Here are some of the provision area, where we play and learn together.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Autumn 1: First Steps
“May they move forward with their enthusiasm maintained and their wonder increased and their self-esteem intact.”
Sally Featherstone. Smooth Transitions.
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 we built a pirate ship outside together, created out of crates and found materials. There was pirate chatter, treasure hunting and skulduggery. There was also problem solving, talk, friendship bonding, listening to each other’s ideas, laughter and collective excitement.
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: 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.
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).
We’re going on a learning journey….we’re going on an exciting one!
Look at what we have been learning, now that we are settled at Nursery.
“When children’s physical and emotional needs are met, they are more ready to take advantage of the play and learning opportunities on offer.” DES
This has been an exciting half term. The children feel safe, secure, have formed positive relationships with others and have a strong and happy sense of belonging. Learning lights are switched on and it has been exciting observing children make their own choices and follow their lines of enquiry.
R.E: God’s Family
This is a lovely topic to explore with the children as they easily relate and love to talk about their family members including grand parents and siblings. We learn 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. One of our annual high-spots, as we approach Advent, is our crib service in Church.This year our service led by Canon Nunan was a beautiful, memorable family event. Thanks to everyone for thei participation and their amazing creative cribs!
Our RE learning culminated in our re-telling of the story of the very First Christmas at our magical Nativity. Please scroll further down for photographs.
The learning environment both inside and outside play a role in inspiring children to make choices, investigate and discover. Our morning is structured to provide opportunities for children to learn through planned, purposeful play in the indoor and outdoor environment. Some learning is led by adults and some by the children themselves. The adult role is to support children to engage in the learning process, to observe and extend their learning through our playful interaction..
The Prime Areas
- Personal, social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
The Specific areas
- Understanding the world
- Expressive Arts and Design
Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
Self-confidence and self-awareness
Managing feelings and behaviour
Children learn to share, take turns, use resources and follow rules and routines in order to get along happily and safely.
Communication, Language and Literacy
Listening and attention, Understanding & Speaking
Children develop into sociable, confident and successful communicators, as they understand that their contributions are heard and valued. This is supported by our positive relationships, play and interaction, daily group times, Chatter Matter groups, individual speech and language support and every part of our daily routines and learning experiences.
Moving and handling, Health and Self-care
Children learn to develop new skills, gain independence and become more self-reliant in their self-care. They use their whole bodies with imagination, joy and co-ordination as they participate in P.E and enjoy building their skills in the provision areas, building, design and making, cutting, drawing, writing and manipulating dough.
Reading & Writing
Sharing a love of stories, singing, rhymes, playing with letters and sounds, mark-making on a big and large scale indoors and outside, writing, painting, getting to know the sounds in our own names and those of others, acting out stories are all part of our Literacy menu. Whether your child naturally loves to draw and draw some more or if they are more reluctant to hold a pencil at this stage, we take mark-making and story learning experiences to them. Large maps on the floor to draw tracks and roads and shopping lists in the home corner.
Number, Shape, Space and Measure
Children are supported in their mathematical development in all areas of the setting. Talking with children helps them to develop early mathematical concepts such as more/ less/ greater numbers of objects in a set and accuracy in counting. As we talk we encourage children to understand the meaning of vocabulary such as number names, add, altogether, count on, heavy/ heavier/ heaviest, same, different, next to etc. To see children truly using their growing mathematical knowledge spontaneously in meaningful contexts is amazing! This is seen in the photos of learning about number recognition and number order outdoor area with the large digits.
Understanding the World
People and Communities
Children are natural explorers and their enquiries enable them to find out more, make connections, build awareness of themselves and relate to the natural and technological world. We have been thinking about how we have changed since we were babies, seasonal changes and the people in our communities who help to keep us safe. We have also got involved as Planet Protectors in making our recycle tortoise.
Expressive Arts and Design
Exploring Media and Materials, Being Imaginative
In Nursery, children are provided with the necessary resources for them to develop their imaginative ideas. This takes countless, creative and varied forms: musical instruments and an open stage, a puppet theatre and finger puppets, a collection of boxes in various shapes and sizes, a photograph, a shell, a collection of scarves or some dressing up props. These provide the ingredients that enable the magic to begin. It is never about the finished end-product but rather the thinking and exploring that has gone on throughout the creative process. Our role as teachers is to spot the spark and use the child’s idea to build, share knowledge leading to rich learning experiences, such as pirate play, building homes for pet animals or collaborating to make a Santa sleigh.
Our Christmas Nativity Singalong was solid gold, eye-watering, lump-in-the-throat, beautiful magic! Thank you to our wonderful volunteer Mrs Stoney for her musical accompaniment and keeping us all on track!
A Focus on Outdoors Learning in Spring 1
Once upon a time, when you were a child many of your most vibrant memories are likely to have been based outside, exploring, taking risks, having fun and feeling carefree. At Nursery, we try to maximise opportunities for the children to access free-flow outside play.
Our outdoors provision is an extension of the inside classroom and I have no doubt that our children will say it is at the heart of our provision- for many it is simply their favourite place to be. We want children to flourish as we play and learn together outside. Here they often take the lead with their interests and schemas and then we walk along with them through their learning journey, through our responsive planning and interaction. We add resources as we spontaneously play and interact- a castle can materialise in the course of a morning, then it may have changed to a bakery by the very next day.
The outdoors provision is open-ended, accessible, flexible, small and large scale and skills-driven. We offer additional planned challenges, such as a dinosaur number hunt, but we recognise that it must be planned in an open and flexible way. It should be the backdrop which enables children the space and freedom to bring their magic, motivation and interests with them to shape their learning. It should create myriad opportunities for purposeful self-chosen play, collaboration and imaginative play.
This half term here is a walk through of some outdoors learning moments:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding The World
Expressive Art and Design
Musical Moments in Nursery- Spring 2 Songbirds!
We are very grateful to our talented, musical volunteers Mrs Stoney and Mrs Rushton.
Mrs Stoney has been visiting Nursery for many years and the children are always delighted to greet her and her keyboard with great enthusiasm and excitement. She brings grace and a very special, musical quality to our Wednesday singalongs, that with the greatest will in the world we might never otherwise accomplish!
Mrs Rushton is our very own ukelele impressario. The children have had fantastic fun in groups small and large, exploring the sounds of different instruments as they match musical sounds to tell familiar stories, such as the 3 Little Pigs.
Nursery Rhymes are a beautiful bridge to the past, cascaded down from one generation to another and drawing widely from different cultural traditions. They are also widely recognised as having many other learning benefits for our youngest children. The links between having a repertoire of rhymes, poems and songs and success at reading has been widely researched.
This is why:
Repetition, rhythm, repeat refrains with accompanying actions and music, extend and feed children’s vocabulary.
Rhymes, alliteration and word play are children’s support blocks to enable them to tune into sounds, phonics, groups of words and sentence structure.
Understanding how words sound and how rhymes are structured supports children’s early spelling.
Most of all IT IS FUN: when you sing together it is noisy, interactive, imaginative and you feel as free as a songbird!
On the Move in P.E
Developing a healthy, active lifestyle starts early and physical activity is key to this. Our doors are open every day to enable the children to spend time engaged in physical activity outdoors as well as our twice a week P.E sessions.
In Nursery, we sing our Sporty Kids song as we get ready for our P.E sessions with our P.E partner teacher Mr Cooper. These sessions are planned so that children are given time to experience, explore and learn for themselves how to move their bodies and develop their skills and co-ordination in a BIG space- either outdoors or in the Hall.
Mr Cooper demonstrates skills such as balance, agility, moving in a range of ways and how to achieve these with patience and humour!
The children participate with a can-do attitude, showing great enthusiasm and determination as they respond to the challenges. Mr Cooper shows the children what is possible and how to achieve it and gives everyone time and encouragement to have a go.
Movement is a fundamental way in which children learn and our P.E sessions provide fantastic opportunities to support physical development as well as listening and attention skills. We know that gross motor development in turn impacts children’s early writing and other areas of learning.
Literacy Lift Off in Summer 1.
When Golidilocks went to the house of the Bears….this is what happened next…
We have enjoyed sharing this much loved traditional tale with the children. The story ignited the children’s imaginations and our literacy learning developed through a range of story based learning experiences. Some of this got very messy!
Literacy: retelling a story in the correct order, telling stories from memory, recounting key elements and characters from a well known story, language development and consolidation of repeat refrains and story vocabulary.
Mathematics: ordering and matching by size, using comparative language of big/ big/ bigger/ biggest small/ smaller/ smallest, thinking about other mathematics words to describe size, exploring capacity as we pour and fill with porridge, problem solving and thinking skills
Expressive Art and Design: using props to represent other things in imaginative play, taking on a character and keeping in role, singing our Goldilocks song, exploring different media and materials to make teddies.
PSED: working together to retell a story, being confident to act and narrate in front of others, staying in role for a sustained length of time, concentration skills, collaborating to share resources in Goldilocks house and at porridge tray.
Once Upon A Time…..we read the story of Goldilocks and sang the song when Goldilocks went to the house of the Bears.
The children soon discovered the interlopers in the Home Corner….it was of course the 3 Bears. A flurry of excitement took hold and sustained children’s interest and involvement over the course of a whole week. The children read different versions of the story and retold it with the props in the home corner and the music area. A group of boys enjoyed making a procession of the Bears and stomped them through the woods talking to each others in growly bear voices about where they were going. The children enjoyed making trails in the Goldilocks salt tray, using their fine motor skills to make patterns. On arrival at Goldilocks cardboard cottage, the children decided to make some rules: no bears running, no bears jumping, only 3 bears and wrote these on a poster for the cottage wall. The children used what they knew about keeping each other safe and happy to devise these rules, entirely spontaneously. The messy, sensory play with porridge and a range of different sized pans, funnels, spoons and bowls, was great fun and very popular. The classroom smelt pleasantly of maple syrup for a week, in reenactments the hungry bear growls grew louder and the deep story learning embedded further.
A reminder about the importance of stoking children’s imaginations and ideas with a rich variety of stories.
‘Children who read plenty of memorable stories avidly and repetitively, or are read a regular ‘bedtime story’, will implicitly internalise language patterns. Many of these children have the skill to draw on this resource for their own writing. Traditional tales are significant because they loiter in the mind powerfully due to their rhythmic, repetitive language but also because of their powerful images – wolves and trolls tend to hang around! Ted Hughes felt such tales were crucial because they offered ‘blueprints for the imagination’.
The Children are making their mark!
Mark-making and early writing focus.
This half term we have focused on supporting all aspects of mark making and early writing. Some of you attended the workshop for parents ‘Supporting Children’s Early Writing at home.’ Before children are ready to put pencil to paper to form letters, they need time and rehearsal to develop their gross and fine motor skills. These pre-writing skills are essential for the child to be able to develop the ability to hold and move a pencil fluently and effectively and therefore produce legible writing. When these skills are underdeveloped it can lead to frustration and resistance due to the child not being able to produce legible writing. This can then result in poor self esteem and academic performance, so the importance of this cannot be underestimated. .
Some of the underlying skills to help writing readiness are pencil grasp, hand-eye co-ordination, ability to master using objects such as mark making tools and hand and finger strength.
Messy play and sensory experiences making marks in the soil, the air (ribbon sticks) salt trays, large brushes and water, using tweezers and small spoons to transfer and move small objects etc are all fun and help children to develop their fine motor skills.
We start by using your child’s name, family and friends as a starting point for early phonics and writing. We play lots of games with our names, count the letters, sound out each sound, think about who else in our class has the same initial sound and then start to write in glitter, on personalised paper and on our name cards.
When your child begins to show signs of being ready to write, we encourage them to follow the correct letter formation. Please encourage your child to use lower case letters (with exception of initial letter of their name). Bad habits are very difficult to ‘un-learn’ – so we try hard to get it right from the very beginning!
It’s a Dog’s Life!
The black and white cat in the home corner is a much-pampered favourite with many children. We have created a new friend for him, Henry the dog.
This half term the children’s interest in pets took off and led to some interesting lines of enquiry. We started with a number tally and worked out that the most popular pet is a dog and then had a class vote to come up with the most popular name. Introducing Henry the dog! After talking generally about pets and asking the children to describe the pets they have at home, we made homes and pet carriers for our cuddly toys were used to represent various types of pet. We used pairs of cards and the children had to match the animal with their baby and the type of food they eat. We learned about the importance of keeping animals safe and how to look after them properly. To help this along Mr Trot the tortoise came to visit for the day and he was treated like a Prince! The children showed curiosity, wonder and gentleness as they gave him free rein in the outdoors area, to dig, mooch about and trot around.!
Introducing Mr Trot, a living creature supported children in caring for God’s World and in deepening their understanding as they asked questions and made observations.
The Dogs Trust representative Rachel was invited along to support our learning about how to gain a much greater knowledge and understanding of how to look after dogs and how to act when we meet them. This was such a lovely, engaging session and the children showed great assurance in learning being dog-friendly rules:
Beware of disturbing dogs that are eating or sleeping
Even if for fun, don’t ever tease a dog please
Don’t approach a dog with no owner around
Only stroke a dog when the owner says ‘Yes, you can’
Get the dog to sniff your hand first, then stroke gently
Strange dog approaching? Stand still, look away, cross your arms
Move calmly and quietly around any dog
All that hugging and kissing – you might like it, dogs don’t!
Remember all dogs have teeth
Treat dogs with respect and they will respect you!