Tuesday 13th July - Today we spotted one of the pesky pirates counting his money and jewels and then (shock horror) dropping his litter on the sand! The children were rightly shocked ... they have already learnt about the dangers of litter to sea-life. What could we do about this? There were many suggestions. Firslty the children had to be calmed and I had to inform them that battles of any kind are not permitted in the classroom, even within stories!! Eventually we came to the conclusion that we needed to talk to the pirate to get to the bottom of it. We lay in wait for the pirate to return (one of our crew members hid behind a rock (a chair)) - the crew members then approached the pirate (who had no idea we were there) and told him he must not drop litter. The pirate didn't understand why dropping litter was a problem ... the children were quick to explain that a plastic bottle dropped onto a beach could blow into the sea and be a danger to the little fish. They also told the pirate about how plastic bags could get tangled around the fins of fish or the legs of crabs. They had a lot of knowledge to share. It turns out the pirate hadn't thought about the consequences of his actions and was pleased that the children had explained this. He has promised not to drop any more litter. As a teacher, I have reflected on the benefits to children on the use of stories to develop children's skills and knowledge. What better way for children to realise what they know, than by asking them to explain it to a character in a story who doesn't know. How boring would it be to ask children (as the teacher) "right - can you tell me what you know about the dangers of plastic in the sea?" - when instead you can develop a storyline based on a pesky pirate who needs teaching a lesson or two. How lovely that the children can themselves become part of the storyline. This "Mantle" has been a huge success and we finished by joining the pirate in a sea shanty promoting the importance of not dropping litter. What a fabulous end to the year. Goodbye crew mates .... it's been a pleasure sailing with you.
Monday 5th July 2021 - The children searched for a long time on the beach. At first they thought they would never find anything but suddenly they uncovered what they had been looking for. It was a map! The children could see a picture of a key and an "X marks the spot" on the map. They were of course keen to follow the map! So off we went - out and about around the school - imagining ourselves exploring the island. We looked at the shapes on the map and saw that they were representative of parts of Forest School. We found the key and then went on to find the treasure chest - hidden under a green leafy plant. Inside the chest were jewels of many colours (rubies, sapphires, emeralds) and lots of coins. There were also photographs of pirates .... but where were those pesky pirates??... where have they got this treasure from and are they responsible for all of the litter on the beach?? So many questions to be answered!
Tuesday 29th June 2021 - As the crew approached the island they thought about the secret coded messages they had found in the bottle. The messages suggested that maps, pirates and treasure may await us! The crew were excited as they stepped onto the island for the first time. They had a good look around, but what they found was rather surprising. Yes, there were fish, crabs, shells, even the odd eel and an octopus. We agreed that we would expect to see all of those kinds of things on an beach. However, we also spotted litter (plastic bags, plastic tubs, old elastic bands, even cotton buds!). Amongst all of this was a beautiful rainbow fish with a plastic bag which had become entangled and wrapped around its fin. The rainbow fish looked very sad indeed. We wanted to speak to her. We found that if we gently touched her fin, she was activated to speak. She told us that the amount of rubbish and litter in the sea was making her sad. She told us that the sea creatures often get caught up in the litter and that sometimes they even swallow it by mistake, giving them poorly tummies. It was a terrible situation and one which the crew needed to ponder on. Why was all this rubbish on the beach, and what should we do about it? (The children later enjoyed working in pairs to create digital pictures of the beach scene - they put their names on their work by typing at least the first letter of their name on the keyboard and then they saved their pictures into a class file).
Monday 14th June - now out at sea, the crew members sailed for many days. Some days there seemed nothing much to see but this particular day was to be different. An island was spotted in the distance and the navigator began to steer the ship towards the interesting looking island. A little while later, a crew member shouted "a bottle, I can see a bottle!". As the crew members peered over the side of the ship, they did indeed spot a bottle, floating on the top, bobbing about merrily. Of course the crew members wanted to see what it was all about - but they realised they couldn't reach overboard to grab it. They talked to their fellow crew mates, discussing ideas as to how they would be able to get hold of this intriguing looking bottle. One of the crew members came up with the idea of using a net to reach overboard. Luckily a net had been packed. This turned out to be a great idea as we did indeed succeed in catching the bottle in the net. The crew members were convinced that the message in the bottle must be a map! So they were surprised to find it wasn't a map at all - it was lots of little pictures in rows ... some rows were longer than others .... the pictures comprised of shapes, little images (a cupcake, a sun etc) and different coloured stars. As we were puzzling over it we heard a squawk! It was a loud squawk - the children were delighted to spot "Sammy the seagull" ! There was something in his beak ... we examined it more closely and realised that next to each little picture or symbol was a letter. We began to realise that the message in the bottle was a code. As a team, we began to crack the code ... "the map is buried in the sand". This was just one of the many coded messages, revealing the information which would help us to explore the island.
Monday 7th June 2021. Before half term we enjoyed a very momentous day. The ship was due to set sail. As we stood making our preparations, one child suggested that we should put on our life jackets. We put them over our head and tied them at the sides. The ticket master gave each crew member a shiny ticket (saying "Dyma ti") and each passenger said "Diolch". Then one by one they boarded the ship. Once on deck the preparations began. We scrubbed the deck, climbed the ladders and hoisted the sails. Then amid much anticipation, the ship sounded its horn "toot toot" and we were off, waving furiously to the onlookers. Once out on the wide ocean, we reached for our binoculars. What could we see? Wavy water, white birds, a huge whale, a green turtle, a nice shark, bees, a police boat, a hump back whale, a moon and an island. Who wants to explore the island??
Monday 24th May 2021. We have been spending lots of time thinking about the things we will need to take with us on our journey. To focus our minds, we tried to think "what is the one most important thing I must not forget to take?". The children enjoyed a "Think - Pair - Share" session to share their ideas. This helped them to work on their listening skills. They have been learning that listening is not just about using our ears. It is also about looking at the person who is talking, waiting for them to finish before starting to talk and concentrating on what they are saying. They had lots of individual ideas about the most important item to take. Some examples of their ideas are as follows: Blanket (a big one); teddy; transformer; watch; ipad; phone; my 2 rabbits; a surprise; my Mummy; my dog."The children represented their ideas on large scale paper. They are learning that most simple objects can be drawn easily by thinking about which simple 2D shape they are (suitcase, phone, ipad etc = rectangle ... the face of a watch = a circle etc etc). They surprised themselves in terms of their ability to draw the items in their heads.
Monday 17th May 2021. Last week we were very busy thinking about the types of healthy food we could take on our adventure. First of all we did a class sorting activity. We sorted a selection of foods into "healthy" and "unhealthy". The children knew lots about the importance of not eating too much sugar and they are beginning to categorise foods into "fruits" and "vegetables". As a follow on we painted a selection of fruits using just the 3 primary colours. The children enjoyed "making" orange, purple and green. We also practised saying the colours and the fruits in Welsh. What a busy bunch we are!
Monday 10th May - whilst enjoying a little walk down by the docks we spotted the Kathleen and May ship looking magnificent. There were lots of busy people making preparations and giving instructions. All of a sudden, we spotted a seagull. He was making a sad noise. We wondered what the matter was. We decided we should ask the seagull what had happened. The seagull told us that his name was Sammy. He had broken his leg and was getting hungry as he was unable to hunt for his favourite snack ... worms!! Dosbarth Seren to the rescue ... we decided to help Sammy by hunting for worms ourselves. We had lots of fun finding worms of lots of different lengths. We looked at which worm was longest and shortest and we had a go at putting the worms in size order. We also tallied the worms found using a digital pictogram. The icing on the cake was finding out that Sammy speaks Welsh. We asked him "pa liw?" so that he could chose his favourite colour worm for his snack. What a lot of learning!
Tuesday 3rd May 2021 - A walk down by the docks (in our imaginations!) enabled us to hear lots of "dockside" sounds. The children heard a seagull, the sound of the water and the noise of tooting boats. As we were enjoying the sights and sounds of the dockside, we spotted an advert which had been pasted onto a fence. It seems that a big ship (called the Kathleen and May) is soon going to be setting sail. Crew-mates are needed. The advert was interesting, lots of words and also pictures. The children recognised lots of the letter sounds that they have been learning and the pictures were possibly clues about what we might encounter on our journey? There was a sign-up sheet .... who is up for it?? The children were intrigued by the pirate picture in particular and most of them couldn't write their name on the sign up sheet quick enough! How exciting!
Monday 26th April. Last week we progressed our Mantle journey further. We turned our attention to the Connah's Quay docks. We looked at "old" and "new" pictures of the docks. We also examined a map of Wales and we knew that Connah's Quay was in the North (at the top!). We created the landscape using materials and enjoyed making mountains, adding fish to the sea and shells to the shore. The children worked in small groups with an adult to load cargo (bricks and stones) on and off the boats. We counted and sorted the cargo, assessed which boat had more/less. The children used their maths skills for a purpose! We also needed to create a captain for our ship. We thought about what a captain would look like and brainstormed our ideas. Everybody had a go at designing the Captain's boots. We took the key themes which were all generated by the children and from these ideas, we created 2 possible welly boot designs. How to decide? By a democratic vote of course! Listening to their ideas has been amazing!
Monday 19th April. What a busy start to the summer term we have had. Last week we began to make "steps in" to our "Mantle of the Expert" story. I asked the children "where do we live?". As you can see from the mindmap, some children knew that we lived in Wales, others knew we lived in Connah's Quay. Some children talked about their street names or the people they lived with. We then looked at images (using Google maps and archive websites) of Connah's Quay "a long time ago" and compared them to images of Connah's Quay "today/now". Lots of the children recognised the image of the high street. We noticed that there were lots of cars on the "now" picture, compared to the "a long time ago" picture. The children were surprised that people didn't have cars. As we were interested in the idea of transport we then looked at images of transport "now" compared with transport "a long time ago". The children enjoyed sorting the pictures using sorting circles. Through these investigations the children were beginning to appreciate that things were different "a long time ago".
Monday 22nd March. Last week we mind-mapped what the children knew about Easter. Of course, they were experts on the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs but clearly we needed to think a little about the Christian story of Easter. We shared a picture book and I summarised the story in the most age appropriate way possible. This past week we have also enjoyed lots of storytelling around "The Story of the Easter bunny". We set up a little Easter corner in the book nook and the children enjoyed using their imaginations through storytelling. The Easter hats are coming along a treat and this task is giving the children lots of opportunity to practise using their scissor skills. We've also been painting large Easter egg pictures and colouring pictures of bunnies. Happy Easter everybody!
Monday 15th March - We planted sunflower seeds last week and today we were amazed to see that there are already some tiny shoots appearing. The children will be able to bring them home at Easter so that's something to look forward to. The children also worked very hard on their Mother's Day cards. I do hope all of our lovely Mums had a fab day yesterday. You've been Mums and teachers over the past few months so a big thank you to you all! We are back in the swing of our "focus child" system now. Each week, 5 children from each class are in our "focus group". We work closely with them, conducting assessments and supporting their development of the target skills for this half term. Language, Numeracy and Digital skills are at the core of everything we do, but this half term we have been particularly focussing on shape, role-play, using a computer mouse, scientific investigation and independence in personal care. Of course, today we have begun thinking about Easter. We began by brainstorming what we already knew about Easter. We read the story of "The Easter Bunny" - and we are already wondering where his secret home is? More Easter fun to come as we skip towards half term! Here are a few photos to give you a taste of what we've been up to over the past week.
Monday 8th March - We have been learning about how to grow a sunflower from a tiny seed today. The children have followed a set of instructions and are enjoying learning about the conditions needed for growth. We hope they will start sprouting soon and you can look forward to them coming home as a little Easter gift. We've also been busy making cards for a very special day on Sunday. They are looking beautiful and we do hope you will love them as much as I do! Things are feeling more spring-like by the week - so much to be happy and optimistic about at the moment!
Monday 1st March - Welcome back everybody! It's so good to see everyone. We are getting right back into the swing of things now and to make things even better, the sun has been shining. Today has been all about St David's Day. We have been painting daffodils and Welsh dragons. We've enjoyed watching videos to help us learn about the history of St David and the way people celebrate. We also put our thinking hats on to play a memory game with a variety of important Welsh symbols and sang Welsh songs. The best bit was having a taste of the delicious Welsh cakes for our snack! Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus pawb!
St David's Day Celebration
Wednesday 16th December - Christmas fun in Dosbarth Seren! Merry Christmas everyone ... stay safe and we will see you on the New Year.
Monday 14th December - “What do we know about Christmas?” - lots it seems .... we brainstormed our existing knowledge .... we knew about Father Christmas, presents, trees etc .... we wrote our ideas on flip- chart paper. There was one thing missing though ... the Christian meaning of Christmas. Class Seren have been learning about the Nativity story. We shared the story book, watched a fun animation and then re-enacted the story using small world characters. It was a heart- warming moment to see one of our little learners trotting over each of the 3 kings to Baby Jesus’ manger and saying “ there you go baby Jesus” as each gift was presented. I was able to draw on their prior knowledge by noticing “ this is why you get presents at Christmas ... because the 3 kings brought presents to Baby Jesus”.
Monday 7th December. What an interesting week we've had! First of all a letter arrived. The letter contained 2 clues as to the whereabouts of the wolf. The first clue was a photograph of the wolf (and imagine our surprise when we found that the "big bad wolf" was none other than Whiffy - who we already know is not big or bad!). There was also a picture of Whiffy's front door. We could see that the door was red (drws coch) with a number 4 (pedwar). We decided to go and visit Whiffy at his house. When we arrived at Whiffy's street, there were 5 doors - each door was a different colour and had a different number on the front. We soon worked out which door belonged to Whiffy. We knocked on the door and Whiffy answered! We had already rehearsed the question in advance. The question was "Why did you blow down the houses?". When we asked Whiffy this, he giggled and said that it was his birthday next week and that he was practising his blowing skills ready to blow out the candles on his cake! What a silly little wolf he is! We explained to Whiffy that the 3 little pigs were very worried and Whiffy promised us he would put things right. We all agreed that it just goes to show that sometimes things are not as they seem! There wasn't a big bad wolf after all - just a silly little wolf who was practising his blowing skills and who hadn't thought about the consequences of his actions!
Monday 30th November 2020 - last week was a very exciting week. We received a letter. The letter was addressed to "The Problem Solvers" - we soon realised this was us! The letter was from Mummy Pig. She was very grateful for our hard work building a bigger and better house for her three boys. However, she was still worried and she wanted to make an appointment to see us. We rang the number on the letter and agreed that tomorrow would be a good day for her to visit us in our office. We decided to prepare properly for our visitor. We made cakes and planned to offer cups of tea. On the morning of her arrival, we prepared a comfy chair for her to sit in. When she arrived, the children offered her the cakes they had made and one of the children poured her a cup of tea. We wanted to make sure that she knew she was welcome. Mummy Pig told us that the wolf was still at large ... and although her boys were safe in their nice new house, there were other worried little piggies in the village. She didn't know where the wolf had come from or who he was. They had never had trouble with wolves in their village before. What a problem! What could we do to help? The children had a number of ideas and most agreed that we needed to try to find the wolf. If we were going to find the wolf, we thought it was important to establish what wolves looked like. We had a brainstorming session and came up with lots of "wolf" features "bushy tail, big eyes, sharp pointy teeth" etc ... We represented the wolf's features using large scale drawing paper, using our knowledge of shapes to help us (triangles for teeth and circles for eyes etc).
Monday 23rd November: Last week the children actually got to meet 2 of the little pigs. Mrs Morgan and Mrs Oldfield went "into role" as 2 of the little pigs. The children knew that their teachers were representing the pigs because they wore hats to show who they were. The children listened to the 2 little pigs having a conversation. They were feeling sad because the big bad wolf had blown their houses down. They were having to live in their brother's brick house. The problem was... the brick house was only built for 1 little piggy, not 3 little piggies - and the house was not big enough for 3. What a problem! Luckily "The Problem Solvers" (aka Class Seren) were on hand to help. The children came up with the idea of building a new, bigger and better house for the 3 little pigs. They worked hard in the construction area to design some lovely houses. There was lots of discussion about materials used as well as the language of size. We needed to make sure the 3 little pigs would fit into their new house with room to spare.
Monday 16th November: We have now begun our “Mantle of the Expert” story in Nursery. Mantle is an innovative pedagogy with a story at its heart. Over the past couple of weeks the children have enjoyed “Whiffy Wilson the Wolf” stories. We have also begun exploring the story of the 3 little pigs. The children thought of words to describe both the Wolf in the Whiffy stories and the Wolf in the 3 Little Pigs story. The children agreed that the 2 wolves were very different (Whiffy is silly, funny, kind and nice - whilst the Big Bad Wolf is scary, mean and bad .... but the question is ..... are the “big bad Wolf” and Whiffy actually 2 different people?? Or could they be the same Wolf. No-one tells us the name of the Big Bad Wolf? What is his name? Does he have one? Furthermore - why has the big bad wolf taken it upon himself to blow down the pigs’ houses? So many questions to explore. For now, however, we are about to meet 2 of the 3 little pigs .... and I think they need our help!
Monday 9th November - we have been talking about the fireworks we spotted in the sky over the weekend. We represented these images using sparkles, chalk and paint. We also created firework shapes using pipe cleaners and a colander! We talked about the noises made by fireworks and the colours and shapes seen in the sky.
Tuesday 3rd November - the children have been enjoying an autumn themed exploratory activity ( I tried to get pumpkins but there appears to be a shortage so we had to make do with butternut squash!) This was a truly cross curricular learning experience. We explored the concept of whole and half, we talked about where the squash had come from (prior to being in the supermarket). We described the texture of the slimy orangey flesh inside and compared it to the hard skin. We learnt how to use tweezers to pick up the seeds ( this was quite a challenge!). The children loved using the magnifying glasses and were delighted to see that they could make things look bigger! We used the numbered pebbles to encourage the children to count the seeds. They loved picking up the whole squash to feel the weight of it. They also practised their social skills in terms of sharing and taking turns with the tools. Who would have thought that 2 butternut squash and a few tools would captivate them to this extent? The power of sensory provision is clear to see.
Tuesday 20th October - We have been enjoying the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears ....the children listened to the story a number of times and enjoyed joining in with the repetitive parts "Who's been eating my porridge?" etc . They then re-told the story in the "small world" story-time provision area. So much fantastic language and the children showed an excellent recollection of the story! There was a "bear" theme going on in other areas of the classroom too. This bear puzzle has been a particular favourite!
Tuesday 13th October - Home learning has been the name of the game over the past week. The children have watched Mrs Morgan reading our favourite class book (Happy Dog, Sad Dog) which has led to some fantastic activities based on opposites. The children have practised their Welsh language pattern “Pwy wyt ti?” after watching this demonstrated on video. There has also been lots of counting, sorting and pairing activities going on. I have seen some wonderful paper aeroplanes and videos of children playing memory games. The highlight, for me, has to be the wonderful spider theme we have had going on. The children have joined in with reciting the Nursery rhyme, followed by making spiders, counting legs and we have even enjoyed some spider poetry. Here are some pictures of the children’s creations.
Tuesday 6th October: Last week, we worked on self portraits. We used a mirror to remind ourselves what we looked like. We supported the children to improve their pencil grip. Once they are all completed, they will be mounted to form a gallery on the wall.
Tuesday 29th September
Today I have another three classroom areas to show you:
The Home Corner
The cornerstone of every Nursery classroom. Children are invited to replay their experiences of being at home. This develops their language, communication and interaction skills as they engage with simple narratives. They learn to negotiate roles with their friends, demonstrate care for the baby doll and lay the table for dinner (giving each person a spoon, a knife and a fork is the very first stage of counting as they learn the concept of one to one correspondence).
The Book Nook
There is no greater joy than seeing two or three children sharing and enjoying books. They learn how to handle the books and about the features of a book (cover, pages, print, text etc). This is where I often spot them "playing teachers" - holding the book up to a friend and telling them the story. Books can be used to promote a range of learning areas. For example, books about numbers help them with their number recognition and counting skills.
The Water Play Area
This has been a great favourite recently, particularly since I began introducing coloured water and glitter! Children develop their pouring and filling skills - important for their hand-eye co-ordination. They experiment with floating and sinking (all important scientific endeavours) and sometimes just enjoy the sensory experience of the glitter and bubbles moving and swirling. They interact beautifully with others and this is where I hear laughing and lots of talk, as they describe what they see happening. Just magic! We sometimes hide numbers or shapes in the water to build their mathematical skills. The opportunities really are endless.
Tuesday 22nd September
We have been very busy over the last week settling the children into school life. The first 6 weeks is all about getting to know the children, learning about their interests and beginning to make some assessments so that we have a starting point for planning their learning.
As you are not able to see into the classroom, I thought it would be nice to take some photographs of some of the areas in which your children are learning.
The Construction Area:
Children enjoy building and constructing models here. Amongst other things, we support their understanding of shape, balance and height. We enjoy making homes for the animals, which promotes storytelling. Children learn to share with their friends and collaborate on joint endeavours.
The Painting Area:
Lots of mark-making goes on here. Children explore colour and texture and are free to develop their own creations. Often the value is weighted towards the process as opposed to the product. Many children love exploring the sensory aspect of paint. They are becoming independent in terms of pulling their sleeves up and putting on their own aprons. Aprons are compulsory when painting, however, you may still notice the odd spot of paint on their clothing. This just shows that they have had fun!
The Puzzle Table:
The items on this table change depending on my focus for that week. In the early days, children often enjoy simple shape and picture puzzles. There is always a focus on number, with either a number puzzle, small counting toys or a simple number challenge. We may also offer the children table-top activities such as threading (to develop their fine motor skills) or small bricks for building towers. The possibilities are endless, and this is one of our most popular areas for many children.
Tuesday 15th September:
Hello and a big welcome to all of our new Nursery families.
I hope you enjoy reading our class pages. This is where you can keep up to date with what's going on in your child's class.
This week has been all about settling in. We are busy getting to know your children and ensuring that they are all happy and settled. Part of this process is establishing routines and expectations.
There are still a few children who haven't yet joined us and we are looking forward to meeting them next week. The children who have already started have amazed us, showing confidence and resilience as they have left their parents at the gate. I am sure you are very proud! However, we need all parents to know that we are also empathising with you! We know it is an emotional experience letting go of your child's hand. Please be reassured that they are in safe hands.
Here is a little poem over which to ponder:
First Day of School
For many years you've held their hand
And been their loving guide
But now you know the time has come
To leave them by my side
It's only for a little while
Your child will learn and grow
And at the end of everyday
They'll tell you all they know
So as you walk away from them
Don't worry anymore
I'll take care of those precious gifts
When you leave them at the door
I'll nurture, care and educate
As if each one were mine
So trust our happy, caring school
They'll really be just fine