Nursery Newsletter

22nd August 2017

Dear Parents/Carers

Welcome back to everyone! I hope you all had an enjoyable summer. We’ve been enjoying some lovely sunshine since our return (in between the showers!), and have been having a lot of fun out in our garden where our flowers, fruit and vegetables are flourishing!

Can I extend a very warm welcome to all the new families who are starting at Stanwell this session, and hope that they enjoy their time with us. Please don’t hesitate to speak to staff if you have any concerns and we will do our best to help.

Dates for the Year

I have attached the City of Edinburgh calendar of term dates for this session. I have also included all the dates we so far have arranged for this term at the end of this newsletter.

Last term’s Questionnaire

Thank you very much indeed to all of you who completed out questionnaire in June. The vast majority of the responses were very positive, which is always good to hear, but there were also a number of interesting suggestions which we will work hard to incorporate. Some of these points were:

Could we have an online catalogue for our bedtime stories? Audrey is currently looking into this.

Fewer paper notices around the nursery for parent/carers, more use of texting. We will certainly take you up on this one, and will try very hard to send regular text reminders of events.

Outdoor area too messy. This is an interesting point, and gives me the opportunity to explain briefly some of the thinking behind the way resources in nursery are set out (See the section on “Loose Parts” below.)

More information in the learning journals. Staff try hard to balance the learning and information in the journals. The journals’ primary purpose is to be a record of a child’s significant learning, not just a photo album of their time at nursery. However, we also try to include general information and photos about what your child has been doing. If you feel you would like more entries at any time, please speak to room staff.

On the subject of online journals, can you please make sure we have your up to date email address? If you experience any problems accessing the journals, please let us know and we will do our very best to sort them out. Almost always problems can be easily solved. Parents/carers have the opportunity to contribute their thoughts online, and we look forward to reading your comments. Many of last session’s parents said that they really enjoyed sharing the journals with their children, and talking in detail about their nursery experience.

Activities/Events for Parent/carers

As part of the Council’s parenting support, the nursery will be offering the opportunity to take part in a positive parenting programme, “Triple P”. This is an 8 week course at Dr Bell’s Family Centre, which will run from 24th October. If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour, and would like some advice or support, please speak to a member of staff, who will put you in touch with Rona, from Room 2, who is involved in running the course.

Another event which will be offered to parents/carers during this term will be the “Raising Children with Confidence” course which will be led by Rona and myself.  Leaflets about the course will be distributed soon. There will be introductory sessions at the beginning of October in the nursery for those interested in attending. The course itself will run on Thursday mornings for six weeks from 26th October in Dr Bells Family Centre. There will be limited crèche spaces available for younger children, and some afternoon children can be accommodated in nursery, which means the course will be open to both am and pm families. Staff and parents/carers who have already done the course all felt it was one of the best they have ever experienced – we can’t recommend it highly enough! It really opened our eyes about what’s going on in children’s heads, and how we can best help them grow into happy, well balanced adults.

In partnership with local organisation, Multicultural Family Base, the nursery will be running a short course for bilingual parents/carers and their children from Tuesday 5th September to Tuesday 10th October. The course will allow bilingual parent/carers to learn about the nursery and to feel more confident about their child being here. It will also help bilingual children with the transition to nursery.

 If any parents/carers would like to help us care for the gardens at the back and front of the nursery please let us know – we will arrange a gardening morning when you can help harvest the produce and tidy up the beds.

Activities for Children

During the first half of this term, the curriculum for the children will include lots of activities around harvest – picking our fruit and vegetables both in the nursery garden and at the croft, weighing and measuring them, and cooking and eating them. We will also look at the wider harvest in the countryside, at where our bread comes from, and will be making lots of different kinds of breads. We will be doing a lot of work around the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Holidays, the seashore and settling in our younger children will also feature.

Once autumn arrives, children will be given the opportunity to explore natural materials such as leaves and conkers, and will be able to reflect their experiences in a wide range of creative activities.

As ever, we will also be responding to children’s individual interests as they arise.

Loose Parts

Some of you commented about the amount of “stuff” lying about, particularly outside. There is an interesting reason for this! In 1972, the architect Simon Nicolson discovered that “In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.” In other words, the more “stuff” lying about, the more creative the children’s play will be! By “stuff” he meant material such as twigs, sticks, leaves, gravel, mud, sand, pine cones, flowers, puddles, shells…….things which don’t have a specific use, but can be used by the children in a variety of ways.

We have certainly found this to be true – since introducing loose parts, the children have been much more settled outdoors, and their play is more creative and imaginative. They are also developing a wider range of skills than they would be playing with more limited plastic toys. It’s more work for the staff – the “stuff” gets everywhere, and there’s a lot of clearing up to do! – but its value for the children’s learning is huge.

The “stuff” also disappears quite quickly, so if you can ever help by contributing materials like shells, pine cones, logs, conkers…. we would be very grateful!

Additional Sessions

There are still spaces for children to have paid additional sessions in nursery. If you are interested please speak to a member of staff. These sessions cost £18.40 per morning or afternoon, and a packed lunch should be provided. Payment should be made in advance to the office on the Monday of each week.

Red Dots

We have a system for ensuring parents/carers are kept informed about any incidents which happen during the morning or afternoon. Staff will mark a red dot beside your child’s name on the ticking in/out sheet – this is to alert you that a member of staff wants to speak to you. It will often be for something as simple as collecting wet clothing, but could be for something more important, such as signing the accident book if your child has had a bump. So please, if you see a red dot beside your child’s name on the ticking in/out sheet, speak to one of the staff.

Can I remind everyone to please hand in a box of tissues for the new session? That will give us a supply for the whole year.

Finally, can I make my usual request about security around the nursery gate and doors. Please ensure the gate is closed and firmly latched, even if you are only coming in for a minute. It is important to remember to do this even when the children are inside the building.

Also, can you ensure any doors are firmly closed behind you and that you are not taking any extra children along with you when you leave!

 Some dates for your diary

Monday 18th September Autumn holiday, nursery closed
Week beginning 25th September Bookbug Explorer Pack arrive
Friday, 13th October Last day of term
Thursday 19th October Diwali (nursery to celebrate week beginning 24th Oct)
Monday  23rd October Staff inservice – nursery closed
Tuesday  24th October Children return
Tuesday 31st October Hallowe’en
Thursday 30th November St Andrew’s Day
Tuesday 19th December Nativity
Thursday 21st December Christmas parties
Thursday 21st December End of term for afternoon group
Friday 22nd December End of term for morning group

With best wishes,

Alison

Alison Smith

Head Teacher