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  • Building fine motor skills in early years.

    So having read our previous blog you have decided to get kids cutting! Great! However, what if the child is not ready for scissors? Should you be worried? Why can they not use scissors straight away? How can you improve children's fine motor skills? Read on as we help answer these questions!

    Why tearing is good

    Scissors require hand-eye co-ordination which does not happen straight away. Could you zip up your coat the on the first try? No, and it’s the same with using scissors. Scissors also require strength which does not come automatically either, and it is building up this strength which will get children cutting straight lines and ultimately being able to write neatly.

    So how can you build this strength and coordination to get then ready for cutting? Get children to rip some of our tissue paper. This will help get both hands working and building up strength. They could start by tearing small pieces (perhaps these could become a mosaic in an art project) and then try to tear in a long straight line.

    For added literacy and numeracy you could ask your child to rip the shape of a circle, or square etc. Or, reverse that and get them to vocalise to you what they are tearing and how many!

    Tearing tissue begins to strengthen muscles and practice coordination. Tearing tissue begins to strengthen muscles and practice coordination.

     

    Building Muscles and Fine motor skills

    To build muscles and dexterity even further before the complex task of cutting get children to play with our hand puppets! These are ready made and are great for communicating a story and also for finger isolation, which is where you are getting each finger to work one at a time. Why is this useful? You will notice you don’t use every finger to hold scissors or to hold a pen when writing. Getting your brain to tell which finger to move at a different time requires practice, but with our materials, these important lessons will seem like child’s play!

     

    Playing with hand puppets increases fine motor skills and builds hand muscles reading for cutting and writi Playing with hand puppets increases fine motor skills and builds hand muscles reading for cutting and writing.

    In our next blog see which of our wide range of scissors are great for beginners and what products we have to get kids cutting…

  • SCHOOL EVENTS CALENDAR 2017 (JUNE)

    June is full of interesting days! Including World Environment, D Day and World Meat Free day! June is also a great month for being conscious with things like World Oceans Day and Child Safety Week

    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!

    Have a look at the fun things you can look forward to -  help children in understanding the world more by celebrating each special day at a time:

    Butterfly Education & Awareness Day

     4th June Today we get ourselves into a flutter! Observe the fascinating life of a butterfly. Did you know that the larger the butterfly is the longer its life span? The average life span is one precious month! Some garden butterflies may live only one week! Monarchs, Mourning Cloaks and some tropical Heliconians have a 9 month average life span. Perhaps a day out with the children photographing the butterflies is in order! You may wish to visit the Butterfly Conservation website to help identify your findings. butterfly-conservation.org/52/first-butterfly-sightings-2016.html  

    World Environment Day 

     5th June The UN has been hosting World Environment Day every year since 1972, encouraging people to be more mindful and kind to our environment and realise that we are all responsible for the changes that need to be made. Climate Change has become a reality with global warming causing sea levels to rise. You can take a ‘call to action’ and arrange a community clean up. Be an example to our future younger generations and inspire responsible clean action. www.unep.org

    D Day (WWII)

     6th June The 'D' in D-Day is a military term used to refer to a date and doesn't stand for anything but we now remember it as the special day we begun our winning invasion against Nazi Germany and its leader Adolf Hitler. The Nazis had taken over nearly the whole of Europe. In 1944, 6.30pm on the 6th of June our troops and allied troops invaded the Normandy coastline in Northern France. www.britishlegion.org.uk 

    Child Safety Week

     5th-11th June Organised by the Child Accident Prevention Trust this week is aimed at anyone working with children to help creative positive awareness and solutions to helping children live happy, healthy, safe and active lives without being wrapped in cotton wool.  Accidental injury is one of the biggest killers of children in the UK. It’s a time not for paranoia but rather of gaining a greater understanding for real risks and gain skills in how to deal with them in our everyday learning setting.  www.capt.org.uk 

    World Oceans Day

    7th June  World Ocean day is the day we celebrate the ocean. This year's theme is plastic pollution and it is a look at how we can conserve the world's oceans. http://www.worldoceansday.org/ 

    Bike to School & Work Week 

      10-18th June There are many bike events happening throughout the UK this week (i.e. Tour de Wolds) all in aid of promoting cycling road awareness, health benefits and environmental impact.  bikeweek.org.uk  

    World Meat Free Day

    12th June One day without meat shouldn't be too hard! The day is there to create awareness as to the benefits of not eating meat not only to the body but also the environment. http://www.worldmeatfreeday.com/
     Father’s Day 18th June  This is a day to honour all fathers, grandfathers, father-in-laws and all father figures in our lives.  
     Summer Solstice 21st June  Also known as ‘Midsummer’ it’s the longest day of the year. On this day the sun will not set at the North Pole! It may vary between June 20th and June 22 around the rest of the world depending on your time zone. Solstice comes from the Latin meaning ‘sun-stopping’ referring to the horizon point which the sun rises and sets. On the solstice the sun doesn’t rise precisely in the East but in the North East and sets in the North West, making it visible for a longer period of time.
    National School Sports Week 26th – 30th June  On your marks, get set, go! Organised by the Youth Sport Trust, we spread awareness throughout schools in the UK of the importance of sports to children with the running of extra sports days and events. In 2015 over a million children took part in events in the whole country. It’s a great time for young people to discover new sports and have go! www.youthsporttrust.org/national-school-sport-week
     Public Services Day  23rd June  The UN, on this day every year,  hold an event to reward and highlight the work performed by public services in recognition to their contribution to upholding our society and way of life. http://www.un.org/en/events/publicserviceday/
     St John’s Day (Midsummer Day) 24th June  St John the Baptist Day is celebrated by Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics. John the Evangelist is said to be one of Jesus’ twelve apostles.
     Wrong Trousers Day  24th June   

    This is a chance to celebrate our British animator Nick Park’s creation of world loved characters, Wallace and Gromit..  Wear the wrong trousers and raise money for the Wallace and Gromit Children’s Foundation throughout the UK.

    wallaceandgromitcharity.org
     #GoGadgetFree National Unplugging Day 25th June  We are living in a high speed digital age so it is important we all learn to know when it is time to unplug and balance our on-line and off-line computer time. Time for family and time for outdoor play!  According to MyFamilyClub.co.uk parents check their phones up to 240 times per day (6000 UK parent survey). Instead of spending time on computer games, mobiles,  ipads, etc, how will you #GoGadgetFree  and spend the day together?  Visit the National Unplugging Day website. www.nationalunpluggingday.co.uk
  • School Events Calendar 2017 (May)

    May is here, the years seems to be going so fast! May marks the start of Spring and the lead up to summer. This month we celebrate National Cycling/ Walking month and the end of WW ll

    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!

    This month is very busy and is full of great and informative holidays!

     May Day

     1st May Mayday is celebrated as the start of spring and the coming of summer and is celebrated between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. The festivities include things like, morris dancing, crowning a 'May Queen, cake and the traditional May Pole dance.  www.maypoledance.com

     National Walking/ Cycling Month

     1st-31st May National Walking Month is an initiative to get people walking. It is said that we now walk less than we did 20 years ago. So to combat pollution, congestion and many other nasty things National Walking month encourages people to go for a stroll. This year Living Streets say you should take photos and 'Rate Your Walk' http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/

     Local Community History Month

     1st - 31st May The aim of the month is to increase awareness of local history, promote history in general to the local community and encourage all members of the community to participate.

    Activities happen across the UK and include trips, library exhibitions and local lectures.  It is a great way for groups to highlight local history and for local people to get involved. See what is happening in your area via the History.org.uk website.

    www.history.org.uk
    School Headteachers Day   1st of May

      Headteachers have a tough job.They have to please a lot of people and that can be hard! So the 1st of May is a day to appreciate your Headteacher and everything they do! We found 17 headteachers appreciation ideas which are perfect to do if you fancy getting crafty!

     http://bit.ly/principalapprecation

     International Firefighters day 4th of May   Firefighters day is a day when the world comes together in recognition of the hard work and commitment made by Firefighters every day! On this day we also come together and thank past and present firefighters for their contributions.  http://www.firefightersday.org/

    Cinco de Mayo

    5th May On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army overpowered the French at the Battle of Puebla regardless of the fact they had HALF the man power! This played a massive part in stopping future European Countries from invading any of the America's. www.History.com

     V.E Day

    WW II

    8th May  Victory in Europe Day commemorates the end of fighting in Europe during World War II.  It is the day that marks the formal acceptance of the Nazi regime's surrender ending WW ll.  www.BritishLegion.org.uk

     World Red Cross Day/ World Red Crescent Day

     8th May The Red Cross provides disaster relief all over the world on a simply benevolent basis. World Red Cross Day remembers and recognises the efforts of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies worldwide.  www.RedCross.org.uk

     International Nurses Day

    12th May  International Nurse Day is celebrated on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, in recognition of all the important work nurses do. There are over 690,000 nurses and midwives working in the UK! www.england.nhs.UK 
    Limerick Day 12th May   A limerick is a 5 line poem with the rhyming scheme aabba. This form of poetry was made popular by Edward Lear!  https://www.brownielocks.com/kidlimericks.html
    Fairtrade Day  13th  May   Agents for Change across five continents will join hand in hand for Fair Trade and the Planet to celebrate World fair Trade Day. Fair traders in the supply chain, joined by consumers, policy makers and advocates, will form human chains in their celebrations to mark their commitment to Fair Trade and the Planet, our route to sustainable development.  http://wfto.com/events/world-fair-trade-day-2017
     Walk to School Week  15th-19th May  This week is there to encourage children to start walking to school! We know how good it is to get outside and go for a walk and what a better way to do that than on your way to school!  https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/walk-to-school-week
     Deaf Awareness Week   15th - 21st May   Awareness Week - Deaf Awareness Week is when everyone comes together to recognise the different ways in which deaf people struggle through and then overcome everyday tasks  www.deafcouncil.org.uk   or www.ndcs.org.uk
     Amnesty International Day  28th May  This is a day to recognise the need to protect human rights around the world. Celebrate Amnesty International day learning more about human rights, how to become more active in human rights causes and write to your politician on human rights issues.  www.amnesty.org.uk
     Spring Bank Holiday      29th May  This is a day of for people all around the United Kingdom from work and school
  • School Events Calendar 2017 (April)

    April is getting close! The weather's starting to get warmer, the flowers are blossoming and the trees are getting a little less bare!

    We have some great events  which would be perfect to turn into themed craft or just used for educational purposes.

    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!

    We have a list of, what we thing are, the most fun and educational holidays. Make sure to check it out and click the links to find out more about each day!

     April Fool's Day 1st April  This day which is also known as All Fool's Day is the perfect day to prank your friends and to celebrate the changing of the seasons!   Have a look at the BCreative Pinterest Boards for prime area learning inspiration!
     Jazz Appreciation Month 1st of April – 1st of May A month dedicated to appreciating all things Jazz. A time to look at the past, the present and the future of Jazz music.  Ideas for teachers on how to celebrate this season!
     National Pet Month 1st April – 1st May   This is a month of appreciation for all pets, it is also an opportunity for many organisations and animal lovers to raise money causes which support the well being of animals. www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk
     International Children's Book Day    2nd April  This day marks the birth of Hans Christian Anderson in 1805! So, grab a book because this day is made to inspire a love of reading and call attention to children's books www.ibby.org
     International Pillow Fight Day 2nd April    One of our favourite day out of the whole year! It's aim it to promote conscious celebration in public spaces and replace your face being attached to your phone!
    I know I will be going to the one in Brighton! (Brighton's pillow fight will be held outside of the Bucket and Spade café at 2pm.)
     pillowfightday.com
     World Autism Awareness Day  2nd April     Autism doesn't have to be limiting and this is a day to truly appreciate that! There are more and more famous bright sparks leading the way such as young genius physicist Jacob Barnett or movie director Tim Burton. It's a day to acknowledge the hard work, love and understanding that it takes to make a change. www.facebook.com/worldautismawarenessday

    or

    https://www.autismspeaks.org/liub

     World Health Day  7th April  This day was established in 1948, the year the World Health Organisation was founded. Each year there is a theme, this year it is depression and raising awareness about mental health. http://apps.who.int/depression-campaign-2017/en
     National Gardening Week 10th – 16th April A time to get green-fingered and promote the healthy wonders of gardening. There isn't a more perfect time to get into the garden and get involved in nature! Have fun building garden borders outside and planting seeds with children. www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/
     Passover (Jewish)  11th-17th April Passover is one of the most important celebrations in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the liberation of the Children of Israel out of Egypt, led by Moses.  http://bit.ly/passoverjudaism

    Russian Cosmonaut Day

     12th April   On this day in 1961 Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, aboard Vostok 1. He spent 108 minutes in space orbiting the earth once. This marked the beginning of the space race! bbc.co.uk
     International Moment of Laughter Day  14th April Another wonderful day that we love! Izzy Gesell (Humorologist) wanted to share the benefits of laughter so he initiated this day. Laughter relieves stress, influences positive thinking and relationships. Laughter can even defuse resistance to change and build self confidence. http://bit.ly/1R6ONVC 
     Easter Sunday  16th April  Happy Easter! Today should be filled with egg hunts and chocolate. This Christian holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. there are also so many fun crafting possibilities for this holiday!  http://bit.ly/funeastercrafts
     International Jugglers Day  18th April  This day was originally established mid 1980s by the International Jugglers' Association. This day we celebrate the act of juggling which takes a lot of skill! www.juggle.org
     Earth Day 22nd April   Celebrate Earth Day and make a difference to the planet. Established in 1970, this day raises consciousness and action in environmental global issues. Make sure to get involved with some of the activities on the Earth day website.  www.earthday.org

    World Penguin Day

    25th April   World Penguin Day is the day the native Antarctic penguins start their annual migration northward.  http://www.isfoundation.com/news/celebrate-world-penguin-day
     Allergy Awareness week 25th April – 1st May A week to raise awareness of different  varieties of allergies and to promote well-being for those who suffer. www.allergyuk.org/other-ways-to-help/give-a-car
     St George’s Day 23rd April  St George is the patron saint of England. The medieval legend of St George the crusader and the dragon are widely known and still told today. www.stgeorgesday.com 
     Shakespeare Day 23rd April This marks the date of William Shakespeare's birthday! He was an English Poet, Playwright and Actor. Born in 1564 and died in 1616. shakespeareweek.org.uk
     World Stationary Day   27th April  On World Stationary Day we celebrate the power of the written word. In an increasing digital world let's not  loose the skill of writing! Make sure to check out our stationary in our shop!  worldstationeryday.com

    Link to shop:
    http://bit.ly/markmakingbcreative

     International Astronomy Day  29th  April  This event was started in 1973 by Doug Berger, the president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California. Hopefully the skies will be clear so we can fully appreciate the beauty of the stars!  https://www.astroleague.org/al/astroday/astrodayform.html

     

  • How to make Mother's Day Card Cuddlers!

    Our mission - to create a craft celebrating Mother's Day

     

    We wanted to make sure our project was fun as well as teaching the little ones some good skills so our resident Art Teacher came up with the fab idea of card holders. They're not only useful for Mother's Day but they're reusable for lots of different occasions and the perfect take home gift! We think these are ideal to show your Mum just how much you care on Mothers' Day and are perfect for holding those homemade Mother's Day cards.

     

    We invited our handy Little B into to the office and we had a go at making these polystyrene heart cardholders and so we could share it with you!!

     

    We've made sure to put the list of materials we used down at the bottom of the page so that you can have a go.

     

    First, we grabbed a bag of our polystyrene hearts (M558)

    -This is a perfect time to talk about 3D shapes but also to learn about the different textures and densities of materials!

     

    Picture of polystyrene hearts.

     

    We spoke to our Little B spoke about how these polystyrene hearts are super versatile to decorate- you can paint them, draw on them and stick things to them. The possibilities are endless and are a great way to encourage child lead play! Little B decided to put glitter, paint and stick tissue paper to ours. We thought they turned out pretty cool!
    - Whilst they are decorating children can learn about different textures, colours whilst enjoying messy play. For example mixing red and white paint together gave us a chance to talk about colour mixing and the different shades of pink paint we could create.

     

     Picture of heart art and crafts.

     

    Once our Little B had decorated our hearts we made a hole with a pen or pencil into the side of polystyrene heart for the arms! (This could be done with an older child or adult.) We also put in holes for the legs and a hole in the back for a tail to make sure the card holder stood up!

    Gif of boy poking hole in polystyrene heart

     

    Then we grabbed our pipe cleaners (GC826) Little B then folded them in half and twisted them to make the arms, legs and tails-  the bending and the twisting makes the pipe cleaners sturdier. Our Little B then inserted the pipe cleaner into the polystyrene hearts we'd made earlier to add life to the hearts. -This is perfect for working on fine motor skills!

     

    Gif of boy twisting pipe cleaners

     

    Our Little B was then free to put on any further decorations he wanted, like wiggly eyes, foam hearts and more glitter!
    -It's a fun task to teach children about parts of the face. Where do the eyes go? Where would the mouth go?

     

    Polystyrene hearts decoration

     

     

    We took Mother's Day Cards, family pictures, letters and we put them in the arms of these adorable little cardholders and put them on display all around our office!

    These are good to be reused for lots of occasions and are fantastic to actually make, I know me and Little B had A LOT of fun.

     

    Valentine's Day/ Mthers day polystyrene hearts card holders.

     

    What we used:

    Polystyrene Hearts (M558)
    Assorted Pipe Cleaners (GC826)
    Wiggly eyes (GC142)
    Peel and Stick foam hearts (GC616)

    Ready Mix Paint (P613)
    Iridescent Glitter (Z167)

    Pink & Red Card (C346RED & C346PINK)

     

    polystyrene heart card holders.

     Let us see your Heart Cardholders!

    Send us photos on our social media pages!

    Twitter_logoImage result for facebook logoImage result for instagram logo

     

  • 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

    Instructions:

    •  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!

     

    Differentiation:

    • 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!

  • School Events Calendar 2017 (February)

    February the month of love is upon us!  Valentine's Day is just one of many events to incorporate into your early years and primary learning settings. 'What the Dickens?', Pancake Day, Darwin are all being celebrated too! 

    I've included links to ideas and resources you could use in your learning setting. Do have a look and send us any images of what you got up to in your nursery, school or playgroup! We'd love to see what you end up creating! Leave a comment or share images of your creations on our Facebook , Instagram or Twitter pages.

    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!

    Have a look at the fun things you can look forward to -  help children in understanding the world more by celebrating each special day at a time:

    St.Brigid's

     1st Feb Today we celebrate the feast day of Brigid of Kildare, recognised as the patroness of Ireland, animals, dairymaids, Irish nuns and new born babies. It also marks the start of the Celtic spring season. Are there children in your learning setting of Irish decent? Would they want to share a mini presentation of their Irish heritage? You could hold an celtic art session using free printables here. Here’s another Celtic print example here. More info on Brigid of Kildare

    Candlemas

      2nd Feb A Christian day celebrating the presentation of Jesus at the temple.

    Charles Dickens Birthday 

     6th Feb Born in 1812 and died in 1870, Charles Dickens is part of our British history as a great story teller. He lived through the Industrial Revolution(1700-1800s), when there were great changes in work and science. Dickens would share his stories throughout the changing times about the life of the people in small parts weekly or monthly with the public. That’s why they make great series for television in our modern times. They give us an insight into what life was like during the great changing times for everyone. You could share in your learning setting abbreviated short versions of his famous Oliver Twist! Primary classes can also take part in ‘What the Dickens?’ the BBC game show.  dickenslondontours.co.uk

    Safer Internet Day

     7th Feb The theme this year is 'Be the change: unite for a better internet'. This yearly event is organised by Insafe and promotes global safety and responsibility of the use of technology among children and young adults. You can register your support of the campaign now on the SID website.  saferinternetday.org

    Darwin Day 

     12th Feb Celebrate Charles Darwin today and his work on the theory of 'evolution by natural selection'. He argues that humans are part of nature. His famous book On the Origins of Species was finally published in 1859, after a twenty years of hesitation. darwinday.org

    Go Green Week

    13th - 19th Feb Initiated by Japan, Go Green Week is a time to be as green as possible (ie, switch off computers, lights, etc when not using them) and to remember the Fukushima incident. gogreenweek.dmu.ac.uk  or  peopleandplanet.org/event/go-green-week

    Valentine's Day

     14th Feb Valentine’s Day started off as a Christian celebration of St Valentinus is now a worldwide day celebrating love. You’ll find some funny facts and theories on who and why surrounding St Valentine’s on the History Channel site click here.

    You could order polystyrene heart shapes for children to decorate and take-home.

    Pinterest Valentine’s arts & crafts ideas for EYFS and KS1.

    BCreative Valentine’s Collage Resource Pack

    National Nest Box Week  

     14th - 21st Feb The NNBW promotes during this week the making of nest boxes in all UK local areas. Make a nest box in your learning setting and promote the value of biodiversity, conservation and breeding of bird and general British wild life. More info on the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) website. bto.org/about-birds/nnbw

    International Mother Language Day     

     21st Feb Unesco asks the world to celebrate, contribute and promote Global Citizenship education. The theme for IMLD 2017 is ‘Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education’. IMLD also promotes and supports the goal: "Ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy" (unesco.org). You could plan language celebrating topics in class today. There are lots of nice multilingual songs online which you could incorporate into a music session, i.e, If Your Happy and You Know It  - it features hello in many languages towards the end of the video. un.org/motherlanguageday

    World Thinking Day    

     22nd Feb It began in 1926, it’s an opportunity to raise funds for millions of girl guides and girl scouts around the world. It helps to raise awareness of issues relating to girls and women in general too.  wagggs.org/world-thinking-day

    Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) 

     28th Feb Yes! Well we all know what to do on this day in our learning settings, make all sorts of pancakes! Real ones and soft dough ones at play time. The French call it ‘Fat Tuesday’! It’s the last opportunity to feast before Lent (Ash Wednesday) observed by Christians, which is 46 days before Easter. Pancakes were originally invented to use up all the leftover fatty and rich foods. You could do a pretend pancake making session in early years, see example here.  There’s also the book ‘Pancakes, Pancakes’ by Eric Carle – a story all about a boy and his mother making pancakes. You could even make your own pancake day fact cards (for older age groups), see example here.

    BCreative arts and crafts and useful articles for teachers and early years

  • School Events Calendar 2017 (January)

    Cocka-doodle-dooo! Not only is it now the brand New Year of 2017 but we also have the pleasure of celebrating this January month the new Chinese New Year of the Rooster!

    There are some lovely themed days you can incorporate into your learning planning this winter term; the snowman, SOS day, ancient storytelling week, Winnie the Pooh, kid inventors, bird watch week, Martin Luther King day and so much more!

    Buy_BCreative_calendar_blanks_s241 Early Years & primary setting 2017 blank calendars; great for take-home gifts!

    'Calendars are not just for Christmas'  - have a look at our article for these card calendars on the right hand side image, great for a start of the year calendar making activity. Children in EYFS and primary age groups will enjoy creating their own images in the blank space. You could do a 'seasons' themed one in early years splitting the square into the 4 monthly seasons. Have a read here.

    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!

    Have a look at the fun things you can look forward to -  help children in understanding the world more by celebrating each special day at a time:

     New Year's Day 1st Jan 2017 It’s the beginning of a new year and a time for new year resolutions. You could make new years calendars using calendar tabs or order our A4 2017 calendar blanks in different colours for children to make their own take-home calendars for the new year ahead. This activity is great for early years and young primary age groups. Visit the BCreative article for ideas. Visit our New Years blank Calendar Activity for Early years and Primary learning settings!
     World Braille Day 4th Jan Braille is a system of reading and writing used by people who are fully blind or visually impaired. On this day all around the world people commemorate the birthday of Louis Braille who invented this system in 1824. He was born in France on the 4th of January 1809 and died on the 6th of January 1852.  Blinded by an accident in both eyes in his early years, he mastered his disability and gave the gift of a new communication system to the world. His blindness didn’t deter him from excelling in his education; he excelled so much in his youth that he gained a scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth. A great role model for children – ‘Anything is possible’ and ‘there are no limits’, just new ideas to be dreamed. He’s a great example to use in education when it comes to ‘problem solving’ topics. royalblind.org
      Little Christmas

    (Epiphany) 

    6th Jan The twelfth day of Christmas is here. Women were traditionally given this day to rest and take leave of their house hold duties. For Christians this is the day of the Epiphany, deriving from the Greek word 'epiphaneia', meaning ‘manifestation’. On this Christian feast day we celebrate the revelation of God and his son Jesus Christ having being born in human form.
    Makar Sankranti 14th Jan The Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti (Makar dering from the Capricorn zodiac sign) celebrates the celestial path and transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn). It is celebrated in India and Nepal. For Hindu’s this is tied into their winter solstice. Our winter solstice in the UK began on the scientific day 21st of Dec, the point at which the day light will begin to increase again in our part of the earth’s sphere.
    Martin Luther King Day 16th Jan Celebrate Baptist minister, activist and leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King. Born January 15th 1929 and died April 4th 1968, Mr King is one of the most memorable and iconic figures for black history topics. Let us not forget his most famous speech “I have dream...”. In 1964 he even received the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful combat of racial inequality and non violent resistance in the face of racial discord. thekingcenter.org
    Kid's Inventors Day

    (K.I.D.)

    17th Jan Celebrate & encourage today’s child inventors to continue to inspire the future generations of child inventors. This could be a nice time to set a challenge for young children. Did you know the trampoline was first invented by 16-year-old George Nissen? Or did you know that the first lollipop stick was first invented by eleven-year-old Frank Epperson? Set your children a challenge and give them room to meet it. The K.I.D website includes tips to guide children on the right path of discovery. kidinventorsday.com
    Winnie The Pooh Day 18th Jan We celebrate one of the world’s most famous and lovable bear ‘Winnie The Pooh’ on the birthday of his creator and author A.A Milne. This lovable wise bear is a great teacher for children covering PSHE topics like feelings, how we should treat others, friendship, patience and so many valuable life lessons. In the words of Pooh bear “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference”. Find more quotes here.

    social media tags: #WDOSM

    Winnie The Pooh Quotes
    World Day of the Snowman 18th Jan Great topic for the winter term: Celebrate in your learning setting one of the most iconic symbols of winter – the snowman.  Here are some Ideas:

    • You could hold an arts & crafts session for children to make & decorate their own snowman using either of the following; polystyrene ballscraft fluff or white pom poms.
    • You could plan a literacy session based on Raymond Brigg’s ‘The Snowman’.
    • Or make prints and build an Olaf; the most recent famous Disney snowman from ‘Frozen’ for children to put together independently.

    Use the ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ (from Frozen) theme song for the day whilst building a snowman in EYFS.

    worlddayofsnowman.com
    SOS Radio Day 21st - 29th Jan Britain & Ireland can get very rough seas throughout the year; this leads to even the most experienced sailors getting caught up in mighty storms. The RNLI fundraiser and special day keeps our British lifeboats at sea. You could plan ‘seaside’ themed learning activities in class today. SOS day in it's self is on the 27th Jan. Download a free 'seaside' learning support pack from Twinkle here. sosradioweek.org.uk
    National Storytelling Week 24th Jan - 4th Feb Raise awareness of the ancient art form of oral storytelling! It’s a week of stories being shared amongst children and adults all over the UK. Is your learning setting getting involved? Are you hosting an event? There will be events being held in libraries, theatres, bookshops, museums, schools and lots more public spaces. Want to know more visit the Society of Storytelling website for more info. sfs.org.uk
    Indian Republic Day 26th Jan Celebrating the day when Indian declared itself a Sovereign Democratic Republic State with the adoption of the Constitution in 1950.  You could cover religious topic mentioning Hinduism and festivals throughout the year celebrated in Indian. You could also incorporate Britain’s history with India and why we now have such a deeply intertwined relationship and large Indian community within the UK. This would cross over with the British Values area of learning. knowindia.gov.in
    Australia Day 26th Jan It is the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at this site by Governor Arthur Phillip. Again this is also a day which is part of our British history and could be incorporated into the British Values area of learning. australiaday.org.au
    Holocaust Memorial Day 27th Jan Today we pay remembrance to the anniversary of the date the Jews were liberated from the Nazi camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Let us continue to learn and not allow the mistakes of the past to ever repeat. This could fall nicely into PSHE area of learning with talks of feelings, friendships and a discussion on what it means ‘to treat others as you would like to be treated’. hmd.org.uk
    Chinese New Year 28th Jan We say goodbye to the year of the monkey and welcome the new Chinese year of the rooster. This may be your year if you are born in any of the following years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1969, 1957, 1981, 1993, 2005 and 2017. The rooster is the most motivated of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac. Are there any little roosters in your learning setting? Traditionally the Chinese new year’s dragon is always present to bring in the new year for good luck. Make a paper dragon in early years or primary classes this year. Chinese New Year's Dragon Craft Activities for EYFS & Primary Children
    Big Garden Bird Watch Week 28th - 30th Jan Create awareness and appreciation for our nation’s bird diversity in your learning setting during the Big Garden Bird Watch Week. The event began end of the 1800’s to discourage the use of bird feathers in women’s hats and spread the love, respect and safety of British birds. Perhaps set up a class made bird box outside the classroom? Or make mini birds in nest in early years? This is a lovely topic to tie into nature, understand the world, poetry, British values and habitats topics. Visit the RSPB site for more info. rspb.org.uk
    BCreative Star Products Educational Arts & Crafts early years primary BCreative Star Products; Educational Arts & Crafts supplies.

    You can also find lots of educational crafty ideas for 'all year round' areas of learning and celebrations on the Bcreativetolearn Pinterest Boards.

  • School Events Calendar 2016 (December)

    Start decorating those Christmas trees and hanging your glitzy stockings, Christmas time is near. The old year is drawing to an end and it's that special time to reflect on all we've achieved over the year. There are so many fantastic ways to incorporate all learning areas of the EYFS and primary curriculum this month, whilst still having lots of festive craft fun!

    Have a read of our latest festive mark making and fine motor skill article here. Find lots more Festive learning ideas for your setting within our Christmas season articles.

    For every yearly event visit our Bcreativetolearn Pinterest Boards, full of preschool activity inspirations in all learning/ topic areas.

    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!

    Have a look at the fun things you can look forward to -  help children in understanding the world more by celebrating each special day at a time:

     National Tree Week 1st 4th Dec It’s the UK’s biggest celebration of trees annually which kick starts the winter tree planting season. You could plant seeds outdoors with the children and make finger print paintings of trees. Want to find out more or get involved with events happening in your area? Contact the Tree Council for more details. treecouncil.org.uk
     International Tree Dressing Day 3rd - 4th Dec Now is the time all around the world to begin dressing the Christmas trees, as we near this special family time. Have you got a Christmas tree for your learning setting yet? How about a ‘decorate-yourself’ cardboard Christmas tree? They come with baubles which the children can paint or stick their own patterns on. This will give you days of decorating fun!  You could also make small 3D take-home plastic Christmas trees.

    Click here to view how the EYFS 3D trees are made!

    Christmas Trees for your learning setting!
      International Aviation Day  7th Dec Today is a day to celebrate all our planes and those who operate them! We’ve come a long way since the Wright brothers first successfully made the first powered air-crafts in 1903. Incorporate it into a transport topic and make a plane! You could make lollipop stick planes. You could also incorporate maths and cut out shapes and get the children to piece together a plane, example here. For transport stencils, sponges and stickers have a look at our new catalogue here. icao.int
    Human Rights Day 10th Dec The UN general assembly believes that having human rights “is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”. Teach children that beautiful and simple motto of ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’. This falls nicely into the PSED topic. Use confidence and team building activities in class today to re-enforce the valuable lessons; such as being kind to others, working together and ‘look what we made together’ outcomes. un.org
    International Animal Rights Day 10th Dec More 7 more children these days are expressing their love of animals and are opting to support the protection of animals throughout the world. Give this day an animal theme in your learning setting.  Some ideas:

    1. Find out children’s favourite animals.
    2. Sing an animal song, i.e. The Animal Boogie.
    3. Play letter game such as, 'what is the first letter of tiger?' ..Use images and phonics.
    4. Use animal stencils in an art session.
    thenard.org
    The Festival of winter Walks 17th Dec - 8th Jan Ramblers charity set this event 25 years ago to encourage people to walk and explore Britain’s beautiful landscapes. Oh and she's a beauty indeed this green island of ours called Britain.

    For more info regarding group walks, routes & health walks visit the Ramblers website.

    ramblers.org.uk
    Winter Solstice (Yule) & 'Burning of the Clocks' (Brighton lantern festival) 21st Dec It’s that time of the year again, the shortest day in the whole year for the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere it will be the longest Summer Solstice day of the year. Every year Same Sky (Brighton’s community arts group) gather the people of Brighton & Hove to make paper and willow lanterns throughout the city in a procession which ends at the beach in memory and gratitude for the end of the year. This event is called the Burning of the Clocks.

    Here are some Christmas/ winter crafting ideas:

    samesky.co.uk
    Christmas Eve 24th Dec UK Bank Holiday 

    This is the time when children hand up their stockings ready for Santa ( St Nicholas) to fill them with sweet gifts!

    Christmas Day - UK Bank holiday 25th Dec Christmas came from the old saying ‘Christ’s Mass’ an annual celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. It’s now a religious and cultural festival celebrated throughout the world.
    Boxing Day 26th Dec UK Bank Holiday

    A day to recover from Christmas meals and spend more time with family and loved ones.

    New Years Eve (Hogmanay) 31st Dec It is the last evening we reflect on the year we’ve had and say goodbye to 2016 and welcome the new year of 2017 with fireworks! Prepare children for the New Year’s celebrations before the end of term with fireworks craft activities that can be found in our British Values Pinterest board . You can also pre-buy cracker snaps and cracker hats,  which are handy for Christmas parties as well as New Years. Get a hold of 2017 blank calendars for your learning setting... Children will love creating their own take-home calendars!
  • Early Years Christmas Learning Ideas

    Give your early years mark making, literacy and writing activities the Christmas touch! We all love the festive time of the year, but we still need to be following that EYFS curriculum and continue to assist in the development of our little one’s skills.

    Mark making is a great skill to practice which leads to the development of writing skills. Some children will use it to enhance their fine motor skills, where as for others it will help them start forming letters and numbers.

     

     

    Add a Festive feel to Mark Making…

    Christmas_mark_making_activity_with_silver_card_Bcreative Christmas sensory and mark making activity for EYFS.

     

    Instructions:

    All you need is an A4 tray or larger – it does not need to be of a large depth – although this may make it less messy! Get a piece of silver card or mirror board and place shiny side up. Then pour over a layer of sand – we have used coloured sand but play-pit sand would work as well. Make sure the layer is not too thick or the shapes will not hold.

    Then sprinkle over some glitter to give it a sparkly feel.

    Then you just need to mark make. The silver card when revealed give a great contrast making the marks easy to see and exciting for the children to see.

    Want a more festive feel why not download our festive shapes PDF’s , print them out and see if the children can create their own version in the glitter sand tray!

     

    Here is an easy to read list of what we used!

    Materials you will need:

     

    Differentiation ideas:

    • Repeat the phonic sounds as the letter is formed. (phonics, literacy, writing)
    • Create marks and then count and talk about numbers. (numeracy)
    • Draw self portraits and then talk about what parts of the face can be seen in mirror card. (PSED, self exploration)
    • Use the sand tray in story telling sessions, drawing characters being mentioned. (literacy, communication)

    Give it a go and let us know how it goes – did you do anything different, how did the children enjoy it?

    We would love to hear from you either here or on our facebook page.

     

    We Three Kings of Orient are…

    BCreative_Christmas_crown_making_activity BCreative Christmas crown making activity for nativity story/ literacy in EYFS and KS1.

    What about crown making as a great festive craft?

    Yes we know you can buy them ready to go – try here! But what about examining patterns and encouraging scissor work by making your own?

    Instructions:

    Take some large sheets of gold or silver card and cut into wide strips.

    Then draw a repeating pattern for the top edge of the crown. The pattern can be zig zigs, waves or really rather random.

    Some students will be able to draw their own but for some you may need to pencil draw the pattern and get them to draw over it.

    Then let the cutting begin. Cutting a long strip is great practice and children will love to see the pattern they achieve – does it match what they drew?

    For younger students why not use the double handled scissors, you can help them learn to use scissors and for those more capable why not try crazy scissors for a double pattern effect.

    Once you have cut the pattern, wrap around the child’s head and fix with tape  - you have a King or Queen!

     

    But all Kings and Queens need some bling, so now is the time to decorate it.  Some great things to use are..

     

    Materials you will need:

     

    Not only for Christmas, this craft can be adapted for so much more:

    • British Values - use in discussions & history relating to royalty.
    • Once upon a time ( literacy) - talking about stories with princes and princesses.

     

    You can find lots more Ideas on our Pinterest boards making learning fun and creative whilst covering all areas of learning!

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

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