“Children’s learning is so complex, so rich, so fascinating, so varied, so surprising and so full of enthusiasm that to see it taking place every day before one’s very eyes is one of the greatest privileges of any early childhood practitioner.” Cathy Nutbrown
Welcome to Foundation 1 (Nursery)
Starting Nursery: The First Steps
Starting Nursery is a big first step on each child’s learning journey. It is so important that we take time and care to get the transition process right for each child and their family. We began our learning journey together with a home visit in July. Breaking the ice with children and parents in their own home is a wonderful, relaxed way to get to know each child on a one-to-one basis. It helps us to tune into each child’s interests, needs and family life and hopefully supports parents to feel at ease to approach us with any issues, large or small that will enable us to support their child. Children often remember these visits fondly as a special occasion and refer to them later, with “I remember when you came to my house.”
Many thanks to every parent who took up their home visit this year. It has really helped us to listen to your first-hand knowledge of your child so that we can follow up what you have told us and make adjustments and plans. It means that we have already begun making warm attachments with your child and has helped us to have more genuine, meaningful conversations with them.
During the first weeks at Nursery we follow up our home visit with our settling induction of shorter visits. We are there to spot the signs of anyone who is feeling unsure and to be close at hand, making sense of the new environment together. There is so much to remember when you are 3: Where must your shoes and pumps go? How do you answer the question of the day? Where are the aprons kept if you paint? This gradual approach enables the children to feel secure and to find their feet at their own pace.
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 a ‘menu’ of 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.
Please watch out for Our Photo Gallery in the Areas of Learning information below. I will continue to add to this as we travel along on our Learning Journey together. Here you will see snapshots of the thinking, interacting, wondering, talking, collaborating, enjoying and creating that is our early learning.
Our first RE topic in Foundation 1 is God’s World. During this first half term we learn how to show our love to each other as we make friends, and we will look at how amazing and beautiful God’s world is as we explore our surroundings. We have already been out and about together to explore some of its wonders in our lovely wooded path! We also went harvesting apples together from the orchard. We don’t want these to go to waste so the children enjoyed collecting them to them offer out to parents to take home and use in their cooking. We enjoyed looking closely at the nature around us too.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development is divided into 3 aspects: Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness; Managing feelings and behaviour; Making relationships. Our Foundation children are immersed in an enabling environment to allow rich experiences which support their development in this area.Look at these fantastic pictures which show this in action.
Self confidence and self awareness – the children are becoming more confident to try new activities and say why they like some activities more than others. They are also becoming more confident to speak in a familiar group and talk about their ideas. They are starting to choose resources they need for their chosen activities. We are also supporting the children to be able to say when they do or don’t need help.
Managing feelings and behaviour – the children are starting to talk about how they and others show feelings. They are also starting to talk about their own and others behaviour, and its consequences; a vital part of this is knowing that some behaviour is unacceptable. They are learning to work as part of a group or whole class sometimes too. They are learning to understand and follow the rules. As they do this, they learn to adjust their behaviour to different situations and take changes of routine in their stride.
Making relationships – the children in Foundation 1 are learning to play cooperatively by taking turns with others. They are learning to take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They children are already showing sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and they are forming positive relationships with adults and other children.
Physical Development is divided into 2 Aspects: Moving & Handling; Health and Self-Care.
Moving and handling – the children are learning skills enabling them to show good control and coordination in large and small movements. The Foundation 1 children are also learning to handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing. In Moving and Handling, each day children can free-flow between outdoor and indoor areas to increase their activity. In the Nursery classroom, there are many areas in the provision areas which provide activities that support fine motor development such as threading beads, pouring and filling jugs and containers, painting and exploring colour, mark-making of all kinds, building with blocks, pinching, rolling and cutting play dough or sand play.
Health and self care – we are supporting the children to know the importance of good health which includes physical exercise and a healthy diet. Children are learning to be able to manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.Our snack time routines, involve hand washing routines such as modelling the hand-wash sequence. We sit and chat about our favourite foods and have started to look at pictures of the range of foods to be eaten and to identify how different foods help growth and development.
We have also been sure to encourage children to feel proud of achievements in looking after their bodies and growing independence in health and self-care.We love to see children having a go at putting on their own shoes and coat to go outside.
P.E with Mr Cooper:
In P.E. Mr Cooper has a great range of activities that develop skills and help children develop their stamina, control, agility and co-ordination – stop and start games such as statues; games such as imitating animal movements, being rabbits or snakes so that children balance their weight on different parts of the body. Children are also given opportunities to develop object-control skills including catching, rolling and throwing skills with bean balls and hoops. Our PE sessions are great fun, exciting, lively, busy and challenging. We love Wednesday and Friday P.E mornings and “Is it P.E today?” is a frequently asked question every day!
A Focus on Communication and Language.
Communication and Language is divided into 3 Aspects: Listening and Attention; Understanding; Speaking.
In Foundation 1, we encourage the development of listening and attention skills in a wide variety of ways. These skills support language learning and include the ability to discriminate sounds and maintain and monitor attention in a shared context. As the children learn to listen and hold attention, they gradually develop the ability to understand words in context, beginning with single words and building on this with phrases and more and more complex sentences. Speaking is key and we develop the children’s confidence to feel ready to speak to adults and peers so that this allows them to express their feelings, needs and wants, their thoughts and ideas and be able to talk about what has happened and about creative or imaginative events.
Mathematics is divided into 2 Aspects: Number; Shape, Space and Measure.
In Foundation 1, the children learn about number so that they can count and understand the value of numbers including concepts like higher and lower. These skills support them to solve problems, use money and calculate more or less. With shape, space and measure the children develop these skills to support their understanding of size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money and compare quantities, objects and solve problems.
Literacy is divided into 2 Aspects: Reading and Writing.
In Foundation 1 stories are a daily activity. Children share stories on their own, in small and large groups or as a class. They develop a repertoire of rhymes and songs, They join in with repeat refrains and make comments and predictions about familiar stories. They turn pages, look closely at illustrations to pick up story cues to tell the story and learn about characters, context and style. We love the children to talk about stories they have been reading at home too. In Spring 1, the children start to take part in small group phonics lessons to support their development of hearing, saying and reading sounds.
To support the development of writing in Foundation 1, we encourage the children to make marks to represent their ideas. They begin to learn about the letters and sounds in their name and this is a starting point to understand the connections between sounds and letters in their own and other’s names and some simple words. This supports them with the early stages of writing in preparation for Foundation 2 when they use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds and write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. In Foundation 1, children’s hand control and physical strength is still developing; they will journey through stages of pencil grip, as this matures, towards increased control.
Understanding the World
Understanding the world is organised into 4 areas: People and Communities; The World; Technnology; People and Communities
Children learn lots about the world they live in by learning about the people; this usually develops starting with an interest in their own family story first and progresses to other people around them – this is the beginning of developing an understanding of the past and helps them to learn about how other people are different from them, yet share some of the same characteristics and ideas. Children’s knowledge of the world continues to develop as they absorb information through their observations, everything around them including places and all the things within them such as trees in the natural environment and roads and traffic in the built environment. Children notice things on journeys to and from home such as the sequence of the traffic lights or names on street signs. Children are also surrounded by technology. The children quickly recognise the role of technology and the different types of technology and uses at home or in Nursery. They become very familiar with technology by seeing Ipads being used in our Tapestry system which we use for observations, in the class CD player, phones in the Home Corner, BeeBots and other technological toys and the interactive whiteboard used too.
Expressive Arts and Design
Expressive Arts and Design is divided into 2 Aspects: Exploring Media and Materials; Being Imaginative
Exploring and using media and materials – children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. Being imaginative – children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through modelling, imaginary and role play, movement and dance.
Guess How Much I Love You: it has been an extra-special, bouncy week in Nursery.
It is now Week 4 in our learning journey together. As the children have settled so well, we have started to add in some extra challenges, such as adult directed activities, small group Letters and Sounds work and extra enhancements in the provision areas.
In our RE we have been getting to know the lovely story Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Bratney. Little Hare and his Daddy are deciding how much they love each other. Little Hare loves his Daddy as far as his arms can stretch but Daddy has longer arms. The children can relate really well to this idea and it led us to talk about who is the biggest and smallest in our own families. We then talked about things that are HUGE; creatures, buildings, people etc. WE made a class book of our imaginative ideas: trees, elephants, a long snake and the whole wide world!
Physical Development (including fine motor control activities)
This led us to some story based enhancements linked to the idea of BIG love! The children have enjoyed using a mark making tray with sand glitter hearts, glass beads, playing cards (hearts family) and tweezers for them to manipulate.
We also made Hare ears and once each child put these on, the bouncing began! It was lovely to watch the high levels of concentration as the children practice the tricky skill of learning scissor control with Mrs Gray. Great determination and a ‘can do’ attitude was evident as the snipping commenced.
Communication and Language, Expressive Are and Design and Understanding The World
It’s Raining,It’s Pouring!…… It’s Still Raining, It’s still pouring !!
One of the best things about Early Years learning is that it is responsive and spontaneous. One of the great fascinations this week has been the weather. In response to this predictable interest, we quickly planned some learning experiences around this. We have asked questions such as “Where does it come from?” we went puddle watching, we sang rainy day songs loudly outside, we painted rainy day scenes and listened to fast/ slow downpours on our improvised foil rain catcher. Whatever the weather we like to be out on the decking. We made a foil rain catcher and listened to the sounds of the gentle rain and the bashing down of the heavy downpour too. We painted some rainy day pictures in shades of blue and silver, which we thought reflected the watery colours of the day. The rain isn’t so bad after all, when you are spending it with your new friends!
A Rumble in The Jungle
In Weeks 5-7, we all went on a wild and wonderful jungle adventure together.
Reading and Understanding The World
We pitched up our safari tent, put up the mosquito nets, packed up our back packs, remembered to apply the sunscreen and to drink plenty of water and off we went to discover jungle animals. A Rumble in the Jungle, is a fabulous bold picture book with rhymes, repeat refrains and a text which gets the children hooked and joining in. There’s a rumble in the jungle, There’s a whisper in the trees, The animals are waking up, And rustling the leaves …We have read the story many times, so that the children are now really familiar with it and they ask many questions to find out more about the different features of the many animals. It has been read by our guest story teller Mr Cooper, Mrs Reddiex and Mrs Gray and is a favourite choice to share independently in the Reading area.
Physical Development (including fine motor control activities)
We made animal masks, which involved practice and perseverance with tricky cutting skills. To conclude, we had a wonderful noisy, fun Jungle Book ending with Jessica from One Day Creative who led us on a wonderful Movement and music adventure through the jungle trees.
Our number rhyme was predictably monkey based! 5 little monkeys teasing Mr Crocodile “you can’t catch me!” captured the children’s imaginations. A collection of monkeys, a crocodile, puppets and numerals helped us to retell the rhyme. There was lots of noisy fun working out how many monkeys were still in the tree and how many the crocodile had already eaten.
It is lovely to take stock of how settled the children now are. They have all returned after the half-term break full of beans and pleased to be back with their friends.
Musical Magic: Indoors and Outdoors
Expressive Art and Design
Learning a repertoire of good old-fashioned Nursery rhymes is an important early building block for language and reading.We are learning about rhyme, alliteration, sounds,keeping a steady beat, having fun with tongue twisters and playing with words, body percussion and instrumental sounds. It is also lots of noisy fun and interactive! We sing, dance and explore the instruments in our music area.
We sing, dance and explore the instruments in our new stage area outdoors.
We also sing and learn about special instruments with our very special Wednesday visitor- Mrs Stoney!
Mrs Stoney is a really special friend to all of the teachers and children, and she has amazing musicality. Where Mrs Stoney goes, the magic of sharing songs and music goes too.We sit together and learn how to make our voices go on a singing adventure. It is funny when we learnt about the tonal scale. Doh ri me fah soh la ti doh!
We learn a new song but first we practise keeping a steady clapping rhythm.
I like to sing, I like to rhyme,
I like to sing, most all of the time!
We sing lots of Nursery rhymes: some old, some new, some that we switch the words to make them our own too. Which ones do you like best at your house? Twinkle Twinkle, Hickory Dickory Dock, Humpty Dumpty, 3 Blind Mice, Baa, Baa Black Sheep, 12345 Once I caught a fish alive, The Grand Old Duke of York,….these are some of our favourites!.
Jump on Board!
An African Bus Mathematical Adventure.
There was so much excitement and safari bus buzz in the room, that I would like to share the whole learning story.
We began with Mrs Gray creating a Mind-map of what we already know about bus journeys, what we might need to take with us and what could happen on the way.
There was lots of rich, imaginative talk about snacks, drinks, sun screen, hats and backpacks. There were also scenarios like breaking down, needing fix-it tools and calling for the mechanic to come and help!
Each child was given a ticket. This had either a 1 or a 2 on it. These are the numerals that we have focused our attention on so far. Each child then had to jump on board and find a seat that matched their numeral. This was such a lovely collaboration as everyone settled down in their place and noticed who was sitting beside them in their paired seat.
We have to pay for our tickets though! Each child collected the coin that they need from the bus conductor. I penny for a Ip ticket and either 2 pennies or a 2p piece for a 2p ticket. This caused us to take a closer look to find the numerals on the coins.
We set off singing, chattering and minding the bumps in the road. Watch out Driver! The road is bumpy!
The following day we did a multi-sensory number tally to work out which is the most popular animal to spot from the bus window. We recorded this by using blocks as the objects for counting.
Is it a gorilla, tiger girafffe or snake?
Which is the most popular?
Which is the least liked animal?
What is the difference in the columns?
Can you match the correct numeral to the set of bricks?
This is a very visual way to work out math’s problems and to make links to what children already know.
Wow! Nursery children, it was lovely to be part of such a fun learning experience together.
One of the best things about our Early Years curriculum is that we can be very spontaneous and go with what ideas each day brings.This week it has certainly taken us to that amazing places!
Spring Term 1: