Friday, 21 November 2014

While no one railroad can completely duplicate another line, two or more may compete at particular points - John Moody

Big trains, small trains, old trains and new have been rattling and whistling through brambles - choo, choo, choo! Terrific Trains by Tony Miton and Ant Parker  The children have had to work cooperatively this week to share the trains and design the tracks for them to go on, so lots of great negotiating skills have been taking place.

Miss Clare and Leo the Leopard's group have been making lots of different types of train on the art table: sponge print trains with card print tracks, geometric trains, fingerprint colour mixing trains, cutting around Thomas the Tank Engine and junk model (using last weeks building bricks) trains. During caret time for singing the children were up an active as they sang, 'Face, funnel, wheels and dome' and 'Two little engines resting in a shed.'

The telephones were out in the communication area this week and were used in the train station role play area as well as around the classroom.  Children used the phones and imagined talking to someone on the other end as they played independently.  Together they used the phones to talk to each other and recreate past experiences as well as make it part of their current play.

Each child at Brambles has a 'Best Book' where all their best pieces of work and photos of their year are displayed.  As the Best Books are the children's, they also get to anecdote them with their keyworker.  The children and keyworker really enjoy this 1:1 time together looking at past work, describing how they made it or what they drew.  They also really like to reminisce as they look at each photograph and talk about what they were doing.  Keyworkers particularly enjoy this activity as the children come out with some great quotes that they are able to write into the child's book.  The Best Book is completed at  the end of the year and  given to the child to share with their family at the Leaver Assembly.  Over the years there have been some wonderful comments from families about the best books, especially as it has the children's comments and memories in their words - a great keepsake of their time at pre-school.

EYFS Links
Speech, language and communication skills are vital for all children. Without these skills they will not reach their full potential. Children at 3 to 4 years will usually be actively learning language and asking many questions. Children develop skills at different rates, but by 4 years usually children will:
  • Listen to longer stories and answer questions about a storybook they have just read.
  • Understand and often use colour, number and time related words, for example, 'red' car, 'three' fingers and 'yesterday / tomorrow'.
  • Be able to answer questions about ‘why’ something has happened.
  • Use longer sentences and link sentences together.
  • Describe events that have already happened e.g. 'we went park.'
  • Enjoy make-believe play.
  • Start to like simple jokes.
  • Ask many questions using words like ‘what’ ‘where’ and ‘why’.
  • Still make mistakes with tense such as say 'runned' for ‘ran’ and 'swimmed' for ‘swam’.
  • Have difficulties with a small number of sounds – for example r, w, l, f, th, sh, ch and dz.
  • Start to be able to plan games with others.
The Best Book and Telephone activity supports Communication and Language development.  This week staff were particularly looking at:
  • Beginning to use more complex sentences to link thoughts (e.g. using and, because etc)
  • Can retell a past event in correct order (e.g. went down slide, hurt finger)
  • Uses talk to connect ideas, explain what is happening and anticipate what might happen next, recall and relive past experiences.

The train has taken us all the way to the port to see what Miss Joan has in store for us next week.  Sailboat, sailboat in the sea, won't you come and carry me.  Through the oceans, through the bay, to any place that's far away!

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. - Walt Disney

Diggers are good at dig, dig, digging. , scooping up the earth and lifting and tipping, They make huge holes with their dig, dig, digging; they can work all day!  Dig, dig, digging by Margaret Mayo & Alex Ayliffe.   The children have certainly been busy on their building site role play area donning their hard hats, reflective jackets and clip boards ready to design, plan and build with the rubber and cardboard bricks.  They have also constructed in the small world site with the small crane, transporter, road roller and bulldozers with wooden bricks and rice.

Over on the art site the children used some of the small construction vehicles and painted the tyres to make texture pictures, used tissue paper to decorate the construction hats and exploring assorted textures through cutting texture 'bricks' to make a wall,

Also on the construction site was pens, pencils, crayons and paint pens to colour in the song of the week, Peter Hammers.  The children had lots of fun trying to sing this song, do the actions and colour at the same time - they were much more successful during song time!

EYFS Links
Many children enjoy having a go at arts and crafts activities, such as making collages, painting, drawing, making models or sticking and gluing things. Art and craft is a good way for children to interact and socialise with their peers, through fun activities. Some craft activities are likely to be designed so that children can have a go, on an individual basis and have a go at things themselves. Group craft experiences are beneficial too, where everyone contributes to a project.

The latter approach is great for building up social interaction with children and for them to learn about team work, sharing and cooperation. It’s also a wonderful achievement for them to be involved in a group project and they’re likely to feel very pleased with their contribution, however small or large.

With pre-schoolers in particular, taking part in art and craft activities can have significant benefits. For example, holding a pencil, crayon or paintbrush in their hands can help with fine-tuning motor skills. It improves their coordination and strength and will have long-lasting benefits, such as helping their ability to write and use a pen as they get older.

Taking part in art and craft activities is likely to be enjoyable for children and could help boost their confidence in their own abilities.

Art and craft comes under all seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage:
  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the world
  • Expressive arts and design
Children In Need
Children who were in on Friday this week were all heroes as they all came dressed as super heroes in return for a donation to Children In Need and raised a fantastic £50!  Miss Sallie made some Pudsey Bear biscuits to share at snack time too.

The building is built, the ticket office is finished, the tunnels are completed and tracks are laid.  The passengers, will soon be on their way to climb aboard with Miss Clare and see what's coming to the role play another day.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

“Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrow’s skills today.” – Jennifer Fleming

Busy hands typing on keyboards, busy fingers touching buttons, swiping screens and pressing buttons plus lots of new ways of finding out new information has been occurring in pre-school this week. Books have been read, listened to on CD along with the book and watched on the smart board to demonstrate how different types of technology can help us to do the same job, just in different ways. Objects with pulleys, knobs and levers were also explored and played with this week and the children's favourite apart from the table football was the Downfall game.

The children have been seen laying on their tummies on the floor playing with various types of technology, helping each other to turn the device on or to press the correct button to the question. They have taken turns independently using the sand timers without support as they were all so eager to have a go at various electrical games.


With their keyworkers, the children were encouraged to retrieve information from the internet using a specially designed booklet.  Each child had their own booklet and were asked to choose from one of the topics.  Then they used the keyboard to type that word onto the search engine.  The mouse was then used to click on images so that they could choose a picture from their topic that they could print and stick into their booklet.  They also had to look for a fact on that topic too.  This activity was really well received by the children and it was a wonderful opportunity for the children to share their skills and pre-existing knowledge with their keyworker and have that special 1:1 time.  The staff also found it interesting how many children touched the monitor or screen like they would an iPad or tablet and how many children knew lots of the technical devises and their uses.

The rhyme of the week was quite a funny one this week by Kenn Nesbitt and the children really enjoyed joining in with the rhyming words and afterwards talking about all the different devices, why they think all the devices stopped working and what would they talk about if that happened to them - there were some funny responses!

Parent Partnership
What a fantastic response there has been already to the Flat Stanley wider community learning topic! Two have already been on their travels; one here in England who travelled down the road to an indoor play place, a bit further to visit a zoo and then all the way up to Liverpool to visit the football stadium and watch the football match.  

The other Flat Stanley went on holiday with the child her coloured it in and her family to Cyprus!  It looked liked that FS had a busy week exploring lots of new sounds, smells and sights!

The owners of these FS's had lots of fun sharing the photos with their friends at carpet time.  Others spoke excitability about where their's had been sent too -  "My cousins house!", "Mummy's friend in Australia" and "Do-die" (Dubai)!  Staff are looking forward to seeing all the fun and exciting places FS has travelled too over this pre-school year!

EYFS Links
Technology is part of Understanding the World area of learning.  Technology covers not only electronic devices but pulley's, knobs and leavers.  When planning for specific activities staff spent time ensuring that the activities had an educational purpose, encouraged collaboration, intergration with other areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and were age appropriate.

Whilst computers, iPads, tablets etc, have a very important role to play in technology so does lots of other information and communication technology (ICT); traffic lights, bar code scanners, calculators, street lights etc. Children need to be offered the opportunity to be able to explore these artefacts all be it a real iPod, an old and no longer working telephone or a cardboard box made to look like a camera.

Parents and staff provide vital support in helping children to make sense of ICT of their world by providing technology for the children to explore, joining in with their play by scaffolding new language and skills required to use and understand the technology plus sit back and observe the children to see how they are making sense of ICT and identify their learning needs.

The EYFS identifies the following for children to achieve between 30-50 months:
Knows how to operate simple equipment
Shows an interest in technological toys with knobs or pulleys, or real objects
Shows skill in making toys work by pressing parts of lifting flaps to achieve effects such as sound, movement or new images 
Knows that information can be retrieved from computers

and the following for 40-60+ months:

Completes a simple program on a computer
Interacts with age-appropriate computer software

Scaffolding is going up, plans are being drawn, reflective and safety equipment has been delivered - I think next week Miss Emma is going to have a busy busy week with lots of dig dig digging!