Summer Carnival 2022

Saturday 9th July we all came together on the field behind Nursery to have a carnival style summer party and to celebrate our soon to depart school leavers. We had bouncy castles, a steel drum band, face paints. a parade and costume competition, BBQ and a school leavers ceremony. Thank you to Truly Scrumptious and 1Toy2Play in Horsforth for providing our prizes for most colourful, and most innovative costume. We all had a wonderful day in the sunshine and we hope you did too.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/fCqJB1hT4Eg

 


Pumpkin Picking

It's that's time of year again...

The time that nature hands us natural learning supplies by the plenty. Conkers, acorns and fallen leaves are brought into our learning environment to inspire creativity, discussions, and all kinds of learning through play.

In the Art Studio, the children are inspired by Leaf Man, making their own leaf people and arrangements on the Lightbox. But there is one thing missing: pumpkins!

Every year we take our pre-school children to Kemps Farm- Horsforth Pick your own. In spring they open up for strawberry and fruit picking. In Autumn they provide thousands of pumpkins all shapes sizes and colours.  How lucky we are that this is on our door step.

So on this crisp cold but sunny Thursday morning in October we counted heads, suited up and set out for our Autumn adventure.

A Beautiful Day

When we arrived it was a little different to last year, much to their delight, this time we had a tractor ride to the field. Just 5 minutes from nursery and we somehow felt like we were in the middle of the countryside. Next year the tractor driver said he might even drive us right back to nursery.

As we meandered around the one way dirt tracks through the fields of orange the children selected the pumpkins to bring back. Orange, white, green, bumpy, they selected a total variety. The terrain added to the adventure, climbing over the winding stalks and wading through the mud was a naturally formed assault course. We definitely recommend wellies!

Wheel barrows full and imaginations captured we began our walk back to Inspirations. We arrived back to our yurt in time for our Spaghetti Bolognese and we look forward to showing you what we do with our chosen pumpkins next week. Watch this space.

Happy Halloween!

-Nathalie

 


Little Litter Pickers

It was during one of our daily Forest School trips that one of our Pre-School children expressed disappointment at finding litter on the ground. We decided to order some litter pickers and set out on an adventure to clean up Horsforth.

At least once a week now a small group set off around Horsforth with Litter Pickers and a bag, collecting every item of trash they see along the way. So far we have met some wonderful people who stop and thank the children. It's a wonderful way of getting exercise, meeting our locals and helping our community.

Watch the video here-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N-yULXVwjk

We're proud of our children for noticing the world around them and caring about the place they live. Would you like to help make Horsforth a cleaner place? Check out the Horsforth Litter Pickers group on facebook.

 


Being Two- What are Schemas?

Welcome to part two of our focus on Being Two. This week we take a look at schemas, what they are, how our toddler room supports them, and ways to support this at home.

Have you made a cup of tea today, switched a light on, picked a pen off the floor and moved it to a flat surface to avoid it rolling off again? Then you have used schemas today without even realising it.

A schema, put simply is like a mental model, a set of instructions we act out in our brain based on what has been successful in the the past. Whilst we come across schemas every time we learn something brand new, as you can imagine this happens the most at 2 and 3 years old.

Our toddler room is a HUB of schemas and is filled with opportunities to create these brain connections.

If I hit this will it break?

Whilst in may appear our little ones are rampaging through rooms causing chaos perhaps it helps to change our perspective and remember they are simply creating cognitive blue prints that set them up for life.

What happens if i drop this? Does this bounce? If I hit this will it break?

The Main Types of Schemas

Below are some examples of Schemas and how they are supported within the provision:

  •  Transporting – Moving objects or themselves from place to place. Moving things
    with their hands. Bags, pots, pans, containers, sad.
  • Rotation – Turn and rotate objects or themselves. Roll their bodies, playing with toys
    that spin, twist, and turn or even ride bikes. They could use Tyres, Wheels, Cable
    reels and cars to explore this interest.
  • Enclosing – Join lines or build structures with objects such as bricks, magnets, or
    malleable materials to form enclosures/models.
  •  Connecting – Joining things together, fastening or tying things. Separating or
    disconnecting construction etc.
  • Positioning- Our loose parts ethos lends its self well to this schema, lining things up, ordering different sized objects.
  • Enclosing or enveloping- There is always a large cardboard box on the go in our toddler room setting for the children to climb into. But this can also be seen with sand or soil or fabric.
  • Transforming- Messy play- gloop, water trays, mark making

I have attached a link that details further Schemas and how you at home can support these at home.
http://www.flyingstart.uk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Schema.pdf


Being Two

This Month we are focusing on our middle room at nursery, the toddler room, also known as our Honeybees room.  Being two is more commonly referred to as the ‘Dreaded Twos’ or ‘Terrible Twos’; a term we find very unjust and instead celebrate this age with the phrase ‘Terrific Twos'.

Terrific Twos

It is very easy to conclude that your Toddler is in the midst of the ‘Terrible two’s’ when they act up and try push your buttons, especially when you are faced with patience testing tantrums.
It is important to remember that they are experiencing so many emotions and ultimately navigating their way into becoming tiny humans. They do not mean to drive you to the bottle of wine sat in your fridge, they are just growing and learning whilst showing you who they are and that being two really is terrific.

Adventure and Independence

In our eyes being a two year-old is about adventure and independence, traits we
feel are continuing to shape them after the transition from Baby to Toddler.

The Toddler room, or the Honeybee’s room as we refer to it is set up to allow the above,
and is a large area both indoors and out to move around freely, with many areas of
provision to explore and investigate. Whilst these areas are being slowly destroyed by tiny
hands and feet, friendships are being formed, and language is continuing to develop by
using simple sentences to share feelings, experiences and thoughts. They become more
aware of others feelings, and they are starting to understand boundaries and routines, as
well as listening with interest and understanding simple questions.

Milestones - Potty Training

Being Two also comes with it's challenges and a certain milestone is often met during this
period of their lives… Potty Training! Early signs that they may be transitioning
to this stage include awareness and communication. From telling you that they have done
something in their nappy to expressing the urge to go, these are all clear indictors that the
time is right and you should go with it and know that we are always their to support you. Remember that children develop at their own pace and they may not be ready to be potty trained until later.

Here are some links to books and tips for support-
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=potty+training+books+for+toddlers&crid=BLJ3UFJL3K9O&sprefix=potty+training+%2Caps%2C192&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_3_15

https://www.pull-ups.co.uk/tips/when-to-start/what-age-to-start/?gclsrc=ds&&msclkid=18fb426620f51cbdb4c42221b8ae54cb&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Pull-Ups+%7C+Information+%7C+Search+%7C+Questions+%26+Advice+%7C+Exact&utm_term=tips+for+potty+training&utm_content=Potty+Training+Tips&gclid=CJHJ4cnIo-8CFcOPGwodIZsHOQ

 

 

Children are not things to be moulded, but people to be unfolded- Jess Lair

Next week we will focus on the importance of schemas, with some tips to supporting young children's language development. In the meantime if you've had a tough day, you've passed bath time and skipped straight to bedtime, you're still doing a great job.  Remember it is this age that children are making new connections in their brain, pushing boundaries and learning vocabulary at rapid speed. We have to give credit to them for all this multitasking, whilst keeping our silliness alive, reigniting our imagination, and providing daily entertainment.

Although there can be some hard times amongst the great times if we start to see the world through their perspective we might all agree that life as a toddler can be challenging but also very fun.

-Ashleigh

 


Pre-School at Horsforth

Happy New Year to everyone, it sure has been an eventful start to the year as we continue to tackle a pandemic with 3 inches of snow thrown in to test us. But hope and positivity prevails, and we really valued your responses to our previous blog on the little steps we can all take to create a more sustainable year.

We thought we would start the year of blogs by taking a look at our Pre-School Settings across Horsforth and Adel. Currently our Pre-School bubble at Horsforth has closed, so for those affected we are posting daily activities and zooms for the children, you can find all the information you need on Tapestry.

We start by looking back at 2018- the time we implemented the Reggio Approach into our classrooms, changed our name from Dolphins to Inspirations, and rebuilt our entire Pre-School area. This change meant moving the Toddler Room into the old Pre-School room, opening up a second Baby Room, and building a Yurt, Outdoor Class Room and Art Studio on the patch of un-used grass land behind our nursery.

Our Yurt

Flattening the land for our Mongolian Yurt was quite the task, over the spring months of 2018 the changes were finalised and after calling in help from some of our parents, together with Colin the Yurt was erected in just a couple of days. The Yurt is a unique space and feature at Inspirations that provides just one of many learning areas for our Pre-School children. It is a cosy space to warm up in adverse weather and to eat their meals during winter. The yurt is filled with literacy areas, maths areas, open ended resources and books for reading and researching. See more about our Yurt here- http://simonr30.sg-host.com/our-yurt/

Outdoor Classroom

Our children are predominantly outdoor learners, and our outdoor classroom is a constantly changing space that matches the children's interests and mirrors seasonal changes. Adapting our classroom to match their interests invites our curious young minds to explore and discover, and is the perfect space for them to unleash their creativity.

No Fear of Failure

Throughout our Pre-School areas room Reggio Emilia is of course the guiding principle, and our spaces reflect that. Our Project based approach provides the backbone of their learning, so it is important that our environment and educators support their creative thought process without any fear of failure.

Exciting News

This January are excited to announce a brand new Room Leader for our Pre-School room. Jennie is an experienced Reggio inspired Early Years Educator who over the course of the last 15 years has worked in Dubai, Japan, Angola and Vietnam and has been to Reggio Emilia three times. We’re very excited that she has joined our team and brings her passion for our pedagogy and supporting children through child- led learning. Her email address is jennie@inspirationsnurseries.co.uk if you would like to get in touch.

 

If you’re interested in your child joining our Pre-School over 3’s room please take a look at our website and get in touch with Kayleigh@inspirationsnurseries.co.uk.

In next weeks blog we will be taking a look at our Pre-School setting over at Adel. In the mean time stay safe in the snow and please do send in any photos you have out exploring the weather. We will select some highlights to share on our social media this weekend.

"We value space to create a handsome environment and its potential to inspire social, affective and cognitive learning. The space is an aquarium that mirrors the ideas and values of the people who live in it" -Loris Malaguzzi

 

- Nathalie


Every Cloud...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AAcMqAZlXU

I followed the children into the local woods to see what they got up to on their journey into the forest, you can watch the video on YouTube by following the link above. Unfortunately due to Covid regulations this was the last walk into the woods for a month or so, but every cloud has a silver lining. The children now have their forest school sessions on-site and it has inspired us to make the most out of what we have here.

Forest School On Site

We have added some rope swings over the stream, and a slide down to the forest school area. This week during the forest school sessions our 3 and 4 year olds have been learning how to use a pneumonic drill, they’ve made oat pancakes on the outdoor campfire and are learning how to put on their outdoor suits independently. Staying on-site during forest school has also opened up some team building opportunities and chances to talk and listen around the campfire.

‘I love every shape, every colour and every number’- James 4

It won’t be long until the children can head back into the woods, but in the mean time you’ll find them knee deep in the stream, making art against the bark of trees and mastering our new rope tyre obstacle course. Sometimes it takes a little set back to encourage you to make the absolute most out of what you already have.


Inspecting trees at Forest School

The Benefits of Forest School

At Inspirations we value greatly our outdoor environments which are extensive and include the use of our local Horsforth woodland at Hunger Hills. Our passion for outdoor learning and forest school comes from a deep understanding and appreciation for the ethos. The pedagogy was developed in Sweden in the 1950’s and the approach focuses on the natural environment being utilised, not only as an area where children can blow off excess energy but more importantly where children are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature.

http://simonr30.sg-host.com/our-settings/forsest-school/

Forest school children develop an appreciation and deep seated love of nature and are able to explore and learn from all that the environment has to offer, at a pace that suits them.

'Lead their own Learning'

The forest school ethos allows for each individual child to lead their own learning journey. They find their own pace, interests and methods of learning and attainment that best suit them. There is no pressure, no preconceived results, no adults determining a beginning or end to their project or interest.

Adults of course play a vital role one which is supportive and patient, they build strong positive relationships which children know they can trust and count on. The Adults help children take managed risks encouraging children to consider, they ask questions and encourage with a hands-on approach which helps supports critical thinking.

Resilience and Determination

Forest school children are shown to be ahead of their peers by the time they start school at the age of five.  They show confidence, are very willing to ‘have a go’ and not be deterred by failed attempts.  They are resilient and eager to keep trying until they find a positive solution to a problem. It is shows they are effective problem solvers who work well within a team, exhibiting high levels of motivation and concentration to any task facing them.

The forest learning environment also creates strong communicators and gives children a deep level of understanding about the word around them. They are socially advanced, understanding feelings and consequences of their behaviour and are more likely to think before they act. Naturally children who spend time in wide open spaces where the floor is uneven, who have trees to climb and weather to navigate are more confident in their own physical abilities. They are more prone to want to be outdoors as adults and as a result are more healthier, happier individuals.

There are several studies on the benefits of forest school and outdoor learning philosophy. These studies are becoming more prevalent as the ethos has slowly become more popular. Below are a few links to the most recent studies showing the benefits mentioned in our blog above.

https://www.forestschoolassociation.org/new-research-a-longitudinal-study-on-forest-school/

https://www.lboro.ac.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2017/october/study-reveals-forest-school-benefits/

- Nicola