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World book day 01/03/2021

Hello March 🐝🌸🍀🦋

We celebrated world book day this week and although we aren’t allowed to dress up in our usual world book day costumes.. we didn’t let that dampen the mood!!

We had tons of amazing activities this week, starting with messy play (soil) and magnifying glasses to find and inspect the insects hidden in the mud.

Building blocks to work on our prepositions.

Water play to predict which objects will sink or float.

A rhyming activity, using pegs to find the rhyming words.

The three little pigs tuff tray, where we could build our own homes for the pigs, using the props to recite and recall the story as we play.

Lots of fantastic physical play in the garden. Using our great balancing skills to stand on one foot, even while holding an object. We also introduced number recognition in outdoor play, by adding number placemats. The children were instructed to move to each number in different ways (hopping, jumping, walking backwards) each time the music stopped.

We decorated a large tiger when he came for tea…. using felttips, scrap paper and crayons.

Some children got to spend some time in the woodwork area, using real nails and hammers. Not forgetting our safety goggles of course.

Orange room read the book “aliens love underpants” and threaded and decorated their own underpants, for developing those fine motor skills and creative thinking, incorporating some shape recognition along the way.

Have you seen our kindness jar?? The children have been receiving hearts for their acts of kindness to others. They can also award hearts to their friends. #bekind

Check out our new story box. “It’s magic” the children said. A new story appears inside each time it is opened. With resources to help tell the story.

Next week we welcome back the children that have been home learning during lockdown. We’re very excited to see you.

Chinese New Year, shrove tuesday. 22/02/2021

The first half of this week, we celebrated shrove Tuesday with some delicious pancakes to try for snack.

We had yellow, lemon scented playdough and used rolling pins to make pancakes that we flipped up into the air and caught in the pan. Adding mathematics into our play by using numbered pancakes to recognise numerals, and practise our counting and sequences.

We really enjoyed looking at the ingredients needed to make pancakes and experimenting by mixing them all together. The children cracked the eggs, squeezed the lemon and whisked the mixture into a big sloppy mess, but oh what fun we had. The best part was watching the children’s critical thinking on how to ‘open’ the egg.

During the second half of the week, we celebrated Chinese New Year, this year being the year of the Ox, with the following activities.

Yummy Chinese food for snack. Noodles, prawn crackers, lychees, oranges and fortune cookies. How clever are we using our fine motor skills to work the chopsticks!!

Dragon dancing in the garden, with drums to create a rhythm for the dragon to march to. Look at the amazing dragon, we all had a turn being inside and moving in different ways, up and down, fast and slow.

Chinese writing. Using black paint to explore and create our own Chinese numbers.

The great race book. We read the book, then some children used the props to tell their own story, and some children had their own race in the garden.

Thanks to the great weather, we’ve enjoyed lots of time outside this week. Taking part in some jumping, colour matching games and having fun with the parachute.

Valentine’s Day, and snow, snow, snow! 08/02/21

Due to the amount of snow we had this week, and the large snow drifts caused by the wind, the preschool could only open for 2 days (Thursday and Friday).

We celebrated valentines early as next week will be half term, with many activities based on Valentine’s Day and love.

Yellow room have introduced a new ‘kind jar’ where the children (and staff) can award kindness hearts to their friends for acts of kindness.

Both rooms enjoyed pink and white playdough, set up with heart cutters, rollers and other heart shaped resources. Orange room also had red coloured rice, which got mixed into the playdough for extra texture and tipping and pouring. The children discovered the rolling pins made a very satisfying crunch when rolled over the rice/playdough mixture. Yellow room added petals, various objects for making different effects and shapes in the play dough, and some special books about the things we love.

Both rooms added ice to the valentines theme, yellow room painting with heart shaped ice lollies, and orange room using the pipettes to add warm water over the ice, to see how it melts and the different colours that can be achieved by mixing. As the big heart ice didn’t melt fast enough the children decided to use hammers instead. Both rooms also did some number matching activities, using hearts that had been cut in half.

And then it was time for the SNOW! As you know we are outside in all weathers, so we got dressed in our waterproofs, wellies, gloves, hats and big coats and went out to play in the snow. For a while the children explored the snow, touching, feeling, kicking, throwing it into the air, laying in it. Then we added paint, using different resources to flick it, squirt it, spray it, brush it, across the snow to create great effects and colour mixing. And to develop those all important pen holding muscles.

Some children weren’t keen on being outside for very long, so instead we took some snow inside. And carried on with our exploring. Adding coloured water by squeezing the pipettes over the snow. We made tiny snowmen and snowballs, and talked about the snow, ice, and how it is formed.

We hope that you all have a great half term and enjoy a much needed rest.

National story telling week and children’s mental health week 01/02/21

This week we celebrated national story telling week using activities based around our favourite stories and just books in general.

Orange room read the hungry caterpillar. They had lots of fun activities based around the book, playdough, adding sheets, making butterflies and flying them in the wind, games, jigsaw and they made some yummy smoothies at snack time.

Yellow room used the special reading chair to read to their friends. Some children chose to read familiar books, some followed the pictures and made up their own stories. They had a gruffallo theme, with playdough, a story scene set up in the tuff tray and colouring sheets. In the garden some children made a log pile house.

It was also children’s mental health week. We celebrated this by reading the colour monster book and looking at some colouring sheets while talking about our emotions and what colours they may be. The children looked at some different expressions and decided which emotion they were by placing them in each coloured circle.

We did some yoga, which helps our minds to relax, our favourite is still “we’re going on a bear hunt”. Then we took our mindfulness into the garden and used our senses to explore our surroundings.

We love to run around our amazing garden and some days we did just that. It helps us to feel free. We talked about our bodies and how to keep them healthy.

Some children have been talking about and drawing what makes them special. Talking about themselves in a positive way really helps to build their self confidence and helps them learn how to be kind to others.

25/01/21 – Burns night and Australia Day

This week we’ve been looking at some Scottish and Australian traditions. To celebrate Burns Night and Australia Day.

For burns night the children decorated Scottish flags, thistles, and created tartan while talking about Scotland. We listened to bagpipe music and watched the bands march in the parade on YouTube. We copied the marching, using objects from the room as drums. To celebrate Australia Day, the children coloured kangaroos, while talking about animals that live in Australia. We listened to some didgeridoo sounds on YouTube.

Orange room have been making bird feeders, to hang in the garden. We are looking forward to watching the birds from the windows.

Messy play this week has been focussed on colour mixing. Orange room used coloured water and gloop. The children loved the gloop, watching and feeling it drip through their fingers, adding different paint to mix and create new colours.

Yellow room have been carrying on learning about our bodies. This week using construction to look at our body parts and their shapes. How we grow, and what we need to help our bodies grow. Then ending the week with some physical exercises, and talk about how our hearts beat faster when we exercise.

Did you know we use the ‘yoga pretzels’ cards, exploring different poses. The children get really engaged in this. There are some great yoga stories on YouTube (link below) that you can practise at home.

Next week is National Story Telling Week. We would love to hear all about your favourite stories and see you reading them at home. You can email photos across to be uploaded onto your child’s learning journey, or share to our closed Facebook page.

https://www.youtube.com/c/CosmicKidsYoga

18/01/2021

This week has been focussed on our current themes of weather and our bodies.

We’ve been looking at numbers and building using sugar cubes in our tuff trays. Also talking about animals that live in cold countries like penguins and polar bears. We made some penguins by drawing and cutting around our hands and built igloos for the animals to live in.

The children really enjoyed last weeks activity of drawing themselves using a mirror, and some children asked to it again this week. With added language and conversation about how to take care of our bodies. Eat, drink, sleep, exercise and wash. We filled the water tray with soapy water and washed the babies, then dressed them and tucked them into bed with a story.

The children spent time in the garden climbing over the tyres and moving around in different ways. Also taking the babies for a walk around the garden in their buggies.

Some children created a puppet show, using the emotion books and puppets, exploring different expressions on their faces.

Understandably we have a few children who aren’t in setting at the moment. Each key person has been keeping in touch via weekly telephone or zoom calls. The children are missing their friends and look forward to being able to play together soon.

11/01/2021

Lots and lots of activities have been happening this week…

The sun came out for a couple of days, even though it was still very very cold, we made the most of it and had a run around in the garden. On the days when the weather was too bad to go outside, we experimented different ways of moving over the stepping stones and jumping over and between the planks of wood.

The dart board was a great way for us to try to recognise numbers, and turn taking as we all really wanted to have a go.

Can you see the big big towers we built using the foam bricks? One of the towers was even taller than us!!

It was very fun to paint our feet and make prints on the paper. We haven’t tried this before and we all really enjoyed it.

Some of us have been learning about our bodies, we drew pictures of ourselves using the mirror to see our faces. We compared the differences with our friends, we all have blue, brown or green eyes. And we compared our hair colours.

We have a weather theme in both rooms at the moment, and we’ve been looking closely at ice, snow and wintery weather. Using various activities to promote new language, communication and introducing quantities. Which animals live in the cold weather? See if we can remember and talk about it at home…

January 04/01/2021

Welcome back everyone. We hope you all had a great Christmas and a happy new year.

What an eventful start to the year with yet another lockdown. As early years remain open, it’s back to business for us at St Helen’s and it’s great to see so many smiling faces.

Things are a little bit strange for young children at the moment. They can’t see loved ones or friends, parents are extra tired, their siblings aren’t at school and there’s a lot of talk about this virus, keeping safe and distant. It’s a worrying time for the little ones who don’t quite understand. We’ve made sure to put out some toys which the children love, the familiarity helps them feel reassured and can reduce any anxiety while at preschool.

In play dough this week, the children have been making snowmen. Also using cotton pads to glue and stick to create their own snowmen.

It’s great to have the emotion puppets out. Especially at the moment. The children have been practising their emotion faces, however we have had to cover these. They are learning that it’s ok to feel sad, angry, scared and how to manage these feelings. They have also acted out their own stories using the theatre, giving them the chance to express their personalities.

The children have played learning games, with colours, animals and numbers. The tuff tray was set up for exploring numbers and using the tweezers to develop fine motor skills.

We had a play with the weighing scales, exploring the language of weight. And the magnetic letters allowed us to recognise some of the letters in our names.

ITS CHRISTMAS!!! 14/12/20

The last week of term before Christmas has been full of festivities.

Snowy messy play using happy land to role play and explore. Also using some christmas decorations in shaving foam to feel and describe textures.

We followed the story of the gingerbread man and used props to create our own story and make gingerbread men.

We’ve loved seeing the boys and girls in their Christmas jumpers and outfits this week.

St Helen’s decided to spread some Christmas cheer and sent a little card, with messages from the children to the residents of Brooklands care home. We also sent them an audio of the children singing, and a song sheet so they can sing along. The children helped to make stars this week as part of the Costessey cares campaign, our stars are now in the windows of The Crown PH and The Cooperative on Dereham Road.

As you may have already heard, this week we enjoyed a yummy Christmas snack consisting of snack sausages, cheesy biscuits, pineapple, orange, apple, and the children had a choice of biscuit or mince pie. In the afternoons we had hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Im sure we’re all deeply disappointed by the fact we couldn’t hold our usual open morning this Christmas, due to COVID-19 restrictions. As always the health and safety of our children and staff is paramount. We have tried our best to enjoy the festive season as much as possible with the children. We hope all our parents enjoyed the Christmas goody bag sent home and have seen the special video posted onto our closed Facebook group.

The staff and committee at St Helens would like to wish you and your families a healthy, happy Christmas and new year. Stay safe and take care. 🎄⭐️❄️🎄⭐️❄️

Christmas 07/12/2020

It’s full steam ahead at St Helen’s this week, Christmas has arrived. Lots has been happening in preparation for Christmas, sadly this year we can’t hold our usual Christmas open morning due to covid restrictions, even though this is disappointing for everyone, rest assured we will be sending home lots of Christmas magic – and glitter, and more glitter!!

The children are loving having a little dance to classic Christmas music and experimenting with the jingle bells and other instruments while we sing our Christmas songs.

This week the tuff trays were set up as a Christmas scene using happy land. We added flour for mark making and later playdough.

As part of the costessey cares campaign, we’ve created some sparkly stars for the children to put up at home (these will be sent out during the last week due to COVID regulations). You can see our big stars in the windows of our rooms. If anyone is struggling or worried about anything over these difficult times, speak to a member of staff, we can help you.

Something very interesting happened in the garden this week. As the weather was extremely cold, the cobwebs had completely frozen. The children were amazed (as were we) at the frozen garden. We went searching for icicles and listened to the crunch as we stood on the icy grass. We talked a little about seasons and weather.

There was a magical wizard in the preschool this week and he put a spell on the elf to make him grow REALLY big!! The big elf brought along a post box for us to post our letters to Santa and once we had posted them we heard faint jingle bells, the children ran to the window looking for Santa… we didn’t manage to catch him but he did take the post box away with all our letters. Keep an eye out at home incase Santa sends a reply….

Thankyou for taking part in the Christmas jumper day on Friday. We will have a final total of how much we raised next week.

30/11/2020

It’s the end of November and the beginning of the build up to Christmas. We’ve planned lots of Christmas activities this month and the elf has come to visit…. getting up to mischief as I’m sure you have seen by now.

Our rooms have been transformed into Christmas wonderlands, with decorations, lights and pretty trees that the children have been decorating while listening to Christmas music. The book corners are now cosy Christmassy igloos, filled with books focussed on winter and Christmas.

The tuff trays were filled with coloured sand for mark making and festive stencils to copy. We kept the mud tray as this is a favourite with the children, they love to transfer the mud, filling and emptying the trucks and diggers.

Using the weighing scales, the boys and girls have been experimenting which things are heavy or light and which weigh the same.

Using our fine motor skills to work the tweezers, we matched pom poms into the correct coloured holes in a Christmas tree shaped box.

Using our gross motor skills we danced with the scarves, making patterns in the air and watching them float down to the ground. When we put them over our eyes it made everything turn a different colour.

This week we created lots of Christmas crafts. It was fun to make Christmas trees using triangles, we also got to write our letters to Santa. The elf has been very mischievous, first he drawed over all the ladies photos, then he was making snow angels on the table. He did read a lovely story to some dinosaurs, wonder what he will get up to next week….

The best part of all this week was on a very chilly Friday it started to SNOW!!! Most of the children had never seen snow before so we quickly wrapped up warm and went into the garden. It was so pretty, the snow flakes landed on our hair and our coats, but they melted when we tried to catch them in our hands. The wind was very cold meaning we couldn’t stay outside too long, once inside we sat and watched the snow from the window.

Autumn 23/11/2020

Another week has flown by at St Helen’s, time sure does fly when you are having fun. Heres what we’ve been up to…..

The week started off really really loud and noisy…. because we made some musical instruments using different bottles and objects to put inside. We experimented with different sounds, loud and quiet and predicted which objects would make which sounds.

We had dinosaurs in the tuff tray, with sand and crunchy pasta to explore, and role play.

The babies (dolls) were very well looked after this week, in both rooms, getting fed their bottles, dressed, cleaned and even going on the potty.

There were shape drawings, colour mixing with the paints, flour messy play, mud, mud and more mud, drawing on the light board, more amazing cutting skills, more amazing line drawings, we had some fabulous buildings created, and some children even drawed around each other when laying on the floor to measure and talk about sizes.

For exploring numbers this week, we played board games, built a cake tower, popcorn game, supermarket game, sorting dinosaurs and animals, jigsaws, and we read lots of stories.

Using our fantastic binoculars we made, some children went on a bear hunt… can you spot any bears???

A very special light arrived last week, a starry light. With the main lights off, blinds closed and some relaxing ocean music, we laid on the mats and listened while watching the lights on the ceiling and around the room. Everybody felt so relaxed and calm afterwards.

A child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health.

Autumn 16/11/2020

This week has been quiet with regards to celebrations and public holidays, allowing us to focus on the children’s current interests and base activities and next steps around them.

Following on from Diwali, we’ve carried on the shapes and pattern theme. Introducing some activities based around this. Threading shapes to develop our fine motor skills. Following patterns and lines, zig zags, spirals etc, using gems, Pom poms or just simple coloured pencils.

We had shapes in water this week in orange room, scooping and sorting the shapes. And a game of shape bingo, looking for shapes in the environment and marking them off on our sheets. Both rooms had a go at being shape detectives, finding lots of different shaped objects around our rooms and outside.

This week we have been counting and learning numbers, using the ladybirds on a leaf game.

Some of the children love to look at photos of themselves and their friends on the iPads, (most of all they like to take selfies), so the play cameras and binoculars came out for the children to explore. It was so fun to look through the binoculars, everything was far away, then really close when we turned them around.

Yellow room have been on a bear hunt this week…. they splashed through the river, squelched through the mud and ran away from the big scary bear! The tuff tray was set up with the different scenes of the book to explore, and then the children took part in bear hunt yoga. (Link below)

Orange room experimented with shaving foam and the different patterns they could make, using potato mashers, spoons and pots. They took turns making some beautiful smelling playdough using fruit tea mixed with the water. It made the whole preschool smell like berries for the rest of the day.

Lots of our children love to build and create, this week there’s been lots of play focussed on the building blocks and stickle bricks. Sometimes keeping things simple allows the children to use their critical thinking and imaginations. We’ve had a zoo (equipped with cages for the animals), a car park, a police station, a tunnel, and many other things.