It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas !!

It’s December and the Nightingales children have been exploring Christmas this week. It’s certainly felt Christmassy with the snow at the weekend and the flurry of snow we had Thursday. Will we have a white Christmas !?

This week the Nightingales have explored the Christmas sensory tent and we enjoyed a lovely session decorating the class Christmas tree. I think you would agree they did a fantastic job! Well done Nightingales!

Nightingales have also been exploring Christmas crafts to create memories for loved ones. The children got creative with paint, glitter , baubles and bells! The children showed some great examples of fine motor skills by reaching for the range of stimuli , manipulating and then releasing. Some fantastic art was created by the children in the tuff tray.

During PSHE this week we focused on our hands and feet. The children have been creating memory art, using paint to make foot and hand prints. Some children were not sure of the wet paint when their feet first touched the paint. Some children removed their feet, pushing they tray away and others preferred touching the paint with their hands. After the children explored the paint and created printed memories it was time to wash their hands and feet. This was the children’s favourite part! Nightingales love water and being able to have a splash! Warm soapy water and a massage, what’s not to like !

Star of the Week!

Well done to Aminah! Aminah is Nightingales star of the week! Aminah has showed some fantastic development with her verbal language skills. Aminahs favourite time of day is morning and afternoon registration where she has been learning all of her friends names. Aminah is our superstar who always puts a smiles on everyone’s faces! Well done Aminah!

There are some events coming up over the next few weeks including Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 10th December and the Nightingales Christmas class party will be Thursday 16th December. Nightingales will enjoy party food and a disco. As it’s a Christmas party , Christmas jumpers or wearing something sparkly would be amazing!

Have a lovely weekend and keep safe from all the winter bugs that are currently going around.

Clare and the Nightingales team.

Let it Snow!

What a lovely surprise we all had when we woke up on Saturday 27th November! I was woken up by my own children with cheers of joy and the rush of wanting to go out in the snow!

It’s now Monday 29th November and the snow is still here. With schools closed to keep our children and staff safe, I have put some activities together for you to enjoy with your children at home.

Experiencing Cold and Warm

Let your children experience the snow by bringing the snow inside. Use a baking tray because the dark background with the white snow makes excellent use of mark making. Place the tray in front of your child and encourage them to bring their arms forward to experience the cold by placing a finger or hand in the snow. Place your own hands in the snow to show them. Look for their reactions – do they remove their hands automatically or do they swipe through the snow enjoying the cold?

We have our Christmas tree up in my own home so we added baubles from our tree to the snow tray. If you don’t have any baubles then add some small favourite toys to the tray. By adding objects into the snow it works towards their visual awareness, fine motor skills (reaching and grasping) and tactile awareness (cold). Show your child the objects before adding them to the tray and then show them you are hiding the objects in the snow. Now encourage them to look for them. By doing this we are working on our problem solving skills.

As the snow melts the colour disappears and the children now have water to play with. We know all our Nightingales love water !

After you have enjoyed the cold snow it’s time to warm up. Why not make a hot chocolate and warm up with a hot water bottle.

Experience the smell of the cocoa powder and if you have marshmallows in your home then place some on a plate and your child can work on using their fine motor skills by either using a pincer or palm grasp. They will also enjoy eating them!

Story time – Oh Dear

In class on a Monday afternoon we enjoy story time. One of our stories is ‘oh dear’ by Rod Campbell. If you don’t have the book at home don’t worry because there are some excellent recordings on YouTube. I have placed one below for you. In class we bring the story to life by using toy animals and other resources. If you have the animals from the story at home then bring them out for the story. We like to hide the animals using jars or boxes so it gives the children an element of surprise but it also helps them to explore by encouraging them to open the box or remove the lid to reveal the animal.

I hope you all have a lovely day at home with your children and enjoy the activities set for today. If you manage to take any pictures of your children enjoying the activities then please send them over. Take care – Clare Grubb and the Nightingales team.

Children in Need

For creative this week we have been exploring splashes of colour to create Pudsey’s eye patch. Pupils were given the opportunity to use a range of fine motor skills during these activities. Pupils had access to a tuff tray which had small puddles of paint and two different textural balls. Some pupils reached and swiped their hands through the wet paint when others reached in for the balls. It gave an opportunity to observe pupils visual awareness but also preference of textures. We observed some pupils disliked the spiky ball and would always seek out the smooth ball. In addition to reaching into the tuff tray, pupils would push the balls, grasp and manipulate by throwing or rolling them around in the tray. Not only were some pupils using fine motor skills we had pupils developing their standing balance. Using the tuff tray at a height enables the pupil to stand at the tray and for some of our learners a standing balance is a key part of their physiotherapy management plan.

The use of fine motor skills created some wonderful patterns in the tuff tray which was then cut out into small circles by the Nightingales team. The pupils then used their fingers to pick up the small circles and with the support by the Nightingales team, stick them to Pudsey’s ears. Our Nightingales did fabulous !

As well as being creative with paint the Nightingales explored the ingredients to decorate cupcakes. The ingredients explored were the icing sugar in dry and wet form, sprinkles, rolled icing and the cupcakes. We themed our activity for Children in Need so we had yellow runny icing and colourful rolled icing balls. By exploring the different textures we are able to observe pupils preferences by the choices they make by showing likes and dislikes of textures.

Nightingales have also been doing some fantastic developments in their Well-being and Physical lessons this week. Following their physiotherapy management plans and increasing the time on their individual exercises to independently holding a toothbrush and tolerating having their hair brushed have been observed this week. Well done Nightingales!

Star of the Week!

Well done to Zahra for being Nightingales star of the week! Zahra has showed some fantastic engagement in activities this week. Zahra shows great termination when working on her independent sitting and will always try again if she loses her balance. Well done Zahra! You are a superstar princess!


Nightingales this week have been exploring Remembrance. Bev, Oakwood’s music specialist was in class this week, who gave learners a sensory experience of remembering the armed forces service men and woman. There were the sounds of marching for hearing awareness, visual and tactile awareness when the poppies were dropped from a height and the flag which was presented in front of the pupils.

During creative, Nightingales explored the colours red and green for poppies. The pupils created art using the paint pendulum by reaching for the hanging cups of glitter and bottles of paint to create green markings on the paper below. We saw some pupils reach and swipe their hands through the paint creating additional marks.

We also used additional fine motor skills by creating art through shaking bottles. Some of our pupils dislike the wet of the paint or glue so this was placed into the tube and the learners were encouraged to shake the tub. Dapper brushes were used for those pupils being encouraged to use palm grasping.

Star of Week!

Nightingales star of the week was ‘AB’. We welcomed AB back to school this week after some time away from school and we are all so proud of how AB has settled back into the school routine. It’s been so lovely to hear you say ‘hello’ to us all throughout the day! Well done AB!

After our assembly we had a 70’s disco in celebration of Oakwood Schools Birthday. Oakwood School opened its doors in 1971 and is celebrating its 50th birthday. This term we will be listening to 70’s music in Nightingales Friday afternoon disco. The pupils explored wigs and hats during our disco! Was a lovely end to our week and I thank both Nightingale pupils and TA’s for their hard work this week. Well done!

Celebration Time!

Nightingales have settled back into the familiar routines and have been engaging in lots of activities. This week we have been celebrating Diwali through creative arts. The pupils were given the opportunity to use gross and fine motor skills to explore the stimuli on the painting pendulum activity. Visual tracking was seen by pupils as the paint and glitter fell making marks on the paper below. We used the art to create diva lights which we displayed on the classroom window and the rockets for fireworks in the sensory tent. The pendulum art was a lovely reflection for the festival of colour, Diwali but also a great opportunity for the pupils to use a range of skills to support their development.

Pupils enjoyed the sensory tent for Diwali which was created to allow pupils to enjoy the sensory experience of Diwali. In the tent pupils experienced the smell of cardamom which hung from above , the reflection of lights that bounced off the foil blanket, the sounds of crackles by manipulating the foil blanket, the pops of fireworks as they walked into the tent as their feet touched the bubble wrap and the colourful scarfs for the colourful clothes worn in celebration.

As well as celebrating Diwali , Nightingales also continued their familiar routines. This week in music Thursday, we saw pupils who previously showed little reaction to the music became engaged and even sat on the drum! This is fantastic progress and shows that having a consistent routine and repetition for our pupils is key to their development.

Nightingale pupils also showed fantastic developments when following their physiotherapy management plans this week. One pupil was able to walk further than before half term and tackled an incline walk up the ramp and decline walk down the ramp. We also saw some independent sitting and balancing taking place ,so well done to you all Nightingales!

Star of the Week!

Well done to our star of the week ‘Joshua’! Joshua became engaged in the music session and responded by sitting on the drum, moving his feet across the surface , vocalising and moving his arms. This is a fantastic development and it was lovely to see Joshua so happy with the activity taking place.

Well done to all our Nightingales this week! All the team are super proud of their developments this week!

Proud of our Nightingales

This week we have been continuing our explorations of Halloween by using our fine motor skills to explore pumpkins by reaching into the pumpkin to remove the seeds and pulp. The pumpkins gave the classroom a wonderful aroma so we have been able to use our sense of smell. Some pupils enjoyed bringing the pumpkins to their mouths to taste.

On Thursday we had our fancy dress day which coincided with Oakwood Schools Walk-a-thon to celebrate the 50th Birthday of the school. Pupils and staff did laps of the playground. Bev Oakwood School’s Music Specialist joined Nightingales in the playground and we enjoyed the walking rap! We also heard staff singing ‘Walking on Sunshine’ which was enjoyed by pupils. Thank you to parents for sending your children in fancy dress, they looked brilliant!

Here’s the highlights of the week:

The Nightingale pupils have worked so hard this half term and the Nightingales staff team are so proud of them all. Here are some highlights from this first Autumn term of 2021 in Nightingales.

Have a lovely half term!

Sensory Halloween

Nightingales have enjoyed the start of our sensory Halloween activities! On arrival into class on Monday morning, pupils were able to explore the Halloween sensory den. Pupils were able to use their gross motor skills by reaching up for the hanging stimuli and then use their fine motor skills to swipe, grasp or manipulate. The sensory den has also enabled pupils to show visual awareness through noticing the stimuli. There were torches in the sensory den which helped support learners visual awareness by making stimuli more prominent but also directing the pupils vision towards stimuli.

Tactile Halloween

Nightingales has been exploring stimuli which offer varying properties for the pupils to experience. The Nightingales got very messy during our explorations! In one lesson we explored spaghetti worms which offered different visual colours and an opportunity to seek out the spiders hidden within the spaghetti. The contrast experience was slime in which divided opinions. Many learners used a finger in isolation to examine this stimuli when others went in with their whole hands. Those that used a finger in isolation were very unsure about this stimuli.

Continuing with exploring the varying properties of stimuli, the Nightingales got creative using ice paint and paint gloves. The gloves were filled with paint and contained holes so this enabled learners to build awareness of cause and effect e.g. if I squeeze this object something will happen. Like the slime , the ice divided opinions. We observed learners liked the effect of the paint squirting out of the glove and being able to spread the paint across the table. During the ice experience we noted learners didn’t like to pick up the ice but to swipe it across the tray or table.

Nightingales will be revisiting our tactile experiences to build awareness of varying tactile stimuli but also observing whether learners anticipate the stimuli they are going to explore.

It’s been a lovely messy week Nightingales and we look forward to doing it again next week!

Swimming – Physiotherapy & Social Interaction

Ben,Oakwood’s physiotherapist, has been joining the pupils in the pool. Being in the pool is a vital part of our pupils physical development. Ben is able to spend time with individual pupils promoting movements of their joints and working on their physical management plans. Importantly the warm water helps our pupils muscle tone to relax and decrease spasticity.

In swimming we have also been joining our sessions with Rabbits which allows us to promote social interaction. We have missed being able to interact with other classes so being about to bring pupils together is brilliant.

Nightingales love their swimming sessions and enjoy the calming environment in which we promote. We use stimuli to promote fine motor skills such as passing the ball and use songs such as ‘I’m a little tea pot’ to promote communication. Nightingales have carried out intensive interaction in the pool this week so when the child splashes we splash back and the pupils show great joy to this play activity.

The Sensory Room – Body Awareness and Creative Movement

Nightingales have been exploring body awareness and creative movement whilst in the sensory room. Pupils explore a range of stimuli which encourages their bodies to move for example reaching for the shakers or catching the bubbles and for body awareness we use cold and tapping of the body. During the session Nightingales have access to the interactive floor which lets us see how pupils track moving stimuli e.g. the fish but the interactive floor will also respond when the pupil touches the floor by the water rippling as contact is made. We have been observing this week whether pupils are of aware that their actions are causing effects.

Hard Working Nightingales

Nightingales have worked very hard at developing communication, physical and cognitive skills this week. Intensive interaction is always an integral part of our week in the Nightingales Class and this week we are starting to see pupils fully engage in the process. Having our consistent routine in class has enabled the pupils to develop an awareness and anticipation of the activities and build tolerance to the use of physio equipment or physio exercises. Importantly it enables staff to see the pupils developmental progress by seeing the changes over time.

This week Nightingales have started to explore upcoming celebrations in ‘What’s in the box’. It’s important for our pupils that we give them time to explore stimuli and we allow them to do the activity more than once over a period of time. Our current ‘what’s in the box’ celebration is ‘Diwali’. A range of senses are used to explore ‘Diwali’. We used our noses to smell the spices, our ears to listen to the sound of the bangles as they moved on our wrists, the touch of the sarees with the amazing embroidery but also using our eyes to look at the bright colours of the beautiful sarees.
The Nightingales class would like to say a big thank you to Tina Mistry who kindly donated the beautiful sarees and bangles for the pupils to explore for our ‘Diwali’ exploration.

Recycling Week

Nightingales have been recycling milk cartons this week to use as plant pots. We explored stimuli that had different textural properties for decorating -glitter, tissue paper and paint. During the exploration activity we worked on communication by choosing what they would like on the plant pot. Learners were able to develop fine motor skills by being supported to grasp a paint brush and use it purposefully or use a pincer grasp to pick up the tissue paper to stick on to the carton.

Once the pots were decorated we moved on to planting our daffodils. Learners were able to explore the texture of the soil using their hands with many investigating by smelling or rubbing the soil between their fingers. Learners were given the opportunity to develop their fine motor skills through the use of the spade and the watering can.

Nightingales have some excellent gardeners! They are superstars – well done!