Term 3 Newsletter – February 2019
Welcome back to another busy year at Summers at St Swithin Street.
We have lots of new families who have joined us this term, and we look forward to getting to know everyone.
Thank you to all the parents who kindly gifted myself and the team before the Christmas break. It was both unexpected and appreciated.
Since our previous newsletter, Jodie has joined the team. Jodie works in the 0-2 room. She has already become a big part of the nursery, proving to be very popular with staff and children alike. Jodie is already getting to grips with working in childcare which is new to her.
Staff have taken part in a variety of training courses this term. We have had staff attending training, including:
Where’s the maths in that?
These training sessions are in blocks of three, and staff have been asked to research subjects before attending follow up sessions, which is why we are asking parents to contribute through the posters on the front door, asking which activities you have enjoyed throughout your childhood.
Staff have also designed questionnaires for each other to answer, describing the use of different activities.
All senior staff have taken part in the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) mentoring badge as part of our development plan.
Both Alana and Judith are continuing to study their Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level three in Social Services (Children and Young People). Alana has now completed her written part of the qualification and is now focussing on being observed by Cairn training assessors.
Erin and Emma are continuing to work through their BA in Childhood Practices. Both staff are focusing on units that study our local community.
Please ensure all funding forms which have been given to parents are returned to the nursery as soon as possible for children turning three years old before 28/02/2016.
As a private sector, we are not asked to submit funding forms until summer time for the 2019/2020 funding. As soon as these become available to us, we will distribute accordingly.
We have completed our 2018 charity efforts for ‘Befriend a Child’, which supports disadvantaged and troubled school age children, aged 4-16 years. St Swithin Street raised a whopping £1675.25, and collectively we raised a massive £11356.09 for all five Summers nurseries, plus our Victoria Street nursery raised a further £1006 which was donated to the charity through Kiltwalk. This has been the most money raised from all the Summers nurseries, so well done to everyone for their support and kind donations during the various events, we thank you all!
For 2019, we have decided to support ‘Friends of the Special Nursery’, a charity of Aberdeen maternity hospital’s neo-natal unit for sick and premature babies in the Grampian region, as well as the islands of Shetland and Orkney. You can find out more information at http://www.specialnursery.org/ Lets raise lots of money for this fantastic cause!
Please remember to provide weather appropriate clothing for your child at all times, and remember to check when your child is attending the wee green space to ensure they have the appropriate clothing. Even if it’s not too muddy here, it doesn’t mean it won’t be there.
Please see the progress of our three development plans displayed on the front notice board in the vestibule.
Plan 1– Senior staff have completed their SSSC mentoring badge.
During our previous staff meeting, we tried hard to identify our own strengths and weaknesses so the senior team can decide what staff should be partnered together to cascade knowledge and skills, improving practice all round.
Plan 2– We have been studying schemas which has encouraged staff and parents to have a greater understanding of learning. Staff have been identifying what schema is being displayed throughout observations in the Interactive Learning Diary (ILD).
Plan 3 – Staff have continued to use natural materials as toys which is great for both the environment, as well as catering for the children’s imagination. Both the babies and pre-schoolers have created amazing things out of carboard boxes this term, including a small garage, and pre-school made the most amazing hair dressing station. Both groups played with the materials well! We plan to visit the charity shop this week to introduce real china to the house corner. Children will be encouraged to handle the materials with the care they need. A risk assessment will be created by staff and children.
The 2’s room have continued to develop their sensory corner, which is looking great!!
Tax Free Childcare/Fees
Summers Nurseries are now signed up to receive Tax Free Childcare Vouchers, so when looking, please select Summers Nursery at Victoria Street as provider, as we share an account.
Could I remind all parents that it is essential that they put their child’s full name as a reference on any voucher that is paid to the nursery. This is the only key piece of information we require on the voucher. We do not require you to put Summers Nursery, invoice number, parents name, or any other piece of information on the reference.
Due to the ever-increasing number of vouchers coming in from parents in 5 nurseries, we are still finding it difficult to match vouchers to certain families due to not being able to identify the voucher, so it is important that you change any existing vouchers to contain this information, thank- you. Please also remember to cancel any siblings that have left the nursery off your voucher.
We do however realise that the Government vouchers seem to be causing a problem regarding the reference system, and we will have to try and work around this.
Policies of the term
Our policies for Term 3 are:-
- Policy 1 – Statement of purpose/ function/ aims and objectives
- Policy 10 – Child Protection
Policies are displayed at the front door for parents to view.
Staff are quizzed on policies of the term during staff meetings to show their full understanding.
Trips and Visits
We are continuing to enjoy our time with Angela from Abricabeats on a Tuesday am. Angela changes sessions each term to ensure that all children in the 3-5 room get a turn. All 3-5 parents should now have received their newsletter from Angela from Abricabeats via email.
Currently, we have been continuing to use our wee green space weekly. Once all the risk assessments are put in place, we will be visiting the space fortnightly as we hope to run this alongside our fortnightly visits to Maryfield West Care Home. During our trips to the care home, we plan to carry out activities, including singing and dancing, arts and crafts, story telling and much more.
We enjoyed lots of trips last term, which included a trip to the pantomime for the pre-school children to see Snow White at His Majesty’s Theatre, and the ante pre-school children enjoyed a trip to the Lemon Tree to see a show called Night Light.
The 3-5 children put on an outstanding Nativity performance at Queens Cross Church. Children grew in confidence as they performed the show for all the parents.
This term, the 3-5 room will visit Codonas to take part in bowling and indoor golf. A firm date is yet to be confirmed, but we are planning it for the middle of March.
Trip days change termly to ensure all children have the opportunity of the valuable experience of going on a trip.
Last term, the children enjoyed learning all about Christmas. They created a huge selection of arts and crafts, which were gifted to parents before the holidays. The older children also focused on the story of Christmas.
The children have learnt about Valentine’s day this term. It has given us an opportunity to talk about love and other feelings. Children are encouraged to express their own feelings, allowing them to feel secure and nurtured as part of the SHANARRI indicators (Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurtured, Respected, Responsible and Included).
We have made the most of the winter months, learning about winter. The children have learnt a lot about the changing world around them. They have enjoyed playing in the snow, and they have had some exploratory play with ice. Introducing pre-made ice allows the children to watch the melting process, encouraging very simple science at a very young age.
The children have made the most amazing snowflakes, where they have been introduced to a variety of materials, including cotton wool, sequence, glitter and tin foil. This encouraged the children to be actively involved in making their own choices. Children choose what they want to add, and are encouraged to discuss the textures of the materials.
The children used the animals in the tough spot to walk through fake snow. They were amazed as the animals left the foot prints…. and they were all different prints! These activities encourage imagination, as well as leading to some understanding of textures. The snow was made from rice pudding and the flour was soft and squishy, but the plastic animals were hard. Children also enjoyed practicing the animal noises, too!
For group times, the babies have really appreciated the Julia Donaldson CD’s. They are story CD’s which the children really like listening to. The group time stories encourage the children to share an experience collectively, and also develops listening skills and introduces new language.
We have been doing plenty of dancing to the baby ABBA music. There are plenty of ‘dancing queens’ in our baby room. Children have shown good gross motor skills as they learn what their bodies can do. They are ‘Super Troupers’!!
We are now learning all about food, the hungry caterpillar has been a big influence.
Christmas brought us many arts and craft opportunities. The children really enjoyed making hand print Santa pictures, and we copied the book, “That’s not my Santa”. We also made Santa letters that we stuck stamps onto and posted. Children can be encouraged to use literacy to improve language, for fun, and also to learn from, by finding out factual information.
We made frozen Christmas trees in the tough spot, and then painted and decorated them with colour. This was a nice experience, as the children loved watching the ice melt, and they worked quickly to decorate their trees before they disappeared.
The children have taken part in many baking activities, collectively measuring out the ingredients, encouraging maths skills and them mixing it all together, providing an opportunity to understand some science methods.
Thanks to all the parents who contributed baby photos for our wall display. As mentioned in the email, the children have shown a real interest in caring for the babies, and therefore we created a photo board with all the children when they were babies. Children also cared for all the babies in the house corner, providing them with food, milk and baths. We have enjoyed learning about Valentines Day and are now focused on shapes and colours. Check out the learning wall.
The Christmas Nativity was a real triumph, and the children loved the trip to the church before everyone arrived, but also took great satisfaction through performing for their friends and families. The sense of achievement felt throughout the group was immeasurable. Children showed skill and confidence as they delivered their lines.
There were many arts and crafts to mention last term, ensuring all the parents received lovely gifts. The children did manage to improve on many skills whilst doing all the sticking, cutting, painting and printing, all of which developed creativity, curiosity, imagination and fine motor skills.
Show and Tell as always has been a real hit, especially with the recent request to add a Christmas observation onto your child’s ILD. Well done to all parents who participated! The children loved standing up and telling their peers and the staff all about what was happening in the observation. Keep adding folks, as both the staff and the children love seeing the link between nursery and home.
We have had a great time celebrating Chinese New Year. We learnt all about the animals that the years are named after and what year we were born, and we learnt to count to 5 in Chinese.
As part of the celebration, Erin brought us back some money envelopes all the way from Hong Kong! We also tried some lovely Chinese food and created some fabulous lanterns. We are keen to encourage children to learn about different cultures around the world.
As well as celebrating Valentine’s Day, we have been learning all about dinosaurs. So far, we have created a fabulous height chart in the room. It is a great way to show another form of collating information in a mathematical fashion.
Dates for your Diary
Stay and Play - W/C 25/03/2019
Curriculum for Excellence evening - 21/02/19 6:15pm