Welcome to the November newsletter from Henley! I can’t quite believe how fast this year is going and now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are behind us, our focus will soon be on all things Christmas!
The children in Caterpillars have been engaging in lots of large-scale mark making outdoors. We have enjoyed drawing using large chalks and painting using both rollers and toy cars. This allows the children to use many of their muscles and motor skills at once as they have the space to create both large and small marks.
The children enjoyed exploring a mini pumpkin patch in our mud pit during Halloween, alongside carving some larger pumpkins and helping Grace make a caterpillar-themed pattern on them. We shared some themed board books on the topic and particularly enjoyed We’re Going On A Pumpkin Hunt – an exciting take on one of our usual favourites!
During World Nursery Rhyme Week, the children enjoyed exploring a range of different sensory play materials alongside provocations to prompt further understanding. We made star shapes in cloud dough whilst singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, made our rubber frogs jump onto logs whilst singing 5 Little Speckled Frogs and watched some very exciting wind-up turtles swim whilst singing I Had a Little Turtle! We also made gingerbread people as part of our celebrations and enjoyed these as a special treat at snack time.
It is lovely to hear about the songs and stories you enjoy sharing together at home and we always make sure we include these in our singing time so please do continue to let us know what your child’s current favourites are.
As a staff team in Caterpillars, we have noticed many of the children’s enjoyment and exploration of transporting schema. We have continued to provide opportunities for this with additional resources to extend their learning, such as spoons in a range of sizes, and funnels. Alongside developing their fine motor skills this also allows children to start understanding some basic mathematical language such as ‘more’, ‘empty’ etc.
We have been very busy in Butterflies during November. We celebrated Diwali at the beginning of the month, where we shared a ‘Peppa Pig’ Diwali book. The older children asked lots of questions and were curious about this festival. We also explored some very colourful Rangoli patterns and then the children made their own, using a variety of media, including rice, paint and tissue paper.
After bonfire weekend, the children were very excited to share their experiences of seeing fireworks. This was an opportunity to encourage lots of descriptive language as they told us about all of the different colours they saw and the sounds they heard. The children have enjoyed making their own pizzas for tea, choosing the toppings they wanted so that each one was unique – and very delicious!
In Pre-school at the end of October we had a wonderful time celebrating Halloween. The children enjoyed learning how to safely use a hammer as they tapped a golf tee to make holes in the pumpkins. We also made some pumpkin shaped rolls which I heard were delicious!
During November Pre-school have been busy discussing fireworks, as within the same week we celebrated Diwali and Bonfire night. Alongside seeing bonfires around the 5th November, we have also recently smelt lots in the evenings and so, we will be having our own fire at Forest School where the children will have the opportunity to choose a yummy snack to cook.
In the past few weeks at Forest School we have had a very special visitor, Flash, the dragon. The children have really come to love Flash and are keen for him to stick around. Flash is very lucky as the children very kindly made him multiple houses to live in using various natural materials and have also cooked him up some delicious mud (chocolate) pies. During each session the children go on a hunt for him and let out a very loud cheer when they find him.
The children in Pre-school have also been busy helping to spread some Christmas cheer (albeit a little early) as they have created lots of special festive artwork for one of the wards at The Royal Berkshire Hospital. This has been a wonderful opportunity for the children to understand the lives of others and to make a difference to others’ lives.
What’s coming up next month
Over the next few weeks in Caterpillars we will continue to develop our physical skills by exploring our new play tunnel and tent. These guide us to learn how to manoeuvre and control our bodies whilst of course being lots of fun!
As we approach Christmas we will be making some natural reindeer food during our cooking sessions to prepare for Father Christmas’ visit. We will also be making spiced playdough and decorating our very own Christmas tree, alongside learning some new Christmas songs to develop and extend our vocabulary.
During December in Butterflies we are looking forward to the start of the Christmas festivities. Listen out for your children singing ‘Christmas pudding’ as that is a firm favourite! We will, of course, be doing lots of Christmas inspired activities.
Shortly in Pre-school we will be continuing the festive theme as we begin to create some very special surprises.
Other important information
I am pleased to say that our team is growing! Jodie Primmer, Belinda Tonkins & Judy Langley recently joined us. Jodie and Belinda will be working full time, and Judy will be working on a part time/casual basis. Tabitha Kay will hopefully become part of our team soon and will also be working on a part-time/casual basis. These new team members will all initially be working through a probationary period but we do hope that they will all become permanent members of our team.
We would like to say a big ‘congratulations!’ to Mollie, who has recently completed her Level 3 Forest School Leader qualification.
Thank you to everyone who helped us to raise money for Children in Need, by wearing pyjamas to nursery on Friday, 19th November. We raised a great total of £132.85.
Some dates for your diary, Friday, 10th December we will be supporting Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day when everyone is invited to wear their festive jumpers to nursery. We will have a collection pot outside of nursery on this day and any donations to this charity will be welcomed.
Thursday, 16th December we will be having a Christmas party for the children in the afternoon – more information to follow. Friday, 17th December is the last day of term for those children who attend on a term time only basis Wednesday, 22nd December, we will be having a special Christmas lunch Friday, 24th December we will be closing at 1pm on this day and will re-open on Tuesday, 4th January 2022.
A reminder that if your child was born on or between 1st September 2017 and 31st August 2018, you need to apply for a primary school place now. The deadline for applications is 15th January 2022.
Finally, if in the lead up to Christmas, your child will not be attending nursery at any time, do please let us know.
We have been asked by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust to pass on the following. TalkingSpace Plus is a free, confidential NHS service for adults in Oxfordshire, to help people when they’re feeling stressed, anxious or low and we offer our treatments online for your safety and convenience.
If you feel you would benefit from support please contact our service directly on 01865 901222 or visit www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/talkingspaceplus.
This month, we have received a lot of new reviews on Daynurseries, Google and Facebook. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such lovely reviews. They are hugely appreciated by our team! If you haven’t had the chance to write a review yet, you can write one on Daynurseries by clicking here, on Google or on Facebook. Thank you for your continued support!
Here’s to a fantastic and very festive month ahead!
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.
Create your own stained glass window
Please follow the activity idea below:
- Use card to make a window, draw and cut out panes for the window.
- Use tissue paper or sweet wrappers to create your stained glass effect, stick with glue or sellotape.
- Alternatively you could do this with newspaper and old magazines.
- Display for all to see.
What will your child be learning?
- Independence, creativity and choice.
- Mark making.
- Shapes and size.
- Developing fine motor skills.
- New vocabulary, e.g. big, small, cut, square, circle, window, red, blue, green, etc.
- Sense of pride, achievement and self esteem.
- Use of tools for a purpose.
- Give meaning to marks they make.
Please share photos of your child’s activity on the parent app. We look forward to seeing your child’s updates.
Please continue to share what your child has been doing within their home life on the parent app, their interests and their development, so their key person can see this and use towards helping them monitor their development and learning.
Julie Crake, Nursery Manager