Parents Newsletter - Autumn 2018

1. Children’s work across the Nursery 

Baby One Room 

We are settling new babies into the room and supporting them with sensorial explorations. We have introduced some treasure baskets and we have noticed a continuing interest in filling and emptying. The babies have been enjoying their gardening sessions with Chloe, our Garden Educator and they have explored a variety of edible plants and vegetables. In the baby garden outdoors, we have offered enhanced experiences of filling and emptying in the sand. 

The Toddler Rooms 

In Toddler One we continue to focus on the power of marks and movement. Children have been exploring the feel of charcoal and using their fine and gross motor skills to make marks on white paper on a large scale. 

In Toddler Two, since welcoming a new group of children, we have reintroduced bread-making ingredients, adding herbs and spices to the dough for the children to sample in their afternoon session after baking. 

In Toddler Three children have begun exploring clay using their hands and tools to manipulate the material. They have used the water they use to wet the clay to create marks on the mirrors and worked with natural materials such as bark, wood and moss to add to their creations in the room. 

Toddler 4 Rooms 

We have noticed children gathering together and making friends in the cosy area and to support this we have introduced story CDs. 

They have also shown great interest in the construction blocks, building vertical 3D constructions and using the OHP to see their creations projected onto the screen. Cooking experiences continue in our role-play area. We have recently introduced some free-standing perspex board to enhance our mark-making space, giving the children further opportunities to work together as they experiment with various marks. 

In the side garden the children have been exploring their new space and have found the small world animals inspiring resources as they involve themselves in their drawings and their works with clay. The children have been planting seeds, bringing the side garden to life and taking pride in their space. 

In the Atelier we have been exploring what is outside the window, looking up at the sky and the trees. The children have been painting their observations and investigating a variety of ways to use the paint & brushes. During their investigations the children have discovered a squirrel! The squirrel joins them outside in the garden and they nest him back in the Atelier when they are finished. We recently intro-duced a large cage into the Atelier and mastering the gate bolt has been fascinating for the children - they have been inviting their friends to join them inside the cage area.

Pre-school 1 Rooms 

In the Communication Room we are focusing on children’s fine motor skills and following their earlier mark-making, we are using large charcoal crayons to do observational drawings of sunflowers. 

In the Mirror Room we are focusing on the children’s physical movements. They are looking at different ways of moving and the children are setting themselves challenges. 

In the Construction Room the children are using various construction materials to build towers and the dinosaurs keep making an appearance! We will be re-offering some of the children’s experiences from earlier in the summer to see how the new children respond. 

In the Waterplay Area the big shark is capturing the children’s imagination and the discussions focus on how the sharks and the little people can interact. We have offered clay to support their investigations and the children have created friends for the shark. 

In the Pre-school 1 Atelier the children are focusing on storytelling following work in Toddler 4 Atelier. They are fascinated with animals and we are allowing space and time for the children's stories to emerge. They are really interested in creating friendships for the different characters and this is leading to some fascinating dialogue. 

Pre-school 2 Rooms 

In the Little Room we have set the space up as an invitation for experimentation and exploration of malleable materials, such as clay and plasticine. We are expecting to see much narrative play and the development of imagined characters once the children have had the opportunity to fully explore the materials. One character who has already emerged is, Mr Tree Man’

The Dining Room has been redesigned to create an Atelier of Taste where we will support the discovery and exploration of food and ingredients; as well as continuing to use the space as a dining area. The children have worked with some new machines, such as a juicer and pasta making machine which has already raised a question…“How do these machines work without electricity?” 

In the Construction Room children have been interested in turning cardboard into ramps at different heights and experimenting with different shaped and sized resources, observing how they travel along the ramps. 

For the Forest School Programme 2018/19 demand for places outstripped supply and we have had to prioritise places for those children leaving nursery for school in 2019 as this will be their only opportunity to attend Reflections forest school. We are very sorry if your child did not get the place you requested for this year’s programme but please be assured that they will be guaranteed a place on the 2019/20 programme. 

Small School 

The Autumn term has commenced with Teresa Grimaldi as Atelierista alongside our Teacher Lauren. We are excited by the work on Mechanics developing in the Atelier and look forward to reporting about the interesting project work later in the term. 

2. Pedagogical Focus 2018/19 - Mechanics 

Each year we have a focus on learning across the nursery and the school and commencing November 2018 our focus will be Mechanics & Engineering. In the context of the focus the children will look at the six simple machines defined by Renaissance scientists - lever; wheel & axle; pulley; inclined plane; wedge; screw. We will support children’s investigations of everyday hand-powered machines including coffee grinders, mincers and juicers. 

We will also look at body mechanics (think: Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings) and we will support the children in drawing movement and making films of movement. We will look at the interface between humans and machines, and with the older children we will consider the moral and ethical issues around intelligent machines and investigate bionics. 

We expect to work with printmaking and sculpture alongside other languages of expression during our investigations. 

3. Dates for your diary 

Parents’ Evenings 

We would like to invite all parents to come along for to the first Parents’ Evenings of the academic year. This is an opportunity to chat to the educators about your child, away from the day-to-day times when you drop-off and collect your child and offers you an opportunity to find out a little bit more about how your child is settling into their room, their likes and dislikes at nursery, and for you to ask any questions you may have about your child’s development at Reflections. You can also meet other families whose children share the same rooms and a member of the management team is always on hand to chat with you too. 

We offer an evening appointment as during the day our priority is to be with the children and trust you understand that sadly we do not always have the time during the day to have undisturbed time with you. 

The dates and times of Parents’ Evenings are as follows: 

Babies and Toddler Rooms 1,2,3 – Wednesday 14th November 2018 

Toddler 4 – Monday 12th November 2018 

Pre-School 1 – Thursday 15th November 2018 

Pre-School 2 – Tuesday 13th November 2018 

Bonfire Party Invitation to all families 

You are invited to join us for a Bonfire party on the evening of Sunday 28th October from 4.00pm until 6pm for food and fun; including fire acrobatics, a BBQ and drinks. Admission is free of charge, but we will request a donation on the door for our two chosen charities. 

4. Staffing update 

After 10 years at Reflections, our Nursery Manager, Yvonne has now left for pastures new - she would like to thank everyone for all their kind wishes and support. We are delighted to announce that Becca Bakter, who has worked with Reflections since the outset in 2006 and been Deputy Manager for over four years, is now Acting Manager of the nursery. 

Following an extensive selection process, we are pleased to welcome Hayley Beaumont who will join us on Monday 15th October as Deputy Manager. Hayley has recently been working as the Under 3s Nursery Manager at Chichester Nursery School (judged Outstanding at its last inspection). Prior to that role, she worked at Kamelia Kids in Goring as part of their senior management team. Hayley has a BA Primary Education with Advanced Early Years. 

We are also happy to welcome Lisa Gromett who comes with extensive experience managing a nursery in Littlehampton for 17 years. Lisa will oversee the running of the Baby & Toddler Section as Sian goes on maternity leave. 

We are sure you will all make Hayley and Lisa feel very welcome. 

We also welcome Anna Andrew who will join us as a Qualified Nursery Educator in the Toddler section; and Natalie, Grace and Sophie who will be training towards their Early Years educator qualification. We are thrilled to welcome back Samantha Witherden from maternity leave and she returns to her role as Section Leader in Pre-School 1 on 2nd October. 

5. Professional Development Day - ‘Lion & the Castle of Laughter’ 

On two Saturdays each year, Reflections holds a large Professional Day where educators, teachers and other professionals from around the world visit the nursery to meet with our educators and attend presentations led by our team. We invite any interested parents to join us on Saturday 13th October 2018 from 11.30am until 4.00pm. The theme of the day will be young children’s symbolic play, community and kindness and Martin, Deb and Lucie will be presenting. if you would like to join us, please contact hannah@reflectionsnurseries.co.uk to reserve a place. 

6. Charity Fundraising 

On the evening of the Bonfire Party we will be collecting donations for our two chosen charities from October 2018 – Chestnut Tree House and Time 4 Children

In the meantime, Martin is running Chichester Half Marathon on 7th October as Reflections’ last donation to our chosen charity of 2013-2018, Children on the Edge. Please find his Just Giving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/reflectionsnursery

7. Privacy during ‘handover’ time 

We know handovers, especially at pick-up, can be a very busy time for parents, staff and children. However, a couple of parents have requested that we communicate how important it is to give space to each family so that confidential comments about each child can be respected. We request that you hang back as far as possible whilst feedback is being given. Thank you in advance. 

8. Parent Forum 

We would like to invite you to join the Parent Forum. The forum offers an opportunity to share your views about Reflections and to hear in more detail about our work. We currently have about 12 regular members of the forum but not all come to each meeting – you can attend simply when it is convenient for you to do so. 

The next meeting will be held in the Tudor Court Café on Tuesday 16th October at 6.30pm and subsequent meetings are on 11th December 2018, and 12th February 2019. Meetings normally last about 90 minutes and refreshments are provided. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing becca@reflectionsnurseries.co.uk