Learning together, having fun and making friends
The Small Isles nursery team have been working together over the last few weeks and months to develop relationships and connections across their three settings. This is a major time of transition for all of our children, families and staff and Realising the Ambition highlights that during these vertical transitions we need to be even more responsive to the needs of the children and families we support. Read more from Jenny and the Small Isles team about how they have adapted their practice to support their children and families.
‘Although current events have completely disrupted our last term of Nursery this year, the quite bright, glittering silver lining for us at the Small Isle Nurseries has been the opportunity to forge new inter-island friendships. Before this year, our children from the Muck, Eigg or Rum Nurseries rarely met (or hadn’t at all), and now they are sending each other post, desperately excited to share stories and actively engaging in conversations, questioning and learning through our twice weekly Google Meets.
Like many Nurseries in the Highlands at the moment, we started by putting out activities for the children to do at home with their parents. Though these have been somewhat successful the feedback we got from parents was that they really wanted to provide as much social interaction for their children as possible. So we started with a Google Meet once a week and that very quickly became twice a week!
“He really gets excited about the Meets and seeing his pals” – one of our lovely parents.
We play interactive games like scavenger hunts, action songs and dressing up. We read a story every Meet or sometimes re-tell our favourite without the book! Our book of the wee last week was Elmer, so the weekly activities were all things patterns and jungles. We also asked the children to create some Elmer themed art to send to a child on another island – thank you to Calmac and the Post Office Workers for facilitating this.
The children have loved all aspects of our Meets and have been fully engaged and included. We’ve also asked the children what they enjoyed most about our virtual Nursery Meets:
“Story! Because we can read them and they have words and pictures.”
“Seeing my friends! Because I like playing.”
“Today I loved doing the yoga, because I liked being the different fruits!”
Another way to get the children to interact with each other was to encourage them all to write their own version of a fairy-tale during our fairy-tale themed week. This activity also clearly showed the high quality of parental engagement and how valuable this is during a child’s learning. The stories provided superb opportunities for turn taking and listening and talking; they also created some great laughs throughout the group. We have attached Arlo’s story for you to enjoy.
The Three Little Steggies by Arlo.
However, although some planned activities and structured sessions are important and really enjoyable, the most valuable moments are when the children are chatting. Who has brothers and sisters? What is better, tigers or pirates? (We decided if they joined forces that would be best… or maybe if it was a pirate tiger??).
Hearing that our Nursery pupils are talking about their new friends at home with their family and truly developing new and hopefully long lasting friendships is simply wonderful. We plan to continue these virtual Meets after all this is over, and hope this is the start of something great across the Small Isles Primaries.
If anyone would like to find out more about what we have been doing or would like any advice on running virtual sessions – let us know!’
Jenny (Rum), Phoebe (Muck) and Katrin (Eigg)
The Small Isle Nurseries Team