Knowing where to turn for support

Knowing where to turn to for support
It can be really difficult to know where to find support for your child if they have any difficulties, for example with their speech and language or with their communication skills. Here at Little Owl Childcare we are always here to listen to and to support our families the very best we can. It may be that we can point you in the right direction to websites and articles or that we can make referrals for you if necessary to try and get your child the right support that they need. It may be that you just need to have a sit down and a hot drink and to have a chat! We are always here for our families.
Here is a link to the BBC little people website which provides families with some support with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Pathway to handwriting

The pathway to handwriting

As a prime area of development within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Physical Development is key to all other areas of development and their future school years. This is broken down into two main sections gross motor skills, the big muscles groups enabling our little ones to move around and explore their environments and fine motor skills, the smaller muscles within the hands.

Firstly, we develop our big muscles by learning to crawl, walk, run and jump. At the same time we work on strengthening our core muscles. At Highfields we provide our children with lots of opportunities to build these muscles using equipment such as climbing frames, swings and scooters as well as dancing with ribbons and mark making whilst standing. These big movement activities help to strengthen the muscles required to sit at a table with a good posture as well as the shoulder and arm muscles to hold a writing tool and use it correctly.

Within the craft area, which is readily accessible to the children, we have many many resources for them to experiment with. Glue and spreaders, crayons, chalk, pencils, pens, paint and an array materials to paint with. These help to spark the children’s interest in mark making.

Children go through stages of holding a pencil, from a Palmer grasp (fist grip) around 12-15 months, to the digital pronate grasp around 2-3 years, to a static tripod and/or Quadrupod grip at around 3-4 years of age. Children, typically, will not be able to hold a pencil using the correct dynamic tripod grasp until between 5-6 years old.

To get children to this stage we have to do a lot of build up work. This includes lots of fine motor activities such as picking up small objects using just a thumb and forefinger, threading activities and a particular favourite within Highfields is playdough. We make and play with playdough on a regular basis, this is brilliant because the children can play with the dough using rolling pins, cutters, children’s safety knives, and potato mashers, all of which help with the strengthening and development of their small hand and finger muscles. The playdough can be used to enhance their imaginative play being made into sweets, cakes, pizzas and much much more. We then take this one step further and use the dough during Dough Disco sessions. These are small finger dance sessions that get the children to manipulate the dough in specific ways to work the precise muscle groups needed for handwriting a few years into the future.

Below is a link to a handy website with useful information about fine motor development and some lovely activities you can try at home with your little ones.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year
We have enjoyed learning about Chinese New Year at our woodland nursery. The children listened carefully to the story ‘Lanterns and Firecrackers’ which gave us an insight to how this festival is prepared for and celebrated. We thought about how some of our own celebrations are similar to Chinese New Year such as New Year and Bonfire Night where we also let off fireworks. The children listened to the story of ‘The Great Race’ and had lots of fun having their own great race on the field near our woodland. The children listened well to the rules and ran when they heard ‘ready, steady, go!’ and stopped at the finish line near one of there teachers. We enjoyed Chinese New Year letters and sounds activities such as playing ‘I spy’ using pictures of animals from ‘The Great Race’ story. We had lots of fun creating our own dragon head; we painted a box red and used natural and craft leaves for the dragon’s facial features. At the end of the week we enjoyed responding to music performing a dragon dance in the woodland. Finally, we explored Chinese food! We had the option of tasting sweet and sour chicken, rice, noodles and prawn crackers!
Happy New Year from our woodland explorers.
Here is a video of a JoJo and Gran Gran episode where JoJo learns all about Chinese New Year. Enjoy!