Term 3 Newsletter - February 2019
We are now into the second month of the year, and already time is flying past! I hope you all had a great start to 2019, and hopefully everyone is now enjoying the slightly better temperature, as we move away from the freezing temperatures of late. Perhaps you have booked yourself a nice holiday to look forward to later on in the year! Many thanks for all the great Christmas gifts that we were given prior to the Christmas break, they were very much appreciated!
Joanne Noble has accepted a promotion to Room Leader of the 2-3 Room in our Inverurie nursery. Joanne's last day with us here at Wee Rascals was Friday 8th February. We want to wish Joanne all the best in her new role at Inverurie.
Becca made the decision to move on from Wee Rascals Nursery on the 16th January after 12 years with us. Becca decided to take up a position where she could spend some more time with her 2 boys.
Kirsty Hendy is currently doing Becca's hours until we find a permanent replacement. Kirsty has been working at Wee Rascals as a relief member of staff since 2016 and is slotting into the Cheeky Monkey team very well.
Jade Webster will be returning to her role as Room Leader as of Tuesday 19th February. Jade has been off for 9 months after having her little girl, but is ready to return. Jade's hours will be Tuesday-Friday 7;30-6pm. I would like to thank Amber Piekarski for all her hard work as Room Leader for the past 9 months. Amber will resume her role of Practitioner in the Busy Bee room on Jade's return.
Shannon Innes (Little Bunnies) has now started her SVQ 3 with Cairn training.
As you will be aware, our Charity of the Year for 2018 was 'Befriend a Child'. This charity supports disadvantaged and troubled school aged children, aged 4 – 16, in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. I would like to thank you all again for your support during our various events throughout 2018. Wee Rascals managed to raise a very impressive £1892.59, and all 5 Summers nurseries raised a whopping total of £11356.09!! Our Victoria Street nursery also managed to raise a further £1006 on top of this, which was donated to the charity through Kiltwalk. I'm sure the team at 'Befriend a child' will be delighted with our fundraising efforts.
For 2019, we have decided to support 'Friends of the Special Nursery', a charity of Aberdeen's Maternity Hospital's Neo Natal unit for sick and premature babies in the Grampian region, as well as the islands of Orkney and Shetland. You can find out more about this charity at www.specialnursery.org
Little Bunnies Topics
During our 'Number & Shapes' topic, the children used their problem solving and concentration skills, doing the different shape sorters we have available. We incorporated number and shape recognition into several activities, using plastic numbers in the jelly, painting with cups, blocks etc. The children drew numbers/shapes in the sand, and decorated big numbers to display on the wall. They used potato print shapes and lolly pop sticks as a number line. We sang songs such as 'Three speckled frogs', 'Five little ducks', '1,2,3,4,5….. once I caught a fish alive' and 'Five little monkeys'.
We then moved onto 'Winter' as our next topic, where the children made hand print snowflakes and they also participated in a snowflake colour matching activity. We made footprint penguins and cotton wool polar bears. We also did an experiment of making 'puffy snow'.
In the messy tray, we had glittery rice, frozen pom pom's and sensory bags. The children painted ice cubes, and they also had the opportunity to make glittery play dough which they were then able to play with. They enjoyed making puzzles and building towers throughout the week.
As we crept into December, we moved onto Christmas, where we spent a lot of time helping the children make their Christmas cards, calendars, and gifts to go home. For craft, there were hand print trees, with 'stick and glue' tissue paper as baubles, as well as cotton wool snowmen with top hats. The older children did a cutting activity with the scissors.
We baked some nice ginger bread men for the children to take home, with the children helping to scoop and pour the mixture using their hand eye co-ordination and concentration skills. They were also very good at sharing and taking turns.
We did a new experiment where we made soda erupt to make a white foam resembling snow.
In the messy tray, we had shaving foam, hot chocolate, tinsel, as well as cotton wool and water. Suzanne made up a 'mix and match' game, cutting pictures of a ginger bread man, an elf and a Santa into three pieces, and the children were encouraged to re make the picture in the correct order to make the bodies.
We all enjoyed our Christmas lunch, with the children all pulling their crackers and enjoying a lovely roast dinner, and later in the week, we had our annual Christmas party, with a special visit from Santa.
We started the New Year off with 'On the farm' as our topic, and we continue to work through this.
Our topics are always displayed on the unit for parents to help contribute their ideas, which we always welcome, so please write any ideas on it.
Cheeky Monkeys topics
During the topic 'In the night', the Cheeky Monkeys had discussions about the sun and moon. The children seemed to enjoy looking at the moon and its forever changing shape at home with their mums and dads. They did 'sorting' activities, with light and dark colours which represented day and night, as well as various other craft activities, developing their gross motor skills and cognitive development.
During our 'In the night' topic, the children spoke about how cold it was, so we naturally moved onto discuss the season of winter. The children engaged in activities such as snow dough, paper plate snowflakes and ice cube painting. They also participated in a baking activity which encourages simple science and maths. The children helped to measure ingredients and mix it all together. Baking also allows for quality interaction, with lots of language and turn taking.
As the days got closer to Christmas, this became a big part of our nursery day! This is definitely the ladies favourite time of year! The children made Christmas tree pictures, Christmas cards, and presents for their parents, as well as learning all the Christmas songs to help get us into the spirit! Everyone enjoyed our Christmas party, especially having Angela the dance teacher in! We played games such as 'Pin the nose on the reindeer', encouraging fine motor development, as well as a number game to encourage mathematical development.
After the Christmas break, the children learnt about transport. As making trains with the chairs seems to be a favourite activity, it only seemed right to learn more about this area. We have had all different types of transport in our messy trays, and the children also learnt about traffic lights and what each colour means. Please keep a look out on our Learning Wall each day to see what we have been learning.
Busy Bees Topics
This term, the Busy Bees have been learning about the weather. Rainbows was the first area of interest for the children, so focusing on this allowed us to help the children with the development of their colour recognition. They did colour mixing activities to discover what colours go together to make a new colour. We spoke about what makes a rainbow appear and the cycle of rain – precipitation, collection, evaporation and condensation. The Busy Bees also helped to make their own weather forecast board, encouraging problem solving and team work throughout.
During out Christmas topic, we focused on developing our literacy skills. We wrote letters to Santa, created Christmas cards for our families, and wrote our names onto snowballs to create a snowman. This also led onto the children practicing their numeracy; counting how many snowballs it took to spell out their names. We also counted Christmas trees during another activity and had a count down to how many sleeps before Santa comes!
The children worked very well together, practicing for their very own Nativity show. They would encourage each other if someone got mixed up with their lines or forgot their part, making the Nativity on the day hugely successful!
Our current topic is 'Living things'. So far, the children have learnt what a living thing is, looking at plants, animals and people. The children are currently growing some cress and learning about their body.
The Cheeky Monkeys enjoyed a fantastic trip to Playtown on Tuesday the 13th of November, with the children enjoying lots of role play and using their imaginations.
The ante pre-school children had a very energetic trip to Hoodles, and great fun was had by all!
The pre-school children took a bus to Aberdeen to see the pantomime, Snow White, at His Majesty's theatre.
Angela from 'Abricabeats' has been attending on a Monday at 12.30pm this term.
We continue to work towards our new Improvement plans which went live at the end of last year. These plans cover 1.4 - Leadership of Management and Practitioners, 2.4 – Personalised Support, and 3.3 – Develop creativity and skills for life and learning. Please see our Improvement planning wall in the main hallway by the Busy Bees boxes for more in-depth information on how we plan to improve in each area and to see the progress we are making along the way.
Thank you to everyone who returned their parental questionnaires back in October and November. It's really nice to read so many positive comments and also good for us to see what areas we may need to improve on. Overall, 75% of you rated the quality of service your child receives as Excellent, 22% as Very Good and 3% as Good. Some of the comments included;
"We feel our daughter is developing well and is challenged which we can see on the ILD. She really enjoys the different ways of learning, from traditional to creative"
"Wee Rascals is a fantastic nursery. The kids are well looked after, we have never had any concerns regarding care. The range of activities and learning has really developed our daughter and she has grown in confidence"
"Wee Rascals has a big, lovely outside area with lots of toys/activities"
"Our daughter has become such an independent and happy toddler. The nursery staff all provide wonderful, loving, teaching and support. I'm grateful for all you do"
Policies of the Term
Each term, the nursery focuses on certain policies. Policies this term are:-
- 8. Dealing with challenging behaviour
- 10. Child Protection
- 31. Starting Nursery & Room Transition procedure
You will find a copy of these policies on the parent's notice board by the front door. Parents are welcome to read our policy folder at any time.
Tax Free Voucher/Payments
In April 2017, the UK Government launched its tax free Childcare Scheme which replaces existing voucher schemes. This closed to new entrants in April 2018, although existing membership can continue forwards from this cut-off date. Information can be read at the following sites:-
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 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 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 cancel any siblings that have left the nursery off your voucher.
We do however realise that the government vouchers seem to be a bit problematic regarding the reference system, and we will have to try and work around this.