Is Spring coming? Definitely not yet! February 2018

Welcome to our first blog for our sparkly new site. Our blogs will be monthly from here on in…

February has been freezing (apologies for stating the obvious), but this hasn’t stopped us from enjoying the fresh air in all sorts of ways. Your Gorillas have not only become pint-size environmentalists, but TV stars too by carrying out their first two monthly beach cleans. What an rewarding experience – they are becoming quite clued up about the why’s and wherefores and we are exceedingly proud of them.  Long may the excellent work continue.

As per usual at Young Friends the children put some welly into many a sports activity headed up by Nadeem in the park, the garden and the dance room. The wintry weather dictated a few exercise sessions were carried out in the warmer clime of the dance room – especially for our littlest ones who lose heat so quickly. The bulbs have started to sprout in our growing area now, so a bit of watering went on too – a tiny hint of the Spring to come. The Baboons and Gorillas lugged and arranged the planks of wood and tyres to make a challenging web of beams and ramps. They negotiated it over and again never getting bored.

The week of Chinese New Year saw all groups doing quite brilliant activities. We were sincerely proud of the team for the effort they put in. Reggio areas were artistically and intricately designed, and maths, role play, and cooking were all inspired by the Orient. Spring Rolls (Gorillas), Chow Mein (Baboons) and Chinese Vegetable dumplings (Gibbons) were just a few of the delights that saw the children try new and exotic vegetables and other foods. The Baboon’s Reggio table was set up exquisitely with materials to make the three pigs houses which they were excited about making after becoming familiar with the story. Not very Chinese, but marvellous nevertheless.

The Dance Room didn’t escape the festivities – Libby researched and carried out a dramatic Chinese music and dance session with a Chinese Dragon (mask) – the children had to play the drums louder to scare the dragon away –  you should have seen their faces, they had a ball.

Chiara and her brilliant Italian lessons have been focusing on “Un libro”, an award winning ‘magical’ book which sums up Herve Tullet’s art in one delightful and thrilling story with never-ending learning possibilities: Beginning with three simple dots, one yellow, one red and one blue. “Un Libro” is a game that never stops amazing and making children laugh, “It’s magical!” Avy our resident Gorilla book critic says. About action and reactions, cause and effect, children are surprised that their interactions with the book can create variations on the next page and that is an irresistible invitation to come and play!  Chiara and the children have been focusing on naming and recognize the colors, create and matching patterns – all in Italian. Wow.

 

A few areas have seen some fabulous enhancements this month – The preschool has a serene new group time and book area with a lovely reading tree and mirrors to talk about expressions and emotions. The Baboons have a fab new construction area and all groups have new hand made wooden bricks of all different shapes and sizes, so they can make actual towns and cities. Oh, and the Gibbons have a fresh writing area with stocked shelves at their height for all their writing equipment. They also have a new sunny praise board to congratulate them for behaving beautifully – which they always do of course.

There was more than a bit of science bubbling away at Young Friends as all the groups received new squeezy bottles for use in experiments. Our head of science, Ebone, spearheaded the scientific research with her Gibbons experimenting by squeezing one container and food colouring from another into milk.  They watched, giggled and gasped as the food colouring blended smoothly into the milk while the oil with its many beautiful colours stayed separate. In other experimental news the Baboons dried different fruits and painted patterns on them. Well each to their own.

In trip news the Baboons have been going to the library for ‘Baby Boogie’ and to read some books, and Nadeem has been designing sports sessions to keep those little bodies warm in the freezing temperatures.  Allotment trips have been brisk and shorter, but the children wrapped up warm and decorated their chestnut pole den, investigated ice and did many other Forest School activities.

Decorating cupcakes – looked at cake book for inspiration – decorated playdough cupcakes using coloured rice as sprinkles and making marks in the playdough.

The Gibbons also got out their good ole’ Tiny Caterpillar song basket – made rather brilliantly by Jodie many moons ago and it’s still going strong. The caterpillar is very impressive. The children made items to add to the basket. They made a cocoon (dried wet wool around a pine cone – very effective), a gorgeous butterfly and some leaves to eat. In more story news the Baboons read the Gruffalo story with the help of the Gruffalo story bag and made Gruffalo faces out of paper plates. Lovely.

They went on a bear hunt in the garden.  They used a blue tray for the river, the wooden obstacle course was the mud., the trees were the forest, the shed was the cave and Sinead was the bear!

Finally, our old friend Carly came in with her beautiful new baby, Rylee. The children were excited to see her, and the team took it in turns to give her a cuddle – Rylee and Carly! Not for too long mind – we can’t have them all getting broody.