What we have been up to…

July 31, 2015

We have been busy with junk- making cricket bats, monsters, boats and more! Thanks for all the boxes you keep bringing in they are providing lots of learning opportunities.

We’ve also been building with wooden blocks, the children have used their imaginations to create some fantastic castles, they’ve spoken in detail about bits they are putting on.

We had a visit out to feed the ducks, there were so many of them that we had to be very quick as they all came out of the water to see us! The children all found this very exciting and enjoyed seeing the goslings that were there as well as the big swans. We were lucky enough to also see a couple of horses and enjoyed spotting the horse shoe prints in the mud. One of the children asked why horses feet make the clip clop noise, so when we got back we looked on the computer at Blacksmiths and horse shoes and found out about them.

We’ve made some great pictures using sponges and paint, mixing the colours and creating patterns. The babies enjoyed getting stuck in with this activity too.

The children have been very interested in dinosaurs so we have been talking a little about them being extinct and how this happened, as well as drawing our own dinosaurs and playing with our model dinosaurs. 

Today we had a car wash in the garden and washed all the toys cars- I could tell some children had visited a car wash as they were very thorough!

We hope the sunshine is here to stay and that you are all able to enjoy it this weekend.

What we have been up to..

July 24, 2015

The summer holidays have arrived and so has the rain! We’re hoping the rain eases off on Sunday for our Big Toddle. Don’t forget that if you’re joining us we will be meeting outside the Cafe by the totem pole at 10am. The theme is Pirates, fancy dress for adults is optional. If it is raining we will still do our walk (just bring your rain coats!), we are hoping to have use of a couple of gazebos so should still be able to picnic afterwards, however if the rain is as bad as today it would probably be best to get home and dry off. We’ll have to see if the weather man is kind to us or not.

 So this week…

 We have said goodbye to a few of our friends who are off to school, it’s always sad to see them go but we know they are more than ready for their new school adventure and we look forwrad to hearing all about it.

We’ve also been playing lots of number games, I was really impressed with some of the high numbers the children can recognise. We played snakes and ladders, with just one counter. We counted on the correct number of spaces and helped each other to recognise the numbers we landed on. Using the one counter meant the game was much shorter and the children got to take their turn quicker, meaning less distraction. And of course it meant we were all winners!

We’ve been doing various art and messy activities. We made butterflies with dolly pegs, paint, glitter and sequins. We also used various items to spread paint- string, twigs and toothbrushes were just some of the objects. The children have also been printing, painting one side of the paper and pushing down on to the other side to make a print.

The children have also enjoyed making postcards and posting them in our letter box, (it’s amazing what gets posted in our letter box!)

The children love playdough at the moment and this week we have been making different shapes, we’ve even introduced some 3d shapes to the children.

Some of you may have noticed your children singing a few new songs, we’ve been learning “The Bear went over the mountain” and “she’ll be coming round the mountain”, the children really enjoy these and are always keen to sing them.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our week. Just a reminder that we have a bug going around, it seems to be going around everywhere, because of this we are being super cautious and would appreciate you keeping your child off for 48 hours until they are clear of any sickness or loose/unusual bowel movements. We have given the nursery a deep clean and hope that next week everyone will be well again. Thank you for your cooperation with this and we wish all poorly children and parents well and hope they are feeling much better soon.  See you Sunday!  Lauren

What we have been up to..

July 17, 2015

Friday seems to have rolled around very quickly this week!

We’ve had a fun filled week here at nursery, so here’s a little about it…

Our big event this week had to be our leavers party. Many of the children came along and all had a fantastic time. The bouncy castle certainly got lots of use, it was tiring just watching them all ( we did of course all have a little go too!) The party was our chance to say goodbye to the children leaving us for school. This time of year is always full of mixed emotions both for the staff and children (parents too). There’s a lot of excitement about new adventures ahead but it’s also the final part of their nursery journey. We’re going to miss all the children very much and hope that Mummies and Daddies let us know how well they are all getting on at school. We’ve been speaking to the children about how in September some of them will become the “big children”, they seem quite pleased in this new role :)

The weather this week has been a bit wet but also cooler meaning the children have been able to run around a lot more in the garden. So we have had many football, cricket and tennis games. Today we’ve been seeing how high we can throw a ball, as yet we haven’t lost any on the roof or over the fence but there’s still time. Children seem to learn ball skills very quickly and their development is rapid, a game of catch not only help them to catch a ball but has an effect on many other areas. Such as hand eye co-ordination, so using a pencil, modelling play dough and dancing and many other areas are all aided by ball games. We also have a rugby ball at nursery, this can prove a bit of a challenge to catch, kick and throw and that’s not just by the children but adults too. We still have lots of fun trying though.

Inside nursery we have enjoyed playing with playdough, we have lots of different “machines” such as a train which squeezes the playdough in to different shapes and an ice cream maker. The children love using these and they are very good at helping each other out if it gets a bit tough.

We’ve also had fun with giant tweezers and compare bears which are bears of different colours and shapes. Using the tweezers helps develop the children’s fine motor skills and they all love having a go with them. We’ve been moving different sized, different amounts of an different coloured bears from one bowl to another. We’ve also been a little adding and taking away,the bears are a great visual prop for the children to use.

We’ve been playing our healthy eating games, the children love “Greedy Gorilla” ( but then who doesn’t love a Gorilla who burps when you feed him junk food!), this games helps the children gain recognition of what foods are healthy and what foods are ok as a treat. I’ve noticed the children have started to comment on what they are eating and are very pleased when they know its something healthy. Going along side this we’ve also talked in simple terms about exercise and how your heart beats faster. The children enjoy running and then feeling how fast their heart is beating. Why not have some races in the garden or at the park and see the effects it has? The children love it when we’re more “puffed out” than them.

Don’t forget we have our lending library here that you can borrow books from and also our stick insects and snails haven’t had a trip out of nursery for a while. So if you’d like some visitors over the weekend then let me know, they’re very easy to look after.

We hope you all have a lovely weekend and don’t forget to send in photos of what you have been up to.  Lauren.

What we have been up to…

July 10, 2015

We’ve had lots of fun at nursery this week and have done lots of different things. Here’s a few of the activities we have had a go at this week:

Lots of us made clocks with paper plates, split pins, and numbers to stick on. We have looking at the time and focusing on “o’clock”, we looked at our nursery clock and stuck our numbers in the correct order, we then moved the hands to different times such as when we come to nursery, when we have lunch and when we go home. Some of the children have taken their clocks home but some are still here ready to be collected.

We’ve also used plates to make monsters this week, some of you may have heard of the book “Monstersaurus”, well it’s a firm favourite at nursery. So this week we mixed up our own monster potions and created our very own monster friends. The children enjoyed adding their own ingredients to the potion, we had baked beans, a cucumber and a horse among other things!

We’ve been busy constructing this week with the usual duplo but also with bendy straws and “Octons”, the children have used their imagination and construction skills to build many different models. In fact this week we have been doing lots of activities with our fine motor skills, as well as all of the above we have also been threading with pasta and cotton reels.

Demi made some bright blue playdough which we have all had lots of fun playing with, we’ve been making cakes and tasty ice lollies.

Thank you for all the boxes that you have given us for junk modelling, today we have made some great models for the children to take home, from a crane, to a fire engine, we’ve hardly got any boxes left!

And finally on Wednesday we had a mini sports day, we played several team games and had a variety of races, the children seemed to enjoy the welly toss the most. There was lots of encouragement from the children to their friends and this year some of the events even went as planned, which is quite an achievement with children aged 1-4!

There are a few summer fayres on at the moment. Southwood infant have theirs on Saturday at 10-2pm, it costs £1 per family and looks like it will be lots of fun!

Have a lovely weekend and don’t forget to send in photos of what you have been up to.  Lauren


We’ve started our Forest School training..

July 6, 2015

It’s an exciting week in Bramley as Lindsay, setting manager, is deep in the woods of Cranleigh learning about how to develop children’s confidence and self esteem through outdoor learning.  The principles of Forest schools is based on a respect for children and young people and their capacity to instigate, test and maintain curiosity in the world around them.

” It believes in children’s right to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); the right to access risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world; and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction, to build a resilience that will enable continued and creative engagement with their peers and their potential. ” source: Forest School Training

Children are encouraged to direct their own learning based on what hey find outside and what interests them.  Simple things like counting sticks, looking at the changing leaf colours and seeing where bugs live, all compliment the Early Years Foundation Curriculum, and with an excellent Forest School leader ‘scaffold’s’ a child’s learning bringing out the best in each child.
We look forward to hearing how Lindsay’s week has been and updating you further on how the training is being implemented into your child’s day with us.
You can read more about Forest Schools on a wiki page here.

Are you our next Early Years Practitioner…?

We look after children from aged 2 – 4 years 11 months and are looking for an early Years Practitioner to join our team. We are closed for the summer but will reopen on Tuesday 1st September and open all year round.

The role will initially be for two days, Monday and Thursday between the hours of 8am – 5.30pm. It could become five days a week before Christmas or again you can stay two days a week.

You will look after the children ensuring we adhere to the Early Years Curriculum and we also incorporate Forest School elements into our learning. You will be:

– minimum level 3 qualification or equivalent

– have an understanding of a play based approach to children’s learning and development

– have a knowledge of child protection procedures

– have excellent communication skills – both written and verbal

– patient and have resilience whilst we build the preschool together

– interested in taking on more responsibility as the team and the preschool grows

We are committed to ensuring everyone in our team is responsible for safeguarding and the welfare of all of our children. If you are interested in this role, please contact us and we will send an application form. The successful candidate will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS disclosure.

Application deadline is Wednesday 29th July 2015.

Interviews will take place on Monday 3rd August 2015.

The role will start on Tuesday 1st September 2015.

email rhoda@theorchardnursery.co.uk for more details.

Tax-Free Childcare scheme

Recent developments in the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme, has meant that it’s unlikely to launch until early 2017.  However, it’s worth knowing your childcare voucher options now, as it may be too late to sign up for an alternative scheme next year.

The Government announced a new childcare voucher scheme called Tax-Free Childcare, which is likely to launch in early 2017.  For those entitled to the scheme, it should cover 20% of childcare costs for children up to the age of 12.  For children with disabilities, this is extended to the age of 17, because their childcare costs can stay high into their teenage years.

Will I qualify?

To qualify all parents in the household must be working, not earning more than £150,000 and not receiving tax credits or Universal credit.  The plan is to make the new scheme available to families with children under 5 first, then phasing it in for older children.

Which scheme do I go for?

If you already use a childcare voucher scheme e.g. Sodexho, EdenRed you can either stay in the scheme you are in or move to the the Tax-Free Childcare scheme – BUT you won’t be able to change back once you have moved.  It’s difficult to work out which scheme to be part of, as both schemes are different.  You need to investigate both options now and sign up for the childcare voucher scheme if that’s preferable to you, before it’s too late.

If one parent isn’t working, you won’t be eligible for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, likewise if you claim tax credits or have older children – childcare vouchers can be claimed up until the age of 15.

Only one parent can claim for the new scheme, whereas both of you can claim for the existing voucher scheme.

The Tax-Free Childcare Info Hub has a handy calculator which may help you decide:   Tax-Free Calculator

Advantages of the new scheme:

Tax-free Childcare is available to any eligible working family and you don’t have to rely on your employer to offer the scheme, unlike teh existing childcare voucher scheme.

It’s also available to the self employed, and there are benefits to the newly self employed people too.  It’s also available to people on paid sick leave, maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

Parents with more than one child may be better off with the new scheme as the existing childcare voucher scheme saving is limited to £933 per parent, whereas Tax-Free Childcare offers up to 20% of savings per child per year.

How will it work?

If eligible you will be able to set up an online account and pay into it to cover the cost of a registered childcare provider.  This means someone who is Ofsted registered – you won’t be able to use the scheme to pay for family or friends who look after your child unless they are registered.  The Government will ‘top up’ your account with an extra 20p for every 8-p you pay in.  You can pay money in when you want to, and build up a balance to pay for additional childcare over the summer holidays if required.  Other people can pay money into your account too!

More information about the new scheme, and the existing scheme can be found by reading http://www.tax-free-childcare.info/parents/ and we will keep you informed of developments as we know them.


What we have been up to..

July 3, 2015

Well as i’m sure many of you have heard… we have a paddling pool! This has gone down very well with most the children who have had a great time splashing, pouring and trying to get us wet! It’s been a lovely way for them to keep cool in the heat.

We also received our active kids order, thank you to all the parent who collected them for us, we’ve got some great stuff! We have some stepping stones and balance beams which the children have enjoyed practising their balancing skills on and using their imagination to create different games.

Inside we’ve been busy drawing with felt tips, the children are getting very good at remembering to put the lids back on and even better at reminding each other!

We’ve been talking a lot about going to school and the big children have been sharing their experiences of their visits to their big schools, many of the pre preschoolers have been keen to listen and ask questions.

In number group the children have been playing a range of games with the number bean bags, cones, cars and hoops, as well as water painting different numbers and shapes in the garden.

In language group the children have been recapping all of their letters and practising writing their names as well as recognising simple words.

We hope you all had a lovely weekend.  Lauren