The Week Ahead – It’s all about us………
As I contemplated the content for this week’s Week Ahead (something that I generally do in the early hours of the morning), I reflected on recent conversations with parents who remarked on the number of things going on at the setting that others may not necessarily be aware of. Whilst I always try to have a theme or content focus, this week I thought I would provide snippets of information, updates, news – in English we would say ‘bits and bobs’ or ‘bits and pieces’ both meaning a collection of different things.
Another Gentleman joins the setting
This week, another of the Four Gentlemen (the Noble Ones) has joined us at the setting. Adorning the vase to the left of reception as you enter the building, this piece of art has been completed by the pupils using our own mao bi brushes (made by our Art Consultant, Lorna). Lorna wanted the pupils to recreate the slender foliage and the delicate veins of the petals of the cymbidium orchid and found that this traditional Chinese painting method provided the most fantastic results. Cymbidium is the oldest cultivated orchid, and there is evidence that they were grown in China 2500 years ago in records from 500 BC at the time of Confucius. http://www.orchid.org.uk/cymbidcult.htm.
The orchid represents the spring; the beauty and grace of the orchid is fragile in form, with no violent tendencies. Akin to the plum blossom (joining us in the setting later), its fragrance is never overpowering, symbolising humility and nobility. http://www.chinaonlinemuseum.com/painting-four-gentlemen.php
The Importance of Art
Art breathes new life in to the setting; the classrooms and learning spaces continuously evolving and ever changing with masterpieces created by the pupils. The most recent addition can be found at the entrance to the Language and Literacy Space – a collection of nine canvases created by the pupils whilst exploring colour mixing, printing techniques and pattern making.
Art is a delightful way through which the development of a child’s growth can be recorded. Just as reading and writing improves with age, so does artwork. The role of parents and practitioners is to expose children to a variety of materials so that they can create art. Once the variety is offered, children will then have a choice as to whether they want to use the materials or not. But without the exposure, there is no choice. Therefore, creating art is a fabulous way for children to make choices and solve problems. Every step involves decision making: what colour to use, how to make a line, what size to make something. With every choice, the object becomes more and more their own. Everyone has an imagination; art takes it a step further. Through art, children create something that, until that point, was only imagined. Thus, they create visual manifestations of abstract ideas.
Meeting pupil’s needs
As you know, our vision is to afford every child the opportunity of personal growth and fulfilment; a vision firmly rooted in our belief that every child is unique, on their own journey through early years’ education. As we plan the curriculum, the classroom set-up (continuous provision and centres of learning) and indoor and outdoor learning spaces, we carefully consider the purpose of what we are setting up for the pupils. Within the planning, we make provision to support and challenge pupils during each activity, to maximise the potential for individual and personal growth. An example of this would be supporting young pupils to develop the small muscles of their hands and fine-tune hand-eye co-ordination through different threading activities.
Those who need help to get started are supported using pipe cleaners for greater rigidity.
Those who like a bit more of a challenge – use thick wool to thread through something with a large hole!
Getting smaller as the child gets more capable……
…..and smaller, think of the patterns that could be created here, the counting to be practised or the stories to be recreated…….
….eventually moving on to threading on card (the precursor to sewing) – what a perfect workout for little hands. Young children need plentiful opportunity to flex and stretch their tiny fingers in preparation for writing, drawing, painting, building, rolling, fastening, tying, baking, cooking, doing puzzles and so much more. A bag of pasta and shoe laces can go a long way to helping the development of fine motor skills – maybe next time you are cooking, set some pasta aside for your little learner!
Parents as Partners
We are heading towards the summer like the bullet train heading to Beijing! As we assess the journey made by the pupils and monitor pupil progress, we are conscious of strengthening the partnership between the setting and home by being open and honest about pupil’s individual needs. Consider this: there are 168 hours in a week; 40 of these hours are spent with us and around 84 hours are spent sleeping. This leaves 44 hours (more than the time spent at the setting) when learning opportunities can continue. When the teaching team identify that pupils need additional support, we complete a personal learning plan and from this plan, we arrange to meet parents and families to discuss how we move forward together. This is teamwork at its best; a demonstration of how the partnership truly works. We identify what we can do and what additional help is required from outside the setting. This may be to develop stronger routines, encourage independence, enhance communication or seek guidance from external specialists. To afford every unique child the chance to flourish and the opportunity of growth and fulfilment, as is our vision, it sometimes takes more than what can be achieved in 40 hours. We are proud of our partnership and celebrate how we work together to support children to be the very best version of themselves.
Maintaining Air Quality (Lydia Lim, Bursar, Wellington College Bilingual Shanghai)
We understand that air quality is a topic that concerns parents, especially when we are situated in a city where the air quality is very often being questioned. We are committed to taking every step necessary to protect our community especially during bad air days. Our facilities were carefully planned and providing a safe and healthy environment remains a top priority. We have strict measures in place identifying what pupils and staff are permitted to do during such time where AQI is high. The rules are created by us to safeguard our pupils when the air quality is poor.
Why is air filtration so important? How much do we know about what’s in the air particles? Particulate matter or (PM) is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Particles can be suspended in the air for extended periods of time. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small that individually they can only be detected with an electron microscope. If we end up breathing excessive amounts of such small particulates, they may be detrimental to our health.
All our facilities including classrooms are equipped with Honeywell air filtration systems, the main purpose of the air filtration system is to create cleaner indoor air that achieves an efficiency of more than 80%. We also conduct indoor air quality testing daily. This is part of our monitoring control to ensure that our air filtration system is working effectively so that the quality of our indoor air is assured.
Classroom News for week beginning 8th May 2017
Early Years 1 – Favourite Stories
This week, we will begin reading the Very Lazy Ladybug and activities that children engage in next week will be related to the story. We will practise drawing our favourite animals and insects and describe what they are doing (e.g. stomping) and the sounds that they make. We will also create a small world for our little toy ladybugs where the children will learn to take care of the ladybugs by feeding them toy food and practise counting and sorting the ladybugs by size. We will also read a new story called “The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse”. We will talk about animals’ features, such as patterns, sounds and food and also imitate animal movements. From this, the children will create their favourite animal artwork.
We are reading: The Very Lazy Ladybug, The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse
We are singing: Walking in the jungle, One finger one finger turn turn turn
We will Review: Do you like _______________?, Shu ya zi, Wo you yi tou xiao mao lv
A note from the EY1 team: Please bring hat for your child
Early Years 2 – In the Garden
Our gardens and the natural environment around us are wonderful places for our children to explore. As we look closer with the children this week they will discover that they are not the only ones enjoying our outdoor space and that we share it with many wonderful mini-beasts. The mini-beasts that we share our environment with for some children are fascinating, and for others they are very scary. Therefore, we will start the week by talking about what the children know about these weird and wonderful creatures, observing them with magnifying glasses, and discussing why and how we should look after them. The children will then get the chance to go exploring and see what mini-beasts they can find around the Wellington College setting. As the week progresses the children will take a closer look at some mini-beasts, such as ‘super’ worm, spiders, and the very hungry caterpillar.
We are reading: 蚂蚁蚂蚁拍拍走, The hungry little caterpillar, mini-beasts by Lynn Huggins-Cooper
We are singing: 小蜜蜂, The ants go marching one by one, Bumble Bee
A note from the EY2 team: The sun is strong this time of year. All children must have a hat for outdoor learning and play activities. If your child does not have one they are available from the uniform store. Sunscreen & bug spray is also encouraged. Please be sure to label everything your child brings to the setting!
Early Years 3 – Lifecycles
Next week we will be continuing with our Lifecycles theme. Last week the children had the opportunity to investigate different types of seeds and now we will move on to looking at the different parts of the plant and how they grow. We will be starting to look at the roots, the stem and the leaves and also having a go at planting and looking after our own seeds to show how we can care for living things.
We are reading: Jasper’s Beanstalk – Nick Butterworth
We are singing: Mary, Mary, 蝴蝶花, 春天在哪里, 黄鹂鸟