Woodland Fun, Space Travel and Baby Boot Camp (Week Beginning 1st Sept 2015)…

The Chimps have had a jam packed four days of fun and frolics. Their new favourite song has been Ebone’s specialty, “The Crocodile Song.” They’ve practiced snapping hands and rubbing their hungry crocodile bellies. At group time, the children explored their reflections with various reflective items from the discovery bag. A new car mat has wandered its way into the Chimp room and the children have been exploring motion and sounds as they vroom-vroomed their way around the mat. For their mark-making activity, they did a bit of water painting (Young Friends’ professional term for cleaning chalkboards and smooth surfaces) with an assortment of paintbrushes on the builders’ tray. To make up for the sneaky cleaning, they got rather messy with muddy welly prints. In the garden, our little movers had quite the obstacle course with the slide and ball pit. If climbing in and out, on and off objects wasn’t enough, the Chimps then had to walk/crawl around balancing bean bags on their heads. It’s like baby boot camp. They’ll be the fittest toddlers in the land.

The Howlers are still suit deep in their space role play and this week they’ve been identifying all the beautiful colours of the planets. They’ve also been on the lookout for alien beings in the space station and collecting soil samples from the terrain. In fact, the Howlers small world tray was the site of their Mars expedition. Using Duplo, the Howlers made rockets for their expedition and helped create craters for the Mars surface. Then it was countdown time! The Howler display board is even getting a space-themed makeover with the children’s paper plate planets, complete with a cotton bud dabbed galaxy. Very detailed, Howlers. For their music and movement activity, the parachute was put to enthusiastic use as the children put on their good listening ears to mimic music tempos and follow instructions (stop, go, fast, slow). Speaking of good listening, the Howlers enjoyed nursery rhymes in their home languages, which include Swedish, Portuguese, and Polish, via the tablet because the staff’s versions of various languages would be a language unto itself.

The Baboons are still in the woods camping out and their group time has been focused on fire safety. They’ve also had a rather heightened awareness of the local wildlife. Armed with magnifying glasses, binoculars, and cameras, they’ve been searching high and low for minibeasts. When they ventured to the vegetable patch they found exactly what they were looking for as we have a rather impressive assortment of arachnids. After pulling out a few weeds and giving the patch a spruce, they stuck around to watch the spiders move along and spin their webs. For more exotic fare, the Baboons went on a yoga safari in the dance room. The children have taken it upon themselves to create telescopes with the star connectors so they could see the moon…and maybe the Howlers floating around. Their maths activity this week was peg boards, on loan from the Gorillas. Some have been creating figures and shapes with the pegs others have enjoyed making a mess as they were focused on pouring and scattering. Schemas. Very important. The Baboons have also been getting up to all sorts of mark-making with chalk and paper. They’ve been drawing their families, exploring new ways of creating marks with the chalk (colour rubbing) and even problem solving ways to keep their paper from moving. At the creative table, the Pick N Mix has been back with a colourful selection of cups, pasta, tissue paper, and rice. They’ve also had their pick of hairstyles as they designed.

It seems the solar system was all the rage at Young Friends this week for our Gorillas have also spent the week learning about the solar system. At group time they talked about what they would have to wear if they went to space and our astute Gorillas said helmets so they could breathe. In the water tray, they’ve recreated the moon’s terrain with dark moon dust and even had the diggers out to take a few moon rocks for investigation. In the junk modelling area, the Gorillas constructed some paper tube aliens for their moon tray. It’s not all been intergalactic travel as the Gorillas have also ventured to the vegetable patch to talk about the change in season and what’s going to happen to trees and plants. Speaking of veggies, the Gorillas got super stuck into peeling fresh peas and are going to watch them grow indoors. Hopefully we’ll be able to transport them to the vegetable patch. Stay tuned. Their phonics activity this week involved a lot of “shhhhhh-ing” as their phonic focus was “sh.” Playing a game of odd one out, the Gorillas had to eliminate the object that didn’t begin with a “sh.” Kaila, the Persona Doll, visited the Gorillas to talk about the death of her cat and how sad she was feeling about it. The Gorillas were very empathetic as a few have lost loved ones of their own and offered Kaila some advice on how to feel a bit better. After their Italian and Spanish lessons, they could even start talking to Kaila about feelings as they learned emotions this week. Speaking of Spanish, the children enjoyed parachute games in the dance room with a Spanish twist as they had to shout out Spanish words and respond with a parachute movement. Olé!