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Things to know when you join the Butterfly group

This introduction is intended both for parents who are new to our nursery and for those whose children are making the transition to a new group.

Welcome to the Butterflies! Now that your child has reached the pre-school group, their routine will begin to change as we start to prepare them for school. Outlined below are some of the new activities that take place in the group, along with helpful hints on how to continue your child’s learning at home. Because all children are continually supported and encouraged throughout their time at Little Steps, moving to the Butterflies is a natural progression and the transition is a smooth one. The age range is rising 3 through to rising 5 and activities are planned to ensure differentiation between the children’s ages and abilities within the group.

Planning

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) curriculum provides the framework for activities in the Butterfly group. Our long-term planning incorporates topics/themes for each half term and areas we aim to cover. Initial stages of planning take into account the child’s learning and development and their interests as gleaned from our observations. In addition, we ask the children what activities they would like to do, so we are also carefully responding to their ideas. The weekly learning intentions and activities are then put on the nursery website and displayed on the Loft Room door for parents/carers to see.

Assessment

Having assessed through observation the learning that is taking place, we then decide on the children’s ‘next steps’ and incorporate them into the curriculum. Children’s individual Learning Journals are updated and are available each term for you to take home and share with your child. Parents are encouraged to contribute by filling in their thoughts and comments about the Learning Journal and the ‘All About Me’ forms. This is also an Ofsted good practice requirement.

Registration

Finding their name cards during circle time is an enjoyable way for the children to develop an awareness of the letters and sounds in their name. Counting how many children are in each day helps develop their numeracy skills.

In addition, we sing our ‘hello song’ and complete a registration process whereby the children say, “Good morning/afternoon”. We also have our listening time and circle times where we sometimes have ‘show and tell’, which is a good way of teaching children to listen to others, take turns in conversations, ask and answer questions and generally develop good communication skills.

Letters and sounds

In the Butterfly group, letters are learned using a phonics-based approach, i.e. children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent. The children can then start to read words by blending the sounds together to make and write words. Our aim is to teach children about sounds and their association to letters in a fun and exploratory way. Children are encouraged to develop a love of books so that reading isn’t just a skill to learn but a treasured tool for the rest of their life. We will have up to 15 minutes of group phonics every day which allows peers to support each other.

We read lots of rhymes and stories and have a Book/Rhyme of the Week to improve language and communication skills.

We always have a Letter of the Week which is highlighted in our planning. We go through the letters in alphabetical order. During the day we top up the children’s phonics by encouraging them to write their name, find certain letters in books and recognise letters on their name cards. We always offer a range of resources to encourage mark- making and develop writing skills. Teaching children early writing skills is all about making marks on paper which we always praise and encourage. This in turn progresses to forming recognisable letters and then using their sounds to make words. Helpful hint: remind your child of the Sound of the Week and try to encourage them to find words with that initial sound. Also, if you are encouraging your child to write their name, please write it all in lower case apart from a capital letter at the front, e.g. Fred and not FRED.

 

Mathematics

Our aim is for the children to have fun while developing their mathematical learning and understanding. Typical activities will include number songs, counting children in the group and exploring shape and measurement during construction activities.

Group numeracy activities are followed by activities throughout the day to support that learning. Typical activities include stories with numbers, number rhymes, number recognition, water and sand play using different size containers, table-top games, number jigsaws, construction activities involving shape and size and counting lots of different objects. Helpful hint: encourage counting at home and when out and about. Counting a range of different objects as well as encouraging recognition of numbers will really support your child’s learning in this area. Start off with those numbers which are important to them and have significance, e.g. their age and their house number. Pointing out numbers in the environment is another fun way to encourage number recognition. This might be numbers on their toys or numbers in the supermarket. After all, numbers and letters are all around us! In this way they also start to notice and name basic shapes.

Independence skills

The next step for our Butterflies will be school, so we place great importance on the children becoming independent learners. This area of their development is encouraged with ability-appropriate tasks.

Other information

We have a system for organising personal belongings and other items.

  • The children have individual trays upstairs where they put all the work they will take home.
  • We ask all parents to provide labelled Wellington boots, which can be left on the boot rack at the nursery.
  • Shoes are kept in the cubbies to prevent them going astray or getting muddled. However, please do label them!
  • Personal possessions brought in from home can be left in the ‘comforter basket’ upstairs by the children’s coat pegs.
  • The children have the opportunity to take part in Forest School sessions on alternate days each week during term time. Please provide waterproof trousers and coats to keep them warm and dry.

We actively encourage and support all children who are showing an interest in toileting at home. It makes things a lot easier in the Butterfly group if the children can use the toilet/potty.

If you would like to discuss being in the Butterfly group further, please arrange a consultation with your child’s Key Person. Thank you.