CHILDREN'S HOUSE BLOG

this week

28th September – 2nd October

We’re learning all about the harvest this week, following on our Autumn theme from last week! We will be discussing what happens at harvest time, looking at different types of grains such as wheat, barley & oats & talking about what we can make from them, e.g. flour, from which we can make all sorts of delicious things like bread, & scones – which we will actually be baking in school this week, mmmmm!!! Also we will talk about different foods that are harvested at this time of year like carrots, apples, cabbage, leeks, & then look at the lifecycle of the apple, & do apple printing – if anyone has food growing in their gardens please send a sample in with your children for everyone to look at, or if your child can bring in any autumn items they may find on a walk, that would also be great. Then to end the week we will be doing some fun music & movement!

Here We Go Round the Apple Tree
(Sung to: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)
Here we go ’round the apple tree,
The apple tree, the apple tree.
Here we go ’round the apple tree
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we climb the ladder,
Climb the ladder, climb the ladder.
This is the way we climb the ladder,
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we pick the apples,
Pick the apples, pick the apples.
This is the way we pick the apples
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we eat the apples,
Eat the apples, eat the apples.
This is the way we eat the apples
On a cold and frosty morning.

21st – 25th September

You can really start to feel the chill in the air….so it’s all about Autumn and the Autumn weather this week at The Children’s House! We will be asking the children to bring in leaves that they can find out & about of all different shapes, sizes & colours which we will be examining & then making collages with; we will be putting together weather trays (the nature table of 2020!!) as well as doing Autumn & weather related yoga poses (https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/513269688778606657/; https://www.kidsyogastories.com/weather-activities-for-kids-yoga/); finally at the end of the week we will be doing a little experiment using water & a layer of shaving foam in a clear glass & dropping food colouring in to illustrate how when water droplets become too heavy, they fall through the clouds as rain!

The Leaves of the Trees (tune of wheels on the bus)

The leaves of the trees turn orange and red,
orange and red, orange and red;
The leaves of the trees turn orange and red,
All through the town.

The leaves of the trees come tumbling down,
Tumbling down, tumbling down;
The leaves of the trees come tumbling down,
All through the town.

The leaves of the trees go swish, swish, swish,
Swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish;
The leaves of the trees go swish, swish, swish,
All through the town.

The Weather Song

What’s the weather?
What’s the weather?
What’s the weather like today?
is it sunny?
is it cloudy?
is it raining out today?

What’s the weather?
What’s the weather?
What the weather like today tell us (childs name)?
What’s the weather?
What the weather like today?

 

14th – 18th September

This week at The Children’s House we will be doing all about our families! It’s important for the children that we establish the link between their home/family & school from the beginning, so they see that their families are valued, & a consistency is built for them between the 2 places. The children love to see photos of themselves & their families in school, so we’re asking all children to bring in a family photo this week which we’ll put up on the wall to make a family display. During the week we will then be talking about our families, discussing the similarities & differences, naming all the people in our families who love us, and talking about what makes our own family so special. Verbalising and naming these things aloud can help reinforce the children’s feelings of security and reassure them of all the love surrounding them – a lovely thing to do at any age! Then at the end of the week we’ll be doing some yoga and relaxing exercises with the children.

Poem: Families

Some families are big                    (arms out wide)
Some families are small                (arms in close)
But I love my family                       (point at self)
Best of all!!                                       (throw arms up in air!)

7th – 11th September – first full week back to school!!

We’re so excited to have the children back for a full week at The Children’s House, for the first time in a loooong time!! We spent the few days last week just getting to know the children and introducing them to each other & the new class routines, so this week is more about getting to know each other better. We will be doing paintings for our birthday walls and making friendship wreaths with the children, as well as doing mindfulness at the end of the week. As part of the Practical Life area of Montessori activities, we will also be practising carrying trays with objects, and putting on our coats – this helps the children to gain independence, while also refining their gross motor skills; we spend a lot of time in September concentrating on developing the children’s gross & fine motor skills & refining their spatial awareness.

Song: Do You See? (tune: Do you know the Muffin Man?)

Do you see our friend (name), friend (name), friend (name)?
Do you see our friend (name), somewhere in our room?
Yes I see our friend (name), friend (name), friend (name),
Yes I see our friend (name), somewhere in our room!

The 3 questions…

Please be aware that we will be asking you 3 questions each morning about your children:

  1. Does your child have a temperature?
  2. Is your child on any medication?
  3. Has your child been unwell over the last 48 hours?

If the answer to these 3 questions is no, then we are delighted to welcome your child into class – if any of the answers are yes, then your child will need to stay at home until they have been well & healthy for at least 48 hours.

This is in order to protect the health & safety of your child, all the other children & their families, & our staff.

Thank you for helping to keep us all safe & well!!

Back to School!!

We are SO glad to be getting back to some sort of normality next week, & to be able to spend time with your children is going to be a real pleasure, & something that we are really thankful for!
Just to remind you that in order to promote everyone’s health & safety, we will be spending a lot more time outside – which is a wonderful side effect to this pandemic!! To this end, please ensure that your child has weather appropriate clothes so they will be comfortable outdoors.
Please also ensure that they bring a change of clothes with them to school on the first day clearly labelled in a ziplock bag, which we will keep stored away safely for them.
We will need you as parents to sign off on the Parent & Child Documentation which we previously emailed you before your child can attend preschool, & from then on we are in an agreement with you that unwell children will not be sent in to school, while at the same time we are ensuring your children’s health & safety when they are in school to the best of our abilities.
We are implementing designated entry & exit points for the classes, & a staggered drop off & collection time for the first week at least, to allow time to settle in small groups of children – some children might be upset that parents can’t come into school with them, so we want to allow time to settle a few children at a time instead of all at once.
It will be a very different way of starting back to school, but once we get used to the new way of doing things I have no doubt that we will be back in no time to enjoying watching your children learn & thrive in the environment that we have prepared for them to start developing to their full & fantastic potential!!

Open Day!

We are holding our open day on Monday 31st August, from 9.30 until 1.30 – by appointment only!

Please confirm your appointment, come in, view the school with your children and meet the teachers!

Classes will be resuming on Wednesday 2nd September,

with staggered drop off & collection times for the first week or so to settle in the children.

Please bring in a change of clothes in clearly labelled ziplock bag for your child,

& ensure they are wearing weather appropriate clothes as we will be spending half the class time outdoors!!

Can’t wait to see you all!!

Transitions!

Here at The Children’s House we’re getting ready for reopening in September (yay!!) – & although we know that it will be quite different from previous years, we are just as excited about the new term starting  – if not more so, as a return to some sort of normality is much needed by us all at this stage! We can’t wait to meet the new & returning children, & for those who are moving on to primary school, we hope to see them before the end of the summer for a farewell gathering & wish them all the best in starting ‘Big School’ – we know they’ll get on *so* well, make lots of new friends & learn loads of new things!!

This is a post about transitions, in case any of you are wondering how you can support your child whether in starting or returning to preschool, or transitioning to primary school.

There are a ton of great resources from Autism Little Learners which are visual stories relating to COVID 19; we especially like the one about separation anxiety which might especially apply to children starting or returning to preschool

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mfBxk19ns8L4CdqbFXDo7-7-3aCezDXF/view

and another about going back to school which might be a good visual for older children who will be returning to a different type of primary schooling https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cFYEsI1oBS1gO5G7IM7rljTYDMEQfMOy/view

Usually from May onwards we would have liaised with the local school in Sallins & brought the children up to have a look around it – some of them may not have been going to this particular school but it gives the idea of the much bigger scale of primary school as opposed to preschool, as we normally get to see the classrooms, the children out at playtime (it’s like a jungle!!!, the library etc. It would be a good idea if possible for you to take your child to the primary school they will be attending & familiarise them with the place, maybe point out e.g. this is where you’ll stand in line in  the morning time; this is where I’ll collect you; this is where you’ll have your outdoors play etc. The same can be done for the Montessori – show your child the building & the outdoors area, talk to them about how things will be in September & especially the changes due to COVID e.g. ‘Mammies & daddies won’t be coming into the school for the moment, it’s only for the children & the teachers’ while always reassuring them that you/another caregiver will be there to collect them in a little while, after they’ve played with their friends & had snack etc in order to lessen separation anxiety. Try getting your child’s uniform & books for primary school well enough in advance for them to be familiar with them, & talk about their timetable of the day & what they’ll be doing & learning in a positive way – it might be a daunting time ahead but it’s also an exciting time!

The main things that we would focus on for school readiness with the children aren’t the academic skills (apart from recognising & maybe writing their own name), but rather self-care skills, communication skills, social & emotional skills, & fostering their love of learning – which doesn’t usually prove too difficult! Self-care would involve taking off & putting on coat & shoes, using the toilet, wiping nose, opening lunch box etc – you can practice all these skills at home. Communication skills would focus on things such as the child being able to communicate their needs, as well as being able to listen to others & follow instructions from their teacher. Social & emotional skills important for school would be ones such as sharing, turn-taking, independence & confidence (for instance encourage your child to make decisions for themselves at home, then notice & praise them for making good decisions), emotional regulation – e.g. if something unfair happens, how does the child deal with it, encourage them to use their words to sort out a situation & stand up for themselves in an appropriate way.

I probably talked about emotional regulation before but it’s hugely important at this age & especially during this time of disruption to routines, & something that we support the development of throughout the year in The Children’s House. Always keep reminding your child how good they are at regulating their emotions by praising when they use strategies to calm themselves down like deep breathing, or when they resolve conflict through using their words rather than crying or hitting out. If they are upset try to support them by acknowledging & naming their feelings & why they might be feeling that way, & asking them for a way to help themselves feel better e.g. ‘I know you’re upset because …. but what might make you feel better?’ You might have to give suggestions in the beginning e.g. ‘a hug? Your teddy? Going for a walk?’ & then encourage them to come up with their own suggestions themselves, in this way reinforcing their own emotional resilience in the future; they get the idea that they can make themselves feel better & don’t have to depend on others to make them feel better, which is very liberating & confidence building!

There are a lot of visual aids you can use, some of which I have attached pictures of from our school such as the feelings wheel you can print out & laminate, & make an arrow for it so the child just moves it around depending on how they feel – it’s a lovely visual & also indirectly reinforces the idea that feelings are transient & temporary (which is nice for you when they’re in the middle of a minor meltdown!!) The emotion faces are very simple & straight forward to make – just cut out some circles from coloured card & draw faces showing different emotions on them e.g. happy, sad, angry, tired etc – & encourage your child to use them to show how they’re feeling.

A really nice activity to do is to get your child to do a self portrait – sit them in front of a mirror with paper & pencils or crayons & ask them to really look at their own faces, talk about what colour their eyes are, what type of hair they have etc & then get them to draw themselves. You can then look at the picture with them & ask them how they were feeling when they drew themselves. (This can be extended into doing a body portrait on long sheets of butcher paper; just get your child to lie down, draw around their outline & ask them to fill in the body using paint, crayons, materials, glitter…whatever you have to hand – but again, encourage them to focus on whichever part of the body they’re doing e.g. ‘look at how long your legs are, you’re really growing! Your arms are so strong aren’t they?’ & name body parts for them e.g. ankles, elbows, shins, collarbone etc.)

As a family you can create a ‘Compliments Tree’; this is to encourage children to think positively of others of themselves & of others, & all you need is a branch stuck in a vase (alternatively use an empty jar & have a Compliments Jar) & some pieces of paper or card. Pick a member of the family & ask everyone else in the family to say their favourite thing about that person, then write all the compliments down & hang them on the tree. Take turns going around the family & you’ll have a lovely collection of compliments to read any time someone needs a bit of morale boosting! And whenever someone gives a compliment just add it to the collection.

Back to transitions!! The National Parents Council have produced an online video about supporting your child in the transition from preschool to primary school:

http://www.npc.ie/news-events/early-years-video?fbclid=IwAR19610mdj9arOCJ63v0kmYeEHaYfsJBKDYg6vORVBD28Nm47Uz6NYGt-ZA

and Barnardos have created a great booklet on supporting your child’s emotional well-being on their return to early learning & care:
https://www.barnardos.ie/media/7863/supporting-your-child-on-their-return-to-early-learning-and-care-final.pdf

And finally here’s a couple of links from the government which give some useful information about your child returning to preschool:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/e18e6-ready-to-reopen/

https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/1e8a3-lets-get-ready/?referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gov.ie%2Fletsgetready%2F&fbclid=IwAR27FyeLXPw4X3v1QPc-uUP6BfC-hBAI5TNGNAQKSCrIg_TMrCl3ds9SxqA

As with all school settings this coming September, things will be done differently in The Children’s House to ensure the health, safety & comfort of children, staff & families alike, but it will still be a happy, caring & stimulating environment full of supportive and positive interactions, & we cannot wait to get back to it!!! In the meantime, we hope that you’re all keeping safe & well, & we know that you as parents are doing the most amazing job at looking after, & out for, your little ones – just don’t forget to take care of yourselves too!

Love from all at The Children’s House xx

September 2020 reopening…

Hi everyone, just to let you know that as things stand at the moment we will be re-opening as planned on Wed 2nd September.

Classes will stay as they are size-wise, & each class will have 2 teachers.

Things happily won’t be changing very much for your children, but we as the adults will be adapting how we operate to ensure maximum health & safety is achieved for everyone…. we will be updating with any relevant details during the summer!

June 22nd – Sports Week!!

It’s all sporting activities this week at The Children’s House! This time of year we always have sports day & we’re so sad to be missing it with your children, so we thought we’d send on some ideas for sports at home this week. Exercising is so good for your child’s mental health, & there are lots of fun ways to get them up & going.

Obstacle course: we often make these in school during the year, both indoors & outdoors – these are great for practising & refining gross motor movements like crawling, running, jumping, skipping, hopping, rolling, balancing, moving sideways/ backwards… if indoors (which can often be the most surprisingly fun as you can use everyday objects & furniture in a more exciting & unexpected way) rearrange furniture with your child’s help so you have to climb OVER & crawl UNDER tables & chairs rather than go AROUND them (using prepositions to describe actions to add to your child’s vocabulary & understanding), take turns throwing rolled up socks into a basin, do a sack race in a pillow, egg & spoon race, long jump – all can be done indoors or outdoors to much hilarity!! Draw chalk on the ground outside/ place a rope indoors to walk on a line, or set up a row of cushions/ pillows on the ground & get your child to walk from 1 end to the other, good for practising balance. Try walking while balancing books or cushions on your head…Set up a course with 6 stations & let us know how quickly you can complete the course – & please send us in the photos of your wonderful creations!!!

Healthy Kidz – Week 1 – Virtual Sports Day Long Jump

Colour run: use chalks, objects or even make pictures to mark out areas of different colour, call a colour & have your child run to that area. This can be made more difficult by using shapes or numbers instead of colours, & if it is still too easy try following a sequence & build on the number of instructions to suit your child. Set a timer and see how many you can get? Sounds like a good activity to tire little people out with! If you have outdoors space & chalk why not try hopscotch – such a fun game, & it reinforces the numbers for your child too.

Animal Walk: Inside or out, encourage your child to slither like a snake, hope like a frog, gallop like a horse, or walk like a bear on all fours. Who will find the most imaginative way to move?

Keep the Balloon Up: see how long you can keep the balloon in the air!  Use your hands, feet, head, elbows, knees or even a bat or racket to keep it from touching the ground. Have a competition with family and friends or time yourself and see can you beat your own record!

Puddle Jumping: Why not make the most of the rain! Get your wellies on and enjoy jumping in, out and over puddles.

Blanket Toss: Take a blanket or a towel and have 2 or more children hold the corners. Throw a ball on top, enjoy as the children work together to send the ball into the air and catch it again. Throw ping pong balls, a beach ball or a balloon onto it & try to keep throwing them back up in the air for as long as possible, such a fun activity!!

Kick Bowling: With some recycled materials like cardboard tubes or empty bottles set up some skittles and try to knock them down by kicking a ball. If this is too easy increase the challenge by using balls that decrease in size. We often do bowling at Halloween in school using little pumpkins to bowl toilet rolls stacked in a pyramid!

Treasure hunt: give instructions to your child to find something rough, smooth, soft, hard, different shapes, different colours, living/ non-living…

Play hide & seek indoors or outdoors – sometimes hiding really obviously on a child behind a curtain or door, or under a blanket is the funniest thing ever!!

Exercises on the spot: running, jumping, hopping, star jumps, anything at all – get your child to make up new exercises for you…then do some yoga & stretching to cool down.

Rob the Nest: Use whatever you have to hand at home, balls, socks or even tin cans. Place all of the items in a central space and ask the children to take 5 steps away. Set a timer and see who can run into the centre and collect the most items within the time set.

Rob the Nest (Running) – PhysEd Game/Activity

Tumble drop: Have your child lie down on their back with a pile of bean bags or rolled up socks or gloves beside their feet and a bucket on the floor just above their head. The aim of the game is to get as many items into the bucket within a set time using only their feet.

Drama: Act out your child’s favourite story or song with them, use puppets made from socks or teddies to play different parts too. Cut out a bit of a cereal box to make a little puppet theatre/ television to use. Colour faces on wooden spoons to make puppets. Sing songs using different pitched voices, do dramatic games like ‘What time is it Mr Wolf?’ – this is a great one again for reinforcing numbers, while being the best fun! (In case you’re not familiar with this game, stand a good distance from your child with your back to them; they have to ask ‘what time is it Mr Wolf?’ & you say e.g. ‘1 o’clock’/ ‘4 o’clock’), then your child has to take that many steps towards you; when you judge they are close enough & they ask the question, you shout ‘dinner time’ & turn around to chase them, obviously lots of tickles when they’re caught!!

Why not design & make medals or trophies for the end of your sports week with your children?

https://theimaginationtree.com/salt-dough-olympic-medals/

https://www.thecreationstation.co.uk/inspiration/how-to-make-a-childrens-crafty-trophy

Poem: I’m a Big Bad Wolf (to be read in as OTT manner as possible!)

I’m a big bad wolf and I look for things to eat –
I don’t like leaves and berries; I only like meat!
I see those little piggies – am I dreaming, or awake?
Those chubby little creatures…
What a dinner they will make!!