Wow what a term! We've welcomed new families and its always amazing how our new recruits settle into the routine and adapt to their new surroundings so well. We are halfway through the academic year now and we've still got so much more we want our children to experience and take part in.
One of the reasons why we do what we do
It might be thought that preschool is just somewhere you send your child to ‘play’ and learn a few ‘social skills’ with an expectation of we teach children to write. We certainly offer lots of play/social opportunities with so much more meaning behind it then you might know. Here is a picture of a typical preschool child’s hand (left) and a typical 7yr old hand (right) and as you can see pre-schoolers hands are still developing and not fully formed. We support this part of the child’s development by offering playdough, mark making tools, cutting, gluing, playing outside, digging in the dirt, sensory play, dressing up play, science experiments, beading, puzzles, throwing balls etc. All these activities help their hand to develop. When children are physically ready to write they will and we have so much fun along the way.
We started the term revisiting food that make our happy teeth and discussing how we look after our teeth. Our preschool plus day (Wednesdays) got children making freshly squeezed orange juice and toast. We made granola bars with some of our younger members and they were all super keen to use their big strong muscles to mix the ingredients. It was lovely to receive feedback how children were trying a granola bar for the first time and enjoying them.
Granola recipe we used: https://www.myfussyeater.com/nut-free-granola-bars/
Dydd Santes Dwynwen
We celebrated Dydd Santes Dwynwen on 25th January. This is the Welsh equivalent to St Valentines Day. We learnt to say “I Love You” in Welsh (dwin dy garu di) and in Makaton. Children decorated spoons which is then passed to a love one as a token of love and affection and each spoon is unique.
Habitats become much of our focused activities. Children helped to create a small world area for a number of animals which allowed them to explore different habitats on a daily basis. A display was created of land/ocean using a variety of craft materials along with factual books to expand their knowledge.
Bird week encouraged us to make bird hides and introduced the word ‘camouflage’. The children have independently used the hides to spot birds and using the identification sheet, have started to recognised birds during their play such as robins, magpies and a pheasant are frequent visitors. We created a tally chart so we could count the number of birds spotted in one day, seven being our biggest number of the day. We’ve played bird hide & seek and matching game to which you could hear squills of delight as children run around the garden trying to spot a specific bird.
We had an adventure to the woods and selected natural resources to make the prefect home for all the woodland insects.
We have explored lots of sensory play this term using a variety of natural materials and small world woodland objects. Sensory play encourages learning through curiosity, problem solving and creativity. It helps to build nerve connections in the brain and encourages the development of language and motor skills. Children have assisted in making nature bottles, revisited our woodland feely box and made bird food using lard, bird seeds and cardboard tubes.
This term has also seen our children show a real interest in a cookery book and they can often be found role playing following a recipe. Children voted on their favourite recipe in the book and moon day was created. Children made moon cakes and followed the sequence of visual instructions, we played a moon phase treasure hunt and listened to Man on the Moon. We became astronauts and acted out what we thought it would be like to be weightless and walk on the moon.
Mary has attended an I CAN Early Talk Boost workshop. This programme has been designed for 3–4-year-olds with delayed language development and aims to give children’s language a boost so they catch up with their peers before they start school. The Early Talk Boost intervention consists of a range of activities, songs and stories which have been designed by speech and language therapists and teachers. We have a number of books available for you to use at home. Please speak to Mary or Donna if you are interested to know more.
All staff have completed their CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) online course.
We welcome Maisie to the team. Maisie is a first-year student at West Kent College studying Early Years Level 3. Maisie joins us on a Tuesday and Wednesday and will be with us until May. Maisie’s calm manner and fun approach to activities makes her very popular with all the children.
Thank you for your patience and continuing to work with us during this pandemic. From Monday 21st February parents/carers will be allowed to enter the hall at collection time. Children will continue to say goodbye to their grown up at the door at dropped off time. Children will still be washing their hands before entering the hall and this will reduce congestion in a rather small space.
As a precaution, staff will continue to test twice weekly into term 4.
Latest guidance for parents/carers: updated 20th January 2022
The Children’s Centre and Early Help Team are providing free courses to support you with all aspects of family life. Also attached is information if you would like to volunteer at The Children’s Centre.
Born to Move leaflet promotes activities to help with school readiness at home.
Wellness Wednesday is an event taking place at St Lawrence Church.
Dates for your diary
Start of Spring Term 4: Monday 21st February
Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations: Friday 27th May (all invited, more info to follow)
END of term: Monday 28th March
Have a great half term and we look forward to seeing you soon.