I hope that this newsletter finds you and your families well, and that you have been enjoying the glorious sunshine! We are certainly making the most of it in Nursery, but it would really help us if you could make sure your child has a sunhat here – a Fairstead one for those in Ponies – and is appropriately dressed for the weather. We are also having frequent water play, so please ensure that they have spare clothes in their bags too.
This month, we have encouraged the babies to explore their senses through a variety of themed activities, including an ‘under the sea’ tray, and a ‘farmyard’ tray. We used lots of different coloured and textured materials as well as ice, glitter, and even chocolate powder mud! The babies practised their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination by picking up the small pieces, as well as developing their scooping and pouring skills. We spoke about the different sounds the animals made and sang lots of songs relating to the themes.
This month Foals 2 have also been exploring the theme of “underwater animals”. We have taken part in lots of sensory exploration, including spaghetti and rice, and also rescued some sea animals that were stuck in jelly! We have made jellyfish and a rainbow fish, using our pincer grips to pick up small pieces of paper to decorate them. We were also lucky enough to have a trip to the park, where we played on the swings and the roundabout and did some extreme rock climbing!
The favourite activity of the month has definitely been making some delicious smoothies with mango, strawberries, blueberries, banana and some dairy and soya free coconut yoghurt. We explored the fruit using different senses; speaking about what the fruit smelt like, how it looked and how it felt, using colour, texture and size vocabulary in these references. In small groups, the children chopped the fruit, individually counted in the blueberries and investigated the textures of the different fruits as they put them into the cup. The children demonstrated some very handy fine motor skills, holding their knives firmly. Once the blender cup was layered with fruit, we spoke about the different colours and tried to recall what fruits we had put in. We spoke about the noise the blender made and explained that the blade has to go really fast to chop all the fruit up. The children watched as an adult started the blender and they enjoyed seeing the colours mix. They saw the colours change from yellow to pink and vocalised this with interest. Then the all important taste-test! The children enjoyed all aspects of this activity, and almost everyone liked the smoothie too, even if they wouldn’t necessarily have been keen on some of the fruits on their own.
Ponies 1 have been working especially hard on developing their fine motor skills recently, gaining dexterity and increasing hand muscle strength. We have explored the different tools and resources available and how to hold and use them with good control. We have been using scissors to make snips in paper, learning how to hold them safely and accurately. We have also been exploring how to manipulate playdough with our hands and with the tools available; squashing, moulding, pushing and pulling the dough to see what marks we leave behind, and even taking part in some ‘Dough Disco’ moves! Some Ponies have also been practising their balancing skills, using the stilts to stand on and even walk around the garden with great concentration!
Over the last few weeks the children in Ponies 2 have really been enjoying their water theme. One of the first things they did was take a vote and renamed themselves ‘Sharks’.
The have been very busy choosing and painting a creature that lives in water. Each child has spent time one on one with a teacher to discuss their chosen creature and then look it up online. Using the pictures they found, they painted wonderful water animals that are being added to the water above them in the aquarium role play. We can now pretend that we are swimming with our favourite sea creatures!
We have had some great sensory activities that the children have been enjoying. Using some chia seeds mixed in water, the children were able to explore our homemade frog spawn! Using small world toys, the children learnt about the life cycle of the frog. We all agreed that it was SUPER sticky and gooey, and the ‘frog spawn’ was so difficult to clean off! We even got to visit the Reception classroom to see the frog lifecycle first hand. Another was our pond (made from Gelli Baff); the children loved submerging their hands into this activity.
Ponies 2 have also observed World Turtle Day, by creating their own turtles in the ocean. This was a wonderful sensory activity, using a shaving foam, paint, flour and glue mixture to create puffy paint. The children watched a video about leatherback turtles, which prompted great discussions about pollution in our oceans, and the harm it is doing to the animals.
Continuing on our water theme, the children have been learning about the water cycle through an experiment about how rain is formed, and learning about precipitation. We used an ice cold plate to represent the cold atmosphere and clouds, and a kettle as the sun, heating up the water and turning it into a vapour.
Our newest learning experience began last week as we had some new additions to our classroom when five tiny caterpillars arrived. The children are already fascinated by them and keen to watch the development of caterpillars into butterflies! Our Discovery Table has been changed for the children to explore the lifecycle of butterflies.
Thinking ahead, transitions to Reception classes for September will be starting soon. If you’re not continuing to Reception at Fairstead and haven’t already informed us of where your child is going, please do so and we can start to liaise with your child’s new class teacher if we haven’t already heard from them!
Changes to Drop-off and Collection Arrangements
The transfer to Q-Bell has gone really well and we’ve been really pleased with the positive feedback from many parents telling us how it’s so much quicker and easier – we agree! If you haven’t yet activated your account and begun using the app, please do so now. We would like to phase out use of the phone number, aside from a few exceptions who have already contacted me to explain why it won’t be possible for them.
As you may have seen from our job advert on Facebook, due to increased numbers of children and staff maternity leaves, we are looking to recruit a new member of staff to join our enthusiastic and dedicated team. The best recommendations are personal ones, so please do feel free to share it with anyone you know who might be suitable.
With my best wishes for the month ahead,
Lucie Melen and all of the Nursery Team