Acorn Class Blog

Acorns get excited about cold weather animals and visit the reindeer

The Acorn Preschool children have been excited this week by cold weather animals – reading the story ‘Say Hello to the Snowy Animals’. They explored husky dog, seal, whale, polar bear, puffin and snowy owl.

 

Through playing with the rice and small world snowy animals, the children have explored different landscapes. It has been lovely to explore what happens when the ‘snow’ sprinkles through fingers onto the tray. We also explored what it would feel like to have antlers of our own!

 

 

On Wednesday, the Acorn children were taken on a visit to the Cheshire Reindeer Lodge to meet the reindeer and also enjoy a Christmas show. The children were very excited about this visit and it didn’t disappoint. The reindeer were so furry and slobbery (when they ate the reindeer food off our hands) and their antlers were HUGE!

We met many elves, including Trixie, Candy and Tiny – they kept us amused with songs and dances and they even put on a show. Santa made an appearance in the middle of the show, and every child got the chance to say hello to Santa and to receive a little Christmas gift from him.

We were so proud of all of the Acorn children. They were well behaved, listened to instructions and, most importantly, had lots of fun!!

 

The rest of our time has been spent preparing for the EYFS Christmas play – Snowman At Sunset. The children have been busy learning their words and the songs, and this week they have explored going into the hall to perform. We are trying our very best, and can’t wait to share it with our friends and family next week.

Stars of the Day this week has been Freya and Max – well done to you both.

Walking through Oak View…what do you see?

As the Acorn Preschool children have shown great enjoyment in learning about Jungle and Wild animals, we have continued to explore and learn new vocabulary in naming the different animals. This has proved very popular with many expeditions and adventures using our binoculars!

The children have explored through stories, play with small world, art and through physical movement in PE and dance. They are gradually recognising more animals and able to name then correctly (although we continue to need to support with correctly naming a tiger and a lion!). We finished the week with a full scale hunt through the whole of Oak View to look for and capture the wild animals that had escaped. The children loved exploring, and were pleased to be able to send all the animals back safely to Chester Zoo.

An on-going focus in our mark making area has for the children to copy the letter shapes from their name. Many children are very interested in writing their names and are starting to closely look at what shapes they can see. To help them, we ask for children to practice making lines which are from top to bottom,   and from side to side. Next we focus on encouraging children to draw circles of varying sizes. (It is important to encourage children to start to draw circles in an anticlockwise direction, as this is the direction requiring with letters when moving on to formal handwriting.) Through doing this practice, we build the children’s control of the mark making tool.

      

An interesting way to build on this at home: shaving foam, paint, salt, tea leaves, or coffee granules on a tray can provide an exciting surface on which to make marks with little fingers. A quick shuffle hides the shape and gives a clear space to start again.

 

We are working on helping children to prepare for writing by encouraging them to speak in sentences. We use a colourful approach to help them with this, which builds all the parts for a sentence. Whenever possible, use the question words: who, what doing, and where with your child to develop their understanding of what type of answer these question words require. It is also a great opportunity for your child to think through and give a clear answer in a correctly formed sentence.

Star of the Day this week were Poppy, Carter, Finlay, Aleeya-Rae and Jamie – well done to you all.

“Watch out Ellie, there’s a lion following you!” – Acorns enjoy storytelling using Rosie’s Walk

This week the Acorn Preschool children have been altering the details of the story ‘Rosie’s Walk’ to invent their own version about Ellie the Elephant who takes a walk, followed by a lion.

 

To start with, the children explored what they understood about ‘characters’ in stories. They thought carefully about whether a character was good or bad, then came up with some other suggestions for each type of character. After a class vote, we decided upon an elephant and a lion.

 

As we have been learning an adapted version of the story for over a week now, the children were very secure in reading the new story from the story map. The ‘Talk for Writing’ story word actions also helped them with their story telling. Some children took this learning a step further by making their own versions of a story map for Rosie’s walk – with some really pleasing results!

 

Ask your child at home to retell the story of Rosie’s Walk and see if they can use the story language developed. Perhaps they might even draw a story map or alter the good and bad characters in the story!(See previous Blog for the sory map used to tell the story)

 

Every Tuesday the Acorn children explore movement through a PE session with James from ‘Bee Active’. Through this session they also work on developing their listening and attention skills, understanding and behaviour to follow instructions and expectations. The children are currently focusing on going over, under, through and around obstacles. This develops control of their movements. Encourage your child to walk along lines, walls, and obstacle courses to develop their balance skills.

During the middle of the week, the wind was really blowing strongly, so we took the opportunity to go outside and experience it for ourselves using ribbons.

One of our learning objectives at the moment is to be able to recognise our name and the children have been looking closely all around their environment to see examples of their names. Many children are able to say what sound their name begins with, and some are beginning to record the letter shapes of their name in print. Whichever stage your child is at, please can you support them by giving them examples of their name written all around them at home. Count the number of letters, look at the shapes of the letters (round, tall, with tails etc) and encourage them to trace over the letters with their finger.

 

Stars of the day this week were Riley, Myles, Elizabeth, Callum and Eva-Rose – well done to you all.

 

Thank you to those who have returned their sponsorship money.

There is still time to return any Sponsorship money raised for the Sponsored Toddle, so if you still have it at home, please could you send it in with your child. All monies raised will be spent on purchasing resources to benefit the daily experiences of the Early Years children.

Over, under and through with Rosie in the Acorn Preschool

Story of the week is ‘Rosie’s Walk’. This story is excellent for encouraging children’s understanding of positional language - over, around, under, through, past and across. Use the story map below to see if your child can retell the story.

We have also used this story to build on the children’s correct use of ‘he’ and ‘she’ when speaking to describe what they can see happening in the pictures.

Through this story, we have used the Talk for Writing approach to help the children learn the story with repetitive language and memorable actions. This also includes actions for specific story telling language – such as ‘Once upon a time’, ‘first’, ‘next’, after that’ and ‘finally’. We will continue to build on this story and start to imitate and make our own version next week.

      

Thursday – ‘Stay and Play Event’  - thank you to all the parents, carers and grandparents who stayed for the whole morning of planned activities. The Sponsored Toddle and the Coffee, Cake and Communicate sessions were very successful.

        

Friday – Acorn Preschool goes spotty for Children in Need.

        

 

Stars of the day this week were Joey, Charlie, Olivia and Faith – well done to you all!

Whizz, pop, bang – the Acorn’s explore Bonfire Night

The Acorn Preschool children have been full of the wonder of Bonfire night and fireworks after returning from their half term holiday, so we used this opportunity to develop their learning this week.

   

The week started with some storytelling with Richard O’Neill, author and storyteller with Traveller heritage, as the whole school celebrated ‘Diversity and Equality Week’. Through this interactive session, the children explored a story about a horse looking for new shoes. They even saw a real horse shoe which was enormous! On Wednesday, we enjoyed another visitor, Imran, who came to help the children explore about the Muslim faith through looking at lots of different special objects. The children made some interesting observations about things that were the same as them, and things that were different. This is helping them to broaden their understanding of the wider world, one of the specific areas of the curriculum for under 5s.

  

To explore the theme of Bonfire Night, the children were given opportunities to talk about what they had seen and heard over the weekend. We explored more about fireworks, bonfires and Guy Fawkes. On Monday, the children made breadstick sparklers - which were yummy! This helped them with exploring following a recipe. The book of the week was the Recipe of how to make a breadstick sparkler. This helped the children with exploring reading for a variety of reasons, including to follow a recipe to make something yummy. The children looked at ingredients, and also how instructions must be followed in the right order. By using actions, the children were encouraged to try to learn the recipe by heart. Ask them, and see if they can remember any of it.

     

 

To build on the excitement about fireworks, the children enjoyed many firework themed activities through their play, including large-scale firework drawing, making conker rolling firework pictures, and sticking to create their own rockets. On Thursday, the children built a ‘bonfire’ with the wooden blocks, and they even suggested we make ‘smores’. The children danced to Katy Perry “Firework’ using ribbons, their own firework rockets and instruments.

By Friday, the children spent some time thinking about Remembrance Day. They learnt about the soldiers who we remember with the red poppy,, even making their own medals. They made their own poppies through a variety of different materials, and on Friday completed their own Acorn Poppy Wreath.

     

 

This week was also full of birthday celebrations, with Tristan, Jasper and Demi turning 4!

Stars of the day this week were Harvey, Jamie, Berfin, Lily and Demi – well done to you all!

Don't forget that the Stay and Play event will be going ahead on Thursday 16th November. 8.30 - 11.30 parents, carers, grandparents,  relatives, neighbours... are welcome to join their Acorn child in the Acorn Preschool for a series of activities. These include: 8.30 - Stay and Play session with your child in the Preschool; 9.00 - Explore the routines of the Preschool; 9.30 - Sponsored Toddle (with the children from Juniper class too; don't forget to gather as much sponsor money as you can to support the Early Years children); 10.15 - Coffee Cake and Communicate session, run by the Speech and Language Therapy team (a wonderful chance to gain some ideas about how you can develop your child's speech and language skills at home through some simple, but effective games - plus yummy cakes too! There will be chance to talk to the speech therapists more informally if you have any questions or concerns you would like to raise.) 11.30 - time to go home!! I'm sure we will all be exhausted after that, but it will be such a worthwhile session of partnership working between home and school. We would love it if you could make it for some, or all of the event.

While Mrs Alford is away, the Acorns will play…!

The Acorns have been very busy this week focusing on the story Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson learning all about halloween and enjoying many spooky activities. Including our rhyme of the week 'Witches Song' to which we also learnt actions.
"Witch's cauldron,
Here's a witch's hat.
Witch's broomstick, witch's cat.
Fly over here,
fly over there.
Crash! Bang! Alazam!
Now you disappear.
Witch's spider,
Creeping up a log,
witch's spell book,
witch's frog.
Fly over here,
Fly over there.
Crash! Bang! Alazam!
Now you disappear.'
In the number area we had fun counting spooky objects hidden in cobwebs. The counting continued at the play dough table where we shaped play dough numbers and made spiders with 8 long legs and cut out shapes to make pumpkin faces.
 
In the messy area we made some fluffy ghosts to float about the classroom, painted spiders with cotton buds and got sticky making Mummies.
We had so much fun dressing up as spooky charcters all week and rewriting the story Room on the Broom to Room on the Dragon.
At music time we moved like monsters and our special activity this week was making pumpkin soup. The children did a wonderful job helping Mrs Woodall to find all the ingredients we would need and helping her to read the step by step. The children clearly have great cooking skills as the soup was delicious and enjoyed by many.
         

Diwali is here! Acorns enjoy celebrations!

This week in the Acorn Preschool, the children have learnt a little about how Hindu’s celebrate a festival called Diwali at this time of year. They have been comparing this with any celebrations they have experienced – birthdays, weddings, christenings, new house….

The week started with the children working hard to prepare the home corner for a celebration, including cleaning, hanging decorations and balloons, preparing celebration food, including birthday cake, and getting dressed up in our party clothes, inspired by Diwali.

On Tuesday we had a real celebration, with a child’s 4th birthday!

Throughout the week, we continued to look at features of Diwali, including making our own Diva lamps out of clay. This was very tricky as the clay was quite tough for little fingers to mould, however it was great for finger strengthening! Another activity which the children have developed finger strength was creating bird feeders by threading cheerios on pipe cleaners.

In the sensory area, the children explored making patterns in the coloured glitter, and by the end of the week the playdough returned, which was flavoured with Indian curry spiced, this had divided opinions from the children about whether it smelt nice (“like dinner”) or not (“like poo”)!

Outdoors, the children used the wheeled toys to develop physical skills. This may look like plain ordinary fun – but with such a large number of children, it provides many more opportunities for children’s development, including:

 

patience (when waiting to have a turn);

cooperation & increased physical strength (when 2 ride in 1 vehicle); and

coordination and forward planning (when negotiating space and other obstacles).

For those not participating in the bikes, trikes and scooters, a touch of autumn leaf collection allowed for them to use large muscle movements when using sweeping brushes, then having LOTS OF FUN when throwing the leaves up in the air and watching the wind swirl them back down on top of their heads! This game never gets boring!!

          

You may have noticed your child coming out with a paper ‘Wow’ from the teacher over the last half term. This is something individual to the child that we feel deserves further celebration with you at home. After the half term holidays, we will be handing out a similar version of this to all parents, to allow you to share with us the wonderful moments that you are proud of for your child when at home or out and about. Such information could also be shared through email charlotte.alford@oakviewacademy.cheshire.sch.uk or through using the ‘At Home’ feature on the online ‘Learning Book.’

The use of Learning Book will be explored in more detail for all new users of the electronic learning journal, in a session which Mrs Alford will run next half term. The date is to be confirmed.

Book of the week - "Where's Spot?" has helped the children with building on their understanding about prepositions - including under, behind, next to, in front, behind, on top. The children love 'lift the flap' books and have explored these words through looking at the book, moving actual toys around in their play and dancing with coloured scarves.

Rhyme of the week - "Hickory Dickory Dock" - children have been working on counting on 1 more, counting the number of 'dongs' correctly and thinking about words that rhyme with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! All disguised as 'just singing a nursery rhyme'!

 

Stars of the Day this week are Evie, Tristan and Aleeya-Rae – well done to you all!

Owl babies visit Acorn Preschool

This week in the Acorn Preschool the children have explored the story ‘The Owl Babies’ by Martin Waddell, focusing firstly on what we know about human babies.

(If you would like to send us a baby photo of your child/children from when they were a baby, we would love to share these in the Preschool.)

This story has really helped the children with developing their listening and attention at story time, as they have been able to join in with the words at key parts of the story. The children have also developed their understanding of the characters and the setting of the story. The main characters are the Owl Babies, called Sarah, Percy and Bill, and the Mummy Owl. The setting is a wood or forest, as they live in a hole in the trunk of a tree, filled with feathers, twigs and leaves. You could ask your child questions about these aspects of the story and see if they are able to recall the information at home.

In PE, the owl theme has continued with children ‘balancing along branches’, and throwing and catching scarves to watch them fly. We are very lucky to enjoy a PE session each week with James from Beeactive. James is lively, enthusiastic and engaging, and he matches the theme we are focusing upon, to the focus in the PE session. The children really enjoy exploring different kinds of movement during these sessions in the hall.

        

The children have loved making a variety of owl related craft – using sponges to print, collage materials to stick and painting pictures of owls using cotton buds as a paint brush.

 

We have been focusing on which children can recognise and find their name on a name card . We have encouraged them to look for familiar letter shapes, to count the letters in their name, noticing if their name is a long or short word, if it has tall, short or tail letters, and asking if they can copy the letter shapes they see. It would really help the children with recognising their own name if you would make a few name posters to put up around the house, so that they are regularly seeing their name in their surroundings.

The children are being supported with developing their understanding of positional language through our music and dance sessions on a Friday. Waving scarves in different places helps to build an understanding of under, behind, on top, next to, side, front, back, up, down, high and low. The children really enjoy having a good move to music too!

 

This week the Acorn Preschool has been awarded Attendance of the Week and Punctuality Award – the trophies being presented by the Principal at Oak View Academy, Mrs Rimmer.

Stars of the day this week were Harvey, Freya, Ruby and Finlay – well done to you all.

Autumn is all around the Acorns!

This week in the Acorn Preschool, the children have explored the changes they can feel and see around them as Autumn changes the weather and trees.

     

In the investigation area the children were exploring the different textures of the conkers, leaves and beech nuts. They developed their vocabulary to describe smooth, bumpy, spikey, soft and crunchy. In the maths area, the children were counting with conkers, trying to put the correct number of conkers in the correct cup. The song of the week – Autumn Leaves are falling Down – also built on the children’s understanding of the changes that are happening in the world around them. Talk to your child when you are out and about and encourage them to notice the leaves falling down, collect conkers, acorns, spinners and leaves. Try to give the children the opportunities to question what is happening in the world, why it is happening, asking what things are, or what they are for. In this way, they will build on their understanding and begin to make connections about their learning.

On Monday the children came to school dressed in all the colours they could find for our 'Elmer's Day Parade.' (Unfortunately we were having so much fun, Mrs Alford forgot to take a group photo!) The children also explored colour whilst making their own collage Elmer Elephant using a milk bottle, sticky drippy glue and tissue paper.

           

On Tuesday, the Acorns enjoyed a visit to the Weaver Dairy House Farm, where Rosie the farmer took us on a colour hunt around the farm, following the story ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’. As we explored the farm, we discovered different animals and famr machinery, including the Kune Kune pigs, red Hereford Cows,, black faced Shropshire sheep, orange tractor, red muck spreader and white digger. The children were so good at following instructions and keeping themselves safe as they moved around the farm and loved being outdoors on the farm. They fed the pigs and chickens and watched the digger and tractor in action.

  

Back at Preschool, the children have explored lots of imaginary play with the builders’ tools. They have been seen to be fixing (or demolishing?) the house and outdoor area. The children’s love for building was also followed hrough the book of the week ‘Tip Tip Dig Dig’ – which features lots of heavy building machinery which helps to dig, lift, tip, mix, roll and push to create an adventure playground from an area of mess. The children explored different actions for each machine. See if they can remember any of these actions when you share these words with them at home.

The stars of the day this week were Myles, Carter, Poppy and Robyn– well done to you all.

Save the date: Tuesday 24th October, all parents are invited into Preschool for a ‘Stay and Play event’ (8.30 – 11.30) where you will play alongside your child, experience the morning routine, join in with a sponsored event and then explore communication with your child in a ‘Coffee, cake and communicate’ session, alongside the school speech therapy team. We hope you can make it.

Don't forget to send a family photo in to Preschool to be included in the Home Corner. 

 

Elephants take over the Acorn Preschool

This week in the Acorn Preschool, the children have explored colours through the book of the week ‘Elmer’. This is a lovely story about a colourful patchwork elephant who likes to play jokes on the other elephants, and on this particular day, he paints himself grey and surprises them all. The children have loved listening to the story and have developed some key language concepts through listening to the story – including tall, short, fat, thin, young and old. You can continue to help the children with developing their understanding about these concepts by helping them to use these words in the correct way. We have also been encouraging the children to say what the title of the book is and where we find it, who the author is, who the main characters in the story are and try to summarise what happens in the story. These are good ideas for you to develop your child’s understanding when you are reading the school reading book at home with your child.

The children have enjoyed painting their own colourful elephants, have made collage elephants and some have even drawn their own elephants too. We have enjoyed the game ‘Elefun’ where the butterflies blow up out of the elephant’s trunk and the children must catch them in a net. This game is great for hand-eye coordination, and was also developing their maths skills, as they had to count how many butterflies they caught.

The children even watched the making of a colourful rainbow using skittles and water - they were amazing to see the colours as they ran down the plate. They even enjoyed tasting a bit of the rainbow too!

          

 

We have spent time focusing on the children’s ability to construct using the wooden blocks. This supports problem solving, maths knowledge about shape, space and measure and also builds resilience (when the model falls down – we keep on trying to find a different way.) We encourage children first to stack blocks vertically (upwards) and horizontally (sideways), then we expect them to make bridges, followed by enclosures (e.g. to put animals in). Finally, children move onto elaborate construction with no end of imagination. If you have building blocks at home, you could build on this sequence of development when playing with your child.

Outside, the construction theme has continued with the children busy using the builders’ tools to fix the fences and the playhouse. There has been lots of imaginary role play, sharing of tools and tea breaks too!!

      

Mrs Ogden has explored a mystery object this week in the afternoon, which had lots of children wondering what it was. This has promoted lots of language skills as the children work hard to explain their thoughts and ideas.

Stars of the day this week were Eva-Rose, Callum, Elizabeth, Tristan and Faith – well done to you all.

Next week we are excited to be visiting the farm on Tuesday. Don’t forget, children are to wear uniform, waterproof coat and wellies. As a result of this trip, reading books will be changed on Wednesday next week.

 

On Monday – wear your brightest coloured clothing as we enjoy our very own ‘Elmer’s Day’ celebration!