We welcomed back our friends the Iroko Drummers to the nursery as part of our Black History Month celebrations.
As ever, children enjoyed their stories, dancing and drumming. Children joined in joyfully and the high levels of well-being for children and staff was noticeable.
Well-being is always high on our agenda at Rachel Keeling, whether it's the children, families or staff. We recognise the benefits music and physical movement can have on us all.
This week also marks staff supervision as well as well-being workshops for families. In our busy lives it is really important for us to be able to find strategies to minimise stress and also find outlets and people we can talk to when we need.
As part of our School Development Plan we are further developing our work around sustained shared thinking and emotional wellbeing (SSTEW Scales). This tool helps us to reflect on our provision, practice and interactions with children so ensure we are supporting them sensitively and effectively.
These wonderful photographs demonstrate some of the results of the hard work and support our children have been given which now enables large groups of them to work collaboratively, communicating their thoughts and needs, seeking out each other to share joy, solve problems and negotiate. They show how some of our more experienced children can sustain concentration for longer periods of time, immersed in imaginative play.
These outcomes follow from months of consistency in adults planning experiences which feed into children's interests, conversations with adults which support thinking and problem solving, Persona Doll sessions, relationships built day after day, tears wipes, cuddles given, celebrations when we succeed, thinking and talking when we don't.
We look forward to thoroughly reflecting on our practice further and particularly focusing on subscales 3 & 4 around language and communication and learning and critical thinking.
At Rachel Keeling we are always very proud of how successful our provision is in impacting children's creativity and learning.
Over the past few weeks children have been exploring printing: first using a variety of natural and manufactured objects in paint and the moving onto making imprints in clay. Children were supported in knocking down clay and exploring it using their fingers and simple tools.
The talk was rich as children sat together, discussing what they were doing and how it felt. They showed an ability to persevere and show joy in their experiences.
Some children used books and others the iPad to inspire their creations. After leaving them to air dry, children returned over subsequent days to mix paints and apply them. Some of the work is displayed currently in Sunflower Room.
One potato, two potato, three potato, four!
So much excitement in the Rachel Keeling garden this week! Children were supported in harvesting the potatoes which have been growing in sacks and pots. In order to increase accessibility, the pots and sacks were emptied into a large tray and the children set about using trowels and mini forks to dig up and excavate the potatoes.
A great deal of collaboration and joy was demonstrated and some children even used the huge sieves to separate the soil from the vegetables.
This experience offered children the opportunity to share so much talk and they sustained concentration for the whole morning. At Rachel Keeling we try to consider ways we can support children in developing an awareness of where our food comes from.
Once the crop of potatoes were dug up, children wanted to know how many there were. They started by estimating but wildly different numbers meant they decided to count them.
In order to support the children in counting large amounts, they grouped the potatoes into smaller groups first. Eventually counting up to a grand total of 40 potatoes!
Children were excited and many wanted to try to write numerals.
After all that hard work they set about transporting them inside as some of them were for a vegetable soup which children were preparing and making.
That will appear in a separate blog post!
At Rachel Keeling Nursery School we pride ourselves on our wonderfully warm relationships with our families. We are always very keen for families and friends to come in and share their skills, crafts and joy with children and staff. During Black History Month we make a concerted effort to encourage families of African and Caribbean heritage to come and share with our school community.
This week we welcomed three generations and friends of one of our Somali families who were keen to braid hair and weave. So many children and staff were happy to get involved and three days on, some children are still wearing their plaits!
We listened to music and some of the moves (not caught on camera!) would rival BBC1's Strictly!
What was noticeable was the particular pride our Somali children showed in seeing their family friends in school as the centre of attention.
Any of our families who would like to come and cook, share stories, play and explore with us, please get in touch.
Next week we have families coming to cook and we welcome our long term friends the Iroko Drummers back to nursery - always a hugely successful day.