What a lovely week. We had Science Week and National Outdoor Learning Day on Thursday.
We kicked off science week asking the children what they thought science was all about. They blew us away. We introduced a song that covered gravity, hibernation, migration, metamorphosis, evaporation. Many of which the children have / are experiencing through their everyday play. Here is the link to the song on You Tube from The Learning Station.
Joshua knows all about gravity.
Most children could explain evaporation, they just didn’t know the proper scientific term.
Most children knew about hibernation. Migration was a new term to many.
Metamorphosis – We are learning about this ‘in the moment’ with our class caterpillars.
Science Week photos:
Gloop: The children were exploring two type of gloop, making it, then observing how it changed and what it felt like using their senses. They explored transporting it, putting it through funnels and sieves, trying to pick it up with their hands or utensils and trying to form it into shapes, just to see what would happen. We heard some lovely language, describing how it felt, looked and behaved in their hands.
Bubbles: Talking about how bubbles are made of trapped air, the colours the children can see, their shape, size and chasing them to try and pop them are all valuable learning opportunities. I sent a recipe home that we used for science week, it’s well worth it! Would love some pics if you are successful making even bigger bubbles.
STEM Challenge: The children (and many of the parents!) loved the STEM challenge. The children used toothpicks and sweets to build 3D shapes. We are taking a closer look at 3D shapes next week. Could you make a better one at home?
Child led learning at its best: How much water is needed to be added to make the perfect sandcastle? What is happening to the water when it is poured on the sand?
Jump Rope: What goes up must come down!!!
George P was amazing, gold medalist in the making. Think we’ll try double dutch next week…
Sorry, but my photos really don’t do the children justice, didn’t manage to capture many mid flight.
Imaginative Play: Mrs. Kimber and I managed to salvage some car seats and bumbers from the Car Body Repair Shop in Breakspeare Rd (Thanks Issy!). They were so popular with the children, lots of lovely language and imaginative play. At risk of turning the garden into a salvage yard we love open ended resources like these. We’d love a steering wheel or three!
Next Week: We are looking at 3D shapes. Take a look at your environment, can the children spot any 3D structures, cone, cube, sphere etc.
We are collecting interesting shaped boxes. There are some hexagonal chocolate boxes if you fancy treating yourself (just in the interests of your child’s 3D education of course!).
What shape is the football?
What shape is a toblerone?
What shape is a Swiss Roll cake?
What shape is a Battenburg cake?
On Wednesday Miss Boby and I are out of class for part fo the day each as we have an internal moderation which is a statutory requirement, but we are on site.
I was genuinely looking forward to seeing the children again this week, and they didn’t disappoint! Only a short week, but they packed a lot in. The new trampoline was a big hit out in the garden, as was the new pizza role play. We need to blag some Domino pizza boxes, different sizes. Please also send in any photos of the children eating pizza. We heard lots of language of size, cost, time to cook and delivery times. The children then began making their own collage pizzas and pizza play dough, one white batch for the dough a second batch for the red tomato base which led to discussion about what they like to put on their own pizzas. Then the children wanted to make a real pizza together in class. The children are going to order the ingredients online next week ‘like mummy does, …and a man delivers it.’
Getting a bit of maths into the trampoline work out:
We began reading the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and will also look at different versions or adaptations over the term. The children enjoyed exploring the magic beans, which led to some lovely sorting and counting then looking at capacity.
We observed the children trying to write their own stories. This term we are encouraging the children to write in sentences, so please support this at home with the phonic sounds that they are learning in class.
In PE his week we practised team work and ball skills. Great fun, roll on Sports Day!
Save the date: June 20th Reception and Nursery are doing Sport day together.
We will be learning about St. George, and the Queen’s birthday.
- We are collecting kitchen roll cardboard centres for castle turrets in junk modelling to go with St. George’s Day.
- We are always collecting milk bottle tops.
We will be planting ‘magic’ beans to go with Jack’s beanstalk
We will be ordering food online and following the delivery process to then make pizza. Then eating it!
Take a photo of your child eating pizza and send it in.
We do enjoy getting email observations of home learning, keep them coming.
Keep encouraging reading and writing at home. More children are starting their second Teddy word book.
Please ensure all uniform is labelled with YOUR child’s name on it and that all children have a PE kit and outdoor trainers.
In Wake and Shake, which we do every morning, we incorporate moves that help with coordination and involves crossing the midline and bi-lateral coordination. There is a lovely, easy to read explanation of both on OT-Mom, which I often refer to. Basically, we need children to coordinate their movements, using both sides of the brain. SO, here are a few skills we have been practising that you may like to practise at home. I’m sure you’ve seen them before, but they are brilliant exercises for young children.
I was really impressed with how the children managed to complete a game involving money. We started just using pennies but very quickly extended this to other denominations.
Parent consultations will be in cottontails. Learning Journeys and children’s stories, as well as learning portfolios will be available to look at in Tiggys.
I am collecting kitchen roll centres, or that type of cardboard cylinder, the stronger the better.
I’m also collecting screw drivers for the woodwork area and any off cuts of soft woods.
Our literacy focus this week is writing speech bubbles for the characters in The Three Little Pigs. Perhaps you have a copy to read at home this week.
The properties of play dough and other malleable materials make it fun for investigation and exploration as well as secretly building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles and tendons, making them ready for pencil and scissor control later on.
Poking in objects and pulling them out of play dough strengthens hand muscles and eye co-ordination. Tactile play
encourages children to e squash, squeeze, roll, flatten, chop, cut, score it, poke it! Each one of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way, not to mention hand-eye co-ordination and general concentration.
Imagination and Creativity:
Adding open ended play items to add to the mix, play dough develops imaginative play and children can represent their world/ A jar of candles and cupcakes cases leads naturally to birthday party role-play, counting out candles and singing! Children can make chocolates and sweets in a sweet shop, cakes and bread in a bakery, faces, creatures, animals. The list is as endless as a child’s imagination!
Calming and soothing:
As any adult who has played with dough can tell you, the effects of all that squeezing and pummeling are great for stress relief and can feel extremely therapeutic! Little children can struggle to express their emotions and using dough while talking and singing can really help that process.
Science and Discovery:
The actual act of making the play dough can lead to lots of questioning and prediction skills. Here we have some solid materials (flour, salt etc) to which we are going to add some liquids (oil, water.) What do you think will happen? What can we make? The child gets to explore and observe the changing state of materials in a hands-on way, and be filled with wonder as the bowl of unrelated ingredients comes together to form a sticky then smooth and squishy ball of dough! We often take these things for granted, but in the eyes and hands of a child that’s quite some transformation!
Maths and Literacy Opportunities:
In more focused play, play dough can be used as a fantastic way to practise letter and number work. Children can spell out their own name, make numbers, form shapes, compare lengths/ thicknesses/ weights, count out rolled balls to match numeral cards, match and sort by colour and SO many more ideas too!
Following a recipe and instructions, counting out cups, measuring out ingredients, measuring time in the microwave, portioning out the dough amongst friends, are all meaningful and important experiences too!
We had fun in PE this week, then tried log rolling. It is great for your child’s body and brain for lots of reasons:
- To assist in balance
- Midline Development – To assist in coordinated movement and thinking
- Sensory Development
- Gross Motor Development -to build strength and coordination
- Proprioception – to develop a tactile understanding of space
This is why rolling is one of my favorite movement activities for little ones. So get rolling!
It has been a brilliant week! The children are settling into new routines and establishing new friendships.
A few housekeeping issues to help everyone.
Electronic Learning Journeys: If you have requested to be set up to be able to send observations direct to your child’s electronic Learning Journey you will get an email once I have set you up online which you will need to reply to. Just as you get a confirm for password resets etc. It is just 2Build-a-Profiles way to ensure you did request it.
Library: We sent out library books this week. These should be returned each Friday. Your child will be encouraged to take a book home weekly, but they may not want to. The book out on loan must be returned the following week to allow another book to be taken home.
Wellies: Not all children have wellies in school yet. Please provide them asap.
PE/Games: We had our first PE lesson today. Please ensure you have provided a PE kit, which will stay on their peg until half term. This should consist of NAMED t-shirt, shorts, socks, plimsols. I noticed today that some children have been given clothes from another family, but the previous childs name is in the clothes still, which makes finding out who it belongs to difficult. Please check.
Outdoors: Remember we are out in all weathers so as the weather begins to change please make sure the children have a suitable coat in school.
Returning letters etc: Please remember that we would prefer the TAs to send their time with the children rather than checking bags, so anything important, give to the adult at the door at drop off, or put in the trays provided.
We have been introducing the children to their house teams and small groups.
House teams are red, yellow, blue and green, The children are awarded ‘gold coins’ as house points for their colour team. Its a nice way to practice our counting to see which team has the most coins.
Our groups for morning activities are foxes, mice, owls, rabbits, kittens. Ask your child which group they are in.
Photos from this week:
We are still at that important stage of settling and observing the children as part of our baseline assessment to help inform future planning. We will be observing and assessing the children’s phonic knowledge next week with a view to sending home reading books and Teddy words.
There is a Phonics presentation on Wednesday during which I will explain what you can do to support your child at home and explain how we teach your child to read. I will also have handouts available. I urge your attendance if possible.
There is a bit of a magnetic theme brewing so we are offering resources to the children to investigate which materials are magnetic and which are not.
We will be encouraging the children to draw self portraits, so we have other resources ready to encourage discussion about how we are the same, but different, and to use different media to create faces.
Check out this link for a good overview of why children need to be physically active to get them ready to learn from Leicestershire CC.
On Tuesday I attended a fantastic conference about getting children moving. The lovely Jan White, author of Every Child A Mover presented on
- Physical movement is an innate need for children
- Physical movement helps neurons in the brain communicate which in turn leads to academic success.
- Good learning involves physical movement.
- The body and mind is one system, thought is action internalised
When looking at the need for movement and the ways children need to move she really brought it home to all adults in the room with a check list – do you remember doing this…. does your child do this…?
- Trying to swing so high, you aim to go right over the swing frame.
- Lying your tummy on a swing seat, swing forwards and back.
- Lying on your tummy on the swing, twisting the swing in one direction then lifting your feet to let it turn all the way back.
- Hold your parents hands, climb up their body with your feet, then turn over.
- Being held by your parent, one arm, one ankle and flying round like an aeroplane.
- Hanging upside down on monkey bars.
- Log rolls down a hill.
- Sitting on a metal bar, one leg over, go forwards, swing all way round back to the top.
- Swinging on a rope.
- Your mum or dad lie on their back, legs up in the air and you balanced on their feet, arms out stretched.
- Spin round and round, arms out stretched until you almost fall down.
- Wheel-barrow races with a friend.
- Handstands against a wall.
- Try to stand on one leg, then try with your eyes closed.
Chidren need to do all these things to develop their sense of balance, spatial awareness, upper body and core strength so they can support their body for the increasingly long periods of time they are expected to sit and write, which isn’t fully developed until age 7.
HOMEWORK: Over the next few weeks, make a real effort to ensure your kids are outside and moving, learning to assess risk, take risks, experience spinning, turning, rolling, jumping, pushing, pulling, hanging, stretching etc. I’d love to see photos. This week I returned to nursery with a renewed commitment to auditing our outside area – across Early Years, to ensure children are physically challenged daily.
That said, for those of you joining us in reception class next September, there is a huge challenge ahead to get the outside area ‘child ready.’ As Head of Early Years, I am working wih Miss Turffrey to develop the outdoor curriculum. We are a task force of two at the moment but we are hoping that lots of you can volunteer your time, skills and creativeness to develop the Early Years area in Reception. Don’t be shy, I have a job with your name on it…
First off, the children of our lovely Mrs. Kimber have donated their outdoor trampoline. I intend to dig a large hole and put it in the ground. I need to work fast before they change their mind! Could you give a few hours to help? I also want to create a tyre mountain (thanks for the tyres Mrs Lomas) and also simply a huge mound of earth – can you imagine the fun pushing that large blue barrel to the top then letting it go, or doing log rolls to the bottom, racing your friends. There are also swings to put up, a mud kitchen to build, a garden area to be ripped out and re-landscaped. We need shelves outdoors for resources, a water area built and I would like to turn one of the sheds into a sand pit as it is so hugely popular in nursery. A letter went out this week asking for your help. Please get in touch asap.
A few more photos:
Next Week: We are continuing to plant seeds and care for the garden. Did your cress grow? The children have also been looking for bugs so they are going to look at insects more closely. I will be making sensory bottles as an adult led activity as part of Science Week.
Keep reading your Teddy words if your child shows that they are ready and interested.
I am also focusing on oral counting this week. How high can your child count securely?
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
By the end of reception children will develop their:
Moving and handling skills: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
Health and self-care skills: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.
How can you support your help?
- All children need fresh air, exercise and a way of letting off steam! Try to provide opportunities for your child to run, jump, hop, roll, throw, hit, balance, lift, carry.
- Visit playgrounds and make use of the apparatus regularly and watch them gain in confidence and control.
- Try to walk to places, rather than always using the car or pushchair.
- Develop their fine motor skills and hand control. There are many muscles that need to be developed before your child will be able to control a pencil effectively.
- Provide opportunities to paint, colour, scribble as well as draw. Try to work inside at a table and outside in the garden. Chalking on the pavement and a bucket of water with a large brush can provide hours of fun!
- Roll, cut, squash, play with dough and plasticine.
- Thread beads, build with construction sets, dress dolls – all of these help to develop their hand control.
- Buy a pair of round-ended scissors and let them cut and stick paper and pictures from catalogues.
- Find ways of fixing together two boxes when making a model, glue, sellotape, masking tape?
- Try to let your child experiment and discover for themselves and then make suggestions and assist them.
- Allow your child to undress and then dress themselves. Teach them how to put on their coat and velcro shoes.
- Allow your child to make their own sandwich, help you prepare the dinner, set the table.
- Talk about healthy foods whilst at shopping.
- Try to steer clear of foods with a high fat or calorie content as a treat (sweets, cakes, burgers). Instead opt for healthy fruits and snacks!
Good article on building core strength and it’s importance for your child’s development.