It is week one of some special visitors at Rachel Keeling. We know the importance of inspiring children to be curious about their world and encouraging them to express their curiosity.
On Monday we had a special delivery of 10 eggs in an incubator. Children were given time to observe the eggs, talk about them, sharing what they thought and ask questions.
Some children thought they would be chicks. One child thought it would be a crocodile and another a snake.
The children waited patiently, observing and marked the days on the calendar. They noticed the eggs were moving and eventually one of the eggs started to 'pip' or 'hatch'. Out hatched a small yellow chick: children noticed they were wet and wobbly. As the chicks dried and more hatched they were moved across to the brooding box where they have more space and a warm light, food and water. Children began to understand what chicks needs to live and thrive. They were moved in pairs so they would not be lonely.
Excitement grew as more hatched. By Friday, seven chicks hatched and were growing and flapping their wings. Children were quiet and respectful around the chicks: showing great care and fascination. The chicks are now, eating, drinking and sleeping and it is a privilege to be able to do so.
Some vocabulary the children have been introduced to and supported using this week within context:
After the weekend we hope to notice the changes in the chicks as they grow very quickly, determine the gender of the chicks.
The children will help to care for them before they return to the farm next Friday.
Well what a week of Coronation fun that has been. At Rachel Keeling we know children learn best in first hand and meaningful ways. We decided to wait until after the Coronation to have a celebration because we hoped children might have seen or heard more talk and coverage of an abstract concept and so understand it more. It happens that there is a Coronation in the film Frozen though, so I had underestimated the children!!!!
Children helped plan the parties:
Some children helped to write invitations, some used their knowledge of phonics to write messages to friends who were not able to come.
Some children wrote shopping lists, collected and counted money and went to the local shops to buy provisions.
Many children across the week followed recipes, listened to instructions, read the visual recipe cards, developed skills using one handed tools and worked collaboratively to make some delicious party food.
Cooking is part of our regular provision so children have a good awareness of the processes involved and hygiene. Children helped to create banana pancakes, a tray bake, which was decorated with butter cream and fresh fruit in the design of the Union Jack flag. Biscuits were iced and vegan cupcakes decorated.
During small group time and at story, children shared lots of talk with adults and began to understand that the King is called King Charles. The King lives in London like us. He lives in a palace called Buckingham Palace.
On Friday children came to school wearing red, white and blue clothes. There was some optional face paint and a choice of designs. Whilst children and staff enjoyed the beautiful food, the National Anthem was played and children enjoyed a bit of Kool & The Gang's Celebrate!
Can you spot some special visitors who came to the school too?
Do you celebrate different festivals and events in your family? Get your child to help plan and prepare with you!
Also, children love flags, can you see whether you can find the flags for the countries of the world your family are from with your child? Try this link.
Weaving, Sewing and Talking
Over the past two weeks children have been introduced to and supported to weave and sew.
They started with a large grid that children were introduced to weaving with: they selected strips of fabric and carefully sustained interest, weaving it in and out of the grid to create a pattern. Many children showed interest and were able to access this independently once shown.
Next some children were introduced to sewing: they used large needles with huge eyes. This meant they were able to thread independently with more success. An adult helped to tie knots in the thread.
They selected pieces of card with holes ready made and practiced their hand-eye coordination to thread and sew the cotton and wool through the card.
Just look at the concentration on the children's faces!!!
Children were introduced to vocabulary such as weave, sew, needle, thread, fabric, knot.
We also notice that when we sit and concentrate while using our hands, lots of talk happens. A great opportunity for conversations.
Remember to have conversations with your child: conversations are when people take it in turns to speak and talk back and forth.
Leave lots of time for your child to process language and speak.
This is Planet Earth
Children have been showing an interest in planets after sharing some stories in Rose Class at story time.
The garden team gathered all our resources which link to planets - some lovely information books from the Research Library which had been donated by a family.
Children shared what they knew: some children knew the names of some of the planets.
Most children know we live on Planet Earth.
Many children knew that there is water and land on Earth.
Some knew the sun gives us heat and light.
Did you know it is the pull of the Moon's gravity on the Earth that holds our planet in place?
Children looked at the planets and how far they were from the sun: in order it is Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Children mark made planets in chalk on the floor in the garden: they worked collaboratively to match labels to them.
Some children helped to make physical representations of the planets with balloons and papier mache. They sustained concentration doing this as it took a long time! Children used the information books to refer to so they knew which colour to paint the planets. They even problem solved to make Saturn's rings.
Have a look when you visit the garden next at the planet display.
Look up into the sky at night with your child and see if you can see any stars or the moon.
The Rachel Keeling Nursery School community came together as it always does to celebrate Eid.
Children had already been supported to share lots of talk about their Eid celebrations and other celebrations their families observe.
Children knew that for some celebrations people have parties and share food. Some children also knew that special clothes might be worn.
Some children said members of their family went to the mosque at Eid.
During the week before our celebration, children helped to prepare food. They followed recipes, sustaining concentration, using one handed tools and collaborating with others to make: baklava, cupcakes and dipped dates in chocolate.
We also invited each child to bring in a piece of fruit which we worked collaboratively to make a huge fruit platter and fruit kebabs.
Children were invited to wear their party clothes: some children chose to have Mendhi.
Children shared food, talk and joy!
We hope those of you who celebrated Eid had a wonderful time.
Remember you can email Becky a photograph to print out for your child's Special Book.
Celebrating Together - Easter and Iftar
During the run up to Easter, many of our families have been observing the holy month of Ramadan.
We have been looking for signs of new life in our garden and some children know the egg represents new life. Some children listened to the story of the Last Supper.
We have also been talking about Ramadan and what that means for Muslims around the world. Many children were able to talk about their own experiences, some children knew that family members were fasting.
We celebrated with a symbolic Last Supper and Iftar with the children. They helped to bake and prepare some drinks to share.
Children sat together, shared the food and drink and talked with their friends.
The Easter Bunny also visited our garden and the children went on an egg hunt!
Happy Easter if you are celebrating and Ramadan Mubarak if you are observing.
Inspired to Count
Children have been supported to further develop counting, recognising amounts of objects, recognising numerals and representing these amounts through recording pictorially.
Some children also were able to record using numerals and developing mathematical language linked to calculation and problem solving.
Children were provided with a range of interesting objects such as glass stones, decorated wooden eggs, glass shells, as well as gel numerals, wooden slices with numbers etched on and fabric strawberries. These items sparked curiosity and talk.
Children were challenged and supported to use these in a range of ways:
they counted with one to one correspondence;
they matched amounts to numerals;
they explored the concept of 'more' and less';
they ordered numerals 0-10;
they began to represent their counting pictorially, given choices to do this in a range of ways.;
children sustained interest and were motivated to share their ideas, have a go and work together;
books were also used to inspire and develop knowledge and concepts.
At home, get children to help you set the table, count out plates, share snacks and look at bus numbers, car registrations and door numbers as you are out and about.
At Rachel Keeling we value the knowledge and exploration that can be gained from children engaging with the world around them and being active participants in their learning. We spark curiosity in children so that they develop agency.
During Science Week, we supported children into see themselves as scientists, carrying out a range of experiments.
Children were introduced to predicting, exploring and observing. Some children were encouraged to hypothesise why the experiments produced the results they did.
Children explored creating and observing reactions: children created erupting volcanoes in the garden by mixing bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. They talked about what happened when the ingredients were mixed and the reaction caused the change of state. Children were so motivated to repeat this and used vocabulary linked to what they could see, hear and smell (the vinegar!)
There was also cornflour in the tough tray that children helped to set up: observing and talking about what happened to the flour when you added water. They also noticed that it changed and became hard after story time, when no one had played with it.
Attracting and Repelling: children investigated what happens when liquid soap is added to water containing dirt. They explained the soap repelled the dirt. They also spent time in their own play exploring magnets and a range of materials. Some children were able to say that magnets attract metal but not wood.
Some children also experimented by exploring the Walking Water Experiment. They were able to observe how the water travelled up the paper towel (we could see it because we added natural food dye) and stuck to the paper towel. This is called 'capillary action'.
Home learning ideas for you to try at home:
If you would like to make a volcano click here.
For more Science Week experiments you can do at home click here.
Bed Time Stories
We love books at Rachel Keeling: from books children make themselves, to traditional tales, to poems, magazines, information books and more.
We know children who share books and stories tend to acquire new words and develop language rapidly.
We celebrated World Book Day this year by coming to school in our pyjamas for a bedtime story.
It was lovely to see everyone dressed in such cosy clothing. Many siblings joined our children to share stories too.
Some families also sent in photos of bedtime stories at home.
We were also so grateful that Penguin Books came to our school to share a story with the children: Rachel, Stephen and Sarah came and read the new book with the children and then had some discussions and joined the children in their play. We were so proud of our Rachel Keeling children who were able to listen to the story and engage with our visitors: asking questions and sharing lots of talk and joy. Thank you Penguin Books for the copies of Gretel the Wonder Mammoth by Kim Hillyard.
Remember to borrow a book every Friday from school to share over the weekend.
Bedtime is a wonderful time to share some precious minutes together: snuggle up and enjoy a book or tell a story without a book.
You can sing songs and rhymes.
Switch off the television, tablet or phone and enjoy some connection before bed.
Thank you to the wonderful families and staff of our nursery community:
and you donated.
We celebrated an evening of our community in aid of the Turkey & Syria Earthquake Appeal.
In doing so, we connected and raised almost £500! The total currently stands at £466 but Pam is still counting and it's not too late to donate.
Thank you Rachel Keeling Nursery School!