Term 3 Newsletter – February 2020
Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic break over Christmas and New Year.
Welcome to all of our new families who have joined us since the last newsletter. We hope you are all settling in well.
We have a new relief member of staff, Caroline, who has joined the nursery since our last newsletter.
Caroline has previous childcare experience working as a nanny and in a church nursery. She moved to Aberdeen from America after completing her B.Sc. in Psychology at the College of Charleston, and is currently studying Neuroscience with Psychology at the University of Aberdeen. As well as working at Summers, Caroline also volunteers on the wards at ARI, where she spends time with the patients, chatting and reading to them.
The staff at Victoria Street have all now completed their CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education) Level 2 in Autism through North East of Scotland College. These have been sent for adjudication and we are hoping for results very soon! The staff have enjoyed the learning they have gained from the Autism course and some have chosen to apply for a similar course in Children's mental health. We are just awaiting start dates for this course.
Niamh has successfully completed her Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3 Social Services (Children and Young People) and is now a fully qualified Nursery Nurse.
Louise is continuing the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3 Social Services (Children and Young People). Louise has been observed by her assessor on snack preparation and has now moved onto transition and settling plans.
Erika and Lily are both continuing with their Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3 Social Services (Children and Young People). Both girls are currently studying safeguarding.
We held our annual charity Christmas Fayre on Saturday 30th November. This was a huge success. Thank you to all the families to bought tickets and donated. We raised a massive £1050.85!!
In total Summers Nurseries have raised a whopping £23,361.59 for our charity of 2019, with Victoria Street alone raising £4264.80 through a huge variety of activities. As you are aware, our Charity of the Year was Aberdeen Maternity Hospital's 'Friends of the Neonatal unit' which supports families of babies born prematurely or sick in the Grampian region, as well as the islands of Shetland and Orkney. www.specialnursery.org
We can not thank you enough for all the support you have given us through your participation in our fundraising. A big thank you to all the staff, too, who willingly give up their free time for the worthy causes.
Throughout 2020 we plan to support Charlie House. Charlie House is a local children's charity which supports babies, children & young people with complex disabilities and life limiting conditions in the North East of Scotland. Find out more at charliehouse.org.uk
Policies of the term
Policies of the term are:
- Policy 4 – Confidentiality
- Policy 5 – Equal opportunities
- Policy 22 – Manual handling
These policies are displayed on the notice board in the front hall for parents and in the staff room for staff.
Risk assessments of the term
Risk assessments of the term are;
- Natural resources in garden
- Soft blocks
The two areas we are continuing to focus on throughout this academic year are:
Plan 1 – Catering for individual needs
The specific actions we will focus on are;
Continue to develop health and wellbeing information recorded on the ILD, ensuring that the wellbeing wheel is completely filled, meaning all the areas are being catered for.
Develop how much input children have to their own ILD's
Ask the children to participate more in general evaluation, including activities, foods, and wants and needs.
Children evaluated their trip to the pantomime using drawings of things they enjoyed, smiley faces, describing overall how they felt, and for those who can write, they wrote their feelings on the evaluations.
Plan 2 – Personalised support
The specific actions we will focus on are;
Develop improved use of chronologies through a greater understanding of the definition and purpose of a chronology.
All aspects of the plans are designed to continue to develop, ensuring a high level of a quality service is maintained for all our families within the nursery. The development plans can be found on the stair landing. Staff will provide evidence on this board of how they are meeting these areas.
Many thanks to all the parents who completed our yearly questionnaire. We are pleased to announce that 72% of parents rated the overall quality of service that their child receives at Summers as Excellent, with 26% rating it as Very Good and 2% as Good. Any developments resulting from these questionnaires will be discussed through staff meetings, and also included in our development plans where relevant. Some of your comments include:-
"Would not hesitate to recommend the nursery to any parent considering placing their child in your care. Everyone that works in the nursery is warm and caring, and makes all parents and children feel like part of a family."
"Staff definitely know my child well."
"Overall excellent care and development of children."
"(Children) have developed in leaps and bounds. Staff are excellent, always friendly and professional."
"We are very pleased with the standards at nursery. Many thanks to all the ladies who work very hard and always have a smile on their faces."
"We have always felt they (staff) are interested in our views, respectful and want to all work together."
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.
This term we have Eve from Abricabeats visiting on a Wednesday at 11am. The children are really enjoying taking part in her class which is vibrant and enthusiastic, and really ignites the children's creativity, confidence and self-esteem. We alternate the sessions Abricabeats attend 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 children also take a monthly visit to the library where they spend time choosing books to take back to the nursery.
The pre-school children attended the panto this term to see Cinderella. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all – even if there was a couple of scary moments!! We were so proud of how well the children managed sitting for so long. After we left, there was lots of discussion about the music and the beautiful outfits Cinderella had on!
Our ante pre-school children took a walk down to the Bon Accord centre to the Santa's grotto. The elves had very kindly arranged for the grotto to be closed to the public so we had the whole place to ourselves!! The children all got to meet Santa and have their photo taken with him. He was very generous and gave each of us a lovely gift.
Our 2-3 room visited Playtown in Inverurie. Play town is a role play centre, and the room is divided up into areas, each with a different theme – including a house, vet, hairdresser, shop and building site. It was amazing to observe the children at play and how they used their imaginations to make up and act out different scenarios.
As always, it has been a busy term. December was taken over with Christmas activities, including lots of arts and crafts, learning about the Christmas story and plenty of festive songs! Some other topics included Robert Burns and Chinese New Year.
We enjoyed some haggis, neaps and tatties for lunch which proved to be particularly popular with some.
The babies have taken part in lots of arts and crafts this term. They have enjoyed a huge variety of Christmas activities with the use of paints, glitter and decorations. They made some lovely creations for you all to take home at the end of term. We hope you all liked them.
This term, the children have enjoyed playing with the wooden bead frames, skilfully moving the beads from one side of the frame to the other, using developed hand-eye coordination as well as advanced fine motor skills. The beads are all colourful and the children are starting to identify the colours with the help of the staff.
The children really enjoy the wooden face masks of the animals, and they often request for these to be taken out during song and story times. They like to pretend to be the animals, making all the noises of the animals, using their creativity and imagination throughout.
The children also enjoy 'What's in the box', where they can use the props to identify the song. The prop helps children communicate what they wish to sing, and this also helps them develop their concentration span, as they have to sit and wait for their turn. Song time in the baby room is a lovely time for everyone to get together developing their social skills.
We played with the bubble machine this term, allowing the babies to move around the room developing their gross motor skills. The bubble machine brings great hilarity as the children chase and catch the bubbles. They like to screech as they chase each other around trying to burst as many as they can. This is cooperative play, where they are able to play alongside each other.
The babies loved exploring the Christmas materials, including the tinsel and baubles. We also had fake snowballs that the children were able to explore, and much more pleasurable than real snowballs! Exploratory play introduces children to new textures, where they are able to explore and find out what they feel like, and what they can be used for. The children really enjoyed having these items in the tough spot and it was fun when a fake snowball came hurtling towards us. Of course, this also helps develop the children's physical abilities and play skills.
This year, the children have enjoyed some learning about Robert Burns. They enjoyed painting some bagpipes and have celebrated Valentines Day.
We have been learning all about winter since the start of term and this has continued with activities, including making snowy trees and fun with shaving foam to recreate snow.
As with the babies, the 2 year olds had great fun celebrating Christmas. We made snowmen made of lentils, where we stuck on little buttons. They were so cute and the children focused really hard to fill up the socks and not spill any lentils. This improved hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The children showed great imagination once the little snowmen were made, and they enjoyed playing with them. Through the completion of this activity, there was a real sense of satisfaction with the end result. Staff and children were delighted with how they looked.
The children enjoyed a game of 'Pin the Antlers on the Reindeer'. This was a great turn taking game as children waited for their peers to have a turn, showing patience whilst waiting. Group games develop a sense of community and help build resilience in young children, where they can celebrate outcomes together.
We built a little Christmas wreath with hand prints together, and the children used green and red hand prints, all going around in a circle. This introduced colour and shape knowledge.
Take a look in the floor book to view all the lovely Christmas activities.
The children used the crazy foam in the water tray, where the staff added lots of real-life baking materials. They measured the foam and mixed it to make some wonderful pretend cakes, getting to grips with the changes of the consistency as they mixed the material around. This activity also helped the children identify the numbers on the measuring jugs.
We have been learning about birds this year, enjoying a matching game where we had to find two birds that were exactly the same. This helps children's observational skills, as well as developing language, as they describe the differences in the birds.
We also looked at how birds eat using their beaks, developing our understanding of the world around us. We even tried this out, seeing if we were able to eat any foods without using our hands, which was really quite fun.
We are currently learning about sea animals and have enjoyed lots of research through google and factual books.
We celebrated Valentine's day through making cards, using heart shaped stampers in the playdough and having some love water, which was red and sparkly.
Parents have been heavily contributing to our mind maps over the past term. Thanks for the ideas, keep it up!
Mr Mcsparkle, the elf, appeared for the month of December, encouraging good behaviour that could be reported back to Santa in the North Pole.
He got up to some mischief, including building himself a little house using our real-life tools and even destroying our little gingerbread house.
Matthew the magician came along to our amazing Christmas party at Queens Cross Church and did some mind- blowing tricks. We all had a turn at plate spinning which was really tricky, but we managed to get it along the whole line of children. We also left the party with a new little pet balloon dog.
The children have been developing their fine motor skills through trying to pick up little plastic spiders, using the tweezers to pull them through some pretend spider webs made of wool. The children were very good at this, they were calm and collected, took their time, and supported one another as they showed real control over the tweezers.
We built our own gingerbread house (as previously mentioned that Mr Mcsparkle destroyed), and it was very hard to build. We had to show perseverance, as it was difficult to stick together, but the decorating was great fun. The children followed instructions to make the gingerbread house and had a sense of achievement at the end.
The 3-5's have been making home-made balance beams in the garden using some of the loose parts. All of these parts have been risk assessed by children and staff. Some of the items are curved and it takes developed gross motor skills to be able to balance along these.
This year, the children have been learning some Makaton. We have used flashcards to help us learn the signs. Makaton is a type of sign language and encourages inclusion, aiding the children who have limited verbal language with communication. We are continuously encouraging the children to have an understanding of inclusion through celebrating a variety of cultural festivals and through offering diverse toys and activities. Understanding the needs of others is an important life skill that children can be introduced to at an early stage.
We are currently learning about Space. We have been to the local library to select factual books about Space and have also used google to research, enabling us to find out selective information.
We have used clay to create planets, and we have even eaten some space food which is dehydrated food which the astronauts eat. It wasn't very popular, but still caused great excitement! We are continuing this theme for the foreseeable future.
There are floor books in all the rooms which detail projects covered, and all parents are welcome to view at any time.
Kirsty Watson / Claire Drennan
Tel: 01224 628862
Dates for the Diary
- 28th May – Parents Evening
- 6th June – Tipsy Tea Charity Event
- 4th July - Sports Day