March Newsletter 2019

Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association Sponsored Walk

We are very proud to say that the Mulberry Bush nurseries raised a spectacular £922 from our sponsored walk for the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association. The nurseries topped up this amount to a grand total of £1500!! We would like to say a huge THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who attended the walk and/or donated money. This was a fabulous achievement that will make a real difference to the families that PDSA supports.

Preschool Graduation and Summer BBQ 6th July 2019

Children in Pre School who are graduating this year should all have received their invitations to their child/ren’s ceremony. Please reply to this asap and make sure you know which session they will be included 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 salad (let us know if you require a vegetarian option). We very much hope that we will see lots of you there!

Blueberries and Strawberries

In March the babies have been doing lots of activities based around springtime!

They had great fun with their spring time water tray. They loved the sensory experience of feeling the flowers, scooping up the water and tipping it out with the bowls and the cups which helps develop their gross motor skills. They used spoons to mix the water and the leaves around and around. Their favourite thing to do is to splash the water up into their faces and get absolutely soaked! Activities like these help our baby’s development by encouraging those that can’t yet walk, but are becoming mobile, to pull themselves up to standing. This helps them to improve their balance and start to be able to cruise from one object to the next. Practitioners take every opportunity to encourage and embed language development and understanding. During this activity we used lots of words but particularly  “splash”, “mix” and “stir” which the children were able to follow.

We also made a super fun farm yard tuff tray this month. We paired it with a farm book to encourage the children to match the animals in the book to the animals in the tray. The children enjoyed using animal sounds in their play, saying “moo” “oink” and “baa”. We asked the children what noise each animal makes. This encouraged their communication skills and their understanding of more complex sentences. The children made lots of mess with this tray. They loved the feeling of the sawdust which they sprinkled on the floor. The babies showed great imagination in their play they were feeding the sawdust to the animals and putting them into the barn.

We are always keen to display the children’s work on the walls, not only is it a chance to show you what they make at nursery and brightens up the room, but it is important for the children to see their own work displayed. We are very proud of their achievements and they should be too! The babies loved making our spring time display, they enjoyed sticking cotton wool onto the sheep pictures to make their fleeces and they used black and yellow tissue paper to stick on to our bumble bee pictures to make them colourful. We also painted a butterfly and they used real flower petals and leaves to stick on to paper plates to make big flowers. This activity was very beneficial to our baby’s fine motor skills. It encouraged them to pick objects up between their thumb and fingers. They were also able to make connections between their movement and actions and the marks they made when they made using paint and when they stuck the petals and the cotton wool down. All these activities encourage the babies to make relationships and play alongside each other, sharing and taking turns, a vital skill for life!



During their time in the Raspberries room most children will progress from playing along side each other children to interacting during their play. This month we focused on group activities and different ways to encourage children to start to or further develop their cooperative play skills. We experimented with  new games and group songs to engage all of our children. One activity they particularly enjoyed was using our big colourful parachute. We are able to encourage physical activity and development of social skills in a way that works for each child adapting to their own social development. Some of our newer children are yet to build relationships with other children and are still developing the confidence and skills needed to play with or alongside others. This activity allowed all of our children to work together while having lots of fun. We all counted to 3 together then called out either ‘up’ or ‘down’. For ‘up’ all the children would stand up lifting the parachute up high in the air,  for ‘down’ all of the children would lie down quickly leaving the parachute to fall slowly. As you can see from the pictures all the children really enjoyed this activity. As the parachute was such a success with we decided to use it to build a colourful den in the garden. The children loved creating a small, communication friendly space and spent their time in the den reading stories with their friends.

The Raspberries have been taking note of the changes in the environment that Spring brings. We are keen to encourage and support this interest and it coincides with our seasonal planting of the growing area. We had a big group discussion where the children were asked what different vegetables they would like to plant. To give the children a clearer understanding we provided some real fruits and vegetables to look at, talk about and draw. With their drawings we created our very own vegetable patch display. We bought some different seeds and the children all had a go at planting their chosen vegetables. Not only did this give us the chance to extend their interest in life cycles and growing but it also gave us an opportunity to discuss looking after our environment. The planting activities led lots of different questions from the children. To answer  these questions we took them on a trip to the library so they could choose their own books about plant growth that we were able to read with them.

One thing that none of the Raspberries children are short of is imagination!! They often build different role play ideas that we help them to extend. This month one of our children had been to the zoo, she came in to nursery very excited and keen to tell all of her friends about her experience. After talking about the zoo the children decided to make their very own mini bus to take them to the zoo. Before boarding the bus the children realised that they could not get on the bus without having a ticket so we all sat down and everyone made their own tickets. This activity was great for problem solving and team work. Along with being a fun activity, it also allowed the children to get into character and act out real life situations.



Science week

The preschool have been getting scientific during March! They focused on making hypothesis; talking about the process we would be using for each experiment and predicting the reaction we expected to see. Once we had completed our experiment we reviewed what we had done, again discussing the process we had carried out and the actual result we had seen. This opened us up to lots of new words for the children to learn and really got them thinking! It was also great fun and very engaging.

The skittles experiment:

We placed Skittle sweets around the edge of a plate using as many different colours as we could. We predicted what we thought might happen when we added hot water to the plate. Some of the predictions were: that the Skittles “might burn”, “pop”, “melt”, “change colour” or “turn white”. Many of the children thought that they might change colour. We also discussed the safety precautions that we needed to take when using hot water.
We then conducted the experiment pouring hot water into the plate. As the colour from the Skittles started to bleed into the water we discussed what we could see happening. The children talked about the Skittles loosing their colour and the rainbow appearing in the water. We then discussed whether our predictions had been correct. The children were keen to know whether the Skittles still tasted the same. Vikki tested this for them and declared that they did, just warm!

There were so many exciting experiments conducted this month;’ the blowing up a balloon experiment’ – where the children learned how a combination of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can produce gasses to fill a balloon, ‘the milk experiment’ –  where we added drops of food colouring to milk and studied how the colours reacted,’ the shaving foam experiment’ –  where we sprayed shaving foam on to the surface of a tray of water and then dripped drops of food colouring onto the foam and studied how the food colouring and shaving foam reacted. There was also ‘the lava lamp experiment’ –  where we combined coloured water with oil and then added Alka-Seltzer! In each case we discussed the process we would go though and predicted what we thought would happen.

The Egg Experiment:

This experiment takes a few days so we talked to the children about the different time scales that reactions can require. We made our predictions about what we thought might happen if we left and egg in a cup of white vinegar for a number of days. Some of the predictions were that the egg would “go invisible or get big”, “get bigger”, “get fizzy”, “turn into slime”, “it is going to float and it will be at the top”. We revisited the egg about an hour later and saw that one of the predictions made was correct, the egg was now floating……………………. 24hours later the egg shell had dissolved in the vinegar and the egg had become soft and bouncy!

Of course this all gave us huge scope for developing language. Words like ‘prediction’ were not in the everyday vocabulary of most of our children but hopefully they will be now!


We like to enrich our environment with literature of all kinds. We often have leaflets about different subjects in our reading area, the children often use them as maps in their role play and they also act as a great conversations starter about past experiences. The children have shared the leaflets with friends and taken them into the garden to read. They have become such an interest that we have continued to add more and more. We have leaflets about Peppa Pig World, Tomas Land, Marwell Zoo, Cornwall, Soft Play centres and food. We’ve looked at the leaflet contents and talked about what sort of information we might find in leaflets.

We said that there might be:

  • Words/writing
  • Numbers: prices or telephone numbers
  • Maps: of the place or of how to get there
  • Pictures/photos.

We then made our own leaflets about the places we have been to or things we like. Some of the leaflets were about holidays others about soft play centres that the children have visited. They included pictures and writing and are displayed in our room. Please have a look!


The festival of Holi is a Hindu festival known as the ‘Festival of Spring,’ the ‘Festival of Colours,’ or the ‘Festival of Love’. Holi signifies the arrival of spring, the end of winter, it also represents the triumph of good over evil. Holi is traditionally a very colourful festival famous for the images of people covered in gulal, a fine coloured powder that Hindu’s cover each other in during the festivities. Each year one of our fabulous practitioners who is Hindu, Meena, talks to the children about Holi and this year she inspired the children to make a huge display of super colourful pictures. They were very uplifting and positive in the slightly grey British spring time!