Well the rain abated just long enough just for us to sing our Christmas carols around the campfire. The children were wonderful, even though they appeared to act as though they haven't been practising these songs for the past two weeks!
Thank you to the families who were able to come: it's times we spend together that remind us of all the things that unite us.
Christmas party tomorrow morning!
Merry Christmas and a healthy, laughter and love-filled 2020.
As the weather gets colder and the chill in the air begins to get into our bones, we think about our provision for the children and how we can ensure their well-being.
Last week we had lots of dance and movement in the garden, we had cosy lighting and Christmas music in the classrooms. We also worked with small groups of children to bake gingerbread and make warm, spicy tea complete with tea pot and cups.
Children worked together first to buy the ingredients at our local shops (where we are regulars). Upon their return, and after washing their hands, they explored the spices (cardamon, cinnamon and mixed spice). They measured out the milk and then heated it, mixing the spices and stirring and talking about what they could see, smell and hear. Children enjoyed dunking their gingerbread biscuits and sharing them. Well-being was at an all time high for staff and children!
Well many thanks to the wonderful teaching supply agency Empowering Learning for our Christmas Tree and the donations of the most incredible gifts for our school from our generous business partners at Blackrock and St James's Place.
School Home Support has also been a charity instrumental in supporting us to help families all year round. Thank you to you all. The kindness, support and generosity has helped our school to reach families from across the community and offer them support, time, resources and signpost them.
The children have been busy making decorations for the tree and displaying them. The tree looks quite different every day as they rearrange the decorations (and it hasn't fallen down once!)
Teams have been learning the words and tune to We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Jingle Bells and Twinkle Twinkle as well as our favourite school song Hello to all the Children of the World.
Families please join us on Tuesday 17 December at 2.45pm for our carols around the campfire.
When one of our friends noticed ice on the climbing equipment last week, he started making thumb imprints on it and noticed the frost disappeared. "It's melting" he exclaimed.
Other children gathered and explored. Later on they had a conversation with a sensitive practitioner who listened to their ideas supported their thinking around the cold weather.
They filled some containers with water to leave out overnight. They added some animals to the water. Then the children talked about what they thought might happen and some said it might turn into ice. They were introduced to the word 'freeze'.
The following day the discovered the ice in the garden and handled it: they noticed how cold it felt on their fingers.
“I need to take it to the hotness… to the sun to melt and get the animals out” one child decided. Some children used spades to crack the ice. A wonderful opportunity to explore early science first hand.
We have all heard children imitating us (and usually saying the things that make us cringe!)
Here is a lovely example of children internalising a shared learning experience and re-enacting it independently.
The children had been supported to build a fire as a group, a campfire around which to enjoy marshmallows (which some of our children had been to the local shops to buy).
They sang together, enjoying the sensory experience (with smoke in their eyes as well!) They waited their turn and came forward with sticks to toast their marshmallows.
The following day a group had set up their own imaginary campfire at the fire pit. They had selected sticks and put berries on the end as their 'marshmallows'. This play lasted for some time.
It is wonderful when children respond to an experience in this way: the children were actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play they learn how to take turns, share responsibility and creatively problem-solve.
As practitioners we need to ensure we model this for children and also allow them extended periods and suitable spaces and resources (sometimes Mother Nature is enough) to explore and experiment.
Thank you to our families and friends who could join us for our reading drop in last week.
We know how important books can be in developing vocabulary, imagination, reading and attention. Also sharing a book or story enhances well-being.
We will be repeating our Reading drop ins in the new year on the last Wednesday of every month. Please do join us.
Remember you can borrow books, story sacks and toys from Rachel Keeling - just see your key worker. Nazma will be running workshops at the Idea Store too so please see her if you are interested in joining her fun sessions.