Every month we share our planned activity ideas with you in our newsletter and on our noticeboard – sometimes your child wants to join in and sometimes they choose to do something else! We like to keep our planning flexible and, where possible, ‘in the moment’ linking closely to what your child wants to learn – we recognise that they are more likely to learn when they are interested and involved.
Alongside our planned activity ideas which are usually linked to the time of year and world festivals and celebrations we also support your child’s learning through:
- Individual planning – the suggestions we make – with you – for your child’s next steps. Individual planning is detailed in your child’s summary reports and we include activity ideas linked to individual planning on your child’s Play Plan, coming back to them regularly through the month and for as long as they are relevant.
- Our continuous provision – the toys and games your child can freely access inside the house and in the garden. These are often themed to a child’s interests or current learning styles – I will send you activity ideas if we notice particular schemas being used in your child’s play.
- Resources linked to current interests – if you tell us your child likes, for example, dinosaurs at home then we will set up a play scene or similar play invitation for them.
- Planted practitioner activities – where one of us sits with a game, toy or activity and plays, waiting for the children to take an interest in what we are doing. We spend as long with the activity as the children want and we extend it with language, maths, books, mark making and other provision areas to support their learning.
I have written about our planted practitioner approach for colleagues here – planted practitioner.
- Skills focus – each week we think about the skills your child needs to learn and we focus on them. For example, during last month our 3 year olds practiced scissor skills in lots of different areas of provision and our 2 year olds practiced pouring water – it was very messy and great fun!
- Our daily routine – the flow of our day: you should all have received an email about your child’s routine (this is a requirement of the EYFS). Daily routines include meal times, a short literacy (Letters and Sounds) and numeracy session, singing and dancing and lots of time for free, uninterrupted play.
We find lots of opportunities during the day to seize what is known as ‘the teachable moment’ – the time when your child is engaged and active and we can pop in some more learning.
During the last month we have observed children taking an interest in the following:
- Learning positional language in the garden – we have planned lots of treasure hunts with clues to teach words like over, under, through, in, out, above, to the side etc (Maths – shape, space and measure).
- Throwing and catching balls – we got out the bean bags, played hopscotch and skittles and made some hoops for the children to throw balls through and into (Physical development – gross motor skills).
- Expressing their feelings – we have feelings fans, posters and books and we have been talking about them with the children to help them learn how to express themselves using words rather than physical actions. We also have dolls who get themselves into a terrible feelings muddle sometimes and we chat together about how they can manage things better, telling stories and making up scenarios to teach the children in ways they understand (PSED – managing feelings and behaviour).
- Playing with the dolls – we have a pram, dolls clothes, bottles and food and the children have been role playing a lot in the garden and playhouse. To extend their learning we have replaced items from our dolls care bag (a small cloth bag with bits and bobs children can use during role play) – this has been well received by all the children and helped to extend their play (PSED – self-care).
- Talking about what they do at home – there aren’t any secrets when you have 2 and 3 year olds in the house!! Your children have told us about family Christmas plans, outings to see Santa, present wish lists and much more. We use what they tell us in our planning: for example, we set up a parcel wrapping station after a child told us that he was helping mum to wrap presents – and we took a group of children to the post office to see how the weighing scales work (Understanding the World – home and family lives).
Thank you – we have enjoyed receiving your home photos which we have used to prompt more conversations and then we have used children’s comments in our planning. You can send us photos through text, Whatsapp or email – we will always make good use of them!
- Making and doing jigsaws – we have been making our own jigsaws with the children cutting up cards and pictures and then attempting to put them back together again. This has meant us using a lot of glue… it’s on the shopping list in the New Year! The children have been doing some of our wooden jigsaws as well and we talk about sides, edges, curves, shapes, colour etc as we play together (Maths – shape, space and measures / Physical development – fine motor skills).
Resources request – if you want to recycle your Christmas cards please send the pictures to us – we will make good use of them for collages and more jigsaws.
- Cooking – as well as the normal routine cooking (preparing snack and making pudding) the children have been in the kitchen making mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas themed playdough, reindeer biscuits (they didn’t make it home!) and much more (maths).
Recipe request – please let us have your favourite home recipes so we can try them out here.
As I am sure you can see we are always busy here at Knutsford Childminding. We would love to hear more from you about what your child enjoys doing at home so we can continue to ensure our activities link to their interests and are developmentally appropriate.
Thank you. Sarah and Nige.