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  • Seasonal Displays! Working Walls!


    Pull all the decorations down it is time for the Spring display boards!

    We know you all cover different topics at different times so we have looked at a couple that are most popular at this time of year and ways they can be incorporated into learning walls.


    Working or Learning Walls!


    A what? Not heard of them you soon will! Working walls are dsigned to change daily to support the learning in the classroom as it progresses. The display may start as one thing but evolve into something quite different!

    Working walls can be incorporated into any topics of areas of learning. Although t they have been most popular so far for literacy and numeracy we can see they moving into the other areas for EYFS.

    Learning walls are a fantastic tool - as well as letting everyone know what the topics or obecjtive is, they can be used to teach key points and display childrens works.


    Below we have put together some ideas for working walls with differenaation.


    Stacking Snowmen!

    Are you covering winter as a topic or seasons?

    These cute snowmen will make a great working wall for the cold start to the Spring Term and even better than can be adapted to support literacy or numeracy.

    The idea is to stack the snow balls to create



    Ready to go calendar Ready to go calendar


    What do we need:

    • Card
    • Calendar blank or calendar tab
    • Coloured Card
    • Scissors
    • Paper Fasteners
    • Pens / Pencils / Crayons
    • Glue
    • Scissors
    • Modelling dough / Blu Tac


    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 the calendar come to life 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

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



    Join us next week where we will be talking about 2016, and discussing display ideas that will start off the new term with a bang!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Is Statutory Information on Display in Your Nursery?

    What do Ofsted want to see on your walls?


    They could turn up at any time, so let’s make sure we’re ready!

    Here are some helpful ideas about what to display on your Nursery or Pre-School notice board:


    • The Safeguarding Children (Child Protection) referral flow chart.  Which you can download and print by clicking HERE.
    • Depending on your local authority you may have other Safeguarding posters to display around your setting so for best practice display these too.
    • A recent photograph and full name of your nursery’s Child Protection Officer and SENCO
    • If your setting has any other qualified practitioners in particular areas, i.e. Makaton or different languages, add a photo and name of these practitioners too.
    • Some useful leaflets that may help parents e.g. help with toilet training, leaflets on children’s speech and language development.
    • An explanation of any multi agencies/professionals that may visit your setting for example Speech and Language Therapists, Integrated Disability Service, if possible add a photo of these professionals.
    • Add some useful widget symbols that you use in your setting, to help children with special education needs and children with English as a second language. This demonstrates that you are an inclusive practice.


    •  Display your daily routine and timetable within the nursery.
    •  Policies and procedures such as your nursery’s illness policy and exclusion periods, admissions policy and mobile phone policy.

    This list is just a few suggestions, as there are bound to be other pieces of information you feel are important to display.

    Remember, having documentation and information easily accessible is what Ofsted like to see, so ensure that the information that is displayed is relevant and informative to your audience.

  • 'All About Me' Display Ideas

    Guess Who? Display

    We love this display that was submitted to twinkl.co.uk. Not only is it bright and colourful – it’s interactive too! The children must have had fun guessing who’s who via the cut up photographs, a great exercise to incorporate personal, social and emotional development.

    For children a bit younger, instead of painting self-portraits they could put together a paper plate face. Just stick down pre-cut out features and wool for hair!


    School Bus Display

    This school bus is a great first term display as not only will the children enjoy seeing themselves in the window but you can use it to incorporate a discussion on transport. Ask each child how they get to school in the morning, you could even do a tally chart as part of the display.

    If you aren’t able to use photos then drawings or the paper plate faces are just as good. Why not put a picture of yourself driving the bus!


    Good To Be Me Display

    This display can be easily adapted to a nursery setting. Simply ask new parents to supply a photograph and a paragraph about their child. Not only does it make the children feel important and welcome but it’s a great distraction technique to stop the tears on that first day in order for mum to sneak away unnoticed!

    If you are working with older children then you could set them the “good to be me” speech bubble as a take home task.


    Jigsaw Window Display

    Click here to download a Jigsaw Piece PDF so that you can have a go at this one yourself!

    Not only does this display help with mathematics and shapes but you can do a lovely class group activity fitting all the pieces together. Remember, tissue paper works best on windows as it lets the sunlight shine through, creating an effective stained glass window effect.


    Who Am Eye? Display

    This eye-catching display really speaks for itself! Another fun guessing game for children to take part in which links to parts of the body as well as ticking the personal, social and emotional development box. You could even add hand and foot prints around the outside.



  • Display Tips for Your Classroom

    The summer is drawing to an end and we are suddenly panic planning our classroom for the new school term. So what better way to put your children at ease than to create a lovely eye catching display - Something fun and friendly that will stimulate ideas.

    Why do we even have displays?

    A good classroom or nursery display will arouse curiosity within a child and create a visually stimulating learning environment.

    Displays are a way of passing on information and showing off good pieces of work, which in turn encourages children to create something that they aspire to see on the wall themselves.

    If a child has helped in some way towards creating the display then they will be proud of their achievement and want to show it to their parents and friends.

    But what colours?

    Depending on your setting you may have different display guidelines. Often we find that nurseries will make bright and colourful displays, whilst older schools will opt for something more neutral. But of course, it all comes down to your personal preference. Teacher knows best!


    For best results, choose one of the following schemes.

    1. Tonal - use just one colour but varying tones of it throughout a display or use more than one colour but all with the same depth of tone.
    2. Harmonious - pick colours next to each other or near each other on the colour wheel. These schemes generally give a look that's easy to be around and are tranquil and restful.
    3. Complementary - or 'contrasting' colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel. Complementary colours generally inject some life into a display as they are more daring and will make an impact.

    Neutral Tones


    Bright and Colourful

    Let's not forget interactive displays!

    A set-up that invites children to touch and handle the items on display will always be popular, you can even request that they add their own items from home. Creating a table with a range of magnets and different items to try them out on is a good idea, or for an electricity related display you could set up a small circuit and light bulb. How about a selection of feely boxes where the child puts their hand in a hole in an attempt to guess what’s inside?


    Winter Table Display

    Don’t forget about the ceiling! You can hang work across the classroom on washing lines if you haven’t got enough wall space and the occasional fabric drape is effective in drawing the eye towards pieces of work.

    Whatever display you choose to do - remember, drawing pins first, staples later! Give yourself room to make mistakes and see what works best. Good luck!

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