Little Chestnuts Topics - 2022/23

Below are the whole school topics for the year in which all children in 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.

Every term, we will visit our outdoor cabin and field for our weekly ‘Wonderful Woodland’ nature morning. We will be looking at food preparation and learn about hygiene in our weekly Fun Food mornings sessions. The children will regularly use the balance bikes and a range of motor skill activities to develop both their fine and gross motor skills. Our weekly PE lessons will include learning a variety of skills such as climbing, balancing, throwing and catching, along with working in a team. Over time, we hope for all children to grow in confidence as well as gaining an understanding about how to keep safe using our equipment. Throughout every topic, all the children have opportunities to extend their learning in all EYFS areas of learning.

Autumn Term (Part 1)

Wellbeing and Communication

We know that starting school can have a mixture of emotions, so the first few weeks we will spend time ensuring all children feel happy and settled into their new routine. 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. As mentioned above, we will plan 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’ sessions will be a dedicated day to follow instructions, and make 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 starting school, including ‘Our Class is Our Family’ to celebrate everyone being unique and bring all our families together to create our very own Little Chestnuts’ family tree. ‘The Lion Inside’ is also a wonderful book to help the children feel brave in their new school, 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 learn how to recognise different feelings and connect these to different colours.

Over the Rainbow

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." - Maya Angelou.

In Little Chestnuts, we are off to explore the rainbow, colours and weather. Listening to stories such as: Colour monsters, Brown Bear, Elmer colours, Elmer and the Rainbow, Rainbow Fish, Art & Max and The World Made a Rainbow. Each week we will focus on a different colour and explore using that colour with colour mixing opportunities. 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 colours in our garden, looking at 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. During the term, we will also develop our curiosity about different foods through our regular ‘Fun Food’ cooking sessions.

Autumn Term (Part 2)

What a Wonderful World

'And I think to myself what a wonderful world' - Louis Armstrong.

After half term our second topic will teach the children about the wonders of our beautiful world looking at different countries and traditions including: food, clothing, animals, language, transport and toys. In our ‘Fun Food’ day we will explore a range of foods from around the world. We will also look at books and nursery rhymes including: Handa’s Surprise, Penguin, Hats of faith and Here We Go around The Mulberry Bush. This term we will introduce ‘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 this topic, and throughout the year in nursery, a key focus is on supporting language skills, increasing vocabulary and communication skills through meaningful opportunities. 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 celebrating different festivals during this half term including Hanukkah and Christmas. This will include having lots of winter-based fun through art, music, role-play.

Spring Term (First Half)

To Infinity and Beyond!

'Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground' - Theodore Roosevelt.

Up, up and away! During our space topic, Little Chestnuts will use their imagination to go on extraordinary adventures. We will explore planets, space travel and even aliens! We will read books including: The Way Back Home, How to Catch a Star, A Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet and look at space pictures. As well as creating our own adventures, and continuing to make up our own stories in helicopter stories, acting them out on our stage. We will use messy play and role-play to sequence stories, change events, create new characters and join in with repeated refrains. 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 in space? Through movement we will incorporate discussions such as talking about speed, gravity and being weightless. This will link into thinking about simple scientific experiences, such as pushing and pulling different vehicles. We will investigate and experiment ‘how things move’ using a range of resources, including boats in water and kites in the wind.

Spring Term (Second Half)

Awesome Authors

‘A book is a gift you can open again and again’ – Garrison Keillor.

We will kick off by venturing into the wonderful world of the little brown mouse in the popular story ‘The Gruffalo’. The Little Chestnuts will explore rhyme, alliteration, repeated refrains, and retell stories in different environments and provide an opportunity to explore our local learning area. This exciting topic will bring stories to life by going on real life explorations, using our senses to smell, touch, feel and hear  different aspects of our outdoor environment, becoming part of the story themselves.

We will encourage our Little Chestnuts to express themselves through the art of music, dance and theatre. We will also look at traditional tales and use our stage, role-play and puppet area to act out these wonderful stories. 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 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 might become builders to help the Three Little Pigs or gardeners to help Jack grow the beanstalk. As well as creating our own adventures, we will also role-play familiar stories. Traditional tales are an excellent way to help the children develop their reading skills and expand on their imagination.

Summer Term (First Half)

Home Sweet Habitat

 ‘In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks’ – John Muir.

Following on from our previous topic and with brighter weathers ahead, our Little Chestnuts will continue to explore their surroundings using their magnifying glasses to look upon the environment around them! We will be looking closely at flowers, plants, trees and minibeasts and read stories such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Through stories and real life observations, the children will be encouraged to observe and discuss changes around them, such as life cycles. For our ‘Wonderful Woodland’ nature days, we will go on gentle minibeast hunts, teaching the children to be careful whilst exploring the wonderful outside areas 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. 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 while planting, and encourage their literacy skills through sequencing and mark making. Children will be encouraged to ask questions about their environment and learn about recycling, reusing and reducing.

Summer Term (Second Half)

Fabulous Figures

‘However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at’ - Stephen Hawking.

During our final topic we will look at well-known and popular figures like the Queen! We will take a look at the Little People, Big Dreams books to inspire our Little Chestnuts to think big! We will encourage them to build on their character and social skills and give them skills to be a more confident and resilient individuals. This topic will also include looking at the emergency services and key people in our local community. Within this topic, we hope to continue taking part in sports and team games to prepare for our end of years sports morning, focusing on healthy competitions. Within this we will 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.

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