Party Animals!!

Last week Otters Class had an amazing time celebrating the end of the Summer Term! The Summer Festival was a great success, with so many parents coming to spend time with their children and enjoy all the activities on offer!

The children thoroughly enjoyed the Bubble Man and the Gruffalo trail; getting very messy with all the wonderful sensory materials prepared by the Family Liaison Team, and enjoying the independence to explore at their own pace.

Some of the children really surprised us with how well they coped in such a busy environment. It was lovely to see all the children become very confident and sociable, even being brave enough to explore new opportunities like the face painting! You can see in the photos how happy the children were to have their faces painted and to explore all the fantastic activities independently.

On Thursday, Rodbaston Animal Zone arrived to provide the children in Otters Class with a wonderful animal experience. The children were so calm and considerate of the animals; ensuring they were gentle when touching the animals and calm so as not to scare them.

The Keepers were amazing with our children! Presenting the animals in such a way that the children were able to access all of the experience without any problems. They used minimal verbal communication to allow the children time to process what was happening, and focused on the sensory aspect of the experience – exploring the different animal textures in a way that the children were able to understand.

We started with George, the scaly snake!!

Then Popcorn, the spikey Bearded Dragon!

Then the Keepers presented the giant Stick Insects! These animals were extremely delicate and so the children were instructed to only look at them while the keeper handled them. The children followed the instructions very well and continued to engage while the keeper talked about these creatures.

Finally, the children were able to touch the giant shells of the African Land Snails!

We would love to have Rodbaston Animal Zone back for future visits as they provided an incredible experience for our pupils!

Muddy and messy!

Last week the children in Otter Class continued to investigate nature and the world around them! Our tuff tray activities have been very messy like this amazing bug hunt! The children really enjoyed using the magnifying glass and digging through the soil to find all the minibeasts!

We created some more beautiful nature inspired artwork! Using a mixture of soil, water and PVA glue, the children made some muddy Hedgehog pictures! The children enjoyed exploring art in a different way and were very curious of the mixture they were presented with to create their artwork. The unusual mixture encouraged the children to focus more on their work because it was something new and exciting to explore!

We also had our weekly PE session focusing on sharing/turn-taking through team games. The children are really enjoying the skittles activity each week and are becoming really independent in their approach to the familiar activities available to them.

Exploring Minibeasts!

Last week we had lots of fun in the sunshine! The children really enjoyed taking part in some of the lessons outside on the playground so that we could make the most of the weather! Our Colour Monsters lesson was lovely – all the children engaged really well and tried very hard to identify and match the colour monster symbols to the matching boards. We then had fun mixing colours in the tuff tray on the playground, making lots of mess and exploring the 3 focus colour monsters; Happy, Sad and Angry.

The children had a wonderful story session this week! They have made so much progress in their communication skills this term; using ALDs to identify different fruit from the story, and using symbol exchange to request to try a piece of fruit. This week the children tried Passion fruit! Everyone was brave enough to explore the new fruit and some of the children seemed to really like it!

We had a lovely swimming session at the end of the week! We are so proud of how independent the children are becoming in the water; entering the pool sensibly with minimal physical support from an adult, and anticipating the end of the session once presented with the visual cue (turning the shower on).

This week the children have also started to explore Minibeasts! We have encouraged the children to explore lots of digging and gardening activities during continuous provision and then on Thursday we made some wonderful Bug Hotels using lots of different materials. It was lovely to see all the children engage and show curiosity in the activity available, and we made some pretty amazing Bug Hotels to put in our sensory garden too!

Hard at work in Otters Class!

Last week, the children in Otter Class worked very hard, engaging really well in all of the activities on offer!

We had some lovely continuous provision activities this week; baking and mixing in the tuff tray, mark making in new and exciting ways! Also, sitting down for a 1:1 story session with an adult. We really enjoyed having all of these wonderful moments with the children and watching them so excited to learn is a delight.

We had a great time in PE last week! Continuing to work on our coordination, sharing and turn taking using ball games. The children are learning to anticipate the teacher’s instructions and know exactly what they need to do when they see the familiar equipment on offer to them.

We had a great session on early sounds and foundation skills in reading and writing. During this session, there is a carousel of activities and tasks available for the children to choose from. Using tweezers and pom-poms to develop fine motor skills, mark making activities including tracing and stencils, animal puppets to introduce initial letter sounds, story books and colourful semantics tasks. The children always engage really well in this lesson and are becoming very independent in choosing which activities they would like to have a go at. Well done Otters!

Our ’30 Days Wild’ activity last week was to plant some Sunflower seeds! The children were all very independent in scooping the soil into the pots, only needing minimal instruction to carefully plant the sunflower seeds and then use the watering can at the end to wet the soil. The children do these activities on a 1:1 basis in order to allow the children to take their time without any distractions around them. The children are doing so well and are really enjoying exploring nature in a different way each week!

Father’s Day!

Last week, the children worked really hard to make some beautiful Father’s Day cards to take home to their families. We helped paint the children’s hands to make Ice cream shaped hand prints and then drizzled on some glue and glitter to make some delicious looking ice cream sauce and sprinkles! The cards looked amazing and were so individual to each child. We hope their families liked them as much as we did!

We also began focusing on the Colour Monsters to embed a deeper understanding of colour and emotions. The children used colour mixing activities and matching boards to begin to make the link between the colour and the emotion it represents. We are starting by focusing on the monsters for ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, and ‘Angry’ and used the corresponding prime colours to investigate colour mixing in the tuff tray.

We also continued with our ’30 days Wild’ activities. Last week the children began to explore nature through their senses; using different herbs to create perfume mixtures in the tuff tray and to create beautiful pieces of artwork. The children were able to smell and taste a variety of different herbs; thyme, rosemary, mint, lavender, chives, sage and curry plant, to name just a few.

Exploring nature!

The first week back after the half term break was so much fun! We introduced the children to new topics and activities, and they have been so excited to engage with the new learning opportunities.

We started our ‘Let’s Go Wild’ activities this week by making Cress seed bags! The children really enjoyed using the spray water bottle and sprinkling the seeds into the bag. We can’t wait to watch them grow!

We also had a lovely story session on the field on Thursday afternoon. The sun was shining and it was wonderful to watch all the children enjoy being out in nature. The children were very happy to come together on the picnic blanket to read some exciting animal themed stories!

On Friday we had our first swimming session of the summer term! The children were so excited to be back in the pool and it was great to see so many of them display confident skills in the water. We were so proud of Riley this week! Usually Riley likes to explore the water standing up but this week he showed everyone his newly found swimming skills as he moved across the pool, towards an adult, on his front! Well done!

Fun and games in Otter Class!

The last two weeks of term were so busy we couldn’t decide what to put on the blog! The children have worked really hard and had so much fun investigating new skills and embedding learnt knowledge.

We have had lots of topic themed continuous provision activities to support the children’s understanding of our story, Handa’s Surprise. From balancing the fruit basket on their heads like Handa does, to using their problem solving skills to collect all the fruit from the story and place them in the basket.

The children are becoming really independent in their play and exploring the classroom. It’s lovely to see the children find new interests and favourite toys with minimal support from an adult.

We also finished our PSE topic of ‘Baby’s Basic Needs’ by assessing how much the children had remembered from the previous weeks. The children were prompted to wrap the doll in a blanket, feed the doll a bottle of milk and change the doll’s nappy, with minimal physical support from an adult. It was lovely to see the progress the children had made in such a short amount of time and we hope to continue to generalise these learnt skills in their own independence and self care, but also in play skills displayed during unstructured parts of the day.

We have had some wonderful Identiplay sessions in which some of the children have begun to work together during the interventions, in order to model and learn from each other. It’s great to see the children develop an awareness of their peers and begin to support each other in their learning.

We had our last math’s lessons on position and direction and the children showed great focus and engagement in all the activities available. We have challenged all students to begin to recognise new vocabulary and follow instructions such as ‘Go’ and ‘Stop’ or to put the car ‘In’ or ‘On’ the box.

Our Parent Workshop/Sports Showcase was a great success! It was lovely to see so many parents attend and support their child to engage in the PE activities available. We continued to focus on team games; developing turn-taking and sharing skills through ball games – knocking down skittles and hitting targets, and also parachute games to support parallel and shared play skills.

Number Day was so much fun! The children all came to school in ‘number themed’ clothing and engaged in lots of different Math’s based activities. The children particularly enjoyed printing Numicon tiles in paint and pressing Numicon tiles into playdough.

Fun in the Sun!

Last week, the children in Otter Class had so much fun enjoying the sunshine!

We had a wonderful Forest School session, exploring how nature changes through Spring and Summer; enjoying the flowers and trees. We made sure the children had something to eat and drink with it being so warm, so we had a lovely picnic on the field and we all thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine with a cold drink and a snack.

Last week, we also moved on to the next stage of the life cycle process during our Art lesson. The children began learning how to roll the clay into sausage shapes to resemble Caterpillars. We reinforced this new learning experience with symbols of the Life Cycle stages and the Hungry Caterpillar story. The children are working so hard during these sessions to improve their fine motor skills and thoroughly enjoy exploring the sensory materials available.

On Friday, we celebrated Jackson’s birthday! We were very grateful that he had brought in a birthday cake to share with his friends and so in the afternoon, of course we had to have a little party for him, with music, dancing and lots of cake!!! Happy Birthday Jackson!

Here comes the sun!

Last week the children in Otter Class had lots of fun getting out in the sunshine and exploring a variety of different continuous provision activities.

The children loved our Handa’s Surprise themed sensory tuff trays; exploring different environments and animals through small world play and messy play with oats and cornflour slime! Sensory activities such as this, enable the children to embed learnt knowledge from the story, and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

We took advantage of the sunshine and had a lovely picnic snack time in the afternoon! The children loved being out in the sunshine and enjoyed some wonderful water play and sensory play outside on the playground.

On Thursday afternoon, we continued to work on our sculpting skills during our Art session, focusing on the Life Cycle of a Butterfly. The children have continued to work on their ‘Egg rolling’ skills to create butterfly eggs and have shown great focus and care over their creations. We also really love dancing along to the Hungry Caterpillar song in the background!

The world around us!

This week the children in Otter Class got to grips with nature and the world around us! We started the week celebrated Earth Day! The children made some beautiful Earth painting, making sure to practise their communication skills in requesting which colour paint they wanted to use.

We also had a wonderful surprise addition to our class on Tuesday! Tilly the Tortoise! The children loved having her in our class for the morning; showing great curiosity and care for the animal as she explored the classroom. This linked in beautifully with our topic focus – Handa’s Surprise, in which we have been exploring animal furs and textures. The children were gentle in exploring the tortoise shell and showed lovely patience as she made her way around the classroom.

During our weekly PE session, the children continued to work on their shared play and turn taking skills. We continued our parachute team games and took turns in rolling balls down a ramp to knock over skittles. It was lovely to see all the children come together for the parachute games; working together to bounce the bean bags off the parachute, and show some patience in waiting for their turn on the ramps. We will continue to develop these vital social skills.

For our Baby session this week, the children focused on the basic need – Cuddles. The children were given verbal instructions to wrap the baby in a blanket and cradle it gently. Some children required a little modelling but all children showed a degree of independence during this task, showing that they had remembered what they needed to do and could follow the instructions given. We worked towards embedding a deeper understanding on the task through symbol matching and making choices. The children were shown the ‘Cuddles’ symbol and a random symbol to see if they could identify the correct symbol. We also practised symbol recognition through a matching booklet. We are so proud of how hard the children have been working during these sessions!

We continued our topic story – Handa’s surprise! This week the children tried the next fruit in the story, Guava! We practised exchanging the Guava symbol to receive a cup of juice to try. All the children did so well with the symbol exchange process and were brave enough to taste a little of the juice! It was very yummy!