Happy Easter

It’s Easter Time!

Easter time is here and it is such a lovely time of year. Time to spend with your families, visits out in nature where spring is in full bloom and the birds are chirping away happily.

Along with this is the joy of the Easter egg hunts and the smiles on little faces when they realise what’s been hidden.

With all the excitement it is easy to forget about the hazards that come with mini chocolates. Choking is a silent hazard. People say when things are silent with little ones around it is the time to worry and this is absolutely true with choking. When a child chokes they can not speak, they can not alert you to what’s happening and they go into a silent panic. Knowing what to do in these situations can help to save a child’s life. Below is a link to the Children Accident Prevention Trust website which has lots of information about preventing choking and also what to do if the worst was to happen.

Two main prevention techniques include…

STAY – stay with your child whenever they are eating

STILL – keep your child still when eating, this can be a difficult task but it much safer for them

Safe from choking | How to prevent choking in children (capt.org.uk)

We hope you all have a wonderful Easter ????

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.



Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating for Young Children
A child’s learning and development is impacted by their lifestyle and in particular their diet and activity levels. The importance of a healthy balanced diet is crucial during their early years. We all know how difficult it can be to get children to eat their fruits and vegetables because they are good for them but by doing this through play we help our little ones to understand what foods help their bodies to grow big and strong and which don’t.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar story is a brilliant way to do this as the caterpillar grows big and strong when he eats all the fruits throughout the week but develops a tummy ache when he eats foods that don’t help his body on Saturday. Our children love getting involved with a story sack with physical objects they can hold and move around. We talk about the different foods and whether or not they will help the caterpillar to grow or possibly give him a tummy ache. We also allow the children to explore different foods through messy play, this can be through printing with them in paint to create art work or by using them to develop cutting skills with safety knives. These activities spark some wonderful conversations and get the children asking lots of questions about the foods they eat or foods they have never seen before.
We have provided a link to the NHS’s Healthier Families website which is full of advice and tips to help with leading a healthy balanced lifestyle for the whole family as well as a link to the BBC Food website with some lovely recipes ideas to try with your little ones at home.

Nursery Open Day at Highfields Primary Academy

Come and see our OUTSTANDING Nursery based at Highfields Primary Academy ?

Are you struggling to make the date/ times but would like to come and have a look around our Nursery provision and care we offer? Don’t worry- contact us direct to book your show around and secure your Childs place from September, 2023.

The perfect opportunity to meet our Little owl team, and see our beautiful environments that spark and ignite Children’s natural curiosity, igniting their little minds.?

We look forward to welcoming you.. ??

Email address: Highfields@littleowlchildcare.co.uk /Contact number: 07340456259

Fun with Letters and Sounds

Fun with letters and sounds ! ????
As our children move into the Adventurers room at our Cannock setting, we develop their communication, language and literacy even further by introducing ‘letters and sounds’.
This is a 6 phase programme designed to teach children how the alphabet works.
Initially there is a focus on listening and developing this vital skill.
Our small groups go on ‘ listening walks ‘ to identify and notice the variety of sounds around them . They then move through the following phases-
2- making sounds and instrumental sounds
3-body percussion
4- rhythm and rhyme
5- Alliteration
6- voice sounds
All of these encourage an awareness of sound and eventually recognising them in words. Here are some of them in action! ?

Fun at the Supermarket!

Fun at the supermarket!
?? ???

We all know that, as parents and carers, food shopping can be a chore.
However, that is from an adult’s perspective. Take a minute to think about the wonderful learning and life experiences that it holds for a baby and young child –
It’s a rich sensory experience of sounds, smells, tastes, sights and touch! The exposure to the many different people around us is a fabulous way to experience diversity in our communities.
Socially, it is a great opportunity to interact as other customers respond to the smiles and waves that our Little ones display from the seat of the shopping trolley.
Spending time talking about shapes, size, colour and amounts of items is fabulous time to introduce maths concepts in a fun way.
As adults engage around them with day to day chat, this is modelling communication and language to the children.
Even though many of us may shop online now, it is well worth taking a trip to the supermarket as a stand alone activity just to reap the benefits it has to offer.
Click on this link below for some lovely ideas for games to play when at the supermarket . It may help bring the fun back into shopping for us adults too ! ?


Wheeeee love slides!

Wheeeee love slides!

Here at Little Owl Cannock Daycare Nursery that “Wheee” sound is a very familiar one to us all!

Our children love spending time climbing on the variety of slides we offer.

The benefits of using a slide make it more than just a fun activity ….
? It helps them learn to balance as they have to keep their torso in balance as gravity pulls them down.
?there is a lot of coordination involved in climbing the ladder,changing position at the top, safely, sitting down and finally descending .
?climbing the steps is a super way to strengthen upper and lower body muscles as well as giving them a cardio work out!
?valuable social skills are being learned, taking turns -waiting for someone to move before sliding down, cooperating with each other will help them interact throughout childhood and into adulthood. Communication and language is developed also as they count the steps and ask for help if needed.

So let’s encourage this type of activity as much as possible!


Little Actors in the Making!

Little actors in the making! ?

Our preschoolers, at our Cannock Daycare Nursery, are thoroughly enjoying their weekly drama sessions courtesy of Chase Grammar School.

It is giving them the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in singing, sharing feelings, acting out real life situations, improving memory and communication skills, building their confidence socially and generally having lots of fun.
Well done to our Little Owls Adventurers!

Bringing stories to life

Bringing stories to life for our Little Owls! ??

Our Adventurers in the preschool at our Cannock Nursery absolutely love story time ?.

The traditional tales are brought to life with our wonderful story sacks.

They are able to use all their senses to fully immerse themselves in the storytelling process. Using a story sack enables everyone to access the story regardless of their communication and language skills.

We have many stories to share, here are a couple of examples…
For more information about the benefits of story sacks see the link attached.

“Alexa, play Nursery Rhymes”

“Alexa, play nursery rhymes !”

It’s time to get singing! ?

We love nothing more than a good old sing song with our babies in The Discovery Room!

It connects us all and brings a smile to our faces especially if someone is feeling a little sad – it proves to be a helpful distraction and leaves everyone feeling better!

But why is singing so important? Here are a few reasons…
? It connects us socially as we share the actions to the songs and It exposes our Little ones to vocabulary that may not occur in day to day conversation.

?It strengthens their fine and gross motor skills as we clap our hands, point to things or stamp our feet

? It improves their memories as we remember the repetitive patterns and actions to
the songs.

We often include the shakers and other objects around the room to
enhance the experience!
For many more positive reasons to break into song with your little one, take a look at this link…