20th August 2019
Welcome back to everyone! I hope you were all able to enjoy the summer despite the downpours. Since our return, we’ve been having a lot of fun out in our garden where our flowers, fruit and vegetables are flourishing. We’ve also been harvesting vegetables from our plot at Leith Community Croft – it’s been a bumper harvest!
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. There have been some recent changes to this calendar, so please destroy any previous versions. I have also included all the dates we so far have arranged for this term at the end of this newsletter. We constantly try to keep you informed of what we do – we will send you a text reminder for important dates/events, put up posters and give verbal reminders when we can. Newsletters, however, are an important way of passing on information, so please read them and keep a note of anything significant for you or your child.
Please note: when consulted, parent/carers were quite definite that an emailed version of the newsletter was preferable to a paper copy. However, if you would like a paper copy, please let us know, and we can arrange this. Paper copies are also available on the noticeboards in both classrooms.
I’m sure you will join me in offering a warm welcome to our new trainee, Hayley, in Room 1. She will be with us throughout this session.
Last term’s Questionnaire
Thank you very much indeed to all of you who completed our questionnaire in June. The vast majority of the responses were very positive indeed, which is always good to hear. There were also several interesting suggestions which we will work hard to incorporate. Some of these points were:
• Could we have more outings? We try very hard to take children out into the community as often as we can, but time pressures can mean it’s not as often as we would like. However, now that so many of our children are accessing longer hours, it should be easier to fit trips in. We have already taken some children to the croft to harvest vegetables and to the beach – look at the website and the hall notice board for the lovely photos. We hope to do more as the term progresses.
• More information about what children learn in nursery
Several parent/carers wanted to know more about the nursery curriculum, and generally about how the nursery operates. As a first step towards addressing this we would like to invite all parent/carers to an information session on Wednesday 11th September at 9am in Room 3. For more details about this event, please see below.
We also provide “Learning Updates” attached to many of our newsletters – these give you some background to our approach to learning.
Finally, please look at the nursery website (www.stanwellnurseryschool.com)
and your child’s learning journal. Both provide lots of information and lovely pictures about what the children have been learning. It’s really easy to access both, even on your phone – please just ask if you are having difficulty.
• More learning activities. This is an interesting point. The philosophy underpinning early years education is very much learning through play – based on the idea that young children learn best through active, self- directed play-based activity. But this doesn’t mean that they are not learning! For example, in the blocks area, you might think all a child is learning is how to build towers or models. But they’re learning so much more – maths (measuring, estimating, classifying, sorting and matching, properties of 3-D shapes……), science (balance, gravity, properties of wood….) personal/moral development (negotiating, sharing, cooperating, compromising…) language (describing their building, sharing information), problem solving, creativity, role play………the list is endless. So, our children might not be sitting at a desk listening to an adult, but they are still learning!
We very much welcome input from parents/carers – if you could, for example, spare some time to read a story to the children in your home language, we would very much appreciate it.
• Lunch Menu
Several of you wanted to know more about what the children are offered for lunch.
To address this, we have put up a whiteboard in the hallway with details of the day’s menu.
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 and will start later this term. 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 me and Sally from Dr Bells. The course will run on Friday mornings for seven weeks from 23rd August in Dr Bells Family Centre. There will be limited crèche spaces available for younger children. 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. The course will run again later this term, starting on 1st November.
Parent/carers information session
As mentioned above we are offering an information session on Wednesday 11th September
at 9am in Room 3. This event will be particularly useful for new families, but we are hoping that some of our returners will enjoy it too. The aim is to tell you a bit about what we do in nursery (and why) and also provide some practical advice on how you can support your child and make their nursery experience as positive as possible. Claire is busy making a short film about the nursery day, Rona is going to talk about learning outdoors, there will be opportunities to find out about how we use technology, and a chance to explore the website and ask about the Learning Journals.
The event will be relaxed, with teas/coffees available and plenty opportunity to ask questions. So please try to come along, meet staff, find out more about what we do and see the children at play on the big screen.
Dr Bells Family Centre
Dr Bells, just next door to Stanwell, is offering several activities for parent/carers over the next few months. Some (Bookbug, Funky Feet, Baby Massage, Play Together) are for children and parents, others (Active Mums, Raising Children with Confidence, Counselling) are for adults. There are posters and leaflets describing the activities throughout the nursery, and I have attached the programme to this newsletter.
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. 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.
As you will know, from August 2020 the Scottish Government is increasing the number of funded hours your child can access in nursery from 600 hours per year to 1140 hours. We have been in the fortunate position of being able to offer these extended hours already, but
from August 2020, there will be increasing choice as to how these hours can be accessed. In order to provide parent/carers with more information about the changes, the government has launched a website called Parentclub which you can visit on parentclub.scot/elc.
EU Citizens and Brexit
I know that many of you reading this newsletter will be EU citizens. I hope the following information will be helpful at this anxious time. The Scottish government is committed to helping you remain in Scotland after Brexit if that’s what you want to do. They have put together a “Stay in Scotland” package which offers support to help you stay here. Find out more at mygov.scot/Brexit.
The government has also set up an advice and support service with Citizens Advice Scotland to support those citizens who would like to apply for settled status but have complex support needs. You can find out more at http://www.cas.org.uk/brexit or call the national helpline on 0800 916 9847.
The information leaflet “EU Citizens in Scotland” is available in nursery. Please ask a member of staff if you have not picked up a copy.
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!
Dates for your diary
Wednesday 11th September, 9am Parent/carers’ information session
Monday 16th September Autumn holiday, nursery closed
Friday, 11th October Last day of term
Monday 21st October Staff inservice – nursery closed
Tuesday 22nd October Staff inservice – staff only
Wednesday 23rd October Children return to nursery
Diwali (celebrated on Mon 28th) Sunday 27th October
Thursday 31st October Hallowe’en
Week beginning 18th Nov Litter and Road Safety Week
Friday 29th November St Andrew’s Day
Tuesday 17th December Nativity
Thursday 19th December Christmas party
Friday 20th December End of term
Thursday 9th January 2020 Children return to nursery
With best wishes,