Nursery News 16.11.2020


16th November 2020 – Edition 206

Find out About:

A: Covid-19 Review.

B. 3+ Enrolment.

C. Job Vacancy- Teaching Assistant Level 1- Lunchtime support.

D. School Photographer.

E. What the children are learning this week.


A: Covid-19 Review.

We constantly review our practice at Willow, in order to improve organisational strategies and the experiences for the children. We have government advice which we must follow on a day to day basis throughout the pandemic. We have a risk assessment which we review and update as necessary.

So what have we achieved?

Firstly, I want to thank all the parents for being so supportive with all the measures we have put in place. The Arrival and Departure routines are working well. The children arrive and depart in a certain order so that we can fill each classroom in turn for registration. On Wednesdays, we try to send home all Main Nursery children’s artwork, because that is the day that everyone is in. Staff have to help their keyworker children find their coats and belongings at the end of the session, help them to dress, and then take artwork from individual folders to give to individual children to take home. Parents may have found out that the going home process on Wednesdays takes a little longer because of this additional task.

The children follow our extensive hand washing routines. They are aware of the need to Catch it, Kill it, Bin it, using our tissue stations to blow their nose and dispose of the tissues in specific tissue bins in each classroom.

We are finding that we have less colds circulating, we have less snotty noses than we usually have at this time of year! The staff feel that there is a more hygienic than normal school environment because of these strategies and because people are mixing less in their home environments. So all good.

We have assessed all the children in Main Nursery against all curriculum areas. There are some materials that we are not allowed to play with at the moment during the pandemic. Children are not allowed to share malleable materials such as playdough or clay. We are not allowed to use materials that children could put their hands into, add germs, then another child puts their hands into and pick up the germs. We are really missing playdough! The children learn lots about shape and quantity from rolling, chopping, shaping, and stretching dough. These physical movements help strengthen hands in readiness for writing. Children learn to share with playdough. Children play imaginatively with playdough, often making cakes and cookies. So, if possible, we would encourage all parents to try and provide playdough/ plasticine at home, or even have a go at making some simple flour and water dough together. I know it is messy, but the children really need this experience. It is a gap in their experience. We are also not allowed to play with sand, again because germs stay in the sand and it cannot be washed. The children are really missing digging!

Some materials and opportunities are restricted here during Covid 19, but the staff try hard to think of innovative ways of working, to give children a broad experience of the curriculum.

So what are we focussing on?

Some children missed a whole term of school between May and July, in both Main Nursery and Catkins class. We are determined to help children catch up with any experiences that they missed. Our aim is to give this years children all the skills and expertise they need to progress successfully to their next stage of education.

What can be improved?

Both our local schools: Hadrian Academy and The Vale Academy, now ask all parents to wear a face mask when dropping their children off to school.

There are positive Covid 19 cases recorded in the Dunstable Icknield Ward (the council ward our school is in) on the Central Bedfordshire Council website.

Advice is that face masks should be worn if Social Distancing of 2 metres cannot be maintained. There is no way all our families can queue outside with a 2 metre distance between families. If we asked that, families would be queuing right down the path to the Vale Academy! So we would ask where social distancing is not possible parents consider wearing masks.

Some parents wait over the road and join their colour group queue when their child’s keyworker arrives to take children in. This is very sensible. At Parent Consultations we were reminded that some parents are Clinically Vulnerable and should be shielding, but they want their children to access education. Please be aware of others need to social distance, when everyone is waiting outside. Overall I am pleased with our school’s community spirit. I see only courteous, polite and thoughtful behaviour. Please may it continue.


B. 3+ Enrolment.

Government advice is that Early Years Bubbles can be of any size, but where possible year groups should be kept apart where possible. We have adopted this way of organising the children, which is different to how we would usually operate. The children leaving us in July 2021 all attend the Main Nursery and have formed one Bubble. We decided that no younger children would join Main Nursery, in order to establish and maintain, a consistent group throughout the year.

In January we have another cohort of children joining the school, those children who turn three between September and December 2020. These children will leave Willow in July 2022. In past years these children would have joined Main Nursery. This year the children will form a Bubble based in Catkins Class. Additional classroom space, Room 3 has been allocated to this Bubble.

Recently, parents of children in Catkins class who will be three by the end of December 2020 (Blue Group), were asked to choose an option for their child’s attendance pattern from January 2021. All parents have been allocated their child’s first choice, (including the 30 hour option if this was requested.)

Similarly, parents of children in Catkins class who become three between January 2021 and March 2021 (Orange Group), were asked to choose an option for their child’s attendance pattern from April 2021. All parents have been allocated their child’s first choice. (including the 30 hour option if this was requested.)

I will write to all Blue and Orange group parents individually to confirm your child’s attendance pattern.

Children in these age groups on our waiting list have been invited to enrol, and to choose an attendance pattern for their child. This part of the enrolment process is now complete.


C. Job Vacancy- Teaching Assistant Level 1- Lunchtime support.

Due to the induction of more children in January, we now need some help at lunchtime in Catkins class. We would like to employ a Level 1 teaching assistant, from 11:00am to 12:30pm Monday to Friday, term time only, from January 2021 to the end of term in July 2021. The rate of pay will be £9.25 per hour.

The job may suit one of our parents, as no formal childcare qualifications are required. Your experience of bringing up your own child is sufficient experience.

The role requires supporting Catkins children outside in the playground from 11:00 to 11:30 with other Catkins staff. You would then help settle the children for lunch. You would support four of the youngest children to eat their packed lunch, and then help them beginning to play at the start of the afternoon session.

If you are a Main Nursery parent, and you are interested in the job, we would be able to accommodate your nursery age child at lunchtime to allow you to work. For example, if your child attends mornings at Willow we would look after your child until you finish lunch duty at 12.30, then they would go home with you. Similarly, if your child attends for 2 ½ days, your child could arrive with you at 11 o’clock on the days you need to work, on the days your child doesn’t normally attend, and be looked after by Nursery staff until 12.30 when you would go home together.

If you are a parent in Catkins class, and interested in the position, we may be able to help with childcare, but staff ratios in Catkins are tighter.

If anyone is interested please get in touch with me, Mrs Davies, this week. There is an application form to complete, and there would be a short interview. If this

newsletter does not generate any interest in the position, I will have to advertise more widely. We are a friendly group of staff, I hope it would be a nice job for someone!


D. School Photographer

Our school photographer spent quality time with all the children to capture good images. She remained 2 metres away from all the children, so special thanks must go to the classroom staff who supported the photographer, as they were responsible for organising children into position, adding props and trying to get the children to smile.

Proofs of the photos will be returned in about a weeks time. Parents can take the proofs home with an order form. Orders are to be returned to the school by a specific date. This will be advised on the order form. I will update with more information next week.


E. What the children are learning this week.

Catkins will be focussing on the song ‘Five Currant Buns in the Bakers Shop’. Children will be doing lots of counting with the song. Children learn about ‘subtracting’ using these repetitive songs. Children will be learning about Matching pictures.

Main Nursery will be talking about their local community. We will be talking about what they see on their way to school, and they will have the opportunity to make some 3D representations of local shops using box modelling materials. Mrs Patterson will be organising a role play supermarket. We will use boxes and packaging, baskets and trolleys, cash registers, play money, pretend credit cards, purses and bags. It will be very popular! We expect the stock to be sold out in minutes! Miss Howe plans to take the children bug hunting in the garden. There are plans to go digging for worms! Children will have clip boards and complete an Autumn hunt, having a check list of things to look for, making marks on a tally sheet to record how many of these things they have found.