We've had a makeover in our Little Playground during the summer break, the transformation is amazing. Thanks so much to "Mighty Matt" Blackmore and his team of labourers, James, Tom & Colin for laying the fake grass, we all love it! The new look is complete with a fresh coat of paint to some of the wooden equipment, what a difference it's made! The staff team are all looking forward to the start of term next week, we're certainly going to be busy, welcoming 54 children to Acorn.
Gardening, as well as being great fun develops new skills including: Responsibility– from caring for plants. Understanding– as they learn about cause and effect (for example, plants die without water, weeds compete with plants) Self-confidence – from achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown. Our children have planted flowers, fruit and vegetables during their time at Acorn and our preschool children now understand that all plants need light, water and time to grow.
This child led activity started off by some of our younger children wanting to make potions, which they happily did! It ended up as a lovely science experiment! The children learnt that plants absorb water from the ground up through their roots. The water travels up the stem and into the petals of the flower. Although our flowers didn’t have roots anymore, they were still able to pull water up from the glass into the stem and up through the flower to the petals. Such a fun activity.
Having just put all our tiny frogs in the school pond, with perfect timing, our chrysalis have started to hatch! Learning about life cycles is a great way to develop children's Understanding of the World. It's an important milestone for children, helping them to learn how to better respect and care for living things around them. The children in both groups have really enjoyed feeding both the tadpoles & frogs, and picking flowers to drop nectar on for the butterflies to drink. They've loved the first hand experiences of life cycles, with our planting, our frogs and now our butterflies.
More Forest School Fun! Playing and learning outside improves children’s physical and emotional wellbeing and the Forest School experience has been shown to be hugely beneficial for all children. Rather than using classroom resources and equipment, children can use natural materials found in woodland areas and enjoy activities such as collecting sticks and leaves, tying knots, making dens, handling tools, using twigs to write in the mud, climbing trees, jumping across stones, logs, building fires and much more. It's not surprising children love it.
We made full use of the windy weather last week, some of the children thought it was great weather to fly kites, so that's exactly what we did! They cut, stuck, coloured and taped twine, then ran and ran and ran with kites of every shape and size. What fun they had! Child-initiated play like this supports children's creative and imaginative learning and developmental skills. This also enables them to learn first hand experiences, allowing them to choose how to use their resources.
Forest School Fun Building Dens! Creating dens gives children the opportunity to think outside of the box and problem solve in order to create amazing structures. Children will also develop communication and language skills as they work as a team to create their den. It promotes physical movement and exercise as children work, collecting their materials, carrying, stretching and reaching to build and then engaging in active role play. Den making is still one of our favourite activities, inside or out, the children love it. Easy to do at home too and it's free!
Like most children, Early Years are fascinated by insects. So we decided to build another bug hotel in our nursery garden for the children to investigate them further. We all know that insects need somewhere safe to live and bug hotels provide a sheltered and safe environment for the bugs to live in. It was a great project for our preschoolers to be involved in and learn more about their natural environment and to care about living creatures. They learnt new vocabulary, worked cooperatively with their friends and teachers, and provided great ideas about what materials to use and why! It's important that children are exposed to activities like these, as children learn best through firsthand experiences. Bug Hotels are easy and fun to build at home too, they can be as big or small as you like and are free! Provide a magnifying glass, a clipboard, a pencil and images of insects to extend your child's learning.
Several of the children went to the seaside over the Easter break and staff helped them to create a 'seaside' in the activity tray, which all our younger children enjoyed. If a child is interested, they will learn more effectively, confidence and self-esteem are raised if a child's interests are followed, and they motivated to interact, and to interact for longer. Our experienced staff understand the benefits of In the Moment Planning such as this.
We've had a super first week back, the weather has been perfect for an outside nursery such as ours. The children were so happy to see their friends and teachers again and the young two year olds that have joined us for the summer term, have settled beautifully. Whether it's been a teacher led activity or the child's own imagination or curiosity leading the play, they've had such a lot of fun. There's only one way to learn at this young age and that's through play, which underpins learning and all aspects of children's development.
We used the children's interest in building 'crate towers' to introduce height measurement language, such as tall, taller, tallest. The children counted how many crates they needed to reach their height, their teacher's height and then how many more crates were needed if they stood on a chair! It was a lovely and valuable 'teachable moment', recognised quickly by our experienced staff.
We've all been delighted to see so many spring flowers growing, on our walks around the school grounds. In particular the great many daffodils we have. We've been looking closely at the daffodils, examining the petals and leaves under a microscope, looking at similarities and differences between them. It's really exciting to see the daffodils that we planted ourselves last year and in previous years. Gardening is always a much loved activity at Acorn. Springtime is a wonderful season for the children to witness new growth and new life first hand.
We were delighted to welcome some young 2 year olds to our Squirrels Bubble today. All 3 settled really quickly, outside with their mums initially, then were happy to go inside without mum after a very short time. They've had a lovely time playing alongside new friends. Social interaction helps young children to start to develop their sense of self, and also they start to learn what others expect from them. Putting them into a nursery environment helps your child to develop important skills such as sharing, turn taking, setting boundaries, and problem solving and of course they have lots of fun.
We are huge lovers of outside play and learning. We have spent many happy hours watching the kids splosh about with water, build with wet sand, mud and snow, dig in the dirt, plant flowers, hunt for minibeasts and get creative with natural materials. Mud kitchens especially, the children's favourite thing, are exciting, messy, creative areas to play. Children experience sensory, emotional and imaginative play as well as developing maths, science and speaking skills. Outside is definitely the best place for messy and sensory play because the clear up is minimal and the key resources are right on hand!
We all know the utter joy of reading stories to children, and the more you read to your children the more knowledge they absorb, the more vocabulary they learn, the better they concentrate and their level of emotional intelligence grows. It also fast-tracks their own development of reading. We have a wide and wonderful range of story books at Acorn, both in the classrooms and outside. We have informative books on topics such as different animals, places, occupations, or objects etc. We have different books to help teach children about important life skills such as sharing, being kind, and about diversity. We encourage a love of books at nursery and are rewarded when children pick up and enjoy books wherever they are.
Welcome back to our spring term, and our third lockdown! We are open to ALL children, not just keyworker's children. We are still spending lots of time outside, where we know it's safer. The children are wrapped up snug and warm and are still loving our outdoor learning environment & Forest School. They really enjoyed the Ice Hunt this week, ice painting is great fun too and try putting salt on ice and watch it melt. We hope more of our Acorn & Catkin families will return very soon, we're missing you!
As we approach the end of autumn, some of our young 2 and 3 year olds in Catkins group, chose to help us sweep up the never ending carpet of leaves in our playgrounds. As well as being great fun, sweeping helps develop coordination, concentration and gross motor skills. We had lots of fun with the leaves we swept up, and after we'd jumped around in them, we made potions and soups in the mud kitchen. Leaf play can be an excellent source of movement and activity that stimulates the sensory system. We've had so much fun with leaf play this term, in this electronic world we live in, it's so beneficial to play outdoors. The fresh air and physical activity from jumping around and kicking leaves is such a lovely outdoor activity for children, and of course it's free!
Woodwork encompasses all aspects of learning and development, supporting maths, scientific investigation, physical coordination, language, and vocabulary. Initially, our children are taught how to use the tools safely and given the opportunity to try techniques in appropriate ways, this week the children were practicing hammering wood together. Learning progresses at each child’s individual pace and they will quickly be able to bang in nail after nail with confidence and delight. Once they have mastered the basic skills, they can move into open-ended exploration, making unique creations. The smell and texture of wood, the sounds of hammering and sawing; the use of strength and coordination, the feel of real tools, the opportunity to work with natural materials, all go together to captivate young children. Woodwork is active learning at its best!
We had lots of fun at Planet Soccer this week. Playing with balls improves kids' motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and timing, which are important parts of the developmental progression of early years. The skills they learn by playing with balls will also be important once they graduate to collaborative and competitive play. Getting kids excited about sports and being active at an early age is vital to prepare them for a healthy life. It teaches them to enjoy the physical activity that will help them maintain a healthy weight and good physical health, as well as helping them develop better bone and muscle structure. Our preschoolers love Soccer, they also love being in the 'big school' hall and they love Coach Harry!
We had a great time in Forest School this week, some children were collecting acorns and other natural things to investigate, others were building amazing dens. We love building dens it's such fun, give it a go if you haven't already discovered the joys of den building. Inside or outside, using sheets & the backs of chairs, or branches and tarpaulins! Den play, as well as being free, can spark a child's creativity and imagination, it also helps to improve their physical development, communication, language, teamwork and problem solving skills as well.
Some more suggested ideas of things to do at home. Please keep adding your pictures to tapestry - it's great to see them! Week 2
Some more ideas of activities from tapestry that we can do at home. Thank you for the amazing observations you have added Week 1
Thanks to Gracie and Nancy's mummy, Danielle, and their big sister Bonnie, for showing us this lemon volcano. Cut a lemon in half, scoop a little out of the middle drop a little food colouring in and add some Bicarbonate of soda. It's messy so best done outside or on a tray. Lemon Volcano
Tapestry have created some advice on observations and activities that you can do at home. We are starting today by sharing this post about home learning and doing observations. Please enjoy sharing your photos on tapestry but feel no pressure to do the activities. It should all be about enjoying the time and activities with your child. Send a message to this page or email Acorn if you're unsure and want some help
Welcome to Maia, who went to 'big school' last year, and her mummy Tamsin who are our guest storytellers today, reading 'Down by the Cool of the Pool' by Tony Mitton.Down by the Cool of the Pool
Acorn Nursery is delighted to welcome our first guest storyteller. Reading Stickman, by Julia Donaldson, is Bella one of our preschool children and her mummy Lisa. I hope all you enjoy the story as much as we did.Stickman
Check out the Sticky Kids Workout Podcast.
The children will be familiar with the
exercises as we use the CDs in PE. Have fun. Sticky Kids