We are so lucky at Rachel Keeling to have a beautifully diverse community from all over the world. We value our families and friends and recognise that there is more that unites us than separate us. Every day we aim to ensure our children feel valued, represented and develop a sense of self-confidence in who they are. Across the year we develop children's resilience, confidence, independence and language through a range of meaningful, first hand experiences. We share stories and cook food from around the world and celebrate the seasons and festivals of the year. We also welcome visitors into the nursery to celebrate music, dance and theatre.
In October, we mark Black History Month as we recognise the incredible contribution that people with African and Caribbean heritage have made to British society: art, culture, cuisine, medicine, music and the hard work the Windrush Generation contributed in the face of hostility and racism.
We at Rachel Keeling we are reflective in our practice and provision and try to avoid stereotypes about culture and religion every day, not just in October.
In January all teaching staff are going to a conference to hear Liz Pemberton speak: Liz is an anti-racist trainer and speaker. She has a background in early years education and we are very excited to be listening to her speak.
We hope that this will support us in our anti-racist work and challenge us to do even better.
Some parents have kindly offered their time and skills to come in and cook with us.
Malik's mum is from Somalia and she made kimis, a Somali flatbread, with the children.
Fatima's mum is also from Somalia and she made injera, an Ethiopian flatbread, with the children.
Khadija's mum came back to visit (as Khadija is in primary school now) and she showed children how to plait hair and many friends had their hair plaited.
We have also enjoyed Iroko Theatre Group and their beautifully, uplifting drumming sessions. Children and staff enjoyed feeling the joy, the rhythm and energy from their songs.
A fully sensory experience!
If you would like to come in and spend a session with the children and share something, please speak to your child's key person.
Children have been supported in developing a sense of musicality over the past few weeks.
We build music into our daily routines: from singing as part of washing our hands, tidying up or doing the register, to exposing children to a range of different types of music at the snack table, lunch table and whilst they create in Sunflower Room. Children also regularly dance and are encouraged to move their bodies in response to music.
In the garden the team have worked together to create a music area for the children: a range of instruments were gathered, we tried to ensure we have pairs of most instruments. Children helped to organise, label and set up the storage shelf. They also set about making a music den where children could play and enjoy the instruments.
Once this was set up, children were introduced to the instruments, they learned their names and how to play them in a range of ways. Children were encouraged to listen to each other and take turns. Children quickly demonstrated they could listen and sustain attention as well as engage with each other and show great amounts of joy!
The next step was children developing musical conversations: sitting opposite each other and responding, creating short pieces and performing together.
The provision is now out for all children to enjoy without adult support.
Today I observed two children playing with a wooden castle and some horses. As their horses trotted around the castle one child say "Oh wait!" and they ran to the musical instruments and selected the wooden claves. They returned and played the CLIP CLOP sound of the horses' hooves! How wonderful to see children moving their own learning on and using the instruments meaningfully and joyfully!