NEWS FROM THE ENGLISH GARDEN

13 January 2017

The winter weather finally arrived in Budapest this week and the children at the English Garden Pre-school and Nursery loved exploring the snow and ice. Garden time was a special learning experience, especially for newcomers to Hungary who hadnít yet enjoyed all the frozen wonder of a Hungarian winter. Many of our groups incorporated winter themes into their weekly and monthly learning, furthering the childrenís knowledge through play, arts and crafts, structured games and play experiences.

The babies in the Baby Daycare were delighted to go out in the snow. The sight of fat snowflakes falling to the ground captivated them. Although the weather can be quite cold during this time of the year the teachers at the Baby Daycare take great care to include outdoor play and walks in the daily routine. The fresh air and unique outdoor experiences are beneficial to even the youngest babies, providing a welcome change of scene and opportunities to develop motor skills and investigate the natural world.

The Year 2 class has been learning about houses and homes as part of their month-long theme The World I Live In. As part of their project work the class made large collages using paper and other materials to represent their homes. Some of the children chose to represent Budapest or their house and family, while others included famous monuments from their home countries or created fantasy scenes. The Beetles were encouraged to describe their work and the teacher helped them type up descriptions to hang next to the collages.

The Reception class was enthusiastic about outdoor play, with the teachers encouraging lots of experimentation with snow and melting. Some of the Bumble Bees children took snow into the classroom to see what would happen. They accurately predicted it would melt, but they were surprised to see the melted snow turn to ice when it was returned to the garden.

The Year 1 class is also doing theme work on The World I Live In. This week the Grasshoppers joined the Beetles during the afternoon session to travel around the world, identifying the continents on a giant map and playing with several different puzzle maps. The Grasshoppers and Beetles classes often work together to explore thematic learning through projects and the two groups enjoyed the opportunity to build new friendships and learn from each other. During their art lesson the Grasshoppers painted a map of the world, further supporting their new map reading skills.

The Nursery groups have been busy with lots of fun winter activities both indoors and out. Winter outdoor play is an important part of the daily routine, and the children love experiencing the changing seasons. Many of the structured play activities and play experiences had a winter theme this month to help extend the childrenís awareness of their environment.

The Buttercups developed their fine motor skills making icicle decorations using pasta. The children threaded pasta onto strings to make hanging icicles.

In the Snowdrops the teachers have been supporting the childrenís social skills through Circle Time activities. This week the children shared instruments and learned to pass a drum around the circle.

The Bluebells had a wonderful time digging in the snow. The children caught the snowflakes in their hands, collected the snow in buckets and made mounds and balls out of snow. They loved handling the snow and using the sand toys with this exciting new material.

The Butterflies group decorated their classroom with cheerful snowmen. The children made snowman pictures using stamping techniques. They worked on handling the paintbrush effectively and creating different shapes with the stamps.

In the Dragonflies class the children used play dough during their morning play session. The four and five year olds developed their communication and motor skills through free play activities supported by gentle adult guidance. The children loved using the bright blue and white play dough to snowballs and snowmen. The winter theme was prominent in their play, and many of the children drew pictures of winter scenes.