Little Chestnuts Topics - 2021/22
Below are the whole school topics for the year in which all children in Little Chestnuts Nursery will participate. In addition to these planned activities, children will regularly be encouraged to think of some of their own ideas which we will incorporate into our planning. Children’s ideas are collected through weekly class discussions and observations. We value all children’s contributions towards our planning, and by allowing children to share their own interests and ideas they continue to be motivated learners. Alongside the topics below we also look at a wide range of seasonal and religious festivals throughout the year such as Diwali, Harvest, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Easter, Holi and Tanabata.
During every term, we will also be looking at food preparation and learn about hygiene. The children will regularly use the balance bikes and a range of motor skill activities to develop both their fine and gross motor skills. Over time, we hope for all children to grow in confidence as well as gaining an understanding about how to keep safe. Throughout every topic, all the children have opportunities to extend their learning in all EYFS areas of learning.
Autumn Term (Part 1)
We know that starting a new setting can raise a mixture of emotions, so during the first few weeks we will spend time ensuring all children feel happy and settled into their new routines. This will help children feel safe, secure in their environment, and ensure an understanding of everyday procedures. Our timetable will include many activities involving name games, social activities and time to explore all the different areas inside and outside. We have also planned weekly activity days including ‘Wonderful Woodland’ inspired by Forest schooling, where children will explore our lovely school grounds looking at plants/trees, and visit the cabin. ‘Fun Food’ will be a dedicated day to following instructions when making a hot or cold dish, including looking at foods from different cultures. We hope this will promote and encourage children to use good communication skills, and learn new, exciting vocabulary.
During the first few weeks we will use stories to support everyone starting in Little Chestnuts, including ‘Our Class is Our Family’ to celebrate everyone being unique and bring all our families together to create our very own Little Chestnut’s family tree. ‘The Lion Inside’ is also a wonderful book to help the children feel brave in their new setting, with new adventures. We will spend time exploring the school grounds and creating large scale artwork as a group. It is an important time for the children to begin to share their thoughts, ideas and interests through artwork, photos and speaking activities. We will also introduce the children to the Zones of Regulation and associate different feelings to different colours.
Farm to Fork
Old MacDonald Had a Farm E-I-E-I-O… What animal noise can you hear? In Little Chestnuts, we are off to explore the farm with Old MacDonald and learn different animal rhymes and stories such as ‘Little Red Hen’, ‘Farmer Duck’, and ‘What the Ladybird Heard’. Stories and rhymes are a fantastic way to encourage interests in different activities and learning areas such as role-play, creative activities, using sensory and malleable materials, as well social skills games. Through our topic, we will also explore harvest and different types of farming and growing. We love gardening in Little Chestnuts and we already have amazing vegetables growing in our garden, which the children will harvest and try together before planting their own new vegetables. We won’t only be eating vegetable’s that we’ve grown but also using it to explore different textures, their skins and even how they grow by using stories such as ‘Handa’s surprise’. During the term, we will also develop our curiosity about different foods through our regular ‘Fun Food’ cooking sessions.
Autumn Term (Part 2)
Lights, camera, action! After half term, our second topic will encourage our Little Chestnuts to express themselves through the art of music, dance and theatre. We will look at traditional tales and use our stage, role-play and puppet area to act out these wonderful stories. Through this topic, and throughout the year in nursery, a key focus is on supporting language skills, increasing vocabulary through meaningful opportunities and increasing communication skills. We will be encouraging children to develop their love of reading and storytelling through sharing a wide range of familiar favourites and wordless books together. We will also be introducing ‘Helicopter Stories’ which is a fantastic opportunity for children to individually create their very own story, which an adult scribes word-for-word and then, with the help of their class mates, they bring it to life by acting it out on the stage! Through stories such as: ‘Three Little Pigs’,’ Little Red Riding Hood’, and ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ we will begin to expand and develop their maths language and early maths skills, including looking at and recognising numerals, counting quantities and matching to the correct numeral. The Little Chestnuts will be able to explore a range of materials to build sets and props to put on performances for their classmates.
We will also be celebrating different festivals during this half term including Hanukkah and Christmas. We will have winter-based fun through art, music, role-play and celebrate together.
Spring Term (First Half)
Time to Move!
We like to move it, move it! Kicking off with the emergency services, children will learn about different services and people who help us. We will create our own fire engines, ambulances and police cars to help us role-play different emergency services and learn about how they help us. This will include thinking about road safety and developing our skills using balance bikes and scooters. Throughout the topic, the children will be encouraged to ask questions and give reasons to extend their answers as well as building their maths and literacy language into everyday play. We will also use the topic to think about different ways of moving. Jumping, skipping, crawling, hopping and marching… how many different ways can you move? The children will have opportunities to develop their confidence with moving in different ways, speeds and heights. This will lead nicely into thinking about forces, pushing and pulling, which will link back to vehicles. We will investigate and experiment ‘how things move’ using a range of resources including boats in water and kites in the wind. During this topic, we will also be exploring our own history and thinking about how all the Little Chestnut children have grown and changed.
Spring Term (Second Half)
Grab your magnifying glass and let’s explore! As the weather improves and things begin to grow around us, our Little Chestnuts will observe the changes in our local environment. Looking at flowers, plants, trees and minibeasts, including reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, the children will be encouraged to observe and discuss life cycles. We will be going on minibeast hunts during this topic and exploring our wonderful outside areas around the school including the field, the rot zone and the bug hotel. Familiar and new stories about these wonderful creatures will be shared. Throughout the year, and especially in this topic, the children will learn to care for our environment and the creatures that live in it though our ‘WonderfulWoodland’ weeklyactivities. Through the passionate gardeners amongst our staff team, we will nurture the children’s love for the garden and teach children to plant, care for, and grow a range of plants, flowers, herbs and vegetables. Gardening not only provides fantastic opportunities to develop senses, scientific knowledge and support wellbeing but it is also great to develop the children’s mathematic language of measure and encourages their literacy skills through sequencing and mark making.
Summer Term (First Half)
Beyond the Sea
What will you see under the sea?Our first topic of summer will look at the amazing underwater world. The children will be immersed in fantasy stories about the sea and oceans, engaging in ocean inspired pretend play. They will be welcomed into an underwater world filled with colour, life and beauty through stories about merpeople and fantastical creatures. Non-fiction enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn interesting facts about sea creatures, and have many opportunities for sensory exploration. We will use large-scale art, construction, music, dance and role-play to recreate underwater animals and their habits. Children will be encouraged to ask questions about the ocean and learn about jobs people have related to the ocean (fisherman, oceanographer, marine biologist, etc). Books such as ‘Rainbow Fish’ and ‘Sharing a Shell’ will be used as a link to help understand personal and social situations.
Summer Term (Second Half)
Ready, steady, GO… During our final topic in Little Chestnuts, we will transform our class into a sports haven, celebrating different sporting event, challenging stereotypes, and allowing children to have the opportunity to participate in different sporting activities. Taking part in sports develops communication skills, character and social skills including problem solving, resilience, confidence, teamwork and perseverance. We will focus in on PSED such as winning and losing, competitions, and within this have plenty of opportunities for mark making and continue to build maths and literacy language into everyday life.
Finally, yet importantly, we will be celebrating everything the children have achieved during their exciting, action packed year in nursery! We will also spend the last few weeks helping to prepare the children for the move up to reception and supporting their transition to a new class in an exciting but reassuring way.