Enjoying our natural environment

Preschool has, as always, been a hive of activity this term, and the children have all joined in with such a super range of activities and outings!

Forest School at Hogwood continues to amaze, with the changes to the environment being noted and described by the children. They have enjoyed abseiling and using real tools and elder to create bug hotels, jewellery and their own pencils. Having listened attentively to the safety instructions, they were able to use a saw and a peeler with control, empowering them to take the lead in these activities.

Bug hunting has remained a strong fascination in preschool, in the forest and then on our visit to Bath City Farm! The children had a wonderful day at the farm, despite very changeable weather! They met the animals, taking a real ‘hands on’ approach, feeding them and learning about their different characteristics. This was followed by a bug hunt, where centipedes, beetles, woodlouse and spiders were among the crawlies captured, to look at in greater detail through the magnifying glasses and bug identity kits. In the afternoon we all enjoyed a woodland walk, taking in the beautiful views.

The children have displayed a curiosity to know more about life cycles, having seen tadpoles at the farm, and so we have nurtured this interest by bringing some caterpillars into preschool to watch them grow and change! The children have been using different ways to find out information – through non-fiction books and looking up concepts using the computer with an adult. We were also joined by another four-legged friend “Herman” the tortoise. The children were excited to learn all about him and how he lives.

The village fete was being talked about and this gave us an opportunity to support this lovely community event by designing and creating two scarecrows together, to be named at the fete for a prize! The children used their fine motor skills, creativity and imagination to design the scarecrows, and then thought of some names. The winning name on the day was “Suncap Sid!” Both scarecrows are now in our garden looking very happy with their plot and guarding our vegetable patch.

Barry, the sports coach has been developing the children’s skills in negotiating space and moving, using familiar fun team games, as well as introducing the hurdles! These took perseverance and a lot of determination from the children to keep going with this new activity and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. So much so that they will feature in our sports morning on Monday 8th July. The children also took a journey to the jungle in a calming yoga session, where they were able to show their recall of familiar yoga poses, as well as try out some new ones. These sessions are actively promoting the regulating of emotions for children, which with all the upcoming transitions is a vital skill for them to be able to access for themselves.

Looking forward, we have some wonderful events coming up, including a moth trap experience which our committee chair leads, and is always a favourite with the children and staff! We also have a drumming workshop booked, along with taking part in the BRAKE charity walk. We will also be preparing for the end of term celebrations including sports morning, Hogwood celebrations and then the Graduation celebration, which the children will be helping to mastermind. What a busy but brilliant term ahead!

A £500 Magic Little Grant for Sports Coaching!

Preschool has had some great news this week – we have been awarded a £500 grant from Magic Little Grants towards the cost of continuing our weekly Sports Coaching sessions with Barry next year!

Earlier this year, we trialled a half hour sports session on Wednesday mornings run by an external coach, Barry, who also works with the children at Freshford Church School. It was such a success and the children enjoyed it so much that we committed to continuing with the sessions to the end of the year, and to meeting the cost of these from preschool funds.

Using an external coach has a number of benefits for us: we can access different sports and equipment without needing to buy or store it ourselves; it helps those children transitioning to school by providing consistency and continuity of approach; and as an all-female team we welcome a male perspective – Barry is an excellent role model.

While we wanted to continue the sessions next year, we couldn’t commit to covering the full costs and so approached some grant making trusts and bodies to see if they could help us with funding.

Magic Little Grants are awarded through the partnership between Localgiving and the Postcode Community Trust. The Postcode Community Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Localgiving is the UK’s leading membership and support network for local charities and community groups.

Magic Little Grants are available to all kinds of organisations and the application process is quick and straightforward. For more information on how to apply for a grant for your organisation, visit their website: www.localgiving.org/magic-little-grants/

You can find out more about Localgiving, the Postcode Community Trust and the People’s Postcode Lottery at their websites: