January 2021 at The Little School House

Firstly, may we wish you all a Happy New Year – what a year 2020 was! It provided us with many challenges that none of us could ever have imagined; two national lockdowns, closing our doors to many children and some of our staff being furloughed to name but a few! I think we can all agree we are more than happy to see the back end of 2020!

With that in mind, we have welcomed 2021 with open arms and look forward to the relaxing of restrictions in good time. During January, we spent a lot of our time outdoors exploring our local environment. We are extremely fortunate to have Graves Park on our doorstep and take full advantage when we can. Here are some pictures of our Baby Room & Toddler children walking though the park and into the woods. They used their senses to talk about the different noises they could hear and used the opportunity to practice their running skills, considering their speed while they were at it!

The month of January also brought us lots of lovely snow. It’s a fantastic learning opportunity for the children and we were lucky enough to have many occasions outside experiencing the temperature, texture and different experiences it brings. The children enjoyed making some fantastic structures; snowmen and snow fairies among others! But most of all, the amazing fun of sliding down the hill – such a simple process that brings such joy both to them doing it and to us observing them.

Our loose theme through January was ‘All About Me’ and our Pre-School children spent time drawing self-portraits. There was discussion about the facial features we all have and how, despite that, we are all different. Here are some of our self-portraits for you to see:

We’re looking forward to Valentine’s day and pancake day in February, and sharing more of our Little School House adventures with you all soon 🙂

March at The Little School House

Before the world went crazy over the corona virus we managed to pack in lots of fun activities in & out of the setting…

Each of our branches had a charity takeover week to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The plan was to theme as many of the activities around bears, as the hospital is tying it in with the Bear Hunt that’s planned around the city over the Summer. During our chosen week we held a raffle (with some amazing donation prizes – thanks to all who contributed), guessing games to wind a prize and even took the children on a sponsored bear walk, as well as completing lots of bear-themed activities in their rooms with their friends. We want to thank all of the staff, children and parents for their support and donations for this fantastic cause. The week was very successful week and we raised over £800!!

We don’t think our annual celebration of World Book Day would be complete without giving the staff and children the opportunity to dress up as their favourite characters. We saw the likes of The Gingerbread Man, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan and many more! The children loved taking part in reading their favourite stories and making up their own book character, although perhaps their favourite part was enjoying some of the yummy cakes and buns from our bake sale!

Our termly staff training session was held early in the month. Lisa and Anna (Area Manager and Quality Practice Manager) decided to base the first part of the session around a recommendation from our Ofsted inspection (January 2020); the report suggested that we should ‘build on the good planning for adult-led activities to ensure that all participating children are fully challenged.’ So we spent a portion re-looking at what the activities we’re planning to meet the next steps of the children, how to extend them for the more advanced children, what we provide in our areas of continuous provision and how to support the children in order for them to access and achieve things more independently.

We spent the latter half being introduced to a relatively new teaching strategy called ‘Word Aware’. This tool is designed to support practitioners in the provision of effective vocabulary development and it’s aim is to shorten the ‘word gap’ between children from different backgrounds. We discussed how we can implement the strands into our daily practice and how it will work best for the different age groups. We’re looking forward to putting all this into action once things are back to normal!

Our Pre-School Room went on a trip to Weston Park Museum and they used public transport to get to and from. This was a big experience for some of our children, who had not been on a bus before! They enjoyed learning about the different parts of Sheffield’s history and playing in their role play areas.  The children loved looking at the animals after enjoying a yummy picnic for lunch.

Now the weather is starting to get warmer, we’ve been enjoying more sensory activities and activities in the garden. The Baby Room have really enjoyed splashing and playing in the sensory tray with all of the water and bubbles – they had lots of fun splashing the staff too! It’s been great having picnic snacks and lunch in the garden with our friends, and made us very excited for the Summer weather!


That’s all from us for now; we look forward to resuming normal nursery life as soon as possible, but in the meantime, wish you all well – stay safe!