• Nursery News - 7th February 2020

  • Squirrels Group:

    The Squirrels were immersed in our topic “Home”, a picture book by Carson Williams which celebrates the many possible types of homes. They looked at the physical buildings that humans and animals live in, as well as our emotional connections to the people and objects that make our home a home.
    To coincide with our topic book, the role play area was transformed into a “Construction Site”. The Squirrels worked together designing and constructing all sorts of buildings. The office staff were busy attending to admin and business calls whilst “site managers’ directed operations on the ground.


    In preparation for our Art Exhibition in aid of “Ella’s Home” the children spent the last fortnight creating their representations of “Home”. Many techniques were adopted including painting with watercolours, collaging and simply drawing. The children were encouraged to describe emotions associated with being at home, and also discuss how they may feel if they didn’t have a safe place to call home. This led to conversations about the work of ‘Ella’s Home”.

    During recent Weekend News sessions the Squirrels looked at different types of homes and discussed 'who might live in a house like this?' They went on to share their news with each other with increasing detail, responding appropriately to questions. This week the children briefly described and shared pictures of their homes uploaded on Tapestry before sharing their news (we really appreciate parents taking the time to take photos, supporting our home learning links). The children were also encouraged to think about what the term 'home' means to them. Is it the building that we live in, the people that we live with or the items within it?

    Playing Letter Bingo in literacy sessions was a fun way to work on the children’s phonic knowledge. The children were invited to identify the initial sound of objects before crossing off the corresponding letters on their grid. Activity sheets were then completed to consolidate the game and the children were asked to isolating initial, middle and end sounds of familiar phonic words. Furthermore, we introduced five habitats: a city, forest, polar regions, under the sea and desert. After discussing the features and climates the Squirrels placed an animal in a suitable habitat and explained the reason behind their decision.  
    Following the success of our lesson about friction, we looked at describing materials and textures to expand the children’s descriptive vocabulary.

    Linking our Maths activities to buildings and construction provided the opportunity to use both 2D and 3D shapes to make structures. Everyone was asked to identify which shapes they had used and they then honed their ICT skills as they photographed their masterpieces with the iPad.

    Once again the Squirrels had two fun-filled mornings on the common building shelters and dens, concentrating on teamwork and sharing ideas as well as making stick houses and mud huts. Both activities presented difficulties but the Squirrels developing problem solving skills meant that they persevered, and collaborated to find solutions. The children are becoming increasingly inquisitive and confident exploring the natural surroundings whilst climbing, digging and forming imaginary worlds to discover, which is lovely to see.  This week the children searched for natural objects to form the letters of their names. We also explored the common as a habitat searching for insects and birds that may have made their homes there. 
    During free play, the children reinforced their understanding of habitats and homes when sorting activities, building with Lego, pegs and natural resources and even ice to create igloos.

    The Kits Group:

    The Kits enjoyed activities based on ‘Don’t Put Your Finger in the Jelly Nelly” (week 4) and “ Big” (week 5) which explores growth and development.

    There were numerous opportunities to engage in sensory play and the children were fascinated with the gloop and shaving foam. They were encouraged to describe the texture of what they felt which was an extension to last terms ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ topic. New challenges were provided for those who are less confident touching messy items, in our efforts to encourage risk-taking skills. This also links to the British Values promoted throughout the nursery - taking on new challenges such as touching new items and textures develops the children’s Individual Liberty.

    Further sensory activities continued in Art whilst painting with hands, painting with ice and creating textured collages.

    Maths games included finding shapes hidden in foam and bubbles and then exploring their properties and looking at size. The Kits measured each other and discussed who was the tallest, shortest etc. The older children then sequenced their groups into size order.

    Developing vocabulary and conversation underpinned the Communication and Languages sessions. Describing textures was encouraged throughout week 4 whilst this week we discussed growing. The children studied pictures of themselves from birth to the present day and were encouraged to notice and describe changes. They went on to look at the emotion mats and discuss other family members.

    Making blueberry doughnuts during cookery provided opportunities to weigh and measure ingredients and further discuss shape. Green fingers were refined when planting sunflower seeds and we are looking forward to monitoring their growth.

    Community Walks around Balham are always fun and most recently we went on a shape hunt and visited the supermarket to spot big and small fruit and vegetables.

    Plenty of building took place in lesson times using Jenga blocks, Unifix cubes, Duplo and on a larger scale in the “Construction Site”. The Kits worked hard to build their structures, often using different tools.

    Music and Drama activities continue regularly and it is lovely to watch the children’s confidence grow as they become familiar with the songs. Their dancing with scarves to classical music also led to conversations about emotions.