Lots of learning can happen outside in rainy weather. Today it rained all day, but that didn't stop us going outside. We used buckets of paint with paintbrushes and the children loved painting in the rain. This included children who don't usually take part in mark making activities. They were attracted to this activity because it was outside, it was open-ended, it was exciting and there were interesting effects to explore. We talked about mixing colours and explored what happened when we put paint into small puddles and into big puddles.
Think about all the learning opportunities in this activity! There is science (Understanding the World) in exploring effects and noticing natural phenomena like rain and clouds. There is maths in exploring shape, size and colour. There is literacy and art (Expressive Arts and Design) in all the mark making opportunities. There is lots of physical activity and opportunities to work together, share and be sociable. And of course there are opportunities for talk.
Finally it's worth reminding ourselves that it's healthy to play outdoors. It's good for our bodies at any time but at the moment it's particularly important to spend time outside where there is lots of fresh air and where it is much harder for viruses to spread.
The book we've been using this week is Mr Gumpy's Outing. This is a story with a lot of lovely language especially verbs or "doing words" which are so useful for children's language development. So we have words like "teasing", "chasing", "trampling" and "squabbling". This is also a great story for acting out so children can use a box to make a boat and add the characters or use plastic boats in water. Or they can pretend to be the characters - perhaps with masks - and role play the story themselves.
Why not talk about the story at home too and try out some of the ideas that are posted daily in the Learning at Home Blog? You don't have to be off school to do this. You could watch a story video together after school one day or try an activity out on Saturday morning. And of course keep talking and having fun together!
The children have enjoyed story sessions focused on this book which is all about Steven going shopping and then having lots of problems with various animals on the way. Luckily he thinks of a solution each time. This story has a repetitive structure which helps the children follow what is going on and it is about a familiar environment so children may recognise some things from their own local environment such as the shop, the railings and the people digging up the pavement. This book is also excellent for mathematics because there are 6 eggs, 5 bananas, 4 apples, 3 oranges, 2 doughnuts and 1 packet of crisps to start with and then 1 gets taken away each time. Using real objects helps children engage with the story and can also help extend their vocabulary and their knowledge as they help act out the story.
We had our first school Zoom meeting today which was an exciting experience! Barts Community Smiles ran a session for parents on caring for your teeth which was very well presented and was both interesting and enjoyable. We're delighted some of you made it and we hope to hold more sessions for parents on Zoom in the future so do look out for these and come along. Zoom is pretty easy to use and you can join on a phone as well as on a tablet or laptop. We might try and run a training session to help parents learn how to use Zoom if people would find that useful.
One issue that came up was that some children are not keen on brushing their teeth. Having a special toothbrush with a favourite character might help as might their favourite toothpaste. It can be helpful if a parent brushes their teeth at the same time and having a timer is a good way of making sure a child brushes for long enough. Some children might need a reward system of some kind. It's also good to get into the habit of teeth brushing at an early age. Children's teeth should start being brushed as soon as they come through the gum. The dental students suggested several fun videos that might help encourage children to brush their teeth and we have now added these to our website. Have a look at the Safeguarding/Healthy Families page.
Well it's been a bit of a strange week at school and also in the wider world as you'll know.
You'll have received the message that our boiler stopped working so we had no heating and no hot water. Unfortunately that meant we had to close on Thursday and Friday and we will need to let you know whether we can reopen on Monday.
There were no big fireworks display this year for Bonfire Night, but a few people had displays in their gardens so you might have seen some out of your windows.
The clocks have also gone back which means it gets dark early. Don't forget to have a look out of your window though because this a good time of the year to look at the moon and maybe even see some of the stars. If you look at the moon each night you will see it changing shape.
Have a look a this video to find out why this happens with Paxi, who comes from outer space! This video is interesting for both children and adults!
Today is the last day before the half term week holiday. Well done to everyone for all your hard work. Well done to all the children for settling in so well and doing such great learning. Well done to the parents for being so supportive and understanding and for helping to keep people safe. Well done to the staff for their incredible work and for making Harry Roberts Nursery School such a special place.
Relationships are so important and our children are forming the strong relationships with trusted adults which help them build their resilience and also their confidence in relating to other people.
Writing begins with making marks - which could even be with a spoon in a bowl of custard. Children will then move stages gradually exploring different kinds of marks like around and around or up and down. They will also be noticing letters - particularly the letters in their name. We will be modelling writing for them for example by writing their name on their work or modelling writing a phrase at story time. Children will begin to build up a repertoire of letters and then use them for writing. We call this stage emergent writing.
Young emergent writers know that you can record talk in writing, they want to write, they know that writing means something and they do their own writing. This starts with so-called scribbles, moves on to scribbles going left to right, then to letter-like marks and to strings of letters, which is what we can see in this piece of work. Children will later go on to try and record the sounds heard at the beginning of words using their early phonic knowledge.
We choose some stories about Anansi each year for Black History Month. Anansi is part spider and part human and he is clever and often plays tricks on the other animals. Sometimes they manage to play tricks on him too! Every session at nursery - morning and afternoon - ends with a group story or song. Reading with children is fantastic and it's something we should do at school and at home every single day. The language of books is so rich and through hearing it, children will learn new words and ways of expressing thoughts and feelings. They will also learn about the wider world beyond their own experiences and find out about different places and people.