Parents’ Newsletter – Spring 2018

Dear Parents, 

A warm welcome to our Spring 2018 newsletter - this issue has information about children’s work across all sections of the nursery and Small School. We also have some announcements about our support for charities and nursery developments in general, including our involvement in the Worthing Artists Open Houses this summer. 

1. CHILDREN’S WORK ACROSS THE NURSERY & SMALL SCHOOL 

Baby Room - We are continuing our explorations of sound and music on a large and small scale using drums of varying sizes along with hand-held instruments and bells. The babies have been using their hands and their whole bodies to experiment with different sounds. 

Our Educator, Abigail has been playing the flute to the babies and we have been observing how they respond to rhythm of this music.

Toddler Rooms 1, 2 & 3 

In Toddler 1 the children have been continuing with their mark-marking investigations and they have been exploring wet and dry cornflour. We have created opportunities for the children to work on a large scale, covering the floor, using their bodies to manipulate the cornflour and adding paintbrushes of varying sizes to promote their hand/eye co-ordination skills. 

Toddler 2 have been busy cooking both indoors and outdoors using tomatoes as the main ingredient. We have been busy making our own sauces, soups and stuffed breads and we have planted our own tomato seeds to see what happens, so watch this space! 

The children in Toddler 3 have been working with cardboard tubes and boxes, using them as posting opportunities for their cars and balls. We have also created a mini-construction space using the lightbox which the children have been fascinated by. 

In the mini-Atelier, sensory exploration is the main focus. We have immersed the space in bubble wrap and the children have been exploring this material with the addition of foil and light. Small groups of children delight in exploring this space. 

Toddler 4 - We have been moving some furniture around the area in the main room to extend the length of time children are able to focus on a particular experience. They have responded well to the changes and have been enjoying the new layout. Experiences have included cooking their own bread and eating it with friends later in the day. They have been incorporating small animals into their construction play and we are in the process of creating a filling and pouring station towards the far end of the main room. 

In the Side Garden children have been continuing with their physical experiences using the large blocks and planks to create obstacles, developing their gross motor skills.

In the Atelier, the children are working with new malleable materials, using sand-clay to create various structures and characters who sweep across their ‘seabed’. After discovering a moulded piece of cardboard, the children have brought it to life as a new character in the Atelier and the ‘story of the lion’ has begun. The lion now joins them in their daily explorations. 

Pre-school 1 - In the Atelier the children have continued experimenting with colour, mixing their own shades in jam jars, using pipettes to transfer colours from one container to another, adding coloured ink to observe how it responds to various paper and fabric and more recently trying to take colour out of objects. Working as scientists, they have been predicting what might happen, testing out their theories, sharing their observations and adjusting their experiments accordingly.

In the Communication Room children are working with wooden mice. Every day they chat to them to see if they are OK and carefully tuck them into their nest to keep them safe. Pre-school 2 came to visit and performed a puppet show for the Pre-school 1 children which has sparked a developing interest in making mice puppets and performing stories behind the shadow screen. 

In the Construction Room children have made pathways between the ‘land of the people’ and the ‘land of the dinosaurs’ with different coloured paths representing the different places. The red tape is ‘the scary pathway’; the green represents ‘the forest’; and the blue represents ‘the rainfall’. The dinosaurs are allowed to move freely along each pathway however they are not permitted to enter the land of the people. 

The people have not yet moved from their land and if staff place them on a pathway the children become quite concerned and quickly take them back to their own land to keep the people safe.

Pre-school 2 

The Atelier has transformed into a theatrical space for performance and experimentation using shadow and the animation of puppet figures. The children have created the character of a ‘King who has slept for 100 years’. They are now working on a world of new royal figures; their own adaptations of a new ‘king’ who can perform and befriend the old king. 

A full-scale theatre has been designed and built and the backstage/onstage worlds are being developed. The materials being used are mainly translucent, including everyday milk containers and shadow screens made of tracing paper. 

In the Research Room upstairs, the children have been working with metamorphosis and mortality; transforming images of themselves into what they would like to be in a different life. They have been looking at images of metamorphosis by different artists and using these images to tell stories of ‘Truth and Lies’. We have many a philosophical discussion around these invented stories and we have introduced some other stories, including The Little Red Hen – a moralistic story about work and reward – the children want to help the hen and have made their own bread. 

In the Construction room, the children have been experimenting with ice, indoors and out, adding different liquids to create ‘cloudy ice’ and ‘bubbly ice’ and using their tools to break into the ice to see what is inside. They have added ink and observed what happens as the ice slowly melts. 

Beach School - The children have braved a cold winter but the change in weather has brought about some interesting finds including a vast collection of crabs which they are curating in ‘collection boxes’ in the Beach Room to display their finds. We are looking forward to some warmer weather in the coming months!

Reflections Small School 

The school-aged children have been exploring new provocations in the Atelier. They have closely observed the movements and patterns of spinning tops and pendulums and have been trying to understand and unpick how and why they move in the ways they do. They use scientific language to explain their thoughts and theories and have covered the concepts of power, balance, mass, gravity, momentum, perspective and prediction. 

They have been conducting their own pendulum experiments with sand, water and ink in the atelier and at the forest and the beach and were recently inspired by Heather Hansen’s ‘Emptied Gestures’ work and created their own choreographed movements in the garden in the snow and re-visited later using other materials in the Atelier.

They have been particularly interested in invented games and have spent time in the Little Room playing ‘The Tricky Square Game’ and playing team and strategy games in the forest. 

In the Montessori Materials Room, children have been interested in linking patterns with writing and shape. They have asked for words to write and have been practising handwriting. They are learning 2D and 3D shapes and are becoming increasingly interested in time and fractions. 

The children have been documenting their scientific predictions through writing, as well as their rules for games. Their work is increasingly intertwined between Atelier and Montessori Room as the children continue to discover new motives to read, write and think mathemati-cally.

2. STAFF & CHICKEN UPDATE 

As you may be aware, for the last 12 months we have had a training partnership with Northbrook Metropolitan College in Worthing and we are in the process of welcoming some new apprentices into our team in order to support their journey towards a Childcare & Education qualification. Many of our qualified staff joined Reflections through the apprenticeship route and we are confident that the children will continue to benefit from this investment in the next generation of Reflections’ Educators. The staff will introduce you to the newest members of the team in the forthcoming weeks. 

We say a temporary goodbye to Caroline from Pre-school 2 who is embarking on an extended trip overseas. Caroline will hopefully be re-joining us later in the year as support staff. And we say a sad goodbye to Fran from Pre-school 2 who has taken a position closer to home; and Tina from Toddler 4. I am sure you will all join us in wishing them well for the future. 

We are delighted to announce that Ali Hindell will be joining us. Ali has come from a Reggio-inspired setting in Singapore and we are looking forward utilising her experience alongside the team in Pre-school 2. 

Sadly we have to announce the demise of our three well-loved chickens who were taken by the fox. At this time we have decided not to replace them but they will be missed by all. 

3. UPDATED INFORMATION FOR OUR RECORDS 

In order to provide the best possible care to all of our families here at Reflections, we have attached to this newsletter mailing some ‘update forms’ which we ask you to complete and return to us as soon as possible. This allows us to hold accurate information about your child such as: immunisations to date; any outside agencies involved; any shared care with other settings (including childminders) and to ensure that your contact information is accurate. 

4. GARDEN PLANS 

It’s the time of year when our gardens are struggling to recover from the winter ravages – this means we have laid new turf to give children a natural play surface. The new turf will take a little time to bed in so sadly the children will have limited access to the lawned areas of the garden until mid-to-late April. 

Lisa our garden educator has been sowing seeds with Pre-school 2 children and preparing the vegetable beds. The children are very excited that we have significantly extended our sand and water play area. We have also re-designed one of the covered spaces as a quieter garden for the babies.

5. TAPESTRY UPDATES

Our Online Learning Journal, Tapestry has added an enhancement enabling us to provide ‘Day Sheets’ for the younger children online via the app. This will not only save staff time, giving them even more time with the children, but will significantly reduce the amount of paper we use reducing our carbon footprint. 

We have started a trial of online Day Sheets in our Toddler Rooms 1, 2 & 3 and if successful, we will roll out to our Baby Room and Toddler 4. We welcome any feedback from parents in this regard. 

6. CHARITY CHOICES 2018 

Two charities were recently proposed by parents and staff as worthy recipients of our fundraising efforts for the next couple of years, commencing April 2018. Rather than having a vote-off between the two proposed charities, we have decided to fundraise for both. So our two chosen charities are: 

Chestnut Tree House - the children’s hospice for East & West Sussex 

http://www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/ 

Time 4 Children – a charity which offers weekly listening and support sessions for children aged 4 to 12 years in mid-Sussex.

https://time4children.org.uk/ https://time4children.org.uk/ 

In past years we have raised over £20,000 for Plan UK to build a school in Ghana; and subsequently raised over £2,500 for Children on the Edge. I hope you will agree that our two newly selected charities are very deserving causes and we will be proposing some charity fundraising events which staff and families can get involved in over the coming months. 

7. PARENT FORUM 2018 

Do you want to find out more about the nursery and our approach to working with children? Do you often wonder what your child does when you leave them at Reflections? Do you have questions or suggestions regarding the childcare and education we provide? Then the Parent forum is for you. 

This is a great way to meet with the Nursery Director, Nursery Manager, Educators and other parents to chat through plans and hear in more detail why we do what we do. Please contact Yvonne on Yvonne@reflectionsnurseries.co.uk and we will invite you to our next meeting – midweek evenings from 6.30 til 8.00.

8. CAR PARK COURTESY, PLEASE 

Although Reflections has a larger car park than any other nursery in Worthing, we know it can be frustrating and slow when dropping off your children in the morning and collecting your children in the evening. Reflections’ vision is to create a respectful community of adults and children - for the sake of all families (and especially the children) – with this in mind could we politely request that you exercise extreme courtesy when parking and interacting with other drivers. 

Could we also request that you do not park on the roundabout in Westerfields Car Park and, if you have a large car that you do not park on the east side of the roundabout - this will help make space for cars exiting the driveway. Please note that you can park in either car park but the small space to the east side of Tudor Court building is not practical for large cars as they block the entrance/exit for the two flats at the end of the drive. 

There is free parking before 9.00am and after 3.00pm on both Christchurch Road and Victoria Road. Some parents find it much speedier and less stressful to park in either of these roads and walk round the corner to the nursery to collect their children. 

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

9. LABELLING CLOTHES 

This is a bit of a perennial issue but could we politely request that all children’s clothing items are labelled with their name and/or initials. We understand how frustrating missing items of clothing can be but we are lost without a label. Many thanks in advance. 

10. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAY – 16th JUNE 

Twice a year Reflections holds Professional Development Days for visiting educators from all over the globe. The next event is on Saturday 16th June and entitled ‘It’s our brains doing what they do’- we will be exploring creativity, playfulness and the inventive powers of children. Martin, the Director of Reflections, and Deb Wilenski, our Pedagogical Lead will present our work, along with Educators and Atelieristas. If you would like to join the day, please contact Susan at susan@reflectionsnurseries.co.uk

11. WORTHING ARTISTS OPEN HOUSES – WAOH 

We are delighted to announce our involvement with WAOH this year. This will be the fourth year since we opened that we have participated in this exciting event. We will be showing work by the children over two weekends of 23/ 24th June and 30th June/ 1st July in Tudor Court - the theme is ‘Playfulness & Animation’. 

All families are welcome so please join us and refreshments will be available in Tudor Court Café.

12. FOREST SCHOOL 2018/2019 – NOW TAKING BOOKINGS 

We are now taking bookings for our 2018/19 Forest School Programme - if your child will be 3 years old by 31st December 2018 they are eligible to join a forest school group in Septem-ber 2018. The programme runs for 40 weeks and there is an additional £12 charge for each Forest School session. 

The Forest School team will do a presentation to interested parents in the summer and we will advise you of the date but if you already know you would like your child to attend Forest School please complete the form below and return to the Main Office in Westerfields House or e-mail ForestSchool@reflectionsnurseries.co.uk 

Please note that Forest School is extremely popular and because places are limited we offer them on a first-come-first-served basis. So, please book early to avoid any disappointment. Many thanks in advance.