Apr 28, 2021

Henley April News: Sensory Play, Junk Modelling and Easter

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Welcome to our April Newsletter!  We have all had such a busy time recently as we have welcomed lots of new families to our nursery. It is great to see everyone settling in so well.

We also welcomed Sabrina, our Nursery Cook, back from maternity leave this month.  Sharon, who has been covering in Sabrina’s absence, will be with us a little longer to hand the role back to Sabrina, but then sadly we will have to say goodbye to her.  Rhianna had been waiting for confirmation of a position in the NHS and so now has sadly left us.  However, I am pleased to let you know that Debra Felton joined our team this month and is settling in well. I am also delighted to say that Rebecca ‘Becks’ Fern (previously Bennett) is returning to us in May! Those of you who have been with us for some time will know Becks as she was previously our Room Leader in Caterpillars.  She will be returning to us as a Senior Practitioner and will be based in the Caterpillars room. 

April news

This month within the Caterpillars room, the children have enjoyed experiencing all the different weather conditions we have had recently; wearing waterproofs to jump in puddles, wooly hats and coats to build a snowman, and recently sun hats and sun cream while they splashed in the water tray. 

We have continued to focus on the children’s current favourite book, ‘The Boy othe Bus’.  The children have enjoyed creating their own animals to wait at the bus stop for the boy to pick them up in the bus! 

Throughout April, the children have enjoyed lots of different sensory play activities.  They have been exploring different types and sizes of balls, paint, foam, water and shredded paper. 

The children have also been busy watering their seeds which they planted last month and looked on in wonder as they have started to sprout and grow. 

Also this month, the children decorated crowns to celebrate the Queen’s birthday which the children wore during snack time. 

In the Butterflies room this month, we have been extending the children’s interest in messy play. The children have enjoyed experimenting with lots of different media and materials. A favourite was shaving foam and sawdust; when mixed togetherthe unusual texture caused great curiosity. The children have also been exploring different smells within their messy play activities, enhancing the sensory experience further. 

In April, the children have really enjoyed creating some amazing chick cards for Easter. The feathers used were very tickly and the children had great fun blowing them out of their hands and seeing how far they would travel! The children also participated in an Easter egg hunt around the garden where they had to search high and low to find the hidden eggs. They were very excited to count how many they had; there were thirteen! The children also had a little treat of hot cross buns for their snack which were very tasty. 

Whilst out in the garden, the children have been experimenting with different things from around the nursery to made bubbles with. A tennis racket made lots of little bubbles and a coat hanger made massive bubbles. Some of the things the children tried weren’t so successful, but it was still fun trying! 

The hot cross buns that the pre-school children made for Easter were a huge success! The children demonstrated great levels of engagement throughout the whole process and were very proud of the final products; each hot cross bun was lovingly, uniquely and carefully made. Not only is cooking a fun (and messy) activity, it is also a skill for life! By cooking their own food, children are more likely to try new things and develop their awareness of safety and hygiene procedures. Stirring, rolling, measuring and kneading are all key parts of cooking and each provides children with a new experience and learning opportunities. If you have any family favourite recipes, please do share these with us so that we can have a go ourselves.  

Junk modelling has also been a favourite activity in pre-school throughout April and the team have been busy turning recycled ‘junk’ into lots of props to support the children’s role play ideas. There have been scooters and buses, highchairs and trains along with stables and fairy wings! We have also included some of the larger boxes in the children’s outside obstacle courses, turning them into tunnels and crawling through them. 

The mixed weather that we have experienced during April has provided the children with lots of weather-based activities. The snow meant that the children were able to build some snowmen, however due to the speed at which they melted, the children decided to paint their own so that they would last longer. The warm weather more recently has meant fun in the sun where the children have been practising their tennis skills. We have seen lots of determination and perseverance whilst trying to hit the balls. Hand eye coordination is a key part of a child’s physical development and supports them in many self-care routines such as fastening zips and buttons. Hand eye coordination also supports early writing skills as it increases a child’s awareness of the impact and effects of their actions and movements.   

 What’s coming up next month

During May in Caterpillars, we will be focusing on physical development and so we will be encouraging the children, who are at different stages, to enjoy tummy time, practice crawling, balancing, walking and climbing. 

In Butterflies, we will be getting the vegetable patch ready for planting. The children will be involved in choosing which vegetables and fruits we will plant. They will learn about what they will need to help them to grow. 

Space has been an interest of many of the children in pre-school and so in early May, we will be celebrating International Space Day.  We will be extending the children’s junk modelling skills by making rockets and developing their collaboration skills as they create planets through ball rolling. 

Other important information

As restrictions ease and things begin to reopen, it has been wonderful hearing all about your adventures, days out and holidays. Please do share some of the fun you are having via EyLog as the children love sharing their experiences with their friends.  

Could I take this opportunity to ask that you try to get to the nursery to collect your child by their finish time please?  We have noticed recently that, particularly at 1pm and 4pm, some children are being collected late and unfortunately, this does impact on our staff:child ratios. I appreciate that sometimes traffic can cause you to run a little late, but when this becomes a regular occurrence, I am afraid we will have to charge our late collection fee.  However, I should make it clear that this will not be charged if you have arrived at nursery in time but are perhaps waiting behind other parents at the gate. Thank you for your consideration and cooperation. 

I have been asked to remind parents that, if you are driving out of the car park and are on the drive when a parent is indicating to turn into the nursery, you should please reverse back down the drive to avoid anyone having to sit on the busy Fairmile waiting to turn in. 

Now that restrictions are beginning to be relaxed and so everyone can get out and about more, and even go on holidays, just a reminder that we do need to know if your child is not going to be in nursery.  I realise there will always be times when last minute decisions are made, or perhaps your child is unwell, but where possible, it would be appreciated if you could give us as much notice as possible of any absences. 

Finally, a reminder for those families who attend on a term time only basis that the next holiday dates are Monday 31st May (bank holiday) until Friday 4th June. Please also be aware that Monday 3rd May is a bank holiday and we will be closed to all families.

Thank you for your continued support.

Julie Crake, Nursery Manager


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