Happy New year everyone! Our Spring term topic is called 'Growing Together' -'Who am I?' thinking in detail about how we can be the best version of ourselves.
We started the term with the story of 'Stickman' and how he became lost and how that made him feel. We were then left a gift of 'The Naughty Bus' story which is going to take us to lots of different destinations and help us to learn about ourselves and how we can support each other to grow and develop into the best versions of ourselves.
Zog our reading dragon left us Dear Santa in our basket this week. We loved this story and enjoyed trying to guess what was hidden under the wrapping paper.
Santa had an unexpected problem and needed our help. The naughty elf had jumbled up all his letters. He was feeling bewildered. Spiders were amazing and were able to order the numbered envelopes from smallest to largest.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs 🦕
This week we have been extremely ‘adventurous’. We have been helping Captain Flinn to search for his missing pirate ship. To do this we became pirates for the day and had lots of fun scrubbing the decks, walking the plank, playing pirate games (pin the patch on the pirate). We made telescopes and pirate bandanas and went in search of the missing ship. What we found was ‘unexpected’ treasure in the treasure chest.
What a busy week we have had in Spiders this week. We read the story ‘Mixed’ then found that everything in our story tray had turned green. We followed the evidence trail and designed and built traps to the culprit (it was the evil pea).
Another hectic week in Spiders. This week we have been helping the Little Red Hen by looking for evidence of Autumn. The evil pea told her it wasn’t Autumn and she got in a muddle. She needs to cut and gather the wheat to make her bread in the Autumn. Using our detective glasses we collected evidence of Autumn in our evidence bags. The Little Red Hen then needed our help to grind the grains of wheat to make the flour and then mix and knead the dough. We put the bread in the oven to bake.
Another very busy week in Spiders. We have been looking for evidence of animal homes on our field. We found spiders webs, birds nests, logs where the wood lice sleep.....After a blustery forest adventure mid week we read the story of ‘After the storm’ where the animals homes are destroyed in a storm. We then made some cosy homes for our toy woodland animals back in the classroom.
What a busy week we have had in Spiders. We have been enjoying the Gruffalo story and have done lots of learning both indoors and out. We have designed, made and set traps to catch the Gruffalo.
We worked together to make our traps to help us catch the Gruffalo. Once we had made them, we carried them up to forest school where we had already found the Gruffalo’s house on one of our previous trips.
We set our traps and left a trail of bread for him to follow to lead him to our trap… Come back soon to find out if we caught our Gruffalo!
Once we had caught the Gruffalo, we made him into crumble back in the classroom. We tasted it at snack time and decided if it was ‘Delicious’ or ‘Disgusting’. Most of Spiders thought it tasted disgusting!
We know how crucial it is to foster a love for learning and to follow a child centered approach to teaching. We know from educational studies that children learn most when engaged and excited about something and that each child is individual. Although we need to teach your child a range of skills and ensure the next steps are met throughout our knowledge of child development we also know that your child’s interests may not be the same as the other 20 children in Spiders and to get the best from each child we need to use a planning in the moment approach to our curriculum.
What is Planning in the Moment?
Planning in the moment is a style of teaching and learning introduced by Anna Ephgrave. In a nutshell it is taking your child’s interests and teaching the next steps for learning for your child in that moment as they happen. It is child led, based on your child’s interest at that moment and requires skilled practitioners to support model and teach the next step for your child there and then.
How does it work?
Each child has a focus week over a half term. Parents are a vital part of the planning for learning process by filling in a parent consultation sheet and sending pictures from home . This guides the learning by informing the practitioners of current interests, things that are happening at home and areas that parents may want to focus in on to support their child. Practitioners then use this to carefully support your child over the week, tailor provision and use their interests to develop and teach the next steps in learning for your child. At the end of the week assessments can be made and targets for learning and development identified for their next cycle of learning.
What about learning to read/write and maths?
We recognise the need to develop firm foundations for Literacy and Numeracy. To do this we teach phonics and maths mastery in Reception year and in Nursery we develop the prerequisite skills for to these. This is done through short differentiated carpet sessions which support children to tune into sounds. We also teach maths through counting rhymes and provide activities to develop fine motor skills for writing such as dough disco and write dance. In addition we know how important developing imagination and reading stories is for young children and use the helicopter stories approach to gather children’s own stories and act them out together. We ensure that good quality stories are read every day.
……..and this is only half of the day!!!!!
Last year during the pandemic we introduced forest school for our full time children in nursery. The benefits to the children’s prime areas of learning was noticeable and had a massive positive impact on children’s wellbeing and self-esteem especially in such a time of uncertainty and worry. Each day the children spent one nursery session (morning or afternoon) on the school field in the different woodland areas learning about themselves and their environment.
What is Forest School?
Forest school is a developmental learning approach that hinges on the learner being actively engaged with their outdoor environment on a regular basis. For us this means daily, all year and in all weathers. It is a long term process of learning that takes into account all of the learning that can happen over the seasons. For example, the changes such as autumn leaves, the frost and snow and its impact on wildlife, the start of spring and looking for new life and growth. It is a time to connect with nature and at the same time develop the prime areas of learning fundamental to our early year’s curriculum. Physical development, communication and language and personal and social development. As a learner centered approach it starts with the child and follows their interests and observations. children develop independence and social skills far more quickly by putting on their own outdoor kit, changing shoes for wellies and by looking after their friends and helping them to do so. The chatting, problem solving and suggestions of ideas that takes place on a walk to the woodland could never be sustained through a circle time on the carpet in the classroom!!