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Autumn Term


Homes & Celebrations - Autumn 2


Our second learning enquiry is Homes and Celebrations.  Having thought about themselves and their friends, the children will now begin to expand their world and consider the types of homes that they and their friends live in.  They will talk about what their home is like, as well as why it is important and what they can do to look after it.  In talking about homes they will explore different celebrations, including Bonfire Night, Birthdays, Christmas and learn that this might not be the same for every family.  In the build up to Christmas they will learn the story of The Nativity, the true meaning of Christmas and why it is an important celebration for Christians.   


Below are details of our planning, including a medium-term plan, topic web and core book list.  These highlight the themes, key learning elements, core books/nursery rhymes, events, and skills that will be taught/introduced in the second part of the Autumn term.  All are available in downloadable PDF format below.  Please remember to check back regularly for updates on the children's learning and 'weekly highlights' that share the day-to-day excitement of our Nursery.  We hope that you all had a lovely half term and look forward welcoming you back to the Nursery!  


11/12/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Making Christmas Cards


As you could probably have guessed, there has been a rather Christmassy theme in the Nursery this week.  With only one week to go until the end of term, the children have been busy with lots of Christmas crafts, including making a Christmas card for their families (although, it is supposed to be a secret, so we haven't told you).  In creating their Christmas cards, the children firstly had to choose what design that they would like to use, then learn how to paint and print with their hands. They have even had a good go at writing their names in the card, just so that you know who it is from.  They aren't quite ready yet as there are still some finishing touches to add next week.  Below are some of the designs.  We wonder if you can guess what they might be?  Personally, we think that the children have done a particularly good job, hence the reason for us choosing making Christmas cards as our 'Highlight of the Week'.  Of course, you will have to wait to see the end result, but we think that it will be well worth the wait.  You just have to remember to pretend that you knew nothing about them!  


04/12/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Crazy Christmas Hair Day


There have been lots of exciting things happening in Nursery this week.  The children have been learning about how different families celebrate Christmas, recorded their festive performance and talked quite a lot about Christmas presents.  You are probably not surprised to learn that the majority of the activities have had a Christmas-theme.   Most exciting of all, and still on the theme of Christmas, has to be today's Crazy Christmas Hair Day.  We thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the 'crazy' creations worn by the childrern, with hairdos that included colourings, tinsel, glitter, sliders, clips, spikes, ribbons, bows, ponytails, plaits, antlers and even, believe it or not, a Pellegrino water bottle! We were also extremely grateful for the genrosity of families who each donated £1 towards the puchase of Christmas trees and book advent calendars for each class.  Around the school trees are looking particularly festive, whilst the book advent calendars are helping children to build their love of reading (something that we very much encourage at Farnborough Grange).  For this reason, Crazy Christmas Hair Day is our 'Highlight of the Week'.  Below is a small sample of some of today's crazy Christmas styles (with more to follow).  We hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!   


27/11/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Making Salt Dough Decorations


Having missed out on the opportunity last week, the children were delighted to get their hands dirty today this morning making salt dough decorations in preparation for Christmas.  They talked about the ingredients that they would need, as well as the tools that they would use to help them.  Funnily enough, there weren't an awful lot of tools required, other than a bowl and a jug.  Although, you could say that the most important tools that they used were their hands for mixing the ingredients, then kneading and rolling the dough.  Salt dough is always a bit stiff, so the rolling did take quite a lot of 'elbow grease', but the children did a great job of getting the dough nice and flat before using cutters to make their shapes.  The decorations have now been left in a safe place to dry, all ready for painting next week.  Not only did the children really enjoy this activity, but it is also great for developing gross and fine motor strength to support their control of tools like pencils and scissors.  It even helps to develop their understanding of the world around them as they talk about how the ingredients change as they mix them together.  For these and many other reasons, we have chosen making salt dough as our 'Highlight of the Week'.  You could try making salt dough decorations at home. There are some instructions for making Christmas salt dough decorations with last week's home learning.  To view/print the instructions, please visit the Nursery Home Learning sub-page using the link provided.  Also attached is a basic salt dough recipe below.  We hope that you have as much fun as we did today!  


20/11/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Christmas Arrives Early


Our highlight of the week was definitely that Christmas arrived early.  Well, by Christmas, we mean Christmas songs.  As has become tradition in Nursery, the children perform a Christmas concert for parents and carers.  Unfortunately, we won't be able to host our families for Christmas crafts and delicious mince pies as we did last year, but just as exciting, we are joining together for a whole school performance.  This will be filmed and made available to parents and carers, with details to follow shortly.  In the meantime, the children are working hard to learn the songs in time for their performance and with only four weeks to go until the Christmas holidays, that doesn't give us much time for practice.  This week's song was an old Nursery favourite, When Santa Got Stuck Up the Chimney.  The children have been playing a game of 'My Turn, Your Turn', with staff singing part of the song and children singing it back to them.  They have also been learning some Makaton actions to help them remember the song.  Two video versions of the song (with Makaton actions) are available on the Nursery Home Learning sub page.  Please use the link below to practice the songs with the children at home.  Also attached is a PDF of the lyrics, just in case you are not familiar with the words.  We hope that you have fun learning the song as a family!  


13/11/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Remembrance Assembly


Such a sombre ocassion might seem like an unusual choice for highlight of the week, but the Nursery children really did us proud.  The Nursery children tend not to join the rest of the school for assemblies because they find sitting and attending for that amount of time quite tricky.  However, on Wednesday they were given the opportunity to join Mrs Cave for her virtual Remembrance assembly and thoroughly impressed us on every level.  It started with us arriving early, so the children entertained Mrs Cave with some nursery rhymes, including using Makaton signs to help them.  They sat still and listened carefully whilst Mrs Cave was talking.  They stood quietly and respected the silence.  They even carefully watched a Remembrance video.  These are not easy things for two or three-year olds (and even some fours) to do, so they really did incredibly well.  A big well done to them all! 


If you would like to talk to the children about Remembrance, a simple PDF presentation and some Poppy colouring sheets are attached below, together with the Remembrance video that the children watched.  Please talk to the children about what they can see in the video and how it makes them feel.  You will also find videos of the nursery rhymes that the children sang to Mrs Cave.  Please encourage the children to sing them at home.  Can you play a game of 'My Turn, Your Turn' where you sing part of the song and the children sing it back to you?  Can they sing the rhyme on their own?  Can they remember the actions/signs to help them?  

Beautiful animation sees war as experienced by animals | Poppies - BBC

Nursery Rhyme - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive

Nursery Rhyme - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Rhyme - Little Peter Rabbit with Makaton (Singing Hands)


06/11/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Trying Root Vegetable Crisps


As you all know, the last half-term came to a rather abrupt end.  Sadly, this meant that the children missed out on some of the Autumn/Harvest activities that had been planned to support their learning.  We decided that some of the activities were just too good to miss, so re-arranged some for this week instead.  One of these activities was designed to get the children talking about Autumn foods, particularly some of the root vegetables that are available at this time of year.  To kick-start their thinking, they have been sharing traditional tale, The Enormous Turnip.  Turnip is a perfect example of a root vegetable and helped us to introduce other varieties like Beetroot, Parsnip, Swede and Sweet Potato.  This has allowed the children to learn some new vocabulary, as well as develop their understanding of different food types.  Of course, talking about them is all very well, but tasting is much more fun!  Today the children have used their sense of 'taste' to try some root vegetable crisps.  The Beetroot and Sweet Potato were definitely the most popular and seeing how much the children enjoyed them was without doubt our Highlight of the Week!  Please watch the slideshow of root vegetables below.  How many can the children recognise and name?  


All About Us - Autumn 1


Our first learning enquiry is 'All About Us'.  This fits perfectly with children's transition into the Nursery and the forging of new friendships.  It supports children in getting to know each other, including the differences that make them special.  Children will talk about their families, the things that they do together, and how this might be different from family to family.  In learning the routines of the Nursery, including why rules are important to keep them safe, children will think about their feelings, needs, likes/dislikes, as well as the things that they are good at.  This will help to build a bigger picture of the wonderful, rich community that we have at Farnborough Grange Nursery.  Owing to the time of year, the themes of Autumn/Harvest will be introduced, with children encouraged to reflect on and be grateful for the things that they have.  


Below are details of our planning, including a medium-term plan, topic web and core book list.  These highlight the themes, key learning elements, core books/nursery rhymes, events, and skills that will be taught/introduced in the first half of the Autumn term.  All are available in downloadable PDF format below.  Please remember to check back regularly for updates on the children's learning and 'weekly highlights' that share the day-to-day excitement of our Nursery.  


09/10/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Making Bread


Our highlight of the week has got to be making bread.  Before baking, the children talked about how to wash their hands carefully and why this is so important.  They then had lots of fun talking about the ingredients that they were going to use, listening to and following instructions, waiting for their turn to mix the ingredients (which also helps to develop fine motor control), talking about how the ingredients had changed and kneading the bread dough (which also helps to develop gross motor strength) until it was ready to put in the oven.  Then, the best bit of all.  The tasting!  We know that the children enjoyed tasting the bread because the Nursery suddenly became rather quiet!  The nursery are also very grateful to Mrs Warren for proving and baking the bread.  Thank you Mrs Warren!  


27/09/20 - It's Ok to be Different by Sharon Purtill - The Silent Version


This week the children have been talking about their similarities and differences.  They found out that some of their friends are taller, whilst some are shorter.  Some are older, while others are younger.  Some have dark hair, whilst others have blonde hair.  Some are good at riding a bike and some are not.  These are just some of the differences that make them unique.  They also found out that, despite their differences, they all wear clothes, they all eat food, they all go to Nursery, and most importantly, they are all friends.  To support their learning they shared the book It's Ok to be Different by Sharon Purtill.  Attached is a silent version of the book for you to enjoy with the children at home.  Please talk to the children about what makes them the same or different to the children in the book and why it is important that we all show kindness to each other.  

It's Ok to be Different - Silent Version.mp4

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25/09/20 - Highlight of the Week: Counting & Sorting Treats for Spot


Spot has been a hungry dog this week.  There was just one problem, he only likes the black and yellow treats.  Unfortunately, they were all mixed up with the red and white treats.  The children have been very helpful, sorting the treats into the correct shapes and colours so that Spot could eat the ones that he likes.  To make it even more tricky they weren't aloud to use their hands.  Instead they had to use the large tweezers which took quite a lot of practice, but will really help them with their writing when they are bigger.  Then, there was another problem.  Spot is not aloud to eat too many treats or he gets a tummy ache, so the children had to count them carefully to make sure that he wasn't being greedy.  When the biscuits were grouped together, the children found it harder to count them, so they practiced lining them up and pointing to one treat at a time.  This made counting much easier!  You could even try this with the children at home.  You could use vegetables, cars, Lego bricks - anything that the children choose (as long as they are safe).  Don't forget to remind them to only say one number each time they point to an object.  Good luck!  


25/09/20 - The Family Book by Todd Parr - Read by Miss Read


In finding out about their new friends the children are going to be talking about their families next week.  They will be thinking about how big or small their families are (and how this can change over time), where their families live, the things that they like to do together, whether they have any and what they like to eat.  The children will come to realise that these things are likely to be different for every family, but that this is what makes each family extra special. To support their understanding, the children will be sharing The Family Book by Todd Parr, read here by Miss Silver.  Please listen to the story at home and encourage the children to talk about what their own family is like.  This should help them to share their ideas in Nursery next week.


The Family Book - Read by Miss Reed.mp4

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18/09/2020 - Highlight of the Week: The Nursery Fish


The interest that the children have shown in our new fish has to be the highlight of the week.  They have been commenting and asking lots of questions about our water-loving friends, with some children even helping to feed them - much to the delight of the fish!  The only problem is that the fish don't have names.  Various ideas have been suggested by the children, nursery staff and even our Headteacher, Mrs Cave.  But we have yet to decide on what their names should be.  This is where our families can help.  Please look at the pictures of the fish with your children and ask them what they notice in the fish tank?  What do the fish look like?  What are they doing?  What do they need to do to help look after them?  What could their names be?  There will be some suggestion slips (see below) on the Walk and Talk Board outside the Nursery from Monday.  Please feel free to take one and write down your name suggestions.  When you have finished, please submit your ideas to Mr Mellish by Friday 25th September.  All names will be entered into a hat and drawn on Monday 28th September. We will publish the new names once they have been drawn.  Watch this space!  


17/09/2020 - Updated: Help to Decorate the Reading Corner


We often talk about nurturing a life-long love of reading among the children at Farnborough Grange.  Through reading, children learn about people, places and events that are outside of their own experience.  As adults, we have great influence over how reading is perceived by the children.  Whether reading at school, at home, for work or for pleasure, we help to give reading it's purpose in the eye's of the children.  It shows children that reading is fun, can be useful and should be continued in later life.  The Guardian argues that 'allowing children to see adults as readers really does help to create a culture of reading in a school environment.'  We want to challenge our families to take pictures of themselves reading for use in a 'We Love to Read' collage.  It could be a picture of a brother or sister, a Nan or Granddad, an uncle or aunt or a close friend.  Basically, anybody who is important in the lives of the children.  You might also want to provide a picture of more than one person.  That is fine too.  The more the merrier!  The most exciting part of this challenge is where the pictures are taken.  It could be in a garden, on a beach, in the park or even on a bus.  Provided that it is a safe place to stop and read, we want to show the children that reading is something that can be enjoyed almost anywhere, and at almost any time. Photos will be displayed in our new Book Corner and serve as a prompt to get the children talking about reading.  Please send in all photos by Friday 25th September 2020.  We can't wait to see where our families enjoy their reading!  


10/09/2020 - Highlight of the Week: Stay & Play Sessions


Choosing this week's highlight was a no-brainer for the staff at Farnborough Grange Nursery.  It is always an exciting time welcoming news starters to the Nursery but let's not forget that this would usually happen after nursery tours, new parents/carers meetings and a good few stay and play sessions.  And in normal circumstances, children would be accompanied by their families to support and encourage them on their first day at Nursery.  This year, thanks to COVID-19, the children had to venture into the Nursery alone.  For many of the children, this was the first time that they had been away from their parents and carers, let alone set foot in the Nursery.  Well, let's just say that the nursery staff were all thoroughly impressed.   Parents and carers should be extremely proud of how well the children managed themselves today.  A great deal of our curriculum in the Early Years is about building independence and our new starters have already got off to a great start.   Even after a few little wobbles, all of the children were soon off exploring and investigating the Nursery on their own.  Well done to all of the children who stayed and played today.  The staff look forward to seeing you all tomorrow!  


31/08/2020 - Mr Mellish visits Farnborough Library


We can't get enough of books at Farnborough Grange and want to nurture a life-long love of reading among all of the children in our Nursery.  In their first half term, children will be learning a range of early reading skills including, looking after and respecting books, holding them the correct way up, turning the pages from left to right and identifying front and back covers.  They will even begin to borrow books from the school Library and enjoy a story from our school Librarian.  


We want to make books available in every area of our Nursery and are fortunate that Farnborough Library will lend us some books to support our current learning.  These are story and information books that, spread across the Nursery, mean that reading is available to children in whatever space that they choose to play and learn in.  Here is a picture of just some of the books that Mr Mellish has been able to borrow for our first learning enquiry, All About Us. There is also a copy of the key group Library Timetable below.  Please note that, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the children will not be able to visit the school Library or take books home, but will be able exchange their Library book from a selection box on their Library day.  


31/08/2020 - Core Nursery Rhymes - All About Us


Nursery rhymes are fantastic!  Not just because they are fun and engaging for children, but because they also help to develop language and communication.  Research has shown that children who have a good understanding of rhyme tend to perform better in literacy than children who don't.  For this reason, and also because we enjoy them so much, the children will be learning a series of 'core' nursery rhymes each half term.  These core rhymes will help the children to learn new words, develop non-verbal communication (using actions), build their listening and attention, learn early maths skills and even increase their confidence.  Of course, these are just a few reasons, as we know that songs and rhymes support children's learning and development in so many other ways.  


The rhymes that the children will learn this half term are:


Five Little Ducks

One Finger, One Thumb, Keep Moving

Wind the Bobbin Up  


Children will be encouraged to use Makaton signs and their own actions to help remember the rhymes.  Below are the links to the BBC versions of each nursery rhyme and PDF versions of the lyrics so that you can enjoy and practise them at home.  There are also some flash cards to help the children identify which song they are going to sing.  Have fun!  

Five Little Ducks Went Swimming | BBC Nursery Rhymes

Together, we grow our love for learning.