When we returned to nursery after the Christmas break and snow, we saw the moles had been busy making mole-hills in the garden and as we were plannning a project on British Wildlife they provided an excellent starting point for our work. The children soon began to walk around the piles of earth instead of flatening them and they began to track the network of raised tunneling that was visible above ground, noticing new sections as they appeared.
In February Zoolab came to the nursery and the children were able to handle some animals and learn about their habits and diets. Heather (the Zoolab presenter) brought us a giant land snail, a corn snake, a giant millipede, a gerbil, a rat, a cockroach and a toad. It was good to see the children holding and touching the animals without any fear, (unlike some of us!) listening to Heather and responding to her questions.
Other visitors to the nursery included Charmian from the Hart Wildlife organisation, who brought a hedgehog and a pigeon with her. It was interesting to learn about the work they do with injured and sick animals and she was very impressed by how much the children already knew about hedgehogs. Lou, from the Hawk Conservancy, brought Troy the Tawny owl to see us. Many of the children were able to hold Troy and we saw, with the aid of the slides that Lou brought with her, Tawny owls, Barn owls and Little owls and heard their different calls. We also dissected an owl pellet and the children were able to match the tiny bones they found inside with ones that were labelled on a chart. It was a great way to find out just what owls like to eat!
In between learning about wildlife we also managed to raise over £100 for Marie Curie with the sale of our daffodils, that the children had planted in the Autumn and cared for during the winter. To this money, we added the donations we received on Shrove Tuesday for pancakes that the children helped to make and cook. We ate them at snack time with lemon and sugar!
In March we had the opportunity to hatch our own chicks. One Monday afternoon, Living Eggs supplied us with 10 eggs, an incubator and a brood box. Our first chick hatched on Wednesday and by Friday we had eight healthy chicks! It was very exciting seeing a crack appear in the shell, followed by a tiny hole through which we could see the little chick chipping away! The chicks grew very fast and the following Friday, Jo chose three and took them home. We hope it will not be long before they are laying!
Later in the month, we were invited to take part in the Privett Horticultural Spring Show and so each of the children did a water colour painting of Spring. Their work was colourful and very springlike. It was also their first experience of using watercolours and we were delighted and very proud of the paintings they produced entirely on their own.
At the beginning of April we went for a walk, organised by Roessa, in some woods in East Meon. Roessa organised a variety of different activites for the children and Mums to try, including following a rope with hands and without the sense of sight, sitting in silence and listening to the sounds around us (it really is difficult for young children to maintain a silence), and we used small mirrors to see beneath the foliage of the trees. It was a lovely morning out and we are very grateful to Roesssa and Atticus for inviting us.
At the end of the term we said goodbye to Carole who is leaving us having worked at the nursery for more than 12 years. We are all sad she won’t be with us in the summer, but we are looking forward to welcoming a new member of staff and 9 new children. We are planning next term’s activities and hope to have another very busy and happy term!