Term 1 Newsletter – September 2019
Welcome back to everyone and a big warm welcome to all our new families who have joined since the last newsletter.
We have now waved all our big children off to their schools and are ready to start a new academic term filled with learning, stimulation and of course, lots of fun.
We have had quite a change around since the previous email, but all with good reason. Due to maternity leave at St Swithin Street, I will be based at that building more regularly and will only attend Victoria Street one and a half days per week. This has allowed for some of the staff to be allocated maternity positions in the nursery. Kirsty has accepted the position of Manager, Charmaine as 0-2 Room Leader/Assistant Manager and Rachel Patterson as 0-2 Assistant Room Leader.
Karina will be going to our St Swithin Street nursery as 3-5 Room Leader and Niamh Barnes is going to the 3-5 room as Assistant Room Leader. Theses changes are planned for 9 months only and we all expect business to return to normal on Erin’s return.
Amanda Morrison has joined our 2-3 team. Amanda worked for Summers for a few years previously, but then jet-setted off to Canada for 3 years where she nannied for several families. We are delighted to welcome Amanda back.
We are also welcoming Nicoletta and Monika to our team. Nicoletta has been studying child care at college and Monika has been a stay at home mum, so both should have plenty to offer through their knowledge of children. We are currently going through the recruitment process with both girls.
Some of the staff at Victoria Street have received funding to study CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education) Level 2 in Autism through North East of Scotland College.
I have been studying CACHE Level 2 in Children and Young People’s Mental Health through West College.
Niamh is continuing the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3 Social Services (Children and Young People), currently working on snacks, which includes making healthy choices and the rights of the child to make their own decisions.
Laura is very close to completing the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3 Social Services (Children and Young People). She is currently tying up loose ends and is projected to complete within this month.
Erika and Louise have both started to study the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3 Social Services (Children and Young People) and they are currently focused on Child Protection and Safe Guarding.
I have re-enrolled with Aberdeen University to take part in the Masters in Early Years Education. My fist assignment is based on Enhanced Practice in Early Years Education.
Collectively as a team this term we have used our paediatric baby doll, Anne and St Johns ambulance clips to practice dealing with a choking situation during our full staff meeting. We have also implemented a risk assessment which specifically focuses on choking, (created using the National Day Nursery Association guidelines) which we will cover during our 3 monthly full staff meetings.
All staff are required to undergo a full day Paediatric First Aid training course, which is also repeated every 3 years.
We are continuing to support The Friends of the Neo Natal Unit (http://www.specialnursery.org/ ), 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 Orkney and Shetland. This term we have our Tipsy Tea party, the first of its kind, and what a success it was! We raised a massive £937.87.
We have continued to do our monthly ‘dress down’ days where the staff pay £2 a month for.
We held a summer garden party which unfortunately was not held in the garden, as it must have been the wettest day in August which we had chosen. We raised a total of £175.10.
We held our annual Sports day raising £235.08 on the day, followed by £745 of sponsor money.
Our bacon roll morning this term also raised £165.
We plan to hold a sponsor ‘Toddle Up and Down Union Street’ for the 2’s and 3-5’s on September 18th and we also have our Christmas Fayre to look forward to.
Policies of the term
Policies of the term are:
- Policy 12 – Health and Safety
- Policy 13- Fire Prevention and Control Policy
- Policy 42 – Environmental Policy and un Protection Procedure
These policies are displayed on the notice board in the front hall for parents and in the staff room for staff. All staff partake in a quiz regarding the policies stated to ensure they have a full understanding of them throughout termly staff meetings.
As previously mentioned, we had a very successful Sports day, with a massive turn out and some very dramatic parent races. It was a great day, raising lots of money on one of the sunniest days of the year. Everyone who completed a feedback form agreed the day was either Excellent or Very Good. Feedback given for improvement included a louder announcement for each race. I will look into this further as perhaps a louder microphone may be required. Also, it was suggested that we have an ice cream van, which given the heat, may have been a good idea. This would work if we could get an arrangement so that the charity would still benefit well from the day, and lastly, parents wanted clearer signage for the stalls.
Thank you to everyone who attended parents evening this year. As always it was a busy old evening. Feedback from the evening was positive, with most parents rating it as Excellent or Very Good. The only things mentioned in improvements was the heat within the room. It was unfortunate that again it ended up on one of the hottest days this year and the parents had also specified that there was little that the staff could do to improve this. We will look into additional fans being used for the evening if we experience a hot evening next year!
Our development plans are now complete for 2018/19 and as a team we are deciding what to focus on for 2019-20.
Our plans have been successful, in particular the mentoring one has had a measurable impact on the learning experiences for the children. We have enjoyed supporting one another and all evaluations have agreed that practice has been taught from their fellow colleagues.
All aspects of the plans are designed to continue to develop, ensuring a high quality service is maintained for all our families within the nursery.
Summers Nurseries are now signed up to receive Tax Free Childcare Vouchers, so when looking, please select Summers Nursery at Victoria Street as provider.
We are delighted to see a big boost of little sisters and brothers being born at the moment. Could I just remind everyone that we have limited spaces available in the 0-2 room and therefore if you are planning on putting your baby here, a deposit must be paid in advance to secure the place. You should contact the nursery as soon as possible to book the space as we already have new bookings as far as December 2020.
Trips / Visits
This term we have Angela from Abricabeats. Angela is visiting on a Monday at 12.30pm this term. The children are really enjoying taking part in her class. She is vibrant and enthusiastic, which really ignites the children’s creativity, confidence and self-esteem. We alternate the sessions Angela attends each term to ensure all our children in the 3-5 room get a chance to experience the dance and drama she has on offer.
Our regular visits to the care home and the wee green space have continued. The children enjoy the company of the residents at the home, enjoying games, stories and arts. The wee green space allows children to identify risks and show increased imagination and creativity.
The two’s room enjoyed a successful trip to Dizzy Rascals last term, and great fun was had by all! The staff and children were exhausted on arriving back to the nursery. The bus as always was a major highlight for the children, before enjoying all the climbing and running around that the soft play centre.
The 3-5’s went to the circus. It was a noisy and fun experience, with lots of different acts. The motor bikes were a massive highlight!
The 3-5 room are planning a trip to Hoodles in October. The date is to be confirmed and all concerned children will receive a detailed letter. The trip will be on a Monday this term.
As always, it was a busy summer term. We focused on starting school with the older children, whilst enjoying topics including summer, Father’s Day, healthy eating and much more.
There have been a variety of activities that ensure the children are all covering their health and wellbeing indicators, as well as introducing new skills.
As a nursery we celebrated the summer solstice. It was a day of yellow, and we all dressed in yellow and ate lots of yellow foods for the day, and best of all, all the activities were yellow!
The summer has allowed for lots of trips around the local community, including some lovely picnics in Rubislaw gardens. The babies have loved going out and watching the buses going by, which brings lots of excitement. The staff have encouraged the children to observe what is happening in the world around them by identifying lots of different vehicles and studying plants on their walks.
We have been introducing the babies to lots of drawing materials which encourages developed hand-eye coordination and pincer grip. Whilst using the drawing materials, the babies are introduced to a variety of colours. There brings a feeling of satisfaction on completion of their pictures, and children are given praise and encouragement throughout, with their pictures also being displayed for all to see.
We enjoyed some hand printing to make a wonderful sunshine for a wall display. The children were able to explore the texture, which got a mixed review. Some love getting messy, others not so much! For the children who are less enthusiastic about the texture of the paint, we enjoyed squishing paint inside poly pockets. This means that children are still being creative, but if desired, not touching it directly. This is often a process we use at the initial stage of arts and crafts for children slightly less confident with new materials.
The sand tray has been filled with a variety of goods this term, including breadcrumbs, shredded paper, flour and oats. In the sand tray we put in materials that the children can use to fill and empty. This introduces simple maths, for example by counting how many spoons of each product is used to fill the bucket. The use of the bucket introduces the transporting schema, where children like to fill things up and move them around.
Of course, we have had song fantastic song times. Baby shark is still increasingly popular, as are many other action songs. Children improve language skills, sharing skills and posture throughout song and musical activities. They are also developing their gross motor skills as they dance along to the music.
Take a look at the wonderful wall displays to see some brush painted bees, hand printed houses and collaged birds. We also have an amazing family wall displayed. The children can be reassured by seeing the pictures of their families on the wall throughout the day.
This term the children have been learning about sports. We have been studying a selection of different sports and in particular team sports, including football and basketball, and we have talked about rules and equipment involved in these sports to help to develop not just gross motor skills, but also develop children’s self-esteem. Children love to take part in games with others and get a feeling of inclusion through this.
We have been learning all about clothes. We created some items of clothing and hung them on our little washing line. Throughout the clothing topic the children explored different textures and learnt about what clothing was appropriate at each time of the year. The children also practiced putting on their own clothes, greatly increasing their independence skills.
This term we have been learning about mini-beasts. Children participated in lots of arts and crafts which included making bumble bees, ladybirds and butterflies etc. This also gave them opportunities to understand the meaning of symmetrical patterns as well as other patterns.
Our mini beast topic led onto us reading about The Hungry Caterpillar. Other stories the children enjoyed, included The Gruffalo, which encouraged them to use their imaginations whilst they played out all the animal characters. Check out the wall display on the stairs and have a look at the floor book to see how this was created.
After finding out how exciting the snake was in the floor book, we decided to go on and learn lots about other jungle animals. What fun we had making the different animals, with the parrot being one of my favourites, being constructed from crepe paper and scraps of cardboard. We are encouraging the use of old materials to help teach the children about the care of our environment.
We are continuing our sports theme at the moment, with lots more still to be learnt.
After learning all about the human body, the children moved on to learning about other species within our ‘Under the Sea’ topic. We used the internet and fictional books to find out lots of information about a huge variety of species living under the sea. We learnt so many interesting facts, including: octopuses have three hearts, molluscs don’t have a spine and the biggest octopus weighed 33 pounds. It’s important to introduce young children to different aspects of gathering information through appropriate media and literacy content, so that as they grow and develop, they will be able to understand how to find out information for themselves.
When we were learning about the sea, children showed some interest in boats, which seemed a natural development. We created some boats through a variety of materials, including plastics and papers. The plastics we used were old milk bottles etc encouraging the children to make good use of their recyclable materials. We tried to sail the boats in the water which allowed us to explore sinking and floating, as well as weights. We discovered that some materials we thought might skink could actually float with less material put on them. We also used an origami pattern to make a paper boat. This encouraged problem solving skills and good concentration, with perseverance to complete such a complex task.
One of the parents had arranged a Super Hero party for us when her child was leaving nursery, so we had an unexpected but amazing visit from Batman and Supergirl. We played dance games, with the children competing to win amazing prizes.
Because super heroes like this are not real and we were learning about under the sea, the natural progression seemed to be to learn all about mermaids. Children were of the opinion that they probably live in shells a little like snails and always have the most wonderful hair. We are continuously encouraging the children to use their imagination, to explore their creativity.
After learning about boats, we went on to look at other sources of transport. We are lucky enough to regularly travel to and from the care home via bus, and this gives us an opportunity to talk about the routes that the bus takes, following the map that is colour coded on the bus. We are learning what transport goes where, what types of fuels they take and what speeds they travel at. This has also helped us to learn about the environment. The nursery has introduced a new environmental policy and the children are being strongly encouraged to follow this, too. Take a look at the board in the 3-5 room where the children have identified what can and can’t be recycled.
We are continuing to work on our transport topic theme at present.
There are floor books in all the rooms that detail projects covered, all parents are welcome to view at any time.
Tel: 01224 628862
As a result of our questionnaire, the majority of parents preferred to receive the newsletter by email. Please remember if you require a hard copy of this newsletter it can be found in the hall way. If there are none left, please speak to myself or a Room Leader so we can organise a copy to be printed, thank you.
Dates for Diary
18th September – Sponsor Walk
The nursery will close at 6.00pm on Friday 20th December 2019 and re-open again on Monday the 6th of January 2020