Term 3 Newsletter – February 2020
Welcome back to all our families who have joined us for yet another busy year at Summers at St Swithin street. A big welcome to all our new families. We are looking forward to getting to know you all. The year is already flying in, and before long we will be looking into the spring months which are fast approaching.
I would like to thank all the parents who gave my staff and I some amazing gifts over the festive period, it's fair to say that we were completely spoilt.
This term, Maria Thompson left the nursery to pursue another career, however we were lucky enough to be joined by Anna in the 2's room. Anna has been a teacher in Poland, achieving her degree in 2006. She is keen to learn all about the nursery environment and already has a good grasp of the educational and care needs of our little ones. We look forward to enjoying a long working relationship with Anna.
The girls who are studying with West College Scotland are due to complete their level two's in Autism within the next month.
Leah Burt and Jodie Niddrie are both continuing to steadily work through their Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level three in Social Services (Children and Young People) with Cairn Training. Jodie is currently writing a report on 'settling in' the babies. She will learn about attachment theorists, to help her fully understand the importance of the love and affection that our babies need through this transition. Leah is currently studying a child development project, as well as learning about safe guarding children.
Emma, Karina, Erin and I are continuing our long-term studies through various universities. Emma has recently completed a programme on Child Development and is now beginning to focus on Leadership.
Erin is currently studying Management of Change.
I have just completed Enhanced Practice in Early Years Education and will be going on to learn about Wider Perspectives in Enhanced Practice in Early Years Education.
Karina has embarked on her first assignment and is currently focused on Early Years Intervention.
Core staff training has been booked for March for all Summers staff that require any Food Hygiene, Infection Control and First Aid training.
This term, we have studied our choking risk assessment and have practiced with our Annie doll following the instruction of St Johns Ambulance Service. This is worth viewing for parents and can be found at here.
Well, 2019 did not disappoint! We are delighted to announce that Summers Nurseries raised a massive £23,361.59 that has been donated to the Friends of the Neo natal unit in Aberdeen, a charity which supports families of babies born prematurely or sick in the Grampian region, as well as the islands of Shetland and Orkney. St Swithin Street alone raised £2761.01 through a variety of informal events including bake off's, tea parties, Halloween parties, lucky squares and more. Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed. The team are proud to be part of the Summers organisation, who work so hard to raise money for charities which hugely benefit the lives of people affected.
Throughout 2020 we are raising funds for Charlie house. We have been planning a tipsy tea party and annual sports day so far.
Our annual development plans continue to be displayed in the front vestibule. Please feel free to contribute to the plans.
Plan 1 focuses on Leadership and Management. I have been Emma's mentor this term, which involved sending the staff a survey to help us improve our collective leadership skills, where staff described strengths, as well as looking at any required developments.
The annual parental questionnaire has also been completed and analysed. It is apparent throughout both surveys that the management team are highly complimented.
Next term, I will be mentoring Shannon to develop her leadership skills throughout the whole nursery. This gives us a shared vision that can continue to inspire the whole team.
Our second plan is based on ensuring that learning is personalised to individual children. We want to continue our work on the ILD's (Interactive Learning Diaries) to ensure that we celebrate processes of learning that children go through, as well as the achievement itself.
We aim to always look at the learning experiences the children have taken part in through the use of the ILD. Feedback for the ILD's throughout the questionnaires has been generally positive from the parents, however we aim to increase our feedback to parents. Parents are free to arrange to see me at any time if they wish any support regarding the ILD's.
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, but we can book up quickly, so it's important to get in fast.
Policies of the term
Our policies for Term 2 are: -
- Equal Opportunities
- Staff Recruitment
- Child Exclusion Policy for Behavioural Issues
- Child Observation Policy
Policies are displayed at the front door for parents to view.
Risk Assessments of the term
Our risk assessments of the term are: -
- Physical Equipment
- Hot and Cold Surfaces
Please note both the policies and risk assessments have been studied by staff with their knowledge of them both being reviewed at the termly staff meeting.
We are grateful to all the parents who took the time to complete the annual questionnaire. It allows us to look at both what we do well but also what improvements can be made to ensure the nursery continues to evolve and grow. All questionnaires have now been reviewed, and areas for development will be integrated into our Development plans and discussed through staff meetings.
53% of parents graded the overall quality of service their child receives at nursery as Excellent, with the remaining 47% agreeing that the service is Very Good. Staffing had very good comments, including:-
"Excellent, all have a good relationship with my child and ensure his needs are met"
"Thank you for being amazing with us during our time with you. You really made me feel like (child) is important to you and you all take her seriously"
"Fantastic, very friendly, caring and nurturing"
Trips and Visits
This term we have visited some great places. The two and three-year olds went off to Tick Tock play centre in Alford and had a wonderful trip. Not only did we get to see Santa, who gave us all a gift, we got lots of hugs from Rudolf. We then explored the soft play centre, going up and down the slides whilst climbing all around the different obstacles and hiding in the balls. We enjoyed lunch at the centre which consisted of lots of sandwiches and fruit. As always, the bus journey was a real hit too!
The pre-school children headed off to our annual trip to the panto, oh yes we did, where we all enjoyed the story of Cinderella. It was fabulous as always, and so much fun for the staff and children alike. The children used the experience to come back to nursery and put on a show for the staff using their own musical instruments.
Angela from Abricabeats has been visiting the 3-5 room every Monday this term. Musical rhythm can help improve children's literacy skills, where they have opportunities to grasp language and rhythm, and the children really enjoy the creativity of dance and drama.
The 3-5 room are continuing their trips to the wee green space and the care home, alternating their visits fortnightly. The wee green space and the care home trips encourage the children to develop the use of their local community which can have an impact on how they will be part of the community as they grow up.
The 3-5 children will be going to Macduff Aquarium on the 2nd of April. Parents of all children involved will be informed in writing in the near future.
Throughout term two we focussed on Christmas. The children enjoyed trips, parties and nativities. It was a busy old term with lots of fun, whilst allowing for a huge variety of learning experiences.
The babies enjoyed getting to know all the Christmas tunes through CD's, and music and movement times. They enjoyed taking part in singing as a group prior to snack times, at least twice per day. Songs aid language through their repetitive nature, but also encourage children to sit together, playing cooperatively as a group, developing confidence and patience.
Of course, as always, there was a variety of arts and crafts, and messy activities. The children focused on creating nice goodies to display throughout the room, giving a real Christmassy feeling to it all.
They decorated a paper tree with lots of sequences, pipe cleaners and even a bit of snowy cotton wool. The children were able to explore new textures using a variety of materials, with opportunities to improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
All the babies took a cardboard box and painted it brown, and once dry, it was cut into a Santa sleigh. This helped develop the children's gross motor skills and balance - climbing in and out was quite a challenge for some! It proved to be great fun as the staff pushed and pulled the children around in the sleigh. Some of the children were able to take part in some cause and effect play, understanding when the staff say "ready, steady" they shout "go" for the box to move.
As always, stories are popular, and the children choose to take part in these on a one to one with staff, and as a group, with all their peers there. We have some home-made song books in our story corner which are laminated rhyme books, and the children love to take them to the staff to join in. These are by far the most popular books we currently have in our story corner, giving a positive effect and helping to develop children's literacy skills.
Early years child care currently has a focus on transient art, ie art that can be made out of anything, and art that can be changed, for example, our children played with water, adding pipe cleaners, glitter and wool. We also encourage children to understand that it's the process that matters. Children are able to explore materials freely without the worry of not completing the task to a high standard. We have some wonderful pictures for our floor book for you to look at.!
At last, we have been able to take part in some local walks with our babies as 2020 has started showing a bit of improved weather. The sun has been shining, so we have taken advantage, getting lots of fresh air, going for walks and looking at buses, planes and birds etc. Children are able to appreciate the local environment, and are influenced by what is around them, seeing and exploring where they live.
We have had some learning experiences with Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year this term, and at present, we are currently developing our house corner, introducing more real-life materials. Children have been very enthusiastic so far.
The two's room children embraced Christmas through a variety of activities, which included learning lots of new Christmas songs. We found out what they already knew about Christmas, which included glittery tinsel, baubles, Christmas trees and presents of course, and then we used this information to influence our arts and crafts activities.
The children helped decorate the Christmas tree as a team which encouraged their hand-eye coordination and sharing skills. We wrote letters to Santa, helping children practice their mark making skills, and we made little stamps to go on our letters which helped them recognise numbers.
The children were delighted to make some lovely cheese biscuits which helped to develop mathematical knowledge. They measured, weighed and then mixed it all together before cooking, introducing some early science.
We played a game with Christmas stockings, with the children having to put the correct size of toy into the stocking that it fitted. This game was great fun, and also developed children's colour recognition, matching and counting skills, and allowed them to understand the concept of size.
When Angela from Abricabeats joined us for the Christmas party, she took along lots of instruments, and encouraged the children to play with lots of bells, shakers and drums, but we also got a turn on the guitar. The children love creating music, which brings out the performer in most, building self esteem and confidence.
We have focussed on the winter weather, looking at how to keep ourselves warm in the cold, decorating gloves, hats and scarves. Looking at keeping ourselves cosy helps children to develop an understanding of risk, as they learn about keeping themselves safe and well.
We looked at Robert Burns, and we are now learning all about colours and shapes. We have made lots of homemade games which encourage colour and shape recognition, as well as sorting
Last term, Santa's elf joined the room. He got up to lots of mischief throughout the term, including wrapping our tree in toilet roll, swinging from the tree and leaving cheeky little jokes every day. As most of you know, the elf on the shelf is a nationwide phenomenon that is supposed to improve behaviour in the children over the very excitable festive period. Santa's elf has helped the children create and maintain some golden rules in the classroom, where children can develop an understanding of respecting one another with shared ethics and morals.
The children have enjoyed participating in many baking activities this term, including our great Summers bake off. They have also been busy preparing some of their own lunches, including homemade pizzas and their own sandwiches, a skill which encourages independence as well as the need for a healthy diet. Children often get a sense of satisfaction when they have participated in their own food preparation and are much more likely to eat the food.
As the seasons have changed, the children have explored different temperatures around the world. They have looked at temperatures all around to see where the hottest day was, and also where the coldest day was. We found out that on one particular day, Australia was the hottest. We were very envious of their lovely, hot weather.
Whilst finding out about different countries, we were able to find out what everyone else might be enjoying as their traditional Christmas dinner. In Ghana, they like to eat rice balls with chicken or goat, giving the children an understanding of cultural diversities in the world. Children were then able to collect and display the information they had collected.
We spent the term learning our nativity which was performed for all the happy parents, grandparents and siblings who came to watch. This helped build the children's confidence, and they have since created and performed their own shows for their peers and staff. Thank you to everyone who attended and the positive feedback that was given.
For Christmas, the children received a little cardboard house which they decorated with felt pens, and then thoroughly enjoyed playing in it. Children really enjoy being in small spaces where they can play alongside their peers with little intervention from staff, getting opportunities to use their imagination and taking part in role play.
Our Christmas party was great fun! Dean Spruce joined us to put on a magic show and we all sat patiently watching, being enthralled as he managed to magic balls out of nowhere, as well as lots of lovely butterflies.
Since returning from the holidays, we have learnt lots about winter, looking at which animals like the cold, and what we should wear. We also discovered how ice and snow come about!
We have learnt about Scottish traditions in celebration of Robert Burns day - we made some bagpipes and explored what haggis was made of, as well as enjoying a little poetry.
Through a recent vote, the children have now chosen a topic about animals, so watch this space as we all start learning new facts about various types of animals.
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Be sure and keep an eye on your child's ILD to see all the topics and specified next steps.
If you would like a hard copy of this Newsletter, please collect from the vestibule. If there are none left, please contact myself and I will happily provide you with one
Important Dates for your Diary
- February 27th – Curriculum for Excellence Evening at 6:15pm
- April 2nd - 3-5 Room trip to the Macduff Aquarium