Thursday 22nd February
It was off to Mudchute farm today to visit the animals. A group of parents, children and staff took the DLR from Bow Church to Mudchute and spent an enjoyable morning exploring the farm and meeting the animals.
Mudchute is set in 32 acres of countryside in the heart of East London, the Mudchute is a community charity, the working farm also has stables and offers a wide range of educational activities. It is open every day, free of charge.
Today the children were amazed to see ponies and brown and white pigs out in the field a lively discussion followed as some children genuinely believed that ponies were pink or purple (My Little Pony has a lot to answer for!) and that all pigs were pink.
There was so much to learn and see and it was wonderful for the children to see real live versions of all the animals they had been learning about all week.
After seeing chickens, ducks, ponies, pigs, geese, sheep and goats and learning all about them it was time to warm up in the café where everyone enjoyed hot drinks and sharing chips as a special treat.
Another group will visit the farm tomorrow. Remember to wear warm clothes and suitable footwear if you are coming on the trip.
Wednesday 21 st February
Today a group of children were playing with the farm animals and other small world toys, one of the children decided to add a “pond” to their game. This then led to a lively discussion which posed the question how would the animals get across the pond to eat the grass in the field?
Using this question as a starting point the children experimented with different ways of moving the animals safely across the water, they made boats, a pulley made of string and designed bridges which led on to further questions such as how would the animals get up onto the bridge? this was then followed by experiments with steps and ramps and in the end they concluded that a low ramped bridge would be the best way for animals to cross the water safely.
At Children’s House we constantly pose real life questions to children to really extend their thinking and develop their problem solving skills.
In the afternoon Karla took children to Forest School, as this was a new group they spent time learning the rules and exploring the forest.
On a sad note we said “goodbye” this afternoon to our computer technician Armand. Armand has worked with us for a number of years and overseen our new web based ICT system, the introduction of ipads for the children, and new data bases. He is off to start a new life in Sweden with his wife and children. We wish him well and look forward to receiving news from Stockholm.
Thank you Armand we will miss you.
Tuesday 20th February
The children are showing a lot of interest in farm animals, today a group of children wanted to build their own farm, so after carefully looking at reference books and making a list of different farm buildings, they set about constructing.
There was plenty of new vocabulary to learn including stable, silo, shed, sty, barn and field. Some children were able to use their phonetic knowledge to sound out and make labels for their buildings. I think you can see from the pictures that the children were very busy. Each building was the child’s own work, they thought about the materials they would need. How they wanted the building to look and what its purpose would be. It was a great opportunity for adults to scaffold their learning and engage in sustained shared thinking to really get the children thinking and problem solving.
In the ground floor classroom another group of children were enjoying a game of animal sound lotto. It’s wonderful to see how; by this time of year the children can organise themselves and cooperate to play a game together with minimal adult supervision.
The day finished with Dance Club and then a Governor’s Finance Meeting.
Monday 19th February
Welcome back to school. We hope that you all had a good break. It was so nice to see all the children return to nursery so cheerfully and eager to share their holiday news, we heard about snow fights in Staffordshire, cooking with mum, visiting grandma, going on a train and many other lovely excursions. The staff also had interesting holiday adventures Sabiya went to Umrah, Karla visited Cologne and Minu visited Sicily.
Everyone returned refreshed for the term ahead. This week the children are learning about farm animals as there had been a lot of interest in this before the holiday. Today children were making their own model animals, sorting and classifying animals into groups and learning the names of the animal babies. We plan to finish the week with a visit to Mudshute farm.
Out in the garden it was wonderful to see signs that Spring is around the corner, children were thrilled and excited to see our first daffodils emerging and some beautiful snowdrops in the back playground. I think we're all ready for a change of season!
Do check your letters home. Next week is World Book Day and we are inviting children to come dressed as a “Wild Thing” as we are working with West End Theatre in Schools.
Friday 9th February
Our Chinese New Year Celebrations drew to a close today when the children performed their own dragon dance with the dragons they have been carefully making all week. Passers-by in Stroudley Walk stopped what they were doing as the giant dragon snaked past to the rhythm of drums and the chants of;
“Chinese Dragon, Chinese Dragon
Breathing Fire, Breathing Fire
Happy, happy new year, happy, happy new year
Gong Hey Fat Choy, Gong Hey Fat Choy”
Upstairs we had students training with the Best Practice Network and indoors children were working on their learning records.
Remember next week is half-term, have a safe and happy holiday. School starts again on Monday 19th February.
Thursday 8th February
Today we had our last ice-skating session at the Canary Wharf Ice Rink before it closes for the season. It was a really fun trip and everyone enjoyed being on the ice. Who knew that so many of our parents were such good skaters.
Our Ofsted report is now published on the Ofsted Website, if you haven’t collected a hard copy and would like one, it is available from the school office.
In the garden children kept warm by cycling and practicing Chinese dancing and indoors our painters put the finishing touches to the Dragon Heads ready for our parade tomorrow.
Remember the nursery will be closed next week for half-term with children returning on Monday 19th February.
Wednesday 7th February
We welcomed two visitors from the National Literacy Trust today Tara and Trin. They came to observe our Early Words Together Session and speak to our parent volunteers, they wanted to observe good practice in order to disseminate it to other settings.
They were both really impressed with the quality of the programme and the commitment and creativity of our volunteers. They observed children and parents making props to support Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
As a result of this we will be doing further work to support the National Literacy Trust.
So a big thank you to everyone who participated yesterday.
In class children made spring rolls with Samantha which they enjoyed at snack time.
Tuesday 6th February
Today a group of children, parents and staff braved the cold and set off for an adventure in China Town. They took the tube to Leicester Square and spent an interesting morning looking at produce in the Chinese Supermarkets, buying lanterns, dragons and traditional money envelopes and looking at the wonderful decorations.
They then all sat down for a tasty lunch in a Chinese Restaurant and enjoyed vegetable stir fry, noodles and spring rolls.
Why not visit Trafalgar Square yourselves on Sunday 18th February for the Chinese New Year Celebrations, there will be a parade, dragon dancing, music food and fireworks.
Back in school children who didn't go to China Town made their own delicious Chinese Stir Fry with Rina, everyone enjoyed chopping the vegetables and then getting to eat the delicious noodles.
Monday 5th February
This week the children are celebrating Chinese Year, this year it is the Year of the Dog. The Dog occupies the eleventh position in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. You are a “Dog Chinese zodiac animal” if you are born in one of these years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018.
Today we had a workshop on traditional Chinese Dragon Dances. The children learnt how to dance with fans and parasols, then they all had a turn to try on the dragon’s head and perform a traditional dance. Everyone really enjoyed the sessions and said a big thank you to teacher Jade.
In the evening staff brushed up their phonics training with a workshop led by Karla.
Friday 2nd February
Today the dentist was in school, she applied fluoride treatment to the teeth of the children whose parents had given written consent. Research shows that fluoride varnish is highly effective at reducing tooth decay if it is applied twice a year to children. Fluoride varnish provides extra protection against tooth decay when used in addition to brushing. Fluoride varnish is a pale yellow gel that sets quickly when applied to children’s teeth using a soft brush it has a pleasant taste and a fruity smell.
Scientific studies have shown that fluoride varnish gives added protection to teeth against decay when used in addition to brushing teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste.
If your child wasn’t treated today, you will have a second chance to sign up for this later in the year. Alternatively, you can ask your child’s own dentist for the treatment.
In nursery children were playing at being a dentist, continuing with number games and cooking ingredients from their own market stall.
Have a good weekend. Next week is e-safety week so do come along to our workshop on Tuesday to learn how to keep your children safe online.
Have a good weekend.
Thursday 1st February
It was a very chilly day today, so to keep the children warm and active Shakila set up a mini Gym in the garden where children could try out a range of activities such as skipping, hopping, jumping on and off blocks, running etc.
Everyone enjoyed themselves and the children now understand the importance of being fit and active.
Indoors Ruheda was working with groups of children playing number games together. Board games are a wonderful way to practice turn-taking, cooperation, loosing gracefully and sharing in addition to being an opportunity to reinforce basic concepts such as counting and number recognition.
Later some of the children invented their own number games. This was something that staff also recently had to do on a maths training day and they came up with some really inventive ones that we have played with the children.
Wednesday 31st January
Today we had our peer review, this was a really helpful process where our practice was evaluated by a group of experts/respected practitioners in the same field.
We have been working with two primary schools St Peter’s Docklands and Lansbury Lawrence and today the head teachers and deputies of both schools led by a facilitator from ssat (The schools, students and teachers network) came to Children’s House to look at how adults support children’s language development.
They also had a chance to observe teaching and learning and the opportunity to meet with some of the children who as usual answered their questions sensibly and made us very proud of their behaviour,
The purpose of the day was to provide support and challenge which will lead to sustainable change and improvement. Everyone agreed that it was a really valuable day and we say a big thank you to our facilitator Louise and our colleagues from other schools.
Tuesday 30th January
Today to support the children’s interest in healthy eating, Salma took a small group out to buy vegetables to set up their own market stall in the garden. Children bought cabbages, carrots, potatoes, corn, peppers, onions and spent a busy day weighing, comparing, pricing and “selling” their produce.
This really was mathematical learning in action, as well as an opportunity to develop language skills and learn about running a market stall.
We also had African drumming and ukulele lessons.
After school Karla and Samantha went into town for teacher training at the Postal Museum where they explored activities linked to the Jolly Postman.
Monday 29th January
It was lovely to see so many children returning to nursery today following the nasty virus that swept through the school last week.
All the more reason for us to have a focus on healthy lifestyles. We started the week with a workshop for parents on oral hygiene led by the parental engagement team. This was well attended and everyone received gifts of dental products to use with their children.
Out in the garden today children were making large scale drawings of their bodies and writing labels for the different body parts and indoors Karla was showing children how to make a tally chart of their favourite vegetables.
You may not be surprised to hear that carrots were the number one choice for nearly everyone.
Friday 26th January
The end of the nursery week started with a phonics workshop for parents. Karla (CL coordinator) explained how we follow the letters and sounds teaching programme. She discussed with parents how best to support children with communication, language and literacy at home. Experience shows that children benefit from books from an early age and right from the start, lots of opportunities should be provided for children to engage with books to fire their imagination and interest.
Enjoying and sharing books leads to children seeing them as a source of pleasure and interest and motivates them to value reading.
Adults also need to model listening and speaking to children and interacting with them through talk is crucial for good language development.
Karla explained to parents the seven aspects of phase one phonics and gave everyone plenty of ideas to try at home, such as listening walks, making instruments, trying out body percussion or playing a matching sounds game.
If you missed this session Nicole Gurvidi Borough Advisor will lead another Phonics Workshop on World book Day March 1st.
Meanwhile in the nursery children were following on from the nurse’s visit last Friday by spontaneously creating their own doctor’s surgery where they spent a busy day diagnosing and treating a wide range of “ailments”
Have a good weekend and remember the Oral Hygiene Workshop on Monday.
Thursday 25th January
Today we had the last day of our Financial Audit. The auditors looked carefully at how we manage our finances and went away feeling confident that we have sound procedures in place.
In the classroom Parvin and the children were preparing a healthy snack for everyone, they talked about wholegrain and white bread and different types of sandwich fillings and then made sandwiches and crudites to share with their friends.
It was interesting to see that children have a good understanding of healthy eating even if they don't always eat up their greens.
In our experience new foods need to be introduced at least two or three times to children with the expectation that they will try a little but can leave it if they don't want to finish it. This way most children will take at least one vegetable serving at lunch and all children will try some salad.
Wednesday 24th January
This was certainly another busy day with so many interesting and exciting things taking place across the nursery.
Following on from the children’s exercise session on Monday when children exercised vigorously and described both their resting heart beat and their beat after exercise; we were fortunate today because the nurse from the Stroudley Walk Health Centre came into school. She talked to the children about how to stay healthy, the importance of exercise and then most importantly she let the children use real stethoscopes to listen to their own heart beat and that of their friends.
This was fascinating for the children and as Sofian said:
“I could hear inside my chest, I heard my heart it was booming”.
Downstairs Rina was busy making healthy pizzas with the children and getting them to try a variety of new vegetables and they were so delicious that all the staff had one for lunch.
Parents and children on the Early Words Together Course set of for the Idea Store to join the library and we had six second year teachers visit in the afternoon from Phoenix and Virginia schools. They came for a learning walk to look at good practice and hear about the experiences we offer at Children’s House,
Meanwhile office staff were also extremely busy as it was day one of our Financial Audit.
Tuesday 23rd January
Today the classrooms were transformed into baby clinics. Many of the children have recently had a new baby in the family and there is a great deal of interest in babies and how to care for them. Children were measuring height, head circumference, weighing them making charts and changing and feeding the babies and sending one or two off to the “hospital” for further treatment.
If you have recently had a baby and would like to bring him/her into class, please do mention it to the staff as the children would love to see a real baby.
We also had ukulele lessons and already some of the children are showing real proficiency. We hope to give a small performance at the end of term.
Monday 22nd January
This week we are having a focus on healthy lifestyles. The children will be looking at healthy foods, exercise, hygiene, sleep and keeping themselves safe.
Shakila started the day with a lively session in the front playground. Children were kept active testing their heart rate before and after exercise. Everyone warmed up nicely after the workout and children learnt about the effects of exercise on the body. Indoors Shazna was looking at healthy food choices and the children sorted food into the different food groups and discussed if it was a healthy choice or something that should be eaten as a treat.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be encouraging children to try different fruits and vegetables and asking them to keep a record of what they have tried, so do let us know if your child has tasted something new at home.
The day finished with music club.
Friday 19th January
This very busy week drew to a close with 12 early years’ students from the Best Practice Network coming to school for a training day. Best Practice booked the top floor space and invited us to speak to the students about outdoor learning and how we organise and plan for it at Children’s House.
Chris and Guthsna explained to the students how the outdoor area provides young children with one of the best possible environments in which to learn.
We know through our observations that children playing in a well-planned, well-resourced outdoor environment with involved adults are filled with joy and excitement as they experience the outdoors, learn new skills and make fresh discoveries.
In the words of Margaret McMillan (1925)
“the best kept classroom and the richest cupboards are roofed only by the sky.
After the talk the students were invited to observe teaching and learning in the outdoor areas, they all become fully involved as they observed children making food for the aliens in the forest area, cooking in the sandpit, constructing vehicles on a large scale in the front garden and practicing their climbing, jumping and ball skills in the back playground.
They also had a chance to have a tour of the school and see all the learning taking place indoors.
The tutor commented how nice it was to meet such happy, friendly children who were all involved and engaged in exciting learning activities.
Have a lovely weekend.
Thursday 18th January
Another busy day; 15 trainee teachers from the London East Teacher Training Alliance came to Children’s House for a professional development session on record keeping, assessment, learning journeys and how data is used to monitor pupil progress.
After training they went into the nursery and made observations of children engaged in a range of activities. Later they had an opportunity to share what they had seen. Chris and Guthsna spoke about how we assess progress and attainment and showed how we plan for children’s learning. There was discussion about how data is used to plan for next steps and how we compare progress across the Foundation Stage Curriculum.
The children were eager to share their special books and every student agreed that it was a useful morning. We were very pleased with their evaluations.
As part of our commitment to sharing good practice the nursery provides training and support to trainee teachers, students, NQTs and other settings.
Wednesday 17th January
The children have been showing a great deal of interest in other planets and today after talking with Samantha about volcanic activity they carried out a simple science investigation to see what happened when they dropped vinegar on their own baking soda planet landscapes.
They have also been learning the names of the planets, exploring their size in relation to Earth and looking at the habitats. Space has really captured their imagination and we may even have some future astronauts in school.
We also had the first session of Early Words Together and children and parents listened to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and made porridge together.
Tuesday 16th January
Today we had our Ofsted Inspection, our Inspector Martin Roberts arrived bang on time at 8 a.m. and it was all systems go until the day drew to a close around 5 p.m.
Mr Roberts was thorough and professional and took great interest in the school and the opportunities provided for children, he scrutinised safeguarding, teaching and learning, data, spoke to children, parents, staff and Governors and our school improvement partner Kath Beck.
During the day he saw children cooking, reading, writing, den building, painting on a large scale, constructing, exploring space and magnets and noted that every child was engaged in a learning activity. He also spoke to our parent volunteers and observed African Drumming and Ukulele lessons. He gained a very good understanding of Children’s House.
We will share the outcome with you just as soon as it is published but we were very happy with the day and very proud of the children whose exemplary behaviour and love of learning just shone through.
A big thank you to everyone for your support.
We all feel so lucky to be part of such a happy, wonderful school.
Monday 15th January
Today was certainly a busy day. “The children have been enjoying the book Aliens Love Underpants” by Claire Freedman and Ben Court and decided they would make a washing line of pants for the aliens to take back to space because:
“Aliens love underpants
Of every shape and size
But there’s no underpants in space
And that’s a big surprise”
They looked at different patterns and materials and then spent a busy morning drawing, painting, sewing and cutting out.
Later in the day during story time, Sabiya informed Chris that the call had come from Ofsted so tomorrow we are having a Section 8 Ofsted Inspection and your views are very important to Ofsted and to us so do please read below on how you can make your views known. Our Inspector will be Mr Martin Roberts.
Inspection of Children’s House Nursery School by Ofsted
We have just told your child's school that we will inspect it on 16 January 2018. The lead inspector will be Martin Roberts. We are writing to you because we would like to know what you think about the school. Please take a few minutes to read the leaflet which came with this letter. It explains why we inspect schools, and what happens during an inspection.
Your views about the school are important to us
If you are a registered parent or carer of a pupil at the school (including pupils on sick leave or who are temporarily excluded), you can tell us your views about the school by completing Ofsted's online survey, Parent View, at: www.parentview.ofsted.gov.uk.
Parent View asks for your opinion on 12 aspects of your child's school, including the progress made by your child, the quality of teaching, how the school deals with bullying and poor behaviour. It also provides a free-text box for you to make additional comments, if you wish. The inspectors will use the online survey responses when inspecting your child's school. Written comments can also be sent to the school in a sealed envelope, marked confidential and addressed to the inspection team.
To register your views, you will need to provide your email address, which will be held securely. It will not be used for any purpose other than providing access to the online survey. Neither schools nor Ofsted will have access to any email addresses.
Please complete the online survey by noon on 16 January 2018 as this will give the inspection team more time to consider your views. However, we will consider all online responses that are completed during the inspection, although the free-text box facility will not be available after noon on 16 January 2018.
Speaking to an inspector
If you are unable to complete the online survey, it may be possible to speak to an inspector during the inspection, for instance at the start of the school day, or to pass on messages to the inspectors if you are unable to speak to them in person. Inspection administrators will be happy to make the necessary arrangements. If concerns are raised about child protection, we may have to pass the information we receive to social services or the police. You can contact the administrators on 03000131596. Inspectors will be pleased to receive your comments, but cannot deal with complaints about individual pupils or settle disputes between you and the school.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the online survey.
Friday 12th January
Wherever you look at Children’s House you will always see children engaged in mark making activities. We want our children to see themselves as “writers” from the moment they start nursery and we provide many opportunities during the day for children to write for a purpose. This could be adding their name to a painting, making a shopping list for snack time or writing out the lunch menu.
Teaching young children to write requires two major skills.
Firstly, children must develop physically in order to hold and control a pen. We help children to develop these skills through physical play; crawling, rolling, climbing, swinging, running etc. and through tasks which promote fine motor skills such as painting, drawing, stirring, pouring, spooning, cutting, brushing, sewing, threading, peeling, chopping, spreading and kneading.
Secondly children’s brains need to develop to understand the purpose of writing for communication. A child will need to understand that we can use a symbol to represent an object. For example, for a young child a box may represent a car, an older child is able to write the word “car” to convey meaning to others.
This is called “symbolic representation”. Children need to want to share their ideas through writing and they need to be able to organise these ideas.
Looking at letters
Children become curious about letters as they begin to understand their significance. They often start to recognise the initial letter of their name and begin to look for that letter. As they learn more, children begin to recognise more of the letters in their name and the initial letters of their family and friends’ names. They start to talk about letters and name them.
At Children’s House we talk to children about letters. We tell them the name of the letter and talk about the sound (or sounds it makes).
Many of our children begin to recognise whole words, particularly familiar ones like Tesco or McDonalds. The way we support children’s brains to understand writing is through play and making marks for a purpose.
By making children sit down to practice handwriting when their bodies and brains are not yet ready can actually delay development.
So we provide plenty of daily opportunities for children to mark marks as this something they are naturally interested in from a very young age.
There are opportunities to write and mark make in every area of the nursery and you will always see children with clipboards drawing and writing in the outdoor area as well as indoors.
Today our Early Words Together Volunteers met to plan the next course, if you are interested in developing your home literacy environment and want to learn how best to support your child with language and literacy please do sign up with Ruheda.
Have a lovely weekend.
Thursday 11th January
Children had a very enjoyable trip to the science museum today. They visited the exciting space gallery which showcases everything from rockets to satellites, probes to space landers.
They were able to see a full-sized replica of the Eagle, the lander that took the astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon in 1969 and learn how they could breathe, eat and drink in space.
They also saw two real space rockets, a British Black Arrow and a United States Scout and heard how the space race started in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1 and how Britain joined the space race with the launch of its first rocket the Skylark.
After exploring the space gallery there was time to visit the Pattern Pod and have time out in the garden; an exciting interactive space, created especially for children aged 3–6.
Here the children could explore the main areas—construction, water, light and sound and while playing, they could find out about floating and sinking, shadows and reflections, and much more. At the same time, they practiced the skills of observing, predicting, testing and drawing conclusions.
So all in all it was a fun and educational visit and everyone including staff and parents learnt something new.
Wednesday 10th January
We currently have a “winter flu” bug in nursery. To help us to control this can we remind you that if your child has vomiting or diarrhea they must have been clear of this for at least 24 hours before they return to school.
We are doing our bit in nursery by ensuring that children follow good hygiene particularly with hand washing and by ensuring that all toys and surfaces are disinfected after use.
Space travel has really grabbed the children’s imagination, there was some wonderful role play to be seen today both indoors and out in the garden.
Children recreated the Solar System, made rockets and made lists of what they would need for a journey to space. We always encourage children to see themselves as writers and incorporate opportunities to write for a purpose into all our activities.
Children also learnt about things they would need to survive on another planet such as water, oxygen and food.
Other children were mini scientists creating “solar explosions” with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
If your child is visiting the Science Museum tomorrow, please remember to be at school promptly by 9.00 a.m. as we have exciting activities booked for particular times and will miss them if we are late.
Tuesday 9th January
Today we welcomed Christina a new weekly music teacher. Christina will be teaching the children how to play the ukulele. The session got off to a wonderful start as children were introduced to the instrument, shown how to tune it and how to hold it correctly and pluck the strings.
We have chosen the ukulele because it is an easy first instrument to learn and makes a wonderful sound. The ukulele was introduced to Hawaii in the 19th century by Portuguese immigrants (then called a 'machete') and quickly became a popular part of Hawaiian culture. Nowadays, the popularity of the ukulele has spread, with the cheerful sound being used in songs, adverts and much more. One of the most well-known examples of this is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's medley of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' and 'What a Wonderful World'.
But you don't have to be a musical genius to master the strings of the ukulele it is a simple instrument to learn and the children got off to a flying start. We look forward to inviting you to a concert later in the term.
A big thank you to our healthy school parent ambassadors who attended training on oral hygiene today. They will be cascading this information down to other parents in a special workshop later this year.
We also welcomed three more new children including our fourth set of twins.
Monday 8th January
After listening to the story “Whatever Next” by Jill Murphy a number of children have been showing interest in outer space and space travel. As we like to follow children’s interests we have decided to help children explore the Universe. The Universe contains the children, their homes, the planet Earth, The Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy and the massive star system in which we live. So there is much to think about and discover.
We launched the week with video footage of rocket launches and moon landings, provided a range of interesting space themed fiction and nonfiction books, new dressing up materials and a range of construction materials and the children are just showing a huge interest in all things Space related. Today children were painting and drawing planets, learning their names, designing rockets, talking about space travel and learning new space related rhymes and songs as well as listening to some wonderful space music.
Why not listen to Gustav Holst’ Planet Suite for some really inspirational space music.
We also welcomed the first of our new children today and hope that they and their families will be very happy at Children’s House.
Friday 5th January
The playground was full of puddles today as a result of the recent very heavy rain brought in by Storm Eileen. However, this did not deter the children from their outdoor play.
Puddles are one of the most wonderful play materials that nature can provide. It is wonderful to see young children approach a puddle and see it with such awe and wonder. Our playground puddles certainly kept children occupied for much of the day.
Many of the children were automatically drawn to the puddles and there were many questions to be answered such as what is a puddle? where do puddles come from? Why do puddles disappear? Etc. Children measured the depth of different puddles with sticks to see which was the deepest, floated leaves on the top, watched small stones sink below the surface, and observed how big a splash they could make with their wellington boots.
Some children observed a pigeon taking a quick bath and others measured how wide the puddle was. It was a wonderful opportunity for spontaneous teaching and learning and thanks to our waterproof clothing no one got wet.
A poem by Lara Warden
Race through it
Sit in it
Stand with your mum
Look down under the water
Find a friend
Find a bug
Twirl in the water
Give it a name
Think about it
Watch it disappear
Make a mess
Make a pond
And giggle a lot!
All of this in a puddle
Have a good weekend.
Thursday 4th January
Happy New Year and welcome back to school. It was lovely to see everyone again and hear all about your holiday experiences. Spring Term started for staff on Wednesday 3rd January with an INSET day. We were joined by colleagues from other schools and had excellent training from Isla (Make Believe Arts) on Helicopter Stories. This is an approach to communication and literacy based on the story telling and story acting curriculum of Vivian Gussin Paley
In its simplest form, helicopter stories allow children to dictate their stories which are written down verbatim, exactly as they are told. The children then gather around a taped out stage and the stories are acted out.
The joy of this simple approach is a child centred ethos that creates a culture of curiosity and wonder. The power of storytelling develops creativity, communication and language and personal, social and emotional skills through giving children’s stories a voice in a safe space.
After the INSET staff paired up for home visits to see the new children who are starting next Monday.
Children enjoyed the first day back, they had circle time, reacquainted themselves with friends, listened to the wind, explored puddles, worked with wood and dough and wrote new name labels for their pegs and belongings.
Watch this space to find out about all the exciting things planned for the next half-term.
Tuesday 19th December
The end of term has arrived. Today we gave our December Leavers a wonderful send off with a special Graduation Ceremony which was a chance to come together to celebrate everything the children have achieved during their time at Children's House.
We always feel so proud of our children when they move on to primary school and today was no exception; there were so many lovely things to celebrate. We know that we are saying goodbye to children who love to learn, who are ready for everything that primary school will bring, who know how to listen, how to ask for help, how to share and take turns and how to play inclusively with friends. All our leavers are kind, helpful children who have had many exciting experiences in nursery, they have many skills which they will go on to develop in their new schools.
Well done and a big thank you parents for everything you have done to support your child and the school.
The children also performed the annual Nativity Play today which was a magical experience for everyone. Guthsna recorded the play and you will be able to collect a copy from the school office in the New Year.
Finally, all that’s left to say, is have a safe and enjoyable holiday, a Merry Christmas and we wish you
Happy New Year 2018
Tuesday 18th December
Today was the last full day of the Autumn Term before we break for the holiday and it was a time to reflect on what an exciting busy term we have had.
It really is a privilege to work with such wonderful children and families. Without exception every child has made good progress, has settled into nursery life and is a delight to teach.
You only have to scroll back through the blog to see all the rich learning experiences that the children have enjoyed each day. The blog only captures a part of our school and there are so many experiences and moments that don’t get written about. It is fair to say it has been a very good term.
Father Christmas came to today, he joined us for our Christmas Party, the children were thrilled to see him. They enjoyed party games, dancing and a delicious tea. A big thank you to Tesco for providing many of the children’s treats.
Hopefully this is just one of the many happy memories the children will have of their time in nursery.
Friday 15th December
Children listened to Christmas stories today and then a group of interested children decided that they wanted to have a go at making a sleigh for Father Christmas, so after measuring him carefully and deciding that it was best to make a wooden sleigh, they headed to the woodwork bench.
This task occupied many children for much of the day as they thought about the design, the shapes of wood that they needed, and how to join the pieces together.
Once the sleighs were made they wrapped tiny parcels and helped Father Christmas to deliver them around the school.
This is a wonderful example of child initiated play that involved all areas of the early years curriculum including language and communication, maths, knowledge and understanding of the world and creative development.
After school a group of children, parents and staff went over to the Marner School Christmas Fair together.
Have a lovely weekend and remember that children can wear party clothes on Monday.
Thursday 14th December
A large group of children accompanied by festive staff and parents set off for our local Tesco Store today. They set up home in the entrance right by the Christmas Tree and serenaded customers with rousing renditions of classic Christmas songs, including Jingle Bells, We Wish you a Merry Christmas and When Santa got stuck up the Chimney.
Many customers stopped to listen, applaud and praise the children for their lovely singing. It certainly made shopping more pleasant for everyone.
Back at school we made Christmas cards and the children designed invitations to remind their parents to come to the Nativity Play.
Wherever you looked in nursery busy groups of children were drumming, singing, dancing or practicing their lines for the play.
Please do join us at 9.00 a.m. on Tuesday 19th December at 9.00 a.m.
Wednesday 13th December
Today we all came together to enjoy a delicious Christmas Dinner, we wore our Christmas hats, played Christmas songs and sat down to enjoy a traditional turkey/veggie roast dinner complete with sprouts, stuffing and crackers.
Everyone enjoyed it and we thanked Fatou our school cook for the healthy meals she prepares for the children every day.
We also continued the Work Path assessments to help parents into training and employment and welcomed two visitors from the Early Years Service.
Tuesday 12th December
A group of children and their parents represented the school at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Canary Wharf today at the hotel’s annual Christmas Treat for local schools.
As usual the children’s behaviour was exemplary and everyone had a lovely day. So a big thank you to everyone at the hotel for making such a lovely treat for the children.
In school children were busy designing and making party hats and writing invitations to our Nativity Play. Excitement is building in school as children (and staff) are preparing for the end of a busy, productive term.
A lovely surprise arrived by e-mail from South America; Matilda one of our previous pupils who left when her family moved back home sent a wonderful PowerPoint presentation of her life in her new home and school.
We really enjoy hearing news about our past children so this was an added bonus to the day.
Monday 11th December
Today we had a wonderful turnout for our Parent Voice Session.
There is a long history at Children’s House of parental engagement in children’s learning and development.
Our approach is based on strong evidence that when parents and carers have a good relationship with the nursery and are involved in their child’s learning, life chances and outcomes for children are greatly improved.
Our twice yearly parent voice session is where parents really have the chance to make a difference and influence the way things are done in nursery.
These sessions are externally facilitated by members of the Tower Hamlets Parental Engagement team. We receive a thorough report and always make time to address all the points raised.
Thank you for taking time to attend the session and if you weren’t able to attend and haven’t received the questionnaire please do collect one from the school office.
There was huge excitement after lunch when for a brief, glorious hour the snow returned. Warmly wrapped in their coats, hats and gloves the children raced into the garden. It really was a moment of awe and wonder as they chased snowflakes, caught them in buckets, tried to make snowballs or simply stood amazed at the spectacle.
We were able to look at the snow with magnifying glasses and children learnt that no two snowflakes are ever the same.
It was a very special afternoon, but sadly the rain returned and just like that the snow was gone!
Friday 8th December
Every year we always have a special leavers trip as we say goodbye to groups of children who are starting the next stage of their learning journey. To mark this occasion, the children who are leaving to start Primary School in January went to Stratford Circus Arts Centre accompanied by their parents and key people to see an exciting performance of “The Ramshackle House”.
In the show a small ramshackle house is just perfect for one, but the children found out what happens when it has to become a home for two and then for three.
The performance followed the domestic antics of a growing family as they tumbled, balanced and flew through life.
There was plenty to laugh at and awe inspiring acrobatics and dazzling aerials combined to make an exciting and festive theatrical experience.
Everyone enjoyed themselves and the children are looking forward to visiting the theatre again.
Have a good weekend and please do try to stop in at Parent Voice on Monday. Your views really are important to us.
Thursday 7th December
Is there a better way to spend a chilly Winter’s morning than ice-skating at Canary Wharf?
Samantha and Sam took a group of eager novices (parents and children) on the DLR to Canary Wharf Ice-Skating rink; for almost everyone this was their first ice-skating experience.
Everyone loved learning a new skill and fortunately our experienced staff were on hand to give a few pointers.
Most people managed to stay upright and all agreed that being able to skate is wonderful thing. Canary Wharf looked very festive and the children enjoyed seeing the decorations, lights and huge Christmas Tree.
In the afternoon our young performers took to the stage to practice the Nativity Play.
The day finished with staff planning the fun Christmas Activities for the end of term.
Wednesday 6th December
Children’s House was very busy today, the top floor was bustling with parents having a work path assessment, whilst out in the garden children were busy problem solving as they tackled how to make different sized beds for the three bears and how to design and make a chair for Goldilocks so that she wouldn’t break baby bear’s.
At Children’s House we gave children daily opportunities to solve real life problems.
Within the Early Years Foundation Stage, problem solving comes under the category mathematical development, however this doesn’t limit problem solving to just mathematical circumstances! There are opportunities for children in early years to explore problem solving every day, within all aspects of their development.
Children are natural problem solvers from birth, all the way from learning to communicate problems through crying, through learning to talk and learning to walk. They develop a natural problem solving process through trial and error, for example, a toddler will fall down many times before taking their first steps, but it’s the process of getting back up and trying again which helps them to achieve their goal.
Although problem solving can occur naturally, staff in the early years should still encourage children to recognise the process of problem solving and become familiar with it.
The children certainly tackled making beds and chairs with great enthusiasm, measuring the bears and deciding which materials to use.