Nursery News 17.1.2022


17th January 2022 – Edition 248


Find out About

A. Thank you for your Patience….

B. Parent Consultations for Little Nursery.

C.Being on time.

D. What the children are learning about this week?



A. Thank you for your Patience….

Thank you to all parents for your understanding last week, when I had to make the difficult decision to close the school. We as a staff team had just been overwhelmed by Covid. Five staff, including myself tested positive for Covid 19 over the Christmas break. I tested positive on the day I was due to get my booster, so I did spend most of the Christmas break feeling pretty unwell. I don’t mind sharing about myself, but as for the other staff, this information should be kept confidential.

However of those 5 staff, 3 of us were still quite unwell by the time we were due to return, even though we had completed our 10 day isolation. On return 3 further staff tested positive for covid on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th . Staff were still unwell not able to come back and further staff were going off sick. We have strict adult to child ratios which we must adhere to: 1:13 adults to children when a teacher is on duty, and 1:8 when a teacher is not on duty.

Saturday 8th I received notification that another member of staff had tested positive.

We did not have enough staff to open safely. The staff that were available had also been close contacts to those who were now isolating.

I felt the school needed to close, to reboot, to get well. My plan was that it we closed completely for this short period then we should be able to open fully again and look after all children. The firebreak would stop staff transmission.

It was completely the correct decision. Some of us are still not ‘right’ bet we are all here pulling together to provide the best education we can for our children during this pandemic.

As I write this letter on Monday 17th January, all staff are present.


B. Parent consultations for Little Nursery

We plan to offer Parent Consultations (on the telephone) to parents of children in Little Nursery during the week beginning 31/01/22. Catkins staff will contact parents, either at the front gate at the beginning or end of sessions, or by telephone to arrange a suitable appointment time. Appointments will last no longer than 5 minutes.


Parent Consultations for Big Nursery children will follow later in the term: more details next week.



C. Being on time.

We are finding that more and more parents are arriving late in the mornings and this is becoming increasingly disruptive to the registration routines of the staff and the children.

We have well established drop off and collection routines. If parents arrive on time then we can all be safely inside by 8:55am.

We expect Little Nursery to arrive for 8:45am and Big Nursery to arrive at 8:50am.



What happens at this time?

Keyworkers greet their children, enter nursery altogether, then go to the cloakrooms to hang up their belongings and wash their hands. Each keyworker group then gathers to have the register taken. In Big Nursery we have a very important part of the children’s learning in those first five minutes or so. Each week we use direct teaching to expand the children’s vocabulary or knowledge. We use flashcards or real objects to teach them something new. We drip feed the vocabulary/concept to the children every day for a week. Staff tailor the task to the ability of the children in their group, for example the oldest children can describe a 3D shape using mathematically correct terms, whereas the youngest children describe 3D shapes using everyday language such as ‘ball’ or ‘box’. We aim to stretch everybody. We have pre planned these themes to teach every week across the year, this week we have been learning to describe patterns and next week we are exploring vocabulary to do with our classroom focus of ‘At the Vets’. We have looked at colours, positional language, seasons, days of the week.


As we begin our day, and the children arrive, classroom staff are working directly with the children. It is disruptive if a Little Nursery practitioner has to leave the group they are settling to come back to the front entrance 2,3,or 4 times for individual children.

By 8:55am all classroom staff are with their children, and all children should be in. I know some parents are dropping brothers and sisters to school on the opposite side of town, and parents have told me when they first enrolled their child that they will be regularly late every day. We accept this. We also accept that even with our local schools of Hadrian Academy and Vale Academy that parents with older children cannot be in two places at once. However we are finding the number of pupils arriving late is growing, and we know some of these children are the only child in the family!

I know parents might feel it is easier to arrive late and drop their child straight in at the front door, but it is myself , the Headteacher or the office staff who are tasked with dealing with late arrivals , and we have our own important tasks to be getting on with. We expect 1 or 2 late arrivals, which I guess those parents who arrive late

would see 1 or 2 other families arriving late. On some days we have had 10 or 15 families arriving late, and sometimes arriving as late as 9:25am.

With each late arrival I have to take the child to the correct classroom, ensure their belongings are stored correctly add them to the register, add them to the lunch register, change the totals on the wall… how long does this take? Two minutes each child? 3 minutes?

Please help us by arriving on time, so the staff can begin all the fun activities we have planned for the children, without interruption.


D. What the children are learning about this week,

The theme in Little Nursery this week is sharing experiences.

In Catkins the children will be learning how to communicate through signing. The signs will help all children, especially those with little speech or English as a second language, to communicate with peers and adults. The program that staff will use, introduces two dolls named Zak and Zoe. Zak and Zoe will help the children to express their emotions using basic sign language.


In Little Nursery, the children will take part in a shared read of Maisy dresses up. They will be practising their ball skills outside with the basketball and football nets and in the link area they will be learning about mixing colours.



The theme in Big Nursery is people who help us – ‘At the Vets’.

In room 1 there will be a Vets Practice set up for the children to role play in as a Vet and look after the animals. Mrs. Patterson will have a variety of soft toy animals that the children can play with and take care of. This is a great opportunity for the children to share their own experiences with animals, be it at the farm, zoo or their pets at home.

In Room 2, Miss Skai will have a selection of resources such as the water tray, play dough and box modelling area for the children to investigate. There is always an area for the children to sing, dance and play instruments. Our musical corner is very popular and provides a great boost to the children’s confidence because they are allowed to be as creative and expressive as possible.

Outside, the children will be creating animal collages with natural resources, they will choose an animal and use glue to fill in a silhouette with leaves, twigs and grass etc. There will be the chance for children to experiment with symbols and mark making as Miss Howe teaches them how to create a tally chart. The children will hunt for

pictures of different animals throughout the garden, then they will be shown how to count their animals using a tally chart. The children will also be encouraged to use positional language to tell the adults where they have found each animal.