I cannot believe how quickly the weeks have flown by and as I look at the photographs we have taken during the Summer term I realise just how busy we were and how much we did and so it is not surprising that the last week arrived too soon.
At the end of April Freddie’s Dad brought some of his lambs to Nursery. He cleverly selected ones that were a few weeks apart in age so that the children could see how they grow and change. Some of the children were able to feed the lambs bottles of milk and many of them enjoyed stroking and cuddling the lambs. We had a further opportunity to cuddle some young animals when Alby’s mum brought their 5 pups to see us. They were gorgeous and so well behaved – not a single accident on our floor!
At the beginning of May, the village hall was once again in use as a Polling Station and so we moved to Roessa and Robin’s house for the day. After Yoga followed by quick drink and a snack we set off on a walk into the countryside. There were gates to climb, animals in the fields and butterflies to spot. The children smelled the wild garlic and listened to the birdsong. We collected a few bits and pieces to make natural collage pictures and after a picnic lunch in the garden, the children made their pictures, visited some lambs and had a great time rolling down the slopes. It was a really lovely day and we are so grateful to our hosts for having us.
Another highlight of the term was our visit to the Nature Reserve in Winchester. The weather was very kind to us and we enjoyed all the activities organised by Kate Barrett including a bug hunt, a butterfly spotting walk, art and craft activities and discovering the huge variety of moths that she had caught the previous evening. Who knew that beautiful leaf prints can be made simply by covering them with a piece of muslin and hitting them with wooden hammers to release the chlorophyll?
Activities this term in Nursery were very varied too. We made some very colourful pictures that brought the outdoors into the classroom by dipping dandelions, daisies and cow parsley into paint and printing onto card. We gave the children clay to explore and challenged them to make the roundest ball, longest worm and flattest pancake. This was surprisingly difficult for most of them and a reminder that we should not assume that just because our children have regular opportunities to explore dough does not mean that they can do basic things with it. A glut of sweet peas in my own garden (thanks to my very enthusiastic gardening hubby) inspired us to make paintings of them. We chose water paints for this activity and the results were beautiful. The paintings will be on display on 17th August in Froxfield Village Hall at the Horticultural Summer Show.
We planted bean seeds in pots and over the following days the children had regular opportunities to examine their growth beneath and above the soil. We also observed the growth and development of caterpillars to butterflies when we grew our very own Painted Ladies. Metamorphosis will never cease to amaze me. For the Dads this year the children made gingerbread people and they made sure that there was one for them as well as their Dads!
As usual the Summer term means lots of teachers visiting and children visiting their next schools. The children often find this time quite challenging and we do our best to minimise the disruption and some of the stress and anxiety that the children can feel by encouraging them to talk about their new schools and their thoughts and feelings.
Games Day was on the last day of term and for the first time in 16 years, we held it indoors! After weeks of dry weather it decided to rain but we did not allow this to spoil the fun and games led once again by Lorna. This term we have said goodbye to 12 children and their parents. We wish them well and hope to hear from them from time to time. We are looking forward to the start of the new school year on 9th September and to welcoming some new children and our “old” children back after the summer break. We are also looking forward to our half hour longer morning sessions which begin in September and will enable us to spend more time outdoors.
Maike’s travels abroad were too good an opportunity to miss for introducing the children to some different cultures and environments. Some of the things we learned included the huge difference in the types of homes people in different countries live in. For example, in Singapore the majority of the population live in giant skyscrapers whereas in Malaysia houses are built on stilts to keep them cool and to help keep out unwelcome visitors, mainly of the snake variety! We discussed some of the different foods eaten and although we weren’t brave enough to try bird nest soup we did enjoy some different fruit including guava and papaya. The children were fascinated that in Malaysia it’s quite usual to sit on the floor when eating but a little concerned that refusing food in this country is considered bad manners! When Maike went to New Zealand we showed the children our model of an erupting volcano. It made quite an impression. The animals of Australia were a great source of interest and we also talked about the aboriginal people and their art. We learned the meaning for some of the symbols they use and this inspired us to have a go at producing our own artwork based on what we had learned. The pictures were so colourful and interesting we decided to exhibit them in the Spring Show in March.
At the beginning of February we were treated to some light snow and naturally we made the most of it!
March was extraordinarily busy with World Book Day, Red Nose Day, Mothers’ Day and the Froxfield and Privett Horticultural Show to enjoy and participate in. Our children dressed as characters from stories and brought in their favourite books for us to share. We are grateful to the parents who came in to read some of them to the children. On Red Nose Day we provided breakfast for the children and we all enjoyed wearing our pyjamas to Nursery. Christina who worked at the Nursery a few years ago very kindly came to lend us a hand and we raised just over £100. A great achievement for a great cause.
The children spent a number of weeks making small paintings of Spring Flowers. We put these together to make Mother’s Day cards. They looked beautiful! Our Aboriginal Art inspired paintings were entered into the Spring Show and we were very proud of all the artwork which received lots of interest and praise from visitors. We were also very pleased for Freddie whose work achieved first place and for the two runners up, Iria and Jonah. In the garden we have managed to get some potatoes planted and are wondering what else we can grow this year without feeding the pigeons and rabbits.
On April Fool’s Day our children arrived to find their chairs facing the wrong way and name cards turned upside down. Not many of the children seemed unduly concerned although a couple of them did turn their chairs round and at snack time when the children take their name cards from the board, Harry very crossly commented “someone has turned my name upside down!”
Dilys’ Dad, Nick came and read Zog to us and in a very interactive session the children were able to practise their first aid skills by applying plasters and bandages to Zog and they could even listen to his heart!
In the last week of term we made our Easter Garden and despite the rain the children went looking for eggs in the garden. They found several!
We are sad to say goodbye to Louise who has been a wonderful help while Maike has been away but we are looking forward to the start of the Summer Term on Wednesday 24th April and to welcoming back Maike. I am sure she will have plenty to tell us! In the meantime, we wish you all a very Happy Easter!
After a long, dry and hot Summer, we fully expected a wet, cold and windy Autumn. Instead the weather was, for the most part, warm and dry. There was, for many people, an abundance of fruit and we helped ourselves to the plentiful supply of blackberries from the hedgerows. We showed the children how to crush the blackberries using a pestle and mortar, sieve the pulp and use the juice like paint to make pictures with their fingers or brushes. Apples were turned into delicious crumbles and the children created Autumn Collages arranging seeds, grasses etc onto sticky back plastic. We discovered that the marks made by seed heads from cow parsley dipped in paint and pressed onto paper looked like fireworks exploding and in November these made very attractive pictures.
Louise joined us as a volunteer in early September and within a very short time has become very much part of the Privett team helping us on Tuesday mornings
At the end of September we organised a Macmillan Coffee morning. This was attended by many of our children and parents several of whom also provided cakes to be enjoyed on the day or to be bought and taken away. We raised £82, which is a great achievement in aid of such a worthy cause.
During the term one of our ex-pupils, Joyce whose brother Arthur currently attends Nursery visited us. Joyce read stories to a group of our children much to Arthur’s delight! We also managed to talk Antonio, Aaron’s Dad, into reading a story in Spanish to all of us. It was interesting to see the children listening to him with the same attention and interest as they do to stories read in English.
As part of our ongoing self evaluation we sent out questionnaires to all our parents to survey their opinions on our provision. We also asked the children to tell us what they like and don’t like about our Nursery. The responses were overwhelmingly positive and very encouraging. When we asked for parents to suggest hobbies and skills they could share with us, we were offered some very interesting ideas including learning how to do head stands, which we have politely declined on the grounds of our combined mature years!
Our Christmas party, held at the beginning of December, was great fun. We played lots of traditional party games with a Christmas twist; What’s the time Father Christmas, Father Christmas’s Footsteps, Musical icicles and sleighs! Lunch was a feast with the food and drink provided by parents.
As usual, the children performed this year’s Nativity on the last day of term and we were treated to a very fine show with James excelling as a very grumpy innkeeper and some great dancing from all the children to Rock around the Clock.
Next term Maike will be taking a few months off to go travelling with her family and we look forward to receiving regular updates on her adventures which we will be following with the children in Nursery. In the meantime, Louise has very kindly agreed to cover Maike’s hours with us. We also look forward to welcoming new children to the Nursery and wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.
During the term many of our children visited their new schools and we were visited by many of their future teachers. The children loved showing their teachers round the Nursery and proudly showed off their work. In between visits and visitors, we based our project work on music, inviting children and parents to bring in their instruments to play for us. We are very grateful to Ailsa, Olly and Maike who each played their viola, flute and cello, respectively, to us. The children asked lots of questions and were very keen to play Maike’s small cello that she had played as a child.
In circle time, we showed the children a variety of percussion instruments and encouraged them to explore how they could change the sound they made by playing them in different ways. The children became very good at watching the “conductor” and following directions. Some of the children enjoyed forming groups to compose and play their own music. Many of the children brought in their instruments from home, including a violin, keyboards and African drum. James brought one of the most unusual instruments in for us, a spolum drum. It sounds beautiful however it is played! Our project certainly provided a great opportunity for all the children to hear and play many different instruments. One morning, music therapist, Christina, from Balloons and Tunes, came and played her guitar and sang to us. Christina also brought in a few of her own instruments that the children played while she accompanied them on the guitar.
In May, we asked parents to come into Nursery to help the children make models for the Privett Flower Festival held at Privett Church at the end of the month. For three mornings the Nursery was filled with Mums, Dads, babies and all manner of model making materials. All sorts of amazing creatures; spiders, caterpillars, sheep, birds and fish were created. We are going to borrow a few ideas for our future craft projects!
Outdoors, we enjoyed one of the driest summers I can remember. In the garden, which Andrew had prepared for us in the Spring, we planted potatoes and various herbs. We also planted beans and radishes but they sadly failed to thrive due to the dry conditions.
In July, the parents organised and catered for a leavers lunch. Particular mention should go to Francesca for her tiramisu, which was truly sublime and to Antonio for his very delicious tortilla!
Our annual Games Day was held on the last day of term and Lorna, once again took it upon herself to organise all the games for us. The children were able to demonstrate many of the skills they have practised during the year in Lorna’s Playball classes.
We wish all our children success, fun and happiness in their new schools. We will miss you all and trust that you will keep in touch and visit from time to time.
Our project this term was to look at every day technology and to find out about the sort of technology our children use at home. We invited the children to bring their technological toys to show us and they obliged with wind up and friction toys, toys with buttons, levers and pull strings, all manners of toys. In Nursery we showed the children how to use a rotating whisk, a rotating apple peeler and a coffee grinder. At snack time the children peeled apples (most of them ate the peel) and made toast. The staff drank the coffee! We used our microwave to make sponge puddings. This was great because we could see the sponge rising inside. We also made popcorn and listened to the kernels popping inside! Maggie brought in her bread maker and the nursery was filled with the delicious smell of freshly baked bread. We used other gadgets to make soup and smoothies so the children could experience the efficiency and speed with with which technological devices can process food for us. In the role play corner we created an office and it was interesting to see the children typing, making ‘phone calls, using the calculator etc. We discovered that many of our children are used to using tablets at home but had never used a mouse. They quickly learnt how to use one to point, select, click and drag.
In art we looked closely at the flowers that were growing outside and the children made chalk drawings of snowdrops and used their fingers to make pictures of primroses. For Mother’s day the children decorated their hand print cards with mosaics and we found a sweet poem to go with them. The children cut and decorated salt dough Easter chicks, eggs and flowers which were entered in the Spring Horticultural Show. They added extra Spring colour to the event and received lots of positive comments
When Arthur’s chicks hatched at home we were allowed to chick sit them in Nursery for a day. It was surprising how much noise and mess anything so tiny and cute could make! We also had some frogspawn which had hatched into tadpoles before term ended. We gave them to Benedict to look after and we are hoping to be able to observe them changing into frogs next term. We had to postpone our World Book Day celebrations for a week because of the snow and ice but this year’s book character costumes that the children wore were better than ever. It was lovely to also have some of the children’s parents in to read stories to us.
The snow that fell later in the month caused less disruption and meant that we could all get out and enjoy playing in it throwing snowballs and making snow angels. Once the snow had gone, Andrew was able to dig out and re-fill our raised beds all ready for us to plant up next term with beans, potatoes and carrots.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone again on 16th April and hoping for some fine gardening weather!
September seems like an awfully long time ago, especially now that we have had our first real taste of winter with the arrival of some sharp frosts, snow and ice.
Our new children quickly found their feet and settled into life at Privett! We decided to base our project work on dinosaurs and very soon realised that some the children already knew more than we did about many dinosaurs! It was fun to try and find interesting new information to tell them and
they constantly amazed us with their insatiable curiosity and memory for detail. Over the weeks the children made pictures of dinosaurs using different media and techniques. We displayed them in Nursery on banners.
In November many of the children went to firework displays and all of them were keen to create colourful pictures of exploding fireworks using lots of glue, glitter and sequins. We promise not to let any of the plastic end up in the sea.
In December we held our Christmas party and played traditional party games including pass the parcel, musical chairs and statues. The children participated with enthusiasm and there was a certain amount of good natured competitiveness! As usual, parents provided a delicious feast of sandwiches, pizza, sausages, cakes etc and the children ate just about everything.
Over the weeks, we practised new songs for our Nativity which the children performed to parents and grandparents on the last day of term. The children sang beautifully and looked lovely in their various costumes.
We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Nursery on Thursday 4th January and our new project for the term when we will be looking at technology in the environment and its benefits.
Wishing you all a Joyful time this Christmas and Best Wishes for 2018.
Kate, Maggie, Maike and Matilda
During the year, many of the children had shown a lot of interest in mini-beasts. With this in mind we decided to explore the topic further and develop their knowledge of some small creatures. To start our project off we went on a bug hunt and we found worms, slugs, snails, millipedes, centipedes, woodlice, spiders and beetles. The children brought some inside and used magnifying glasses to look at them more closely. We were surprised at how long a fairly small looking slug can become when it stretches itself full length and the snails, we discovered, were escape artists capable of scaling the tallest of our containers. In the following weeks we learnt many interesting things including the difference between millipedes and centipedes and it is not the number of feet each have! We learnt that spiders turn the insides of their prey into mush before sucking them up and that ladybird larvae don’t look anything like the adults. We also found hundreds of them on our willow den. Maike brought us some caterpillars and in the course of a couple of weeks we watched them grow into enormous caterpillars before becoming pupae hanging from a thin thread. Before butterflies emerge, the pupae shake so we were able to watch some of the butterflies as they wriggled their way out. It was lovely to set them free on a fine afternoon and to watch them settle on clover and honeysuckle to feed on the nectar.
Of course lots of our arts and craft work centred around the creatures we were learning about. We printed pictures of spiders with the cut ends of toilet rolls, painted pebbles to look like ladybirds and made caterpillars by folding strips of paper together. The children loved walking spirals we set out on the floor using a rope and they enthusiastically moved around the room pretending to be slugs, caterpillars, butterflies and bees!
When the Nursery was closed in June for Polling Day we went to Roessa’s for a nature walk in the woods. We listened to the birds and the sound of the wind in the trees. We made magic potions and gathered flowers, leaves, sticks etc to take back to Roessa’s house and create natural collage pictures. During our walk we also made colour charts, observing the infinite variety of colours in the environment around us.
In July, Lorna very kindly organised Sports Day for us again and the children were able to demonstrate some of the skills they have been practising in their Playball lessons this year. They also participated in an obstacle course and some parachute games, always a favourite. It was one of the hottest days of the year and we completely forgot to invite parents to participate in running races! However, nobody reminded us!
At the end of term Amanda and Jacqui organised a tea party for the leavers and made delicious cakes for us all to enjoy. As always, we are very sad to say goodbye to our children starting school this September. We wish them success and happiness and very much hope that they will visit us and let us know how they are getting on. We look forward to the start of another year in September and to welcoming new children and parents.
This term we learnt to identify some of the birds that visit our gardens. Very soon the children were naming the birds they saw at home and Nursery. They quickly learnt what the different birds like to eat, where you are most likely to see them and interesting information about their habits and appearance. Maike gave us a basket full of pine cones which we turned into robins. We hung them from the rafters in Nursery where they look quite realistic!
During the winter months we regularly fed the birds outside with sunflower hearts. We made our own feeders using fir cones that we rolled in lard and seeds. The birds loved them and we were delighted to see, nuthatches, blue tits, great tits, goldfinches, robins, blackbirds, chaffinches and pigeons enjoying the fayre. One day a group of long-tailed tits dropped in and on two occasions we were lucky enough to see a yellow hammer – our first sightings of this bird.
In March, as usual, we celebrated World book Day. The children dressed as favourite characters from books and brought stories to be read in Nursery. Some of their parents came and read too. We made flower banners for Mother’s Day and pot covers for our daffodils that we planted in the Autumn. Despite our best efforts they failed to flower in time for the Horticultural Show but we managed to make them look very attractive and colourful.
Nicola, Georga and Noah’s Mum, brought some of her lambs in and the children loved cuddling them and bottle feeding them. We held a traditional Easter Egg Hunt and although we found lots of eggs, no-one spotted the Easter Bunny!
At the end of the term we said goodbye and a huge thank you to Christina and Fay who are leaving us to work in other schools. We are however, really pleased to welcome Matilda who was one of our pupils many years ago and is currently studying part time at Alton College for her teaching qualification. We are also very pleased that Maike is staying and increasing her hours with us. We are looking forward to a happy and sunny summer term!
In September we organised a tea party not only to welcome the new children and parents to our Nursery but also to take part in the annual fundraising for Macmillan. We baked cakes with the children in Nursery and asked parents to bake too. The result was that we raised the best part of £100, enjoyed vast quantities of delicious cake and had lots of fun doing it. The star of the show was the biggest and most delicious chocolate cake I have ever tasted, made by Lisa, Chloe’s mum and sold to the highest bidder on the day. Fortunately, the buyer was generous enough to share some with us, which is how I know it was delicious!
Later in the term the staff decided to take part in the Country File Ramble in aid of Children in Need. We set off from Hall’s Hill in Buriton one Saturday morning in October, with husbands, children and various dogs and walked cross country to Chawton. We arrived a couple of hours later in time to drop in to the Red Lion Pub and enjoy a well deserved lunch before setting off back to Buriton via a different and slightly shorter route. Morale was high throughout and the weather was mostly very kind to us. Not even a sudden downpour just before we made it it home could dampen our spirits. Including gift aid, we are currently nearly half way to raising our target of £1000. Privett Montessori My Donate page is open until the end of February! https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/katepritchard1
As the Autumn leaves began to fall, we gathered a variety of oak, sycamore and beech from our garden and used them to make some beautiful leaf prints. For harvest, we made soup and bread rolls and the children enjoyed kneading dough and cutting up leeks and potatoes. The firework models the children made in November were very effective – pipe cleaners and sparkly pompoms stuck in a lump of clay!
In December, we invited Zoolab to bring some of their animals to our Christmas party and many of the children enjoyed touching and stroking some of the animals including a rat, millepede, snaked and snail. We all learnt some interesting facts about their habitats and diet.
Jane Rothery from the Horticultural Society has given us daffodil bulbs and each of the children has planted one in a pot which they will decorate. We are currently nurturing them ready to show in the Spring Show at Privett Village Hall in April when we look forward to seeing them on display.
For our Christmas Nativity the children learned songs written by Brian Beresford and they sang them with great enthusiasm to their parents on the last day of term. It was lovely and at times very funny too so there were plenty of tears and laughter – just how it should be. The village hall looked particularly festive this year with all the beams adorned with holly, ivy and fir and our Christmas tree was especially admired by some of the youngest members of the group.
We look forward to seeing everyone in 2017 for the start of term on Thursday 5th January.
It never really felt as though summer arrived this term but looking back through the photographs taken outside, we certainly enjoyed some sunny days! Our project work was based on “Growth and Change” and we started by looking at plants. We planted bean seeds in pots in nursery and over the course of the following fortnight we dug them up so that the children could see the process of germination. The children each took some cress seeds to grow at home and we asked them to record the changes that they observed. Each child also made a pot from newspaper and planted a sunflower seed. We planted out all the seedlings in our garden to make a sunflower display. However, despite our best efforts to protect the seedlings from hungry slugs and snails, in the end it was all in vain because there was nothing we could do to prevent ants from tucking in!
Fortunately, we had a lot more success with our caterpillars! They ate, grew, shed their skins and finally hung in their chrysalis states in “j” forms from the top of their net home. After at least another 2 weeks, our first butterfly emerged followed quickly by the rest. We gave the butterflies a sugary solution and the children were fascinated to watch them uncurl their long proboscises to suck it up. After a couple of days we released the butterflies into the garden and the children experienced the wonder and pleasure of having a butterfly rest on their hands before flying away.
We asked the children to each bring a photograph of themselves as babies to show us and it was fun to try and guess who the babies were. The children were knowledgeable about the differences between a baby and a 3 – 4 year old child. They loved showing us some of the toys, clothes and other bits and pieces that they had had as babies. We set up a “baby corner” and the children enjoyed bathing, changing, feeding and caring for the baby dolls.
We were very pleased to be able to welcome back Mill Cottage Farm for our Open Morning. They brought a variety of their animals for the children to stroke and observe. This year the pigs were especially popular with the children. They loved scratching the pigs’ backs and tummies.
When the Nursery closed on Thursday 23rd June because the hall was in use as a Polling Station for the Referendum, we went to Alice Holt for the day. Children, parents and dogs enjoyed being out and about together and the climbing apparatus at Alice Holt is plentiful and varied. We were very lucky with the weather too, because the rain held off until lunch time and Keri (Sorcha’s Dad) had offered us use of the “Go-Ape” covered picnic area which we gratefully accepted.
On the last day of term, Lorna and Bollie from Playball organised our Games Day for us and the children impressed us all with their willingness and their enthusiasm to participate in all the events. There was of course a race for the parents who, as usual, entered fully into the spirit of the occasion!
Maggie, Christina, Fay, Annaliese, Lorna and I would like to thank all the parents involved in organising and catering for the barbecue held in Emma and Sam’s lovely garden for the children leaving Nursery this year. We had a lovely time! We wish all our leavers lots of luck, fun and success in their new schools and we look forward to the beginning of our new school year on Wednesday 7th September.