In the Early Years Village, nursery and reception children learn through play and high quality experiences - sometimes together sharing all the space, sometimes in small groups in their own learning spaces.

In this blog, we will keep you up to date with learning and activities.

These are in addition to the continuous provision: construction, imaginative play, sand and water, play-dough, painting, drawing, music-making.

                 Learning this term
Our whole school focus this term is to help children develop high quality writing. 
In nursery, this means working towards: 
  • developing strong small hand muscles for fine motor skills
  • telling lots of stories
  • learning how stories are made, and how they can be changed
  • Learning how to hear sounds - first in the environment, then in words in words - whether they are rhymes, first, middle or last sounds in words; hear the difference between loud and quiet
  • using natural materials in play to develop understanding of concepts, vocabulary and fine motor skills             
                 Goldilocks - the song 

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears
What did her blue eyes see?
A bowl that was HUGE, 
And a bowl that was small
And a bowl that was tiny, 
And that was all...
She counted them: one, two three. 

Change each verse to chair,  bed, bear...

Then she ran away: weeee... all the way home!!!

Take a look at the amazing Shonette - our little fingers visited her dough disco many times this term already! 

Flight week - 17th October - 21st October
This week we are having whole school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, under the theme of Flight. 
The children will be watching a bird of prey display on Monday morning, and we will carry out lots of making and experiments related to flight. 
They will make kites, parachutes, a large bird model; they will talk about the best ways and materials to use to make their flying objects, and work in teams.  They will fly and race their creations and find out which flies best and which drops! 
We will find out how long each flying object takes and will record our answers, then will discuss the difference between flying (kites), floating (leaves, sycamore seeds, parachutes) and dropping (test those conkers!) 
We will find out if different heights make a difference to our experiments. 
Watching birds of prey in flight
Testing our parachutes and writing down the second count to landing
Testing our parachutes
Light and dark
We are exploring light and dark, using torches, lanterns and finding dark corners to shine them and make shadows. We will be doing splatter painting and finding out what happens when a sponge filled with paint lands on a cloth at different speeds - make sure your child is dressed to get messy! 
We will draw fireworks and hopefully we will also be looking at some dressing up our friends were wearing on their 5th November parade in Lewes, as several of our families are bonfire society members. 
This will help them not only develop language skills to describe different colours, textures and situations, but also large arm muscles when swinging around to throw a sponge. This is essential development before small hand muscles gain control over pens!

Ideas for home: 
cuddle up in a dark room together (maybe at bedtime after the light is turned off). Name some of the objects in the room, and say what colour they are. Can we see colours in the dark? What do things look like without light? Do things change when we turn off the light, or is it just the way we can see them? (turn a torch on to check!)

Writing do's and don'ts


Lots of climbing, modelling, building with lego or equivalent - arm and hand muscles need to develop before writing

Point to things around the house, town, shops and say what it says (children learn that writing means something)

When your child writes or draws something, ask them about it. Believe their honesty when they tell you what it is!

Take them shopping - ask them to bring things from shelves 

-children learn to recognize logos and names of items

Tell them where they should and where they shouldn't write:

-it's ok to tell a child not to write on the wall or furniture, they need to learn about boundaries too!

Talk about what they write, rather than just say "Well done" - they know when they've done something hard or easy! 

Do lots of "down, up" and "round and round" drawings and moves.

Say things out loud as you write them. 

Read or tell them a story every day! Sing nursery rhymes and other songs. What they hear and they see will be used in their writing later on. 

 Breakfast and Tea time at nursery: 

Those children who attend nursery from 7.45 and have breakfast, or stay after 3.30 and have tea together, have a very special time together. 
At tea time, they help prepare their meals, by peeling and cutting vegetables for Lou, Sharon or Lisa to cook. 
Meals include home-made cheesy pasta, jacket potato, home-made soup with freshly baked rolls or pitta bread. There is always an alternative of baked beans or spaghetti hoops on toast for those who haven't yet acquired a taste for different foods. 

Traditional stories
This term's focus is around three stories: 
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • The Three Little Pigs 
We will be dipping in and out of other stories, but here is what we do within this 
  • Make porridge and taste it
  • act out The Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • Learn the Goldilocks song
  • Make different houses and pretend play Three Little Pigs

How you can join in... 

-read lots of versions of the stories          
make new ends to the stories
-sneak an appearance of your own child in the story as you tell or read it
Early Years Village activities

Reception and nursery children alternate between spending time separately, in their "home class", and together, sharing the whole Early Years Village space. 

Every week, the Reception (Owls classes) and Nursery teachers plan one or two adult supported, small group activities which are carried out together in mixed groups. 

This week, we are pretending to be Three Little Pigs and planning, building and trying out different kinds of houses. 
Straw is very popular, even though it blows away... everywhere! 

We are also writing some great recipes for making Wolf Stew! 

Owls class are working on The Gingerbread Man and planning, cooking and tasting some before they run away! 
Three Little Pigs
Over the last two weeks, we had lots of fun in nursery, with the little pigs sound story. We used the story to tap our words in syllables, and start working on rhyme and rhythm. We made pig masks, and the brave among children took roles in the story, using the masks, while the rest of us sang the songs and tapped the rhythm.
I hope we managed to capture a small snippet on video - sample coming up soon. 
Meanwhile, this is what you can hear the children sing: 

"Trotting down the road, 
trotting down the road, 
Three little pigs on a big adventure, 
Trotting down the road!"
(tune of "Knees up mother Brown")

"Have you any straw for sale, 
Straw for sale, straw for sale,
Have you any straw for sale
To build my house this morning?" 
(Tune: "Have you seen the muffin man")
More on STEM week and Flight
Writing and mark-making on our kites, testing parachutes indoors... and a baby barn owl
Writing and mark making in preparation for our kites
Testing our parachutes indoors
Hungry baby barn owl

Writing do's and don'ts 


Joke about "scribbles" - they are the first form of writing, and if they have a meaning to the child

Make them practise letters - their hands need to be ready first, as is their understanding of how to form them and the purpose.

If you think your child is ready to write their name, DON'T teach them to write it in capital letters. They may be easier to write, but they will have to "unlearn" and relearn the lower case version first, and it's one of the trickiest job Reception teachers inherit! 

Don't spell out things in letter names - we learn letter sounds first, and children struggle to learn the difference. Letter sounds are as heard in words, and it helps the children learn to read faster and more easily. 


Finally, on a positive note: if it's written down, and your child says it means something... it does! Enjoy mark-making and writing with your child. 

Letters and sounds - phases one and two

A programme designed to help your child to learn the sounds in words. The final aim is to learn to read using the phonemes (individual sounds in words). For now, use it to help children hear speech clearly, speak clearly and tell the difference between different types of sounds. 

Sound of the week:
The rising 5s (all those going to school this year who are ready for it, in fact) are starting to learn how to connect sounds we hear in words with letters. 
We will do this first by saying lots of words that begin with the same sound, and listening to them. Also, we use the songs and actions from Jolly Phonics, and this week we are going to focus on "S", the first letter and sound. 
If you have an object that begins with "S", bring it to nursery and we will add it to the display, then use it to say the long string of "S" words. Make sure it's not a precious object! 
We will look at one sound each week for a few weeks, then we will practise hearing those and even making some words with the corresponding letters: 

week beginning 14th November: "a"
week beginning 21st November: "t"
week beginning 28th November: "i"
week beginning 5th December:"p"

Song for "S": 
The snake is in the grass,
The snake is in the grass, 
s, s, s, s, 
The snake is in the grass. 

tune: "The farmer's in the dell"

 Harvest stories and activities
  Barn Owls and Snowy Owls
Reception children, Barn Owls and Snowy Owls, are now learning their Harvest Festival songs, ready to perform on Friday. 
The Traditional stories learning journey includes The Little Red Hen, with a lot of harvest discussions, The Gingerbread Man and The Runaway Chapatti.

To enrich the learning about where food comes from,  Reception and nursery children will be blackberries from our school wildlife area, and apples from the school grounds.