In September we welcomed 13 new children and their parents to the Nursery for our busiest September in some time. Zuzie, Charlotte and Megan also joined us to help manage our increased numbers and they, like the children, have settled into life at Privett Montessori beautifully.
We based our project work for the term on some of the mammals found in Africa and we and the children learnt many interesting facts about them. For example; giraffe give birth standing up (what a long drop!), rhinos are host to the tick bird which feeds off parasites on their skin, hippos sleep in the water and feed on land during the night and elephants are still illegally hunted and killed for their ivory. We also acquired some silk worms and after feeding them copious quantities of privet, they duly spun themselves inside cocoons. After a long wait and some time spent in Maggie’s airing cupboard, several very large and attractive moths emerged.
In November when the village hall was in use as a polling station, we all went to Marwell Zoo. Many of the children and their parents attended a workshop in which the children were told a story about Sally the stick insect. They then met the biggest stick insect I have ever seen and stroked a friendly rat! The children loved seeing the animals in the park, especially the giraffe, one of which is named after Samuel’s sister, Isabella and the penguins entertained us for such a long time with their swimming and diving antics.
We were visited by Heidi a dentist and ex Nursery parent and Charlotte a hygienist who came and talked to the children about caring for their teeth and the sugar content of food and drinks. The children were all able to practise correct tooth brushing on a model and sorted food and drinks into “good” or “bad” for teeth groups. George later told his parents about the sugar in ketchup and one of our children told her parents that she needed to brush her teeth twice a day not just once as she had been used to doing!
We held a coffee and cake morning on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Care and thanks to everyone who attended, baked and bought cakes, we raised just over £100.00. It was a fun and very sociable way to raise funds for a very worthy cause.
In December, just before the end of term, at the invitation of Privett residents and with the help of John, we went and planted bulbs around the Jubilee Oak tree they had planted earlier, as our part in marking the historic occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee. We look forward to going to see the bulbs in flower this Spring. Our Nativity Show on the last day of term was truly beautiful thanks to the costumes and backdrops made by parents. The whole project was led and managed by Raine, involved most of the mothers in one way or another and entailed numerous “sew – ins” at different houses! During the Nativity performance itself, the children sang 8 songs and behaved very professionally although we nearly lost all our kings to stage fright! During the final rehearsal, Mary was particularly surprised when the angel told her that she was going to have King Arthur’s baby! A shepherd complained that the animals, including a pig, wouldn’t keep still. “That’s OK”, said Maggie. “Animals don’t keep still!”
We have worked hard to fulfil the requirements of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage. This has involved the implementation of written progress checks for 2 year olds, regular sharing of information with 2nd providers and updating our Home-School Booklets. We have also adopted new Policies regarding the use of mobile phones, cameras and videos in Nursery and a policy on Social Networking. These Policies as with all our Policies are available for parents to read in Nursery and on our website. Christina has recently up-dated her First Aid Qualification and also attended an excellent course on Positive Approaches to Challenging Behaviour. This course was led by Portage who also offer support and guidance to parents of Nursery age children. Kate and Maggie have both been to the Montessori Centre in London for a course that looked at the implications of the revised EYFS on Montessori Practice and Maggie also attended Special Educational Needs training there. Roessa has continued to teach Yoga once a week and the children are working hard to learn new poses and to develop concentration and control. Annaliese has been coming into Nursery to help us learn the songs for the Nativity but also to give the children the benefit of her skills as a very gifted music and movement teacher. Rachel joined us recently and will be coming back next term for some work experience before going on to do a teaching degree.
We continue to support the village hall committee in their efforts to raise funds for renovating the hall and are delighted that one of our parents has volunteered his time and expertise to act as auctioneer for a fundraising Auction that is being planned for later this year.
In the meantime, we would like to wish you all a very Happy and Successful Year and we look forward to another busy term with less rain please!
This term we were delighted to welcome some new children, Emily, Nathaniel, Zoe, Alice and Olivia to the Nursery as well as a very welcome extra pair of hands in the form of Gina! Gina has quickly become a very valuable member of the team and she is working hard to combine working at the Nursery with College and coursework for her level 3 Childcare qualification
For me, the highlight of the term was our Open Morning when Mill Cottage Farm brought a selection of their animals, including turkeys, goats, ducks, chickens, alpacas, rabbits, guineapigs and dogs, to us. The animals provoked a lot of excitement and interest and it was lovely to see the slightly nervous children becoming increasingly confident and beginning to handle some of the animals. The morning was extremely well attended by all our current children and parents and there were a large number of visitors, many of whom have now registered with us! It was a very busy and a very happy morning!
This term Kate has attended a level 4 Safeguarding workshop and has also updated her First Aid qualification. Maggie has completed her level 2 food safety training and she and Gina have both been to a “Keep on Talking” briefing which introduced Hampshire’s materials that support the development of children’s communication skills. Gina has also successfully completed her First Aid training for the first time. Christina continues to mentor her students through their childcare training and is also helping us to support Gina through her course!
For a Mother’s Day gift the children decorated small pots of geranium seedlings. They used marbling inks to cover paper pot covers, which produced an amazing variety of colour and pattern and they coloured butterfly or dragonfly cards to label their pots. We hope that the children will continue to nurture the seedlings at home, help to “pot them on” and be able to observe the growth of the plants and the development of the flowers all summer. In preparation for the Horticultural Spring Show, the children began to look closely at daffodils and used chalk to produce their first attempts at a life drawing. We then introduced the children to waterpaints and they explored the effect of paint used on wet paper. The final step was for each child to produce their own daffodil painting using wet paper and waterpaints. We could not have been more thrilled or impressed by the results, all of them, individual works of art!
The children are enjoying Yoga and have recently begun to work in pairs which requires, in addition to the usual concentration, a considerable amount of co-operation and trust. We are delighted by their progress and the development of their skills and very grateful to Roessa for her holistic approach to the teaching of our children and us!
We ended the term with a traditional Easter Egg Hunt around the garden on yet another beautiful, sunny Spring day. We return to Nursery on Wednesday 18th April and are looking forward to welcoming our new children and to a happy Summer Term!
It is the last day of 2011 and as I write this report on the Autumn term, September feels like a long time ago although the months just flew by. During the term the children enjoyed learning and reciting some traditional nursery rhymes and songs. In December they were still asking for their favourites, Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet.
In art the children practised printing using variety of different objects to experiment with and discover the different effects they could produce. We practised building walls for Humpty to sit on, using wooden blocks and then decided to try printing walls onto paper using small blocks dipped in paint. The children assembled Humpties using paper shapes for his body and pipe cleaners for legs and arms. We made spiders too, using pompoms, wiggly eyes and pipe cleaners.
We enjoyed several cooking mornings when the children made apple crumble, bread rolls, gingerbread men and halloween cakes. They had the opportunity to measure, weigh and mix ingredients using their fingers, an electric whisk and scales.
We continue to attend relevant childcare courses to update and refresh our qualifications. Maggie and Kate both attended the new level 3 Safeguarding training and Maggie updated her First Aid qualification. Maggie also went to the Montessori Centre in London to attend a day’s workshop led by Chris Manville. Christina continues to mentor and support students who are working towards their level 2 and level 3 childcare qualifications. She currently has 10 students and visits them in their settings.
At the end of November our development support officer visited us to help us discuss, evaluate and reflect upon our provision. The responses we had received from parents to the questionnaire we had sent out prior to this helped to inform our discussion and we are responding to the various suggestions made by parents including holding more frequent consultations and offering more childcare hours in the afternoons
In December we participated in the West Meon Christmas Tree Festival and one morning several of the children’s mothers came into nursery to spend the morning with the children making Christmas tree decorations. We are very grateful to Claire for organising the morning and for her inspired choices of decorations. We are also enormously grateful to all the mothers who came and helped to make the morning such fun and so productive. Jane and Stacy took the tree to the church and decorated it there. The result was very very special and perfectly captured the spirit of the nursery and its children; bright and shiny with a hint of mischievious innocence suggested by its forward tilt!
On the last morning of the term, Ben and Moira from the Treehouse Theatre company came to the nursery and within a few minutes had the children engaged in singing and games. This was followed by a special adaptation of the Elves and the Shoemaker in which the children took part while parents other relatives and friends watched. Afterwards, we enjoyed a festive celebration with mince pies and mulled wine before wishing everyone goodbye and a Very Merry Christmas.
We hope that the mild weather will continue when we return in the New Year and we look forward to welcoming some new children and their parents to the nursery.
Like other schools, our Summer Term had a disrupted start beginning on Tuesday immediately after the Easter Weekend, followed by the Royal Wedding on Friday and Monday May Bank Holiday! We were open on Friday and the small group of children who came in for the morning were treated to some fascinating science experiments by Monty’s Dad, Matt. We produced music by causing air to vibrate in a tube, used air combined with heat or pressure to move objects and made our own electricity by turning a wheel!
The following week we visited The Queen Elizabeth Country Park which provided a valuable conclusion to our wildlife project as well as an alternative venue to the village hall which was in use as a polling station! We were looked after beautifully by Becky who talked to the children about some of the animals we had learnt about and took us to search for evidence that they live in the forest, (when did looking for rabbit droppings become so interesting?) The children were encouraged to think about how some of the animals live and one of their tasks was to hide away some nuts like squirrels and remember where they had hidden them. Becky forgot to remind the children to go and find the nuts but much later, on our way back to the Visitor Centre, Ruby suddenly did a small detour and retrieved hers! The children were provided with maginifying glasses and pots for a bug hunt. It was fun to walk through the forest looking under leaves, wood and stones, never quite knowing what might be hiding there. In the end we found a huge variety, including beatles, centipedes, spiders, woodlice, worms and ants.
We decided to base our new project for the term on “Earth Story” a book by Eric Maddern which tells of the beginning of the Universe. We wanted to convey to the children an idea of how long it took for our galaxy to be created and compare this to the brief amount of time that man has been alive. So, in keeping with Montessori tradition, we unwound the very long black ribbon that represents time taken to create our world and showed the children the small white tip on the end which represents time that man has been in existence. In art we tipped marbles into paint and swirled them in paper lined circular trays to make pictures of galaxies. To illustrate the aftermath of the Big Bang, we soaked black paper with water and used syringes to squirt the paper with yellow, red and orange paint. As the paint ran and blended, the children got an impression of black nothingness becoming filled with light. In music and movement we listened to sounds representing the dramatic eruption of a volcano and we used different body movements to match the erupting magma, explosion of dust and rocks and flowing lava. We also created our own erupting volcano using a mixture of vinegar, washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda.
Other events during the term included the return of our old friend, Storyteller, Mike O’Leary who entertained us with more wierd and wonderful tales accompanied by his music and sound effects. Mike has an extraordinary gift for combining traditional stories with a modern twist that makes them accessible to a wide ranging audience across all ages.
In July, we held our annual Games Day, despite postponing it for a week due to poor weather and we managed to have our traditional picnic in the garden. The children all competed in our obstacle course, sack and balancing races, bat and ball game and sprint! They cheered each other on and entered fully into the spirit of sportsmanship. As Abigail told her parents later – “I didn’t win any of my races, but it was great fun”
In August we are participating in the Froxfield and Privett Horticultural Summer show. Our children have each woven different materials into a frame made of twigs and strung with wool. The results are very individual and very attractive. We hope that parents will take the children to see their work on display at Froxfield Village Hall on 20th August.
We said goodbye to 11 children who are moving on to Infant School in September and although it is a sad occasion because it is the end of their journey with us it is also the beginning of the next very important and exciting step in their lives. We wish them success, fun and happiness in their new schools and look forward to seeing them on Inset Days!
We return on Monday 5th September and looking forward to another busy and happy term.