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Wednesday 20th June

Today could not have been busier, there was so much going on. In the morning Chris attended the Borough Head Teacher’s Meeting where she got the chance to say goodbye to five wonderful head teacher colleagues who are retiring or moving on to pastures new.

One of the great things about working in Tower Hamlets is being part of a family of schools, schools who are always willing to support and help each other. Although it’s always sad to see colleagues go we wish them well in their new ventures.

Back in school we had transition visits for some of the children to their new primary school which caused great excitement. We always take care to support transition so the children are comfortable and well prepared for the next stage of their education.

Out in the garden children were making mini pizzas for snack time, whilst others were having swimming lessons or visiting forest school.

Indoors our parent literacy champions were busy planning the next session of Early Words Together.

We finished the day with our “talking about children meeting”.

Snack Time

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Tuesday 19th June

Children’s House is rightly proud of its reputation as an outstanding nursery school, however with recognition comes additional responsibility and one of these responsibilities is to share our good practice with other settings.

Today Chris and Guthsna offered a course on Block Play to teachers from other settings in the borough, this is part of the work we are doing with the nursery schools through the Tower Hamlets Inclusive Nursery school consortium.

We had a very keen group of early years’ practitioners who were really interested in how we support block play, what it offers to children and what it tells us as educators about their learning.

We find that when children are free to experiment with simple materials, they find ways to express and develop their thoughts through imaginative play.

Block play offers an open-ended, creative and valuable play and learning experience. We believe it should be available in every setting as it offers children a host of benefits across all areas of the curriculum.

If you want to know more about block play do collect one of our handouts from the office.

Block Play for Teachers

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Monday 18th June

We hope that all our families celebrating Eid had a wonderful day on Friday. Today we all had the chance to celebrate together when we had our annual Eid Party for the community. What a party it was, everyone dressed up in their best clothes and the back garden was magically transformed with a stage, bunting, lights, a cardboard mosque and food stalls.

The children gave a wonderful performance of Eid Songs, traditional dance and a recitation of Surahs from the Quran.

Thank you to all the parents and carers who so generously cooked delicious food to share, and who joined in everything with such enthusiasm.

Eid is a special time and we really enjoy the opportunity to celebrate together.

Eid Mubarak

Eid Celebrations 2018

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Thursday 14th June

School will be closed tomorrow for Eid, have a lovely day if you are celebrating and we will see everyone on Monday for our Community Eid Celebration.

Parents the party starts at 1.30 p.m. Bring a dish to share, relax with friends and enjoy watching the children sing and dance.

We wish you all Eid Mubarak

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Wednesday 13th June

School opened extra early today so the swimmers could assemble for their weekly lesson at Poplar Baths.

Indoors children were practicing their writing skills as they made greeting cards for Eid. Outdoors in the garden children were dancing and drumming and in the afternoon a group went to Forest School with Ali and Karla.

Letters for the Leaver’s Trip to Paradise Wildlife Park have gone out so do return them as soon as possible so we can have an idea of numbers.

Making Eid Cards

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Tuesday 12th June

If you passed Children’s House today, you would have noticed the delicious smells wafting out through the window and on to the street. The children were cooking and learning how to make a delicious vegetable bhaji.

We cook regularly with children in nursery and believe strongly that this should be taught in all nursery settings.

Why is cooking so important?

Cooking in the early years is a great, fun experience which offers a wealth of learning and development. One cooking activity is able to promote all seven areas of the early years foundation stage and because children enjoy the experience so much they are not even aware they are learning about numbers or developing skills. As well as cooking developing all seven areas it is a sensory experience engaging often all five sense making it a more memorable experience and truly engaging the children in the early years. Cooking also gives children knowledge about food, where it comes from and what is healthy and unhealthy. As teachers we believe that these are all important skills to give to children in order to encourage them to make healthy food choices. It also gives them valuable self-help skills and independence they learn some delicious recipes along the way which they can share with their parents.

When you cook with your child at home:

  • Allow your child to do as much as they can for themselves
  • Promote good hygiene before beginning such as cleaning tables and washing hands
  • Encourage your child to look at the ingredients and think about what they might be cooking
  • Encourage your child to name the ingredients and discuss where it has come from or how it grows
  • Make simple recipe cards containing small numbers and easy to measure units such as 1 cup
  • Encourage your child to weigh out their own ingredients
  • Teach them skills such as how to cut safely or how to crack an egg
  • Talk about what is happening as you mix the ingredients together – Use scientific language with an older child such as solid and liquid
  • Talk about the textures and smells
  • Be supportive and allow your child to explore, actively learn and critically think for themselves
  • Create a recipe book and log all of the wonderful things you have made
  • Talk about healthy and unhealthy choices as you cook

 

And most importantly enjoy!

Making Eid Foods - Vegetable Bhaji

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Monday 11th June

Back to school and a busy start to the week. Each Monday we always start off with Circle Time and the sharing of the “All About Me Boxes.” It's also time to catch up on the weekend news.

A source of great excitement today was one child’s weekend visit to Peppa Pig World and it was lovely to see the confidence he had when speaking about this with his friends

After circle time the children were engaged in all kinds of exciting activities, Shakila and Mercedes were busy practicing Eid Songs ready for our celebration on Monday. The children are getting very excited now as Ramadan is drawing to a close. In the forest area Shakila noticed two children industriously building and then slowly circling their creation. When she asked what they were doing the boys replied that they had built the Kaaba and were saying prayers. They then explained to some of their friends why this was important.

Also out in the garden children were picking fresh rosemary to make into delicious bread. We have so much this year so please do ask for some if you use it in your cooking; there is plenty to spare.

Indoors Samantha and the children were making Dinosaur fossils using salt dough. They then decided which dinosaurs were fossilised.

For parents we also had our Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities course and finished the day off with a lively and noisy Music Club.

Salt Dough Fossils

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Making the Kaaba

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Rosemary Bread

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Friday 8th June

A group of children and parents set off for the V&A Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood today to carry out a very important role. They were there at the invitation of museum staff to look at the exhibits and talk with curators about how the museum could be improved for children and families in the future. We are proud to say that the museum staff with thrilled with the ideas and responses they received. So thank you to everyone who took part in this important piece of work.

In school children were involved in some really lovely child initiated play using the train set and small world toys. Children were playing collaboratively together on the carpet setting out an elaborate system of tracks. They then decided that they wanted to make traffic lights so that their trains would know when to stop and start as they kept crashing into each other. Independently children selected their own resources to design and make the props they needed. As they played the teacher noticing what they were doing commented on their play and asked if they knew if there were traffic lights on railways, the children thought about it carefully and didn’t know the answer. So using reference books on trains they discovered that actually trains run according to signals. Next time they play they will look at how they can make a set of signals which will signal to the trains how to stop and start.

This was real life problem solving and we look forward to seeing what the children do with this new knowledge on Monday.

Karla also had an interesting day today attending a teacher's course at the Half-Moon Theatre on Outdoor Learning.

Have a lovely weekend and see you on Monday.

Spontaneous Play

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Thursday 7th June

A busy day today, we welcomed more of our new September children to a stay, play and learn session on the top floor which everyone enjoyed.

In the nursery children were busy writing labels for their dinosaurs using their knowledge of letter sounds (phonics) it was wonderful to see how so many of the children are now independent writers able to confidently have a go at sounding out the words they want to write. The children really enjoy reading what they have written to others and are especially pleased when an adult is able to read back to them what they have written. Writing is such a powerful tool and it’s a wonderful part of our job as teachers when we see the delight children experience when they see themselves as confident writers.

After school all the staff stayed for a training session on Safeguarding which everyone agreed was a useful update.

Dinosaur Painting and Labelling

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Wednesday 6th June

Today the children went swimming at Poplar Baths, they really enjoyed their first lesson and everyone was happy to get into the water and have their first lesson. Poplar Baths is an easy journey from school on the DLR, it is located just moments away from All Saints DLR station. Why not have a visit there is something for everyone in this brand new leisure centre, including: 25m swimming pool accompanied by a smaller teaching pool, a modern gym with the latest Technogym Fitness Equipment, a Fitness Class Studio and a Rooftop 3G Pitch. Poplar Leisure Centre and Gym offers perfect facilities for anyone working or living locally.

Back in school children were learning about palaeontology, they set up camp in the forest area and then hunted for fossils, dinosaur bones and “real” dinosaurs which they enjoyed identifying.

Paleontologists at work

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Tuesday 5th June 

Today we invited the new children who are starting in September to a “stay, play and learn” session on the top floor. It was really nice getting to know our new children and families and they had a lovely time playing together with Ruheda and Sabiya. Stay, play and learn will take place every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons until the end of term for the children offered a September place.

In nursery work on dinosaurs continued. The children had a really creative session with Jannifar; they created their own dinosaurs, named them and thought carefully about where they lived, what they ate and what their special skills were. They produced some really amazing work, especially when you think that they are still in nursery!

We also had a special birthday today as Shazna celebrated a milestone.

We finished the day with an energetic dance club.

Inventing Dinosaurs

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Stay, Play and Learn

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Monday 4th June

Welcome back to nursery, we hope that you all had an enjoyable holiday and managed to enjoy some of the nice weather that appeared between the thunder showers. The children all returned cheerfully and ready for school including our two year olds who are now really settled and fully integrated into nursery life.

This is a very busy half-term so do take time to read the important end of term dates that were sent home today. Please keep the letter handy as we have lots of fun things happening over the next few weeks including our Eid Party, Sports Day, Summer Fete, Leaver’s Trip and Graduation.

We will also be starting transition visits to primary schools so we have a very busy time ahead.

This week following on from their interests the children are learning all about dinosaurs. Today they made a dinosaur swamp in the forest area, sadly our tyrannosaurus rex started to deflate which led to children creating an impromptu dinosaur “hospital”.

We also had our Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities course and finished the day off with music club.

Jurassic Park

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Friday 25th May

Today we welcomed to the nursery the new borough service head of Family Support Mr Stuart Andrews. As part of his induction programme he has been visiting settings in the borough and today he came to Children’s House to look at the ways we support our children and families. It was very nice to meet Stuart and he left us with some lovely comments about the work we do.

Indoors children baked biscuits with Shazna, with the aim of seeing how much they could do for themselves. Children finished of their wooden castles with Karla and a group of children enjoyed making transient art.

Next week is the half –term holiday. We wish you a safe and happy break and look forward to seeing you all on June 4th for a very busy and interesting end to this school year. How time has flown!

 

Transient Art

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Thursday 25th May

At this time of year, it is wonderful to see how many children are beginning to be independent writers able to use their knowledge of letter sounds to begin to sound out words and simple sentences.

Today children were writing and illustrating their own adventure stories about princes and princesses.

As a parent you may wonder how to help your child with writing at home, copying out words is not the answer, the most important thing to remember is that writing during the early years is a gradual process, the goal is to help children understand how writing works, that it connects in meaningful ways to reading, and that it communicates information, through words and symbols. The basic writing skills that you can help your child to develop are:

  • To express ideas and stories through the pictures they draw
  • To use a range of pencils, crayons, and markers for drawing and writing
  • To draw lines and circles, and symbols like “X” and “+”
  • To attempt to write some of the letters in their first name
  • To show an understanding of how writing and drawing help us communicate and function in everyday life

 

Do come into class and read some of the stories the children have written, I particular like the one where the Princess visits the Funfair.

Creative Creating

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Wednesday 23rd May

Today we welcomed 14 trainee teachers to nursery. They came to look at our outdoor provision and how children learn outside. At Children’s House we believe that the outdoor area provides young children with one of the best possible environments in which to learn. As Margaret McMillan said in 1925:

“the best kept classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky”.

In nursery outdoor play is part of our continuous provision. Indoor and outdoor play is always available to children simultaneously, we ensure that children have access to a rich and stimulating outdoor environment which offers a wide range of resources.

We believe that outdoor play is central to children’s learning, it supports their problem solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness. It allows children to do things on a larger scale than they can indoors.

The students really enjoyed the visit and had plenty of questions, we feel privileged to part of training the next generation.

In class children continued with castle building and Sam had a focus on number games.

Helping to train the teachers of the future

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Tuesday 22nd May

Children are really interested in Castles at the moment, the Royal Wedding has really caught their imagination. Today children were busy making their own wooden castles and adding drawbridges. This involved plenty of sustained shared thinking and real life problem solving as the children worked out how they could make their drawbridges go up and down.

Out in the garden there was huge excitement as a baby bird flew out of the nest for the first time, it landed in the sandpit but wasn’t quite able to fly back up to the tree. The children watched quietly from a distance as the anxious mummy bird tried to encourage her baby by calling to it and gently nudging it towards the nest.

In the end Darren carefully picked up the baby and returned it to the nest, only to have it fly straight back down again. We are all very happy that the birds have chosen to nest in our garden.

We also had a fire practice today and are pleased to report that everyone including our new two year olds evacuated the building quickly and calmly. We have regular practices so that when the children hear the alarm they understand exactly what they have to do.

 

All about Castles

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Monday 21st May

Welcome back to school after a busy and festive weekend of Royal weddings and Football.

Last week as children explored castles, many of them noticed that in some of the pictures on display there were a variety mazes. This sparked a great deal of interest so following the children’s lead Samantha led a very creative session on making and following a maze.

Starting with 2D mazes children explored following a route with their finger or pencil, they then drew their own mazes for their friends to follow and then using the large construction materials they used their plans to construct giant 3D mazes that they and their friends could follow.

This activity kept the children busy for hours as they thought about dead ends and how to increase the level of difficulty in their maze. Come and try one out in the front garden, they are surprisingly difficult.

We also had our Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities Course today and finished the day with music club and a staff meeting.

Amazing Mazes

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Friday 18th May

Today we held our very own Royal Wedding and I think you will agree that it was a wonderful celebration; good enough to rival any taking place in Windsor tomorrow.

The entire “Royal Family” attended and a hundred young guests arrived dressed as Princesses and Princes. Even the two year olds enjoyed their very own celebration.

The wedding ceremony began with a playground parade led by our lively marching band. The children expectantly took their seats ready for the arrival of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and then Prince Harry, (or to give him his correct tittle Prince Henry Charles Albert David). Finally, to rousing ceremonial music Meghan Markel escorted by her mother entered the playground to loud cheers from the guests. Walking ahead of her were our flower girls, page boys and ring bearers.

After standing for a rendition of God Save the Queen, our very own Archbishop Shazna conducted the ceremony.

Later there were speeches, dancing and finally a delicious afternoon tea followed by waves from the balcony. Each guest received a tiara or bowler hat and posed for photos with the Royal Couple.

What a day!

Finally, we wish the real Meghan and Harry a long and happy marriage and hope that they enjoy their wedding day tomorrow as much as we enjoyed ourselves today.

 

Have a good weekend.

Orange Class Celebrate in Style (Two Year Olds)

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Thursday 17th May

Today was the first day of Ramadan so we would like to wish everyone Ramadan Mubarak.

Royal Wedding Fever continued as the children prepared for our Friday celebration. Today on every floor the children were busy baking delicious cupcakes and biscuits fit for a Princess.

Even the two year olds had their own baking session and they were just amazing, they each had their own bowl and listened carefully to instructions, they even got to crack their own eggs and were fascinated by the whole process.

It is lovely to see how well settled our two year olds are and how they are enjoying everything on offer.

Out in the playground the marching band were put through their paces and children also listened to the National Anthem and had a go at singing the first verse.

Remember tomorrow the part time children all come in the afternoon please at 1.p.m.

Children are invited to wear party clothes

Royal Cup Cakes and a Marching Band

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Wednesday 16th May

Today the children were learning all about castles as part of our Royal Wedding Celebrations. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be marrying in St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It is open to visitors all year round.

Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs. Today The Queen spends most of her private weekends at the Castle.

The children were really interested to hear that the Queen lives in a castle and many of them spent a busy day designing and building their own.

Children also enjoyed mud painting at Forest School and the Early Words Together Group visited the Ideas Store.

All about castles

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Tuesday 15th May

Preparations for the Children’s House Royal Wedding of the year have begun in earnest, the children have worked together to design Meghan’s wedding dress and today they worked with Karla to make their design a reality, after much discussion they all wanted the dress to be white, very long, have plenty of jewels on it and of course there must be a matching crown.

Come and admire it in the first floor classroom when you drop your children off tomorrow.

This activity has involved real deeper level learning, the children decided that Samantha would be the princess, so they had to measure her, then adjust a tailor’s dummy, then choose materials, make a pattern and learn how to use a sewing machine.

By the end of the project they will all understand how a seamstress works and on Saturday they will be able to compare their version of the dress with the real one.

The children are really enjoying learning about the Royal Family and are looking forward to our celebrations on Friday.

We also had a visit from the architect today who came to talk about the arrangements for refurbishing the children’s toilets and washrooms.

A dress fit for a Princess

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Monday 14th May

Buckingham Palace

by A. A. Milne

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
"One of the sergeants looks after their socks,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
They've great big parties inside the grounds.
"I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
Says Alice.

A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
"He's much too busy a-signing things,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Do you think the King knows all about me?"

"Sure to dear" but it's time for tea"

Says Alice

 

Today a group set off from school for Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard this is an iconic ceremony carried out by soldiers on active duty from the Foot Guards who have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since 1660, the sight of their famous bearskin hats and red tunics is indelibly linked with Buckingham Palace and the British Monarchy.

Accompanied by a full military band playing a selection of music ranging from traditional marches to songs from musicals and familiar pop songs, the ceremony is both a colourful military tradition and an important reminder of the close relationship between the Armed Forces and their Head: The Queen.

Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since 1660. When Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace in 1837, the Queen's Guard remained at St James's Palace, with a detachment guarding Buckingham Palace, as it still does today. The Changing of the Guard ceremony marks the moment when the soldiers currently on duty, the Old Guard, exchange places with the New Guard.

Everyone enjoyed the ceremony and seeing the palace or "Queen's House"  as the children called it. The weather was also perfect for a day out.

Afterwards the group headed to the beautiful St Jame's Park to enjoy a picnic and there was even time to play in the adventure playground.

It was a really lovely trip.

 

 

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Friday 11th May

Children, parents and staff set off for a trip to Victoria Park today.

Victoria Park is one of London’s most important historic parks and its oldest public park, visited by millions of Londoners for nearly 170 years as a place of healthy recreation, sports, play and relaxation.

The park is the largest in Tower Hamlets at 86.18 hectares and has one of the highest visitor numbers of all the London parks with around 9 million visits per year. A wide range of formal and informal sports, sponsored activities, events and festivals take place throughout the year. It has lots to offer to children and families.

In addition Victoria Park is a key link in a green corridor that stretches from the River Thames at Limehouse, along the Regents Canal and through Mile End Park, along with the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park virtually next door. The park is bordered on its northern boundary by the London Borough of Hackney.

It is also the nation's favourite park, coming first place in the People's Choice Award.

Children went to the park to look at the houseboats and to find different animal homes.

 

A very friendly bargee told them all about canal life and living on the water, everyone agreed that this would be a fun way to live. After this the children enjoyed seeing ducks, moorhens, carp and even a turtle.

They all enjoyed a picnic before a visit to the play area. You can also get bus 425 from Bow Church all the way to the park where you get off at the stop right outside the park. The journey only takes around ten minutes so why not try a visit this weekend.

 

Victoria Park

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Thursday 10th May

Children have been showing a lot of interest in shapes in the environment recently and have been talking about the shapes they see in buildings, for example “the windows are rectangles”, Samantha followed up on this today with a shape based activity which the children enjoyed.

In the garden children were making homes for animals and mapping out rooms for their buildings.

On the top floor in orange class the two year olds are thriving, they are all settled and enjoy their session. They know the routine and are becoming increasingly independent.

Please check school bags today as a letter went home about our planned celebrations on Friday 18th May to mark the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday 19th May.
We have a very special party planned for the children.

On Monday we will be going to see Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard. If you would like to come on this trip please see your key person.

Mapping out rooms

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Exploring Shapes

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Wednesday 9th May

Today groups of children went for walks in our local area to look at different kinds of homes and as you can see from the pictures they discovered some really interesting ones. There were high rise flats, Victorian terraces, new builds and even houseboats. Some of the children even spotted their own homes as they explored the local area.

Back in school Karla and Ally took a group of children to Forest School where they looked at animal homes and finished with a game of hide and seek and in school children continued making their map of the local area and constructed their own buildings out in the garden.

We have real bricks and real tools for the children to use so they can really understand how houses are constructed.

Homes in our Local Area - A Learning Walk

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Tuesday 8th May

Welcome back to school after the glorious, sunny Bank Holiday Weekend. We hope you all enjoyed yourself and managed to get out and about whilst the good weather lasted.

This week we are focusing on homes and habitats, this follows on from the interest the children showed when they found a bird’s nest in the playground. As they looked at the nest it sparked lots of interesting conversation around where animals and people live, why we have homes and how homes are created.

We decided to give the children more time to explore these themes. Today children drew and painted their own homes and made models of the local area, they looked at different kinds of homes and new vocabulary was introduced. They thought about how homes give shelter, keep us safe etc. and looked at the different rooms in our homes and their purpose.

We also had the final session of our course Every Parent a Story Teller and despite the heat we had an energetic session of dance club.

Habitats and Homes

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Friday 4th May

Today was the final day of our bike to school week and what a wonderful week we have had with increasing numbers of children cycling or scooting to school. By the end of the week just over half of the children had joined in with our Big Pedal.

The week finished today with a delicious family Biker’s Breakfast, it was so nice to see children, parents and staff all enjoying breakfast together. Everyone certainly needed the energy boost because by 9.30 a.m. the sponsored cycle and scoot had begun in earnest. Each child set their own personal target of how many laps of the playground they thought they could do and guess what every child exceeded their target, with some children going on to do more than 30 laps.

Well done and thank you to everyone who so generously raised sponsor money.

Out in the garden hot children made sunshades to sit under and then we finished the day with an ice lolly treat.

We hope that you enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend, the weather is going to be great. Why not take a picnic to the park or explore some of the exciting things London has to offer for families? Whatever you do enjoy the lovely weather.

We will see you all again on Tuesday the 8th May.

Family Biker's Breakfast

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How many laps can you do? Sponsored cycle and scooter ride

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Thursday 3rd May

Our involvement in the “Big Pedal” has been a huge success with increasing numbers of children either cycling or scooting to nursery.

To support their interest in cycling we have been teaching the children road safety and what the different traffic signs and rules of the highway mean.

Today Shazna took children out into the local environment to look for road signs. They took photographs and then found out what each one meant. In addition to this, they learnt all about how they can keep themselves safe in the environment and how they should cross a road using a zebra or pelican crossing.

When they returned to school children reproduced what they had seen, making their own signs ready for our sponsored cycle ride tomorrow.

Do come and join us for a delicious and healthy biker’s breakfast, starting at 8 a.m. This is a breakfast for the whole family and an opportunity to chat with friends or make new ones.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Also please don’t forget that Friday is the last day for handing your photo orders in to the school office.

Learning about Road Signs and the Highway Code

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Wednesday 2nd May

Well what a change in the weather today with the return of the rain! However, this did not deter our Forest School children who put on their wellies and waterproofs and set off for an exciting afternoon in the forest.

Back in school children were working with clay, this is a perfect medium to scaffold children’s creative expression. We find that clay is a wonderful material to use in nursery and a great alternative to play dough. Although both materials serve similar purposes, sensory exploration, sculpting, working fine-motor skills, developing hand and wrist muscles and hand/eye coordination, clay is natural, it comes from the earth. It is cool to the touch and soft on our skin. It has a deep earthy smell which invites you in. Clay can be sculpted far more intricately than play dough. Just by covering it over, clay can be returned to day-after-day, added to, sculpted, encouraging sustained inquiry and creativity.

Clay is strong, it can be sculpted higher and higher and on a much larger scale than dough. It encourages real life problem-solving and critical thinking as children try to negotiate how to build a roof, or determine why their bridge keeps collapsing.

During the exploration of clay today children were observed, poking the clay, squeezing it, rolling it, lifting it, smelling it, feeling its weight, scraping it with their fingers, pinching it, pressing their whole hands into it and watching it change shape.

Children are always fascinated by clay and today was no exception. Whilst some children just enjoyed the thrill of exploring the material, others made intricate animals and trolls based on their experience of the Billy Goats Gruff Story. Do have a look at some of the wonderful work on display in the classroom.

Children learn just as much from playing with and exploring the clay as they do from focusing on an end product. It is one of those activities where we really focus on the process of engaging with the material. If children want to create with a purpose in mind that’s great, but it’s also good if they just want to pinch and roll and squeeze and generally explore.

We love clay at Children’s House.

 

Working with clay

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Tuesday 1st May

Today is May Day. May Day is an ancient Northern Hemisphere Spring Festival, where dancing singing and cake form part of the celebrations. The earliest May Day celebrations appeared with the Festival of Flora who was the Roman Goddess of flowers. In England traditional May Day rites and celebrations include crowning a May Queen, dancing around a maypole and Morris dancing.

Don’t forget we get a May Day Bank Holiday on Monday 7th May.

In school today Janifar and Shazna took the children to meet real Billy Goat Gruffs at Mudchute Farm. They all had a wonderful day out as the weather was glorious and all the animals came out to bask in the sun. They finished the trip with a roll down the hill on the way back to the station.

On the top floor in Orange Class the two year olds are thriving. They are all settled and today they came down stairs to explore the garden and play on the big slide. It was lovely to see how well the older children looked after them and helped to explore the garden.

Young Farmers

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Monday 30th April

What a cold, damp start to the week. It looks as if we have seen the last of our brief glimpse of summer. However, the rainy weather did not deter the children who headed straight for the garden and enjoyed splashing in puddles and looking at all the slugs and snails who had appeared over the weekend.

This week work around traditional tales continues, today the children listened to the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff and then set about either acting out the story or designing a bridge strong enough to carry a hungry goat over the river.

We also had our Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities Course and finished off the day with a lively session of music club.

We had a number of children cycle and scoot to school today. If you would like to try this, you are of course welcome to borrow a school scooter if you don’t have one at home.

A bridge fit for a troll

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The Three Billy Goats Gruff

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Friday 27th April

The children’s interest in bread making has continued and as we try to further develop the children’s interests we provided more opportunities for this activity today. Upstairs children made bread rolls with Karla and downstairs a group made batch loaves with Shakila. The loaves looked as good as any from a bakery and the children declared the rolls to be delicious. Making bread at home is a fun activity and is something that the children can do independently with just a little guidance.

Here is an easy recipe that you can try at home.

Easy Bread Dough – Cooking with Children

Prep Time - 1 hr 30 mins

Cook Time - 20 mins

Total Time - 1 hr 50 mins

 

Very simple and easy recipe for baking bread with children. Relatively quick and works fantastically for bread, rolls and snacks. Perfect for some cooking in the home or classroom.

Servings: 1 loaf or 4 small rolls

Ingredients

3 cups strong bread flour

pinch of salt

1 packet of quick action yeast

2 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil

1 cup of warm water

1 tablespoon of sugar

Method

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Make a well in the centre of the bowl

Add in the vegetable oil and the warm water

Mix with a spoon until a dough is formed

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface

Knead for 5 - 10 minutes until smooth

Make into shapes or put in a loaf tin

Leave in a warm place for around an hour until doubled in size

Decorate if you wish

Preheat the oven to 180C

Cook 15 - 20 minutes for shaped rolls or 20 - 30 minutes for loaves

Test to see if cooked by tapping the bottom with your knuckle - hollow sound = cooked

Leave to cool and enjoy.

Don’t forget that next week we are taking part in the Big Pedal, we invite all children to bring their bike or scooter to school.

 

Have a good weekend.

 

Making Bread

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Thursday 26th April

Today we welcomed the assistant head teacher and foundation stage coordinator from Pikes Lane Primary School. They travelled down from Lancashire to observe some of the lovely things we do in nursery and to share good practice. In October we hope that a group of staff from Children’s House will visit Pikes Lane to look at how they develop early literacy as we were impressed with how they have developed this in their school. We had a really enjoyable visit and some extremely useful professional dialogue and look forward to working with Pikes Lane in the future.

Meanwhile the two year olds enjoyed their very first trip to Mudchute Farm. They all really enjoying seeing the animals and were fortunate to see some new Spring Lambs.

On the top floor the students from Best Practice had a training day, every last centimetre of the school was in use today, we can definitely say that Children’s House is a Learning Community.

 

First Trip for the Two Year Olds

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