This term we are looking forward to getting to know our new children and reacquainting ourselves with old friends. To help our children feel part of the group and ‘at home’ in our setting we share news about the things we have enjoyed over the summer, talking about our families and things that are important to us. This helps everyone to feel valued as a member of the group. Children are gently encouraged to participate in their own time, for example a first step to joining in could simply be putting ‘thumbs up'.
Children also enjoy lots of familiar and favourite activities such as listening to stories, dressing up or playing in the home-corner and other popular activities. Children are able to enjoy exploring and experimenting with activities such as painting and printing using familiar objects such as fingers, hands, Lego, toy cars, vegetables etc. There is no expectation for children to ‘produce work'; emphasis is most definitely on the process not the product and we have the motto learning through play. There is a lovely poem called ‘What did you do at Pre-school Today? that we think is very apt!
In these early days the ‘learning’ at Stepping Stones is mostly centred around children's personal, social and emotional development. The children are busy dealing with new situations and issues such as separation, getting to know new (and old) faces, becoming familiar with our routine including registration, circle time, snack time and lots of things associated with routine activities such as washing hands, putting on coats etc. As children become more independent and comfortable with all of these things they naturally put more energy and concentration into becoming deeply involved with their favourite activities.
At Stepping Stones our plans follow the children’s interests and other relevant or seasonal activities; Autumn Term takes us right up to the New Year and will include exploring the autumn environment, looking at widely celebrated customs, traditions and festivals such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali and Christmas. Other topics such as being healthy and staying safe feature alongside our activities throughout the whole year. Lots of fun and learning to come!
Our Rising 5's sessions are designed to encourage the children to become self- reliant, to operate independently within the environment and to develop their listening and thinking skills. This in turn promotes children's self-esteem and confidence. One of our favourite activities is making our own lunch and we are planning to make vegetable soup for our lunch in the near future. You will receive more detailed information in our regular newsletters.
We communicate with parents and families using a range of media including email, letters, Tapestry, Facebook and Twitter so that it’s as easy as possible for parents and families to stay updated and involved with our activities. We also provide info on our activities each day through our whiteboard and use communication books for parents who don’t collect their children themselves.
Children learn at their own pace and this is reflected in each child’s own ‘next steps’ which are detailed in their individual ‘Tapestry’ account – a secure on-line learning journey. All our planning supports our belief that each child is individual and unique.
What did you do at Pre-school Today?
Well, I sat at the dough table and rolled the dough in my hands. Lucy said hers was a snake but mine, mine was a worm. The lady talked about long ones, short ones and medium sized ones, and Sarah rolled her dough so long it went right over the edge of the table. (And nobody said, ‘What are you going to make? —a cake would be nice.’)
Yes, but what did you do?
I played on the climbing frame and do you know I can jump off the very top step.
Yes, but did you do anything today?
Sarah and me went to the paint table. It was lovely, all gooey and slippery on our hands. We made lots of patterns with our fingers and elbows. Sarah had yellow paint and I had red and Mummy do you know what, if you mix red and yellow paint together it goes ORANGE!
(And nobody said ‘What a mess you’ve made.’)
Yes, but what else have you done?
At snack time a boy pushed past me and it hurt. The lady hugged me and loved me better.
And then did you do anything?
The lady sang a new song and I can remember it, it was about our fingers, thumbs and toes.
But did you do anything today?
I made a lovely traily pattern in the sand and then Sarah and me had a race to see who could put the sand in the sand-wheel the quickest.
So what did you do at Pre-school today?
We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Nicholas and then the lady read us a story.
But did you do anything today?
Yes, when the lady said ‘time to tidy up’, I quickly painted you a picture cos I knew you’d say
‘What did you do at pre-school today?’