We will be holding Father’s Day events for the Raspberry and Elderberry children on Wednesday 12th June. If your child attends for the relevant session and you, or another significant father figure in their life, would like to come along please let the team know.
We have found over the years that these sort of events do not work well for the Strawberry and Blueberry children. They can find the arrival and more importantly departure of parents/family members during their day very disruptive and distressing. Rest assured though there will be lovely father’s day cards coming home!
We also try to vary the days and times that we hold events for parents so please don’t worry if you can’t make this one, hopefully you will have a chance soon!
There will be two ceremonies for graduation for preschool children. 10.30-11.15 and 11.30-12.15. Please make sure that you know which one your child will be in!
The Summer BBQ is open to ALL Mulberry Bush children and their families. You should all have received invitations to this event. It is a fantastic day where we can get the whole nursery together. There are activities for the children and a big BBQ with delicious food. There is an attendance fee of £1.50 per person to be paid in advance and an additional £3.50 for food. We provide delicious burgers and sausages from Owtons butchers as well as vegetarian options and lots of salads (let us know if you require a vegetarian option). We very much hope that we will see lots of you there!
We are very excited to introduce our new setting manager Ruby Saunders. Ruby has her level 5 diploma in Leadership for the Children and Young People’s Work Force – Early Years and comes to the Mulberry Bush with a wealth of experiences managing and overseeing nurseries along the South coast. Ruby has been quickly getting to know the nursery, staff, children and parents but if you haven’t had the chance to say ‘hi’ please do so when you are next in.
We are also very pleased to introduce Amy Storey as the new room leader of Blueberries and Strawberries. Amy has her level 3 qualification in childcare and is also a very experienced practitioner with many years of room leading experience. Amy has quickly settled into her new role and we look forward to all the exciting new ideas that she will bring to the baby rooms.
To Carol for yet again securing a 5 star Environmental Health rating for her kitchen and hygiene management!
In April our babies have loved going out in the garden and taking advantage of the lovely weather we have had. Our Blueberries have enjoyed playing in the ball pit and particularly playing with the cars on the track that we made in the garden. The Strawberries have been busy exploring the big garden, mud kitchen and big sandpit. They love building sandcastles and baking “cakes” with sand. They enjoy the challenges that this environment provides them with especially using the climbing and balancing apparatus, this helps improve and develop their gross motor skills. We have utilised our outdoor time this month. When the weathers nice we are usually outside all day!
All the babies have enjoyed messy play throughout April, particularly painting and drawing. This helps them to develop their palmar grasp and to use their thumb and index finger to pick up smaller objects. We used our paint sticks and some Lego blocks to paint with, the babies really like using different things to paint with as it provides variety and helps the babies use their imagination more. Painting makes a wonderful mess and sometimes we even end up painting the floor and the tables! Painting also helps babies to understand sharing as they have to take turns with paint sticks and let their friends take turns printing with the Lego blocks.
Tuff trays are a brilliant resource for helping us to create and present a huge variety of activities from small world to messy. We have had a variety of different tuff trays activities this month including a dinosaur themed tuff tray and an under the sea themed tuff tray. These activities encourage imaginative play and communication and help us to model and expand language for our babies. They present excellent opportunities for us to model single words which the babies are keen to use, words such as “dinosaur” “shark” “fish” “bubble” “sand” and “grass” and sometimes this encourages our babies to ask for songs to sing along with the tuff tray. Our under the sea activity inspired us to sing ‘Baby Shark’ which the babies now love! (sorry!) We like to link songs to activities to expand the babies learning so that it is easier for them to relate things in the future, for example when they see a fish they will think of the noise it makes or when they see the bubble wrap they want us to get the real bubbles out. It is a way for us to incorporate the children’s interests which means we can encourage children to take a lead in their play and expand our child lead planning, which is fun for everyone!
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. These may seem like lofty subjects when we are talking about children aged 2yrs but in fact we use these subjects throughout the children’s play. When we make play dough with them and talk about weights and measures, when we show them how to build ramps for cars or balls to roll down and discuss which roll most quickly, when we encourage them to collect leaves, conkers, acorns, flowers in the garden and talk about what we have found, in all these activities we are broaching STEM. This month we decided to focus on incorporating more of these activities into our planning. This all started from our planting activities last month, our children really began to show a lot of interest in the growth of the plants and flowers in the garden and were asking lots of questions about the growth. One of our Children asked ‘when will it grow big like me?’ with another asking ‘will it be ready and pretty tomorrow?’ To answer all of these fantastic questions and to feed the children’s curiosity, we decided to set up another planting activity where the children would be able to see their flowers and plants grow from the root. To do this we used some zip sandwich bags and added some soil or some cotton wool, we let the children choose between two different materials so we could see which one would grow faster. The children then added a seed to their bag and a small amount of water, we then stuck our bags to the window so the seeds can receive light and the children can watch them grow. We feel that STEM activities are really beneficial for our toddlers, alongside them being a really cool, fun activities it also breeds curiosity which is always a good thing!
The Raspberry children love to get messy whilst experimenting with different colours and textures. They really embraced this in one of our activities this month that was particularly enhanced by 2 of our children. While taking part in a painting activity we asked the children what else they might like to paint with when they suggested using their hands. We instantly thought this would be a great idea and encouraged them to get stuck in painting their hands and putting their hands straight into the paint tray. They then began printing their hands onto the paper and comparing the different shapes and sizes of their hands. After the children noticed they could make marks with their hands they began thinking about different things they could mark make with. Together they came up with the idea to use trains which they rolled into the paint then onto the tuff tray to make some lovely marks. We found this activity really good for enhancing the children’s physical development by improving their fine motor skills and also a really great way of encouraging team work.
This month as an adult led theme we decided to work lots on our Maths, Shape, Space and Measure areas of learning. The children really enjoy working on their shapes and loved this activity. We provided lots of different shapes of different colours and sizes and made this a fun arts and crafts activity. The children spent some time categorising the shapes into different pots and naming the shapes and colours as they were doing so. We then provided some glue and card for the children to choose their shapes and make a fun colourful picture with them. In order for the children to use the shapes they had to be able to tell us what shape they wanted and what colour the shape was, this was a great activity for allowing the children to work at their own level and to improve their knowledge on shape, space and measure. We feel that math activities are best in a group as all children work at different levels and it allows children to learn from each other e.g. one child might be encountering a mathematical concept for the first time through the activity while another may be developing their understanding of the concept and a third consolidating their knowledge.
Spring has very much sprung in Elderberries so April was all about life cycles!
One of the most exciting events in the Elderberries calendar is the arrival of our hens eggs for hatching. Vikki collected 5 chicken eggs from Manor Farm. We put them into our incubator to observe over the next couple of weeks. The children were inspired by our special egg visitors and asked lots of questions about life cycles and how different animals are made. The children looked at and discussed the life cycle of a number of animals and spoke about the changes that had happened from one stage too the next. The children then took part in an activity where they cut out each stage of the life cycle and stuck it back onto their own piece of paper in the correct order. They were encouraged to recognise the order of the life cycle and independently use fine movements to cut out each picture with scissors.
We also made chick count down charts encouraging the children to discuss number order and recognise numerals. They cut out the numbers to count down the days till the chicks hatched. The actual hatching of the chicks happened over a weekend this year so sadly the children didn’t get to see the shells cracking and the chicks emerging as they have in previous years but they were, none the less, very excited to come in on Monday to meet the new members of preschool. 4 of the 5 eggs hatched successfully. Once the chicks hatched we talked about what they look like how we are going to be caring for them and we took it in turns to hold them. They were christened Edgar, Patch, Beryl and Chickpea!
With Easter near the end of the month the children’s artwork was heavily influenced by eggs, chicks and bunnies! Our Easter arts and crafts table was very busy with the making of Easter baskets and Easter cards. We hope that you all enjoyed the creations that came home.
As well as animal life cycles we have also been looking at the lives of plants. This means that we have been getting green fingered in the garden and have begun our own planting. We have been discussing which foods grow underground, on trees, plants and on vines. Our substantial growing area gives us the opportunity to grow lots of our own vegetables and fruits. Each of the children spoke about the process of planting and what jobs we would need to do to keep the plants alive and growing.
We planted our potatoes and also started germinating beans in their own see-through greenhouses. We created the greenhouses, using green care and a sandwich bag. We then put some cotton wool and a bean in the bag and added a sprinkle of water. We attached these to our windows in the outdoor classroom so that they had plenty of sunlight. Along the side of our greenhouses the children have got measurements, this will helped us record how much the beans grow! When measuring our beans we talk about the different parts; the seed, root, stem and leaves.
Continuing this theme we created an activity that involved cutting and sticking fruit/veg under and above the ground depending on where they grow. To extend this activity we made a soil and vegetable tuff tray as the children explored the tuff tray we talked discussed where the different vegetables grow and what they need to grow.