Welcome to our new format Newsletter! We hope that you find it clear, informative, interesting and accessible. If you think we could improve on it further then please let me know.
October and November have been busy months for the Mulberry Bush Locks Heath. With Harvest, Halloween, Bonfire Night and Diwali there is plenty to keep everyone busy! The change of season is always an opportunity for learning and for simply collecting conkers and playing in the autumn leaves. We talk to the children about the change in the weather and how this effects the natural world. We discussed how animals respond at this time of year by talking about those who will start to prepare for hibernation.
We collected food for the local food bank during the Harvest period helping the children to understand how they can help others in their community who may not be as fortunate as they are.
Halloween is a favourite at the Mulberry Bush. Both children and adults love to dress up and embrace the ‘spirit’ of the celebrations! There are pumpkins, spiders, black cats and even the odd ghost floating around!
Bonfire Night is also a source of inspiration for all age groups. The children all enjoy making firework inspired art. It also gives us the chance to talk about fire safety particularly with the Raspberries and Elderberries which they respond to really well and clearly take on board.
Diwali is a fabulous festival to help pick everyone up as the days get shorter and the nights longer. It literally brings light and colour to the darkness! As always we would like to thank Meena for bringing in her beautiful saris, traditional Indian children’s clothes, books, bindis and lovely music. She talked to the children about food traditionally eaten at Diwali and decorations that people may put up in their homes. One of our Raspberries children also brought in traditional clothing that he wears at Diwali to celebrate with his family. This really helped to bring the festival to life for the children.
I hope that you enjoy the newsletter. Please don’t forget to take note of any specific dates at the end!
Autumn has been in the air in the Blueberry and Strawberry room throughout October and November. There were a number of activities that enabled the children to explore the colours and textures of the season looking at the autumn leaves. We used squashes and left over pumpkins from Halloween as a play substance to illustrate the harvest period. The children have enjoyed using the squash in painting activities. The vegetables were cut into different shapes and used for stamping. We also cut the squash up to see what was inside and used them to ‘cook’ with in our role play kitchen! We introduced some real food into our play in November where we played with coloured and wriggly pasta, citrus faerie soup and had carrots and potatoes in our sensory trays.
Ready, Steady, Go! The children have enjoyed playing with their cars this month. In order to support their play and extend it further we created small model villages to drive around and helped them to create Ready, Steady, Go games whizzing cars and balls down the wooden ramps both indoors and outside in the garden.
Many of the children have a strong interest in heuristic play. The word ‘heuristic’ comes from the word ‘eurisko’ which means to learn, discover or reach an understanding of something. The term ‘Heuristic play’ was coined in the 1980’s it refers to play that is inspired by real-life, everyday objects that the children can explore independently and interpret in different ways. In the Blueberries and Strawberries we have a large selection of heuristic objects that we encourage the children to investigate. This month the children were playing with lolly sticks and clothes pegs, they decided to post them using our posting boxes. We also explored how a variety of heuristic objects reacted when we used magnets with them. The children were fascinated to see which objects the magnets stuck to and which they didn’t. They also used the object to stack and balance, starting to develop and understanding of how and why objects balance or fall depending on their shape, size or how we use them.
Throughout October the Raspberries focused on the change in weather. The children started to notice that the trees were going ‘brown’ and they began collecting leaves in the garden which we made in to beautiful autumn window pictures. We also watched some videos on YouTube about the different seasons and how the weather affects everyday things in our surroundings, the children really enjoyed learning about our different surroundings and the different life cycles of the plants and animals.
The children have shown a lot of interest in learning about size. To support this learning we created a number of activities focusing on large and small objects. We used the small cotton reels to make a group painting and used the plastic cable drum reels for a painting activity in the garden on big paper. The children really enjoyed comparing the pictures and seeing what different marks they made. We spent a lot of time in the garden at the end of October. As part of their learning about size the children helped us to fill 4 tyres with different plants and objects, they especially enjoyed filling one of the tyres with small stones and one with big stones.
All of the children loved our Halloween activities where we helped them to make pumpkin shapes out of potatoes to stamp. They used these to print them onto Halloween cards to decorate our room with. We also made our own orange paint using powder paint and added various things from the garden which the children collected such as autumn leaves, mud and sand. We also set up a sensory activity where we filled a pumpkin with the leftover pumpkin seeds, shaving foam, rice, jelly, glitter and also hid some plastic spiders in there! The children found this really interesting and began using words like, fluffy, lumpy, funny, silly and slimy, some of the children also said it smelt ‘like flowers’ and another said it smelt ‘like cheese’!
As November 5th approached we began firework activities where we spoke about fire safety and the people that help us to remain safe. We even dressed up as fire fighters and put out our very own (pretend) fire! The children loved learning about this with some of them bringing in their own fire engines for show and tell. We borrowed some new books from the library all about fire safety and about the different vehicles the firebrigade use to get around. We also made our very own fire work pictures with paint and tin foil. Splatting the paint on to give the firework affect. We then created a tuff spot with lots of different coloured materials, tubes, shiny materials and small sticks to again create the firework affect.
Since the fireworks we continued to talk about different people who help us such as doctors, nurses, traffic wardens, police officers and even mummies, daddies, grandparents and other family members. We introduced some new books that talk about people that help us, provided more dress up clothing in the role play area and set up some different activities in the role play area. This has given the children the chance to role play some of the people we have learnt about. We have noticed their favourite are Police officers!
At the beginning of November the Elderberries learned about Remembrance Day. They learned about the symbol of the poppy and why we wear them. They were able to tell us that the poppy is worn to remember those people who have given their lives to protect our country. We explored different ways of making poppies. One method used bright red leaves that we had collected. We added a black centre to them and stuck them to the paper with green glue which was very effective and made a lovely display. The boys in particular were inspired by the things they had learned and used it in their role play so we made a soldier tuff tray activity to extend this. The children enjoyed creating aeroplanes out of different construction materials and putting the little soldiers inside.
Halloween is always one of Elderberries most popular festivals. They spent lots of time exploring different objects associated with Halloween such as pumpkins, Halloween costumes and reading scary stories. We had different types of pumpkins in various different sizes. We had discussions about which pumpkin we thought was the biggest and using the measuring tape we were able to put them in order of size. We measured the pumpkins using a piece of string that was pinned to the pumpkin we had to see how many times we could wrap it around.
To celebrate firework night we each took it in turn to tell all our friends about the fireworks we had seen with our family. We pretended to be fireworks by jumping off the balance beam making the noise of a firework! The children were VERY good at this!
To create our own firework pictures we used the brightly coloured paint, making different marks, lines, dots, wavy lines and circles.We also stuck black tissue paper to the windows and used paint brushes to flick different coloured paint onto it, to create stunning giant fireworks pictures that all the children could contribute to.
Please make a note of the following dates in your diary
Week of the 10th – 14th December will be our Christmas Jumper Week! All children will be welcome to wear Christmas jumpers/Christmas outfits all week!
Friday 21st December; Carol will be serving our traditional Christmas lunch of turkey and all the trimmings
Christmas Closure: The nursery will be closed from 1pm on 24th December and will re open on 2nd January