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!

July 2021 at Riverview!

What makes us unique

The children in our Pre-School room started the month by discussing what makes them unique. They talked a lot about what they had in common, and also what differences they have. They made faces out of playdough and, at the mark-making table, they drew themselves.

It’s coming home

For the Euros, we had a special football party before the tournament final. The Pre-School children worked together to create a big England flag that we hung up in the garden. In Babies, they experimented with the colour red by playing in red spaghetti, and making lots of marks in the sensory tray with red paint.

Good luck school graduates

July saw us waving goodbye to our first ever Pre-School graduates, and what a lovely bunch they were! We’ll miss them all dearly. To celebrate them finishing at Riverview, we had a ceremony where each of them were presented with a certificate. We then had ice-cream in the garden and some party games to celebrate their achievements.

Sports day fun!

Pre-School also had their very own sports day. Simon from Super Star Sport came in to deliver a session for us and the children had a great time running around, playing with the footballs and participating in the physical challenges. Afterwards, we talked about why exercise is good for us and the effect it has on our bodies.

Tooth Brushing club

As we will soon be starting a tooth brushing club, we have introduced the children to the importance of oral health, and what they can do to look after their teeth.  In an activity to promote good oral health, the children used toothbrushes to clean dirty marks off the teeth model.

We’ve been growing!

As well as brushing teeth twice a day, eating a balanced diet can also help promote good oral health. In the garden, we have had our first harvest of green beans. The children have been enjoying eating these at lunchtimes. The children love watering the plants and learning what makes them grow. Toddlers and Pre-School have both done experiments to see what happened to bean/pea seeds under different conditions. We have found that the seeds that have water and sunlight grow, whereas the seeds without will not.

Our ant world

Toddlers have been looking after their own colony of ants in their ‘ant world’. They enjoy observing the ants in the nest, watching them dig and crawl around.  They watch them walk down the tube of the ant world in the viewing container, where there is food for the ants to eat. We have talked about the types of food ants like; we have found they like sugary fruit and vegetables as this gives them lots of energy.  

We are looking forward to more fun in the sun this summer, and to welcoming our families old and new back in the new term.

June @ The Little School House

We enjoyed another busy month at The Little School House in June.

One of our favourite activities across the board was our planned England-themed day to support the England football team in the Euros Tournament. We dressed up in our football kits, or red & white, & held our very own football match in the nursery garden. Not only did the children make the most of the physical aspect of this day, they also had fun with the creative side; they made England flags with a range of craft materials & continued the theme into their sensory trays with a England flag made from coloured spaghetti & flour, & a football pitch made from rice with miniature goals!!

The Pre-School group took the opportunity for a lovely trip to Graves Park Farm. They enjoyed seeing the pigs, guinea pigs, chickens, goats & ducks. Our favourites were the ducks because they were very noisy, although we gave them a good run for the money!! We enhanced our trip by talking about the places the animals live, the noises they make & the different names when they are baby animals.

We were lucky enough to have had a fun visit from Super Star Sport. Simon, the instructor, came along & hosted a range of sporting activities with the children. These different challenges help to build our physical skills; gross & fine motor movements, hand-eye coordination & self confidence. Simon taught us lots of ball games which included throwing, catching, kicking & dribbling. Well done to Ruben who received the Super Star Sport Certificate for all his hard work 🙂

We’re now looking forward to the rest of the Summer & beyond!

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

 

Excited about bubble time!

September at The Little School House

It has been an exciting start to Autumn. September at The Little School House started with a visit from the ever popular Mini Movez; they come into the setting to engage our Toddler and Pre-School children in fun physical activities. These sessions consist of some themed activities; this time it was ‘Safari’ which saw the children involved in creating their own unique variations of different animal sounds and movements, followed by some excellent cheer-leading involving pom poms and lots of energy and enthusiasm!

 

Our loose theme of ‘Space’ has seen all our age groups participating in numerous activities surrounding the planets; Pre-School learned about the different names and their climates, as well as learning about different methods of space travel and constructing the planets for a display. The children thought it was out of this world!! While our budding astronauts were busy upstairs, the Babies and Toddlers also had fun creating their own unique space designs such as stars, galaxies and their own interpretation of the planets. These messy activities were another great way for our early learners to explore different sensory experiences and learn through play.

 

We also took the time to host a Princess and Pirates day charity event in aid of  Cracker Jack Children’s trust which was a great success. The children came in their fancy dress and really got into their characters. They enjoyed making props for their costumes and demonstrated some fantastic role play.

 

So what’s next for The Little School House? The children and staff are all looking forward to our Pre-School Autumn workshop & activities for Road Safety Week, as well as lots of upcoming festive activities including our Christmas Concert, Christmas Party, Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children, and Baby Room Christmas workshop.

August at Highgate

Here at Highgate we’ve had a busy August!  We celebrated Yorkshire Day by creating Yorkshire Rose flags, decorating pictures of a Yorkshire Rose & the children hosted their own mini tea party, enjoying scones with jam & cream.

 

We have revelled in lots of different sensory activities, exploring different textures, smells & tastes.  The babies loved getting messy in the beans & Pre-School relished tasting & exploring different hot & cold foods.

We held our first introductory session of ‘Rhythm Time’ with our Babies & Toddlers.  The children explored sound with a range of instruments & sang into a microphone, which helped with confidence building & self-esteem.

We made the most of the beautiful summer weather with the children partaking in many trips out to the park & surrounding areas.  They enjoyed playing on the swings & slides, & played group games on the grass. We also made frozen yogurt pops to enjoy.

 

We are now looking forward to the start of a new term & lots more exciting experiences during the Autumn & Winter!

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.