Nursery News 22.2.2021

NURSERY NEWS

22nd March 2021 – Edition 220

Find out About:

A. Covid 19 update

B. Our video room tours.

C: What the children are learning about this week

 

A: Covid 19 update.

There are some documents produced by the Department for Education, at Central Government, which we, as a Nursery School MUST follow in response to Covid 19. The main document is called

 

‘Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’

What childcare services early years settings, childminders and local authorities need to provide during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This is the document we refer to when we are informed that a pupil or staff member has tested positive for Covid 19. It lists the steps we must take, and who we must inform. The government has also produced a document that guides us through what we should do in all the stages of someone showing symptoms of, or testing positive for Covid 19.

 

‘What to do if a child or adult is displaying symptoms, or is a confirmed case, of coronavirus (COVID-19) in an early years setting’

February 2021

 

The following information (in blue type) has been copied directly from the above document. My aim is to share with parents the decision processes we have to take in school with regard to deciding who should self isolate, and for how long.

 

Child or staff members who test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)

1. Contact the child or staff member who has tested positive

You need to find out if they attended your setting during the infectious period. The infectious period is 2 days before their symptoms started (or their test date if they did not show any symptoms) to at least 10 days after.

 

Confirm that they must not attend your setting for at least 10 full days from the day after the start of their symptoms or test date if they did not have any symptoms (whether this was a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) or Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test).

If they did not attend your setting during the infectious period, you do not need to take any further action.

 

2. Identify close contacts of the child or staff member who has tested positive

If they attended your setting during the infectious period, you need to identify potential contacts during this period following the guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

‘A contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 whether this was a LFD or PCR test. You can be a contact anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others.

In nursery settings, a close contact is defined as : a child or staff member who has shared a room with a child or staff member who has shown symptoms or received a positive test result.

We share information about all positive cases with The Local Authority- Central Bedfordshire Council.

We have been informed that taking a Lateral Flow Test in a government test centre, by a trained individual, provides a reliable positive test result, and should be treated the same as taking a PCR test, which is sent away to a test lab.

The Local Authority also advised us that pupils and staff who have been sent home to isolate will have differing lengths of isolation periods, dependent upon when they last had contact with the confirmed positive case.

IMPORTANT…

So if you received an email informing you that your child should isolate for 10 days, the end time for this isolation will depend upon when your child last had contact with the confirmed positive case. We were advised by the Local Authority that:

All those children and staff who last attended the Catkins/Blue Group Bubble on: Tuesday 16th March should self isolate until 23:59pm on Friday 26th March, and for those staff/children that last attended the Catkins/Blue Group Bubble on Thursday 18th March they should isolate until 23:59pm on Sunday 28th March.

Unfortunately, this means that all the staff in this bubble will be isolating, so this is why the bubble had to close.

 

Moving Forward:

If anyone telephones the school office for advice, we would always advise that a child with covid symptoms:

A continuous cough, or high temperature,

Should stay at home and get a test.

If a child is attending Nursery and the staff feel that a child is exhibiting these symptoms, then the child will be safely isolated from other staff and children until a parent can collect them. This is something that we have done in the past.

The main thing is that children who are not well are not sent in to school.

We do get a number of phone calls from parents who aren’t sure what to do. I would suggest that if you are questioning your child’s health in this way then they should really stay at home.

Isolating a bubble has a big impact in the Catkins/ Blue Group bubble as so many children attend for a small number of sessions. In this particular circumstance, 27 children 5 staff and a trainee have been required to isolate.

 

B. Our video room tours.

An update:

There are now three video tours on our website. To find them, go to www.willownursery.co.uk.

Click on the ‘School Information Tab’

Then click on ‘About’

Video Tour Room 1

Video Tour Room 3

Video Tour Catkins (2 year olds) Room

My most recent slideshow, showing the space that is solely used by the two year olds. They share the link area, and the garden with the slightly older 15 hour funded children. The Catkins area is specifically set up to be safe for our youngest pupils, with toys and equipment aimed at two year olds.

C: What the children are learning about this week

This week we are exploring the theme of Easter. We explore the religious side of the Christian Easter celebration. We retell the Easter story, explaining to children that this is a story that some families believe to be true. We also look at the ideas of ‘New Life’ that Easter brings, considering that this is the time of year when lambs are born on farms.

NURSERY NEWS

15th March 2021 – Edition 219

 

Find out About:

A. The MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.

B. Our Caretaker is retiring!

C. Our video room tours.

D: What the children are learning about this week

 

A: The MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.

Are your family up to date with the MMR vaccine?

Most of us know that measles can make children very poorly, but did you know that measles can also lead to life threatening complications if you are not vaccinated. Central Bedfordshire Council, in collaboration with Public Health, are encouraging parents and carers to find out if their family are fully protected against measles. It’s difficult to know which services are available during the current pandemic, but parents can be confident that the MMR vaccination is not affected by Covid. If a child is due to have their vaccination, or has missed one, they are available through your GP.

 

How many doses of the vaccination do children need to be fully protected?

The MMR vaccine is given in two doses, the first dose of the vaccine is at 1 year of age with the second being given at 3 years and four months. If you’re older children have missed their second, don’t panic! They can be vaccinated and protected. Get in touch with your GP to find out how.

 

Missed a vaccination?

If a child has missed a vaccination, don’t worry, you can contact your GP to arrange a new appointment during the Covid pandemic. A catch-up vaccine is also available.

For further information on the MMR vaccine, get in touch with your local GP or visit the NHS website.

 

B. Our Caretaker is retiring!

Mr Wilbourne, our caretaker is retiring at Easter. We are looking for a new Caretaker. We are advertising the position on the ‘Academy for Central Bedfordshire’ Jobs website, where local schools advertise current job vacancies. So, please spread the word to family and friends, as we need to find someone able to keep our school clean and safe.

The application pack is available on our school website.

 

School Caretaker/Cleaner/Handy Person

Job Title: School Caretaker/Cleaner/Handy Person

School Name: Willow Nursery School

Location: Goldstone Crescent, Dunstable, LU5 4QU

Salary Range: NJC level 2, scale 4-6 £9.81-£10.21 per hour term time

position pays between 45.2 weeks per year to 46.4 weeks per year dependent on number of

years of service within the local authority.

Hours: 20 hours per week split shift. 4 Hours per day, term time only

(to include unlocking the school by 7.30am and locking the school in the evening)

Suggested hours 6am-7.30am, 3.30pm-6pm (can be negotiated)

Contract Type: Permanent. To begin as soon as possible!

Closing Date: Wed 24th March 2021

Interview Date: Week beg Tue 6th April 2021

We are looking for a hardworking, flexible, self-motivated person to be our school

caretaker/cleaner/handy person due to the retirement of our current caretaker.

Main Purpose of role:

· To carry out general maintenance and minor repairs

· To clean the school daily

· To unlock and secure the school on a daily basis

· To carry out regular tests for water temperature and fire alarm systems

· To be the main key holder

 

We are a dedicated and committed team of early year’s specialists who are passionate about what we

do. We aim to give our children the very best care and education in a positive, clean, fun environment. If

you take pride in your work and you want to be part of something ‘Outstanding’, then please apply.

This school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and

expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. The successful candidate will have to meet

the requirements of the Person Specification in order to be offered the post. DBS Disclosure at

Enhanced Level and a qualification check are required for this post

How to apply:

For further details and an application pack, please visit the school website at: www.willownursery.co.uk, and click on school information – vacancies. We will accept electronic or paper applications. Electronic applications to be sent to the email address below. Paper copies to be sent to Willow Nursery School, Goldstone Crescent, Dunstable, Beds, LU5 4QU. Or contact: Name: Trina Evans Tel: 01582 662600 Email: office@willownursery.co.uk

 

C. Our video room tours.

An update:

There are now two video tours on our website. To find them, go to www.willownursery.co.uk.

Click on the ‘School Information Tab’

Then click on ‘About’

Video Tour Room 1

A room used by the Main Nursery Children (All the children that will leave us in July 2021) All Main Nursery children head here first thing in the morning to hang up their coats. They then have their register taken with their Keyworker. Yellow Group have their register time here with Miss Howe. Main Nursery children are then able to have free flow play inside and outside for most of the day. Main Nursery Children use the space in Room 1, Room 2, Room 5 and Outside.

 

Video Tour Room 3

A room used by the 3+ age group of children who joined us in January 2021, and the 3+ group who will join us in April 2021. These children are those who are entiltled to the universal 15 hours of funded education, who will leave us in July 2022.

This is the room where Blue and Orange group head to first thing in the morning to hang up their coats. They have their register taken here with their Keyworker.

There is a smaller room which links Room 3 to Catkins class, so we call this room ‘The Link’. The Link is used by both Catkins Class and Blue and Orange groups. It is a messy play area, where water play and art activities take place. The Link is included in the Video Tour Room 3.

Blue and Orange group use the space in Room 3, the Link and Outside.

Next Video Tour:

To begin with, I am trying to produce one Video Tour for each age group, so my next will be for Catkins Class.

I will then go back and complete Room 2, Room 5 and Outside, in coming weeks.

 

D: What the children are learning about this week

It is so nice to have most of the children in now, since the wider reopening of schools. I will try to give information every week about the themes children will be particularly learning about. We make a plan for the whole year, looking at themes in a particular order, so the children’s experiences build on prior knowledge.

Main Nursery have covered learning all about themselves, their family and people who help us. We now spend quite a few weeks looking at favourite Fairy Tales to stimulate their learning. In the last few weeks we have covered ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘The Gingerbread Man’ and this week we will be moving onto the ‘Three Little Pigs’. The texts in these stories are very repetitive, and they help children to grow in confidence when beginning to read. They may not be able to read words, but, from memory, they would be able to join in with the repeated refrains in the story, that would go along with the illustrations. In this way, children begin to feel that they are reading the book. With each book we look at connected themes. With the Three little Pigs we look at the theme of building, and the use of materials. We look at the power of the wind, which is quite timely with all this windy weather we have been having. The children chose to explore making kites at the end of last week. So we had lots of kite flying in the garden, with strings and kites getting tangled together. We had crying when kites blew off strings. We had lots of discussion about how we could repair the kites and to think of strategies to improve them.

 

Blue Group and Catkins, will be having a hospital role play area. We have a small bed, bandages, medical tools, a light box with real x rays to look at and lots of resources to stimulate talking, reading and writing. Adults will join the children in role play. Adults will model being a doctor, nurse, patient and receptionist. They will encourage children to try out different roles. Adults will use correct language for the medical tools for the children to hear whilst they are playing. Adults will model how to create story scenarios within the role play.

We will be reading Dr Maisy- A Maisy Mouse story book. It is a very basic story that introduces medical characters. Children will represent x-ray images, making cotton bud collages on black paper to represent bones. This should begin a discussion about their skeleton.

NURSERY NEWS

8th March 2021 – Edition 218

 

Find out About:

A: The Wider Reopening of Schools.

B. Jolly phonics

C. Video Tours.

 

A: The Wider Reopening of Schools.

Today we see the wider reopening of schools. We knew that many of our pupils who have been at home for the past 9 weeks were likely to return when our local Primary Schools re-opened. We are very pleased to see that most children have returned. The children are very aware of who has been missing from their colour groups and it is lovely to see the children welcoming their friends back enthusiastically. They settle down to play together really quickly.

We have had two blue group children start today who were due to start in January, and we are very pleased to meet them. As I am writing this, they are busy exploring their play space, one is playing in the water tray and the other has ventured out into the garden.

It is very pleasing to hear the children’s voices, all busy creating play with each other.

 

It will be busier outside school now. Please do your best to be on time and we can keep our systems running smoothly.

Be kind to each other and help to keep all our children safe.

There will be additional cars passing our school now that the Vale Academy and Hadrian Academy are fully opened. Please take care.

 

 

B:Jolly phonics

For those children that have just returned:

We began teaching the children one phonic sound per week from the 1st February. So far we have taught the sounds s,a,t and i. Please click on the attachment sent with this newsletter to access the Jolly Phonics sound sheets for the sounds s,a,t,i.

 

click here for ‘s’

 

Click here for ‘a’

 

Click here for ‘t’

 

Click here for ‘i’

 

We sent out detailed information regarding our phonics program in the Nursery News Edition 214 1st February. This is still accessible on our website.

 

C. Video Tours

Government advice is that parents should drop children at the school gate. Whilst this system is operating well I am aware that the number of parents who have not seen inside our school is growing with each new intake of children. In pre-Covid times I would personally show parents around our school, and answer any questions

parents may have. In this way I was able to meet most families before enrolment, and I was able to find out what was important for each family, and what they wanted for their child during their time at Willow.

 

The government recommends that we keep parents in touch with what is going on in school by electronic means. As a school we have always protected our pupils by choosing not to publish images of our pupils on our website.

 

I have decided to try and make some slide show/ video room tours to show the interior of the school. I have produced a video tour of Room 1, a room used by the Main Nursery children.

My aim is to produce a video tour of each teaching area at Willow and publish them on our website, and / or add them to our newsletter.

 

Whilst I have the skills to produce these slide shows etc, as a staff we are not very ‘Tech-y’ so please bear with us. We hope to get our first room tour on our website today, if not we will have to get some help from our ICT Technical support service that we buy into, so there could be some delay.

 

If I can get this system working I hope to show regular slideshows of all the work going on in school. So fingers crossed….

NURSERY NEWS

1st March 2021 – Edition 217

Find out About:

A: Dunstable Locality Children’s Centre

 

A: Dunstable Locality Children’s Centre.

It is difficult, as a parent, to make connections with other parents at the moment due to the pandemic. We know traditional Parent and Baby Groups are not operating as they normally would. Often having a chat with other parents can help parents feel less isolated.

 

The Central Bedfordshire Council organises services for children and families at their children’s centres.

Dunstable has two Children’s Centres:

1. Westfield road, Dunstable LU6 1DW Telephone: 0300 300 8106

2. Oakwood Avenue, Dunstable LU5 4AS Telephone 0300 300 8104

 

The Children’s Centres usually run lots of face to face sessions, but during the pandemic they have moved to offering online sessions.

The Children’s Centre co-ordinator has asked us to share the Children’s Centre Virtual Timetable with all our parents.

(Please see the attached PDF document for the full timetable.)

 

Here are some of the sessions that the Children’s Centre are running virtually which are suited for preschool aged children:

 

Chattertots – For support in speech and language.

 

SEND coffee morning- A support group for parents with children with additional needs to get support and advice from our Children’s Centre SEND professionals.

 

Bookstart Story and Rhyme – Is a 3 week course for families to attend and will receive a free Bookstart pack once the course is completed.

 

Time for Two’s- A 5 week course for two year olds which supports their development. They will receive an activity pack, delivered each week to use in the session.

 

Parent Puzzle- A parenting course for families to attend.

 

Also there are other sessions that parents may find helpful, an Antenatal support group, a 3x 1 hour post natal course, or just a weekly coffee morning session on a Friday.

If you are interested in ‘virtually’ attending any of these sessions, give the centres a call, or look on Facebook: Dunstable Locality Children’s Centre

 

For the timetable, please click here

NURSERY NEWS

22nd February 2021 – Edition 216

Find out About:

A: Planning for Summer Term.

B. Parent Consultations: (Reminder)

C. Job vacancy: Level 3 Early Years Practitioner

 

A: Planning for Summer Term.

We are pleased to note that the Prime Minister will be making an announcement today, Monday 22nd February regarding his roadmap to end lockdown. Older children will be returning to primary/secondary schools, and we realise that some of our pupils who have been at home up to this point will begin to return over coming weeks. Whilst we are fully open for everyone, we would appreciate knowing what your plans are if you are considering returning your child to Willow. Please just give us a call/ send an email if you have decided on a return date for your child.

Children who have been at home for a while will need to re-settle to Nursery life when they return.

We still have a number of children who should have started in January, who are only just beginning to attend, or are still choosing to be at home.

Our settling in period has become prolonged across the entire term.

We will be inducting a new group of children ‘Orange Group’ who become entitled to 15 or 30 hours of funded education from the beginning of the Summer Term. We have 7 Orange Group already here in Catkins Class and 8 new pupils will join them from our waiting list.

Some Main Nursery Parents have asked for additional sessions for their child during the Summer Term. This will not be possible. At the moment, as a staff, we are still too vulnerable to being asked to self isolate. This puts a strain on our capacity. I would not want to overfill the school then make us at risk of closing due to not having enough staff to maintain staff to pupil ratio’s.

In Catkins Class, for our youngest 2 year olds, we feel unable to offer additional sessions to our children who already attend, as we still have a number of very young two year olds who need to settle in. We will however, in a few weeks’ time begin looking at a Catkins timetable for September, so we will be able to forward plan booking spaces for September. I just need to recruit a new member of the Catkins team, before being able to proceed with this. (See attached advert.)

 

 

B. Parent Consultations: (Reminder)

Reminder: Consultations for all the 3+ children will take place this week, between 3.00-5.00pm.

Yellow Group, Speaking with Miss Howe. Monday 22nd February 2021.

 

Green Group, Speaking with Mrs Patterson. Tuesday 23rd February 2021.

 

Blue Group, Speaking with Miss Gaffney Wednesday 24th February 2021,

 

Red Group, Speaking with Miss Skai Thursday 25th February 2021.

Appointments have been pre-arranged. Staff will call you at the appropriate time.

 

If Covid impacts upon these arrangements in any way, we will reschedule the appointments for the same time and day, but a week later.

 

C Job Vacancy: Level 3 Early Years Practitioner.

 

Job Vacancy- Willow Nursery School

Job Title: Level 3 Early Years Practitioner

School Name: Willow Nursery School

Location: Goldstone Crescent, Dunstable, LU5 4QU

Salary Range: NJC levels 5-6 £10.01 per hour

Hours: 8.30am – 3pm Wed-Fri, term time only.

Contract Type: Maternity Cover Fixed Term from April 2021 – end March 2022

Closing Date: Fri 5th March 2021

Interview Date: Week beg 15th March 2021

 

We are looking for a qualified level 3 early year’s practitioner to join our team looking after our youngest children in our two-year-old class.

Main Purpose of role:

· To become a key worker for a small number of two year olds.

· To observe children in their play and plan the next steps for their learning, taking into account the early year’s foundation stage curriculum.

· To work as part of a small team to maintain a child friendly and safe environment.

· To keep detailed records of children’s development.

· To liaise with parents.

· To carry out all aspects of children’s care.

 

We are a dedicated and committed team of early year’s specialists who are passionate about what we do. We aim to give our children the very best care and education in a positive, fun environment. If you want to be part of something ‘Outstanding’, then please apply. This school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. The successful candidate will have to meet the requirements of the Person Specification in order to be offered the post. DBS Disclosure at Enhanced Level and a qualification check are required for this post

How to apply:

For further details and an application pack, please visit the school website at: www.willownursery.co.uk, and click on school information – vacancies. We will accept electronic or paper applications. Electronic applications to be sent to the email address below. Paper copies to be sent to Willow Nursery School, Goldstone Crescent, Dunstable, Beds, LU5 4QU. Or contact: Name: Trina Evans Tel: 01582 662600 Email: office@willownursery.co.uk

NURSERY NEWS

8th February 2021 – Edition 215

Find out About:

A: .Staffing updates.

B. Parent Consultations: (Reminder)

C. February Half Term Holiday.

D. Creative Play

E Box Modelling

 

 

A: Staffing Updates

Miss Howe will be absent from school from Wednesday 3rd February to Wednesday 10th February. Her daughter’s bubble at school has closed. Miss Howe has to be at home to look after her.

 

B. Parent Consultations: (Reminder)

Reminder: Catkins Consultations for two year olds are scheduled to take place on Friday 12th February between 1:00pm and 2:30pm. Appointments have been pre-arranged. Staff will call you at the appropriate time.

 

C. February Half Term Holiday.

Half Term Holiday is fast approaching. The school will be closed from Monday 15th February to Friday 19th February. The best place to find School holiday dates for our school and other schools in Central Bedfordshire is on the Central Bedfordshire Council website. Type ‘Central Beds Academic Calendar’ into your search engine, and it will take you to the following pages:

https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/3/schools_and_education/529/school_term_and_holiday_dates_in_central_bedfordshire

 

D. Creative Play

At Willow, we engage in lots of Creative play with the children. Lots of play can be considered Creative play, from role play, to dance and movement activities, arts and crafts, music and messy play. We can continue with most activities during the pandemic, but some activities have to be avoided to reduce the potential spread of the virus. One type of play that has been affected is malleable play, using playdough, clay, and other malleable materials. It is not possible to use these materials during any kind of infectious outbreak, the idea being that children could be kneading and poking their germs into the playdough, and then these germs could then be passed on to other children who share the playdough.

We usually have playdough available every day in our normal working conditions, but for the past year we have not been able to provide it. We feel this is a great loss to the children. So much so, that Mrs Patterson has decided to teach the children about playdough this week. Mrs Patterson has made a big batch of ‘home made’ playdough. She has decided to work with small groups of children, no more than 8 at a time, to learn about playdough. Each child will be provided with their own individual portion of playdough. They will have their own workspace at a table, and their own tools. Children will be made very aware that they must not touch each others playdough.

(I have just been in to the room that they are working in. They are so engaged in what they are doing. There were some ‘cakes’ being made. Others were decorating their dough with jewels. Some were investigating how to shape their dough using tools and cutters.)

Children will then bring home their dough. Mrs Patterson will attach our playdough recipe to the bag, so you can have a go at making it at home too, if you’d like to try.

Main Nursery children will be having an opportunity to take part in these playdough workshops at some time during this week.

Malleable play is so important for children’s mathematical development. They become aware of size, shape, weight and how these can change. By manipulating the dough, they find out a small ball of dough, can be rolled into a very long thin sausage, or can be squashed to make a flat, round plate shape. This learning is best done hands on in an investigational way. Children learn about quantity, filling a 12 hole bun tin with blobs of playdough, sharing and adjusting the amount of dough into portions, in order to make 12. Children strengthen their finger muscles by manipulating dough, helping to make hands ready to hold a pencil, ready to write. Slamming a lump of dough down hard onto a table, or hammering the dough with a wooden mallet is great for stress relief! Using tools to shape the dough encourage children’s fine motor control. Playing with playdough covers all areas of the curriculum!#

 

E Box Modelling

Another area of creative play which the children really enjoy is box modelling. This is something the children in Main Nursery can explore every day. We have a box modelling area that is full of resources for the children to join together using glue and sellotape to make 3D creations. We rely on parents to bring in recyclable materials from home for the children to be able to build. I was wondering if parents would be able to collect some materials at home, to bring in to school for us to use in our box modelling area. We will quarantine all materials provided before giving them to the children to use.

Things we can use:

Empty boxes- Generally Cereal boxes or smaller, Toothpaste boxes and small boxes intrigue the children.

Empty toilet roll tubes.

Washed empty yogurt pots, bottle tops, foil cake cases, margarine tubs.

NURSERY NEWS

1st February 2021 – Edition 214

Find out About:

A: .Covid updates. Planning for The Summer Term April To July 2021

B. Mrs McGrath is expecting a baby!

C. Parent Consultations for: Green, Red and Yellow Group- Main Nursery, AND Blue Group (our January 2021 Intake). (via telephone).

D. Willow Nursery School Phonics Programme. Starts this week!

 

 

A: Covid updates.Planning for The Summer Term April To July 2021

A number of our families are choosing to keep their nursery children at home at this time due to the pandemic. All families have different situations. Some families are choosing to stay at home, to avoid mixing. Other families are home schooling older children and it is just not practical to do a school run for a nursery pupil when an older sibling is having a zoom lesson.

Some families are choosing to be at home until the wider reopening of schools. At first we believed this may have happened by the 22nd of February, but we now know this will not be the case. The earliest date for the wider reopening of schools will be the 8th of March. This may effect when our pupils choosing to be at home will return.

Impact on children who have free funded hours.-(Main Nursery Children and Blue group)

The Government understands that whilst we are open, not all parents are choosing to attend. We receive funding for all the children registered with us. So from a financial point of view we receive funding payments for individual children regardless of whether your child is attending or not at the moment.

Impact on our Two Year Olds who pay to attend:

As I have said in the past, this Spring Term will be unique. I will waiver fees for children not attending in Catkins Class due to parental choice, for this term only. Just before term started in January, the announcement came that the majority of schools would be closed to all but Keyworker and vulnerable children. Our parents had to make a very quick decision about how they wanted to proceed at Nursery. I did not want parents feeling pressured into their child having to attend Nursery because they had to pay for their child’s space.

Some time has passed now, but we are, as a community, still not sure when our local schools will reopen. I need to be practical, as the Catkins fees directly pay for the Catkins Staff. In this financial year we have lost £16,000 from Catkins Income.

We can afford this loss of income from this financial year, but this situation is not sustainable going forward into the next financial year.

I now need to think about, and make plans for the Summer Term, and indeed the new school year from September. From April, all spaces must be paid for whether your child attends nursery or not. The only exceptions will be if we close the school, or if your family is self isolating at home for 10 days due to a contact with an infected person, or a household member having covid.

However, I understand that some families will not be ready to send their children back to nursery. I have some suggestions for those families with children enrolled in Catkins class but currently choosing to keep their two year old children at home. Please consider the following options:

From April:

1) You can choose to withdraw your child from Catkins, so that they have no spaces booked. We could then contact you when your child is due to start free funded 15 or 30 hours, in the term after they turn three.

You could choose to re-enrol in Catkins at the beginning of a term in the future. School terms begin in September, January and April.

2) You can keep your current sessions in Catkins, but you will be expected to pay for all booked sessions from April throughout the Summer term.

3) You can choose to reduce the number of booked sessions in Catkins class. We would allow you to drop any number of sessions, even down to just one session per week. The session(s) booked would be regular booked sessions every week, and we would expect you to pay for these sessions from April throughout the summer term.

 

I will be contacting Catkins families, choosing to be at home at the moment, in the coming week, to ask what they plan to do from April onwards, and try to find a positive solution for all those involved.

 

B. Mrs McGrath is expecting a baby!

I have some lovely news to share, Mrs McGrath is going to have a baby at the end of May 2021. Mrs McGrath was planning to work right up to when the baby is due. However, the government guidelines ‘Action for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak.’ added further advice for pregnant staff in its January update. They advise that childcare workers who are pregnant move into the ‘Extremely Clinically Vulnerable’ category once they enter their third trimester of pregnancy (28 weeks) and so should work from home when they reach this point. So,Mrs Mc Grath will not be in school, and working from home from Friday 5th March 2021. In the meantime, we are trying to reduce her contacts as much as possible, so I am asking her to distance herself from parents at drop off and collection. You may pass on messages to her, via the other Catkins staff, or choose to communicate information by email, if you have something more detailed to say.

 

C.Parent Consultations for: Green, Red and Yellow Group- Main Nursery, AND Blue Group January 2021 Intake. (via telephone).

Please note, these Consultations are only for those families who are currently attending nursery. If you are choosing to keep your child at home at the moment, please do not make an appointment, as this consultation is for staff to discuss progress being made in school.

All 3+ Nursery age children (this includes blue group too) will have their parent consultations during week beginning 22nd February. We offer parent consultations once a term to all children in the 3+ age group.

As parents are unable to come into school at the moment due to the covid pandemic, we are following government guidelines and offering parent consultations on the telephone. Parents will have the opportunity to have a 5 minute phone consultation with their child’s keyworker.

We ask you to telephone the school office to make an appointment for your child.

Staff with have a list of times available. You may select an available time. Staff will ask you for some details: your name, your childs name, and the phone number you would like us to call you on for the consultation.

We have only one phone line at school so the consultations will be at the following times:

 

Yellow Group, Speaking with Miss Howe.

Monday 22nd February 2021. Appointments available from 3:00pm to 5:00pm

 

Green Group, Speaking with Mrs Patterson.

Tuesday 23rd February 2021. Appointments available from 3:00pm to 5:00pm

 

Blue Group, Speaking with Miss Gaffney

Wednesday 24th February 2021, Appointments available from 3:00 to 5:00

 

Red Group, Speaking with Miss Skai

Thursday 25th February 2021. Appointments available from 3:00pm to 5:00pm

 

If Covid impacts upon these arrangements in any way, we will reschedule the appointments for the same time and day, but a week later.

D. Willow Nursery School Phonics Programme

Phonics at Grouptime….

(for those children who leave us in July 2021 to go to primary school )

This week, staff begin our phonics program delivering structured phonics activities at grouptimes. Children will focus on learning one new sound each week. Every Wednesday, we will send home a worksheet introducing the new sound to be practiced. We use the Jolly Phonics program. Each letter has a name, a sound and an action. The sheet we send home explains this and shows you, their parents the

action to perform. Making a movement linked to a sound helps children to recall the sound. Please encourage your child to learn the new sound and action. Have a go at writing the letter shape and colour in the picture. Keep the sheets together, perhaps in an A4 ring binder. Learn the new sound each week, but also go over all the previous sounds.

Your children are still very young, so only do this with your child at an appropriate time and not for too long.

You need to present the activity to your child as a fun task that they should look forward to doing with you. ‘Little and often’ is a good way to learn letter sounds.

Information from Miss Howe regarding our phonics program:

‘Phonics’ is one tool children can use when they are beginning to learn to read and write.

The Department for Education (DfE) has produced a phonics resource called Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics. This resource splits the teaching of phonics into six phases. At Willow, we work on phase 1 activities all the time. Phase 1 describes using activities such as storytelling and singing songs, rhymes, music, role play and listening games. This will give the children opportunities to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do. Phase 1 activities are designed to underpin and run alongside activities in other phases. Phase 2 is an introduction to more formal phonics work and involves teaching the children sets of letters in a specified order. The first set of letters to be learnt are s.a.t.i.p.n because these letters make a greater number of words than any other 6 letters in the alphabet. We feel that the children at Willow are ready to begin focussing on letter sounds in a fun and practical way.

What are we going to do?

· Each child will participate in 1 x 25 minute phonic sessions each week

· We are going to begin teaching 6 letter sounds, s.a.t.i.p.n. and will continue with one letter sound each week until the end of the summer term

· We will teach the children that all letters have a name, and that these letters make a sound. For example: the letter S makes the sound ‘sss’

· We will use a mixture of songs, games, tongue twisters, art, drama and movement activities to teach the letter sounds.

We will use ‘Jolly Phonics’ with the children. Jolly Phonics is the name of a program used to teach phonics. Each week we will:

· Tell the children a story, which includes focussing on the sound we are trying to teach.

· Teach an action to represent the sound

· Send home a picture (linked to the story) for the children to colour, and they can practise writing the letter which represents the sound.

For example: The ‘s’ story involves finding a snake which goes ‘ssss’. The action for ‘s’ involves making a snaking movement with your hand and forearm and saying ’ssss’. The picture to take home is a picture of a snake

Helping at home:

The picture your child brings home will explain to you how to make the action to represent the sound. Talk with your child about what they have learned at school. Learn the actions along with your child. Making the movement may help your child to remember. Have fun!

 

Phonics

What is phonics?

Phonics is the word used to describe the sounds the letters make. In simple terms, the word ‘cat’ can be read from its three sounds: c-a-t.

These are not the names of the letters as we say them in the alphabet, but the sounds these letters make. The word ‘thick’ is made up of three sounds: th-i-ck, where pairs of letters combine to make a single sound. Similarly, ‘rash’ is made up of three sounds: r-a-sh.

There are 40+ sounds in English but only 26 letters that are used to represent these sounds.

The five basic skills for reading and writing are:

• Learning the letter sounds

• Learning the letter formation

• Blending

• Identifying sounds in words

• Spelling the tricky words

When reading, children need to understand the meaning of the words. Before they can do this, they have to be able to work out what the words say. The phonic skill for this is to look at the letters, say the sounds and hear the words. This is called blending.

The main phonetic skill for writing is to start with the spoken word, then listen, identify and write the sound in that word. The ability to hear the sounds in words is called phonological awareness. For example, with the word ’bin’ if you listen you hear the sounds ‘b……i….n’. Then if you know how to write those letter sounds, you

can write the word ‘bin’ without help. This is the opposite to the skill needed for blending.

The letters for the 42 Sounds of English

a ……ant, sand, caravan

ai……aim, aid, drain, (long a)

b……bat, bend, crab

c ……cat, cot, duck

d……dog, dip, sudden

e……egg, end, shed

ee……eel, creep, tree (long e)

f……fog, lift, fluff

g……goat, gap, digger

h……hop, hit, hill

i……ink, indian, drink

ie……pie, tie, die (long i)

j……jelly, jet, jumper

k……king, kind, kettle

l……leg, lost, shell

m……man, mill, shrimp

n……nut, nip, spin

o……orange, on, spot

oa……oak, oats, boat (long o)

p…….pig, pet, step

q……queen, quick, quin

r……run, rabbit, barrel

s…..sand, sun, twist

t……top, tug, mat

u…….up, under, lung

ue……due, Tuesday, cue

v……van, vet, give

w…..wind, went, swim

x…..x-ray, ox, flex

y……yell, yes, yellow

z……zoo, zebra, buzz

sh……ship, shop, wish

ch……chop, chick, much

th……this, then, with (voiced th)

th……thin, thick, thimble (unvoiced th)

ng……song, bang, string

oo……look, room, foot (little oo)

oo……moon, spoon, shoot (long oo)

ar……art, arm, start

er……kerb, stern, sister

or……order, corn, storm

oi……oil, ointment, spoil

ou……out, cloud,

NURSERY NEWS

25th January 2021 – Edition 213

Find out About:

A: Closure Processes, Methods of Communication

B. .Covid updates.

C. Catkins Children Parent Consultations.

D. Mrs Flynn is leaving.

 

A: Closure Processes, Methods of Communication

We have certain procedures to follow when we are informed that a pupil or member of staff receives a positive Covid 19 test result. We have to inform the Department for Education and Public Health England. They then email model letters out to us, to send to staff and parents. These model letters have to be checked and rewritten to suit our schools situation. There will always be one letter that we send to everyone to let them know that there has been Covid case in school. Last time there was also a second letter that we had to send to parents of children who had been a close contact of the confirmed case, advising parents their child should self-isolate. This process took two hours to complete, from receiving the phone call from the parent to sending the emails out.

Our quickest way of communicating to all parents is to send out a Groupcall text message. These messages are emergency alerts. The system is designed to send short messages. We may, in future, alert parents to positive covid situations using the Groupcall Alert. In all situations we would then send out the Department for Education letters by email, and then an update newsletter with an explanation of dates the positive covid case(s) attended.

 

B. Covid updates.

The new Covid variant is reported to be more transmissible. We have seen a rise in the number of families who are calling us to say that a parent has been a confirmed Covid case. I have decided to reduce as much risk of transmission as possible. We have seen how disruptive a single confirmed pupil covid case can be. We are trying very hard to ensure classroom staff have contact with only one bubble.

We have two staff teams school, one team working with the Main Nursery Bubble and one team working with the Catkins/Blue Group Bubble.

Mrs Davies and Miss Howe are trying to have no contact with each other, and managing one bubble each, so that in future, should one bubble close, there should be a manager available to stay in school and open for the other bubble. This plan will be compromised should any staff member have to be at home for any reason.

I am also trying to keep office staff away from all children and parents. So please be patient with us if you arrive late in the morning, when all keyworker staff are inside with their group. If a member of staff is looking reluctant to come close to your child it’s probably because they are working with the other bubble, or in the case of office staff, no bubble at all!

We can try our best.

 

C. Catkins Children- Parent Consultations (via telephone).

Each term we offer the opportunity for all parents to have a parent consultation with your child’s keyworker to share information about your child’s progress. We have a number of children not attending Catkins at the moment due to parental choice. These consultations will be scheduled for parents of Catkins children who are currently attending Nursery. These telephone consultations will take place on Friday 12th February, between 1:00pm and 2:30pm. One of the Catkins keyworkers, Mrs Brinkley, Miss Tyler or Mrs McGrath will call you at some time this week to arrange an appointment.

If Covid impacts upon these arrangements in any way, we will reschedule the appointments for a different day.

All 3+ Nursery age children (this includes blue group too) will have their parent consultations during week beginning 22nd February. We will announce booking arrangements for these consultations next week.

 

D. Mrs Flynn is leaving.

Mrs Flynn is leaving Willow to pursue a career opportunity within her family’s business. So, we are saying goodbye to her this week, as her last day will be on Friday 29th January. Mrs Flynn has been in post as School Secretary, for the past 4 years or so, and during that time has worked hard to help run a busy school office and help parents with any school related problems and queries. Her cheerful personality will be missed as she always does everything with a smile.

NURSERY NEWS

15th January 2021 – Edition 212

 

Find out About:

A: Willow Nursery School is closed.

B. .Why the school is closed.

C. What if I have paid fees for Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of January?

D. Letting us know if your child receives a positive test result whilst we are closed.

 

A: Willow Nursery School is closed.

The school is closed. We plan to reopen on Wednesday 20th January. Any updates will be posted on our website: willownursery.co.uk. Please look there for most up to date information.

 

B. Why the school is closed:

We have had one confirmed case of Covid 19. It is a pupil in the Main Nursery Bubble. Please understand we have to maintain confidentiality, and so cannot reveal the name of any confirmed cases. The child first began to show symptoms on Saturday 10th January. We received confirmation of a positive test result on Friday 15th January.

As a school we have a duty to contact the Department for Education/ Public Health England for advice.

We had to work out which children had shared a classroom with the confirmed case, when they were last in, and these children would have to self isolate for 10 days.

If your child was in on Thursday 7th January or Friday 8th January, and was in the Main Nursery Bubble, then your child should isolate for 10 days from Saturday 10th January (when the confirmed case had their first symptoms), until Tuesday 19th January.

Children who attended on 7th and 8th of January in the Catkins/Blue group Bubble, do not need to isolate, as they had no contact with the confirmed case. Normally they would be able to continue to attend school.

We have had to close the school, because 10 of our 14 staff had contact with the confirmed case, and therefore need to isolate.

We sent two letters out earlier today from Public Health England. One letter was sent to the parents of all children, to alert them to the fact that we have had a single

confirmed case of Covid 19.

A second letter was sent out to the parents of all the children considered to be a close contact of the confirmed case, advising that their child would need to isolate.

Please be aware that some parents have reported that some of these letters had been delivered to their Junk file on their email account.

The information given above in bold italics will allow you to work out for yourself if your child was a close contact of the confirmed case.

 

C. What if I have paid fees for Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of January?

All fees paid will be carried forward, if your child cannot attend a session because the school is closed.

 

D. Letting us know if your child receives a positive test result whilst we are closed.

If any child has symptoms, then takes a covid 19 test and receives a positive test result, please inform Mrs Flynn by email at: office@willownursery.co.uk

We would then go through this process again, advising parents if their child would need to self isolate.

If any further cases are reported, the school may stay closed for longer. Please check our website for further updates. We plan to reopen on the 20th January. If no further updates appear on our website, we will be open on the 20th January.

Please note that the school is physically closed. There will be no staff in school until the 20th January.

NURSERY NEWS

11th January – Edition 211

 

Find out About:

A: Willow Nursery School is open.

B. .Staffing updates.

C. Our January Intake.

D. Term Dates

E. Funding forms for the Local Authority must be signed by parents.

 

A: Willow Nursery School is open.

I hope you all had a restful break. I know the staff used the time to rest, and ready themselves for the Spring Term.

We are open, and we are operating in the same way that we were in December.

We have an in depth document, written by the government, that Early Years settings have to follow to keep staff, pupils and parents safe in this pandemic. This document is regularly updated. Scientists from the Sage committee say that even though we have a new covid variant that seems to be very contagious, we do not need to take additional measures to keep ourselves safe, we just need to continue with the same measures that were in place, but make sure we adhere to them very well. Remembering that regular handwashing is of utmost importance, trying to stay socially distanced wherever possible, and using face coverings where social distancing is not possible.

We are still following all the important rules to keep children safe.

We are still operating two bubbles. One bubble is all the children that will leave us in July 2021, the other bubble is all the children younger than this. Children still have free flow play, both inside and outside for most of the session and come together for a group story time or activity towards the end of their session.

We understand all families have different feelings and views about whether their children should attend Nursery or not at this time. We do understand.

We also know that individual parents views may change over time, so what you choose at the moment may change in the coming weeks. That is OK too.

Almost all parents have contacted us if they have chosen to keep their child at home at the moment. We are very grateful for this information. We have made a note of what each parent has advised, so we have an overall picture.

 

B. Staffing Updates

Miss Howe’s daughter is in Year 4. She attends her school as a Keyworker child. Her bubble was closed from today as a child in her class tested positive for coronavirus. Miss Howe’s daughter has to isolate for 10 days. We will see Miss Howe again on Tuesday 19th January.

As a school we are very vulnerable to closure.

We have two teachers, Miss Howe and Mrs Davies. A teacher must be on duty for the school to open. Both of us have primary aged children attending school in keyworker bubbles. We could end up with both of us having to be at home looking after our own children if both their bubbles close. In this scenario our school would close.

Mrs Davies and Miss Howe both work with the Main Nursery children every day. If we had a confirmed coronavirus case in the Main Nursery, either a child or member of staff, then the entire bubble would close. If Main Nursery bubble closes for everyone to isolate for 10 days, Miss Howe and Mrs Davies would both be sent home. In this scenario our school would close.

If a child or member of staff tested positive for coronavirus in the Catkins/ Blue group bubble, the bubble would close. In this scenario the school may be able to stay open, if Mrs Davies or Miss Howe were able to remain in school to manage the Main Nursery.

The important message to note here is our day to day vulnerability. We want to continue to provide care and education for the children that do attend. Please do not send in any children who are unwell in any way. If your child is ‘under the weather’, or ‘out of sorts’ please keep them at home. If your child becomes unwell at school, we will ask you to come and collect them.

Please help us to stay open. One staff member off, things become tight. Two staff off, things become difficult. Three staff off and we face closure due to staff shortage. So as parents, please behave in a covid secure way whenever possible. Please do not bend the covid rules during your daily lives.

 

C. Our January Intake.

We have just admitted 11 new starters, who have just turned three. These children, along with four children already attending Nursery make up Blue Group. Blue group is based in room 3, and they are looked after by their Keyworker, Miss Gaffney.

I’d like to welcome all these new families to our school.

 

D.Term dates:

Spring term begins Tuesday 5th January 2021.

Half term from 15th-19th February 2021

Term ends for Easter school holidays on Friday 26th March.

The best place to look for the most up to date Term dates is on the Central Beds Website. The Local Authority have been known to move school holidays to bring them in to line with neighbouring counties. I would always suggest double checking there before booking a holiday or other important event.#

 

E. Funding forms for the Local Authority must be signed by parents.

All parents that claim 30 hours funding for their child must sign a parent declaration form provided by the Local Authority, every term, to enable to school to receive the additional funding for their child. The majority of our parents were approached by the office staff during the last week of December to sign their child’s declaration form.

Some parents still need to sign their child’s form. For example, some parents have decided that they want to keep their child at home, in the short term, due to isolation, shielding, or personal choice. There are outstanding forms for about 12 children. The form is required by the Local Authority to confirm your child’s eligibility, and your child’s attendance pattern at Willow Nursery School.

This form must be signed for us to eventually receive the 30 hour funding. Failure to sign will mean your child will not receive 30 hour funding. Your child will then have to drop to attend for 15 hours only.

All forms must be signed by the 22nd January.

There are 3 options open to you. Note, with the first two options we will complete the information required on the forms, and you will need only to add your signature.

1) Drop into the school between 9am and 3pm to sign your child’s form in person.

2) We can scan and email the form to you electronically, for you to then sign, scan and return back to Mrs Flynn.

3) Complete an online form downloaded directly from the Local Authority (we will provide the link to the form). In this option parents must fill in all the information required on the form themselves, and submit directly to the council ( and then please inform the school office once this has been submitted.) As yet this form is not yet available, we anticipate it will be available by Monday 18th January. ACTION REQUIRED: Please email Mrs Flynn at mflynn@willownursery.co.uk to inform her of your preferred choice of method of completing your child’s form