05 Apr Put a Spring in Your Step!
In this blog we take a look at all things Spring-related and discover the animals, insects, flowers and plants that children can enjoy looking out for over the coming months.
As I’m typing, I admit to being a little nervous about what sort of weather conditions we’ll be experiencing the day this is published. Will we face another “Beast from the East”, rain, or a storm named after someone we know? We all hope not! Now that it’s April, I’m reminded of an early Easter a few years back when I visited Hampton Court funfair and thanks to the scorching temperatures and no suncream came home with a sunburnt face and shoulders. A reminder that British Springtime (officially from March to May) can be unpredictable to say the least.
With all that in mind, nature still finds a way to continue its transition from Winter to Spring and at this time of year we can expect to see some wonderful sights within the plant and animal kingdom. Even with the recent snow and frosty mornings, it’s heartening to see bright yellow daffodils popping up around Sutton and Wallington.
The children attending our Jancett Day Nurseries are avid nature-watchers all year round and one of the fun activities they take part in now is planting flowers and vegetables and watching them grow and / or develop.
As a family, a weekend trip out to the park or pond is a must at this time of year. Can you think of a more excited face than a child seeing baby ducks toddling behind their mother, or finding a queen bee in the garden?
Just like our day nurseries, why not involve children in their own ‘Spring Watch’ when you’re at home or out and about. Create fun ‘Nature Spotting’ sheets children can carry with them and ‘tick off’ when they spot an insect, animal, tree or flower that emerges between now and May.
The website www.wildlifewatch.org.uk contains wonderful and educational Nature Spotting sheets you can download and print for children. Use their Signs of Spring Spotter sheet, perfect for the next few months.
Image © www.wildlifewatch.org.uk
You could make a weekend trip to the garden centre an adventure by printing off a Flower or Plant Spotting sheet from the website. Have fun exploring the aisles selling bulbs, seeds, peat and compost so children can see how a plant or vegetable begins its life and what’s needed to grow them.
Ewe are You?
Animals and insects that emerge in the Spring include butterflies, bees, flies, spiders, ants, hedghogs and frogs.
British Lambing Season is associated with Springtime but as this website explains, it isn’t always the case: “Spring is when most ewes in the UK give birth to their lambs, but lambs can be born anytime between December and May, depending on the system and location.”
In Full Bloom
Trees and shrubs that lost their leaves over the winter begin to grow new leaves again and also flower in Spring. This happens because the temperature of the air and soil starts to warm up and the hours of daylight increase as the days get longer with the coming of Spring.
Plants and flowers that bloom in the Springtime include daffodils, tulips, crocus, lily of the valley, bluebell and hyacinth. Seeing blossom on the trees on the way to and from nursery is a sure sign the winter is behind us and Spring and Summer can’t be far.
From Asparagus and Spinach, to Artichokes and Radishes, there are plenty of delicious vegetables in season in the Spring. Rhubarb will start to appear in shops now but experts say the prime season for it is April to June. Herbs are also seasonal and www.thespruce.com shares tips on which herbs will fare best if planted in the chilly Spring months.
Art and Poetry
It’s not only our nurseries that are fascinated by the Spring. Famous names from the world of art and poetry have long been inspired by the season, including classic artists Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Gustav Klimt and Claude Monet plus poets and playwrights including William Wordsworth, William Blake, Lord Tennyson, and William Shakespeare.
(Above LtoR, Van Gogh & Klimt)
For Art Afficionados, The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square has a ‘Monet & Architecture’ exhibition from the 9th April to 29th July 2018. The exhibition focuses on the buildings Monet painted throughout his career. Why not take a stroll through nearby Victoria Embankment Gardens afterwards (a 6-minute walk away) and marvel at the mix of real-life architecture and nature in Spring!
Literature has long drawn on Spring for inspiration and www.delightfulchildrensbooks.com lists a variety of children’s books that are set in or about the Spring.
Musicians have been serenading Spring for decades too. From Ella Fitzgerald to Coldplay, Louis Armstrong to The Killers. If you have a long journey to make over the Easter holidays, or maybe you’re spring cleaning the house and want a soundtrack to keep you going, download this Spring themed Playlist the BBC website have compiled.
On our Jancett Childcare Twitter account we post a series about our staff and coming up over the Spring is a series of our staff’s favourite childhood films. Our Director of Marketing chose the classic musical ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’, so this video and the iconic “Spring, Spring, Spring!” is especially for her.
It’s all in a Name
From Avril to Jarek, there are so many baby names associated with the season and that draw from different languages and cultures. The website www.closeronline.co.uk lists 40 spring-inspired baby names along with their meanings.
The Countdown Begins….
Spring is an exciting time for us here, as preparations for our 50th Anniversary next year have begun. Our 50th anniversary working party has been formed comprising of staff representatives from all four sections of the organisation and we will start meeting from May onwards to plan a year of celebrations to mark this important milestone for our company.
We hope this blog has put you in the mood for Spring and that, by the time you’re reading it, the sun will be shining!
Blog written by our Marketing Officer, Anne (to the soundtrack of U2’s ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’)