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This week in Nursery
The Nursery children at Primrose Lane Primary School participated in their own Tour de Primrose event last week, and the day was a brilliant success! In the morning the children were each treated to an exciting chariot ride around the playground in a Danish box bike, which they loved!



Next the children prepared for the group races with a warm up routine that included lots of stretching, before they sped across the playground on their bikes or scooters to the finish line, whilst being cheered on by the rest of the class. They also completed a tricky circuit, negotiating their way over, around and under the various obstacles. The children stopped for a well-deserved lunch break and restocked their energy levels for the afternoon’s activities.



Earlier in the week the children had made healthy energy bars especially for the event, which they enjoyed before the final races of the day kicked off. Families were invited to join us for the afternoon’s activities, and the Nursery children opened the event with the wonderful songs they have spent lots of time learning especially for the occasion. They competed in more group races, this time cheered on by their parents and relatives. Then it was time for the afternoon’s main event – Tour de Primrose! Over recent weeks the children have planned out the route and stages of the main race. On the day, they sped across the playground to the different stages of the race, signposted by the children’s own writing, and peddled as fast as they could, trying to negotiate their way along the difficult route. The atmosphere was electric as the children received shouts of encouragement and praise from their teachers, families and other school children!



After a final sprint to the finish line the children were exhausted and ready to relax with their families and friends. Before enjoying homemade afternoon tea underneath the Tour de Primrose bunting, we held a ceremony to celebrate the children’s amazing efforts. There was a trophy for the winner of the Tour de Primrose race, and each child received a medal for their own personal achievement that day and in the build up to the event.



The children showed great skill and determination throughout the day, they listened carefully to instructions and participated fully in the day’s activities. The children put lots of thought into the event, and shared wonderful suggestions during the preparations in designing tickets, deciding the route and making the energy bars and afternoon tea, after discussing what food we should make and what ingredients we would need. The Nursery team would like to say a huge well done to all of the children and a big thank you to all of the family members who were able to help on the day and attend the event. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we and the children did!

The children had a busy Saint George’s Day! We talked to the children about Saint George and why he is the Patron Saint of England. Whilst watching a video about Saint George’s Day celebrations, the children noticed the flag of England on the shield of Saint George and decided to make their own shields. Some of the children also made dragon masks.



The children independently produced their own show of ‘Saint George and the Dragon’, which involved Saint George and his horse defeating the terrible green dragon, rescuing and then marrying the princess.

We talked lots about traditional British food and named some of our favourites, which included scones, which the children then made. In the afternoon we held a party to celebrate Saint George, where the children enjoyed cucumber sandwiches, pork pie and scones with jam, as well as a cup of (decaf) tea!



After the party a group of children performed their show for the rest of the class, retelling the story of Saint George, which was fantastic!


Traditional Tales and World Book Day

On World Book Day, Nursery welcomed families to join the children in sharing a story with them and their Nursery friends. Dressed as different characters, the children enjoyed selecting different books for their families to read, and friends to listen too.
After sharing a few stories together, the children sat down to read to their families their latest favourite book, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The children joined in with key phrases and repeated refrains, they talked about the characters and how they might be feeling, they discussed what might happen next in the story and shared what they now know about size! At the end of the story we shared all of the lovely learning the children have taken part in whilst exploring the book, including mark making, paintings and imaginative play, all of which has been child initiated.
A big thank you to all of the parents and grandparents who were able to join us for the Nursery Stay and Read session. The children demonstrated the extent to which they have become fully immersed in the story and captivated by its characters.

Later that day… Two of the children actually came dressed as Goldilocks this year, and the children had conversations about whether they had already had some porridge for breakfast. One Goldilocks had not, so we decided we should make some to enjoy together. Unfortunately, once made, the porridge was far too hot to eat, so at the children’s suggestion, we went for a walk to give it time to cool. On the walk the children searched for signs of spring and discovered buds, daffodils, dandelions and daisies. After all that running and exercise the children needed some fuel for their bodies so we went back to see if the porridge had cooled. When the children arrived they could not believe their eyes. The classroom was a mess! Toys and furniture were all over the floor, and the bowl of porridge was empty! The children were immediately suspicious that Goldilocks was the culprit and felt it was very important they go and tell the Mrs Holmes that Goldilocks had snuck into school and done the wrong thing. Fortunately Mrs Sketchley had the good sense to hide some porridge in the microwave, so the children could still enjoy it. Whilst eating and getting over the shock of the morning’s events, the children discussed what they should do next. They decided everyone in school should be warned about Goldilocks, and that they would need to know what she looks like, so they can make sure she isn’t let back into school. The children made their own wanted posters and we stuck them up around school, so everyone would know to be on the lookout for the terrible Goldilocks! The children have been thoroughly caught up in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, immersing their play and themselves in the narrative, characters and morals of the story. There is evidence that children who are exposed to lots of memorable stories avidly and repetitively, or are read to regularly, will implicitly internalise language patterns. This is a resource that children can later draw on for their own mark making and writing. Traditional tales are significant in this process, because they loiter in the mind powerfully due to their rhythmic, repetitive language and influential characters and images. So during book we, we took the opportunity and time to explore lots of other traditional tales. We read different versions of the same story and explained to the children the differences in some traditional tales. What would happen in their version of the story, we asked? The children had lots of ideas and even acted out alternative endings and sequels in their own narratives, putting on shows for one another and the teachers.

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Early reading and writing
 

What you can do
 

In the run up to the summer term and Reception start dates, the best thing you can do to support your child’s early reading and writing skills is to read to them. Share stories regularly, let your child tell you their version of the story, ask open ended questions about the characters, plot and setting, and ask them what they think might happen next. Can they make up their own alternate ending, or even a sequel to the story? How might a character be feeling, and why do they think that? Talk about the vocabulary and check your child understands the meaning of the words, as well as what the author is trying to get across. Act out stories with props, tell them with just pictures or without any props at all. Make up stories together and write them down so you can revisit and reread them later, or share them with siblings and family members. Share different genres of stories and books. Have you explored information books together? Point out text in the environment and talk about sign and logos. Let them know that books can be used to retrieve information, as well as computers and the internet. Talk to your child about what you are reading, and let them see you read (but not always from a screen!). Your interest in and engagement with books, and text, combined with your encouragement, are the most powerful tools you have to inspire your children to be engaged listeners, keen writers and great story tellers.
 

What we are doing
 

We share stories every day, multiple times a day and as a class the children have developed a real love of reading. So much so that the children have favourite texts, can join in with and recite stories back to you, and even incorporate their favourite narratives into their own role play.
 

Before children can read, they need to have fully explored and engaged with rhythm, rhyme and alliteration. During carpet sessions we are exploring the rhythm of everyday words; the children are encouraged to clap words, including their name, to beat the syllables of words onto instruments, or explore with shakers. They are encouraged to make up their own rhythms too. Their efforts are celebrated and their abilities challenged.
 

We are exploring rhyme through books, nonsense rhyme, rhyming everyday words, rhyming the children’s names during daily routines such as snack time and lining up for lunch. Alliteration is a very tricky concept for the children, particularly when they have just gotten to grips with rhyme! But we explore it in similar ways; through storytelling and nonsense alliterative phrases, and games involving their favourite characters such as Pepper Pig and Thomas the Tank. We always distinguish between rhyme and alliteration. Lots of repetition and exploration helps to secure the children’s understanding of rhythm, rhyme and alliteration, and we will revisit this through the remainder of the year.
 

Read Write Inc. Letter Sounds
 

At the start of the summer term we will introduce Read, Write, Inc. to the children attending Reception from September 2018. Read, Write, Inc. teaches one way of reading and spelling the English sounds and it is the school wide phonics scheme at Primrose Lane.
 

The children are given a hook to learn the sounds by using pictures in the same shape of the letter and an accompanying rhyme to aid memory. The pre-Reception children will learn the sounds at the same time, at a rate of 2 – 3 per week, depending on the number of sessions they attend for.
 

Ultimately, the scheme supports reading as well as writing, including spelling and correct letter formation. Nursery provides a basic, fun and engaging introduction to the sounds, and it is in no way pressurised. As with every skill and area of learning, the children will individually pick this up at their own pace and this fine.
 

You may find once we begin the sessions, your child starts to talk about ‘Fred’ the frog mascot. As we learn more sounds Fred will sound out words to the children so they can have a go a blending them to hear and work out what word Fred is saying. The children adore Fred, and it is because the sessions are so dynamic and enjoyable that the children are so engaged with the sessions and subsequent learning.
 

You may also find that they recite the sounds and rhymes at home, want to tell you about the latest sound they have leant, or even want to have a go at writing using the rhymes and sounds. This is all great and should be encouraged, without being forced or pressured.
 

I wanted to include here, a link to a video for you to have a permanent source for listening to the individual sounds, so you know yourself exactly what each sound is, and you feel equipped to support your child’s development at home. (Please note, the Nursery children will not learn the Set One digraphs ‘sh’, ‘th’, ‘ch’ ‘ng’, ‘nk’.)
 

We are available to help should you have any queries about the sounds, or how to support your child. As an additional resource, the Ruth Miskin website, where this video is taken from, has lots of other useful information for parents, including additional videos.
 

Letter sounds video: http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/resources/sound-pronunciation-guide/

Nursery’s Chinese New Year Celebrations



The children thoroughly enjoyed our Chinese New Year topic, and were very excited for our recent Chinese New Year celebration event!
We have spent lots of time talking about the traditions of Chinese people in preparation for the New Year, and they have transferred this knowledge to their play, including in the Chinese home corner, where they have cleaned in preparation for the Kitchen God’s visit and enjoyed delicious Chinese meals. The children can now talk independently about multiple Chinese New Year traditions.




The children prepared for the Chinese New Year by making Chinese lanterns and adding Chinese writing to their lucky red envelopes, which the children received on our celebration day. The children also decorated table cloths for their Chinese banquet, and made their very own dragon, complete with a ferocious face and 15 pairs of feet!

On the day the children enjoyed a delicious Chinese banquet where they tried different Chinese foods including sweet and sour stir-fry and spring rolls, and they all also tried to eat using chop sticks – which they found to be much trickier than expected!

Afterwards, the children treated their families to a wonderful performance of dragon dancing, scarf dancing and a lions and dragons mask game. To close the celebrations, the children performed two songs they had learnt especially for the occasion, one of which they sang in Chinese. The children thoroughly enjoyed the celebrations and should be very proud of their fantastic performance.


Ball Rolling

The children have spent lots of time independently building obstacle courses with the plastic guttering and stands, finding out how and where the ball would travel. One child suggested they add water to the course, to see whether the ball or water would travel fastest, which led to all of the children making predictions about would would happen.

This has been a great opportunity for the children to develop and test their own ideas, to plan how to achieve their goal and to amend their approach when it did not work as they had hoped it would. As well as finding out, the children have participated in lots of team work and cooperative play.

Nursery’s Delaunay geometric pictures

We introduced the children to the work of the artists Mrs Sonia Delaunay and Mr Robert Delaunay, as a way for the children to explore shape, size and colour. During focused activity time the children produced these wonderful, eye catching geometric pictures. They really enjoyed the process and lots of interesting discussions about size and shape came about! The children then continued to explore shape, size and colour independently, with a group of children collaborating to create their own collage of shapes.

  

More so, the children have gone on to paint excellent Delaunay inspired circles, in which they have demonstrated great brush control and understanding. This also extended to independent mark making, where the children have used the pens and pencils to create their own geometric pictures, telling us “Look at my Delaunay picture!”

 
It has been a busy start to the Spring term!

We have had new children join us, and with the help of the older children they are settling into Nursery really nicely. Here are some of the things the children have been busy doing:

The Nursery Nativity

We were so proud of the children for their performance of The Nativity Story! We don’t start rehearsing for the Nativity until the middle of November, so the children have many songs, actions and lines to learn in just a short amount of time. On top of this there is the general upheaval, distraction and excitement of Christmas, and a very busy and long half term for the children to contend with, so we were completely blown away by their level of enthusiasm.

The children really got into character and often improvised their lines, bringing such a personal touch to the performance. They had lots of fun learning the actions to the songs and loved getting into their costumes for the dress rehearsal and performance.

We hope you enjoyed the performance as much as we and the children did!
After a busy morning, the children then walked down to St Mary’s church to take park in our whole school church service. Again, the children showed great enthusiasm and excellent listening skills, following instructions and directions very well. The children commented that they really enjoyed performing their songs in the church, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to take park in a whole school and community wide event.

Thank you to all of the parents for your support; from providing tights and learning songs and lines, to supporting us on the day by getting the children ready and attending the performances.

Yoga

This week, some of the children tried baby yoga, and they absolutely loved it! The children watched the instructor on the screen, listened carefully to instructions, and followed the actions carefully. They showed great skill in being able to balance, and they really pushed themselves to move into the different positions, and hold them steady. The children worked at yoga for 20 minutes and were very excited about trying it again!
There are many benefits to children participating in a yoga session:
• It helps to develop body awareness
• Children learn how to use and listen to their bodies
• It is an engaging way for children to listen and follow instructions – important skills for communicating!
• It can have a very calming effect
• It helps to build concentration
• It can increase children’s confidence
• And helps them to feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group

Shape detectives!

The children have expressed a great interest in shape this half term, and they have been learning all about basic shapes including circles, squares, triangles and rectangles. With help from an adult, the children have played shape snap, found shapes in our Nursery environment and talked about shape using mathematical vocabulary. Independently the children have organised, sorted and categorised shapes, created images and models using different resources and turned themselves into human shapes. They also invented their own game – ‘Hide the Shape’ and for weeks they have taken it in turns hiding the 2D shapes around the Nursery, then working as a team to find and identify them. Well done Nursery children!

Diwali.

The children thoroughly enjoyed our Nursery Diwali celebration event at the end of last half term. After learning about Diwali, the children helped to prepare a vegetarian curry, coconut barfi and we made our own banana lassi to drink, which was delicious! The children enjoyed learning about the Diwali festival and had many animated discussions about how the festival is celebrated. In the afternoon the children joined in with traditional dances, made beautiful mehndi patterns and large pretty Rangoli designs with chalk. As part of the preparations for Diwali, the children each made their own Dival lamp using red salt dough and glitter to decorate. We lit some of the Diva lamps and placed them around the classroom as we sat down to enjoy an Indian banquet together, to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

It has been a brilliant half term and the children have really made the most of their time in Nursery. The children have made new friends, told us lots about their life and families, explored Autumn, created incredible constructions, shared stories, made beautiful pictures, supported each other, climbed and chased, built dinosaur houses, developed their maths skills with teddy’s and pumpkins and worked together, to name but a few!
The children enjoyed exploring autumn and we talked lots about the changes we were seeing in our environment. On autumn walks they collected beautiful leaves, twigs and seeds, and we watched a squirrel collect and bury its acorns in the school grounds. They children brought everything we had collected back to the classroom and organised everything into different baskets ready for our autumn workshop where they made beautiful seasonal collages.
The children we so excited to share everything they have learnt about harvest at our harvest tea, including singing their harvest songs. In preparation for the event the children harvested the Nursery garden and gathered apples from the orchard, they chopped the vegetables up and made soup and cake, and they made beautiful table cloths from leaf and apple printing. Thank you to all of the families who were able to join us for our Harvest Tea!

Conkers!

We have been bonkers for conkers in Nursery this week. We have explored and discussed the appearance and texture of a conker, we have looked at capacity – exploring how many conkers we can fit into a container, we have counted conkers and created beautiful marks and colours through conker rolling with paint.

Autumn

The children had started to notice seasonal changes in the environment and have been bringing in the autumn discoveries they have made on their way to Nursery.

We then went for our own autumn walk to see what we could find in the school environment. The children made excellent discoveries and were excited to collected leaves, acorns, lime seeds and crab apples! After collecting lots of lovely things, the children spent time organising and sorting the items into different baskets, ready for our autumn workshop!

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