Saturday, 4 April 2015

Spring is here, let's give some cheer! Flowers bloom, trees grow, water falls, winds blow. Bees buzz, kids play, say horray! Spring is today! - Author unknown

There has been plenty of cheer in Brambles over the first part of the spring term as the children have been able to use all the outdoor area and made good use of the bird hyde, digging area, communication spaces and playing on the bridge.  The children even got to enjoy a snow day and really made the most of it by exploring the pre-school garden and also the school playground, sledging on the mound and making snowmen in on the field.

The theme for the first half of the term was 'Elbow to Elbow' taken from the Dr. Seuss rhyme. Books are essential in early years. By reading to your child from a baby helps teach your child to use language and communicate both through talking and written word.  Reading skills are important to their success in school and later on in work.  Reading should be fun and imaginative to help them open up all kinds of new worlds for them. Parents play a critical role in supporting their child develop an enjoyment in their ability to read.


EYFS Links

Research has identified five early reading skills that are all essential.  They are:
  • Phonemic awareness—Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.
  • Phonics—Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.
  • Vocabulary—The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.
  • Reading comprehension—Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.
  • Fluency (oral reading)—Being able to read text accurately and quickly.
You can make reading part of your everyday lifestyle by:

  • Turning off screen time (TV's, iPads, phones etc)
  • Teach by example - let your child see you reading newspapers, books, magazines, menus etc; your child sees you reading, then your child will learn that you value reading.  You can’t over-estimate the value of modelling.
  • Read together - Reading with your child is a great activity.  It not only teaches your child that reading is important to you, but it also offers a chance to talk about the book, and often other issues will come up.  Books can really open the lines of communication between parent and child.
  • Hit the library - Try finding books that interests your family and child's life, and then read them together. Read a book about going to the dentist prior to your child's dental check up or get some books about the seaside after a trip to the coast.  If your child is obsessed with dinosaurs, as the librarian to recommend a good dinosaur novel for your child. Find out about the free story sessions they offer.
  • Car journeys - listen to an audio book whilst on a long car journey and encourage you child to imagine what it would look like or talk about the feelings of the characters. 
  • Make your own - children love looking at photos of themselves and family members.  Consider making your own story from a day out you had using photos and your child's own drawings and own words or upload them to make a photo book.

    There are many ways to include reading in your child's life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years.  Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. 

The idea was to look at traditional stories as well as more contemporary ones and compare them. The children soon discovered that most of the stories rhymed and quickly picked up the repeated refrains! The children looked at traditional stories of 'Little Red Riding Hood', 'Goldilocks', 'Little Red Hen', 'The Three Little Pigs' and '3 Billy Goats Gruff' and used the role play and small world to explore these stories some more. They also identified that you must always tell as grown up where you are going and never go anywhere without them.  They also learnt that it is good to help your friends!

                  Miss Emma's Group                                    Miss Clare's Group

The children helped to choose their favourite more up to date stories.  Miss Emma's group had fun with,  'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' by Michael Rosen and enjoyed going through the school woods on their own bear hunt and found the bear, not in a cave but at the fire pit with some cakes for snack! Whilst Miss Clare's group chose,  'Gingerbread Baby' by Jan Brett which was a twist on the original tale of the Gingerbread Man.  The children enjoyed cooking their own gingerbread men and baking their own bread like the little red hen.

                  Miss Michelle's Group                                Miss Joan's Group

Miss Michelle's group explored Handa's Suprise by Eileen Browne  and had fun taste testing all the different fruits that various animals steel from her fruit basket and Miss Joan's group looked at the different and unusual animals from  The Grumpalump by Sarah Hayes and enjoyed a visit to Karen's Florist in the village to purchase and blow up their very own balloon to release into the air!

                                          Miss Sallie's Group

'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson was the clear favourite from Miss Sallie's group who had fun in the role play, dressing up and becoming the Gruffalo!  They also had Gruffalo themed snacks al week: roasted fox (carrot sticks), scrambles snake (popcorn), owl ice-cream (ice-cream with a feather) and cornflake cakes (Gruffalo crumble).

Before we knew it the first half of spring term was over and half term was enjoyed.  Over the half term, families were encouraged to take part in Skill! Will! Thrill! For those families who wanted to, they could take a photo of their child having a try at something by themselves e.g. putting on their coat, doing up the zip/buttons, putting on and doing up their shoes etc. The photos were put up and displayed in the children's cloakroom.

‘Unlimited Thinking’ allows children time to think and time to try by themselves and not stepping in or speaking for them. Children need to be motivated to learn and using the approach, ‘Skill! Will! Thrill!’ ensures that they try to do something independently such as putting on their shoes, the process of having a go and the feeling of achievement when they have achieved this. These skills are also really important for school readiness. “Never help a child with a task at which they feel they can succeed”-Maria Montessori (Early Years Pioneer and Theorist)

The weather is warming up and coats are coming off. The children are continuing to pull up their sleeves and bloom themselves in preparing to become scientists over the second part of the spring term.

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