Dates for your Diary:
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!
Preschool Graduation and Summer BBQ 6th July 2019
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!
Some of our activities in Strawberries this month have been based around the well-loved and known book “We’re going on a bear hunt”.
A forest tuff tray was created and we read the story to the babies linking the tuff tray to the book. We extended this popular activity by having a snow storm tuff tray in the sensory room with glitter and cotton balls to resemble the snow storm in the book. By placing printed words from the story alongside the items we are able to start to embed written language into the children’s environment and play. Practitioners also use these words, pointing them out to the children, encouraging them to try to copy. In this way the children start to learn new and exciting words from the story which is great for their communication and language.
‘Bear paw’ foot print printing in the ‘mud’ with brown paint was a huge hit with our Strawberries. They loved printing with their feet pretending that the paint was the thick oozy mud from the story. It was great for the babies to connection the movements they made to the marks left by their feet stomping and sliding in the paint. Their footprint quickly became “paw prints”! It was also a fantastic sensory experience. The babies couldn’t help but squeal and laugh at the feeling of the cold paint squishing between their toes.
We encouraged further imaginative play by holding teddy bears picnics outside on blankets in the garden while it has been sunny. They enjoyed this so much that we decided to take snack outside to really bring the experience to life. It has been really nice for the babies as it provides variety to the daily routine which helps keep things exciting and fresh, encouraging different responses from the children.
Food at the Mulberry Bush is not only important for meal and snack times. We like to offer real fruit and vegetables for the children to explore and investigate alongside traditional pretend play food items. This month have used things such as carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and pasta not only in our role play area but for investigative and messy play. Children have a much fuller learning experience with the addition of real food rather than solely pictures of or pretend food. In this way we are able to provide a fully sensory experience where children can feel and smell the food (and sometimes they even have a sneaky taste). It becomes a great hands on experience and is also a good way to become familiar with food which helps establish positive eating habits.
To continue the theme of popular books Blueberries based a lot of activities around the popular book “Dear Zoo”.
The lift the flap aspect of “Dear Zoo” was of great interest and intrigue to our Blueberries and was a great way for them to start learning how to take turns and understand that some things must be shared. They enjoyed both sharing the story with their key person and the anticipation that came with lifting the flaps. Many were keen to attempt this themselves which encouraged the use of their fine motor skills. This story also provided the perfect chance for staff to model animal noises to the children. The use of familiar sounds helps to captivate and enhance our youngest babies listening and attention skills. This was also supported by singing songs that link with animals such as “walking through the jungle”, “3 little ducks” and “5 little monkeys” which helps the children learn and respond to rhythmic patterns and rhymes. You can check these songs out on YouTube to sing along with your child https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o332s5Hl0c
Animals have been a main interests for the Blueberries this month and they became a strong feature in their messy play. Toy animals were placed in gloop and cloud dough to encourage the babies to explore different textures by moving the animals through the different mediums. Using the animals as a tool allows the children to explore the medium without necessarily touching it. This can be helpful for some children who are reluctant to put their hands into the substance. By using the animals as a supporting aid children are encouraged to be able to join in. When they feel confident with this the next natural step is for them to investigate with their hands which provides fantastic sensory experiences and responses from them. Of course these ‘muddy’ animals then also need cleaning and we know that water play is always a big success! Washing ‘muddy’ animals provides an excellent opportunity to develop the Blueberries gross motor skills as they instinctively splash their hands and arms around in the water. The addition of cloths to help clean means that they have the opportunity develop side to side motions by wiping the cloths back and forth over the animals.
Child Led Activities – Picnic
At the start of the month a lot of our children were returning from holidays and were very excited to share their holiday stories with their friends. When listening to these stories is was clear that the children has spent a lot of time outside. They spoke about swimming, walking, playing and eating outside. This was of interest to all the children as they liked the sound of eating outside. So we decided to set up a role play kitchen and dining area in the garden. All of our children took an interest in this and used the food and kitchen utensils to make a lovely picnic in the garden. The children sat together and spoke about the food they had made, one saying ‘I made brown ham sandwiches’ and another saying ‘I made curry and its really soft’. Our children are always using their imagination to build different narratives for their play and show lots of enjoyment when doing so. This is something we encourage and extend where ever possible. Not only is it a fun way of learning it also allows children to build confidence, creativity, communication and physical development.
STEM Activities – Sink or Float
As part of our regular planning cycle, we had a look over all of the activities that the children have particularly enjoyed over the last couple of months. We noticed that they have shown lots of interest in STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths). To extend this we decided a fun experiment to do with the children would be to provide lots of heavy and light objects and a big pool of water. The aim of this was for the children to guess which ones would float and which ones would sink. They all enjoyed testing out the different objects and watching them closely. This provided a lot of excitement and thoroughly engaged the children. So much so that they extended the activity themselves by finding more natural objects in the environment to experiment with. This helped to develop many characteristics of effective learning as it motivated the children and allowed them the opportunity to explore and investigate their own ideas.
Schemas – Transporting
Another important factor to consider when completing our planning is whether or not the children are presenting any schemas. A schema is a pattern of repeated actions. Often these seem to be fascinations that children have that can seem quite strange, however schemas are an important way that children gain an understanding of the world and themselves. Recently we have noticed that the Raspberries children have spent a lot of time pouring the sand into the water tray and the water into the sand tray. We noticed this was a schema for a lot of our children and decided to plan an activity which will allows them to fulfil this in a constructive way. In Raspberries we feel that it is very important to recognise schemas in children’s self-initiated play as they link directly to the development and strengthening of cognitive structures in the brain. To challenge this we provided a large water tray, a large sand tray and an empty tray and put them all at different levels, the children were all keen to take off their shoes and socks and stand in the trays! Each child then enjoyed transporting the sand and water into the different level trays. We noticed this was a great activity for physical development as the children were working all of their muscles whilst transporting the heavy buckets of water and sand. It’s also great for building relationships as they all demonstrated very good team work, coming together to help assist one another in carrying the sand.
We were extremely lucky in Elderberries that Ellie’s Mummy bought a new book for us, “10 things I can do to help my world”. After reading the book to our preschool children we discussed all the things we’ve been doing lately that help our world . We also discussed the impact of what we don’t do and how we can start doing more to help.
One thing suggested in the book is to use both sides of the paper when writing and drawing! This is something we try really hard to do as a preschool already but the book opened us up to a new thoughts and reasonings as to why we need to do this.
L.A “because we have to use all of it”
M.V “we don’t want to waste paper”
We then discussed where paper comes from and how we need to cut down trees to make paper. We explained that trees keep our air clean and give us oxygen and that is why we shouldn’t waste the paper and cut down too many trees.
This naturally led on to the subject of growing and planting. This is something we have already been doing a lot of in our own garden area, so we turned to the page in the book that said we can help the world by planting new plants. We have been enjoying planting lots of vegetables and plants in our growing area and tending to them by digging over the soil and watering the plants regularly. We discussed how growing our own fruit and vegetables as well as encouraging the growth of other plants plays an important part in helping our planet.
We also discussed litter and how we can help our world by putting litter in the bin. I asked the children why this was important.
D.C “because a policeman will tell you off”
N.F “because we have too”
M.V “because animals will eat it and will make them poorly”
L.A “people might trip over it”
We talked about how they were all very good points and how just by putting our litter in the bin we are keeping the world safer and cleaner. A local beach cleaning event was held this month which we promoted to parents and families to help others get involved and raise awareness. Some of the children took part in the clean up themselves which they were then able to talk about during circle time to their peers.
We then turned to the page about recycling. We looked at recycling last month but we started up a conversation again how things can be used more than once. We can recycle by putting things into the correct bin, so we made a paper bin and a plastic bin to go in our preschool room and we talked about how we can recycle old boxes by making them into something else that we can use again. So we have had lots of fun with our deconstructed role play area by using old boxes to make new things during our junk modelling.
Another suggestion from the book was to feed the birds. This led to a lovely conversation about why it’s important to look after the birds and animals who share our environment and ways in which we can help them. Lots of ideas were shared and some tied in nicely with the previous page about littering and how it’s important to put our litter in the bin in case birds or wildlife eat it.
From this discussion, we decided to make our very own bird feeders to help the birds who visit our garden. We talked about what birds like to eat and helped the children to mix together lard and bird seeds in a bowl before spooning the mixture into little pots. We placed some string in the middle and left them to set in the fridge. We also made bird feeders using halved apples stuffed with the lard and seed mixture. Once set, we tied them to the branches of our tree and the children enjoyed watching the birds dig in to their yummy feast!
On top of all of our graduation preparations we have been getting exited for our big transition to school for our eldest Elderberries! We have been preparing the school leavers for this new adventure by going on school visits and inviting their new teachers to come and see us at pre-school! In our role play area we have swapped the princess and superhero outfits for local school uniforms. This is helping us to recognise what uniforms each of us will be wearing and which school it belongs to as well as encouraging us all to practice getting ourselves dressed and undressed. This is a simple and fun way to help encourage independence and build confidence.