"We'll be friends forever won't we Pooh?" asked Piglet "Even longer" answered Pooh."
Winnie The Pooh.
As we draw towards the end of the Summer Term at Rachel Keeling Nursery, we always reflect on the progress children have made. We reflect upon the journeys we have all been on during an exciting and sometimes tumultuous year in the lives of our families.
The children are our central focus: their progress and holistic development.
We will be saying goodbye to many friends on 19 July as they move onto Reception class with a skip in their step.
We reflect on the dispositions they have developed and we are thankful for the time we have spent together, learning, living and laughing.
We send off our Rachel Keeling children as more independent, empathetic, confident, resilient and joyful human beings who will maybe think about using less plastic and riding a bike instead of travelling by car!
We hope that the friendships between children, families and staff last beyond their time at Rachel Keeling.
Our doors are always open and we are a space for you all.
In the meantime, in the words of Freddie Mercury "the show must go on!"
A huge Rachel Keeling thank you goes out to all the families, friends and staff of our wonderful little school who supported our annual summer fete.
Families past, present and future turned out to support us. You were so generous with donations of delicious savoury food, cakes, drinks, prizes, toys and bric a brac as well as those of you who parted with cash on the evening!
You helped to raise over £1668.84: our biggest total ever!
Thank you so much - our wonderful community have been amazing and the children looked and sounded like they has a lot of fun.
The money will be used to buy resources for the children: we carefully think about what we buy to ensure it is the best use of the money so kindly donated.
All we need is similar weather for our trip to the beach on 12 July!
Our children are experienced in making choices about their learning, about our environment and about our nursery. They are experienced shoppers, making choices about sustainable ways to transport our shopping, to ensuring we have as little waste as possible.
Recently our home corner was transformed into a grocery shop: selling some basic goods you may need in your home.
Children helped to clear away the home corner, prepare the space, write signs and stock the shop. They even went shopping to check we had everything we needed.
What struck many members of staff was how much the children showed us they already knew about shopping. The understood the roles, knew many pieces of vocabulary specifically linked to shopping. Transporting the shopping also became a huge focus with staff turning their backs for one moment and the whole shop was decamped into bags (for life obviously!) and carted down the corridor "home".
Children used lots of language related to number, money and time. They also developed turn taking skills as the role of the shopkeeper (and til operator) was popular.
We ensured the children had lots of time to explore and play: sometimes adults scaffolding play, other times children playing freely.
Sadly the shop has gone into administration and closed for this term and the home corner has returned.
At Rachel Keeling Nursery School we have considered our privileged position as influencers in our community.
We know that we can support not only our children's thinking but also that of our families too.
Our children, staff and family have been looking at ways we can be sustainable in our water use and plastic when shopping. We have now started to reflect on resources in school. Our children have a rich history of working with recyclable materials to model and our families a long history of donating materials. On top of this our skip-diving staff have rescued many a pallet to use for woodwork.
Over the past three weeks children have been supported in developing weaving and sewing skills using items reclaimed from the nursery.
They started using old bike tyres: winding wool, ribbon and string on a large scale. Children worked in pars and collaborated, supporting each other and sharing talk. Next they began to use strips of fabric to sew through holes and develop an understanding of threading and working with needles. Smaller frames with netting were also used. Adults commented at end of day evaluation meetings how the children sustained for long periods, talking and highly engaged. Some adults commented on the therapeutic nature of the experience and calmness in the space.
During this time lots of different fabrics and materials have been used, from fruit packaging to abandoned painted canvases. A variety of sizes: large and small scale utilised with many children having opportunities to explore and return to master.
Some children were further supported to extend their learning by designing bags and adding detailing with thread, fabrics and objects. This has taken some perseverance to ensure you don't sew your bag shut!!!
Even as I type this, children are proudly coming to my office to share work they have created using old paper which was painted on but no child claimed. These have been cut up into strips so children can fashion their wares using them.
We continue to promote a process led ethos and not an end product!
WATCH THIS SUSTAINABLE SPACE.
NB. We were thrilled when today we took part in a fabulous workshop here with Maud and Veronica from Sunny Jar Eco hub who are helping launch tote bags for the shops around the Globe Town area and are looking at supporting a Plastic-free Roman Road.
Contact Becky here if you would like to be involved.
Details of their work will follow later this week.
At Rachel Keeling we are fortunate to have a garden which bears fruit, vegetables and herbs. Throughout the year children are supported to develop an understanding of the process of growth. They plant, tend to and harvest produce to enjoy.
Recently staff noticed the children appear to be using the snack area more frequently. They seem to be self-regulating and noticing their hunger levels.
Children harvested coriander from our garden, washed and chopped it. They grated cucumber and mixed it with yoghurt to make a delicious dip to enjoy with toasted bagels and carrots.
Why not try to make this at home!
This year the children were captivated by the delivery of some eggs. They patiently observed the eggs, some noticed they were moving and that they could hear a sound coming from the eggs. Children suggested many things that could be inside the eggs "Chicks... dinosaurs... crocodiles... let's cook the eggs!"
After a couple of days some yellow beaks were spotted, pecking their way out of the shells. When the newly hatched chicks were fully hatched they were transferred to a larger heated container. All 10 chicks hatched successfully.
Children helped to care for our visitors: cleaning, feeding and watering them. They gently handled the tiny chicks and talked about how they felt. Children observed the chicks closely, noticing changes such as their size, the colour of their feathers and how they moved.
Four of the chicks went to live with a member of staff. The remaining six went back to the farm.
Enrichment experiences like this are so wonderful in developing language and empathy.
We are always mindful of living creatures and as a staff we are reflective about this process.
We will review next year whether we feel this is an ethically sound experience to be part of.