Preschool Graduation

As the end of the summer term approaches nurseries and preschools alike start saying goodbye to their oldest children as they begin their journey to “big” school. The four years or so they have spent with you are coming to a close and it’s hard to let go. More and more early years settings are offering graduation ceremonies for their leavers in order to celebrate their achievements and give them a memorable send off. In the US, a preschool graduation are an established, sizeable industry and it seems the UK has caught the bug!

Many of our customers take part in celebrating the accomplishments of their preschool children with graduations so to help we’ve put together a few of our favourite ideas for an exciting, fun-filled and sometimes teary occasion.

Preschool Graduation Ideas

Songs & Poems

This is a chance for children to show off what they’ve been learning whilst in preschool. Take inspiration from nursery rhymes you already know but change a few words here and there. You could let the children right their own poems or each choose a word they want to incorporate in to the poem or song you write. Remember to practice so that the children can show off their perfect singing voices during the ceremony!

Top tip: Search for graduation poems online for inspiration. Make slight changes to the words so it’s unique to your nursery or preschool. Mention the trips you’ve had or any extra activities you do, like Spanish or yoga classes.

Photos & Videos

Videos and photo slideshows are a perfect way to start and end your graduation ceremony. Some nurseries show photos of their children from when they were babies to where they are now. It’s a perfect trip down memory lane and sums up how far the children have come from when they first started.

Top tip: Give your children a go with the camera or GoPro so you get their point of view of their time in nursery and preschool. Get the projector out or put the SmartBoard on and show everyone the combined clips with some fun music. This is enjoyable for staff, parents and the children as well!

Outfits

According to an article by the BBC “tens of thousands of outfits are being sold every year in Europe, the Middle East and Far East. They usually retail at up to about £20 and are available in dozens of colours”. A simple google search will direct you to companies who either sell or rent mini graduation robes and mortar boards. Alternatives include Amazon and even eBay where you can find cheaper options which can match your nursery or preschool colours.

Top tip: Make graduation gowns out of large pieces of cheap material. Fold a rectangular piece in half and cut a hole in the middle where the crease sits. Then partially sew up each side leaving room for little arms to slip through. These can be used again and again after a quick wash and iron. Make individual graduation caps out of thick card and allow children to take them home with them as a parting gift.

Parents

You have been as much a part of your children’s lives as you have been a part of their parent’s journey. Make sure you get parents involved in some way as the connection you have with families is sure to cause a few tears from Mums and Dads who no doubt will show their appreciation for what you have done for them.

Top tip: Have plenty of tissues at the ready! Add a poem to accompany the box: “We’re nearing the end of our nursery years, please take a tissue to dry your tears.”

More Preschool Graduation Ideas & References

Check out these sites for references and more preschool graduation ideas to make your children’s day special!

Forest School

What is Forest School?

Forest School, is an outdoor education delivery model in which individuals spend time in natural spaces to learn different skills. It has been defined in Liz O’Brien and Richard Murray’s research as “an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment”.

Following success in the US, Sweden and Denmark, it has become extremely popular in the UK since the 90s. Many schools and other settings have established long term programmes with accredited training courses. Others have been solely setup as dedicated forest schools. The philosophy of Forest School embraces children’s natural curiosity, inspired imagination and promoted learning.

Formed in 2012 as “the professional body and UK wide voice for Forest School”, the Forest School Association (FSA) promote best practice, cohesion and “quality Forest School for all”. As a result, hey have helped over 10,000 educationalists undertake training to provide Forest School within their establishments. This includes nurseries, preschools and primary schools. This community is key as the demand for provision is rising and the quality of outdoor learning is growing.

Impact in the Early Years

Forest School promotes all aspects of children’s early years development. Forest School may have added benefits that learning indoors doesn’t provide. It endorses children’s physical well being by getting them more active and enjoying the fresh air. Similarly it gives children a greater wealth of experiences the outdoors can offer, thus instilling a healthier lifestyle.

Dr Janine Coates of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and Dr Helena Pimlott-Wilson of the Department of Geography at Loughborough conducted preliminary research in 2017 within primary schools, including one early years foundation class (4-5 years). Their findings show that there is a clear impact of Forest School. Encouraging children to work with others in more challenging outdoor activities improves their social relationships. Secondly, this way of learning within early years appears to provide children with hands-on skills and an appreciation for the outdoors. Certainly a stark contrast to the ever-growing digital age where children are thought to spend less time in their outdoor environment.

Getting children outdoors is a great way of taking children and learning out of the classroom. In addition, it adds something a little different to the day-to-day schedule. Likewise, it gives children greater understanding and experience whilst helping all areas of their development in a different, stimulating way.

How can LearningBook help?

LearningBook allows customers to create and complete observations of children’s activities even if the safeguarding-aware tablets are offline and not connected to WiFi. For instance, it means settings who have poor internet connection and attend take part in outdoor sessions will still be able to record children’s development. Find out more features that can support your outdoor learning, here.

National Numeracy Day

Today, 15th May 2019, is National Numeracy Day. You may have noticed the topic trending on twitter and other social media platforms, as well as the campaign being supported and promoted by the likes of the DfE, Virgin, BBC, Rachel Riley, Martin Lewis and countless other big names and individuals. National Numeracy Day is run by the UK charity, National Numeracy. So what’s it all about and how can you improve your EYFS Numeracy activities in your early years settings?

So what’s it for?

Attitudes towards numbers is widely regarded as being negative for a very long time. National Numeracy wants to help make people feel confident and recognise the value and presence of numbers in everyday life.

Why is LearningBook in support of National Numeracy Day?

As a provider to the educations sector we think numbers are important, they help our staff and peers in the day-to-day functioning of LearningBook and within schools, preschools and nurseries. We use numbers and the skills gained through mathematics to help us solve problems and support our customers every day. As well as encouraging adults to improve their number skills we think it’s only right we should also start encouraging a love for numbers and mathematics at the very start of life – in the early years.

EYFS Numeracy

As you know Mathematics one of the specific areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and acts as a key foundation for when children move from EYFS on to KS1. By establishing a positive relationship with numeracy early we feel that his may go some way to helping this National Numeracy’s cause.

Here’s a few simple, fun and exciting activities for you try in your early years setting (some are focused and some can be worked in throughout the day during other activities) in order for you to progress your children through their EYFS numeracy skills:

1) Number Rhymes

Resources: Your voices!

Activity: Sing lots of songs that include numbers and amounts during play time and pack away time, or maybe even when you’re waiting for breakfast, lunch or tea to be served. For example, “Ten Green Bottles”. You could use props and act out the different songs, remember to ask children “How many bottles are left?” or “Can everyone count the bottles on the wall?”

2) Dice Rolling

Resources: Big dice

Activity: You can use dice for just about anything and to encourage child’s behaviours. For example, children can roll a dice and the number that appear can be how many toys they can take out of the box. Or it can be the number of children on table 1, etc. Ask the children “What number do you see on the dice?”, or ask “How many toys can you take out of the box?”

3) Books

Resources: Books with counting element, e.g. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.

Activity: During story time ask children to count certain aspect of the book. For The Very Hungry caterpillar ask the children to count the number of pears, or “How many pears has the caterpillar eaten?”. You could even ask the children, “ Which caterpillars are big and which are small?”

4) Straw Sucking

Resources: One straw per child, a ong piece of colourful card, paper/card pieces with numbers 1-10.

Activity: Scatter the pieces of paper/card that have the numbers on them on the floor or table. Use the colourful piece of card as the number line. Ask the child to use their straw to suck up the numbers tin order or say certain numbers you want them to move. This will help them recognise names of numbers, as well as being able to order them consequtively.

5) Role Play

Resources: Children’s imagination!

Activity: This activity can include any role play area of your room, e.g., a farm shop, or it can be when children are role playing in general.  Children can act as shoppers and shop keepers and count out the number of carrots and other fruit and veg on their stall. They can also add the amount of money to buy the different food. Encourage the children to ask each other “How many carrots would you like?” or “How many apples do you have?”.

Why not try looking on sites like Pinterest, Twinkl and Early Years Resources for more EYFS Numeracy and Mathematics activities?

LearningBook joins forces with Just Childcare

Nursery group Just Childcare is teaming up with leading education technology company LearningBook to deliver a top spec recording and development tracking system across its sites.

The award-winning chain of over 30 nurseries will use LearningBook’s safeguarding-aware digital learning journey in a rolling multi-year contract, enabling staff to perform observation recording and tracking in half the time*.

Dr James Huntington, founder of LearningBook, comments; “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Just Childcare. Our system will help Just Childcare deliver a more comprehensive and efficient level of data collection, ensuring they continue to meet national and Ofsted standards, while having more time to help develop the children and engage parents.”

Liz Carroll, Nursery Operations Director at Just Childcare, adds: “Our team have found the system so simple to use, while allowing for a real depth of information to inform staff of children’s progress – and parents and carers really appreciate the unique safeguarding element and having the ability to view and contribute to their child’s education at home. We knew quite soon into our trial that we would be looking to roll the technology out across all our nurseries.”

 

LearningBook is based in Manchester and Macclesfield and is run by Dr James Huntington. The company was started when James’ family, who own Ofsted Outstanding nurseries, spotted a need for a more streamlined, safe and simple system for staff to track children’s early years development. James, a cloud computing company owner, combined his IT knowledge with ex-head teachers and nursery owners to create the system, launching it in 2014. It is the only company in the UK to offer the technology to clients on tablets which are stripped of all other applications, delivering a higher level of safeguarding than other companies. LearningBook now works with over 1,000 schools, preschools, nurseries and childminders all over the UK and further afield.

Liz concludes: “Thanks to LearningBook, we can spend more time improving the development of the children in our care, and communicating it really effectively to their parents and carers, who love the safeguarding element.”