Jun 23, 2021

Henley June News: Kitchen Play, Bubbles and Gardening

The Old Station Nursery Group - Creating Brighter Futures Together

Welcome to our June Newsletter – this year seems to be flying by and it won’t be long before we will be saying goodbye to our term time only pre-school children as they make the move to ‘big school’. 

June news

We have had another busy month in all of our rooms! The children in Caterpillars have continued to enjoy a range of sensory play opportunities, exploring ‘gloop’ (cornflour and water), coloured ice in water, dried pulses and scented foams. These activities form a basis for children to start developing their understanding of scientific method: they are encouraged to observe then explore what is in front of them further, to experiment and make conclusions. The repetition of such an explorative activity (for example, running our hands through dried lentils) also supports children to develop their ability to focus whilst there are other sights and sounds around them.  

June saw the arrival of a new toy kitchen and we have been delighted to watch the children show us their understanding of what happens in kitchens, with many of them selecting pots to stir dishes in or assembling beautiful plates from our range of toy food. The children are provided with a range of ‘real’ food packaging (such as cereal boxes) and play food: this allows them to build on what they already understand of food and kitchens whilst supporting the early beginnings of imaginative play, something that they will do further throughout their nursery journey.  

As a group we continue to grow in confidence during singing, with lots of us starting to join in with actions to songs and singing some of the words to our favourites! Our adults have added enhancements to these activities, such as adding lots of giant bubbles when singing about bubbles. Singing prepares the children for later communication, both through introducing them to the structure and vocabulary within language and strengthening their lips and tongues ready for speech.  

The children in Butterflies did a fantastic job of planting our vegetables in the vegetable patch. Their interest in bugs and insects continued as they found an abundance of worms, woodlice and beetles when digging the holes- some of the children even wanted to bring them home! Everyday the children check on the plants to see their progress, it has been very exciting watching them grow and we have had no shortage in volunteers wanting to water them.  

We have noticed that climbing has been a big interest across the room and so, we have been extending this by creating obstacle courses. The children have thoroughly enjoyed completing these and have even offered one another a helping hand.  

Unfortunately (and very typically) the sun decided not to make an appearance for the summer solstice and so, a bit of improvisation was required. Using torches we had a great time exploring shadows that various objects made.  

The sunflowers pre-school initially planted last month are growing spectacularly well, despite some cheeky animal friends have also enjoyed (tasting) them. To extend the children’s understanding of the growth process we have been exploring the sunflower lifecycle. Whilst observing the plants grow they have been matching them to the stages displayed on lifecycle we have in the room. We also plan to extend this activity through July by incorporating mathematical skills through measuring the plants.  

Throughout June the children have been busy making some special Father’s Day gifts which we hope all of our Daddies.  

The sunny weather has meant LOTS of water play in an attempt to keep cool. The children have been practising their pouring skills as they made mud pies and potions, carefully selecting the colours and scents they wanted to use. Water runs have also been a big interest amongst many of the children – this activity requires teamwork, communication and collaboration, vital skills which they will build upon for many years to come. Negotiating multiple ideas was also required and the team supported the children by providing them with a variety of techniques.  

Over the next month we will continue to care for our beautiful plants: they have started to grow and lots of the children thoroughly enjoy the routine of collecting water in their watering cans and selecting a plant to feed. The adults have observed the children’s keen interest in water and will continue to provide opportunities for this, prompting understanding of early mathematical concepts (such as containers being ‘full’ or ’empty’) whilst keeping us nice and cool during these warmer days!  

We are also taking part in cooking activities regularly. Rolling dough, stirring mixtures and squeezing are just some of the actions that allow us to develop the muscles needed for fine-motor skills later on in life. It also allows us to make a connection between these processes and the food we eat.  

 In further extension of the children’s recent interest of climbing, the Butterflies children will be creating and completing more challenging obstacle courses to develop their risk taking skills. They will begin to understand and test their limits.  

What’s coming up next month

With July just around the corner, pre-school will unfortunately be saying some goodbyes (and good luck) to our term time only school leavers. Although restrictions remain we will be celebrating the children’s time with us with a graduation which we will share with you via EyLog.  

As the Olympics is due to commence towards the end of July, the pre-school children will be holding their own mini Olympic games during this period. They will have a go at a variety of sports which I am sure may turn quite competitive! We also plan to support this by making a score chart.    

Other important information

We are delighted that we  have been able to start our Tatty Bumpkin yoga sessions again on Tuesday mornings.  Places were limited and I am afraid the pre-school slots filled up very quickly. We do still have a few places available for children in Butterflies. 

As we have yoga classes on Tuesday mornings, the children in pre-school will now visit forest school on Monday and Friday mornings. As we like to head up the hill as close to 9am as possible, please do ensure your child arrives at nursery in time. Please also remember that they need to wear long trousers, a long sleeved top and suitable footwear on forest school days. 

As always, many thanks for your contributions to your children’s learning journeys via eyLog. We value hugely the information you provide on what interests your child is demonstrating at home and what activities you are enjoying doing together, and this often informs the planning and Next Steps we work on with each child.   

As the weather will, hopefully, remain fairly settled and sunny, could I please remind everyone to send in a named sunhat which protects the face, neck, ears and crown of the head? Please also ensure that your child wears clothing that gives protection from the sun, such as loose, long sleeved tops. Appropriate footwear is also required and must be suitable for physical play and minimise sun exposure, in line with our Sun Protection policy. 

We are able to provide sun cream to top your child up throughout the day, but as we like to spend time outside from as early as possible, please could you ensure that your child has had sun cream applied before they arrive at nursery?   

We have a new practitioner joining the team! A very warm welcome to Libby, who will be working for us on a casual basis until she starts at university. Sadly Alice Stow is leaving us at the end of June as she has decided to follow a different career path, Alice has only been with us a short time, but will be greatly missed. We wish her well in her next venture. I had previously mentioned that Melodie was due to start with us, but unfortunately her situation changed and so she is no longer joining our team. 

Finally, a reminder for those children attending on a term time only basis, the summer term ends on Friday, 16th July and the Autumn term starts on Thursday, 2nd September. If you require any additional sessions for your child during the holiday period, do let us know and we will check our availability. 

Thank you for all your continued support!

Julie Crake, Nursery Manager


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