Sep 21, 2021

Henley September News: Dancing, Reading and Creativity

Henley 1

Firstly, a huge thank you from the whole team for the kind words, cards and gifts we have received recently. It is a pleasure watching all of the children grow and develop and we feel so very lucky to have the opportunity to support them during their early years.

We have had a wonderful start to the new term and academic year. It has been lovely welcoming all of our term time only children back after the summer holidays and hearing all about the adventures they have had.

September news

Across the nursery, the children have restarted The Daily Mile initiative. Each room has selected a particular time of the day to get active and moving! The staff plan various fun and exciting activities aimed to raise the children’s heart rate and promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

I am pleased to be able to let you know that we have now restarted our music and dance sessions on Wednesday mornings. The children had their first session with Phoebe from Rattle and Roll Performance on the 15th September and it was a great success! Phoebe leads a 25 minute session in each of the rooms, with a different theme each term. This term’s theme is ‘Marvellous Me’ where the children will be exploring their bodies and how they work.

In Caterpillars this month, the children have been very busy enjoying the last days of the summer; exploring outside and enjoying story books in the new cosy corner in the playhouse. The children had a wonderful time making playdough outside with Billie; the ingredients were added to a large tray and whilst enjoying the sensory elements of each ingredient, they ended up with a beautiful yellow dough to play with! Playing with this dough then allows the children to develop hand-eye coordination, gain strength and improve dexterity in their hands and fingers.

The children also developed their fine motor skills when they worked together to make a beautiful collage for the wall. They took lots of time to select from a range of materials and shapes available, making some wonderful choices! The children has lots of fun discovering the sticky back plastic and enjoyed making each other laugh by trying to stick their hands to it!

The children continue to enjoy making music each day. It has been lovely to watch them develop in confidence. They were also very excited to discover a giant floor piano in the room. This became even more exciting when they experimented with the sounds created by walking, and then running on the keys.

So far this month, the children in Butterflies have really enjoyed exploring the curiosity boxes. These contain lots of different everyday, yet very interesting, items. Such activities allow children to explore their natural curiosity. They can also spark their imaginations as they begin to build stories around their play.

For Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the children enjoyed apples dipped in honey for their snack.  This is a tradition which symbolises the hope of a sweet New Year. We talked to the children about this and also shared pictures of a Shofar, which is a large Jewish musical horn.

The children have also loved messy play this month, especially based around water. The team have extended this interest by adding scents, such as peppermint and berry teabags, and also colourings; so that the children can make some amazing potions. Some of the older children tried using pipettes to transfer water between pots, whilst the younger children enjoyed pouring the water through funnels. These activities help to support the development of their fine motor muscles.

Throughout recent weeks en route to Forest School, the pre-school children have observed the fruits on the brambles  transition from form red berries to juicy, ripe blackberries. With an abundance of blackberries ready for picking, the children made some delicious mini blackberry and apple crumbles. This gave the children the opportunity to view first hand where food come from and the process of turning a yummy ingredient into something even more delicious!

Painting has also been particularly popular this month, with lots of children enjoying mixing colours and exploring colour change. The team have extended this interest by looking at various shades using colour charts. The children then used these colour charts to identify the exact colours that they had created and also attempted to recreate their favourite shade from them. This trial and error approach supports a vital learning skill and encouraged the children to persevere whilst also overcoming challenges.

What’s coming up next month

We will be including the London marathon into our Daily Mile initiative throughout October. Each day a selection of children and staff will use a pedometer to record their steps. We will be creating a score chart to find out just who is the most active – results will be published at the end of the month! The children in Butterflies will also be making their own medals.

As the seasons change, we will be talking to the children about the changes we can see around us. We will be singing ‘Autumn Leaves’ and exploring the leaves, conkers and other natural elements through both outdoor activities and sensory trays. Cooking activities this month will focus on using autumnal ingredients too; the children will be making blackberry crumble and helping the team to scoop out pumpkins in time for Halloween.

In Caterpillars, from the 4th October, the children will be focusing on Space Week. They will be reading various space related stories such as ‘Whatever Next!’ and making their own cardboard box rocket creations. They will also be experimenting with paint and printing star shapes, as well as creating lots more masterpieces, in order to develop their understanding around this theme.

Other important information

Could we please ask that if there are any changes to your child’s routine (sleep, bottle feeds etc) that you let us know as soon as you are able so that we can ensure we are providing consistent care routines for your child.  Similarly, please do ensure that any items such as nappy creams are passed over to a member of staff at the gate in order for us to be sure that we have the item stored safely.

The teams are keen to create and update the children’s ‘All About Me’ books and so if you haven’t already done so, could you please send us some photos of family members, pets etc.

I am sorry to say that Sabrina, our Nursery Cook, has had to leave us recently due to family reasons.I am pleased to say, however, that Sharon, who was our Nursery Cook previously and who has recently covered Sabrina’s maternity leave/holidays, will be coming back to us on a permanent basis! I am also pleased to let you know that Kayleigh’s sister, Ceri-Ann, will be joining our team on the 4th October on a full time basis. Victoria Russell will also be joining the team on the 28th September. A very warm welcome to our nursery family!

Can I please take this opportunity to remind you that children should not arrive at nursery with food, as we have a number of staff/children with allergies.

When leaving the nursery, could I ask that if another car is on the Fairmile waiting to come in that you please reverse back down the drive to allow them access.

As many of you will be aware, unfortunately we have had to put our yoga sessions on hold due to Tatty Bumpkin Yoga not having a teacher in the area at the moment. If you know of anyone who might be interested in working for Tatty Bumpkin Yoga, please do let me know so that I can pass on the details.

If your child sustains an injury outside of nursery, could you make sure that you let us know when you drop your child off, as we do need to keep a record of all injuries.

Finally, a reminder for those children who attend on a term time only basis that the next holiday will be from Monday 25th October to Friday 29th October.

Thank you all for your understanding as well as a great start to the term!

Home activity

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.

Threading cards


  • What you will need: card, hole punch, string/shoelaces.
  • Find an image of a popular character, from either the internet or an old book that can be recycled, perhaps pictures from wrapping paper.
  • Cut around it with your child and glue it on to card.
  • When the image has dried, cut it out from the card leaving a 1cm border around the image and then make holes using the hole punch leaving a half cm gap between holes.
  • Then tie one end of the string/shoelace to a hole and then thread the string across the image until it is covered up.
  • Your child will then use their fine motor skills to unpick the string from each hole, describing what they see and guessing which character they will be unwrapping.
  • When finished the child can then try and re thread the image themselves counting each hole in sequence as they thread it.

What will your child be learning?

  • Independence, creativity and choice
  • Mark making
  • Colours
  • Shapes and size
  • Developing fine motor skills
  • New vocabulary, e.g. big, small, character name, thread, lace, scissors, numbers, etc
  • Sense of pride, achievement and self esteem
  • Use of tools for a purpose
  • How to use scissors safely
  • Recognise familiar characters and recalling what they can remember about the character
  • Counting numbers in sequence
  • Hand to eye coordination
  • Building attention skills and patience

Julie Crake, Nursery Manager

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