Kingswood In March!!

We have been getting very busy this month here at Kingswood. Starting with Pancake Day and Ash Wednesday where the children got to experience yummy pancakes for snack and a vegetarian corn beef hash for lunch. We incorporated this into our healthy eating by adding fruit and talking about how the fruit and vegetables keep us healthy.

HEY AWARD – Here at Kingswood we have been working towards our Healthy Early Years Award, between the Deputy Manager Chloe (who is currently on maternity leave) and the Acting Deputy Amy, they have provided staff with the HEY Toolkit, making them more aware of the correct portion sizes, exercise goals, bottle feeding best practice, safe sleep best practice and many more that is included. The beginning of March saw us have our HEY inspection and we are now awaiting our result.

World Book Day came next. The staff and the children enjoyed dressing up as their favourite characters and raising money for the Crackerjacks Children’s Trust. We managed to raise a grand total of £120 – huge thanks to all of those who contributed. The children engaged in story making activities, read their favourite stories and set up book-themed tuff trays. We also promoted our lending library for children to take them home.

Science week stemmed some great exploration, the staff helped the children explored in many different experiments. From bubble wrap painting to volcano eruptions. We continued this on water day talking about the water cycle and conducting an experiment to help explain this cycle.

Comic relief saw the children come dressed in red! We talked to the older children about what comic relief represented and asked questions about how they think people could help. We focused some of our activities around the theme incorporating it into the children’s interests.

We have generally had lots of fun outside, especially the week running up to mothers day where the sun started coming out for Spring.

Mother’s Day the the children did some planting, we talked a lot about what plants need, the beginning of Spring and the cycle of plants. I hope all had a lovely Mother’s Day and we will see you next time our blog comes along.

February at Oak Valley

At Oak Valley, during February, we have been incorporating our loose theme of ‘Around the World’. We have been making flags from different cultures, making restaurants in our role-play area & food tasting from different cultures. The children have tried various recipes from Poland, France, Greece, India & Italy!

During National Storytelling Week our children in Rising 3’s & Pre-school enjoyed designing their own story books. The children worked really hard on them & enjoyed showing them to their friends at group time. The children also made a library in their role play area where they could check out books & take turns being the librarian! We had a vote for our favourite story & the winner was The Gruffalo – a classic! The children also spent time making some new story sacks for group time.

Baby Room enjoyed exploring the fabric baskets; looking & feeling the different textures & patterns. The children then used the fabrics & musical instruments at group time to sing their favourite nursery rhymes! The babies have enjoyed practicing their fine motor skills using plastic knives & crazy soap; they used lots of different vocabulary during the activity.

Rising 3’s loved making their very own ‘potion station’! The children chose different materials, scents & flavours to add to the playdough & experiment with their different senses. The children looked at the science books & we took part in lots of fun experiments!

Toddlers have taken a keen interest in animals recently. They have enjoyed reading the farmyard books, so we put together their own farm in the sensory area for the children to explore. Now that spring is here we are hoping to extend our interests by visiting the farm & hatching our own baby chicks using the nursery incubator!

We finished February off by celebrating Megan’s bi-annual keyworker award, & the safe arrival of both Stef & Nat’s baby boys – Ollie George & Teddy. Congratulations to them both; we can’t wait to meet them!

January fun at Highgate!

Toddler Room have enjoyed exploring their ‘All About Me’ loose topic this month. They have been learning about different hair colours, skin colours and facial features, and looked at some different multicultural pictures from around the world. They have used their creative skills and curiosity to create their own people on the craft table, all choosing their own resources independently. They worked as a team to make some playdough and decided to make it pink! They then used the playdough to create different facial features; they counted how many of each feature they needed to put on their face, and tried really hard to put them in the right places! They really enjoyed learning about differences between people – something to be celebrated!



Rising 3’s have been trying out different science experiments this month. They showed high levels of energy and fascination, and as a team they made a rainbow explode! They also blew a balloon up with different ingredients. The children all took part and contributed towards the activity, and predicted what was going to happen before they carried out the experiment!



Meanwhile, in Baby Room, they’ve had lots of fun baking. Once their biscuits were made they showed their concentration skills, as well as their creativity, by decorating them. No baking activity would be complete without a little ‘trying’ of the product of course!!


That’s it for January! We can’t believe it’s 2022 but we look forward to sharing more exciting news from Highgate again soon 🙂

December 2021 at Riverview!

Babies’ trip to the park

At the beginning of December, our babies had a little adventure to explore the local area. They found a nature trail that led up to the park. They had lots of fun on the swings, slide, and roundabout.

They enjoyed games of ‘pass the parcel’ at their Christmas party! They created lots of Christmas crafts, and have explored many different sensory opportunities; the favourite ones being snow and ice!

Toddlers’ sensory polar experience

Toddlers have been getting messy this month; their favourite was the polar themed tuff tray. They had lots of fun exploring the ice blocks and finding hidden treasures!  The children noticed the ice was cold and that, as the day went on, the ice blocks were getting smaller.  They talked about all the different animals that live on the snow and ice.

As a group, the Toddlers made a huge gingerbread man and candy cane that you may have seen displayed in our entrance foyer.

Pre-School Christmas dinner and party games

Pre-School loved their Christmas dinner; especially the brussels sprouts! After lunch they played party games and did lots of dancing to Christmas music.

The Pre-School children have been learning lots of Christmas songs this month, the Makaton song of the month is ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ and the children have really enjoyed learning the signs!

Junk modelling Christmas tree

Instead of a traditional Christmas tree, this year we have worked together to make our special own junk model Christmas tree! This was a full team effort and the children all really enjoyed painting, sticking and constructing the Christmas tree!

Super Star Sports

Super Star Sports is always a hit with our Pre-School and Toddler children; they love the activities and noticing the effects of exercise on their bodies. The children enjoyed practicing their throwing and catching skills with the rugby balls in our session this month.


The Toddler children have continued, throughout the month, to run their own little exercise sessions, playing football and doing relay races in the garden.

Healthy Early Years Award

The children and staff members have loved discovering new ideas and ways to keep themselves and their families healthy. Ashleigh, our HEY (Healthy Early Years) lead, has been working hard alongside the staff members and HEY champions. The children have explored new activities to make sure they are getting their 180 minutes of exercise a week. The children shared ways in which they like to move and explained how they made them feel. One child said, “I feel lots of energy when I run really fast, like this” and encouraged his friends to run around the garden and copy him.

Staff members have said they have gained a greater understanding of how much they should be exercising, and have begun to try more healthier options when at home. Everyone has loved exploring new foods and celebrating foods from many different countries, some of our families even sent over recipes for us to all try! We are all super excited to continue exploring and developing our healthy early years!

From Riverview and all the EYCED team we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November 2021 @ The Little School House

Rhythm Time & Super Star Sports

During November at The Little School House, we have had lots of fun with outside companies. Simon from Super Star Sports came to see us to host a variety of sporting activities to build our physical & fine motor movements, hand-eye co-ordination & self-confidence. The children really enjoyed all the ball games & are looking forward to the next session.

Rhythm Time also came to do some activities with our Babies & Toddlers. They had lots of fun singing, dancing, playing instruments, waving ribbons, & playing games with a parachute. The children really loved lifting the parachute up & then quickly running underneath it to hide. They also enjoyed running around with the ribbons waving them in different directions to look at the pretty colours.

Fun in the Snow

In November, we were blessed with lots of thick white snow, which meant we were able to explore it outside on lots of occasions. We got wrapped up warmly in our outdoor suits, hats & scarves & we ran out into the garden. The children made 1 big, & 2 little, snowmen with some help from our grown-ups. We enjoyed rolling the snow into smaller balls & then throwing them around the garden, being careful that we didn’t hit our friends. The best bit was sliding down the snowy hill!

Remembrance Day

In Pre-School we have been talking about Remembrance Day, we have also been doing activities to remember all the brave soldiers. The children have been using their fine motor skills to make pictures, paintings, & play dough poppies. The children & teachers also took part in the minute silence at 11 o’clock.

Parent’s Evening

In November we saw the return of our in-house parent’s evening. It was great to hold this as a face to face event again. We will continue to hold parent’s evening twice a year, but do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to speak to your child keyworker in between.

Children in Need

We had lots of fun raising money for the Children in Need charity. The children & teachers wore their pyjamas to nursery & enjoyed some yummy cakes which the children made. We also got very messy in our themed sensory trays & craft activities. Thank you to everyone who donated & bought a bun from our cake sale, we raised £98 for Children in Need!

September 2021 @ Oak Valley

September has been a great month for us all at Oak Valley. We welcomed back our term-time children & had many new starters joining us to begin their nursery journey! We have loved welcoming our parents back into the building to see our newly decorated rooms & the exciting activities that have been taking place!

Baby Room has been exploring words & sounds this month. We have been singing nursery rhymes in English & French, creating sensory music bottles to use at group time, & using our ‘Words of the Week’ to explore. The children particularly enjoyed fruit tasting & baking with lots of different textures & flavours.

Toddler Room has been making the most of the warm weather & spending as much time as possible outdoors. We have enjoyed an outing to the park to play games, & taken part in our monthly Super Star Sport session! This month we focussed on football; the children practiced their gross motor skills & hand -eye coordination, while running around getting lots of exercise & fresh air.

Rising 3’s have been especially interested in role-play this month. The children have created a post office area where they have been busy writing & sorting letters, serving customers & answering the phone. After working really hard, the children decided they need a break, & went on holiday on their aeroplane to lots of exotic destinations!

Rising 3’s have also enjoyed making sensory playdough, drawing shadow pictures of their favorite toys & exploring different countries, to name but a few activities sparked by the children’s interests (which never fail to interest us!)

To finish off the month, Pre-School have been for an adventure into the woods to collect leaves, conkers & sticks! We then made some lovely Autumn pictures to show what we had found.

Some of you may have seen our Early Years Care & Education bear on the Sheffield Bear Trail in aid of Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Keep your eyes peeled, as he’ll be on his way to spend some time with us at Oak Valley 🙂

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!

October’s Activities at Kingswood

October has been a busy month for us here at Kingswood Day Nursery and Pre-School. We would like to share all of our fun, exciting, engaging and thought provoking activities with you.

First of all, please join us in sending massive congratulations to Laura Standering and her husband Mark on the birth of their baby boy! Rowan Christopher Daniel Standering was born on Sunday 21st October 2018 at 1.25am, weighing 7lb 13oz. We all wish them all well and can’t wait to meet baby Rowan!

Baby Room have been exploring different textures during our sensory play sessions, they particularly enjoyed the cooked spaghetti and custard!

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The Pre-School children have had lots of fun outside exploring the tyres, making obstacle courses, balancing and concentrating on stepping from tyre to tyre. They also worked well as a team and showed fantastic imagination by creating our train and deciding that they were off to the seaside!

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The Toddlers have spent lots of time and effort growing their own tomatoes. They have taken good care of the plants by making sure that they provided them with plenty of water to help them to grow. They looked after them so well that the tomatoes grew well and turned a lovely ripe red. The group were so pleased when they could actually taste the tomatoes that they had worked so hard to grow together.

Knife control chopping activity.Image may contain: 1 person, food

 

Wear It Pink was a fun-filled day with lots of activities. Favourites were definitely the baking and the painting. The Pre-School children did a great job of weighing out all the ingredients using the scales and getting the measurements just right for some tasty buns. The staff helped the children to develop their technology skills and take some risks by using the electric whisk to mix all the ingredients together. The children were all very proud of their achievements. The Babies really enjoyed the painting; exploring the texture of the cold paint on their hands. Thank you to all the children, staff and parents for baking and bringing there produce to our bake sale. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and contributions on the day, I am pleased to inform you that we raised a brilliant £60.00 – well done everyone!  If you missed our fundraiser you can still donate by going to the Wear It Pink website.

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Pre-school children baking for charity eventBabies being creative with painting activity.

Halloween at Kingswood was a hocus pocus time! We had some super spooky activities throughout the week which included making potions, baking monster buns, creepy crawly play dough, pumpkin exploration, wriggling rice pictures and loads more.  Here are a few photographs of our Halloween themed week. I think the children enjoyed the Halloween party and the dressing up the most!

Halloween potion making

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The Babies had an exploratory afternoon over on the local field to discover different Autumn materials. We found some lovely conkers, leaves and twigs which we are going to be using for our Autumn Day Workshop.  The children especially enjoyed the crinkle and rustling of the leaves.

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Autumn days leaf picking activity.

Finally for this month, we wanted to share our Babies’ incredible artwork. They are getting prepared for bonfire night by creating this master piece together as a group. The babies loved the bright colours and showed particular interest in the patterns that their cardboard fireworks made on the black paper. I am sure they will enjoy watching the real fireworks on Monday 5th November.

Printing activity Fireworks painting activities

 

April at Highgate

During the month of April Highgate has been blessed with a multitude of visitors! We started with Donald and his community engagement ambulance. He talked to the toddlers and Pre-School children about his role and what it entails. They learnt about what an ambulance is for, what it does and how it helps people. The children got to actually sit inside the ambulance and even try out the siren! Possibly their favourite part of the visit was the opportunity to try on the uniform that Donald brought. We ended the session by colouring in some pictures that he’d also supplied.

Zoolab came to bring their exotic wildlife for the children to see. The children were able to handle creatures such as a snake, a giant snail, rats, mice and even a gecko. The Zoolab representative explained to the children where the animals come from, where they live and what they eat. We found the session really encouraged the children to ‘have a go’, even when they weren’t very keen at the beginning!

Last but not least we had our monthly enrichment of ‘Mini Movez’. One of the lovely ladies came to Highgate to lead a fun and expressive session themed around what the children were learning. The sessions are always lively and energetic and the Toddler and Pre-School groups take full advantage of this opportunity for active learning which really gets their hearts pumping!

Aside from visitors, there’s been plenty more exciting things happening within nursery. Our Pre-School children have been learning about life cycles this month and have focussed on frogs. We introduced a tank of real tadpoles & the children explored them using magnifying glasses to examine them. At each stage of development, they’ve made efforts to draw observational portraits.  They are very excited that the tadpoles are now developing legs and are eager to see when they will turn into a frog.

Monday 23rd April saw us celebrating St George’s Day. This date marks the anniversary of the English patron saint’s death. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess. Rather than re-enacting the legend (!) we decided to mark the day by holding an afternoon tea party. The children made flags using a variety of different art and craft methods such as colouring, sticking and painting. We then used the flags to decorate the table where they ate scones with clotted cream and jam – yummy!

Throughout April our babies have been experimenting with different sensory experiences. We took advantage of the warm weather, stripped the babies down to their nappies and let them explore ‘gloop’, shaving foam, water, cereals, sand and even ice! We focussed on several of the ‘characteristics of effective learning’ with each of these – ‘playing and exploring’, ‘active learning’ and ‘creating and thinking critically’. It was great to observe the different ways they investigated the different mediums and their textures.

January at Little School House

During January The Little School House have been up to lots of fun and exciting activities. We kick started the New Year with our loose theme topic ‘All About Me’. The Pre-School children started by talking about themselves, what they look like and how they are different from each other. They continued their learning by looking at their reflections in a mirror and drawing themselves, highlighting key features such as eye and hair colour, and then drew each other. The Baby and Toddler rooms used families as a theme and created displays of children’s family photographs, looking and talking about who the children live with and what they do as a family outside of the nursery setting. Parents enjoyed getting involved and provided us with lots of happy family memories that the children could share with each other at nursery.

Since our conception as Early Years Care and Education we have been striving to raise awareness of healthy lifestyles, diet of course being a big part of this area. As well as overhauling our menus, considering ingredients and portion sizes, we have also now introduced a new strategy – ‘Free Fruit Friday’ which runs the last Friday of each month. We are doing this as an opportunity to invite children, parents and carers to have a piece of fresh fruit on us! Although the children attending nursery receive lots of fresh fruit on a daily basis, we thought it would be another fantastic role modelling opportunity. Our first attempt at the end of January was a great success and I know that lots of parents and children alike are looking forward to having it again in February and beyond.

At our setting we like to promote diversity and culture and, with this in mind, the Pre-School children have been learning about Chinese New Year. They talked in group time about the different animals each year represents and how this year is the year of the dog. The children then made their own red ‘lucky envelopes’ and put chocolate coins inside which they took home to parents. The children discussed while doing this, how the colour red in Chinese culture is a lucky colour.

Our next exciting project will be our lending library where we will further promote literacy. Children and parents/carers will be able to select and borrow books from the nursery library to read together at home.