We had a sizzling Summer at Nannas!
We embraced healthy eating throughout June. The children participated in discussions about fruit and vegetables, for example which vegetables are grown in the ground, and which ones they enjoy eating the most. They were given the opportunity to plant their own vegetables in our nursery garden, voting between peas, courgettes, lettuces and radish. The children were able to independently fill the plant trough with soil, plant the seeds and water them before finding them a safe place in the garden to grow.
Lots of water play was to be had throughout the warm Summer, with the babies in particular enjoying cooling down in the water trays and ball pits! The older children made their own sun catching jars to decorate the garden - they each had their own paintbrush and used a variety of paint colours and glitter to decorate inside the empty glass jars. They were all very proud of their individual jars and loved watching the sun sparkle through them whilst they were hanging in the trees!
This month our toddlers were working on their independence and life skills, focusing on cooking. They helped cut up their sausages for sausage pasta bake at lunch time and even made their own star shaped jam sandwiches, spreading the jam and cutting out the bread using a star shaped cookie cutter. Obviously, the most enjoyable part of the cooking was in the eating!
We were delighted to welcome parents back into our settings, albeit outdoors, for the first Parents Evening of the year. Parents enjoyed their return where they were able to meet with their child’s Key Person to discuss their developmental progress so far this year and review their Education Programme.
The Summer bought with it some wonderful creatures to our gardens this year and the children enjoyed finding, investigating and caring for the ones they found. From caterpillars to butterflies, frogs and snails, the gardens have been full of wildlife which prompted lots of discussion. Children learnt about life cycles of the insects and delighted in seeing the caterpillars transform over several weeks into beautiful butterflies which they let go in the garden once they were ready to fly. We hope they come back and see us soon!
Our pre-school children also gained two African land snails for their room. After a vote, they decided on the names Steven and Derek. Steven is the bigger of the two snails and quickly became the dominant snail with a big appetite! He enjoyed feasting on carrot, banana, raisins, cuttlefish and even watermelon but the children have discovered that his favourite food by far is fish flakes. The pets have been a great way of teaching the children to take care of living things, including what they need to help them grow and develop. They take part in cleaning them out and feeding them each morning. Steven and Derek particularly enjoy having a bath in their water dish and being sprayed each evening to keep them hydrated.
We gained a new wooden climbing frame in the garden this month which was great for developing children’s confidence and climbing skills. They practised taking turns to climb the steps one at a time before jumping off the top and landing safely!
Forest School sessions in Summer always bring about lots of new adventures and this year was no different. The children who visit our Welsh Wood site found a cool stream which they enjoyed exploring in their bare feet, paddling along and helping their friends to cross it using log branches to make bridges. The forest was full of beautiful flora and fauna which bought about lots of different smells to enhance the childrens sensory experience.
In July we found new ways to explore paint. Our clever little artists collected twigs in the garden before adding tin foil balls to the ends and dipping these in paint to make extraordinary patterns, exploring the colours they could mix.
On 13th July we were treated to a special flypast over the nurseries as part of the RAF Parachute Regiment's ceremony which was attended by Prince Charles. We gathered in the garden to watch a range of planes fly over from the red arrows to super fast jets! The children were very excited to see the aircrafts fly over, jumping up and down as they spotted them before pretending to fly around the gardens themselves as planes!
During the week of 26th July our pre-school children celebrated National Marine week! They watched some short clips on the television about animals that live in the ocean. One of the children told the group that you shouldn't leave rubbish at the beach because it could end up in the sea and hurt the animals which sparked discussions about how we can help keep the animals safe. The children spotted a puffer fish in one of the clips and asked if they could paint a picture of one! The staff gathered the materials for the children to create these using paint and forks. The children also took part in some deep ocean yoga which allowed them time to reflect on what they had learnt about the ocean. Our 2-3 year olds enjoyed making their own octopus pictures, counting the tenticles using their fingers, they couldn’t believe that they had 8 ‘legs’!
July also saw us host the first of our annual school leavers graduations. This year we were delighted to invite our families back into the nurseries for these special events, following last years restricted ceremonies due to COVID19. Our Hawthorn Avenue site said goodbye to their school leavers on Saturday 31st July. The children all donned purple gowns and mortar boards before taking part in a special ceremony where each child received a certificate, medal and goody bag containing some Nannas leavers gifts. A party lunch was enjoyed before the day rounded off with an entertainer and icecream stall!
On Saturday 7th August we held the second of our Graduation Ceremonies at our Cowper Crescent site. We had an amazing 56 children graduate from this site this year which was our biggest one yet! Sadly we did have some rain on the day but this did not dampen our spirits! The children were still able to stand proudly on stage with their medal and certificate, smiling through the downpour! The children absolutely loved the entertainment - a massive thank you to James Magic for putting on not one, but two amazing shows for us on the day! The children filled their tummies with a party lunch and ice cream before saying their goodbyes! There may have been a few tears but we wish all of our children the best of starts at their new schools and all the luck for the future!
On Saturday 21st August we held our third and final Graduation Ceremony at our Turner Road site. This year we had 35 children that graduated, they showed immense pride collecting their medals before walking onto the stage for their speech and certificate. They then enjoyed a yummy party lunch consisting of sausage and chips and dip! The parents also tucked into snacks and drinks from the parent station. This was followed by a fantastic magic show from Chris Mayne’s World of Magic, which had the children in stitches! The children then collected their goody bags before leaving with a yummy ice lolly!
August is always a sad month as we say goodbye to children, some of whom have been with us for many years. We were incredibly grateful for all the wonderful thoughtful and yummy gifts we received, our parents were incredibly generous after what has been a difficult 18 months for everyone.
The children enjoyed cooking up a storm in August, and they thoroughly enjoyed making their very own omelettes for the first time. They chose the ingredients that they wanted including cheese and ham before cracking the eggs and mixing it all together in a bowl. Once cooked, the best part was eating the omelettes the children had made!
On August 12th we celebrated World Elephant Day. This was first launched in 2012 to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature. To celebrate world elephant day, the children across the nurseries completed lots of craft using different materials such as tissue paper, paint, colouring pens and playdough! The children also watched a short clip of elephants in the wild which sparked conversations about where they live and what they eat. We also learned that a herd of elephants is called a parade!
Playdough fun was had this month with the 2-3 year olds in particular enjoying exploring the malleable material with a range of tools and equipment. The children showed lovely sharing skills whilst taking turns to roll, cut, squeeze, push, pull and print with all of the different coloured play dough.
Throughout August our Clever Creators were busy practicing their mathematical skills through some creative printing. The children used a variety of different sized and shaped mega blocks to dip in brightly coloured paints before printing these onto the paper. They then used their counting skills to count the different prints they had made showing off their wonderful number reciting.
Inspired by the big beads in our dressing up area, the children wanted to make their own jewellery using dried pasta shapes. This helped the children to hone their fine motor skills, threading the pasta shapes onto different lengths of string before these were tied and the children were able to wear them to dress up in. The children even painted some of the pasta shapes to make different patterns and some gifted their creations to their friends to wear.
With lots of new children joining our setting throughout August ready for the new term, our pre-school children wanted to get to know their new friends and so put together their own ‘All About Me’ profiles. The children delighted in answering questions about themselves for example what their favourite colour was, what they would like to be when they grow up, what their favourite animal was and what they most liked to eat. Children also practiced their writing skills with some even managing to write their own names before drawing a self portrait! These made a lovely keepsake for their parents.