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

 


Seekers of Meaning

New Video

Over the last few weeks I have been filming the children as they explore the Art Studio. To read more about our Art studio you can go back to last weeks blog.

The children's current shared interest is construction and building houses from clay, bricks, sticks and blocks. Some of that is captured in our brand new video that you can watch here-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-59qb9GgdQ

 


Inside the Art Studio

The Art Studio

Every morning and afternoon our Pre-Schoolers choose where they want to spend their time, between the Yurt/Outdoor Classroom, Forest School or the Art Studio. There is a quaint pebbled path that leads us behind the Yurt, past the new pond and up to this purpose built creative space, but this isn't just any art classroom, we do things a little differently here. http://simonr30.sg-host.com/the-art-room/

Why do we have an Art Studio?

Of course creativity is woven throughout every aspect of our learning at Inspirations, there are mark making tools, paints and clay accessible in all areas, so why do we need an additional separate creative space? The Art Studio, (referred to as an Atelier in the Reggio culture) is so much more than just an Art Room. It is its own separate space for the children to own, re-purpose and re-visit week after week, and is set out to foster self discovery.

100 Languages of Learning

It is a space for smaller groups of children to branch off, be heard, share ideas, and develop the confidence to be leaders of their own research and learning. It is an environment that plays host to books, materials and tools that support the 100 ways of learning with the support of myself as the Atelierista. It is a space where children proceed through their inquiry to reach their hypothesis though guided experiments, mixed media, play, music, light and shadow, sculpture and dramatic play. A space for them to give meaning to, give identity to, and in turn put them selves and their ideas into context within the world they live in.

The walls of the Art Studio are a canvas, a projector screen, an art exhibition and a metaphorical mirror reflecting the evolving learning journey of our children. Through photos and quotes of the children's voice on the wall the children can see where their ideas started,  where they are now, and by reading back the children's own words they see that their inputs are recorded, valued and remembered.

It's also important to note that the Atelierista is not an art teacher, rather, an Artist who knows the potential of art materials and children, and the limitless possibilities when these are combined.

Beautiful Mistakes

In the Art Studio the children are not afraid  to try new things, because fear of failure doesn't exist. How can it exist in a place where mistakes are simply learning opportunities. A fallen glue pot can become an art project in its self, and a drawing gone wrong can inspire new ideas. One project that stands out began when a child wiped up spilt watercolour paint from the floor with a baby wipe and watched as the colours soaked through the wipe. He then decided to add baby wipes to a canvas, the 'dirty' baby wipes themselves then becoming the art.

Seekers of Meaning

As constant seekers of meaning, our children are making sense of the world around them with everything they do, and our Art studio is one section of our pre-school that fosters this.

This week we will be filming inside the Art Studio to see their explorations brought to life, this short film will be shared on You Tube next week.

- Nathalie

 


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


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


Learning through Light

The Reggio approach (as outlined in our previous blog) puts children at the centre of their own learning. The ethos is based around a hands on approach to learning, with art, materials, and loose parts used to create learning opportunities and encourage critical thinking; but one thing we haven't touched upon much is the use of light as a material.

If you explore our rooms at inspirations, or the photography on our Instagram and website you will see there are projectors, light boxes, and sensory dark dens throughout all of our spaces from the Baby Rooms up to Pre-School.

Why do we use light and shadow?

In the younger rooms the use of light cubes, fairy lights and projectors invite children to expand their natural curiosity and encourage babies to engage and remain focused for a longer period of time. As well as having a calming affect, this sensory experience also provides a different perspective, allowing the child to develop creative and critical thinking.

In the Toddler and Pre-School rooms we use over head projectors, torches and mirrors to allow the children to deepen their knowledge and understanding of light and space. Have you ever witnessed the first time a child acknowledged their own shadow?

Seeing their reaction just highlights the  sense of magic and wonder that comes with light play. In the Reggio Approach we talk about natural objects a lot, and sun light alone is a completely free resource that should be utilised to support learning. Light and shadow can be a source of intrigue as children notice the way in which light changes the way things look. It gives the child the opportunity to witness the illumination of things around them, predict patterns, test their ideas and develop new concepts.

We set up a camera in our baby rooms to see how they interact with light, you can watch the video here-

https://youtu.be/VdVQmPwN8Bs

 

At home why not set up an activity for your child based around lights, shadows or reflection using mirrors, we would love to be tagged in a photo of your activity on tapestry, Instagram or Facebook. 

“light and certain light phenomena are central protagonists and highlight the extent to which expressiveness and beauty can accompany an understanding of scientific thinking.” - Vecci (Reggio Atelierista)

For more reading on this topic you can find 'Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia: Exploring the Role and Potential of Ateliers in Early Childhood Education (Contesting Early Childhood)DF' on amazon. 

- Nathalie (Atelierista)

 


The Town of Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia Approach

At Inspirations Nurseries and Forest School we follow the Reggio Approach to learning, but what's the back story, what are the circumstances that led to this approach being created?

Following the devastation of World War Two, Reggio Emilia and its neighbouring Italian cities were left war torn. The war left merely a foundation upon which to rebuild a town and a community from scratch, a place free from oppression, injustice and inequality. This brought together a community of people passionate to form a new educational system with the very little they had; with the aim of turning their future generations into capable, resourceful and resilient individuals.History and philosophy - The Reggio Emilia Approach: An Enrichment Case Study

Local men and women of all ages came together to create a school for young children using materials from bombed out buildings. So from the very beginning these Reggio Emilia children were shown that something can be made from nothing, that creativity, perseverance and determination leads to opportunities and possibilities, and that anything can be made from the materials naturally surrounding us.

At inspirations we immerse ourselves and our children in this resourceful and passionate mind set, we too are a community that learn together, explore boundaries and strive to reach our full potential together.

http://simonr30.sg-host.com/news-and-blog/loose-parts/

As described in our previous blog, loose parts are a huge part of the Reggio Approach but there are many other aspect that guide our environment, planning and learning opportunities here at our Horsforth and Adel settings. 

'The Real Thing'

Instead of plastic play food, cups and jugs in the mud kitchen and home corners we use real fruit and veg, real plates and utensils. There are so many more learning opportunities that come from using real up cycled natural resources, they can peel, cut, weigh and smell real fruit and vegetables, and real pot and pan will also teach the children the value of an object. They are more likely to handle real objects with care, value and precision than with a light plastic alternative.

The role of our educators is to listen to the children, to be present, challenge their ideas, and extend when learning opportunities arise. This brings us back to the importance of community within our setting, we as educators are here to be present with the children and to create learning opportunities in their environment for them to discover the answers them selves. When a child has the opportunity to discover the world independently, and learn answers through trial and error with the support of our educators and natural resources they grow up as capable, creative and resourceful humans, just like the inspiring people who came together to create the first Reggio Emilia Schools from the ground up. 

We must credit the child with enormous potential and the children must feel that trust. The teacher must give up all his preconceived notions and accept the child and a co- constructor’ –Loris Malaguzzi

Our Horsforth Setting is located next to Hunger Hill Woods on West End Lane, to get in touch email kayleigh@inspirationsnurseries.co.uk

Our Adel Setting is located next to St John the Baptist Primary, to get in touch email deborah@inspirationsnurseries.co.uk

 - Nathalie (Atelierista)

 


Loose Parts In A Basket For Learning

Loose Parts

Why do we use loose parts?

Loose parts are a significant segment of our ethos at Inspirations Nurseries. Before moving away from conventional toys, we did a lot of research into the benefits of using loose parts. Several education pedagogies use loose parts. Reggio Emilia and loose parts complement each other well; we use both at Inspirations. Both philosophies support open ended play using natural resources, imagination, and creativity. When children are given opportunities to engage in free play with little adult direction, they are able to explore freely with creativity and expression, because there are no limitations or expectations.

Loose Parts Basket from the Hedgehog Babyroom

What are Loose Parts?

Loose parts are open ended materials that can be moved around, designed, and redesigned. They create opportunities to use our imaginations and discover new ideas. Conventional toys are fixed for the one purpose they were made for, whereas loose parts are open ended and can be used for a variety of things. A plastic car can only be a car. A stick could be a magic wand or a person or you could use a number of them to make a house… the possibilities are endless. Ask any parent how long their children will play with the cardboard box a toy comes in on their birthdays. Loose parts can be found anywhere. How many of us remember going to the beach and collecting shells and stones and making patterns with them? You can find loose parts in the house, in the garden or on a walk. Loose parts include both manufactured and natural resources. These can include stones, pinecones, rings, balls, blocks, boxes, leaves and even nuts and bolts.

Endless Possibilities

For outdoor play, we provide a variety of large loose parts such as tyres of different sizes, milk crates, planks of wood, cable reels etc. In our baby rooms, we use a variety of loose parts to support schemas; we use things like curtain rings to hang on mug trees, balls to post through holes, tyres to encourage rolling. Toddlers can then use slightly smaller loose parts such as pebbles to create patterns and smaller wood slices for counting. Preschool are able to use more intricate loose parts such as beads, small tiles and items they find on forest school.

The founder of the Reggio Emilia Philosophy said...

  “Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colours”.

-Kayleigh

 

See loose parts in action in our Pre-School room here- https://youtu.be/Nngfh6Uj-yw

 

All photos from Inspirations Nursery

Sticks and stone games for developing balance in children

Stick and Stone Balancing Activity

Resources – Sticks, a stone and a bowl

Implementation

Use your problem solving and fine motor skills to lay your sticks out and balance the stone so it doesn’t fall through into the bowl. As a challenge limit the amount of sticks and use a smaller stone!

Intent – Learning goals

Characteristics of Effective Learning

Playing and Exploring –

Being willing to ‘have a go’

  • Initiating activities
  • Seeking challenge
  • Showing a ‘can do’ attitude
  • Taking a risk, engaging in new experiences, and learning by trial and error

Active Learning –

Being involved and concentrating

  • Maintaining focus on their activity for a period of time
  • Showing high levels of energy, fascination
  • Not easily distracted
  • Paying attention to details

Keeping on trying

  • Persisting with activity when challenges occur
  • Showing a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off
  • Bouncing back after difficulties

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

  • Showing satisfaction in meeting their own goals
  • Being proud of how they accomplished something – not just the end result
  • Enjoying meeting challenges for their own sake rather than external rewards or praise

Creating and Thinking Critically

Having their own ideas

  • Thinking of ideas
  • Finding ways to solve problems
  • Finding new ways to do things

Making links

  • Making predictions
  • Testing their ideas

Choosing ways to do things

  • Planning, making decisions about how to approach a task, solve a problem and reach a goal
  • Checking how well their activities are going
  • Changing strategy as needed
  • Reviewing how well the approach worked

 

 

 

 


Feeling stones creative ideas | Inspirations Nurseries

Feelings Stones

Resources: Stones, pens/paint

For the body- Clay, mud, play dough or sticks

Implementation

In these unprecedented times we are all aware how important it is to be extra aware and look after our well being. Your children could use play dough to make a body and parents or children could draw pictures of a range of emotions on stones, so then each day your child can choose how they are feeling and talk about that emotion and the reasons why.

Intent- Learning Goals

Personal Social and Emotional Development – Managing feelings and behaviour

22-36 months

  • Can express their own feelings such as sad, happy, cross,scared, worried.

30-50 months

  • Aware of own feelings, and knows that some actions and words can hurt others’ feelings.

 Personal Social and Emotional Development – Self confidence and self awaremess

22-36 months

  • Expresses own preferences and interests.

30-50 months

  • Can select and use activities and resources with help.
  • Welcomes and values praise for what they have done.
  • Enjoys responsibility of carrying out small tasks.
  • Shows confidence in asking adults for help.

40-60 months

  • Confident to speak to others about own needs, wants, interests and opinions.
  • Can describe self in positive terms and talk about abilities.

Communication and Language – Speaking

22-36 months

  • Uses language as a powerful means of widening contacts, sharing feelings, experiences and thoughts.

40-60 months

  • Uses talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events.

Impact

How did this activity go? Please use this space to record any findings, adaptions, reflections and quotes from your children. We would love you to email them back to us or share them on Tapestry, Instagram or Facebook.