Kids Club News

EYFS in Action

Rushden Kids Club recently hosted a workshop on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to give parents a better understanding of their child’s learning and development.

Our manager, Natasha Wain, explains what the workshop was all about and how the framework is applied at the nursery – as well as tips on how to encourage learning at home.

To support our parents in working in partnership with us we wanted to build an understanding of the early years and stages of child development. We held an information evening where parents were introduced to the Department of Education publication of ‘What to expect when?’.

The guide is parent friendly and gives a step by step guide to the areas of learning and stages of development without all the detail of the curriculum. It gives parents some practical ideas on how to support learning and development at home through quality time together.

As a nursery with an ethos based on a variety of theories, we are by no means prescriptive with the curriculum. Parents learned how by using natural recyclable materials and the world around us you do not have to spend a fortune on toys and IT for activities to be educational.

Hats and other dressing up clothes at Rushden Kids ClubSimple dressing up clothes from the local charity shop leave the imagination and play open to the child’s perception rather than a prescriptive dressing up outfit which dictates to the child the character and the personality they are going to adopt.

By providing a selection of clothing, materials, shoes and handbags they can be whatever and whoever they want to be, encouraging them to act out different personalities, emotions and vocabulary rather than those pre-prescribed by the costume.

This type of play links to creative thinking, language development, social development and physical development. They become creative little thinkers as they build their characters, they practice their language and social skills as they become that character and act out scenes with friends and develop physical skills as they attempt buttons, zips and dressing and undressing.

Twigs and other natural materials are combined with playdoughBy collecting and adding twigs and leaves to a simple playdough recipe you can create lots of conversation about the changes in the environment and seasons. Twigs can be chopped or snapped into different sizes, creating mathematical language such as long or short, half etc. They could be used as arms and legs creating creatures, or candles on a birthday cake – counting them, adding and subtracting engages problem solving too.

During the evening we spoke about the seven areas of learning – Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical, Literacy, Understanding the World, Creative and Expressive Arts and Design, and Mathematics – and how these are planned for and observed through play.

‘Play’ was our main topic of conversation as only when children are fully engaged in an activity of their choice will we see children become receptors of learning. At Rushden Kids Club we focus on the process children go through and the experiences they have rather than a produced piece of work. As we highlighted in the workshop it’s the process and experiences that foster learning and development and develop children’s ability to take risks and explore.

The evening was followed up with a workshop where parents were asked to attend with their children and play. The staff were on hand to give feedback as to what the children were learning from each activity and how this linked to the EYFS.

Parent reads to their child at our EYFS workshopFor example, in the photo to the right a parent is reading to their child in our outdoor snug area, she is pointing to pictures and talking to her child about what they can see. The child is becoming familiar with text and how stories are formed. By asking the child ‘What might happen next?’ we support their imagination and ideas. It is also an opportunity for the child to snuggle in close and feel safe which promotes self esteem and confidence.

We hope that the parents that attended the session were able to take away new insights into how children learn, what stages they go through and what we are focused on as team working with their children.

What the parents had to say…

Stu Tibbs: ‘Thank you for opening your doors to us all on Saturday morning. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to explore the nursery and experience first hand how children learn through play. It is evident the transition from preschool to school is made as smooth as possible with the cross over in activities and learning using EYFS standards. Natasha is enthusiastic and passionate and this shines through all her team. Well done!’

Beksie Byer: ‘Thank you for a lovely morning. The kiddies enjoyed showing us around their nursery x.’

Craig Childs: ‘It was really good to see. Oliver is always happy after being there. I’m not quite sure that the place stays as tidy as it looks today when it’s full of children.’

Alesha Watkins: ‘It was really good. Natasha taught us a lot about what you do under the radar and just proves how hard you all work to care for the children and help them grow to their full potential. Thank you.’

Dean Czyz: It was brilliant , thank you and well done to you and Brian on speaking. Really gives us more confidence and impetus to continue their development at home.

Tips on applying EYFS at home

  • Read to your child
  • Talk to your child
  • Embrace their creativity and ideas
  • Enjoy childhood and treasure these moments as it doesn’t last forever

If you have any questions on the EYFS then please talk to a member of staff who will be happy to explain more.

Five ways to keep your child entertained this summer

We all know how difficult it can be keeping children entertained and the summer holidays can be especially tricky. Here at Rushden Kids Club we have a dedicated team of play workers who pool the children’s ideas to make the holidays as exciting as possible. Here our top five low cost activities for a fun-filled summer…

Play with a theme

Model making - activities to entertain your child
Model making: From a rocket to a castle, save up your recycling and let your child’s imagination build all sorts of exciting objects
We asked the children what they would like to do (since they are the experts at play!) and divided the summer up into manageable weekly sections, each with a different theme to inspire the imagination.

Instead of endless days of boredom we provide six individually-tailored weeks with exciting things to do: Pirates, Harry Potter, Seaside, Messy, Dinosaurs, Knights and Princesses and Space. What theme would your child choose?

Dress up and go!

Whatever the theme, at Rushden Kids Club we love dressing up. Children gain so much from dress up play, it sparks their imagination, helps with socialisation and can encourage empathy. We already have a large selection in the dress up box but making a costume from scratch has the added benefits of problem solving, honing fine motor skills and even gender exploration.

Why not take a trip to a local charity shop with your child and see what their creative minds can come up with?

Get junk modelling

At Rushden Kids Club we love junk modelling and one of the most exciting activities the staff can provide is a large selection of boxes, bottles and tubes.

The processes children use to imagine that those particular boxes with that tube could make an awesome robot with a jet pack bottle on his back is not just problem solving skills, it is a higher level skill of thinking called divergent thinking. The same materials the next day could become a space station with rocket.

Save up your recycling for a week and marvel at the wonderful ideas children can come up with.

Food, glorious food

If your child could they would probably spend the whole summer eating cakes, sweets and biscuits. We are big believers of healthy eating at Kids Club and all our snacks and dinners are nutritionally balanced and taste delicious (Thank you Natasha and Caroline the cook). However we have discovered a great way of breaking the rules; let the children make the snacks.

With our new kitchen we will be baking a lot more this year, and trying out some ambitious recipes like making our own ice-cream – we will let you know the results!

Cooking with a child helps to develop hand eye co-ordination, safety skills and you can sneak some maths and science learning in too. With the obvious bonus of delicious food at the end, your child will begin a life skill that could lead to less work for you!

Time to get messy

To develop children’s natural curiosity nothing can beat messy play. Ooblek is a fancy term for non Newtonian fluids like cornflour and custard. With no right way to play it boosts a child’s self confidence and self esteem.

We have the space at Rushden Kids Club for larger messy crafts, with a big sheet of paper and a bucket load of paint the children can use brushes if they want or get in there with hand and feet.

Try a simple messy science experiment: fill an empty squirty bottle with 1 third bicarbonate of soda, 1 third cornflour and the final third with water add a few drops of food colouring and shake it well. Fill another squirty bottle with white vinegar and a few drops of food colouring. Draw a picture with the first bottle on the ground and trace it with the second bottle to watch a fizzy chemical reaction.

If you try any of the activities on here then we’d love to hear how you got on. We will be doing these and many more over the summer at Rushden Kids Club. With a bigger team to look after the children we bounce a lot of ideas off each other during our planning. If you’re struggling for ideas over the summer speak to a member of our team.

Check out our Summer Holiday Club activity list

Find out more about our Summer Holiday Club