St Swithin Street - Newsletter 2018
Welcome to all our new families who have joined us over the term.
We are heading in to our busy winter season, so there are lots of dates for your diary to keep an eye on. Keep up to date on our face book page 'Summers St Swithin' and our website www.summersnurseries.com.
Hannah Baker went on maternity leave this term. She is due to have a little sister for her 3 year old daughter, Neve, in January. We are all excited about meeting another Summers baby.
Lisa Bruce left this term to work in a nursery closer to home. Lisa has been doing the long commute from Montrose daily, so we can understand her need to find employment, closer.
Lucie has now returned from maternity leave. We are all happy to have her back and we are enjoying getting to know little baby Ava, too.
We have offered positions to two girls who will start with us once all the recruitment checks are complete. We have employed Jodie, who is not from a child care background, but is hugely excited about starting a new career in the sector.
We have also employed Goshia, who is a fully qualified Nursery Nurse. We look forward to welcoming both girls to our team.
Staff training is selected for staff in accordance with:
- Staff need for core training
- Staff identified developments
- Staff particular interests
This term, staff have been applying for external training through Aberdeen City Council. Lots of training has been confirmed, including:
- Children as Active Learners
- Working with loose parts
- Creative and Critical thinking
Collectively as a team, we have been learning about 'The Right Question at the Right Time'. Throughout her training at university, Erin identified the need to improve our open ended questioning of children. She made a presentation that set out clearly how we could improve this. It was a real learning experience. We started with a game, showing that how we are asked something can really influence how we answer, even as adults.
Staff have also taken part in First Aid, and Child Protection. Training is being offered to all staff on Monday 3rdDecember.
I have taken part in a new Scottish Social Services (SSSC) badge all about mentoring, in the hope that it will influence our new development plan for 2018/19.
Staff are required to attend a minimum of 50 hours training over a 5-year period to remain registered with The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), and record this through their detailed Continuous Professional Development (CPD) files.
Erin and Emma are continuing their BA in Childhood Practices qualification. Emma is currently completing credit claims which allow her to show her current knowledge to add to the qualifications she already holds, meaning she can progress to the next stage of the degree. Erin has just completed Young Children and Science and is progressing to Supporting the Health and Wellbeing of Children.
Alana and Judith have been doing very well with their Scottish Vocational Qualification Level 3 in Social Services (Children and Young People). Both girls are currently completing units on Child Protection.
Parents must call if their child is not attending nursery on a day they are expected to. It is part of our policy that we should know that children are safe and well. If we have not heard from you within three days we are expected to contact Social Services, so please let us know the whereabouts of your child. If your child attends a full day or morning session, we should be informed of non- attendance by 10am, and if your child attends in the afternoon, we should be made aware by 2pm.
Please ensure all funding forms are returned to the nursery for children eligible for funding in January to ensure the payment is deducted off the relevant invoice. This would be for all children who are three years old by 31/12/2018
Please note that birthday cakes can be provided to the nursery but must be sealed in a shop box with the ingredients printed on it. We are encouraging healthy eating, so alternatively we would be happy to make cakes with your child and will happily celebrate their birthday in the nursery if they are in on the day of their Birthday.
We have continued raising funds for Befriend a Child, and we are now nearing the end of the year.
This year, through a wide variety of activities from 'Guess the staff baby' to 'Design a pumpkin', we have raised a massive £1454.62. As a last minute push, we have our last planned event which is on
November 30th (St Andrews Day), where we are having a takeaway haggis and bacon roll offer.
We have still to add in the final total for our Pyjama day which has so far taken in just over £100, with a couple of IOU's still to collect.
Thank you all for your continued participation and support. Befriend a Child will benefit greatly from the donation once we have all the totals finalised for 2018. We will inform you of our total, which we are very much looking forward to.
Please remember to provide weather appropriate clothing for your child at all times.
Remember to check when your child is attending the wee green space to ensure they have the appropriate clothing. Even if it's not too muddy here, it doesn't mean it won't be there.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for all up to date information, including menus, daily activities, 'show and tell' dates and much more. You can find us at Summers St Swithin.
I have recorded the outcome of the parental questionnaires; of which we had 38% of questionnaires returned to the nursery.
80% of parents overall described the nursery as being Very Good or Excellent, with the remaining 20% agreeing that overall the quality of service was good.
There were a lot of positive comments given, particularly regarding the staff. Comments included:
"I think the whole team are great, enthusiastic and clearly care for my daughter. It's made going to work much easier, thank you"
"Friendly and open, willing to help and seem genuinely interested in the child and their development"
Many more kind comments were made and will be shared with the staff.
It is nice for our staff to feel appreciated in this way, as I can genuinely say my team and I feel honoured every day that we get the opportunity to care for your wonderful children.
Comments regarding areas of improvement will be displayed in the front corridor and as improvements are made regarding these areas, we will display them.
We look to continuously improving on the service being offered to the children in our care and the rest of their family.
We have agreed on three development plans that are due to be developed over the academic year of 2018-2019.
Plan 1– We plan to introduce a mentor, mentee system to support and develop staff (which will include new and existing staff), in order to help with any areas for development through the support of staff who have particular interests and/or strengths.
The first course action for this plan is for all senior staff to take part in the SSSC mentoring badge, and this will be completed by the end of the year..
Plan 2– Plan two includes staff and parents becoming more familiar with Schemas.
Children do things for a reason and these would often be described as their schema. There are nine types of schemas which are Trajectory, Rotation, Enveloping, Enclosing, Transporting, Positioning, Orientation, Connection and disconnection, Core and radial.
We will be displaying examples of these schemas in the hall way whilst working through the plan. Staff will take part in Schemas training by March 2019. By understanding schemas, we will have a greater understanding of learning.
Plan 3 - For Plan three we wish to continue our development plan from last year, developing the use of open ended, real life materials. Children really enjoy the use of real life materials that expand their imagination, for example our pots and pans attached to the fence outside have turned into the most amazing drums.
Tax Free Childcare/Fees
Summers Nurseries are now signed up to receive Tax Free Childcare Vouchers, so when looking, please select Summers Nursery at Victoria Street as provider, as we share an account.
Please note, it is vital that when making a fees payment into the nursery bank account, it is absolutely vital you use your child's name as reference to ensure each payment is allocated to the correct family.
I would like to thank parents for the patience that they have shown regarding the new billing system. We feel that it will gradually become more streamline.
Change of Personal Details
Please remember to keep your child's details up to date, including change of address, phone numbers, medical details etc. Forms are available in the office if you need to make a change. We will continue to update details biannually.
Please note that all exclusions for infectious illness are based on the guidelines provided by NHS Grampian Health Protection Team. However, it is vital that children are fit and well to attend nursery. There may be no exclusion for some ailments, but that does not mean your child should always attend. Children should be healthy and feel well in themselves.
Policies of the term
Our policies for Term 2 are:-
- Policy 13 - Fire Prevention and Control and
- Policy 7 – Staff Induction, Training and Development
- Policies are displayed at the front door for parents to view.
Trips and Visits
We are continuing to enjoy our time with Angela from Abricabeats on a Thursday pm, where the children are introduced to a wide variety of dance and drama, which encourages imagination, as well as development of gross motor skills.
We are also continually using our wee green space on a weekly basis. The children love it; and they are able to play in a natural environment as well as assessing their own risk for each visit. We are currently looking for ideas to allow us to have equipment that can be easily transferred to the area. Please let us know if you have any ideas.
The two's room have enjoyed a trip to Hoodles in Oldmenldrum this term. The children were able to enjoy the soft play area before settling down in the party room for a picnic lunch.
The bus as always is a highlight, with so much to see on the way to Hoodles. The children were able to identify a wide variety of transport, as well as name lots of farm animals.
The pre-school children will be attending the pantomime on Wednesday 18th December to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the ante pre-school children will be attending Night Light at the Lemon Tree on Tuesday 4th December. If your child is involved in any of these activities you will have received a permission slip by now.
We ensure that all children in the 2-3 room attend at least one trip a year, by choosing alternative days for going.
There have been lots of activities based around the calendar this term, as always. These dates have included Remembrance Day, Halloween, Diwali and Guy Fawkes. As always we are encouraging learning through play and during all of these celebrations we were able to develop numeracy, literacy, science and health and wellbeing knowledge and understanding.
The babies have enjoyed a topic about nursery rhymes this term. Nursery rhmyes have lots of benefits for children, including language skills, as well as early stages of literacy. Throughout the topic, children have enjoyed learning the rhymes about Wibbly Wobbly jelly, which led to a bit of jelly play. Children were encouraged to explore the texture of the messy activities, as well as helped to use simple adjectives to describe the material. They also completed a wall display, which included lots of different types of painting and collage. Children made collage turtles whilst learning the rhyme Tiny Tim, and they also tea bag painted cows whilst enjoying Old McDonald.
We then moved on to learning all about autumn. It's great to encourage the children to learn about the world around them by encouraging their understanding of how their environment changes as they move through the seasons.
Part of the autumn project allowed for lots of natural material play. Children collected leaves that had fallen from the trees, which they then painted, helping to develop their fine motor skills.
We have enjoyed lots of outdoor play, as always. This term, we took the wooden blocks outside and built towers with the children, as well as the little toy animals, encouraging role play. For example, the children pretended to walk their dogs. This is great imaginative play, and also develops children's gross motor skills.
As always, the treasure baskets are popular. Young children love to explore and experiment, and by providing equipment that is safe, you can create open ended play. Children enjoy playing with sponges, bottles, wooden spoons and much more, creating imaginative and interactive play that encourages the exploration of textures, sound and smells.
We have some new pretend food in our house corner and a little table and chairs. The children have been showing great role play skills, both with their peers and alongside the staff. We have had countless cups of tea made for us! Role play develops social skills, giving children opportunities to learn how to interact with different people, exploring how to be socially acceptable.
Continuing on from autumn, the children have recently started their learning about winter.
Check out our wall displays to see the wonderful arts and crafts that have been created.
The toddlers loved having butterflies this term; they learnt so much about the life cycle, but also the importance of caring for other living things. The children were very interested, as they went through the life cycle stages growing from caterpillars, right through to beautiful orange and brown butterflies that could be set free in the garden.
We have enjoyed learning about autumn this term. A season such as autumn really allows for an expansion of colour knowledge. Children enjoyed painting in a variety of ways, including roller painting, sponging, string painting and simple brush painting. They used a variety of browns and oranges to create some fabulous art used for wall displays.
Halloween has been popular. Children have enjoyed dressing up, and having a fabulous party which included lots of team games. Children of two years old are generally just learning to play cooperatively with others, and therefore turn taking games can develop their understanding of this.
The Tops and Tails board game has been a firm favourite this term. Children can build animals and people, matching the heads along with the bodies. The game encourages language, animal recognition, concentration, turn taking and much more. It is also a game used for great hilarity, as the head doesn't always match the body.
Emma created a new sensory area for the children. In the area, she included a large wooden board with things such as door handles, zips, chains, lights and various textures. Through the use of this, children are able to explore and learn how things work. It has been very popular, and children are also enjoying using the area to relax in when they need a break from the busy play areas.
Pre-school have been focusing on a Story of the Week this term, and throughout each story, children have gained a huge amount of learning. Stories so far have included Baby Owls, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Bear Hunt .Although entitled Story of the Week, we often find that the learning can be so fruitful that each project may last a bit longer.
Jack and the Beanstalk is a perfect example of how learning can be developed, as throughout the project the children took part in a huge variety of activities. Children planted their own beanstalks, which encouraged them to understand how to care for other living things, including what is needed for plants to survive. It also opened up lots of maths learning as children measured their plants as they grew. This was a good opportunity to include some conceptual language where children were describing their plant as being bigger or smaller than someone else's. Throughout all of that learning, of course, children had a feeling of achievement as their plant grew.
The boys and girls created Jack and the Giant, and again this allowed for the development of maths by suggesting how much bigger the giant should be, whilst also encouraging fine motor skills as they drew around their peers and collaged the display.
We focused on Remembrance Day, as many of the children became aware that I (Claire) was wearing a poppy which was the same as the one their parents were wearing. We watched a short video that explained Remembrance Day in relevant terms for pre-school children. The video included the meaning behind the poppy and also the making of the poppy. Children then made poppies, with some making paper ones, which of course included painting, colouring and cutting skills, and others made play dough ones. Children help to make play dough daily, which encourages an understanding of sciences as they work with all the ingredients to come together.
Of course we have all loved Halloween, particularly the party!!
We are currently learning about "Going on a Bear Hunt", so check out our wall display. There is disbelief from visiting adults at the expertise shown in art skills by the children in the 3-5 room.
It's time for the whole nursery to start celebrating Christmas!! We will be focusing on the Christmas story, and lots of arts and crafts throughout December.
Please see our Dates for your Diary page