Weekly News

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Most of our 60 children took part in sports day today. We had a fabulous morning, the sun shone and lots of parents and grandparents came to cheer the children on. We had our own Acorn Olympics, with hurdles, cycling, horse racing, relay and 100 metre dash! The teachers, siblings, mums, dads and grandparents all took part too. The children were amazing and so happy and proud of themselves when they ran in their races, every child was a winner!


We had a lovely morning at nursery today, it was our termly Saturday 'Families Drop-in'. Twenty of our families came along to toast marshmallows, play with sand, water, the mud kitchens, potion/perfume making, lots of nature activities in Forest School, bug hunting and lots of chatting [?] . It's great for our working parents to come along and get to know other families better and the children love their mummies and daddies coming to play, it's really special for them. It was lovely for us, the staff team, to see so many older ex-nursery siblings too! We're all very excited about our next summer event, Sports Day, which is next week. Always a favourite day for the children and parents.


Following on from our 'Queen's Jubilee' Facebook post a couple of weeks ago. We were all delighted and very excited to receive a response to our card from Buckingham Palace this morning.


Come rain or shine, the children love Forest School! Over the last few weeks the children have enjoyed climbing trees, putting tents, hammocks and tarps up, creating dens, discovering new growth and making potions galore! They've learnt about fire safety and how to light a fire with a flint & steel. They've also explored the different natural dyes found in leaves and flowers using a technique called Hapa Zome. They placed a selection of flowers and leaves on one half of a folded piece of fabric, folded the other half on top and then began to use a hammer on top. It was hard work but soon the natural dye began to show through. They turned their fabric pieces into flags and were very proud of their hard work.


We spent a fun couple of weeks learning all about Queen Elizabeth and her Platinum Jubilee, the children made crowns, flags, necklaces, decorated biscuits, told helicopter stories, and drew pictures of the queen. We also sent a card to the Queen sending congratulations on her Platinum Jubilee, we haven't had a reply yet though! The excitement of the Jubilee celebrations culminated today with a fabulous 'street party'. We had a party lunch, then all of our 60+ children played the excellent games that our awesome staff team had made for them. The children were all given a souvenir Jubilee medal as a keepsake of this special occasion! Have a wonderful half-term holiday and enjoy your long Bank Holiday weekend.


Both of our groups have been on bug hunts over the last few weeks, they've enjoyed making Bug Hotels, making playdough/clay minibeast prints, doing tally graphs of how many different types of minibeasts they've found and painting pictures of minibeasts. Just as importantly they've been learning why minibeasts are crucial for our gardens, that they recycle dead plants and leaves back into the soil and they pollinate flowers and crops and how they are part of our food chain! Kids love bug hunting and we're always careful to release them back to the habitat we found them.

The children have enjoyed using tools to saw and hammer to make fabulous constructions during Forest School.
There's something really special about woodwork, it's so different from other activities. The smell and feel of wood, using real tools, working with a natural material, the sounds of hammering and sawing, using your imagination and problem solving, all combine to captivate young children’s interest. It provides a truly unique experience.


We've returned for the summer term looking at new growth. Catkins, our younger children, have been planting seed potatoes. While our preschoolers, after their planting, have enjoyed having their mud kitchen enhanced with the activity tray full of vegetables to 'cook'. All the children will be planting and growing more vegetables throughout the term. As well as planting, we were all excited to see frogspawn brought into the classrooms, some have already hatched into tadpoles! It's a wonderful life cycle to watch, and it's free of course!

We've been enjoying the start of spring's lovely weather and are spending even more time outside! The children have been observing and painting beautiful daffodil pictures, they created a very popular flower shop and they've planted seeds. We've also been celebrating Easter. The children have enjoyed egg and spoon races, Easter egg hunts, lots of fun with Easter maths. They've made chocolate Easter nests, Easter crowns and lots more besides. We're looking forward to more exciting spring activities after the Easter holidays, especially watching the life cycles of frogs and butterflies.
The team at Acorn Nursery wish you all a very happy Easter.



The sun was shining for our Mother's Day celebrations this week. The children welcomed their mummies (or Daddies or Grannies) and proudly gave them their gifts, cards and cake. The children enjoyed singing the special songs they had learnt for the occasion. We hope Mummies everywhere enjoy a, well deserved, special day on Sunday.



We're all delighted to be introducing Yoga and Mindfulness at nursery. Introducing Yoga to young children at an early age, through fun activities, is a great way to boost healthy living, and helps them to become calmer and better able to concentrate and focus. Yoga also helps kids to: learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way. manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement. It'll also Increase their confidence and positive self-image, and it's great fun!



We had lots of fun dressing-up for a couple of days for World Book Day. The children were encouraged to bring in their favourite books for storytime and they enjoyed sharing the books with their friends. Reading and sharing stories can help your child get to know sounds and words and it's one of the best ways for them to hear language. It can spark their imagination and stimulate curiosity and it helps them learn the difference between 'real' and 'make-believe'. There's nothing nicer than cuddling up with your child reading them a story.

We had lots of fun on Tuesday this week, the children enjoyed lots of 'Pancake' activities. Our younger children, after listening to the story 'Mr Wolf's Pancakes', thought it was a great idea to work together to make pancakes. They weighed out flour & milk, broke the eggs in and whisked it all up, then they watched their teacher cook the pancakes and they really enjoyed eating them! Our older children acted out 'The Runaway Pancake' story, they made a great attempt to toss their pancakes, they had pancake races and at snack time they used fruit to decorate a pancake face.
It was a lovely way to help us learn about this special day.


Learning about the environment and recycling in Early Years doesn't just help children get to grips with the natural world, it also builds a foundation of respect and care as they grow older. They can be encouraged to look after their own environment and the wider world. ‘Rubbish’ is an interesting notion to explore, and many of our children are fascinated by our recycling station and have quickly learnt which is the correct bin to put their own rubbish in. Finding eco-friendly ways to manage the rubbish we produce is an important part of sustainable living. It's important young children learn the concept of 'landfill' and what it means to us all!



We had fun last week celebrating Chinese New Year. With so many exciting activities, it's a great way to involve younger children and helps develop several areas of our curriculum: fine and gross motor skills, socialisation skills, maths, expressive art and of course understanding the world. Celebrating Chinese New Year provides the children with an opportunity to explore another culture and to be proud of their own community.



Our 2 year olds and young 3 year olds enjoyed a 'Listening Walk' around the school grounds this week. These quiet walks encourage children to focus on listening, which is an important early years skill. Listening to other people speaking enables children to develop vocabulary, comprehension and language skills. These important communication skills are the building bricks of literacy and learning.


Our preschool children have had lots of fun playing with ice this week. They've painted it, used coloured ice to paint pictures with, they've bashed it, cut it, made ice worlds using small world animals and people. Sensory play like this gives children opportunities to turn-take and share. These opportunities also help children to work out problems, experiment and find solutions, and encourages imagination and creative play. At home you can freeze water in yoghurt pots with small animals/people/treasure inside for your child to dig out, or freeze washable kids paint in ice cube trays with a lolly stick to hold it and paint ice pictures. The list of ice activities is endless and best of all it's free!

After a 3 week Christmas break our returning 2, 3 & 4 year olds are all happy to be back at nursery. They've loved seeing their friends, joining in Planet Soccer, hall time for PE and Music & Movement, French Club with Pierre Puppet, putting up tents and hammocks in Forest School, celebrating the Xmas birthdays and lots of new activities inside and out. It's lovely to see the children becoming more independent when changing shoes to wellies and vice versa and zipping their own coats up. Let's hope for a mild January so we can continue to spend as much time outside as possible.
Happy New Year to you all.


We ended our busy autumn term with a wonderful Christmas party. We had party games, party food, Christmas songs and, of course, Father Christmas visited us! The weather was mild, so we were able to enjoy seeing Santa in our fabulous outdoor grotto.
It's been a challenging term, and year, for us all as Covid continues to impact our lives. I'd like to thank our truly awesome children who are a joy to be with and teach. Thanks also to the parents for all their continued help and support, especially for supporting our strict Covid policies which help keep us all safe. Extra special thanks to The Acorn Nursery School's amazing staff team, who all work so hard to make this early years experience the very best it can be for the children in our care.
We'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy 2022.


The whole nursery took part in our Nativity performance, as normal this year. It was wonderful to be back in stunning St Nicolas Church again, after our outside Nativity last year because of Covid! Covid sadly did force us to make some changes this year too, restricted numbers, all parents wearing masks, no singing from the congregation, no school choir and no coffee morning afterwards. We were very fortunate that Alexandra and Tim, Henry's mummy & daddy, stood in for our choir and what a treat it was for all of us, such beautiful singers. We had the normal small hiccups too, a couple of shepherds got lost en route to Bethlehem and a King was poorly. It was still a marvellous performance, our awesome 2, 3 and 4 year olds made us all proud and had fun doing so.

We were delighted to learn that our 'Tree-Cycle' Xmas tree won 1st prize in the Children's section, in St Nicolas Church Xmas tree festival. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us, we really appreciate it. The children will be thrilled to know the decorations they made from recycled 'rubbish' actually won! Crisp packets, Pringle Tubes, yoghurt drink bottles, cut up trays from chocolate boxes, mince pie foil dishes, yoghurt pouches and so on!
Thanks to Mrs Brambley who organised the whole event and inspired our preschoolers to come up with some wonderful ideas. Well done Acorns class.


Ho Ho Ho Christmas has arrived at Acorn, much to the children's delight! We've had a busy couple of weeks doing all things Chrismassy, decorating inside and out, making lots of lovely Christmas crafts, Christmas Treasure hunts, learning new Christmas action songs and children's carols. We've made Grottos for Santa, and the children have taken turns dressing up as Santa, elves, fairies. They've wrapped up presents for the Grotto and taken money from the 'visitors'! We've also entered an Acorn Christmas Tree in St Nicolas Church Cranleigh Tree Festival. Our Christmas Tree decorations are all made out of paper and card that was destined for recycling bin. Do pop along to St Nicolas Church this weekend and vote for our tree (number 11 in the children's section) called Tree-Cycle!

Following on from the first hand experiences of a couple of our younger 2 year olds, we changed their role play area into a Doctors surgery. So many of the children joined in and they had great fun being doctors, nurses, receptionists and patients.
Role play is a really important part of child development, as it builds confidence, creativity and imagination, it improves language and communication, it encourages physical development and it aids problem solving. Coupled with being fabulous fun, what's not to love?



We had a fun and busy couple of days last week, raising money for Children in Need. We dressed-up in spots or yellow clothes, pedalled for Pudsey, made medals, Pudsey biscuits and Pudsey masks. We also talked about why we were raising money and learnt about some of the incredible causes the money supports! It's a great learning experience for young children to do things for charity and it's really important for them to realise how their charitable actions, no matter how small, can make a real difference. By nurturing empathy for others at this young age, hopefully it'll make them better at giving in the future.

For many people Diwali is an important festival and, at Acorn, we embraced this special occasion. Diwali is one of the largest festivals celebrated as part of the Hindu religion. Teaching Early Years children and allowing them to experience other religions and cultures is important to creating a diverse and understanding community. With understanding comes acceptance and it is important to create this understanding as early as possible by allowing children from all cultures and religions to share their experiences and what is important to them and their families. By celebrating Diwali and any other important festivals which arise throughout the year it enables children to feel valued, supported and respected. It also allows them to see that they all have differences and that this is okay because everyone has parts of them that make them special and unique.
To celebrate Diwali the children made lovely Rangoli patterns, using coloured rice and sand, they also used leaves to make large floor patterns in Forest School. They dressed up in traditional Hindu clothing and enjoyed many stories. They enjoyed making and eating simple Indian snacks. They made clay tea light holders and enjoyed a mini festival of light.



Our 'Catkins' group (2-3 year olds) have all settled in beautifully and are busy getting to know each other. They're learning friendship skills which include sharing, taking turns, cooperating, listening and eventually they'll be sorting out disagreements! They're now laughing with each other and having fun together. It's a joy for us, and for you of course, to witness these lovely stages of friendship.

Our new cohort of preschoolers are all loving their time in Forest School. Forest school promotes all aspects of children's development and can add new benefits that learning in a classroom doesn't offer. It also allows children to be physically active throughout the duration of the session, enjoying the fresh air and the new experiences the outdoors can offer. Little bodies and minds need fresh air and exercise all year round, getting outside and exposed to sunlight helps their bodies to make vitamin D, even in the gloomy days of winter. 

It's never too early to teach children how to cook, and ours loved making apple and blackberry crumbles this week. As well as being great fun, there's so much learning to be had such as basic maths concepts, new vocabulary such as weighing, scales, ingredients, rubbing-in and one word that was said most frequently - delicious! Cooking uses all of a child's senses and they learn so well by touching, tasting, smelling and listening. Not forgetting sight, when they looked for apples and blackberries in the school grounds.

Promoting Oral Health is now part of our Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. It's been included because good oral health habits need to be formed from the earliest age. Tooth decay is largely preventable, but it’s still a serious problem among young children. We'll be linking good oral health with things we already promote, like self-care, healthy eating and physical development. It was World Smile Day last Friday so we had lots of stories and fun activities involving teeth and smiles! The children enjoyed practising correct brushing by brushing our giant teeth and dolls teeth. This will be ongoing at Acorn, with visits from a Hygienist and, hopefully, a Dentist too.

Which child, boy or girl, doesn't love seeing diggers, all of our children at Acorn Nursery certainly do! It's been really exciting for our first couple of weeks into term, we've all been fascinated by the demolition of one of the school's old buildings and watching the huge digger make easy work of the demolition. Little ones love big trucks like diggers because those trucks seem larger than life, they are real machines that do the work of superheroes. Diggers, bulldozers and cranes stimulate children's imaginations and they love to picture themselves controlling something as big and powerful. Trucks like these are big, their colours are bold, and they make awesome loud noises and, in a child's mind, they shout out “Important work in progress,” and they love seeing amazing work like this happening in the grown-up world. Things that we adults take for granted, in the background of everyday life, are still new and exciting to kids. As well as triggering imaginative and cooperative play with other children, building structures of their own, with blocks or brick or stones, increases their spatial and mathematical problem solving skills. What's not to love?

We started our term early, last week, with a hugely successful 'Stay & Play' session, for our September and January new starters. The new children played happily alongside each other, it was also a great opportunity for staff and parents to get to know each other too. Now half way through our second week, our new 2 year olds are settling in and having fun, our young 3 year olds have all returned happily, enjoying being the eldest in their class and loving their newly transformed playground. Our preschoolers have returned happy and confident, thoroughly enjoying seeing all their friends again and are excited about all the new activities we have for them. It's also warm and sunny, which is a bonus for us as we spend so much time outdoors, what a great start to the new school year!

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.

All our children have had a fun term and school year. Our young pre-school leavers have had more than a year of living with Covid and being in lockdown, but these awesome children have come through it all rounded, happy and confident ready for the next stage in their learning journey. Thanks to our amazing staff team who've worked tirelessly to make things as 'normal' and as fun as ever. Thanks to our wonderful, supportive, parents who've followed all of our Covid policies and helped us stay open and safe!
Our leavers celebrated the end of their time at Acorn, with a Pirate themed leavers party and picnic with their parents, the highlight being when Peter Pan, literally, popped up bearing treasure for them. We'll miss you guys, good luck at 'big school'.
We ended our school year with a special lunch for all our 55 children.
Have a wonderful summer everyone, love from all the staff team at Acorn.
At nursery, we frequently discuss the importance of not dropping litter and how we should recycle as much as possible. Following on from that the younger children, Catkins & Squirrels, really enjoyed the brilliant story Duffy's Lucky Escape last week, which is a true story about plastic in our oceans. Our younger children went on a walkabout around the school grounds picking up any litter, they had lots of fun and, hopefully, became more aware of the importance of not dropping rubbish.
If you haven't read Duffy's Lucky Escape, do try and get a copy, it's also available to listen to on YouTube. It's a great story.

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.

One of our children shared his interest of one of the (many) local building sites with us. Together we created a 'development' of our own!
Children are motivated by their interests. Incorporating children’s interests in their learning promotes choice and ownership. When children are allowed to make choices, work collaboratively, and take ownership of their work; their learning and motivation increases.

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.

We were so excited that parents could share Sports Day with us this year, in fact it's the first time since March 2020 that we've had parents in to enjoy any of our many activities. Most of our 55 children joined in with our Sports Day, in small groups of course, which allowed one of their parents to come along to watch and join in too. The children had a great time competing in 'The Acorn Olympics', they participated in our version of Relays, Bikes, Show Jumping, Hurdles and 100metre dash! They had fun cheering their friends, teachers and mummies or daddies in their races too.
Thank you to our enthusiastic children,
supportive parents and hardworking staff, who all helped make Sports Day such a special event.

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.

Children are naturally drawn to science-based activities. Added to the fact that they appeal to their innate curiosity and desire to make sense of the world, the best early years science activities are often hands-on (and sometimes messy) and produce exciting (and sometimes unexpected) results. What’s not to like? It’s ideal to tap into this natural enthusiasm as early on as possible which is why we regularly include science at Acorn. Helping to establish a love of science at a young age is beneficial in many ways:
• It fosters the desire to explore and experiment
• It helps develop problem-solving skills
• It nurtures an understanding of cause and effect
• It helps develop an understanding of the world
• It expands vocabulary
It's always great fun too!

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.

The best way for young children to learn about Life Cycles, is from first hand experiences. Which is why we love the summer term and they can witness life cycles for themselves, it really helps children develop an understanding of the world. Our frogspawn has already hatched into tadpoles, and the children are very much looking forward to seeing them grow arms and legs and develop into froglets, then frogs. Our older children created their own pretend area which helped them think about what frogs need to survive in the wild, then they cleared and cleaned the school pond so it's ready for the frogs to live in.
We're looking forward to children seeing the egg / butterfly life cycle after half term.

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've had a fun couple of weeks with lots of Easter activities. We did exciting Easter Story drama, Easter egg hunts, egg & spoon races, Easter crafts & creations, Easter cooking, Easter games, the list goes on!
We've had a very busy spring term, as always the children have embraced spending so much time outdoors, rain or shine, in our safe & secure outdoor areas. We hope the summer term brings us plenty of warm weather though, as the children are all looking forward to picnic lunches outside. We're also very much looking forward to our summer outing, our sports day and our leavers treasure hunt, this year hopefully with the parents able to come too.
Have a good Easter break, stay safe and well and we'll see you on the 20th April.

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.

In both of our nursery groups, our young 2 & 3 year olds and our preschoolers, we regularly participate in fun games and activities to promote good listening skills. Grandma's Footsteps, Mrs Browning has a Box, Sound Lotto, Music Match to name but a few. We often use an excellent resource to support us in these adult-led activities, called Letters and Sounds. Check it out there are some amazing, fun activities to promote listening and speaking skills.
These important communication skills are the building blocks of literacy and learning.

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've had a wonderful Book Week, nearly all 50 children and their teachers dressed up as their favourite book character. We had a great Zoom with Tapestry Lunch Club and loved hearing about our new senior friend Ray and his favourite story Alice in Wonderland. We've been on so many Bear Hunts, an all time favourite story of ours, we're so lucky to have so much outside space to 'act out' wonderful stories such as this. Our younger children had great fun making different sound effects for the Bear Hunt story, squelching, splashing, spiky grass etc. Thank you to our lovely parents for supporting this exciting week, which supports one of our goals,
for every child at Acorn to have a love of books.
We were really happy to be involved with some of our elderly friends again, albeit via Zoom! We've missed our regular visits to Moat Lodge and look forward to being able to visit our senior friends there again soon. This week, we were delighted to Zoom with a lovely gentleman, Ray, from Tapestry Lunch Club, a wonderful organisation which supports isolated elderly people within our community. Pre-covid Tapestry organised regular teas, lunches & parties, for groups of socially isolated people, where they can meet and socialise. Sadly that's not possible at the moment, but new guests are still welcome online until they can meet in person again. Cranleigh@tapestrylunchclub. Ray was really interested in the children and enthralled them with his pigeons, the children loved telling Ray all about the Big Bird Watch that we've just participated in. They were also excited to know that one of his pigeons had flown to France and they told Ray all about them learning French at nursery, with their puppet friend Pierre! We look forward to seeing Ray, via Zoom, for Book Week next week, we're really looking forward to seeing what books he's going to show us, I wonder if he'll dress-up as his favourite book character too?
Acorn became involved in Intergenerational Relationships a number of years ago, the benefits to all are considerable and it's a lovely way to strengthen links within our community.

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've had great fun celebrating Chinese New Year this week. We've made our own Dragons, learnt new traditional Chinese dances and read lots of Chinese New Year stories. We've made lanterns for the Lantern Festival, made lucky red envelopes and counted new pennies to go in them. We opened a Chinese Restaurant and ate Chinese food and played with noodles and chopsticks. Chinese New Year is a perfect way to introduce early years children to different cultures and traditions that may not be familiar to them or their families. It's also a perfect way to keep celebrations going following Christmas and New Year, we love a party at Acorn!
We've now broken up for half term, let's hope for some warmer weather when we return on the 22nd. Your children continue to thrive in our safe and secure environment. We're still spending much of the day outside, but whether inside or out we're having lots of fun and creating plenty of happy memories. We are so lucky to have such an abundance of safe green spaces, that no one else is using. Thanks to our lovely parents who continue to follow our very strict, anti-Covid, playground rules, we know how hard it is not being able to come into the classrooms and share the fun and activities with your children. We all appreciate your support in helping keep everyone safe. Have a lovely half term break, stay safe and remember fresh air is Covid's enemy!

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've really enjoyed participating in the RSPB's Big Bird Watch last week. The children in both groups have noted the type of bird we have in our school gardens and they've counted or tallied the number of birds they've seen. We've learnt what birds like to eat and how best to feed them. The children have made lots of different types of bird feeders and we're loving watching the birds eat them, with real and handmade binoculars.
Our most exciting find is a green woodpecker that lives in one of the big oak trees in our garden. We've heard it's loud pecking many times, when we're not near the tree, but now some of the children have actually seen it when they've been very quiet, which was really exciting.
By monitoring the birds in your garden, you're helping to take a snapshot of how they are doing. And the more people that submit their results, the better picture the RSPB will have of how garden birds are faring across the UK. This is vital in helping them understand the challenges faced by wildlife. It's not too late to participate in the Big Bird Watch you can submit your results until 22 February. We've had a lot of fun, but have also gained an understanding of the needs of the birds in our gardens and how to help them survive.
The RSPB website is full of interesting facts and great ideas how to attract birds to your garden.
We've all had such fun playing in the snow at nursery these last couple of days. We've painted snowballs and snow people, built snow castles, made wonderful snow angels and the children have really loved running, jumping and just rolling around in it. We've discovered what makes snow melt slower and faster.
We've been spotting tracks in the snow, all birds and animals of course, as we have and abundance of traffic free space at school. The children decided they'd like to get bikes and scooters out and make tracks with those, then their friends had to guess which bike made which track. There's been endless opportunities, in the snow, to stimulate their play and learning.
They've also requested Hot Chocolate every day too. I think some of our children think we're Costa as they've now started asking for whippy cream and marshmallows! They were sad this morning that most of the snow had melted, but how lucky they were that they'd had this experience at such a young age, and have created such lovely memories. It's been a good many years since we've had snow like that in Cranleigh!
The snow has led nicely onto our BIG BIRD WATCH which we're participating in for the next few weeks with the RSPB. We'll be learning what we can do to encourage birds into our gardens.
Following on from last weeks 'Hot Chocolate Friday', which we have throughout the winter months, some of the children thought it would be a good idea to sell some of their own hot chocolate to their friends! It was quick and easy to set up a 'Hot Chocolate for sale' stall, and the children decided what they'd like to put in the hot chocolate. It was a lovely, fun, activity enjoyed by all. Child-led play leads to deeper levels of thinking, learning and involvement, they learn more effectively when adults engage them in activities that are based on their own interests. It's more likely to motivate children to interact, and interact for longer. Today, for instance, some of the children thought it would be a good idea if we had a 'Hot Chocolate Monday' treat too, to help them warm-up while playing in the snow!
At Acorn, we balance child-initiated play with skillful adult-led teaching.

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!

To end our busy term, we had fabulous Christmas Parties, one for each bubble of course, but with all our 40+ children joining in. We played Christmas games and sang lots of Christmas songs, then had a super party tea and we ended the party with a very special visitor, Father Christmas of course. Being an outside nursery, we made our gazebo into an amazing Christmas grotto for Santa to visit the children safely.
It's been a challenging term but, in our ever changing outdoor learning environment, thankfully we've stayed open throughout. The children have embraced spending so much time outside, loving the outdoor experiences that have provided rich opportunities for them to learn in and enjoy.
Thanks to our parents who have followed our Covid safety rules and thanks to our amazing children, for whom regular hand washing has become the norm! Extra special thanks to the Acorn team, we're so very fortunate to have such an awesome, committed and caring group of Early Years teachers, who've now added Deep Cleaning to their CVs!
Have a Happy & Healthy Christmas and may the New Year bring good things for us all.
The children performed a very different Nativity this year, unable to use our beautiful St Nicolas Church to practise or perform in, unable to allow parents to join in with our regular Carol service and unable to have Cranleigh Primary School choir support us, we decided, as we've been an outside nursery since March, it was only right we performed an outdoor Nativity, our take on Wintershall! It threw up some challenges, mainly the weather, the fact we had no microphones and at times it was like herding clouds trying to get the children to go in the right direction, when there were just so many directions to go in! They had such fun though and the final performance was wonderful, especially the singing at full volume! Sadly no parents were able to come into the grounds to watch, but our 2 year old Catkins group provided a moving audience for all of our Acorn actors, apart from a couple that found it all so riveting, they actually slept through the performance!
You did us so proud children, well done and we hope you and your family enjoyed watching the video.

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!

Our young 2 year olds have absolutely loved participating in Music & Movement this term. It's well known that exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. It helps the body and the mind work together and when language is combined with movement, learning increases 90 percent. Movement has also been shown to help calm and promote alertness in infants. It's also such good fun. After warm-up, see pics, the children listen to the music and create their own special dance, sometimes on their own sometimes with a friend.
Who doesn't like listening and dancing to music?
On our way to the woodwork area in Forest School this week we collected lots of different coloured leaves, flowers and berries. We then placed them in some folded cotton fabric and tapped with our hammers to extract the colour. The children loved watching the colours emerge as they hammered gently onto the fabric. We turned our art-work into colourful Forest Flags. This technique is known as Hapa Zome, it's the Japanese art of, literally, beating up leaves with hammers and pounding natural pigment into cloth. The children certainly enjoyed leaf bashing!  
Another great activity you can do at home, the children loved the whole experience and they were totally absorbed from start to finish - and it's FREE!
We celebrated Diwali this week, the Hindu festival of Lights. We talked about the differences in our cultures, we tried on different clothes and ate different food. We loved making Rangoli patterns with coloured rice and with natural resources in Forest School. We shaped clay into T light holders and painted them beautifully, to hold our candles. We read lovely stories and enjoyed different music.
Festivals and cultural celebrations like this are an easy, fun and interesting way for Early Years to learn about and embrace Diversity. Through this sort of activity it helps support our young children’s own sense of identity and promotes a positive sense of pride in their own family origins. Young children can develop a sense of belonging to the local community and begin to understand and respect less familiar cultures. As always, the best learning is when preschoolers learn through play, everything we do is fun and interesting.
This week we raised money for Children in Need. We wore yellow or spotty clothes and we made Pudsey biscuits & decorated them, we made Pudsey and Blush masks, we had a fun treasure hunt following clues until we found Pudsey. We made up songs and games about the bears and, most importantly, talked about why we were raising money. The children were interested and showed sympathy for the families we discussed.
We were very proud of the children. As we were earlier in the week, on the 11th at 11am when we were very quiet and remembered all of the brave soldiers that have helped us.
We had lots of fun making bubbles this week. We used all sorts of shapes and sizes for wands, even sticks and string! We learnt that a bubble is just air wrapped in soap film. We also learnt that no matter what shape the bubble wand is, floating bubbles are always round!
We made really huge bubbles, but the best thing was when some of the children thought they'd like to be inside a bubble! Wow, that was really exciting.
Blowing bubbles naturally engages young children in experimentation and play with purpose, allowing the fun and excitement to guide their curiosity and learning.
Bubble mixture is easy and inexpensive to make. You need 150ml Fairy Original washing-up liquid, 350ml water & 2 teaspoons granulated or caster sugar. Dissolve the sugar in the water and gently stir in the washing up liquid, you don't want bubbles at the stage, try and leave it to stand overnight if your children allow you to! Happy bubble blowing.
Thanks to one of our nursery dads, amazing Matt Blackmore, his wife Leanne and son Harry, we now have our preschooler's 'big playground' all weather, as well as our younger children's 'little playground'. Matt, Leanne & Harry spent a second weekend laying another huge piece of artificial grass to finish our preschooler's playground. The end result looks amazing, the children love it, as do the staff. This will allow us to continue to be outside, even when it's raining and wet underfoot - we'll still be able to use both playgrounds!
It's so very generous of you to give up so much of your free time helping us. Great job, thank you all so much xxx
Our last week of half term has been all things Autumn, in particular we've had lots of fun with Pumpkins! We dug out and explored the insides, printed with them, hammered golf tees in them, (great finger gym activity), performed fun drama with the fabulous Pumpkin Soup book, we even made pumpkin playdough! The children can dry the seeds for a healthy snack and also keep a handful to plant again in the spring, brilliant to show life cycles. They're easy to grow and fascinating for our young, interested, gardeners to watch them grow. Encourage wildlife into your gardens, they will feast on pumpkins. They are yummy roasted for us too! Finally, don't forget to discuss with your children whether pumpkins are a fruit or vegetable, and why?
This half term has flown by, the children are loving being outside so much. A lot of the children have never played in the rain before, and they've loved that too.
Thank you, to all our wonderful parents for following our, very strict, Covid Policy so well and helping to keep us all safe.
Have a wonderful half term, stay well and we'll see you back on the 2nd November.
Love from all of the Acorn team

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've done lots of cooking this week. Yummy apple & blackberry crumbles indoors, then pretend "yummy cooking" outdoors! 
Getting involved in cooking helps your child to develop fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, and even early concepts of math and science, it's such good fun too.  Great dens, by the way, children well done.
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© Pauline Crowder