A year at pre-school

A Report of Academic Year 2018-2019

Well what a busy year we’ve enjoyed at Pre-School, so many enriching experiences have inspired the children’s interests and promoted their appetite to engage in play and learning.

Autumn Term

We began the academic year with a theme focusing on ‘Ourselves’, the children studied photographs of themselves as babies which they used to make some comparisons of changes and differences that they noticed between themselves and others. Vicky Cardwell kindly visited us with her baby and the children enjoyed interacting with him.

In support of our ethos at Pre-School of positive reinforcement and celebrating together the children’s successes, we introduced use of a ‘wow wall’ to complement our popular pebble point, sticker and certificate rewards.

The different seasons always give us plenty of inspiration for learning. In the Autumn as changes began to take place in our natural environment, we harvested apples from our own tree and took the children to visit a local woodland area where they collected items used back at Pre-School for sensory play, sorting and creative work. Following a donation of a large bucketful of conkers the children discovered by their own experimentation how different quantities of conkers in containers can make differing sounds to move around to and they enjoyed transporting the conkers in wheelbarrows and trailers. We celebrated Harvest with a visit from Revd Craig and Gill Guilford and learnt about where some of our food comes from, with three children from farming families this year they had plenty of prior learning they were able to share with their friends! As the nights drew in we learnt through a story, group discussion and looking at different items how we can be seen in the dark and how we can help our pets to be safe too. We learnt about Diwali the Festival of Light and how it is celebrated, explored clay to make our own diva lamps and inspired by Rangoli designs we used bright powder paints to mix colours.

As the end of the year progressed there were plenty of activities inspired by the children’s anticipation of all things Christmas and our annual Nativity Songtime gave the children an opportunity to dress up as the character of their choice and create a very special occasion for our families and friends to enjoy.

Spring Term

Spring Term brought us more changes in the weather to explore and Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig. The children painted pictures of our Chinese Dragon, prepared a healthy stir fry and created our very own Chinese dragon parade. Nicola Webster kindly brought in a piglet from their farm for the children to meet and a few weeks later a baby goat and a lamb. The children loved meeting the animals and having the opportunity to bottle feed some of them. World Book Day was celebrated when children and staff dressed up as book characters and shared some of their favourite books. We made a return visit to the Tom Hauley Room for one of the ‘Holiday away’ days where the children shared conversations, activities and a sing-a-long with some older members of our local community.

Summer Term

In the summer term inspired by celebrating 50 years since the first moon landing we embarked on a theme of discovery and learning linked to Space. The children quickly became fascinated by the different planets and amazed us with their understanding and knowledge. They enthusiastically set about creating some magnificent 2D and 3D planets, their own ‘moon boots’, ‘jet packs’ and space passports. They joined in ‘moon walking’ to music, tasted some space food and engaged in roleplay as astronauts and aliens. The children’s creative work decorated our space themed carnival float and together with a wonderful group of children and adults dressed up we won the first prize! Later in the term together with our families we all travelled by coach to visit the National Space Centre where we attended two interactive sessions led by the centre and looked around the different levels before meeting the Space Centre’s ‘Astronaut George’ at the end of our visit. Back at Pre-School the children shared with us their knowledge and love of ‘Paw Patrol’ helping us discover together some different occupations and plenty of time was enjoyed playing and learning outside. The term ended with us saying goodbye to some of our friends at our annual Teddy Bears Picnic, as some of the children prepared to move on to the next stage in their education.

Links with Harbury Church

We would like to thank Gill Guilford and Reverend Craig for their support over the past year and taking time to visit Pre-school. The children have loved their visits linked with Harvest, Christmas and Easter.

Links to Harbury Library

Thank you to Sue and the library for their Monday afternoon story time. The children really enjoy listening to the stories and choosing their own books to look at, we have been visiting the library at other times too by the children’s request.

Links with Harbury School

It is very important that we maintain our strong links with our local school, this year the children visited to watch the reception class assembly and during June we welcomed Mrs Neale the Reception Class Teacher when she spent some time with the children who would be moving on to Harbury School. The children were able to show her some of the activities they enjoy and chat to her about their interests.

The future

Our focus continues to be on maintaining a secure, happy and nurturing environment in which the children can flourish. Our key person system and a small friendly group cared for by a fully qualified experienced staff team give us the foundations to really get to know every child and understand what interests them. We work hard to support each child as an individual in partnership with their family and create opportunities for them to build on their personal experiences and prior learning. We hope that with the help of our newly elected Committee supported by all the parents and staff, this year we will be able to further develop our Pre-School resources inside and also our greatly valued outdoor learning space.