During our sessions, we offer a vast range of activities - From small world play to trains or dinosaurs - to role play in our toy kitchen and baby corner. There is always something on offer for everyone. If a child would like a certain activity or toy to play with we follow their request where we can to keep in line with our “in the moment planning”.
We follow a free flow structure so access to playing outside is always available, whatever the weather! As they say there is no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing! Outside we have lots of toys and activities, our mud kitchen and a sandpit. On dry days we usually get out the “ride on” toys; ranging from bikes to scooters and diddy cars. We will also incorporate PE into our outdoor play, so we often get out our Topstart toys to enhance and engage the children in physical play without them realising. This includes toys such as tennis rackets, stilts, balls and beanbags.
Arts and crafts
We have a dedicated art area with our big red art trolley as the centerpiece. This gives full access for the children to get creative. We often leave the art area free to roam, so the children can lead and decide what they would like to do in this corner. Painting, mark making and scissor practice are usually the biggest hits with the children!
Here at playgroup cooking is a wonderful group activity that we all love to do together. When the children ask to cook, or at a planned cooking activity we set up a big table and the children can come and go and help us cook or bake. For example when we bake cakes - the children guess what we need to make our cakes then take it in turn to measure all of the ingredients and have a go at mixing and spooning the mixture into the cases ready for an adult to put them in the oven (We are always very aware of dietary requirements when selecting the ingredients). The children especially like balancing the ingredients. Eating and sharing them is the best part of course!
Every Tuesday Aurore, a lovely local French teacher, comes to playgroup and gives us a ½ hour session, teaching French through songs and stories. Aurore also brings along her little bear named Bon Bon who loves to hide in her magic sack. Some examples of what the children learn during this session are: colours, numbers, what the weather is like and special events such as Epiphany, Christmas or Easter.
Music is a fantastic way to engage a child into their play and learning. We often get the musical instruments out and they are an instant go to activity. We love noise and so do the children, so getting the shakers, drums and guitars out really channels their inner Mozart or more popular boy and girl bands!
As soon as there is music in the hall, we can guarantee there will be a group of children dancing away! If we have the projector screen down with the speakers on, this draws the attention of the children instantly and they join in dancing and doing the actions, as do the team! We love a good dance too! Our favourites are “banana banana meatball” or “purple stew” or the even more popular “Baby Shark!”
We incorporate PE into our daily play at playgroup. For example we have the basketball net and balls, the topstart toys and the benches. We make up games where the children climb onto the benches to help with their balance or find a different way to move across them to then put the ball into the net! We also love to visit the play park too at TRAC which is also a form of PE as the children move around and climb on all of the brilliant equipment there! School visits are also popular where the children can balance on the equipment, climb and move over hurdles, climb the climbing wall, roll down hills and much more.
Visits to Twyning School
Twyning School is our wonderful school in the village. Many of our children’s parents will choose this school as their first choice when it comes to selecting their child’s primary school. We visit often especially during the spring and summer to prepare our pre-school children for their next chapter. The children love to play on the school playing field in their pirate ship or use the football goals and their climbing equipment. We also have the opportunity to listen to stories and do phonics with the reception teacher. We are always invited to watch the infants perform their nativity and the Owls end of term play, which is lovely for us all to see how their friends have settled and grown. Visiting the school is a great opportunity for the children to get used to the school which will then help ease with the transition from playgroup later on in the year.
We are very grateful to Twyning Park for allowing us to use their grounds to offer our fantastic Forest School sessions. Helen comes to take us for Forest School where we love to go bug hunting, tree climbing, rolling down the hills and best of all making campfires, hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows!
Our vision for Forest School is to develop children’s confidence, curiosity, independence, self-esteem and resilience and to provide an opportunity to explore and experience the natural world through practical outdoor activities.
Wellies and waterproofs are definitely needed for these sessions as we never come back clean!
Talk for Writing
Following the Pie Corbett “talk for writing” scheme we help the children develop their understanding of stories - how they are structured, characters involved and also developing their vocabulary. This involves developing a story map with the children providing ideas for characters, settings and plot. The children tell the story with the adult leading the activity - repeating it and adding actions to further enforce their involvement and understanding. This scheme links well to Twyning school as well as several of the schools in Tewkesbury and the surrounding area as we have all been involved in the Pie Corbett training. We are therefore able to provide a good grounding in this literacy activity before the children move on to school.
Alongside this we also do Jolly Phonics and Letters and Sounds phase 1. Phase 1 emphasises on communication and listening activities. We provide lots of opportunities for the children to talk and listen to them. We love doing sound games such as “What sound can you hear?” and “sound bingo”. At an age appropriate level children are encouraged to join in with rhyming and alliteration. Calling the children’s names for washing hands before lunch is a perfect opportunity for this such as “Lillie Lolly pop, and hungry Harry”.