Reception Helpers

Dear parents,
I have set up a new Facebook page for parents who have offered their time, help and advice to develop the reception garden for next year. Click on the link and request to join. This is a good way for everyone to contact each other to arrange work parties, times and days to fit in with everyone.

All parents are welcome to the group.

Abbots Reception Helpers.

Mrs. Quinn

Shed Painting

imageDear Parent Volunteers

Our first challenge to develop the reception garden for next year is to paint sheds. Two are storage sheds, the third, we aim to turn into a sand pit similar to nursery.

If you’re free first Wednesday morning back to help us then come along. We have the paint and brushes, tea and biscuits, just bring enthusiasm!

I then need a dad with a (preferably) cordless drill to help put things up inside the sandpit shed.

Mrs. Quinn.

Den Day

I  will be out of class Monday to Thursday,  but I am really looking forward to Den Day on Friday, June 17th. #hopeitdoesntrain.

This is a day for parents to come in and build dens with the children. I Haven’t run this before, so it could last an hour, but depending where the children take it, you’re welcome to stay longer. Parent’s don’t need to stay all session.

Opportunities to build dens of all shapes and sizes are vital for our young children as they offer so many possibilities for learning; negotiation, creative thinking, sustained and shared thinking, planning, creativity, evaluating, constructing, connecting, investigating, mark making and just plain old joyful expressiont

  • Social development: Building reaionships
  • Commnication: Listening, undestanding, negotiating, compromising.
  • Physical development: Moving and handling, using resources safely.
  • Maths: Working wih shape, size, weight, measurement issues.
  • Art and design: Expolring media and materilas. They will start discussing then drawing their den with you, thinking about what materials they might use and their properties. They can then test their designs with you for real. They can get creative and decorate flags, signs and bunting.
  • Literacy: The children will be encouraged to make signs, bunting, and flags for the den.
  • Understanding the World: Awareness of materials; awareness of different homes
  • The aim of the challenge is to creatively engineer a structure that stands up from easily sourced everyday materials.
  • At least one person should be able to sit inside the den.
  • The den should be able to stay upright without someone needing to hold it.

Feel free to bring in…

I don’t have resources for 53 children to build their own den. So please have a think about resources you could bring in on the day. We’ll group teams together. Parents will be there to encourage, guide, inspire.

  • Sheets, blankets
  • String, tape
  • Canes, poles
  • Tarpaulin
  • Boxes
  • Clotheslines
  • Rubber bands
  • Shower curtains
  • Cushions (we like a bit of luxury too)

We’ll provide juice and a biscuit to have in the  completed den. Maybe you would like to read a story in the den with the children.

Reception are now running this event on a different date.

Will it be a cardboard castle or a terrific tee-pee? 

  • Who can make the best den, with regard to comfort, appearance?
  • Who can make the biggest den, and how many people can fit in it?
  • vCan you make a weather-proof den?  – Judge by pouring kover a bucket of water!
  • Who can make a camouflaged/colourful den?

Save the Date!

Mrs. Quinn.
Maybe try making a den at home and send me a photograph.

Week of May 16th

We have had a fabulous Science Week!

Our Sensory bottles were a big success. We heard lots of lovely observations and explanations about what the children could see happening.

“I put beads, sticks and glitter in the water but when I turned it over it made a pattern. It’s like a glittery fire ball. The beads go to the top, they are floating. I can go on my back and float in the sea too. Some are going down because they are sinking.” Layla

“I put beads and alphabet and big shapes in it. The balls aren’t sinking but the tiny things did, like the numbers and pasta. The sprinkles sunk but the other things floated.” Ava H

” Some bits are heavy and they stay down because they are heavy”. Maya.

“They floated down to the bottom. The beads are tiny so they go to the top because they are light. Look!, the sparkles are going down.” Aliza shook the bottle and said it looked like a snow globe.

“I added marbles, shells, sand, jewels and a cork. The cork is too light so it floated. The beads floated but the marbles sank. Cork is light and beads are light but shells and other things are heavy so sink.” Max W


We also had a visit from Jungle Jo, and met lots of huge mini beasts.

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The children have been painting butterflies. I wouldn’t normally use a template to paint on in Early Years but my focus was on the visual symmetry, which the children clearly began to understand. We heard language such as ‘the same, matching.’

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Look how these young girls worked together to create a symmetrical butterfly on the light table.

The children are still observing the changes in our tadpoles daily, so they were given a life cycle to cut out in Busy Fingers time to demonstrate their understanding, whilst practising their scissor skills.


A few more:

Next Week: We are still encouraging the children to represent their understanding of mini-beasts and will provide transient art resources to create their own bugs.

However, from discussions about floating and sinking this week, and reading ‘Who Sank the Boat, many children are keen to build their own boat and put things in it to make it sink! We are collecting containers for our junk modeling for this purpose.

  • Please keep practising oral counting with your child, at least to 20, and count anything and everything supporting accurate counting.
  • I’d love feedback on the syllable  sheet I sent home.

Save the date: Sports Date is June 21st. Please let me know what colour team the children’s siblings are in.

June 17th/18th are National den building days. I would like to do something for this with you and the children, so keep the date and more details to follow, dads too!

  • I have had two parents out of 53 express an interest and willingness to help develop next years reception area. Anymore?????

Mrs. Quinn




Week of May 10th

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.

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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?


Mrs. Quinn


Science Week

Next week is Science Week. I would like to introduce the children to Sensory bottles.  It would be great if each child could bring in a 2L bottle  that I hope to fill with a variety of resources.

There will be opportunity to develop language about floating, sinking, density, colour changing, magnetism etc.

I hope to give the children lots of choice to create an individual sensory bottle

Can you help resource:

Food colouring, baby oil,   which will form the basis of the sensory bottles.

Also: Water beads (used for flowers), coloured stones (kind used in fish tanks),

sequins, stones, shells, buttons, small saped pasta, pom poms, small alphabet, loom bands, marbles, googly eyes, plastic numbers, beads, tinsel, corks, shopkins, the list is endless, so anything  that can fit through the neck of the bottle and won’t perish in the water.

Mrs. Quinn.



Week of May 2nd

What a lovely week.  I have observed the children’s growing fascination with the garden. We are encouraging them to independently select, plant and care for their own plants. All took home cress this week, which is quick growing so they can observe changes first hand. Will they have egg and cress sandwiches soon?

They have also been representing their understanding at the art easel so we are going to encourage this next week by providing resources to make 3D flowers.


The children have enjoyed our role play Flower shop which provided opportunities to wrap bunches of flowers then make labels. I’m impressed with how many of our younger children are showing an interest in mark making and beginning to form some recognisable letters.

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Our tadpoles continue to thrive. The children’s keen interest in watching their growth is supporting us focus on their understanding of the  world around them, and to develop care and concern for all living things. The children are great at getting binoculars or magnifying glasses to get a closer look.


To develop knowledge of how plants grow I provided seeds to sort, using different tweezers. Not all children understand that some fruits and veg grow from seeds so we will take a closer look at this next week. Maybe you could point out the seeds and talk about food that grows below, above ground or on trees when eating with your child.

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Next week:

We are providing resources to encourage children to plant then care for their own flowers and veg and to represent their world, this continues on from this week. We are also going to take a closer look at  fruit and veg and see how and where they grow.

In phonics we continue to develop phonological skills to hear initial sounds in words and rhymming words as well as continue to develop letter recognition. I continue to monitor to Teddy Words so do let me know if your child has been practising so I can listen to them and see their progress. If your child isn’t interested don’t worry, they will fly when they are ready!

Maths is focusing on sorting, comparing and talking about size, shape. As our flowers begin to grow we will try to measure them.  I would also like to encourage the children to record changes over time in the garden and as the tadpoles grow.

I continue to encourage name writing but key is to get the children to form the letters correctly as bad habits are hard to break later. Please support your child to use anti-clockwise movements to form letters such as c,o,g,d, and to start letters at the top.

If you have any seeds/bulbs or soil to donate we would welcome it.

Mrs. Quinn


Expressive Arts and Creative Development

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

By the end of Early Years your child will develop their skills in:

  • Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
  • Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

How can you help?

  • Painting, drawing, colouring just for fun. Do not expect your child to draw or paint anything recognisable at first. The fun is in the creation, not in the end product.
  • Allow your child to make models using construction items (duplo, stickle bricks etc), but also from old cereal and egg boxes.
  • Allow your child to play with empty boxes – these are often as much fun as the item that was inside them!
  • Allow your child to develop their imagination. An old sheet over a table or pegged up outside can make a brilliant den and will give hours of fun.
  • Save old saucepans, tins and allow your child to make music. Sing along to nursery rhymes and pop songs!
  • Develop your child’s imagination. Act out stories; take part in role play with them by playing shops, schools, teddy bear picnics. Try and collect a few dressing-up clothes, old t.shirts, skirts, shoes and scarves have many possibilities!
  • If you are anxious about your child spoiling their clothes dress them in old ones so they can really have lots of fun without being worried.

Understanding the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

By the end of Early Years children will develop their understanding of:

  • People and communities: children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
  • The world: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

How can you help?

  • Get out and about in all weathers! Talk about what is happening in the world all around you. Notice traffic, street signs, changes in the seasons.
  • Compare old and new things with your child. Give them an awareness that ‘in the olden times’ people did not have washing machines, vacuum cleaners, televisions!
  • Give your child a sense of your family and relations.
  • Explain that life is very different for people in different parts of the world.  The weather is different, lifestyles are different, homes are different, not everyone has a meal to eat at the end of a day.
  • Develop in your child a respect for different cultures and religions. Explain that our world is a wonderful place to live because everyone has the right to follow their own beliefs and way of life.
  • Develop problem solving skills in your child. It is often quicker and easier to do things for them but your child will not grow into an independent person if they don’t learn to solve problems, try things out for themselves, make mistakes and learn to persevere.
  • If you have a computer, laptop, iPad allow your child to play appropriate games, but also allow them to operate simple equipment (hand mixers, electric toothbrushes, CD players) under your watchful eye.

Communication & Language

Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

By the end of reception children will develop their communication skills:

Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.


How can you support your child?


Talking to your child, sharing experiences, remembering together, listening to them and encouraging through genuine questions do more to prepare them for school than any other activity.

Children who come to school able to express their needs and willing to listen to others are much more likely to settle in quickly and absorb learning more readily.  Your child should learn to be a good listener, taking turns in a conversation, and not just a forceful talker.  We want them to be able to express themselves clearly and with confidence.

Join in with their imaginative play, ask questions, and get them to make decisions, have opinions.

The learning of nursery rhymes, songs and poems cannot be over emphasised and is an enjoyable and valuable activity.

The rhymes help them to notice the sounds in words and the tunes help them to remember the words.

The Early Years Curriculum

The curriculum within the Early Years Foundation Stage is planned around four main themes;

A Unique Child, Positive Relationships, Enabling Environments, Learning & Development.

Within this there are three prime areas of Learning and Development:

Communication and language This area of learning involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical development: This area of learning involves giving children opportunities 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 life.

Personal, social and emotional development: This area of learning involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

In addition there are four specific areas

Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Personal, Social and Emotional development

This  involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Self-confidence and self-awareness: By the end of reception children will develop their self confidence and self- awareness and grow in confidence to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.

Management of feelings and behaviour: children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

Ability to make relationships: children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.



Week Commencing March 23rd.

Apologies I am late in posting this. I had an unusually hectic social calendar this weekend!

First off. It sounds as if we had a rather duff batch of cress seeds, so I am sending more seeds home if you would like to have another go with them. I do hope this lot is more successful, just put a new damp piece of cotton wool on the potato and let your child sprinkle the seeds, then wait and I will hold my breath with you!

This week in PE I have been looking at a few developmental skills. Firstly, Your child’s ability to crawl like a crab. They had to walk, tummy pointing to the ceiling on their hands and feet, keeping their bottom off the ground.  Many found it difficult so do practise at home. I then progressed to getting the children to hold a plank position, firstly on elbows then on hands. Will, Nathan, you were amazing!  The children were then asked to pass a bean bag to their partner whilst both in the plank position. No small challenge. Many succeeded, so I was very proud of every child for giving it their best effort. This was all to develop core and upper body strength, as well as use of their favoured/dominant hand for writing. Encourage them to show you how to do it at home. Next, I asked the children to pass beanbags to their partner, sitting back to back, this is to encourage them to cross their imaginary midline and develop core stability further.  Finally, we had a go at a good old fashioned wheelbarrow! The children were rather good at it! Try doing it at home in the garden now the weather is improving. 

This week I am still focusing on size, ordering Easter eggs. Many children can identify the biggest, smallest, but don’t order them correctly in sequence. The challenge is to order 3,5,7 eggs, biggest to smallest. There are lots of activities out this week to develop their language of size.

I am encouraging the children to to use rollers to make their own salt dough Easter egg. Can your child roll out play dough or pastry? Many children don’t apply enough pressure and merely roll their hands over the roller, to no effect.

Rhyme of the week: Mary, Mary, quite contrary.

Other notes:

I have put up a list of parent helper names for the trip next week. take a look at the notice board.

Parents Eve meetings are in the music room for Nursery, which is located just off the school hall. The classroom will be open too, so take a look round. I’m inviting parents to leave a message in the Learning Journeys, which we will share with the children. What has made you proud?

Mrs. Quinn.

Week Commencing March 16th.

We have been learning about Spring and the children have been telling me how they think plants get water (“… The wind blows the rain onto the flowers.”). The children have been planting vegetables, but as they take a long time to grow we are going to make some cress heads ( hence the potato request!) and grass caterpillars ( …. Tights needed). We can practise our scissor skills trimming the grass on the caterpillars.

It’s lovely to listen into the children’s conversation and language. They realised that not every child had a garden, or a green fingered grandparents to spend time with, then discussion turned to fairy gardens, as one of the children has one. The children decided they would like to make one to take home. Fairies are a bit of a obsession at present in outside play!  If anyone has connections with a garden centre, I’d love to get some miniature plants donated. If you have any unwanted little stones, gravel, to make paths, or any other bits and bobs we could use in our gardens then please get in touch. The ideas is that the children will design and create their own miniature garden to take home (if they want to) care for it and observe changes. Then they can bring in the obligatory photographs sometime in the future to talk about it!

In maths we are focusing on language of size: big, tall, small, bigger, smaller, biggest, smallest,long, short etc. children are already beginning to measure the flowers outside. We will be putting objects in order of size. This has come about from listening to the children’s language during ‘What’s in the Box?’ In maths songs we are still focusing on counting backwards.

The children were taught a little Mothers Day song last week. You might get a nice surprise on Sunday if they’re confident to sing it to you.
Next week we are learning Little Peter Rabbit.

Keep sending Teddy Word books in please!
Mrs. Quinn.

Week Commencing March 9th.

We are in the garden lots at the moment, the children are really enjoying turning over the soil in the garden. We have turned the role play area into a flower shop. Lots of writing opportunities to write gift tags or bouquet orders. We want to grow lots of vegetables this year and we are beginning to plant leeks, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, herbs, peas, broad beans. We also want to do the old faithfuls like cress, because the children don’t have to wait so long to see things happen. We would also like to make little grass caterpillars, so we need tights, for the children to fill with compost and grass seeds.

On  Thursday PM and Friday AM we will have our Mothers Day sale. Please PLEASE send in money in a named envelope. Ideally the correct amount you would like your child to spend, or write instructions on the envelope. The nursery staff will be gift wrapping – 50p extra I believe, but if any mums could help we’d be very grateful.

We didn’t get to do Toast Time this week unfortunately, and as this is such a busy term I don’t think we will next week either. Next Friday we are making cakes for Red Nose Day, again, helpers welcome.

SPRING: We would like photos or pictures from magazines for Signs of Spring, please send in with your child for our class book.  Have the children spotted flowers growing in the garden.

I have just booked a school trip for April 1st. Details will be in bags next week. All children, AM and PM will be together on the trip, it’s a nice way to mix them up a little prior to Reception.

Note: MAx C in PM nursery went home in two different sized shoes. Please name all shoes, as the children do recognise their shoes if named.  Will, Luke and Max all wear the same shoes, so someone is wearing the wrong size!

Mrs. Quinn.

Week of March 3rd.

This week we are continuing with a loose theme of other cultures, simply because Chinese New Year has been such a hit with the children. As a focus we will be finding different ways to join and manipulate materials, using a stapler, treasury tags or tape to make our own Chinese zodiac story animal books, Chinese lanterns and Chinese drums. The children will have to problem solve which joining technique they think is more appropriate.We will employ similar techniques in the junk modelling area. We had some lovely dragons created last week.

We were counting coins into red envelopes last week, this was very popular so we are staying with it, but asking the children to use tweezers to pick up the coins.

The role play area is still a Chinese restaurant. We have seen lots of mark making. To encourage this the children will be shown how to take an order for delivery – asking and writing the address, asking for directions, giving an estimate of how long it will take to be delivered.

Our other focus this week is following two part instructions and understanding prepositions.

We have a new game in the garden, giant Kerplunk! lots of maths opportunities here, estimating how many red/blue balls there are etc.

Tuesday: World Book Day dress up – bring in and talk about your favourite book. What is the story about? Who are the characters? Do you know the author? Why do you like it?

Friday: PM Nursery Toast Time.

What’s in the Box? – Owl group.

Rhyme/song of week: Mary had a little lamb.

Week commencing February 23rd.

We will be celebrating Chinese New Year next week. There will be writing opportunities, writing messages for our fortune cookies (save us your wrapped fortune cookies if you get a takeaway) and labelling animals in the Chinese zodiac.

There will hopefully be lots of discussion about our favourite celebrations and comparing them to other cultures. By learning about the animals of the zodiac we will be using ordinal numbers and positional language. There are lots of gold coins to count too, to put in our lucky red envelopes. Counting objects accurately continues to be a big focus.

Our Funky Finger challenge will involve transporting small objects using chopsticks. In the sensory area we have a huge vat of noodles to explore and red water beads. We will look at Chinese characters and try to copy them on the art easel to encourage mark making.

The children have been interested in shadows for a while now, so we will explore shadow puppetry on the white board to retell the Chinese zodiac story.

A busy week ahead! Oh, don’t forget to put in your order at our class Chinese takeaway and restaurant. The children will take bookings and write your order.

We will be counting to 100, practise at home.

We are introducing the first ‘two letters one sound,’ ‘ch’ to the children this week to fit in with our theme so please talk about other words that begin with this sound with your child.

Does anyone have any children’s Asian costumes to borrow for our role. Play restaurant?

Mrs. Quinn.

Week Commencing 9th Feb.

Last week the children showed real engagement in trying to free the Frozen characters from the ice, but from this grew a whole imaginative play with many AM children concerning the witch who had trapped them, which the PM children continued. To capitalise on this the role play has been changed to a witch’s kitchen with a cauldron. There are potion bottles to count and imagine what would be in them then write labels for them. Children can continue to explore colour mixing and changes on the art table to make their own witches potion, using pipettes and tweezers to strengthen fingers. Writing opportunities will come from writing their own spells. We will look at Valentines from the perspectives of people we love and feelings, to introduce our  feelings board. The children will be taking photos of each other with the ipad showing different expressions then labelling them. We will also be developing language to describe feelings for happy, sad, worries, scared, surprised.

We will be reading What’s in the Witches Kitchen, By Nick Sharratt to encourage imaginative play.

We are providing adult led daily play dough activities to develop finger strength. I would recommend that you make some home made play dough, it’s easy! Your child can make it with you. We are getting them to hold a large ball of play dough in both hands and squeeze hard; to roll into a sausage – which many find really hard as they don’t apply enough pressure as they roll forwards and back; to pinch it with their index finger and thumb; to roll a ball between their hands. Basically anything that really gets their fingers working. The children often say their fingers are tired! Have a go!

Here are a few photos from this week.

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Investigating change using pipettes.
Investigating change using pipettes.
Blending at the phonics table
Blending at the phonics table
Weighing objects
Weighing objects




We enjoy looking at our birthday book.
We enjoy looking at our birthday book.


It got messy
It got messy
Mixing red and blue
Mixing red and blue


Look at all the colours we made.
Look at all the colours we made.

Investigating change using pipettes.


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A few polite reminders:

Library Day Mondays: If you forget your book, don’t worry, but keep hold of it till the following week.

Please don’t put water bottles in book bags in case they leak.

Check you have all your child’s clothing and shoes labelled.

Start thinking about whether your child’s wellingtons could be too small.

What a Fabulous Week.

We are having so much fun with the children in Nursery this week. We have a book focus, The Mitten, by Jan Brett. The children love it. A boy loses his mitten and different animals take shelter from the winter snow inside it. It holds a rabbit, a badger, a fox, a bear and a mouse.

We have heard lots of lovely language about size: big, bigger, stretching, growing,huge. The children have been talking about who has mittens or gloves and which they prefer and why. We took a poll. Then we estimated how many animals we could fit into our own gloves. We used cubes to investigate who could fit the most into their glove or mitten and the children worried out the bigger the glove the more would fit inside. They compared quantities by making a tower of the blocks.

Then, that golden moment, when talking about if children could fit into a mitten (they thought about 3!) someone said they bet lots could fit in the ‘Fe Fi Fo giants’ mitten.

So, tomorrow we are designing and making a huge mitten for the ‘Fe Fi Fo giant’ to see how many of us can fit in it.
Can’t wait.









Week Commencing Jan 19th.

We are continuing with our winter theme, but will have a book focus, The Mitten, By Jan Brett. This story is derived from a Ukranian folktale and has already been read a couple of times, so the children are familiar with it. We hope to continue to develop their 1:1 counting and adding one more / one less by exploring how many farm animals can fit into their own mittens. Last week we had a good discussion (particularly with AM session) about who had mittens/gloves which developed our maths data recording. We introduced new vocabulary – expand, stretch, swell!

I would like to generate more discussion about different benefits of both gloves with fingers and mittens. We will also continue to develop communication and language through exploration of hot/cold colours and explore pattern by designing new mittens, using tools (stapler) to make a 3D mitten.

We are learning that it isn’t winter everywhere and have contacted Mr. Paton, in Dubai, to discuss the weather there at the moment. He is going to call the children next Friday to tell them how hot it is over there just now.

‘The Mitten’ book also leads us nicely into exploring how woodland animals cope with winter and we will develop our finger skills by making bird feeders on Monday.

We will need the children to bring in yogurt pots on Monday for our bird feeders.

TOAST TIME on Friday.
‘What’s in the Box?’ is the Mouse group.
Library day is Monday only.

Mrs. Quinn.

Winter Rhymes

Here are some rhymes and songs that we are learning in class.

Out in the yard, I saw a snowman
Who was cold as cold could be.
I gave him a hat and a bright red scarf
But he still looked cold to me.

So I build a big bonfire
To last through the night.
But in the morning
He was no where in sight!

Five Little Snowflakes
One little snowflake with nothing to do,
Along came another and then there were… two!
Two little snowflakes laughing with me,
Along came another and then there were…three!
Three little snowflakes looking for some more,
Along came another and then there were…four!
Four little snowflakes dancing a jive,
Along came another, and then there were…five!
Five little snowflakes, having so much fun!
Out came the sun, and then there were none!

Snowflake (Twinkle Twinkle tune).

I’m a little snowflake, small and white.
When the moon is shining
I’m sparkly and bright.
When you see me falling,
Come out and play.
You can make a snowman with me today.

I’m a Little Snowman (Little teapot tune).

I’m a little Snowman, round and fat,
I’ve got a woolly scarf
and a little bobble hat.
When the snow is falling,
Come out and play.
You can make a snowman with me today.

Teddy Words

Well done to Millie W, Nathan and Harry, sounding out their Teddy words to me. It is lovely to see the progress.

Please give me your Teddy Word book at the beginning of a session if you would like your child to sound out/read some words to me. Some days we don’t get to go through book bags, so this will ensure I am able to keep up with children as they progress.

Mrs. Quinn.

Next Week.

We are looking at Winter next week. Over the coming weeks we are looking at cold colours, seasonal changes, and ‘our world’ to understand that it isn’t winter everywhere, and how animals survive in winter. Through these interests we will be focusing on cutting skills and language skills to talk about what the children have observed.

Many of the children are still ‘frozen’ obsessed which fits in well with a winter theme. We hope to inspire the children to use more junk modelling this term, perhaps make their own class igloo or Frozen ice palace, working collaboratively and using their problem solving skills. That said please take a look at what ‘junk’ you have left over from Christmas. Anything in white, silver, blue tones, clear/white plastic cups or plates, wrapping paper in winter patterns or colours. Ribbons, present bows, tinsel, bead strings and garlands can all be put to use by your imaginative three and four year olds! I have saved ribons off pulled crackers. Everything has a use in Nursery!

Mrs. Quinn.

Merry Christmas

All the staff in Nursery staff would like to say thank you for all your lovely gifts this Christmas. We are all starting our detox in January!

The children have been asked to draw a picture over Christmas.

Scissor Skills:
Please send in old Christmas cards for the children to cut up. We are really focusing on scissor skills, so it would be great if you could encourage this at home too. Model how to hold scissors correctly and encourage the children to keep their thumb on top. If they find cutting paper a challenge they may find it easier to cut up play dough or drinking straws.

Seasons Book:

We are collecting images of Winter for our seasons book, or photos of the Christmas festivities.

Teddy Words:
Please feedback any progress with Teddy words. If the book is kept in their book bag I’ll be able to listen to your child read the words.

See you in 2015!
Mrs Quinn.

Week Commencing December 8th.

It was a very busy week last week. We started the week with a visit from the Lollypop Lady to reiterate the importance of looking each way when crossing the road (staff carpark).

The children met their new class elf. We had lots of name suggestions. Sparkle, Eddie, Jingle, Sand, Christmas, Santa, to name a few. The children voted for him to be called Eddie, but then addedd a surname, so welcome, Eddie Jingle to Gruffalo Nursery.

He wasted no time getting up to mischief. The children had to find him each day.

We then set to work creating paper chains to make the classroom look festive.

We have been wrapping presents for Santa and Eddie has been using his magic elf dust to put the presents into the boxes. We counted the boxes each day to see how many we had wrapped then wrote it on our chart. The children are encouraged to write or mark-make a name label for each gift, which we will continue this week. The children will also be continuing to improve their scissor skills, cutting out pictures of toys from catalogues and mark-make labels for the items they would like for Christmas.

We worked on number recognition last week as a maths challenge. We will continue this, albeit with a Christmas theme this week.

Our fine motor challenge was to decorate a Christmas tree using tweezers. Quite tricky! This week we are carefully using spoons to combine and scoop ingredients to make reindeer food, without spilling any.

We have been cooking and decorating individual Christmas cakes with our parent helpers. This will continue this week too. There was lots of maths oportunity to measure out the exact ingredients and counting out the correct number of spoonfuls. We also sorted and tallied ‘shape’ letters for Santa.

We decorated Christmas cards last week and the children will be writing in them this week. They practised writing their name all last week.

We are going to begin making some Christmas tree decorations this week

In phonics we have now taught the children the leters m.a.s.d.t.i.n.p.g
We will introduce letters o.c.k.u.b over the rest of the term. The children are being taught to hear and say initial sounds in words and to blend sounds to make a work. Many have risen to the challenge and even tried to write the words.

Children have been making ‘letter cakes’ in the sand tray.

We are continuing to read Christmas themed books and talk about the meaning of Christmas to Christians. Thank you to parents who have donated books to read, which will be returned once read.

‘What’s in the Box!’ Jamie Bear’s Diary and the Birthday book are proving extremely popular in developing comminication and language skills. Many children are now able to respond appropriately and ask relevant questions.

Highlight of this week will be the Carol concert. Thursday and Friday. It will be short but extremely sweet. Two adults per child only please as we will perform our songs in the classroom
Mrs. Quinn.

W/C December 1st.

We wil be cooking next week. Could all children bring in an empty 4oz tin please.

We will be learning a new rhyme for Christmas.

Twinkle twinkle Christmas star
How I wonder what you are
Santa needs your shining light
Help him on his way tonight
Twinkle twinkle Christmas star
How I wonder what you are

We are also learning to sing:
The 12 days of Christmas.
Ruddolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
Little Donkey.
Jingle Bells.
When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney.

I am attempting to create a bok list for December – a different Christmas book a day. If you have a book I could borrow to read to teh children please drop it in. It can be returned within the week.

Christmas Cooking

Dear Parents,

Could you please send in a 4oz clean / empty tin (think a small can of baked beans) next week for a Christmas activity.

We would also welcome a donation of wrapping paper as its lovely to get the children wrapping presents for our Santa sack in the role play area. It really gets their little fingers working and we usually observe some great teamwork, helping to hold the paper in place.

We could also do with some empty boxes to wrap up and label to encourage writing.

Mrs. Quinn.

Week Commencing 24th November.

We have had such a fantastic week with the children. We have been describing and sorting different textures. Next week we will be painting onto and with different textures. Painting on foil, sand paper etc. Mixing different ingredients into the paint, such as sand, rice, oats, to see the effect.

We will go into the forest and use our senses and magnifying glasses to look at and feel textures in the natural world. We also hope to make a natural number line.

The children are enjoying learning letter sounds. Don’t forget to check out the Phonics blog as there is a link to a video to hear the sounds. We are encouraging mark making and trying to write the letters, but not always with a pen, and not always on paper.
We write with water on the ground, using sticks in the sand, with our finger in fine grain coloured sand. I love to get feedback about the children who are keen to practise at home and show you what they have been learning.

We are really pleased to note that all but a few children can independently recognise their name – Brilliant!

Next Week:
Toast Time on Friday – Can you help?

Song of the week: London’s Burning.

Number of the week: 4
Please send in children’s pictures of the number 4, or quantities of 4 – 4 apples, 4 dolls etc.

Please keep sending in images of ojects with different initial letter sounds for a phonics wall display.

We are collecting milk bottle tops

Christmas Fair:
We need a volunteer from PM nursery to arrange parent cover for the Christmas fair. If enough parents volunteer you should only have to do a 1/2 hour. We do want your support!

Thanks to Mrs. Campbell for volunteering to liaise with AM nursery parents. I understand their is a birthday party that day – but you could still volunteer to help set up on the Friday evening.

End of Term:
We hope to put on a carol concert for you in Nursery at the end of term, so start practising singing Christmas Carols at home with the children. We will teach the children about 5 songs to sing to you, which we are confirming next week. Dates to be advised.

Mrs. Quinn.

W/C November 17th.

Next week we will be developing our vocabulary by describing different textures. This stems from our work in the forest this week. We did some bark rubbing and the children spent time feeling the bark but could not agree on how it felt. We have lots of different fabrics and materials, but would welcome any sent in to add to our collection. The children will start off sorting the materials and the adults will encourage and model language to describe how they feel.

We are still looking at shape, so send in pictures of objects of particular shapes please.

Our number for the week is 3. Send in pictures of sets of 3, or the digit three.

Lastly: Thanks to the parents hwo helped with our first Toast Time on Friday. It went really well.

Mrs. Quinn.

World Rhyme Week

The children will be participating in World Rhyme Week.

Each day we will learn a new rhyme and the children will be given a colouring page to bring home.

The rhymes we will learn are:

Monday: Old King Cole (First verse only)
Tuesday: Oranges & Lemons
Wednesday: I hear thunder
Thursday: Five current buns
Friday: Hey Diddle Diddle

The children are going to be challenged to sing them on their own to win 2 gold coins per rhyme.
They can sing them to any adult, any day.

Here is a quiz for mum and dad.

WNRW quiz

Mrs. Quinn.

Week Commencing 10th November.

Next week we will continue to look at 2D and 3D shapes. We will be teaching the children our Ricky Rectangle rhyme and comparing squares to rectangles, making observations about how they are different. We will be encouraging the children to look for rectangles in their own environment and bring in pictures for our shape wall.

We are hoping to consolidate our work on squares by creating a large class mosaic Elmer. We are going to compare rectangles and squares and take inspiration from the work of Mondrian.

The children have been talking about Frieworks, so if you watch any fireworks over the weekend please talk to your child about how they made them feel, what sounds they could hear and sights and smells. We will provide resources so they can represent their experiences through mark making. We have tea bags ready to dip in paint and throw against the wall to make a firework effect. We have paint bombs ready to drop from a height and we will be getting our arms and fingers working spinning a lazy susan and salad spinners (does anyone have a spare one in the back of their cupboard?) to create paint effects – I’m sure there will be a bit of glitter thrown in too for sparkly fireworks.

The children have been singing a song about fireworks this week to the tune of 10 green bottles, and counting back from 10. Ask them to sing it to you.

Number focus:
We are looking at the nunber 2. Please send in images of this number for our number collage book.
Also pictures of pairs of things. Two feet, two shoes, two dolls, two apples, two siblings etc.

We are continuing to learn the story of the The Little Red Hen, perhaps you could read it at home.

Our rhyme of the week will be:

1,2 tie my shoe
3,4 shut the door,
5,6 pick up sticks,
7,8 lay them straight,
9,10 a big fat hen,
Let’s get up and count again.

We are introducing the letter sounds to children, whilst still focusing on rhyme, initial word sounds and listening games. Please pop in if you aren’t sure how best to support your child at home. I will send sound sheets home as we introduce new sounds. They are just for your reference, I don’t need them to come back to class. I do strongly recomment that you purchase the RWI phonics cards from the office.

New next week:
We are introducing library Mondays. Each Monday the children will come home with a book and keep it until the following Monday.

Our first Toast Time will be next Friday. Please let me know if you could help.
I will need a donation of £1 per child which should cover the term.

Mrs. Quinn.

Week Commencing November 3rd.

The children have been learning about 2D shapes this week. Some are learning to recognise shapes, whilst others are beginning to talk about the properties of shapes, and use them appropriately to represent other things. Some children created their own 2D shapes.

Each week we will focus on a particular basic shape through rhyme and hands on activities. We read Elmer books this week and noticed his square pattern. The children designed their own Elmer, using squares, then various shapes, talking about the shapes they had selected.

We then introduced a paint resist technique which the children enjoyed – they selected various shapes, painted over them then lifted up the shapes to reveal their silhouette.

To reinforce shape recognition and get our fingers working we have been ripping tissue paper – not easy for a three year old! Then glueing to create a ‘stained glass window’ effect which will soon hang in our window.

The children have been practising their fine motor skills, threading beads to decorate the room and balancing marbles on what is actually the back of a shower mat.

Imaginery Play:
Lots of talking and comparing bedtime routines and favourite stories. Lots of conversation of their experiences of fireworks in our Small World area and the sounds, colours and shapes the children see.






Our bedroom role play extended into washing dolls clothes, pegging them out and then an experiment to see how long they would take to dry.

A very busy week indeed…

Mrs. Quinn.

I visited Mrs. Waldock today and gave her a book of letters and cards made by the children. She was in good spirits and promises to come in and visit us soon. She loved the cards and said how impressed she was with everyones writing.

No Toast Time this week – W/C June 10th.
We are baking scones on Thursday if you can help – whole class, so that we can enjoy a traditional cream tea on Friday.

Does anyone have a pretty cake stand we could borrow?

Mrs. Quinn.

The Seaside

Reception classes are looking at the Season of Summer hext half term and are in need of the following role play resources:

Beach balls
rubber rings
arm bands
inflatable beds
beach towels
sun hats
sun glasses
shorts/swimming costumes for kids
picnic plates/cups/jugs
postcards – used or unused.
Empty sun lotion bottles.

Anything else you think the children might need on a beach…