Parents Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2019

1. CHILDREN’S WORK ACROSS THE NURSERY 

Baby 1 Room The babies are exploring a range of heuristic resources including rolling objects such as spools & spindles which they have been rolling across the floor and down the Pikler ramp in the room. The children have been finding ways of moving themselves down the ramp and rolling themselves across the floor too. 

We have provided some mirrors around the room, positioned as a pathway so that the children can observe themselves, their peers and the educators. The babies have been pointing to the mirrors and smiling at themselves as well as others around them, recognising others as they do so. 

They have been exploring oats and we have installed two trays, one lower to the ground and one higher up, so that all the babies can explore the oats in different ways, including immersing their whole body in the trays!

 

Toddler Section 1,2,3 

In Toddler 1 the children continue to explore the heuristic resources alongside the mirrors and the overhead projector. They have become very interested in creating shadows with the OHP as well as using the natural light from the window. They find it fascinating to see themselves and their peers in the reflective surfaces of the pans, bowls and mirrors. 

In Toddler 2 the children have shown a strong interest in role-play games using the dolls. They now have a baby puppet to care for and they have been holding tea parties with the dolls and the puppet and making and tasting different fruit teas. 

In the exploration trays and on the light box the children have continued to explore lentils and have enjoyed filling & emptying and exploring the textures with their hands. 

In Toddler 3 the children have been exploring construction at different levels and heights, discovering how things move and roll, and using large wooden resources to create obstacle courses and ramps to climb, alongside the small-world vehicles & small-world people. 

In the Mini Atelier we are using wheel and axles and ink rollers to create marks using white paint on black paper. The toddlers have also been exploring the ping pong balls with paint. 

We noticed that when they were throwing the balls, they hit the base of the wall, so we have placed a strip of paper at low level so they can observe the marks they create.

 

Toddler 4 

In the Main Room the children are exploring sand alongside a range of resources giving them the opportunity to make a variety of marks. The children have been comparing the difference between wet and dry sand, using trial and error to see whether the same marks can be made. 

In the Role Play Area the children continue to explore real produce and using their skills to cut fruit & vegetables and then tasting them raw. Pasta play continues using different bowls and utensils to fill and empty. 

Within the Construction Area the children’s interest in the small world animals has continued. They are using a variation of blocks and natural resources such as sticks and moss to create different habitats for the animals to explore within. 

In the Side Garden the children have been exploring holes and asking, ‘What’s inside?’ The children have created a bug house in the garden. And they have shown interest in testing what could fit inside a space - including themselves. Small tubes have been provided alongside ping pong balls for the children to further investigate problem solving. During their physical play they have been climbing and balancing, with simple language introduced to support this play such as ‘up’ ‘down’ ‘high’ ‘low’. 

In the Atelier following their interest in the dark and night-time the children have been asked the question, ‘What’s in the dark?’ This has developed an interest in monsters. The children have been creating their own monsters and caring for them in the Atelier. Their monsters are multi-coloured and like to eat… porridge! They have started to explore the possible textures of monsters through different types of material. 

 

Pre-School 1 Section 

The Pre-school 1 Atelier is continuing explorations of colour, and we have been inviting the children to express how colours make them feel. We are exploring camouflage through paint and we have been referencing the Chameleon storybook. The children are working creatively and confidently, mixing and matching animal and human form through sculpture and colour.

In the Construction Room children are building columns between platforms with towers. They are creating a cityscape which contrasts with the imaginary landscape of the adjoining Communication Room. They have been transporting small people and building materials from one building to another using bridges. 

The Communication Room offers the opportunity to share and develop their verbal skills. We are refencing ‘The Journey’ storybook which has no words and allows the children to add their own commentary to the book, and crucially to develop their listening skills with their friends. We have placed recognisable props from the book in the room to trigger imaginative play, connecting with the sculptured landscapes. 

The Role Play Room is a space for pretend shopping, preparing, cooking and serving food with each other. These social skills are underpinned by the educators as children learn to share their workspaces and develop respectful interactions. 

The new Experimental Space (nearby the loos in Pre-school 1) has been created to give the children opportunity to tune into their sense of smell as well as developing their fine motor skills. Combining playdough and natural aromas, the children can make many choices about which resources they would like to experiment with in a calm environment. 

The Physical room has been inspired by Sensory Circuit courses. This is the process of helping the children understand how physical movement directly effects how they feel. The approach includes ways to alert your body and relax your body using the apparatus, guided by the Educator.

 

Pre-School 2 Section – Tudor Court 

In the Project Room the children have been exploring how they can alter physical perspective through experiments with light and colour. Explorations have taken place indoors and outdoors focusing on the effect light has on coloured cellophane. The children chose to replicate outdoor explorations on a smaller scale indoors, covering the windows in coloured cellophane and observing the effects of the sun. In the coloured window space, a game has developed involving rolling glass balls which refract light and trapping them with 'light stopping cones'. 

The addition of a projection screen has reduced the scale of the explorations even further and groups have created their own projection windows in a space they have named, 'Colour Show City'. Characters and stories are emerging within the space. 

We introduced a game called "The game with one pen" where each child draws an object and passes the pen to a friend. The game is non-verbal and discussion follows regarding what each drawing represents before the artist reveals the answer. Children have explored the idea of perspective and whether it is acceptable for someone to perceive a drawing as something different to the artist’s original intentions. 

In the Atelier of Taste the children are working with seasonal fruit & vegetables practicing skills such as peeling, grating and cooking on the hob. Some of the children have visited the greengrocers where they had the opportunity to buy fresh produce to bring back to nursery and give consideration to where fruit & vegetables come from, as well as draw their own interpretations. The children have collaborated well during group discussions about new ways to do things in their cooking explorations. 

Forest School The children have been busy in the forest with many different projects becoming established. The ‘Paper to Paper’ project was started in September in the Coach House. The children have been learning how to recycle their own unwanted paper into new paper. They have used shredders, water, Mould & Deckles (see image) and sponges to produce some richly textured new paper. 

In the forest, some groups have been looking closely at ‘balance’ which began when they decided to transport the very prickly conkers using sticks, whilst other groups have been deeply involved in the wonders of fungi and leaves. 

Our taxidermy fox in the Coach House has become the source of much discussion and many a story in the forest, with the children forming a close and meaningful bond with him. Another group have been engaging in stories of the ‘tree family’s lost birds’.

 

Beach School

In October we began compiling a Beach School logbook at the beginning of each session where children can record the weather, sea and tide conditions, and sketch and record things of interest on the day. This has been a useful addition to their routine and a great way to begin the session. 

The main threads this season are the story of the ‘Beach Monster’ the finding of ‘milkfish’ and ‘blood-fish’. Their physical explorations have included visits to Fisherman Dave’s hut and jumping from his crates. 

The children noticed cuttlefish on the beach and have been collecting them and carving into them with feathers, sticks and the sharp edges of shells. They held them up to the light and noticed the light coming through. They have begun to bring some of the cuttlebones back to nursery to continue their carving interest. 

We researched the history of cuttlebone carving and it’s use as moulds in jewellery casting. The light box is being used to enhance the effect of light appearing as their marks into the bone get deeper.

 

Small School 

Through animation in Atelier 2, Bertie told a story about his dog Midge which inspired writing through word building, letter formation and sentence structure. The children have also been inspired by 'The Post Line' in the Forest and have been using the pulley system to send 'secret messages'. 

In Atelier 2 we have also been looking at stable structures - the children discovered that in order to build high you need a good base and a stable structure. 

Experimenting with different connections and forming different shapes the children found that the shapes with the least connections were stronger and to strengthen even more crosses were very helpful. 

Children have also been studying the structure of Worthing pier, scaffolding around the town and buildings within Worthing town – they could see directly where different shapes and stable structures were used in buildings and have been drawing from these.

During this study, the children’s line drawings became more intricate and complex the more they analysed the structures. Introduced to animation, they have been bringing their drawings to life and have developed complete autonomy of the process. 

Inspired by a story a child has written, the focus of Atelier 2 is now to animate the story. Working in charcoal the children have found they can manipulate this when animating. 

In Atelier 1 we began our focus on ecology by introducing the children to an extraordinary plant growing in their own greenhouse - the Tromboncino (a type of squash). They began creating their own textile forms, inspired by what they had observed and wanted to hang these in the Atelier. 

When the children revisited their sculptures, they appeared to have grown. The elasticity of the textile and the weight of the stuffing inside caused them to stretch – very slowly and invisibly - and over the first weekend forms that had been well off the ground were approaching the floor. 

In the garden children had found seeds and collected beans to bring back to the Atelier. They began counting the beans and thinking of ways to grow them. Just like they had grown the cress seeds they decided to use cotton wool soaked in water, added the beans into the jars and called these their ‘growing experiments’. 

The growing experiments worked - the bean, the squash seeds and the avocado stone all began to sprout. Excited by their success the children discussed what was making them grow. The whole group discussed how plants and humans share similarities and differences; how each stays upright, breathes, eats, drinks, comes to life and dies. 

We continue to talk with the children about the biological and ecological connections between plants and people: how do different plants grow, what is it that makes plants, plants and people, people? How are plants, animals and people related? The new study of fungi, beginning in the forest, will keep developing these questions about relationships, categories and forms of life. 

In the Montessori Room the Small School children have continued to pursue their interests through discovered purpose. The children have been exploring large numbers and Thea recently initiated a calendar study. She asked the question, ‘How many days in next year?’ which prompted an investigation. The used the Golden Bead Material to support her place value understanding and gained the answer: 366 days.

 

2. NURSERY UPDATE 

Staffing 

We would like to welcome Helen Kerr who has joined us recently as support staff and Nicola and Charlie who join the team as qualified educators. Kimi, educator in Pre-school 1, will be joining the forest school team on a Friday for her own professional development, for the rest of her week she will continue in PS1. 

We would like to welcome back Becki who has returned from maternity leave. Becki has joined the Management Team liaising with families and offering them tours around the nursery during their visits. She has also joined our Small School Beach School team on Thursdays and Fridays. 

We welcome back Sian who also returns from maternity leave. Sian will continue to support the Management Team and is now based in Pre-School 1. 

Ali recently left on maternity leave to take some much-deserved rest before her baby arrives. Ali will be on maternity leave until later in 2020 but look forward to hearing more news of how she is getting on in the forthcoming weeks. 

Our Garden Educator, Chloe has relocated ‘up North’ but we will ensure that children’s fruit & veg growing experiences continue to be supported. 

Winter Clothing 

Now that the days are getting colder, can we kindly request that children are provided with a labelled hat and pair of labelled gloves along with spare clothing. This ensures that we can layer the children up when accessing the outdoors as well as ensuring that the children are changed and dry when coming back in from the garden. Thanks in advance. 

 

3. DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 

Christmas Lunch – 18th December 2019 

Our annual Christmas Lunch for the children will be served on Wednesday 18th December 2019. This is a day when the children and staff come together to have their Christmas lunch for the children who attend on that day. For those who don’t attend on a Wednesday we are delighted to offer a Christmas-themed ‘High Tea’ on the afternoons of the Monday 16th, Tuesday 17th, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th December 2019 This will enable most children to participate in a Christmas meal with the staff team. 

Christmas Jumper Day 

Reflections will be taking part in a Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 13th December. If your child would like to wear a Christmas jumper on this day, we will kindly be asking for donations towards are charities that we currently support, Chestnut Tree House and Time4Children.

Parents Evenings – from week commencing 20th January 2020 

We would like to invite all parents to our first Parents Evenings of 2020, week commencing 20th January. The Parents Evenings offer the chance to chat with the Educators about your child, away from the busy day-to-day of dropping off and collecting. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions about your child’s development. You will also be able to meet other families of children in the same rooms and put names to faces. A member of the Management Team is always on hand to chat too. 

We offer an evening appointment as during the day our priority is to be with the children - we trust that you understand. Dates are as below – please discuss with your child’s Room Leader or your child’s Keyperson : 

Babies and Toddlers 1,2,3 – Monday 20th January 2020 

Toddler 4 – Tuesday 21st January 2020 

Pre-School 1 – Wednesday 22nd January 2020 

Pre-School 2 – Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd January 2020 

Small School – Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd December 2019 

Santa visiting Reflections 

Please feel free to visit our Santa’s Grotto in Tudor Court with your child to receive their seasonal gift on the following dates and times: 

Monday 16th December between 11.00am and 1.00pm, 

Wednesday 18th December between 9.00am and 10.30am, 

Friday 20th December between 3.00pm and 4.30pm 

Christmas opening hours 

The nursery will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and will re-open on Friday 27th December at 7.30am. We will then close again on New Year’s Day. Please note that the nursery will close early on Christmas Eve at 4pm

Your Christmas Plans 

May we also request that if you have plans over the Christmas period and your child will not be in nursery that you advise us. This gives us a chance to plan staff holidays over the festive period. Many thanks in advance. 

Best wishes from the Reflections team