We've had an amazing month so far for visitors - during our emergency services week we were lucky enough to have some amazing visitors to make our topic extra special!
We've had a visit from the fire engine - the children climbed aboard and met the firemen; we've had a police officer visiting to chat with the children, they were of course on very best behaviour! And we've also had a nurse, so the children loved bandaging their "patients" under an expert eye.
We had more fun with Louise Weston from Hatch Warren Infant School - she introduced play dough gym to our children, a super fun activity that helps children develop the core muscles they need for writing.
It's our favourite season, so we've been stepping into Autumn and enjoying all the colours, sounds and foods of the season! The children have been chopping vegetables and making lovely soups with lots of seasonal vegetables. Yummy! Conkers, pine cones and leaves are a great resource at this time of year – we’ve been on walks in the woods where the children have collected lots of natural resources and looked at the changing colours on the trees. We’ve also been listening to the sounds of leaves crunching underfoot on our woodland walks.
We continually promote British values at preschool, but this term we’ve had great fun with “Democracy”. This month the children have been voting each day for which book to read at circle time, they have loved casting their votes and learning about different choices.
It was a Royal Welcome back to Hatch Warren Under Fives; we had a very special delivery during our first week - a thank you card from the Royal Family! Last year our children made a wonderful wedding card for Prince Harry and Meghan, and we received our own royal thank you card! What an exciting start to the new preschool year!
It was lovely to welcome back our older children and our new children have settled in fantastically!
Our staff training this month was all about the outdoor learning environment, so we have some great activities planned for extending our children’s learning outdoors all year round. We’ll also be learning about autumn this term and exploring colours, outdoor sounds and hibernating animals. And we’ll be holding weekly cooking sessions and weekly science experiments throughout the year too.
So far we've conducted volcano experiments using bicarbonate of soda, red food colour and vinegar inside apple and lemon volcanoes, we've experimented with how rain is formed and blown up balloons using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar - no puff required!
We also had a visit from "Debutots" for some story telling and drama activities - such a great activity for preschool children, by exploring our stories vocally and physically we really help with their literacy and communication development.
We are now in the final stretch of our preschool year at Hatch Warren Under Fives – how did that happen?! There is now a great emphasis on school readiness for our older children. Each day we are having fun with activities to promote number recognition, personal/social skills, listening/understanding and health and self care to name a few. Many of our children will also be making their first visits to their new schools this month, very exciting times.
We've been having a busy time in preschool, we held a sponsored obstacle course for the children who were all amazing. They were cheered on brilliantly by lots of parents and raised lots of money to buy indoor and outdoor tents to upgrade our “cosy corners”. We also had visits from Drama Tots who spent the afternoon on an adventure with the children, encouraging them to use music and play and lots of imagination. Laura, the veterinary nurse from St Kitts Vets joined us in preschool with Dudley the Dog, the children loved looking after Dudley and making him feel better. And we had a great Royal Wedding themed week making flags, invitations, crowns and bunting. The children also decorated biscuits and made sandwiches to have at their own royal tea party. This month we also celebrate Father’s Day with doughnuts and bacon sandwiches for all the Daddies that join us to play in preschool.
We started the new summer term with the exciting project of hatching some real eggs with our sister preschool, Kempshott Under Fives. It has been a brilliant experience for the children to follow all of the stages from egg to chick over the past two weeks. The eggs were hatched in an incubator and then the chicks moved into a special heated box where the children could feed them and watch them grow! Our little chicks have now gone off to enjoy some more space at the farm.
There has been more excitement for our older children who have recently found out which schools they will be going to in September, it’s been lovely to hear all about the “big” schools and who is going where. So this term is when our “school readiness’ begins. We will begin to introduce lots of activities to prepare our bigger children, for example, can the children change into their PE kit by themselves? Can they independently wash their hands and open the food in their lunchbox? We’ll also start focus much more on numbers, health and self-care and communication and language.
School readiness is described in the foundation stage as “Children reaching a good level of development in the prime areas and literacy and mathematics”.
Some of the expected characteristics that should be displayed by a child to show school readiness;
Independent in toileting
Able to dress themselves
Understands expected levels of behaviour
Confidence and self-esteem
Can take turns and share
Can sit still for a short period
Can separate from parents/carers
Communication and language skills needed to communicate needs and listen to others
Can actively learn and creatively and critically think
Some of these characteristics may of course be difficult for all children to achieve and this shouldn’t leave parents or practitioners concerned that a child isn’t school ready.
Happy Easter from all at Hatch Warren Under Fives.
We’ve had a busy term learning about spring and looking at baby animals and life cycles. We’ve also had lots of fun looking at the weather… And as if by magic, during our weather topic came the snow, we couldn’t have timed it better! This was the first proper snow experience for many of our little ones and they all had so much fun.
There have been so many celebrations over the last month – but one of our favourites of the year is Mother’s Day. We had a great turnout of Mums and Grandmas who came in to join us for afternoon tea to celebrate Mother’s Day with their little ones. We also had a very busy week at the craft tables making beautiful Mother’s Day cards and special clay tokens with red hearts, created by the children’s thumb prints. Definitely a present to treasure!
Our Easter activities will continue after the holidays when we will be hatching our own chicks with our sister preschool Kempshott Under Fives. This is a hugely exciting project for us and the children can’t wait to receive the eggs and watch for signs of our baby chicks emerging!
When we’re not chick watching this term, we’ll be enjoying a focus on healthy eating and exercise. We’re busy planning a mini Olympics and will ask children to come to preschool dressed in PE kits. This also ties in with getting ready for school – because this month many of our children will be finding out what school they will be going to in September. We’ll be getting many other preparations for school underway including lots of mark making and activities that strengthen little hands for handwriting. Our older children will be focusing on writing names and the numbers 1-10.
We love spring term at Hatch Warren Under Fives! The days are getting lighter and longer, the sun is starting to shine more and it’s one of the best times of year to see wildlife and flowers. Throughout spring term we'll be exploring the season of spring and discovering new buds on trees, flowers that are growing and learning about the baby animals that are born in springtime.
We recently followed National Storytelling Week and read lots of stories with the children, encouraging them to make up their own endings and asking lots of questions aimed at developing their thinking and understanding (Listening to stories with increasing attention and recall is an expectation of a typical child aged 30 to 50 months). The children became Little Red Riding Hood and decorated biscuits to take to Grandma; the Three Bears had small, medium and large chairs to sit and eat porridge and Jack and the Beanstalk cut up runner beans, looking for the magic ones!
Our other February highlights were Chinese New Year, Pancake day and Valentines Day - lots of yummy food, pancake racing and busy craft tables full of hearts and sparkles.
Our excited children at Hatch Warren Under Fives had a surprise visit from Father Christmas on the last day of term. They all visited a wonderful Christmas grotto and received presents from Father Christmas - which was followed by an amazing Christmas performance to some very proud parents and family!
Merry Christmas everyone!
After having lots of fun with our recent topics of sports, hospitals, autumn, animal books, nursery rhymes and pirates, we suddenly find ourselves in December – the most magical month of the year at Hatch Warren Under Fives.
At circle time we’ll be talking about the importance of family and special people at Christmas. We’ll definitely be hearing about presents, but we’ll also talk about giving presents to others, sending cards, cooking festive dinners for loved ones and about the real meaning of Christmas and helping others at this special time of year. Of course, there’ll be lots of excitement about Father Christmas and we’ll find out what’s top of the Christmas lists this year too!
The craft tables are awash with tinsel, glitter, sparkle and bright colours this month, with our little creators making cards, decorations and lots of fabulous Christmas crafts.
Our singing voices have been warming up nicely for the last few weeks with practices of Christmas songs and with our nursery rhymes topic. Naturally following on from singing and rhymes is music – this has moved the children on to the second phase of their Phase One Phonics programme where they’ve been tuning into the different sounds made with musical instruments. As always, guitars are a big hit with the children and they’ve loved playing matching games with percussion instruments from the sound bag.
The Christmas performance is our highlight this term, and our little superstars will be taking to the stage to perform this year’s play, based on the entertaining storybook “Jesus’ Christmas Party”. We’ll be putting our own twist to the traditional tale of the grumpy innkeeper who can’t get to sleep because of all the shepherds, angels and bright stars knocking on his door…
And of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a party – so before our little ones take to the stage, they’ll be having a fun-filled Christmas party. And if we’ve all been good, we might even get a surprise visit from Father Christmas!
We’ve had a great first half term at Hatch Warren Under Fives – our little ones have adjusted well to new staff, new friends and new routines and have thoroughly enjoyed our first topics.
We had brilliant fun with our theme of hospitals - the children loved bandaging and nursing our poorly teddy bears, they practiced mark making by ‘writing’ observation charts and prescriptions and also looked at bones and body parts, learning lots of interesting new words such as arteries and esophagus.
During our restaurants and cafes week, we set up different cafes and restaurants every day and all of the children prepared food, peeling and chopping vegetables; they used chopsticks to pick up and count and explored cereals and noodles in the messy play tray.
Our recent theme is autumn. Some of the children have spoken about seeing hedgehogs in their gardens, so to extend their learning we included hibernation as part of our autumn topic (being able to talk about the natural world and show concern for living things is an expectation for a typical child aged 30 to 50 months). Conkers, pine cones and leaves are a great resource at this time of year – the children have been bringing in conkers they’ve collected, leaf painting and looking at seasons and the changing colours on the trees. We’ve also been listening to the sounds of leaves crunching underfoot on our autumn walks. And of course this month we have firework night – lots more sounds and noises for us to explore, and lots of colourful fireworks crafts too.
It’s great to see how much the children have grown over the summer holidays – and to welcome lots of new faces to our preschool too!
Our first few weeks are always about settling in and helping our children make new friends and get to know staff. Our first topic “All About Me” is a great chance for the children to learn all about themselves, their new friends and their families. We use stories, arts, crafts and songs to help our children discover what is unique and special about themselves and each other. The children have learnt lots of names, created some self-portraits and compared the colour of our hair and eyes. The children have also been cutting out pictures of things they like – animals, flowers and of course lots of toys.
As the weather changes we’re beginning to think about autumn and exploring colours, outdoor sounds and hibernating animals.
We have new staff to welcome this month – Rhian Cooper joins us as our Preschool Leader, bringing a big smile and a wealth of experience with her. And our lovely Head of Preschool, Michelle Tejevo, has stepped up to an Area Manager role between Hatch Warren and Kempshott Under Fives. Vanja Martyn has also joined us as an Early Year’s Practitioner to cover Nicola’s maternity leave.
We are now fast approaching the final stretch of our preschool year at Hatch Warren Under Fives. School preparation is well underway for our older children and we also have a few fun dates planned for June.
We’ve recently enjoyed a fantastic book theme – we discovered lots of new Julia Donaldson books with the children, although the most popular stories still seem to be the old favourites, The Gruffalo and Stickman. Our little ones used their fantastic imaginations by offering alternative endings, they described characters and managed to continue with the rhyming strings. Some of our children even dressed up as characters from their own favourite books for a day and shared their stories with us.
Coming up, we have our preschool trip to Finkley Down Farm – always a great day out and a brilliant opportunity to see all of the animals that we learnt about during spring term.
We have also been invited to take our older children on a bus trip to Asda. As well as being hugely exciting for the children, it will be a great exercise for school readiness. We can practice some fun literacy and numeracy skills by choosing foods beginning with certain letters, looking at shapes, counting items in our baskets and picking out foods which are healthy.
There is now a great emphasis on school readiness for our older children. Each day we are having fun with activities to promote number recognition, personal/social skills, listening/understanding and health and self care to name a few. Many of our children will also be making very exciting first visits to their new schools!
Dads are very important this month too – it will be all about Daddies for a week in June when we have our annual ‘Bring your Dad to preschool week’ to celebrate Father’s Day.
We had a great end to last term – we looked at "Our Senses and Our Bodies” and the little ones had a fabulous time exploring all five senses with activities such as food tasting (sweet and sour – lemons were very popular!), baked beans and gloop for touch, listening activities, Kim's game (sight) and flavoured playdough/flowers (smell). The children also learnt some interesting words like “Oesophagus” during their experiments about how the lungs work and how food travels to the stomach (questioning why things happen and how things work is a "Speaking" Early Learning Goal for a typical child aged 30 to 50 months).
We also enjoyed a theme of sport – the children completed obstacle courses, football games and basketball competitions. They also had a go at table tennis, golf and skateboarding (showing increasing control over an object in patting, throwing, catching and kicking is a "Physical" Early Learning Goal for a typical child aged 40 to 60+ months).
Our Easter egg hunt was a brilliant way to end the spring term, we had a great afternoon following the Easter egg trail, the sun was shining and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A big thank you to Tesco, Co-op, Asda, Sainsburys and Waitrose who all kindly donated eggs for prizes, a great support for our preschool. In the lead up to the Easter egg hunt, the children did a duck hunt around the preschool (of course we had to find who had laid the eggs for the Easter trail!)
This term is when our “school readiness’ begins, so we will begin to introduce lots of activities to prepare our bigger children for school. Can the children change into their PE kit by themselves? Can they independently wash their hands and open the food in their lunchbox? There’ll be a big focus on numbers, health and self-care and communication and language.
We’ve had a great month celebrating special days, and we’ll be finishing the term on a chocolate high with our family Easter egg hunt, always such a fun afternoon!
We celebrated Pancake Day, St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day in March, enjoying lots of fun activities – pancake races, mud pancake making, bulb planting, drawing daffodils, playing with green pasta and playdough and trying green snacks, plus experimenting with all sorts of other snacks – including pancakes, leek soup and colcannon…
Our most special celebration was Mother’s Day. We had a fantastic turnout of Mums for our “Mother’s Day Stay and Play Week” and we had two lovely Afternoon Tea dates, with the Mummy’s being served by our very excited little ones!
In between all of the special days and celebrations, the children have enjoyed (yes, enjoyed!) the theme of “Bugs, Slugs and Creepy Crawlies”. The children loved playing with the electronic tarantula, digging for creepy crawlies in the mud and making worm pies. The craft table was awash with butterfly painting, clay bugs and paper plate ladybirds. We also made caterpillar name trains watching very carefully to see if children could form recognisable letters, which meets the "Literacy" Early Learning Goal of a typical child aged 40 to 60+ months.
We’ve also enjoyed a “Music and Dance” theme, with all of our girls and boys having a great time dressing up in tap shoes and tutus. Dancing and movement can help strengthen the hand muscles in preparation for writing. One fun way in which we do this is through "Write Dance". Write Dance is an approach (used by schools) that provides opportunities so children can develop the physical skills needed to develop their handwriting skills. The children have so much fun with this and the writing movement is driven by the music.
Hatch Warren Under Fives and the EYFS
Here are Hatch Warren Under Fives we love to make marks. This can be using pens, paper, paintbrushes, chalks, pens or even using our fingers to make marks in soil, jam or flour.
Why is Mark Making Important? Mark making gives children the opportunity to explore imaginatively, physically and creatively, to test their ideas and extend their play. Writing begins long before a child can physically hold and control a pencil or crayon effectively, the journey to becoming a confident writer begins at birth and mark making is the foundation that underpins a child’s ability to write. Remember children learn that marks have meaning by watching adults writing. Encourage your child to ‘write’ with you e.g. shopping lists, phone messages, memos and greeting cards.
The EYFS states that we can expect to see a child of 30 - 50 months sometimes giving meaning to marks as they draw and paint and ascribe meanings to marks that they see in different places. Let your little one enjoy lots of mark making opportunities to build on their writing skills!
It has been wonderful listening to the children talk about their Christmas holidays and who they spent time with. And it’s been lovely to see them recreating some of their festive memories through their play. We’ve seen children making Christmas cakes in the role play area, having dinner with Nanny and Grandad, even opening and requesting to wrap presents so they could be just like Mummy. All that present wrapping has involved lots of visits to the craft cupboard for extra paper! This links perfectly to the Department for Education's "Early Year's Outcomes" which says that a typical child aged 30-50 months should be able to "remember and talk about significant events in their own experiences" and "recognise and describe special times or events for family or friends".
Our Main Room has been buzzing with activities based around new toys and gifts the children received for Christmas. The Home Corner became a garage with car park, car wash and transporter. Outside, the children have enjoyed a spot of fishing, shooting at targets and taking teddy bears on a picnic. In the mark making area we had Paw Patrol themed paper and Argos books for the children to cut out pictures of their amazing new toys. The children have also been kept busy in the Garden Room washing and feeding their new babies and making Superhero balloons and bracelets.
The buzzword for this term at Hatch Warren Under Fives has to be GLITTER! December is a truly fun and magical time at our preschool and it’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go… But at Hatch Warren Under Fives we’re true believers that you can’t ever have too much glitter, so we started our “glitter season” straight after half term with Party Week!
With many of our children celebrating birthdays around now we decided to create our own party theme to explore number recognition with the children. They counted candles on cakes, made birthday badges with their ages and practiced their mark making skills by creating party invitations. Lots of fun was had decorating biscuits and cakes and getting messy with our favourite party food, jelly.
We’ve had lots of play around traditional fairy tales - planting beans with Jack and the Beanstalk, Building houses with the Three Little Pigs, building bridges with the Three Billy Goats Gruff and creating a Goldilocks corner with different sized bears, chairs, spoons and bowls.
The room has been alive with noise and music this term too - the children have moved on to the second phase of their Phase One Phonics programme and have been tuning into the different sounds made with musical instruments. Guitars have been a firm favourite in the preschool and we’ve been playing matching games with percussion instruments from our sound bag. The children have made their own rain sticks and cup shakers and had great fun experimenting with sounds such as crunching leaves and noisy cereals.
To add to the excitement this term, we also welcomed 12 new children into our Under Three’s group. They’ve settled in beautifully and are having huge amounts of fun making new friends and exploring their new preschool.
December is set to continue in a glittery, sparkly, Christmassy blur of making cards and decorations, singing our favourite Christmas songs and of course, putting on an amazing Christmas performance for the parents. Our children will be starring in “A Christmas Musical Melody” and will be showing off their new musical skills to full effect!
Christmas at preschool wouldn’t be complete without a party, so we’ll end our term with a fun-filled Christmas party, maybe with a little visit from the big man himself. Ssshhhhh, don’t tell the children!
The children have been busy, busy, busy learning through play this term. Our Rising Fives Coordinator, Pam, has introduced the themes of cars and transport; and colours, shapes and numbers. We’ve had boats floating on jelly, a car wash, we’ve made traffic light sandwiches and name trains. And to complete our cars and transport theme, the children had a visit from the local lollipop man – he even bought along a mini lollipop stick for some role play with the children.
The little ones have also been mixing colours, painting toast and going on walks to look at shapes and colours in our environment.
At HWU5s we introduce pre-phonics skills through the Phase One Phonics programme. Our early phonics teaching initially focuses on developing our children’s listening skills. Angela, our SENCO, has been having a great time with the children on indoor and outdoor walks listening to the sounds in our environment. The children have been listening attentively to the sounds all around them and talking about what they’ve heard. We’ve shared rhyming books and had great fun guessing the sounds from the listening box – socks full of marbles, pots full of buttons, squeaky dog balls, jingling bells, and lots more...
The children also joined in with Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning this year and opened their very own coffee shop. Parents came along for coffee and cake – all served by our preschool waiters and waitresses. The children took all the payments and manned the tills, collecting £112.50 for this wonderful charity.
And in our last week before October half term, Hatch Warren Under Fives spent a week in the great outdoors. Our annual Woodland Week is a firm favourite with the children, they had a great time discovering bugs, eating barbeques, making dens, and collecting some lovely autumn leaves and pine cones. And while we were down in the woods this year, Hatch Warren Under Fives and their sister preschool Kempshott Under Fives, hosted their own Teddy Bears Picnic for siblings, friends and families. We had an amazing afternoon and the children and their favourite teddy bears enjoyed a teddy bear trail, face painting, games and there was even a prize for the best-dressed teddy! A huge thank you to Sainsburys who showed fantastic support by very kindly donating food for the teddy bears picnic.
Our first half term has gone so quickly... But as they say, time flies when you're having fun! Have a happy half term - and we look forward to more adventures in November.
A massive thank you to all those that came to our Teddy Bears Picnic! We all had a wonderful time going on a Bear hunt, racing teddies, having face paints & picnics, best dressed teddy competitions and eating lots of cake!! Our picnic food was so generously donated by Sainsbury's - Thanks Guys!
We had a beautiful day for our 2016 leavers concert, the children and staff went to Beggarwood park with the children to have a final play and ice cream then walked back to the preschool where we were clapped into our main hall by all our lovely parents and carers.
Music, singing, awards, food, face painting and games followed with plenty of laughter and fun had by all.
Good luck in your new schools class of 2016 - we'll miss you!
Hatch Warren Under Fives recently visited the fabulous Finkley Down Farm!
Parents, Early Year Practitioners and children had a wonderful time playing in the park, the sand pit and the indoor play centre! They also had plenty of time to look at all the animals and have a cuddle with one or two.
We look forward to visiting you again next year!