NEWS FROM THE ENGLISH GARDEN

31 March 2017

The English Garden Pre-school and Nursery was full of fun this week. The children were able to enjoy the warmer weather and play outdoors. Many classes focused their learning on nature. The children at the English Garden had many opportunities to explore outdoors this week, including outdoor play, planting activities, and arts and crafts using natural materials.

The Buttercups group listened to the classic picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar as part of their thematic learning unit on insects. The children loved listening to the simple, repetitive text and predicting what would happen. To create a rich language experience the children listened to the story several times throughout the week. The Buttercups were able to really engage with the text through the use of props to help re-tell the story. Interactive learning is an important part of developing early literacy skills because participation encourages the children to build their vocabularies, learn cause and effect, and think deeply about the stories they hear.

The Bluebells loved playing outdoors in the warm weather. The children are exploring the garden and learning to use the different large outdoor equipment safely. The climbing frames, slides, and see/saws help the children improve their co-ordination and gross motor skills through exciting and challenging physical exercise. Safe, yet challenging outdoor play spaces are essential for developing young children’s motor skills and encouraging a lifelong love of sport and physical activity.

The Snowdrops are building their social skills through free play. The children love using the classroom resources and are learning to share and take turns. The young toddlers in the Snowdrops group are just beginning to play together and form stronger relationships with their peers.

The Bumble Bees enjoyed the warm weather. The children in the Reception class can develop their physical and social skills during outdoor play. Many of the outdoor activities are open-ended and encourage the children to explore and play imaginatively and on their own terms. This week the Bumble Bees were very interested in the plants growing in the flower beds and they enjoyed observing the growth of shoots, buds, and flowers from day to day. The teaching staff followed up their questions and observations with a range of classroom activities, including art projects and reading non-fiction books about plants.

In the Grasshoppers the Year 1 students have been learning about maps. This week the students finished their thematic unit Maps and Mapmaking, which focused on simple geography concepts like learning the cardinal directions and exploring different maps. The Grasshoppers used globes, atlases, road maps, and street maps to learn about the world around them. They expanded their knowledge through lots of hands on activities, including collage, painting, and a range of different worksheets designed to develop basic geography skills.

The Dragonflies children enjoyed planting flowers in the pre-school garden. Gardening has many benefits for pre-school aged children, including promoting a positive relationship with the natural world, developing curiosity and supporting motor skills through practical activities. The Dragonflies class loved handling the flowers, digging in the soil and potting the plants.

The Beetles learned about plants in their science lesson. They are beginning a new unit on plant and animal life cycles and began to learn about the life cycle of a plant this week. The Year 2 students were able to use group discussion to consolidate their knowledge about plants, developing a strong foundation for the next week’s seed planting project.

In the Butterflies the children made some lovely spring arts and crafts projects. They liked making a multi-media life plant life cycle using lots of textured materials. The children were able to observe the plants in the pre-school garden, developing their knowledge and understanding of the world.

The babies in the Baby Daycare move freely within the classroom, which allows each infant to advance their fine and gross motor skills at their own pace. The babies display a wide range of physical abilities, and each child is given the time and space to develop independently whether they are building up their head, neck and core muscles through tummy time, crawling, cruising or beginning to walk.