Well, what a difficult Spring was had by all and we are still not quite back to normal. Daisy Chain was closed due to the Covid C19 crisis and lockdown from late March and staff were furloughed.
We re opened in June after lots of preparation from Sarah and the ladies. New social distancing and cleaning policies and procedures were instigated and garden play is the order of the day. The staff and children that returned found that after a few tweaks the new regime is working well. Toys are alternated and put aside for a 72 hours once cleaned. The equipment is cleaned with antiviral solution every day and smaller number of staff and children attending are their own safety ‘bubble’ of contacts. Frequent hand washing is expected and the children rarely go inside except to use the toilet. Plenty of gazebo cover for rain or sun is available.
We are not doing visits during sessions to keep our bubble of children safe but socially distant garden visits for new families want to look around prior to starting can be arranged after the session has finished.
Daisy Chain has become a little paradise for frogs of all sizes, the children continue to enjoy the Mud Kitchen and making homes for snails.
Fun with noodles and dragon dancing, dressing up, Chinese snacks, making red envelopes and dragon puppets were all part of our Chinese New Year celebrations.
February brought frog spawn in our Daisy Chain pond, activities based on the Little Red Hen story and Pancake Day play.
We also had a visit from Royal Veterinary College Nurse Verity and her pet rats. The children thought it was very funny when they hid in her hoodie.
Our topic on ‘bigger, bigger bigger’ encouraged the children to think about growing, so lots of size related activities and using measures. We thought about how we grow and what we can do now we are bigger.
We loved watching chicks hatch in an incubator loaned to us by a Daisy Family.
We had some new book bags which are available for families to borrow.
If you are a parent please ask to join the closed Daisy Chain group on Face Book to keep up to date with information and activities for children.
In the Autumn we had a visit from 3 puppies which was very exciting for the children. We had a range of Autumn activities including a pumpkin fairy garden. As Christmas approached we made decorations for our tree at the Christmas Tree Festival in All Saints church, explored the Polar Express in the Tuff Spot tray and other festive activities.
We welcomed our new arrivals and their parents and carers in the Autumn term by having 2 induction days at the beginning of September before the older children returned.
The Mud Kitchen built by Staff member Norma and her husband Nick continues to bring delight and learning to all the children. Mixing potions and mud pies, sorting resources, using utensils and working together contributes to every area of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
We celebrated the 1 year anniversary of our Outstanding OFSTED report at the beginning of March 2019.
We held our annual Easter celebration in the church. As usual the Easter Bonnet display made everyone smile.
Our garden developments continued in the spring with the digging of a new pond and a small bog garden. We were too late for tadpoles this year but are hopeful for Spring 2020 as some frogs have now made the pond their home.
+We were very excited to be given a rating from Ofsted of Outstanding in All Areas in March this year.
During the Summer the children at Daisy Chain enjoyed learning all sorts of things.
We spent a lot of time thinking about being kind. Kind to each other and to the environment and the creatures that live in it. We stated a recycling scheme so the children could sort their lunch rubbish into bins for plastics, paper and card and fruit and vegetable waste ready for the compost bins. We also took care of our plants and nature area.
We had topics based on the children’s interests and learnt about Under the Sea, practiced our physical skills during Circus Activities, Were fascinated by Magical Mysteries (trying experiments, bubble painting, exploring bubbles big enough to stand in, making potions). We also celebrated the Royal Wedding with a selection of different activities.
We had visits from our school leavers new reception teachers from Westbury Infants, Bitham Brook and Westbury Leigh schools. we even had a visit from the goats that live at Westbury Leigh School!
Some nice Ladies from Dental Care Westbury came along to talk about our teeth and how to keep them clean and strong.
We also had some Dads, Grandads and Uncles visit during the week before Father’s Day.
In September we welcomed our new families. The new children and their parents and carers attended two induction days before the other children returned to Daisy Chain after the summer break. This gave them a chance to settle in and familiarise themselves with the setting.
We were excited that the new Mud Kitchen had been completed by Norma’s Husband Nick. With lots of bowls and two cookers there is plenty of room for several children to play at once. All kinds of resources have been chopped and mixed, herbs, fruit, stones, seeds, sunflower heads and pumpkins.
Before half term we covered various topics including………..
Pirates – hunting for and counting treasure numbers in the sand pit, pirate coins in sand and looking for sea creatures hidden around the setting. We made paper octopus and practiced out scissor skills and learnt how to carry scissors safely.
Marvellous me – talking about ourselves, measuring our feet and drawing our faces. Mixing colours on our hands and making prints, measuring our height and talking about differences and looking at our hair.
As the weather changed we talked about the new season of Autumn and used natural resources to count with and make pictures., used dry leaves to make wreaths, learnt about germs and how to wash our hands and talked about what you wear in cold weather.
We brought in our cuddly toys and donations in October for the Royal United Hospital Forever Friends appeal and were amazed when the Forever Friends Big Ted came to visit us. Some children were a little nervous as he was very big, but others confidently gave him a hug or a ‘high five’.
The sunflowers were removed from our growing patch and thoroughly explored by the children who were asked what they wanted to plant next. Their replies included pink flowers for the bees and pop corn. We planted some pink flowers, radishes and cabbages. The slugs have enjoyed the cabbages!
After the Half Term break we all dressed up for Halloween and had a pumpkin party. Our daily adult led activities were based on the Every Child a Talker document and were focussed on Listening and attention, understanding, speaking , social communication and speech sounds.
We have book Bags available for children to borrow and enjoy at home. We have 2 new bags one with a dog theme and the other with a penguin theme. Inside there are 3 books, a toy and some laminated cards to practice mark making skills and numbers on. There is also a dry wipe pen and a cloth so you can use them right away.
We have had a busy year at Daisy Chain this year. We started in September with a selection of activities based on the Every Child a Talker statements which we use to help us assess children’s language development. Listening games, memory games and games to help us pronounce speech sounds clearly such as Kim’s game, Chatter Box and Silly Soup all contributed to the fun.
These were followed by Bear themed activities. Honey sandwich making, Ted’s Bake Off, sorting bears by size, sequencing the Goldilocks story and making bears from shapes.
We explored Autumn customs themed activities Bonfire night, Diwali hand patterns and paint blowing fireworks.
November found us Being Healthy. We talked about and tried printing with fruit, learnt about germs and hand washing, practiced our hand eye co ordination chopping vegetables for soup. talked about cleaning our bodies, and cleaning our teeth, thought about what makes a healthy lunch. We also worked on Weather themed activities making rainbows, looking at the water cycle and umbrellas.
By the time December arrived we were well in the throws of Christmas activities…. using presents to learn shapes, making paper chains, snowflake printing, rice crispy Christmas pudding cakes. pomanders from cloves and oranges (excellent for hand eye co- ordination).
We had our Christmas party which was enjoyed by all. Dave Hickory entertained us and Father Christmas arrived at the end to hand out gifts to all the children.
January found us trying out activities based on the book ‘Stick Man’, How my body works and also a Fantasy theme as the children were interested in magic stories and games. We made potions with fruit and flowers.
February brought a Super Hero theme followed by Under the Sea. The highlight of the Under the Sea theme was having real dead fish for the children to explore. Finding out that some of them have teeth and investigating their fins and tails.
The ladies worked creatively with the theme of Books in March. Dinosaurs and skeletons, sorting dogs by size, hungry caterpillars and spiders. We then had ‘Fun with Maths’ . Parking cars in numbered car park bays to help with number recognition, using triangles to make elephant puppets, using containers and rice to explore full and empty/ heavy and light and using shapes to make cat pictures. We also looked at clocks and the children were introduced to time related language..
Easter themed activities were then the order of the day. Matching egg patterns, Easter egg collage, chocolate nest cakes, sequencing the Humpty Dumpty story and using egg shells to make faces which grew cress hair. We had our Easter Bonnet Parade in the church as there is plenty of room there for family members to sit and watch the parade comfortably before joining in with the Easter Song time.
The Summer Term saw lots of sunny days, some were a little too hot! The children as always were taught the importance of sun cream and hats and the ladies made lots of shady areas in the garden. The Daisy Chain rule of ‘No hat, no garden’ was revisited along with other safety activities During ‘Safety Week’. Safety with tools, not touching hot and sharp objects, crossing roads safely and we talked about our bodies, saying ‘No’ and the NSPCC ‘PANTS’ rule and what is in your pants is private.
We had a little trip around the world as part of our ‘Are we there yet’ activities. We often focus on a world theme at this time as we have as a setting celebrated the United Nations Day of the Child at this time for a few years now. Also Children had been on holiday and for day trips and these activities encouraged them to talk about their experiences. We tried magnetic fishing, made passports, talked about transport and how we travelled to our holiday, made trains from shapes, made flags, talked about China, France and Australia and had a round the world animal scavenger hunt which helped us use and learn positional language such as at the top, behind and next to.
We practised our circus skills during the Carnival and Celebrations activities. The children were very interested in the fact that the Circus had come to town. Some of them passed the Big Top on the way to Daisy Chain. We made circus ponies, learnt balancing and throwing and catching skills, we did magic mark making, balloon printing and played with the magic cup and ball game.
During the last week of term we had Wizard of Oz role play in the garden. The older children in particular had enjoyed hearing various versions of the story. They particularly liked playing in the tower made from a large box.
Wizard of Oz themed play
We celebrated the end of term with our Disco day followed by our Leaver’s Party at Splodges Soft Play.
The School year is whizzing by. During the autumn terms we explored the theme of The Forest we thought about Bears and the Gruffalo amongst other things. A little hedgehog was found in the Daisy Chain garden.
We all enjoyed our usual Christmas activities. The Nativity play and Christmas party and a trip to Westbury Infant School to see the reception children in their play.