Easter Give Away 

How would you like to win a lovely “Tell by touch with clock” 

We have been given this lovely clock by the gorgeous folk over at EYPDIRECT

  

This Colourful and unusual telling the time clock comes with moveable hands and removable number pots with a different textured surface on the reverse.

The Tell by Touch with Clock is also a great early years learning resource for matching colours, patterns and counting.

Size: 240 x 37mm. Age 3+.

    The Tell by Touch with Clock is a perfect early years educational resource to support the EYFS Mathematics development area of learning within your childcare setting, it will help children practice and improve their skills in counting numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.

The Tell by Touch with Clock also makes a wonderful sensory resource!

  
To be “In it to win it” all you need to do is 

1. Leave a comment at the end of this blog

2. Like and share our Facebook page  Eyfsmatters

3. Follow me on Twitter @eyfsmatters 

4. Leave a comment under the Tell by touch clock picture on Instagram @eyfsmatters 

  

Good Luck xx 
(Winner will need to pay postage) 

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Creativity just makes my heart sing! 

I love watching children explore and create with loose parts. One little poppety and her friend worked for a long time yesterday on this marvellous creation- I tried to stay well back whilst listening to their lovely conversation. It always amazes and fascinates me to watch friendships and relationship build and blossom over the year. The two girls who created this masterpiece have only just “found” each other over the past few weeks, but I can already see their relationship developing and growing day by day! 

   
   
I am such a firm believer in the Prime areas of the foundation stage, this gorgeous pair wouldn’t have been able to complete such a fantastic outcome had they not had a solid foundation of PSED, C&L and Physical Development.

Watching the joy on their faces as they worked together on the same theme was yet another reminder as to why I do the job I do, and also how important child led learning is! 

  
What has inspired you this week? Please leave a comment below 

Funky fingers wk beg 12th Oct 

Ive decided to write a blog post each fortnight with our Funky Fingers activity. I hope this will be useful, but will also be a great reference for me to nip back and remember what we’ve done! 

Here’s our timetable…  

Each day one group completes dough gym… I will post a video on my FB page 

Here’s  this week’s activities… 

Sorting different types of pasta- how many can you sort in a minute?   

 Placing glass beads onto numbers 

 
Rolling dice… Building a tower with tweezers to match the number on the dice  
Water Squirters 

  
(This pic is taken from Pinterest and is not owned by EYFSmatters)

We spend just approx 10mins each day on Funky fingers. The children love it, and we definitely notice and improvement and progress with fine motor control. 

What activities do you use? It would be great to hear what you do in your setting. Please leave a comment below xx 

Guest blog- *Every child is a star…give them the chance to sparkle*

I am delighted to introduce Amelia from Kicks Dance.

Now this makes me feel very old… Amelia was in Year 5 or 6 when I first moved down south to continue my teaching career, her gorgeous mum used to be a fab colleague of mine, and I taught Amelia’s youngest sister Florence for a year too! I also need to own up to accidentally banging in their dad’s prize Audi TT one day too!! ooppps (sorry Graham!!)

  
Here Amelia talks about the joy she feels from making children sparkle……

“You make me feel like a fairy”

  

That isn’t something most people hear on a typical working day. This is why I love my job so much. If I can make a 4 year old feel like a fairy every time she steps into my class, then I’m doing my job right.
My mum started ‘Kicks Dance’ nearly 8 years ago. After being a primary school teacher for 20 years, she decided that she would take her passion for performing arts and her love of children and start a dance school. My sisters and I all danced from the age of 3 and are trained in the usual Ballet, Tap and Modern. It didn’t take long for my mum to see the benefits. We stayed fit and healthy, coordinated, had good rhythm, musicality and posture…and these were only the physical benefits. She also noticed how dance helped us become motivated, hard – working, disciplined, driven and confident. Many of our best friends we still have today are from dance. I was a very shy and timid child and suffered from anxiety and childhood depression. My mum would be the first person to tell you that I was not the same child in my dance class. I took part in competitions and danced on the stage at a young age. I felt alive when I was dancing. The child I was at school and at home was not the same child that put on ballet shoes and twirled around the hall. Dance gave me a purpose. It gave me the confidence I needed to realise I could do anything I wanted. If I learnt a really hard new step in my dance class, then I could do anything. It didn’t happen overnight, but dance made me the happy, confident person I am today.

I started dancing when I was 3 and by the time I started school, I had made friends and taken part in a class that gave me the social skills and discipline that others maybe didn’t have. My first year at school was daunting and scary, but school was always ok on the days I knew I had dance class. Dance made me excited and a happier child. However, there was never enough dance at school when I was younger. When we did do ‘dance’ classes, it was always run by a reluctant teacher, to a cassette tape, where we had to roll along the floor pretending to be a plastic bag (ironically…I had to do that in my degree as well! It isn’t any more thrilling when you are 19!).

  
 

 

“The best dance class I have ever seen! Bringing dance to our school was the best thing we ever did. I have never seen the boys so engaged” (a happy teacher).


Whilst there is always a place for Ballet and dance schools that offer a stricter syllabus, Kicks Dance is more about having fun, getting fit and enjoying dancing. You don’t have to be able to do flips or hold your leg behind your head. You just have to want to dance and have fun with your friends; “‘Kicks sessions are very inclusive, so even those who don’t have natural talent can participate fully” (a happy mummy). Dance often (or used to) make children feel very segregated if they weren’t good enough, or if they couldn’t get that step as quickly as everyone else. That is absolutely not what dance is about. Programmes such as ‘Strictly come dancing’ and ‘Got to dance’ have made children want to learn how to dance and it is the teacher’s responsibility to take that passion and turn it into something worthwhile.

  
At Kicks, we run mainly after-school, weekend & Pre-School classes, but we also teach dance as part of the curriculum in schools, during P.E sessions for Early Years to Year 6. We try to make our classes engaging for both boys and girls (yes…the boys love it too!) and when a class is delivered with passion and enthusiasm (which is very easy to achieve when teaching dance!), the children are hooked from the beginning. Without giving too many of our secrets away (!), our classes always start with some warm up songs, which the children get to know off by heart over the 6 week course…dance teaches children memory and muscle memory. We then do exercises in a circle, routines from the corner, learn a dance in the centre and then play dance based games. It is so lovely to see the excitement on a child’s face when they walk into the hall and see us and realise they don’t have to sit down and do a science lesson…they can be free! The smiles when they work out how to do a step that they have been struggling with, is what makes our jobs worthwhile. Dance teaches children perseverance and patience.

  


They don’t realise that the clapping they are doing in that routine is helping them with their rhythm, which in turn is helping them grasp that really hard step in the other routine. They don’t realise that when asked to “freeze on one leg” their core muscles are engaged and their coordination is improving. Whilst they are stood watching in delight as their friends dance from the corner, they are learning to wait their turn. When they decide to hop on one foot, with their arms circling above their head, all they see is fun. We see creativity, coordination and an improvement in gross motor skills. When the Early Years children come into our after-school classes and get changed for dance, they are continuing what they are learning during the school day – getting dressed without mummy’s help! Learning in disguise…the best type of learning in my opinion!

“He is a much happier boy and Kicks has done that”

At Kicks we don’t make our children do anything they don’t want to do. Our catchphrase is ‘Every child is a star…give yours the chance to sparkle’. We want to help give children the confidence they deserve. We have met so many children who come to our classes as shy, timid little girls and boys who won’t let go of mummy’s leg. Within less than half a term, the change in them is immense; “My daughter always comes home happy after class. Dance class has also helped her gain some much needed confidence”.

If you look at the words I have highlighted, I don’t know how you can argue that dance and the arts isn’t one of the best privileges a child can be given:

Fit. Healthy. Coordinated. Rhythm. Musicality. Posture. Motivated. Hard – working. Disciplined. Driven. Confident. Purpose. Happy. Social. Excited. Memory. Perseverance. Patience. Creativity.

 

Remember, you have the ability to make a child feel like a fairy or a superhero.


*Every child is a star…give them the chance to sparkle*

 

By Amelia Russell
Owner Kicks Dance Horsham & Kicks Dance Crawley

  


Story Trail 

This week our text has been “The hungry Caterpillar” by the marvellous Eric Carle

On Monday we carried out a story trail… For those of you that haven’t ever experienced one of these here’s how it works… 

  1. Photo copy pics from the text
  2. Place copies of each picture in separate baskets (ideally outside)
  3. Children get into pairs 
  4. Zoom around the trail collecting pics from various baskets
  5. Place pictures in correct order
  6. Retell the story In sequence (noting any parts of the story they are missing!) 

                  So what learning has taken place?

  • Great communication and language skills
  • Turn taking 
  • Making relationships 
  • Sharing ideas
  • Sequencing 
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience 
  • Counting 1:1 correspondence 
  • Story telling
  • Retelling events 

Did they know they were learning? Did they heck! Did they have high levels of involvement and enjoyment? ABSOLUTELY! 

How to help children distinguish a capital letter from a lower case

Lots of children get confused between capital letters and lower case letters. It’s so tricky isn’t it- I guess it’s like me trying to learn Greek/Chinese! I just wouldn’t have a clue. 

We try to teach each sound individually and show the children the capital at the same time, but try not to over load them with info at the same time. 

I have been having a trawl around and have found a few ideas that I think would work brilliantly. As you know, I am an advocate for outdoor learning and anything that is fun, exciting and can offer children challenge. 

A fan page I follow on facebook https://www.facebook.com/rockmyclassroom. Has some great ideas that could be adapted and used for lower case and capital letter work. 

  
Laminate lower case letters and have them on cards, children have to squirt the corresponding Upper case letter with their water gun! 

 
Another fab idea from Rock my classroom- you could have 2 buckets one lower case, one upper case, and write letters onto plastic balls. Your child can have a go at whizzing them down the Shute into the correct bucket! 

  Use pebbles to paint on upper and lower case letters and play matching games. Hide them in mud outside and dig them up! 

Love this idea… Attach lock to lower case letter and matching upper case letter to key! 

  
Good old shaving foam

  
Here’s a couple of links I found …
http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/earlyyears/snowmanalphabet.htm 
http://www.roythezebra.com/reading-games-lesson-plans/lesson-plan-capital-letter-beginner.html 

Lastly how about alphabet spaghetti or pasta letters? 

   
 Happy alphabet hunting 

Critique and Feedback 

I just had to write a post on this and share with you the fabulous “Austins Butterfly” video that I watched earlier this afternoon. 

As part of our staff meeting today we fed back on various twilight courses that we attended a couple of weeks ago. One that tickled my taste buds was entitled “Growth Minset” and how we can all change our mindset, and also help our children to become more confident in their own abilities thus have a “growth mindset” and not a fixed mindset. 

I need to do an awful lot more reading on this to fully understand it, and to be able to discus it with you further, but one link that was suggested we watch is this…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hqh1MRWZjms an amazing video entitled Austin’s Butterfly. 
It really just makes such sense to me, not just for EYFS but any year group. 

Looking specifically at EYFS though, it is so poignant. Especially in the way we give out feedback and critique. I try each day to build a class of resilient rhinos that keep on trying, and find new ways to do things and different ways to approach problems , but some days I’m just not sure that I am successful in my quest. This amazing video proves the need for being resilient and keeping on going. It has made me even more determined to educate our children in the knowledge that there is always scope in trying again and achieving way more than you ever thought possible! 

I guess it’s about educating our children that critique is kind, helpful, and specific. Young children are able to do this very well sometimes they just need a little guidance from us on how to go about it successfully! 

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did x