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 and number order, counting, numeral recognition and recording, quantities, shape, space, length, weight, capacity and volume.
Children are then given further opportunities to explore these concepts in their play by offering them opportunities 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.
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.