Blog

Waiting for chicks to hatch

Lifecycles and all its wonders remain a favourite with the children, and our current activities include the lifecycles of bees, butterflies, frogs and chickens. The children have been very lucky this term as we’ve had the pleasure of bringing 7 chicks into the world from 10 eggs which we incubated.

We all greatly enjoyed watching and listening to the chicks hatching. It was a fascinating process and it was lovely to see the children learn empathy with another living creature and understanding the need to be very gentle.

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Nursery trip to Stockway Nature Reserve

We are planning to take the children for a trip to the Stockway Nature Reserve during June. This is a local reserve, so we plan to walk there in groups with the children.

The volunteers at the Reserve will show small groups of children around the nature reserve and talk about the various things that can be found there. We plan to enjoy some pond dipping, mini beast forays, plant identification, treasure hunts and quizzes all hosted by the volunteers of the nature reserve

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The nature reserve is open every Wednesday from April to August from 2-5pm and on the first Saturday of the month at the same time. Family and group visits can be arranged including school trips and scout and guide tours.

NB Friends of Stockway North Nature Reserve are always looking for new members. To find out about volunteering, you can contact Andrew Town on 01275 858064.

Stockway North Nature Reserve (ST472708) is in a 19th Century Pennant Sandstone quarry behind the Garden of Rest. After being filled with domestic refuse in the early 20th Century, this was neglected, and with natural regeneration it was occupied by local wildlife. Work to restore the site started in 1996. With financial assistance from Nailsea Town Council and North Somerset Council, a group, The Friends of Stockway North Nature Reserve, was formed in 1998 to manage this land, to raise awareness of the public to the natural environment, and as a teaching resource.

Little steps into ‘Big School’

Some of our children will be moving on to ‘big school’ in September, which is a big step for them! To help smooth this process we are gradually getting them ready for this transition in lots of ways.

The teachers are writing up transfer reports which will go to the new schools showing where their child is currently and how they have been progressing. This means that your child’s learning at school can smoothly follow on from Nursery.

We will also be introducing the children to their new uniforms, allowing them to try them on which will also help them to dress themselves.

It’s a big step for them and for parents. Please come and chat to us about this if you have any concerns or need advice with any queries.

Into our ‘Secret Garden’ we go…

Our children love playing and learning in our ‘Secret Garden’ and each and every day, rain or shine they all spend time in it. Often it is used as an ‘outside classroom’. We have a range of activities for the children in the garden, and the different age groups also learn patience whilst waiting for the activity of their choice to be free. They are also being educated about the use of sun cream and sun hats and why they are important to use.

We have a new shed in the garden which is houses many of our activities to enable the children to access resources as well as the teachers. This re-enforces the importance of choosing an activity, playing with it and then tidying it away when finished with.

Nursery Menu

Mealtimes are an important time at the Nursery and our children enjoy sitting down together, serving their own food, helping others and enjoying the social element of a meal with friends. We offer a varied menu, with vegetarian option, which is on a five week rotation, detailed below:

Something delicious for everyone…

May themes in the nursery…

In the Science Room we introduced Biomes in March, and during the May we continued to follow this subject.

A biome is a large region of Earth that has a certain climate and certain types of living things. Major biomes include tundra, forests, grasslands, and deserts. The plants and animals of each biome have traits that help them to survive and includes many ecosystems.

The children also learned about land formation and matching rocks to our geology set. Future scientists and explorers in the making!

In The Studio we have been illustrating how a sheep’s fleece is turned into yarn, and this has been further extended into using a loom and weaving.

The children enjoyed looking at the different stages of sheep into yarn and how they are able to wear jumpers knitted from spun yarn.

In the Art Area we are looking at the Impressionists, starting with Vincent Van Gogh with an activity involving sun flowers. In addition to this the children are also creating works of art using polka dots and have come up with some fabulous ideas.

The children have new folders to keep their artwork in, which they will be able to take with them when they move on to big school.

In The Sensorial room we have a nature area which features a snail terrarium, where the children have been introduced to the snails and the animal family that they come from. We also plan to introduce a nature table in our Sensorial room to show some of the many interesting finds from our Forest School adventures. We would also encourage the children and families to bring in anything they too have found of interest on their travels for the children to look at.

Lifecycles and all its wonders remain a favourite with the children, and our current activities include the lifecycles of bees, butterflies, frogs and chickens. The children have been very lucky this term as we’ve had the pleasure of bringing 7 chicks into the world from 10 eggs which we incubated. We all greatly enjoyed watching and listening to the chicks hatching. It was a fascinating process and it was lovely to see the children learn empathy with another living creature and understanding the need to be very gentle.

Extending the interest of the children with the hatching of the chickens, we followed on to activities where the children organised animals into categories to learn if they lay eggs or not. From there, they would then extend further to classify them into categories: mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds. We have included a special category for the dinosaurs as the children know they used to come from eggs.

In another area of the Sensorial room we have a set of smelling bottles which help educate children with their olfactory sense. They have been grinding coffee, which is creating a wonderful aroma, but also peppercorns, which has a completely different smell which the children are able to identify. For further exploration we have introduced some mystery bags to also educate them about the sense of touch.

In the Practical Life Room the children are learning new skills, most recently measuring with a tape measure. Using a pipette for transferring liquid rather than a jug, they are able to develop their fine motor skills with all of these activities but using a pipette is a particularly skillful activity.

Behaviour management – ‘setting limits’

At Secret Garden Montessori Nursery, our model of behaviour management follows an empathetic structure, by encouraging a nurturing connection and genuine understanding when conflict arises. Through offering gentle but firm limits, children become more in touch with their emotions and in time feel accepted and valued even in their times of disequilibrium. 

We understand that when a child is upset, they are unable to access the logical thinking part of the brain, which allows them to self-regulate. It is our job here to lend our own ability to self-regulate by stepping in with a limit whilst offering our caring support. This in time will strengthen the child’s own abilities to bounce back from upset and process their emotions in a healthy way. 

We want the children in our care to become natural communicators and problem solvers, capable of real empathy towards others, starting with the acceptance of their own feelings and emotions. 

This approach to behaviour management draws from current research into how our children’s emotions work and their developmental capabilities.

We feel that this is in keeping with the core Montessori principles of respect and promotion of autonomy. 

Into the woods we go …

Forest School

We have started taking small groups of children to Forest School for a block of five sessions, which allows for continuity and growth. It’s amazing to see just how much enjoyment the children get from being in this environment and being outside in the woods. The children gain confidence and confident children are able to share their skills. The site that we access is on a farm in Tickenham which is local to us, the forest is absolutely fabulous and allows the children to explore the area and gain knowledge about the environment by becoming involved in a variety of different tasks.

We recently cut wooden biscuits from a Hazel branch that Miss Katie brought along and each child learned how to keep the saw safe whilst using it. They had a great sense of achievement when they cut through the branch which was amazing. They then decorated the discs, drilled a hole in the top and threaded it on to a piece of string so that it could be hung around their necks.

To give the children a sense of independence at Forest School the children now carry their own special ‘Forest School’ backpacks, which contain food for the pigs, matching cards, a magnifying glass and a bug collecting container. They can then enjoy bug investigation before releasing them back into the forest.

Look what I’ve found…

On the last day, we lit a fire and cooked damper bread over it. The children patiently waited for it to cook and also kept themselves safely away from the fire. The children all collected firewood, stack the sticks and stayed safe when lighting the fire. Miss Katie is an expert at lighting fires, using ‘Dragons breath’ to start the fire. The children were also shown that we must ensure that the fire is put out to keep the forest safe.