Happy, healthy 2018, from all at Ladybirds

It’s been a packed second half of Autumn Term 2017 with themes of Halloween, Bonfire Night, Remembrance, Hedgehogs, Castles and, of course, Christmas!

We’ve enjoyed a range of weather in our outdoor play area including sunshine, snow, light rain, and wind – a great excuse for getting out the bubble mixture (not that we ever need an excuse!)

Thank you for continuing to look for, and send in, items for our ‘sound of the week’. We find it’s a great way for the children to focus on different letter sounds, and supports them in developing literacy skills.

We love sensory ‘play’ at Ladybirds and this takes many different forms including cooking, painting, play dough, frozen objects/insects, jelly and spaghetti to name just a few.

Thank you to everyone who supplied a cake or bought raffle tickets at our Christmas Fayre in November – we bought some new toys for the children including prams which have proved very popular!

We love the fact that the children are not aware of all the learning that takes place – they think they’re just having fun building towers, making ‘tea’ in the kitchen etc, but all the time they are using mathematical language, developing social skills and finding out about the world.

Our Forest School sessions have been going well and the children are really getting to know Royston Woods. We have made bird feeders, flying birds on sticks, hedgehogs and stickmen. The children love to explore, climb and jump through the woods, looking for creatures (real and toy) hiding in the leaves. If you visit the woods, you may still see some friendly mud faces looking at you from the tree trunks….

In December, like everyone else, we were very busy getting ready for Christmas.

This December we were fortunate to have three special visitors: Rev. Armstrong told us the story of the Nativity and the children joined in with the beautifully knitted characters…..

…..we had a Christmas party with lunch and games……

……Tam brought in her shadow puppet theatre and told us the story of Stickman – the children (and adults!) were mesmorized….


….and finally, if all that wasn’t exciting enough, Father Christmas visited with presents for the all the children – thank you Santa!

We return to Ladybirds on Thursday 4th January when our Sound of the Week will be ‘u’. Don’t forget, if you are going on a trip anywhere and would like to take Froogli with you, please ask – we love to hear about the exciting things the children do when they’re not at Ladybirds!

We wish all our families a Happy, Healthy 2018.





Autumn Term…..

It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through the Autumn Term. We hope all our July ‘Leavers’ have settled in happily at big school – it’s lovely to see the photos of them in their school uniform so please keep them coming in!

Our Autumn themes of Harvest, Divali and Hibernation have kept us busy so far this term, with the Hungry Caterpillar making a popular appearance too. And we hope you liked the Face Plates which came home early in the term – the children were very specific with the features! We’ve made vegetable soup – more cooking to come.

We have a very imaginative group of children at Ladybirds who make up fantastic games by themselves – it’s a shame to disturb them for lunch…..

We have started again with our “Sounds of the week” and so far have talked about s, a, t, i, p, n and ck. Please send your child in with items which begin with the sound of the week – they show them to everyone during registration and it is a great way of supporting their confidence as well as communication skills. Sam plans lots of mark making activities around the sound of the week with colouring and tracing among the most popular, but also using shaving foam and gloop. This week’s sound is “e” and next week is “h” as we follow the phonic order which is used in primary schools – there is a reminder of this order on our noticeboard.

This term has seen the start of our Forest School at Royston Wood. Unfortunately our first session had to be changed to a Windy Walk as the high winds meant it was too dangerous in the woods – but the children enjoyed being blown about on the village green instead!

Fortunately our second and third Forest School sessions went ahead and we’ve made a bug house, giant collages of a rainbow and hedgehog, stickmen and stick hedgehogs. We’ve played hide and seek, painted trees using “magic” paint and generally explored Royston Woods. Don’t forget we aim to go out in all weathers (except high winds and lightning) so please remember warm clothes and sturdy shoes.

We couldn’t find any blue leaves for our rainbow so the children painted their own!

Happy Halloween everyone, and have a safe firework night.

Phew – it’s been emotional…!

We had a wonderful day at Mersea Beach for our last day of term – thank you to Mersea Island Lions Club for letting us use your hut again. The weather held and we made sandcastles (and sand mermaids, sand ladybirds, sand stag beetles and sand boats!) paddled, wrote in the sand, had picnics and much much more!

It was an lovely way to end a packed term: here are a few of our highlights, including:

Father’s Day,


finding a stag beetle,


our Ladybird Trail which raised £52.73

and Lady Sam’s Birthday!

We even managed to do some learning too!

Our seaside theme has run throughout the term with lighthouses, starfish, rockpools, Rainbow fish, water (lots of water!) and sand dough.

We had a visit from Amy the Dental Nurse who brought in her baby dinosaur and giant dog to teach us about looking after our teeth and healthy snacks.

And Kayleigh, who we have been lucky to have with us this term, has just graduated with a BA(Hons) in Education Studies and Special and Inclusive Needs. Congratulations Kayleigh and good luck in your PGCE!19959227_1387164508063660_8766722919966299104_n

We say goodbye and good luck to everyone going to Big School, we will miss you very much – including Amy, who has inspired and taught us so much this year

We hope everyone has a wonderful, safe summer and look forward to seeing you back on 7th September.

















A trip to the farm….and healthy eating

The local elections meant that Ladybirds had to vacate the hall so we put on our sturdy shoesand headed for Hollow Trees Farm! What a great day we had feeding the animals, eating our picnic in the marquee and having a ride on Jenny the tractor. Finally we ended the day at Pogul’s Pit climbing on, sliding down and crawling through the play equipment. Sorry – no photos – we were too busy enjoying the day! Thank you to Hollow Trees for a fantastic day as always – and we loved being one of the first groups to use the new marquee.

Our trip to Hollow Trees started off our themes of Growing, Planting and Healthy Eating; we’ve looked at different sized seeds (cress, acorns and sunflowers), made real fruit kebabs and stuck pictures of fruit in Handa’s basket. We’ve planted herbs in our raised bed which has evolved from a dinosaur land to little people garden – Smurfs to be exact! And it’s also home to some bumble bees who have made their way in through the back – we don’t mind sharing the raised bed, the children enjoyed watching them make their way in and out (we talked about being careful) and we know they won’t be there for long.

This is the last term some of our children will be with us as they are moving up to school in September. They have been working hard with fine motor skill activities, to strengthen their finger muscles, and looking at letters to support upper/lower case correspondence.

With the beautiful weather, you can imagine we’ve wanted to be outside a lot, so we’ve moved our craft and snack areas there – water play features highly!

We still enjoy indoor activities too – and the hall can be a cool oasis when the weather is as hot as it has been recently.

Please remember to put sun cream on your child before they come to Ladybirds – we don’t want to have to delay getting outside straight away, they are so keen! Suncream is reapplied throughout the day as necessary of course.

And a reminder – our seaside trip is booked for 21st July, our last day of term.



Ladybirds in April – short but sweet…

It hardly seems 5 minutes since we went back after Easter! We’ve been celebrating Spring and making the most of the sunny (although sometimes chilly) weather.

Lots of obstacle courses, digging (sand and earth), washing the outdoor toys and playing popular circle games like Duck Duck Goose took place in our garden. The children took themselves off on ‘Bear Hunts’ and made dinner for us in the Mud Pie Kitchen. Inside the hall, we had some lovely play in the role play and small world areas, and children took turns playing with board games.

Our junk modelling and free craft produced some very imaginative creations – sorry if some were a bit wet (or didn’t fit in the car!)

Thank you to those who have already brought back their Easter Egg tubes and coins. We will be creating our Ladybird Trail in the garden this term so please remember to return them – thank you.

Our May themes will include Farms, Growing and Planting and Healthy Eating, beginning with a trip to Hollow Trees Farm at 10am on Thursday 4th May – we can’t wait!

Happy Easter

We hope all our Ladybirds and their families have had a fantastic break – we certainly enjoyed preparing for Easter with all the craft, games and ending in an Egg Hunt in Royston Woods

We have made the most of the beautiful Spring weather with lots of outdoor learning…..

Spring cleaning……


(you’ve missed a bit….!)

And beginning to create our Dinosaur Garden


Our ever popular theme of Pets and Vets found us learning all about the pets we had (and some the children really wanted……!) and how to look after them. We hope you liked the hand made flower arrangements (lots of discussion about colour, shape, size, and some excellent fine motor skills too, using scissors and secateurs) and the personalised balloon “Mummies” – designed by Donna but personalised by the children.

 And, of course, lots of literacy, collaborating and problem solving took place as usual

We look forward to seeing everyone back at Ladybirds in the Summer Term, starting Thursday 20th April – please remember to bring back your Easter Egg tubes, with any spare change, for our Ladybird trail in the garden. Thank you.

February Fun at Ladybirds

It’s amazing the number of ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day at Pre-school! Our heart activities included making multi-size heart pendants, using heart shaped (and other shaped) cutters at the playdough table, making heart biscuits – and plenty of physical activity – “good for your heart” one little girl said!

And our heart theme continued when Claire, a Nurse,  visited us during our People Who Help Us week. She brought in some stethoscopes and showed the children how to listen to their hearts and chatted about what we do when people are poorly. The children then had great fun bandaging either other, their toys – and us! Thank you Claire.

We had another visitor in February too – Amy the Dental Nurse brought in her giant toothbrush and teeth. With the help of the friendly dinosaur, she talked to the children  about how they looked after their teeth, which snacks were healthy and which should be saved to have as a treat.

World Book Day was celebrated in style, with children (and adults!) dressing up as book characters and bringing in their favourite stories.

Some of the book characters could really fly……….!

Our People Who Help us theme continued with the children making up their own games in our small world and role play areas, where we saw lots of imagination and collaboration.

Independent colour sorting in the garden….


….and a work of art being created for the wall – coming soon!


March’s themes will include Pets and Vets, Mother’s Day and Easter – watch out for news of our Easter Egg hunt in the woods

Not so gloomy January……

Apologies for a belated blog about January – it’s been busy! We discussed the Winter weather, explored ice, talked about Penguins (and discovered we all love them very much!), celebrated Chinese New Year and started our big theme of stories, books and nursery rhymes. A few highlights:

Freeing the creatures, trapped in the iceJpeg

Hunting for ice in the garden – we didn’t have to look too hard, as it was a very cold morning, but it was great fun feeling it, examining it and – best of all – jumping on it! We left some intact to see what would happen to it too.


Amazing ice sculpture – the “Ice Monster”

We all went a bit penguin crazy!

We celebrated Chinese New Year with rice noodles, chopsticks, Chinese writing and amazing Chinese Dragon Heads:

Our phonic sounds and literacy continued with the letters r m d and g, with children bringing in items from home to show us. During registration we see how many things the children can name which begin with the sounds – and the list gets longer each week!

Listening to the children playing inside and out, we hear so much creative, imaginative play: blocks become boats and bridges, children take turns being the “captain” and the ice became food for the dragons “because it puts their fire out”

And we always have activities which strengthen fingers and support fine motor skills:

We finished January with our theme of The Three Little Pigs. The children loved making the pigs’ houses of straw, twigs and bricks with Donna, and the wooden spoon puppets with Amy. They built their own houses out of giant boxes and re-enacted the story in the role play and small world areas and our story corner.

Hope you have a lovely half term and see you all the week beginning 20th February

Happy New Year and welcome back Ladybirds!


What a fantastic Autumn Term we had, ending with our very special visitor (thank you very much for visiting us Father Christmas!)

Much of December was spent preparing for Christmas, but what the children didn’t realise was that as well as making reindeer hats, cards, calendars, a giant Father Christmas and Holly Hedgehog Houses, they were developing fine motor skills, showing their understanding of the world and using literacy and phonic skills.

Even wrapping Christmas presents or filling pots with sparkly snow dough involves estimating and mathematical language.


But last term wasn’t only about Christmas of course. We carved pumpkins and made friendly spiders and lovely poppy wreaths using the children’s hand shapes:

Amy played lots of literacy games with the children, looking at letters and focusing on initial sounds:

And we had time to make rainbow fishes to go with our Under the Sea theme and lovely new display:

Thank you to all who supported us with the Christmas Hampers whether by donating goodies or buying raffle tickets – we made £90 towards Pre-school equipment. A special thank you to the Hare and Hounds for kindly selling tickets for us too.

We have lots of exciting things planned for this Spring Term – watch this space…..!

Polstead Table Top Sale

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On 12th November, Maria Oxford is organising a Table Top Sale in Polstead in aid of Ladybirds Pre-School and Hillside Special School. Ladybirds will be putting any money received from this towards our fantastic plans for our garden, as well as buying some high visibility jackets and ICT equipment for the children. We would be grateful for donations of homemade cakes to sell (you could leave them at Ladybirds on 11th) but we are desperately in need some helpers on the day, even for just an hour. If you could please support this Sale, we would be very grateful, as it will benefit all the children at Ladybirds and Hillside. If you are able to help please let Maria, or any of the Ladybirds staff, know. Thank you.

p.s. There are still a few tables left if you would like to book your own Table – please call Maria on 01473 828076.