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St Swithin Street - Term 2 Newsletter 2020

Term 2 Newsletter – November 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Welcome to everyone who has joined us since our last newsletter. It has been an unexpected year, but we are so glad to be back working with all the wonderful children and families again. The children really have done remarkably well, returning to nursery after such a long time away. We are already embarking on another busy academic year, with lots of learning and fun ahead of us.


I am so pleased to have returned from maternity leave, and am loving the position of Nursery Manager. Emma Johnston has been promoted to Assistant Manager, alongside her current role as 2-3 Room Leader.

Claire Drennan had a fantastic 3 years with us at St Swithin Street and has certainly helped to build a very strong team, with lots of exciting things to come. She is now mainly based at Victoria Street, but as she is also the Operations Manager, she will be popping in now and again to see us all.

Judith Thomson left the pre-school room on Thursday 24th September. She accepted a post in another private nursery with full time hours and progression to Room Leader. We wish Judith all the best with her new adventure.

Karina Stebnovska has accepted the full-time post as 3-5 Room Leader, so will be staying with our pre-school team. She will now be working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

During the closure of the nursery, Anna unfortunately had to move back to her home country, due to her partner’s work commitments. She is hoping they will return in the future, and we will certainly hope she is able to join our team again.

Shannon Gallagher has worked well throughout her trainee Room Leader post and has now been promoted to Room Leader in the Baby Room.

Staff Training

Emma is now starting her third year at university, continuing her Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Childhood Practice. Emma will be studying ‘Living, Learning and Teaching in Communities’ so will be carrying out a lot of work about how we use our local community and how we work alongside other professionals to care for the children.

Karina is currently studying for her MA in Childhood Practice at Dundee University.

I have begun my final unit in my BA in Childhood Practice. I will be studying my research unit, and for this I have decided to research the benefits of child observation, following children’s interests, and supporting their next steps. I feel this is a topic that is currently relevant, as we are looking at the children’s interests in our improvement plans. I created some questionnaires for parents to aid with my research, and I am grateful to those who are keen to help, very many thanks.


We are continuing to support Charlie House as our charity of the year. The Charlie House vision is that all babies, children & young people with life-limiting conditions in the North East of Scotland receive the necessary support they require from the very start of their life journey.

Our crazy cone week was very successful and the children loved participating in decorating the cones, joining in the sports races and activities, and learning to follow instructions, as well as giving out some instructions also! We managed to raise £694 in sponsorship/donations which is amazing! so a big thank you to everyone, especially the children!

Check out the charity we are supporting this year at

Parent Communication

Parents are welcome to ask any questions regarding their child’s progress. We have been trying to increase the use of our Interactive Learning Diaries, so please check your child’s observations and please add to them if you wish. This enables us to have connections between nursery and home. If you wish to have a chat or prefer to e mail us, we will do our best to answer any questions you may have.

Development Plans

Our development plans are now complete for 2020-2021, and the current development plans we will be working towards are:

  1. Recording children’s individual interests
  2. Staff mentoring

Our improvement wall is inside the nursery, but when we are updating it, we will be sure to add videos/photos to the children’s ILD’s, so you can see the developments as they are ongoing. As always, any parental contribution would be greatly received.


Please could I remind parents that the payment date for fees changes monthly. The payment date is always stated on the bottom of the invoice. Please remember that vouchers and tax-free childcare payments may take up to 5 working days to process through your voucher account, therefore payment should be made in time for these to clear. We are part of the tax-free childcare scheme and parents are welcome to use this as a form of payment. You would pay our sister nursery Victoria Street but ensure you inform myself of the reference number for your payment.

Sibling Places

Please be reminded that if you have had a baby or are expecting another, spaces should be booked in advance. We cannot always accommodate siblings when it’s left too late. We understand the importance of family and love to have all the little ones join us.

Learning Experiences

0-2 room

The baby room, since returning, have had lots of new babies to get to know. We have been helping the babies to settle back into nursery life, with lots of activities such as song time, story time and art activities.

The babies started off their learning topic looking at the seasons, learning about summertime. The children participated in lots of art and craft activities to represent summer and had stories and songs about the weather.

The babies have shown a great interest in messy play activities, which led us onto a topic about senses. The children have been offered lots of opportunities to explore their senses through a variety of resources, including painting, bubble wrap, play dough, pine cones and shaving foam. Throughout this topic, children developed their fine and gross motor skills, which included practising their palmer/pincer grips with the pencils.

The children were very enthusiastic, exploring a variety of materials, and have been creating some beautiful art work to represent their ideas. Exploring through messy play is hugely beneficial for young children as they learn and explore the world around them.

Children then went onto explore autumn, which involved looking at various items through play, exploring the various textures of some loose parts, looking at the autumn colours, as well as the textures of real-life objects.

2-3 room

On returning to nursery, the Toddler room showed an interest in Under the Sea creatures, discussing what creatures we might find under the sea, and participating in lots of arts and crafts. We created an Under the Sea wall display, with lots of sea creatures, and the children were given the opportunity to explore the water tray with a variety of different materials, including shaving foam, and ice with some arctic animals. This helps to develop the children’s awareness of the world around them and their understanding of living creatures.

We then moved onto looking at autumn, exploring colour recognition, autumnal animals and the changes that take place throughout autumn. The children were very enthusiastic throughout art and craft activities, using a variety of materials to represent their ideas. There were many autumnal loose parts available for the children to be creative with.

Whilst learning about autumn, the children then discussed trees, and someone mentioned that trees are growing, so we then went onto learning about how trees grow and what they need. Children really enjoyed participating in some planting, growing our own sunflowers, and learning what the flower needs to grow - we are still to this day feeding them daily and watching them grow.

From looking at growth, this instigated chats about human growth, which led onto our All about Me topic, looking at what helps us grow. The children have been identifying all of their body parts through the use of songs, mirrors and games. They have been given opportunities to learn about themselves and others. We created a height chart, introducing simple mathematics, and this topic developed the children’s awareness of themselves and others. We also discussed how to be kind to each other. The children learnt about what we need to grow and how we grow.

The All about Me topic then led onto the Gruffalo’s body parts, and what he has compared to ourselves. This developed a conversation about other animals and how they look. We decided to carry out some art and craft in relation to the Gruffalo and we enjoyed creating our own Gruffalo’s, with named body parts. Emma set out a Gruffalo tough spot with loose parts to explore and help the children to then recreate their own version of the story. We have also been creating our own Gruffalo masks and expressing ourselves through role play.

3-5 room

The pre-school children were very excited to have a sparkly new room to get back into after the flood! The children were very excited, discussing the room, and the staff decided now was a good opportunity to discuss some golden rules with the children. The children thought about how they would be able to stay safe in the room and what they should and shouldn’t be doing. This promoted responsibility and understanding amongst the children, with them creating a new board with their golden rules.

The children all showed a lot of interest in the ‘All about Me’ forms, which instigated our All about Me topic, with children being introduced to various individual features such as hair/eye colour, cultures, and much more. We discussed our brains and how we think, looking at individual differences and how we should treat others, respecting their views and the way we see the world.

Children had discussions about their families, discussing the importance of them, and what they do for us, going onto create a family board. This helped to promote positive relationships, as well as develop the children’s communication and listening skills.

The children used the height chart, measuring each other and using mathematical language, throughout. Children were also able to place their name in the correct place on the chart. Throughout this topic, the children created their new Birthday wall, discussing each other’s birthdays and how we celebrate birthdays around the world.

With the changes in weather, the children have been using calendar time to record what the weather is like, and they have been learning about the changes in autumn. The children have shown a lot of interest in the changes taking place in the garden, and have been carrying out art work, using loose parts indoors to represent the autumnal weather.

The children have been particularly interested in the animals that hibernate in autumn, such as a hedgehog, and they have been learning lots of interesting facts about various animals, enjoying role play activities, acting out the animals, as well as enjoying a variety of arts and crafts. The children gathered a variety of different materials from around the room, as well as outside, which enabled them to create their very own scarecrow, helping to promote problem solving and team working skills.

The children have been discussing countries, holidays, and we used this information to investigate the weather in these countries in the autumn time.

As always, the children have been provided opportunities to participate in our letter of the week, story times and many other group time activities.

Kind regards

Erin Horne

Nursery Manager tel – 01224 209966

Be sure and keep an eye on your child’s ILD to see all the topics and specified next steps.

Important Dates for your Diary

  • Week of 14th December, we will be holding a party week where we will have Christmas fun each day with special Christmas themed snacks.
  • The 18th of December 2020 at 6.00pm is the last day of term before the Christmas break. The nursery will re-open on Monday the 4th of January 2020 at 7.30am.

Added: 04 Nov 2020 Updated: 18 Aug 2021