Aspire, Believe - Together Achieve
"Pupils thrive on the positive, aspirational approach"
"The school has achieved an award for extending pupils’ understanding of world religions." SIAMS 2019
"As confident young learners, pupils are ambitious for themselves and supportive of each other." Ofsted 2017
"Worship is invitational allowing pupils of no religious affiliation to contribute with integrity." SIAMS 2019
"The school has achieved an award for extending pupils’ understanding of world religions." SIAMS 2019
"Pupils are encouraged to think for themselves and to be curious." Ofsted 2017
"Your team are instilling a passion for learning that pupils find infectious." Ofsted 2017
Let Your Light Shine - Matthew 5:16
Staff: Miss Hoddinott (Teacher) and Mrs M Serle (TA)
Here in nursery, we are firm believers of learning through play. We plan related to topics and the children’s interests are at the heart of everything that we do. We strive to build strong partnerships with parents/carers to establish a consistent learning environment between home and school and also, to enable us to further children’s education together. We encourage children to become independent learners through an open plan environment that caters for all needs and allows children to reach their full potential.
Download: Little Stars Information Hand Out
Term 5 – Once Upon a Time
What a busy first week back. This term our topic is ‘Once Upon a Time’ and to kick it off we had a books at bed time evening where the children came back to school in their pjs for stories, hot chocolate and biscuits.
On Monday the children came into school to find a crime scene in the classroom. They had to become detectives to solve who had broken our chair and spilt the porridge!
They started off thinking a helicopter had crashed or a dinosaur had stomped on the chair but after reasoning and discussing with their peers they decided it couldn’t have been as dinosaurs are extinct and a helicopter would have broken our roof.
The children then decided it must be someone who likes porridge and blamed me or Mrs Serle! Two of our children suggested that maybe it was a bear as they like porridge but they were confused as to why there was no honey. One of their faces absolutely lit up when they made the link with the story that our chair had been broken too and very excitedly shouted ‘WAIT GUYS, IT MUST HAVE BEEN GOLDILOCKS.’
We then read the story and it was the perfect way to start the week.
On Tuesday we sequenced pictures of the story and looked at the language used, such as ‘it’s too hard’, ‘it’s too soft’, etc. We began thinking of other descriptive words to use in the story and made a word bank. We had a whole day focused on descriptive vocabulary and went on texture hunts outside using wax crayons and even did a barefoot blinded sensory walk!
On Wednesday the children came into school to find the bears having a picnic porridge but their bowls were empty because Goldilocks had eaten it all! We had a PSE focus all about the choices Goldilocks made and thinking about the importance of being respectful of other people’s things. To help Goldilocks apologise to the bears the children decided we could make them some special porridge! The children each thought of a flavour we could make and wrote a shopping list. We went to the shop in small groups to buy some of the ingredients and then made porridge for snack. They tried porridge with pineapple, chocolate spread, blackberries, apple and jam.
To finish off the week we did some taste testing on Friday afternoon. We looked at the words mummy and daddy bear used to describe their porridge and thought of what we could add to the porridge to make it taste salty, sweet (golden syrup) and just right (plain). To add a new word into the mix we also spoke about what bitter means (the children thought of other words like sour, sharp and lemony to describe this too). We mixed up all of the bowls and challenged the children to have a little taste of each bowl to work out which was which. Their reactions were priceless and the plain bowl was their favourite!
On Thursday and Friday we consolidated all of the prior learning and spent lots of time exploring the provision. We found out where different types of bears come from and looked it up on a map, we designed and built furniture for the bears, we built a den for the bears to live in outside, had lots of oat sensory play and we tasted porridge that was too sweet, too salty, too bitter and just right.
What a brilliant and busy week.
We read the next part of Nibbles the Book Monster and he climbed out of Goldilocks and nibbled his way into the story of Little Red Riding Hood! He brought us a basket of things from the story but go to the forest to look inside of the basket. Inside we found Little Red’s cape, the book, a picnic blanket and the basket of pastries for us to have as morning snack.
The children ate their pastries as we listened to the story and then felt a bit bad for eating Grandma’s pastries!! So they went off on a hunt for flowers for her instead. We spoke about not picking flowers and the children drew pictures of them instead. We continued learning about flowers back in the classroom too. One of the children even brought in a dried sunflower for us to explore and pick seeds out of, how kind! 🌻
I just wanted to share some of the learning from the last couple of weeks. We have been very busy in Little Stars!
Through the week the children became really confident retelling the story and acting it out.
Then one day I spotted the wolf on the way into school and the children found paw prints near the classroom. They decided we best ask the police for some help, so the children made wanted posters describing the wolf and then we walked to the post box to send them off to the police. The police kindly sent us a reassuring video message back.
During this week, the children also shared their own experiences about their grandparents and explored ‘then and now’. Thank you to Jake’s nanny, Leo’s Grandad and Poppy’s Grandad who joined us for video calls to answer the children’s questions about their own childhoods.
Week 3 and 4 – Jack and the Beanstalk
This time Nibbles the Book Monster has munched his way into the story of Jack and the Beanstalk! We spent two weeks exploring this story, making lots of links with planting and growing.
We learnt about the life cycle of a plant, explored flowers and planted our own beans.
We also found Jack’s harp stuck in a tree and had to use our problem solving skills to get it back down, learnt where milk comes from and milked Jack’s cow!
We became experts at retelling the story the first week and then innovated the story in the second week, we came up with all kinds of brilliant ideas to make our own versions of the story. We made our own magic beans, decided what would grow in the garden (from giant sunflowers, to chocolate stalks and even a giant crayon) and then thought about how we could get to the top (such as bouncing high on a trampoline, using a ladder or flying up in a hot air balloon) and then used the computer to find or make pictures of what we would find at the top (from pink palaces to a Spider-Man bouncy castle).
Week 5 – The Three Little Pigs
This week it was the children’s turn to decide where Nibbles would go next. They decided he would nibble his way into the story of the Three Little Pigs!
The children enjoyed retelling the story, building houses, testing materials and talking about their own houses.
Week 6 – RE Week
This week was RE week at St Barnabas. The question was ‘Are religions helping or hindering with the climate crisis?’
On Monday we spoke about our own special places and sorted them into two lists, manmade or natural places. We then found out that Christians believe that God created many of these special places and listened to the creation story. We then borrowed a magic carpet to use our imagination to fly above the clouds and spot all the beautiful natural wonders of the world! The children then used collage to create pictures of their favourite places, from grassy parks to sandy beaches.
On Tuesday we thought about what we can do to help our world. We looked at a picture of a beach and shared all the things we love about it, then looked at photos of beaches covered in litter. Similarly we looked at photos of a forest before and after trees were cut down. I was SO impressed with the children’s grown up reflections on these topics. They were ever so caring and thought of brilliant ways we could help our world, both in school and outside of school. We also went on a nature scavenger hunt which was lots of fun!
On Wednesday we learnt all about what it means to recycle and how we can do this at school and at home to help our world, we even used recycled materials to create a class picture of our school forest.
On Thursday we spent the morning at the forest enjoying the nature. We led down and cloud watched, we did some bird spotting, climbed trees and had lots of fun!!
To finish off our Once Upon a Time topic, the children became authors and made their own stories, but their challenge was to think carefully about a natural setting in which to base their story.
What a busy but lovely week!!
This week we went on a minibeast hunt to kickstart our new topic! We focused this week on learning about bees to. We read ‘Bee and Me’ which has no text, so wrote our own text as a whole class. The children talked about why bees may not like living in a busy city, and thought about where they would rather live and why. They designed their own bee homes, learnt about the life cycle of a bee, considered how bees help us and our world and even found out how honey is made. The children loved making their own honey sandwiches. In maths we explored repeating patterns.
The highlight or the week was our Brilliant Bug Ball. The children came back on Tuesday evening dressed in their party clothes, wearing a bug mask and we had bug themed party games and a bug themed tea party.
This week we couldn’t resist having a week learning about pond life because our school pond had frogspawn in! We went pond dipping and caught some frogspawn to bring back to the classroom, ready to grow our own frogs. The children made lots of interesting observations and predictions. We learnt about the life cycle of a frog and thought about how we will need to care for them in the classroom.
The children loved exploring lots of sensory pond related activities and also became artists just like Monet, to make their own pond paintings and textured pictures.
In literacy we read ‘Oi Frog’ and focused on learning to finish rhyming strings.
In maths we looked at one more and one less than numbers up to 5.
World Book Day
We loved seeing all of the children’s amazing costumes today. We listened to lots of stories through the day, had a storytelling small world enhancement, became authors and told stories using story stones, painted story settings on cling film around a table before climbing inside to step into character and more!
Week 3: Ladybirds
This week we learnt all about ladybirds and went on lots of insect hunts outside and built our own homes for ladybirds.
Our literacy focus was ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ and the children were brilliant at retelling the story, spotting initial sounds in the various animal sound and identifying the rhymes as well as making their own. The children also enjoyed making maps for the baddies and used some brilliant positional language!
In maths the children focused on counting spots on the ladybirds back.
This week at St Barnabas we have also been joining in with Science Week. Mrs Gough kindly organised some science experiments for the whole school to do, so in Little Stars we made ladybird cones to place on a bottle to see how far they could fly (which then led to lots of throwing contests), worked together to make a lava lamp as a whole class and enjoyed observing and discussing what happened, did the skittle rainbow experiment and had a go at growing crystals using bicarbonate of soda. The three and four year olds also became inventors and lots of them invented their own fascinating objects to enter the science engineer competition. We definitely have lots of budding scientists in Little Stars👩🔬👨🔬
Week 4: Worms
This week we learnt all about worms and made a wormery. The children went to the woods to find worms to put in our wormery, collected leaves and peeled fruit and vegetables to feed the worms.
Our literacy focus was ‘Superworm.’ The children thought of their own ideas of how else Superworm could help his friends and even thought of some rhyming pairs to go alongside this.
We also recapped 2D shape whilst continuing with repeating pattern in maths. The children particularly enjoyed using 2D shapes to make a repeating pattern along the worm.
Week 5: The life cycle of a butterfly
This week the focus of course had to be The Hungry Caterpillar! The children loved this story and retold the story confidently in their play and sequenced the life cycle of a butterfly.
They particularly enjoyed showing the life cycle of a butterfly through dance and then used scarves to make up their own butterfly dances.
Week 6: Easter
What a brilliant week learning about and celebrating Easter. Our activities seemed to be all about eggs! We started off on Monday by making Easter hats, then had a yummy Easter breakfast of scrambled eggs. We used the egg shells from our breakfast to create some artwork. We filled each egg up with paint and the children had SO MUCH fun throwing them as hard as they could at large sheets of paper! It was great for their gross motor skills and what a lot of fun we all had! 🐣
On Tuesday we headed outside and sang Humpty Dumpty and the children were challenged to stop Humpty Dumpty from cracking open. The children designed a wall and worked together to build it using blocks and wooden planks, great team work. We looked at different materials (cotton wool, foil and tissue paper) and predicted which materials might save Humpty Dumpty from breaking! The children loved pushing their eggs off of the wall!
On Wednesday the children made their own spring stories.
On Thursday we went on an Easter hunt and then deconstructed an Easter egg- the children enjoyed using their senses to explore the packaging and the chocolate and there was lots of lovely vocabulary used to describe how it felt, smelt, looked, sounded and tasted.
On Friday we listened to the Easter story and then headed to the school tump to go egg rolling. The rolling signified the rolling away of stones on Christ’s tomb during his resurrection and the egg signifies new life. The children loved this!
This week we are reading The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas! This term is a dinosaur theme in Little Stars. We decided to start off with this book wk that the children can reflect on and share their news from the holidays, and it also links nicely to learning about winter. We had some lovely activities linking to the story!
The highlight of the week was when each child was given a dinosaur egg to look after for the morning and were challenged to see who could look after them the longest without cracking. Some children created egg boxes or nests, some played carefully with their eggs and some decorated their eggs. The next day the children came into discover the egg had hatched and we had a pet dinosaur!! They spent the morning planning how to look after it and then carried out their actions. What a class of thoughtful and caring children we have!
The weather was extremely cold this week and the children were really interested in ice in our outdoor area so we also went on a winter walk and had lots of ice play to follow the children’s interests and to explore the world around us.
The children are still thoroughly enjoying our dinosaur topic, but we did cover a micro topic of ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ which they also loved. I wanted the children to become experts at retelling a familiar traditional tale last week, ready to innovate the story in Week 3. We spent Week 2 doing lots of activities around the Three Billy Goats Gruff and I was so proud of how confident the children became in retelling the story.
As part of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, we had a big focus on bridges! We looked at local bridges as well as famous bridges around the world and had thought about creative design. The children designed and built bridges of all different kinds, however the two highlights of the week was when one child designed a crazy golf bridge, which lots of the other children magpied, so we got golf equipment out of the PE cupboard and turned the classroom into a crazy golf course! Next was on the Friday morning when the entire class dressed up as builders and worked as a team to build a large scale bridge (using chairs, cardboard boxes, huge cable reels etc) and spent ages playing games of trolls under!
This week the focus was innovating the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, so the children have been changing the characters. Individually they thought of all kinds of wonderful ideas. We have had three butterflies, bears, pigs, giraffes, monsters, all sorts! I’ve seen wonderful vocabulary being used to retell the story and to describe their new characters this week.
As a whole class, the Little Stars have swapped the characters to dinosaurs and have done lots of lovely activities linking to this. They worked hard to describe their new characters and even invented their own dinosaurs!
We are really proud of our Little Stars, here is their new version of the story.
This week was very exciting because we had a dinosaur visit the classroom.
Monday: I told the children that I found a nest near school and brought in some photos and the eggs, which the children were very excited about! The children described the eggs and predicted what might some out of them, which led to the most interesting conversations and child-led research into which animals come from eggs.
Tuesday: The children came into school to find that one of the eggs had hatched and inside was a baby diplodocus! We learnt lots of facts about them using a nonfiction book.
Wednesday: The children were worried the mummy dinosaur would be missing her eggs and baby so they made wanted posters and put them up outside to try and search for the mummy diplodocus.
Thursday: The children came into school to find the eggs had disappeared and a note had been left from the mummy dinosaur thanking the children for helping her to find the babies. We were lucky enough to capture this on camera and got to see photos of the dinosaur in our classroom getting her eggs back!
Friday: We made news reports to share the exciting news from the week.
Through the week the children made their own dinosaur eggs and explored lots of sensory eggs in the investigation station. In the afternoons we learnt about where dinosaurs come from, when they were alive, how we know that they once existed and explored fossils in a dino dig. They even made their own fossils and their own dinosaur skeletons.
We started the week by learning more about dinosaur habitats. The children made dioramas to share what dinosaur habitats were like and compared our world then and now, they spotted lots of interesting similarities and differences. We learnt about volcanoes too and had some really interesting science experiments, where we put mentos in coke to see an eruption and also mixed bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and washing up liquid in a paper mache volcano.
To finish off this term’s dinosaur theme, the children have became museum curators at the end of the week. We went on a virtual museum tour, played museums in the role play area and finally they made their own classroom museum which showcased all of their hard work from the term. They loved standing in front of the green screen to share their knowledge. We hope you enjoy the video!
This week we focused on Valentine’s Day at the start of the week and talked about who we love, why we love them and how we can show love through kindness. We also talked about why we love ourselves and encouraged lots of self reflection to celebrate all the things the children are amazing at. At the end of the week we finished the term by learning about Chinese New Year. The children’s favourite part was doing a dragon dance accompanied by their peers playing tambourines and drums!
What another brilliant term full of wonderful learning. We are so proud of our Little Stars!
Light and Dark
This term we are learning all about light and dark. In literacy we will explore stories by Julia Donaldson that link to this topic and we will also find out about festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year!
The children were so excited to share and discuss their experiences of fireworks.
Some of our artistic activities included printing with cardboard tubes, dunking marbles in paint and blowing them with straws to create a firework effect, throwing powder paint into puddles outside and sweeping with a broom and chalk drawings!
We also had an experiment where we made a pumpkin fizz like a little firework and added popping candy to listen to it crackle. Finally, they threaded sparkly pipe cleaners into a colander to make their own fireworks!
We helped the children to think about the importance of Remembrance Day in a child friendly way.
They had a soldier small world area, a poppy sensory tray, did some poppy maths and did poppy printing. The children also independently made poppies outside using cupcake cases and green straws before quietly planting them in the soil to remember and thank our armed forces. Furthermore, they coloured in and cut out their own medals at the funky fingers table whilst being prompted to discuss the times they have been brave.
The children were encouraged to write letters to soldiers to thank them for all they do. I’m hoping to get these sent off to some real soldiers asap so will share photos asap. Finally, I brought in some army memorabilia which the children loved looking at during circle time.
Room on the Broom
This week we our story focus was Room on the Broom. The children were excited having just celebrated at Halloween so they worse their scariest costumes to nursery on their first day back at school.
They learnt to retell the story, sequenced the story, thought about the characters and even had a visit from the witch! A highlight was definitely the potion making table, it look through our photos to see what else we got up to.
Room on the Broom
This week we continued with Room on the Broom but changed the story setting!
On Monday the children came into school and found a big mess on our carpet. They had to become detectives and work out what had caused it, they could mark make and draw pictures to express their ideas. I loved listening to them discussing their ideas and reasoning and justifying! As a class they eventually agreed that the witch from Room on the Broom must have flown into space and bumped into a rocket, causing this mess to fall down into our classroom.
We spent the start of the week carrying on with Room on the Broom activities but changed the setting to space. Take a look at a some more of our space themed activities.
This week we started our new story ‘The Gruffalo.’ The children were very familiar with this story so there were lots of opportunities for story telling and imaginative play. Our main literacy focus was rhyme so we had lots of rhyming activities!
In the afternoons we learnt about light and dark or day time and night time. The children loved searching for their shadows and finished the week by making shadow puppets to retell the Gruffalo!
Continuing with and extending last week’s theme has led us onto learning about nocturnal animals! On Monday we learnt about what nocturnal animals are and then each day since we have focused on a different animal. We used non-fiction books to find out information about mice, foxes, owls and bats. We were even lucky enough to have a virtual visit from West of England Falconry and met a little owl and an eagle owl!
On Thursday evening the preschool children came back to school for a night time trip to the school forest. The children looked carefully for wildlife (we had a bat detector which was very exciting), had a drink of hot chocolate and marshmallows and then led down on blankets to stargaze!
In maths this week the focus was measure which the children did a great job with, they measured each other, measured nocturnal animals, measured around the circumference of a tree with string and measured how far cars travelled down a ramp.
Week 5, 6 and 7
We started our Christmas topic for the final 3 weeks.
In week 5 the children came into find an elf in the classroom. He had decorated the classroom with Christmas decorations and left a special Christmas breakfast for the children. Just after breakfast a present arrived, it was from Santa and when the children opened it they found the story of Stick Man. We spent the week doing lots of Christmassy activities linking to the story of Stick Man.