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 🙂

August 2021 @ Highgate

In July, we welcomed the Early Years Care and Education bear! Thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts across the Company for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity prior to the first lockdown, we were lucky enough to sponsor one of the ‘little bears’ in the Bears of Sheffield trail. The children have enjoyed finding our bear over the summer and were very proud when they received their certificates!


Toddlers have loved using their senses to explore this month! We enjoyed getting messy in our rainbow bubble foam and talked about what colours we could see! We made some great observations such as “it looks like a rainbow colour” and we decided that it felt soft! We also enjoyed smelling the lovely aroma of the foam. We were all willing to have a go and all had lots of fun exploring!



Rising 3’s had a fantastic time exploring in the woods! The children collected lots of leaves, sticks and pinecones to use in the loose parts and investigation area back at nursery. They then stopped at the park on the way back to nursery and had lots of fun on the equipment!



The children have enjoyed helping to prepare healthy snacks this month too. They used their fine motor skills to have a go at cutting their own bananas, watermelon and strawberries. We were all willing to have a go at this, trying really hard! We also made our own choices about if we would like milk or water to drink to keep us hydrated. We all tried our snack and found our fruit very yummy! Rising 3’s also had lots of fun making their own fresh bread for snack. Each child made their own pattern on the bread roll before we put them in the oven to bake. The best bit was eating them at snack time!

We’re now looking forward to starting the new academic year; we wonder what it will bring…

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!