Pre-school Blog 2020-2021

Friday 1st October 2021
Our topic this half term is all about bears. On our visit to the nature area this week, the children played a game with some teddies. Three different sized teddies were hidden around the nature area and the children had a go at seeing if they could find where they had been hidden. They listened to some information about which direction the bears had gone in and some clues about where they could have hidden. They had fun trying to work out where the bears were and shouted out when they had found them. This activity encouraged the children to develop problem solving skills, by using information they had listened to help them find the bears.      
Friday 24th September 2021
For our 50 Things activity this week we did 'Bubbles!' which is number 8 on the app. Bubble play is a really simple activity that you can do in all weathers, and you can make your own bubble mixture using washing up liquid in a bowl, and some added glycerine. For our activity, we used a bubble mixture that we had in Pre-school and we took it to the field. The children were able to take turns blowing the bubbles, seeing how high they went in the air, counting them, and jumping to pop them. Playing with bubbles helps children's physical skills as they jump up to pop them, it increases their vocabulary as they learn new words like blow, pop, fast, slow, high, low, etc., and encourages them to use numbers as they count the bubbles they have popped. This is a low cost activity that you and your child can have lots of fun with and everyone can join in.   
Thursday 16th September 2021
Welcome back, everyone!
It's the start of a new term and we are carrying on with our 50 Things activities every week. This week we have been looking at the activity called 'Squidgy Sand' which is number 5 on the app. The children spent time in the sandpit making sandcastles using the grabbers to grab the sand and then let it go again and mould the sand into whatever shapes they wanted. Playing with sand encourages children to learn new vocabulary for example when they are talking about what they are doing. Explore the properties of the sand, like when it is wet and dry and learn new concepts like pouring, moulding, patting, shaking and grabbing. It is also a really fun thing to do with your child and sand can be easily bought from any supermarket at a low cost.   
Friday 16th July 2021
For our last 50 things activity of this term, we did number 47 called 'Great Eastern Baking.'
The children made some fruit salad, they had a chance to chop the different types of fruit on the chopping board and then put the cut up pieces into a bowl to eat once they had finished. The children really enjoyed talking about the fruit and using new vocabulary like chop, slice, and peel. Then the best part was tasting what they had made afterwards and talking about which fruit was their favourite. You can try this activity at home with your child using fruit you have at home or any other recipe from the app that you like. Have fun cooking with your child. 
Friday 9th July 2021
This week our 50 Things activity was number 32 and is called 'Where have I gone.' 
This is a no cost activity. Children love to hide, which allows them to explore different hiding places, practice counting, and problem solve. It also encourages turn taking and cooperation.
The children played hide and seek in our nature area, and took it in turns to count to ten and then find places to hide. They also played a game called sardines which is the opposite to hide and seek, where lots of children do the counting, then one person hides and the others have to find them and join them in hiding. They had lots of fun and finding places to hide! 
Friday 2nd July 2021
This week our 50 Things activity was number 3 and it was called 'Treasure Time.'
This is a no-cost activity because you can use natural objects that you would find in a forest or the park and anything you might have at home, such as pieces of material or wooden utensils.
The children looked at different objects that had been placed into a wooden basket and took them out to explore. They used their senses to touch, feel and look at what was there and found different ways to put them together to create models and pretend they were different objects. 
This activity encourages children to use their imagination, explore, create, discover and develop vocabulary. They can learn what things look like, how things go together, and how they work.   
Friday 25th June 2021
This week in school has been international week. Pre-school have been learning about the country France. They looked at pictures on the smartboard which showed them where it was on the map in relation to England, and what modes of transport you could use to get there. They discovered it was very near to England and you could go on a ferry or a train under the English channel either as a foot passenger or in your car. They learnt how to say hello and goodbye in french and to count up to ten. Lastly, they found out that France is famous for its delicious cheese and wine, but that they also eat snails and frogs legs which they thought was very funny! 
Friday 25th June 2021
This week our 50 Things activity is number 38 and is called Postie!  It is a low cost activity, only the price of a stamp if you want to post a letter or something your child has made in a real post box. Or you can make one from a cardboard box. 
The children made pictures, cut out stamps, put their pictures inside envelopes, and then sealed them up, ready for posting. Outside in the pre-school garden, they had fun posting the letters they had made into our shiny red post box. 
This activity helps children with their fine motor skills, using scissors to cut, holding a pencil, folding the paper to go in the envelope, and mark making. They can use their imaginations to role play being posties and dressing up if they want to. 
Friday 18th June 2021
This week has been 'Health Week' in school and in Pre-school we have been talking about what kinds of food we need to eat in order to keep ourselves healthy. The children drew pictures of fruit and vegetables and we also discussed different ways of exercising, making sure we had enough sleep at night, and washing and brushing our teeth regularly.  We then did some exercising together finding different ways to move like jumping, hopping, dancing, and skipping.
Friday 18th June 2021
This week our 50 things activity was number 26 'Splish, Splash, Splosh.' Children love playing with water and this week has been a perfect time for them to explore water play outside. This activity doesn't need to cost anything and you can use lots of different objects that you might have around the house like squeezy washing up liquid bottles, washing up bowls, buckets, or paintbrushes. 
We set up a water tray outside and gave the children buckets, squeezy bottles, and paintbrushes to explore the water. They had lots of fun experimenting with using the paintbrushes to paint water onto the fence, and filling up bottles with water, and squirting it onto the walls and ground. 
Children can learn so many things from water play, for example, it helps with their language and communication skills learning new vocabulary through the interactions we have them as they play. Sharing and turn-taking skills, investigating and discovering what happens when you do something, and building up gross motor skills through squeezing, pumping, and brushing actions. They really enjoyed themselves and it was perfect during the hot and sunny weather! 
Friday 11th June 2021
This week's 50 things activity is number 49 and is called Grass Gazing. This is a simple activity that doesn't cost anything, and you don't need any resources, other than a patch of grass and maybe a blanket or towel to lie on. You could use your own back garden or the local park. 
We took some towels with us to the school field so that we had something to lie on. Then we found a shady patch underneath a tree to lie down and look up at the sky. We noticed what shapes the clouds looked like, if there were birds flying, and thought about where a helicopter they saw might be going. The children really enjoyed thinking about what they could see by just looking up at the sky, and using their imaginations.  
Friday 28th May 2021
Our 50 Things activity for this week is number 42 and is called 'The Rough and the Smooth.' It's all about getting messy and making different malleable materials like playdough, gloop, clay, etc., and the children's experiences. It is a low-cost activity just using ingredients from your cupboards or freezer. 
The children made cloud dough using flour, baby oil, and water, they took turns to pour, mix and mould, and watched what happened as the ingredients were combined. In a second activity, the children put cornflour, ice cubes and blue and green food colouring together in a tuff spot tray and turned it into an aquatic scene adding some small world fish to make up stories.
This activity helps to develop children's communication and language, learning new vocabulary about actions such as pouring, mixing, melting etc. and descriptive words about texture. It also helps their physical development by developing their fine motor skills like strengthening muscle tone and hand-eye coordination. It's so exciting for the children to see the ingredients they are mixing transform into something new and the different directions their play can take after producing the play materials.  
Friday 21st May 2021
This week our 50 things activity was number 17 and it was called 'Hocus Pocus Potions.'
This is a no-cost activity because you can use whatever ingredients you may have in your kitchen cupboards. You can do it inside or outdoors, but make sure you protect your floors with newspaper or maybe a tablecloth in case of spillages.
The children could choose from lots of different ingredients, including washing up liquid, cooking oil, glitter, powder paint, golden syrup to name a few. They mixed them in little containers and watched what happened as they stirred. 
This activity is beneficial for children's language development by learning the ingredients' names, deciding what they want their potion to be for, and developing their imaginations. They will also learn about mathematical concepts around space and measure such as volume and capacity. Most of all it is such a fun activity to do and the children really enjoyed doing it!
Friday 14th May 2021
Our 50 Things activity this week is number 24 and is called 'Hop, Skip, Jump.' 
It doesn't have to cost any money and you can use local parks, woodland or your back garden. Physical activity helps children to develop good health and is great for building their confidence. It also develops their gross motor skills.
While at the field, and in the garden the children practiced throwing and kicking balls, rolling hoops across the ground, balancing and jumping off the hilltops, and jumping into the hopscotch squares. They had lots of fun and enjoyed participating in the activities.    
Friday 7th May 2021
Our 50 Things activity this week is number 15 on the app and is called 'Dressing Up.' It is a low cost/no cost activity, because you can use old clothes and accessories that you have around the house for children to dress up in.
We used a box of dressing up clothes that we had in our Pre-school, and the children used the outdoor area to create role play situations around the costumes. Our topic this half term is 'People Who Help Us' and this week we looked at people who had various types of driving jobs. The children incorporated this in to their play by pretending to drive a bus or taxi etc. and used props to support them like a steering wheel.
This kind of play really helps children to develop their imaginations, and bring on language and communication skills as they interact with each other, whilst acting out different roles. It also helps them to understand about different occupations and ways of life. 
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Our 50 things activity for this week is number 4 on the app, and is called 'Make Your Mark.' It is low cost using plastic straws that you can buy cheaply in a supermarket and children's paint.
The children used different coloured paints mixed with a bit of water, in a paint palette and a thin paintbrush to blob the runny paint onto some white paper, then using the plastic straw they blew into it directing the straw at the paint and watched what happened to the paint as it spread across the paper. They loved seeing how the paint mixed with the other colours and the shapes and patterns it made.
Mark making helps children to lay the foundations for learning to write by using fine motor skills to hold a paintbrush, and shows what they can create with different materials and techniques.  
Friday 23rd April 2021
This weeks 50 things activity is number 7 on the app and is called 'Making Music.'
The children used items that we had in our junk modelling collection to create musical instruments of their own, and then decorated them. Afterwards we had a singing session on the carpet so that they could play their instruments while singing some nursery rhymes. We used items that you might buy in your weekly shop like cardboard containers for toothpaste and face cream and yoghurt pots or plastic fruit containers. We also used dried beans/pasta, rubber bands and clingfilm.
They made three types of instruments, a shaker, kazoo and guitar. For the shaker they put some dried beans/pasta into a yoghurt pot and put another one on top, sealing it with tape. The guitar was made from a plastic or carboard container with plastic bands fixed over it to make the strings and the kazoo was made from a cardboard tube with some clingfilm put over the opening and sealed with tape.
This activity helps children's development in so many different way; fine motor skills while making the instruments, listening to the different sounds they can make and making up rhythms, and also finding out what happens when playing the instrument cause and effect. 
The children thoroughly enjoyed making them and making music with them to their favourite nursery rhymes!
Friday 16th April 2021
In Pre-School this week the children have been able to plant some seeds. Mr Cattermole provided each class with a collection of pots, compost and sunflower seeds to see if they can grow their own sunflowers. They will be able to look after them and watch them grow, and there will be a competition to see who can grow the tallest. Once they have started growing, the children will be able to choose whether they want to take them home and plant in them in their garden or in the school grounds! 
Wednesday 14th April 2021
Following on from the previous blog about '50 Things to do before you're 5' here is the first activity that we did this week. It is called 'Fantastic Paper Folding' and doesn't cost anything to do. The children used pieces of paper cut into square shapes of 15 centimetres by 15 centimetres and then folded it into triangle shapes which they could then pull out to look like a butterfly. You can have a go at doing this activity at home with your children and see what designs they can make, there is lots of information on the app to show you how to make different things with the paper.
Wednesday 14th April 2021
Hello everyone!
We hope you all had a nice Easter break, and a warm welcome to the new families that have just started with us. This term we are introducing some new activities from a new app that you can download onto your phones called '50 Things to do before you're 5.' There are 50 activities on the app that you can do with your children that have little or no cost, and we will be doing one activity each week at Pre-School and promoting it on here. 
Friday 19th March 2021
The children have been practising writing their names this week. They used their name cards to help them recognise the letters that were in their name and then had a go at trying to write them. They also practiced holding their pencils correctly. 
Friday 12th March 2021
This week the children watched an experiment involving white flowers. There were four glass bottles, which water was poured into, and then green, red, blue, and yellow food colouring was added to each bottle of water. Then a white flower was put into each one, and the children watched to see what happened to the flowers when they were left in the sun. They noted that the flowers in the blue and red food colouring had turned those colours and were very bright, but the yellow and green only very slightly. They really enjoyed watching what was happening to the flowers and learning about how it happens. 
Friday 5th March 2021
We are in full swing with our topic on vehicles, and one activity we have done this week is learning how to make things from paper. The children folded an A4 piece of paper in half to make a little booklet, and then cut out some pictures of different vehicles to stick inside it. They also talked about what vehicle it was and whether it went on the road, on water or in the sky etc. They drew pictures to illustrate it in their booklets.
Friday 26th February 2021
This week we started our new topic of vehicles. One of our activities was to make a rocket kite or wand. The children made the rockets from coloured paper and tissue paper, they glued the cut out pieces together to assemble the rocket, and then on small squares of paper they had a go at writing the letters of their names to stick on to their rocket.
Friday 12th February 2021
To end our topic on dinosaurs, we did an experiment to find out how to make a volcanic eruption. First we watched a video of how to do the experiment, then we got a see through bottle, put 4 teaspoons of baking soda in through a funnel, a squirt of washing up liquid, 2 teaspoons of red food colouring and some vinegar, the children watched and waited for the bubbles to rise to the top and flow down the sides as if it were lava flowing down a volcano. Finally we exploded our volcanoes on the dinosaur landscape using the same method. They were really fascinated at how the ingredients were able to make it happen! 
Friday 5th February 2021
Our nature area is a great place for the children to immerse themselves in their surroundings, and use their imaginations. On our visit this week, they pretended to be dinosaurs in their own habitat. They used the trees and bushes as cover to run and hide from each other and used their voices to roar like dinosaurs to let the others know they were coming. 
Friday 29th January 2021
Parachute games are a really good way to help children's personal social and emotional development and communication and language. They learn about following instructions, taking turns, cooperating with others and understanding rules of a game. Some of the games they have learnt this week include standing in a circle holding the parachute and then shaking it, first slowly and then gradually getting faster. Then we put a ball in the middle and shook it until the ball bounced off. The children really enjoyed participating and working together as a group.  
Friday 22nd January 2021
This week the children did some dinosaur rubbing pictures. They put dinosaur stencils underneath copy paper, and then used wax crayons to reveal the pictures underneath. Also, remembering how to hold their pencil correctly, they practiced writing their names on their pictures using their name cards to help them.
Friday 8th January 2021
New children's play session.
A huge welcome to all our new children and families who started with us this week. They all enjoyed the introductory play session, and were able to meet other new children too. We are sure they are going to settle in really well and look forward to spending time with them at Pre-school. Here are some photos of them getting to know each other!  
Friday 18th December 2020
The children had a lovely surprise when Santa came to visit them. He gave Pre-school some presents which were some Remote control cars and Mini microphones. The children were so excited to see him and had fun opening the presents.
Wednesday 16th December 20
The children went on a Christmas themed treasure hunt in Preschool! Armed with a clipboard, pencil, and a sheet of paper with pictures of Santa, an elf, a wreath, presents, a reindeer, a Christmas tree and a stocking, they went hunting for the corresponding pictures in the classroom, ticking them off on their paper once they had found them.  
Thursday 10th December 2020
On our visit to the nature area this week, the children went on a hunt for different types of creatures. They used magnifying glasses to help them find minibeasts under logs and leaves, and took pictures of what they had found with an iPad. They looked out for birds and squirrels too, and really enjoyed exploring the environment. 
Thursday 3rd December 2020
We are well underway with preparations for Christmas, and the children have been really busy with craft activities. They have used their imaginations to decorate Santa pictures, stockings and Christmas trees with lots of sparkly gems and sequins which has helped them to practice their fine motor skills. Enjoy looking at the photos to see their creations!
Friday 27th November 2020
The children have been getting really physical this week, practising their gross motor skills.
They used different types of equipment like the balance beam and the hilltops to walk along and then jump off at the end. Putting their arms out to to the side and bending their legs when jumping helped them to balance and be in control of their movements.
Friday 20th November 2020 
The children loved taking part in a colour hunt this week in our nature area. They used clips boards to hold their writing frames and made marks with their pencil to checked off the colours as they found them. While hunting they found that they could compare various shades off the same colours.  
Friday 13th November 2020
The children have had a busy week; as well as continuing with our clothes topic and laughing at the story The Emperor's New Clothes they have been learning about the Children in Need charity and looking at more patterns, this time on socks. 
They have learnt some new moves while joining in with Jo Wicks' 5 minute work outs every day. Jo Wicks is the first ever Schools ambassador for Childfen in Need.
Despite the weather turning a little colder we continue to make the most of our outdoor areas. The childrten were a little dissapointed that most of the pondlife has gone but soon forgot that when we saw a squirrel, several birds and some bugs in the nature area. 
Having looked at patterns on pants last week we looked at socks this week and the cbhildlren practiced finding the matching patterns while playing with pairs of socks.   
Friday 16th October 2020
During our trip to the field this week, we turned it in to a race track and had some races! It was great lining up at the start line, which was the yellow hose, then waiting for the 'ready' 'steady' 'go' and then running as fast as we could to the tree. It was such fun getting our bodies moving and having fun with our friends. We also sang 'the wheels on the bus' together too.
Friday 9th October 2020
Continuing with our topic about bears the children had the chance to do some role play this week. They helped to build a cave using upturned tables and some fabric draped over them, and then used their imaginations pretending to move around the room like bears looking for food, and then bringing it back to the cave. We had a lot of fun and the children really enjoyed acting out being a bear and incorporating the cave into their play.  
Thursday 3rd December 2020
We have now started our preparations for Christmas, and the children are very busy doing lots of craft activities. They have enjoyed using their imaginations, to decorate Christmas trees, stockings, and Santa pictures, and used their thumbs and fingers to pick up gems to place onto the pictures which strengthens fine motor skills. Enjoy looking at what they have created! 
Thursday 1st October 2020
We had our first visit to the nature area this week, and the children really enjoyed exploring the new environment. They learned how to line up and walk in pairs, and we talked about the rules we needed to follow in order to stay safe. During the visit they were able to take a look into the pond from the viewing platform and were able to find out what was in there. The children found lots of things that sparked there curiosity and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their surroundings.    
Thursday 24th September 2020
How wonderful! A member of Shirley school staff called Sarah Magee has donated to the school three murals she has painted, this one was given to Pre-school and we have put it up in our outside area. What a lovely scene of some beach huts and a huge thank you to Sarah for giving this to us to display! The children will really enjoy looking at it and we hope you do too.
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Wednesday 9th September 2020
Play Session
It was so lovely to welcome the first of our new Pre-school children this morning. We all had a great time playing and getting to know each other, and the children enjoyed exploring all of the activities on offer. We are all looking forward to them starting with us next week, and here are some fantastic photos of them in action!