April started off with some beautiful sunshine - and then the weather changed. But the children enjoyed seeing the changes in the weather whether it was splashing in puddles or wearing sunhats. Over Easter we had a new slide fitted into our mini hill at the back of the garden and the children have had a great time running up and sliding down.
The nursery had two fun weeks of Easter activities. The children brought in Easter bonnets , all decorated in a variety of ways, and they had great fun wearing them in an Easter bonnet parade and sharing them with their friends. The Ducklings had a great time scooping plastic eggs out of the water box and making glittery easter sensory bags. The Rainbows took some yummy easter cakes home and enjoyed the easter egg hunts in the garden. Sunshine room children enjoyed Easter egg hunts, egg and spoon races, matching numbers and forming their names using easter egg cut out shapes.
St Georges Day was our next topic where the nursery rooms all decorated an England flag. The Ducklings also enjoyed making a red and white sensory tray, Rainbows made some biscuits and the Sunshines learnt about the story of St George and was able to recap within a small group.
Our final topic for the month was the Life cycle of plants; a lot of compost was used across the whole nursery whether it was for an activity to dig out numbers, plant runner beans to take home or even grow some cress at nursery. It was a very messy week. One member of staff was kind enough to have planted sunflowers in little pots for the children to take home for our sunflower growing competition, Let’s see how tall the sunflowers can grow!
With the days starting to get longer, and at last the clocks changing, the children have been thoroughly enjoying being out for longer in the sunshine. All the children, at separate times, have been using the playground and grassy area, getting the children used to all the areas of the garden again.
As the case numbers have been drastically dropping and with the vaccination program in full swing we have taken the barriers away outdoors so the children can mix and play with their friends. The Duckling and Rainbow rooms have taken their barriers away indoors so the children can access all areas of the room freely.
In our Duckling/Rainbow garden we have also installed a new pirate ship which the children have been thoroughly enjoying playing with. We also got some new music tubes on which the children have been exploring the different sounds.
The sunshine room now have an numeracy and literacy area outdoors as well as indoors; their decking area will now be used for numeracy and ICT area and the marquee will be used as literacy area. The children have also been having some lovely picnics outdoors for tea.
The topics that the children have been participating in have been St David’s Day, World book Day, Mother’s Day, St Patricks day, Shapes & colours and ending the month with Holi, the celebration of colour. All the rooms have had great fun participating in all these topics, whether it is getting messy play out, reading a story to explain the topics or dressing up. It was lovely to see so many children dressed up on World Book Day (including the staff).
We had some very cold weather this month; we even had some snow which the children enjoyed playing in. This meant we spent more time indoors but luckily we had plenty to do and to celebrate. The children had a busy month celebrating Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day and Nursery Rhymes.
The Ducklings celebrated Chinese New Year by looking at Chinese numbers and made their money envelopes with a little chocolate coin inside. They used red sticking resources to make Valentine cards to take home to their loved ones. For pancake day they made a sensory tray using flour, sugar and water and enjoyed eating some yummy pancakes too. Nursery rhymes was fun in the Duckling room as they enjoy singing various rhymes throughout the day; they also made a tuff tray with items from ‘Miss Polly had a Dolly’ and had some ducks swimming in some water for ‘5 Little Ducks’.
Rainbows enjoyed tasting some Chinese noodles with sweet and sour sauce and tried using chopsticks to eat with. They also made a Chinese dragon to use for role play and made money envelopes too. The Rainbows made some lovely Valentine cards with a variety of sticking resources onto a heart and made some heart shape stencil paintings to take home. For the topic nursery rhymes they sang lots of rhymes and used a large Old MacDonald puppet; the children would add their Velcro animal to the farmer as each one is sung. They had lots of fun in some green glittery water for '5 little speckled frogs' and made some black incy wincy spiders.
In the Sunshine room they have been looking closely at Chinese numbers, trying to copy them. They also marked their names into a dragon with some lolly pop sticks and moved them as though they were part of the parade. They had lots of fun playing in some red heart shape ice moulds and having a mini science experiment using bicarbonate soda and water. The Sunshines enjoyed talking about family members they love and made a special card and a heart shaped biscuit to take home to their families. For Pancake day they had letters printed onto pancakes and they had to try to recognise the letters and flip them using some utensils and also made funny pancake faces using different toppings. The children have had a lovely time singing a variety of nursery rhymes, like ten green bottles and 5 currant buns. They also went on a spider hunt using magnifying glasses for incy wincy spiders.
All children came back to Nursery full of beans after the Christmas break. They could not wait to tell us about the wonderful presents Father Christmas had left for them, and what they have been up to during their Christmas break. We also welcomed some new children and settled them in to nursery life. With the country going back into lockdown and the greatly increased risk of catching the disease we had to tighten up our nursery procedures even further and cancel our Saturday nursery viewings and restrict our room bubbles further.
The children have been busy with our January topics ‘My Family’ and ‘Space’. All the rooms would like to thank our parents for all the lovely pictures we received depicting the children's families. We made some lovely displays with them so the children could show their family to their friends and staff.
The Duckling room enjoyed some lovely activities for the topic ‘My Family’. They made family trees out of their hand prints and put some hearts onto our family members. We coloured in pictures of different houses and family members from different cultures. We sat and looked at our ‘getting to know you books’ and shared some family pictures. We also made a sensory tray using rice and little family figures and sang family songs. For ‘Space’ the ducklings made star crowns with glitter, rockets with letters of their name, explored and played with the moon sand. We also displayed the different planets in the room, made little spacemen/women with faces of the children. The children enjoyed playing with the black rice, glitter and twinkling stars, they also coloured in different space pictures and made handprint aliens. The ducklings had a great time making moons from tin foil and rice and singing lots of space songs
In the Rainbow room they made a sensory small world village using coloured rice and small world people for the ‘My Family’ topic. They also made houses using different coloured shapes, matched the different sized animals together and sung a variety of songs. They talked about who they live with and drawn them, and gave the small world toys and animals a good wash in bubbles and water using toothbrushes and cloths. The ‘Space’ topic was fun. They learned about the different planets and made a planet display for the window. They also had fun making a sensory bag with water and oil and space pictures, iced some space biscuits, made their own rockets using a variety of shapes and put their shooting stars are on display. There was also a sensory tray using space pictures, small world people and lots of coloured rice.
The Sunshine Room enjoyed making their own faces onto paper plates, talked about their families and looked at some lovely family books we have at nursery. The children made a large house and using a colour code told the staff who lives in their house with them. They also made paper chains of people and talked about the different types of house we can live in and what type of house they live in. For space they have made rockets from empty tissue rolls and decorated them, flying saucers out of paper plates, talked about the different planets, their names, colours and size. The sunshine's had great fun ordering pictures of rockets and stars, they also made rockets out of the letters of their names.
During "normal" times the highlight in December is our Christmas Concert and Party, but even though we were not able to celebrate normally the children had an amazing time. There was plenty of of sparkle around the nursery with the children making a lot of Christmas decorations to display around the building. They have been busy making Christmas cards, calendars, baubles and reindeer food to take home to their families. Father Christmas came to meet them in our marquee and gave them all a present. They had a fun party day of Christmas games and a Christmas lunch with lots of Christmas crackers to pull.
The Sunshines have been kept busy with our little elf being up to lots of mischief, having a Christmas countdown with their advent calendar and finding carrots we dug into our garden with numbers on them for the reindeers. They also enjoyed finding letters in rice, and writing their names inside their Christmas cards.
Rainbows have been very creative playing in ‘snow’ shaving foam and making Christmas glittery snowflakes, reindeer antlers and a Christmas winter wonderland complete with some characters for the children to play with.
Ducklings have been decorating their own grotto and playing inside it, making sensory trays throughout December, Christmas hats and pasta necklaces.
Then we came to the end of a very strange year which has had a huge impact on our staff due to constantly updated routines and endless cleaning. They have been amazing and have worked so hard and they really need their Christmas break to recharge ready for January. During the closure the nursery building gets some much needed TLC with general maintenance and a lick of paint or two to keep it nice and bright.
November has been a busy month with a lot of focus on learning. The nursery has covered the following topics: Fireworks, Remembrance Day, Children in Need, Diwali and St Andrews Day.
Ducklings had fun dipping string into paint to make marks for fireworks and sticking lots of red collage materials onto a poppy for Remembrance Day. For Children in Need they decorated some biscuits with sprinkles and coloured in a Pudsey bear. Diwali was colourful; they were making making lanterns, decorating rangoli patterns using coloured sand and sharing stories. For St Andrews Day they played in shredded paper, found pictures related to St Andrews day and decorated a Scottish flag using tissue paper.
The Rainbows have enjoyed making firework paintings to take home and ‘smelly sparkly fireworks', using bicarbonate soda, vinegar and glitter and watching what happened. They made a poppy sensory tray for Remembrance Day using rice and for Children in Need they made some yummy Pudsey biscuits. The children had fun being messy for Diwali celebrating the festival of light by doing some body painting and making coloured pasta necklaces. For St Andrews Day they shared some stories, decorated the Scottish flag, played with some green playdough and made some Loch Ness monsters.
The Sunshines have had a little change around in their room. They now have some set areas within the room now for literacy and numeracy so the children can access these at any time, as well as literacy and numeracy sessions every day. They have been participating in many different activities for their topics. For Fireworks we printed the children’s names onto stars and hid them into black rice for twinkling stars and the children had to find their own names. They also painted their own firework pictures for our firework/rocket display. On Remembrance Day they did some pencil control activities where they followed the lines for a poppy outline, they made some poppy biscuits and a handprint poppy wreath. For Children in Need we played a memory game using Pudsey pictures and decorated their own Pudsey picture. Diwali was great, the children did some number matching and counting using pegs and Diwali pictures and made some Diwali cards to take home. For St Andrews day we talked about the story, made some Scottish flags using tissue papers and some tartan patterns of their own.
With the weather getting a lot cooler we have had some new heaters installed into our lovely marquees. The children can now spend even more time outside and we have plenty of warm extra space to help with social distancing throughout the winter months.
As the colder and darker days approach us we have had lots of activities at nursery in October. The children have enjoyed participating in a range of activities to cover our topics of Harvest, Superheroes, Nursery rhymes and Halloween.
In the Duckling room they have enjoyed making a superheroes sensory tray with jelly and rice-kripsies, sensory Halloween bags using the inside of a pumpkin, a sensory tray with spiders hidden in shaving foam for them to find and spooky hands Halloween cards for their families.
The Rainbows have had lots of fun digging for some toy vegetables in a tray of soil, making sensory trays, going on a Halloween hunt in the garden and making star shaped bread. They were set the challenge to scoop up a spider with a spoon and fishing out ducks using tweezers.
We have talked to the Sunshines about their favourite nursery rhymes and superheroes, they had fun carving a pumpkin as well as decorating pumpkin pictures with different orange materials.
September is always a busy month at Kingsmead. We have been welcoming our new babies to the nursery and settled them in, giving them lots of hugs and comfort. We have also been busy with Transition week, when some of our Duckling children moved into our Rainbow room and some of our Rainbow children moved down to the Sunshine room. All the children have settled so well into their new rooms and are making lots of new friends.
The topic for September was All About Me when the children enjoyed a range of activities. In the baby room they were pointing to their body parts, and the staff filled out sheets with the children’s current interests. Rainbows enjoyed their farm sensory tray and books as well as looking at themselves in the mirror and creating some self portraits using a variety of sticking materials. They also made fruit kebab skewers using lots of different fruits they liked. The Sunshine’s had some Key group time talking about their homes/families and their interests and then drew some happy and sad faces.
At the end September we changed the topic to Seasons. The Duckling room has been making big posters for all the four different seasons as well as hand printing trees. The Rainbows have lots of fun playing in jelly with autumn materials from the garden, sensory rain clouds, counting lightning bolts, sunshine plates, and a fairy garden. The Sunshines have been making autumn colours from paint and talking about how when different colours mixed can make another colour as well as bark tree rubbing and collect autumn materials and making collages.
We have had a variety of weather throughout August and the Sunshine children thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to the thunder andlightning storms. They have also enjoyed dancing in the rain and creating a ‘Sun Dance’. The children in the Sunshine room also enjoyed baking cakes in their groups and taking them home to eat.
All the rooms have taken part in lots of creative activities such as painting, colouring, and making music with the musical instruments.
We have sadly had to say goodbye to more children leaving for school. It is always sad to see them go but we would like to wish them all the best for the future.
The nursery has undergone a small transformation as we have swapped the Duckling and Rainbow rooms over. We did this in order to facilitate social distancing during the Autumn term. The children and staff are all enjoying their new surroundings and are starting to decorate them with the children's artwork.
The children are all doing really well keeping in their groups. It has become the new normal since the Spring and they have accepted it without any difficulty. We do our best to make sure that friends can be together in the same group.
We have received some wonderful new additions to our menagerie as leaving gifts. They have all been placed in the garden on display.
During the month of July, we have experienced all kinds of weather, some lovely and some not quite so lovely! The children were amazing throughout and adapted very quickly to the changes to routines we had to put in place when the rain started.
This month the government guidance changed which enabled us to remove bubbles and work with larger groups. However, we decided to keep our bubbles throughout the nursery as this has been working very well and the children have enjoyed being in the smaller groups.
Once the heavy rain started our gazebos didn’t last long so have upgraded the gazebos to marquees. They are much more sturdy and weatherproof and the children enjoy the extra space.
The Sunshines have been enjoying having their lunch under the new marquees. They have also had lots of fun engaging in sporting activities, having races on the grassy area and talking about their favourite sport.
We have also started to say our goodbyes to children leaving for school; it has been lovely watching them grow and develop and we wish them all the best in their new adventure at primary school.
The Ducklings and Rainbows have been busy too. They have had a range of activities, from singing songs, threading cheerios onto spaghetti and using flow paints. The Duckling and Rainbow rooms have been swapped over to help with social distancing once all our babies return, and the children are enjoying their new surroundings.
In the month of June it was lovely to open up the nursery open up more to all children. We started off with a few numbers from each room but by the end of June it was lovely seeing all 3 rooms open and hearing the children laughing and playing once again at Kingsmead.
We have been practising social distancing with the children and settling them all back into their normal routine. The Sunshines also practice ‘Helicopter arms’ as well as everyone amongst the nursery being divided into their ‘Bubbles’. We have partitioned the garden so we can have 2 groups on the playground and 2 groups on the grassy area.
The children made Father’s Day cards to take home and during the last week of June have been learning about Colours, Shapes and Numbers.
We are lucky to have had a Tepee created on the grassy area for the children to use and play in. They have been pretending to be camping outdoors with pretend campfires. Some children enjoy using the Teepee to relax with a book or just having 5 minutes rest.
When the weather was extremely hot the Sunshine children have also enjoyed having water fights to help keep them cool. They enjoyed getting the staff wet too!
The Sunshine garden has a couple of gazebos which helps to keep all the children under cover in all weathers. When it's raining the Sunshines have one group under the gazebo, one group on the decking and one group inside. The staff clean used toys and then move the groups around, so they experience the different areas. The children enjoyed going back onto the playground to jump into the puddles.
Rainbows and Ducklings have a very similar system and have a small group of children inside, one group on the veranda and one under the gazebo. In the beautiful hot weather we have had, the gazebos were used as shaded areas for the children so they could still be outdoors. Rainbows and Ducklings have been having their afternoon naps outdoors (weather permitted) under their gazebo. It is lovely watching them sleep in the warm breeze whilst the birds are singing. The children have enjoyed spending time outdoors in all weather and having their picnics outside.
During May more of our Key Workers’ children started to return and it was lovely to see the children having a good time with their friends. The weather was still lovely and we spent a lot of time in the garden having picnic afternoon teas.
We had lots of fun celebrating WW2 day. We printed off pictures of the union flag, bunting and VE signs. The children enjoyed colouring them in and we displayed them around the Sunshine room.
The last of the toys were cleaned this month too. Anything that could be dunked, wiped or washed was sanitised and the rest was packed away for the time being.
With the announcement that nurseries were going to open up the following month nursery staff had to spring into action and make preparations. Letters, risk assessments and new T&Cs had to be written and all returning children had to be allocated start dates. Signs had to be printed and put up, social distancing markers had to be painted and new procedures had to be put in place. It was a huge task in a short period of time but on the 29th of May everything was in place and we could finally let our breaths out and stop our heads spinning. Phew!