To our relief the building work was completed in time for us to set up and open just a few days late for the new term on Monday 9th September. We soon noticed the benefits of having insulation in the walls and roof of the main room: less damp, heat that stays in and considerably fewer draughts! Moreover the roof no longer leaks and the covered area outisde the entrance provides a welcome shelter for parents waiting to collect children during the rain. We understand that phase two of the building work is due to start in the Spring when our small storage area will be considerably enlarged and will include a separate space for the hall’s chairs and tables. We are hoping that work might also include the insulation of the kitchen and bathrooms and some work to the car park.
We based some of our project work at the beginning of the term on owls and our younger children, in particular, enjoyed the story of the Owl Babies. Some time ago we were given a sack full of large fir cones and having kept them, “just in case”, we found the perfect use for them, turning them into very attractive owls. The children have also produced some very beautiful leaf prints, our best yet and we gathered handfuls of acorns which we hope will begin to grow into small trees. We planted daffodil bulbs and are planning to hold a coffee morning, daffodil and oak tree sale next term in aid of Marie Curie. We continue to enjoy Yoga with Roessa on Thursdays and music with Annaliese on Mondays. I particularly enjoy watching someone else teaching and seeing the children developing new skills.
One morning Sophie called in to see us with her baby son, George. George behaved impeccably and seemed to quite enjoy being the centre of attention.
During the term I attended a Lead Practitioners Safeguarding support group meeting, a provider’s briefing session led by Hampshire County Council, which keeps us up to date with what’s happening in child care and a cluster group meeting held at Dunannie. We face a number of changes in the coming year, which will affect all Early Years providers and is mainly to do with how training is delivered. We also had our annual visit from our Area Development Officer who observes our practice and discusses our provision and development. Maggie attended a course aimed at enhancing the provision for the younger children who attend nurseries and she was very pleased to have the opportunity to hear and meet Sally Thomas, author of many excellent books on child care.
We celebrated the end of term and Christmas with a dance party led by Louise from Diddi Dance. Louise got us dancing around with bells, balloons, ribbons and hoops – not all at the same time! We invited parents to our nativity and the children not only looked beautiful in the costumes made by parents last year but also sang Brian Beresford’s songs beautifully. When I told Brian how quickly and easily the children were learning the songs, he was delighted, although he did ask me whether any of my staff were losing sleep because they couldn’t get the songs “out of their heads”. In the run up to Christmas I did wake up several times during the night with his lyrics and tunes going round and round my head and apparently Annaliese was heard singing “Follow, follow…” when out walking Pippin!
Alice Dickens will be joining us on Tuesday afternoons from January to give private French classes to some of our older children. Alice has recently become a Jolie Ronde teacher which is where my French teaching for children from the age of 3 years began about 19 years ago! We will also be welcoming 4 new children and their parents to the Nursery.
It only remains for us to wish you a very Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you for the new term, which begins on Monday 6th January.