Tooting is definitely a brilliant place to be this weekend, 8th and 9th December.
The business community has come together and scheduled an exciting weekend of events, catering for the whole family. Besides plenty of opportunities to eat and drink, you can become very merry by engaging in festive activities which include making ceramic Christmas trees, taking part in a Brass band lunch or family rave, listening to Christmas stories, caroling and plenty more!
We hope that many of our families will enjoy this wonderful event and share their experiences with us.
Last Friday Pre-school children were very excited as the time had arrived for their trip to Tooting Fire Station. We were very pleased to have a couple of non-Friday children and their parents join us.
Tooting Firefighters made sure that everyone had an unforgettable experience. They took the children in small groups to the back of the fire engine where they tried on the brand new helmets which have a light on top! Everyone exited to the side and were shown how the equipment is stored. Just imagine their little faces peering at the hoses, wrenches etc! Another Firefighter showed the children how they get the ladder down from the roof, and then it was time to play Firefighter!
The group went to the car park and were showed the hydrants- look out for yellow signs with an ‘H’ on them when you’re out and about. Once the hose was attached to the hydrant each child had a turn, with professional help, at aiming the hose towards a yellow plastic chair- which went flying across the car park with the force of the water.
Next, the fun continued within the fire station, a Grade II listed heritage building no less! It was time to find out more about the whole process. One of the Firefighters demonstrated how to use the firepole amidst shouts of, ‘Come on Jody!’ Apparently Jody was a bit slow and the slide was repeated- this time Jody shot down the pole.
So what happens when a call is received? Firstly the station lights go on and an alarm sounds- thankfully not the screeching alarm from days gone by. The Firefighters are told which truck/crew will be needed so the right people make their way to the fire engine. They are given the computer printout with the address and are able to check the wall map. The children saw both the computer and map.
Finally, the children went back outside and lined up against the wall and listened to the different siren sounds. Following this, they had their photo taken against the fire engine.
The children absolutely loved their visit and, as a thank you, left the Firefighters with some specially made hot chocolate kits to drink in the station on these cold Autumn nights.
We have followed up their learning in Pre-school by discussing the outing and creating a wall display featuring 999 and other fire-related information. We believe this was a very valuable educational exercise and enjoyed giving our children first-hand experience within the local community. A huge THANK YOU to all at Tooting Fire Station!
As you know, our children thoroughly enjoy creative activities and whereas we have many freestyle activities to encourage the children’s use of imagination, this term our Pre-school staff have been focusing on extending their technical abilities. Kaf has masterminded an on-going project, The Autumn board above, which is exceptionally creative and designed to help the children learn how to take a key idea and adapt it to reflect changing events and seasons. As you can see, we have been on a nature walk and collected sturdy twigs and conkers, having Tooting Common close by.
This board has challenged the children’s use of fine motor skills and concentration, having many interesting small components. Real twigs were used to create the tree branches and we were anticipating that the leaves might fall off- learning curve here, they just dry out! The children enjoyed making the little woodland creatures that can be spotted in many different places. Naturally, with the event of Halloween, we needed to incorporate a few pumpkins and ghosts which sit very well under the illuminated night sky. Seeings Halloween has passed the ghosts have disappeared, so now we will be stripping the leaves back whilst the children prepare snowmen and possibly icicles to hang from the bare branches- we wouldn’t be at all surprised if next month the fox decides to hang up his stocking for Father Christmas!
This brings us onto another point- storytelling. The board has been used to engage the children’s imagination by telling the tale, ‘The Lost Acorn,’ and will be used again as a platform for other literacy ideas.
We feel that not only is the board inventive and serves many purposes, it is also a good way to make the most of our resources and that ever precious component, time.
Finally, we would like to thank the company Early Years Resources for choosing our board to be the competition winner. We were thrilled to receive the news and are looking forward to receiving our prize- a fabulous hamper full of expensive creative materials!!
For the first time ever we will be celebrating the height of summer with our own on-site carnival. Staff have been busy working together creating different elements for our mini parade. The children have been involved in mask making and float decorating- when is a trike not a trike?- when it’s been decorated by a few pre-schoolers!
The children have enjoyed choosing materials and been busy painting their ‘floats.’ They are looking forward to Friday when they will parade around the nursery and garden, some in outfits provided by their parents. As part of our celebration, we will be having a special tea and enjoying some ‘side shows’- selective games.
Our staff team believe that it is really important to celebrate different cultural practices alongside the usual significant events such as Christmas, Eid and the Chinese New Year; which form a regular part of our annual planning. Carnivals have sprung up around the world, with London’s own Notting Hill Carnival being the largest in Europe. Whilst we are involving the children in a straightforward celebration, it may interest you to learn that first ever carnival was held in Trinidad in recognition of the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833. Over the years carnival has changed to quite an extent as it incorporates aspects of current musical trends, but the essence of carnival emanated from huge sound systems, many of which are positioned around the streets of Notting Hill. Clearly, the aim of carnival remains the same today as always. It is a time to celebrate life and let your hair down, having fun; which definitely a life skill we encourage our children to adopt and practice from time to time. If you are planning to go to Notting Hill this coming bank holiday have a fabulous time… we most definitely will!
Summer has now arrived and we really enjoy taking the children out and about, familiarizing them with the local community. One of our greatest resources is Tooting Library which has become a regular destination. We feel that use of the library contributes greatly towards the children’s development and ultimately their early learning goals.
Before attending the library the children are told the purpose of their visit. This may be an opportunity to choose books for a project or to choose new stories for circle time and individual reading. On some occasions we pre-arrange a storytelling session with the librarian; which the children always enjoy.
Library visits include the walk to and from the library where they begin to learn road safety- children are encouraged to stop, look and listen which is teaching them the importance of using their senses. The children are listening for instructions in a different environment, competing with traffic noise! We also believe it is good for them to learn how to behave appropriately outside the nursery.
Once at the library children enjoy looking at books and helping select some of their favourites to bring back to the nursery. We store library books separately to keep them in good condition and hopefully they won’t get lost! Care of books is one of our key focus points and we encourage children to use them in the book areas, turn pages carefully and every so often we remind them that books with words and pictures are not to be drawn on.
Books are used frequently throughout the day in ways that suit the children’s current understanding. This is very important for group story times and for this reason we often read to small groups and individuals. We love encouraging early language and literacy skills. As you are aware, children begin by learning to recognize images, make sounds and move on to their first words. Even in Busy Bee’s we have children who have mastered these skills and can really apply their imagination, telling their own version of events. By the time they go to school many of our children recognize most letters, their names and occasionally can attempt to sound out simple words.
We would like to encourage you to take your children along to your local library and we do have some summer activities to view on the posters our librarians have kindly supplied. For more information about sessions for young children at Tooting library, follow the link. Tooting Library
We would like to share this article as it is of great value to parents who are looking into childcare and may be entitled to help with childcare costs. It provides information about free childcare entitlements and support options for children with special needs and disabilities. If you have a child who will be three by the end of December we advise that you apply now to ensure your application is processed in good time. You will find links to the Government site in the article. We offer both the 15 and 30 hours free and have an additional charges package that clearly shows how our services are delivered.