Wow! The summer holidays seem to have flown by! Our returners have come back refreshed, and ready to start a new term. They have quickly got back into our routines and, much to our delight, have remembered lots of our Class Rules. Over the coming weeks we will be welcoming our new starters into Nursery and we would like to take this opportunity to welcome them and their families to Bentinck.
Our days are very busy, and although the children are only with us for a short period of time, we manage to learn and do lots of new and exciting things. Here is an overview of what a typical week looks like.
Learning to write is a complex process and can be very demanding for our youngsters. We often forget how complex the task of manoeuvring a pencil across a page can be. Holding a pencil, pen or any other mark making tool, puts a great deal of strain on the thumb and first two fingers of the writing hand and can prove quite tricky when you are 3 or 4, especially if the muscles in your hand, wrist, forearm, upper arm, shoulder and back lack the strength required.
Funky Finger activities are aimed at strengthening these important muscle groups, so that our little ones develop the gross and fine motor control needed to hold a pencil with the correct grip - enabling them to form their letters correctly, once they have the strength and co-ordination in their backs, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers to do so.
After the huge success of our Funky Finger sessions last year we have decided to run them again this year! We will continue to run the sessions three times a week, and the children will complete the activities to music. We will choose four activities per half term, and children will complete each activity for a whole week before moving on to the next activity.
We run our ECAT, Phonics and Maths sessions twice a week.
What do we teach in Phonics?
The first step in the phonics journey is to teach our little ones to listen carefully to the sounds around them in their environment and support them as they learn to discriminate between the different sounds that they hear. Children need lots of opportunities to listen to these sounds and to develop their listening skills to identify and match them.
This ability to listen carefully and identify the different sounds is crucial for their phonic progress. These are the prerequisite skills to being able to blend words for reading later on.
What do we teach in Maths?
Through the use of a variety of active, practical activities that promote mathematical talk, we aim to help develop an early understanding of number, measurement and shape.
Children are then given further opportunities to explore these concepts in their play by offering them opportunities: for example, to build on a large scale, tackle physical challenges, dig holes in the sand, fill containers with water, play games, collect natural objects and talk to each other and the adults around them.
What do we teach in ECAT?
ECAT stands for Every Child A Talker. Good speaking and listening skills are essential for children to make good progress in their learning as they progress through school. Our ECAT sessions aim to develop children's vocabulary and sentence building skills by providing them with opportunities to: listen to the correct language being modelled and then copy that language; retain and recall useful information; organise, sequence and clarify thoughts; explain what is happening; predict what will happen next and listen to and respond appropriately to others.
In between our adult led sessions, children are able to choose their own activities and they are encouraged to independently access the resources on the shelves. This is the best part of the day, because this is when we get to 'play' with the children in order to facilitate their learning using their ideas and becoming involved in their imaginative play. This is where the 'magic' happens - children's learning goes from strength to strength.
Our SSBC sessions have been great fun and we would like to thank all the parents that have stayed and supported us. It was great to see so many dads at our last session! If you haven't joined us yet, please come along to the next one.
SSBC sessions are usually held on the last Thursday of every month. Where a session falls in the half term holidays it will be rearranged and we will inform you in advance.
With just over a week to go before we break up for Christmas we have started our Christmas preparations. We have been busy making our Christmas cards and hats for the Christmas performance and practising our Christmas song. All the children are rehearsing hard and we hope you will enjoy the performance. Please make sure you return your slips for tickets, so that you are able to book your seats. We can't wait to see you there!
Tomorrow is Christmas Jumper Day and next week we will have a special visit from Santa and our Christmas party.
We hope you have a wonderful break and a Happy New Year!
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas break. We started this term looking and thinking about winter and we have discovered that in winter the trees have bare branches and it is cold. Sometimes the water in the playground freezes overnight and forms ice because it has been so cold. However, we have also realised that it can still be sunny in winter and it doesn't always rain or snow!
We have made our own ice by placing water in ice cube trays and freezing it in the freezer. We have had fun investigating how to colour the water and add 'handles' so that we could use our ice blocks for painting.
We have enjoyed exploring snow dough and have used it to make our own snowmen after reading Sneezy the Snowman. In the story Sneezy gets very cold and tries lots of different ways to get warm, unfortunately each time he ends up melting and the children in the story have to make him brand new. We really enjoyed joining in with the repeated phrases and found out lots about what makes ice melt. We even had a go at mixing our own snow dough using corn flour, hair conditioner and glitter. We got very messy and it was a little tricky to get the ratio of hair conditioner to corn flour correct, but we kept trying and trying and eventually worked out that we had to use a little bit of hair conditioner because if you used too much the snow dough was too sticky!
In one of our ECAT sessions we had to use our sense of touch to describe what jelly (don't worry Mum's and Dad's it was halal jelly!) felt like. It was cold (because it had been in the fridge), sticky, slimy, wet and wobbly. We then investigated what happened to the jelly when we put it in the water tray and added some warm water. We had great fun and discovered that red jelly dissolves when mixed with warm water to make pink water!
We have spent the last week learning about Chinese New Year and have discovered that Chinese people think that the colour red is lucky and they give money envelopes as gifts. The dragon dances were also fun to watch.
We wrote our own invitation inviting Mrs Holt and Mrs Nunez to a Chinese New Year party, unfortunately Mrs Nunez was poorly and couldn't come, but Mrs Holt came and we had great fun eating noodles with chopsticks. This is not easy and we had to persevere and find solutions to the problems we encountered. We were very creative about the solutions we found!
We have now made some very special friendships and we have become really good at sharing and looking after each other. Miss Meier, Mrs Powell and Mrs Nadeem are very proud of us. We also really enjoy it when our parents come and join in with our SSBC sessions. Thankyou so much for your continued support, it really does mean a lot to us.