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.
It's nearly the end of the first half term but we are all still hard at work. These are some amazing paintings. Look at the careful choice of colours and the way the shapes have been arranged on the paper. Children are often very proud of their paintings and put a great deal of thought into them. Here we can see great fine motor skills in the control of the brush, a sense of design, mathematical thinking in the use of shape and space and careful selection of colours. Adults can offer children language to talk about their work, describe particular features of the work, and maybe find the work of other artists that might connect to the ideas that the child is exploring.
We have regular fire drill practices to make sure everyone knows what to do if the alarm goes off. Today we had our first practice of the school year and the children did really well. Each class has a place to go to in the garden and the teachers call the register to make sure everyone is safely out of the building. They wear special bright yellow jackets too. Well done everyone! The fire alarm is loud and can be a bit scary but everyone coped really well.
We always have a range of activities outside as many children like to spend time in the garden and it is a healthy place to be. We offer many opportunities for using big body movements - gross motor skills - as well as opportunities to use fine motor skills. Sticklebricks work well as they are not too difficult to fit together but they come in a nice variety of shapes and colours and children are able to select and arrange them as they would like. There is also a bit of a knack to getting them to stand upright. This type of activity can be very absorbing and can help children to focus for longer periods. These are open-ended resources which means children can make their own decisions about what to make with them and how to connect the pieces. Sometimes they are most interested in the idea of connecting the pieces. At other times they may set out to make a particular item.
Any interesting pictures can be good for discussion and can also encourage drawing, painting, modelling or even music or role play. This is a nice image to talk about dads and what we learn from them. But it could also lead to talk about masks or about actions or about clothing. Adults can helpfully extend what children say by adding an extra word, by offering phrases and by giving new vocabulary. But it's important to be genuinely interested in what the children are talking about and to have a meaningful conversation. Taking time to talk and to listen is always worthwhile.
An important part of learning during Black History Month is learning more about Africa. We decorated silhouettes of the continent of Africa using colours and patterns based on African animals. Can you see the black and white stripes of the zebra? The story Ahh Said Stork, which we read a couple of weeks ago, is also set in Africa. The children have been developing their cutting skills using some of the illustrations from the story and some also had a go at writing animal names or captions. There's a zebra in that story as well!
Every October we celebrate Black History Month at Harry Roberts Nursery School. The books we've particularly focused on this year are Handa's Surprise, We're Going on a Lion Hunt, and No Dinner for Anansi. There are lots of resources on the website related to these books including versions read by school staff. We've also added songs and rhymes to celebrate too.
In school we have been sharing other books too. There are so many books which celebrate diversity and it's great to enjoy these together. Children need to see their own experiences reflected in the stories we read and books also enable us to learn about and appreciate other people.
This is always a favourite game for a group of children to play with an adult. Spending time outside is always good for wellbeing and health and particularly so at the moment. Outside is definitely the best place to spend as much time as possible. Playing games together is excellent for Personal Social and Emotional Development. Children learn to work with each other, to take turns and to get to know a range of other children. This game also involves mathematical learning for example in counting the number of steps to take. It involves listening to and understanding spoken language and using repeated phrases. And there is Physical Development as well so children are exercising their bodies by running and are getting better at judging space and speed. Adults can act as role models by taking part in this kind of play and can extend the children's skills.