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“Earlier is not better, all children accomplish milestones in their own way, in their own time.”

Magda Gerber
 


 

Messy Play

Messy play is important for the children as it supports their development in a variety of ways such as:

- fine motor skills
- gross motor skills
- hand eye coordination
- communication and language skills, physical skills and social skills.

Messy play involves:

- Children being given many opportunities to speak and listen.
- Children using all their senses in the process of exploration, especially the sense of touch.
- Children making their own discoveries using their senses, curiosity and knowledge.
- Not having a focus on making or producing something.
- Children interacting with others and developing problem solving skills.

There is no 'right' way to explore in messy play which means that children of all ages and abilities are able to use open-ended materials in their own way and as part of a group. This builds confidence and self-esteem and it offers children, especially who are new to a setting, a way to become involved and get to know the other children. Messy play does not rely specifically on words so children who acquire English as an additional language can join in and use the materials with their peers.
 

Stay & Play

On Saturday 16th April, the baby room organised a stay and play for the children and parents to attend. Following the children’s interests, we chose the theme messy play. Staff planned a variety of different messy activities for the children to participate in including:

- blue water play with boats and sea animals
- coloured gloop
- sand play
- a farm scene using cereals and animals
- a variety of mark making activities.

It was a popular event where parents had the opportunity to interact with their own children and other children and their parents and the baby room staff. Leaflets were produced and given to the parents which explained the different types of messy play and how it links to the prime areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (Personal, Social and Emotional, Communication and Language and Physical).

From this event, the baby room staff used messy play as the interest of the week and used this theme to plan a variety of different activities for the children.

The children and their parents really enjoyed this event and this was evident within the parent feedback we received.

Parent Feedback

‘I would definitely come again it was all well prepared and organised.’
‘The leaflet explained the importance of messy play clearly.’
‘The variety of activities was really good for developing the senses. The leaflet was excellent for giving some starter activities that are easy to do at home.’

Ideas of activities to do at home

Gloop: mix corn flour and water to create a slimy texture. Add glitter or food colouring for special effects.
Bean play: put in a tray to encourage children to explore textures using their senses.
Flour play: add animals, vehicles or simply use your own fingers to make different marks.

The baby room staff would like to thank all of the parents for their continuing support, involvement and feedback.

 
Playing outdoors is a form of exercise that promotes well-being and wholesome physical development. Children are naturally drawn to active play outdoors: it allows them to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence. Playing actively outdoors also increases flexibility, fine and gross motor skills and is related to the development of a wide variety of physical skills. Outdoor play also gives a lot of opportunities for speech development.

Our Toddlers took part in an outdoor Beach activity where there were lots of benefits to their development. This activity was planned due to a ‘Next Step’ to focus on interest, speech & language development, physical development by focusing on fine motor skills and sensory play. Sensory play is a way to further stimulate a child’s senses such as touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. Sensory play allows children to explore and encourages them to use their imagination and creativity.

The children were able to enjoy the sensory side of the water and sand mixed together and exploring the bubbles appearing and disappearing. Their excitement encouraged them to use their language to shout “bubbles” and “pop”.

The children had the chance to see different sea animals floating in the water and they tried to say each sea animal’s name by imitating an adult. This was a good way for the children to focus and use their concentration skills by being able to spot and point out the animals. During the activity the children had the chance to use plates and bowls to further their fine motor skills by scooping the sand into them and pouring it back out.
This ‘Next Step’ activity was chosen due to one of the children having a lot of interest in outdoor play and water activities. Activities that children enjoy are a good way to stimulate them in other areas of their development such as encouraging them to develop their language skills.  Following on from this activity we have further ‘Next Steps’ planned for language and physical development which we will extend to the outdoors.

Chatterboxes


Early years practitioners can help sustain natural language development by providing environments full of language development opportunities. One way we do this is by encouraging parents to create Chatterboxes with their child at home for us to then spend time looking through with them here at nursery.

We use the Chatterboxes at various times in the day, such as during circle time. This gives the children the opportunity to share the items in their chatterbox with their friends.

Chatterboxes are a vital tool to support a toddlers language and communication skills especially as they are just learning to talk and pronounce new words. Having a child’s chatterbox available to use at nursery helps children to share their interests with us as well as encouraging them to say words that are familiar and special to them such as pets or family member names.

Last week Frejya’s Mum from Caterpillar’s brought in a chatterbox for Frejya to share with us at nursery. Instantly Frejya was excited to show us what was inside her chatterbox.
During circle time when all of the children were sat together we gave Frejya her chatterbox. Frejya quickly looked through her box and began pulling out lots of different items such as books, photographs and toys. As Frejya looked through her chatterbox items she was able to pronounce words that she hasn’t used in nursery before.

Within a week of having Frejya’s chatterbox here at nursery she has shown great progress in her language and communication skills. After sharing with Frejya’s Mum the positive impact the chatterbox has had on her development she has also expressed how happy she is to hear that Frejya’s speech is progressing. We are going to continue working closely with Frejya’s parents and using Frejya’s chatterbox on a regular basis.

 
This month in Bumblebees, the children took a large interest in pirates. From this, we planned lots of different activities which included looking for buried treasure in the sand pit, exploring the sunken pirate ship in the water tray and making our very own treasure maps.

We had received a lot of comments from the parents about how the children had been talking about all the pirate activities at home, so we decided to host a pirate event for the children and their families. It was a perfect opportunity for the children to share their experiences from nursery with their mummies, daddies and grandparents. We made Pirate themed invitations and handed them out. The event was to be held on a Saturday and we got really good responses from the parents. I think they were more excited than the children!

On the day, the Bumblebees’ team worked really hard setting the garden up with all of the Pirate themed activities:
-    A tattoo parlour
-    Walking the plank
-    Treasure maps
-    Treasure hunt
-    Pirate skills
-    Pirate photo booth
-    Find your pirate name

We even had Pirate themed food which went down a treat. When the families arrived, they were greeted with a balloon sword and shown into the garden where all the fun activities were. The children were all dressed in their pirate costumes and even some of the parents wore their best pirate outfits. Walking the plank and the Tattoo Parlour were the hot spots of the event and the children loved showing off their tattoos to one another.

We received lots of positive feedback from parents and grandparents on the day of the event so the following week, we handed out feedback forms for them to fill out. As the feedback forms came back, we saw lots of positive feedback and also constructive feedback. Constructive feedback is just as important as positive feedback as it helps us to look at what we could change and how we can improve any future events that we host. Here are some quotes from our feedback forms:
 â€˜We all really enjoyed it and it was good to meet the other parents as you don’t often get the chance when dropping off’.

‘Absolutely loved it – excited all week and very proud to take Mummy to nursery on Saturday. I also loved seeing how confident she was in her own environment and with her Key Workers and peers’.

‘Very well thought through. Plenty to do. Good attention to detail – even the food and drink was pirate themed. The party bags at the end were a lovely touch’.

‘Everything was brilliant. But just a thought, could have had some pirate songs/tunes or stories? That said, the children didn’t need anything else, it was really really good’.

 
The Pirate event was a big hit and everyone had a really fun morning. Everyone’s costumes looked really good and the amount of effort that was put in from both parents and staff was lovely to see. Bumblebees’ are already in the process of planning their next one and we can’t wait!

 

Since the introduction of our whiteboard planning, our Pre-school children and their families have all embraced the many different topics and interests that we have covered, none more so than our latest interest in Dinosaurs!

The children have been very interested and excited to learn all about dinosaurs through the many different activities that have been carried out. A particular favourite has been the papier mache dinosaur eggs, along with decorating T-Rex masks.

To help extend the children’s knowledge and language, they all took part in a dinosaur hunt where they were able to recognise and learn the names of lots of different dinosaurs. Through the dinosaur feeding activity, the children learnt what dinosaurs ate and were able to recognise whether a dinosaur was a carnivore, an omnivore or an herbivore…well done Pre-school!!

Creative activities are always popular and the children loved dipping their feet into paint and stomping their way along paper, to make their own dinosaur footprints. The final activity tested the children’s math’s skills by baking dinosaur egg cookies, the children helped to weigh ingredients, mix them together and then flatten the dough and cut out dinosaur eggs. This activity prompted lots of mathematical language, along with talking about different textures and recognising the shape of the dinosaur eggs.

The children are always very interested and excited to learn lots of new things and for their next shared interest, they will be embarking on a journey through space!
 

School Transitions

As we have a lot of children leaving us soon to start their new journey in school, we have been helping them to prepare for this adventure by sharing lots of stories about school. The children have all been busy decorating their letters for school by drawing their favourite things and writing their names. We then send these letters to school to invite teachers to come and visit us here at nursery and meet the children. We will be holding a school transitions meeting for parents of all children who will be attending school. A letter of invitation will be sent out to you nearer the time.

The Queen’s Garden Party
Firstly we would like to thank all of you who attended the nursery garden party. The preschool children had lots of fun preparing for this by practicing their range of songs, and especially learning the National Anthem (we hope you enjoyed the show)!

The children had lots of fun decorating flags, making crowns and getting very messy in our red, white and blue shaving foam. Of course, the highlight was sitting down and sharing our picnic tea with everybody that joined us.

Pre-school Environment
Over the last week, we have made lots of changes to the pre-school rooms. You will have probably noticed the areas have been moved around and the home corner has had a makeover. The children have really embraced the changes and have engaged well within the new areas. By now you should have all met Julie, our new preschool Supervisor and received one of her very special American handshakes!!

Julie comes with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm and is looking forward to developing within her new role. Claire is still based in Pre-school during the transition period and will also be overseeing the school transitions and continuing to support her key group of children, so please speak to her if you have any queries or questions.

 
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