We encourage all the children to develop a love of stories and books. There are lots of times for sharing stories in large and small groups and the children are welcome to choose to look at a book at anytime. Through rhymes and games we help them to develop the foundation skills for phonics, listening to the sounds of words and starting to link them to the written word. The children also engage in lots of activities to help them develop early writing skills - developing the fine motor skills needed for writing through play activities but also learning how to communicate and be imaginative through their mark making.
Bear Hunt Fun
We read the book ‘we’re going on a bear hunt’ before snack so the children were familiar with the story before we went on our very own bear hunt in forest school. The children went through long wavy grass, cold water, thick oozy mud, stumble tripped through the forest over branches and logs, braved a snow storm before arriving at a narrow gloomy cave. We found the bear and ran back through the we came (like the story) to basecamp where we were safe!
The children immersed themselves in the story, joining in with refrains and the sensory elements, and anticipating what came next. Afterwards the children befriended the bear and adults heard parts of the story being re-enacted by the children eg stomping through the mud, splashing in the water and going into the cave (willow den).
The development of early mathematical skills and understanding happens through all the children's play. This may be through outdoor and indoor play - looking at numbers in the environment, counting in play and at snack time, using language of comparison in play and beginning to learn about shapes, space and measure.
Music making and singing are part of our daily activities. The children are also encouraged to listen to different types of music and respond through dance and movement. We have lots of instruments for the children to explore but also encourage them to make their own instruments and explore sounds.
The children enjoy a host of creative activities indoors and out. They have opportunities to explore many different art and craft materials on small and large scales.
The children have lots of opportunities to try their hand at cooking - over the past year the children have baked cakes, cookies, jam tarts, bread rolls, mini quiches as well as making our own pasta, home-grown salads, houmous and pizzas.
We have a huge variety of indoor play equipment and resources to inspire the children's play and learning. They are able to access resources independently engaging in anything from den building and role play to small world and construction play.
We have lots of space to play outside whatever the weather. Our enclosed garden has a water feature, stage for climbing and den building and under the canopy there is a large covered sandpit. There are many areas for creative role play and communication friendly spaces. The children also enjoy lots of space for water play and riding on the bikes and our very popular didi cars.
This is another outside area we share with the school. There are areas for play, including a climbing platform,a wildlife pond where the children enjoy pond-dipping, and raised beds for gardening. Maintaining the garden is shared by our staff, but we always welcome help from any parents who have any spare time for a bit of weeding or other general maintenance. We were lucky last year to receive some funding from Tesco's Groundwork programme through their Bags of Help scheme - this enabled us to complete some essential repairs such as repairing a vegetable bed which the children then used to grow carrots, peas and potatoes. We also repaired the shelter and bought a new shed to store our equipment.
We have a wonderful forest area and the children enjoy exploring the natural environment, where they are allowed to take calculated risks under the close supervision of the staff. We visit the Forest School in all weathers and often share the session with children from the Reception Class
The children have the opportunity to use the large apparatus in the school hall every week. They discuss the rules and then enjoy the physical challenge of climbing, sliding, scrambling and jumping. We also use the hall or school field on other occasions when we need a large indoor space for performance, music, dance, parachute games etc. The children take part in the school sports day each summer.
Special Events and Visits
Throughout the year we organise activities and events such as a Nativity Service at the local church, Chinese New Year and Diwali celebrations shared with the school reception class and other special events such as a Grandparents Afternoon Tea, Mothers's Pamper Morning and Father's Forest School. We also go on visits within the community and further afield - such a lambing and harvest visits to local farms, visits to a school in Gloucester and Gloucester Cathedral. Last year we shared a school visit to the WildPlace in Bristol and this year Slimbridge.