Blog

15/11-19/11

Road safety and children in need week.

We learned lots this week about how to stay safe on and around the road. In the garden we set up a role play, with a zebra crossing and traffic lights. The children used the ride in cars to act out being safe around the road.

We made the most of a lovely autumn day by exploring the outer garden area on a nature walk. We found some interesting autumn treasure, then added it to playdough, creating new textures and the opportunity to develop our describing words.

It was a special spotty week, as we celebrated children in need. It was great to see your sparkly and spotty outfits. We had tons of spotty activities, working together in pairs the children went on a spot hunt, looking for spots in the environment and marking off on the sheets when they found them. Using fine motor skills and pipettes we dripped spots over the tissue paper, it was great fun to see the spots spread over the paper creating a tie-dye effect.

The water in the water tray had turned yellow this week, and smelled like lemons, we used the fishing nets to scoop up Pudseys spots. Following the theme of children in needs “strictly come dancing” we watched a YouTube video of ballroom dancing and copied, joining up with our friends to dance around the room.

Well done to the biscuit competition winner!! Enjoy your box of biscuits!!

In small groups, the children have been learning about their bodies. They had the opportunity to look at some X-rays of bones, then created their own body pictures, using white string to represent the bones.

Testimonials

A few comments from our recent parent questionnaire, July 2021.

The preschool overall is amazing and VERY child-centered, they provide support and activities to help and encourage the children to be engaged and part of the preschool community. As parents, we are extremely grateful for the provision you have given our daughter – the support and nurturing has gone above and beyond our expectations and we will always look back on her pre-school days fondly. THANKYOU!

Outstanding, I couldn’t be happier. Gemma in particular has had a really positive impact on both my girls and each and every one of your ladies goes above and beyond to keep the children safe, happy and feel comfortable.

Amazing, just amazing! We have been to a variety of settings over the years (two nurseries) and I can say 100% my child has been supported far better than in any setting we have used.

I honestly couldn’t fault the preschool at all, it is an amazing place for the children to develop and grow with wonderful supporting staff. Any issues or changes are dealt with quickly and clearly which over the last year with COVID has been very much needed and appreciated.

Just keep up the great work you are doing! The child-centered approach deployed at St Helen’s is unique and provides such a nurturing environment that is tailored to each and every child. You really provide an amazing environment for our young explorers which enables them not only to grow, but flourish into confident children that are as ready as they possibly could be for school.

08/11-12/11/2021

Jumping into a new week with an army themed obstacle course, using resources from our outdoor construction area and the garden to create a challenging trail to follow. Over, under, through, around, jump, balance, turn, hop, run, crawl, we learned lots of new ways to move around, and how to have confidence and to trust our bodies when trying something new.

The children learned about Remembrance Sunday, why we celebrate, and remember the soldiers with lots of activities, stories and role play. Tanks and soldiers in the sand, and tipping and pouring rice, creating our own poppies in the tray with the different coloured rice. We watched a YouTube video showing soldiers in parade, then copied them, practising our good marching and standing tall to the rhythm of the drum. We made our own poppies, using recycled bottles and coloured in poppy pictures. We also had a poppy inspired snack where we had a go at tasting some new things – strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

To help us build relationships with our friends and learn to turn take, in big groups, we worked together to roll the marble through the paint using a tuff tray. We had to carefully tip the tray to get the marble moving. By using our good listening skills, we created a beautiful picture with lots of colours mixed together.

We’re noticing some changes in the garden, the leaves have turned brown, orange and yellow and have fallen to the ground. It must mean the seasons are changing. We had great fun exploring the joys of autumn, throwing leaves in the air and getting muddy. There’s adventure everywhere.

🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂

01/11/21-05/11/21

Hello, and happy weekend to you all.

Here’s what we’ve been up to recently….

We started bonfire week off with a bang…. Literally!! With some fantastic firework activities, using paint in shaving foam to flick around and create colourful pictures. Using brushes in sand to make our own pretty patterns. Some amazing firework dancing, starting tiny and small and listening for the firework explosions on the iPad, then jumping up and down to represent the bangs of the fireworks. Adding in the streamers to make patterns of different fireworks in the air. These were great for creating a Catherine wheel effect.

The children were so engaged and interested in learning all about Diwali and really enjoyed some new activities. Starting with decorating hands with pretty jewels and colours, also turning CDs into beautiful lights. We heard the story of Diwali and had great fun learning Diwali dancing, (although slightly more energetic than the ladies anticipated, phew!) We had a go at drawing some Rangoli (beautiful art work) patterns on the floor using stencils and chalks and creating diya (oil lamp made from clay) and firework pictures. We’ve learned lots of new language this week and had some great opportunities to ask questions and learn about the world.

11/10/21-22/10/21

What a fun, spooky 2 weeks at St Helen’s, filled with learning, exploring, play, discovering and trying out new experiences and adventures, textures, tastes, dancing, yoga and just having the best time ever!

As you can see from the pictures, we’ve been as busy as ever. So many great activities to explore. Bathing babies, learning how to care for others, hoop jumping, working on those gross motor skills, woodwork, using our great concentration and creative minds, learning how things work with the remote control cars, following into Halloween week and celebrating all things autumn.

The children loved opening the pumpkins, exploring the insides, feeling, smelling, scooping and pouring. We added slime for extra texture to investigate.

The children were so clever cutting out and organising the different sized pumpkins into size order. Being sure to use the scissors safely and carefully.

Using our creative imaginations, we decorated pumpkins using, stickers, paint, glitter and pens. How amazing are they!

We tried very hard not to wake the BIG mummy spider, by carefully collecting her baby spiders out of the web using the scoop tongs. The children were so patient waiting for a turn and they were really engaged in this activity, throughout the day they kept asking for the “mummy spider game”.

We finished the week with a spooky bear hunt yoga, you can find the link to this on our Facebook page.

We hope you have a lovely half term. When we return we will be celebrating bonfire night and Diwali. Our planning board is in the reception area as you come into the building. If you have any ideas or input towards any topic plans we have for the next term we would love to hear, please speak to a member of staff.

27/09/21-08/10/21

We’ve had a great 2 weeks at St Helen’s, learning more independence, developing new skills and welcoming more new boys and girls.

The children are doing a great job developing their independence skills. Some children showing care and kindness, helping to guide and support the younger children.

We explored some printing in the garden using dinosaurs in paint to create new and different marks on the paper.

Did you know Gemma is trained in Lego therapy? This term in brick club we are learning to do tricky towers, build a cube and sammy snake by only using just six bricks. The children are doing great at concentrating, listening and implementing instructions in their creations.

Our play dough was accompanied by the ginger bread man story, we read the story then the children had a go at creating their own gingerbread man, using rollers and shape cutters then selecting their decorations.

We celebrated the harvest festival last week, first by using paper cut into shapes to make a scarecrow.

Did you see our harvest box when you came in to preschool? It was full of autumnal things, vegetables, books about autumn and harvest, lots of great conversation starters to encourage language and help build the children’s knowledge on understanding the world.

We used some of the vegetables to paint with making prints and exploring the different patterns we could create. We also looked at some cooked vegetables, using our senses to smell and touch.

The vegetables made their way into the garden, where the children transported them to and from the “farm” with wheelbarrows.

At the end of the week we played a rolling game, first rolling some vegetables across the paint. The children worked amazing in a team, tipping the tray to make the vegetables move. Then rolling between each other while sat in a circle.

13/09 – 24/09

A special 2 week blog for you this week… it’s been such a busy time settling back into routines.

The first week we had lots of fun role playing in the garden, the children built a campfire and we cooked marshmallows and sausages over it.

After school club have been making their own sandwiches and learning to use a cheese grater.

We’ve been doing some shape recognition, with big planks of wood, and creating smaller shapes using lollipop sticks.

We love to explore playdough using different instruments to roll, cut, squeeze and shape. Adding smells and textures to enhance our senses.

When the weather was bad we danced away to some Zumbini songs. Joining in with the actions and singing.

Some children went on a nature hunt, looking for bugs and pretty flowers around the garden. Can you spot incey watching from the projector??

Last week was recycle week. We celebrated this by using recycling to create our own masterpieces. Glueing and sticking, cutting and painting. Using our imaginations to create whatever we wanted. There were houses, cars, diggers, aeroplanes, towers, even a robot!! At lunch we talked about the things we can recycle from our lunchboxes and when we finished we placed them in the recycling bin.

In the garden the children used the wheelbarrows and pickup trucks to transport and organise the recycling into boxes.

06/09/2021

Hello!!! And welcome back to St Helen’s preschool!

Over the summer, we made a few changes to our setting, as you can see from the pictures the rooms are almost back to how they were before covid, with a few tweaks here and there as we are always reviewing and reflecting our practice, based on how the children move around and use the environment. The relaxation of certain covid-19 rules has allowed us to create a more free-flow setting where the children are free to make their own choices as to where they would like to play.

It’s been great to welcome you all inside the setting, we hope you have enjoyed looking around and seeing all the things we’ve learned over the year. Some parents have never been inside so it feels really nice to be able to show you all around and share with you what wonderful learners your children are.

Our snack routine has had a revamp, the children are now free to self select their snack, giving them the opportunity to make choices and practice their independence, with pouring, scooping, spreading and making decisions. They are picking up the routine very quickly, after snack they then wash up their plates and cups, which has gone down very well, some children even insisting on washing up for their friends!

In the vegetable patch we’ve grown enough potatoes to feed a small village, please feel free to help yourselves when you come in to preschool; we’re very good at sharing 😉. But do let us know how they tasted!

The children have enjoyed the garden a lot this week, getting out to feel the warm sunshine while it lasts. Lots of water play to cool us down and of course, the trim trail is still a strong favourite.

The books we are reading this term are ‘dear zoo’ and ‘little rabbit foo foo’, and the songs we’re learning are “twinkle twinkle, old MacDonald, if you’re happy and you know it and head shoulders knees and toes”.

We’re welcoming some new boys and girls over the next few weeks, so hello to you all and welcome.

21/06 – 02/07

STOP THE PRESS!! The amazing children of St Helen’s preschool have grown “strawberries” yes you heard it here first! (We mustn’t forget the lettuce, peas, carrots also) How exciting for the children to discover their first red and ripe little strawberries hanging waiting to be picked. And of course we sat down to have a taste once they had been washed and cut. They were so yummy!

Another 2 week blog post this week as we’ve been busy getting our leavers ready for the next part in their journeys. It’s a very exciting but scary time for everyone, with a lot of questions about new schools, new friends, new teachers, new experiences.

We set up a role play school, with desks, lots of opportunities for conversation and questions being sure to include the younger children in this, who are also just as intrigued to look at pictures of ‘big schools’ and engage in conversation with their peers. Some items of uniform, showing the school logos and book bags.

The children have been exploring mark making, whether this is through painting, drawing with pens, felt tips taped to cars, brushed in sand, chalking in the garden, any kind of mark making we love to see the children’s imaginations come alive as they draw.

We went on a bug hunt in the garden, looking under the logs and using the magnifying glasses to view the bugs in closer detail.

Shoutout to the wet weather, it gave us the opportunity to use our umbrellas and we loved seeing our reflections in the puddles. On the days when it was just too wet, we stayed indoors and danced. A really fun zumbini session, with musical instruments, followed by a little mindfulness to help us rest after the Zumbini.

The children used their brilliant imaginations and creativity to construct a train in the garden, with no adult help. We all climbed aboard for the trip to ‘Africa’. Indoors we flew to the park on an aeroplane, went on a very large shopping trip and had a special visit from Mrs wiggle and Mrs waggle 😆

07/06 – 18/06

A special double blog this week, as we’ve been extra busy enjoying the lovely warmer weather and engaging in some fun activities.

We celebrated World Ocean Day and World Environment Day this week with activities focused on the ocean and how to help our environment. Using jelly baff, we scooped out the rubbish and put it into the recycling bin, all the while engaging in lots of conversation around the ocean, who lives in it and why we need to protect it and look after it. The children expressed their views on how the sea creatures may feel if someone threw rubbish into the sea. They said the fish would be sad, some creatures may get hurt and that it was very bad to put rubbish there.

Our vegetable patch has really enjoyed the warmer weather and has had a big growth spurt. For snack this week, we tried carrots and lettuce that we picked from our patch. They were crunchy and yummy. We spotted some white strawberries and are very excited to try these once they turn red.

We constructed some amazing creations using old boxes saved from the recycling.

As it’s been really warm, we enjoyed a ‘beach sensory activity’, feeling the sand and water between our toes was lovely and cooling. It also gave some of the older children the opportunity to practise putting shoes and socks on, ready for big school. The younger children had a good go at this too, some needed a little help from their friends, and it was heartwarming to see the children so eager to help each other.

Inside we had a beach tuff tray, set out to explore and feel. Pouring and tipping, scooping, touching, looking at shapes, sizes, same and different and describing the finer details of the ocean related items.

Have you seen our Father’s Day pictures in the windows? We painted our hands and said what we love most about our daddy’s or mummy’s.

We set up a supermarket, the children taking turns to be shop keepers or customers. Exploring with pretend money, focusing on numbers, counting and acting out role play based on their own experiences.

After watering the flowers in the garden, some children noticed a puddle left behind. One of the children’s decided to do some chalking in the puddle and enjoyed watching it spread across the concrete. A few more children joined in, discovering that the colours of the chalk actually mixed together when they got wet. The children were amazed at this and spent most of the afternoon mixing colours and watching them dry in the sun.

Indoors the children used makeup brushes, sponges and paint brushes to explore different mark making. They decided to mix the colours together and really enjoyed getting messy with the paint, watching as the colours changed.

We’ve introduced some feelings and emotions books to the rooms, as we begin to enter transitions for the older children, it helps them to be able to express their feelings, as exciting as it is, it also can be a scary time for them. We read “the colour monster” book, and using coloured pens and a large drawing of the colour monster, we spoke about our feelings, what makes us happy, sad etc and where do we feel those feelings. The children were really engaged in this activity, here’s some things they said… “I feel happiness in my mouth when I smile. I feel sad in my eyes. I feel anger in my feet it makes them stomp. I feel love in my heart and my tummy.

On rainy days we do yoga and mindfulness, the rain helps us to feel relaxed. It’s very calming listening to it on the conservatory roof.

24/05/21

This week the children have explored different textures. We heard some great language around the “feel” of different materials.

Using sand and shaving foam as cement, they built some amazing towers and walls. Making sure to keep safe with their hard hats and hi-vis vests, this allowed us to engage in lots of conversation about danger and using tools safely. Leading on to some real building in our woodwork area.

We explored shapes in our environment, first in our rooms and then moving onto the garden. We used a book full of images of our garden to locate the object and recognise the shapes.

The children made sure our flowers and vegetables had lots of water to keep them hydrated over half term.

“Look at us with our huge box”. The endless possibilities playing with a large empty box. We love providing the freedom for our children to use their imagination and really enjoy listening to them as they role play. And who doesn’t love hiding in a huge box?

17/05/21

This weeks blog was written by the children…..

We did painting standing up. It was this stuff you could see through, cling film yes that’s it. I enjoy that. I painted a beautiful picture. (SF & JG aged 4)

We did decorating in the garden. I looked at the plants, I gave them water to help them grow. Do you know what else they need to grow? Soil, and sun. That will make those plants grow really tall won’t it? (GD aged 3)

I played that crocodile thing (xylophone) with my new friend next to me. We sang songs, we were doing very well. My favourite song is baa baa black sheep. My favourite is Ana and Elsa (SF & JG aged 4)

I liked bathing babies and playing on the tyres. (NP aged 4)

We were helping all the dinosaurs, they were stuck in the tray. We untangled them and used scissors to cut them free. (MW & LG aged 4)

People wanted to be police officers and it’s what we have over there. (MW aged 4)

We used the light to look at them bone pictures, and we finded out which body part it was. (MR aged 3)

10/05/21

We do love a Monday at preschool. We started our week with some new activities, keeping with our theme of life cycles, this week is all about frogs in yellow room. The tuff tray set out for exploring the life cycle of a frog, green playdough with added googly eyes and green Pom poms. We’ve been singing 5 little speckled frogs, with the children taking turns to be the frogs, “jumping into the pool, where it was nice and cool….”

Speaking of cool…. have you seen the video posted on our private Facebook page of the crackling jelly baff… it was a sensory explosion, feeling the cold jelly in the water while listening to the crackles at the same time. The children chose to add fish and and other sea creatures.

Orange room had a bug exploration tray, with rice for tipping and pouring and numbered butterflies. Orange room planted some seeds this week, these should be coming home soon to plant and watch grow. After a messy afternoon playing with the orange soapy flakes, the children even turned orange!! They couldn’t get enough of the sludgy, soapy mixture and really enjoyed pouring it, scooping it and splashing it.

Using lots and lots of recycling, we made some fantastic creations. The children decided what they wanted to make, chose their boxes/tubs and chose whether to use gloopy glue, cellotape or stick glue to fix it together. The ladies were blown away with the children’s creations.

This week orange room had lots of poorly patients, needing urgent care from the doctors and nurses. The office was extremely busy, with the “office lady” trying desperately to get through to the nurses who “never answered their phones”. There was a long queue in the waiting area, but peace was restored when the doctor finally arrived with the special medicine. All patients made a full recovery, even Paula who managed to break a few bones!

03/05/21

Happy May Day.

We started the week with a bank holiday due to May Day. When we returned on Tuesday we celebrated with some maypole dancing, using ribbon and hoops. We learned about the maypole and watched videos of other children dancing around it. We created fire pictures using rollers and paint.

The caterpillars have finally emerged from their cocoons as beautiful butterflies. We created our own butterflies with paint, folding the paper in half to create a symmetrical effect, and using the coloured dabbers to count dots onto the wings.

On Friday we released our butterflies into the garden. They were quite reluctant and didn’t seem to want to leave us. One child said they needed more energy, another said they were just warming up their wings. It was so special to see them fly off into the garden.

Using stamps and paint we created some shape pictures. Looking at the different shapes of the stamps and then comparing to shapes around our rooms.

26/04/21

Some very exciting news… our caterpillars have made their cocoons, the children have been watching very closely, checking back in every day for any movement or change. We are learning about growth, changes over time and what things we need for our bodies to grow.

In the garden we’ve been planting seeds. Adding the soil into small pots and pushing the seeds down into the soil before watering them. We learned that flowers need sun, water and soil to grow. We also had a tray of soil outside to explore, digging, filling and emptying. Practising control over the spades, being careful not to spill. Some of the children made “mud” castles, using the soil, remembering and talking about times when they have been to the beach and made sand castles.

Inside we added dinosaurs to the mud and mixed in sand for different textures. Also using the sand to mark make, some children beginning to form letters in the sand using their fingers or brushes, looking at the different shapes and lines they can make.

On Friday the weather was so bad, we couldn’t go outside. Instead, we did some physical music and movement in the multipurpose room. Our bodies got warm and tired very quickly, we felt our hearts, copying the beat by tapping on our knees.

After the fast music, we laid on some yoga mats, turned off the lights and explored our senses. We listened to some calming music, while watching the projector light project stars and waves on the ceiling. The children described what they could hear, “I can hear clouds, I can hear a bird, I can hear heaven, I can hear the seaside and shells.” The ladies used chiffon scarves to gently move over the children’s faces, creating a calm and relaxed experience. A few children took off their socks wanting to feel the scarves on their feet.

Next week, we will finally get to see our caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies. We will be celebrating May Day and enjoying some activities based around this tradition. Let’s hope for some sun, to help our flowers grow.