Happily Ever After
Welcome back to the Mount Carmel blog!
The children were all very excited to be back after a restful Christmas break. It is always lovely seeing them reunited with their friends and sharing stories of what they have been up to during the holidays.
This half term our focus is stories, both classic children’s books and modern favourites. Each week we are focusing on one story and using these as inspiration for activities throughout the nursery, and the children have helped us choose which books they would like to explore over the coming weeks.
Children at Kinder Lodge chose the Billy Goats Gruff in the first week back. In the art room they cut out the different characters in the story, decorated them and turned them into masks. We then used these masks during our assemblies that week as preschool children took turns to act out the story to the rest of the nursery. It was lovely to see their enthusiasm for acting with many of them desperate to be chosen to play the part of the troll! Younger children also took part in a storytelling activity, where we turned the art room tuff tray into a small world Billy Goats Gruff scene, complete with a river, bridge and luscious grass for the goats to eat. We have seen the children extending these activities into their own play, both indoors and outdoors, and reciting the words from the story with their friends.
Last week, the story at Kinder Lodge was ‘The Fish That Could Wish’ by John Bush. To spark the children’s imagination we installed a tropical fish tank in the classroom and gradually introduced new fish to it as the week progressed. The children have been eager to watch the different kinds of fish exploring their new environment and have been learning the names of each species (including Pearl Gourami, Cardinal Tetra, Peppered Cory and albino Blue Eyed Pleco). The children took part in a range of art activities which will contribute to a new aquarium display in the classroom. One of these activities was creating tropical fish using old CDs, acrylic paint and a salad spinner. The children dripped the paint onto the CDs using pipettes, closed the top and spun the handle as quick as they could. When the lid was lifted off the paint had been flung all around the CD making a shiny and colourful fish’s body.
At Sandpit House the children have been reading Winnie the Witch and took particular enjoyment from when she changed the colour of Wilbur the cat. They made their own camouflaged Wilburs during their art sessions by mixing paints together. Younger groups spent time talking about their favourite books and drew pictures from these stories.
Children at Sandpit House have had an active couple of weeks. They returned from the Christmas break to find a new play tunnel in the garden and we have seen it be used as a “spaceship”, a “foxes den” and “a big hole”. Last week, we welcomed Dr Amanda Gummer from The Good Play Guide who came to explore the benefits of balloon play to social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Preschool children took part in a number of physical activities with balloons in the gym and their levels of exertion was tracked using Fitbits. Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide is an organisation dedicated to helping children develop skills through play. They provide independent expert advice on a range of topics including play, toys, apps, children’s tech, e-safety, child development, special needs and other parenting issues.
Finally, preschool children at both nurseries have begun their phonics programme in circle time and during assembly. Parents can expect to hear about snakes in the grass or ants on my arm as the children begin memorise different songs associated with each sound. It is very encouraging to see that most children already have a good grasp of the different letter sounds and they have all enjoyed the various activities aimed at promoting their understanding of phonics.