This is where you'll find the latest goings-on in the nursery class of Eldene School. The highs, the lows, and the downright oddities of nursery life - it's all here! Check out the links below.
For Nursery Update newsletters, topic webs, the nursery handbook and other documents, click here.
For letters sent home to parents from nursery, click here.
Our photo gallery is below. Find the latest pics at the top, or scroll down for older ones. Click on the little pictures to blow them up.
Purple Owls Sports Day
Thanks to all the parents (nans, grandads etc!) who came out and supported this event - it was great fun. The lovely thing about nursery children is never being quite sure where they're going to run when you say '1,2,3, go!' Parents, on the other hand, were pretty focused during the egg-and-spoon races. Fortunately, no red cards were necessary.
Purple Owls Wild and Wet Day
It takes a really warm day to make the most of this and we chose a good one! As you can see, the children learned how to make all kinds of things wet. From the Squirty Tunnel to the Throne of Watery Doom, they showed a remarkable enthusiasm for giving staff a good soaking. Children of today. No respect.
The magic of colour
Here you see children, from our youngest to our oldest, tinkering with colour. Are they investigating? Creating? Observing? Adapting? The best kinds of play are often difficult to categorise. Play is concentrated learning across a whole spectrum of objectives.
Another chilly picnic
When we made our ice lollies (mixing sweet nibbles into fruit yoghurt), it was bright and warm. Unfortunately, the last day of term was cold and damp. But as you can see, the children's enthusiasm was undimmed.
Form an orderly line!
The Orange Owls have been making lines - straight, curved and wiggly. Getting basic vocabulary sorted out early on means that the children can talk about their geometrical creations later.
Reading for pleasure
There's nothing quite like the quiet hum of a group of children happily reading. There are many ways to read a book and at times like this, we try to allow the children the freedom to enjoy books in whatever way they like.
It's raining! Kind of...
We made a rain shelter. Then we made some rain to test it. It did keep the water out - mostly.
Is it maths?
Your challenge is to look at each of these pictures and see a mathematician at work. There are no sums in sight, but all of these activities are fundamental building blocks of mathematical development. And yet, not one of them was an 'adult-led' activity. Teaching children at this age is sometimes a matter of providing carefully chosen resources and then getting out of the way!
Having practised on lower level equipment, the Purple Owls turned their hands (and feet) to the large wall apparatus, which gives more opportunities to test their nerve. Children of this age are remarkably good at finding their own level - literally! Rather than direct them too specifically, we encourage them to challenge themselves, so that they continue to feel in control of their own safety.
Blowing bubbles is tricky. It's a kind of mouth-to-eye coordination! As you can see, we have some experts in the nursery...
We have easel painting available every day because it is such an important creative outlet for the children. This exploration of colours and shapes on paper covers a range of impulses from the almost-scientific to the creatively therapeutic. We often find that children are much more interested in the doing than in the keeping of a finished painting, perhaps a lesson we could all learn about living in the moment.
Science week: predicting which are waterproof
No, we do not torture children in nursery. But we did ask them to make predictions about what would leak and what wouldn't. No children were harmed in the making of this experiment. But a few did get a bit wet...
Something to write home about
We actively encourage the children to do 'pretend' writing because it often helps them to feel like writers. Identifying yourself as a person who writes can do wonders for your confidence. You begin to see the potential of writing. These children were writing shopping lists, an everyday, ordinary function of writing, and one which has a clear and definite purpose.
These children are learning about the way water behaves. It may not look like a laboratory, but these are experimental physicists. Children's limited experience means that they have not had the opportunity to generalise in the way that adults do. They need to see for themselves, often quite repetitively, that the water moves in particular ways.
Stacking blocks on end like this is an exercise in precision. It's also a chance to talk about fairness. If I build a tower, who should be allowed to knock it down...?
Paint the town
Or, in this case, just the nursery garden. Water painting is a forgiving medium. Our nursery artists can paint a large, expressive design and just paint over it if they are not satisfied. In five minutes it's dry, and they can start all over again. Some surfaces change colour more than others when they are wet. Our nursery scientists experiment to see which are which....
We have been doing some climbing in PE. Climbing is a fantastic way to develop coordination and strength. But the children are refining muscle control skills which go far beyond climbing. The brain generalises these and applies them to all kinds of movements. Our forest ancestors made climbing a natural way to hone sophisticated dexterity. Oh, and we had bananas for snack.
We developed a cool technique of pressing the snow into buckets to make snow blocks which we could build with. It took steady hands to place a block on top of the increasingly tall towers...
It takes some courage to jump down from 60cm. Do you have what it takes? Do your friends?If you jump, will they jump too....?
Sculptors at work
We recently introduced the Purple Owls to clay which shares many of the properties of playdough but is even more versatile and has different tactile qualities. As well as encouraging the children's creativity and giving them a new expressive outlet, handling the clay develops the finger skills used later in all kinds of fiddly tasks, including writing.
We have a cosy corner for the children to relax in. Many of them are used to having a nap during the day and we try to make this possible, but as you can see, the fun of snuggling down together usually overcomes the need for sleep!
Who's the teacher now?
It's strange to see yourself reflected in children's play, but children's imaginations will work with whatever material they have at hand - good or bad. The kind of play pictured below is socially sophisticated. The children are moderating their needs and wishes to fit in with the play scenario, and they are altering and developing the scenario in real time, balancing their ideas with their friends and keeping the momentum going - multi-tasking at its best.
Dig yourself into a hole
As part of our week on holes, we dug one in the garden. It was hard going, and we dug through various layers of soil. We didn't find any treasure but we did find interesting stones and even some worms. We filled in the hole again afterwards (with soil, not children).
Welcome, new nursery citizens!
So much to play with, and so little time! It's great to see new children exploring the nursery for the first time. And it gives our older children a chance to be really grown up and show them the ropes.
Party day was hectic fun. Barring the odd balloon disaster, it went off well and fun was had by all.
Christmas Jumper Day
...speaks for itself. Seasons greetings from all at Little Owls.
Dressing the tree
If you're fussy about how your Christmas tree turns out, don't ask a group of nursery children to decorate it! On the other hand, if you want children to learn by being part of the festival, part of the action, part of the community - let your expectations go and enjoy the process!
It's a privilege to see the reaction of young children to a decent snowfall. Wonder, excitement, questioning, exploring. The physical behaviour of snow is not quite like anything else. Children's natural inquisitiveness enables them to experience the phenomenon with a completely open mind, and add it to the growing storehouse of their knowledge about the physical world.
Here are the players, warming up before the big performance.
Talk, talk, talk
Like any other skill, talking - conveying exactly what you mean - has to be learned. It takes only the simplest role-play scenario (like 'bedtime') to get the children chatting away feverishly, and honing their speaking and listening abilities as they go.
As part of our work on shadows, we made silhouettes using a spotlight. Do you recognise your little one?
We are trying a new way of translating big arm movements into written marks. It involves loud music, fabric flappers, chalk, and a fair bit of chaos. But boy it keeps us warm outside.
Face up to it
Children often learn the basic features of the human figure in a fairly predictable sequence. However, the way they choose to represent these features varies enormously. In these paintings, we encouraged the children to focus on what goes where....
Reading for pleasure
Do you love reading? One of our biggest ambitions in nursery is to help instil a passion for books. And not just books - there is so much to read and only a lifetime to read it! As well as teachers reading stories, we encourage the children to browse whenever they feel like it. Often, there is a 'hot' book, a book-of-the-moment, a must-read unputdownable page-turner which sweeps the class like a craze. We encourage the children to share their enthusiasms with others, and hope this helps shape a lifelong love of the written word.
Children in Need
From cute and cuddly to fearsome and ferocious - meet our tireless nursery charity workers!
The light of knowledge
Deep in our Bear's Cave, there is science going on. Simple torches (and somewhere dark to appreciate them) demonstrate all kinds of phenomena. It all helps build children's knowledge of the way the physical world works.
These small nuts and bolts are a challenge for young fingers. They are attractive because they are satisfyingly heavy, and threading them helps develop some of the finger control skills which aid writing.
Just hanging about
Young children have a high ratio of strength to body mass. Their upper body strength enables them to perform feats that would leave most adults gasping. But their control of all this power is still developing. By giving them a range of opportunities for physical play, we hope to help them refine these skills.
Most toddlers enjoy company but the idea of coordinating their actions does not usually occur. At nursery age, the children begin to see the potential for joint efforts!
Having fun always makes a bit of mess. Tidying up is part of life and it's never too young to start.
Whatever kind of play goes on in nursery, it usually has a social side. Humans are social animals and it is quite natural for children to experience the bustle of many others, often with conflicting ideas or wishes. Learning to get along in this busy environment is perhaps one of the most important aspects of nursery. For some the lessons are hard, for others they come more easily. Either way, as the year progresses, the society of the nursery gradually becomes more cohesive.
Welcome new faces!
The new term has brought us new children. There is excitement about all the new toys. There is the upset of saying goodbye to mums and dads. And there is a whole new social scene to get used to. It's a busy and exciting time!