Investigating materials!

The children in Otter Class have been working very hard since coming back from their half term break. We kicked off the week with our new Art topic – Printing and Textiles, investigating materials and pattern. They children have been focusing on ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ materials, exploring which is more effective for printing in paint. We enjoyed exploring the sensory materials bag before looking at ‘hard apples’ and ‘soft bananas’ – seeing how well we could print with each fruit. The children were happy to investigate each fruit but worked out very quickly that it was easier to print with the apple, rather than the banana.

We had a lovely swimming session this week. The children practised floating on their backs and pouring water with the various pool equipment and toys. The children were extremely independent in entering the water safely and are beginning to anticipate the end of the session using the shower cue.

Carrying on with our Healthy Eating topic, the children are focusing on apples, bananas and lemons this half term. Most of the children remembered what they needed to do during this session and showed excitement when first presented with the lesson materials. It was lovely to watch the children try new foods and begin to independently request the fruit using their preferred communication method; object of reference, symbols or Makaton signing.

We have also continued with our Snow Bear story for our Ice Worlds topic! The children are still practising their comprehension skills by matching the symbols to the pages in the book and are beginning to show good progress. After the story, we enjoyed exploring ice and some frozen watermelon slices!

Happy Lunar New Year!

The last week before the half term break has been amazing! In Otter Class we have been celebrated the Chinese New Year with lots of different sensory activities and music. The children have loved exploring our sensory trays each morning on arriving at school; investigating the different spices and textures, and even some Chinese writing! We enjoyed problem solving how to use the chopsticks to pick up the food.

We’ve had some lovely sensory play sessions this week, including a very messy painting session; using our hands on the tables! We used finger paints and fluorescent paints to create beautiful patterns with our hands and fingers, exploring the different textures and colours.

At the end of the week, we create our own version of a Chinese take away! The children loved having the food spread out across the table for them to explore independently and make their own choices of what they wanted to try. Jackson loved the noodles, whereas Ramandeep wanted to eat all the prawn crackers! It was lovely to see the children try new foods such as Bao buns and spring rolls. We even tried some Lychee juice and everybody wanted more!!

Have a lovely holiday!!

Getting messy in Otter Class!

We had some wonderfully messy sessions last week in Otter Class. The children have begun to explore ‘Capacity’ during our maths lessons, focusing on precise filling and pouring skills. We made a dry mix of sensory ingredients for the children to use to fill containers and have a go at weighing the ingredients on scales. It was lovely to see all the children engage together in the session and develop their parallel play skills.

In our music session this week, the children began to explore the Chinese New Year celebrations coming up soon! The children enjoyed trying out the gong and listening to some traditional music. We practised playing quietly and playing really loud! The children are getting very good at following instructions and knowing when they can play and when to stop and listen.

At the end of the week, we explored ice for our ‘Ice Worlds’ topic. The children we given blocks of ice with an animal frozen inside! They needed to use the pipettes and the paint mixtures to melt the ice and save the animals! We really enjoyed getting messy in this activity and it was wonderful to observe the children using their problem solving skills to work out the most efficient way to complete the task.

Healthy eating in Otter Class!

Our Otter Pups have been exploring healthy eating again this week! The children have been practising to request a slice of orange, lemon or lime using an ALD board and have started to show good progress! This week we also encouraged the children to try what they had requested and show us whether they like it or not, using symbols; ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’. This can be a tricky concept for some of our children who find it difficult to express themselves and so it’s really important for adults to model this for the children and help them to express their views in a constructive manner.

We have also been looking at oranges, lemons and limes during our art lessons. The children have been focusing on developing their circular marks through painting fruit! They have been learning to use an ALD to request the fruit or paint colour in order to create their own fruit art. Using a paper plate gives the children a guide to support them in producing circular marks.

On Friday we revisited our story for this term, ‘The Snow Bear’. The children enjoyed exploring the flour and shaving foam to represent snow and are beginning to use an ALD to identify the different animals in the story. We have also started to work on our comprehension skills through matching symbols to pages in the book to see how much the children understand of the story they have been listening to.

Ice World adventure!

Last week was very frosty and snowy, and Otter Class had to adapt to the new weather conditions! With the ice stopping us from going to Forest School, the children instead, went on a wonderful Ice World Adventure on the bus! We told the children we were going to look for some Arctic animals like in our story, ‘The Snow Bear’. We found a lovely spot next to a lake, where we read our story and tried to spot some animals! The lake was frozen over and there were lots of geese, like the snow goose in our story. The children enjoyed practising their Makaton signing and watching the animals in the frozen wonderland.

Last week we were also able to get started with some more focused interventions for the children. Some of the children have been developing their play skills and communication through ‘Identiplay’ interventions. The children engage 1:1 with an adult to focus on parallel play skills, supported by symbols and some key verbal communication. Here, Anisha is carrying out a play scenario in which she feeds the teddy. Haseeb is learning to copy her actions in order to develop his own independence and imagination during play situations.

We have also been working on our early maths skills! The children have been exploring numbers 1 to 10, alongside focused problem solving interventions to embed knowledge and understanding. The children have been working very hard and are showing good progress. Ramandeep enjoys the 5 little ducks number song to support her learning, whereas Jackson prefers number and colour matching games!

Happy New Year!

This week we welcomed back our little Otters for the start of the Spring Term 2024!! It has been a crazy week of settling back into the class routine and starting some brand new activities, with a new topic – Ice Worlds!

We introduced our new story for this term – The Snow Bear. The story follows a little polar bear who is trying to find his mother. Along the way, we meet lots of different Arctic animals who try to help him. The children have started to practise their Makaton for ‘Polar Bear’ and identify the different Arctic animals in the story, to aid their communication and comprehension skills.

We enjoyed listening to the story and engaging with the different sensory aspects. We wrapped up in blankets in preparation to enter the Arctic world and sprinkled flour to represent snow! During the story, we practised our Makaton signing and pointed at the different animals we meet along the way; an Ox, a fox, a goose, a moose, a hare and a wolf. We will continue to practise using the ALD’s and Makaton signing in the weeks to come.

We have also started our new PSE topic for this half term – Healthy Eating! The children will be focusing on the same three fruit each week; oranges, lemons and limes. We will be trying the different fruit and practising to use ALD’s to request them. So far, the children have embraced these lessons wonderfully and have been very brave to try new and unfamiliar foods!

On Thursday, we had our first Forest School session of this half term and the children had so much fun! Although it has been very cold, the children thoroughly enjoyed being outside in nature; exploring the open space and investigating where the creepy-crawlies like to hide!!

Have a holly jolly Christmas!

This last week of the Autumn term has been a blast! We’ve had so much Christmas fun this week, and so much party food that we’re fit to burst!
The children loved their Christmas party, we had Christmas crackers, party hats and lots of Christmas music to dance to! We were exhausted afterwards!

We also had our parent workshop this week and it was fantastic! It was wonderful to see the parents interacting with the children and doing some lovely Christmas activities. We had a Christmas turf tray filled with spices and fruit. The children tried some cranberry sauce and different fruit like pomegranate and figs. We got very messy but it was a lot of fun! We also painted the Christmas decorations we had made the week before, so they could be sent home and put on the family Christmas trees!

We also enjoyed a lovely cookery session, making edible snowballs! We mixed vanilla frosting with cornflour to make a playdough-like mixture. The children practised rolling it into balls and then rolling their snowballs in shredded coconut.

Have a wonderful Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year!

’Twas the night before Christmas…🎄

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse… The Otters however, have been very noisy and excited, getting all ready for Christmas!

The past two weeks we have been getting very messy and covered in glitter doing some wonderful Christmas activities! We have been decorating black baubles with rainbow glitter. We dipped the baubles into PVA glue and then rolled them in a tray of glitter. The children loved the sensory exploration of the activity, watching the glue drip and drizzle back into the bowl and focus carefully on covering their bauble in as much glitter as possible!

We have also enjoyed some amazing Christmas inspired sensory play; a melted snowman made with cornflour slime, a Christmas pudding made with shredded wheat and coco powder, a flour snowflake and a shaving foam snowman! The children love arriving in school to a new and exciting sensory experience each morning. It helps to regulate the children ready for learning and promote a curiosity for the world around them.

The children have been enjoying our Christmas story – ‘The Night before Christmas’. They have been sitting beautifully as a whole class to listen to the story and have enjoyed exploring the sensory materials alongside it. We always ensure there is a sensory aspect to our reading sessions, to support the children in their comprehension skills and to begin to use ALD’s to make comments and identify characters from the story.

We managed another swimming session which was awesome! The children are so confident in the water now and some of the children have progressed on from wearing a swim jacket to having armbands instead to encourage better swimming technique. We are very proud of all our little Otters!

Busy Otters! 20th Nov – 1st Dec

Over the past couple of weeks, our little Otters have been very busy! We finished our Diwali celebrations with an amazing music session, exploring beautiful materials, drums, bells and bhangra music! The children loved trying out the drum and dancing to the music, while Anisha dressed Charlie, in a Sari, for Diwali!!

During our Problem Solving sessions, we have been focusing on Shape. The children have been exploring lots of different shapes; building towers with pegs, threading 2D shape buttons onto shoelaces and using shape sorters. We always ensure there is a sensory aspect to our Problem Solving sessions in order to engage and motivate the children in different ways. This week, the children investigated the different shapes they could create with paint stampers in a tuff tray.

The end of last week was the 1st of December, which meant it was time for us to get out the Christmas decorations and music!! Our continuous provision for Friday was 100% Christmas themed with a shaving foam snowman and cinnamon scented playdough! We have also started our Christmas countdown and have been practising using choice boards to choose a Christmas song for our morning registration. It’s really important for our children to learn to make independent choices and begin to express their wants/needs using appropriate communication methods – and Christmas is the perfect motivator to begin to explore these vital skills.

Diwali! 13th – 17th Nov

Otter Class enjoyed getting completely immersed in Diwali celebrations. A few children in the class would have celebrated Diwali with their families too, and so we thought it would be really important for the rest of the class to learn and explore different religious festivals. This linked perfectly into our PSE focus for this half term; ‘Diversity and Me’, looking at how all our families are different.

The children started the week with a wonderful, hands-on messy activity, creating Diya Lamps out of clay. The children had to put into practise all the fine motor skills they have been learning during our Dough Disco sessions, to manipulate the clay and create something new. The clay is a little tougher to manipulate than playdough so the children had to work very hard to make the dough move into the shape they wanted. We focused on using the different tools to cut and roll out our clay, before isolating individual fingers to press into the clay and mould it into a bowl shape. The children then used their pincer grip to choose sequins and gems, they then pressed into the sides of the clay to create beautiful patterns.

The children also had a go at making some beautiful Mehndi patterns on hand templates. We practised our mark making skills first to draw patterns on the paper in different crayon colours. After this, the children could choose what decorations they wanted to add. Some chose to use glitter paint which was great fun to manipulate between your fingers! Others chose to sprinkle sequins or use some messy glitter glue!

One very messy session was when we decided to create Lakshmi’s footprints in blue, green and purple paint! The adults in Otter class helped to paint the children’s feet – which was a fantastic sensory experience! Before the children then left their footprints on the giant paper covering the classroom floor! It was a wonderful experience for the children as they were able to explore art creation in a very unusual way.