Roly ‘bowly’, pirates, farmyards, and mind jars (Week Beginning 27th July 2015)…

The Chimps have put on their good listening ears this week with a selection of sound focused activities. Using tin containers, they placed a selection of materials (water, pasta, herbs, etc.) inside to hear the different sounds they made, while in the book corner they listened very closely as the adults switched between whispering voices and loud voices. The garden has been bustling this week as the summer weather, sans heat, has started to return and the little ones have been ever adventurous making their way to the far corners of the garden for story time and mark making activities with the older children. Speaking of stories, their group time activity was the storytelling basket. The Chimps chose various teddies and puppets to prompt the adults to tell them a matching story or sing a song i.e. Mr Banana for the “Banana Song” and a dolly for “Ms Polly.” For their sand play, the scattering schema has been in full force as the little ones have been digging through sand and rocks, sprinkling both around various areas in the Chimp room and having a good spread and scatter. The Chimp team were thrilled, no doubt. For their physical activity, the Chimps have been working on their wrist control as they played an aptly titled game of “Roly Bowly.” The Chimps placed balls into bowls and attempted to spin them around the edges. Some of the Chimps were determined to spin the ball, while others were more interested in gathering up a collection and taking them in and out of their bowls. They had a bit of a treat for their sensory activity this week with quicksand – a mixture of corn flour, water, and sand. They stood on the mixture and marvelled as their feet started to sink and they had to try and pull them out. It turned into a bit of a gloopy, tribal dance. Such fun!

Ahoy there matey! The Howlers have set sail in their role play pirate ship in search of treasure. Of course, they couldn’t search without treasure maps, so using tea bags they stained paper and marked a spot with an x. Then, once they made it safely to shore, they followed their trails to rummage through treasure chests full of bangles, sequins, jewels and colourful ribbon. They even did a bit of mining in the sand for the glittery gold play dough they created. Armed with all that heavy treasure they took a break at the castle small world, parking the small world ship in the moat. For their construction activity, pirate bodies were stuck onto Duplo and the children had to put them back together again, which got quite a few giggles as the poor pirates weren’t the right way round. No pirate is complete without parrots, and the Howlers have been mark making with “parrot” feathers, very gently stroking the sand and watching the patterns and marks they leave. With all this sailing around the seven seas, it was only natural to enjoy some songs in languages from around the world – well, the Howler world, as they’re quite a multicultural bunch at the moment. On the tablet, they listened to their favourite songs in all their home languages (Icelandic, German, Portuguese, Marathi, and a few others). Speaking of songs, there was a fair bit of rowing and singing in the dance room with a robust session of “Row, Row your Boat.” As a memento of their pirate themed week, the Howlers made hand print pirate ships with cotton wool, glue, and, er, their hands, obviously. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of milk!

What’s a nursery day without a spot of time travel? The Baboons have stepped back all the way into the Jurassic period to hang out with the dinosaurs in their dinosaur role play cave. They were even very brave and went on a dinosaur hunt (to the tune of “Going on a Bear Hunt”). After their dinosaur expedition, they jumped back into the 21st century and spent time talking about some modern day creatures. Sizzles must have been on the brain during their Lego imprinting session with play dough as a few of the Baboons described the imprints as rabbit skin. Getting a jump start on their Italian lessons in the preschool, the Baboons learned a few animals and colours in Italian with Irene, which came in handy at their small world sensory farm full of pigs, cows, and, again, rabbits. They even made farm animal masks so they could blend in with the herds. Those sneaky Baboons. At the chalkboard, the Baboons have been practicing their representational skills, drawing members of their family and their houses while in the maths area, they’ve been putting on their concentration faces for puzzle work. The heuristic box was out this week and the Baboons have been very focused on space and volume as they investigated how many objects could be put into the various containers. A few of the Baboons were a bit more concerned with dehydration as they used the empty bottles for “drinks.” Gulp, gulp….

This week, the Gorillas have been learning more relaxation techniques as Irene led sessions about breathing and mindfulness. For their breathing activity, the Gorillas pretended to be puppets attached to a bell. When the bell rang, they practiced a different breathing technique, i.e. breathing loudly like a lion, or watching boats go up and down on their tummies (like the ocean) as they inhaled and exhaled. Then, they created their own “Mind in a Jar” which isn’t as creepy-lab-person as it sounds. The Gorillas spoke about how their minds get busy with all the things they do in a day and for each thing they thought of they placed objects in a jar. Once their jar was full, they shook it to see their busy mind swirling around. In the end, the Gorillas noted that when the water wasn’t moving around and busy, the objects were settled and the water was clear, hence, mindfulness. We’ll make yogis out of these Gorillas yet. Sadly, we’ve started losing (not literally) some of our pre-schoolers to the great wide world of school, so their role play this week is school-themed and there has been much discussion about going to school, including reading a story about a boy who was scared to go to school and on the way he found a wounded bird. The story opened up a discussion about their feelings about going to school and different kinds of fear. In the maths area, the children have been focusing on following sequences and patterns using various resources from the room (compare bears, connecting camels, buttons, etc.). For sounds and letters, the Gorillas are continuing learning about double phonemes, focusing on “ch” and “th” this week during a round of Phonics Bingo. In the garden, the children enjoyed an exuberant parachute session, using objects to perform various actions from songs with the parachute. For “1,2,3,4,5,” a Gorilla had to catch a fish that everyone threw up into the air and then put it back again when it “bit” her. Don’t worry, I think the next parachute song was a bit kinder to them.