Parents Spring Newsletter – May / June 2019

1. Children’s work across the Nursery 

Baby Room 1 - We have been looking closely at how the children use their hands during their explorations. We observed how the babies combine the resources in the heuristic area (everyday objects), working together to make sounds on the perspex board. We have stripped back our clay explorations, providing the babies with large scale paper, a mirrored board, and a tray of wet clay so then can freely explore the material.

The babies are using sieves, funnels and buckets to further their explorations of filling and emptying in the sand tray. Their explorations have been extended in the baby garden where they have been making marks in the sand. 

During our gardening sessions with Chloe, the babies have been looking at the different parts of the plants and flowers; and exploring the petals and seeds.

Toddler 1,2,3 Rooms 

At the beginning of last term in Toddler 1 Room, moving away from the large-scale mark making, we introduced a range of Heuristic play resources including: pots, pans, chains, feathers and wooden objects for the children to explore. They have been filling, emptying, pouring, concealing, and more recently using them to create a range of sounds. 

Following this interest, we added a large gong into the room. The children are working with the gong and the Heuristic resources combining, them to make new sounds. 

In Toddler 2 Room we have been providing opportunities for sensory explorations. Children have been practicing the key skills of bread making; weighing out and measuring ingredients, mixing and kneading. 

The children have the chance to feel different textures, working with a range of ingredients; they have been taste-testing and using their hands to shape and manipulate the dough. We have added a selection of fruits to make flavoured breads, such as pineapple, orange, raisins, apricots. The children have also been juicing the fruits and making their own homemade essences. 

In Toddler 3 the children had shown an interest in small, cosy spaces in the Atelier – in response we offered the children the opportunity to create their own spaces and gave them lots of different types of boxes to experiment with. Small nooks have provided the children with spaces to be alone or together, allowing us to observe the social dynamics and connections within the group more closely.

Toddler 4 

In the Main Room - the children continue to work with their imaginations in the role play kitchen, conjuring up a variety of courses to serve to their friends and imaginary meals are in constant supply to all guests. In addition to the fruit & vegetables on offer they are experimenting with dried pasta to create some culinary delights. 

Children have been working in our filling & emptying station using a variety of vessels, collecting rice, lentils and pasta into funnels, jars and spoons – these experiences help fine tune their motor skills and develop the expertise to serve themselves at mealtimes. 

In the Construction Area the children are finding uses for wheels and axles, making connections and fitting pieces together. The towers continue to grow as high as the children can reach and they are laying pathways along the floor creating complex patterns. 

In the Toddler 4 Atelier the darkness has lifted, and the room is filling with fresh greenery. The children are keeping the pots watered and have cre-ated a ‘Big Green Monster’ from an old red post box. He has spider-plant hair, big eyes and a key hook for a nose. 

Like the smaller Clay Door Monsters, he is very hungry, and the children post keys and door parts through his mouth. He likes to go on walks in the woodland area of the room and the children can hold his handle and pull him along on his wheels, occasionally let-ting the animals rest inside him. 

Magpies are a recent addition to the room – they can fly inside and out, connecting the worlds through their love of shiny things, particularly keys. We introduced The Magpie storybook to the children which has invited more colour into the room and has been an invitation to drawing and mark making as the book inspires them. 

In the Side Garden, the children are helping the plants to grow working with our Garden Educators. Music is heard throughout the day as the children move around to the beat of drums and reach up into the trees to ring the chimes. They are becoming adept at creating obstacle courses and balancing on a variety of constructions. They have been looking up at the trees and around the garden to see if they can spot any birds or animals inspired by many stories and they are moving around the garden like animals. We have recently added a new climbing-frame experience to support their interest in movement.

Pre-school 1 

In the Construction Room we have changed around the space, using cardboard boxes to create forts and hiding places. Children have been working imaginatively with boxes of different shapes and sizes to create their own structures. Adding small spotlights has created light & dark spaces, dramatically enhancing their constructions with shadows. 

In the Communication Room, the children are creating pathways for the snails and mice to move around the room. After reading ‘Snail Trail’ we have had discussions about our snails moving along, across, up, down and over; using the planks to explore these ideas. We have recently added bridges to create height and we are observing how the snails and mice move along these new structures. 

In the Role Play Room the children have been exploring the new room layout engaging in role play focused around shops, shopping, buying items and using lots of mathematical language. The children continue to make infusions, trying different flavours such as; courgettes cooked in garlic oil, rosemary and lemon sea salt. The children have also spent some time in Pre-School 2 in the Atelier of Taste working with ‘Shelley’s stove’ to cook and pickle the produce, adding their infusions. 

In the Experimental space (near the bathroom) we have added lentils with tubes and funnels. The children have been exploring the texture of the lentils and using them for filling and emptying. They have discussed adding water to the lentils to see what happens. 

In the Mirror Room we have been using various resources such as tyres and wooden beams to create obstacle courses. More recently we have been taking our equipment to the garden to make use of the larger scale. 

The Pre-school 1 Atelier is now filled with our creature sculptures, inspired by our research on pareidolia (faces in objects). Our imagery and findings have led to experimental structures with clay and wire, like the Dodo (pictured right) and we continue to hear stories about the amazing creatures the children have imagined. The children are also developing an interest in extinct animals and learning more about our planet and the natural world.

Pre-School 2 

In the Pre-school 2 Atelier, we have been looking at what makes children feel connected and we have focused on the power of social connections through children’s games, drawings & ideas. We have set the space up to enable work in pairs and groups, rather than working independently. 

After a long exploration of rotating messages around the room to each other, the group has shown a strong interest in creating different rotating drawing games - a natural follow-on from the rotation of messaging. They are creating games which are funny, games that are silent, and games that are dramatic. 

‘The funny face game’ involves the children doing observational drawings of each other’s facial features expressing different emotions. They are working collaboratively with games and drawings and making connections with each other silently, and through laughter and music. 

In the Pre-school 2 Construction Room the children have been creating linear structures and patterns, horizontally or vertically, combining a variety of resources. We have looked at a number of provocations including the linear patterns of artist Richard Long, and children are beginning to create their own patterns, referring to the artist’s work. 

Measuring tools have been introduced to the space along-side the children's explorations and they are investigating how these can be used. They are also working with acrylic resources and using mark-making tools to create their structures. 

In the Atelier of Taste, children have been exploring vegetables such as parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, beetroot and courgettes to see if they can be made into crisps. They are experimenting with flavours to see which work well to compliment the vege-tables, and asking educators and parents to taste them and to give their honest feedback. The children are now creating packets for their crisps, designing them based on their recent research about how to keep food fresh.

In the Project Room we began an investigation of ink. Through mark making with the ink the children began to tell us a story about an ‘Ink Monster’. 

The children created mini monsters and wanted a world for their monsters to live in. They began work on a series of monster islands, including a Jungle Island, an Alphabet Island and ‘Sigmore Island’. They have created an volcano that sends electrical power to the different islands. 

The children are working out how the monsters can get from one island to the other and have begun constructing complex bridges for the monsters to cross. This has led to the children to drawing their own maps so the monsters know where to go and how to get to the different islands. 

Forest School 

After discovering a huge fallen tree in the forest, the children have been keen to practice their climbing skills. Using their bodies in different ways. They set themselves goals to reach the highest point of the tree, tackling winding branches. Children have been helping one another by giving instructions from ground level. 

Many of the children have taken an interest in writing and exchanging letters, so we have introduced typewriters for them to do this. We also used wood from the forest to make our own charcoal on the fire. One group have collected dead wood and crushed it and are working on making their own paper. 

Beach School 

There has been a recent interest in storytelling at the beach. The children invented ‘Worthing Storytellers’ which has developed into a book (and a hand action to describe the book). The children love to tell beach-related stories which are then transferred into their book. 

They have been developing their physical skills at the beach, climbing up onto the big boat skilfully, moving in and around it confidently. Visiting the fisherman has become a daily focus – just so they can climb and play on the boat!

Small School 

The mechanics of the body was the focus of the Spring Term so during the Summer Term we are exploring this further but taking a step into the world of numbers, sounds and stories. 

The children have printed numbers which they use as reference; they have been mastering and making their own dice to determine numbers and they are using them to navigate life-sized grids. 

The children have been using the grids to collect objects, then testing the different sounds the objects make, documenting what the sound looks like and what it sounds like. 

The children have been introduced to ‘Sounds of the Wild’, a book where navigation involves a number key. They have also been intro-duced to a bird call clock. Emulating these animal calls verbally, the chil-dren have been using their bodies as instruments and working together to create body percussion. 

The story of Perseus, where Medusa’s snake head is used to defend the warrior, has become a favourite from the Greek Metamorphoses book the children have been hearing. The children have developed games from the story, ‘The three old witches and the eye’ and an interest in representing the character of Medusa has emerged. 

We are anticipating that these investigations will culminate in a perfor-mance at the end of the school year, possibly even a ‘game show’ where the children’s own devised games and sounds come together with the body and Metamorphoses… 

2. Important dates for your diary 

Parents’ Evenings 

We would like to remind all parents of the dates for our Parents’ Evenings in June. These evenings offer you the opportunity to talk to the educators about your child, away from the busier times of dropping off and collecting. You can hear how your child is settling into their rooms, their likes and dislikes at nursery, and ask any questions you may have about your child’s development. 

The evenings also offer the opportunity to meet other families with children in the same rooms and put names to faces. 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 we are not always able to have undisturbed time with you). Please see below for the dates of each section’s meetings: 

Babies & Toddler Rooms 1,2,3 – Monday 17th June 2019 

Toddler 4 – Wednesday 19th June 2019 

Pre-School 1 – Tuesday 18th June 2019 

Pre-School 2 – Wednesday 19th & Thursday 20th June 2019 

School Leaver’s Graduation 

It is the time of year when we see some of our Pre-School 2 children leave the nursery to begin their new journeys at school. We would like to invite families to join us in a farewell ‘graduation’ ceremony on 18th July at 2pm in the Main Garden. 

Pre-School 2 ‘Graduation’ – Thursday 18th July at 2.00pm

3. School leavers - giving notice 

A polite reminder to families of those children who will be leaving to start school in September 2019 - we do ask for at least two months’ notice of your intention to terminate your child’s place. If we do not receive this notice, we will assume that your child will no longer be in attendance after the 30th August 2019. If your child is not due to start school until later on in the month of September and you wish for them to remain in nursery after 30th August, please e-mail becca@reflectionsnurseries.co.ukwho will ensure your place is secured. 

4. Staffing update 

We welcome Nick who joins the Reflections team as an Apprentice, training towards an Early Years Educator qualification. Nick enjoys working in the outdoors and will be supporting children’s interests in our garden areas. From July, Mili joins us as a Level 2 qualified educator working in Baby Room 1; and Aleks who has a Foundation Degree joins our Toddler Section. 

We would also like to congratulate Megan, Maiya, Martina and Lottie who all recently gained their Early Years Educator Level 3 Qualifications. 

We are delighted to inform you that Courtney Lidbetter became a mummy to Archie on 18th April 2019. Alice Cornwell became a mummy to Emilia on 1st May; and Lauren Erb became a mummy to Isobel on 5th May. Courtney, Alice and Lauren’s families are all delighted and doing well, we are sure that you will join us in congratulating them on their new arrivals.

5. Summer holidays – letting us know 

If you are planning a well-deserved family break in the summer and if you know that you will be away from nursery, please could we ask that you let us know – this information allows us to plan staff holidays more effectively. Thank you so much in advance. 

6. New sessions and siblings 

Over the summer, the nursery becomes slightly quieter as we start to say farewell to our eldest children as they progress on to school. This means we begin to have more availability for sessions across the nursery if you are looking to increase your sessions or looking to register any new arrivals, now is a good time to do so. Please e-mail becca@reflectionsnurseries.co.uk with any requirements. 

7. Sunhats & sun cream and summer clothing 

As the sunnier weather has arrived, in order to ensure that we protect your child from the sun, could we request that on the sunniest of days you ensure that your child arrives to nursery with sun cream already applied as a base layer. We will then top up throughout the day as required. We provide sun cream here at Reflections and we have sunhats too should you forget one. 

Could we also kindly request that you provide suitable clothing, including appropriate footwear for play outdoors. Crocks or flip flops are not suitable for many of the experiences the children engage in in the garden. Please provide long-sleeved tops if children are sensitive to the sun and changes of clothing should they choose to play in the water areas. 

And a gentle reminder to ensure all clothing is labelled with your child’s name as so many parents shop in the same clothing stores! Sunglasses are great; however a brimmed hat will do the trick better and is less likely to be put down somewhere and then lost in the depths of the garden.

8. Parent Information – update request 

Alongside this month’s newsletter you should find attached Update Forms. We would kindly request you complete and return to the front office as soon as possible. This ensures we have all the correct information about your children as well as contact details should we require to get hold of you if we need to.

9. Forest School 2019/20 Programme - Presentation 

Thank you to everyone who has submitted their expression of interest to join the Forest School programme commencing September 2019. We are busy in the process of organising the child groups around the sessions that the children attend and ensuring compatibility both physically and emotionally. 

We would like to invite you to join us on the evening of Wednesday 17th July at 6.30pm when you will have an opportunity to meet our team and ask any questions about the Forest School programme. At the end of this evening, we will be issuing the final paperwork in order to secure a place. Please note that if the forest programme is oversubscribed, we give priority to the children who are in their final year at Reflections – we then automatically place those we can’t offer a place on our waiting list and guarantee a place on next year’s programme. 

10. Fox cubs in the garden 

The children may have mentioned that we recently discovered a family of foxes living in the garden. The children wanted to see if they could capture some images of the fox cubs so we set up a wildlife camera to see what they have been up to early in the morning before the children come to nursery. 

The children spent time watching videos and looking at the images, particularly interested in the way the fox cubs rolled around and chased each other. 

11. Security Reminder 

As I am sure you will know, safeguarding the children at the nursery is of paramount im-portance to us, therefore we kindly ask that when entering and leaving the building, you do not let anyone in who you do not know. 

Please also ensure that children of the nursery or school are not given the door code. Many thanks in advance. 

With best regards, the Management Team 

If you have any concerns about points raised in the Newsletter, please email: becca@reflectionsnurseries.co.uk