Welcome to the July newsletter from Henley – the summer just seems to be flying by!
We had to say goodbye to some of our term time only children who are moving up to ‘big school’ in September and will be doing the same again to the rest of the oldest children during August. We always feel very sad when children leave us to move on to school, but are so pleased that we have had the opportunity to play some part in their development as they now embark on the next exciting stage of their lives.
The children in Caterpillars explored our metallic Treasure Basket at the start of the month. Treasure Baskets are composed of a range resources and household objects put together to give babies and young children a safe yet intriguing range of objects to explore. These are placed in a shallow basket to allow independent selection whilst a practitioner supervises. Such activities use our youngest children’s natural impulse to explore everything around them, providing them with a safe space to understand how these materials behave in space, and how they can be transported and contained.
During this activity, the staff team observed that lots of the children were very interested in spotting their reflections on the mirrored surfaces and therefore created a mirror station for the children to explore. The children have been very excited to see their reflections and watch what happens in the mirrors when they change their facial expressions or make movements! The children are developing their self-awareness through this activity and over time will be able to understand and identify their own facial features.
The children continue to enjoy many different sensory experiences: this month they practised scooping and containing soil into different containers. They had so much fun getting muddy, and developed our hand-eye coordination in the process!
In Butterflies the children have really been focusing on developing their gross motor skills. The practitioners have been building obstacle courses of varying levels of difficulty, to cater for the different abilities/stages of development of the children within the room. We placed some planks on tyres for the younger children and placed planks on crates to challenge the older children. They then had to step up onto a higher plank and jump off. Some of the children decided to challenge themselves further by climbing up on the tyres to jump off of them too.
In our vegetable patch, the carrots are growing nicely and we also have tomatoes starting to appear. Our pumpkins, however, have gone a bit wild and look a bit like something out of ‘The Day of the Triffids’!
At the beginning of July one of our lovely parents kindly brought in some peacock feathers for the children to explore. We had a great time examining the various colours and patterns, creating our own peacock tails with paper and dancing in the wind with the large feathers.
Unfortunately, the local wildlife ate all of our sunflowers one night which was a little upsetting. However, the children didn’t dwell on this for too long and so we planted some new seeds and made a wildlife proof pen around them. This idea stemmed from the children who had observed how well the vegetables in the vegetable patch are growing which has a fence around it. We took it in turns to hammer in 4 posts and then placed some mesh fencing around it – so far so good as our new sunflowers seem to be thriving! Whilst making our wildlife proof pen the children also took an interest in measurements and were keen to use a tape measure to see how far apart the posts were. We identified the various numbers and some of the children even attempted to write them. After comparing them, we had a go at putting them in order. It was lots of fun building this and the children are all very proud of what we have created, as each morning they check in on the young seedlings (hopefully soon we will have some sunflowers).
The hot weather has also meant some great water activities in an attempt to keep cool. One of the favourites recently has involved the water squirters. We drew some targets on the wall and the children demonstrated great sharing as they took it in turns to try and squirt the water into the targets (some were small and so a little trickier whilst others were large). Of course, we couldn’t resist chasing each other around the garden too!
Although we will not see the same number of boats and spectators at Henley Regatta this year, in Caterpillars we intend to play in our own (cardboard!) ‘boats’ as we know many of the children may spot boats on the river as they’re out and about with their families during the month of August. Alongside supporting language through singing songs such as “Row, Row Your Boat”, this will also allow children to practice their climbing skills as they get in and out of these. For our younger children, an adult supporting a box boat teaches them to process sensory inputs from the world around them and their own body in order to maintain their balance.
We have recently been enjoying the story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”, and so will continue to share this story regularly. Our practitioners at nursery have showed us how to tap a beat to the story on the floor and we love to join in with this! Lots of us also enjoy the waving action we have learnt to do when we reach the ‘swishy swashy’ grass! Jane has created some sensory tiles for us to explore alongside these: they will support the children’s engagement with the story and allow us to connect the language used with the tactile experiences these provide.
What’s coming up next month
Next month, to coincide with the Olympics, we will be holding our own mini ‘Olympic’ events in Butterflies. We will see how far we can jump, throw a bean bag and how quickly we can complete an obstacle course.
In Pre-school we will also be planning some exciting sports activities. Every day we will explore, learn about and have a go at a different sporting event and will continue to do this throughout August.
Other important information
I am pleased to be able to let you know that Mandy White has recently joined our team. Mandy is a qualified teacher, who has many years’ experience of working with young children. Jessica Wreford will also be joining us soon and will be working on a casual basis.
Unfortunately, throughout the nursery we seem to be finding ourselves with a selection of children’s items of clothing that somehow find their way out of their bags and then we are unsure who they belong to. If at all possible, could you label your child’s clothing to make it easier for the team to keep track of everything please?
Just a reminder for those of you whose children attend on a term time only basis, the new term starts back on Thursday, 2nd September 2021.
For those children who are leaving us to move on to school, their last day with us will be 31st August 2021, unless we have been advised otherwise. However, if your child’s school is having a gradual/delayed start and you would like them to come to us for some sessions early in September, do let me know so that I can check our availability.
We just wanted to remind you of our Refer a Friend scheme. When you refer a friend and they join the nursery, we will thank you with a £100 discount off your next invoice. We know that you are always recommending us, so we just wanted to say a big thank you for your referrals. There is no limit on referring your friends, so please do refer as many people as you like! We are always very grateful for your support and look forward to welcoming more of your friends into our nursery family. For more information and terms and conditions, speak to the Nursery Manager.
Thank you all for your continued support.
Julie Crake, Nursery Manager