Sunday, 27 August 2017

STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY! Part 4

Starting school is a huge transition for even the most confident of children. There are so many things that they will have to start doing for themselves and it can only help them if we provide them with the tools and skills they need to cope and flourish in the school environment.

I hope to give you and your children some fun and helpful ideas to support your child in preparing to start school in my blog series "STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY"



In this 4th part we are focusing on how we can support your child's Literacy skills.


  • Practice tracing over pictures and words such as your child's own name.
  • Use a stick to write your names in sand, paint or with water on the patio. 

  • Paint over chalked names and 3 letter words, with water and a brush on the patio or chalk boards.
  • Add your child's name to a peg at home, make a place mat together with their name on to help them recognise it in written form.

  • Have a 5 minute "circle time" at home to share a story. build this up to 10 minutes over time. This will support your child's ability to sit for a short period of time and focus like they will need to do at school.
  • Look at picture books together and ask your child to tell you a story about what is happening in the book.

  • Look for letters of their name when going for walks. On street signs or posters. Letters painted on the road.

There are some great books that you might like to borrow from the library and share with your child before they start school.

  • Starting school by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Starting school - Usborne sticker book
  • Lucy and Tom go to school by Shirley Hughes.

Look out for part 5 of this series tomorrow. The focus of part 5 will be fun ideas to support mathematical skills! 


Saturday, 26 August 2017

STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY! Part 3

Starting school is a huge transition for even the most confident of children. There are so many things that they will have to start doing for themselves and it can only help them if we provide them with the tools and skills they need to cope and flourish in the school environment.

I hope to give you and your children some fun and helpful ideas to support your child in preparing to start school in my blog series "STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY"

In this 3rd part we are focusing on how we can support your child's Personal, Social and Emotional Development.



  • Play board games together to encourage the concept of turn taking.
  • Have lots of love and cuddles. Your child will be needing this extra emotional refueling and to know you are there for them during this big transition.

  • Encourage social interaction with children of a similar age. Take trips to the park, arrange play dates and enjoy other social activities where your child can mix with others.
  • Make a "Starting school" book together. Draw pictures of things that they might do, people they might see, games they might play. How will they get to school? Walk, bike, scooter or bus? What would they like in their lunch box or to eat for school dinners. Is there anything worrying them? what are they looking forward to?

  • Give your child the time to talk through fears and worries. Recognise these as real feelings no matter how silly they might sound to you.
  • Make a list of things that make us good friends. Such as helping each other, asking others to join in our games, using kind words. 

  • Some things will seem very tricky so it is nice to think about what we are good at. What are your child's strengths. What do they think they are good at or know a lot about?

Look out for part 4 of this series tomorrow. The focus of part 4 will be fun ideas to support Literacy skills!


Friday, 25 August 2017

STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY! Part 2


Starting school is a huge transition for even the most confident of children. There are so many things that they will have to start doing for themselves and it can only help them if we provide them with the tools and skills they need to cope and flourish in the school environment.

I hope to give you and your children some fun and helpful ideas to support your child in preparing to start school in my blog series "STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY"

In this 2nd part we are focusing on how we can support your child's Communication and Language Development.



  • Make up some fun games that involve following a small set of instructions. This will encourage listening skills, processing information and following instruction.

  • Play some fun board games to help develop communication and language skills.
  • When at the shops, ask your child to find and item from your list and ask them to tell you 2 things about the item. It's colour, shape, what it is used for?

  • Look for objects around you and clap the syllables a you say them. This will help your child to brake down word sounds.
  • Play "I Spy"
  • Lay on the grass and close your eyes. Take turns to say one thing that you can hear.

  • Play "Simon says"
  • Enjoy lots of conversation together. Mealtimes are great for this as you are all together and you can build on conversation and listening skills in a relaxed and natural way.


Look out for part 3 of this series tomorrow. The focus of part 3 will be fun ideas to support Personal, Social and Emotional Development!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY! Part 1


Starting school is a huge transition for even the most confident of children. There are so many things that they will have to start doing for themselves and it can only help them if we provide them with the tools and skills they need to cope and flourish in the school environment.

A year is a long time in a young child's life. Some of these children will have been 5 for nearly a year while others will have just turned 4 when they step in to that reception room. The range of developmental abilities changes dramatically in that year so it is to be expected that children will not all be at the same developmental stage when they start. Add any Special needs or disabilities to this and you can see that School might be a daunting place for some of our children.

I hope to give you and your children some fun and helpful ideas to support your child in preparing to start school in my blog series "STARTING SCHOOL MADE EASY"

Part 1 is going to focus on how we can support your child's Physical Development.



  • Practice dressing and undressing by offering dressing up outfits and role play. 
  • Practice putting their new school uniform on and off! This will be helpful for independent dressing after PE sessions.
  • Make a dressing board with poppers, buttons, buckles and zips for your child to play with.
  • Can they manage toileting by themselves? Make this fun with a reward system for every time they do this independently to encourage this important skill.
  • Enjoy some packed lunch meals at the park or in the garden. This will give your child the chance to practice opening and closing their own lunch box and managing the food packaging inside.


  • Set up mini obstacle courses for your child to practice their BIG movements and to move with awareness of the space around them.
  • Make a game of putting on and taking off their shoes. Maybe gets several pairs of shoes (school shoes, plimsoll, trainers) and set up a pretend shoe shop! Managing their own shoes will be a huge help to them.

  • Encourage your little ones to carry a small ruck sack with a water bottle and snack in when you go to the shops or out for a walk. This Independence and make it easier for them when they have to do it every day to and from school. This also fosters a sense of responsibility for their own items.
Look out for part 2 of this series tomorrow. The focus of part 2 will be fun ideas to support language skills!



Tuesday, 22 August 2017

A DAY OF MAKING! CREATIVITY AND FUTURE ENGINIERS

Visiting our favourite play centre again and today they had several activities on offer with a focus on building and creating! 
The first challenge was to build a fidget spinner out of lego. Not as easy as it looked. My mind finds it hard to see inside an idea that I have and transfer that in to a lego creation. Brendan is great at it. It would seem that Kenzie is following in his footsteps and working out how things should go together to achieve his planned end result. His spinner worked really well!


"L" did a grand job with this too. They both used very different pieces and ideas for the axle in the middle but both span well.

 


Paul the woodwork man was in today as well. He is the Artist that helped us with the big Pirate ship youth project for TOLC this Easter. The children decide what they would like to make and he helps them to create their vision. "E" and his friend "G" made mini guitars. "G" is a very keen guitar player and doing very well with his lessons. Looks like making guitars might be an option for him too!

  


They then made speakers for them and used wire to attach them. I think they did a fantastic job on these. They look just like the real things!


The last session of the day was Airfix model planes. Brendan was volunteering to help with this workshop. His first support activity for the centre. I am very proud of him. Airfix is not easy and we all had a spot of trouble following the instructions. But we got several planes built and sent home.



All we need to do now is paint them! I think we might have some future Artists or Engineers in the making.

LEARNING TO WALK TAKES A COMMUNITY!

About a month ago, little "B" started to show signs that she wanted to walk. A few days after these photos were taken she took her first steps. But she is still happier to crawl as her preferred means of getting about.

I have been holding hands with her and helping her walk around the house. She seems able to stand without support as well. On this day 2 friends joined us on the village green for an after school picnic and between them they were determined that they would get her to walk! 

Lots of smiles and encouragement, enticing her with toys and clapping her when she stood or tried to step forward! 


There are so many people involved in our children's lives and I think it is lovely that others around us support our children and show just as much excitement in their milestones as we do.  Little "B" has these 2 totally wrapped around her fingers!


They are there to step in and help her when ever they can. They are always pleased to see her when I arrive at school pick up. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think this is still true to quite an extent. This child has her family, childminder and members of the village all routing for her!



Monday, 21 August 2017

IT'S OK. THEY COME WASHABLE!

I will be totally honest. If you want your child to stay clean, then my setting is not for you! From the moment a child is mobile I encourage them to get stuck in to every experience they can. Many of these involve nature and mess!

We made charcoal paint today and little "B" was her adventurous self. She spent time playing with the pestle and mortar and getting a good close up look at the black mess!




As long as the mess she is playing with is not toxic or unsafe then I let her enjoy every part of it! 


Children come washable and a bucket of water fixes most messes! She cleans up pretty quick and loves the water play as much as the messy stuff!

All clean..... and ready to find a new mess to get caught up in!!


Sunday, 20 August 2017

HOW TO MAKE - WILLOW CROWNS


This weeks Forest school activity was making Willow crowns with the children. Willow is a very flexible and is great for working in to shapes.

You will need:

  • Fresh cut thin strips of willow
  • A selection of  flowers and greenery to decorate
  • Yarn to secure the willow ends

First we shape the willow in to a circle and interlock it. Use several pieces to get a good sturdy crown. We used yarn to just secure the loose ends as sometimes they don't want to stay tucked in.


Throughout the day we collected different wild flowers and grasses, adding them to the crown. You might find feathers or leaves that you want to add! The children had a great time and it is a fantastic opportunity to learn the names of some our meadow plants.


Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language Development
  • Expressive Art and Design
  • Understanding the world

Friday, 18 August 2017

HOW TO MAKE - CHARCOAL PAINT

We are very lucky to have some very hands on and enthusiastic friends at our Forest School. One of these lovely parents came along with their own activity to share.

You will need: 
  • charcoal
  • Pestle and mortar
  • tin can
  • water
  • sticks
  • feathers


They collected cold charcoal from the fire pit and used a pestle and mortar to crush it in to a powder.
We then used an old tin can to mix the power with a bit of water in and used a stick to stir it in to a black paint/ink.


If you would like to make a quill to draw with then you can remove the lower bits of a feather to create a long pen and then cut the end of the feather off at an angle. 


We then dipped the quills in to the paint/ink and used it to make marks on a large strip of paper.

 



You can try using other items from nature to paint with. leaves, plants, sticks etc. See what marks they leave. 


We also used the lumps of charcoal to write and draw with. Some children drew pictures while others wrote letters from their names.



Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language Development
  • Expressive Art and Design
  • Understanding the world

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

MEAD OPEN FARM



We have been enjoying some local farms recently and this is a farm that never fails to please us.The lay out is perfect for me as a childminder. Safe and secure, not too big. Plenty of well placed refreshment and toilet stops and a big central space that we can position ourselves that caters for all of the children's ages. I talked about it in an earlier post that you ,might like to read here

Our interest in nature and wildlife extends to animals too. Where we live we are lucky to be able to walk a very short way and see all sorts of farm animals. Due to them not being in contact with people all day, they are often timid. Visiting a petting farm means that the children get to touch and feed the animals which is such a lovely experience.


I love the educational aspects of these farms too. This milking simulation is just one example of how we were provided with the opportunity to talk about where our milk comes from and have a go at milking a (plastic) cow. We have all become so detached from our food that children often believe that the shops is where all our food comes from. They have no link to the farms, crops in the fields and cattle that we see.


We were lucky enough to see some duck eggs too. I don't think these were there to hatch. They were not being sat on and didn't seem to be in a real nest. But again it brought up conversations around egg production and the different types of eggs that we can buy and eat.


This amazing new Piggy Palace has opened up since our last visit! Right next to the play area too so a great location for groups of us with several children of different ages. My older ones got in there to have a look around before I could extract the smaller children from the park!


This pig feeding system was fantastic! Poor the food in the trailer and wind the handle to make the tractor reverse down the track. Once it reached the end it tipped the trailer and emptied food in to the pig pens! Happy pigs and happy kids!!



So many cute piglets too! Great time of year to visit farms. babies everywhere!


Speaking of babies. We got to bottle feed the NOT so little lambs. They have grown a lot since our visit in April! Still just as greedy though. The milk is gone in seconds!


My favourite of the day had to be the baby Alpacas! They have such huge eyes. They remind me of the big eye Beanie Boos you can buy. They were a little timid but the enticement of food was too much and I did get to give them a little stroke.


The farm had even organised for a panto to be shown a couple of times a day. It was totally ridiculous, as is the way with all these shows but still a good giggle. I have decided that to be in a panto you have to be able to do silly voices and sequel a lot. 

Thanks for another great day Mead!

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