Maria has been teaching the children Spanish through songs and stories.  Every week Maria reads a story that is well known to the children in Spanish and teaches them key words in her native language.  The children’s favourite story so far has been Los Tres Cerditos (The Three Little Pigs). 

The children have also been learning a number of different nursery rhymes in Spanish and have been singing them around the nursery and at home.  The children love to sing Incy Wincy Araña (Incy Wincy Spider) and Estrellita Donde Estás (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), they have recently started learning En La Casa De Pepito (Old McDonald Had A Farm) with the help of our new Spanish puppet Margarita.

Whilst the children are having fun singing the songs they are learning a valuable and lifelong skill.  Studies suggest that at an academic level, children who learn an additional language are more creative, better at solving complex problems and usually score higher on standardised tests. 

 

Over the half term holiday Playbox Nursery staff have been working hard to create brand new curiosity boxes for the children to explore when they return from the holidays. 

The boxes each have a collection of items that are intended to spark in interest and extend the children’s knowledge in a particular area.

lt-curiosity-box

This box aims to extend the children’s interest in literacy.  The children have learnt a song that helps them to sound out the letters in three letter words and they regularly sing it whilst playing.  The box allows the children to access objects and sound out the letters in the words.

ssm-curiosity-box

This box aims to extend the children’s knowledge of shape, space and measure.  Here they are able to weigh a variety of objects and explore the idea of time.

literacy-curiosity-box

This box aims to extend the children’s knowledge of and interest in literacy and books.  The books were chosen based on the children’s recent interest in birds and bugs.

mt-curiosity-shelf

This box allows the children to explore numbers, numerals and size.  Inside the coloured basket are several smaller baskets, allowing the children to discover and gain an understanding of size ordering.

Today the children have been celebrating Valentines Day.  They have talked about the people that they love and made their own Valentines Day hanging cards.  A parent very kindly gave the children a Valentines Day themed snack, which was thoroughly enjoyed, and gifted staff a bunch of flowers.

Today the children have been celebrating Chinese New Year.  They worked as a group to create their own dragon and used it to perform a dragon dance.  The children made lucky envelopes and practised using chop sticks.

We are now allocating places for children wishing to start nursery in September 2019.  Places are limited and due to a high demand we encourage parents to book places early to avoid disappointment.

Why Choose Playbox Nursery?

  • Rated Outstanding by Ofsted in our most recent inspection
  • Winner of the NDNA Technology Award 2018
  • Highly qualified and experienced team of Early Years Practitioners
  • Over 2000 square meters of outdoor space for the exclusive use of nursery children
  • Access to a secure app, allowing parents to keep up to date with their child’s progress
  • A safe, stimulating and engaging environment to help every child reach their full potential
  • Free places for eligible 2 year olds and all 3-4 year olds
  • Competitive and all inclusive fees.  There is no registration fee and no charge for additional items such as snacks, craft activities, local outings or nappies

Applications for children wishing to start nursery in January 2020, September 2020 and September 2021 are also being accepted.  Click here to start your application now.

Elvis The Elf Returns

After a successful secondment last year, Elvis The Elf has once again left the North Pole and joined the Playbox team for three weeks in December. Elvis The Elf has responsibility for monitoring the children’s behaviour and reports directly to Father Christmas.  Scroll through the pictures below to see what mischief he gets up to.

 

Nativity Performance

On Monday 17 December the children took part in a performance of A Miracle In Town!  The children performed to a sell out crowd of over 140 people after a 7 week rehearsal period which saw the children practice singing, dancing, making scenery and posing important casting questions such as “Can I be a fire engine?”

 

Visit From Father Christmas

On Wednesday 19 December the children had a visit from Father Christmas, ably assisted by Nikki the elf he handed the children a little bag of sweets and asked them what they would like for Christmas.  The children then had a special Christmas lunch to celebrate the festive season.

 

This morning the children went on a trip to the local bowls club to visit their Knit and Natter group.  The children have been taking part in a children led project around animals that help us and went to the Knit and Natter group to find out more and how wool is used and what it is used for.  We also took our own wool, from the sheep belonging to one of the children, to show the ladies.

The lovely ladies at the Knit and Natter group were kind enough to show the children the knitting projects that they were working on.  The knitting projects were wide ranging and included blankets and clothing for premature babies which were being donated to the local hospital, knitted elf hats and knitted bunnies which are sold around Easter time to raise funds for charity.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Cheriton Bowls Club and their Knit and Natter group for being so welcoming and answering all of our questions.  The children really enjoyed their trip and told their peers all about it when we returned to the nursery.

 

To celebrate this year’s Children In Need appeal the children brought in an old sock and used it to make a Pudsey sock puppet.  Once they had finished making the puppets the children worked together to count the donations.  They carefully sorted in the coins into different piles and then counted how many coins we had.  The children were really pleased to have raised £30 for other children who aren’t as lucky as they are.

Today is the first ever National Nursery Practitioner Day, celebrating the efforts and contributions towards children’s learning made by Early Years Practitioners across the country.  We thought we would join in the celebrations by asking our Early Years Practitioners what the best part about their job was.  They all gave the same answer: the chance to be part of the children’s progression and success over the years that the children are at nursery is extremely rewarding. 

We then asked the children what they thought their key person’s job was.  Most of them replied “I don’t know” and we are sure that a lot of people don’t know what it is we do when all the parents have gone and it’s just us and the children.  So here’s an idea of what the Playbox staff get up to on a typical day:

07.30 – Arrive at nursery and complete a risk assessment of all indoor and outdoors areas ensuring that it is safe and fit for purpose.  This often involves persuading the local cat that the mud kitchen isn’t in fact his home but an area for the children to play.

08.00 – Staff start to arrive and start their day with a quick cup of tea (this cup of tea is never finished whilst it is still hot and can often be found lurking, still half full, in the sink at lunch time).  Staff then set up the garden with inspiring and creative activities for the children to explore and meet to discuss the plan for the day and hand over any information from the previous day. 

08.30 – The children arrive at nursery, some eager to tell us all about their weekend/new baby/fall on the way to nursery/that they were sick in their bed last night (that’s normally not true – or so parents assure us) whilst others are less keen to come in because they just don’t fancy it today (we all have those days).  Then it’s time to talk to parents about everything from bereavement to advice on ditching the dummy and assuring them that their child will have a great day.

9.00 – Free play.  After the children arrive and hang their things on their own or someone else’s peg (which then leads to staff sorting their things onto the correct peg) the children choose which activity they would like to play with.  Staff set the room according to the children’s interests, ensuring that all activities have an educational benefit to the children.  All staff have full and relevant childcare qualifications, up to and including undergraduate degrees, and draw on their many years of experience to ensure the highest standard of education is provided.

Whilst the children are playing Staff spend their time pretending to be a train driver, supervising a painting activity whilst trying to persuade the children not to eat the paint or put it in their hair and educating the children about whichever topic has taken their interest (“If there is oil in the ocean and it gets in the Dolphin’s eyes will it go to the sea vet or just die?”). 

Whilst the children play they are being carefully observed by the staff who then write detailed observations, linked to the Early Years Foundation stage, depending on what the child is doing these observations can be two lines or several pages long.  These observations are then either uploaded directly to Babysdays for parents to read or are passed to another member of staff to upload.

10.00 – Nappy changing time.  The member of staff who is on the rota to change the children’s nappies that day dons and apron and a pair of gloves and start the nappy changing process.  They then carefully write down who had what type of nappy and hope that the smell that is currently in their nose has gone by lunch time.

10.30 – It happens.  The moment all staff have been dreading and hoping doesn’t happen.  The accident.  There’s always one and luckily it’s usually minor, a bumped head or fingers that have been trodden on.  Once first aid has been administered and the accident has been written into the first aid book and the child has been convinced that their injury isn’t quite a catastrophic as it may have appeared, staff return to hoping that the knowledge and skills they gained on the 12 hour first aid course they undertake regularly will never be needed again (it probably will be needed but it’s nice to stay positive).

11.00 – The children head out into the garden after a military style operation to ensure the children have sun cream/sun hats/winter hats/gloves/scarves/coats correctly put on and convince the child who has put their coat on upside down that whilst they’ve done a great job, putting it on the correct way round really would be more comfortable.

In the garden staff encourage the children to take part in everything from finger gym exercises (these exercises are designed by our setting SENCO to strength their motor skills and are as exhausting as they sound) to riding bikes on the playground and staff record their progress. 

11.45 – The children go back inside for a story and to get ready to go home.  The children vote on which story they would like to read and which song they would like to sing which gives staff the opportunity to promote British values.  The children often request Baby Shark which is a firm favourite amongst the children (and some staff).

12.00 – Home time/lunch time.  Some children head home whilst the others sit down for lunch and staff grab a half an hour lunch break in our staff room.  Staff that supervise lunch ensure the children eat the food in their lunch box in a timely manner whilst maintaining the highest standard of table manners, cutting grapes and sausages to make them safe and convincing the children the ham in their sandwich isn’t sour and that their bread sticks should not be used as a weapon to poke their friends with.  Once lunch is finished the children wash their hands and faces and then head into the book corner with an adult to read a book whilst the other members of staff complete the clean up operation.

12.30 – The children arrive for the afternoon session.  Some staff repeat the 08.30 routine whilst the others head off for some lunch.  The staff who have already had their lunch return to the rooms to be greeted at the door by a child jumping on the spot shouting “I did a poo on the toilet”, staff member then resists the temptation to join in the celebratory jumping (they’ve been working on that target with the child for weeks) and instead goes in search of a special sticker.

12.40 – Circle time.  The children take part in a pre-prepared circle game targeting an area of learning.  What’s Inside The Box is a particular favourite (sung to a different tune each time because whilst the staff are great at a lot of things, holding a tune isn’t one of them) and encourages the children to identify the initial sound of the items inside the box and support their learning of literacy and turn taking. 

12.50 – Free play.  More fun and exciting activities and maybe even some play dough and some potato printing (if we’re all lucky).  Whilst the children are playing they are learning and staff are supporting that learning.  The nursery manager and SENCOs are often in meetings, meeting with outside professionals and parents to ensure that staff are providing the best outcomes for the children.

15.00 – It’s time for some of the children and staff to head home. There is a flurry of activity as the child’s parent rings the buzzer and walks up the path to the front door, the staff are inside calling the children to collect their belongings and get ready to go home.  The child is then let out the building and are asked by their parent “where’s your jumper” the child re-enters the building to collect the jumper they insisted 2 minutes earlier they didn’t bring today whilst staff chat to parents about how the child’s day has been. 

15.10 – The children who are staying until 15.30 sit at table top activities and play alongside the adults who re-set the room for the next day.

15.30 – The children go home and staff repeat the 15.00 routine. 

15.40 – The cleaning begins.  Our caretaker takes charge of the garden, mowing the grass and pruning the trees/hedges, some staff tackle the hoovering and wonder why we thought getting the play dough out was a good idea whilst other staff have the glamorous job of heading into the toilets to thoroughly clean the toilets, nappy changing table and sinks.  The majority of staff then head home.

16.00 – A chance to catch up on admin such as observations, ordering the milk, emailing parents to guide them through the application process for 30 hours and chasing invoices (sorry, we know we are expensive, some of us pay for childcare too, but we hope we are worth every penny).

16.30 – The final member of staff completes the closing checks to ensure that all of the toys are back inside the nursery and don’t fall into the wrong paws (either the squirrels or the cats), crosses the day off of the calendar and silently cheers that we are one day closer to half term (even though we work then too), and heads home to scroll through Pinterest to find a new and exciting activity to do tomorrow.

As you can see we have a busy day but we love (almost) every minute of it!

Over the summer holidays the outdoor area was renovated to allow the children free flow access throughout the garden.  The Forest Library has been transformed into a Forest Area with a bug hotel, mud kitchen and large weighing scales.

The children have really enjoyed exploring the new area and taking part in a variety of different activities such as bug and number hunts, role play games and creating extensions to the bug hotel.