Connecting Camels and Mother’s Day

On Monday one of our little ones was lining up the weights in size and weight order.

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We got out the connecting camels to add to his interest. Other children joined him.


Lining them up

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Putting the camels into colour groups

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Repeating patterns

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Buried treasure, under all the chains

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Making circles. adding a smaller one.

Lining up.

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A few of our activities on one day.

On Wednesday we took our older children to Sutton Lower school for our usual half termly visit. The children loved having a ride in the cars and then avoiding the puddles as we made our way to school. Once at school we had a brief play in the class before the sun came out and we were able to play outside in the sand, doing some digging for gold in the dirt and then fishing for feet! We had a lovely play in the field exploring the lovely wooden pirate ship and climbing frame. Then we met the parents and carers in the front car park.

Thank you so much to Sutton for having us, we’re already looking forward to our visit next term.

The children really enjoyed working on their gifts for their Mummy’s. The artwork on the cups will fade over time if put in the dishwasher.

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Bubbly water play and drums

Last week has been lots of fun, carrying on with the week before’s interests- lots of water and splashing. We added bubbly water to the tuff spots, pots, teapots, bowls, sponges, syringes and spoons.

All these activities of squeezing the sponge and using the syringes to fill the pots, will help the muscles the children need to write- grow, form and work at becoming stronger. The pouring and measuring of water will enhance the children’s mathematical skills by allowing them to work out how much they need to fill the pot up, how heavy the pots is and that it gets lighter as the water is poured into  bowl. They develop and idea of whether the small pot will hold the same as the large pot. They are doing such fantastic learning but as far as they are concerned they are having lots of fun and playing.

We got our beautiful drums out this week, another interest followed. The children had helped themselves to the beaters from the instrument drawer and try out the noises on the tables, chairs and tuff spots in the room. We had 4 drums between 18 children. The drums were spaced between the children, those that did not have a drum, clapped their hands. They all listened well and practised doing loud, slow, fast and quiet by rubbing their hand over the drum. To ensure all the children had a go with the drum, we said ‘stop’ and used the sign for stop, then the children had to pass their drum to the next person.

Our activities this week were:-

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The children tried to build a tower as tall as them using the Duplo. They worked hard together, whilst one held the tower the others would find the bricks they needed. Then they would swap over. It was a real joint effort and only fell apart when the tower got too tall to be added to. That didn’t put them off they tried again, giving the tower a bigger base to see if that would make it more stable.

I wonder what fun and learning will happen this week.



Fun in the sun.

Water ready for the children to help themselves. We have it set up inside and outside.

What are they going to make? The ideas are endless and we encourage the children to use the curiosity to explore what we put out. Could it be potions, dinner or something else?

Banana cakes too today

Super necklaces to choose from.

Our seaside provocation to explore.

Looking forward to a fun filled day.

Fathers/Special persons Day celebration

We had a lovely morning at Woodentops today. The children invited their special person in to celebrate with a bacon or Sausage roll. Bacon and sausages were donated by Clayton Butchers. They tasted fabulous so thank you so much. They could also have a vegetarian burger or sausage roll.

The children thoroughly enjoyed doing some flowers

Making some strawberry or chocolate mousse

Sharing books

Drawing pictures

And they had a great time in the garden playing with their parents.

Thank you so much for coming. The children love showing you what they do at Preschool.

Water beads and flowers

On Monday, the children planted out the sunflowers, tomatoes and pumpkins.

We discovered our potatoes and strawberries had really grown over the holidays. We’ve got lots of green strawberries- we had lots of chat about how they need to be red before we can pick them.

We made dairy and egg free cakes. The children experimented with touching, smelling and tasting the ingredients before mixing them together.

The children built some dens, inside and outside. They made a tower for their people and had great fun in the ‘rocket’.

With the flowers, the children produced a beautiful salad, the leaves were cut up using scissors to make the lettuce and other resources added to finish off the salad.

Water beads are so much fun. They bounce and make a lovely sound when poured. They feel lovely to hold although very slippery.

We had the teachers visit from Potton Lower on Thursday. The children were eager to listen to what they had in their shoe boxes. They shared books with them, eagerly showed them round Woodentops including our lovely garden and played with them. The teachers were impressed with how confident our children were.

Some of our provocations set up ready for the children to explore and follow their curiosity.

On Friday we cleaned the chalk of the path. We had 3 brushes and some paint brushes. We all took turns in cleaning the path and the walls. The children were very enthusiastic.

So much so, they cleaned the signs too.

Last week was a fabulous week with lots of learning and exploring.

I am in total awe of how our children take what we provide and move it in to a totally different dimension. It’s fantastic and all based around them and their interests.

Our Visit to Standalone Farm

We had a fantastic visit to the farm today. We took 26 children, 16 parents and 8 staff with us and it was fun even though the weather was a little dull.

We met some very noisy piglets with the mum and others that were sleeping through the noise!!!

We said hello to some very cute lambs and then moved on to meet some goats, a pony and a shire horse having a rest as he had a seed in his foot last night.

We met a goose trying to have a sleep and 3 drakes.

We had snack before going to see the Kuna Kuna pigs having their lunch.

Cilla was having a drink first.

We had a walk round the gardens and found a lovely sandpit. The children enjoyed having a play before going off to feed the lambs.

The children took turns with feeding the lambs who were very eager to have their milk.

We all had a turn at grooming the pony, the pony liked the children’s attention.

After lunch we played in the ride ons and in the play barn before meeting some very cute ducklings and rather large guinea fowl chicks. We said hello to the huge rabbits and a few guinea pigs.

Then we had a lovely play in the play area, watched the trains go round before having an ice lolly.

Woodentops fun 18th May 2018

Our beautiful butterflies hatched out over the weekend.

One had wings that hadn’t formed properly so he became our little pet. We released the others on Friday with the children.

Burgers being cooked.

Th children were using the animals in their role play. Acting out their ideas through the animals, having lots of discussions and sharing of ideas.

This was fun and a little messy. We mixed cornflour, liquid soap, PVA glue and a little water. Lots of descriptive language and discussion about how it was going to turn out. Later we took it outside to see what would happen in the sun.

The children made a walk way and then took turns to walk along it avoiding the ‘sharks’. They built a tower to see if it could go all the up to the slide. It fell down so they rethought about how they could make it stay upright. The children worked together to build it again.

Playing the music instruments.

Parachute play. The children got the parachute out and played cat and mouse. In the end we had 5 mice and 2 cats trying to catch the mice. Lots of giggles with the rest of us trying to wriggle the parachute.

This is loose parts play. The children liked exploring the different items especially smelling the cinnamon and star anise. We had lots of talk about what they were doing and how they were using the different pieces.

Jackie’s bird.

This is a drawing of the flowers we had donated from Potton Tesco’s.

Pre writing practice using the laces.

Exploring with the light box.

A little bit of junk modelling using rather a lot of glue.

The Curiosity Approach at Woodentops

26239552_10215124845933945_9196900314467569373_nWe started our Curiosity Approach in January 2018 with a close look at our environment, looking at what we provide for the children’s learning inside and outside. As our Ofsted inspection in 2016 recommended that we needed to review the provision of learning experiences outside, we decided to concentrate on looking at improving what we had done already and adding to it.

The Curiosity Approach-what is it and why are we following it?

We started off in 2015 with ‘Planning in the moment’ following the child’s ideas and interests. By interests we do not mean the popular culture of the day such as Peppa Pig or Thomas the Tank Engine but what the child is really interested in. For example how they are learning and with what. What type of schema is the child using in their play to explore the world around them? A schema is a repetitive pattern that the child uses in their play- throwing (trajectory) a toy or lying on the floor watching as the wheels of the car go round (rotational); covering toys or themselves- making dens under the table (enclosing); are they building (construction)- using many different forms of equipment- wooden bricks, tubes, cars- yes cars-did you know you can balance cars on tops of each other? Children know how to do that- the learning that happens- the what if I do this? Will it work? How can I make it better? Will it do what I want it to or will I have to adapt it as I go along?

So much happening when we as adults stand back, giving them time and space to formulate their ideas, plans and creativity. The adults at woodentops- the teachers- as that’s what we are, are there to support, guide and facilitate their learning. Ofsted’s definitions of teaching is:-

 ‘Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations.

Early years inspection handbook, Ofsted, June 2015;

Our planning is based on what our environment can offer. So there may not be ‘toys’ as such at woodentops instead there is a variety of equipment which will give children many differing experiences such smells, textures, sounds, visual cues and a way to adapt their play. We try to provide equipment (Authentic materials) that is natural, calming and with no specific intention so the children can explore it, use it in their play how they want to, with us as adults, encouraging, supporting and providing a narrative of their play. The children really enjoy us writing their stories down and making it into a book for them using their pictures and then acting the story out to their friends. The delight they have when they tell their friends their story- so awe inspiring.

So the Curiosity Approach is where we provide an environment for the children that gives them ‘Curiosity, Awe and Wonder’, enabling the children to continue to explore the magical world around them, allowing them to be adventurous without the fear of getting it wrong, discovering and experimenting as they play and learn.

Play is the child’s job and work and we as adults should not devalue the importance of play.

The beginning of the Summer term 2017

Last week we got out the red rice and had a great time doing lots of shapes in the rice with our hands and fingers. We talked about the shapes of letters and circles. We sounded out our names phonetically.

One of little ones, helped herself to the animals off the self select unit and the bricks. She poured out the bricks onto the carpet and then made a surround for her animals in the tuff spot.

Cooking last Thursday was a fruit pie that the children saw in the one of their reading books. They decided that it looked fab and wanted to have that as their cooking. Every child that wanted to made a fruit pie- 20 of them.

We planted sunflower seeds and sent them home, the stay and players also planted them as well and proudly took them home with their mummies. We also planted our potatoes in very deep pots.

Later in the week we all planted 2 pea seeds in a clear pot with kitchen roll. The children will now be able to see their seed sprout a root and some leaves as long as they get a little water and some sunlight.

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This is woodentops pea seed. It’s being kept on the windowsill in the football club and we are watching it closely for roots and leaves to develop.