It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Polkadot Heathcote!

We have had lots of fun getting into the Christmas spirit here at Heathcote Pre School! We first wanted to update our letter box so Chloe designed a Santa letterbox. We then needed everyone’s help to decorate our Santa. Using some amazing concentration, listening ears and fine motor skills the children brought our Santa to life with paint and cotton wool! When they were painting, we saw so much control, ensuring that they stayed within the lines that made our Santa, we were SO impressed! They seemed so proud of themselves when Santa was all finished, there was lots of patting his head!

This year we chose to make some holly Christmas cards that we could send home to our families. The design involved the children painting their hands with green paint to make the holly leaves and then dipping their peter pointer finger into red paint to make the berries, we did have some children that weren’t sure of the idea. However, once they had seen how much fun it could be and were given a little extra support and confidence they were willing to have a go! Once they had achieved what they had set out to do the children seemed happy with their creations. The results were great!

Once again, we created a calendar for 2022, placing them on a plate which was decorated with tissue paper around the edge. Using their fine motor skills to put the glue on the plate and to place the tissue paper carefully on the plate. We used lots of different colours, some children told us how some of the colours were also like the autumn colours we have used to make our sun catchers. It was lovely to hear the children making links with activities that we have done in the past.

Chloe has also been doing some Christmas photos of the children, using our wonderful Christmas tree that Shannon decorated with everyone as part of the photos. With the help of Shannon (she was very good at making everyone laugh and smile for the photos), we were able to get some gorgeous photos of all the children that have been sent home with them just before Christmas.

Using the Christmas photos taken, we also created some baubles for the children to add to their Christmas tree at home and can be brought out in the years to come! We also added the children’s hand prints to the outside of the baubles, they were able to choose the colour they preferred which ranged from yellow to silver! The outcome was amazing!

We have had so much fun with everyone over the past few months and getting to know all of our new starters and their families! We hope you all have a wonderful time off together and we look forward to hearing all about it when we are back. So, from everyone at Heathcote Pre School, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Autumn Celebrations at Polkadot Heathcote!

At Polkadot Heathcote we have been doing lots of activities where we could learn about a range of celebrations that happen throughout the Autumn months.

The children showed some amazing concentration as they used their fine motor skills to make some Diwali lanterns. The children chose the colours that they wanted to incorporate and made two layers. Shannon showed the children how to create their lanterns, rolling the first layer and putting some slits through the second layer. Shannon also helped to put the sellotape where the children asked her to. During the activity Shannon opened the discussion about how Diwali is the festival of lights, later on they got to learn more through the story of Rama and Sita.

A big excitement throughout the Pre School was Bonfire night, some of the children told us about the ‘gunpowder plot’ which opened the conversation about why we have a bonfire night. The conversation moved onto the ‘fireworks’ and how they go ‘bang in the sky’ showing ‘lots of colours’. Some of the children began to tell us what their favourite colours are, such as; “red”, “yellow” and some of them even said “all the colours!”. We decided to make our own firework display, we twisted some pipe cleaners together which the children were able to dip into different coloured paint and then dab the paint on some black card. The outcome was amazing! Some of the children showed how amazed they were by the colours on the black card as they said ‘wow!’.

We have also been talking about the different seasons and how we are currently in Autumn. We’ve discussed how the colours of the leaves have been changing and how even though the sun is shining, it is still a bit cold outside. From this we decided to make our own Autumn sun catchers, using tissue paper which we put into laminating pouches – which only grown-ups laminated, and we were able to talk about safety and how the laminator gets hot so that’s why only the grown-ups touch the laminator. The children then chose the outline of a leaf that they wanted to make and using their fine motor skills and concentration drew around the leaves! We were so impressed! Once Chloe had cut around their outline, the children showed where they wanted the hole to be put so they could thread the string through. The children were able to choose how they wanted their leaves to be made. The results were fabulous!

We were able to have a great discussion about Remembrance Day and Poppies. Some knew that it is ‘a day to remember people’, the ‘soldiers’ that made us free. The children learnt how the poppies represent Remembrance Day, and we talked about how Poppies are pretty to look at but we ‘mustn’t sniff or touch’ them. One of the children asked the great question “what is inside a poppy seed to make it poisonous?”, we chatted about how there is a powder inside the seed that our bodies don’t like. We decided to make our own Poppies, the children were showing amazing fine motor skills and imaginations as they painted the plates and once they were dried they stuck a black circle on the painted plate for the middle of the poppy. The children drew around a circle shape to make their centre for their poppy. The concentration faces were fantastic! When it came to the 1 minute silence the children did us proud! They sat for the whole minute, in silence, as we watched a silent video helping us reflect on what Remembrance Day is about.

We really have been busy at Heathcote Pre School, and now we are getting ready for Christmas time with lots more exciting activities planned! Watch this space!

Halloween fun at Heathcote

At Heathcote we love a chance to dress up and have themed activities, so Halloween is always a great time for us.

Heathcote Pre School children have been finding out and exploring the different textures of pumpkins using more than one of their senses. After having a discussion about the pumpkin, we had some amazing descriptive words and phrases about what the pumpkin looks like, such as; looks like ‘an orange’ on the outside and ‘spider webs’ on the inside. We also agreed that the pumpkin feels ‘soft’, ‘happy’ and ‘like paint’ on the outside, but on the inside, it felt ‘slimy’, like ‘melons’ and like ‘balloons’. The children then chose their own way of playing with the pumpkin as they then used the pumpkin slices as a ‘walkie talkie’ and made it look like ‘a tunnel’, ‘a bridge’ and ‘a rainbow’.

After exploring a pumpkin, we decided to make our own pumpkins, but first we had to make the colour for the pumpkins. The children agreed that they wanted their pumpkins to be orange and to make orange we tried mixing yellow and red together, it worked! We had to wait for the paint to dry, so using fine motor skills and their imagination, the children cut out the eyes, mouth and any other feature they wanted for their pumpkin – like a nose. Once the paint had dried, the children were able to complete their creation using glue to stick their features onto their pumpkins, to complete the pumpkins we made a hole for the stalk of the pumpkin and the children concentrated beautifully as they threaded a pipe cleaner through the hole. We were super impressed as they kept on trying and seemed to enjoy achieving what they set out to do.

The children seemed to enjoy mixing colours to make a new colour, we wondered what else we could do to watch how things change, Shannon used warm water to cook some spaghetti so the children could see the spaghetti go from being ‘hard’ to ‘soft’. The children noticed that when the Spaghetti had been cooked and was soft that it became ‘sticky’. Shannon also introduced another colour combination that made a different colour, blue and yellow which made green! The children then added the green paint to the spaghetti, they also chose black paint to add to some more spaghetti. To add some extra spookiness, Shannon added spiders!

We love to encourage the children to use their imagination and to choose their own way of doing things. Therefore, amongst our other Halloween activities, we made spiders, bats and mummies – it was an interesting conversation on the difference between our Mummy’s who look after us and the ‘monster mummies’. We used lots of different resources for our creations, including; cotton wool and coloured paper for the spiders, hand printing in paint for the bats and masking tape for the bandages of the mummies.

This week was also the first half-term we had the chance to visit the school’s Forest School, we are very excited about the new exploring and learning opportunities this will bring! Watch this space!”

Polkadot Heathcote – What have we been up to…??

It has been wonderful welcoming some new children to our setting! We have been getting into the full swing of activities, including; a sand tray, the children used diggers to recreate the tasks and jobs that we’ve seen some builders near us doing. We’ve also been making lots of different coloured and scented play dough, some of our favourites have been the tropical scented play dough and the yellow, lemon scented play dough. The children have also been showing us their amazing imaginations and strengthening their fine and gross motor skills by creating some amazing things in the play dough, using the shaped cutters at times but also their hands.

We have introduced our new children to the use of sign language in our ‘Hello song’ which we sing in our circle times. They have already began to pick up the various signs for each of the children’s letters at the start of their name, as well as singing beautifully together. During our circle times, we have also been using some instruments to practise different beats, sometimes the beats are lead by the grown ups, however, some of the children have shown some wonderful confidence and lead the beats for the whole group. We have also been getting back into dancing to our favourite songs, it’s been so much fun finding out what everyone’s favourite songs are; including the Spider-Man theme song. The children have also been showing some wonderful listening ears as they have followed some instruction songs doing different actions and movements.

We’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks getting to know the new children and we look forward to what the next year will bring.

We are so excited for Halloween – watch this space for an update on our fun activities.

Green Thumbs at Polkadot Heathcote!

At Polkadot Heathcote we have continued to look after the sunflowers that we planted a couple months ago. We have been watching them slowly get bigger and bigger until we all agreed that it was time for them to be rehomed in the garden. 

The children got stuck into the activity, they followed instructions really well. They made a hole in the soil ready for the sunflowers to be put in. We then showed them how to take the sunflowers out of their pots without pulling them out. We had a discussion about how we needed to look after the roots so that the sunflowers could continue to grow. The children were able to use the same technique to get the sunflowers and the roots out safely and unharmed. They then gently placed the sunflowers on the holes and filled the hole with more soil. The children took turns and watched each other so well as they completed their tasks.

Once the sunflowers were planted we got some more volunteers to help water the sunflowers, we also discussed why we had to water the sunflowers, and the children showed their knowledge of why the plants need water and how they grow. As they also reminded us that the plants also need the sun to grow. 

We will continue to watch them as they grow, and can’t wait to see the garden full of our yellow sunflowers.

Polkadot Heathcote Update!

At Polkadot Heathcote we enjoyed a busy 2 weeks over Easter. The weather has been so lovely we have been able to enjoy lots of time outside. We went onto the big field, played lots of football and chased bubbles around the field. The children have been strengthening their gross motor skills as their control of the football has been improving so much, Shannon has enjoyed joining in with them too! The bubbles have proven to be a favourite as all the children get involved, luckily the wind helped with making the bubbles too!

We were able to go for a walk to a local pond where we took some bread and fed the swans, ducks and various other birds. The children showed some amazing listening ears as we walked on the paths holding hands together and practised looking both ways before crossing the roads. While at the pond, the children continued to use their listening ears and didn’t get too close to the edge of the pond, they showed a lot of curiosity about the various animals and we talked about the differences in the birds that we saw. A favourite was the swan that seemed hungry as it was eating a lot of the bread the children were throwing.

We also did lots of fun activities indoors. We celebrated Easter by making some chocolate nests for the children to take home. Lots of patience and turn taking was shown. We also had a discussion about what nests are for and what different kind of animals use nests like the ones we were imitating. We did some more table top painting to encourage colour recognition and mixing of colours, we went on further to encourage the children to use their index fingers to form recogniseable letters and shapes in the paint, they were doing really well.

Chloe also got some sunflower seeds from her local Morrison’s that were free for children over the holidays and we planted the seeds. With the seeds also came a poem which Chloe read tand paused to see if the children could guess the next word. We were amazed at how well the children were guessing the next words, a lot of the words were rhyming words. We also talked about what seeds need to help them grow; “the sun!”, “water!”. The children were very excited to take their seeds they planted home so Chloe and Shannon also planted some that we can all watch grow at Pre-school too! We look forward to hearing about how the sunflowers are doing at home!

Polkadot Heathcote – February Fun at Polkadot Heathcote

Some of our school leavers have shown an interest in writing, so this February at Heathcote we have been focusing on strengthening our fine and gross motor skills. This helps to get the children ready to begin writing; holding pens easily and forming recognisable letters etc. 

We have included various themes in our activities; like spreading the love with our Valentine’s Day cards, the children used a pincer grip to pick up the shapes to do paint printing to decorate the cards and then they had a go at writing their names in the cards too. We were very impressed with the results. 

We have also been trying to do some more baking activities with the children, using gross motor skills to mix the ingredients together. We made cookies, rocky roads and some rice crispy cakes for the children to take home, many of them wanted to share their goodies with their family. 

Another activity that has been popular is table top painting, it gave us the chance to discuss the names of different colours and what we thought would happen to the colours if we mixed them together. To further the activity more we encouraged the children to use their peter pointer fingers to write the first letter of their names, so many of them did really well. 

Other activities included play dough where we saw some children incorporating the moves we learnt in Dough Disco which was amazing. The children had a great time exploring gloop, looking at the different textures and finding out all the fun that could be done with it, some children spent a very long time at this activity. Shannon has also started doing some action songs with the children called ‘sticky kids’, there are some really fun songs on there working on the children’s gross motor skills and their listening skills. 

We’ve also been doing lots of hop scotch and football outside which has been helping the children improve their gross motor skills, their control and their balance. They seem to really enjoy doing these activities, and as the weather continues to get better we look forward to spending even more time outside. 

They continue to amaze and impress us with their progress in all areas of the EYFS. 

Polkadot Heathcote – ‘Let it Snow!’

We have been so excited to see snow this January, we couldn’t resist going outside and having a snowball fight. The children did show some good listening skills as we asked them not to throw the snowballs in their friends faces. It was so lovely to see the interactions between the children, they were laughing a lot together. They also decided to team up against Shannon, Chloe, Bev and Annie, throwing lots of snowballs our way. They all chose their own ways of exploring the snow. The children showed some strong fine and gross motor skills, as they used both hands to collect snow in order to make a snowball. They explored the different areas that the snow had fallen in order to collect snow. They even experimented with mark making in the snow.

“We had some great discussions, describing what snow is like and the children used words and phrases like ‘cold’, ‘soft’, ‘freezing’ and ‘not sticking together’. We also talked about the importance of coats, hats and gloves in cold weather. The children were very good at ensuring they had their coats, hats and gloves on after our talk. Staff and children all had a great time in the snow. “

Polkadot Heathcote get festive!

We have been getting stuck into Christmas activities this month which has resulted in goodies to take home as well as activities that allowed us all to get into the Christmas spirit. The children all got very excited when they got to help decorate our Christmas tree, they all showed some lovely sharing and turn taking throughout, and it’s safe to say they did a fantastic job! Using fine motor skills and cutting skills, the children created some wonderful snowmen to take home, allowing us to discuss the different elements that are involved in making a snowman. They also made some wonderful decorations for their trees at home, one using colourful lollipop sticks with sequins to decorate and the other involved some beautiful smiles in front of our Christmas tree. 

Our cheeky elf also returned to the setting and got up to all sorts of mischief, from getting into the threading draw, attempting to unwrap presents and even trying to taste the pudding on our Christmas dinner day! Luckily we caught him just before he got through all the clingfilm! 

Following on from sign language day in September, Lois taught Shannon and Chloe how to sign in Makaton ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ and taught it to the children. The children have picked it up quite quickly and have began to sign ‘Merry Christmas’ to each other and other adults. It’s been so lovely to see them continuing to enjoy learning signs. 

We’d like to wish all parents and children a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope you all have a lovely time off and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!