Parents Newsletter - August / September / October 2015

We thought we would open our autumn newsletter with some words of wisdom which go to the heart of our approach to working with your children. The quote below is from Carlina Rinaldi, one of the leading pedagogues in Reggio Emilia and featured in one of the slides Martin showed to parents during recent presentations about Reflections’ approach:

When your child asks, ‘Why is there a moon?’ don’t reply with a scientific answer. Ask him, ‘What do you think?’ He will understand that you are telling him, ‘You have your own mind and your own interpretation and your ideas are important to me.’ Then you and he can look for the answers sharing the wonder, curiosity, pain - everything. It is not the answers that are important, it is the process - that you and he search together.

INTRODUCING TUDOR COURT

tudor interior

tudor interior 2

The children in Pre-school 2 are enjoying the new spaces in Tudor Court and many new lines of enquiry are emerging. Please feel free to visit our self-service Parents’ Café space in Tudor Court at any time.

We will be offering Open Days to view the nursery for prospective new parents on 12th & 13th November 2015 – if work colleagues or friends are looking for a nursery place, please let them know about these dates. Many thanks in advance.

CHILDREN’S WORK & PROJECTS ACROSS THE NURSERY

Baby Room

The babies are involved in problem-solving and exploring sound & texture. We are currently experimenting by separating texture from sound and observing their responses. We have enhanced our treasure basket with a lot of rich materials and have introduced a metal collection basket which is on offer at different times to the treasure basket.

To support the babies’ problem-solving, we have been making dough. The babies have had the opportunity to explore the ingredients separately before mixing them together and going on to explore the dough itself.

Toddler 1, 2 & 3

Rooms In the Toddler Section children are familiarising themselves with the rooms following the recent addition of the Sleep Room. Teresa has been supporting the mini-Atelier in Toddler 3 and we are focusing on the children's interest of malleable materials. We added a clay table for the children so they can shape and mould and the children showed interest in making marks with the clay so we have covered the walls with cardboard to enhance this experience.

In Toddler 2 Room we are continuing with our role-play scenarios and in Toddler 1 we are exploring textures in the sand and constructing with various materials. We look forward to observing how the children interact with their spaces over the forthcoming weeks.

Toddler 4

We have been using the resources in the main room to stimulate symbolic play offering a wide range of loose parts and materials. We have also been testing theories and skills following ideas which started in both the side garden and the Atelier.

In the side garden the children have been focusing on the skills required to use different tools working with chalk. The aim is to get inside the chalk because there are probably monsters and sharks hiding inside. ‘Creatures within’ is an idea which resonates with the previous group’s work on the Fire Monster.

In the Atelier we have been focusing on the hole in the floor! Children have been theorising about what might be down the hole. Is it big or small? Should we be loud or quiet near the hole? They have also discussed what might be behind the door and whether it is a monster… Alongside these ideas they have been exploring clay and looking at the potential of this material, including moulding clay around an old chair. We have stripped out much of the resources in the Atelier to focus on the chair and we will be observing the children’s responses.

Pre-school 1

The children are continuing to explore ideas about doors, telling stories and using drawings and sculpture as languages of expression. The first story about doors emerged during the tiny baby project and their interest in doors grew during the transition downstairs. We have been reading stories featuring doors and have been looking at artists’ impressions of doors, including Magritte and Escher.

Children are keen to use clay and drawings to create creatures, linking both scientific and narrative aspects. They have been particularly keen to explore the idea of very tiny or invisible creatures, such as bacteria and micro-organisms and they have imagining their stories, sounds and communication. To support their interest, alongside clay and mark-making tools we are introducing instruments such microscopes, magnifying glasses and projectors.

In the Construction Room children have been exploring shadows and after a child suggested a shadow might make a noise, the children have been listening to their own shadows.

Pre-school 2

We have been settling into Tudor Court and getting to know the new environments. The children have been exploring their limits. They investigated water, submerging themselves in large tubs and exploring muddy puddles. We have been discussing our observations of these experiences and what might be underlying their play. Is it freedom and being able to get as dirty as possible? Is it about the relationships they are building with each other and/or are they exploring the properties of various materials? Is it the loudness and speed of the play that excites the children or is it the concept of testing limits? We will be discussing these ideas together as educators and working on extending their interests.

In the Atelier, the children have been exploring the strings beneath the piano and are particularly interested in making very loud 'monster sounds.' We are currently providing opportunities for children to explore sound, both loud and quiet, and reflecting on these by listening back to recordings.

A plastic bird, which was very important to many of the children whilst in Westerfields, has made an appearance in Tudor Court garden. Whilst exploring painting with materials other than brushes, feathers were brought in to the Atelier and the children made connections with the feathers and the plastic bird. The plastic bird has now become a character in the Atelier, voicing their explorations. Core creative skills are continuing to be developed, including cutting, using paintbrushes, observational drawings and compositions and arrangements on the lightbox.

In the Construction Room there has been a lot of focus on how tall the children can build towers using different shaped and sized wooden bricks. The children have also been finding ways of measuring their creations, initially starting with tape measures but leading on to measuring with our hands, feet and whole bodies.

NURSERY UPDATE

Staff Moves

We are delighted to announce that Harrie Jones has been promoted to Room Leader in Toddler 4 and Kerrie Shaw promoted to Deputy Room Leader in the same room. Chloe Dance has moved from Toddler 3 to Toddler 4 to support children’s transitions from upstairs. Sam, Mandy, Beth and Laura Magnavacchi have moved downstairs to the new Pre-school 1 section along with Becky Lynn, previously in Pre-school 2. We are also delighted to announce Fran Barker’s promotion to Room Leader and Lauren Knight’s promotion to Deputy Room Leader, both in Toddler 3. Jade Mahoney has been promoted to Toddler 2 Deputy Room Leader and we wish Sian Northmore well as she commences her maternity leave from 3rd October. And our nursery Bursar, Susan is now based in Tudor Court, opposite the Café. Following our expansion, we welcome many new staff as follows: Kathy Kerr (Trainee Level 3), Stella DeCourcy (Qualified Level 3) who re-joins us following extended maternity leave; Laura Brannon as Atelierista in Toddler 4. We also welcome Eve Samoskaite (Qualified Level 3); Kirstie Whitehead (Qualified Level 3); Danielle Jones (Trainee Level 3); all in Preschool 1 and Molly Benson (Trainee Level 3) in Pre-school 2. We are delighted to welcome Georgia Harris as Forest School Lead and Juliette Stock (Trainee Level 3) who joins us as lunch cover. In the Kitchen we welcome Jessica Bacchus and Raphael Jimenez, both as trainee chefs. And Zoe Lazenby has joined to lead the cleaning team who work every evening to make the nursery sparkle. We also welcome Oenone Hobbs as PA to the Directors – Oenone has worked with both Martin & Louise in the past and has a wealth of knowledge about our booking system, First Steps and IT in general.

Collecting your children

May we offer a polite reminder about collecting your children on time. Recently a number of parents have collected children a little late and this does cause problems for us at both lunchtimes and in the evening. I hope you will agree that improvements in the car park have now (finally) removed this as a contributing factor.

ReCreate

For our Resource Centre in Tudor Court, ReCreate we welcome any of the following resources you might be able to contribute: buttons, ribbons, conkers, corks, clean plastic lids and jam jars (with lids). Thank you in advance.

Reflections on Social Media

Please feel free to 'like' us on Facebook. You are also welcome to join our: Parents of Reflections Nursery & Forest School Facebook group which we use to keep families up-todate with our latest news.  

TAPESTRY ONLINE JOURNAL

We are delighted that our new online learning journal, Tapestry has been well received by parents and staff. Using Tapestry has enabled educators to directly observe and capture moments in the children’s day that might have previously have gone unrecorded. We can show parents instantly and involve them directly in the learning taking place, rather than looking retrospectively. Since we started using the system in August, nearly 7000 written, photographic or video observations have been carried out by our staff team. 54% of these observations have been responded to by comments written on their child’s tapestry file and a small percentage of parents have added their own observations to their child’s file.

Educators are also able to see, comment and follow up the children’s learning from one room to another and this allows us to track the children’s progress more readily and plan supportive methods of intervention, if required.

REFLECTIONS KITCHEN - EAT OUT AND EAT WELL AWARD

You may have seen our recent Gold Award sticker on the front door of the nursery from Eat Out Eat Well (sitting next to our 5 star Environmental Health inspection sticker). I am sure you share in congratulating Jordan, Shaun and the kitchen team for their great work in winning this award.

PARENT FORUM

The Parent Forum meets every eight weeks to discuss plans at the nursery and offering an open forum to raise any issues or concerns along with an opportunity to get more involved in nursery events. There are currently 17 members and we welcome new members of the forum at any time.