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New Routines!

New Routines in 2022

Let’s shape things up! 2022 is the time for new routines and getting back into the swing of January. January is the perfect time for a new start, especially after those Christmas indulgences! Here at ABC Day Nursery, we love new routines to start the new year.
Each room has a different daily routine depending on age but this week, we explored our baby room and how the Adventurers have implemented dinosaurs into their every day play!

Mealtimes

The Adventurers are starting to learn table manners! Luckily for them, yummy food is a daily routine at the nursery and the children all love the exciting yummy menu.
Some of the new Adventurers need encouragement at mealtimes so the older children model good manners. They model using cutlery properly, sitting nicely together, eating different foods and saying please and thank you. This helps the younger children learn the mealtime routine!

Songtimes

We love a good song here at ABC! For toddlers and children, singing strengthens their lips and tongues which encourages clear speaking, and also expands their vocabulary and teaches them about creative language and rhyme. We like to implement songs every day and do this to help the children with mealtimes. The children know that every day, we have song time before we eat and this helps them prepare for mealtimes.

What a wonderful way to implement new routines then including things the children love to do! Routines give children a sense of security and control over their environment and help their later development. Want to learn more about why children need routines?

Routines give kids a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline. (ahaparenting.com) to see more. Also, check out Instagram and Facebook  for other activities! Our Pre-schoolers have also been celebrating the new year! Check out A Nursery New Year! to see more.

A Nursery New Year!

Hello January! It’s a nursery new year and this January we are going to be looking at New Beginnings and Fresh Starts.

When we welcome 2022, we welcome change and trying new things. This month, it’s a nursery new year! The children of ABC will be exploring a range of activities all focusing on all things new.

Nursery New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s make a change this year! How many of you guys have still stuck to your new year’s resolutions? Well the Preschoolers of ABC have! As we commence into the nursery new year, we are setting nursery resolutions.

As a group, the children and the staff sat down and spoke about what the new year means. They spoke about having a fresh start and trying something new. The staff explained that sometimes people set new year’s resolutions and the Preschoolers wanted to set theirs too. 

The staff encouraged the children to communicate with one another and share what new things they would like to do this year. They spoke about new toys like the “new train track” and the “new dolls” as their excitement started to show.

Learning New Things

A nursery new year is the time to learn new things. The children spoke about what new things they wanted to learn at nursery. One child mentioned he wanted to learn about “the sea and fish” which was a great resolution to add! Some of the other children said this year they wanted to learn about “space” and “writing my name” so these were added too!

We wrote all our resolutions up on a display and our final list was….

  1. Learn how to write our names.
  2. Play with lots toys!
  3. Go for a walk on the beach!
  4. To do a space theme.
  5. Learn all about the sea!
  6. Decorate the room with our drawings.
  7. Make some new friends!
  8. Read lots of new stories.
  9. Learn about policemen and fire fighters.

Wow ABC, what a list! Let’s enjoy this new year and try to stick to them all.

Fancy setting your own resolution for your child at home? Check out these New Year’s Resolutions!
Keep an eye out on Facebook and Instagram for future activities on our resolutions!

8 Rainy Day Activities!

January is here everyone! Christmas is officially over and the new year is looking very…. wet! Come have a read of our favourite rainy day activities for young children!

Here in Devon, there is so much to do! We are surrounded by a plethora of activities to do outside, but inspiration can sometimes be lacking for inside activities. We’ve created a list featuring some of our 8 favourite wet-weather activities, for when the driving rain is truly unforgiving.

Go Puddle Jumping

While you can’t control the weather around you, you can control your attitude towards it! So put on your waterproofs, a pair of wellingtons and heading out into the wild weather. Come on, lets set a fantastic example for our children. Something like puddle-jumping is usually forbidden when caught in an unexpected downpour and no one likes having soggy feet whilst out and about, but when you’re prepared for the persistent rain showers, you’ll soon discover that it can actually be just as fun as the dry weather activity you had planned in the first place! Hot chocolates and baths all round upon returning home, and chances are you’ll have yourself some very worn out children!

Visit a Library

Most public libraries offer workshops, lessons and tutorials for children at the  weekends and during school holidays, all of which are as fun as they are educational. Head to the library anyway and let your children choose a new book for them to snuggle down with! For inspiration, check out 100 Best 0-5 | BookTrust for the best books for 0-5 year olds!

Play A Game

Get hiding in the dragon’s den or sail away on the pirate ship exploring the world of imagination with your little one. Role play teaches various transferable skills such as social development as they play with the children around them. This will get them ready for the world of primary school! The world of possibilities are endless at this age and there are no limitations to where their brain can take them! Check out one of our favourite blogs for some role play ideas for children Top 21 Role Play Activities for Children (firstcry.com).

Get Baking

 There’s something lovely about creating culinary delights in the kitchen whilst the rain droplets race down the windows outside. Dust off your recipe books and see what tasty treats you can create and enjoy! Get the the children involved in the entire process from selecting and measuring ingredients to mixing the dish and even licking the bowl (if they’re lucky!) You could also bake cupcakes and create a cake-decorating station later in the afternoon, encouraging children to be as creative as they like!  

Play Hide and Seek

An age-old classic that works every time! Children of all ages will enjoy hiding and seeking for hours! Imagination going wild as the game progresses and hiding places becoming more and more interesting! Younger children will love it if mum and dad get involved, so why not spare thirty minutes to join in?

Visit a Museum

Most museums are free, donation-only or require just a small admission fee but can provide a full day of entertainment and educational fun with a roof over your head. Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of not visiting the local attractions during peak-season… So why not make the most of the lack of crowds during the off-season? Either head to the museum in the town nearest to you, or, if you suspect rain is on the way, then plan ahead for a longer trip to somewhere further afield.

Hold a Movie Marathon

While this might seem like the easy way out, there’s nothing better than some time for rest and recuperation, particularly if a child has had a difficult week! Be it with sports fixtures, exams or something else, films are a great fixture! Plan hot chocolates – with all the trimmings – for a half-time break? Or consider making homemade pizzas for the ultimate night in!

Try a New Sport

When the clouds open, any outdoor activity is usually ruled out for the rest of the day! Are your children bursting with energy? Take them out! Go and explore your local leisure centre to try something new. Badminton, tennis, squash and table tennis are all inside sports! Rent out a court and equipment and have the perfect rainy-day activity that might see you or your children discover a hidden talent.

That concludes our list of rainy-day recommendations that we hope will inspire you this winter. Let us know your favourite rainy day activities for young children here on Facebook @Abc Day Nursery ABC Day Nursery | Facebook

Communication and Language in Pre-school

We have focused on communication & language in Pre-school, with a special Christmas twist! 
 
The development rate between the ages of 3 and 4 years is magnificent! Most Pre-schoolers can tell simple stories and put words to emotions.  They are able to describe their play and use words as part of their play with others. Sentences are often longer and more complicated. However, pre-schoolers might still make grammatical mistakes. Every child’s rate of development is different, so be patient with your little one! 
 
The Inventors explored a Christmas box, finding different items to describe in their play with their friends. The Inventors used adjectives such as “spikey”, “rough”, “small” and “gold”. 
 
The children also started practising their use of more complex sentences such as: “The candy cane is red and green. I’ve not tasted one before”.
 
When children get older, they start to attempt to use compound sentences. But, sometimes , they might get the conjunctions in the wrong order. At home, continue to use a range of longer sentences with your pre-schooler to help them use complex sentences correctly. 
 
Read about the learning and development of children here.  Stay up to date with all our latest activities on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Communication and Language in Pre-school

Christmas Craft Activities

We love a bit of Christmas craft activties at ABC Day Nursery! As we enter December, preparations for Christmas are now well underway.  Many families will be on the hunt for gifts, prepared to host various family members and attend local Christmas-themed events.  They will also start preparations for the all-important dinner on the day itself. Many families will be kept busy right up until the morning of the 25th. Younger children are likely to be very excited for the big day, and, here at ABC, we’ve produced a list of creative Christmas crafts.  These are suitable for children of various ages to keep their brains occupied over the festive period.

Paperchains

A traditional craft that’s sure to bring back a few memories of your own, paperchains will brighten up any area. Strips are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased from most stationery shops. Families with younger children may want to find pre-cut strips if they are a little too young to handle scissors. You can then leave children of all ages to it and challenge them to make the biggest chains of all.  It’s an activity that’s bound to keep them entertained for hours!

Tree Ornaments

As those with young children or pets can attest, glass decorations are not practical.  They are not likely to survive the festivities let alone be kept for the following year! Instead, invest in some plastic baubles which can be found in most craft stores and fill them with their favourite ribbons and materials. Children can mix and match with their favourite colours and designs, adding glitter and whatever else they see fit before proudly hanging them on the tree for everyone to enjoy.

Gingerbread House

For those who like to get creative in the kitchen, why not bake a gingerbread house? It is a fantastic activity that children of all ages will enjoy. There are plenty of recipes available online. Once the gingerbread has been cooked and cooled children can construct their own house. They can make doors and windows out of icing or chocolates and sweets. If there is any leftover dough then make them into trees for a garden. The assembly of the house might need some adult supervision. But, remember any broken walls will make for a fabulous snack or can be left by the fireplace for Father Christmas.

Make A Wreath

Wreaths are a fantastic outlet for creative flair and can be hung on as many doors as required – inside and out! Head for a wintry walk to gather the plants required for the wreaths, be it holly, twigs, pinecones, Christmas tree branches or anything else you fancy! Some craft shops will sell premade bases, so you only need to worry about the decorations which is ideal for children, or the more adventurous amongst us can try to create the shape of the wreath from scratch using vines.

Dress a Window

For a slightly larger project, why not give children free rein to create a festive window? This could be the first thing your visitors see upon arrival this Christmas. You can provide fairy lights, candles and any other décor items you can think of to help them make a start. Encourage them to create an imaginative, seasonal scene in whichever way they would like. Siblings can work together on the same window or create several different ‘window wonderlands’. 

Go Holly-picking

The colder weather makes it easy to curl up in front of the fire and watch a few Christmas films. But, everyone will feel so much better for a breath of fresh air. Head out to find some holly to decorate the mantelpiece with or search for any materials that could be used for other Christmas craft inspirations. Those with a real log fire can also head out in search of kindling or sticks that are perfect for marshmallow-toasting. It goes without saying that if we do get any snow before or during the Christmas period, drop all preparations and head out for a play in the white stuff. 

Knitting/sewing

The Christmas holidays are a fantastic opportunity for children to learn new skills. Friends and family will appreciate the time and effort that’s gone into a homemade gift far more than something bought on the high street. Learning to knit or sew will teach children about problem-solving, logical-thinking and the importance of commitment. Plus, it is likely to keep them occupied for hours while they work hard on their creations. Don’t know how to knit? No worries! Let YouTube take the reins for this one while you focus on everything else that needs to be done before the big day.

We hope you enjoy our ideas for Christmas craft activities!  From all of us at ABC Day Nursery, we wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Stay up to date with all our Christmas activities on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

 

Christmas Craft Activities

6 Tips for an Eco-friendly Christmas

There has been much discussion about things we can all do to help the planet, recently, so we thought to share 6 tips for an eco-friendly Christmas. The Christmas holidays are just around the corner and, here at ABC Day Nursery, we’re all in the festive spirit. As households up and down the country prepare for the joyous occasion and celebrate with friends and family, it’s important to remember the ever-increasing impact this has on our planet.

Consumerism at Christmas has tenfold the impact on the environment than at any other time of year. But, there are certain ways you can reduce your family’s footprint for an eco-friendlier Christmas. We’ve put together just six ways you can do your bit for the planet this December.

Responsible Tree Selection

Artificial trees that are used year after year are a fantastic option for those conscious of the planet. Those who prefer to invest in a real tree can ensure it has been grown sustainably by looking out for the FSC-certification. In addition, look for one that has been approved by the Soil Association for a guilt-free Christmas. Buy a potted variation and replant in the garden in preparation for a bigger and better tree that doesn’t cost a penny next year. If that isn’t an option due to space restrictions, many councils offer a tree recycling service. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the process and ensure it makes it onto your January ‘to-do’ list.

Gifts

Families could encourage children to make their own Christmas gifts for family members and friends. This will encourage their creativity, save money and reduce the crippling consumerist demand.  Plus, the recipient is likely to appreciate the unique, thoughtful nature of the gift much more than anything you could find on the high street. Homemade baked treats will always be well-received as most diets are put on hold over the festive period. There are an array of ‘green’ gifts that anyone who is environmentally-conscious is sure to appreciate. Check out the popular bee saver kits or look into the various animals-in-need adoption packages. At our nursery in Exmouth, we always set up Christmas craft activities. Your child could make one of their creations at our nursery a present for someone!

Food

For many, Christmas is more about the fine food and drink than anything else. However, being able to catch up with distant relatives and old family friends always a close second. Consider how you will source the inevitable feasts and treats coming your way. Perhaps you could opt for independent food retailers, organic and free-range variations and locally-sourced produce, wherever possible. You may find yourself over-catering but refrain from binning any leftovers that can be transformed into a delicious dish. Turkey pie and bubble and squeak are a fantastic option for extending the life of your festive foods. Who knew Brussel sprouts tasted so good in a curry?

Wrapping paper may look nice under the tree, but the detrimental effect the demand for so much paper has on our eco-system doesn’t bear thinking about. If you have any old newspapers and magazines lying about, then they serve the same purpose and add a retro twist to the pile under your tree. Alternatively, perhaps you could use a scarfs to wrap up gifts for your nearest and dearest. We are all guilty of having a few extra scarfs lying around and once you’ve mastered the various ways of folding the finished product looks fantastic!

Cards

Christmas cards are a burden we all put off for as long as possible, so why not just put it off for the foreseeable? Instead, send an E-card, where creative images, graphics and even personalised videos featuring your family offer a thoughtful touch. This will this lighten the financial strain of Christmas by saving you a fortune in stamps and even more in time. It will also contribute to reducing the 1.5 billion Christmas cards that, according to researchers at Imperial College, are thrown away every year. 

TV Time

We all look forward to watching the Christmas TV specials over the festive period. However, that’s no excuse for curling up in front of the telly for hours upon end over the holidays. The average person will spend 30 hours in front of the box over the Christmas holidays. Instead, why not make the most of the precious time you have together with wintry walks, board games and other all-inclusive activities. With most work now involving a screen of some form or another, your eyes will appreciate a break.

We hope it has inspired you to make some greener decisions this December and think about how your individual choices can affect the planet. Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to see the Christmas activities we will enjoy over the coming weeks.

 

6 Tips for an Eco-friendly Christmas

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah at ABC Day Nursery

We have been celebrating Thanksgiving and Hanukkah at ABC Day Nursery.  It is important for our children to learn about festivities and important cultural events from different countries and cultures to their own.  We know it widens their understanding of the world around them. 

These celebrations also presented us with great opportunities to develop their knowledge of numbers and quantities.  We never miss a learning opportunity!

Thanksgiving

The Investigators did some shopping for Thanksgiving Day!  The aim of the activity was to encourage the children to participate in a group activity, learn to share and take turns.

We set an activity up by placing different fruit, vegetables and other groceries in the tray. Further to this, we supplied children with money they used to pay for food.

They enjoyed shopping using scales and money. They showed great understanding of quantity word combinations using numbers, like “ two apples”, “one banana”, “one potato”.  The children demonstrated their ability to share and take turns with handling the money and food items.  Well done, everyone!

Hanukkah

We made some lanterns for Hanukkah! This activity aimed to encourage children to become confident with making their own choices.

They had lots of different coloured paper, pencils and pipe cleaners, different shaped scissors and glitter from which to choose. We encouraged the children to choose their favourite items from these options. They could decide whether or not to include glitter and which scissors they wanted to use to create different patterns.

The children thoroughly enjoyed this activity and loved being able to choose things themselves all opting for glitter! They showed us how well they can share, waiting their turn to use glue, scissors and decorative items. Their lanterns looked fantastic!

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for all our latest updates.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah at ABC Day Nursery

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) forms an integral part of the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework. Social development is key in helping children interact with others and form positive relationships with the people around them so they can get on with other children, see their points of view and take them into account. Here at ABC Day Nursery we do everything we can to promote it.

Our nursery rooms have each chosen a different focus on this aspect of Early Years development over the past week. The Adventurers and Investigators have worked on emotional development, with work on understanding feelings and emotions. The older children in the Inventors room looked at personal development. The aim for the week was to encourage independence with daily routine tasks to get ready for school, such as serving food and hand washing.

Emotional Development

Our youngest children have played with the baby dolls to explore and investigate feelings and emotions. They told us about all the different feelings these babies could be experiencing, such as hunger, happiness, sadness and tiredness.  Some of the children role-played why the babies felt this way and what may soothe them: perhaps they should put the baby to bed if it is tired!

As they progress through their ABC journey, the older children start to develop their ability to be empathetic. They are better able to see things from another person’s point of view.

The older Investigators were able to list and justify specific reasons as to why the babies may feel a certain way. They were even able to come up with solutions to solving negative feelings, such as putting a bandage around a baby because it was ‘sore’.

They have started to use these skills in real-life scenarios. Friends share dolls and listen to each other in group discussion activities.

Personal Development

The ABC journey supports the children to become more able to progress their personal, social and emotional development.  We strive to ensure they become independent and self-confident, all ready for school.

In the Pre-school (the Inventors), the final steps have begun to take place. The older children communicate more effectively and ask for help, coordinate their hand-to-eye and physical movements. They understand how to do things and are more inclined to feel able to give an unfamiliar activity a go themselves.

These are life skills we feel are very important and provide opportunities for progression every day through our daily routine. Children tidy their belongings, get their shoes and coats, wash their hands, serve their own food and pour their drinks

Read more about our approach to children’s learning and development and how we look at Personal, Social and Emotional Development here. Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to see what activities we set up to assist our children’s education.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Children in Need at ABC Day Nursery

We celebrated Children in Need at ABC Day Nursery, on Friday last week.  It was a day of fun in our PJs, learning all about Pudsey Bear and taking part in themed-activities. Can we wear our PJs every day?!

Our youngest children in the Adventurers room had fun colouring in a picture of Pudsey Bear.  They tried very hard to grip their pencils carefully.  Their faces were pictures of concentration.  The afternoon was spent decorating special Children in Need-themed biscuits.  The best part?  Eating them!

The Inventors room enjoyed a range of themed activities.  Our children thoroughly enjoyed a spot of Lego building and solving puzzles.  There was even an impromptu tea party!   Then, our Inventors were inspired by all things Pudsey.  They painted pictures of the famous bear and practised bandaging his eye.  There were certainly some nimble fingers at work.  We have a fair few budding medics in our midst, that’s for sure.

Our eldest child in the Investigators Room made lots of tasty Children in Need cupcakes. The children took it in turns to stir, mix, and ice their cupcakes! They then chose which smarties they’d like to add on to their baked treats. We also made some Children in Need headbands, which we all afternoon.

Stay up-to-date with all our latest activities on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Children in Need at ABC Day Nursery

What to Look for When Choosing a School

Many parents find what to look for when choosing a school hard. Applications for Devon primary school places from September 2022 opened on 15 November 2021 and close on 15 January 2022.  We thought it would be helpful to produce a list of things to consider when choosing a school for your child.

School is arguably one of the most important times of a child’s life! Years in school are transformative. It’s the moment our children learn how to socialise and have conversations with other children. It’s a time where they learn to support each other, work with each other and develop their own interests. Therefore, choosing the right school for them is imperative to their happiness and progress!

So, where do you begin when it comes to choosing your little one a school?

The Logistics – Catchment Area

The logistics of choosing a school will be the first thing about which to think. Catchment area, Ofsted reports, stats and leagues tables are usually the first pieces of information that parents rush to find out.

A catchment area is where a school has a defined geographical area from which they will accept applications. Parents might choose to take schools and catchment areas into consideration when they are moving to a new house. What if you want to apply for a school in a different area? That is allowed; but, it is at the school’s discretion whether they accept outside their catchment area and what the criteria is for that acceptance. It is recommended you apply to more than one school to ensure you receive a place in a school, in case your first choice is over subscribed

Ofsted

Often when we think about schools and everything school related, Ofsted can be very much at the forefront of our minds, even if we’re not quite sure who they are! Ofsted stands for Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Their job is to inspect services that provide education and skills for learners of all ages.      
Ofsted visit schools and other places of education and assess the standards. The results are published online for the general public and parents to see, and the results are used to improve standards.

Ofsted are also in charge of making sure social care services are consistent, up to standard and are suitable for children of a vulnerable disposition.

Check your schools Ofsted ratings but do some research on it too!

SATS

Results from exams and SATs are often focused on, being used as a tool of reflection on the success of schools. SATs stand for Standardised Assessment Tests, which are national tests given for children to complete in school. Generally, it is seen that the higher the schools, the more “successful” the school is. But is that really the case? Choosing a school based on SATs results could set your child up to fail, as they are tests designed with “one fits all” in mind, and we all know our children are all very different, in successes and faults.

Will My Child be Happy?

The most important question to ask yourself when choosing a school for your child is “will they be happy here?” And that really is the most important question. If your child is happy, they are much more likely to want to learn and want to engage with school, not to mention how it affects children mentally and physically if they are unhappy. Speak to your child, ask them what they want, what they enjoy and what is important to them, and then make a guided, realistic decision based on their answers. When it is time to visit the schools that you have considered, trust your gut instinct. Is there an uncomfortable feeling? Do you get a bad vibe? Take everything into consideration to ensure your child’s wellbeing.

Have a Look Around

Visit your chosen schools and learn as much as you can about them. Having a guided tour can be of real help as you get to ask any questions that pop into your head when you’re walking around. You also will ideally get to meet the teachers and get to know some of their ethos towards teaching. Seeing the classrooms and the facilities such as the library or sports hall will give you a good idea as to where the school’s priorities are.

Our ABC Day Nursery team is on hand to advise on how to apply for our nursery’s local primary schools in Exmouth.  Find out how we approach learning and development to make sure our children leave us ready for primary school here.

Stay up to date with all of our latest activities on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

What to Look for When Choosing a School