Yesterday the children and staff were enthralled by Little Angel Theatre's performance of Handa's Surprise. The children listened, gripped by the wonderful movement of the actors and puppets. Although this is a very familiar story to many of our children, their delivery brought it to life. We understand children find sensory stories engaging and inviting: this was no different, with beautiful fruit to handle, smell and taste everyone left at the end of the day having enjoyed this rich performance.
During the harvest season we have been supporting the children in thinking about others who do not have the means to feed themselves and their families. At Rachel Keeling, families and staff have donated rice, pasta and tins of soup and vegetables to our local Food Bank, First Love Foundation. Children collected and sorted the items into boxes and when Barney from First love Foundation arrived, the children helped to crate and stack the goods and deliver it to his van. Barney explained that local families in need will use the food and are very grateful for it.
Children also helped to sort, match and count the money collected from our recent cake sale in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care. They showed they were real experts about money, recognising numbers and the face of the Queen on the coins. Our generous families raised £118 by donating and buying cakes. What wonderful role models they are.
This week saw the official launch of our Bike It programme. In collaboration with TfL and Sustrans we were lucky enough to be selected to become a Bike It School. We will continue to work with children, families, staff and the local community to improve access and skills so that families are cycling more. Jo, our Bike It Champion, led a healthy breakfast session for our cycling and scooting families to introduce herself to our families and explain the programme. Many of our children make wonderful progress using our balance bikes but we want all children to have access and improved opportunities to learn to cycle on the balance bikes and two-wheeler pedal bikes. Jo will support staff to run balance bike sessions, two-wheeler pedal bike sessions, family cycle rides and bike maintenance classes. Rachel Keeling will also have access to more resources to facilitate this - we will definitely need an additional bike and scooter store as ours is already full! Two families have borrowed balance bikes and helmets this weekend - let's hope the sun shines for them!
At Rachel keeling Nursery School we have always viewed our children as experts: they are experts in building, designing, imagining, cooking and painting.
We have planned a project to support deep learning around music and musicality. Children have been introduced to a range of instruments and have had opportunities to listen to music over time. Skilled staff have exposed children to musical notation and score sheets. We now have some children who are able to follow the patterns of the keys on the piano and play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. They joy and pride they, their friends and family show when they share it has been captured on film (see our film section). To further develop this, one practitioner has developed a programme to work with a small group and their families and learn to play the ukulele. Having high expectations of all children is essential to develop confidence and self-esteem. The ukes have gone home today for the first time to practice. The process has been considered and planned but may take a different route: maybe a performance around the fire at Christmas? Watch this space!
We have kicked off Black History Month by inviting back friends of the Nursery, the Iroko Drummers. Children were introduced to the djembe drums and had time to explore playing the drums as well as listen to them being skilfully played by the musicians. Some children heard the story of Fanta and all children danced, listening to rhythms and beats. The children all displayed the willingness to have a go at something new, share their ideas and responded to what they saw and heard with excitement.
We also have stories in different language planned, cooking experiences and more music when our families are coming into nursery to work with children and share their skills and knowledge.