Today’s Nursery Fun

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Today in Nursery we had a focus on developing our fine motor skills.

Firstly, during free flow play we were allowed to play in the sand. By the containers there was letters that we could copy into the sand with out finger or with a lollipop stick. We all did not have to do this only if we wanted to, the play dough was out again as well and that helped us with our fine motor skills to.


As it was bonfire night not long ago, our teacher decided to help our fine motor skills by us all creating a firework picture as a class. She wanted us to ‘squiggle and wiggle’. This made it really fun. We had to dance or wiggle whilst we drawn our fireworks. Finally, when we went outside there was the chalk to use. We were allowed to develop our fine motor skills in the outdoor area, drawing all out us.
Image result for children's drawings of fireworks

As we carried out all of the activities our teacher watched us to observed the way we held our pens and if we had a comfortable grasp on the pen.

Today’s activities linked to the areas in the Early Years document, Development Matters:

  • Beginning to use three fingers (tripod grip) to hold writing tools
  • Imitates drawing simple shapes such as circles and lines
  • May be beginning to show preference for dominant hand.
  • Holds pencil between thumb and two fingers, no longer using whole-hand grasp.
  • Holds pencil near point between first two fingers and thumb and uses it with good
  • Can copy some letters, e.g. letters from their name.

Developing our fine motor skills in Nursery

Today in Nursery we focused on developing our fine motor skills. This will help us with writing in the future. The teacher decided to have fun activities out that we could engage with during free flow play as well as carrying out the dough disco activity.


The dough disco was fun and really helped us use all of our muscles in our hands. We used our hands and fingers to roll, squeeze and exercise in play dough along to music. The nursery teacher plans to carry out the dough disco weekly to help train our muscles in our hands.

During our free flow play there was activities out that would help our fine motor skills. We had a tray full of conkers and pine cones. Then we had tweezers which we had to use to help us move the objects from one part of the tray to another. There was also drawing activities and activities with scissors. As well as this, the play dough was out for us to play with when ever we desired. It is important to develop our fine motor skills so when we are are learning to write it will help us grip. Developing fine motor skills is part of the Early Years curriculum.

My first day in Nursery (as a volunteer)

I have decided to spend a few weeks of my time spending a morning a week in a local community nursery.  I will be able to observe and learn first hand how schools work with children under 5. This will be a great experience for my Minor specialism, Early Years Foundation.

On my first day at nursery, the children all entered the building and were helped to hang their coats up. After this I supported the children in finding their name to stick on the register board. Then the children were allowed to free flow play. This is where children are allowed to play with what they desire and how they like. This supports the children’s imagination and also shows the teachers what the children prefer to play with.

During this time the teachers used a website called ‘Tapestry”. This is similar to a learning journal where teachers record and observe children’s involvement and days happenings. Their parents can see this straight away and like/comment on the posts. I prefer this for the EYFS as it is very interactive and assessment is carried out informally at this age.



After this we all went outside to play and explore. The children chose what to play with and where. After a while of playing with the children, a child came over and gave me some conkers. She was then asking questions and very interested about the tree it came from, this linking to the EYFS curriculum section of understanding the world, and science! (My Major Specialism).



As the children played outside the teacher chose individuals to take inside to assess their colour knowledge as well as their well being. As it is the start of the term there are a lot of children who are unsettled because it is their first time being away from a parent. This shows that assessment can also be done formally, however not as formal as a test in higher years.

Finally we all gathered in the classroom for snack. Following this the children were engaged in an interactive maths game on the board. This involved the teacher showing a animation of sea creatures and asking the children to count them, the highest number was 5. Then the Teacher was able to ask a specific child how many of that animal there were and the children would go to the interactive white board and click the number.

The unexpected life of a teacher… IOM

During the second week on my Isle of Man placement, the pupils acrossick kids the school began to become ill with the norovirus. At the end of the week, on the Thursday, the school was closed for a deep clean over the weekend. As Monday approached, the children and teachers thought this would have been done, however it wasn’t, therefore no one was allowed in the school. 

This is when it was decided by the Headteacher and the Department that the school/pupils/teachers would utilise the old Fair-field School building for the duration of the week. Therefore, as of Tuesday the school was moved and everyday life continued. 

However, the school life was not normal. Due to the lack of equipment in the building (only furniture) and the change of children’s concentration/behaviour, teaching could not be carried out as effectively as it usually could. 

The children carried out many tasks; reading, small maths activities, Easter craft as well as Easter cooking. The children who attended gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for their school as it came to the end of the week the children began to realise thmanxe massive difference a change in environment can make. Even though formal teaching was not as accessible as usual, continuous provision was ongoing. As well as this, trips to the Manx Museum and the local library and park also occurred. 

Another dilemma the school encountered was the debate between the name of our new pop up school, the headteacher was interviewed by a local radio regarding this (Yes, that is me in the feature image… I am famous!)  Interview

I learnt a great amount from this experience. I learnt that teachers lives are not as simple as some may make out, as many occurrences can happen which will alter a whole weeks planning, or a sports event, or a teacher bake off… however some encounters may not be as drastic as ours. 

I also learnt and experienced how a school can come together as a unflexibleit to meet the needs of the children including being flexible. Regardless of the limited teaching, the children had various of learning experiences. I also learnt how to carry out a risk assessment for school trips and how to manage children in these situations. 

I had to scrap my original lesson plans for that week and plan completely different ‘spare of the moment’ sessions that the children could enjoy and engage with. Not all normal school life encounters changed, behaviour was still in order, with usual routines and the children still did their 10 minute zumba every morning… just on the play ground instead of the hall.

The third week of my IOM placement was an unexpected one but it is one I am most proud of and one I will share for many years to come.

Child Mental Health


Being kind to others makes us feel good – should be promoted in classrooms – Small acts of kindness 

Aspects from today’s society that could impact children’s mental health:

  • family breakdown
  • pressure to have access to money and perfect lifestyle
  • materialist culture influences young people
  • social networking
  • body image source of distress
  • bulling/cyber bullying
  • sexual pressures
  • violence in many countries
  • exams

Mental health impacts many areas of children’s development – good mental health could support: enjoyment, deal with stress, learn better, navigate the online world and create new friendships/experiences

1/10 children in a classroom will have negative mental health – therefore teachers need to be aware of this so can support the child

Risk Factors (Public health England, 2016:5) mental-health-2









There are many factors that could impact children’s mental health and a vital area for teachers to focus their attention to is the school category 

Only 25% of children are treated for mental health are, 60% of children who are looked after have a form of emotional or mental health issues therefore early intervention and plans are needed to support the children. 



There are many ways that teachers can impact children mental health and the main aspect is resilience and the adjoining image shows ways which could support

DfE 2014 – Guidance relating to children mental health – because there are broad areas of need to support children

Currently a large influence via the Government to support mental health at a younger age – increase funding and focus. BBC

Early Intervention is key to support mental health so then people can act accordingly.

Everton – TacklingBlues :

A community based approach which supports children with Mental health and incorporates sports and also focused groups – based in schools 6-16yrs

One method used by blues is ’emoji bingo’ – opens discussion based around the chosen emoji’s – can be used as a form of assessment to identify what children are feeling over periods of time and to see improvements/areas for concern

Another way is asking children to identify what makes them feel certain ways (inside the Pepsi bottle) the bottle is then shaken and the children identify what emotions come from the areas inside – then the bottle is opened and the children identify the link between what is inside the bottle and what stems from this

Worry boxes are an ideal approach to support children in decreasing emotional and mental health illnesses as it will support children in speaking about their problems so support can then be put into place.

Following this information, in a seminar, we discussed specific areas where mental health occurs in children and how this could impact children’s education. The group I engaged with discovered the following:


On some occasions it is difficult to identify how to help children, in particular when children are facing bereavements or moving home/school.

  • Small acts of kindness could make a difference within children from peers or adults.
  • Schools have an important role when supporting children in this area.


I believe that mental health in children should be an aspect that is thought off vastly in schools because if it is ignored the implications could affect children’s development in many areas. Based on my professional development I would like to develop some ideas/practices that could support children with mental health illnesses.






Race, Ethnicity and Education

Deficit theory argues that students who differ from the norm in a significant way should be considered different

BME (Black Minority Ethnic) – non-white communities in UK 

David Harewood Documentary – “Will Britain ever have a black President?”

  • 45% of Afro-Caribbean children grow up in poverty – 25% white children.
  • By the age of 5 those children identified above will be one year behind their wealthy counterparts in terms of their vocabulary – position of deficit.
  • Children who are Black will work twice as hard because education is seen as an escape route – away from poverty and not in a disadvantages (Burgees, 2013) 
  • Black children are underachieving in primary school and there is a decline in KS2 (statistics from documentary)




How we respond to our opinions and discussions regarding race, ethnicity and cultural diversity we show our own position. Position determined by our own race. Our positionality can be influenced by others. 

Firstly acknowledge out own race to then determine how we express our views and actions regarding this area. 

Unconscious bias – stereotypes can influence this and we can have an opinion unknowingly due to believing this information. This can then influence racism and could be highly resistant to change. 

We can gravitate to people who are like ourselves and this forms opinions.


…is Manifestation of hatred towards someone who has different characteristics to our own (Todorow, 2009)

  • Institutional racism failure of an organisation to provide appropriate and professional service for people who are deemed different due to their characteristics – BME 
  • We have to acknowledge racism and institutional racism to change the procedures around this for example practice/policy. 

What can you do as a teacher/educator?

  • Cannot assess through looking at a collection of people because you cannot identify if someone is from a BME background. 
  • get to know children on a personal basis – meeting their individual needs 
  • talk about families with pupils 
  • Deal with incidents because we have a duty to acknowledge and deal with this 
  • acknowledge children’s awareness of racism in the community – PSHE/ the news 
  • Follow ‘race equality policy’ all schools should have one 
  • Behaviour policy to also be followed in regards to bullying as this policy and the above work collaboratively. 
  • recognise when yours or other comments are racist or not


Pyramid of hate 



Criminal – first 2



Civil – middle 



Non-criminal incident – bottom 2 





Dealing with Racism in Schools 

  • SRTRC (2011) say…
  • some teacher struggle to do this as they are unaware of how to do this 
  • reporting criminal offences was seen as unintentional 
  • alternative measures and opinions regarding the definition and classification of levels of racism

Racism incident is… 

any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.’

When a racism incident is seen the following should be done…

  • Record the incident using forms which should be within the educational setting – linking to policies and procedures. 
  • the reporting forms are sent to the local authority and collated 


All schools will be different in the policies and approaches when dealing and teaching race, ethnicity. Become knowledgeable of these procedures so if incidents occur you are aware of what is to be done. 

Everyday Practice:

  • Challenge the discriminatory attitudes or behaviour, rather than the person.
  • Expect tension and conflict and learn to manage it
  • Be aware of your own attitudes, stereotypes and expectations
  • Actively listen to and learn from others’ experiences
  • Use language and behaviour that is non-biased and inclusive
  • Provide accurate information to challenge stereotypes and biases
  • Acknowledge diversity and avoid stereotypical thinking
  • Be aware of your own hesitancies – be awarre of what makes you feel uncomfortable and challenge this 
  • Project a feeling of understanding, respect and support
  • Establish standards of responsibility and behaviour working collectively with others


I have learnt through this session and lecture how to deal with racism in a school setting and how there are many levels of racism as well as areas which influence people views.

I believe, from reflection, that children of a young age may be influenced through external sources or their environment regarding behaviour and racism. A link to this would be Bandura and Bobo Doll experiment and theory, this being where children behave in a particular way as they see others, adults, acting in this way and they deem to believe this is appropriate. Therefore, if a child experiences racism they may not have the knowledge or understanding to classify if this is correct or not.

Lander and Knowles (2015) indicate from research that children should be taught throughout the curriculum the impact and information regarding racism, diversity and stereotypes. I also believe this is beneficial so children can then identify what their beliefs are. However, the educator who leads these sessions needs to ensure it is an unbiased session and they acknowledge their opinions beforehand so they can then be dealt with accordingly.

Following this I would like to develop my practice in relation to race and ethnicity by looking at appropriate policies in my next setting. This is because I believe children should have an equal knowledge about this area to form their own opinion and also acknowledge their own race.  




Race, Ethnicity and Education

Race – dividing people into groups on the basis of their genetic physical features – socially constructed notion.

Ethnicity – A group of people who share cultural traditions

Nationality – Belonging into a particular notion


Race and Ethnicity depend on your own position, which are: gender, age, class, upbringing, relationships.It is important not to stereotype and also be aware of perception. This can be seen as difficult because the media and newspapers influence peoples ideas. In schools teachers have a great influence, power and responsibility in relation to this. Therefore, teachers need to assess what they think before their voice their opinions, incorporate resources from all cultures, promote race, ethnicity and culture and finally to respect all pupils. In relation to Law, The Equality Act 2012 is the Law which is followed in relation to race, ethnicity and culture.

The duty of teachers is to show moral and professional behaviour, follow code of conducts and adhere to Teacher standards at all times even outside of the school.


Through a seminar and lecture I have learnt various information regarding race, ethnicity and nationality and also how this comes across in schools. Firstly, I developed my understanding of race, ethnicity and nationality. Before this knowledge development I thought race and ethnicity where the same thing where in fact they are not. Race is the physical features and ethnicity is who you are and where you come from.

I feel that a person needs to understand what their ethnicity is because it creates awareness and also a persona about yourself.

I also learnt that when around certain people a person may change the way the view things. This may affect race and ethnicity and also how they perceive this. it is important to not make children feel as though they are a minority and ensure that all pupils feel they are a majority but their individual needs are also taking into consideration.

Also, stereotypes should not be used or implied in schools as this may affect a race or ethnicity. The area that surprised me ids the good practice. One section in an activity stated that a child was asked to speak about their culture this was seen as inappropriate. When this was spoken about I agreed but this surprised me because I believed it would offer children pride in where they have come from and also teach their peers about their cultures.

Therefore, from this I would like to develop my practice in relation to race and ethnicity. This is because I would like be able to encourage children to be happy and proud and confident about where they come from and also their appearance