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All About Me

  • How can scissors help with early years learning and development?

    Learning how to use scissors in early years can be engaging, fun and most importantly a fundamental part of a child's development.

    Whilst you scour the internet for teaching ideas and activities to help children with their learning and development, scissor cutting may not be the first thing you think of. However, looking for activities which would teach your child to zip their coat up, catch a ball and in the future even help them learn to drive, well, suddenly activities encouraging this seem a lot more interesting.

     

    Our Bestselling Scissors!

           

    Early Years Development

    The EYFS explains that when guiding children through nursery, preschool and reception, the professionals must incorporate these areas:

    • PSHE 
    • P.E 
    • COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE 
    • LITERACY 
    • MATHS  
    • UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD 
    • ART AND DESIGN.
    five sets of scissors for Early Years development Selection of children's scissors from BCreativetolearn.com

    As a supplier of early years art supplies, we understand how important it is that our supplies help support your work in these areas.

    Physical Development

    Getting children to use scissors allows them to build up tiny muscles in their hands because they will need to continually open and close their hands to grip. Gripping a pen to write may become easier, and gripping a paintbrush to paint may seem more fun.


    A child will also need to hold paper with one hand and cut with the other, which introduces some bilateral co-ordination. This is where each hand needs to do something different at the same time. Can’t think where this could be useful? Try zipping up a coat without some bilateral co-ordination. It also enhances hand-eye co-ordination (helping in P.E to catch that ball I spoke about earlier).

    Scissors for Early Years Coordination Example of Bilateral Coordination

    If your child is not ready for scissors, you can get them to tear pieces of paper. If they are not ready to cut paper, children can cut playdough or foam. Using tools or hands to manoeuvre a piece of paper or play dough can help children to understand the way things work a little more, and is a step further into understanding the world.

    In the next few articles we will talk about the different tools and scissors available from us and some ideas on how to use them.

    Think about all the things you do in your day to life and how many of them involve using your hands and their muscles in a co-ordinated way and suddenly getting children to play with scissors doesn’t sound so silly…

  • 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!

  • Allergy Awareness Week 25th April – 1st May

    With 50% of children suffering from allergies, it is crucial to become more familiar with allergic conditions and how to deal with sudden reactions in all areas of child care. Avoiding certain ingredients in school lesson planning for instance will reduce scenarios where any child may feel excluded. Ideally you want to provide an environment where allergy sufferers can thrive and participate in as many activities as possible.

    Here are the main types of allergies to be aware of:

    • Childhood Food Allergy or Food Intolerance; this can be the most common and worrying allergy for carers and sufferers. It can involved a range of reactions for each individual when  consuming anything that is listed in the care plan as an allergenic for the individual. Allergic reactions can be caused by the proteins in foods. Bread can contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It can also be  hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. There is currently no cure for food allergies. The only way to prevent a food allergy reaction from occurring is to avoid the food causing a reaction.
    • Childhood Asthma; asthma causes a range of breathing problems. These include wheezing, feeling of tightness in the lungs/chest and a cough (often in the night or early morning). When extreme it can lead to an 'asthma attack'. Most will have prescribed asthma pumps in their care plan for this scenario.
    • Allergic Rhinitis; this is the inflammation of the mucus membranes in the nose. Common symptoms are an itchy nose, red eyes, watery discharge from the nose and/or eyes, a blocked nose and sneezing. There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever) and perennial allergic rhinitis.
    • Latex Allergy; this can cause skin irritations such as rashes or swelling, breathing difficulties and rhinitis. In some extreme scenarios it can cause anaphylaxis.
    • Dermatitis/ Eczema; this is a condition causing inflammation and severe skin irritation. Dry skin patches become very hot, itchy and even red and inflamed. Breaking dry skin can cause skin to bleed and weep.
    • Oral Allergy Syndrome or Pollen Food Syndrome; usually affects people who are allergic to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Hence why they’re likely to suffer mostly in the spring/summer seasons.
    • Wasp and Bee Sting; this can cuase severe pain and swelling, some people can have an allergic reaction to the sting, leading to anaphylaxis. The person will experience breathing issues with the tightening of the chest and a swelling of the tongue.

     

    Teaching Allergy Awareness        

    BCreativetolearn.com Allergy Awareness Week BCreativetolearn.com Allergy Awareness Week

    Children are naturally inquisitive and will want to know why certain children can’t eat or try certain things or are excluded from some experiences. Circle time is a good setting to introduce a discussion on allergies. A child with allergies can be involved in sharing their experience. With greater class awareness children with allergies feel less excluded and other children learn when it is not the right time to share certain foods with other children. Children are taught to share but awareness of other children’s sensitivities will help them to think twice about sharing something potentially dangerous so they don’t feel left out. Group discussions will also help to inform and clarify how a child can self manage their intolerance also.

    As children grow up they can become supportive to each other’s differences in diet and environmental sensitivities.

    Things teachers and child carers can do for someone with allergies:

    • Once you know every child’s sensitivities exclude all those things from class activities. Find alternatives that are natural for all to enjoy. For example; sweet potato instead of potato, gluten free bread instead of normal bread, fruits & veg all children can play and eat, milk/butter dairy free substitutions, wheat free pastas or rice, dairy & nut free chocolate or pure cacao powder, etc.
    • Always check ingredients on labels! Stick to sensitive skin products.
    • Avoid soaps and shaving foams for skin sensitive children.
    • Use gluten free paints and glues.
    • Run a gluten free class.
    • Have a look at Allergy UK’s collection of safe cooking recipes, CLICK HERE.
    • You could always try putting materials into zip-lock sandwich bags for the children to squish and prod without skin contact - this is a great sensory activity! An alternative is to get them to wear gloves but be aware that rubber and latex can also cause a reaction in some children.
    • Keep a record of incidences where a child had a reaction to certain materials/ingredients during activities however mild. Allergy patterns can change as a child grows.

     

    Play & Learn with Allergy Safe Products from BCreativetolearn.com

    Ready Mix Paints – All our ready mix paints are gluten free, non toxic and made in the UK. This is the safest paint to use with educational art and craft activities.

    Soft Dough – It’s wheat free and gluten free, soft and safe to use for children. We sell a 2.4kg tub of soft dough in 8 colours. Keep in sealed container to avoid drying out.

    Have a go at our Harvest Bread Making Activity !  

    Harvest Bread Making Activity using soft modelling clay with BCreativetolearn.com Harvest Bread Making Activity using soft modelling clay

    Washable PVA Glue – This type of PVA glue is the safest for children to use as it’s gluten free and phthalate/ toxin free. You can also get gluten free gluesticks.

    Soft Clay – Daz or Scola clay is a soft, easy to use air drying clay which is acid free and nontoxic.

    Define your Allergy Management Protocols (School & Nursery provision)

    You can download and use a free copy of the Child Allergy and Anaphylaxis Protocol here: https://www.allergyuk.org/downloads/childrens-allergy-and-anaphylaxis-protocolv3.pdf .

    A specific protocol is required for each child which can be drawn up with the help of reviewing their individual care plan. It ensures that all adults caring for the child are aware of their allergies, symptoms and can help promote better understanding of the child’s needs and medical requirements.

    Regular updates of this document should be made (it is recommended that this document is read by those caring for the child between 3-6 monthly periods to ensure familiarity and up-to-date appropriate care). An annual review is recommended (unless changes need to be made as suggested by the treating doctor before this date).

    Here are some of the products you may need to watch out for:

    • Craft Paste - This may contain wheat
    • Dustless Chalk - This often contains casein (milk)
    • Crayons - These can contain soy
    • Papier-Mâché - This can contain wheat
    • Play dough - This can contain wheat
    • Finger Paints - These can contain wheat, milk, corn and oats.
    • Slime and Gloop - This can contain corn
    • Stickers and Sticky Tape - These can contain gluten
    • Pasta used for threading and collage

    It goes without saying that toddlers and young children are forever putting their fingers in their mouths so what better way to ensure peace of mind than to use products that are hypo-allergenic. Our main paint manufacturer (Brian Clegg and Scola) make certain that their products do not contain latex, nuts, wheat and gluten.

    Every setting needs some play-dough! Follow this allergy-free recipe to make your own. Or if you haven't got time, click HERE to purchase our soft dough!

    Gluten Free Play-dough Recipe

    Ingredients:

    1 cup salt
    1/2 cup cornflour
    3/4 cups cold water
    Optional: Natural food colouring and essential oils for a nice smell

    Directions:

    1. Pour the salt and the cornflour into a pan.
    2. If you are using food colouring and/or essential oil, mix a few drops into the cold water.
    3. Add the cold water to the cornflour and salt, and mix well.
    4. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken, starting at the bottom of the pan. Scrape the pan as you stir.
    5. When the play dough becomes very thick, take it off the heat and turn it onto the table or counter. Allow it to cool until you can handle it, then have your child knead the warm play dough until it’s smooth and pliable.
    6. When you’re finished playing with it, store it in an airtight container or zip lock bag.

    Useful Contacts and Resources

  • '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!

    http://www.twinkl.co.uk/classroom-display-photo/guess-who-display-classroom-display

    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!

    http://hative.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/back-to-school-ideas/2-school-bus-bulletin-board.jpg

    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.

    http://www.twinkl.co.uk/classroom-display-photo/about%20me-display-classroom-display

    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.

    http://www.twinkl.co.uk/classroom-display-photo/all-fit-together-display-classroom-display

    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.

    https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/353251164497717763/

     

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