Feb 22, 2021

Henley February News: Shrove Tuesday, Mark Making and Forest School

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February news

I would like to start this newsletter with some staff news. Rhianna joined us on the 15th February and has settled in very well. She has been working in the pre-school room and is already proving herself to be very popular with the children! I am pleased to confirm that Alice Stow will also be joining us on 1st March. Alice has some previous experience of working with children, although not in a nursery environment, but she is very keen to learn. Sadly, I have to let you know that Kaylie and Nicola will be leaving us in March as they have both taken up positions closer to their homes.

This month, all of the children across the nursery have been extremely busy. We have been encouraging our older children in Caterpillars to take turns. We have facilitated this through lots of fun games, such as rolling and throwing balls to one another and by building (and, of course, knocking down!) towers. Our younger children in Caterpillars have been very vocal throughout February and we have been exploring different sounds and noises. This is great for the children’s communication and language skills and is a great base for forming relationships with their peers and key carers.

The children have LOVED ‘Dear Zoo’, our book of the month. The children all get very excited to lift the flaps and find all the animals hiding inside.

The children have shown a keen interest in mark making this month. They have been exploring the different possibilities of mark making with paints, flour, soil, paint sticks, chalks, foamy soap and even with muddy puddles outside in the garden. We will continue to provide the children with new and exciting ways to discover the marks they can make during March, including welly boot printing and lots more sensory activities to stimulate all the senses.

We have been very busy throughout February in Butterflies. The children got really excited watching their feathered visitors visit their bird feeders. The birds seemed to really enjoy these treats as the feed disappeared very quickly. For Valentine’s Day, the children explored fresh flowers; learning about their texture and their smells. The children used the petals to make their Valentine’s pictures. This particularly challenged the children’s fine motor skills as some of the petals were quite small.

The children also really enjoyed celebrating Pancake Day. They had yummy pancakes for snack and had a go at flipping the pancakes. The pancakes did look a little worse for wear by the end!

Chinese New Year was also celebrated in February. We challenged the children to draw Chinese symbols in coloured sand using chopsticks. They also used the chopsticks for messy play with noodles; the children were very resourceful and found their own way to pick up the noodles. This activity was great for developing their fine motor muscles and problem solving skills.

As mentioned in January’s newsletter, the children in pre-school joined in with the Big School’s Birdwatch. The children made a variety of bird feeders, including some that were made from hollowed out oranges filled with bird seed, whilst others were made by combining lard and bird seed. Although we enjoyed watching the birds, the highlight seemed to be the cheeky squirrels that visited the garden for a bite to eat!

The children also enjoyed their highly requested fire at Forest School where they made popcorn. The children waited in great anticipation for the kernels to start popping and they were even more excited to try it. For some of the children this was their first experience of experiencing a fire and so they were excited to learn the process; while for others, it was an opportunity to recap and extend prior experiences.

During the week of Shrove Tuesday, the children also made some very special campfire pancakes! Throughout February, the children have also celebrated a number of other festivals, including Chinese New Year. The children had a special Chinese snack of prawn crackers (which went down a treat) and spring rolls. We also extended the children’s mathematical skills by exploring Chinese numerals. A lot of the children were fascinated by these and attempted to copy them. Noodle and rice sensory trays were also lots of fun as the children had the opportunity to explore and practise using chopsticks along with tweezers and scissors. Activities like this help to develop children’s fine motor muscles which are required for early writing.

February 7th was ‘Send a card to a friend day’ and so, to mark this occasion, some of the children made cards to give to their friends. This was a fantastic opportunity to explore letters and sounds with the children and we saw some brilliant collaborative learning as they asked each other for help. It was lovely to see the children teach one another how to form the letters in their names.

The doll’s house has also provided plenty of entertainment this month as we have overheard the children create some wonderful stories using the various people and characters provided. We extended this interest by providing the children with a variety of resources in the art area to make their own characters too. Imaginative play is vital for young children to develop their creativity, as well as their emotional communication and language skills to name but a few benefits.

What’s coming up in March

In March, we will be following the Caterpillar children’s interest in their book this month, ‘Dear Zoo’. We will be facilitating activities based on the story. Stories are a great way to extend children’s vocabulary. It also helps to develop children’s listening and attention skills. Interactive stories like ‘Dear Zoo’ are particularly good for younger children. Our book of the month initiative seems to be a big hit with the Caterpillars children and so, our book of the month for March will be ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’.  Some of the children have started to show an interest in reading it already.

Next month, the children in Butterflies will celebrate St David’s Day, where they will be exploring daffodils and practising their scissor skills by cutting up leeks. Ali will also try to teach the children to say some phrases in Welsh, such as “bore da” (good morning) and “croeso” (welcome), you might also like to try this at home.

St Patrick’s Day will be another fun celebration in mid-March as we will be using various resources to create shamrock patterns.

During March, the pre-school children will be busy preparing some surprises for their mummies or special someone, all will be revealed on the 14th March! We will also be celebrating St Patrick’s Day with some fun activities. We will also be taking part in Red Nose Day on Friday 19th March – more details to follow!

Other important information

I have been made aware that some parents are leaving their engines running in the car park while dropping off/collecting their child/ren.  As we aim to protect our environment as much as possible, could I please ask that you refrain from doing so.

For those of you who have children in our pre-school room, you will be aware that we haven’t been having Forest School sessions on a regular day each week for some time. We have now been able to put plans in place so that Forest School sessions will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays each week, wherever possible. As we aim to head up the hill as close to 9am as possible; to maximise the time that the children spend in the woods; could you make sure that, if your child is with us on these days, they are dropped off in plenty of time.

I have noticed that some parents are using EyLog to send messages to us.  Where possible, could you please either phone us on 01491 577716 or e-mail the nursery directly on henley@theoldstationnursery.co.uk with any messages so that we can be sure these will be picked up? However, we would love it if you used EyLog to upload observations of things your children have been doing at home, and with any milestones they have reached as this all feeds into their learning journey.

Thank you for your continued support.

Mollie Pritchard, Deputy Nursery Manager


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