The Week Ahead 20170331

The Week Ahead – More Happiness for the Holidays!

Where has the time gone? I am astonished at how quickly another term has passed and here we are, about to break up for Qing Ming. This term, we have seen the pupils explore numerous themes, build dinosaur museums, pirate ships, perform for Chinese New Year, celebrate the first birthday of the setting, sing for Murray Lindo (Head of the Wellington Community), enjoy marking 100 days of friendship, participate in World Book Day and World Thinking Day, support the academic team during Annual Review and immerse themselves in all things creative during Art Week, producing yet another unique piece of art for the setting. And here we are, ready for a break after 11 amazing weeks of being very, very busy. When we return after Qing Ming, we will be entering the final term of the academic year and will start to prepare the pupils for the next part of their Wellington College journey. We will work with families to support their children and put new routines in place to support maximised learning within the setting and strategies for support at home.

 

We have always loved Lego…..we love it even more now!

As a mum of two Lego-obsessed boys, I have suffered numerous Lego injuries due to a misplaced tiny piece of plastic wonder. My children have built empires of imagination through those small bricks; created Bat Caves, houses, Minecraft cities, police stations, rockets, robots and more cars than I ever thought possible. During year four at school, they have explored and tested theories on balance and strength and grown more ‘technical’ in their designs and manufacturing.

Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen in Denmark, Lego brought interlocking plastic bricks in to households around the world. Today, through funding research into education, learning and development, the Lego Foundation (funded with a quarter of Lego’s post-tax profits) advocates that children should learn mainly through play until the age of eight. It identifies that pushing children towards numeracy and literacy earlier and earlier results in children missing out on early play-based learning that helps to develop creativity, problem-solving and empathy. The Lego Foundation has plans to work in collaboration with Cambridge University, Harvard, MIT and other ’prestigious institutions’ with the aim of providing an academic underpinning to the educational value of play. The mission statement for the Foundation is, “Our contribution to the world is to challenge the status quo by redefining play and reimagining learning”. It will be interesting to see the results of such a challenge; in the meantime, hear, hear to supporting learning through play!

Adapted from www.theguardian.com

 

A little more hygge for the holidays…….

Following on from last week’s publication, here are some simple ways to do hygge with pre-schoolers.

Make it a point, not an accident. Decide when you want to do hygge and purposefully block out distractions and competing interests. This may be an hour or two or every evening – it is entirely up to you!

Create comfortable meeting places. One major element of hygge is comfort. Get out the blankets, cushions, teddies, soft toys to encourage relaxation and comfort.

Adjust lighting. Warm lighting in small pockets throughout the house be it through candles or lamps, create a feeling of warmth.

Go phone free. Phones, tablets and computers are set not only aside, but away from view and set to silence, so that attention is undivided.

Be present. One of the biggest goals of hyyge is to bond with people. Be present, listen, ask questions, give answers, just be. Relax and enjoy your family, they are your people and these are the moments that your children will truly remember.

Cook together. Cooking comfort foods together is highly recommended; slow-cooked stews, soups and cakes (put the diet to one side for this evening!).

Play board games. Described as an excellent way to bond, board games provide shared activities to enjoy.

Look through old photographs. “Hygge seeks to elicit warm, fuzzy feelings”. Looking through baby photos together whilst curled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate encourages close bonding. You’ll also remember things that you had forgotten about and your children will see how much they’ve grown.

Wear comfy clothes. No tight, restrictive clothing allowed! Pyjamas, sweat pants, yoga pants, dressing gowns and comfortable socks are recommended.

Have hot (warm for the little ones) drinks. Warm milk, hot chocolate (for all), coffee, tea and mulled wine (for adults) help to make an environment cosy.

Put away the agenda. This is not the time to discuss behaviour; it is a time to be together as a family and follow your child’s flow – if they want a board game, then a board game it should be; if they are snuggling up with you reading a book, keep going with that!

 

What’s the ultimate aim of hygge?

  • To make children feel safe and secure
  • To create a homely and cosy atmosphere
  • To bond as a family
  • Adapted from www.amotherfarfromhome.com

 

Classroom News for week beginning 27th March 2017

Early Years 1 – Favourite Stories

After we return from the Qing Ming holiday, we are going to begin talking about our favourite stories. We will begin reading the Hungry Caterpillar and learn how to make a model caterpillar using balloons and pompoms. Furthermore, we will practise describing the caterpillars that we have made (e.g. colour and shape) and the children will be able to use scissors to cut leaves for their caterpillars to lie on. We will also practise taking care of caterpillar puppets by feeding them food. Teachers will take this opportunity to review foods with children as well as begin practising answering questions such as “What’s this?” We will encourage children to eat a balanced diet through playing a game feeding the very hungry caterpillar. We will make a huge caterpillar altogether by using the paper plates and review counting from 1-5, however this time we will focus on talking about more and less. Finally, we will explore big and small using blocks to make the caterpillar, whilst also using blocks for counting and building.

  • We are reading: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Home for a Bunny, Hen e hen e de mao chong, Ge zhong ge yang de ren, La bian bian, zhen shu fu
  • We are singing: If you’re happy and you know it, One finger one finger, turn turn turn, How’s the weather today? Row row row your boat, Chun tian zai na li?, Yi gen shou zhi, yi gen shou zhi bian bian bian, Shu ya zi

A special note from the EY1 team:

  1. We encourage parents to begin reading the Hungry Caterpillar at home if they have access to the book. As you read the story, use English to talk about the characters. How do the characters look? What colour are they? What foods do the characters like? What sounds do they make? These are questions you can ask as well as model for your child.
  2. Walk around your neighbourhood, the local park or forest. Can you spot a ladybird or caterpillar? What other insects can you see? What are they doing? Explore with your child. This will deepen your child’s understanding of the natural world and, as such, will make the books that we are reading in class come alive!
  3. Talk about foods that your child likes very much. Are they similar to the kind of foods the hungry caterpillar likes or are they different?
  4. Sing songs such as “One finger, one finger, turn, turn, turn.” Have your child imitate the actions of the animals in the song.

 

Early Years 2 – Gardens

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row. The start of the third term sees the introduction of our Garden topic, details of which will be sent home via email in our topic newsletter. We will start this topic by finding out from the children what experiences they have of gardens, after which we will create our own role play garden which the children will be able to develop and explore throughout the topic. We will consider maths in our environment, finding out what shapes we can find in the setting’s gardens. Growth and decay is an important part of life, and so we will start looking at seed growth and food decay. Having fun with this topic we will complete the classical fruit bowl drawings, take pictures with iPads or cameras by themselves, as well painting pictures with different foods.

  • We are reading: 一园青菜成了精, Planting a Rainbow (Lois Ehlert), Up, Down, Around (Kathrine Ayres)
  • We are singing: 蜗牛与黄鹂鸟, Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, I’ll Plant a Little Seed, Hokey Pokey (Fortnightly Song)

 

Early Years 3 – Lifecycles

The start of the new term brings the start of a new topic for EY3 – lifecycles. The children have already shown a huge amount of interest in this topic during our ‘Art Week’ when we used the story ‘Tadpoles Looking for their Mother’ as the focus for our activities. After the holidays, we will be following the interests of the children by looking at the lifecycle of frogs. They will explore how the animals grow and how they change over time. We’ll be using jumping frogs and our measuring skills to see how far we can make them move and using our listening skills to follow instructions to draw some cartoon frogs. In addition to this we will be helping the children to develop their investigating skills by looking at what makes a lifecycle and using our knowledge to find out about the lifecycles of other animals.

  • We are reading: From Tadpole to Frog (Wendy Pfeffer), Tadpoles Looking for their Mother – traditional Chinese story and a variety of non-fiction books
  • We are singing: Mmm, mmm, Said the Little Green Frog, 5 Little Speckled Frogs, Butterfly life cycle rhyme, Butterfly, butterfly, flutter around, Where is the spring?
  • A special note from the EY3 team: Please encourage your children to have a look at the changes they can notice in the environment as the weather (hopefully!) gets warmer over the holidays.

Please note that we return after the break on Monday 10th April.

Enjoy the break – make memories to share with us upon your return!