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Newsletter for the week 19 October 2018

To the 'Pumpkin Shop!'

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This morning we took a trip to 'The Pumpkin Shop' (Sainsbury's). On the way we observed tumbling leaves that had fallen from the tree's. One child noticed crab apples on the ground, "They go crunch under my feet!". Through Millhouse's Park we observed the river and lots of dogs who were out for a walk! Another child noticed that the water was running really fast in the the river.


We discussed why that might be and the children concluded that all the extra rain we had last night meanth that there would be more water in the river. Next we arrived on Archer Road and headed for Sainsbury's! We were in the halloween spirit as the children selected some small pumpkin's to take back to nursery.

The children decided that they would like to paint and carve the pumpkin's. We will update you with our creations when they are finished! 


Spring Chicks

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In the hall we have been looking at lifecycles and the care of living things in the environment. After working on the story of 'The Hen' the children made their own life cycle flash cards and acted out the story with their friends. In the group room the children also helped to prepare for the arrival of the chicken eggs, setting up the incubator and carefully placing the eggs inside. We talked about what would happen with the eggs and the children were given the opportunity to observe the eggs daily to see if there were any changes. We counted each day to see how many days it took for the eggs to hatch. We counted up to 21(!) before the first chick arrived, and three followed the next day, some children managed to see a couple of the chicks hatch - it took a long time and we all had to be very patient, but it was worth it!

Once the chicks had arrived we spoke about the changes we saw, and have enjoyed holding the chicks and describing how they feel and look, here are some of the things they said... 

"They are soft"

"Their feet are a bit itchy"

"They're pecking!"

The pre-school children were very caring towards the chicks and spoke about using quiet voices, as not to scare the chicks, and being very gentle when holding them. Some children spoke about what the chicks might eat, and thought the bird food looked a bit funny! The children decided that they didn't think they would like to eat the bird food! When holding the chicks they became a little bit lively and the children commented on what they were doing...

"It's walking on my arm!"

"Look! It's on my knee!"

"It's tickling me!"

The chicks even prompted one child to think about what they might do when they're older. "I want to be a vet, I love the chicks!" they said. 


Maths is fun!

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I just wanted to let you know about a really brilliant game for matching numerals to quantity that I have been playing with our 3 and 4 year olds. The game is really simple as they spin a spinner and it lands on a number between 1- 6 then they have to find a dog with corresponding number of spots. This helps children develop early maths skills like giving one and only one counting word to every item counted. This is called the 1 to 1 principle and is an essential part of learning to count. As is the stable order principle which means that numbers need to be counted in the same order i.e 1,2,3 etc.

Children can also learn to take turns! Once the game has finished, the children turn their dogs over and there are pictures of baskets with bones which they then have to total.

The best bit is that children love playing the game and I am also amazed that even at 4 years old, they can look at the dog and estimate accurately how many of spots there are!

Croft Corner Post Office is Open for the Festive Season!

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Christmas has been the talk of the nursery over the last few weeks and in the Hall we decided to turn our wicker den into a Post Office. We set up a table, till, presents, weighing scales and some envelopes and let the children explore the area and follow their lead. Soon the Post Office was buzzing with busy hands both working behind the till and some bringing letters and parcels to be weighed and sent. We practiced our writing skills by creating signs for the Post office and  put some real pennies in the till to explore mathematical language and communicating with the ‘customers’.


Some children wanted to write letters to their mums and dads, and a few even sent Santa a long gift list. It was lovely to see some of the mark making that spontaneously happened in the post office and the children really engaged imaginatively with the resources, extending play and communicating within different peer groups.


Our Post Office has now expanded outside and has taken on the form as a Santa's Grotto. The children have really enjoyed this project and it is wonderful to see mark making happening spontaneously within the nursery environment.


Top Tips for Encouraging Mark Making at Home:

  • let your child watch you write. 
  • Make shopping lists
  • Leave clipboards, pens and paper around the house to encourage spontaneous writing.
  • Let children write their name and small captions to give meaning to their mark making.
  • Write letters to family members (everyone loves to recieve a letter)
  • Send Postcards.


Pumpkin Soup Extravaganza

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In the hall we have had a lovely time celebrating Halloween. Through lengthy conversations about what to dress up as, who's going to which party and who will collect the most sweets - Halloween has definitely been a talking point in our classroom lately. After reading our book of the week “Pumpkin Soup” (By so and so), we thought it would be a great learning experience for the children to get involved in a cooking activity.

We cut open the pumpkin and discovered a wonderful “world of string” (According to George). Some of the children scooped out the pumpkin pulp and seeds whilst others helped peel potatoes and carrots. Using the kitchen equipment was very exciting and the peeler caused quite a stir! After all the prep we mixed the ingredients together and placed it on the stove (teachers did some helping at this stage).

After a lot of waiting we finally got to give the soup a final stir and then we could eat it! The children were excited to eat the soup they had created from scratch and we thought it would make a perfect afternoon snack. The soup went down well, and everyone was very brave to give it a try.

Here is our recipe for pumpkin soup if you would like to try it at home:


  • Pumpkin
  • 1 onion peeled and diced
  • 1 potato peeled and diced
  • 500 ml vegetable stock


  • Sauté onion and potato in 2 tablespoons of oil
  • Add the pumpkin
  • Add the vegetable stock
  • Boil for 10 minutes
  • Blend together and enjoy!



Croft Corner Airport is Open

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With the return of the sunny weather this week at Croft Corner we have had lots of talk about holidays! Some children returned from their holiday last week full of tales of adventure; swimming without armbands and flying on an aeroplane!


We decided to follow this interest and set up an airport in the role play area of the room and explore the theme of transport. This ranged from water train tracks and making tickets in the mark making area to lining up all the chairs in nursery to make a bus which the children decided to do without any adult leading. This picture shows some of our boys making train tracks and tunnels, which encouraged cooperation, mark making and creativity.

With role play at Croft Corner we encourage the children to run with their imagination, extending play by providing resources for them to make their own props which allow them to share their experiences with others. Occasionally the children may start with one theme or storyline and many hours later have developed that into something completely different while being absorbed in their play. Having the room as free flow with the doors open really compliments this play as often children will run in and out getting what they want and taking it outside to enhance what they are doing.

Another way we have followed the theme of transport is using tills so the children can buy tickets they have created for their travels. This allows them to use mathematical language in everyday conversations and begin to build up an idea of how money is used in exchange for things.


The children have responded enthusiastically to these activities and is evident in the spontaneous play we observe the children doing. Spontaneous play is when a child or group of children are doing an activity or game they have initiated, we then respond to this by providing props or equipment that helps them carry on their activity further.

Every week we look at the children's next steps that we have observed, their interests and our medium term planning to enhance the nursery in all areas and ensure the children are getting a continuous learning experience.


Preparing for School

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That time of year is apon us again. It’s nearly time for school! Although this is a very exciting time in a child’s life it can also be a nervous and thought provoking one for both parents and children. As teachers it is always a bitter sweet moment – saying goodbye to your little babies at the same time as being in awe of how they have grown over the years. At Croft Corner we like the children to feel as ready as possible for that big jump between nursery and reception. Throughout the year the pre-schoolers have been going on trips to Dobcroft School (one of our biggest feeder schools) to make them feel comfortable and at home in the surroundings. We were lucky enough to be invited to Dobcroft’s Christmas Concert and the Easter Bonnet Parade. Not only did we get to meet some old friends from Croft Corner but the visits helped show the preschoolers what fun things they will get to experience from September. The Reception teachers even came to visit us at nursery to get to meet the children and find out a little bit more about them. 

At nursery we have been preparing for this transition by reading a few stories about starting school, dressing up in old school uniforms and starting a creative project entitled ‘What we learnt along the way’ which is based around the idea of children sharing their most loved memories of nursery. So far all the children are really looking forward to school but are truly excited for the School Leavers Concert and Party which will take place in July. 


Transition times can be stressful on all involved in the process so here are our top tips: 

1. Give information to your child. They might be interested to know what the school is called, who else might be going there, what does the uniform look like etc. 

2. Help prepare a timescale for your child so they understand when they will be going to ‘big school’. For e.g. “Well you are 3 now. At your next birthday you will be 4. When we turn 4 years old we go to big school, but that’s not for a while yet”. 

3. Read stories about making new friends or first day of school at home but try not to do it before sleep time as it may cause worry or anxiety. Rather read them together when you have time to discuss any questions or queries that may arise from the stories. 

4. If possible look at pictures of the school, teachers, peers, classrooms at home. This helps the child become familiar with the surroundings and gives them an idea of what they might expect from school. 

5. Try not to use school as a threat. “You are a big boy now. The teachers won’t let you do that/say that/play like that at school. 

6. Try to not let your own anxieties about your child starting school come through to them. Children are very quick to pick up on emotions. Rather try to let your enthusiasm shine through and your child will soon see school through the same eyes.

Pumpkin Update & Diwali Celebrations

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Over the last week we have been getting into the Halloween spirit and decorating our pumpkin's which we bought last week! (Please see our blog "To the Pumpkin Shop" to see what we got up too!) We have displayed our decorated pumpkin's in The Hive and all the children have enjoyed looking at them!

Don't forget! - The Nest, The Den & The Hive are all dressing up on Halloween! If your child attends nursery on Tuesday the 31th of October they are welcome to join in! 

We would also like to say Happy Diwali everybody! This week we are celebrating the festival of light and doing some Diwali craft! We have also set up a special Diwali table to celebrate!