The children were delighted to be back at the nursery and share the highlights of their Christmas break. Judging by their accounts, they all had a wonderful time.
Following our discussions about Christmas, the Squirrels went on to paint pictures of their favourite present or a special memory. These are now displayed in the classroom. They also spent time thinking about New Year Resolutions and discussing things they would like to achieve in the forthcoming months.
Transport was a big theme last week, inspired by “All Change”. The children created their own vehicles using recyclable materials to construct and assemble trains, airplanes, cars, boats, and even parachutes. They also discussed shapes and the modes of transport they have traveled on.
The Oaktree Railway Station was very busy as children purchased their tickets before driving trains and recalling journeys with friends and family. The adult-led activities were heavily influenced by transport and included, listening to and identifying vehicle sounds, playing I-Spy and matching animals and vehicles with the same sounds.
In Science, they explored friction by placing cars on a ramp and changing the surface material. The children were particularly inventive as they selected many different materials from around the classroom to put on the ramp and compare how quickly the vehicles traveled.
Our community walk took us to Balham High Road to observe different types of transport. Back at school, we discussed the vehicles we saw the most and least. The highlight of the week, however, was our Outdoor Learning Day when the Squirrels traveled on a range of transport in the local area. One of the stops was Wandsworth Common where the children worked in groups to make a raft to float across the pond.
The Squirrels embraced this week’s “Chinese New Year” topic. During Art they made Fire Dragons and attached strips of tissue paper to depict their fiery breath. Our Chinese Restaurant provided the opportunity for the children to order their favourite Chinese cuisine, prepare food and serve each other.
Using chopsticks to select the initial letter of their names from a bowl before sharing news was a challenge on Monday but we were most impressed with the children’s perseverance. Recalling the Chinese Zodiac story inspired many discussions about cultural celebrations that we linked to British Values. Culinary and fine motor skills were developed whilst making vegetable stir fry. We concluded the topic on Friday during our Outdoor Learning Day. The children collected natural resources to create Chinese numbers and letters. They also recalled the Chinese New Year story through Drama, using the Lion’s head to parade around the common.
The children were delighted to be back at the nursery and share the highlights of their Christmas break. Judging by their accounts they all had a wonderful time. Much of the first week was spent recapping the classroom principles, re-familiarising the children with the routine and of course welcoming our six new Kits.
“Naughty Bus”, last week’s topic sparked the Kits' interest as they explored transport and photography. They were encouraged to retell the story and recreate scenes that they went on to photograph using iPads. They also created 3D vehicles with recyclable materials. Please do take the time to look at their interesting display.
Tackling an obstacle course encouraged the children to step out of their comfort zone and develop their motor skills. It was lovely to see them persevere as they completed the course. The Kits explored friction as they pushed small world vehicles down a ramp. They were also encouraged to use vocabulary focused on speed. Recalling and sequencing “Naughty Bus” using toy vehicles served to support creativity and literacy skills. Spotting buses on our community walk also caused much excitement.
This week’s “Chinese New Year” topic underpinned many conversations about different religious festivals and cultural traditions in line with the British Values promoted within the nursery. Exploring our traditional lion mask excited the Kits as did listening to Chinese music. The children went on to make a large Chinese Lion using glitter and gold paint, immersing themselves in this sensory process. They also made wooden spoon animal puppets representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac which were subsequently used to retell the story throughout the week. They also re-enacted the story during Drama using animal masks. Lucky red envelopes and gold coins were used to consolidate counting skills and numeral recognition. Mark making Chinese symbols in sand and glitter trays proved popular as was cutting red paper to make Chinese lanterns. Both of these help to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Our Community Walk took us to the supermarket to buy items for our food tasting session on Thursday. During free play, the Oaktree Day Care Nursery was bursting at the seams with babies being fed, dressed and cared for. This also helps to develop the children’s health and self-care, friendships and extends communication and language skills.
Lastly, we would like to recommend a phonic app which you may find useful. We use it during our phonics and one to one sessions and the children use it to sound out and blend CVC words. It is called ‘Phonics UK’ and can be downloaded free from the app store.