Aug 25, 2021

Colchester August News: Baking, Farms and Stories

Colchester Aug

Welcome to August’s newsletter, where have the summer holidays gone! We have been settling in our new children who will be starting with us soon and getting all the rooms ready for the start of term, as well as adding some new equipment to the outside areas which the children have enjoyed using.

August news

For Pre School’s very last month with us, we have been continuing to ensure the children are ready for school, recognising numbers, recognising the initial sounds in simple words, as well as supporting the children with their letter formation whilst writing their name and their friends names too.

We have had some great conversations with the children, one involved talking about what they want to be when they are older! One child said they want to be a chef, so we explained and spoke about different occupations, however speaking about being a chef it led to a variety of conversations such as our favourite food, what others eat, the different types of food and what is good and not so good for us if we have too much! The children spoke about prawns and crab sticks, and requested these for a snack which we provided to try; some children enjoyed them some didn’t, as they said they don’t smell very nice! Regarding food we have been observing our tomato plant which now has several tomatoes on, and whilst they are still green, we are all patiently waiting for them to go red.

The children have continued to show their interest in food, and they have created gingerbread cookies, cake and tomato and cheese spin wheels! Again, this activity promoted the children’s number recognition whilst measuring the ingredients and promoting their interest in baking. The children have also showed an interest in photography, taking lots of photographs and even videos; they really enjoyed being in front of the camera! The children have also been lucky as our new climbing wall arrived and the children have enjoyed going up and over and taking risks by jumping off one side and landing on two feet.

The Pre School children have been very kind and helpful to the Sun Beam children who have been visiting for part of their transition to the room, they have shown them how we make play dough, and how we do some things in Pre School!

From all of us at Sunhill, it has been a pleasure watching your children grow and develop in Pre School and we wish them all the best of luck in starting school!

*Reminder, the children starting in Pre School drop off and collection will be at the side gate (Green gate by the stairs to Braiswick Primary).

This month in Sunbeams has been fun filled – as always, we have taken part in lots of cooking! We made cheese straws which the children thoroughly enjoyed getting involved with. They used their gross motor skills to unroll the dough and then practised their self-independence skills by cutting the pastry into strips, they then used their fine motor skills to carefully sprinkle cheese into the straws! We baked them, and the children took some home to share with their friends and family. We have also made pancakes in which we enjoyed for snack with mixed berries; the children really enjoyed watching these being cooked!

Within the room in the tuff tray the children have enjoyed tea and coffee making, this helps them to act out experiences they have seen at home such as making drinks and then also joining in with family customs enjoying them together. We have also been working on our readiness for preschool, so we have been discussing what staff will be looking after us (Jo and Heidi). We also spoke about what things might happen within the preschool room. It will also help your children with the transition if you talk to them about the move to preschool too.

The children have also enjoyed playing with our new small world farm, they have compared the sizes of each animal and spoke about where they come from and what they might eat/drink! We decided that most of our favourite farm animal was a pig! So, we decided to extend this by attempting to paint some pigs and make pig masks. We have also been working on our number skills and done lots of work with counting, we counted our fingers, our toes and even the balls we could find in the garden. We are now all great mathematicians in the making! Out in the garden we have got a new climbing wall, which is helping to develop the children’s physical development and work on those core muscles, the children have developed their independence by being able to climb up to the top all by themselves. Once at the top the children were pretending to be pirates acting out that they were on a boat! This is developing the children’s imagination skills and allowing them to act out things with their peers whilst letting their imagination flow.

Only a couple of weeks until the children will be moving into the preschool room, and we will be so sad to see them go although we are looking forward to seeing them grow and develop further. To be ready we will be working further on the children’s numbers and literacy skills, this will include looking at the way stories are structured and suggesting how they might end. For the children who are moving into Sunbeams in September could you please provide family photos for your children? This is to support their settling into the room, we will also be making photo books and displays with the photos to make our room feel like home!

This month In the Twinkle Star’s room we have been focusing on our children’s speech and language, our main way of promoting this, alongside simply talking and modelling language to them has been reading short stories, as quite often the children will bring over a book of their choosing so we can read to them, whether it’s a babble while pointing to the pictures, copying a noise an animal makes or even a very clear word. Books are so important at any age, please remember our Library in the Reception area. The children are all developing at their own pace, and it has been lovely to see their interests in books come along over the past month. The children have also enjoyed singing their favourite songs, this also promotes their speech and language, two songs are “Horsey, Horsey don’t you stop” and “Old MacDonald had a farm” especially “E-I-E-I-O” which the children would sing repeatedly! Sand has been a big hit this month, practising scooping, and pouring the sand into cups and measuring spoons, counting 1,2,3 and 4, this promotes their Personal, Social, and Emotional Development, being around others and forming very close friendships. We have some new outdoor mats that the children have loved crawling on and playing with the different resources, as well as promoting their gross motor skills by climbing on the small frame and coming down the slide.

We will be sad to say goodbye to some of our children who will be moving up to Sunbeams or moving away out of the area, we wish you every happiness and it’s been a pleasure having you for the start of your journey in Twinkle stars.

What’s coming up next month

Next month we will be focusing on settling in all the new children who will be starting with us and all the children who will be in a different room. Speech and Language will still be a big focus as well as promoting stories with books.

Other important information

Start of term is Monday 6th September!

Please can you ensure if your children have a packed lunch please can you ensure it is a healthy lunch and there are no items containing nuts, chocolate, or sweets please, as we promote healthy eating within the setting.

Please can parents still wear masks when entering the building, Covid is still around, and we are trying our best to prevent any cases here so we would appreciate your support again as you have throughout the whole pandemic. There is also hand sanitizer on entering the building for you to use too. Thank you for your cooperation.

There is a very good website to support the home learning environment at:

Talk, listen and cuddle and the home learning environment(

Moving forward we will be doing our Observations via IConnect which will be sent direct to you through the app, this will replace the paper-based ones you receive every 4 weeks, please be patient with us as we get to grips with the layout.

We will be putting our story sacks back out for parents/children, these will be in Reception for you to borrow, please can I ask they are looked after and all items are returned in the sack, it becomes very frustrating when somebody takes one home and some of the items are missing.

I cannot believe we have come to the end of the academic year, and what a year it has been, we have had many challenges that we have faced and with your continued support we have made it through to the end! Our staff employee of the Month is Jo Head who has faced many challenges this term, having to run the Nursery while I was working at home due to being in contact with the two cases we had in the Nursery, also with limited staff who also had to isolate.

Moving forward we would like to keep the pickup and drop off’s as they are, Preschool children to be dropped off and picked up from the double green gates outside the preschool room.

Sunbeam children to be dropped off and picked up from reception, with only Twinkle stars parents being allowed onto the Nursery floor, unfortunately Covid is still with us, and we want to make sure the Nursery is a safe environment for the children and the staff. In terms of Covid, unfortunately if your child still presents any of the 3 symptoms High Temperature, Continuous cough or loss of taste, you will be asked to collect them and a PCR test will still be required, they will not be allowed back into nursery till we have seen the Negative result, you do not have to share the result with us but you will then need to self- isolate for 10 days, anybody who is contacted through track and trace will need a PCR test but can attend the setting while awaiting the result as long as they under 18 and have been double vaccinated.

Please do have a look at our social media pages on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for news, and to see what your little ones have been up to.

Thank you all for your recent reviews on Google, Facebook or Your kind words and feedback really do make our day and we really appreciate the time spent on leaving us a review. If you haven’t yet had the chance to write a review and would like to, we would be very grateful. You can do this on Google, Facebook or

Finally, if your child is leaving us at the end of this term to move up to school, their last day will be 31st August unless you have told us otherwise.  If your child is not starting school straight away and you would like them to come to us for any additional sessions early in September, do let me know so that I can check our availability.

Activity for home

If you are looking for something to do at home this weekend or over the coming months, why not give our activity at home a go! Be aware that some activities or ideas may need to be adapted to suit your child’s age and development.

Paint with your hands and feet

  • Get a long roll of lining paper, old wall paper or material
  • Choose what colours to use to decorate with
  • Then use your hands and feet to decorate the paper
  • Display the artwork in your windows for people to see

What will your child be learning?

  • Independence, creativity and choice
  • Mark making using their body
  • Sensory experience of paint on their body
  • Colours
  • Shapes and sizes
  • Developing gross motor skills
  • New vocabulary, e.g. big, small, red, blue, green, feet, hand, etc
  • Give meaning to marks they make

Please share photos of your child’s activity on the app. We look forward to seeing your child’s creations!

Thank you for being understanding and all that is left for me to say is Goodluck to the remaining children who will be leaving us next week to start their new chapter in school, on behalf of us all at Sunhill we wish you every happiness in the future.

Elaine Sim, Nursery Manager

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