Week of 23rd Jan 2017

Sorry for the delay in photo post – iPad didn’t want to upload the pictures! Last week was wonderfully imaginative, the children from both morning and afternoon are becoming so much better at having their own ideas and creating narratives for stories in play. Lots of the children are also getting curious about writing and are keen to write words that are significant to them or as an extension of the play they are engrossed in. We have had our sand shed turned into an Argos toy shop, excavated treasure as archaeologists, baked our first batch of bread (which we used for our first toast time) and watched Mr Billing fly a drone over the field! What busy bees we are. 

Week of January 23rd in Reception.

We have been learning all about Chinese New Year this week. I hope some of the children got the opportunity to venture into London to see the lovely Chinese celebrations this weekend. We explored Chinese culture, made our own drums, dragons and even had a go at Chinese writing. We also tried to solve Chinese Tangram puzzles and built the Great Wall of China outside.

Next week we will continue to explore Chinese culture, making our own lanterns, Willow pattern plates and panda’s. We will also make lucky red money envelopes and try to make ice-cream, which originated in China.

If you have any spare chop-sticks/woks we are collecting please.


Please be sure to check out the post on our Syrian appeal, which I am coordinating with Madison’s mummy.


Out this week: Most children are continuing to learn new speed sounds in phonics and sheets will go home weekly. If you were given a zip wallet of pictures and words to assist word blending then please try to do this daily, but do keep them in your child’s bag. so we can work on them in school too. The aim is for your child to identify the picture from the word, blended orally, then quickly progress to reading the words at speed.

Are you practising Teddy Words at home? Well done to Holly Shaw, who can read all 100 Teddy words and is onto the next 100 words.

We also sent home a worksheet for the number 11. We are really working hard on number recognition of teen numbers and understanding that it is ten, plus one. These sheets are for you to help your child at home. They are not compulusory and do not need to be returned to us in school, unless your child particularly wants to show us what they can do.



A few more from this week.

Syrian Refugee Appeal

I’m sure you’ve seen all the appeals on tv for blankets/warm clothes for the Syrian refugees?
One of our lovely parents has been in touch with unicef this week to ask if we can donate unwanted winter items etc, rather than money, and they directed us to a local charity called Herts for Refugees….They actually take second hand winter clothes over to the camps. They have one run coming up on there 5th February. 
Short notice I know, but we’d really like to get the children involved. Developing an understanding of the world around us and care and concern for others is a huge part of our curriculum. Most children learn to read/ count, not all learn empathy and a social conscience. 
All next week we will collect warm hats, scarves, gloves, socks etc which will be taken to a collection base in St. Albans… 
How to get involved: either send in a pack of items in a zip lock bag 
to donate individual items and we can make them up into packs.
It’s such a great cause and would make a difference in these freezing temperatures! I’m hoping to get the children to write a letter or draw a picture to go with the packs. 

Mrs. Quinn.

Week of January 16th in reception

This week we managed to fit in a bit of ice exploration, observing change. We used stop watches to see how long the ice took to melt.

We wondered how long this ice would take to melt.
Long after the ice melted we continued to have fun, scooping, pouring, squeezing, transporting the water.

What have we learned about Winter?


Others enjoyed exploring building and making ramps. Outside we introduced the screwdriver and the saw.

We continue to be impressed with the children’s reading and writing development.

Writing with adult support to sound out words.
Finding the missing vowel.

Blending CVC words.
Helping each other to spell words.


We also made our own play dough – We’re getting good at this.

Too sticky or too dry?


Next Week:

Next week we will be learning about Chinese New Year. This is one of my favourite celebrations to explore with the children as there are so many rich learning possibilities. I lived in Hong Kong for two years so I can hopefully bring this celebration alive for the children. This year is the year of the rooster. If your child was born 2011 they were born in the year of the rabbit, 2012 they were born in the year of the dragon. China is famous for lots of things. Did you know they invented paper money and ice-cream among other things. The children will explore making their own ice-cream, writing vertically and using chop sticks.  We might even get to make our own dragon dance. Perhaps you could visit a Chinese restaurant with your child or have a take-away Chinese meal. I thoroughly recommend a trip into London next weekend to see the Chinese celebrations – take lots of photos for us please!

Reading books: Please sign the reading record book and add comments. Books are changed on Tuesday and Friday.

Uniform: I am still noticing uniform that has been previously worn by another child in an older year group, which hasn’t been renamed, which makes it impossible to find out who it belongs to.  Please label everything and we will endeavour to return lost items asap.

Mrs. Quinn

Making Playdough

We have reintroduced our ‘Make Your Own’ Playdough table this term. I’ve been a little nervous that I’d end up with red food-colouring all over our new floor, but the children were great!  Following instructions, exploring different spices to Add. Long may it continue…

Week of January 9th in Reception.

We began the week with hopes of snow. We read the story of The Mitten which led to some good discussion about estimating in adult led maths. We introduced estimating as a ‘clever guess.’ Try it at home. Can your child estimate how many pieces of fruit in the fruit bowl; how many shoes there are. This was a tricky concept for many.


In anticipation of the snow to come we have also looked at non-fiction books about Winter and talked about the changing seasons. We looked back at our class Seasons book together. The children love seeing their own photographs in the class book so please send in any photographs of you and your family out and about enjoying the Winter weather. Additionally, magazine clippings depicting Winter are also welcome as the children enjoy sticking them in.


Next week we will continue to look at Winter. We talked about how icicles form, so if it’s cold enough we will have a go at making our own outside.


Reading Books: Please remember to sign your child’s reading record book. If not signed the reading book won’t be changed.

Please ensure you read a little every night and keep up with Teddy words which I regularly listen to. Quite a few children are now recognising some red tricky words in the book which is brilliant!


We had a blast in P.E. We got out the equipment and after a few bits of training on being safe, they were off exploring different ways of travelling.

Now I know the children can behave appropriately on the equipment, next week we’ll get out the ropes for climbing. Did you know that being able to lift and support your body weight is a sign of readiness for writing!

Upper body strength.

new ways of moving.

Here are a few photographs from this week.

Exploring Numicon.

Exploring shapes.

Who knew a garlic press could be so much fun!


Making an igloo

Programming the Bee-Bots to go forwards, back, left, right.
Making repeating patterns

Playing teacher. A little phonics assessment between friends.

Number ordering.

Still enjoying the ‘secret writing’ pens.

Forest School




There are still too many items of clothing without names inside. If your child takes home someone else’s uniform in error please return it as soon as possible.


What Does Teaching and Learning look Like in EYFS

“Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations.”

Ofsted September 2015

That said, you might see our staff working alongside your child in this was…

Our role/Interaction When might we do this?
I commented Extending language/thinking out oud
I modelled

I demonstrated

Using a new resource, technique or language e.g. language to describe thinking to support children to think about their learning.

Applying knowledge e.g. knowledge of counting or letter sounds.

I asked

I wondered

Posing a problem to encourage deeper thinking or involvement.

t could be part of modelling thinking out loud as you and a child explore a problem together.

I helped Helping a child to do something so they can see an idea through and continue to engage in an activity.
I explained Providing information linked to child’s activity/interest that increases their knowledge/understanding
I encouraged Supporting children to negotiate conflicts, agree rules or find a way to take turns. Offering emotional support so that a child feels ok to have a go at something new.
I introduced

I suggested

Perhaps giving new information to extend an activity e.g. suggesting that there is a fire in the woods when children are playing firefighters.
I provided Perhaps providing additional resources or suggesting he right resources for the task the child is trying to complete. It could be getting a book or laptop to find out information a child is looking for e.g. videos of cows being milked.


The children set the agenda and the adults are there to show interest and engage with the children. As they interact, the adults will look for ‘teachable moments’ – moments in which they can move the learning forward. They might model vocabulary or a skill, provide a resource, give encouragement, help with a small part of a process, comment, explain or ponder.

When children show high levels of involvement, that is when there is progress and development occurring – when the brain is at its most active. High level involvement occurs most often when children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment.

In the moment planning helps to make this possible because young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment by moment basis, the adult will always be alert to individual children (observation) always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment) and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment).”


Mrs. Quinn


Focus Child Info – Please Read! 

For all parents! 😊

We are currently moving into a slightly different way of working in Early Years, where we spend time following focus children over the course of one week. Parents will be sent a short form to fill out on either the Friday or the Monday, that lets us know anything important or else any exciting things that may be going on at home. The following week after your child has been focused on, class teachers will meet with parents for 5 minutes or so to discuss what they got up to and any milestones we have noticed they may have hit in terms of their progress. We are planning for this to happen on a Tuesday just before the end of each morning and afternoon session. If those parents could arrive a few minutes early to do this we would very much appreciate it. This way of working in particular allows us to track progress more accurately. 

As a part of this new way in working, we have requested on the forms that go out to the parents of focus children each week that they bring in photos of goings on at home and if they really want to, something special to show the class at some point during the week. We would like to clarify this is different from what’s in the box; the rota for that as pinned outside still stands. 

The early years of a child’s development is so crucial that it is beneficial for the child to feel confident, secure and independent in their learning. We want to provide each child with concrete, memorable experiences that will exist as the foundations for all future learning as they move up the school. Child initiated learning and following the children’s own interests, wants and needs allows for this to happen. It means the learning takes place within a context they find exciting, therefore making the learning memorable. This is why we don’t cover particular topics in Nursery, but as you have most likely heard from the children most recently, of course we end up learning about Winter, change in seasons, states of matter, temperature, light and dark, all from the natural environment around us that the children are endlessly curious in! We whole heartedly believe that at this age, these children need and deserve the freedom of learning through play. 

If anyone has any questions about the changes we are putting into place, feel free to catch us at the door (although hopefully not all at once!)

We thank you for your support, patience and understanding in making these changes, that are for the sole benefit of every child in our care. 

Have a lovely weekend and we will see you all next week! 

Nursery Team. 

Get them writing.

I hope your Christmas card arrived safely. 

Is your little one writing thank you cards? It’s a great way to encourage writing for a purpose and they will love seeing the appreciation on the face of the recipient! 

If not quite writing yet they can still get involved. Ask them what they want to say and you scribe for them, encouraging them to sign it.  Being able to orally put a sentence together, remember it and dictate it to you is quite an achievement for four year olds. 
Mrs. Quinn.