March Madness

On the 1st March, we had Sally and Den visit us to help plant some apple 🍏 🍎 trees in huge pots donated by Deepdale trees Ltd.

Working how big a hole we needed to dig to be able to put the roots in comfortably. Den was really helpful at suggesting ideas to the children and we used lots of mathematical language.

Magic root growing sprinkles. The children took it in turns to sprinkle the powder on saying the magic words.

The apple trees all secure, just got to wait for the buds to start growing. We’re hoping to plant them in Potton Apple 🍏 🍎 orchard in November.

To celebrate world book week, we started visiting the library 📚 on a Tuesday morning with a few of our older children.

Laura read us a few lovely stories.

A lady made out of play doh.

Fire engine play.

I like how the children work together to build their cars and trucks and every time they look different but they are more intricate with the children using ideas from all the differing experiences.

Tower building with the instruments.

A very intricate town built by 2 children. They added a ‘laptop’ later made out of bricks.

Story making time. The children used these props to make a story up. Kathryn wrote down their story and then they acted them out at story time.

We woke the snails 🐌 up from their sleep. They needed a bit of warm water and some heat from the heat mat to wake them up.

you could hear the operculum cracking as Sparkle started to come out.

Coming out to say hello to the children. Every day a child is responsible for feeding and ‘squirting’ the snails with water. The children get very excited to be a helper.

Den building with a difference. Everything was put in the den today. Lots of working together, sharing ideas and listening to each other.

A very smiley face made with masking tape. We have discovered masking tape is sooooo easy to tear and it’s also great for developing these pre writing muscles.

Rather fantastic cutting through quite tough card and in a straight line.

Tea party anyone?

Woodentops take on rocket building.

Various laptops and our own work station with 3 laptops. The children supported each other by describing what they were doing and why.

Celebrating Red Nose Day with painted on noses and wearing our pyjamas which was very exciting as far as the children were concerned.

We had red Nose cakes and flapjacks.

We really like constructing and building at Woodentops. I think we may have many engineers in the making.

Bonfire 🔥 We had a discussion about what would burn and what would melt- ‘well plastic of course Jackie’.

Adding a new dimension to building, using many boxes to see if we could reach the ceiling. We were so close with help of one of our little ones older sibling.

Fantastic drawing from 2 of our 4 year olds.

Some beautiful pictures made for special people to celebrate Mothering Sunday.

These poor dinosaurs were feeling really poorly so they were wrapped up in bandages and left to ‘rest’.

A rather huge screen for his laptop. The wooden brick is his ‘mouse’.

Mother’s Day treats made by our lovely children.

This was fascinating watching this little one draw his grandparents, parents, an uncle and his 2 cousins before adding himself on the bottom of the page with ‘huge’ muscles.

Mother’s Day morning where our special ladies joined us and had some breakfast rolls and drinks. They had yummy iced biscuits made by their children and a bag full of goodies for Sunday.

Woodentops in the New Year

In January 2017, Woodentops will be extending its hours to include Tuesday afternoons. This means we will be opening from 8.45 to 3.45 Mondays to Thursdays and 8.45 to 1pm on Fridays. Looking to the future we plan to open from 8am to 4pm possibly from The Summer term but definitely from Sept 2017.

Children at Woodentops are looked after in small groups with well qualified and experienced adults.

We have dance once a week on Mondays from Jodie (Jodie Robertson School of Dance) and team games from Simon (Triumph Wellbeing). The team games are on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that as many children at Woodentops are able to access the fun session.

We do cooking once a week on a rolling programme so all the children get a chance to practice their culinary skills. The children what they would like to cook. Recently they made Christmas cakes and then decorated them with royal icing.

christmas-cake

We have a great variety of toys and use a lot of natural resources to develop and enhance the children’s learning.

In January we have some spaces available for 2 year olds and 3 to 4 year olds. Please contact us on 07947892823 or email woodentopspotton@gmail.com for more information.

Happy Easter Everyone

We celebrated Easter with the children by having an Easter party on Maundy Thursday.

The children arrived to join in the story, once everyone had arrived we went outside to the garden for the Easter Egg Hunt. The children each had a bag and were encouraged to count 3 eggs into their bag. They had to look for the eggs in the balloon filled hoops scattered round the garden. Once they were all collected, the children spent some time jumping on the balloons trying to make them pop, there was lots of giggling.

Back inside we played ‘Sleeping Rabbits’ and then we had our party lunch. The food was provided for by the parents and carers, they really tucked in and enjoyed the variety. The children ate their iced biscuits that they made in the week too.

Then we played stick the tail on the bunny- again the children had helped make them by painting the bunnies (we had 2) in the week. They got into 2 teams and were all quite cool about putting on a mask so they couldn’t see where they were putting their tails. The tails made it into funny places!

We had ‘Pass the Parcel’ with a difference, the children listened carefully to the music, supported each other whilst that child unwrapped and then all did the actions that came out of the wrapping. They liked the hopping and jumping, and then trying to stand on one leg.

At the end of the party we all went outside and did lots of running around, waiting for their parents and carers to pick up. The children were eager to show their parents their party bag that they had made in the week, which contained their work and some surprises.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and remind you that preschool starts back on the 12th April.

Our visit from Ofsted

We were notified on Friday 8/1/16 that we would have our first inspection from Ofsted, since I had taken over in 2014, on Monday 11th January.

Some time over the weekend was spent just checking where everything was and making a list so the Ofsted inspector could find it all. We had a written Self Evaluation Form (SEF) as we had been going through the updated Audits from Central Beds and were compiling our SEF but it hadn’t managed to make to the Ofsted Online SEF.

On the Monday morning, all staff due to work that day met at 7.30 and helped set up as we had packed away due to numerous parties at the Football club over the weekend. I set out all the files that I thought we needed to show to the Ofsted inspector in the ‘Committee room’. Around 8am the Ofsted inspector arrived, I checked her details, she signed in and then put her mobile phone in the mobile phone box with her car keys. I showed her where the files were and the toilets- important point, introduced her to the staff and then left her to peruse the files whilst we continued to set up.

As parents arrived at 9am, the inspector chatted to them about the care and education we provide for their children. Parents were very complimentary and I think she enjoyed the chats.

The inspector was also being assessed as well as us so when her ‘boss’ arrived I showed her where her colleague was. The inspector having looked through the files, then came into the main room to ‘observe’ us with the children. She tracked a child, looked at her files and then asked her key-person lots of questions about how she observed and how she was intending to take the child further. At drop off the inspector managed to speak to the parent about her child so she got a good rounded view of her and how she was developing with us. Later on she asked to see a file of a child who had started in Sept to compare them.

She observed the children doing their dancing with Jodie and then went outside to a very wet boggy garden to watch the children explore the outside. Once she’d got all her evidence she then had a chat with me about what I had seen the staff do in the morning with the interaction with the children.

After this the inspector went through her findings and then asked me to discuss them, this is when she told me that we had achieved a GOOD grade.

 

Ark Farm Visit

Today Crystal and Shannon brought lots of animals to visit Woodentops Preschool, they came from Ark Farm.  We invited all our children and parents in, childminders, nannies and any ‘Stay and Play’ parents.

The children were really eager to touch the animals and listened really well to the adults about touching them gently plus using the ‘magic’ soap after touching the animals.

Crystal and Shannon set up a table with a mat on it, spread out lots of seed and then let the animals out. First of all came the Bantam hens and cockerel-

Then the 4 guinea pigs joined them.

And finally on the table a very cute little Pygmy Hedgehog and a Tortoise came on. To begin with the hedgehog was very still and then he became very fast.

We had Gopher the Labrador in too who really liked being stroked plus trying to eat the Duplo bricks! He tried his hardest to sample some playdoh as well but was really good at giving it back!

We had 2 ducks who had a really good wash in the paddling pool- they splashed the children lots and made them giggle.

Then we had an owl out to join in. The children stroked him very gently and he sat on Shannon’s gloved hand.

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Half way through the session we all sat down to have a snack and some milk after using the gel to wash our hands.

At the end of the session we had a story with puppets which the children really enjoyed.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Ark Farm, the children’s faces were a picture, they really enjoyed the hands on experience you provided.

A Fond Farewell

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We said a fond farewell to Carol Leggatt on Wednesday at a special party that celebrated the retirement of a very special woman. Carol has been the owner Woodentops Preschool in Potton for the past 25 years, looking after generations of children. She has now decided to pass on the reigns to Jackie Noakes and retire.

this one
Woodentops opens for the new school year on September 3rd and places are still available.

Update

Hello Everybody,

My names Jackie Noakes and from September 2014 I am going to be the new owner of Woodentops. I thought I’d better introduce myself as Carol and myself are going through the handover of Woodentops. I have already applied to Ofsted and am waiting for them to visit.

I have been working as a Registered Childminder since Feb 1997. Previous to that I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1986 and then trained as a Midwife, qualifying in 1990. I always wanted to work with children so in 1995 with the birth of my second child, I decided to register as a Childminder.  I have looked after numerous children over the last 18 years and have really enjoyed working with them and their parents, by owning Woodentops I will be extending my Early Years role further and looking forward to integrating myself more into the community.

I completed the BA in Early Years with the Open University in 2011 and qualified with Early Years Professional Status in 2012. I have also completed a ‘Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning section’ course to enable me to tutor adults. In March this year, I finished an online Childminding Montessori course which gave me a good overview of how a Montessori setting works. I set up the Potton Childminding group in 2007, I was Chair until 2011 and am currently the vice chair supporting the chair, Fay Jellis. These courses and roles have prepared me for this next step of my career.

I enjoy learning about children, how they develop, how we as professionals can help them thrive and also enable them to reach their individual goals. I am really passionate about enabling the children to develop at their own pace and working with others such as parents, carers and staff.

I have been associated with Woodentops as a parent and an Early Years worker for over 19 years and would like to continue the quality care and support that Woodentops has always provided for the children and their families.

With regard to my Childminding I am intending to continue with the current children I have and have 3 part time assistants and a Childminder working with me. Having the current reliable team at Woodentops, I feel that there will be no compromise between both of my businesses, I am continuing to work 4 days a week but will have some mornings off to manage the paperwork side of the 2 businesses.