LEYF Sunflower Campaign

LEYF Sunflower Campaign

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Stand Tall for Early Years

    London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) has launched Standing Tall for Early Years campaign and we want all Early Years settings across the UK to join together in planting sunflower seeds with children.
      The sunflower is a symbol of positivity and after some turbulent months, we want to use this moment to celebrate the power of kindness and empathy. We recognise the amazing opportunity in Early Years to teach love and friendship so that children carry these values through school and into adulthood.
        June O’Sullivan, CEO of LEYF says: “Both the sector and the children have been through so much uncertainty, upheaval and change over the past few months. We at LEYF believe NOW is the time to understand each other’s emotions, be kind to each other and look to the future with hope and positivity. What better way to do this than planting radiant sunflowers and standing tall together.” Read June’s blog Standing Tall for Early Years.

The importance of Kindness

    In celebration of Empathy Day (9th June 2020), London Early Years Foundation shared a story of kindness and empathy. In this video, Ricky reads a story called ‘Be Kind’ by Pat Zietlow Miller. The story is about a girl's journey of understanding what it is to be kind and how she can support her friend Tanisha.
      Stories are an important way to reflect the world children live in today. Stories can support children’s personal, social and emotional development increasing their awareness of their own emotions and the emotions of others. This helps to build greater levels of compassion and understanding of their community.
        We would like to say thank you to Pat Zietlow Miller and Roaring Brook Press for giving us the opportunity to share this amazing story.

Sunflower masks for staff

Throughout the pandemic, LEYF has done all we can to make sure our staff are safe on their journeys to and from our nurseries. To mark the start of the #StandingTall4EY campaign, fellow social enterprise Fashion Capital made beautiful sunflower face masks to wear while travelling to and from work.

Grow the tallest sunflower competition

    We would like nurseries around the UK to enter our tallest sunflower competition. As the sunflowers grow, we are asking nursey staff to post photos of their sunflower(s) – alongside a tape measure to record how tall these are - tagging @LEYFonline and using the hashtag #standingtall4EY.
      A prize will be awarded for the tallest towering sunflower by LEYF’s green-fingered garden expert and co-author of 50 Fantastic Ideas for Nursery Gardens, Clodagh Halse. The prize will be a gardening set for the winning nursery plus a signed copy of the book.
        Clodagh Halse says: “Taking ownership of individual plants will increase the children’s involvement and awareness of the growing process. Caring for the plants and comparing measurements will help them learn through change – something which we’ve all had to embrace over the past few months.”

Tips for growing the tallest sunflower

    1. Sunflowers can be sown straight in to the ground where they are going to flower, so make sure you use a trowel to remove any weeds from around the area before planting
      2. Find a suitable spot where they will get 6-8 hours sun per day – this is what they need to grow successfully.
        3. Rake the soil to a fine tilth (a fine crumbly texture) and make some drills 12mm deep. Leave a 10cm space between each seed if you are sowing more than one.
          4. Place the seed(s) in carefully and cover up with soil. Don’t forget to water the seeds gently.
            5. Be careful, as slugs and snails like to eat new shoots. You may want to protect the seedlings by cutting the top off a plastic bottle and placing it over your seedlings.
              6. As your sunflower begins to grow taller than you, you will need to help support the stem by placing a cane near the stem and loosely tying it to the plant with string.
                7. Watch your sunflower grow and grow and grow…