Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome back from the half-term break! We hope you all had a restful and enjoyable time. The children have returned full of energy and excitement, and we have jumped straight into our activities at Headstart Preschool.

Mini Beasts Extravaganza

This week, our focus has been on ‘mini beasts.’ The children have been thoroughly engaged in exploring the fascinating world of creepy crawlies. We’ve carried out a range of activities designed to stimulate their curiosity and understanding of these small creatures:

Bug Hunts: The children ventured into our garden area to search for insects. They were thrilled to find ladybirds, ants, and even a few spiders!

Arts and Crafts: We created beautiful pictures and made our own ladybirds and bees. This activity not only fostered creativity but also helped with fine motor skills.

Story Time: We read stories about mini beasts and discussed the different types of insects and their habitats.

Science Exploration: Using magnifying glasses, the children examined various mini beasts and learned about their body parts and movements, and even hunted for them developing their fine motor skills by using tweezers (looking for fake bugs in the tuff tray).

A “mini beasts” theme is an excellent way to support learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This theme naturally aligns with several key areas of the EYFS framework, including the Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL). Here’s how a mini beasts theme has supported your child this week int their learning and development:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) – Building Relationships: Group activities such as bug hunts or creating mini beast habitats encourage collaboration and turn-taking. Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness: Children gain confidence as they share their knowledge about mini beasts with peers and adults. Health and Self-Care: Learning about the habitats and life cycles of mini beasts can include discussions on hygiene and caring for living things.

Communication and Language (CL) – Listening and Attention: Activities like storytelling or listening to sounds of insects improve children’s listening skills. Speaking: Discussing their findings, asking questions about mini beasts, and describing the insects they see helps develop vocabulary and speaking skills.  Understanding: Following instructions during activities (e.g., how to handle insects gently) enhances comprehension skills.

Physical Development (PD) – Moving and Handling: Outdoor bug hunts improve gross motor skills, while handling tools (like magnifying glasses) and mini beasts can develop fine motor skills.

Literacy – Reading: Reading books and stories about mini beasts can improve literacy and foster a love for reading.

Mathematics – Numbers: Counting the number of legs on different insects or the number of bugs found during a hunt. Shape, Space, and Measure: Discussing the sizes and shapes of various mini beasts and their habitats.

Understanding the World (UW) – People and Communities: Exploring how different cultures view and use insects. The World: Learning about the different habitats, life cycles, and roles of mini beasts in the ecosystem. Technology: Using magnifying glasses or digital microscopes to observe mini beasts closely.

Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) – Exploring and Using Media and Materials: Creating art projects such as drawing, painting, or crafting mini beasts and their habitats. Being Imaginative: Engaging in role play, pretending to be different mini beasts, or creating stories about them.

Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL)

Playing and Exploring (Engagement): – Finding out and exploring: Children are naturally curious about mini beasts, which encourages them to explore their environment and make discoveries. Playing with what they know: They can incorporate their knowledge about mini beasts into imaginative play, using toys and art materials to create mini beast-themed games and stories. Being willing to ‘have a go’: Handling mini beasts and trying new activities, such as a bug hunt, helps children develop confidence in taking risks and trying new things.

Active Learning (Motivation): – Being involved and concentrating: Searching for mini beasts and observing them closely requires concentration and persistence, helping to develop these skills. Keeping on trying: Not finding a mini beast immediately can teach perseverance. Enjoying achieving what they set out to do: Successfully finding and identifying mini beasts gives children a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Creating and Thinking Critically (Thinking): Having their own ideas: Children can come up with their own questions about mini beasts and find creative solutions, such as designing a habitat. Making links: Observing similarities and differences between different mini beasts helps children make connections and deepen their understanding. Choosing ways to do things: Deciding the best way to search for or study mini beasts encourages decision-making and problem-solving.

By incorporating a mini beasts theme into the EYFS curriculum this week, we as educators have been able to create a rich, engaging learning environment which supported children’s holistic development across all areas of learning and development, whilst also fostering the Characteristics of Effective Learning.

Important Announcements

Invoices: Amanda will be sending out all invoices today and early next week. Please keep an eye on your emails for these.

Wrap Around Care: We have a few extra people interested in our wrap-around care from September (3-5 pm). If you would like to use this facility, please email us with the days you would be interested in.  We are only able to open Monday to Thursday if we have enough children to be financially viable.  The more children we have, the better the chances of keeping this service available.

We are in another 7-week term before we break for summer, and we have plenty of exciting activities and learning opportunities planned for your children.

Lunch time pack up-

We wanted to gently remind you of our preschool’s policies regarding food items brought from home. Firstly, kindly ensure that any packed lunches do not contain nuts, including peanut butter or any chocolates with nuts. Our provision is nut-free, and this measure is in place to safeguard children with severe allergies.  Additionally, we strive to promote healthy eating habits among our children. Therefore, we kindly request that you refrain from including sweets and chocolate bars (this includes chocolate spread sandwiches) in your child’s lunchbox. Instead, we encourage nutritious options that support their growth and development.

It’s important to emphasise the significance of these guidelines in maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all children. Allergies can have severe consequences, and by adhering to these policies, we can prevent any potential risks or allergic reactions.

Should any food items containing nuts or unhealthy snacks be inadvertently brought to preschool, we will kindly return them home to ensure compliance with our policies.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this matter. Your support in upholding these standards is invaluable and contributes to the overall well-being of our preschool community.

We also have spoons and forks for your child to use at the setting during their lunch if you would prefer to safeguard your cutlery and keep them at home.  All the children at lunch have bins on their tables so they can bin their empty packets and yogurt pots.  We are often finding a spoon or fork in the bin, but at times we do miss this.  Please do not worry that we can’t offer cutlery here, because we can, and we would prefer the children borrow one of ours, as it takes pressure off trying to find the rightful owner of a spoon or fork as we know then they are ours 😊

Letter of the week-

This week’s letter of the week was ‘M, m’ where children try to name as many things beginning with ‘M/’m’ and search for objects where possible to bring to the table as a ‘show and tell’

Our Book of the week was ‘Mad about Minibeasts’ written by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz

Upcoming Theme: The Beach and Under the Sea – Next week, we will be moving on from mini beasts to our exciting new topic: ‘the beach’ and ‘under the sea.’ We have a range of engaging activities planned to explore marine life and beach environments.

Our letter of the week will be ‘B.’ We will practice blending and identifying words that start with the letter B. Activities will include: Blending Games: Fun games to help children blend sounds and form words ; B-Themed Story Time: Reading stories featuring words that start with B.

Clothing

Please could you ensure that any clothes come with a name on as we are often finding the same items coming in and the same sizes, and we are getting them lost and mixed up. We do try our best to ensure the clothes go to the correct home, but we often get mixed up!

The warm and sunny days are here, with plenty of rain!.  We ask that all children arrive to preschool with suncream applied, have a labelled sunhat to leave in the setting and labelled suncream. If we can leave hats with us, we can be sure that the children have this on their session days, and it becomes one less worry in the morning 😊 

Book Bags

Please could you ensure that your child comes to preschool with their book bag so we can send pictures home in their bags and send home a book from our lending library. With the weather being as it is, we struggle to carry and keep paper safe to take home with your child. Thank you to those who do remember their book bags. Any lending library books will be sent home 1-2 times per week with a book of your child’s choice, or one we feel they may enjoy 😊

September sessions-. For any children staying on in September and wish to use their extended funded hours.  Please ensure you ‘re-confirm’ with HMRC to avoid losing the extended hours.  Book now to avoid any disappointment later in the term 😊

Key dates

Thursday 18th July- school leavers trip- we have a couple of children who are leaving us this year who have still to return their reply slip. If you wish to come on the trip or not; please let Amanda know ASAP as the bus and venue is being booked.

Thank you for your continued support in fostering a nurturing learning environment for our little ones. Together, we’re shaping bright futures filled with health, happiness, and endless possibilities.

Monika, Amanda, Sally, Emma, Harriet, Sarah and Whitney.