A very big 'thank you' to all the parents who attended, and a big 'thank you' to Lynne and the staff. We do hope you found the workshop useful. As mentioned, we will aim to do a workshop on Behaviour later on in this academic year.
This week we have set out the role play area as a Post Office/Shop, to encourage the children to develop their mark making and communication. They've been filling out passports, writing letters and postcards, and doing some shopping. This is to tie in with our parent/carer workshop on Communication, Language and Literacy, which takes place this Thursday 31st March. We hope lots of parents and carers can join us at the workshop, where Lynne will explain more about how language development works, and encourage you to get hands on with some mark making activities.
Inside, we've had some target practice, with bean bags for the children to throw. This is great for developing their aim and their hand to eye co-ordination (which in turn helps them develop their writing in due course). We've also had the climbing frame out to develop strength, co-ordination and encourage turn taking.
The play dough has been out this week - staff feel strongly that this is an important activity to have on offer, because it feels familiar and 'safe' for the children. At this age, children particularly like to have something they recognise within an environment. Play dough is also great for sensory exploration, because the children can experiment with squishing it, and we regularly add scents such as strawberry flavour! They can also develop their fine motor skills by using rolling pins and cutters.
The Art Zone has been very popular this week and we've decorated our new Art Zone Sign. We've been doing painting both indoors and outdoors, depending on the weather.
Recently, we've also been encouraging the children to practice careful listening, by asking them to sit in complete silence for a full ten seconds. We've been very impressed at how well they can do this! By building up their listening skills in this way, we can help them get ready for phonics based approaches to reading, because they learn to listen really carefully. This also helps prepare the older children to be ready for longer periods of listening as they move onto primary school.
We've also been working on alliteration with the children, talking about initial letter sounds and encouraging them to hear the first sounds of words. We do this using a box of objects which start with the same letter. To find out more make sure you come to our workshop tomorrow!
This week we have set up the role play area as a shop. This is great for encouraging the children to practise their counting skills, and to use numbers in 'real life' situations, for instance buying items in a shop or giving change. We are also going to link this role play into talking about healthy eating. Which foods are healthy for the children to buy in the shop; which are unhealthy? Running the shop and acting as customers will also help the children become more confident and learn about taking turns. They will take part in matching and sorting activities in their shop: again, by doing this they can develop their maths and counting skills.
We've had the trampoline inside, again this is great for maths related activities - how many times can you jump, how high can you jump, and so on? The trampoline is also great for building motor skills, such as balance, strength and agility.
Outside, we have been finishing off our 'Holi' pictures. You can see some pegged up on the curtains in the area with the children's trays. Holi is a Hindu festival, which celebrates the arrival of Spring. In India, during this festival, the people cover themselves with colour! Looking at other cultures is a part of the early years' curriculum, and it's especially important for us to explore festivals from other cultures, because we live in a rural area where the children don't experience much diversity.
Rather than getting the children to paint themselves, we got them to make life size body shapes by drawing round each other. They have then splashed these with colour using powder paint diluted with a small amount of water. You can find out more about the festival of Holi here:
Last week the children were very interested in hiding things in boxes, so we have been following this interest by offering them some toy animals to hide away in boxes. The idea of something or someone being 'hidden' - that even though you can't see it, it still exists - is an important stage in the conceptual development of young children. You might have noticed that babies sometimes cry when mum or dad leaves the room - this is because they have not yet grasped this concept.
This Wednesday our cooking lady, Louise, is joining us to do some cooking with the children. She will be making mini pizzas, with the children adding toppings to freshly made dough. You can find out more about Louise at her website, www.youwant2cook.com. On Thursday our Yoga lady will also be joining us, so all in all a busy week!
At the moment we are also be doing lots of art and craft in our newly laid out 'Art Zone'. There are plenty of free choice activities, with resources such as pom poms, glitter, cotton wool, buttons, cut out shapes, etc. on offer. The children will also be starting work on a special mother's day surprise for you!
In the recent parent questionnaire, one comment that was made by several parents was that they wanted to know more about what their child had been doing each week. In response to this, we have decided to set up a Blog, so that we can communicate this information quickly and easily to everyone who has access to the internet. Please note: because this Blog is 'live' to anyone who is online, we won't be including any children's names, or referring to individual members of staff.
This week in preschool we've been doing lots of Hospital Role Play, in response to the children's interest in this topic. We set up an inflatable bed, and the children played at being doctors, nurses and patients. We also gave them some pre-cut body shapes, and they enjoyed using these as their 'patients' and sticking plasters on them!
Outside, we have been doing lots of playing the mud. We hid some insects (mostly plastic, but a few real worms!) in some soil in the Tuff Spot (the large black tray). The children then hunted for these. They are very keen on bug hunting, so we are going to invest in some new bug viewers and magnifying glasses.
This week we also put some frog spawn into the pond. The peas that the children planted last week are being kept safe in a greenhouse, they are growing quickly and will be sent home with you very shortly.
Outside, in the raised beds, the children have planted some carrot seeds, radishes and wild flowers. We're also going to be planting some pea seeds directly into the raised beds, as these were a very popular crop last year - straight from the pods!
The children have also loved the multi-sensory experience of playing with the gelli baff in the water tray, and hunting in there for insects. Yes, it's messy, but they learn so much about textures and sensory experiences through doing this!