Michael Tomlinson, MP, visited Tops Day Nurseries in Wareham nursery to participate in National Storytelling Week on Friday 10th February 2023.

Michael Tomlinson MP joined Harriet Pacey, a Director of Tops Day Nurseries, to participate in National Storytelling Week and spend time reading and interacting with the children as well having discussion on the importance of the Early Years sector and the issues it faces.

Tops Day Nurseries Wareham, on Carey Road, have spent the last week promoting the importance of reading in the Early Years and invited local MP Michael to read a story to the children as part of this.

Tops Day Nurseries, a nursery chain with over 30 nurseries across the Southwest, actively encourage reading in the Early Years and understand the value of reading at a young age. To spread this message further they invited Michael Tomlinson, MP for Mid Dorset & North Poole, to visit the nursery. During his visit Michael read ‘Monkey Puzzle’. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and loved helping Michael find the correct animals on the wooden spoons.

National Storytelling Week takes place every year and is a celebration of the power of sharing stories. Stories teach us about the world, they allow us to step into someone else’s shoes and feel empathy, they help us to relax and can help develop essential literacy skills.

Harriet and Michael discussed:

  • Tops Day Nurseries Queens Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development).
  • The underfunding of early years provision and parents by the government, which was about half what it should be (Governments own figures) and has failed to keep up this year again despite living wage, national insurance, health insurance, inflation and utilities all increasing again this April.
  • One of the results of the underfunding is not being able to pay for and retain the top-quality nursery teachers that the children deserve, and which is the best investment this country can make.  There is now a national shortage of nursery teachers which is reducing availability of nursery places, and damaging the quality of education.
  • The importance of apprenticeships from starting to degree level for early years staff.
  • Immigration and requirements for opening up the workforce for skilled migrants which is currently difficult due DofE processes for checking foreign qualifications and very slow processing at the Home Office.
  • Means testing for funding for early years places and funding to enable all children to attend for 30 hours.
  • The local authorities not applying for relief on business rates for day nurseries despite notice to do this from the Department for Education and other local authorities now doing this.  Wales and Scotland already refunding business rates, schools have rates refunded.
  • The land and water pollution being caused by water companies allowing sewage into the environment, and the one-use plastic and micro plastics now in our food chain causing infertility and disease in humans and injuring and killing birds, whales, turtles, dolphins.
  • The nurseries using bamboo toothbrushes and washable nappies.
  • Air pollution, which is causing asthma and lung disease in small children. 
  • The nursery EV and charging points.
  • Dairy milk provision for early years children being unsustainable, whereas fruit and vegetables would be more universally beneficial in terms of the children’s health, would reduce obesity and discrimination against those in the population who are milk intolerant
  • Waste costs of disposable nappies being 4% of the domestic rates bill for everyone plus £1000 per nursery p.a.
  • The positive impact that Tops Day Nurseries has on children and their families lives in Dorset, good and outstanding teaching, healthy safe environments.  

Speaking after the official opening event, Harriet Pacey said: Children do not have a vote, and need us all to represent them and their needs for the future, so it was great to be able to share our concerns for them with Michael. Reading to and with children is so important to their development and having Michael here to support this and be able to share to word and encourage it will hopefully have a positive influence for children.

Michael Tomlinson commented: I was delighted to visit Tops Day Nursery in Wareham to read a story for National Storytelling Week. The early years sector is vital for families, especially those in work and it was good to hear about the sector locally and nationally and how it is working here in Dorset.

Tops Day Nurseries offers care and education for children from 3 months – school age, all year around for extended opening hours, as well as having an afterschool and holiday club for school age children.  For more information, please call 0801 699650 or email: enquiries@topsdaynurseries.co.uk

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