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Monthly Archives: December 2015

  • Are you ready for January? New Year, Restart!


    Soon we will be heading off on our well-deserved Christmas break (some of us earlier than others!)  When things start to wind down, you may want to take 5 minutes and think about Spring Term! You don't need to get it all done, you can make sure you've jotted it down on your list somewhere before you go off to enjoy your lovely break!



    Spring Term (well, Winter really!)


    January is traditionally known as Spring Term even though a glimpse of sunshine feels so far away! Based on the weather, we tend to feel more wintry when we go back and this brings a whole new set of things to think about!


    What, Christmas is over?


    Yep, it took nearly four months to celebrate it (well, it feels like it!), but it's finally over and someone needs to tell the kids!  Hopefully you charges will return to your setting with a hop and a skip, but there may need to be a little bit of management!

    We all love the Christmas break, but it does throw routine well out of the window. Children will have had the excitement of Father Christmas, late nights, late wake-ups and more Mum/Dad/ carer time. All of these things combined can spell disaster and disrupt those routines you spent so long introducing in September.

    Now is a good time to think about revamping your visual timetables and self registration methods.

    Visual Timetables

    Visual timetables are a great way to reinforce what is going to happen throughout the day. Talking through the timetable welcomes children back and reintroduces the routine of your setting. This is perfect for children who are feeling apprehensive, but it also helps to focus excitable children ! The best thing about visual timetables is that they can be differentiated for all - use a mix of text and words, let the children announce what is next or remove an activity that has been completed.


    from Rainbowswithinreach From Rainbowswithinreach
    From Pinterest From Pinterest

    If you want to refresh your timetable, www.twinkl.co.uk have a great range of free print outs.

    Self Registration

    You may already be using self registration, but if not, January is a good time to start! The older children like the responsibility and younger children can be taught by example.

    If you haven't got an all singing and all dancing electronic whiteboard, you can get quite creative with your self registration process!

    The self registration tree not only looks great, but links in with topics season topics (spring and winter). Take pictures of the children and stick them onto the small colourful hands. When children arrive they can find their picture and attach it to Velcro on the tree.

    A great display pieces that come with hands to stick on A great display piece that comes with hands to stick on

    For differentiation, you can add names to the hands instead of pictures. As term progresses, you can add surnames to the first names.

    Here are some more great examples:


    Using penguins to see who is in and who is out from Pinterest Using penguins to see who is in and who is out. Found on Pinterest.
    self reg shells Great use of shells for self registration. Found on Pinterest.

    Is the setting ready?

    What else do we need to think about for the start of the new term (other than taking down Christmas decorations)?

    To be honest, once the decorations are down, any setting will look a little bleak. You'll probably want to think about revamping your display boards!

    Do you need new borders for your display boards?

    Do your information boards need updating? For example, are there any new procedures, new staff, new achievements, new Spring menus? It's always a good idea to write a handy little list -  you don't have to do it all before the break but at least you have an idea of what needs doing!

    The colder weather will bring new challenges including the dreaded flu season!

    Take a look at this document for Winter Readiness from Public Health England. It's mainly aimed at Sussex, Kent and Surrey, but it is pertinent for all!

    It includes key messages for staff and parents and a helpful checklist for making sure you are doing everything to prevent flu and norovirus spreading.

    There's also some brilliant information on flu vaccines and who should be getting them this year!

    There are some lovely free posters to download and stick up as well ! Below are just two examples:


    Stop colds and flu spreading poster Stop colds and flu spreading poster
    handwash How to wash your hands and why

    Outside Provision

    Baby it's cold outside, but the kids will still be out there!

    Outdoor play is a year round activity for children but we need to ensure it's as safe as possible!

    Before you go on break, however long or short,  here are some things to consider:

    • Tidy away toys that would be happier inside (if a frost strikes)
    • Do you need to cover up sand trays and pits?
    • Do you need new play sand?
    • Are you growing any vegetables that need protection from frost?
    • Have you left a tuff tray out to see if you can gather ice?
    • Think about leaving a larger container out  (like a washing up bowl) and filling it with water & small toys. If the weather gets really cold,  you should come back to an ice excavation block!


    From Counting Coconut blog

    And now, last but not least, send a note home asking children to return with hats, gloves, scarves and outdoor shoes (all labelled with their name), so they can enjoy the outdoor area you provide for them!



    Join us next week where we will be discussing display ideas for  popular Spring Time topics.

  • Calendars are not just for Christmas!


    These calendars make great festive gifts that last throughout the year. Everyone sends home a calendar at Christmas so we thought why not make them a bit different. These ideas mean that a loved one can use the calendar all year round! It’s also a great way to link the seasons in EYFS, even when you are doing sticking fine motor tasks. Talk about seasons, festivals, time and have lots of fun!




    Reveal the Seasons!


    This year you can make a round calendar by using calendar tabs or calendar blanks (they still look amazing!)  This is a great activity to start off the January term  if you don't have enough time before the festive break.


    BCreative_calendar_blanks BCreative ready to go calendar blanks.


    What do we need:


    Making our circle of seasons


    •  Cut out a circle of card or paper
    • Fold into quarters, then unfold so the quarter line can be seen
    • Add an image or words to represent each season (one per quarter)
    • Stick on to the calendar blank or card you will attach the calendar tab to
    • Cut another circle of card or paper
    • Fold into a quarter and unfold
    • Cut out one quarter ( you should be left with a Pac-man shape!)
    • Place on top of your season circle
    • Find the middle of both with a sharp pencil, place some modelling dough underneath and push the pencil through to make a hole through all three sheets of card (you could always use a compass!)
    • Push a paper fastener though the hole and bend back to fasten
    • Now the top cut out circle can be moved to show the current season


    making a calendar with the seasons using a calendar blank Making the calendar come to life!



    • Discuss quarters and other fractions
    • Discuss seasons and how the year can be divided into quarters
    • Have a circle pre-cut or allow children to find objects to act as templates. They can then create the circles themselves
    • Provide collage items to represent the seasons (see below for a few ideas!)


    Seasonal craft items Seasonal craft items

    Areas of learning covered by this activity:

    • Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics, science, problem solving and reasoning


    Final 11 (rectangle attempt) Three calendars - Nursery, Year 2 and Year 5. Can you guess which is which?



    Other ideas...

    The ideas we've mentioned above are just one way of decorating your own calendar.  Have a look at these other great ideas for making calendars that last all year!


    Use handprints to represent seasons as shown on the Maggie Trammell blog Use handprints to represent seasons as shown on the Maggie Trammell blog
    trees Use a tree to show to seasons with different collage materials - from Twinkl

    2 more ideas:

    You can also use stickers with a theme like pirates or flowers.

    You could also use silver card on the calendar and turn it into a mirror, you can then incorporate it into PSED.

    There are loads of ideas out there so feel free to share yours with us!



    Visit our article discussing display ideas that will start off the new term with a bang!

    Follow Economy of Brighton BCreative's board Mark Making Activities on Pinterest.

  • Christmas Tree Decorations with a Twist!


    Yay, we have made it to December! We feel like we have been talking about Christmas for months already, but now we can officially get excited!  With only a few weeks left until the big day, we thought we would look at some quick and mess-free crafts this week. The plastic Christmas tree is perfect for a child led activity, or for after school club settings  where you are restricted in time!



    Twisted Pipe cleaner Decorations!


    Pipe cleaners are great for developing fine motor skills, and these little decorations, are a great take home gift.


    Pipe Cleaner Star for developing fine motor skills Pipe Cleaner Star for developing fine motor skills

    What do we need:

    • Pipe Cleaners 30cm - we used tinsel but plain works just as well
    • Scissors
    • Barrel beads
    • Bells (optional)


    Final photo 1 Everything we need and a little bit more!


    • Cut one 30cm pipe cleaner into thirds
    • Cut one 30cm pipe cleaner in half
    • Take 2 of the smaller pipe cleaners and lay over each over to make a cross
    • Twist the horizontal pipe cleaner around the vertical pipe cleaner to secure
    • Place the longer length of pipe cleaner over the cross and twist around the centre to secure
    • Twist one end of the longer pipe cleaner into a hook to hang on the tree.
    • Thread beads or bells on to decorate the star
    • Hang and admire!


    Make your own pipe cleaner snowflake Make your own pipe cleaner snowflake



    • Discuss thirds and halves when cutting pipe cleaners, or have them ready to go
    • Make star spines for different lengths
    • Make repeating patterns by threading on beads
    • Make larger versions using full-sized pipe cleaners


    Areas of learning covered by this activity:

    • Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics, science, problem solving and reasoning


    My very own Christmas tree...


    A quick and easy craft that is great for independent play.


    Oh Christmas tree...

    What do we need:

    • Christmas tree template - we used our corrugated plastic ones
    • Lick and stick Christmas shapes
    • Glitter glue
    • Metallic Pens
    • Paint brush


    Final photo 8


    • Set up your work area so that everything is easily accessible
    • Let your imagination go wild and decorate your Christmas tree


    Final photo 11 (rectangle)



    • Talk about patterns
    • Get the glue out and let children cut and stick


    Areas of learning covered by this activity:

    • Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics, science, problem solving and reasoning



    Our Christmas tree decorations will really help children to get into the festive spirit whilst fine tuning their motor skills. What's more, these great take home crafts will really impress Mr Claus when he comes to visit!


    Join us next week where we will be decorating calenders for 2016......exciting!

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