A huge welcome to our new and existing families and friends. Our settling in process for our new children was a little different this year and ALL our children excelled themselves by being so brave and saying goodbye to their grown up for a couple hours while they explored the outside space with unfamiliar adults. It didn't take long for the children to feel secure and some were even a little reluctant to go home. Thank you to our new parents for trusting us and adapting to our practice in these challenging times.
Covid-19 doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon and we are constantly reviewing our practice and risk assessment to keep in line with the Government, Department of Education and the Early Years Alliance guidelines. All at St Lawrence would like to express our thanks for supporting our safety measures and we are pleased this term has run so smoothly. Who knows if we will see Sevenoaks move to into the High Tier, but whatever happens in the near future we aim to remain open for all. In the event we have staffing issues we may need to prioritise places.
Priority will be given to:
· vulnerable children and children of critical workers
· then 3 - 4 years olds, in particular those who will be transitioning to reception in September 2021
· followed by younger age groups
Our theme this term has been Autumn and Harvest. The children have been busy getting to know each other whilst taking part in a variety of activities. Our children have got messy, developed their cutting skills with both scissors and safety knives, we talked about healthy eating and what foods we consider to be healthy. The children helped to make root vegetable soup, designed an owl using yogurt and fruit and chopped apples and noticed a change in the apple once it has been heated.
Owl week was just fabulous and children were imaginative using a variety of materials to create their own owl. These were then used for storytelling. Thank you to all the parents who brought in owl books to support our activities during this week it really helped. The children sequenced the life cycle of an owl and learnt new words such as nocturnal, fledgling and owlet.
Apple week turned into two weeks because the children kept extending their learning, so we went with it. All our children walked to the apple orchard and noticed their surroundings. On all three of our visits the tractor was working in the field opposite the orchard and our children were SOOOO excited to see the tractor in action. This allowed for unprompted singing of the tractor song. Not only did we learn about road safety as we travelled to the orchard, we developed our listening skills as we identified noises around us and created the sound using our voices. The children exhausted every part of an apple, observational painting, trying a variety of apples and voting to which tasted the best, tasting cooked and uncooked apples, apple printing and learning the anatomy of an apple.
We brought our Harvest theme to an end by delivering food donations to the food bank box which is located in the local church. The church are supporting local families who rely on food banks in order to feed their families. We felt so proud of our children as they all helped to pull our trolley of food up the big hill. We received a wonderful selection of food. THANK YOU. As we reiterated the reason for taking the food to the church and what a food bank is, some of our older children commented “ that’s sad, they can have my food” What amazing empathy.
We have learnt some new games to develop our focus and listening skills to which have all been very successful. "Mrs Browning has a box" further develops vocabulary and children identify and recollect between sounds. This has been popular and we've seen the children play this spontaneously during their day. Children have taken part in descriptive games; this is a game of giving clues and children identify from objects in front of them as to what is being described. These are just two of our popular games.
All our parents would have had a catch-up chat with their child's key worker, either by telephone or a distance chat over the fence. Things are a little different at the moment and even though you, as parents, are not able to enter the setting, we are determined to keep communications open with you. I appreciate it's not easy to have a confidential talk with staff and if you need to discuss anything with us in private please call us, 01732 763 354. We are always available to support you and your child.
We have had a fabulous delivery from Emporium. Emporium allowed us to borrow resources that offer us something different to explore. We have a yearly subscription to enable us to enhance our environment by providing equipment that we wouldn't haven't necessary be able to access. We borrow items based on children's interests and needs and those that help develop specific skills. Ask your child what's new at preschool.
We are always keen for staff to develop their own CPD. This term Mary has completed her Designated Safeguarding Lead training and joined a resilience webinar. Teaching the children resilience is something we pride ourselves on and after completing this webinar Mary confirmed we are right to have this at the heart of your practice.
Note from Mary:
It is a priority to build resilience-boosting into everything we do with children, contributing to each child’s well-being and life-long learning.
What is resilience? It is ‘flexibility’, ‘bouncing back’, ‘sticking at it’, ‘not giving up’, problem solving’, ‘self-control ‘or ‘overcoming obstacles.’
Resilience is built over time and is developed within an environment of strong, supportive, and responsive relationships. At pre-school we encourage even the quietest of children to contribute their ideas and respect their input. We encourage each child to have a go and keep trying- giving praise and encouragement especially when they achieve a new skill such as using the toilet or opening a packet at lunch. Recognising unique personality, interests, and strengths we plan activities which keep them engaged and motivated to achieve their desired outcome.
The best way to support the development of resilience is for parents and pre-school to work together.
One initiative we have introduced is;
First time Friday
This can be extended to;
Suggestions for sensory Saturday are;
Explore your ‘treasure box’ or have a ‘messy play day’
Collect natural objects when out for a walk
Use containers with different object in-for example pasta, feathers and buttons. Listen to the noise they make when shaken.
Suggestions for celebrate Sunday are;
Talk about your favourite activity from the week
Add a drawing/photo to your scrapbook
Look at a book about a place you have visited or plan to visit
Create a photo album.
Just enjoy time chatting and exploring with lots of praise and fun!
Becky has signed up to Wanderlust and is currently creating a wish list of outdoor activities for us to enhance the children's outdoor space.
A course for parents
Early Help are running a virtual course call the 'Discovery Course' for parents of children displaying ASC/ADHD traits. The online course is delivered over 2 x 2.5hr sessions spread over two weeks. To book a place contact email@example.com or telephone 03000 421 545 if you are interested.
We return Monday 2nd November and our theme will be Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day. Our days will start inside and please can all children have named indoor shoes/slippers, (rubber sole slippers are best). Staff will also be role modelling good practice by wearing indoor footwear as well.
Our children have shown a real interest in woodwork using the plastic tools. We will be moving onto real tools and to start with this will be on a 1:1. Once we know the children
have full understanding of the use of tools and their safety, the focus group will grow to a maximum of 1:4. Risk play is so important in early years, it helps to develop a child's self-confidence, resilience, allows for risks to be managed and informs judgements to be made. A risk assessment will be in place.
You are extremely generous parents and already you have raised almost 50% of our target to replace our trampoline. I'm often asked what can be donated to preschool as parents go about their weekly shop. If you would like to donate anything here are a few items we would be extremely grateful for:
Sensitive shaving foam
There is so much more I could share with you. Please make sure you read our daily board to find out what your child has been discovering during their session.
THANK YOU for your continued support.