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Squirrels News - 7th May 2021

This week marked the beginning of our Artist Focus. Over the next three weeks the Squirrels will be immersed in the world of Art; exploring a range of artists, skills, styles and mediums. The series will culminate in an Art Exhibition where the children's work will be showcased. This week we have learnt about Oskar Schlemmer, a German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer. Schlemmer was hired as Master of Form at the Bauhaus Theatre in 1923 and is most famous for his ‘Triadisches Ballet’. As part of our exploration of Schlemmer's work the Squirrels have been learning their own Ballet based on movements taken from the ‘Triadic’ Ballet.

Following on from our nature focus and learning of parts of a plant, making seed bombs and the life-cycle of a bee we decided to bake Honey Cookies! As part of our ‘Healthy School’ status we promote recipes that are refined sugar free. As honey is naturally sweet it is a great alternative and the children were fully engaged in the activity. The activity had a wealth of benefits throughout including measuring and comparing sizes, discussing where ingredients came from, taking turns and sharing resources. It was also a great opportunity to recap our understanding of health and safety and to strengthen our muscles and physical development by mixing the ingredients. The end result was delicious cookies for all!

Taking inspiration from our topic book and its focus on ballet the Squirrels collaborated on a costume design that they will make for a mannequin in the style of Oskar’s Triadic Ballet. During Free Play the children had the opportunity to watch the ballet and we continued our observations by looking at the costumes; naming the shapes, colours and patterns. The children took turns to share their creative design ideas, explaining what they wanted to create before drawing their ideas on paper. We discussed colours, textures and structure and how we might attach each item. When then set to work to select the fabrics we would like to use, measuring items and beginning to cut lengths.

We enjoyed another Outdoor Learning Day with the children becoming increasingly confident in their surroundings and physical ability, taking risks and learning by trial and error. We managed to escape the rain and on arrival the Squirrels enjoyed some time for Free Play where they re-enacted traditional stories, climbed trees and explored the changes to the environment over the past week. The windy weather had blown down lots of debris and branches which the children used to support their play.

We all came together to practise our dance which we have been learning, carefully listening to the music and repeating the movements. Before Snack we had a sing song and everyone joined in with the 'Hokey Cokey', moving their bodies energetically!

Our main activity for the day was leaf pounding. We began by going for a walk in the surrounding area. The Pink Squirrels were instructed to collect three different items to bring back to the Safe Zone before arranging them together on a spot. We then placed a piece of fabric on top of the objects and pounded them with the end of a rolling pin. As we pounded we could see the colour leaking out on to the fabric. We used this activity and our observations to introduce the Squirrels to the term chlorophyll, describing how and why the colour was leaking. We saved our colourful fabric to take back with us to the Nursery where we will make a bunting with our prints and hang them in our classroom.

Before heading back the Pink Squirrels had the opportunity to go to the big log which they were very excited about. Others couldn’t resist a puddle jump, testing to see how deep the puddles were with a stick before getting stuck in! We sat down on the grass for a quick rhyming game and a final read of our topic book about the Triadic Ballet.

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