Early years News and Events

Filed in Early Years Newsletters | Posted on December 6, 2019

Important Dates This Term

9th December 2019 – Monday- Early Years Christmas Party and Magic Show

13th December 2019 – Friday- All departments close at 12noon

19th December 2019 – Thursday- Nursery Mince Pie and Mingle 2.30-3.30pm

20th December 2019 – Friday- Baby Unit Stay and Play 10-12noon

24th December 2019 – Tuesday- Baby unit and Nursery close at 1pm for Christmas

Expressive art and design

I am sure we can all remember experiences in our own childhood that cause us to smile inwardly, those thoughts are usually linked to creative play maybe being outdoors but always about following our own curiosity. Taking part in expressive arts and design can be transformative, it’s about being prepared to explore and experiment, knowing that making mistakes is ok and is an integral part of any learning experience.

Expressive Arts and Design is one of the four specific areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, where specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. These grow out of the prime areas and provide important contexts for learning. By encouraging children to experiment and use learned skills to explore a wide range of media and materials we are promoting their ability to explore and understand their world and to make links between their experiences which will encompass all the areas of learning. These experiences can also be expressed via music making, singing, dance, role-play and storytelling. Within this area of learning we are supporting children to develop their imaginations so they can express their ideas in a variety of individual ways, supported by adults within a stimulating learning environment and develop independent learning, with time and space given to allow for learning in depth. Seeing young children play creatively is inspiring and Silverhill Early Years department provide first-hand experiences for children to explore with all of their senses that capture imagination and excite them into action.

But how can we explore this at home with our own children, it’s not just about getting out those paints for your child or giving them dressing up or playdough to cut and mould, it’s about providing time to playing together, connecting with a wide variety of creative opportunities. Children’s musical experience begins very early in their life, from hearing their mother’s singing in the womb to spontaneous singing as they play. This providing practical inspiration to develop their musicality. Here are some ideas for you to share with your child: Generally children enjoy singing and dancing so why not utilise this opportunity. Songs like ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’, ‘Ring a Ring a Roses’, ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ can all incorporate the use actions that little ones love. I can remember dancing around my living room to counting songs with my son for hours on end, laughing and connecting together in this creative experience… and that was thirty years ago!

Try clapping your hands four times and ask your child to echo your claps. Vary the clapping patterns and see whether they can identify the different rhythms. Make up some vocal sounds for them to copy such as sirens, doorbells, machines, creaking doors, owl-hoots, and other animal sounds. Encourage children to feel free to experiment with their voices. Move around the circle, inviting children to take the lead and make their own vocal sounds for others to copy. It really can be great fun. Try singing a simple falling phrase using two notes, like a cuckoo call, use nonsense words such as ‘ba’ and ‘dee’ or ad lib as you go. Sing some traditional echo songs such as ‘I Hear Thunder’, or ‘Freres Jacques’. If your child has hand puppets, preferably one with a moving mouth, introduce it to the children as the ‘singing puppet’. Let the children choose a name and select familiar songs for the puppet to sing. Can they think of different ways for the puppet to sing – loud, quiet, high, low, fast and slow? Encourage children to join in with the puppet and use their voices in different ways. Use the singing puppet to lead singing at different times during the day. Children will come to know that when they see the puppet, singing songs will soon follow. Encourage them to listen to lots of different songs. Let them use CDs of recorded songs or visit suitable websites. If you are a reluctant singer, don’t give up as the children will be impressed however you sound. Alternatively, you can use recorded songs. Once your child is more confident encourage them to sing their favourite songs to you and encourage them to make up their own songs based on topics they are interested in. However, giving them 100% of your attention will be key to their development.

Imaginative play is essentially when children are role playing and are acting out various experiences they may have had or something that is of some interest to them. We as parents can often under value imaginative play.  Play is a child’s way of engaging and making sense of the world.  Role play may appear to be a very simple activity, yet within it, young children learn practical life skills such as dressing themselves, how to cooperate and share with others. Provide your child with a small space in your home for imaginative play, many have child kitchens or dressing up clothes. Another great place for imaginative play is the dinner table, remove all the chairs and cover the table with sheets, it becomes an instant den or even a castle where a beautiful princess is kept captive by an evil dragon.

Chairs are another great place to begin imaginative play; again a sheet thrown over the couch can become a tunnel or a cave that an explorer needs to investigate.  Canopies and play tents can create a great place to begin the imaginary world. This does not mean that you have to go out and spend a lot of money on toys to help promote imaginary play.  You will find that the most simple of items found in the home will act as perfect props to spark the imagination.  Card board boxes can become anything in the imaginary world, I have seen them become computers, cash registers, and beds for sick animals.  The plastics cupboard or drawer in the kitchen is filled with props that kids can re-invent them into other things. Provide a dress ups box full of clothes, scarves, hats, handbags, shoes and wigs, these are irresistible to young children to spark the imagination.  Consider creating a props box filled with toys, objects and props to encourage your child’s fantasy world. You might include: washing baskets, pretend plastic flowers, old telephones, stuffed animals and dolls, blankets, plastic crockery and cutlery.

Since the beginning of our time, people have told stories. We love hearing them and we love telling them. When we share our stories, we become a witness to the lessons, the adventures and the impact of our own lives. We teach, we learn and we make sense of our experiences. We can use exaggerated facial expressions, different voices for different characters and props that children can use to act out the different parts the story. By bringing the story to life and finding ways to include your child into the telling it can really capture imagination.  As children grow your stories will unfold a beautiful and personal expansion of their world. You are the most important, most intriguing, most influential person in their lives. They want to know everything about you. They want to know about the person you were when you were little, the life you lived before them, the mistakes you’ve made, the adventures you’ve had, the risks you’ve taken, the people you’ve loved and the fights you’ve fought. With every generation, the detail of the world changes but the themes tend to stay the same – families, relationships, friendships, fears, hope, fun. The way you experience these things might be different from the way your children will, but when you tell them the stories, there will be common threads. The most important parts of the human experience don’t change that much from generation to generation. We will be brought undone by the same things our parents and grandparents were, and the same things will still be important. Generally, it revolves around our hopes and fears and who we open our hearts to. What was important in your family? What trouble did you get into? What did you do for fun? What were some of the important rules in your family? How were the rules different to the ones in the family your child is growing up in? How was play different? What was the best thing about your childhood? What wasn’t so great? How was day to day life different? What were you good at? What did you want to be good at? What are some funny memories? What did you want to be when you grew up? Why? What did you do for the holidays? What were some family rituals? What was bedtime like for you? What was your favourite story? Obviously stories need to be age appropriate but by telling your stories of misadventure, you are laying foundations for them to tell you about theirs. You are making yourself approachable, and you’re letting them know it’s okay to stumble sometimes. By hearing about your mistakes, your vulnerabilities and your mishaps, they will be able to trust that you’ll ‘get it’ when they slip up too – which they inevitably will. It might not even have occurred to your child that you have had a life outside of storybooks, bath time and bedtime. For them, you have always existed as someone in relation to them. It will fascinate them to hear about the different things you did before you became the most important person in the world. 

The key thing about this is, enjoy every moment of your child’s developing stages, join in and let go of your inner child.