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.
Champion jumpers strive to beat their personal best!
Wild and wet day
Enough water, already!
Everyone took part in each race in our round-robin set-up. Records were broken and careers were made by the end of it (kind of). We even had a staff-and-parents egg-and-spoon race. It is alleged one staff member stuck their egg to the spoon with blu-tack. This has never been proven.
From field to table
Ok, so 'field' is pushing it a bit. Nevertheless, the children got to experience first hand digging up potatoes they had planted, then peeling, cooking, mashing and eating them. Nothing grabs the attention like a bite to eat!
Whether used creatively or scientifically, water has so many possibilities and an endless fascination for children. How does it move? Spread? React? Disappear?
These hoop trains are easy to make and it's great fun for the children to feel part of a bigger thing. They learn about routes and pathways, feeling the tug and pull from front and back. Unfortunately these trains do not always run on time and are easily de-railed.
Ice lolly picnic
At Little Owls, most of our snack foods are low in sugar - fresh fruit and veg, milk, cheese, bread, unsweetened cereals. Just occasionally, we have a sweet treat. We made lollies with squash in a plastic cup and put in all kinds of sweet bits and pieces. Twenty four hours in the freezer and voila! - our very own hot-weather treat.
Put your back into it!
It may look like we have strapped the children into harnesses for manual labour, but they were willing, honest! We so often ask children to calm down, settle down, slow down. It is good to see them using their utmost strength - exploring their performance envelope - to shift these heavy tyres. Most are really proud of what they can achieve in this way.
Glued to the screen
On this day, we had added new activities to the selection available to the children. We use a fantastic software subscription called BusyThings which has hundreds of educational games and activities designed for this age group. With the children's developing maturity, it is lovely to see them helping each other out and explaining how to use the new games. They can choose to play the same game as their neighbour and compare results or choose something entirely different.
Squirting water out of a syringe is irresistible fun. Irresistible temptation too, to squirt your friends. Once the ground rules are out of the way and everybody is dry again, the children learn through experience about the effects of pressure. They can vary it easily to control the range and power. Filling the syringe is tricky and takes practice!
Dress the part
From pirates to police to princesses, everybody got to be somebody. Dressing up helps the straightforward physical skills of managing clothes and fiddly fastenings, and helps children's imaginative development. It is also surprising how children's speech often changes when they play a role. A reluctant speaker can become a confident king, making speeches to his subjects!
We planted some potatoes in our veg patch. A little late perhaps, but we still hope to be eating creamy mash in July!
Regrettably, shortly after this picture was taken, a teacher got gunged. A witness said "It was not pretty."
Mad Scientist Day
The thing is, any scientific idea can seem like madness until it is proved. Young children are at a stage when they are testing effects that most of us take for granted. Their repetitive play may seem aimless but it is actually a rational response to their limited experience. Adults know how to generalise - that if a stone falls, a pencil will fall also. Young children do not have this luxury and must demonstrate it to their own satisfaction. Over and over and over!
Any shape you like
Geoboards have been around for decades and have stood the test of time as far as play resources go. With elastic bands, the children can make whatever shapes they like, editing and refining them nail by nail until they are happy. In this way, they see the relations of one shape to another, rather than just as isolated individual shapes. Interesting discussions then follow as children ask teachers what their shapes are called. Some are straightforward, some - not so much!
As part of our mixed up week, we've been wearing things upside-down, back-to-front and inside-out. As well as helping their spatial awareness, (not to mention the physical skills of actually getting the garment on!), the children love the idea of turning convention on its head. Apologies to parents who now cannot get their child to wear a coat the right way round!
Children's development often follows a pattern of 'large-to-small'. The temptation is to think that because they themselves are small, children should always use small equipment. In reality, they need the challenge of bulky and heavy equipment to understand the limits of their bodies, and controlling these items with large-scale movements acts as a precursor to finer skills like building Lego, using scissors and writing.
Every time a child tries to walk one of these planks, they take a risk. Taking small risks as a child and learning how to deal with the consequences of success and failure prepare them for the inevitable risks of later life. We want the children to be bold but not reckless, careful but not timid. In general, children are surprisingly good judges of what is reasonable risk and their appreciation of 'walking the plank' successfully is a delight to see.
Sand, water and mud
Getting to grips with basic materials is an important step in children's development. How things move, flow, spread, fragment and how they can be contained - adults can take for granted these simple properties but they must all be understood through experience. You just can't learn this stuff from a book.
Welcome new nursery folk!
Lots of new faces, lots of new opportunities, lots of new friendships!
The party was hectic. Staff are yet to make a full recovery.
Last minute nerves before the big performance!
Although they are around us all the time (unless you are Peter Pan), shadows follow their own - sometimes confusing - logic, which children need to figure out for themselves. This usually involves running around and jumping on them, but hey - anything in the name of science.
Nuts and bolts
The twisting action required to thread a nut on to a bolt is excellent practice for children's physical skills. We started off with giant plastic ones and graduated on to really fiddly metal ones.
Sparklers brought a smile to most nursery faces on Nov 5th. Many children do not like noises which are too loud. A gentle fizzling was as loud as it got!
As part of book week, the Year 6 children came to nursery to read with the little ones. As well as being great fun for the nursery children to have a big friend at their beck and call, it was lovely to see the nurturing side of the older children who took on the task with sensitivity and good humour.
How long is a piece of rope?
In our case, about 8 feet (2.5m). A few simple ropes like this can be put to a multitude of purposes as you can see in the pictures. It is typical of children at this age that they become fascinated by the ability to have an influence at a distance - if I pull this here, something happens over there. Dragging, towing, rescuing, lassooing, skipping - at least nobody's been tied up yet.
Sometimes we use watering cans for watering plants. Mostly we just make mud! Hands-on experience of the way that mud - and water, and other materials - behave is critical to the development of children's physical skills and their scientific understanding of the world. There is simply nothing quite like playing with mud!
Feet are handy
The skills of drawing and writing have their origins in more fundamental coordination skills. Trying challenging movements with various parts of the body helps develop a solid foundation for later sophisticated skills. Here, we were colouring with our feet!
A passion for building
Simple wood blocks are a great way to develop children's ideas of connection, stability and structure. Simple stacking usually comes first, and then children realise that one block can be placed across the top of two others and suddenly anything is possible.....
Learn to eat.....eat to learn
Eating is an important part of children's development. On Fridays we have a 'special snack'. Last Friday it was cereal. The children get to practice many skills at these sit-down snack times. First, there is the language skill of explaining clearly what you would like (and not like!). There is the coordination challenge of getting food into the mouth without spilling. And of course there are the social skills involved in sharing a table with other people.
There are many opportunities for balancing activities, but the childrens' favourites are our planks and bench-beams. Different heights allow children to challenge themselves at their own level, and our planks enable the children to devise their own balance layouts.
Our bikes, trikes and scooters are always popular. Riding one of these develops a child's motor skills in ways which form the foundation for later dexterity. Also, it's a whole lot of fun!
Welcome new faces!
The new term has brought us many new children. There is excitement about all the new toys. There is the sorrow 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 - for staff and children!