Play Dough

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.

Squeeze and squish it
Roll it into small balls
Rolling pins to flatten it
Manipulating to create a representation of our world.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Week of February 20th in Reception

It’s been a fun week and lovely to see the children back, ready to learn. The Birthday theme was fun – did you get to hear our new Insey Wincey Spider song or The Button Factory Song?

We have been developing a role play bakery, based n children’s interests and an outside wedding role play. We have been modelling how to use the new play dough and baking area, with a view to encouraging independent baking.

I’m still trying to develop the outdoor role-play area and would love some wedding magazines for the children to look at. My mind is racing with what direction this learning could take us. Apart from the usual make a wedding invitation, making a list of people to invite, all of which is lovely, I though about discussing with the children British customs, such as something old, new, borrowed and blue. SO, we may be asking the children to bring something in. I’m also collecting (washed) tin cans to put on the rear of the brides carriage! and our baking/junk modelling could develop into making the tallest tiered wedding cake ever – which of course the children would need to design, draw and label first!

Please send in any wedding photos, especially old ones of older family members, in black and white, so the children can appreciate how times have changed or from different cultures, or exotic locations.

We had a successful week baking, which will continue next week with small groups of children if your child didn’t get to cook this week. We are still accepting donations of cake decorations

Here are a few from this week:

 

Next Week: Book Week – Dress up Friday!

As always, I need to see reading records signed and unnamed uniform continues to be an issue. Please label everything!

Mrs. Quinn.

 

 

 

Wedding Fever

We’re looking for pics of parents weddings, or key family members to adorn our wedding role play area.  Have any of the children been flower girls etc? 

Any old wedding stationary you could donate. 

We are still accepting cake decorating donations. 

Mrs. Quinn

Play Dough and Baking

We are looking forward to observing how the children use the revamped Playdough and baking area. There is a bit of a birthday theme next week as Miss Boby and I both had birthdays over half term. We are using this to introduce independent baking. 

Lots of opportunity for maths, measuring and weighing, measuring time, introducing units of measure whilst developing fine motor skills, language and observing change. Oh, and practising tidying up! 

We are looking for donations of cake tins, birthday candles and cake decorations to help resource this area. Please get in touch if you can help.

Rolling Along

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!

Mrs. Quinn.

Gruffalo Star bakers! – Nursery

As most of you are aware, the Gruffalo children have been extremely busy refining our baking skills over the last couple of weeks, making cakes, bread and even playdough to use in class. All thanks to our new oven in the classroom which Mrs Kimber very kindly collected from the shops! 

Since we have children from a large and wonderfully varying range of cultural backgrounds, we are requesting that any traditional family recipes (that you would be willing to share) relating to the cultural background of your child, or else maybe something they ate on holiday, be brought in for us to try and bake in Nursery! It would be nice to show the children that there are different recipes with different names from all over the world. 

If anyone would be kind enough to share some new exciting recipes with us to trial, you would be contributing to a great deal of learning about the wider world (plus some lovely new treats, some healthy some not, to go home after half term!) 

Catch us at the door if you could help. 

See you tomorrow, 

Gruffalo Team  

Week of 31st January in Reception.

Many thanks to all the donations for the Syrian appeal, and to Madison’s mummy for taking all the items to UNICEF  this weekend. We did really well and the children got an insight to the world around them.

Whilst we don’t always do ‘themes’ of work as it never  holds the  attention of every child, and we like to be very child led in their learning, we do endeavour to cover Seasons and cultural celebrations, especially those that are relevant to the children in our care. Chinese NY has been really popular  over the last two weeks. It was great to see so many visited the CNY celebrations in London last weekend. Per Henry “I went to China with mummy and daddy and I saw dragons.” Priceless! The children have been representing their new found knowledge painting willow pattern plates, making their own red envelopes, making lanterns and painting dragons.

 

Elsewhere this week we continue to be amazed at the  children’s reading progress. We are introducing ‘tricky red words’ to many children for reading and writing so if your child can read the red words in their Teddy Word book, can hey spell and write them? Have a go.

Reading: Please sign reading record books every time you read their school reading booking with them. Please keep them in the school bag.

Maths: We forgot to send out the no. 12 worksheet, so this will go out on Monday.

To support your child at home, can they recognise all four basic 2D shapes. Square, rectangle, triangle, circle by name and can they tell you why they know it is that shape? Can they talk about a rectangle having long and short side, but a square’s sides are all the same. Can they explain a triangle always has 3 sides and a circle has one curved side. If not, try to point out these shapes in your environment – Can they recognise the door is a rectangle? We will continue to support this in class too. But don’t stop there – can they recognise a pentagon, hexagon, octagon?

A few more from this week:

Lots of interest about clocks this week so we have begun to talk about different times of the day and where the hands will be.

And also – Helicopter Stories

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

— Albert Einstein

I invited Make Believe Arts to visit us for some staff training for nursery and reception this week to develop story telling in class.

Helicopter Stories is based on the Storytelling and Story Acting curriculum of Vivian Gussin Paley. At its most basic, children make up stories, adults scribe them, and then the class acts them out.

You may find your child has been asking you to write their stories. Please encourage this at home and send in their stories. Children can’t write it if they can’t think it. From past experience I have taught some exceptionally bright children, who when asked, are crippled with anxiety about ‘getting it wrong’ and find it difficult to put their ideas down on paper. We want children to allow their imagination to flourish and be able to put these ideas into words verbally, then develop into writing them. We put no pressure on the children to write at this stage. We scribe for them as thinking and writing at the same time is a challenge at 4, and I don’t want a child to thin of a great story but not tell it because of anxiety due to writing aspect.

Class rule: Each child can write a story which the adult scribes, but its maximum length is A5. Half a full page.

This form of holistic approach to education enables children to discover the world around them in their own, very personal way and explore vocabulary. We can quickly assess which children understand how stories are structures with characters, setting, a beginning, middle and an end.

Stages of Story Telling:

Children will internalise and imitate stories and you may well spot familiar plots creeping into their own story telling. Common characters and settings, good over evil. This is to be encouraged. Some of our children are at this stage.

Innovate: Children may follow a recognisable story pattern but characters and setting are changed. There is a boy and he goes into the house of three ninja’s and eats their food, tries out their swords and sleep in their beds…. Some of our children are at this stage.

Invention – They create their own new story.

The Benefits: Taken from Make Believe Arts homepage.

  • An inclusive, whole-class approach which values every child’s contribution;
  • Facilitates high levels of engagement;
  • Creates confidence and self-assurance;
  • Supports the development of speaking skills as children express and share their ideas;
  • Helps to develop accurate, active listening skills and understanding;
  • Supports co-operative and collaborative and creative learning;
  • Develops positive relationships within a shared storytelling experience;
  • Allows children to explore the power of words as they see their stories come to life, and develop their ability to use and adapt language to communicate;
  • Offers children a bridge into the world of story writing as they begin to see the links between the oral stories they compose and the words on a page.
  • Acting out our stories…