Autumn 1: First Steps
Starting Nursery is a big first step on each child’s learning journey. So, it is really important that we take time and care to get the transition process right for each of them. We begin with home visits and settling visits and these are great ice-beakers for children and parents too.
The children learn the routines and get to know their new classroom very quickly. Most importantly they get to know their new teachers and begin to make friends. We begin by making a Brown Bear Class book with photos of our friends and teachers and play lots of games to get to know each other’s names and interests. Slowly and steadily, we learn what is important at Nursery to ‘Stay Happy and Stay Safe’ and we then agree our class rules. We all sign up with a finger print to our Smart Kids class rules, which is a promise to try our best to look after each other and our classroom and to listen to our teachers.
In Nursery our play is our work!
The children learn to access many learning experiences independently as they choose activities in each of the provision areas. These areas provide an open ended menu of learning opportunities and for pudding, we add enhancements. These enhancements include adult led activities and teachers responding to children by adding extra resources that reflect their interests. For example our home corner now has a special area to look after our much-loved black and white cat, which has been a significant toy for some children as they have settled.
Our Photo Gallery demonstrates all of the thinking, sharing, turn-taking, interacting, wondering, talking, collaborating, enjoying and creating that is our learning.
RE: God’s World
In RE we learn about God’s World. We listen to the story of creation. Our World is amazing and full of beauty. We go out and about together, to explore some of its’ wonders! We march through the woods, hunt for mini-beasts and rustle through leaves, we harvest apples, made delicious apple muffins and even print with them. We talk about our favourite creatures and say thank you to God for everything that he has created and we discuss taking care of these things. We meet and look after Mrs Reddiex’s tortoise for a whole morning. Mr Trot needs great care: to be fed, bathed and entertained with gentle hands to stroke him. We end each morning by saying Thank you to God for all of our friends and family, with our class prayer, which we say and sign.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
The Characteristics of Effective Learning are generic learning skills for life.
They are about how every child learns and we are ‘on the look out’ more than ever for these, as we tune into their personalities and interests in the early weeks at Nursery.
To support children’s learning and development effectively, we need to pay attention to the uniqueness of every child. We work out how best to support children’s learning and development by paying attention to these Characteristics of Effective Learning.
Playing and Exploring
Creating and Critical Thinking
The Characteristics of Effective Learning: Playing and Exploring
As children begin to ‘find their feet’ in Nursery, we observe them becoming inquisitive, motivated learners through their play and exploration. We watch them access learning as they follow their interests and enquiries in their child initiated play in the provision areas and respond by planning next steps in from this.
Playing and exploring takes many different forms every day, for each individual child: it might be making comments as you come up close to a tortoise, daring to go star gazing in the star zone or noticing spiders webs and then having a go at weaving your own.
We watch them play and explore to find out more.
We observe them playing with what they know.
We celebrate their willingness to try new experiences and to have a go at new challenges.
‘An involved child is gaining a deep, motivated, intense and long term learning experience.’ Frere Laevers.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning: Active Learning
Active Learning is not just about being physically active but also mentally alert and ‘ready, willing and able’ to learn. As children become more confident and purposeful in their new learning environment we see them demonstrating concentration, persistence, energy and satisfaction.
Active Learning takes many different forms every day, for each individual child: it might be sorting and ordering collections of objects, setting off on an imaginary journey, following PE instructions and trying so hard to hold your balance.
We watch them becoming deeply involved and concentrating.
We observe them persisting and keep on trying.
We celebrate their sense of satisfaction when they enjoy and achieve what they set out to do.
‘When we receive encouragement for our efforts and our ideas are valued, our feelings acknowledged and our discoveries recognised, we come to see the world as a safe place, and ourselves as competent and capable agents within it.’ (National Strategies, 2007: 3)
The Characteristics of Effective Learning: Creating and Critical Thinking
Creating and Critical thinking is when we see children following their own lines of enquiries and imaginative drives. It sees them using their previous experiences, building their skills as they transfer knowledge, experiment to find solutions and take on tricky challenges.
In their facial expressions we see their complex thinking and effort.
Creating and Critical Thinking takes many different forms every day, for each individual child: it might be matching the appropriate number of shells in our sea side maths activity, singing a range of songs with your friends with musical instruments to match or making your train before heading off with your friends on a journey- “where should the wheels go?”
We watch them having their own ideas.
We observe them making links .
We celebrate their receptiveness to new ideas as they choose ways to do thing.
‘Awareness of oneself as a thinker and learner is a key aspect of success in learning’ (Tickell, 2011: 90).
Our Learning Journey: On the Move
We’re Going On A Learning Journey….we’re going on a train ride.
It has been striking how the children’s play has become more collaborative, interactive and louder as they have got to know each other and learned that it is good to feed off each other’s ideas.
This interest in going on a train journey, took hold when the children made a long line of chairs stretching from the home corner to the door. They took turns to be the driver and shared ideas about where they were travelling to. Some children brought on board snacks, babies and even a laptop to get on with some work!
We took the train outside and re-built it, this time it was constructed out of crates, wheels and steering wheels, all aboard and off they went!
We focused on some number order work 1-5/10, with train carriages and thought about which shapes worked best for our large scale train model.
We made up a fantastic song ‘The Wheels On The Train’ and proudly shared it with Mrs Stoney and Miss Milivojevic. We also made name jigsaws, with the letters in our name forming the carriages.
This topic will probably run over into the start of next half term as the children are so happy and engaged with it.
Autumn 2: Wow! Look at what we have been learning now that we are settled at Nursery.
We firmly believe in the Early Years adage ‘there’s no such thing as the wrong weather-just the wrong clothes!’ We have enjoyed using the outdoors space to weather watch, explore pattern making with natural objects, mark make, build and also to notice what we mean by ‘wearing the right clothes to suit the weather.’
Learning how to put on your own shoes and coat is a huge achievement when you are 3 and 4 and it is a triumph to see children who have struggled to take great pleasure in being able to finally do just that.
We have been coaching the children with pencil control inside and outdoors too. For some children, this starts with feeling free with mark making on a big scale with large brushes and chunky floor chalks to get their movement muscle memory, working out how to make marks of lines, curves and patterns.
We also love our PE sessions with Mr Shaw and Miss Annabelle. We have been developing lots of skills such as moving in different ways, learning dance sequences, developing hand eye skills using balls, bats, hoops and quoits. Our Total Sports colleagues provide exciting and challenging activities that we are able to observe and then work with the children on.
Autumn Term 1.2: R.E
Our RE topic is God’s Family. This is a topic that the children relate to easily as they understand all about their own family members including grand parents and siblings. We learnt that God made all of the people in the Word to be part of his family and that we are part of his family too. We think about our school family and all the roles of different adults at school, who help keep us happy, safe and play a part in making our school a special place. As we approach Advent, we prepared for Jesus’s birth and had a wonderful celebration of this, together with our families at our crib service at Church on Thursday 30th November.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
This area of learning is truly at the heart of all of our learning experiences. After all being comfortable, secure, willing to try new experiences, happy to co-operate and make friends are vital skills for life.
The children have shown their true interests and fascinations this half term and through shared play and learning experiences, they are making connections and relationships with each other.
We meet for group time at the start and end of the day and children are encouraged to contribute and see themselves as part of a larger group with agreed boundaries.
We have had a very memorable last few weeks of Term, sharing together in the magic of the build up to Christmas. There has been such magic, pride and excitement in role playing Santa’s sleigh, wrapping gifts in our outdoors workshop, sharing Christmas stories, singing, making Christmas gifts for our families to show our love.
Two highlights were when at the start of Advent, sharing with our families at Church in out EYFS Crib Service and then performing so wonderfully at our Christmas Nursery Nativity.
Learning how to adapt to new experiences is a big ask for 3 and 4 year olds, but our children were real troopers and took the spotlight completely in their stride.
Communication and Language.
Talk, Talk, Talk but also Listen, Listen, Listen!
We are continually learning the art of language as we chat, think out loud, make comments, respond and share our experiences, explain ideas and ask and answer questions. Again a life long skill but one that we invest much time and care with, so that children become self assured and effective communicators.
The stimulus for talk this half term has been rich and varied. It included an encounter with Robbi the robot (Thank you Mrs Waterhouse!) This gave an opportunity to practise giving clear instructions. WE have also been explaining to each other the instructions for making things such as our Christmas wreaths and decorations.We have also been on A Bear Hunt together outside and knowing this story so well gave children a feel for rich story language, characters, feelings and the idea of a sequence of events beginning, middle and end. We have talked at length about our families and what we do in our homes at Christmas.
Spring 1: R.E
Our RE topic is Getting to Know Jesus. In our Christmas celebrations, we learned about Jesus’s birth, as we shared the story of the Very First Christmas. This term we find out about Jesus’s love for each one of us and how we can show our love to him. We learn about how Jesus cured people who were ill and consider how we can show care and concern for those who are unwell. We will learn our Morning school prayer as a way to welcome each other at the start of our time together.
Special Moments from Our Learning Journey this half term.
Let’s share some special moments and learning WOW moments from this half term.
Understanding The World: In this specific area of learning children learn to comment and asks questions about aspects of their familiar world such as the place where they live or the natural world. They talk about things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.
Our lines of enquiry took us on an icy learning journey. We began to notice the Wintry changes in the weather and noticed how the birds in the Foundation Stage garden were struggling to find food, but were still cheerfully singing in our garden! We learned a new rhyme, that made us sympathetic towards our feathered friends and fuelled our wish to make them some food, especially when we observed that the ground became harder.
I saw a little bird, going hop, hop, hop, so I said little bird won’t you stop, stop, stop,
I said little bird won’t you stay, stay, stay, but he shook his beak and he flew away.
We asked our families to kindly look out some seeds, boiled rice, lard, nuts, grated cheese help us out by having a look at home for any and combined together to make our bird food. We all made a bird feeder to take home to put in our gardens.
We then read a book called How Big Is A Million, which made us think about arctic landscapes and the wild life that we might see there. Our favourite creature are penguins; a curious bird, who although lacking the ability to fly is an amazing swimmer and waddler! We made a display of our penguins but our imaginations then moved on to the idea of creating an ice mountain in our Nursery.
There were lots of WOW moments and wonder as we worked together to build a mountain of ice cubes, added glitter, paint, glass beads, arctic animals and watched the colours merge and dance together. We had lovely mark-making as we used ice cubes and powder paint to make ice paintings, which created some lovely effects.
We took the ice tray outside and watched the reversible changes as the ice turned into water and the individual, bright colours merged into a brown sludge! We then used this with construction vehicles to make tyre marks and trails in the sludge!
Special Moments from Our Learning Journey this half term.
Let’s share some special moments and learning WOW moments from this half term.
Mathematics: Shape, Space and Measure.
- Shows an interest in shape and space by playing with shapes or making arrangements with objects
- Shows awareness of similarities of shapes in the environment.
- Uses positional language.
- Shows interest in shape by sustained construction activity or by talking about shapes or arrangements.
- Shows interest in shapes in the environment.
- Uses shapes appropriately for tasks.
- Beginning to talk about the shapes of everyday objects, e.g. ‘round’ and ‘tall’.
- Beginning to use mathematical names for ‘solid’ 3D shapes and ‘flat’ 2D shapes, and mathematical terms to describe shapes
- Selects a particular named shape.
We have learnt a new shape song, which helps us to think about the names of shapes and their properties. The learning was really sparked though when we headed outside armed with lengths of string to make some shapes!
Before we knew it the children had worked collaboratively with friends to turn string squares, circles, ovals, triangles, rectangles, pentagons and more shapes besides! They loved the freedom of drawing chalk shapes on the ground and as you can see had a try with many shapes. Abracadabra!! You turn the square into a triangle and point and say “look it’s turned into a triangle now!”
Through this hands on learning, you showed that you understand shape and size language and can identify and talk about the properties of some shapes. We followed it up by making shape pictures at the creative area- this included rockets, houses, bunk-beds and a Ferris Wheel.
Our story focus this week is the fantastic Giraffes Can’t Dance: a wonderful tale about a giraffe who worries that he cannot dance but with encouragement from a helpful cricket and a ‘can do’ attitude he learns that he CAN! The story cleverly instills the message of perseverance and not giving up when you face tricky challenges. Perseverance became our important word of the week. The children held on to this concept and pointed out examples in daily life where putting in the effort reaped rewards: putting on coats, tricky number jigsaws, trying a new paint technique, learning to write their name, fastening buttons- we just kept on proudly PERSEVERING!!
WORLD BOOK DAY- Sharing a love of stories! Dressing Up always produces some wonderful moments in Nursery. There were Princesses aplenty, a flotilla of pirates,a cuddly Paddington, a,storm trooper, some merry mermaids, a silvery Moon-Face and a bouncy Tigger! Fantastic costumes, some cosy reading time and a treasure hunt book trail.Happy World Book Day to Everyone!