A massive thank you to all our families who have sent fruit in for the children during this hot weather.
Staff and children have creatively prepared it and we have had some wonderful fruit platters, frozen watermelon on lolly sticks, redcurrant cordial and banana bread.
Children have been supported to wash, prepare, share and enjoy it.
Hopefully the weather will last! Keep the fruit coming!
For three weeks the children have been supported to explore threading and sewing.
They started with simple threading and exploring different objects, materials and fabrics. Children then looked at a range of art and craft books to inspire them.
Most children decided they wanted to create a bag: children selected fabric (which had been donated to the school).
Next they drew a plan and shared their ideas.
Children then accessed their bags when they wanted to, an adult was available nearby to support them and develop skills.
We wanted children to develop autonomy and agency as well as the skills of sewing.
It supported children developing concentration, hand eye coordination, problem solving (when they wanted to attach gems on bags and couldn't sew them) and communication.
Such a rich process for children to engage in and manage.
One of the wonderful benefits of having a large outdoor space is that it supports the development of gross motor skills. Children can run, climb, balance jump, cycle, swing and roll.
A further knock-on benefit is that children who develop gross motor skills well often develop their fine motor skills. So we find these children can sew, thread, saw, mixture, manipulate, draw and write with more control too.
This term children have had lots of exposure of using one-handed tools: spoons, scissors, knives, pens, screwdrivers, saws, needle and thread and hammers.
Children really enjoy using our real tools to explore and create models.
Just look at the pure concentration in their faces!
At Rachel Keeling Nursery School we value and we focus on the process of learning.
Children take part in lots of wonderful, first hand experiences which develop skills.
There is very little focus on end products. It is all about exploration, talk, revisiting, thinking and hopefully, mastering.
Transient Art is an area we support the children with exploring.
Children will use a range of beautiful materials: touching, closely observing, arranging and placing.
Children will sometimes work for long periods alone, in pairs or small groups creating patterns and arrangements. These get photographed, enjoyed and then packed away again.
We have not lost any of our treasured glass beads or feathers as we talk to the children and support them to enjoy the process and see the value in it.
It is a sustainable way to work and some wonderful conversations have been enjoyed around the table.
Hip hip hooray!
We enjoyed a belated Chinese New Year with the wonderful Step Out Arts yesterday.
Step Out Arts have celebrated with us every year for more than 10 years!
Due to lockdown we had to postpone their visit but we all got to enjoy it thoroughly.
Children were so engaged with the ribbon dance workshops, music workshop and of course the lion dance workshops.
This all culminated with a parade in the garden.
Today we have lots of ribbons and music for the children and I've just seen someone with a box on their head in the corridor, which I am hoping is a lion head!
It is the lucky Year of the Ox.
Children have been supported with learning about changes and growth in our wonderful garden. Not only has the appearance of frogspawn excited us, but children have been engaged in sustained learning and are beginning to see the fruit of their labour.
Children had been supported to explore and look at seeds, which they then planted.
Potaotes, beans, peppers and other vegetables have been planted, carefully positioned and labelled. Children have been invited to water and observe closely each day to chart the growth. Some are beginning to sprout and we hope the recent wet weather will aid the growth so they will be ready to harvest and share in coming months.
At Rachel Keeling we love a celebration.
Last week many of our families, staff and local community celebrated Eid al-Fitr.
In the week running up to the celebration, children were supported to gain an understanding of the celebration.
They looked at and handled a range of artefacts, shared talk, decorated a banner and looked at information and story books.
Children learned that Muslims take off their shoes when they pray.
We talked about different ways people around the world celebrate festivals.
Some children had their hands decorated with mehndi to mark the celebration.
Children helped to bake Mammoul (date) Cookies and enjoyed afternoon tea with warm spiced milk.
Our beautiful garden provides a perfect habitat for wildlife. We really enjoy the visiting birds, observing them, feeding them, listening to their song and identifying them using the bird books.
When we chanced upon a sparrow in the garden, the children were intrigued.
A sensitive adult supported them and moved the bird to a safe spot where the children could observe it.
It appeared to have died. Some beautiful conversations ensued where the children talked about what they thought had happened. The adult skillfully pondered alongside and captured the children's thinking, before burying the bird in our garden.
"He got scratched... by a huge lion"
"We need birds to eat some of the insects"
"The cat scratch... died"
"I was very surprised"
"That was scary"
"He bumped his head. He c-laped (collapsed)"
"Bad cat! He did everything. He fight the bird. That's not Rachel Keeling Values!"
"Fly the bird... with the wings. Fly away"
"Maybe fox scratch him with the hands"
Most of us know, sandwich making is an artform.
Do you take triangles, squares, rectangles?
Crusts on or crusts off?
As part of the children mathematical development they have been focusing on preparing food for the snack area to share. Sandwich-making lends itself perfectly to this learning.
Children were supported in the process. Firstly the planned their fillings, then checked the garden for any ingredients we could harvest.
Next some children went shopping for ingredients: writing their lists and collecting money to pay Mark at the market stall.
Children estimated and then counted out slices of bread, used knives to butter their bread and sliced other ingredients. They were exposed to and used mathematical language such a numbers, 'more', 'less', 'length', 'triangle', 'square' and 'rectangle'. They also used positional language and ordinal language such as 'first', 'second' etc.
Over the two weeks they have enjoyed cucumber, cheese and tomato, BLT (BUTTER, lettuce and tomato) and home grown cress sandwiches.
Sometimes they shared them out in the garden when it was warm enough and enjoyed stories and talk while they ate.
It has also fed into learning across the nursery about seeds and growth - some children picked out the tomato seeds and planted them along with other seeds and vegetables we are growing.
Enjoy the bank holiday and maybe you could make some sandwiches for an outing!
At Rachel Keeling we are lucky that our garden is home to so much flora and fauna.
Over the course of the year, the seasons bring a sense of awe and wonder to our school.
So much learning is possible, you just need to observe, listen and notice.
We were delighted recently to find some frogspawn in the pond.
Children had opportunities to observe it up close and talk about it.
They knew we had to be respectful: limiting numbers and not touching it.
The children shared talk and pondered what it might be.
They noticed movement and other pond life in the container and this provided much excitement.
With the support of information books and a skilled adult, they found the information and began to look at what might happen to the frogspawn.
Children explored the books together and read some simple captions.
Children were supported in learning about the lifecycle of the frog.
They talked about the lifecycle and then many drew pictures to represent the phases:
We just need to hope the birds don't eat the frogspawn (children made plenty of birdseed cookies and put them on the other side of the garden!)