07 November 2019 - Autumn 2

Welcome back – brrrrrrr isn’t it chilly! We hope you all have a restful half term, readying yourselves for the rigors of the next few weeks! Why you may ask….well, it is November, which means…….CHRISTMAS IS ROUND THE CORNER!!!!! Yep, no apologies, I LOVE CHRISTMAS! And as far as I am concerned, once Halloween has passed – it is the season! It is never too early! But more on that another day!
Next Friday is Children in Need and we will be doing our little bit by encouraging you to bring the children in dressed in fancy dress for a small donation of a £1.
I wonder how many Pudseys we can get in the building?
This week we have been following the children’s interests which have mainly been focused on Halloween and Fireworks.
Some children recreated their experience of firework night by creating colourful drawings on black paper. We encouraged them to describe the sounds they heard, there were lots of bangs, a few wheeeeees and the odd pop pop pop! We spoke about firework safety, never approaching lit fireworks and listening to the adults to keep themselves safe. We talked about wearing gloves if using sparklers, and another good idea….sticking the sparkler in a carrot to give it that little extra distance from their hand….poor Kevin, though he has time to heal before Christmas. We watched as a group a staff member with a sparkler in the garden which most of the children enjoyed, however 1 or 2 were a little dubious! We then made our own sparklers with paper tubes and multicoloured foil paper, and they swished them around in the air.A few of our older children were curious about the origins of the 5th November celebrations, so we performed an internet search, finding out about a man named Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up parliament, and that led to the poem
Remember remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
Children shared their experiences of organised firework displays they attended, and all in all it seems a jolly good time was had by all!
A very different learning thread emerged when a child noticed a paper poppy on another child’s coat. It was explained that at this time of year(November), people purchase poppies to wear on their coat.. This having a dual purpose in a)remembering the soldiers who fought to keep us safe during the wars and b) raising finance to help the soldiers on their return from war and in their times of need. A few children decided to paint their own poppies and we chatted about how we pay special attention on the same day every year on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. On Monday, we will be encouraging the children to maintain a silence along with the staff at this time. If any of our families have a special interest/connection with the Armed Forces and would like to share some of their experiences with the children, we certainly would appreciate a visit. Just give us a call and we will arrange a day and time to suit you.
Outside, some children used a water tray as a rowing boat. They learned that a floating jetty is called a pontoon and noticed that shark fins were a triangle shape. They then chalked triangles onto the playground and so had to be careful not to fall in!
They then began making shark hats (with a little adult help) drawing in sharp teeth, fins and eyes. This led to some children having the idea of becoming mermaids and mermen, cutting out long tails, drawing on scales and selotaping the creation onto their coats!
Meanwhile, some children have been making pizzas with the play dough, rolling it out, stretching and pulling it (one child had seen this happen on television) and then rolling little bits of dough for the pepperoni and strips for the cheese. It was decided that pizzas were their favourite food and we suggested we make some next week – which certainly went down well. We will make them on several days in different ways. It would be great if you could support their learning at home, perhaps making some, going shopping for ingredients, looking at the prices of items (not always such a good idea!) and providing us your child’s favourite topping.
Thank you to those who have been prompt in returning the information sheet we require for our focus children observations. It helps us gain a well rounded view of the children, as well as providing us with conversation starters. As you well know, asking a child what they have been up to normally only ever receives one response….“nothing”! I attended a course on communication a few years ago and the lecturer too had the same answer whenever she picked her child up from school. However, she developed a very good strategy…she stopped asking! Instead, she chatted about her day, the things she had done and the people/friends she had chatted with. Naturally, without coercion, her child joined in with the conversation, and described her day. It won’t work every day, sometimes children just need to decompress when they leave here, gather their energies ready for the next challenges the day will bring. Other times you will find out what fun they had, what they did, who they played with and with what. As with most things, when the pressure to perform is removed, the children will participate.
You may have noticed the posters going up and around Heybridge and on social media about our Christmas Fayre and Grotto. It is being held on December 15th at Plantation Hall between 11 and 3pm. There will be a Grand Raffle, Kids crafts, Petting Zoo, Face Painting, Vendors,Games, and refreshments. Tickets to see Father Christmas in his Grotto are £2 in advance or £3 on the day. Put the date in your diary and come and join us in the festivities – its going to be a Jingly, Jolly Festive Fayre!!!!!!

24 October 2019 - Half term next week.

Well here it is! An 8 week half term is always a long one for the children. By the end they in dire need of a little r and r – as are the staff, but less of that!
This week has been a Spooktacular one, in preparation for next week. The playdough took on an orangy hue, with the distinct fragrance of winter….cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, which we used to create our own pumpkins, moulding the shapes with our hands and using the sculpting tools to add details. Some days we added black dough which lent itself to witches hats and spiders. Mixing the orange and black together made a gorgeous marbled effect, and when the children added glitter (it just had to be done!) it was a masterpiece in itself. Obviously, too much glitter was used (is there ever too much?) so we we able to mark make on the table, several children writing their initial letter or drawing pumpkins and ghosts. With all the talk about Halloween one child wanted to draw spooky things in his learning journey. He concentrated hard to come up with ideas, telling me to help him draw ghosts, skeletons, pumpkins, witches, witches cauldrons, broomsticks…and then he asked for a zombie! He drew his ideas for his story alongside which made a lovely double page spread.
On Tuesday we provided pumpkins in a variety of sizes and the majority of the children enjoyed designing faces, cutting out shapes, scooping out the seeds and exploring the gooey slimey textures. Woodwork tools were provided and the children sawed, hammered, screwed into the pumpkins until little was left. We then took them into the garden to allow the wildlife to enjoy the spoils – pumpkins not children!
Some children observed the birds waiting on the roofs of neighbouring houses and the conversation led to wondering what they would eat, the difference in their diet throughout the year and what we could do to help them. Debs and the children decided they could make some bird feeders from our pine cones, birdseed and lard hanging them around our tree in the garden. This led to learning how lard “melted” when heated in the microwave and then became hard again once it had cooled. The children mixed the birdseed into the melted lard, and then once it had cooled used spoons or their hands to coat the pine cones in the mixture. Now we are just waiting for the birds to find them! To extend their interest, we have decorated our canopy area with pictures of different kinds of birds, some of our children are already able to identify sparrows, starlings and collared doves.
Another interest thread centered around fruit juice and how it can be made. We provided oranges and the children squeezed their own juice from them. They then tasted shop bought orange juice. They tried to squeeze an apple, discovering they were not able to obtain any juice “because it is too hard”. Wondering how apple juice could be made, the group used the Tablet to access the internet and discovered a video on Youtube about apple pressing. The children watched it and were captivated by the machines used. Luckily,the “here’s one I made earlier” philosophy runs strong in Gilly, and she produced a carton of apple juice for them to taste.
Junk modelling is always popular with a few of our children, one in particular pinches the resources we have in the home corner (cereal boxes, egg cartons and loo rolls) and likes to create a structural masterpiece. Whilst he was constructing, he picked up a piece of paper and wondered how paper was made. Anne wondered how they could find out and L suggested using the laptop. L then watched a video on how paper is made from scratch and was able to relay this information to his keyperson later in the session.
Yesterday we made the most of the sunny weather and hiked across the school field looking for natural resources to take back to preschool for use in our collages, painting etc. Whilst we were picking up leaves and twigs one child pointed out a plastic bottle lying on the ground. When asked what should we do about it, he replied “ put it in the bin”. As we didn’t have a bin to hand we popped it in our bag to dispose of correctly on our return. This in fact opened the eyes of the entire group, everyone then litter picking across the field – we are so lucky to have such a crowd of little environmentalists! We chatted about the importance of correct disposal of litter, and began identifying the differences between the plastic and the paper we found. We will revisit this topic at a later date to extend their learning about recycling and waste disposal.
Half way through our walk we stopped in the little “woodland nature area” and sat on the story telling benches and everyone was involved in improvising a story, which included a dragon, the gruffalo, paw patrol and a big bad wolf! Whilst I doubt it will ever be published, it was a special time, everyone engaging, taking turns, and learning about story telling!
During our weekly staff meeting/training we were reminded of a very useful tip when communicating with young children, and could be invaluable for you at home – When you ask a your child a question, it will take them 9 seconds to 1) hear what you have said 2) understand what you have said 3) formulate a response 4)reply. So next time you ask a question, try counting to 9 (silently of course!) before you repeat yourself. Sometimes we all forget their young brains are still developing – albeit rapidly – and do not have the processing skills we have developed over the decades.
When you start rapid firing questions at them, they are unable to retain all the information, process and give you a satisfactory answer. So slow down! On the subject of communication, the Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Team are changing the way parents of preschool children access their service with the introduction of Communication Stations. These will be drop in sessions that you can attend WITHOUT referral where a qualified Speech and Language therapist will listen to your concerns, assess your child and give advice. The drop ins local to us are;
Crouch Vale Medical Centre, Burnham Road South Woodham Ferrers
Monday 4th November 9.30 – 11am. 12.30-2pm
Monday 2nd December 9.30 – 11am. 12.30-2pm

Maldon Town Hall
Conference Room Market Hill
Monday 11th November 9.30-11
Monday 9th December 9.30-11

Witham Health Centre
Baby clinic room, 4 Mayland Road, Witham CM82UX
Tuesday 12th November 9.30-11am
Tuesday 26th November 9.30-11am
Tuesday 3rd December 9.30-11am
Tuesday 17 December 9.30-11am

There are other dates in Chelmsford, Halstead and Braintree, if you require these please enquire at preschool.
Dont forget we are closed tomorrow and next week so Have a good half term break and stay safe!

17 October 2019 - Hi all!

Autumn is well and truly setting in now, the days are more damp (even sopping!) and that chill is creeping in.
We are so lucky as a setting to have our outside area, and we have now started having the backdoor open immediately, allowing the children free access to the garden. We do have wet weather gear and wellies for the children to wear if it is wet/muddy, however if you would prefer to provide your child’s own NAMED wellies, that works too! They will still need their own coats as our wet weather gear is precisely that, it will keep them dry, not warm. It is also a sensible idea to put a spare change or 2 of clothes in their bags, as with all the will in the world, mud,sand,water and paint play will defeat the heftiest of aprons. I personally believe that I have performed my job well if I send the children home looking like they have been dragged through a hedge whilst juggling cup fulls of paint, sand and dirt!
This week the forms have gone out to the parents of children who will be observed next week. Please ensure these are completed and returned by your child’s first session of the week. It would be great if you could send some photos in, you can either email them, message them through on our facebook group, or on the actual Facebook page. These could be piccies of family times, special occasions, achievements etc. We will print them out and add them to the observation sheet. This gives us another device to encourage conversation and interest. This form of “observing” a select group for the whole week is a new process for us, and will probably evolve over the year as we find a particular format that suits us and the way our sessions run. You will be given the opportunity to discuss the findings and share thoughts on your child’s progress.( An extremely useful resource is a booklet called “What to expect, when? It has been composed to support parents with children between birth and 5. During these years children develop more rapidly than at any other time in their lives and this document has been written in a very user friendly format informing you of what to expect when during these vitally important years, focusing on the 7 areas of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS (early years foundation stage). You can download it free atwww.4children.org.uk) As mentioned earlier, we are limiting the number of children we observe each week, so please do not be concerned if you have not received a form yet. The benefit of this form of documentation and observing circles back to the “1000 meaningful interactions” with the children each day, as opposed to the 100 interactions if we are obliged to document each one. Also, as Anna Ephgrave states in her book Planning in the moment with young children
“Although staff do give the focus children a bit more attention, THE STAFF ARE INTERACTING WITH ALL THE CHILDREN, but do not record all interactions – they only record some of the interactions with the focus children in their Learning Journeys. The focus system ensures that EVERY child gets some records created every term. It also ensures that the “invisible” child becomes visible as staff seek them out during their focus week, and avoids the situation in which there is far more documentation for a child that is always eager and ready to show you something and is demanding of your attention (as opposed to the child who is happy to quietly achieve “
I am sure you can all see how this will be beneficial for ALL our children in the setting. Please remember this is a work in progress and there may be tweaks as the year motors on!
This week we have been taken on a voyage of discovery from;
Triangular magnetic blocks….oh that looks like a shark fin – story shark in the park – Dancing to Baby Shark on Youtube! – making shark collages and pictures and telescopes
to
building a stage and auditorium, selecting costumes, performing in front of a small audience, taking turns, respecting our peers, praising our friends.
And so much more inbetween!
Don’t forget that next week is the last week of this half term and it is a 4 day week. Friday 25th November is a non pupil day- meaning we will be closed, returning on TUESDAY 5th November for the run up to….yes, it has to be said, oh yes it does……..
CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 September 2019 - Week 2 and all is well!

Hi! So far so good, the children are settling in really well. Not everyone has started yet, so sessions still seem fairly quiet. By the time we return from the half term break…well, it will be the normal, hectic Preschool that we know and love!!!
Our new philosophy of Planning in the Moment is reaping rewards, the children are more engaged in their activities and are therefore learning all the while. As mentioned last week, it is a learning opportunity for the staff too as we are changing the way we interact, record keep ans even the way we present our setting. We are having weekly meetings/workshops allowing us to share what we think works and others that don’t. We watch videos of other settings that are well established in this way of learning to enable us to visualise what we are hoping to achieve.
One fact that we learned yesterday was
“ over the course of a day practitioners will interact with children on average 1000 times. This is 1000 opportunities for the children to learn. If we document each interaction as “proof” of what we are doing and what the children are learning, that number drops to 100. It really is a no brainer! In reality, this will mean the learning journeys will only be used when there are Wow! moments, focus weeks, messages etc freeing up the staff to concentrate on those 1000 interactions! It is a work in progress and the changes will happen.
As you will remember, we are not “planning” what the children learn in advance, but here are a few examples of learning this week;

05 September 2019 - Welcome

To all our new starters, Welcome to Heybridge Preschool! And a very welcome back to our older children and families. We hope you had a lovely summer break and are all ready for the Autumn term at preschool.
This year we are introducing a new format for our preschool which is known as “Planning in the Moment”. It is not worlds away from what we already do, however we will be tweaking and changing things slightly.
“Planning in the moment” is something that all parents and good practitioners do instinctively every day, observing and listening to the children and planning how to respond in a way that will benefit the child and support development. (Rather than bombard you with too much information in one go,over the next few months we will describe the changes we are making and the reasons for doing so. )
So this week…….How will we do this and what changes have we/will we be making?
The first change you may notice is the self registration board has moved. We strongly encourage the children (and parents) to find their name (or shape for the younger ones) and ‘register’ their attendance onto the We are here side. This has many benefits, name/shape recognition, acknowledging their attendance and the start of preschool. It takes some children longer than others to find their name,and some will need help to start with, however please resist the temptation to hurry your child, or indeed others that may be in front. Please don’t reach across a concentrating child to register your own. Lets remember the Great British tradition of lining up and waiting our turn!
In the past we have planned each week in advance, deciding on a theme and the resources we want out to support the children’s learning. We have tried to include the children’s interests when doing this, but organising the planning in advance you find that the childrens interests have moved on. We asked the children what they liked and what toys they wanted to play with, but it felt false and became very repetitive,with the children following what the previous children had said.
Now, all our resources are out in the setting, available for the children to choose and follow their interests and become involved in their play. We encourage the children to tidy away their choice of toys once they have finished into the correct box, and then to put the box away. This teaches a sense of personal responsibility, aids the development of concentration (children are less likely to act like butterflies, floating from one activity to another without engaging) respect for the toys/resources and encourages a safe environment.
The practitioners will be joining the children in the activities that they are engaging with…..not evidence gathering, taking notes or photos, but actually interacting with the children. It is too easy to become overly obsessed with record keeping and evidencing learning in the learning journey. This actually has minimal impact on the children and is so much less important than the interacting itself. Yes, it is nice to read about what your child has been up to during the day, but bear in mind, when we are writing in the journals, we are not engaging with the children and I think it is obvious what you would prefer! This isn’t to say that we wont be observing the children as each week we will be focusing on set children. You will receive a letter a week prior to your child’s week to let you know. We value the knowledge and understanding you have of your child and would really appreciate it if you would share this with us so that we can work together to meet you child’s needs. We will be asking you to share any significant happenings (visits, holidays, new pets, family celebrations, milestones reached) and some photos of these( no more than 15 please). Rather than the expense of printing out, you can share photos on our private facebook group, message them or email them through (heybridgepreschool@hotmail.com).
We will not be starting the observations realistically until after half term as the next few weeks will be very busy with the staggered intake of our new starters.

27 June 2019 - Important transitions

Hello everyone, enjoying this lovely weather?
The children that will be going into Reception in September have been having their school visits over the past few weeks. Over the years, it has become apparent how important these visits are to ensure a smooth transition. The children get used to the new surroundings, routines and different faces, hopefully allaying the fear of the unknown come September. Of course they may still experience nervousness, but it will be less than if they were unprepared. Something else to remember is for you to be prepared and positive also! Show your child that you have confidence in the school, teachers and routines. You may well be dreading this next phase, but you will not be doing your child any favours by allowing them to see your discomfort, it will compound and justify their own fears – if mummy is scared there must be something to be scared about! Talk about your happy days at school and the fun activities you remember doing.
Also, remember your child’s hearing is pretty acute (even though they practice selective deafness!), try to avoid talking about how they/you are going to find it difficult etc, this will become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We encourage you to let your child enter preschool, hang their bag and self register independantly now. Most children will thrive with this responsibility, and act quite maturley. Try and avoid drawn-out goodbyes. Instead, a cheery, ‘Oh look! They’re all going in, off you go’, followed by a quick kiss will be easier for your child. And for you.
There are several skills you can practice between now and September so your child is fully prepared for this next step….
Getting dressed and undressed, learning little tricks like clothes labels go at the back and left and right shoes. If getting shoes on the correct feet is a problem, perhaps write their name on a label, cut it in half and put each half into the shoes….generally, at this stage children are able to recognise their name so will be able to put the labels in the correct order ergo, shoes on the correct feet! Learning how to fasten buttons and zips is also important. It really is a good idea to label clothes, now you can get stick on labels it is much quicker and in the long run cheaper than replacing lost items.
Going to the toilet, wiping properly and washing hands independantly is a vital skill that practised now will provide confidence in the Reception classroom.
You all know these tips, but we are aware that sometimes a reminder, reading them can help organise your thoughts and help perspective.
Don’t worry if your child is unable to write their name, this will come in time and they will learn how to form the letters correctly when they are ready. At pre-school their hard work goes into the underlying muscle and hand/eye co-ordination that provides the foundation for handwriting. Some children are ready to hold a pen correctly at 3 others at 5, much the same as some children out of nappies before 2 and others nearer 5! They are all different and develop these skills at different times.
At Heybridge Preschool, we believe that the most important “school ready” skills are those concerning Personal Social and Emotional development. Personal confidence, coping and welcoming new situations and experiences, Sharing, awareness and adherence to boundaries set, negotiation to solve problems with others without aggression and respect of others are all vital to ensure a smooth transition and a good basis to build from. If you have any concerns or questions about transition come in and have a chat with our child’s key person.
As you know our Teddy Bears Picnic is fast approaching (Friday 19th July). Our doors open at 1pm and all you need to bring is your picnic, blanket to sit on or picnic chairs and a camera! (and some cash for the cakes!) We will be providing refreshments (tea/coffee) and there will also be a cake sale and a raffle. The tickets for the raffle go on sale next week and there are many many fabulous prizes! If you wish to donate any cakes for the sale could you bring them in on thursday, please. All profits from the raffle and cake sale will be put towards new resources for the children. At 2pm we will commence the “graduation ceremony” and we should be finished by 3 ready for you to collect your older children from the primary. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance as we can have a mini ceremony during the week so your child can receive their folder containing their learning journeys.

02 May 2019 - May Day

Fee Fi Foe Fum watch out children here we come! Guess what we have been doing this week? Yep, Jack and the beanstalk! We have planted runner beans in clear plastic pots, the idea being when the seeds start to root and sprout, the children will be able observe the changes before the sprout breaks through the surface. Don’t forget to water them and when they have become small plants, transfer them to the garden or larger container and provide a cane for support. Hopefully in the summer you will have a delicious crop of runner beans. The more you pick, the more will grow!
To extend upon the theme, we encouraged the children to build castles with the Duplo in a large tray, filled with shaving foam (our version of clouds)! Some children have created beanstalks in their books and placed numbered leaves in order, from 0 to 10.
Outside, the children have helped with the weeding, popping the unwanted plants/weeds into the compost heap and ensuring the water butt is set up correctly. So now our greenhouse and vegetable garden are all ready for planting up. Speaking of which, we would appreciate any donations of vegetable or bedding plants. Tomatoes, cucumbers, Peppers, strawberries etc would all be very welcome. So when you are at the garden centre or bootsale – remember us!
During the week, I had the pleasure of a delicious cup of coffee at the Black Cat coffee shop in Maldon, (Wenlock Way). Whilst there, I noticed that they are running a “suspended coffee scheme”. For those of you who have not heard of this I have copied the following passage from SuspendedCoffee.com……….
At Suspended Coffees, we restore faith, by highlighting the simple acts of kindness happening all around us, and encouraging others to do the same.

Kindness can come in many forms, including the purchase of a suspended coffee, which is the very idea that inspired this movement. A suspended coffee is the advance purchase of a cup of coffee for someone who needs it, no matter why. But it really is about so much more than the coffee. It can provide physical comfort, conversation, a smile or even a laugh, and a sense of belonging. A suspended coffee can change lives, sometimes even save them.

The spirit and ambition of the Suspended Coffees movement is supported by thousands of cafés around the world, places that are at the hub of local communities, serving suspended coffees (and more) and sharing goodwill and compassion every day.

We invite you join our journey as we change the world, one cup of kindness at a time.

How lovely is this? Not only a great coffee, but trying to help someone too. There are quite a few coffees “banked” at Black Cat, so help them get the word out please. If you know someone that needs a boost, a random act of kindness, some company, steer them in the direction of The Black Cat. You do not need proof of your circumstances, or explain why you would like one, just ask for a suspended coffee, simple as that. As long as there are suspended coffees you can have one. The is a marker next to the order point which states how many are available. Also, don’t forget you can add one to your orders when in there, just pay for an extra coffee to keep the balance up! I hope that makes sense!
We have been informed that Chicken Pox is on the rounds again, so if you notice your child has the rash they need to be kept away from school until the spots have dried up and scabbed over, usually about 5 days. For more information go to
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chickenpox/

Next week our topic will be The Enormous Turnip. We would appreciate some vegetables in the snack basket as Carole has some exciting plans for them…..
Over the past few weeks the children have enjoyed a show and tell time at registration. This has encouraged even our shyest children to show their friends something special brought in from home, and promoted speech and conversation as they talk about it and ask/answer questions. It is something that we used to do and has always been very popular. We discontinued it when toys were getting lost, 2 or 3 children claiming that 1 toy was theirs and the toys were getting bigger and bigger. So we can continue this segment, please ensure that the toy/item is able to fit into their school bag, 1 item per day and that the children understand that after show and tell the toy is placed back into their bag to secure it’s safety.
Enjoy your May Day bank holiday weekend, and because it happens over the weekend I am going to say it now……May the 4th be with you ( it never gets old for me!) stay safe and see you back here on Tuesday. ;-)

25 April 2019 - It is the summer term!

Oh my Gosh! Summer term – are we for real? The last term of 2018/19??? I do believe someone has pressed the fast forward button this year, it only seems a few weeks ago that we were blogging about how well the children have settled into the start of preschool in September! Am I the only one who feels this way?
During the holidays ECC announced school places, I believe everybody has got their first choice (as noted on the form completed). However since the forms were submitted circumstances change, so there is time to appeal decisions if you have moved or your needs have changed. Bear in mind, all the schools want to do their best for your child, teachers don’t go into the profession for the fabulous salary! The biggest influence on your child’s school days will be YOU. The children need to see that you are confident and happy with them transitioning to school, that you are excited for them to set out on a new adventure and meet new friends and learn, learn learn! Learning will be fun! By supporting the school, and starting off on the right foot your child we be in the best place to thrive. * Ensuring your child attends the transition sessions laid on by your school is a HUGE part of your child’s journey into Reception. Fear of the unknown can build and build until the very idea of attending school is terrifying. Attending the transition sessions enables your child to become familiar with the classroom layout, the smell of the environment, the teacher’s face and those of the classroom assistants and the beginning of the school routines. This cant be stressed enough, transition is ESSENTIAL! Even if you KNOW your child is ready and can’t wait to start “big school”, do not take it for granted that the 1st couple of weeks will be a walk in the park for either of you. Transition puts down the foundation of a successful entry into reception, we cant overstate it. Mmmm…..did I mention that Transition is important?
What wonderful weather we had for the Easter holidays, we could not have asked for better. Did you all have a good time? It would be lovely if you could share some of our photos on our Facebook group because then we could print out some and pop them in their Learning Journeys. It is also a fabulous tool for us to encourage conversation with and among the children, particularly valuable for those children who have delayed speech, or those that need to practice certain sounds or conversational skills. Looking through photos together encourages bonding between the children (and staff!) and provides a virtual “safe space”, building confidence and self-esteem and a great way of sharing experiences.
Talking of the Learning Journeys, don’t forget we would love your input with them. We know the children enjoy sharing them with their family, why not take it a step further and add some bits/comments in them. Whilst they are a precious, valued item, they are more ‘rounded’ if parents/grandparents etc add to them too. There are no expectations, maybe you can doodle some pictures with your children, jot down events, special times, days out, or mention any breakthroughs you may have (slept through the night, a night in their own bed, potty training progress, dressed themselves etc!). It isn’t that we are nosey (!!! really!!!), it means that a) we can support you, providing praise and re-enforcement, b) get a true picture of their development c) conversation points (yes, more !!)
Thank you for returning the questionnaires, they have been very positive so far. Please, if you still have yours, it is not too late to return them. The more we receive, the more accurate our assessment of our provision will be. If you have lost it, just let us know and we will pop another in the school bag.
Snack provision has been a little sparse lately, please don’t forget to provide a piece of fruit/veg for each session that your child attends. We prepare the fruit and veg, washing and cutting it up, and sharing it with all. However, sometimes it is like tring to feed the five thousand with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, without Jesus’s skills! Frequently we have 30 children, 3 apples a banana and a kiwi! There should be a basket in the lobby to deposit the fruit into, if not, just pop it on the lobby table and we will collect it up.
This week we have been planting, mainly sunflowers, but I a sure other seeds will work their way in by the end of the week. We are learning about growing seeds and the best conditions for them to grow strong, healthy plants. We have been identifying the different parts of the plant (petals, stem, leaves and roots) and we have watched a time lapse vidieo of sunflowers growing. The children planted extra sunflowers so we can hopefully have a forest of bright yellow flowers by the summer. Some of the children are learning about growth and decay, and this is a perfect ongoing opportunity to do so. Much of this half term will include growing in the theme, such as Jack and the beanstalk, and farms/fruit and veg.
The warm sunny weather is slowly becoming more common, so please remember to apply suncream to your children prior to session and provide sunhats. It is wise to ensure their shoulders are covered (cami tops/vest tops are not really suitable) as our garden is a sun trap, and young skin reddens rapidly as we are already beginning to notice – even in April! Also, remember in order to run, climb and explore safely, the children need to wear appropriate well fitting footwear. Trainers are the best…..flipflops and Sliders are the worst! If you want your child to wear flipflops, please ensure there is a named pair of trainers in their bag to change into before they go outside. It is a good idea to also provide a spare set of clothing, as when it becomes too hot to wear the wet weather/muddyplay outerwear, your little lovelies may need a spare set if they become too muddy or wet! Especially as the summer ramps up, we are guaranteed to have water fights, it is an absolute given!
Our next committee meeting is on Tuesday 14th May at 19.30 hours, it would be great to see you all there and support Chel in her 1st meeting as our Chair!

04 April 2019 - Happy Easter

Tomorrow is our last day of the Spring Term, we return to preschool on Tuesday 23rd April (the Monday is a Bank Holiday/Easter Monday). This week the children have been busy making Easter Cards and Easter boxes which have a lovely little chocolate treat inside!
The children have been learning that Spring is the time of new growth and birth, trees begin to sprout new leaves, spring bulbs are in flower and new animals are being born. We have watched videos of the Spring lambs and baby Chicks. Some of the older children have been learning about the meaning of Easter. Keeping it very basic, we explained that Christians believe that Jesus died on the Cross to demonstrate his love for us. We enjoyed having toasted and buttered Hot Cross buns, and discussed the Cross on the bun and how it was to remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Using printed out eggs, we had a few Easter Egg hunts in the garden to get the children warmed up for undoubtedly several hunts over the Easter holidays! If you are having hunts at home, you could try mixing it up a little by providing them with hand drawn maps marking the eggs position with an x. It introduces the children to map reading in its most basic form, with lovely treats at the end! It also enables you to be more cunning with the hiding places, and as a reminder of where you put them…..for many years I would find “hidden” Easter Eggs in June, July and August!
We have had many laughs watching Big Buck Bunny on Youtube, as well as Lambs, which as parents you will definitely “get”!
Our letter this week has been /L/l/, and what little superstars we have, building up a great bank of /L/ words! It has required a little concentration not to pronounce it as Luh from them, but by Jove they got it by Thursday!!!
When we return, our 1st weeks planning is all based around planting. The children will have the opportunity to plant sunflowers, some to take home and some to keep here. We will learn how to look after them and keep a record of their growth.
We would really appreciate any donations of plants/seeds/pots/compost for our children to work with outside. If you are refreshing your flower beds and dividing your perennials, taking cuttings etc….please remember us! I know it sounds as if we are always asking for donations of one kind or another, but remember we are actually a charity. The money we receive from the government barely covers our running costs, therefore any additional help we receive allows us to plough more money into other new resources and experiences for the children, helping to give them the best start we can possibly provide.
Over the past couple of weeks we have been sending out questionnaires for you to fill in and complete. Please take the time to do so, as they allow us to evaluate our performance as a preschool and take on board any suggestions that you may have. Originally we asked for them to be returned by the 1st April, however we have been a little slow getting them all out! So please, have a think, jot your thoughts down and return the completed forms after our Easter Break.
Have a great break from preschool and enjoy the wonderful outdoors – no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes as my Nana used to say!

28 March 2019 - Mother's Day

Hello Gang! Thank you for taking the time to attend our AGM, and would like to firstly provide a warm welcome to our new Chairperson, Chel Toublic! Chel has quite a history with us – not only have we had the pleasure of her 3 boys here at preschool, but Chel herself also attended not too long ago! And we also provided her with placement when she was a Cache student studying childcare! Seriously, it makes this author feel very very old! Let’s continue with this support and be there for her first committee meeting on the 14th May.
We would also like to say a very big thank you to Sarah Harrington who was our Chair for many many years and wish her all the best with whatever she has plans for now!
Have you checked out the new photos on the gallery? They tell quite a story of what we have been up to the last few weeks….
We had a Doc Mcstuffin week and learned about healthy eating and how to keep our bodies healthy. The children took turns in classifying different foods into healthy options and those that are not so. As you know, we have healthy foods at snack time, however, we are in the process of shaking it up a little with different selections. We introduced dips such as hummus, cream cheese and salsa.
In the next few weeks, we will be adding different snacks, for instance, baked cauliflower, wrap pin wheels, veg soup etc. The children will participate in the preparation and will hopefully enjoy the tasty results. Thank you for your support in providing a piece of fruit or veg for snack time. We have been asked on a few occasions what would be best to bring in, so here is a list of the common favourites…..
Bananas
Apples
Melon
Oranges/satsumas
kiwi
Grapes
Carrots
Peas
Sweetcorn
Cauli
Broccoli
Cucumber
Any dried fruit such as Sultanas, Apricots, Bananas
Bread sticks
Non-sugar cereal eg. Weetabix, shreddies,
This isn’t an exhaustive list, feel free to supply what you fancy! However, as usual, no nuts of any kind, thank you, due to possible allergies.
We have had to ask that children are not sent in with sweets, crisps or cakes in their school bags. Unfortunately, we have had several occasions where children have been found in the coat area a tasty enjoying a nibble and even sharing with their friends! Whilst we do encourage sharing (!!) this could be a major safety hazard. Children are always supervised whilst eating at the snack table, and staff are trained in paediatric first aid which includes treatment for choking. However, these safety measures are null and void if children are sneaking around the corner for a tasty treat! So, please support us in keeping your children safe and only send in fruit/veg that should be placed in the basket in the lobby on entering the building. This does not apply to the children that stay for lunch and have lunch boxes….these are kept out of reach of the children and are only brought out at lunchtime.
This week we have been preparing for Mother’s Day on Sunday. The children have been making beautiful cards that involve threading yarn in the shape of a heart. Threading is a fabulous activity for improving hand-eye coordination and building up those fine motor muscles that are so necessary for writing in the future. It is lovely to spend some quiet time with the children on a one to one basis as they concentrate on producing something very special. We chatted about what makes their mum so special and the things that their mums do for them. We are also very aware that some children in our setting do not live with their mums or some that do not have any contact with their parents. We tackle this very sensitively, tailoring each situation to the individual child. So this may make sense if your child comes home stating its not just “mother’s day” it can also be a “Mabel’s day” …this isn’t the name obviously, but an example!
Next week we will be celebrating Easter, and the start of Spring, whereas in reality it is our last week of the Spring term. Can you believe it? After the 2 week holiday, we are into the Summer term! How on earth did that happen?? You will also know by our return if you have been successful in being accepted into the Primary school of choice.
In the children’s bags this week you will find a questionnaire from us. Please fill this in and return to us as soon as possible. These questionnaires are an invaluable tool in assessing our effectiveness in providing a service for you and your children. We take on board all of your comments and suggestions and whilst we may not be able to implement all, they are all considered. If you wish, you may remain anonymous with your comments.
Please check the lost property box for stray items of clothing – it is getting VERY full. At the end of next week, we will empty it and donate to charity the unclaimed items (apart from the odd glove and sock!). Have a lovely weekend and look forward to seeing you all fresh, healthy and perky next week!

07 March 2019 - What a week that was!

Hello! As you may be well aware, there has been a particularly nasty gastric bug in affecting the population over the past week. In an unprecedented move, we were actually closed Monday and Tuesday as the majority of the staff succumbed to it. The remaining staff came in and deep cleaned the setting to ensure there were no reservoir of bugs hanging around. Whilst we understand that this bug has a very fast onset, we are also aware that some parents are not adhering to the 48 hour exclusion that is required to prevent spreading this nasty illness. Our policy states that children (and staff) need to stay away from preschool for 48 hours FROM THE LAST EPISODE OF VOMITING OR DIARRHOEA. It takes this length of time to clear the bug from the system and not be contagious. There are no exceptions, even if you think that your child has vomited through coughing to much, or has very loose stool because 1 too many oranges, that may be a co-incidence, PLEASE KEEP THEM AT HOME!
Whilst on the subject of illnesses, if your child has a cold and feeling under the weather, the best place for them is at home, in the warmth, in a quiet environment where they can rest and recover with lots of cuddles. Preschool is a very busy, noisy, stimulating environment, and when you are feeling unwell it is the worst place to be. If we had a £1 for every time we heard “they love it here, they wanted to come” we could all retire to the Bahamas! We love it that they love it, but as parents and adults there are times when we really need to take charge, bite the bullet and say actually today we need to stay at home! If you feel you can’t take the aggravation, tell them it is Saturday, or that preschool is closed! That way, they recover faster and you avoid spreading to the rest of the children and staff!
If you are a member of our closed Facebook Group, please check your notifications, as we use this method to inform our parents, childminders and carers of events such as unexpected closures, obviously Anne will message/email/text those that are not on social media.
World book day has been a huge success (check our photos on the Gallery), and we have welcomed Stickman, 2 Gruffalos, Spiderman, Woody and various Princesses into the setting. We have made bookmarks and enjoyed lots of story telling. We continue with the Heybridge Preschool has talent – and we certainly have! It has been beautiful watching the children perform their routines, be it a song, a ballet dance or a tune on the musical instruments. There will be more photos uploaded to the
gallery soon.
Our AGM has been rescheduled for Tuesday 19th March at 7.30 pm, hope to see you there!

28 February 2019 - Welcome back

Welcome back from a totally glorious half term! What a difference the sunshine made. I hope you all made the best of it and got out into the fabulous outdoor spaces we are lucky to have in this area. There is nothing better for children’s health and mental well being than getting outside, running, climbing, exploring and generally getting muddy, sandy and having fun. We would love to see some photos (you can load them up on our closed Facebook group) of your adventures and we can print them out and pop them in the children’s Learning Journeys.
This week has been all about the “ Round and Round the Garden, Like a Teddy Bear” nursery rhyme, so there has been a lot of tickling going on (I hope Russell Brand isn’t too offended by this!). We read and watched “We are going on a bear hunt, and then we joined in – wading through rivers, swishy swashy grass etc….it never gets old! The children made bear masks (Scary stuff) and we found out lots of information about the different types of bears. One child was asked if she could remember the different types of bears and in all innocence she replied “grisly bear, GRUMPY bear, polar bear” – I just melted! Many of the children brought in their favourite teddy bears to show their friends – what a diverse selection we had!
Next week are theme will be The Greatest Showman, and we will be hosting Heybridge Preschool Has Talent. Each session the children will be given the opportunity to perform in front of their friends. Obviously, there is NO pressure, and the children will only do what they are comfortable with, but our experience shows the vast majority of the children enjoy singing in front of their friends. You can support this by encouraging the children to think about what they want to do in advance – be it
singing
dancing
magic tricks
reciting a nursery rhyme
or telling jokes
and perhaps help them practice before the performance.
This theme stems from the children’s interests, as a few weeks ago, they mentioned this film and some were singing some of the songs. So we thought – why not?
Performing in small groups is an effective way of building children’s self esteem and confidence in a safe environment. The children encourage each other and are free with praise, and the support they give to each other is heart warming. We will supply dressing up outfits, wigs, and instruments, however if your child requires something specific you will need to send it in with them.
Next week also includes World Book Day on the Thursday, however we will extend it to the Friday too to include those who do not attend on the 1st day. World Book Day is all about spreading the word about the importance of sharing stories for just 10 minutes a day. This simple 10 minutes every day can help create readers for life. Each child will be given a £1 token which can be redeemed for a free £1 book, or towards any book at all participating bookshops and supermarkets. The tokens are valid from 28th Feb until 31st March 2019.
Each child will also receive a Story Challenge Sheet, with 12 different ways to read a story. You can also play online and download your certificate when you are finished at worldbookday.com/readingstars . I may well try to complete the activity myself. Actually, thinking on the hoof here…..why don’t we post on our closed facebook group selfies of us completing each star?? That would be so much fun- we could have a “Reading Wall Gallery” and display them (be careful with the 12th star….you will see what I mean when you receive the sheet!) We will make some funky bookmarks too! Oooooh, so excited!
We are in the process of organising a “cup of tea and a slice of cake” during Week 5 in celebration of Mother’s Day. We will be inviting Mums, Nans/Grans and other special people in our lives to join us each session for a cup of char and a lovely slice of carrot cake that the children will be making. So keep a look out for the slips that will be in the children’s bags in the next couple of weeks with the invitation, RSVP and choice of dates.
Last but not least, we have our AGM (annual general meeting) on Tuesday 5th March at 7pm. All our parents are welcome and we truly hope to see you here. It isn’t at all as stuffy as it sounds. It is a good chance to hear what the Preschool has been up to over the past year, what we have planned in the coming year, and meet and greet the staff and other parents in an informal manner, have a cuppa or a glass of wine, and hopefully some cheese or cake!

14 February 2019 - Happy Valentines Day!

Our lovely little ones have been making Valentine’s Day cards for their loved ones this week, and while they were making them we had chats about who they love and why. The answers were heart melting….
“ I love my mummy because she makes my breakfast”
“ I love my mummy because she gives me really big hugs, and daddy tickles me”
“ I love my mummy because she is beautiful like a princess”
“I love my brother because he shares his toys with me”
“ I love my Granny because she looks after me when my mummy works”
“I love my daddy, he goes to work so we can go on holidays”
and…..
“ because I do!”
Some of the children have made jam tarts….yum!….and heart biscuits, did you enjoy them? I bet you didn’t get a look in! They enjoyed mixing the ingredients, rolling out the dough and cutting out their shapes. There are some pictures in the Gallery of the children in action. The setting has smelled particularly sweet this week with all the cooking.
There has also been lots of opportunities to develop the fine motor skills which are needed for handwriting. Children have decorated red card hearts by threading wool through holes round the edge ( hand eye coordination) and then applying gem stones of different sizes to the middle. The process of picking up small items between your thumb and forefinger helps to develop muscle memory and the small delicate movements that will eventually lead to a tripod grip that will be used for holding a pencil and writing.
Our nursery rhyme has been “The Queen of Hearts” and we have extended this with learning about our Queen, where she lives and good old British Values!
I was very suprised that many of our children have not seen Disney’s Alice in Wonderland(showing my age I suppose!) so we utilised the ever wonderful Youtube, and watched a clip of the Queen of Hearts. For the rest of the afternoon the main theme was “Off with their heads!”, just in case you were wondering where your angelic child learned such a violent phrase!!!! (my fault…..again!)
Our phonics sound luckily has been Qu, and we have learned that
QUack, QUilt, QUick, QUit, QUeen
all begin with the QU sound…what can you find at home with that sound contained in the word? Jot the words down in the Learning Journey that you find together and we can add them to our list.
Speaking of Learning Journeys, it would be lovely if we had more comments or entries from you all. We understand that life is busy, but the children love their books and our quite fanatical about them. It would be fabulous if they were more rounded and reflected their time at home.
Tomorrow is the last day before we break up for half term and we have some treats planned for when we return.

  1. The first week back our nursery rhyme is Round and Round the garden and we would like to cordially invite your favourite teddy bears (1 per child please) to join us for snack. We will be Going On a Bear Hunt, and making teddy bear masks
  2. The 2nd week is Preschool’s Got Talent!!!! Our theme is based around The Greatest Showman but your child is welcome to perform any chosen talent (within reason!) So, you have plenty of time for rehearsals over the half term. You will even have time to make a costume! We are waiting to be impressed!!!!
    Our AGM will be held on Tuesday 5th March, and Anne is still waiting on a few 30 hours forms to be returned.
    A little reminder, please supply a piece of fruit for each session, or other healthy options that can be shared with peers( cereal, 1 box would get you out of fruit for a week or two!, breadsticks, raisins, sultanas, crackers etc). Due to the risk of allergies, we cant accept items containing nuts or based on peanuts…..don’t forget, Peanut Butter, Nutella (or other branded chocolate hazelnut products) and Snickers are included in this list!

07 February 2019 - The blog is back!

Hello Peeps! Many apologies for the lack of blogging, but all is back to normal now….. well lets hope eh?
This week we have been celebrating Chinese New Year with the children, and you will see from the photos on the gallery we have been doing it in style!
Our snack table became a Chinese restaurant, serving noodles, rice, sweet and sour sauce in addition to our regular fruit and veg offerings.
We learned that the Jade Emperor, ruler of all Chinese Gods in Chinese mythology hosted a race of all animals to cross a river and the 1st 12 to cross would become part of the Chinese calendar. This year, Year of the Pig, is the last in a 12 year cycle.
We watched a video on Cbeebies of a Chinese family living in Liverpool getting for the New Year. Preparations begin weeks in advance, with a major spring clean of the house, getting rid of back luck accumulated in the previous year. The house is then decorated with good luck banners and lanterns which represent vitality and prosperity. They are normally in red as this is a very lucky colour in China, and gold for wealth.
On the day, people wear new clothes, preferably in red, exchange cards, and children are often gifted money! (Just what we need just after Christmas!!)
Our letter this week has been Pp, (fitted in perfectly with Year of the Pig!) and the children have been learning the tongue twister…
Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Pepper…
just in case you are wondering what your children have been attempting at home! We have encouraged them to think of words beginning with the sound “p” , so far the most popular is Pizza! Mmmmm yes I understand why!
Next week is Valentines day as I am sure you are aware of ( are you like me? Making room for all the cards flowers and chocolates I am sure to receive……)
We will be spreading the love with the Queen of Hearts, making jam tarts and crowns, learning about our Royal Family and where they live,and the values that make Britain great!
There are a few new dates for your diaries;
Our AGM will be held here at preschool on Tuesday 5th March at 7.30pm. Please come along and learn about your ONLY local preschool and perhaps join us on our journey providing good quality childcare for your little ones. We are a commitee led preschool and without your support we will cease to exist, so come along and see what we do!
We will be joining the schools in celebrating World Book Day on 7th March – plenty of time to sort out your children’s favourite book character and dress up as them….will we have a Horrid Henry? Or an Octonaught? Or perhaps a Worst Witch? Let your imaginations run wild, and lets have a change from 50 Disney Princesses and 30 Pirates! Go to the library and encourage your little ones to choose some books where there can get some different ideas. Have fun making your own costumes – you will also be making great memories. xxxxx

10 January 2019 - Welcome back to 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you have all had a peaceful, relaxed and most of all a happy start to 2019…I wonder what the new year will bring? You really can’t help but be excited about the days getting longer, the new shoots starting to emerge…..though I am getting ahead of myself!
This week we have been learning the rhyme 2 little dickie birds, and lots of other interesting things about birds and wildlife…
We talked about winter and the birds needing some help to find enough food, We made birdcake for the children to take home and feed the birds.
The children made “bird nests” and placed some cheeky chocolate eggs in!
At snack time we had hard boiled eggs, and the children were encouraged to shell their own – they had fun bashing the egg on the table and then developing their fine motor skills by peeling the egg shell off.
The children have been on bird watch, finding pictures of birds on their checklist (we tend to get very few birds in the preschool garden…I wonder why ???)
Next week we are doing the forever popular JUNK MODELLING hahaha, ca’t wait for the comments as the children come home with their creations next week! Could you please save your toilet rolls, food boxes, egg cartons for us?

13 December 2018 - Merry Christmas

Well, the last week of the autumn term has finally arrived and we are hoping that we have whipped the children into a frenzy of festivities for you! From the feedback we have received it seems you really enjoyed the visit to White Elm’s Christmas Grotto, petting farm and soft play barn. The children have been chatting about it non stop since! They were very impressed with the high fives they received from the big man himself.
We have had a few comments that we haven’t had our Carol Concert this year – unfortunately we have been a victim of our own success! As you know we normally use the school hall to perform in, however due to fire safety regulations there is a limit to the amount of people it can accommodate. We would not be able to invite all our families to watch the single performance and as you can understand our little ones are too young to repeat the performance. This is why we decided on the Grotto trip and the week long sing a long with the children and the craft activity for the parents to participate in.
So, this friday is the last day of term, breaking up for the Christmas holidays, returning on Monday 7th January, fit and ready for the New Year!
The staff would like to thank you for your generosity – the Christmas gifts have been very touching, and to wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR. See you in 2019!

29 November 2018 - 5 White Snowmen......

….Standing having fun! is our song this week – could be an omen don’t you think? Perhaps we should run a sweepstake and the closest to the snow day wins???
I would think you have probably noticed the daily presence of glitter when you are getting the children into the bath. No-one is immune. Even if you stay well away you will end up with a few glittery sparkles somewhere under your clothes, it is one of those unwritten rules of the universe, glitter gets everywhere. The children are busy creating their Christmas bags and filling them with lots of festive items. There are many different activities going on and each child will have the opportunity to make the majority of them. Not all children will want to make all the items, others will want to make all of them several times!
Whilst Christmas craft activities naturally fit nicely into the Expressive art and Design (Creative)Development area, ( sing familiar songs, imitates movement in response to music, manipulate materials to achieve a planned effect, use simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately to name but a few) it also provides many opportunities for extending knowledge and development in other areas such as;

Indoors, alongside the Christmas activities, we have discovered a few new games – Counting sheep (no, we do not sleep on the job!) and the Postman game. These are excellent for promoting turn taking, and encouraging the children to pay attention and remember the location of cards they need.
Our phonics sessions are running excellently and the children are responding fabulously to sitting and listening. They are joining in with the songs and copying the sounds of the week. We have introduced a new song (The phase 3 Alphabet Song) that those of you with older children at Heybridge Primary have probably already heard, which is slower, and puts more emphasis on the individual names of the letters, and the gesture that is made with each one. The signs are the same as seen on the Jolly Phonics videos on Youtube. As us adults are learning this from scratch too, bear with us until we are fluent (with the signs, promise we do know the alphabet!)
A quick reminder, Tuesday 11th December preschool will be closed for both sessions as we will be attending the White Elm Christmas Grotto….how excited are we??????
Next Friday 7th December will be our apprentice Courtney’s last day, as she is moving on to pastures new. I am sure you will join us in saying good luck, she has been a valuable member of out team and we will miss her greatly! (and her mum’s cakes!!).

22 November 2018 - We wish you a merry Christmas...

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! Hahaha yep, middle of November and we are starting with the carolling! Believe me, it takes time to learn all these new songs. We have started with this one as we believe Father Christmas will love this when we sing it to him on our visit to his Grotto. It will be especially impressive as the children are learning to sign it too! It is so heartwarming to watch the children signing, they may not be perfect, but they are trying, and it may lead to more interest as they get older. In general, we do try to include basic signing in our everyday practice, for instance; please, thank you, drink?, snack? book, sorry, more and finish are just a few of the most common words that we use. We do this for all children, as we know that babies and toddlers are able to understand much more language than they are able to say. Basic signing is easy for children to pick up and utilise, and provides a way to communicate and interact, which in turn improves self esteem and behaviour ( there is a vast body of research connecting speech delay with behavioural problems – very understandable, think of how frustrating it would be if you couldn’t make your needs known). Professionals advocate basic signing with babies (who in turn are able to sign from about the age of 6 months) with the following results:

It’s win win really isn’t it?
The children have been writing their letter’s to Father Christmas and we have had such a giggle with them. 1 child wanted a really big snake for Christmas, when we asked if there was anything else he wanted, he said, “ yeah, another really really big snake!” Another boy, when asked where he lived stated “Dinosaur Park” and how has he been this year “ bad, really bad”, love them!
We have been making our own wrapping paper using inks and stamps, paint and Christmas stamps and we wrapped boxes in preparation for next week – they look really pretty!
We had some lovely sensory experiences at the beginning of the week;
mixing cornflour with baby lotion (3:1) creates a beautifully soft mouldable substance with a delicious scent
mixing cornflour with baby oil (3:1) and then frozen creates a snowball dough that holds together (in snowballs funnily enough!) or can be used to create snowmen.
mixing shaving foam and cornflour makes Cloud dough, which is like trying to grab…..clouds! It is so soft!
When the children experienced these we had lots of descriptive words from them …..bouncy, slippy, sloppy, slimey, gloopy, like marshmallows, squidgy, strawberry ice-cream etc
and they noticed how sometimes it felt firm, particularly when grasped, but when released it became almost like liquid.
We have also had large lumps of ice in the Tuff tray that they touched and held, watching it melt and change shape and towards the end of the session splashed in the remaining puddles!
Our story this week – The smelly sprout went down a storm, the children loved to shout out the repeated refrain “Out Smelly Sprout!”. Along with the book we have some story stones (pebbles with the characters of the book painted on them) and we have used these in different ways; rewarding the children for sitting and listening well during the story by handing out a stone, or letting the children develop their own story line using the stones as prompts. They have proven very popular so we are going to use the concept in other ways too, for instance, painting fruit and veg on them for the mud kitchen, numbers for maths activities, letters for literacy, characters of different books etc etc, this list is endless. We would appreciate the donation of some pebbles/smooth stones that we can paint on….no particular size though big enough to paint on would be good! Our letter this week has been Aa and we have enjoyed singing Ants on my arm from the Jolly Phonics Youtube collection as well as the Alphablocks A episode. We have practised forming the letter in the air and also in the flour we have had all over the place. I apologise in advance if you suddenly start seeing letter “written” on furniture….dust is always good for something! I am looking forward to the mornings when we can practise our letter formations in the frost! Next week our letter will be Tt, so don’t be surprised when they come home tutting at you!

15 November 2018 - Run Run as fast as you can....

you cant catch me I’m the gingerbread man! That is the story of the week, I am sure you would have guessed that anyway as the children love that particular repeated refrain. A bit more about that in a while, lets catch up on last week first.
At the beginning of the week we concentrated on Fireworks/Guy Fawkes Night…Remember remember the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot. We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!
We watched some videos about the origins of 5th November celebrations and watched some fabulous firework displays from all around the world. We spoke about firework safety, and how to avoid being hurt by these mini explosives! The children told us how they wear gloves when holding sparklers and some even stuck the sparklers in carrots to extend the safety zone – good thinking! We had a little sparkler display ourselves that the children observed from a safe distance, though as it was still daylight it wasn’t that impressive!
Towards the end of the week we introduced the theme of Remembrance Sunday. The children made poppy wreaths which decorated our lobby (see the photos on the gallery) and we watched a very moving video available on Cbeebies, about a rabbit running through a poppy field. I highly recommend a watch, at 2 minutes long it is the ideal length to keep the children interested and also provoked lots of interesting conversations about what it meant. We spoke about remembering the soldiers who sacrificed so much to enable us to be safe, and live the life we lead in WW1, and also the service people who to this day keep us safe, and buying a poppy to wear not only symbolises the gratitude we feel to service people past and present, but can help to make their lives a little better.
As mentioned earlier, this week is The gingerbread man and the area of development communication and language (each area is touched upon several times during the year). The gingerbread man story is particularly useful in the Listening and attention aspect, as the repeated refrains of “Run run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!” are fun and encourage the children to listen and also join in. In this way, the learn the story and are able to anticipate the key events in the story (stepping stones in the 30-50 months areas). As I may have mentioned before, being able to sit and LISTEN is a key skill to almost all areas of development. This is a skill that comes with practise. We would not expect a 2 year old to be able to sit and listen as long as a 4 year old (though it must be said, we do have a few 2 year olds who are able to sit and listen better than a few of our 4 year olds!!) and we take this into account when planning our sessions, but we do encourage our children to learn this skill by providing appropriate opportunities, praise and good role models. We start each group time with;
“Sitting on our bottoms with legs crossed
Hands still in our laps
Listening ears open
Listening mouths closed
Listening eyes looking at me”
This week we have begun our letters and sounds sessions that are more pre-phonics, tuning into sounds, learning to pay attention to the different sounds in the environment(which links in very well with sitting and listening,) and we will be introducing a new letter and sound each week in a fun way .We have started with the letter Ss and the sound Ssssss. There are plenty of ways you can support your child’s learning;

01 November 2018 - Happy Halloween!!

We hope you all had an excellent half term! We were so lucky with the weather, warm and sunny – unheard of for October half term…well until the last weekend when it was FREEZING!
On the subject of weather, can you please now ensure that you provide a warm winter coat each session. The weather is so changeable that it has been warm t-shirt weather one minute, then cold enough for coats and scarves. We only have 1 spare coat that we can lend the children if they attend without one, and the children can get very upset if they are not able to go outside. And PLEAAAAAAASE name coats, hats and scarves! We can’t remember the owners of 30 different coats, and some of them are the same style! We dont expect you to go the the expense of ordering labels to sew in – just get a permanent marker and write it on, job done, and no more nagging from me!
As you have probably deduced, we are learning about Halloween this week and our area is maths. There are 2 Early learning goals for this area;

11 October 2018 - Hickory Dickory Dock!

Welcome back Summer! Hasn’t it been lovely the past few days? I hope you are making the most of it in this beautiful area that we are lucky enough to live in. Its a special time of year, watching the seasons change the landscape, getting ready for the crunchy leaf walks and frosty spiderweb mornings. Can you tell I like Autumn? Pumpkin spice lattes, apple pies, jacket potatoes….see where I am coming from? Time to put the salads away and eat some warm hearty food. But I digress…….
For those of you that have children starting school in September 2019 ( yes I realise it is almost a year away!) www.essex.gov.uk goes live on November 12th. This is how you apply for your child’s reception place in schools of your choice. The closing date for applications is 15th January 2019. Please bear in mind that the busy time of Christmas falls in between these dates, so in reality you do not have an excessive amount of time to decide and complete. If your application does not meet the closing date YOU WILL NOT BE GUARANTEED A PLACE at the primary of your choice.
This week our nursery rhyme has been Hickory Dickory Dock, and our area of development has been communication and language.
This area is split into 3 aspects with 3 Early Learning Goals to reach by the time your child has finished Reception (so no real rush!!)
The 1st area is Listening and Attention, and it is one the main corner stones of all the areas. By the age of 60 (ish) months the “average” child should be able to
“ Listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.” Early Years Statutory Framework. Dept of Education
What this means is that children respond to eye contact, verbal and non-verbal interaction; they anticipate and initiate communication with others, learning to respond in many ways. Children do this through listening to others, watching and imitating them and through joining in with rhymes, stories and games using sounds and words. In this way they learn to attend to important features of communication and to respond, eventually being able to divide their attention between what is being said and what they are doing.
This week we are promoting and supporting this area with the rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock, listening and joining in both in large and small groups. The repetition over the week reinforces their knowledge and encourages participation. We have also read Going On a Bear Hunt during group times, with the repeated refrains and the text which lends itself to physical actions helps to capture the children’s attention and keep it focused.
We promote this aspect by modelling good listening and attention skills; active listening, lowering ourselves to the child’s level and making eye contact, using positive body language, facing the speaker, not fidgiting or carrying on with a task when the child is speaking – children are clever! They realise if you are not giving your full attention, and if you don’t you are teaching them they don’t need to either! For our younger children we keep the activities relevant to their age and stage (of development), short and something that they will be interested in. We would not expect every 2 year old to sit still and pay attention for 15 minutes, but they are capable of sitting and attending for a couple of minutes. It is a skill like any other, practice and it gets easier!
The 2nd aspect is Understanding, with the Early Learning Goal;
“Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events”
Statutory Guidance. Early Years Foundation Stage.
In this aspect of communication and language children will show understanding in many ways including by responding appropriately to what somebody has said, following instructions and responding to and asking questions to check out meaning. Their understanding of what is being said to them far outweighs what they can say. Every experience a child has will extend their understanding if adults are there sharing the experience and helping them.
Again we model the appropriate skills that we expect from our children and adapt our language appropriately. If we say to our younger children
“ it’s time for snack, go inside, wash your hands, get your name card and sit at the table”
we would be setting ourselves and the child up for failure!There are just too many instructions for them to process – They may get as far as going inside but then they will be distracted and end up painting or such like! Keep it simple…snack time! Once they are inside then you can add, time to wash hands etc.etc.
The final aspect is Speaking with the Early Learning Goal;
Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listener’s needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
Statutory Guidance EYFS.
The best way to support children’s speech development is to switch off the TV, put down the phone and play! Conversing with children widens their bank of vocabulary, teaches them the rules of conversation (1 person talks, the other listens and responds appropriately), they hear the different tenses and word endings. On our facebook page I will post a link to a very useful page with ten useful tips.

Next week our Nursery Rhyme is the Rainbow song, and we will also be teaching the children the ‘Signing version’.
So have a good weekend and don’t forget to name those coats!

04 October 2018 - Week 5

Good afternoon everyone!
Thank you for bringing in your small pets last week, the children got so much from the visits. We had
Terrapins
Hamster
Small birds
Bearded dragons (adult and babies!)
as well as our own fish and Bernard the Axoltyl.
We saw photos of bigger animals such as cats and dogs that you sent in on our Facebook group which we shared with the children. We found out how wee have to look after our pets so that they stay safe, happy and healthy and our role play area consisted of a veterinary surgery and a pet shop.
This week our Nursery Rhyme has been Incy Wincy Spider and we are concentrating on Expressive arts and design development (EAD, the creative side of things!)
Creative experiences are the ideal medium for developing curiosity, innovation and imagination, crucial skills for young children who are growing and developing in this rapidly changing world. So if you think creative development is only about learning to draw and naming colours…..THINK AGAIN! Development of this area will effect all the other areas such as mathematics, communication, language and literacy, physical, understanding the world and personal, social and emotional development. Thinking creatively allows the children to develop their self expression, learning to think creatively to solve problems and take the initiative. When we concentrate on EAD, the activities are more open ended, providing resources and then stepping back and letting the children take over. Working in this manner helps children to choose and use materials and resources in a way that helps them to make choices and have the confidence in their ideas and skills which can be easily lost if the adult “takes over” and tries to suggest what the child should be thinking, doing or making.
To support this, we have had the messy tray out, each day adding a different resource for the children to explore. So far we have had:
Shaving foam
Oily spaghetti
Gloop
Jelly
and the children have been encouraged to explore the
different textures, smells, sounds, and the way each responded to touch, force and mixing.
On one day in small groups the children made up stories and documented them on paper (these are on display in the setting) and on another the children discovered what happened when paint colours were mixed. We introduced the term “primary colours” (red, yellow and blue) and mixed them, magically making orange, green and purple!
There has been a large emphasis on construction with various materials such as large duplo, magnetic blocks and natural objects such as log slices, pine cones, bamboo slices. This encourages the children to investigate how the materials stack or join together, both horizontally and vertically, making enclosures and creating spaces (like you would to build a house, stable or wall a garden). They learn that they have to build and balance the materials to ensure their structure doesn’t fall down (useful for budding builders, carpenters, architects and engineers!) EAD is all about the process, not the end result. During the process, the critical thinking, problem solving and discoveries are developed and learned, repeating over and over again until the skills are mastered and then extended upon. This is the reason why when our children come out and show you their creation (particularly in a EAD week)(be it a painting or a model) it rarely looks like what you would expect – it is because your child has started with one idea, then that idea evolves into another, then they have discovered that if they do this then that happens and voila!
If you would like more information on how your child learns at preschool do not hesitate to have a chat with your child’s key person, or you can check out the
Parent’s Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework at https:www.foundationyears.org.uk>files.

Can I just draw your attention to a slight change in the Diary dates, which keeps us in line with the Primary School. There is an additional inset day which means we will be returning to Preschool after half term on Tuesday 30th October NOT as previously stated the Monday 29th October.
At the moment we have quite a few parents who are going through the dreaded “Potty Training” stage. There is a very sensible article with great tips worth a read at
“:https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/toddler/potty-training/a-professional-toilet-trainer-shares-the-most-common-mistakes-parents-make/news-story/85fc4c5a2b1934650e87a2d2d724a4e2

Letters are in the process of going out in the children’s school bags about our proposed outing on Tuesday 11th December involving a petting farm visit, soft play barn and….FATHER CHRISTMAS in his Grotto….with a present! SO EXCITED!!!!! So please keep your eyes open for the letter and complete and return by Wednesday 10th October.

20 September 2018 - Week 3

Hello everybody, week 3 already, this half term is flying along. This week our topic has been Ring-a-Ring O’Roses, and concentrating on the physical side of children’s development. At preschool, we endeavour to provide activities that promote all the areas of development every day, however, we concentrate particularly on 1 area per week, which enables us to observe and highlight any particular problems our children may have. You may notice in your child’s Learning Journey terms such as gross motor and fine motor skills. These refer to “large muscle” movements using the whole of the body such as running, jumping, throwing, kicking and whole arm movements, whilst fine motor refers to small precise muscle movements usually of the hands and fingers such as, threading beads and needles, holding a pen correctly and writing, scissor skills, rolling dough between fingers etc.
When you think of a baby, their muscle movements are imprecise and large (imagine a baby trying to feed itself – it goes everywhere but the mouth!)usually using the whole body or limb. As they learn to walk, they develop a wide stance and robot like walk and with practice it becomes smoother and more co-ordinated. The body is unable to master fine motor until the gross motor has been developed hence the term don’t run before you can walk! Without practice and the provision of opportunities and good resources these skills will not develop fully.
This week, to promote good gross motor development, we have brought out our soft play equipment, encouraging the children to lift, carry, build, balance, jump and climb over the pieces. They have used the rocker to balance on (as well as jump off!) and created limbo areas using guttering and stands. We are so lucky with our outside area as it promotes gross motor skill development, giving the children the space to run, dodge, jump around and our selection of tyres are fabulous to balance on. Our climbing frame allows the children to practice climbing safely, and slide (generally at speed!) landing safely on the mats.
Earlier in the week we brought out the parachute and the children worked together as a team learning how to “mushroom” the cloth and make a teddy bounce. They took turns running underneath and it was lovely to hear them squeal with delight! We reinforced the learning of the nursery rhyme “Ring a ring o’ roses” forming a circle and acting out the lyrics. Promoting the fine motor skills we made posies from cloth circles, fluff and the addition of scents from herbs and spices. The children enjoyed having a sniff of the different herbs; basil, lavender, rosemary, coriander leaf, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. They developed their fine motor skills by drawing out their circle, cutting it out (some needed a bit of help), opening the lids of the jars and sprinkling the herbs on the fluff.
Playdough is excellent for giving the arms, hands and fingers a good workout which is why 99.999% we provide it on session. When the children pull, stretch, roll, cut, mold and saw they are working all those muscles that are eventually needed for writing…..and you thought they were just playing eh?

13 September 2018 - Welcome

Welcome to all our new starters, and welcome back to our existing families!
Week 2 and all is going well! As we have done for the past few years, we have staggered the start dates of our new little ones to allow a calmer entry into preschool life. By October all our newbies should be in and hopefully settled well.
We recognise that leaving your child with us for the 1st time is very hard and distressing,for both you and your little one. From your viewpoint, not knowing what they are doing, whether they are crying or settled, whether we are meeting their needs with comfort, food, drink and nappies/toilet is against what you have been doing for the previous few years! We understand this and will do everything we can to help ease you and your child into this new routine. Yes, there is a good chance your child will at some point cry, but we wont leave them on their own or leave them to cry for long periods of time. We will use distraction techniques, gained with the many many years of experience our staff had had at preschool. If we are unable to console your child we will call you, so please ensure that we have your current mobile and home numbers! Also, backup numbers are recommended (trusted family or friends) in case we are unable to contact you. When all is said and done, not all children will cry, some will from the start, others on 2nd visit, some on another random day when your child realises that preschool is a regular thing! Some 2 year olds are just not ready to start at preschool and perhaps will need a break of a few months and start again later in the year when they are more emotionally ready.
If your child uses a comforter such as a blanket, dummy and special cuddly at home please ensure it is readily available in their bag, it can be an invaluable comfort and help settle them in this new strange environment.
This is NOT the time to start new things like potty training, giving up afternoon sleeps, comforters etc…..1 thing at a time! Get them settled into preschool, used to the new environments and adapted to their new busier lifestyle – trust us, you will only be setting yourself and them up for failure.
As you will have been informed, we operate a rolling snack back bar, which means children have their snack in small groups throughout the session. Each child is required to bring in a piece of fruit or vegetable from home (please leave on the table in the basket in the lobby) that will be prepared and shared with all the children. This way the children benefit from a healthy varied snack. We often add different foods that may fall in with our different themes (such as Indian food at Diwali, Christmas treats, Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday etc). But please don’t forget about the fruit as snack looks quite frugal without it!
On the subject of food, if your child is one of our lunch clubbers, please be aware that due to potential allergy risks, nuts of any kind are not permitted…including
Peanut butter, hazelnut spread, snicker bars, or just plain nuts! Please exclude these from lunch boxes.
Each child is provided with a Heybridge Preschool Cotton bag with their name on when they start. These are so much more ergonomical for the children to use than backpacks. They are easier to open by the child, big enough for their learning journey without squishing it, provide a sense of belonging to the Heybridge family with our logo, and large enough to contain a change of clothes, nappies, snack and a comforter! (and they wash nicely too!) Please use these bags, it would prevent so much frustration that the children experience (and the staff!! ;-0 ) when they can’t get their bits in or out with everything spilling on the floor! If yours is
mislaid or damaged, come and have a quiet word…I am sure we could sneak you another – just dont tell
everyone!
Leading on from that, please ensure that you pack in their bag at least a couple of changes of clothes (top and bottoms) and nappies if they use them. We encourage messy wet play, but even if they don’t like this kind of fun, just washing their hands can lead to wet sleeves and tummy region! We have a very limited stash of clothing and would prefer not to have to call you to fetch up a change of clothes. And don’t forget to name clothes and coats too! As the children delve into their (backpacks :-( ) bags their clothes end up in a sea of likewise abandoned clothes on the floor ….what an impossible puzzle it is to try and find the correct home for each item, time we would rather spend with the children.
Well, I am bringing this blog post to an end as it has become more of an infomercial, next week’s post should be more fun, telling you about the latest escapades of our little crew of munchkins!

10 May 2018 - Outdoor Classroom Day

Hello! Well, first I must apologize for the lengthy absence, but there is a good excuse – playing with the children!
Next Thursday is our Outdoor Classroom Day…..so excited! For those of you who weren’t with us last year let me explain. The Outdoor Class Room Day is a WORLDWIDE initiative to get our kiddies outside and exploring their natural environment.
“Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On the day, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritise playtime. In 2017, over 2.3 million children worldwide took part, more than 580,000 of those were in the UK and Ireland._
_Outdoor learning improves children’s health, engages them with learning and leads to a greater connection with nature. Play not only teaches critical life skills such as resilience, teamwork, and creativity but is central to children’s enjoyment of childhood. “
OUtdoorClassroomday.org.uk
Last year the day was incredibly successful, the children had a great time and we are hoping for a similar outcome this year!
We have many activities planned, from cheerio bird feeders and rock snails to pine cone mobiles and an assault course and many more in-between. Will will have a picnic snack (please feel free to donate picnic foods!)
If your child does not attend on a Thursday do not despair! We will continue the activities on Friday and through the following week to enable all the children to participate.
Could we enlist your help to collect some flowers and leaves for the children to bring in on the day, please? Donations from your garden or reduced bouquets from the shop would be great! We will be using them for fabric printing so a wide variety of colours would be very useful.

27 February 2018 - People who help us

Brrrrr, what do you reckon of the beast from the east? So far, a bit of a damp squib I’m thinking! The children have had fun in the brief episodes of snow that we have had…Julie brought in some sledges from home and the children had turns being pulled along in the garden. We haven’t had quite enough to build a snowman yet…fingers crossed there is still time!
Should the school make the decision not to open, we too will be closed. We will endeavour to let you know ASAP via Local Radio or the Primary Schools website. Our cheese and wine evening with the committee has been cancelled, and rescheduled for March.
Today we brought the outside indoors…and emptied a big bowl of snow into a Tuff tray. The children explored the sensations and texture from the warmth of the setting! They were fascinated by it – holding until it melted, crunching it into snowballs, and some were sneakily tasting it! Lets face it, it has to be done!
The past few weeks we have been learning about the People who help us and the emergency services. We are learning about the word “emergency” and what it means. For instance, running out of cat food isn’t an emergency (well it is for the cat!) but something serious, unexpected and possibly life changing is, like a fire, or a car accident, or being suddenly very ill. We have learned about Fire, Ambulance, Police and Coast guard services, looking at their uniforms, tools they may use and how to contact them. We have watched videos chronicling a day in the life… and discovered some very interesting fact…for instance, the Fire Service have Fire Dogs and the Police have Police dogs! We learned that their is a helicopter ambulance in this area as well as ambulances, ambulance cars and ambulance motorbikes!
Our fruit bowl is looking very sorry for itself lately, please remember to bring in a piece of fruit or veg for each session your child attends and we will prepare and share it with all the children.

24 January 2018 - Hello

Hi everybody. This blog should have posted last week, it was a typed and ready to go, pressed save and it disappeared! Now, I hold my hands up, it was probably something I did incorrectly (I doubt it actually, but I will take one for the team!), but that does not make it any less annoying. It was a case of “Debbie, step away from the laptop, step away NOW!”, as it was close to flying! The most irritating part is knowing that it was actually a post that was entertaining and I can’t remember a word that was written! Do you think that there are millions of lost projects floating around in the ether that we can’t see, can’t touch, like ghost of work lost??? Ooooh hark at me, you would think I am trying for a Franz Kafka prize!
Back to the real world…..
We hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year – I wonder what 2018 will bring?
The first couple of weeks of term were all about Dinosaurs….what child doesn’t like dinosaurs? It is such a great topic, engaging children with so many learning opportunities. We painted (developing our fine motors skills in readiness for writing) fridge magnets, we stomped around in huge dinosaur feet (developing our gross motor skills), we cut out a family of dinosaurs (practicing our scissor skills) and ordered them in size (mathematical language, understanding, following instructions) small world play with dinosaurs ( sharing space and toys with peers, developing and building on knowledge of subject, developing our language, vocabulary and conversational skills……the list goes on and on and on!
This week we are revisiting the subject of teeth (we touched on the subject ast term) to help reinforce and consolidate the knowledge. It is such a vitally important subject, mouth and teeth care. The care given to children’s teeth now reflects on the health of their adult teeth. Are you aware that children already have their adult teeth nestled away above their milk/baby teeth. Decay can travel from the baby teeth to the adult teeth, rotting them before they have even emerged! It is a horrific thought! Good practices start young, so this week they are practicing brushing a set of teeth, kindly donated by Pure Orthodontists in Chelmsford. Also kindly donated, was a huge amount of toothbrushes, stickers and toothpaste for the children to use.
In the coming weeks, we have planned for Police and Doctors weeks. So – expect children home in bandages, plasters….hopefully not handcuffs!!!
You may have noticed that we don’t have a parent rota, we have tried this before but it didn’t work for us as people’s plans change. If you would like to stay for a stay and play session – feel free! Just come along, let the supervisor know and we will get you signed in. It is a great way to get to know the staff, how we work and how the children learn and play. We would love for you to come in and join us. Also, it would be lovely if you have any particular talents/jobs/hobbies that you would like to share with the children that would be great too! Such experiences would be invaluable for the children. So come on down if you have some special skills to share!
On February 6th 7.30pm is our Annual General Meeting (AGM). As we are a committee run preschool, it is essential that we have a fully functioning committee. Without one, we will cease to function and will therefore close. It really is that important. Our AGM is not as stuffy as it sounds. As you know, we are a friendly bunch and it is a nice evening, with a cheeky glass of wine, a little cheese and a natter with friends, new and old. The business side of things only takes half hour or so and then the chatter begins! Please come along and support us….as Lord Kitchener stated….
WE NEED YOU!
By now you should have received your invitation slips, please reply on the attached form ASAP. Please come.

13 December 2017 - Oooops

Hello! I know I promised weekly updates, but there is a good excuse….Christmas preparations! It has been a veritable workshop with all our little Elves working on their Christmas decorations which have been coming home this week. Each child’s bag will be different and relevant to the age and stage of your child, as there is a huge difference in capabilities between a 2 and 4 year old. We hope you appreciate the beauty of their creations, I am sure they will live on your Christmas tree forever more….to this day on my Christmas tree I have a cracker and an Angel that were made 16 years ago and each year they come out I get a little misty eyed!
A few weeks ago we made soup with the children (check out the photos in the gallery), they cut the veg, we spoke about where they came from, and then we cooked it for snack. The vast majority of the children ate it with relish, coming back for seconds and thirds each day. Some of the children were unfamiliar with some of the veg we used, whilst others knew them all and asked for others we didn’t have. One child thought celery was asparagus, however when he had a bite he was very disappointed! We also made sandwiches with the children, using jam or marmite, and the children practiced using the knife to spread the fillings
We celebrated Halloween by making ghosts and spiders and the children had some great tales about their trick or treating. The children apple bobbed, and dressed up in scarey costumes. We used pumpkins to develop the children’s hand/eye co-ordination and use of tools. They hammered in nails and used the screwdriver with the screws. We also made holes into which we threaded pipe cleaners.
Another week we concentrated on messy play and making potions. We supplied a range of ingredients that required spooning, squeezing, weighing and mixing and the children were encouraged to spent as much time as they wanted creating lovely smelly potions. They explored by smelling, touching and asking about the ingredients. They used scales to measure the weight, and then tried to find an equal weight by adding and subtracting ingredients on the other side of the scales.
To join in with Children in Need, the children once again dressed up, donating a £1 (we raised £22 ) and we made Pudsey Bear biscuits. We talked about how some children are not as lucky as us and need help in lots of different ways.
To begin our Christmas celebrations, the children ‘wrote’ letters to Father Christmas to give him hints of what they may like. Once the letter was composed, we went for walks to the local post box and the children popped in their letters. To date, the majority of children have had replies and have been proudly bringing them in to show us. After Christmas we will be sending thank you letters to the big man himself to show appreciation for the gifts that we (hopefully) will receive!
Joining in with our customs, the children have made Christmas cards and Christmas decorations, including a Christmas tree that they have decorated by sewing on beads and bells (NOT an Elf hat as some have thought!!! ;-)
Last week we were lucky enough to be invited to the Primary School Nativity production. Our children were so well behaved and enjoyed watching the children, some of which had brothers or sisters in the production. They loved the songs and we have been listening to them on Youtube ever since!
We would like to thank you all for your support with our own CAROL CONCERT, helping and preparing the children for their performance. It is always a little hit and miss as the children either thrive on the attention, or are horrified by the size of the hall, audience and being on a stage! We are very proud of the children, remembering the songs, singing, dancing and being very well behaved. We were fortunate enough to host Father Christmas after the concert who listened to the children’s Christmas wishes and gave them a little treat for being so good.
This final week we are having parties for the children each day and letting the children loose with the glitter and sequins to create whatever they wish.
We close for the Christmas break on Friday 15th December and reopen for sessions on Monday January 8th 2018.
The staff of Heybridge Preschool would like to wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. See you in 2018!!!

02 November 2017 - Hello!

Hi there everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and avoiding the bugs that are floating around! It is quite normal for children of this age to “catch everything that is going”, this is what will build their resistance and they will have healthier immune systems because of it. However it is not much fun for them at the time, so please, if your child is full of cold, coughing, sneezing and noses running away from them, keep them home. This is not a suitable environment for children that are under the weather. We are a busy, noisy setting, that is challenging for children who are healthy and at the top of their game. For children who are poorly, it is overwhelming, frustrating and uncomfortable. When you think about it – do you want to work when you are under the weather? Children build up their stamina over the years, so, even if they want to come, keep them home, wrapped up and cosy. They will recover all the quicker.
The time is fast approaching for our annual Christmas Carol Concert. This year as usual it is being held in the hall at Heybridge Primary on Thursday 7th December in the morning (time to be confirmed). This year the numbers will be strictly limited to 2 tickets per family without exception. We have been given a total number that we have to adhere to due to fire and health and safety regulations at the school. The preschool will be closed for the entire day as in the afternoon we will be having a staff meeting. Next week we be introducing the children to the songs we will be singing….it is going to be so much fun!

10 October 2017 - Upset tums

Hello everybody
I hope you are keeping well if not, you probably have the dreaded vomiting & diarrhoea bug that is raging through Essex at the moment. So, with that in mind, this week’s blog is some advice on how to deal with the most common ailments at this time of year. Today we will concentrate on
Diarrhoea and vomiting (D&V).
There are a few causes of D&V notably the most common at this time of year especially in children is the Noro Virus, often called the Winter Vomiting Bug. Symptoms have a fast onset
Sudden watery diarrhoea
Nausea (feeling sick)
Vomiting
Mild Fever
The best treatment is to rest and drink sips of water( or a rehydration solution available from the pharmacy) to avoid dehydration which can happen rapidly in children. Normally, medical intervention is not required, however, if symptoms do not ease after a couple of days, or you notice bloody diarrhoea, increased fever or signs of dehydration you should seek medical advice call your surgery to speak to your GP, ring NHS 111 or speak to your Health Visitor. Further information can be found on the NHS.UK Choices website http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gastroenteritis
When your child fancies something to eat, let them, keeping the food choice small, light and plain, a little bread, rice, pasta or soup. Avoid fatty/oily foods as this promotes bile production which can then upset the stomach all over again!
To prevent cross infection ( sharing the bug…in this case sharing is definitely NOT caring!);

03 October 2017 - Where we live

Hello everyone,
this week we are exploring our environment, finding out where we live, the types of houses we live in and what we can do out and about.
The children began making houses from recycling junk, (thank you for your donations, keep them coming please) discovering what they could use to join pieces together, ie wet glue, glue sticks or sticky tape. Whist the intention was good, the children soon became involved in making spaceships and dinosaurs!
We used our available technology and looked up our homes on Google maps, getting the children to point out their homes. The results were quite funny as we had a couple of children claiming that a particular house was theirs! We have encouraged the children to learn their addresses, think about what their house looks like, and how they to and from school. This introduces lots of maths related vocabulary….t, house numbers, directional language such as left, right, up down etc. On the way to school pointing out the different numbers on the doors, road names and signs reinforces what they are learning at preschool.
Please dont forget, even if you travel back and forth by car, the children need coats to access our outside area. We have free access to such a wonderful resource – our garden!

28 September 2017 - Teeth

Good afternoon folks!
I hope you are all well. This week we have been concentrating on our teeth. We planned this week before the summer holidays – how timely that the British Dental Association last week have initiated a drive to improve the health of the nations children’s teeth. It has been in the news that an rapidly increasing number of preschool children have had milk teeth extracted, ALL of which can be easily avoided. the main recommendations are:

The children have enjoyed practising their brushing skills on our crocodile and dinosaur, learning about the different types of teeth, and how to look after our teeth and gums. We discovered what made our teeth “happy” (carrots, broccoli, water, etc) and foods that made our teeth sad (sugar, cola, sweets, sugary drinks etc). Some children practised flossing using a duplo block, playdough and a length of wool – that was an experience! We have also added to the children’s learning journey NHS guidelines on caring for children’s teeth and a list of local dental practices for those of you yet to make that appointment!
We are also encouraging the children’s independence in other matters such as visiting the toilet, with one main hinderance……skinny jeans! Whilst they look so cute, some children are finding them virtually impossible to either get them down in time or back up afterwards! The best clothes for preschool are t-shirts, joggers and trainers, allowing for freedom of movement when running and climbing and are easy up and downable! Plus it isnt the end of the world if they get paint or other preschool grossness on themselves!
In a couple of weeks, our topic will be “Pets”. We would greatly appreciate any photos of your animals that the children can share with their peers. We will put the photos together in a preschool collage wall which in previous years has proved very popular. If you are unable to print them out yourselves, please post them on our facebook page and we will print them out. (Dont forget to let us know their names!) I wonder what the most unusual pet will be?

19 September 2017 - Simple Signing

Hello, I know, what a shock, 2nd week running and here I am!
We are still gradually building up the sessions, with new starters each week. Fingers crossed, most seem to be settling in very well. There will be a few tears for some, and if your little newbie hasn’t had a little cry don’t rest on your laurels! Some children get distressed on the first day then gradually improve as they begin to trust and feel more comfortable with us. Others bound in with lots of confidence and then, on about day 3, they have realised that this is a regular thing and they decide enough is enough and they want to go home! We will work with you in ensuring your child settles into preschool routine. We do not leave children to cry, we comfort and use distraction techniques, utilising the child’s comforter if they have one), so please ensure that it is in the preschool bag.If your child can’t be consoled, we will call you and discuss what our next steps will be. Sometimes it may be best to make each stay short and sweet, maybe starting for an hour and gradually building up to a full 3 hour session. We recognise that every child is an individual, each will have their own little quirks and strategies for coping. We will support your child, (and you!) through this transition into being a little more independant and ensuring they become confident, savvy little learners who are ready to explore the world!
At Heybridge Preschool we are proud to say that our staff turn over is VERY low, and indeed most of us have been here well into double figures. Our average age is that of a dinosaur, so between us we have notched up a fair bit of experience. We also recognise that is is good to have new blood and ideas, so I would like to announce that we welcome the lovely Courtney, our apprentice. Week 3 and it feels like she has always been part of the team and most important of all, the children love her!
This week we are introducing simple signing to the children. You may have noticed their name cards already depict the sign for the initial sound of their name, this is something we have done for many years. We also incorporate simple signs into our everyday practice, such as; drink, eat, snack, sit, finish, toilet to name but a few. Signing isn’t just for people with difficulty hearing, most of us use sign every day without realising it; tapping our wrist when we ask the time, thumb and little finger to ear and mouth respectively indicating a phone call, finger to lips for a shhhhhh. Signing enables all children to communicate more effectively, for their needs to be met and reduces isolation. There are many studies that have shown that toddlers/children who sign are; more able to recognise letters, have better reading and spelling skills, have better visual attention and joint attention skills, have increased vocabulary and communication skills which in turn may lead to less tantrums. Whether children are too young to produce speech, have English as a second language, have difficulty in producing intelligible sounds, non verbal or too shy, the need to communicate is the same, so using the body as a tool to help can only help!
There are many valuable resources out therefrom Mr Tumble to articles on the web to help. Make it fun and you will be surprised at the results.
Just to wrap up, there is a Committee meeting on Tuesday 10th October at 7.30 (19.30hrs) which is open to all our parents. Come along, meet up with friends or make some new ones, we are a friendly bunch and WE NEED YOU! Heybridge Preschool is a committee run organisation and without your support we will cease to exist.

12 September 2017 - The Blog is Back!

Grovel, grovel, kissy, kissy, I am so sorry it has been a while since the last blog (ok, I admit, 17th Feb is a bit more than “a while”). Anyway, let’s put that behind us and move forward, still friends? Good, go make yourself a tea or coffee and sit down and have a read. Here we go……

Welcome Back to the 2017/18 academic year, and to our new families and children WELCOME!
I am aiming to update weekly and this website is the place to go if you need to find out about term times, news, activities, what we have been up to, what we will be doing, and don’t forget to check out the gallery! The gallery is where I will post select photos of the children engaged and having fun with our activities. Of course, if you have specified in your paperwork that you do not wish for your children to appear on the internet we will respect your wishes.
The start of this term is generally fairly quiet, as we welcome our new starters in a staggered intake, allowing the little ones to find their feet in a quieter environment. By half term, all should be in settled to a new routine.
Here is a run through of a typical day:
The children arrive, and leave their piece of fruit in the basket in the lobby.
Entering the setting, the children find their photo on a clothes peg and hang up their coat and bag. If their bag contains anything that may be dangerous for other children (nappy cream, drinks, sweets – some of our children have allergies- calpol etc, please inform a member of staff who will place it out of reach of little fingers.
(Also, please ensure your child’s learning journey is always in their bag so we can add to it)
Once the coats are hung up, children and parents line up so the children can self register (find their name on the board and move it over to the “we are here” side. This routine encourages children to recognise their own name and to experience a sense of belonging. The name cards also depict a shape and this is particularly for the children who are not able/ready to recognise their name as a colour and shape is easier.
Once the children have self registered, they are free to participate in the activities on offer.
We provide a rolling snack bar, preparing the fruit/veg that you have supplied and the children take turns to attend after washing and drying their hands. The snack bar is supervised by a member of staff at all times, ensuring the children’s safety is maintained. We acknowledge that this time is a valuable learning experience for the children, learning about the origins of the fruit/veg, milk and water, sharing experiences and learning to sit at a table with other children.
We count ourselves very lucky with our outdoor area and we have wet weather gear for all the children to wear, enabling them to have free access to this wonderful resource. Please ensure your children attend preschool in the appropriate attire for the weather, warm clothing in the autumn/winter and we will talk about the summer clothing a bit nearer the time! Coats are a must, and as it gets colder NAMED gloves and hats. Please make sure all clothing is named, we encourage children to dress/undress themselves and clothing often goes awry! Can you imagine trying to match up 60 individual gloves, 30 coats and hats at the end of each and every session? Trust me, it is not a great experience! Labels are much more cost effective than purchasing new clothing.
Towards the end of session we will have a “tidy up time” and all children are required to participate prior to a group time.
Group time varies session to session as we take into account the age, stage of development and “mix” of children. That said, we always call the register and sing our safety songs. We may also read a story, or encourage the children to talk to the group. There are various games too that work well at the end of session.
Whilst I have your attention (hopefully I still do!) please, please, please keep us updated with ANY change in your phone numbers. It is vital that we are able to contact you in the event of your child becoming unwell or having an accident. If you are aware that we may not be able to contact you at some point during the session, please provide an alternative contact (dad, family, neighbour). Your child’s health and safety is our priority.
I hope today’s post hasn’t been too heavy going and you will return for further installments of preshool life! Don’t forget to check out term dates and the gallery….byeeeeee

09 February 2017 - Half Term Time

Hello! Brrrr a little chilly out there! It is going a make a very cold half term break next week! Preschool will close tomorrow (Friday 10th Feb) at 3.30 and reopen on TUESDAY at 08.45. Remember Tuesday….not Monday….Tuesday! Don’t be “that” parent that turns up to find the school locked up and has to do the walk of shame back home hiding the school bag and uniform! There is always one…will it be you? ;-)
Over the past couple of weeks we have been learning about our pets, and we have all loved seeing each others fur-babies. There is now a great gallery on the wall showcasing the photos you have all posted on our Facebook group. It has elicited so much conversation from the children, and they have learned from each other how to look after the various animals. Carole kindly brought in “Dave”, her enormous guinea pig and ALL the children loved him. They had opportunities to pet him, feed him, and watch him explore his surroundings. They were all so gentle and treated him with great respect. We have a couple of children that are still a little unsettled at preschool, however Dave brought them out of themselves and they were soon smiling and chatting to him. Of course, Dave chatted back in his chirpy way! Sarah also brought in some pigeons that her husband Kev keeps. It was fascinating to learn about the different types (yes there are different types!). Our children sat patiently and listened as Kev described their differences and each had a tentative stroke, experiencing the texture of the feathers whilst still on a bird! Our favourite was the curly one – thank you Kev and Sarah for taking the time to share your lovely birds. After half term, we will be homing a new pet….Bernard, the axolotl! He is a weird looking amphibian, with a rather happy face! He will provide the children with lots of learning opportunities, and help them develop the skills to love and care for a dependant (as do our tropical fish, Sid the Shrimp and Slip and Slide, the water snails).
When we return after the break, we are planning (optimistically some may say) to get our garden underway again. In the greenhouse we will be planting vegetable and flower seeds, some for the children to take home, and some for our garden. We will also be planting up our shrub and herbaceous border, so if anyone out there has some cuttings, divided some perennials, or indeed, would like to donate seeds or such like – all offers are gratefully accepted. Gardening is probably the most popular activity with the children year after year. The sowing, the nurturing of the seedlings and watching them grow is not just very educational, it is so therapeutic. Our children have very varied needs; sensory issues, speech delay, separation anxiety, anger, and experiencing the world from a different view point than most of us. However, the garden unites us all, and even our children that have real trouble interpreting all the stimuli that is thrown at them, get so much from pottering about in our green house.
We will also be celebrating Mother’s Day and Easter towards the end of term, so watch this space……..

22 January 2017 - Happy New Year!

We hope you all had a very festive Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year celebration! And here we are almost at the end of January already!
As the weather has turned a little bit chilly, and we have the usual snow “threat”, school closures will be announced on local radio. For those of you that have children at Heybridge Primary, a general rule of thumb is, if they are open, so are we! (and Vice Versa).
For many of you this is the year that your child moves up to “big” school, and as much as you may be dreading it (or in some cases looking forward to it!), now is the time to start preparing them for the big move. By now you should have applied online for a place at primary school, and you should be informed on the 18th April of where your child has been allocated.
Once you know where your child will be going, you can start familiarising them and yourself of the school, and quietly introduce it into conversations in a positive manner. Even if you are nervous or unsure, do not allow your child to see this, or overhear your concerns when you are chatting with others. This will only feed their own anxieties and make the transition much harder for them.
To ensure your child is class “ready”, there are a few things you can start to put in place (if you haven’t already) that will be invaluable….
a) for your child to be able to use the toilet independently and see to their own personal hygiene. Whilst all children potty train at different times, it will be much easier for them if this skill is embedded and automatic. Potty training just before school, ie, in the summer holidays, can be quite stressful for the child when school starts as it is a new skill, and easy to forget when there is so much to take in in a new setting.
b)For your child to be able to dress and undress themselves. Do you remember having to get changed for P.E in your classroom? I still do! If your child is able to change into their kit independently, fold their clothes onto the chair, and put on their plimsoles, they will be one step ahead of the game! It is good to start practising with coats and gloves now too. With an 8 month head start, by the time they start school they will be ready as they will ever be!
On the subject of coats and gloves, please ensure they are named! We have have 30 coats and numerous gloves discarded on the floor by the little lovelies, and it would make our lives so much easier if they were named so we could pop them back on the correct peg. Gloves can be kept safe by stringing them through the arms of the coat. We encourage the children to put hat etc back into their bags, but sometimes they miss!
Frequently the children like to bring in their own toy, many are quite small and are easily lost. It can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, so please, refrain from bringing these in. It is better that the staff spend their time playing with the children rather than looking for a toy that “little Johnny” just cant sleep without.
Phonics time recommenced this week with the sound Cc, and next week it will be Ee as in egg. We practice the sound and accompanying hand movement and find object beginning with the sound. You can support the learning at home finding objects and perhaps drawing them together in the Learning Journey. We find that the programme Alphablocks supports the learning in a fun way that is quite short and snappy. At preschool, we concentrate on one sound a week, watching the same clip and Alphablock episode each day to ensure the children have time to listen and absorb. You can find the clips on Youtube, and we have saved the ones we use on our Youtube channel, Heybridgepreschool.
Our AGM is on Tuesday 7th March at 7 for 7.30, and it would be good to see you there. The official business doesn’t take long and it is a good excuse for a glass of wine, some cheese and a natter.
Another date for your diary is Wednesday 29th March, Parents evening. This is your chance to come along and chat to your child’s keyperson about their progress and any worries or concerns you may have. Appointment slips will be popped into the children’s bag after half term.
We will also be holding an Easter craft event during the last week of term. We will supply all the materials needed, all you need to do is come along and enjoy a crafty session with no mess for you to clear up afterwards! The invitations for these will be sent out in due course, please return them ASAP to guarantee a place. There will be space for every child to bring along one person.
Now our new starters are quite well settled, if you would like to stay and play for a session – come and join us! It will give you a valuable insight to how we run, you can put names to faces, and it may answer a few questions you may have. I remember when mine were little they raved about a Romer, but were unable to describe what it was..(and Google wasn’t around “all those years ago”)…when I stayed for a session, I found out it was a robotic ladybird! Most of you know us, we are a friendly bunch and we wont make you work – promise! If you fancy it, have a word with the Supervisor and just give us a day or so’s notice (sometimes we have other professionals in and if there are too many adults we end up tripping over ourselves!) It would be lovely to see you, or indeed Daddy nanny or Auntie/Uncle. One word of caution though, if your child is still having separation anxiety, it may not be wise to stay just yet as it could be confusing for them.

12 December 2016 - Christmas Time!

It is that time ….ALREADY! This afternoon is our Annual Christmas Carol Concert – yipeeee! The children have been practising every day, and probably at home too! Don’t forget the hall is very big and their voices very small, so please join in with the festive spirit and boost their volume!
The Primary have graciously let us use their hall, please remember, it is a working school, so if you are bringing other children/younger siblings you must keep them with you, not running around the hall. The staff will be busy safeguarding the children on the stage and won’t be available to herd stray children!! :-)
Also, buggies are to be left either outside the primary or outside preschool and not to be taken into the hall.
After, come and join us back at preschool for some refreshments and a mince pie whilst waiting to see a Very Special Visitor!

14 November 2016 - Celebration time!

Hello everyone, week 3 of the 2nd half term already! That means we are only 4 weeks away from breaking up for Christmas…..eeeeeeeeek!
This half term we continue learning about colours, what happens when we mix them, dark and light etc. We are also celebrating the various festivals that are around this time. We kicked off with Halloween, making witches hats, broomsticks and bats. The children enjoyed the song “Spooky Spooky” that can be found on Youtube, and should know the words by now! The staff enjoyed hearing about their outfits and all the bounty they reaped fro trick or treating….the sale of toothpaste must have gone through the roof in Heybridge!
Next came the 5th November. We learned about firework safety, to listen to adults, stay a safe distance from them and never to touch them. We watched from a safe distance (inside) as Julie lit a sparkler in the garden and drew pretty patterns in the air, then we made our own with some tinsel. We watched firework displays on the TV and imitated the different sounds we heard. We touched upon Guy Fawkes and the Gun powder plot and the poem Remember Remember the 5th of November.
We celebrated Diwali with the children creating/filling in Rangoli patterns with scented coloured rice that we prepared the week before. We added 5 different food colourings to 5 bowls of uncooked rice, stirring until it was all coated. Then we decided to add an extra sensory experience by adding food flavourings – lemon, orange, caramel(that was scrummy), peppermint and vanilla. The children thoroughly enjoyed the different smells and the mixing.
We observed Remembrance on the 11th November, maintaining a 2 minute silence whilst we watched the ceremony at the Cenotaph. We spoke about respect for the fallen and remembering the soldiers who have died to protect us. The children made their own poppies from red and black card. We are very proud of our children who sat still and quietly for 2 minutes….no mean feat for 2, 3 and even 4 year olds!
We have started our Phonics time again, and have so far introduced the sounds /s/ /a/ and this week /t/. The children are encouraged to go on treasure hunts at home to find things beginning with the relevant sound. It would be good if you could support this, and extend their learning (there are ideas on our advice page Talk Listen Cuddle). We have also introduced “tuning in” times, where the children are encouraged to actively listen to different sounds and identify them. It is easy to forget that “ listening “ is a skill that needs practising and development.
Our Christmas celebrations will commence in week 5, and the children will be busy busy busy creating and making. However, their “makes” will not be coming home until our last week.
Just a little reminder… you may have heard there has been a nasty tummy bug doing the rounds of the schools at the moment. If your little one comes down with it, please remember it is 48 hours after the last bout of sickness or diarrhoea before attending preschool. We have this policy to protect all the children from cross infection, and to hopefully stop this nasty bug in its tracks!

14 October 2016 - Into Autumn

Well it looks like Autumn is well and truly here now, but what a good long summer we had! This half term is drawing to a close (friday) and we have accomplished so much! Our new littlies have settled in so well and grown in confidence and our older children have stepped up to the plate and become good role models for the younger children.
Over the past 7 weeks the children have had many varied experiences and learning opportunities. If you look through the gallery of this half term you will see many of the activities the children have participated in;

12 October 2016 - Welcome Back

Hello Ladies and Gents, it is the beginning of a new academic year 2016/17, and a new start for some of our parents and children, and a return to school routine for most of our older children. The first week is under our belts and we are settling in well!Not all of our new starters have started yet as we stagger the new entries to allow for a calmer quieter beginning to the term, enabling us to spend good quality time getting to know the children, forming a solid foundation for their time with us. Leaving your child with us for the first time is very hard and distressing, particularly for the you, the parent, as you cant see what is going on, whether your child is crying, or on their own in a strange place, the list goes on. We understand this and will do everything we can to help ease you and your child into this new routine. Yes, there is a good chance your child will cry, but we wont leave them on their own, or leave them to cry for long lengths of time. We will use distraction techniques, gained with the many many years of experience our staff have had at preschool. If we are unable to console your child we will call you,so please ensure that we have your current mobile and home numbers! When all said and done, not all children will cry, some will on day 1,others on day 3, others not at all and some 2 year olds aren’t ready to start at preschool. We will be there to support you and child all the way through preschool, from day one until they leave for “big school”.So far, touch wood, we have had very few tears and all have settled into preschool life so well, accepting the new rules and routines, and sharing their space with 26 other people…….and the children are doing well too!
We are so proud of the little ones, they really have done so well, as have our older ones, who are now our big fish in the little pond. It is an important time for them, as they are now the role models for the little ones and they have more responsibility. Even just touching 4 years of age they can become good mentors, which we encourage.
As you will all know, it is not always plain sailing with your little lovelies, unfortunately the well known “terrible twos” do not end when they turn 3! Children naturally feel frustrated when they can’t have what they want, when they want and how they what it. In general, as far as they are concerned the world revolves around them, and everything needs to fit into their wants and desires. And lets face it, we love them so much we dont like to see them upset. However, in the real world we live in a society where there are expected behaviours, rules and boundaries. By teaching these, we are not suppressing their individuality or creativity, but promoting, sensitive, caring individuals who can accept and embrace change and the needs of others.
When your child starts at preschool, you automatically become a member of our Preschool committee. Now this may sound a little scary, but it is far, far from it! Let me give you a little information…..
Heybridge Preschool is a committee run preschool. To exist and function, we require a working committee. This is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT. Quite simply, if people do not step up to the plate, we close. There will not be a preschool for your child to attend in Heybridge. To prevent this happening, all we require you to do, at the very least, is attend our committee meetings, which are a fun, social couple of hours in an evening, once every 12 weeks or so.
Our 1st committee meeting of this academic year is tuesday 27/9/16 and we look forward to seeing hoards of you! It is a good way to meet new people and have a chinwag!
As a charity, non profit organisation, we are always looking at ways to fund raise, to purchase new and exciting equipment for your children to play, explore, learn and develop with. During half term, we have Zoe, the photographer here on Tuesday 25th October in the morning. We have found that our families purchase these photographs as very popular Christmas presents. Zoe is fabulous with the children (and adults) and the photos reflect this. Very soon we will be booking time slots, so get in quick as they go VERY fast.
Lastly, be sure to join up to the Heybridge Preschool Facebook group, where you can be kept up to date with latest information and happenings at preschool. We have found that this is the most effective way of sharing information. It is a closed group, just for our current parents, committee members and staff.
Have a good week and stay safe in this fabulous weather!

13 September 2016 - Nearly there!

The summer holidays are nearly upon us! Where has this year gone? It feels like one of the fastest academic years we have known! As the term draws to a close, we will be keeping in the children’s books (learning journey) as we prepare the children’s folders for the Leaver’s Ceremony (those that are leaving of course!). If you are unable to make the Teddy Bears Picnic on the 15th July (between 1 & 3pm) please let us know so we can give you the folder before you go. Your child has worked hard on these learning journeys, it would be a shame not to keep them.
We have been asked what is needed for the Teddy Bears Picnic…
Something to sit on (blanket/fold up chairs)
Something to eat
A Teddy Bear
Some pennies for the refreshments (Tea, Coffee) and cake sale
Camera!
And that is it.
Please keep your child close on the day, and definitely in sight as the site becomes very crowded (there maybe upwards of 300 people and children). Most of all, enjoy yourselves and celebrate the end of the 2015/16 academic year and for 43 of you – graduation from Preschool!

27 June 2016 - Summer term eventsand End of term arrangements

Dear Parents and carers
Once again this year on 25th June 2016 we will be joining forces with the Primary School for the Summer Fayre, lots of fun activities to be had and all monies raised will be divided so that the children at the School and Pre-school benefit from new resources. So don’t forget to come along and bring all those pennies with you!!!! Raffle tickets will follow in a few days.
This year our last day for normal sessions will be on Thursday 14th July. On friday the 15th July from 1 pm until 3pm we will hold our Annual Teddy Bears Picnic. During the picnic, at approx 2pm we will have our leavers presentation (please note, THERE ARE NO SESSIONS FOR CHILDREN ON THIS DAY). PARENTS MUST STAY WITH THEIR CHILDREN AT ALL TIMES DURING THE PICNIC, THE CHILDREN’S SAFETY WILL YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
We are then closed for the Summer holidays and return to normal sessions on Monday 5th September.
Thank you.
Anne Read
Manager

09 June 2016 - Summer is here!

At last!The warmer weather has arrived (who is to say how long it will last tho I must admit…) and our garden is it’s usual suntrap. Please ensure ALL children are well basted in suitable suncream prior to attending preschool (seriously,can you imagine the length of time it will take us to coat 30 children before they go outside???) and preferably with their own NAMED sunhats and clothing that will cover their shoulders. Flipflops ARE NOT suitable footwear for preschool as children are unable to run, climb and participate in physical activities safely in them. Children will not be permitted to participate in these activities if they are wearing flip flops. Crocs, if they have the backstrap are a safer alternative, though trainers, Doodles (or their alternative) are much preferable.
The children decided (with a little help!) that they would love to have a water fight at preschool. So, weather depending we are aiming to do do during week 5, however if the weather is great we will do so before. What would help is for you to supply your child with a swimming costume/trunks and a small towel that they can keep in their school bag so we can spontaneously spring it on them if the conditions are right. Small water pistols may also be brought in (NOT SUPER SOAKERS!) and we will also supply them. Please remind your children that if they have the water pistols in their bag they may only be used for and during the water fight. If you do not want your child to participate in the waterfight, or indeed they don’t want to that is fine, just let us know.

07 June 2016 - Happy Birthday

Happy 90th Birthday to Queen Elizabeth. We have celebrated her Majesty’s birthday today, making her a birthday card, watching her on television and finding out about her family and we listened to the National Anthem. Have a look on our gallery to see our wall display that we will be adding to as the children complete their works.

21 April 2016 - Ooooops

I am so sorry there hasn’t been a blog for quite a few weeks, no excuses, just life!
All is going very well in Preschool World. The big event this week has been notifications of Primary Schools. I believe everybody has got their first choice (as noted on the form completed). However since the forms were submitted circumstances change, so there is time to appeal decisions if you have moved or your needs have changed. Bear in mind, all the schools want to do their best for your child, teachers don’t go into the profession for the fabulous salary! The biggest influence on your child’s school days will be YOU. The children need to see that you are confident and happy with them transitioning to school, that you are excited for them to set out on a new adventure and meet new friends and learn, learn learn! Learning will be fun! By supporting the school, and starting off on the right foot your child we be in the best place to thrive. * Ensuring your child attends the transition sessions laid on by your school is a HUGE part of your child’s journey into Reception. Fear of the unknown can build and build until the very idea of attending school is terrifying. Attending the transition sessions enables your child to become familiar with the classroom layout, the smell of the environment, the teacher’s face and those of the classroom assistants and the beginning of the school routines. This cant be stressed enough, transition is ESSENTIAL!

20 April 2016 - Next steps and development Wheel.

Hello everyone, hope you are all keeping well and haven’t been blown away by our latest storm!
Just to let you know over the next few weeks you will notice some new paperwork appearing in your children’s books . In fact the paperwork isn’t new, we have been working with it for a couple of years, but we have decided to keep a copy in their books to enable you to keep up to date with your child’s progress.
As you know, we continually assess your children in an informal manner and every 3 months we complete a formal assessment over the 7 areas of developmentfor our 3 and overs and the 1st 3 for our 2 year olds. (1. Personal, social and emotional 2. Communication and Language, 3. Physical, 4. Literacy, 5. Mathematic, 6. understanding the World, 7. Expressive art and design). We use the Early Years Outcomes (http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Early_Years_Outcomes.pdf) and our knowledge of each child from observation and parental input to set the children’s next steps. On the Next steps form there is a box for you to add your comments and/or thoughts. Could you please sign the form after reading please to acknowledge that you have read and agree with your child’s keypersons assessment.
In the back of their book we will be including their development wheel. This is divided into the 7 areas of development, which are then subdivided into specific areas. The bands are as follows: birth – 11 months, 16 -26 months, 22-36 months, 30-50 months, 40-60 months. These age bands co-ordinate with the Early Years Outcomes (the above link will take you to a download from the Dept of Education) which break development down into small steps. You will notice that the bands overlap, allowing for children that develop at different rates, and also the bands vary in length. We mark the children’s progress for each subdivision when they have confidently and consistently achieved all the stepping stones in that band. Generally, by the time our most of our children leave preschool and enter Primary education, they will be working comfortably in the 30-50 band and may be achieving a few 40-60 month aims, whilst others may still be working in 22-36 month bands. All children are different and have unique needs and their progress wheels will reflect this. If your child’s keyperson has any worries or concerns we will be working with and beside you, as parents, to ensure your child reaches their next steps.
As mentioned earlier, this is rolling out over the next month, so do not be concerned if you haven’t seen this yet, as we work through they will be appearing gradually.

20 April 2016 - ps

We are also learning about the world and British values. When you are out and about on your holidays or days out, could you please send or bring us back a postcard for our maps on the wall. This helps the children get an insight on where the different places are. So far we have Portsmouth, London, Great Yarmouth and New York!

08 February 2016 - Happy New Year

A bit late I know, but Happy New Year!
We are all truly back in the swing of Preschool Life, and have reached week 3 without being snowed off! If we do have a heavy snow fall, please check with local radio stations for school closures (Essex Radio, Heart etc.) As a rule of thumb, if Heybridge Primary school is closed, so are we!
On the subject of cold weather, sometimes we have parents (particularly those who travel in by car) forget to bring in a coat for the children. We have free flow to the outside and the children do benefit from the outdoor area. Please remember it gets very cold and suitable clothing must be supplied (wellies, boots, jumper, coat, scarf, gloves/mittens).
We had a week of dinosaurs, and the children enjoyed teaching us their names! The children found the story of Dinosaurs love Underpants very funny, especially when we wore pants on our head to read it! Some of the children found it a little to silly to join in at the beginning of the week…however by the end we all had them on.
Then we found out about Dave the cat who ate too much and got stuck in the cat flap. He was fed lots of beans by the other animals which ended up with lots of funny noises being expelled (hahaha). We had beans at snack, so you may have had lots of noises at home too.
This week is all about friendships, and listening to why Horrid Henry hasnt any…..
To encourage the children to “work” their arm muscles, hand/eye coordination and dexterity we have been threading beads and reels, using tweezers, playdough, and new this week, the sticky table. Using different types of tape (selotape, gaffer, parcel) we covered a table…then the children were given free rein to pick it off! Oh what fun we all had, many of the adults were to be found there too. We will be doing the same with runny glue later on in the week – personally I cant wait!

The children have enjoyed junk modelling, learning to construct using different types of materials and tools (runny glue, glue stick, tape) almost as much as the parents have enjoyed taking them home!
One last thing to remember…. preschool is a very busy, hectic environment and can be quite noisy to say the least. It needs children to be healthy and well to get the most from it. On many occasions we have had children come in, feeling under the weather, streaming colds, sore throats and ears. This environment is quite overwhelming for those who are unwell, and they do not get anything from the session. Even if the child wants to come in, as parents we need to take the lead and say not today. The best place is at home, in the warm where they can take it easy. Remember they are only little.

18 January 2016 - Christmas time

As this term draws to an end we would like to say how proud we are of our little ones; they have settled into preschool life, separating from carers with ease, joining in with our routines and activities, but most of all having lots of fun! They performed their Christmas songs so well on stage at the Primary School on Monday, singing and behaving beautifully in the strange environment.
On Thursday, Miss Smith invited us over and her Reception class performed the Wriggly Nativity just for our children! Our children yet again did us proud and sat and watched the fantastic performance, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching OUR (we don’t like to let them go!) children from last year act in their first Nativity. It brought tears to our eyes, seeing them as Angels, Mary and Joseph, Kings,Inn Keeper, Camels and Sheep……I do believe there was the odd chicken here and there too! The Narrators remembered their lines, all in all it was a memorable morning.
Back at preschool the children have been creating up a storm getting their Christmas bag of festive art finished, and they will be coming home this week. I am sure you will be finding glitter in your homes in July!
We have welcomed a guest into our setting – Wiggles the Elf. He has been keeping an eye on us all, making sure that we are all behaving ourselves in readiness of a visit from the big man himself. Wiggles has been a joy, though his antics when we are not around are a little disturbing…hahaha, perhaps next year we will have a separate facebook page for him! We have been reading his book , The Elf on a Shelf and finding out all about his history. The children love entering the building and searching for Wiggles’ new perch each day, and have listened and learned not to touch (mostly)!
We have been learning about the meaning of Christmas, watching the story of Nativity on the TV and reading books about the birth of Jesus. We have also read other stories – our all time favourite being The Smelly Sprout…so if you hear the children chanting “Out smelly Sprout!” you can blame us ;-)
This term we have learned the sounds of S, A, T, P, I, and N, this week recapping on all we have learned so far. We are so pleased how the children respond to the phonics time, even the tiniest of 2 year olds “tune in” as soon as they hear the introductory music. We will continue after the Christmas break learning new sounds and how these sounds are used in words. You can continue to support your child by playing games such as Eye Spy, Letter hunts and Sound treasure boxes.
Just to let you know that this week will be our lovely Lucy’s last week with us. For the past couple of years Lucy has been volunteering with us to gain experience working with children whilst at college. She returned to us in September, whilst she was waiting for her dream job to turn up. In January Lucy will be flying out to New York to meet her new family that she will be au pairing for in New Jersey. They have found a diamond in Lucy, and I am sure the family will adore her. We (both staff and children) will greatly miss her, she has a marvellous way with the children, hard working, not afraid to use her initiative and generally gets “stuck in”. Lucy has been a fabulous member of the team and we wish her all the best in her new adventures.
Friday 18th is the last day of preschool for 2015 and we return to preschool on TUESDAY 5th January. Remember, our morning sessions have new times: Our doors open at 8.45 and finish at 11.45 (prompt)!
May we take this opportunity to have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

15 December 2015 - Diwali

This week we have been celebrating Diwali – the Hindu festival of light. The children watched CBBC Newsround a group of children explaining the meaning of Diwali (the victory of good over evil) and what they enjoyed doing (fireworks, giving gifts, sweets and decorating their houses with Rangoli patterns). We watched a dance celebrating Diwali and the children enjoyed joining in! This led to a discussion of different types of dancing – we watched a flash mob in Sidney, Australia dancing to Uptown Funk and several of the children joined in singing along and Braking. Then on the other end of the scale we watched Sergei Polunin performing a powerful ballet to Hozier, Take me to Church. The children were transfixed, watching the dance with wide eyes and open mouths. When the dance finished several asked to watch it again! (you can find the video on youtube). The children then attempted to recreate some of the moves, spinning, balancing on one leg and high jumps………after all these years I still find it amazing how you can start on one subject and end up somewhere completely different!

20 November 2015 - Dates for your Diary!!

We will be having our annual Christmas Carol Concert on Monday 7th December, your invitations will be following shortly.
There will be NO SESSIONS on this day, preschool will reopen again for normal sessions on Tuesday 8th December.
Our last day for sessions before Christmas will be Friday 18th December.

As the primary school day has now changed and the children enter earlier, Staff and the Committee have taken the decision (taking into account your opinions from our Parental Questionnaire) to alter the morning session accordingly. On Tuesday 5th January 2016 when we return, our morning session will change to

AM Session be 8.45- 11.45 AM
PM Sessiion will be 12.30-3.30PM as normal

18 November 2015 - OFSTED

Good afternoon all
On the 1st September 2015 the new OFSTED inspection framework came into force, changing the criteria and raising the bar/standards once again.
Heybridge Pre-School is now very pleased and extremely proud to announce that following our inspection on the 16th October we have been judged as a GOOD setting.
The report is now available to view on the OFSTED website or if you would like a paper copy just ask me and I’ll print one for you😄😄🎉🎉
Anne xx

12 November 2015 - Remembrance Day

Today we are respecting the 2 minute silence, remembering those who have given their lives for our liberty. We have explained it to the children, saying that we are thinking about the soldiers who have gone to war and who may have died or been injured while they have been keeping us safe. We have listened to “The Last Post”, and discussed how the music makes us feel, some saying it made them feel sad.
We plan to watch the BBC at the Cenotaph and the staff will observe the 2 minute silence. The children will be encouraged to join in and sit quietly in front of the television for the short period.

11 November 2015 - Phonics continued

Ooops that last post wasn’t finished and shouldn’t have been published! Haha oh well, that’s technology for you!
So continuing on…..
In the English language we have 26 letters, that make 44 phonemes, that is 44 different sounds. There is a good, short video on Youtube showing the articulation of the different sounds. https://youtu.be/BqhXUW_v-1s. We are not trying to teach you how to suck eggs, however it is very common to combine (unintentionally) 2 sounds/phonemes. For instance, the sound of ‘S’ is frequently said as ‘Suh’ rather than sss as in _s_nake. So it is worth starting out on the right foot, as when children are learning to break words down into their sounds (segmenting) and putting them together (blending) you don’t want them adding extra ones in!

04 November 2015 - Phonics

As you may have noticed, this half term we have had a break from our phonics sessions, as we have had many new starters and the need to accustom them to preschool life and be comfortable in the new setting was paramount. This does not mean that we have not been practising – just not in the large groups that we were before summer. After the half term break we will be recommencing, and sometimes using a slightly different format.
A few weeks ago a member of staff attended a seminar on Letters and Sounds, a governmental national strategy to promote reading and writing. There are 6 Phases to the program, however in the Early Years we will be working on Phase One, and just dipping our toes into Phase Two for our older children and those who are ready to move onto this area. Phase One recognises the central importance of developing speaking and listening skills as a priority in their own right and for paving the way to making a good start on reading and writing.Put simply, the more words children know and understand BEFORE they start on a systemic programme of phonic work, the better equipped they are to succeed (excerpt taken from the Letters and Sounds book)
In Early Years, the importance lies in PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS. This means Hearing the sounds and understanding there are differences, sometimes minute, in the sounds that we hear, for instance “tuning in” and hearing the difference between an airplane and helicopter high in the sky will help towards hearing the difference between a B and D sound later on.
Phonological awareness is vital with the age group that we deal with at preschool, more so than Phonics. Formal phonics work is too much if the awareness is not in place, and it should be experienced (a spoken language) rather than learned.

20 October 2015 - Thank you

Ladies and Gents, you are probably aware that we were visited by OFSTED on friday. The officer would like to thank you all for being welcoming and forth-coming with her, and in turn we would like to thank everyone for their lovely comments to her. When the inspection results are published we will let you know the result.

19 October 2015 - Is your child "more able"?

Hello, a few weeks ago a member of staff attended a seminar on “Challenging More Able Children”. Lets face it, we would all like to say how bright our children are, and we all want them to have a good education, and if we are honest,be at the top of their class wouldn’t we?
So, what is more able? Lets narrow it down to the age groups we have at preschool….
Is it
knowing their alphabet and the phonic sounds?
Having a wide and varied vocabulary?
Counting to 10 and beyond, perhaps performing simple sums?
recognising animals and their names, farm zoo and tropical?
Having a high IQ?
If this is how we judge more able children, how would we classify those who are
fabulous at dancing?
a gifted athlete?
a child who is very empathic? (cares about others welfare, can see how others may feel and very considerate)
a child who can draw or paint excellently?
a child who is fascinated by the big questions (where does the sky end? Why do the stars twinkle?)?
a child who can complete jigsaws, understand maps and understand how things fit together?
Albert Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “What is your genius?”
Multiple Intelligence Theory was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University.
Think back to the good old school days. Do you remember the girl who was always picked for the lead role in musicals? Who could forget the boisterous class clown? Or whatever happened to the boy who never stopped drawing detailed doodles of cars and planes? Much like then, the perception still exists that intelligence can be measured in relation to reading, writing and arithmetic skills alone, and a person’s future success is judged accordingly.
Richard Branson, a dyslexic left school at 16 labelled “ a poor student” is probably Britain’s most famous entrepreneur
Albert Einstein, didn’t speak til he was 4 or read til 7. His teachers thought he was “slow, mentally handicapped and antisocial” and eventually he was expelled from school. Having won the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics, who could say he was a failure?
Jim Carey, found school very difficult, diagnosed with ADD and living below the poverty line, left school at 15 and is now one of the most famous male actors.
The list goes on and on.
The theory of multiple intelligences suggests that everybody has a different mind and that no 2 intelligence profiles are the same (this includes children with additional needs, across the whole spectrum). Howard Gardner suggests there are 8 primary intelligences (others suggest there are 9) and therefore the traditional way of gauging intelligence through the IQ test is far too restrictive. While an individual may excel at 1,2 or maybe 3 of the intelligence types, there isn’t anybody who is gifted in all of them. At the bottom of this blog is a diagram listing the different intelligences and describing how to recognise them. Have a look through, and I am sure you will be able to identify areas that your child is stronger in.
As parents and practitioners at preschool, it is up to us to provide a rich and varied environment allowing the children to explore and find their area of excellence. We need to observe the children and recognise that all children have strengths to build upon. We need to identify the particular talents and provide opportunities for the children to develop not only their area(s) of excellence but support the development in areas that are not so advanced, providing a well rounded provision.
In order to do this we need to promote a “growth mindset” – to grow, develop and practise, not fearing failure, but accepting that by failing we have learned what didn’t work and from that we can learn that our performance can be improved. Children with a growth mindset are not scared to try something new, are willing to take risks, embracing the opportunity for new learning, and are willing to share and make mistakes.
To encourage this, we need to praise the participation rather than the end result, giving specific praise
“ oh I like the way you used those colours” or “ you tried really hard to cut that apple” as opposed to the generic “ well done”! Provide lots of activities that are open ended, allowing the children to learn through exploration without having to provide an end result. Young children that are “engaged” in their activity will give it their full concentration, will often not hear when their name is called (they are unable to listen and do at the same time), this is when they are in the zone and active learning is taking place.

11 October 2015 - Welcome

Well good day to you, our fine companions!
Most of our new starters have their first week under their belts now and it is all going spiffingly! (My vocabulary indicates my excitement that Downton is back this weekend!!!!).
So far, touch wood, we have had very few tears and all have settled into preschool life so well, accepting the new rules and routines, and sharing their space with 26 other people…….and the children are doing well too!
We are so proud of the little ones, they really have done so well, as have our older ones, who are now our big fish in the little pond. It is an important time for them, as they are now the role models for the little ones and they have more responsibility. Even just touching 4 years of age they can become good mentors, which we encourage.
As you will all know, it is not always plain sailing with your little lovelies, unfortunately the well known “terrible twos” do not end when they turn 3! Children naturally feel frustrated when they can’t have what they want, when they want and how they what it. In general, as far as they are concerned the world revolves around them, and everything needs to fit into their wants and desires. And lets face it, we love them so much we dont like to see them upset. However, in the real world we live in a society where there are expected behaviours, rules and boundaries. By teaching these, we are not suppressing their individuality or creativity, but promoting, sensitive, caring individuals who can accept and embrace change and the needs of others. This certainly does not mean ruling with an iron rod or a victorian attitude. On Wednesday 7th October at 7pm we are having a very informal evening that all our parents are invited to. You can chat, share ideas, and be reassured that you are not the only ones! Anne and Jayne will be available with advice and strategies…and to make the tea and coffee! Please do not feel you will be judged in any way or form, we are all parents and got the t-shirts!

18 September 2015 - Well didn't that go fast!

Heybridge Preschool reopens on Monday for the start of the 2015/6 academic year. Each of our new starters have received their “start date”, which will be different for each child, so please check your letters that Anne sent out before attending. We have staggered the new starters (mostly 2 year olds) as we want their first days to be as smooth as possible. This allows the staff more time to settle the little ones whilst ensuring our big guys have their needs met too.
Leaving your child with us for the first time is very hard and distressing, particularly for the you, the parent, as you cant see what is going on, whether your child is crying, or on their own in a strange place, the list goes on. We understand this and will do everything we can to help ease you and your child into this new routine. Yes, there is a good chance your child will cry, but we wont leave them on their own, or leave them to cry for long lengths of time. We will use distraction techniques, gained with the many many years of experience our staff have had at preschool. If we are unable to console your child we will call you,so please ensure that we have your current mobile and home numbers! When all said and done, not all children will cry, some will on day 1,others on day 3, others not at all and some 2 year olds aren’t ready to start at preschool. Please ensure that if your child uses a comforter at home (dummy, blanket etc) that you bring it to school, it will help settle your child in the new, strange environment. This is NOT the time to be starting new things like potty training, giving up comforters etc….one thing at a time! Also, bear in mind that 3 hours is a very long time in the life of a 2 year old. It may be that your child will only be able to cope with 1, maybe 2 hours at preschool per day for a few weeks. Put yourself in their shoes….imagine being left at a party in a huge building where you do not know anybody, its noisy, and everyone seems to know what to do except you, some other people are crying, others are shouting and you cant make yourself understood to anyone. All you want to do is go home and be with the one person you know and love, but strangers wont let you leave and you don’t understand why……can you see how hard and stressful that would be? Well it can be like that for children and their brains have only been developing for 2 years and have no inkling of what preschool is all about! It is important not to rush the settling in period.
We will be there to support you and child all the way through preschool, from day one until they leave for “big school”.

As for our big guys, do not be surprised if your child becomes upset too. They have had 7 weeks away from preschool, which is generally spent with family and they are more or less centre of attention. Back at preschool, there are 25 other children….and it is noisy! Most children will need a little readjustment, different rules and boundaries, some will have got used to a little lie in or an afternoon nap, later nights etc, so dont expect the first week be be a smooth run – if it is…bonus!
Next week will be all about learning about each other. Learning names, the layout of the building, rules and routines.
And one last thing (for now!!) dont forget to provide a piece of fruit for your child to share with their friends. The fruit is then prepared by adults for snack time. We prefer this method, rather that children bringing in a “prepared “ lunch/snack that they have to themselves. This tends to cause friction at snack time, as they are then reluctant to share with others, but want to have some of the food provided they provided…..you know how children can be! So please, stick to some fruit, fresh, dried, or tinned, veg, bread/breadsticks, crackers that can be shared and everyone, children and adults alike will be happy!

04 September 2015 - Camp Fire Event

Last week was dedicated to our Camp Fire Event, to which we invited Dads, Grandads, and Mums to celebrate Father’s Day. We had a fantastic response with at least 5 children and their “person” each session. The children responded very well to the new experience, enjoying watching the flames, smelling the smoke, and tasting the different foods, all the while maintaining their safe distance from the fire. It also provided an excellent opportunity for parents to see their child in a different environment with an element of(well managed!) risk!Risk is an important part of children’s learning and development, challenging them and providing opportunities to test themselves to see what is safe, what can be safely managed and what should be avoided.
We had lots of positive feedback from all involved and we hope to run it again. You can see the photos on the gallery.

29 June 2015 - 2 blogs in one week!

Hello peoples – that time of year again….School Visits!
Each Primary School in the area have their own procedure, some like to send their Early Years Teacher to the preschools, others invite the children’s keyworker to the Primary School. By now, you should have all heard about the visits and one word of advice – do your utmost to ensure your child attends, if not all, at least a couple as this will make a huge difference to their transition. Fear of the unknown is a scary part of children’s next step to “big school”. Getting to recognise their new teacher and being familiar with the environment (ie where are the toilets? where to put drinks and coats) plays an important role in helping your child settle.
Being on the grounds of Heybridge Primary allows us to greatly assist in this transition as we are able to accompany the children over (when the children are on session) and provide a familiar face. The visits for Heybridge Primary are as follows:

Tuesday 9th June 2pm – 3pm
Thursday 18th June 2pm – 3pm
Tuesday 23rd June 2pm – 3pm
Thursday 2nd July 2pm – 3pm.

PLEASE NOTE: If you child is on preschool session on these dates (and times) we are able to accompany them over to the Primary, we will stay with them, and return with them to preschool where you will pick them up at your usual time. If your child is not on session , you will need to take and collect them.

Over the past few weeks the children’s ideas have been very varied. Talking about our favourite things, one child decided their most favourite thing in the world was “stuffing” ! So we organised a trip to the shop and purchased some sage and onion stuffing and the children enjoyed nibbling on it during story time. The following day we made sage and onion stuffing from scratch, learning to recognise the herb sage from its smell and appearance, chopping it finely with the scissors and adding it to the bread that we grated into crumbs. We chopped some onions (and had a good cry!) softened them in the microwave and added this to the mix with an egg. Then the fun part, mixing it with our hands into little balls which we then cooked. The smells were lovely! We hope you all had a chance to taste them!
We have made butterfly cakes and the children enjoyed decorating them with different types of sweets. We had a little taste session too with the children investigating the different flavours and textures – the popping candy was a great hit…though it did traumatise a couple of the staff who tried it! We had comments like “I can hear it in my head” and “ oh wow, its very crackly”.
We watched videos on the caterpillar life cycle, and how bees make honey. We also had a honey tasting session – most children enjoyed it and wanted more!

08 June 2015 - Parents Questionnaire

As promised, we have the results back from our Parent QUestionnaires. Here are the results and comments made.
60 were sent out, 17 returned. (28%)
1. Do you feel at ease at preschool. 100% answered yes. Comments included; Staff are approachable, supportive and professional. Smiley faces and staff make children and parents feel welcome.
2. Are you happy with drop off/ collection procedures?
100% yes. Comment; sometimes busy
3.Concerns i.e safety.
94% yes. 1 concern “ concerned over gap in School fence” Response: The gap is in the Primary school fence at the front of the grounds. This concern has been passed on to the Primary school. Preschool fences, gates and boundaries are all safe and secure.
4. Are children’s individual needs met? 88.24% yes. Comments; supportive staff, experienced staff help not only children but parents as well, helped with speech and used Makaton too, staff work as a team with parents to reinforce, activities provided to support home learning.
1 questionnaire requested more regular feedback on educational progress and extending at home and also more attention to learning new words.
We have taken this on board and will make more opportunities for parents to discuss progress.
5. Is your child happy?
100% yes. Children have particularly enjoyed our outside area and phonics time.
6.Do you know your child’s keyperson and do you feel able to talk about next steps?
100% yes
7. How can we make our preschool better?
Its great already!
Snack time – worried fruit going to waste because of children eating other foods. Our response: Children are asked to bring in a piece of fruit to share which forms the basis of our snack time. We waste very little fruit (sometimes it may be too bruised to serve) as the children enjoy the selection. In addition we offer a variety of different foods in small portions that can provide extra sensory experiences, or support learning when learning about different cultures and countries. Our snack time is a very educational time, with children learning how to prepare food, use different tools (knives, chopsticks, graters etc)and how to follow a recipe from beginning to end. Last but not least, not all children are exposed to a wide variety of foods, therefore at preschool we aim to provide a wide range of taste and textural experiences.
All day Sessions/lunch club. This is reassessed continually. Our response:As of yet there has been little call for this facility (percentage wise.) By providing all day sessions we would be reducing our client base and would have less sessions for the majority of the children. At present we are full, and our forward projection for September 2015 is that most sessions are full morning and afternoon already.
“Preschool is a very inviting place and dont hesitate to recommend it to other parents”
“keep doing what you are doing”
“superb school”
“nothing I would change”
“Open evening” our response : We will introduce a parents get together during the 1st term in September

Thank you for your lovely responses and we hope that you find our responses helpful. Remember, we have an open door policy, please do not hesitate to come in and chat should you have any worries or concerns.

07 June 2015 - Ll for Lollipop!

This week it is the letter and sound of Ll for Ladybird, lollipop and lovely! We have had some wonderful words coming in – legs, London, lumpy, lentils lazy, litter and lobotomy (must admit that one was from an adult!!). Can you think of any others?
The children have been making tissue paper ladybirds and have decorated biscuits with red icing and used liquorice for the spots and red laces for the antennae. The playdough has been red and black to encourage the formation of ladybirds and the children have asked for straws to use for their legs (good thinking!)
On monday we made mint sauce together – you may think this was a little random, however there was a method to our madness. Many of the children need to improve their scissor skills, so cutting up mint leaves seemed a good idea (we all fancied roast lamb by the end of the day). The children all took turns to snip away at the mint that they had picked from the garden (learning how to identify it from its smell, colour and shape of the leaves) and then we counted in the spoons of sugar and poured in the vinegar until it reached the correct consistency. Costa Coffee in Maldon kindly donated the babychino cups that were just the right size to send the mint sauce home in. So, how many of you ate it? Many of the children had a little dab from the spoon and their expressions were great! (a few are on the gallery).
Today we took our dogs for a walk around the garden – small logs with a washing line lead. We started off with one dog, but before long we had a whole pack! As well as taking them for a walk, the children developed a theme, building kennels, providing dog bowls and food as well as some of the doglogs requiring medicine!
Our garden has really begun to fill out now with the rain and sunshine we have had. We would like to thank you for all the very kind donations of plants and seeds we have had pouring in, the children get so much from the sowing, planting up and watering of the plants, learning about the life cycle which includes growth and decay of the garden.
Next week our letter and sound is Ff

13 May 2015 - O for Outdoors!

Hello everybody, week 3 already…where does the time go? Thank you for returning the completed Parental Questionnaires, they have now been passed to our committee and we will keep you updated.
The warm sunny weather is slowly becoming more common, so please remember to apply suncream to your children prior to session and provide sunhats. It is wise to ensure their shoulders are covered as our garden is a sun trap, and young skin reddens rapidly as we are already beginning to notice – even in April! OUr outside area is coming on nicely, the woodland walk is very popular and the children love being under the big tree. This year we have planted wild and cottage garden plants in our vegetable patch to attract wildlife and insects. We have had runner beans, tomatoes and strawberries kindly donated by Amy’s family (thank you!!) that have been planted outside too. Our grass terrariums have the children fascinated and they can often be found examining the roots that they cant normally see! Keep us updated with the plants that have gone home with the children, posting photos to our facebook page is a great way of doing this. We plan to have a gallery wall of all your green fingered success.
This week we will be making Nordic friendship bracelets and woodworking among other activities. We will be using woodwork projects to be decorate our garden, keep an eye out for the photos. We welcome any donations of twigs, string and wool.
OUr letter/sound this week is “ O o” What can you think of beginning with o?

26 April 2015 - Mmmmm

A fair title for our introduction to Easter don’t you think? It is also the letter of the week for our phonics.
Last week the letter Rr leant itself to Rainbows, rainbow cakes (a wonderful experiment too with food colouring and cake batter), ravioli at snack and learning to sign “I can sign a rainbow”. It is clear that you are supporting your children at home with the Phonics as they are coming in every day with new words for the word bank and love contributing to the session. Even after the session is finished the children are often popping items they find beginning with the weeks letter into our bag!
You may or may not be aware that all the staff attend training courses through out the year to continue their professional development, keeping fresh and current. We will now be including a summary of what we have learned and how we plan to implement it at preschool. We also welcome any suggestions, advice ….and help from you!
Last week Debbie attended a workshop called A walk on the Wildside……
“ A walk on the wildside was to encourage practitioners to employ the outdoors environment to engage and educate our children. The course was held at Cressing Temple Barns and many of the tutors were from the Danbury Forest School.
We were encouraged to look at our outdoor environments with fresh eyes and think about what we could do to enrich the area to make it fun, exciting and full of opportunities for the children to explore and learn. At the start of the day we were given 2 tasks. the 1st was to describe chocolate to our neighbour, then after eating a twix describe again! The object of this exercise was that we can teach something, but it is no way like experiencing it personally. The 2nd task was to remember a good childhood memory of play. Everyone in the group (of over 50) had an outdoor memory, some in the sun, some in snow, some on the beach others in fields woods and parks. It was also interesting to note that there was an absence of adults in the memory. From this we drew that the outdoors is massively important in the formation of the child as is time to explore, experiment and have fun and take risks without the interference of an adult. This does not mean that we let children “get on with it” but rather create an environment that enables the children to take managed risks and to use their curiosity to learn and solve problems. Research suggests that good quality outdoor learning;

Builds self-confidence and self-esteem
Improves motivation and encourages cooperation
Encourages responsibility, independence and the management of risk
Improves language, communication and social skills
Improves physical motor skills
Increases understanding of the natural environment and of seasonal change
Encourages a positive attitude to learning

Throughout the day we had different workshops consisting of:
Camp fires (not as scary as you would think with high adult to child ratio and in small groups) a multisensory activity. We cooked popcorn, apples and brioche!
Wood work – making clock faces for weaving – excellent for motor skills, maths, and construction
Nordic bracelets – co-ordination, taking turns, building relationships
Knots – learning different knots so we could construct with twigs and logs
Assault course!

Bringing what I have learned back to preschool, we have decided to develop the outside area, using more natural materials that are easily available. We would like your help in collecting items that we can use outside so watch this space!

22 March 2015 - E for Egg!

Hello all, this week we are focussing on the letter Ee and the sounds it makes. The children have been very clever thinking of different words beginning with E, such as;
Egg
Ellie (!)
Elbow
Ear
Elephant
How clever are they? Snack is revolving around eggs and so far we have had scrambled and boiled. We have used them today to make mini toad in the holes – Carole is so clever…no Aunt Bessies for her! The children have decorated egg shapes with the egg shells that we have cooked and had great sensory experiences with the texture, being described as crunchy, sharp, smelly (haha) and snappy.
Our family wall is looking great, thank you for your participation. Every one of the children at some time during the day spends time looking at them, pointing out their friends and places that they recognize. There is still time to add them to our Facebook group if you haven’t already. It would be great to add your pets to the wall too.
Once again it is Big Yellow Friday this week (can it really be a year?) and we in support we are arranging a few fund raising activities plus a cake sale on Friday at 3pm so dont forget your pennies.
Next week is the letter/sound Hh.

03 March 2015 - phonics

Hello That bit of snow was a cop out for Heybridge wasn’t it? I dont know about you, but flurries aren’t any good to anyone…if it going to snow, do it properly! At least the children will be able to enjoy it then! In the event of a heavy snow fall please pay attention to the local radio stations (Heart, Chelmsford) for school closures. As a rule of thumb, if Heybridge Primary school is open we will be too. It will also be on our facebook page.
As we access our outdoor area at all times, no matter what the weather, it is a good idea to send in a spare set of clothing, especially bottoms for a change after being outside. Or an alternative would be wet weather gear (waterproof trousers etc). And dont forget the wellies…..NAMED PLEASE!!!
Our children are really getting the hang of the phonics, have you noticed at home? Last week, we had the tricky i with the sounds (eye) and (ih as in *i*gloo). We thought of words to pop onto our word bank wall and had fun finding “i” items to put into our “bag of the week”. We found items such as an iron, insect, iguana and a picture of Isla!
Next week is the letter “p” – how about having a treasure P hunt in the garden/house to find items to list in your child’s learning journey?
We will be making pink cakes and enjoying popcorn at snack – and will listen to the p p p p as it cooks!
Also, we will be rewarding good behaviour and extra special achievements with the chance to decorate a piece of Peppa pig bunting which will decorate the room for a week and then will come home with the child, laminated.

31 January 2015 - Facebook

Week 3 already of the spring term…haha, spring term, ice, frost and a dusting of snow!
I think all of you are aware that we have a closed facebook group for our parents and staff that is really helpful in keeping all concerned up to date with recent and forthcoming events and sharing photos etc. It is a valuable resource, however please remember staff are not able to discuss your child or their progress over facebook or anywhere other than at our setting. Please do not put staff in an awkward position by contacting them personally via an instant or personal message regarding preschool matters. We appreciate your co-operation in this.

22 January 2015 - Sorry -been away too long!

We must say sorry for the length of time with out blogging! There has been a lot of illness around as well as the Christmas holiday – so
Happy New Year!
I hope you are all happy and healthy now and raring to go!
Last week we recommenced our phonics sessions with the children, beginning with the letter and sound of S. The children learned the song “Snakes in the grass” and formed the letter in several ways…drawing it in the air, collaged it with gems and glitter, using a pen to write it on paper and using dough to form an s shape.
This week we have introduced the letter Aa and the sound, with the children learning the song “ants on my arm” These songs can be found on Youtube under Jolly Phonics sounds. Whilst you may be tempted to jump ahead with the other letters as we want a good grounding of each letter/sound with the focus on the current letter rather than a all at once approach! You can support and advance you child’s learning at home by encouraging them to find objects/words beginning with the letter, recognition of the letter in the environment (shop signs, books, magazines, road signs) and formation of the letter.
This week we are growing cress in the shape of an a,we would love to see some photos on our facebook page of the results!
The children decided that our Frozen castle needed a change and thought that Peter Pan would be a good theme. Together they made a camp, with pictures of the Lost boys, Peter, his shadow and Tinkerbell. They are now working on a skyline of London for the back drop. If any of you have pictures from the pantomime at Christmas we would love to incorporate those too!
If you are spring cleaning over the next few weeks we would be grateful for items for our crafty stash…..buttons, sequins, shiny things etc.
Last but not least,please remember that whilst we operate in a nice warm environment, our outdoors area is very cold. Your children need to be dressed appropriately in warm clothing with NAMED coats, jumpers, scarves an gloves.

12 January 2015 - Its that time!

I am sure many of you are not ready to hear this….it is Christmas Time at Heybridge Preschool! But why so early I can hear you saying….the main reason is to ensure the children have enough time to learn the Christmas songs ready for the Annual Christmas Carol Concert which will be held on Monday 15th December. The concert is held in the main hall of the Primary School and will begin at 9.30 . PLease bring your children to preschool as normal at 9am and we will get them ready and escort them over to the hall where you will be waiting! At the end of the concert (you will collect your child from the stage) there will be an opportunity for the children to meet Father Christmas back at preschool and light refreshments will be on offer (tea/coffee and a mince pie). THERE WILL NOT BE ANY PRESCHOOL SESSIONS ON THIS DAY due to the concert and staff meeting/training in the afternoon. As usual we are holding a drawing competition, the winner will have their masterpiece on the front page of the Christmas Carol Concert Programme which will be on sale on the day. Dont forget to get your tickets for the concert from preschool – free of charge, and there is not a limit, so it would be lovely to see grand parents and friends.
Also, we are participating in the Christmas Jumper Day organised by Save the Children on Friday 12th December. We ask that all children attending sessions on this day to donate £1 and wear a ……..Christmas Jumper! This can be a purchased item or even better a jumper that has been Christmasatized at home! We will be taking photos of all participants and it would be great to have a file on our gallery just devoted to this event….so come on parents, lets see you in your most festive attire, supporting your children and Save the Children.
We will be organising a Parents Evening in the New Year – Tuesday 13th January with time slots between 4-5 and 6-7. Slips will be sent out nearer the time.

17 November 2014 - Remember Remember

We hope you all had a great half term break with the lovely warm weather….who would have thought it eh? The children have returned excited and eager to get stuck in.
Lots of children have new coats, hats and gloves for this cold weather….PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE name them. We have 60 children on our books and it is impossible to remember who’s coat is who’s and sometimes we have double or even triples of the same coat on session. The children cant always be relied upon to say which is theirs, as we have sometimes found if they have taken a liking to a particular coat they will swear blind it is theirs! The reverse has also been known…if they dont like their coat they will not admit it is theirs.
This week we have consolidated our learning about Halloween, and recalled trick or treating and dressing up, and now we are talking about Fireworks, fire safety on Bonfire night.
We mixed paint and glue directly onto a table and sprinkled in some glitter. The children then explored the mix with their hands, mark making with their fingers, scrapers and sponges. We then waited for the glue to dry and discovered that you could peel it off! While the children were busy picking and scraping at the glue clearing it off the table, they were unknowingly practising their hand/eye co-ordination, fine motor skills and building the muscles in their hands (and tidying up!!) a win win situation!
The children also made rockets from junk modelling materials and enjoyed hot dogs for snack….its been lovely.
Please stay safe tonight with the fireworks and remember the firework code!

05 November 2014 - Busy busy busy!

Week 7 and the children are all progressing very well! Most have now settled into preschool life and are enjoying the full range of activities offer.
Last week the children organised a working party to sort out the area under our big tree. They stamped down the long grass, laid the orange netting for a path the edged it with the logs that we collected from when the conifer trees were chopped down in our friendly neighbours garden. This week they are using for a Gruffallo hunt! The ingenuity of children is amazing! To extend this learning we have made Gruffallo puzzles, pairs and lotto games, introducing different rules for the older/younger children to enable all the children from 2 – 4+ to access the games and find them challenging but achievable. Many of the resources are available on the internet.
On our facebook group we have started sharing articles and hints and tips from various preschool sites which are full of interesting and exciting ideas that you could replicate at home.
Please don’t forget our cake sale on Friday at 3.15, cake donations of all kinds welcome!
Also, for your information, there is Chicken Pox on the rounds with 2 confirmed cases of our children.
There are also many viral infections floating around, so if your child feels unwell, had poor sleep, requires medication for a high temperature…. preschool really isn’t the place for them, as we are a high energy busy busy place. In addition recommended guideline are “if your child has been prescribed antibiotics they do not attend preschool for 48 hours from start of medication.

15 October 2014 - Photos

Hi everyone, we will soon be rejuvenating our “family time” wall, where all the children can share photos of their family, pets, days out and special times (especially snuggling on a sofa!). If you are unable to send in photos feel free to post them to our facebook wall and we will print them off from there.
Could you please collect some leaves for us on your travels as they will be required for an activity that we have planned. Conkers, pine cones, “helicoptors” too would be welcome.
And lastly, we are in need of some tissue boxes for another activity….there shouldn’t be any shortage of them this time of year!
This week are experiment of the week has proven to be VERY popular! We have been colour mixing…..by making different colour milkshakes! We have had strawberry, banana and chocolate so far with the children watching the syrup and powders changing the colour of the white milk. It must be said their favorite part of the experiment has been tasting the end result. At snack time we have decorated a variety of biscuits, yesterdy like Peppa Pig and today like Frozen. Tomorrow will be transformers!

07 October 2014 - All settled in

Well here we are , week 6 into the new Autumn term and everyone is settling in nicely. Most of the younger children are now leaving their parents fairly confidently at the start of session, and those who are not will get there soon!
We had our first committee meeting of the school year last week and a few things were sorted:

05 October 2014 - Welcome Back

Welcome to all our new starters and welcome back to our “older” children! We hope you had a fantastic break and are rested and ready for the new Autumn term.
Those of you that were with us last year may have noticed a couple of changes.
1) No interest box. We found that most toys were unlabelled and being claimed by the wrong children. Comfort objects are still welcome (blankets, cuddly etc – please label as I am sure your child would be distressed if they were lost). If your child has something that they wish to show us, please leave it in the preschool bag and we will get it out at the appropriate time.
2) Learning journey book box. Once again, please leave these in your bag and we will retrieve them as and when required.
Hopefully by doing this it will streamline the beginning of the day, avoiding the hold ups and crowds at the door which had been mentioned in the questionnaires returned to us last year.
It has been noted that the Primary school are opening their doors 5 mins earlier. You may use the lobby to wait if the weather is cold or wet, but please remember not to allow your children into the lobby unsupervised.
We have also decided against having themes, the rationale being that children learn best when they are interested. If they are not interested in the “theme” that we have planned, it is unlikely that they will engage fully in learning. Therefore, we have changed the way we plan our sessions, using the interests of the children to guide our activities. We have been doing this for the past couple of years, fitting it in with the theme, but now we have decided to embrace it wholeheartedly.

14 September 2014 - Ambulance day

Today we have been lucky enough to have an ambulance for the children to explore! Ethan’s mummy has kindly supplied the ambulance and the children had fun with the neck braces, slings and stretchers, learning what the equipment is used for whilst having fun.
Dont forget, there will not be any sessions on Friday 18th. We will be having our Teddy Bears Picnic in the afternoon with the doors opening at 1pm. The Leavers ceremony will be at 2pm and we will be kicking you out at 3pm!!! There will be a cake sale and light refreshments will be on offer and as usual the Face Painting Crew will be ready and waiting!

16 July 2014 - 2 weeks to go!

Oh my! 2 weeks to go until the summer holidays! Where has it gone???
We have an appeal to our families for old bedding and towels for a local animal charity. If you are able to help out please ask at preschool.
If you happen to be having a “clear out” over the holidays, we are on the lookout for “crafty materials”….buttons, felt, pretty material, sparkly items, cogs, washers the list goes on! (think of a blue peter box..but we have enough junk modelling!)
The staff at preschool would like to thank you for all your support and generous donations through the year, donating plants, bulbs, washing dressing up clothes etc. For many years we have been greatly supported by a particular Nanny, who has brought many of her grandchildren to us and come the end of this month her youngest will leave us to go to school…..Thank you Sue Brummell for all the support you have given Heybridge Preschool over the years – we will miss you greatly! And also your grandson who earning a pound for helping to do the garden told his Nanny “I want to give it to the children”(this was during the week we were fund raising for big yellow Friday – fighting childhood cancers). Thank you to you all.
We are well into our transition now, with our older children readying for the big change to Primary school. The vast majority of you have had your school visits, introducing your child into the new environment and meeting their teachers, generally familiarising themselves with the new routines and faces. The last visit for Heybridge Primary is this afternoon from 2-3.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be taking in the Learning Journeys to cross the t’s and dot the i’s and pop them into their graduation folders.
Our last day of “normal preschool sessions” will be THURDAY JULY 17TH, as on Friday 18th July will be our Annual Teddy Bears Picnic starting at 1pm and finishing at 3pm. We will be aiming to hold the Leavers Ceremony at 2pm. We will also have face painting at £1.50, a cake sale and light refreshments. Don’t forget to pack your picnic, something to sit on and a teddy bear! (cake donations will be gratefully received!)
For those that are staying with us, we return to preschool after the summer holidays on Thursday 4th September, bright and fresh as a daisy!

04 July 2014 - Child Safety

To all parents, grandparents, family and carers who bring your children to preschool……
Please remember that when queueing outside either to pick up or drop off, the children are your responsibility. Each side of the building has a gate to prevent children gaining access as there are brambles, metal cages for the air con and is generally unsafe. Despite the gates, we are still seeing and hearing children down the side, please keep your child within sight. The gravel at the front is checked daily, but the local cat population does tend to gravitate to this area (!!)so please prevent your child
picking up and throwing the stones or kicking them around….you may have a nasty surprise!
Also, when children gather together out the front waiting to come in they can become very boisterous and over excited, sometimes getting carried away resulting in children getting hurt. Whilst it is lovely seeing children play and interact we urge you to ensure your child is playing safely. We thank you in anticipation for your co operation in keeping our children safe and happy.

04 July 2014 - Days out and holidays

Hello everybody. This week we are talking about days out and holidays and it would be great if we could pop some family photos of you all on our wall, whether it be a day out at the prom, a holiday abroad…..even a picnic in the garden!
We have provided travel brochures to encourage conversations about different holidays and the children are practising their scissor skills cutting and sticking from the brochures.
We continue with our school visits to Heybridge Primary as part of their transition and while over there, we have found that it would be very very helpful if the children could get a headstart in learning the great British tradition of …..lining up! At present the children seem to “blob” rather than queue, so we will be including this in our everyday activities so the children are more prepared in September. You too can help by bringing it to your child’s attention when you are queuing up/lining up, pointing out that we do this one behind another to take turns.

30 June 2014 - Happy Father's Day

By now most of you will have all seen the wonderful gifts that the children have made for their fathers or the special person in their life. I am also sure that not many of them will last till Father’s Day on Sunday! But we can tell you the thought was there! The children have worked very hard on these biscuits, measuring out the ingredients using the scales, mixing them together as per the recipe, manipulating the dough and cutting out a star, waiting for them to cook, noticing the changes the cooking made, and then decorating them with icing, stars, and then making the labels. A simple activity yet so much can be learned;
Maths through the measuring
Literacy from the information gathered from the recipe and making the labels
Communication, discussions that we have about what we are doing and the special people in our lives
Expressive creativity in the decoration
Physical (both fine motor and gross motor) in the pouring, mixing and the manipulation of the dough
Science, in the changes of the mixture from beginning to end
Personal, social and emotional skills, taking turns, washing hands (and why we do!), waiting and patience while the goodies cook and cool
Knowledge of the World in celebrating a custom, days of the week and learning about special people in our lives…………
Who knew eh? Such a simple activity yet so full of opportunities. I am sure your children are doing this regularly at home or with nanny never knowing how “educational” a cooking activity is!
The children have also made their Father’s Day cards, using their fine motor skills to cut out their hand prints and write their name and decorate.
Next week we will be learning about the forestry and parks in England with stories about Percy the Park Keeper. It would be good if you can send in any photos (or pop them on our Facebook group for us to print) of parks/forests that you may have been to for us to share with all the children. Could we ask that you send in some leaves and flowers with your children (nothing special, just some picked from the garden and leaves from different trees). We are aiming (with fingers crossed) to use the flowers and leaves to print onto material to make a large wall hanging, using hammers to transfer the natural colour from the flowers/leaves to the material (!!!) We will also be investigating the different types of leaves and the names of the trees that they come from.
Before signing off from this essay (hehehe) may we remind you that our outdoor area is in full sun therefore children need to be appropriately dressed for the sun and hot weather. Please apply suncream prior to session,named sun hats (we do have spares in an emergency however children always prefer their own), and t-shirts that cover their shoulders. Flip flops are not suitable for preschool as it is virtually impossible to run and climb safely in them and when riding on bikes/trikes their toes are incredibly vulnerable to injury. Children wearing flip flops will not be able able to access the outside area for their own safety.
Lastly, we have been informed that a child has had a case of head lice, so please check your children’s hair and treat accordingly. Nit combs can be purchased very cheaply from the pharmacy as can the treatments. If you prefer not to use chemicals, the lice can be physically removed from hair with the hair thickly coated in hair conditioner and combing each section through with the nit comb. However this does need to be repeated for 2 weeks as this method does not remove the eggs which will then hatch and re-infest. To help to prevent infestation it is a good idea to provide your own sun hats as sharing ours can help the spread!

13 June 2014 - Last half term of the 2013/14 year

Welcome back everyone! We hope you all had a relaxing break, taking time to catch up with your children and enjoy a little freedom! This next 7 weeks will be busy busy busy! By now, you should all know where your precious bundles of energy will be going to school, and now the “transition” begins. Transition is vitally important to ensure your child settles quickly and contentedly into their Early Years Education in Reception. Each school will have their own procedure, and here at preschool, we will happily work with each school for your child’s benefit. School visits are an important part of the transition process, enabling your child to become familiarised with the new surroundings and getting to know their teacher. Your selected school will inform you of the dates when these will be held. As mentioned in the last blog, ensuring your child is able to dress and undress themselves with be a huge confidence builder and make P.E much more enjoyable if they don’t have to worry about struggling with fastenings and clothing! Please remember to label your uniforms…it gets quite costly if you don’t! We think it is difficult keeping track of the children’s clothing at preschool – at least here they all wear different clothes….can you imagine trying to sort out 30 sweatshirts all the same colour and style!
We will be sending more info out about our annual teddy bears picnic and leavers ceremony in the near future so watch this space!

11 June 2014 - Half term

What a great the week the children have had,balancing on beams, tumbling and putting on circus shows! They have enjoyed retelling what they saw at Santas Circus last week, sharing photos and souvenirs with us. The clown craft activity proved to be very popular – I am sure every house in Heybridge now has a paper plate clown with a balloon nose! The children were encouraged to blow up their own balloon either using their lips or the balloon pump. We investigated the different sounds the balloons made as we let them go and belly laughed as they shot around the room :-)
Friday 23rd May is the last day of this half term, returning to preschool on Monday 2nd June for the final 7 weeks before the summer break. Many of you will be thinking of the next step of your children’s education now with the big move to school in September and looking to prepare them for this next stage. Now is a good time (if you haven’t started already!)to make sure your child is able to independently dress and undress themselves (including socks and shoes) and be able to use the toilet and attend to their personal hygiene without aid. These can be major issues when children start school and the more independent they are, the more confidence they will have. Also many of you will be concerned that your child is not writing their own name – each child develops this skill at different ages and stages of development. We encourage this development by providing lots of activities that build hand;/eye co ordination , muscle strength and fine motor skills such as play dough, paint, threading etc. If you are practising writing names at home, please ensure that you start with a capital letter but use lower case for the rest, as when children are taught to write their name in all upper case it is a very difficult habit to break!
The 1st week back our topic will be the Sun; how to stay safe in the sunshine, what are suitable clothes, a sun craft activity and….Sunshine Pizzas! We will be making these on session and will hopefully be eaten for snack if we can prepare, cook and cool them in time! Otherwise they will be bringing them home! We will be using bread rolls, pasta sauce and cheese as the main ingredients, however feel free to donate
any ingredients your child may enjoy (such as sweetcorn, olives, ham, peppers etc.)
Have a fantastic half term break,and dont forget to share your photos of your shenanigans with the children in our facebook group!

11 June 2014 - PS

Just to mention, we are aware that some of the photos on the gallery are not loading correctly. We think this is because the setting on the camera was changed to a higher quality that the website cant manage. Hopefully the next batch will be ok!

02 June 2014 - Tea Party

We had a lovely tea party today with Kay Porter as our Guest of Honour to say a little thank you for the generous donation of our Bubble tube and LED fountain for the Sensory Room. We took many photos and have will be posting them to the website. The Maldon Standard also have shown interest in this local news story and may well be running an article next week! So keep your eyes peeled!
There have been lots of spontaneous learning opportunities this week, starting with the Gardeners cutting out grass (the children love to watch the tractor on the fields and the man with a strimmer) This led to discussions of why the grass grows – needing water and sunshine. We spoke about that animals that eat grass like sheep, cows and goats and creatures that live in the grass like ants, beetles and spiders.
The children enjoyed rolling the tyres around, back and forth to each other and then decided to build a castle. They stacked the tyres and then clambered all over them!
Today, the children watched as the large conifers bordering our garden and our neighbors were cut down with chainsaws. They watched in awe as piece by piece they came down, making the area so much lighter and brighter. We have been lucky enough to take possession of lots of the logs which will provide lots more learning opportunities once the sap has dried out.
With the onset of the warmer weather, we have reinstated the rule of hats for outside play. No hat no play. Please ensure that your child has sun cream applied prior to attending.

22 May 2014 - The Circus is in Town!

Hi guys and gals
As you have all probably seen…………………… THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN! (well, the village!)
So, next week we will be concentrating on the theme of the circus and all the fun elements involved. We will be creating a big top, enjoying refreshments and putting on a show! So exciting! If any of you attend the real circus this week and have photos/programmes/mementoes to shared be very grateful. You could post your photos to the our Facebook page and we could share them with the children from there. It would be great if you could encourage your children to dress up in costume – clowns, acrobats, MC etc …..cant wait to see! We will also be asking for permission to facepaint so be prepared on the door!

16 May 2014 - Hoorah!

This week our wonderful new HUGE new bubble tube arrived. This is a very kind donation from the Porter family in memory of Nanny Pat Pat. After a day or so of working how it all went together (!) the children were introduced to it today, and had a fantastic sensory experience. It can change colour either on demand and by pushing buttons, and it also has fibre optics that change colour.
Next week, we are concentrating on Hedgehogs. Hopefully, Harry will visit us in our garden. We used to put food out for him, but this encouraged every cat in a 10 mile radius to come and play. We will be collaging, painting and making hedgehogs, reading stories about them and finding out about what they eat.
This week on our school phonics visit, we introduced the letter o, learning how to form it; starting at the top, going all the way round back to the top (anticlockwise). Our song (to the tune of Old Macdonald) goes like this:
“When its dark the lights go on
O O O O O
Time for bed the lights go off
O O O O O”
When you are out and about see if you can point out “o” on signs etc. What can you find beginning with O at home?

14 May 2014 - Silly Socks Day!

Our lovely bunch on Friday mornings have just had their photo taken in their wonderful silly socks by the Photographer for the Maldon and Burnham – so dont forget to get your copy on Thursday to see your famous children! Also, you will find some very similar photos on our website. Dont forget to bring some pennies to throw into the bucket!
The raffle will be drawn at 6pm tonight – fingers crossed eh?

09 May 2014 - Silly Socks Day

Ladies and Gents, Boys and Girls don’t forget tomorrow is Silly Socks Day in aid of Autism Anglia. Please support this very worthy cause and wear your silly socks tomorrow. Natasha Hoffman has organised a raffle, tickets can be obtained from the CO-OP in Lawling Ave and we have a donation pot in the lobby. Banyards and Arrows cabs will be displaying silly socks that the children have made, and taking donations.
We are having a photographer from the Maldon and Burnham visit us tomorrow at 10 – so make sure the children are loud and proud in their colourful Silly Socks!

04 April 2014 - Mothers Day

Our letter this week is “i” and we are learning the song about Inky the mouse and looking for items beginning with the letter i…..what can you find on your travels?
The children have been busy making special gifts for their loved ones, be it a mum, nan aunt or carer and a pretty keepsake card.
Next week is our last week of this Spring term and we will be learning about all things Easter and also on the Friday we will be celebrating Silly Socks Day! This event has been organised by Natasha Hoffman to raise funds and awareness of Autism for Autism Anglia. You can purchase your raffle tickets (there are some really cool prizes)from Natasha, either here or at the Co-op on Lawling Ave. At pre-school we selling jigsaw lapel pins for a £1 and we will have donation pots out for you fantastically generous people!
We are joining forces with Heybridge Primary in the regular Curry night held at the award winning Maldon Tandoori on Wednesday 30th April at 7.30pm. This has proven very popular event on previous occasions and is an extremely successful fund raiser for both the school and us! Tickets for the meal are £12.50 a head
and are booked and paid for in advance (get in early as they go very fast). So get your friends/family together and join us for a fabulous night out!
As mentioned before we break for end of term next friday 4th April and return to school on Tuesday 22nd April fit, ready and rested for the rigours of the Summer term!

04 April 2014 - Thank you

Ladies and Gents, Heybridge Preschool’s Staff and children would like to say a huge big thank you to Kay, Mike and William Porter for the very generous donation of £1000 towards our sensory room. The Porters have donated this to us in memory of Nanny PatPat With this donation we have purchased a large bubble tube and fibre optics that will make so much difference to our children. We were hoping to announce this earlier in the term with a photo of the new resources being used by the children – however we are still awaiting delivery!
So on behalf of the staff, children and children yet to come thank you so much for your amazing gift to us.

03 April 2014 - Mother's Day

This week when we visited Miss Smith at the primary school we sang a song about the letter i.
“ Inky the mouse is my pet
She spilled the ink and got wet
The ink it spread
all over the desk i i i i
-Inky’s Wet”
(sung to Hickory Dickory Dock)
We have been practising this back at preschool and finding items beginning with i.The children have also been forming the letters (including the past weeks) in the air, in sand, white boards…. in fact anywhere that we can! Can you find items to list in your learning journey beginning with i/
Next week we are making cards and gifts for that special day next Sunday – so the children will be working hard!
We are also learning the song “ I can sing a rainbow” with the appropriate Makaton signs.

25 March 2014 - Back to school

Back to school today! The Primary school has had the water leak repaired so we are now back to normal – hooray!
This week we are learning to recognise different patterns in our environment, zig zags,stripey, spotty etc. We have photographed some of the patterns the children have found and formed a collage board – what different patterns can you find at home or while you are out and about?
We have also introduced the letter Tt and the sound t (as in Tank). The children are learning to form the letter some in the air using large arm movements, some in sand and glitter using their fingers, whilst others are using pens to form the letter on paper or the white boards. We have also been on ‘t’ treasure hunts around the setting and garden looking for items beginning with t, and then popping a post it note note with a t on it!
What can you find on your travels beginning with T?

21 March 2014 - Attention! School Closure

SCHOOL CLOSURE* – TOMORROW Tuesday 18th March…

17th March 2014

Dear Parents and Carers

PRESCHOOL CLOSURETOMORROWTUESDAY 18TH MARCH 2014

Unfortunately we are having to close the prechool for the day tomorrow due to a burst mains water pipe on our grounds. This will result in having no water to the premises until the pipe is repaired or diverted.

It is hoped that this situation will be rectified by the end of tomorrow, but we are not able to open without water.

If we are not able to open on Wednesday we will broadcast this to you at the earliest possible opportunity in the same way as we would a severe weather closure. Please check website blog or facebook page or if your children attend the primary school, their website for up to date information tomorrow. We will inform you ASAP when we are aware of the situation.

19 March 2014 - Phonics

What a beautiful weekend we have had! I hope you all made good use of it and fingers crossed we will have the sunshine for a bit longer!
Heybridge Primary school (reception years) have invited a group of our older children to participate in a weekly phonics session with the Reception Teacher. It is a 10 minute session that we then continue at preschool on each session with children that wish to participate. The group that we take will change each week, unfortunately we can only take children that are on that session. However, when the children start their transition visits, Miss Smith will build in phonics sessions each time….how lucky are we!
This weeks letter is “a” ….how many items can you find beginning with the letter a?

17 March 2014 - BIG YELLOW FRIDAY

What a brilliant start we have had to the fundraising! You have all been so generous in your donations for the sponsored toddle and raffle tickets. We have a few wristbands left that we will have on the Big Yellow Cake Sale this afternoon. Speaking of which…..Oh My! At the moment our staff room is heaving with the delectable goodies many of you have donated to the sale, as you walk in the door the smell of sugary sweetness is divine (I hope there will be some left for this afternoon!). We will call the raffle this afternoon and post the winners on our facebook page and blog….fingers crossed I hope I win the cake mmmwwwhahahaha !! (only joking I am excluded)

10 March 2014 - Help!

Do anyone of you lovely people have a baby car seat that a member of our community can borrow for this weekend please? A virtual baby is coming to visit and needs transportation! If you can help please contact Julie at preschool xxxxxx

07 March 2014 - Big Yellow Week is Here!!!

What a great start to the fundraising week for Big Yellow Friday!
We are selling raffle tickets like hot cakes and the yellow wrist bands are disappearing too. The top prize for the raffle is a Giant Yellow Cupcake (being freshly made on Thursday for the draw on friday. 2nd prize is a beautiful .75ltr cup and 3rd prize a quirky hanging bird house.
The children have enjoyed their toddles so far,though we have been quite restricted on our route as the fields are very waterlogged still so we have kept to the hard standing. Sponsored monies can be collected in at any time between now and 14th March to enable us to have a count up and send to childhoodliverdisease.org.
Keep digging deep and dont forget the cake sale on friday…..donations of cakes would be great as would your custom!

07 March 2014 - Raffle Winners

And the winners of our raffle are….(drum roll)

1st Prize Cup Cake – Kelsey Pinn

2nd Prize Large Teacup – Sophie Reed

3rd Prize Bird House – Summer Jarvis

07 March 2014 - Big Yellow Friday

Welcome back Ladies and Gents! I hope your half term was healthy happy and fun!
Next week we are concentrating on BIG Yellow Friday – helping to fight Childhood Liver Disease. As mentioned previously, one of our families have been well supported by the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation when their daughter was diagnosed with Liver Disease -you may have seen Sophie in the local paper promoting the foundation with her mum Lisa, and advertising the country wide event.
We are supporting this charity next week by

04 March 2014 - Valentines Day

You may have received a Valentines card made with lots of love from your child – fitting in perfectly with our heart shape and red colour this week. The children have also been making Queen/King of heart crowns and Jam heart tarts! We have had lots of small group stories talking about why we love our mummies, daddies and carers….leading on to discussions about the different types of families there are, helping children to understand that everyone’s family is different: some have a mummy and daddy that live together, some live with their daddy or their mummy, others with their grandparents, foster carers and some have a mummy and daddy that choose them to be their child.
Next week is half term, and we return back to school on TUESDAY 25th FEB – have a great break and stay safe.

25 February 2014 - white semi circle

Kung Hey Fat Choy! (Happy Chinese New Year). This is the year of the horse and we are celebrating this festival with the tradition Lantern Craft and making Rocking Horses ( incorporating the semi circle shape of the week).
We so far have had rice and noodles with sweet and sour sauce….the children much preferring the noodles ;-)
The Prawn crackers haven’t gone down too well – an acquired taste I suppose!
With the colour white, we have explored corn flour mixed with shaving foam…..a wonderful texture like the softest clouds. The activity engaged the children (in small groups) for extended periods of time, drawing shapes, writing names, gathering it up like snow balls and listening to the sounds it made as it dropped to the tray.

13 February 2014 - Yellow Squares

Hello all
what a wet, muddy week this has been! On the upside our preschoolers have created “rain pictures”, painted with rainwater, measured the amount of water falling off the roof…every cloud has a silver lining!
We have been learning about the “sqaure shape” and the colour yellow – so we just had to do Sponge Bob Square Pants didnt we? We have looked for square shapes in teh environment – the children noticing our windows are sqaure, our ceiling consists of sqaures and we even found sqaures at the snack table -sqaure toast and sqaure waffles! How many can you find on your travels????
Next week is all about Chinese New Year, the year of the horse. It would be great to find things in our interest box related to our topic! We will be serving rice, sweet and sour sauce,prawn crackers and noodles at “Le Cafe” – if you fancy donating any Chinese food/fruit to the cause feel free!!

28 January 2014 - A Call For Help

To all you kind hearted people out there….
We have been made aware of a family that needs help. Their home was destroyed in a fire, family members were injured and they have lost everything.
We are asking for girls clothes aged 9 and 11 to help this family out.
Please have a look through your old and spare clothes and bring them to Heybridge Preschool and we will pass them on.

24 January 2014 - 2014

Well didn’t 2013 fly by? Flash and it was gone! Well Welcome to 2014 at Heybridge Preschool. 2nd week into the spring term and the children are settling back into routine nicely. We would like to say hello to all our new starters and their families and hope you enjoy your time with us – be it a year or two!
This term we are going back to nearly basics (!) with colours and shapes.(all details are on the newsletter).
This week is silver and star…..so be prepared for your children to be singing twinkle twinkle continuously! We have also been taking small groups of 2 or 3 in the dark den watching the “dream maker” cast stars across the ceiling and walls. It has promoted lots of conversation such as one child telling me that “the sun is a great big ball of fire” and his companion joining in the chat “yeah, if you sit on it, it will burn your botty!”

16 January 2014 - Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone! Today is the last day of preschool for 2013 – we return on January 6th 2014!
The children have had a great time this week, a party on every session (thank you for all the lovely food donations), watching Christmas stories on the TV, dancing to Christmas songs, finishing off our Christmas activities and cards – it has been busy busy busy!
All the staff would like to thank you for the lovely gifts you have taken time to select for us, we really do appreciate it. You are so kind :-)
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, safe New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2014

14 January 2014 - Next week is party time!

Can you believe that next week is the last preschool week of 2013? Our Carol Concert is on monday, please bring your children to preschool at 9.00 and then get yourself over to the Primary School and get yourself a seat. We will bring the children over and get them settled on the stage. After the performance you may collect them from the stage and if you wish, come on over to preschool for some refreshments and meet Father Christmas in our festive Grotto!
Preschool will be closed for sessions in the afternoon for a staff meeting and normal sessions will resume on tuesday 10th December until friday 13th December breaking up for Christmas returning Monday 6th January.

To celebrate the last week before Christmas we would like to hold Christmas Parties each session and a donation of party food would be great! We had a chat with the children and here were as few of the requests:

Party rings, cakes, chicken nuggets, crisps, etc
Alfie would like sausage rolls
George would like wraps (!)
Marley would like Chocolate cake

13 December 2013 - The Christmas Decoration Event!

Well….so far so good! This week we have had mums, dads, aunts, sisters and step nans stay for half an hour and make and decorate a Christmas Stocking with “their” child. I know the children and hopefully the adults have too! If you didn’t manage to get your invite back we can still slide you in I am sure! The event has proven to be very popular and we are considering repeating the idea at Mothers and Fathers day (obviously not with the end result of a Christmas decoration!)
There are lots of photos on the gallery if you want to take a peek of the goings on!

05 December 2013 - Christmas Bazaar

Yes me again! On friday we will be participating in the Heybridge Primary School’ s annual Christmas Bazaar. It begins at 3.15 and promises to be the most successful yet! The choir will be singing between 4 and 4.30 and the ever popular Cake stall will be there too (please don’t forget to donate some). We will be face painting as usual, with choices of a Christmas Tree, Holly Wreath, a Snowman or Rudolph (£1.50). We also have Reindeer Food and Tooth Fairy bags for sale at £1 and 50p respectively. There will be the opportunity to create a Reindeer or snowman biscuits at 50p each and a Grotto to meet Father Christmas.
Please come along and support us as all profits will be shared between the school and ourselves, enabling us to replace our worn resources. We are planning to buy a Tablet with all proceeds from our Christmas Fund Raising……So get donating!!!!!!!

04 December 2013 - Christmas is a coming!

Christmas has finally arrived at Heybridge Preschool! Too early I can hear you cry, but you forget….we break up on the 13th December so we need to start early to get everything done!
It is like a military operation here for the next few weeks;
Phase One is complete, with the lobby partly decorated and Christmas cards and decorations well under way. The Children are learning the Christmas Carols ready for the Carol Concert and enjoying making the salt dough ornaments that are confusing them as they smell so Christmassy they want to eat them!
Phase Two involves decorating the tree, making more bits n pieces and polishing off the performances!
Next week is our “Christmas Decoration Event” so keep an eye out for your date and time slip and we look forward to seeing you! We have had a really good response and if all goes well we will be holding similar occasions through out the year. Please give feed back afterwards as we would like to know whether we are getting it right, or if we need to change it in some way (or completely even!).
Well that’s all for now – have a good week!

27 November 2013 - Songs

Hello Ladies and Gents
I thought it may be handy to give you the list of Christmas songs we will be singing at our Carol Concert so you can practise at home:
Im a dancing Christmas Tree ( have a look on YouTube for the words and music)
When Santa got stuck up the chimney (again on Youtube)
5 mince Pies in a bakers shop
5 White snowmen
Away in a manger
Twinke Twinkle
Jingle Bells (first verse only) repeated
Our two safety songs
We wish you a merry Christmas

27 November 2013 - Thank you

We would like to say a big Thank you to:

Thanks guys! xxxxx

26 November 2013 - Thank you

I would just like to say a huge thank you to Mike Lee who so kindly donated a brand new keyboard and monitor for the children to use at preschool. I would like to emphasise how generous this is as Mike hasn’t any children here, just his big sister who works here!
Thank you Mike – Love you xxxxxxx

26 November 2013 - Children in Need

Hello everyone!
Last week on teh spur of the moment we decided to participate in the Children In Need fund raising. We drew a Pudsey Bear and left it in the lobby for parents etc to unload their spare change onto. We also face painted Pudsey bear onto lots of children. As we are still getting in donations for the face painting I will give you an update on the amount raised later on in the week!

20 November 2013 - IMPORTANT

Ladies and Gents We have been advised by one of our parents that yesterday afternoon there was a close shave in the car park at pick up time, one of our parents/grandparents nearly hit a child whilst driving through. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IT IS FOR THIS VERY REASON THE CARPARK IS NOT TO BE USED BY PARENTS/GRANDPARENTS/OR ANYONE PICKING UP CHILDREN. IT IS FOR THE CHILDRENS SAFETY THAT THIS RULE IS IN PLACE. Please ensure that you advise anyone that may be picking up your child NOT to use the carpark, and spread the message to anyone who may not have access to this facebook page. Lets not have a tragedy, it is easily avoided for the sake of a little inconvenience.

18 November 2013 - Half Term and More!

You are probably getting bored of these posts there have been that many of them over the past couple of weeks!
We have been given 3 PC stacks by the primary school for the children’s use. We are now on the lookout for 3 monitors and keyboards; if anyone has one hiding in the loft unused and unloved we would be happy to give it a new home!
Next week is half term and therefore we are CLOSED until we return on TUESDAY 5th November. Please have a happy, safe break, and we look forward to seeing you all return healthy, refreshed and eager for the 2nd half of the Autumn term.

13 November 2013 - A trip to the shops

The children decided that they would like a cooked breakfast for snack today! So the children got together and made a list that included sausages, eggs and biscuits! So we all put on our coats and went for a walk over to the Co-Op. We looked for the sausages and chose 3 different types, and Ethan told me they came from pigs! We then found the bread and the children chose to have a loaf of white and a loaf of brown. We took all our purchases to the till and paid for them – even receiving some change!
On the way back to pre-school we saw a garbage truck and the men were putting the rubbish into the back. We kept a look out for different shapes, and George spotted a triangle sign, Summer saw square paving slab and Marley saw the moon in the sky!
On our return we all sat together to have our snack, enjoying the sausage, egg, toast and bread. We even had a cup of tea!

13 November 2013 - New Member of Staff

Meet Carole!

Let me introduce you to our new member of staff Carole Sullivan! Carole was one of our parents a few years ago and volunteered here whilst completing her level 3 Cache qualification in childcare and education. She went on to work at Buddies gaining valuable experience which she is now sharing with us! Carole is keen to build upon her already good knowledge of Special Needs and will be working closely with Jayne.
Many of you will recognise or know Carole as she is a local lass with her daughter attending Heybridge Primary and her son at the Plume.
Carole enjoys cooking in her spare time (now she is with us will be hard to find so we will get her to do it here instead!), spending time with her gorgeous children (I am biased as I was keyperson for her daughter all those years ago!!) and socialising with her family.

24 October 2013 - Anyone going to a market?

Hi everybody
about to ask a cheeky favour here…..
Next 1/2 term we will be requiring fairly large quantities of cinnamon and ginger for some winter sensory activities we have planned. Would any of you lovely people be visiting a market before end of November where these items can generally be obtained in larger, more cost effective quantities than our local supermarket? We would be happy to reimburse you (please save your receipt for our accounts)……FINGERS CROSSED!

24 October 2013 - Curry Night

Heybridge Primary School PTFA and Heybridge Pre-school are together holding a Joint Curry Night at Maldon Tandoori on the 27th November. It will be £12.50 per person and tables need to be booked and paid for in advance by 18th November. Details and tickets are available from the School Office.
This is a tried, tested and very much enjoyed method of fund raising for us, and a cheap night out for you!

18 October 2013 - Parent's Evening

We will be holding a parents evening on November 12th, with appointments available between 4&5 and 6&7 with your child’s Key person. A letter will be sent out shortly with further details and a time slip for you to complete. Should you be unable to make this date/times, let me remind you that we have an open door policy allowing you to chat to your key person at any time during session. If you require in in depth conversation it may be best to make an appointment so we can ensure that you have enough time to discuss your concerns/worries.
May I please remind you that we are not able to discuss your child, their progress or problems that you may be having outside of the work place.

18 October 2013 - Chick chick chick chick chicken

This week has been all about CHICKENS! Lily sent us a video of her nanny’s chickens and we all fell in love with Daisy chicken and her wonderful feet! (see the video in our Facebook group). Trish brought in Billy-No-Mates, a 5 year old chicken that she has hand-raised from an egg. He is called Billy-No-Mates because none of the other eggs hatched. Some of the children petted him and then watched him run around our outside area, feeding him corn. It was a super learning opportunity for the children, learning about their eating habits, the was they move, what they feel and sound like. This led onto egg hunts around the garden, making chicken masks and listening to the story of Chicken Little.

18 October 2013 - Week 6

What a great week this has been! The children have loved the biscuit making, and from all the positive comments we can see how much the children have learned. We have included the recipe in the children’s learning journeys so you can make some more if you so wish!
Next week we are learning about chickens, having eggs at snack time (boiled, scrambled, omelette) what they eat, where they live and how to look after them. If all goes well, Trish will bring in “Billy” one of her chickens from home to show the children. The children will be making paper plate chickens, listening to the story of Chicken Licken, and helping the children make Polish Wycinanki (a folk paper art)to decorate our walls and take home. If you have a special interest in Chickens please feel free to join us and share your knowledge with us and the children, and we look froward to seeing all your chicken related crafts come in from home next week!!!!

14 October 2013 - Under the Sea

This week we are learning about the creatures that live under the sea, such as octopi, seahorses, fish and crabs and shells.
We are making chocolate octopi biscuits which are making the setting smell very yummy! The children are learning to find the recipe, measure the ingredients, mix them all together and mould and cut the shape. I hope they taste as good as they look!
We have filled a large tray with lots and lots of blue paper strips and hidden sea creatures inside. The children have enjoyed the swishing sound and the light weightless, floaty feel of the paper “sea”.
Perhaps this week you could share something from home related to the sea: shells, pictures of fish from the internet or pictures the chioldren have created at home.
If you are feeling adventurous perhaps some seaweed from along the river!!!

10 October 2013 - Farms

This week we are been talking about farms and the animals that live on them. We have the farm out and the children are learning the animal names, noises they make and what they eat!Many children have already made their “ ….had a farm book”, cutting out pictures, mark making, glueing and stapling in their books. This has promoted lots of conversation about farm visits and where our food comes from. We will be watching videos of cows being milked and baby animals.
Outside in the garden some children harvested the carrots that were planted back in the spring – they were very excited – it was just like magic!
Our pumpkins continue to grow ( albeit slowly!) and should hopefully be ready for carving at Halloween!
Dont forget, we will be having Smile photography here at Half Term ( 29th October 9.30 onwards)- you will need to book your slot soon as they are filling up fast! Past years photographs have proved to be very very popular and used as Christmas gifts.

07 October 2013 - Week 4 already!

Hello everybody! It is week 4 already and most children are now almost fully settled in to the new routine of preschool. It is a lot to ask of children – particularly our little 2 year olds, but as always they make us proud!
This week we are talking about dogs, where they live, what they eat, sharing photos of our dogs with our friends – we are building a nice gallery on our wall of your pets!
We have been giving out lots of Bug Buster stickers to the children who remember to cough/sneeze into the crook of their arm and blow their noses and disposing of the tissue correctly. Please, please, please – if your child is full of cold don’t bring them to preschool – a) they are not well enough to get anything from session b) they will be spreading the virus to both children and staff. At the best of times, preschool is a noisy active place, not the place for an unwell child, no matter how much they say they want to come. We love to share toys – not germs!

01 October 2013 - Photos

Hello All, full blog post will follow shortly, but just to let you know that we will have the photographer in preschool on the Tues of half term. These have been extremely popular in the past, with the informal and happy poses making fantastic Christmas presents for your loved ones. If you would like to book a slot please see a member of staff.

24 September 2013 - Ideas for days out

Hello everybody – are you looking forward to your half term break? Lets use the power of thought and all work together to bring some good sunny weather into our part of the country! Let your last thought before sleep be sunshine…… lets hope eh?
For those who are new to our area here are a few suggestions (unsponsered!) that you might want to think about for your free time….
The Prom : great for children of all ages with the Galleon to climb over and the water park for the warmer days. It is also a good place to go crabbing (either of the point or in the boating lake). There are plenty of places for refreshment and public toilets.
Heybridge Basin : free parking! Another good place for crabbing and a couple of pubs and Tiptree tea rooms with great views of the estuary. A walk along the front will take you to the playing fields and also there are a few beaches…and lots of mud when the tide is out!
Drapers Farm is a great place to go to feed the ducks, with lots of open space for the children to run about to their hearts content.
Canal Walks: From Heybridge you can go in two directions, either down to the Basin (this has now been paved and is easily accessible for pushchairs etc) or towards Beeleigh Falls, a lovely walk in the country side once you are past the industrial areas! Or you could park up in Tesco carpark, avoiding the industrial areas. Also, over the walking bridge from Tesco you will find a large play area for children of all ages with lots of opportunities to burn off some steam! The area is safely fenced and there are picnic benches and tables for your comfort.
For the wetter days you may want to explore Monkey puzzle or Crazy Kids – both indoor “jungle gyms”.
A little further afield is the Rio cinema in Burnham – a hidden gem of a cinema, providing excellent value for money, and nice popcorn too! You could make a day of it and spent some time in Marine park on the banks of the River Crouch.
Hope these hints are helpful- if you want to add any more, use our facebook page, that is what it is there for!

20 September 2013 - Last week of this half term

Hi Everybody!
Last week we said goodbye to our butterflies! We had 4 successful hatchings and after a few days gaining their strength in the enclosure we set them free! When asking the children what may have happened to the 5th cocoon, the subject of death arose naturally, the children realising that one butterfly had died. One child suggested that the 5th butterfly might wake up and come back , so we explained that when you have died you dont wake up again and we could remember them when we look at the stars……to which she replied “ they will be zombie butterflies!” (hehehe) Needless to say, we explained that Zombies are not real!
We learned about the life cycle of frogs and watched animations and time lapse film of frogs spawing through to developing into little frogs.

24 May 2013 - Spring Time!

Spring time has finally sprung in the Summer Term! LAst week we enjoyed Bear hunting in the garden through swishy grass, squelchy mud and the odd snow storm! We watched our caterpillars get fatter and fatter, and this week they are hanging from the top of their pot as they disappear into their cocoon! They children are on the whole being fantastically gentle and not shaking the tub – we have had the odd mishap, we started out with 5 and fingers crossed we still have 5!
This week we are enjoying the story of Room on the Broom, and the children are remembering the characters and in which order they appear in the story. I am sure you have already seen some beautiful wands and broomsticks coming home – we have had several broomstick races in the garden!
Speaking of the garden, the den is rooting well, and we are beginning to plant up the border. Today we planted a courgette plant and some Cosmos seeds, and have started to harden off the tomatoes and the beans – lets hope for a good crop!

20 May 2013 - Welcome back!

Hi everybody, we hope you had a good Easter break, enjoying the extremes of weather that only Great Britain can provide….snow at the beginning and heat waves at the end of a two week period! No wonder we love chatting about it so much – it is totally unreliable! Hopefully the children will have shaken off all the viruses they were subject to last term and return fit and healthy, ready to enjoy the final term of summer madness!
This term we are continuing to concentrate on books that the children enjoy, this first week being the Hungry Caterpillar. We have hatched 5 Painted Lady Caterpillar eggs and the children have enjoyed watching them grow daily getting longer and fatter before their very eyes! We are keeping a wall chart and photographic evidence to enable us to compare the difference each week. The children have also enjoyed symmetry painting of butterflies, learning that butterfly wings are mirror images of each other. We have also provided craft items such as pipe cleaners, pom poms and googly eyes and the children have spent lots of time creating their own bugs! We have had bug hunts in the garden….the poor worms are getting used to frequent relocation by the children!
The children have also planted pansies in the new flower beds created by Gilly and her husband Steve over the Easter holidays, incorporating a fence around the shed to improve the safety for the children ( a big big thank you – it looks beautiful!). The children were fascinated by the roots of the pansies which were quite root bound and thoroughly enjoyed watering them after! If anyone has any spare plants or cuttings for our garden we would greatly appreciate it it. Well that is it for this week – enjoy the weekend!

30 April 2013 - Health check

Hi everybody,
just a quick note to say that we have been informed that one of our children has had a case of threadworms.
I have sourced some information for you:

Threadworm (Enterobius vermicularis) is the most common worm infection. Both children and adults can be infected, although it’s mostly found in children.

How does infection spread?

Threadworm is passed from person to person and is usually spread via children.

The female worms lay eggs on a person’s skin around the anus. This leads to itching and scratching of the area and then leads to eggs being transferred onto the fingers.

The eggs can then be passed by direct contact, or through sharing toys, pencils and food, etc.

Good hygiene is essential to stop the infection being spread – including washing hands and scrubbing under the nails before eating and after visiting the toilet.

Eggs can survive in dust for two weeks, which may lead to infection by inhaling dust. Children in childcare institutions are easily infected by each other.

Symptoms

Threadworm begins with an itchy feeling around your anus (back passage), usually at night under warm sheets.

Without treatment, threadworm may give rise to vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) in girls and women.

You can often see threadworms, a 1cm thread-like worm, in your child’s stools or their bottom.

Treatment

Infected children or adults should be treated as soon as possible. The rest of the family should also be treated at the same time.

Threadworm can be treated with one of two medicines, mebendazole (egmebendazole (eg Ovex) or piperazine (eg Pripsen piperazine) – both of which can be bought over the counter from pharmacies.

Both medicines can be given as a single dose. Your pharmacist can give you appropriate advice.

Children under two years of age will need to be seen by a doctor. One treatment is usually enough.

Children can still go to school or childcare, in spite of having threadworms.

What can be done to control threadworms? If you have threadworms, it’s important to shower in the morning in order to remove eggs and bacteria from the anal area. Wash your hands thoroughly after each visit to the bathroom and before each meal. Underwear should be changed daily. Bedsheets should be changed frequently, especially 7 to 10 days after the treatment. Infected children and adults should keep their nails short. Infected children should ideally wear cotton gloves when sleeping.•Clean your home thoroughly, especially the bedrooms, and remove as much dust as possible. •Do not eat food in your bedroom. •If several family members are infected, you should all be treated on the same day. •Avoid food and drinks containing a lot of sugar, and eat high-fibre food to prevent constipation.

Read more: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/pinworm.htm#ixzz2Ojt0f4lA

Hope this has been helpful.

18 April 2013 - News!

Hi Everyone
We are holding a cake sale on Wednesday 27th March to raise funds to revamp our garden area. All donations of cakes will be greatly recieved – we need a mix of small individual cakes, tray bakes and whole sponges. We will be accepting in the cakes on the Wednesday ready for sale at 3.15 onwards.
We are also advertising for Bank staff. You need to be level 3 or equivelent in Childcare, and previous experience of working in a busy preschool environment please send your CV into preschool for the attention of Anne by Friday 19th April 2013.

27 March 2013 - Jam!

During the Summer term we will be making strawberry Jam. This activity will encompass the whole curriculum, growing the strawberries outside in our garden, feeding and watering them and protecting them from the birds ….and nimble little fingers! Once ripe we will harvest them, chop them, add sugar and boil them to make jam.
It would be great if you could save your small jam jars for us, and we will decorate them with labels and pretty lids. At the moment we cant pinpoint which week we will be doing this as it is in the hands of Mother Nature as to when they ripen.
(I will be honest with you, we will secretly add more strawberries to our home grown ones as six plants wont be enough to supply 71 children!)

21 March 2013 - Long time no blog!

Hi everyone, many many apologies fo the lack of blogging lately….it has been quite hectic here at pre-school. There seems to be a big black cloud of bugs hovering over Heybridge that keep infecting our children and staff! We seem to be experiencing a combo of flu and gastroenteritis season which is devasting our children …..and staff! Please remember, as much as your child may wish to come to preschool (because we have so much fun), in reality when they are here full of cold, they dont enjoy themselves, become very fractious and want to go home! Secondly, they are infecting their friends and staff too – so please, if your child is exhibiting signs of a cold (runny nose, cough etc)keep them at home!
With gastroenteritis we have a strict 48 rule – they must not come to preschool until 48 hours AFTER their last episode of sickness or diarrohea.
Right, with that out of the way, let me tell you what we have been doing!
This week we are celebrating Mothers Day. The children are making cards for their mums (or other special people in their life) and decorating little baskets to hold the peppermint creams that they have made. The cooking activity has been very popular as always, and I am sure many more peppermint creams have been eaten than have been taken home! The children have enjoyed mixing and then molding the paste (then sneakily licking their fingers after!)
Next week we are learning about The Ravenous Beast, one of our more popular books, and going on a beast hunt in the garden.
On the subject of gardens, we would be greatly appreciatative of any donations of seeds, plants, pots etc for our outside area. We are hoping to create a sensory area and plants such as lavender, rosemary, artemesia etc would be lovely for the children to touch and smell.
Also if you have any items lying around that need a good home – we can provide it! Things like pipes, tyres, guttering, milk crates, logs etc are all great resources that we could put to extrememly good use.
Have a lovely weekend everyone and look after your mums!

14 March 2013 - Lost Items

Hi everybody – just a quickie
Could the parents of boys please check their coats – we have had an accidental swap!
The coat is a black puffa with a hood, Rebel brand we have the size 2-3 and the swapped one is a 3-4 or 4-5. It does have the child’s name in it – thank you

07 March 2013 - 2013

Welcome back to preschool! 2013 – Where is time going?? At least we survived the Apocolypse!
What a great start to the Spring Term. This week our topic has been Princesses and Pirates with lots of creative “makes” going on…..we have made pirate ships, eye patches, skull and cross bone flags, tiaras and crowns. Outside we have had treasure hunts searching for lost gold and making maps to help us do so. There has been lots of dressing up and one child kept his eye patch on all day!
Next week our topic will be the Wizard of Oz, so dust off those Dorothy Gale, scarecrow and witches costumes….we look forward to seeing them.
You may notice a change in the way we are using the Learning Journeys. Last term we found too much precious time was spent recording weekly observations on all 70 children and also writing comments in frequently – this actually takes us away from spending precious time with the children. So to recitify this, we will be writing in the journeys less, but working with the children more! The children will be encouraged to stick their photos in while we chat about what they were doing in the pictures – so they may not always be the neatest! Please remember, these records are for you to participate in too – comments about their progress, photos of special times will all create a very individual keepsake.
Next thursday 15th Jan will be our first committee meeting of 2013 – look forward to seeing you there! Please come along, new faces are always welcome.

15 January 2013 - Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Our last week at preschool before the Christmas break – full of glitter and merriment!
The children performed brilliantly on the stage on Monday for their Carol concert. They have worked so hard, learning and practising their songs. There was a fantastic turnout of adults to watch the performance, for that we are very thankful!
We enlisted the help of a very very nice Father Christmas to deliver a candy cane and asatsuma and listento the children’s requests for presents. We cant guarantee that he will deliver the pink Ipads, cameras and horses but I am sure he will try hard :-).
There are quite a few photos posted on the Heybridge Preschool Facebook Group – so if you are not a member send a request in now! I will try and copy them to pop them on our gallery – but no promises….it may be well above my ability! SO watch thiss space – well the gallery space!
The children have been beavering away making lots of little keepsakes for the festive period, and these will be coming home this week. Not all children will have the same items, but all will have something!
We break up on Friday 14th December and return to preschool on Monday 7th January.
Next trem thetopicshave been based around the children’s interest in books and the media. Week 1 will be Princess and Pirates and we welcome lots of fancy dress. We will be asking for permission to face paint, so please if we somehow miss you, lets us know whether we can turn your little darlings into sparkly princesses or dastardly pirates……….
From all the staff at Heybridge Preschool – Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you in 2013

10 January 2013 - Winter is on its way!

Brrrrrr, it’s getting chilly! WE have heard lots of reasons why the weather is changing this week…..

11 December 2012 - We are back

Hello Everybody!
Sorry for the lack of blogging for the past few weeks – there were a few issues that needed to be sorted, and now the gallery is up and running again as is the blog.
We hope you had a good half term holiday and are ready for the rigors of the next 1/2 term. This is our favourite – its all about Celebrations. We have Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali and……..CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
Last week the children enjoyed recreating their firework experiences in paintings and pictures,describing the sounds they heard, coming up with “swooming”, “swooshing” & “banging” to name but a few.
This week we are celebrating Diwali with lots of rice! Rice pictures, rice as a texture, rice as a food, and I am sure there will be alot more ways rice will be used! We will be trying lots of different foods at snack time such as Poppodoms, Naan bread, and Bhajis. If you wish you can send some other Indian food for snack feel free!
We are fund raising for a large flatscreen TV for the children. At the moment we normally have 26 children huddled around the PC monitor watching programs that we have selected to enhance their learning! So to help us raise at least £300 we are running a weekly raffle and selling Christmas bits n bobs at bargain basement prices! Come in and see the the Christmas cards, bags, decorations and cuddlies that were so kindly donated by Dawn Hughes and Tesco.
This weeks raffle is a Sword and Shield donated by Kidzarmoury £1 per strip.

22 November 2012 - Hello Everyone

Week 3 already…where does it all go! What a great week we have had, making family trees and talking about our family members. We have had a great response (thank you!) from you, organising photos of your family members for us to stick on the trees. We had a little brain wave on thursday and decided to photocopy the family trees and stick them on a Heybridge Preschool Family Tree on the Learning Journey wall along with Our Faces. Feel free to have a peruse when dropping off your children, I am sure you will see many familiar faces – Heybridge is a small community!
Our new cosy coupe cars have gone down a storm! The children intergrate them into their play in so many different ways…..from popping to the shop, driving ambulances, police cars and even racing cars (which we had to discourage after a few crashes :-) .
We had what is known in the trade as a “spontaneous learning event” on thursday afternoon when a hedgehog decided to visit! The children named him Mr Spike, and he took his time travelling from one side of the garden snuffling around, looking for worms. We took a photo and all children on session will be able to have a copy of Mr Spikey to show their families.
Next week we are learning about where we live, building houses out of cereal boxes, going for short walks, taking in the different features of where we live. You can support your child’s learning at home by pointing out the different types of houses on your walks, flats, bungalows, semi and detached houses, terraced, cottages the list goes on! It would be great if you could provide a photo of your home or street, and we may even look on Google Maps for familiar locations!
Enjoy your weekend x

11 November 2012 - Welcome back!

Hello everybody, welcome back to the 2012-2013 Preschool Year. We have had lots of new starters this week, and we are very pleased with the way everyone is settling in. Leaving your child with us for the first time is very hard and distressing, particularly for the you, the parent, as you cant see what is going on, whether your child is crying, or on their own in a strange place, the list goes on. We understand this and will do everything we can to help ease you and your child into this new routine. Yes, there is a good chance your child will cry, but we wont leave them on their own, or leave them to cry for long lengths of time. We will use distraction techniques, gained with the many many years of experience our staff have had at preschool. If we are unable to console your child we will call you,so please ensure that we have your current mobile and home numbers! When all said and done, not all children will cry, some will on day 1,others on day 3, others not at all and some 2 year olds arn’t ready to start at preschool. We will be there to support you and child all the way through preschool, from day one until they leave for “big school”.
This week we concentrated on learning each others names, introducing the children and ourselves, and getting to know the layout of the preschool. The weather has been lovely and the children enjoying digging up the potatoes we planted in the spring, picking some strawberries for snack and unearthing the carrots – what an unexpected harvest! Our pumpkins and gourds are growing well – they should be quite impressive by Halloween.

21 September 2012 - Preschool Olympics

WHAT A FANTASTC DAY!!!!!!!
The first ever gathering of all the Nurseries and Preschools in the Maldon Area took place this morning to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics. Each setting brought along 25 under fives to compete in various events such as the 50m sprint, relay races,sack races and the traditional egg and spoon! Our Heybridge children did us proud,in effort, behaviour and spirit! Not having had much practice (weather conditions have been against us from the start!) each child threw themselves into the fun and did what was asked of them and seemed to enjoy every minute of it. The turn out was huge, and we hope that each year this event will grow.
Thank you to everyone for making it the event the children deserved, and thank you to the weather…you behaved yourself for once this summer, belying all predictions!

09 September 2012 - Olympics and more!

Well, here we are on the last day of preschool for the 11/12 year – where has it gone??? Last week we had the priviledge of watching the live feed of the Olympic torch travelling through our village making its way to Maldon, and seeing some of our friends who where there in person! How lucky are we – a once in a life time opportunity. This week we were visited by the Maldon District Preschool torch! It has visited all the Preschools and nurseries that are participating in the Preschool Olympics that are kicking off tomorrow at 9am. PLease get out there and do your Sunny Weather dance – we need all the help we can get. Even if your child is not participating in the events, come down and support us – the atmosphere will be electric! (hopefully not literally).
On monday we will be hosting our annual teddy bears picnic and Leavers ceremony – bring along your picnic, something to sit on, a few pennies and a bear…….oh dont forget your child! The doors will open at 1, with the leavers presentation at 2, finishing at 3. We will have face painting, raffles and a cake sale too – what fun :-) .
So, from all of us here at Heybridge Pre-school, we wish you a fantastic summer break regardless of the weather, and we look forward to seeing some of you return to us in September with lots of new friends who will be starting their first sessions.
To those who are leaving us to continue their learning journey at Primary School, we wish you all the best – you deserve it. Have fun xxxxxxxxxx

13 July 2012 - Where has the time gone?

Hello everybody! Sorry for the absence of the blog for the past few weeks – things are very busy at preschool at this time of year! We have the transition for the children who will be leaving us to go to “big school” and lots of visits from those joining us in September.
So a little recap on what we have bben doing this term:
We celebrated the Diamond Jubilee with lots of parties and picnics, and learned about the Royal family. The children found out that the Queen had 4 children (many remembering their names) and that she lives in a big palace in London.
We are learning about the Olympics and about the different sports, countries and people that are involved. We have learned that

We are also practicing for our own Maldon Preschool olympics on the 13th July. Preschool will be closed for sessions on this day as all staff will be required to help out on the event.
Monday 16th July is our teddy bears picnic from 1pm til 3pm with the leavers ceremony at 2pm. Bring along a blanket to sit on, some food and yourselves and of course a Teddy Bear!. This is a parentally supervised event which proves to be very popular every year. There will be face painting on offer, light refreshments and a soft toy raffle so dont forget to bring a few coppers! Preschool will be closed for sessions on this day. Lets hope for sunshine xxxxxx

12 July 2012 - Summer has arrived!

At last, warm sunny weather! Perfect for our topic of British gardens. We have planted so many sunflowers this week – Heybridge will be a forest of yellow in 90 days…..thats how long it take a sunflower to germinate, grow and bloom. Isnt it amazing what nature can do! They children have been keen to care for our growing fruit and vegetables, watering them and weeding the surrounding area….under supervision!
Our new water trough arrived this week – allowing lots and lots of extended water play – experimenting with water wheels, finding out about gravity, objects that sink and float and alot of splashing in the sunshine! Sorry for the increased washing for you – the children do wear aprons, however the aprons are unaware they are supposed to protect the children, as they seem to get just as wet as if they werent wearing them!

25 June 2012 - Asda Community Champion

What a great morning we have had! To support our theme of Farms and Shops, we had a visit from Tabitha, the Asda Local Community Champion. Tabitha helped us plant the potatoes, peas and beans that were so generously donated by Asda, as well as the strawberry plants (kindly donated by Reese’s nan – thank you xx) nasturtiums and cabbages. What a productive garden we will have this year! The children throughly enjoyed getting their hands in the soil and putting the plants in their new home. We also found lots of worms…always a good sign of healthy soil.
As well as that, Tabitha played hide and seek with the children….luckily we did manage to find them all afterwards :-)
So from us all THANK YOU TABITHA for all your time and effort, the children have really enjoyed your company, and THANK YOU ASDSA for your lovely donations of fruit and veg for our shop area.
Please dont forget to send wellies in with the children as we will be gardening throught out the term.

24 May 2012 - British Holidays

British Holidays…..and British Weather! We had rain….but not all the time. Every time the sun peeped out you could hear the sigh of relief from both the children and the staff.
Not suprisingly, the children’s weather creations did convey the rain in a particularly accurate way. They decided to use lentils and rice to depict the rain
,(because they sounded similar), and silver strips of foil for lightening, They really were picture perfect! We collected the rain that ran off the canopy and measured how much we got, then used it to wet down the sand so we could make sandcastles.
Our map is filling up nicely with postcards, and the children love talking aboout where they have been to their friends and recognising local sites.
A very popular game this week has been turning home corner into a camp site! The table was covered in various quilts, blankets and sheets and then numerous children would then disappear underneath for ages! Now and again they would pop out and forage for resources which disappeared under the table with them!
Next week is Farm Week…it would be a good idea to provide wellies as wee will be planting veggies and plants out in the garden.

15 May 2012 - May Day Celebrations

This week we will be making Arks with the children and teaching them to swim in the puddles! Only Joking! What rain we have had….its the wettest drought I have ever known!
Back to the job in hand…. this week we are celebrating the ancient celebration of May Day, which has been followed in one form or another for over 2000 years! While Summer does not officially begin until June, May Day is recognised as the beginning of Summer Time, a feeling of optimism.
The children have been dancing around our Maypole in the garden, and making their own to take home. We will also be making flower garlands for their hair and streaming arm bands to wear whilst Morris dancing!
We have watched people celebrating Beltane by dancing around a Maypole at Glastonbury, accompanied by energetic folk music!

13 May 2012 - Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Well I know it is a little early, but we are not here next week! The children have got involved in making some chocolatey Easter nests and some very beautiful cards. We have dicussed what Easter means to different people – The rebirth of Jesus, the beginning of new life, lambs, chicks etc and the start of Spring – and what a start to Spring! What beautiful weather. We have certainly enjoyed being outside, building camps, making our cards and also celebrating birthdays with a party!
Next term our theme will be England, Good Ole Blighty! Lets celebrate our green and glorious land! ;-)
On your days out please grab a postcard and either send it to us (beat the stamp price hike!) or bring it in to pop on our map. It would be great if over the term we could build up a great picture of all the great places to go!

01 May 2012 - Mother's Day

The children have worked so hard this week making their gifts and cards for Mother’s Day. There has been lots of sowing, sticking and glueing and thinking…..thinking why we love our mum’s so much! We had some lovely reasons;
Because she gives me cuddles
Because my mum is very beautiful
Because I do (!!!)
Because she is the best best mum in the world
Because her kisses are the best
Thank you for the lovely comments too when you recieve them (though you should have waited til Sunday!) it is always nice to know that we have got it right!
THe children have also been making their own sandwiches at snack time – yum yum, ham, cheese, chicken and jam – though not all in the same sandwich.
From all us mums here at pre-school to all you mums out there – Have a very Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday.

29 March 2012 - Happy Holi!

We have been celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi this week, learning that it is the celebration of the end of winter and the start of the spring. We watched a programme on CBBC about a young lad celebrating Holi with a festival of colours both at home and at his Temple. The children loved the messy suprise at the end; the celebrants threw powdered paint at each other! While we did not encourage paint being thrown at each other, we did participate in paint splatting, both individuals and a group painting, that the chldren thoroughly enjoyed. (You can see the results in our lobby). We also saw how they concluded the celebrations with a bonfire, burning rubbish symbolising a new beginning. Outside we collected sticks and made our own bonfire (though didnt light it!)
Thank you for the great turn out at Parents Evening, it has been a huge success and we hope you enjoyed it too! It was great to meet dads and share information about your little lovelies! As I am sure you all know by now that we have an open door policy, so if you didnt manage to get in to see us (and you want to of course!) you can catch us during the day at pre-school.
Thank you for reading and have a good week!

15 March 2012 - PS

The children have also been enjoying the use of our new climbing frame, thanks to Julie and her husband Julien for giving up their Saturday morning to put it together! At some points in time it has almost been worth asking
“how many preschool chldren can you get onto one Little Tykes climbing frame??!!”
It is such a great resource for the children, encouraging climbing, stepping, balancing, spacial awareness and crawling skills.
On behalf of all the children and staff at Heybridge Pre-school I would like to send a big Thank You once again to the DeRosa family for their generous donation.

08 March 2012 - Snow!

BBBBRRRRRR! Well, here we are the beginning of Feb and lets face it, we thought we had got away with it didnt we? Wrong!
The snow has been great fun and provided so many learning opportunities for the children. At the beginning of the week we made a snowman on the playground with a lovely crooked carrot for his nose (learning the following day that carrots can freeze too!), and of course we made snow angels and had snowball fights…..why do adults always come of worse??
However, our playground is now slippery enough for the Chelmsford Cheiftans to play ice hockey on so we are restricted to the green area under the canopy (where we are at risk of avalanches from the roof – all good fun!
Inside we have concentrated on Humpty Dumpty, learning that Humpty was actually a cannon that sat on the wall in Colchester (see inside your red books for the printout). The children made Humpty Dumpty puppets and organised the pictorial rhyme into the correct order. The Humpty biscuits have been very popular….though I have yet to see a Humpty face on the icing, it is more a case of “how many raisins can we fit on this small circle!).
On wednesday we had the soft play out to build walls that we could fall off, which developed into castles and back to the inevitable pirate ships!
Next week is half term – please enjoy the break safely and we return to pre-school on the 21st Feb (tuesday).
The AGM has been rescheduled to the 29th Feb and our open evening appointments will be coming out in the first week back.

08 March 2012 - I sent a letter to myself

What a great week we are having! The children are “writing” letters to themselves with pictures snipped from the Argos catalogue, drawn pictures, and practiced writing their own names.
When their letters are completed we are taking small groups over to the Co Op, buying stamps and posting them in the post box. We are starting to get feedback of how excited the children are to recieve something in the post!
From this one activity, so much can be learned, from mark making, creative expression, road safety, local environment to name just a few!
Enjoy your letters and perhaps stick them in your Red Book!
Have a good Week!

29 February 2012 - Row Row Row Your Boat

Hello me hearties!
This week we concentrated on the nursery rhyme row row row your boat. We made boats from junk and then discovered whether they floated or sank!
In our water play we experimented with lots of different items such as sponges, tissues, boats and waterwheels to dicover how they behaved in water and how they changed.
We made play dough on session and the children enjoyed the different textures of the salt and flour,how the water made it “slimey” and then “sticky”, how the blue food colouring changed the mixture, first becoming marbled and then working through into an even colour.
We have played in inflatable boats, lifebelts and rings….inevitably Pirates appeared and we had to hunt for treasure!
As the weather has been so so cold we also experimented with the ice, practiced ice writing in the playground and found that wet sand can freeze too!
As we seem to be headed for snow, please keep an ear to our local radio stations (Heart Essex) for school closures. As a general rule of thumb if Heybridge Primary School is closed due to adverse weather conditions then so are we!
Ps Dont forget our AGM next Wednesday Eve!!!

09 February 2012 - Week 3 Spring Term

Hello everybody!
What changeable weather we have had! The heavy frost we have had gave us the opportunities to mark make in the ice (see gallery for photos), writing our names with our fingers on the chairs and on the plastic shelter – fun but cold!
We noticed the water in the bird bath had frozen, so we tipped it out onto the playground and timed how long it took to melt in the sunshine……it didn’t!
Then the rain! We lined up lots of containers at the edge of the shelter and watched as it dripped off the roof and into the buckets and pots.
Our rhyme of the week has been “The Grand Ole Duke of York” and we have made crowns with numbers on. Some prefered to make pirate hats but all enjoyed the marching.
We have had a few photos for the memory wall but we need lots more PLEASE!

Quote of the Week
“Gilly, Gilly, how old do you think I am??? I’m 4 going on ferty!?
Ps dont forget our AGM 8/2/12 at 7.30 All welcome!

03 February 2012 - Welcome Back

Welcome back everybody, I hope Christmas and New Year was everything you wanted it to be!
This term we are learning a different Nursery Rhyme every week. Last week we had fun with “Here we go round the Mulberry Bush”, performing the ring game at circle time, and we started to create our own mulberry bush with hand prints on our “Learning Journey Wall”.
This week we are singing and signing “I can sing a Rainbow”. It never ceases to amaze us how quick children pick up “signing”, but then again, this is an ideal time to pick up another language. The children are making rainbows and learning about mixing colours with both paint and playdough (hopefully not together :-) ).
Today, whilst in the garden, we discussed what we will be planting in our vegetable patch, and the children decided potatoes, lettuce and pumpkins would be fun. If there are any gardeners out there and you fancy donating any little lovelies …..you know where we are!

19 January 2012 - Week 5

What a week! There have been lots of absences this week with coughs and colds doing the rounds. On the bright side, hopefully it will be finished with by Christmas!
You may have noticed we have decorated our lobby area as a little grotto. Unfortunatley we ran out of bricks – but watch this space, more should be arriving soon!
We have been making beautiful hand sewn hearts for the Christmas tree and the children really enjoyed this activity…..the staff less so – note to self, purchase a thimble!
There was a fantastic turnout for the Christmas Fayre at the Primary School, what a treat to see some of our past children. We were kept very busy at the face painting station as usual, and also the nail painting and the Christmas Tatoos! We will keep you updated with how much we raised and the percentage that preschool received.
Next week we will making Magical Reindeer food and Glittery Stars for the tree.
Dont forget – Christmas Carol Concert on Monday morning. Please bring your children to preschool and then take a seat in the Old Hall in the Primary (enter through the main entrance). We will bring the children over and settle them on the stage. Bring your tissues – you may well have a few tears, I always find it emotional! Feel free to take photos or videos of your children – though please be sensible if you are going to be posting it on social network sites – only do so with your own children’s photos.
Preschool is not open for the Monday afternoon session.

09 January 2012 - Week 5 Autumn 2

As you may have noticed Christmas has started at Pre-school. But its only November I can hear you say! We realise that end of November can seem a little early, but remember we only have 3 weeks left until we break up and we need to practise our christmas songs over and over again before “the big day” (the Christmas Carol Concert). Last week we started making our Christmas cards, and this week we are sewing red felt padded hearts – perfect to hang on your Christmas tree! Do not expect these items in the bags as they are made, they will be ready for collection during the last week of term.
We had some very good news this week. We were handed a cheque from the DeRosa family for a sum in excess of £450! Mr Derosa held a fundraising event at work with Heybridge Preschool as the benificary! We are looking into buying a climbing/multi activity frame with the proceeds for our outside area. this will make a big, big difference for our children, so on behalf of everyone, we would like to say a very very big thank you to the DeRosa family!

02 December 2011 - Week 1 Autumn 2

Halloween And Fireworks
This time of year is always exciting for the chldren -(and staff!)
On Halloween we had a spontaneous face painting session in the afternoon. The children chose their characters….we had butterflies, witches,spiderman and my favorite – a pumpkin! The children thoroughly enjoyed it. We carved a “happy” pumpkin and lit up a battery pumpkin in our dark den. Through the week we had lots of discussions about trick or treating – one of which has made the quote of the week!
We had firework safety chats and watched Jayne with Sparklers in the garden and interpreted with our own firework paintings and models using lots of paint and glitter.

Quote of the Week:
(3 year old boy retelling his trick or treat evening to a member of staff)
“ I went to Halloween I did. The was this house with a pumpkin – It scared the cr** out of me”

27 November 2011 - Welcome to our Blog!

Hi everybody!

First of all I would like to welcome you to Heybridge Preschool’s very first blog post!Through this informal communication I hope to keep you informed of what the children have been up to during the week, how you can support your child’s learning at home, special events that are coming up and “Quote of the Week”.
This week – (wk6) we have concentrated on the area of Physical Development – Movement and Space. In reality this means children developing their physical skills; crawling through tunnels, learning to cross the balance beam without falling off, playing catch, basketball (well Heybridge Pre-school’s version of basketball!) footie and Simon Says (touch your toes, star jumps, run on the spot and curl into a ball). You can continue this at home by playing catch with a medium sized ball (taking turns in throwing and catching) and visiting the local parks to play footie and climb on the equipment – go on, you know you will want to join in too!
We have been enjoying the late autumn sunshine, but there is definatley a nip in the air – hint hint dont forget to label cardis and coats.
Our “Quote of the Week” goes to Aaron who during a conversation about jobs, stated with his hands on his hips
“ When I grow up I think I would like to be a man”

03 November 2011 - Welcome to our Blog!

Hi everybody!

First of all I would like to welcome you to Heybridge Preschool’s very first blog post!Through this informal communication I hope to keep you informed of what the children have been up to during the week, how you can support your child’s learning at home, special events that are coming up and “Quote of the Week”.
This week – (wk6) we have concentrated on the area of Physical Development – Movement and Space. In reality this means children developing their physical skills; crawling through tunnels, learning to cross the balance beam without falling off, playing catch, basketball (well Heybridge Pre-school’s version of basketball!) footie and Simon Says (touch your toes, star jumps, run on the spot and curl into a ball). You can continue this at home by playing catch with a medium sized ball (taking turns in throwing and catching) and visiting the local parks to play footie and climb on the equipment – go on, you know you will want to join in too!
We have been enjoying the late autumn sunshine, but there is definatley a nip in the air – hint hint dont forget to label cardis and coats.
Our “Quote of the Week” goes to Aaron who during a conversation about jobs, stated with his hands on his hips
“ When I grow up I think I would like to be a man”

12 October 2011 - Welcome to our Blog!

Hi everybody!

First of all I would like to welcome you to Heybridge Preschool’s very first blog post!Through this informal communication I hope to keep you informed of what the children have been up to during the week, how you can support your child’s learning at home, special events that are coming up and “Quote of the Week”.
This week – (wk6) we have concentrated on the area of Physical Development – Movement and Space. In reality this means children developing their physical skills; crawling through tunnels, learning to cross the balance beam without falling off, playing catch, basketball (well Heybridge Pre-school’s version of basketball!) footie and Simon Says (touch your toes, star jumps, run on the spot and curl into a ball). You can continue this at home by playing catch with a medium sized ball (taking turns in throwing and catching) and visiting the local parks to play footie and climb on the equipment – go on, you know you will want to join in too!
We have been enjoying the late autumn sunshine, but there is definatley a nip in the air – hint hint dont forget to label cardis and coats.
Our “Quote of the Week” goes to Aaron who during a conversation about jobs, stated with his hands on his hips
“ When I grow up I think I would like to be a man”