School closures, distance learning & virtual show-arounds

Story Carley WBD reading

Hopefully you and your loved ones are keeping safe during this period of uncertainty and the spread of Covid-19. As of Monday (March 23rd) we will be closed except for children of emergency workers, in line with the Department for Education’s instructions. This means, of course, that no new children can start settling in with us in the short term and indeed visits or show-arounds will not be possible, as we all need to work together to protect the most vulnerable groups. But even so, we will not be closing our virtual doors! Home packs, remote learning, and other educational methods will be deployed as of Monday and all our staff will continue working full-time. The picture above is from World Book Day a couple of weeks ago, which was followed by British Science Week. We will be building on the special acitivities that took place then, ensuring the continuity of our children’s learning experiences as much as possible.

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Making marks, making meaning: the importance of mark-making in early learning

Children need to be able to experiment with making marks from an early age using a range of resources as well as their sense and their bodies. There is a wide set of skills that children need to master in order to be able to use mark-making tools effectively, such as dexterity and coordination, and purely cognitive skills like dealing with symbols. Parents, carers and teachers all need to get on board and become more fascinated by children’s mark-making journeys and provide a wealth of opportunities to celebrate achievements and development of these skills.

mark_making_AlphablocksNursery_1

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‘Pumpkin Soup’ & ‘Room on the Broom’

We continued this Term with our “Bringing Stories to Life” project, in which children come up with various props to support story-telling, assume responsibilities and become immersed in stories that energise and fascinate them. This is what “active learning” is all about, and it is learning at its best.

Previous instances have included, for example:

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Observing Children: the crucial role of purposeful observation in our nursery

About purposeful observation

Observation of children’s activities, interests, and interactions by our early years teachers is an integral part of our daily routine. It is a crucial responsibility of every practitioner to ensure that accurate, purposeful observations are recorded on all children, not just their key children. Observations are as important as every other part of the practitioners’ role. Time is made to discuss and evaluate observations as a team so as to inform children’s individual profiles accordingly and to set targets for learning, which in turn inform all future planning.

Why is it important?

Observation for us is the key to effective planning and assessment. Here are some of the reasons why we observe children, and why it’s important to do so consistently and with due care:

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Children’s language development and overall well-being

Language and Wellbeing

An important piece of research into language development and how it can be used as an indicator of a child’s well-being, was published recently, and we have been looking at its implications for early years practice.

The report highlights the centrality of language development for the overall development of a child (in the wider social, emotional, and cognitive contexts). In the words of its authors:

Early language acquisition impacts on all aspects of young children’s non-physical development. It contributes to their ability to manage emotions and communicate feelings, to establish and maintain relationships, to think symbolically, and to learn to read and write.

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