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Thursday 23rd November

Just a reminder that if your child was born between the 1st September 2013 and the 31st August 2014 you should have applied for a primary school place. Today we had a workshop to help anyone who still hasn’t applied and we will check next week to ensure everyone has. Do please ask for help if you are not sure how to do this.

The school smelt delicious today with children cooking stir fry with Shazna and baking biscuits with Parvin. There is still ongoing interest in storytelling and with construction. The children are now able to use resources independently and are creating some wonderful models.

The new starters for January came for a Stay, Play and Learn session and some children came down to meet their new teachers and see their classrooms.

Guthsna also attended a conference on Integris (our school data base) and was very pleased to win first prize in the raffle.

mmmmmmmm Stir Fry!

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Wednesday 22nd November

Today every child should have received their Book Start Pack.

Book Start is the world’s first national book gifting programme. Book start gifts free books to all children in England and Wales at two key ages before school to help families read together every day. So do enjoy the free books and games with your child.

They also have an excellent website with suggestions of good books for different ages.

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/supporting-you/families/our-programmes/bookstart

To launch the packs Karla ran a very well attended workshop where she explained how we teach phonics and early reading skills to children in nursery and how parents can help at home.

Ruheda took another group of parents over to a coffee morning at one of our local primary schools and children were busy, writing and telling traditional tales and acting out the three little pigs. We have started to put up the children's animated stories on the website. Do check them out.

It was also fun to see the amount of pleasure children get out of large cardboard boxes. We often put our empty delivery boxes in the playground and observe just how creative children can be when given time and space to play. Samantha continued her work with children, helping them to construct with a purpose in mind.

Construction continues....

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Tuesday 21st November

This week children are listening to traditional tales and their imagination has been captured by the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf.

Today saw children out in the forest area building houses for the pigs using real bricks, straw and twigs and designing ingenious traps to protect the pig's houses from the mean old wolf. Indoors children painted pictures from the story to add to their forest back drop whilst others made up their own stories loosely based on the traditional tale.

Ilyas for example told a story of the five little pigs, the princess and the witch.

Guthsna is helping children to animate their stories, watch this space!

We also had Early Words Together and finished the day with dance club.

Houses for the Three Little Pigs

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Monday 20th October

We had a number of visitors today, two trainee teachers from Goldsmiths came to observe high quality practice in the Early Years and the nursery teacher from St. Peter’s came to find out how we teach reading and early phonics.

They were all impressed with what they saw and gave very positive evaluations of their day.

This week we are following the children’s interests in stories and are focusing on traditional tales. Shakila supported children’s role play and storytelling out in the garden, whilst Samantha helped children to design and build houses for the 3 little pigs. Indoors Karla and Rina developed the children’s interests in forests. Have you noticed how many traditional tales always take place in a forest. Even mouse in The Gruffalo takes a walk in a deep, dark wood. We are fortunate in East London to have two forests Hainault and Epping fairly close by so look out for a Forest Trip soon.

Making our Forest

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Friday 17th November

A visitor arriving in our school today would certainly have wondered what was taking place as children and staff were all dressed in weird and wonderful spotty clothing to support BBC Children in Need.

Thank you to everyone who supported us by making costumes and generously donating to this cause. At Children’s House we always encourage the children to think of others and we support a number of charities who help children both here and abroad.

https://www.bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/fundraisinghub

you can find out more about where your money goes by clicking on the link below.

We had a really fun day which included a visit from the Booster Cushion Theatre Company who performed Old MacDonald and his spotty farm which the children thoroughly enjoyed. There was also a spotty treasure hunt and a chance to make spotty biscuits.

Chris, Guthsna and Ruheda even found time to visit Little Starz Nursery to talk working in partnership with other local providers of early education and care.

Have a good weekend and thank you again for helping us to support this cause.

Show your spots and let's raise lots

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Thursday 16th November

What beautiful sunny weather we had today, resulting in the excitement of a sleepy and confused bumble bee waking up in the unseasonably warm weather and visiting the nursery. We managed to catch it safely and you will be pleased to know it flew off happily with no harm done.

John the Bursar was in school checking our budget, Pan was observed by his tutor, the new January children came to Stay, Play and Learn and a large group of children had a trip to the Discover Centre in Stratford where they had a story telling workshop and played in the imagination garden.

Salma introduced the woodwork bench out in the garden which prompted a great deal of interest. We teach woodwork carefully as we want the children to be able to work safely and independently. Today there was a focus on using a hammer.

Children selected wood and nails and practised their hammering before making their own models. Vehicles seemed to be the main theme with children producing cars, planes, bikes and a boat. Indoors Karla continued with puppet making following on from the children’s own stories.

The Woodwork Bench

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At the Discover Centre

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Wednesday 15th November

Children continued telling their stories today with the adult acting as scribe, I think you will agree from the examples below that our children already have wonderful imaginations and are beginning to understand the structure of a story and use story language.

After they had told their stories some of the children spontaneously decided to illustrate their story and make models and props to support the retelling of their story to their friends.

Later they will be involved in animating their stories as a different way to bring them to life.

 

The Little Dog by Ayaan

Once there was a little dog who was wearing clothes. There was an owl drinking water and eating. A monkey came and he was swinging in the trees.

Then a mouse came and he went shopping. The owl flew away with the dog.

The End

 

Elsa and Ana by Munira

Elsa kept walking and found her sister Ana. Ana hugged Elsa a little bigger.

Then Elsa and Ana kept walking and found Olaf. They found friend Christopher.

Then a great big monster came and ate them all up. Then the monster just wanted a friend.

The monster didn’t find a good friend

The End

 

Making props to support story telling

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Tuesday 15th November

Parents and children taking part in the Early Words Together programme visited the Idea Store at Chrisp Street today. The idea store offers a mix of learning and library services for all. There is free internet access, courses and events for every age and interest, thousands of books for loan, and CDs and DVDs for hire.

The parents took out membership for their families, explored the store and had a talk about what’s on offer whilst the children enjoyed a story session where they listened to a retelling of “The first hippo on the moon”

Everyone agreed that they will continue to use the store. There are other Idea stores across Tower Hamlets, the other local one to Children’s House is on the Roman Road.

Out in the garden working from the children’s interests Shakila was starting a project to make sleeping bags. The children had shown interest in sleeping in the tents and had discussed what they would need to keep warm.

Together with Shakila they explored different fabrics, measured each other and worked out which padding would provide the most warmth. These ongoing projects provide real challenge and deeper level learning as the children are making a functional item from scratch and really having to think about the processes involved.

Mercedes was also in school for African Drumming and Salma ended the day with dance club.

Sharing stories at the IDEA Store

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Making a sleeping bag from scratch

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Monday 13th November

At Children’s House we use Helicopter Stories as part of our approach to developing the children’s communication and literacy skills.

This method of storytelling and story acting was pioneered by Vivian Gussin Paley and we have found it to be a wonderful way to find out about the children as we get so much information about each child as they dictate their stories and show us how they think and feel.

This week children will dictate their stories to staff who will write them down verbatim, then children will get to act out these stories together.

This simple child centred approach to storytelling creates a culture of excitement, curiosity and wonder. It ensures high levels of engagement and allows our children to explore early literacy and the power of words.

We want our children to see themselves as story tellers and to believe in themselves as capable, competent authors. Do ask to read the stories when you drop off or collect your child.

Helicopter Stories

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Friday 10th November

The children finished the week with a big picnic in the tents, this idea came from Aayan who has been instrumental in keeping up the enthusiasm for tent play.

He independently designed and wrote a large invitation to the picnic which he proudly displayed in the corridor, made a list of what the children would need to eat and then helped to purchase the items at the shop.

Today groups of children prepared all the food for themselves and their friends and as it was a chilly day they had the added treat of hot chocolate.

Everyone enjoyed a celebratory end to tent week.

Have a good weekend and don’t forget that next Friday we will be supporting BBC Children in Need,

“Let’s dress in spots and let’s raise lots”

Pudsey bear ears are on sale in the school office and we will be asking children to pay a £1 to dress in their spotty clothing.

Remember you don’t have to buy anything special, face paint, paper spots, stickers are all perfectly good. Have fun and let your imagination run riot.

Picnicking in the Tent

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Thursday 9th November

Thursday saw more enthusiastic tent builders take to the outdoors. The tents in the forest area were such a success that more children became interested in construction with the result that the front garden is now full of tepees, tents and shelters of all kind.

In the forest area the children used the tents for role play or as a quiet area to read a book or chat with a friend.

Indoors Salma supported the children to make shadow puppets which they then used to put on impromptu shows for their friends.

In the afternoon the new children for January came for a Stay, Play and Learn Session, Guthsna and Ruheda taught them how to make their own play dough which they then took home to continue the play.

The day finished with a planning meeting for next week. This will see a focus on writing and storytelling.

Shadow Puppets and Story Telling

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Tent Building Continues

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Stay, Play and Learn Making Play Dough with New Children and Parents

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Wednesday 8th November

Chris and Guthsna were at St Peter’s Primary School  Docklands today carrying out a peer review with staff from Lansbury Lawrence primary school. Peer review is a well-established process by which staff from other schools work together to evaluate something already in place in each other's schools. It’s a process that professionals can learn a great deal from and it helps to raise standards through professional; dialogue and a focus on things that are important to the individual schools taking part.

It is something we at Children’s House welcome as part of our quality assurance.

Back at school children were busy with their tent building project, they took their plans, newly purchased material, poles, string and tent pegs into the forest area where they spent a wonderful day working out the best way to construct a tent.

Through this project the children are seeing themselves as designers, writers, builders and flexible thinkers. They are learning to problem solve and discover just how capable they really are.

Indoors children were experimenting with light sensitive paper, watching how it reacts to light and finding out what happens when light is blocked from reaching the paper.

Tent Making

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Experimenting with light sensitive paper

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Tuesday 7th November

Work on our tent building project continued today as groups of children armed with their plans and shopping lists took the DLR with Karla, Ruheda and our parent volunteers to Chrisp Street Market. Once there they were totally engaged with testing different fabrics to see which would be the most suitable for tent building, the stall holder even let them wet material to see if it was waterproof.

After an enjoyable morning children came back to school with parcels of fabric, long canes, pegs and thick string, ready to start the actual building tomorrow. This is a wonderful example of how at Children’s House children have opportunities to extend their ideas and carry out a real project from start to finish.

Back at school Stay, Play and Learn started for the new children who are starting nursery in January 2018. A very confident little group joined us on the top floor where they enjoyed play activities, bike riding, snack and a story.

We are pleased to welcome them to our Children’s House Community and it was lovely to see a number of previous parents returning with younger siblings of previous pupils.

We also had the second session of Early Words Together and the day finished with a lively dance club.

Off to Market

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Stay, Play and Learn

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Monday 6th October

We started the day with Circle time and many children had been to the Firework Display at Victoria Park so had plenty to tell their friends.

This week the children are working on an exciting project which has developed directly from their interests last week when they were exploring light and dark. During last week the children set up a small black out tent which proved immensely popular. This led to some children deciding that they wanted to make their own tents out in the garden. With support this is what they will be doing this week. Today groups of children sat down with Shazna and using ipads and non-fiction books they looked at different tents and produced plans of what they might need to make their own.

They talked about shelter and how a tent might need to be warm and dry and waterproof in case it rains, they discussed how many people would fit in the tent and how it might stay up and they planned for tomorrow when they will set off for Chrisp Street market to purchase the materials they will need.

Chris and Guthsna had an interesting meeting about the new washrooms we are having for the children and the day finished with Music Club.

 

Planning with a purpose in mind (tent building)

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Friday 3rd November

Today we spoke to the children about Bonfire Night and how to keep safe around fire and fireworks. They all had an opportunity to observe sparklers, which everyone enjoyed.

If you are planning a firework display this weekend or going to visit an official display please do be careful, keep safe and please follow the safety code.

There is an organised display taking place in Victoria Park from 7p.m.

Firework Code

Be safe not sorry always follow the Code

Firework Top Ten Safety Code for Adults

Children and young people should only watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance and always follow the safety rules for using sparklers. Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used.

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
  2. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
  4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back.
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
  7. Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.
  11. Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
  12. Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  13. Always supervise children around fireworks
  14. Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  15. Don’t let off noisy fireworks after 11pm.

More information can be found by clicking on the link below.

www.direct.gov.uk/fireworks

 

 

Fun with Sparklers

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Thursday 2nd November

Children have recently been enjoying the lovely book Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. This night time story tackles children’s fears and worries and is a comforting reminder that mummies always come back. An important message for children who are still settling into nursery.

Reading the story inspired a number of children to make their own Owls and make up their own Owl Stories.

Why not borrow the book from school to read at home or try some of our other Owl stories such as “The owl who was afraid of the dark” by Jill Tomlinson or “Wow said the Owl by Tim Hopgood.

Out in the garden children were listening to classical music and interpreting what they heard through painting on a large scale.

We finished Thursday by talking about the children’s current interests and planning the learning for the next week.

Owl Stories

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Interpreting Music

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Wednesday 1st November

Another busy and interesting day, children have been engrossed this week building sandcastles outdoors in the large sandpit. Today one of the children spontaneously decided that they would like to decorate their sand castle with shells which led to a really informative discussion about where shells come from, where we find them etc. Children then brought out non-fiction books and spent a very productive time looking at different shells and learning all about them.

Other children were splatter painting on a large scale in the style of Jackson Pollock which of course was really enjoyable but also educational as they thought about colour, pattern and how to splash the paint.

Indoors Salma built on the children’s interests and helped them to build a large cave to play in and continue their exploration of light and dark. This involved children thinking about size, constructions, suitable materials etc.

After school we had parent’s evening for new families where we talked through the seven week assessments. This is where we look at what each child knows, understands and can do in each area of the curriculum. We then plan with parents for the next steps to support children’s learning and progress.

Splatter Paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock

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Getting information from non-fiction books

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Tuesday 31st October

The last day of October saw the start of one of our most successful courses “Early Words Together” this is a tried and tested National Literacy Trust course which brings together local communities and services to support families in improving the home learning environment for two to five year olds through: raising awareness of the importance of early literacy development and the home learning environment, providing volunteer led learning activities for families and engaging families with local services like the Idea store to further support on-going development.

Today was very well attended so a big thank you to both the families who attended and our parent and business volunteers.

Meanwhile in nursery children were exploring light and dark through looking at the night sky on ipads, watching a sunrise and exploring torches in the blackout tent.

Other children had fun mixing paints to discover how to make shades lighter or darker.

The day finished with an energetic dance club.

If you are planning on taking your children Trick or Treating tonight, stay safe and only visit the people you know.

 

Experimenting with shades of colour

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What can we see in the dark?

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Monday 30th October

Welcome back to school. It was great to see everyone back and although there were a few tears as children who had just settled had to learn to separate from mum or dad again, by 9.30 all was calm and children were happily sharing their holiday news during circle time.

This term as the clocks have gone back and the days are getting shorter the children are exploring light and dark.

Today we ended Black History month with a wonderful performance by the children for each other. First a group performed the story of Handa’s Surprise, then we all sang the African songs we had learnt and had an exciting session of African Drumming followed by African Dancing.

Pan who is from South Africa taught the boys a traditional dance and they gave a wonderful performance.

Our work on diversity and valuing and celebrating difference will of course continue but it was nice to mark the end of a special month by showcasing what the children had learnt.

 

Showcasing learning at the end of Black History Month

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Friday 27th October

We hope that you have had an enjoyable half-term and children are feeling ready to start nursery again on Monday. We have an exciting few weeks ahead so do check the blog, notice boards and any letters that come home.

Here is one last idea for an activity to try at home with your child. How about making a simple construction kit, all you need are a packet of spaghetti and some marshmallows and you and your child can have hours of fun.

What to do:
Snap the spaghetti into smaller pieces.

Push the ends of the spaghetti into the marshmallows to build different shapes for your tower.
When I tested this I started with a cube but when I put weight on, it started to lean very precariously to the right and one of the spaghetti vertical pieces snapped. I then thought about how I could make it stronger and decided to add some diagonal pieces which seemed to do the trick.

There will be lots of options for problem solving with this activity and who knows how far your imagination can go.

Another idea is to use paper cups and pieces of card from cereal boxes. The options for construction are limitless. Look around the house and I’m sure you will come up with your own ideas. Do share if you have any good ones.

Construction using everyday materials

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Thursday 26th October

Do you want a secret hideaway in the comfort of your living room? Build a blanket fort! These are easy to build and can provide countless hours of fun for children and adults. You can make your fort with everyday household items like blankets, sheets, chairs, and rubber bands. Start by building a fort frame with chairs and other pieces of furniture. Then, close off your fort to the outside world by draping blankets over the frames and securing them. Throw in a few pillows and blankets for added cosiness and you’re ready for an afternoon of adventure.

Firstly, find a location with enough space. Your blanket fort will need to have enough room to crawl and play in, so make sure that the room where you’re creating your fort has enough space. The living room, dining room, or bedroom are all good options.

The room does not need to be empty! The furniture in the room can become the “walls” of the fort.

Secondly locate the materials to build the frame. Chairs are the best option, because their backs can make a high fort ceiling. You can also use furniture like tables, bed frames, and couches. Experiment with different pieces of furniture until you get it just right.

Use furniture of different heights to create high and low places in the fort, which makes it extra fun to crawl around inside.

Collect several blankets and pillows. You will need several blankets to drape over the frame of the fort. Sheets make great draperies for the fort because they are big, lightweight, and won’t fall down easily. Make your fort comfy and cosy with blankets and pillows. Drape blankets over the frames. Once the framework is in place, begin draping the blankets over the frames. This will enclose your fort, giving it a top-secret, secluded feel. Try using different types of blankets for different areas of the fort. For example, drape sheets over part of the framework to allow light and air into the fort.

Secure the blankets. You'll want your fort to be sturdy. After all, you don't want the walls to come down in the middle of a good game or a top-secret mission. Use pegs or rubber bands to help secure the blankets that are creating the walls and roof of the fort. You can also prop large pillows or couch cushions against the fort’s framework to secure the blankets.

Have fun.

A Blanket Fort or Secret Den

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Wednesday 25th October

Making play dough at home is a cheap and practical alternative to buying the expensive commercial variety. This is something we teach the children to make for themselves very early on in their nursery career.

Have a go at home and see just how much fun your child has whilst developing their imagination, language, concentration and fine motor skills.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of flour (whatever kind you have on hand)
  • ¼ cup of salt
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 to 5 drops of natural food colouring

Instructions

  1. Mix together the flour and the salt.
  2. Mix together ½ cup of warm water with a few drops of food colouring.
  3. Slowly pour the water into the flour mixture, stirring as you pour. Stir until combined, then knead with your hands until the flour is completely absorbed. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour until it doesn’t stick at all.

Put some on a chopping board and off you go. You can also give your child kitchen utensils to use as tools for example a forks can make interesting patterns.

In a plastic bag. The dough keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

Let's Make Dough

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Tuesday 24th October

Each day of half-term look out for a fun activity to try with your child. Yesterday there were suggestions for local outings, today it’s healthy snack time.

How about English Muffin pizzas? These are quick, easy and can be laden with as many healthy vegetables as your child will eat. Why not arrange the veggies in patterns, or make funny faces, let your imagination run riot

Recipe

Ingredients

English Muffins

Grated Cheese

Tomato Puree

Vegetables

Peppers, onions, sweetcorn, mushrooms, olives, asparagus, tomatoes. Peas etc.

Method

Slice the muffins in half and lightly toast

spread each half with tomato paste or pizza sauce

Add grated cheese

Chop vegetables and arrange on top, bake in a hot oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling

Eat and enjoy

 

Muffin Pizzas for Lunch

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Monday 23rd October

This half-term the weather is expected to be unseasonably warm so why not take advantage of this and get out and about with your children in the local area.

We are so fortunate in Tower Hamlets; there are so many exciting things to do right on our doorstep which cost little or no money and are easily accessible by public transport.

Click on the links below to find some ideas for a local fun day out.

Have fun.

Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings

Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 1 Victoria Park
Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 2 The Museum of Childhood Bethnal Green
Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 3 The Docklands Museum
Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 4 The Idea Store Chrisp Street
Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 5 Mudchute Farm
Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 6 The Ragged School Museum
Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 7 Greenwich Park
Half -Term Ideas for Local Outings 8 The Cutty Sark

Friday 20th October

INSET day today.

The staff set off bright and early to the Early Excellence centre at Canada Water where they had a very interesting training session on developing children’s thinking skills through open ended questions.

Meanwhile back at Children’s House Chris and Guthsna held a training day for staff from other schools and early years settings on Learning through Block Play. This was an excellent day led by the inspirational Daniel Spry and the evaluations were all excellent.

As part of being an outstanding nursery school we have a duty to share our good practice with other settings and of course this works two ways as we also embrace opportunities to learn from others.

Enjoy half-term and remember school starts again on Monday 30th October

Reaching out to other settings

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Thursday 19th October

Today there was a buzz of excitement in the air as many of the children had picked up that it was the last day before the half-term holiday. As usual it was a busy one with plenty going on both indoors and outside. Out in the garden children were practicing their African drumming for a performance after half-term and indoors a group of children using the creative area spontaneously decided that they wanted to make their own wild animals. Child initiated activities are always exciting as you never know the direction that they will go in.

The children used many of their new skills as they helped each other, engaged in problem solving, used one handed tools, designed with a purpose in mind and took pride in their work.

It was also the last session of “Ready, Steady, Talk” which has been very well attended and which has received some great reviews.

 

A big thank you to everyone for all your help this half-term and a huge thank you to all our new children and the old children who helped them settle.

We look forward to seeing you all on Monday 30th October.

Have a safe and happy holiday

Creative Workshop

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Wednesday 18th October

Rain today; however this didn’t deter our hardy group of swimmers or our garden chefs. Children set off for Poplar Baths where they had an excellent swimming lesson. All of the children have really made good progress this half-term.

Out in the garden children harvested herbs, and the last of the vegetables before preparing them for roasting and later tasting. It’s interesting to see how children will always eat vegetables they have cooked themselves!

We also had our speech and language therapist school.

Remember Friday is an INSET day and next week is the half-term holiday.

Check the blog for fun things to do with your child.

 

Roasting Vegetables

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Tuesday 17th October

A beautiful, mild day for a walk in the park, so that’s exactly what we did. Karla and a group of children and parents hopped on to the bus and set off for an adventure in Victoria Park. Each child was given a small bag to collect their treasures in and everyone spent an exciting morning jumping in and out of the Autumn leaves and discovering wonderful things of interest such as late conkers, acorns, beautifully coloured leaves and smooth, shiny pebbles.

A big thank you to all the parents and helpers who joined in with such enthusiasm and found nearly as many interesting things as the children. We couldn’t have so many exciting things without your help.

Back in school we welcomed Maureen the tutor from Best Practice who came to see how our student Panayotis is progressing.

The day finished with a full meeting of the Governing Body and we said a sad goodbye to our Clerk of many years Oyetona who is moving on to a new job. We wish him every success and thank him for his long service.

A walk in the park

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Monday 16th October

Well what incredible weather we experienced today, as you can imagine the children were fascinated first by the orange sky and then by the sudden darkness as London caught the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia. This led to an impromptu lesson on wind, rain, storms and seasons. Working in a nursery school is a privilege as children find new interests every day and you never know what they will discover next. Indoors children explored natural materials and prepared for an Autumn Walk whilst upstairs parents were busy baking mini Bakewell tarts and we were especially lucky today as Yusuf's 

mum came in to class to show the children how to make Somalian Pancakes. The day finished with an energetic session of music club.

Somalian Pancakes

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Exploring Natural Materials

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Cook for Life

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Friday 13th October

The nursery was a very busy place today with staff arriving from other schools for week two of the Elklan Course and children making traditional Caribbean Johnny Cakes out in the garden.

These simple dumplings are something children can produce with very little adult support and everyone agreed that they were delicious.

Johnny Cakes (Dumplings)

Ingredients

2 cups of self-raising flour

2 desert spoons of sugar

A little salt

Water

Vegetable Oil

What to do

Put the flour into a bowl adding the salt. Mix well then add the water, a little bit at a time until it all mixws in. Pour in the sugar and mix well. Put oil in a frying pan and heat. Get a piece of dough and rll it in your hand, flatten it but not too flat. Put in the frying pan (adult needs to supervise here) and let it brown. Repeat until all the dough is finished.

Eat and enjoy.

Indoors the children were cutting up the fabric that they had printed with their own designs to dress figures that they had made earlier by drawing around each other.

 

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy this lovely warm weather.

Delicious Dumplings

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Thursday 12th October

Thursday is Ready, Steady Talk and as usual we had a lively group of parents on the top floor learning new ways to support their child’s language and sharing their own ideas with others.

Chris went off to Rachel Keeling Nursery for the morning to work with Becky the head teacher there. Together they wrote a paper highlighting the important work the nursery schools do for the elected members of council.

Out in the garden Salma and the children were exploring African clay pots and having a go at making their pots or just generally exploring the clay.

Working with clay is a very satisfying way of developing children’s imagination and fine motor skills. Clay has slow burn learning benefits compared to other materials. Meaning that children can access it at their own level of confidence and development. For some, the experience of gaining the confidence to handle clay is a big step, while others may be ready to get stuck in and stretch, squeeze, roll and fully immerse themselves in tactile exploration.

 

Working with Clay

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Wednesday 11th October

Children had an exciting adventure today when they took the Central Line to Fairlop and then walked over to Fullwell Library to see a wonderful performance of Handa’s Surprise by the Little Angel Theatre Company.

For many of the children this was the first time they had been to a live performance and everyone loved seeing the story come to life before their eyes. It was really well acted with music, props and just the right amount of drama and suspense. As an added bonus each child was presented with a tangerine by Handa or Akeyo.

Other children went swimming today at Poplar Baths and after school Chris had a big surprise when she opened the door to find parents singing Happy Birthday in the playground as she celebrated a very BIG birthday.

She would like to thank you all for the lovely, thoughtful gifts and kind messages.

Theatre in the Round

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A Birthday Surprise

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Tuesday 10th October

Today the children explored patterns used in different cultures with a particular focus on Nigerian Kente cloth. They looked at different cloths, talked about the patterns and made their own designs

Shakila also showed children how cloth was woven and a number of children tried their hand at weaving with great success.

Other children listened to music from Africa and explored traditional African dances with Samantha and later with Salma in Dance Club.

Exploring Textiles

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Monday 9th October

Back to school and a beautiful Autumn Day which saw many children out in the garden enjoying the late sunshine.

Samantha was working outdoors and she introduced the children to African masks following on from our IROKO theatre visit. Many of the children made their own which they later incorporated into their play. Upstairs Yaseen’s mum led a baking session where she showed a group of parents how to make delicious cupcakes, she demonstrated what an easy thing this is to do with children at home. All children love cooking and we try to offer this at least once a week as it really does incorporate all areas of the early years curriculum.

If any parent would like to cook with the children or share something with other parents do let us know. Today’s session was a big success because it was run by parents for other parents.

We also say a big thank you today to Rafah, Rahma and Nasif’s mums who represented the school on the borough’s healthy school’s ambassador training.

The day finished with a lively music club.

Let's Bake

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Mask Making following Children's Interests

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Saturday 7th October

Saturday saw Guthsna, Shakila and Chris meeting in town and heading off to the British Museum to check out the African Galleries in order to plan ahead for an outing to show the children African art and artefacts.

Whenever we plan a trip we always do a visit first so we can see the opportunities for learning and can also risk assess the route and venue.

It was a really interesting and productive morning and we feel that the children will love the museum and be fascinated by everything on display. We really are fortunate living in London as we have so many free and exciting things to do right on our doorstep.

After a busy time in the museum we had to rest our legs and sample a delicious Thali lunch.

The Sainsbury African Gallery

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Friday 6th October

Today the children had a wonderful treat as we welcomed the IROKO Theatre company back to Nursery.

This is a dynamic traditional African theatre group, that uses storytelling, drama, music and dance to educate children and young people. This year is their 20th Anniversary. The children experienced exciting workshops which included storytelling, drumming and learning new songs and rhymes.

Everyone really enjoyed themselves and it was a perfect end to a busy week.

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the expected warm weather

The Iroko Theatre Company

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Thursday 5th October

Thursday saw Kerry from the Parental Engagement Team arrive at school to run the first session of the Ready, Steady, Talk course. This is a tried and tested course which recognises that going to and moving through nursery is a big step for any child. Over the next few weeks Kerry will support you as a parent to use games and activities to help your child develop five core skills:

  • Paying attention and listening
  • Understanding what is said
  • Learning new words
  • Making longer sentences
  • Talking socially

Staff are also working on these skills with the children as developing all children’s communication skills is at the heart of what we do.

If you had visited the garden today you would have seen the children putting their communication skills into action as they acted out the story of Handa’s Surprise, whilst indoors children were making their own books based on the same story.

Children also practiced their drumming skills ready for the Iroko theatre visit tomorrow.

Acting out a story

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Ready, Steady, Talk.....

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Wednesday 4th October

Today as part of our exploration of Black History Month children had the opportunity to find out about hair, talk about their own hair and the hair of their friends, we were especially fortunate because Jocelyn’s mum and Sara’s mum came in to school and talked with the children about how they looked after their hair and how they braided their hair. They showed children the many different ways that hair can be styled. The children looked at photographs of different hair styles and were shown how to make a simple braid and then more complicated ones. It was a fascinating afternoon.

Everyone was eager for a turn and many children went home proudly showing a new braid or plait in their hair. This was a wonderful starting point for work around similarities and differences and valuing diversity.

We would like to say a huge thank you to our two parent volunteers who did this so well.

Children also went swimming today at Poplar Baths.

We all wish Rina a very speedy recovery as she has just had surgery on her hand.

Look at our hair!

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Tuesday 3rd October

Chris, Guthsna and Ruheda had a wonderful morning today with a lively and creative group of parent volunteers who attended training to deliver the Early Words Together programme.

The training day included a getting to know each other session, establishing ground rules for working together and setting up a working agreement before moving on to explore the Early Words Together Programme.

We are now in our third year of running this highly successful targeted literacy programme. It is aimed at families with children aged two to five and really empowers parents to support children’s early communication and literacy development.

Today we shared stories and explored how parents are key to their child’s learning and development and how we know from research that parents’ engagement in their own children’s early learning is the biggest factor positively affecting children’s learning and development, more than settings and schools.

We looked at how communication skills are the key skills that are the foundations for future learning, including reading, writing and maths and we explored the benefits of bilingualism.

It was a great day and we are privileged to have such supportive parents.

Meanwhile in nursery children were very busy making fruit crumbles with Shakila, learning about Africa and continuing to explore the different fruits and animals from Handa’s Surprise.

Early Words Together Volunteers in Training!

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Mmmmm......... Apple and Blackberry Crumble

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Monday 2nd October

Today is the start of Black History Month, we introduced this to the children during Circle Time.

At Children’s House we acknowledge and celebrate Black History Month as a special time of year and have found that it is an appropriate way to approach the themes of African-Caribbean history, achievement and experience with young children. We offer opportunities to engage in relevant first-hand experiences that help children make connections between different lives, cultures and experiences and offer starting points for discussion around similarities and differences.

It is important to note however that valuing and celebrating diversity is an integral part of our everyday practice at Children’s House, not something that is just focussed on at certain times or dates. October is a time to celebrate, review planning for equalities and organise some extra special events but we absolutely avoid a once-a-year-only approach to these activities.

The children listened to the story of Handa’s Surprise today and explored the different fruits from the story. They looked on a map to see where Handa lived and talked about the differences between village life and city life.

After school a number of children enjoyed African Drumming during Music Club.

Handa's Fruits

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Friday 29th September

Friday started with torrential rain but this did not deter our all-weather explorers from getting out into the garden. The children put on their rain gear and had a wonderful time experiencing the downpour first hand, they caught the raindrops in buckets, measured the amount of rainfall, splashed in puddles and added powder paint to the bigger puddles to see what happened.

It was a wonderful splashy time, however there was also a great deal of learning taking place. Where does rain come from? what does a raindrop look like? what happens if we drop pebbles into puddles? etc. The children were real scientists as they experimented freely, forming then testing their own hypotheses.

In the afternoon we had our Harvest Festival and we want to say a huge thank you to Zayd’s mum who led a wonderful session on giving and making others happy. The children really understood the importance of sharing and giving to others.

We also welcomed Barney from the Food Bank who came to collect all our food donations. A group of helpful children were on hand to help him load the boxes and put them in the car.

It really was a busy day as in the morning the Language and Communication team ran the first session of the ELKLAN course and we welcomed staff from other schools who were keen to develop their confidence and skills in supporting children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Everyone agreed that this was an excellent course.

 

Have a good weekend.

It's Raining, It's Pouring......

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