Parents Evening will be occurring from 6.15-8pm on the following days. Please see your child’s key person to arrange a 10 minute slot to discuss your child’s progress and any concerns you may have.
Tuesday 6th August – Blueberries, Strawberries and Raspberries
Wednesday 7th August – Non-school Leaving Elderberries.
To start the children created a gigantic (very well fed!) caterpillar by working together to make a piece of collaborative art. They used different mark making tools with a variety of coloured paints and to paint upon paper plates. These included; rollers, brushes and sponges which are fantastic for little hands and fingers to grasp hold of, dab, print and slide across the plates. They created fantastic marks and blends of colours and shades.
We then strung the plates together creating a spectacular 3 dimensional caterpillar which we have hung from the ceiling. Seeing their creation beautifully displayed captivated the children and has been a great talking point when they arrive at nursery – especially if they are feeling a little unsettled.
Strawberries also set to work making playdough butterflies which were very sparkly as they couldn’t help but cover them in glitter – one of their favourite medias!
The use of cutters to make different sized butterflies enabled us to start using mathematical language related to size by introducing the comparative terms big and little. Cutters are also great to help start to develop children’s fine motor skills as they often have to hold awkward and unusual shapes, this helps to develop strength and flexibility in their hands and fingers.
In the garden we extended the Hungry Caterpillar theme by making a huge caterpillar with 3 large holes cut out of it. The children were set the challenge of throwing balls through the holes. We practiced counting as we threw the balls and in groups the children were able to count up to five. The children thoroughly enjoyed the challenge that this activity presented to them and the sense of achievement when they succeeded, so much so we carried on this activity for a whole week!
We also made cork printed caterpillars and fruit. This activity was child led the children chose the colours to use and the toddlers helped to pour the paints into the pallet.
The strawberry children have been exploring marbling paint techniques. We filled ziplock bags with paint, shaving foam, glitter and a paper caterpillar. The children stamped their feet and rubbed their hands all over the bag to create their artwork caterpillar. This was a good opportunity for children who do not like the texture of some mediums and therefor shy away from messy play. By using this method they were able to be ‘hands on’ without the fear of getting messy. When we removed the caterpillars from their bags they were a mixture of marbled colours which we have been able to display in a hoop mobile. The children are able to lie in book corner and look up at their art work while we read stories.
Yoga is a firm favourite for the babies, it never fails to get them all moving and stretching. We use Fearne Cotton’s Baby Yoga book to help support the children in mastering positions and movements. Together in key groups we share the story and study the pictures carefully to get into position as the story continues. The children love this more active form of storytelling and really benefit from its calming effects. They particularly love being a tree!
In Blueberries we have been focusing our activities on the book called Where is babies belly button? This is a book that focuses on recognising parts of the body and is great to read together and encourage the children to point and find their corresponding body parts.
The Blueberry children have also been using our new large tuff tray mirror to explore and find their body parts. The great thing about the tuff tray as that it can be set up on the floor so that those babies who are less mobile can still be positioned by, on or over the mirrored surface making it accessible to all. The younger children are fascinated by reflective surfaces, these can help babies to explore and is a great way for them to practise visual tracking. They love it when they can see a staff member pulling a funny face in the reflection and will often try to copy. They especially enjoy trying to reach out and touch the ‘baby’ in the mirror. This a great time to start to help develop their vocabulary as you point and name various body parts.
Mark making is a fundamental part of our day to day provision for the children. It underpins many areas of learning and development from gross and fine motor skills to literacy. Experimenting with methods of mark making is a great way to develop children’s physical and eventual handwriting abilities. When children are able to make long, large strokes it encourages movement and co-ordination from the shoulder and elbow which helps develop flexibility and strength which at this age is key. Of course, most importantly, mark making can and should be a satisfying creative experience for the children. Most importantly we always try to make these mark making opportunities fun and exciting for all our children in Raspberries. We provide many different materials and methods for mark making. This month we made our mark making especially ‘messy’. The children had paint, sand, water, rice and shaving foam to choose from and lots of interesting mark making tools to see the different effects they could create using these materials. It is vital for us to encourage and support the children’s independence and confidence. One way we can do this is by enabling them to make their own choices during their play. In these activities they were able to choose their own materials and tools and to use them as they wished. Some of our children really enjoyed discussing the different style of marks and were able to describe those using words such as ‘zigzag’ and ‘swirly’, in this way we are able to help develop their language and communication. Whereas others seemed to enjoy the physical sensory experience of actually making the marks most.
In the Raspberry room we like to bring as many real life objects into the children’s play as possible. As we know our children love all kinds of role play, so to widen this interest we focused on enriching our role play area with real food and objects for the children to play with. A resource that particularly captured their interest this month was our Antique, metal tea pot and china mugs. We provided them with tea bags, a milk carton and spoons. This allowed the children to role-play making drinks, an experience they will be familiar with from home and really help to support their exploratory impulses.As well as being an enjoyable activity with the children to fill, pour and make everyone a ‘cup of tea’, it provides excellent social and communication development as they begin to engage in simple structured engagements with their peers and staff.
Our children are always very excited to use scissors and will often sit themselves down with a piece of blank paper and scissors to make single snips. Although they enjoy this we know that it is something that most children of this age find quite difficult. Scissor control is very important as it helps the children develop the small muscles in their hands, alongside this it is also great for developing children’s bilateral coordination.This is when children have to coordinate both sides of the body at the same time in a controlled manner. To support this we gave the children a range of materials with different patterns to cut into, along with different materials such as felt, tin foil and also some stronger materials like card and cardboard. This meant we were able to provide challenge and differentiate between abilities and the variety of materials really captured their interest.
This month in the Elderberries we have been taking on the 30 Days Wild challenge. The 30 days wild challenge encourages us to complete a challenge that is focused upon wildlife and the environment around us for each day in June. We have loved taking part in all of the different challenges. There were challenges for the children such as, ‘feel the wild between your toes’, ‘look up at the clouds’, ‘find a creepy crawley’, ‘read a book in the wild’, ‘showcase on a nature table’, ‘lunch in the wild’, and ‘listen for wild sounds’. These really simple challenges were easy to set up and complete and often provided the perfect opportunity for the children to slow down and incorporate some mindfulness. This in turn helps to develop compassion, focus, curiosity and empathy.
We chose to read a variety of books about what can be found in the wild (even just the garden) and learnt all about different bugs, insects and spiders. It’s been the perfect opportunity to share non-fiction books with the children and explain that these books can share facts and help us answer questions.
One of our challenges was to make some food for the birds. We got a big bag of bird feed and partnered it up with some fruit. This of course encouraged a big discussion all about what birds can and can’t eat. We all agreed that birds can’t eat; chips, cake, chicken nuggets, chocolate and cheese! After our discussion of what birds can eat we found out with the help of our nonfiction books and the internet that they could consume; meal worms, slugs, bird seed, apple, bread, fruit and toast. We have all loved spending more time outside with nature and being in the wild and cannot wait to continue with our challenges.
Elderberries have been experimenting with a different way of painting throughout June. Instead of painting on paper we’ve explored what it would be like to paint on foil. Just by swapping paper for foil we’ve found that quite a number of children who wouldn’t usually choose to paint have wanted to pick up a paint brush! The children were excited by this new concept and were full of curiosity and questions. This encouraged lots of conversation about what the colours might look like on foil and how it might feel painting onto a different texture. This experimental form of painting meant that there didn’t have to be a certain outcome and so was very liberating for the children who perhaps do not feel they are particularly artistic or as they say “good painters”. This provided the children with the opportunity to freely explore and so was a fantastic way to build on their self-esteem and confidence.
One of our favourite adult led activities this month has been school dressing up relay races. Being able to dress themselves is a self-care skill that is of benefit to all children especially those that are going into reception this September. We were keen to help develop these skills in a fun and exciting manner. The children were put into groups of 5. We lined up 5 hoops all with different items of school uniform in (jumpers, t-shirts, school dresses, skirts and cardigans). The children went one at a time put on the item of clothing independently then sat down in their circle. It was then the next child’s turn to go.
It was so lovely to see just how caring and supportive our Elderberry children are of each other as they encouraged their friends by cheering them on and clapping and showing great sportsmanship over all!