Parents Newsletter January-February 2016

May we take this opportunity to wish all our families a Happy New Year and say a huge thank you to parents who continue to recommend us to friends and colleagues.

 

1. SOUND FOCUS 2015/16

During last year’s focus on Storying we noticed that some stories the children told had no words, and that they used sounds as a language in their own right. So this year, from November 2015 until October 2016 we have decided to focus on Sound across the whole nursery. How do children communicate and experiment with sounds? What kinds of sounds are interesting to children? What explanations do children make for sounds? Is there anything that is completely silent? Some of the children are already busy with these explorations.

In the Toddler 4 Atelier children are creating and recording voices for their clay ‘things’ and in Pre-school 1 the children’s investigations into micro-organisms have led them to imagine the sounds of what seem to be ‘silent’ creatures. They have also been holding discussions about the sounds they heard before they were born, inside their mummy’s tummy:

‘I don’t remember. I don’t remember when I was in there and I can’t remember what sounds I heard. I heard lots of sounds, I heard, but different! And I don’t know them so... so some of them I don’t know. I can’t remember some of them, but some of them I do know.’ Caiden

‘I didn’t hear anything! I just didn’t in the mummy’s tummy. I just stayed in and got out’ Kobias

‘That’s what I heard, ‘Pshhhhhh fshhhhhh pshhhhh’’ Caiden

The Pre-school 2 children are holding their own shadow performances using the sounds of the taxidermy birds and their own bird puppets in the Atelier.

2. CHILDREN’S WORK & PROJECTS ACROSS THE NURSERY

Baby Room - The babies are getting to know their environment and are particularly interested in sensorial explorations involving resources from our treasure basket. They have shown a strong interest in the way balls move by themselves and in the baskets and bowls. Some of the babies continue to look for the balls once they have rolled away. Observing themselves in the mirrors continues to be fascinating too.

In response to the babies’ sensorial explorations we have been creating indoor carpets of leaves for them and observing their responses. Some of the babies have crushed the leaves between their fingers, whilst others have moved their bodies over the leaves crawling across them. We are will offer this opportunity again to see if and how the babies extend their explorations.

Toddler 1, 2 & 3 Rooms

In Toddler 1, the children are still focusing their attention on the lightbox. Particularly showing an interest in the coloured blocks/patterned material. They have been very verbal with one another, chatting alongside their play. The children are also creating marks in the sand on top of various objects using sticks and different sized brushes.

In Toddler 2, the children have been using dialogue and sounds in their play, re-enacting past experiences and their home life. We have recently introduced a range of tubes into the small world area for the children to extend their explorations of posting, which has been a strong interest throughout the Toddler Section.

In Toddler 3’s Atelier we are looking at posting and connecting with the support of our new Atelierista, Georgia. We have set up posting tubes on the walls; these are clear so the children can see their resources going through. We also have large water bottles that the children are using to post sticks into and are problem-solving how to get them out again. We have been posting with golf tees, wooden sticks and ping pong balls.

In the main room in Toddler 3, we have a posting block that has vertical and horizontal tubes for the children to use alongside the resources. Often the children choose to post pine cones but they have just started using the ping pong balls to post and are getting excited chasing after them once they come out the other end of the tube. We are just about to extend our ping pong explorations so watch this space!

Have you seen our new video set up on the landing of the children exploring the Atelier?

In Toddler 4, the main room have been looking at a selection of reflective resources, looking at the concept of self-discovery, disappearance and reappearance, either by having materials that can disguise and distort their reflections in the mirrors or by building on top of large mirrors to observe their own efforts and to enhance the size of their “bigger, bigger towers”.

In the Atelier the children have been continuing to create sculptures using clay, some of the children have been creating voices for their sculptures and creating movements for them in a small photo studio created by Laura.

In this studio we have set up the tripod and camera which has provoked an interest in the exploration of technology. We are continuing the exploration of the clay, and we are playing back recorded footage of the children’s explorations with their sculptures, as well as setting up a webcam to have a live stream of their explorations throughout the day. In the Side Garden the children have been reacquainting themselves with some of their past explorations such as the chalk and the tools and they have also been showing their new friends how we can use these. Some children have been continuing to investigate the ear defenders as they explore the sound resources, talking about what they can hear and if the sounds have got louder or quieter.

In Pre-School 1 the children have been continuing their investigations from last month.

Communication Room - We have been using the OHP and dropdown screen to project a ‘shadow door’, inviting lots of roleplay incorporating doors, keys and monsters! We have recently introduced shadow puppets to our explorations, and the children have begun working on their own shadow puppets to use in their roleplay.

Mirror Room - The children continue to be very interested in the projected images of underwater creatures, particularly jellyfish, and spend a lot of time observing and then imitating the movements of the jellyfish.

Construction Room - The children are continuing to build their plane - they have finished the engine of the plane, and are now constructing the wings!

Atelier - The children have been very excited to welcome the two newest members of Pre-school 1, our resident goldfish, ‘Fish’ & ‘Chips’. The children have been observing the goldfish at length, and asking questions about how the goldfish communicate with each other, and whether you can hear sounds underwater. The interest in micro-organisms continues, and the children have been using a handheld microscope to explore objects of interest in fine detail. They are also using a range of media and material to make creatures of their own imagination.

The Book Room has become a research area for their micro-organism work.

Pre-School 2

In the Atelier, the children are combining their interests in birds and performance. We have introduced hand-made shadow screens so that the children can explore the mechanics and science of shadow whilst continuing their investigations of the characteristics of ‘birdness.’ Technological equipment like laptops and record players have been introduced to the environment to support children’s research skills following their interest in birds.

In the Main Room, we are continuing our explorations of power and negotiation. A group of children have been exploring their interest in this, both in the indoor and outdoor environment. Where does power live within our body? ‘What is mental strength and what does this look like in play?’

In the Construction room, the children have been working collaboratively on constructing a ‘fire engine’ and various fires have appeared throughout the room that have needed to be put out. Towers have also appeared for the rescuers to climb whilst refining their firefighting skills.

Whilst in the Forest, the children have been exploring power in different ways. Like in the main room, the children are exploring their physical strength and abilities; discussing magic powers that allow them to do things and the power of the forest, healing and dangers. There have been lots of interesting discussions around transforming, giving themselves new identities to face worrying situations, drawing and creating characters that change or grow new features.

In the Outdoor Atelier the children have just started to research static electricity using balloons and a variety of materials.

3. NURSERY UPDATE

Staff Moves – with Tudor Court now settling into its own rhythm alongside Westerfields House, some of the staff have expressed an interest in furthering their own Professional Development and with that in mind we have agreed the following changes from 1st February 2016:

Fran Barker moves from Toddler 3 room leader to join the Pre school 2 team;

Lucy Cooper will move from Toddler 1 room leader to lead the Toddler 3 team;

Jade Mahoney will move from Toddler 2 deputy room leader to lead the Toddler 1 team;

Karlie Tidey will move from Pre-school 2 team to join the Toddler 2 team

Georgia Harris has left our Forest School team to concentrate more on family life and Elaine Barrett has joined the Forest School team.

We welcome Georgia Yiapanis to our Toddler 3 Mini Atelier on Tuesdays and Wednesdays supporting the youngest Toddlers within the Nursery. Georgia comes to us with a PGCE; specialising in fine art and having already had experience of working with young children in a creative way and we are looking forward to the contribution she will make to our setting.

4. DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

We would like to invite parents to come along to our next Parents Evenings where we can meet and discuss your child’s developmental progress and answer any questions you may have regarding your child. This is a great opportunity to chat with the whole team (especially the Atelieristas) and other parents of your child’s room. The meetings will be as follows;

Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 7.00pm for Pre-school 1

Wednesday 24th February 2016 at 7.00pm for Babies and Toddlers 1, 2 and 3

Thursday 25th February 2016 at 7.00pm for Pre-school 2

Wednesday 13th April 2016 at 7.00pm for Toddler 4

Please speak directly to a member of your child’s team in order to book an appointment.

6. FOREST SCHOOL PROGRAMME 2016/17

If your child will be 3 years old by 31st December 2016 and you are already certain you want your child to attend Forest School sessions, please complete the form below and return to the Front Office in Westerfields House. Please note that there will be a £12 additional charge for each Forest School Session. Many thanks in advance.

The Forest School team will be presenting to interested parents in the summer – dates to be advised.

To find out more about Forest School at Reflections, you can purchase Martin’s book ‘I Love Forest School’ from Reflections front office, or click here