On Friday 22 June 2018 our staff headed to the 15th annual National Day Nursery Association nursery awards ceremony having been short listed as finalists in the technology and nursery of the year categories. 

We had an eventful trip to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, involving engine management lights, forgetting the tickets, dresses with holes in and being stuck in a two hour traffic jam but we made it with enough time to take a few selfies before the ceremony started.

After dinner we took our seats and waited for the ceremony to start.  Fortunately we didn’t have long to wait as the technology award was presented early in the ceremony.  The name of the runner up was announced and as it wasn’t us we started to think that maybe we had won but didn’t want to get too excited just in case. When our name was called and flashed onto the big screen as the winner we were delighted.  We then joined representatives from the NDNA and the sponsor Spark on the stage to collect our award.

The award recognises our excellence in teaching children how to use technology safely and appropriately as well as how it is used within the nursery to enhance the children’s learning and development.  It also encompasses how we use technology, namely the BabysDays software and social media, to communicate with parents and keep them updated with what their child is doing whilst at nursery. 

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We then returned to our seats and continued our nervous wait for the Nursery of The Year – South award to be presented.  There were two other incredible nurseries in our category and we knew they would be tough competition.  Our name was called and we were awarded highly commended, we would have liked to take home to top prize but were really pleased to have come third and to be the only nursery in Kent to make it to the finals.  Not bad for a nursery that opened 8 years ago with only 6 children on roll!

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Once again we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the parents that voted for us and made it possible to get to the finals of such as prestigious award.

This morning the children took part in our annual sports day event.  The children took part in running races, the bean bag race, the suitcase relay and the hat relay race. One of the children wore a GoPro camera during sports day and captured a child’s eye view of the egg and spoon race.  A total of 64  children attended and had an excellent time.  Thank you very much to all of the parents that came to support the children today and a special thank you to all of the parents who participated in the parent race.

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This afternoon the children joined Harcourt Primary School in taking part in the Race For Life.  Some children did laps of the school field and received their race for life medal whilst the other children took part in the race in our own garden.   We raised a huge £347.12 so thank you very much to all of the parents, carers, grandparents and friends who donated to such a fantastic cause.

 

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Next term the children will be focussing on a holiday theme.  Children will be taking a travel ted on holiday with them and telling us about their adventures when they arrive back at nursery.  The children will be plotting their travel teds’ adventures on a large world map.  The travel teds have already been invited on trips to Holland, The Isle of White, Turkey, Cornwall and USA.  We are looking forward to seeing how far the teddies will travel.

This week the children have been celebrating the forthcoming Royal Wedding.  The children started the week by talking about what they knew about weddings and the royal family.  They then used the ICT table to look at wedding photographs that had been sent in by members of staff and parents and an episode of Wooly & Tig which gave the children an idea of what happens at a wedding.

royal-wedding1 royal-wedding2The children then moved to the role play area, which had been set up with a wedding theme. The children tried on a variety of costumes, including a wedding and bridesmaid dress which was very kindly donated by a child’s Nana and pretended that they were getting married.

wedding-role-play royal-wedding-role-playOn Tuesday The children made props for the wedding picnic that we are holding later in the week.  They painted each layer of the cake pink after deciding that the cake should be strawberry flavoured and then decorated each layer using ribbon, stickers and sparkles. The children finished they cake by adding a Meghan and Harry wedding topper, Union Jack flags and some flowers.  They were very proud of their efforts and were keen for the royal couple to see it.

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On Wednesday the children made red, white and blue bunting.  The bunting was then used to decorate the outdoor canopy for our Royal Wedding picnic.  They also took part in a Royal Wedding themed initial sounds game which saw the children using their technology and literacy skills to help the queen to find various wedding items.

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On Thursday the children took part in a role play wedding ceremony.  The adults decorated our new outdoor canopy to make it look like a wedding venue, using the bunting made by the children the day before and other hand made items. 

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The children then took their seats ready for the ceremony.  Annick played the role of registrar whilst wearing one of her own wedding dresses (Annick had a traditional African wedding that took place over several days and required several dresses). Each couple walked down the aisle and promised be friends forever.  The children then had fun in the garden before having a picnic wedding breakfast. 

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AfterpicnicAfter the picnic the happy couples hopped into their cars and headed home.  All of the decorations were made by the children themselves.

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On Friday the children concluded their Royal Wedding celebrations by taking part in a treasure hunt, they searched the garden for royal clues to help get the royal couple to Windsor Castle on time.  After the treasure hunt the children made more wedding cakes, this time using coloured shaving foam and some sponges. 

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The children, staff and parents have thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Wedding themed week and we are looking forward to watching the wedding on Saturday.

The children have been taking part in National Children’s Gardening Week.  They have been dashing outside between rain showers to plant a variety of seeds such as lemon seeds, pumpkins seeds and sweet peas.  The children have also been doing some gardening indoors, they planted grass seeds to make a Very Hungry Caterpillar as part of their life cycles topic.  The children placed the grass seeds onto some cotton wool and then used the large pipettes to water them.

On Saturday Sarah and Stacey attended a Loose Parts Play training course.  Loose parts are often natural items but can also be recyclable or manufactured and can be readily found, for example planks of wood, logs, tyres, cardboard boxes or pegs.  They can be combined with water, sand, mud and used either indoors or outdoors.  Loose parts play relates to play that involves children combining simple resources in sometimes complex and novel ways.  It offers considerable challenges and learning opportunities as well as being lots of fun.  We already have plenty of loose parts around the nursery; it is how they are used rather than what they are that is most significant.  Loose parts play encourages independent, imaginative plat and has been shown to enhance cognitive function and creativity.  Observations often revel children’s high level of involvement in what they are doing.

Today the children have been busy planting pumpkin seeds in the garden.  The children talked about what the seeds would need to grow and where was the best place to put them so they get enough sunlight.  Over the next few weeks the children will water and feed the seeds and we are hoping the pumpkins will be big enough for us to use for our Halloween activities in October.

Pumpkin Update:  May 2018

The pumpkins had started to grow well in the plant pots indoors.  We decided to transfer them into one of the planters in the garden so they had more room to grow.  The children carefully transferred the seeds into the planter and then watered them.

Pumpkin Update:  September 2018

The children spent the summer term carefully watering and tending to the pumpkins and noted that the plant had sprouted several yellow flowers. Staff spent the summer holidays watering the pumpkins and keeping the slugs (who seem to have taken a keen interest in the pumpkins) away from them.  When the children arrived back after the holidays to find that the flowers had turned into three rather large pumpkins.  They will continue to water the pumpkins over the next few weeks before we bring them inside for Halloween. 

Over the Easter holidays we took delivery of a brand new Tilt and Touch ICT table from Route 2 Education.  The table has a ten point touch screen which allows several children to use the equipment at the same time and the infrared tracking enables the children to use things such as paint brushes to make marks.   The table can be tilted, allowing the children to use it in different ways.  The Tilt and Touch table is portable and will be used in both of the nursery rooms.

 

 

The children have really enjoyed exploring the various programmes on the table and have been listening to stories, painting, matching world flags and ordering the life cycle of frogs.  We are able to add new things to the table depending on the topic that the children are focussing on.  We hope that the table will allows us to enhance all areas of the children’s learning and are looking forward to using it in conjunction with our other activities in the coming weeks.

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We are delighted to announce that we have been selected as finalists for the NDNA awards in the Nursery Of The Year and Technology awards categories.

Playbox Nursery staff will attend an awards ceremony in June and will keep our fingers crossed until then that we come away with an award.

Thank you to all of the parents that voted for us in the Nursery Of The Year award, the number of votes and lovely comments are the reason that we have been short listed. technology-award-finalist16650