Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Baby 'M' Getting on the Move!

It's coming to the time when I usually send children's development folders home to share with their families. I try to do this each quarter, as although I try to make myself available for parents to speak to it is sometimes hard to find an opportunity when they don't need to rush off to work in the mornings, or just want to get home after a long day at work to spend some time as a family.
So I have found that sending the folders home each quarter gives parents the opportunity to have a good look through my observations, in their own time, and share anything they have noticed at home.

The biggest development for baby 'M' at the moment is her mobility!

When she joined my setting mid January 'M' was not yet secure sat on the floor. She would regularly topple over and became quite cross when she could not get up again.

Over our first few weeks together I made an effort each day for her to spend some time on the floor. I would lay down with her so we were face to face, we looked at books and I sang her songs. She was uncertain at first but as I smiled and used touch to reassure her we gradually increased the time she spent rolling and reaching.

I made an observation 25-02-14:
" 'M' was rolling on the floor today exploring toys. Rolling to her left side she got to her elbow, then pushed up to her hand and then sat up independently. I spoke to mum about it in the evening; this may have been the first time she sat herself up"

A following observation made 04-03-14
" 'M' is noticeably more confident on the floor today. She sat herself up a number of times - from her left side only. She spun herself around, whilst sitting, to face me. She is happier sat, reaching, occasionally rolling etc"

By 17-03-14 we visited our local Playbus and 'M' was stable to sit independently to play. I was able to move away from her to deal with another child when necessary, safe in the knowledge she would be sat safely and if she did topple over she would be able to get herself up again

Now here we are 08-04-14 and 'M's mobility is continuing to develop. From beginning spinning around to reach different objects to explore, she is now leaning and reaching on the spot. She rolls, stretches, shuffles and almost commando crawls, using one leg to push herself along. Mostly through sheer determination she can now get all around my living room!

I can't wait to see how her movement develops over the coming weeks!

Next Steps
- Place objects for 'M' to explore all around the room, some at slight heights, just peeking over maybe. An invitation to reach up high perhaps even pull herself up to a kneel or stand.
- Play some chasing games; gain her attention with a particular object and encourage her to move forwards to reach it.
- Expand her gross motor skill into other areas, introduce more self-feeding with tools; dip her spoon into yogurt. Provide and encourage objects which bang together, promote her hands meeting in the middle in a clapping motion.
- Introduce some challenges; uneven floors, obstacles for her to overcome, different environments and flooring

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

All about E

'E' and her big brother have been with me since January, and they are such a pleasure to have! Over our short time together I have already started noting some patterns in her play, and thinking about potential schemas.

The first observations I had made (unfortunately I didn't get any pictures) were making me think more about collecting. For well over a month 'E' didn't engage in any mark making activities, she would spend the time picking out the pens from the pot, just gathering them in her hands.

I then noticed she was regularly drawn towards a purse of play money. The money would be emptied out, she would put it in her pockets, then move it to my pockets, move it to a pan or other bowls, back to pockets.....  These movements would go on and on, occasionally interrupted by her big brother wanting to play with some too, so we would share it out and carry on. 'E' then started finding bags around the setting, filling them again with the play money, cups, saucers and plates from the play kitchen, she would hook the bags over the dolls pushchair and again move it around the house. All this moving around was making me think much stronger along a transporting or even trajectory schema.

This week; we had a bit of warmer weather and spent lots of time outside;
We spent time rolling balls down a guttering pipe and watching them plop into water at the bottom. The other children played with this for a short while but it held 'E's attention for much longer
As the other children moved onto other activities in the garden 'E' was still captured by rolling balls down pipes. This one she seemed to enjoy much more, she would post a ball and then crouch down and watch the ball roll all the way to the bottom, she would then come round and see it having come out at the far end.
As we carried on with other planned activities you can see 'E' in the background, her attention has been caught this time by moving water around, going back and forth with cups of water pouring them into a bigger bowl.

Later on that afternoon, we had more time in the garden, baby 'M' had woken up by this point and she joined us for some fresh air!
What I observed next, I found really fascinating
 'E' had a watering can in hand, she scooped water up from the big bucket...
 ...walked over to the mud kitchen area, poured her water into the bowl...
 ...She then left the watering can at the mud kitchen, picked up the bowl and headed towards the patio area...
...and tipped the water out.
She then went back, put the bowl down, picked up the watering can, went back to scoop more water from the big green bucket, then back to the bowl. Poured it in, picked up the bowl, went over to the patio area, and poured it out.
Back and forth she went for 10-15 minutes, sometimes then stamping on the floor where the water had been poured over the patio. Buck back and forth over and over. She was utterly absorbed in her activity of moving the water around, pouring it between containers.

Thinking back over activities from the past we can see these schema's emerging;

Building short towers with blocks, then quickly knocking them down and watching the blocks scatter

Throwing leaves around at the park (well this one was more for fun!)
Playing in Rice Sensory Trays 'E' would gather various containers from the sensory tray, filling them with rice, pouring the rice between containers, emptying them out and then starting again.

Next Steps
- Incorporate sensory trays into planning over the coming months, perhaps some with balls and tubes so 'E' can enjoy her interest indoors as well as outside.
- Ensure there are a few bags, of a variety of sizes, around the setting for 'E' to use in her gathering and transporting
- Introduce new language related to her interest. Words such as "transport" "movement"

Monday, 17 March 2014

Sunny afternoon and Planting our first few seeds

The weather here has been beautiful this weekend!! I have heard a rumor more rain is on the way though so we are taking full advantage of the sun while we have it.

After doing the school run we headed straight outside to enjoy the sun.

Out came the bubbles

Baby 'M' joined us outside for some fresh air too! She was watching the bubbles float around her.

Baby 'M' got hold of a ribbon wand, I'll need to make a couple of smaller ones so she can play too!

Lots more Bubbles and ribbon wands being flapped around to catch the "Bubble Bees!!!!"

'W' and 'E' spent some time exploring the new messy play area. I did a bit of gardening over the weekend and it seemed such a waste to put everything in the garden waste bin, so we chopped bits up ready for the children to play with!

'E' spent a lot of time looking through the tins, emptying them out, feeling the textures of the smooth leaves. She then started moving them around, putting some in the wheelbarrow, putting some through the cage for the rabbit to munch on!

Then we got on with our potting!!
I gave the children a couple of pots each and placed some compost in a large tray so they could scoop their own. The older children filled their pots quickly but then came back and felt the compost, squishing large clumps in their hands to break them up.

'E' had a tight hold on her pot and so couldn't get much compost in to start off with

She changed her approach to gently hold the pot with one hand and grab handfuls of compost to transfer instead! Great problem solving!

When we had our pots all ready we came back to the table to choose our seeds!! I have 3 different types of sunflowers and a Giant Pumpkin!! We started off with the Pumpkin, I handed out one big seed each. 'W' knew what to do with it straight away, he pushed his finger into the pot to make a hole and then dropped the seed inside. 'E' was watching her big brother closely and soon followed suit, we then worked together to push the soil from the side of the pot over the hole to tuck our seeds into bed!!

Sunflowers next, each of the children pointed to the variety they wanted to grow and we started off the process again. Poking a hole in the soil with our fingers and dropping the seeds in.

Once those were done I was faced with a chorus of "can I do another one, can I do another one?"
Lucky I had a few spare pots so the children each chose another variety of sunflower!

I made sure to label them as we went so I knew what and who's all the pots were.

By this point the boys had had enough and decided to return to their game of football which left 'E' and I with the final job of giving them a good drink. 'E' knew this was an important step and had run off to get a watering can before I mentioned it!!

Our seeds are now sat comfortably on the windowsill next to the frogspawn, I'm sure we will be checking in with them regularly to spot the first signs of life!!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Planting out Potatoes!!

A bit of a change to routine today as I was covering for Worms Eye View after she had a little accident at the beginning of the week!

But we took advantage of the slightly warmer weather and took the opportunity to get my potatoes in the ground! I had spent some time at the weekend weeding and digging in some fertiliser so it was all ready for planting.

The girls took turns digging holes for the potatoes. We spoke about where the holes needed to be so they were spaced out enough to grow but close enough so we could fit our 2 varieties in the one bed.

We looked where the shoots were starting to sprout out of the potato and that's how we know they are ready to get into the ground. We looked closely at the two varieties having different colour shoots, maybe they will be coloured potatoes?!!

We tucked each one into it's hole, making sure the shoots were facing up so they can start to grow up out of the earth

And then tucked them into 'bed' saying "night night Mr Potato!! Start growing for us now!"

We will visit our potatoes regularly to top up the soil, perhaps give them a drink and check on the progress!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Frogspawn Hunting!!!

This year's Spring project is FROGS!!!

We have decided to go get some frogspawn to watch them metamorphosis. We headed to our local Nature Reserve to find some!

We spent some time on the decked area first looking into the water for what we could see. Unfortunately it's still a little early in the year yet so we couldn't see much. This big pond snail was about all we could see!

'E' and 'W' both had a turn holding it. I asked 'W' what he though it was. I said about the hard shell and squishy body inside, "I'm sure you can think of an animal like that!" 
"It's like a snail" he said "but why it is in the water?"
"Because it's a pond snail, it lives in water. Not like our garden snails, they would drown"

Then we got to the main business of fishing out some frogspawn. 'W' wanted to have a go at scooping it out. He had to hold on to Georgia's hand to make sure he didn't fall in!!
It was quite hard to scoop up as it was all stuck together in big clumps but he managed to get some pond water which we needed too for the frogspawn to live in.

Once we got some in a pot, enough for us, Pippa and our local preschool we had a really good look. 'W' and 'E' put their fingers in it and we spoke about how it felt a bit like jelly maybe. We had to be quite gentle and not poke it too much as we didn't want to hurt any of the frogs.

We had another look at where the frogspawn was living, in the middle of some rushes where the water wasn't very deep.

As we decided to start heading home we came across a wormy worm! 'E' was very interested as it started moving across my hand and round onto the back, it was lifting up it's head and seemed to be 'looking' around.

'E' was feeling brave and gave the worm a stroke, she didn't want to hold it though. 'W' had a good look but didn't want to touch or hold it telling me it was "yucky"

As we continued on our way to the car 'W' started asking about the baby frogs and what would happen to them. "They are going to miss their mummies" he was saying and I explained that frog babies don't stay with their mummies, they look after themselves. He didn't seem entirely convinced with the explanation but we will be spending lots of time over the Spring watching our frogs develop, reading books and learning about them so 'W' will understand soon.