 cherry tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 4 basil leaves
• 30g/1½oz soft goats’ cheese
• pinch ground black pepper
1. Before cooking, wash your hands and put on an apron. Weigh or measure all the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Pop the pepper by pushing down on the stalk with your thumbs until you push it inside – then tear the pepper carefully to make two even-sized halves. These are your boats. Knock the pepper halves upside down to shake out all the seeds and pull off all the pale soft bits.
3. Add the tomatoes into the bowl, then chop them up with scissors. Add the olive oil and a pinch of pepper and stir well.
4. Tear in the basil leaves, then give the mixture a good stir.
5. Spoon half of the filling to each pepper boat. Finally, crumble the goats’ cheese on top of the tomato mixture.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese topping is golden-brown. Serve with crusty French bread.
Mini cheese munchies – Vegetarian
Little spinach and cheese savoury bites.
• vegetable oil for greasing
• 1 free-range egg
• 1 tbsp polenta (quick cook)
• 1 large handful baby spinach
• 100g/3½oz plain cottage cheese
• pinch mild chilli powder
• 45g/2oz plain flour
1. First wash your hands and put on an apron. Weigh and measure all the ingredients. Ask a grown-up to preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 5. Oil a mini-muffin tray using the pastry brush and vegetable oil.
2. Break the egg into a bowl and beat it with the fork, then add the polenta. This allows the polenta to soften slightly before cooking.
3. Ask a grown-up to help you to snip the spinach leaves into small pieces using scissors.
4. Add the cottage cheese, chilli powder and black pepper to the mixing bowl. Then stir in the egg and polenta mixture. Sprinkle the plain flour over the mixture and stir again until it is thoroughly combined
5. Divide the mixture equally between the six parts of the muffin tin. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are brown on top. Leave to cool. Serve one or two of these little savoury cakes with ham.
Fruity filo parcel-Vegetarian
These little spiced pear parcels are lovely served warm with a little Greek yoghurt .
• 1 tinned pear, drained, juice reserved
• 4 tsp mixed dried fruit
• 30g/1oz unsalted butter
• large pinch of mixed spice
• 1 tsp caster sugar
• 4 sheets fresh filo pastry
1. Before cooking, wash your hands and put on an apron. Weigh or measure all the ingredients. Ask a grown-up to heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Measure the dried mixed fruit into a cup then add some pear juice from the tinned fruit – put to one side for five minutes while you chop up the pear.
2. Chop up the pear into a bowl with the scissors – ask a grown-up to help you use the scissors. Drain the mixed fruit and add it to the pear.
3. Ask a grown-up to help you melt the butter in small saucepan, then place into a mixing bowl with the mixed spice and the sugar. Stir with the pastry brush. Spread out a sheet of filo with the short side nearest to you and brush the filo with the butter mixture.
4. Place a quarter of the fruit mix in the centre at the edge nearest to you and then fold in the long sides to cover the mixture.
5. Brush the filo again with some more of your butter mix, then roll up the length of the pastry to make a parcel.
6. Repeat to make four parcels and brush the top of each with the remaining butter mixture. Place onto a baking tray. Ask a grown-up to put them in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool before eating as the filling is very hot! Serve the parcels with plain yoghurt.
Falafel Footballs – Vegetarian
The children can make these tasty falafel balls with only a bit of grown-up help (well the pre-schoolers anyway)
• vegetable oil for greasing
• 1 tin kidney beans (240g drained weight)
• 1 garlic clove, peeled
• 1 spring onion
• small handful fresh coriander
• 1 tsp dried cumin
• 1 tsp plain flour
1. Before cooking, wash your hands and put an apron on. Weigh or measure all the ingredients. Brush a baking tray generously with vegetable oil. Ask a grown-up to preheat the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Start by placing the drained beans and the garlic clove in the plastic bag and mashing with the rolling pin then transferring into bowl.
3. Ask a grown-up to help you use the scissors to cut off the roots and the dark green top of the spring onions – this is called topping and tailing. Finely cut up the rest of the spring onion and add to the beans. Then chop up the fresh coriander finely with the scissors and add it to the bean mash.
4. Sprinkle over the dried cumin, you can add more if you really like the taste. Sprinkle over the plain flour and mix everything together well. Now squeeze the mixture with your hands until it all starts to stick together.
5. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and shape them in your hands into four balls – squeeze them again so that they hold their shape. Put on the oiled baking sheet and dab the top with a little more oil.
6. Ask a grown-up to put them in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Leave to cool for about five minutes to allow them to set before eating. Serve warm or cold in pitta pockets with salad leaves.
Cheesy pasta rolls – Vegetarian
You can multiply this recipe to make as many lasagne rolls as you like – kids will love making everyone dinner!
• oil for greasing
• 100g/4oz tinned chopped tomatoes
• 100g/4oz ricotta cheese
• pinch ground black pepper
• small handful fresh mint
• large handful baby leaf spinach
• 1 fresh lasagne sheet (17 x 22 cm)
• 15g/1oz cheddar, grated
1. Before cooking, wash your hands and put on an apron. Weigh or measure all the ingredients. Ask a grown-up to preheat the oven to 210C/415F/Gas 7. Oil an ovenproof dish.
2. Put the tomatoes into a cup. Stir with a fork and put to one side to use later.
3. In a bowl, mix the ricotta and black pepper together with a fork. Using scissors (ask a grown-up to help you), cut up the mint and spinach leaves into smaller pieces and add them to the cheese in the bowl. Mix until well combined.
4. Fold the lasagne sheet in half, matching the short sides. Gently run your fingers over the fold to help the pasta break into two pieces. Spread the cheese mixture on top of both pieces of lasagna, then roll them up into tubes, starting at the short edge.
5. Pour enough of the chopped tomato and chilli mixture into the ovenproof dish to cover the bottom. Place the rolled-up lasagne tubes into the dish and pour over the rest of the chopped tomatoes. Top with a sprinkling of grated cheese. Put the dish on the baking tray and ask a grown-up to cook it for 15-20 minutes. Serve with a green salad.
This one is a real hit with the children at nursery for lunch and is one of the most regularly asked for by our families. So here it is at last (photo coming soon)…..
/>Ingredients (this will serve 4 adults so adjust to your own needs):
• 175g long grain rice
• 450 g smoked haddock fillets
• 2 hard boiled eggs, shelled
• 75g of butter or margarine
• Cayan pepper or mild curry powder
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• Parsley to garnish
1. Cook rice and add a few drops of oil
2. Fry the onions and hard boil the eggs
3. Put haddock in a pan completely covered by milk
4. Bring it to simmer and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until tender
5. Drain and flake the fish and take away any skin and bones
6. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onions, rice, fish and cayan pepper and stir over a low heat. If it is a little dry at some of the milk which had the fish simmering in it.
7. Garnish with sliced hard boiled eggs and parsely.
Cheesey Leek and Quorn Potatoe Pie:
Another popular one. This is for you Jo Freebury and I’m sorry it took so long!
• White sauce
• Mashed Potato
1. Fry the leeks and quorn and blanch the brocolli
2. Drain the brocolli and stir them all together
3. Make a white sauce
4. Make some mashed potato
5. Pour the white sauce over the leek, quorn and brocolli mixture
6. Top the mixture with the mashed potato and bake in the oven