Sand animals, traffic light ice, Shana Tova, and ant farms (14.09.15)

It was all hands on deck as the Chimps came together and painted a junk modelling shape sorter box. After drying time, the Chimps seemed very pleased to have yet another sneaky place to hide every object they could find, including registers. Also, sneaking and hiding about the place were animals in the sand tray. The Chimps dug around looking for all their favourites. Who knew ducks, monkeys, and elephants all hang out in the sand pit? The sensory gloves were out and this time around filled with playdough, which gave their little fingers a nice workout while they squeezed, pinched, and poked at the material. Handbags were out in the exploratory area and the little ones dropped objects inside and attempted to get them back out again, working the clasps, zippers, and buttons. In the group time area, the Chimps have been identifying their family members using their pointing fingers on their family photos. They’ve also bringing the small world doll families together and having a go “walking” them around the dollhouse and putting them into their beds.

The Howlers have still been vrooming around their room in the city role play. This week they’ve been literally making tracks with pencils and crayons attached to their cars as they zoomed around sheets of paper. It’s been a rather noisy week as, despite all the lovely car mats available, the children have been enjoying the industrial sound of vehicles rolling over the top of the radiator and have tried and tested various cars to see how they sound along the metal. How very city of them. With all this driving, it was very important to ensure they understood how traffic lights work as they’re probably not insured for accidents and traffic violations. During their physical activity, staff showed them traffic light circles and they had to move accordingly. In the garden, they also had traffic light coloured ice blocks and enjoyed watching the colours melt into each other. They’ve also been doing a bit of brickwork with playdough cement and blocks, stacking one on top of the other to create skyscrapers. The pop-up toys were out this week as the Howlers exercised their memories to predict which animal would pop up at a push of the button. Peek-a-boo!

It’s Jewish New Year this week and the Baboons have been celebrating with Ben and Viv by making honey cakes, singing songs (“Bim Bom”) and saying “Shana Tova” which is Happy New Year! Their conservatory has also had quite the makeover as the Baboons were transported to a jungle land for their role play. Either that, or we should think about keeping better tabs on our gardening as there were vines hanging from the ceiling, animals and mini-beasts amongst the leaves, and a slide…er, tree sprouting up from the floor. National Geographic has nothing on the Baboons as they walked through the jungle like professionals with their cameras, snapping photos of the wildlife. When they weren’t swinging and slithering about the jungle terrain, they were having a very civilized round of tea with the teddy bears in the sand tray. Speaking of teddy bears, the Baboons have been enjoying various counting and sorting activities with the sorting bears. They’ve even used the wood blocks to create a park for the bears, ensuring that they line up and take turns to go down the “slide.” In the dance room, the Baboons temporarily transformed into trees for their yoga story. Starting from little seedlings they grew and they grew and they grew until finally, they were all apple trees. No scrumping!

Just to get one final camping trip out of the way before the autumn weather floods the land (not that our summers don’t do that). The Gorilla room is brimming over with camping pros as the children shared their past camping trips, and a few future ones, with each other. The focus this week was particularly on all the little critters we see in the woods and the Gorillas recounted their adventures with the multi-limbed and many-eyed. Naturally, the garden was a mini-beast wonderland as the Gorillas grabbed their magnifying glasses and binoculars to explore all the creatures living in the garden. They found quite a few spiders in their webs so they stuck around (I did it again) for a while to observe their movements. Also on the topic of observing movements, the Gorillas have a new ant farm to watch these highly intelligent creatures create a colony and work together. Using reference photos, the children drew pictures of an ant on a leaf and demonstrated some highly acute attention to detail. When they weren’t bug watching, the campsite was a place of fun and frolics as our musical Gorillas played the guitar while the stargazers looked through the junk modelling telescope to spot various planets and the moon. Italian and Spanish also included common camping words such as tenda/tent, foresta/woods, and fuoco/fire. “Miss Browning [had] a Box” during their sounds and letter session this week as the children guessed what was inside her box by sound alone. Ebone visited the Gorillas to read her old Baboon room favourite Moby Dick and introduce a new one, Wizard of Oz. The books are particularly special as the images include only key words and plot points so the children (and the staff) play a more active role in the storytelling as the story changes depending on whose telling it, focusing on children’s recall and storytelling abilities. Needless to say, it only took the Gorillas one read through to remember all the plot points nearly word for word the next day. There’s no place like The Gorillas…

Oh and please forgive the featured image but Friday was an emotional one for me – Sophie left (sob) and so did my youngest child. I try to avoid celebrating my own offspring for fear of appearing self-indulgent but today is a big one – 3 children through the nursery and out the other side and I’ll miss having them around.