Hedgehogs News

A selection of learning experiences we shared in recent weeks

posted 3 Apr 2018, 09:42 by Zoe Hendy   [ updated 5 Apr 2018, 03:04 ]

The children had a visit from some dragon and lion puppets during our time looking at Chinese New Year.  In addition they made their own red pockets and pretend lucky money to put inside.  We talked about how each year is a different animal and worked out what animals we might be depending on the year of our births. 
The learning also fired some imaginations as some of us had a go at making our own Chinese dragons while others used paper to make origami dog faces.

Looking at the calendar and celebrating different festivals and cultural celebrations is a great opportunity for us to talk about our own individual family customs and ‘special’ days and to learn about the people and communities around us.

During the last few weeks this allowed us to learn how children in Wales celebrate St David’s Day and even though snow was falling outside, we had a go at making our own craft daffodils and talked of Spring!  The children were able to take home their own daffodils (now in full bloom) that they had planted at the start of the academic year.
As the term drew to a close we also celebrated St Patrick’s Day by hearing stories about Irish life and Leprechauns and the day was rounded off with lots of Irish dancing.  Thank you to a couple of our after school girls for sharing some of their dance moves to get us all started. 

On the subject of music, the children have particularly enjoyed playing musical instruments so we had a go at making some of our own.

We used a selection of dried foods and with the help of funnels managed to get these inside our plastic bottles. Once we had enough inside to make a good noise we sealed each bottle and then decorated them.

Afterwards we had great fun making our own music and practicing playing quietly and loudly, slowly and quickly, high up and low down, in time to music and to accompany our marching!

During the very cold weather, the children discovered some blocks of ice in our tray. Inside they could see some sea creatures waiting to escape but the question was, how to free them?

We had some brilliant discussions about how we could possibly break the ice or ways to make the ice melt and eventually after lots of hard work all of the creatures were freed and we were able to play with them!

The children took part in Safer Internet Day. We read and discussed the story of a penguin who learned how to be safe when using his tablet and we talked about the need to ask for an adult’s help if something doesn’t seem right.  We also talked about other ways to stay safe from harm such as at home in the kitchen or out and about near water or roads.  Lots of the children were able to give us examples of how they can keep safe and when they need an adult’s help or guidance.

When asking the children what they wanted to learn most this term, one of the children wanted to learn about "being a princess".  We read some princess stories and looked at some images of our own royal family. 

This led on to discussions about knights and castles too and we spent some time making crowns, dressing up, story telling and turning our role play area into a castle. 

Thanks again to some after school children who got into the spirit and added some of their art work to help create turrets, a drawbridge, shields and a knight in armour.

Sometimes making your mark doesn’t have to involve paper and pens to help develop drawing or early writing skills.  Some of the children have really got stuck into playing with gloop.  The mixture of cornflour and water has a lovely feel to it and is brilliant for making marks which then disappear.  We used a variety of tools such as brushes, sticks from the garden, pine cones and cotton reels to drag through the gloop to make various marks and for some of the children to practice the letters of their names.  However, probably one of the most popular ideas was making bear claw marks by dragging our fingernails through the gloop towards us! 

We have continued with our focus on healthy eating and how to keep our bodies healthy through exercise this term.  As part of this learning we baked some wholemeal bread rolls which we formed into hedgehogs using our scissor skills and harvested some more of our winter salads and carrots to take home.

We drew round one of the children and then took turns drawing and naming different parts of the body both on the inside and the outside. This led to all sorts of discussions such as where to find our brains and what makes up our skeleton.

We have also been discussing our feelings and emotions. Some of the children drew pictures of their faces when they were experiencing different emotions.  They used a mirror to help them to see what their faces looked like. At circle times we talked about how we feel and how our actions might make others feel and what we can do to make sure we are all happy at Hedgehogs. 

Severe Weather Closure

posted 1 Mar 2018, 10:15 by Zoe Hendy

We will be closed on Friday 2nd March for preschool and after school club due to continued bad weather.  Hope you all have fun in the snow and stay safe.  

Hambrook Hedgehogs

Severe Weather Early Closure

posted 1 Mar 2018, 02:12 by Zoe Hendy

Due to the met office forecast we are closing preschool at 12pm today.  As the school is closed we will not be running after school club today.

We will review the situation later today with regards to our plans for opening or remaining closed tomorrow.

Hambrook Hedgehogs 

It's been a busy few months again!

posted 30 Dec 2017, 05:33 by Zoe Hendy   [ updated 30 Dec 2017, 08:20 ]

Growing our own produce and developing our flower beds has given us plenty of opportunity to extend our learning through exploration, creativity and imaginative play.  The children have spent time over the last few months sowing seeds, planting out vegetables and flowers before harvesting some of these to take home to taste.  

We have also discovered where seeds come from by cutting open some of our vegetables and drying out seeds and pods for use in our garden again.

We have used herbs with play dough and then with clay to create our own islands...

with the children choosing to extend the play by introducing pirates and boats to the shorelines. 

We have concocted potions with old flower heads and herbs as well as creating mud kitchen delights too!

Not only are the children learning about the natural environment by observing growth and changes over time...

but we have also explored the smells and textures of our sensory trails as well as discovering windmills, sea shells and a variety of bugs hidden there! 

We have used our imaginations and knowledge of books we have shared to go on bear hunts, re-enact the Enormous turnip and look for the Gruffalo too.

Several children have been very interested in rockets and space. We provided them with recycled materials, pictures and books and they made these brilliant rockets and a spaceship which flew all round our play space.

At circle time we read QPootle5 and heard about the problems he had with the rocket booster on his spaceship! We made alien play dough in that well known shade "QPootle5 green". 

We also had a go at making our own ‘moon sand’ using different types of flour and oils.  The children moulded it in different ways and we also tried smoothing it out to make footprint trails.

The Autumn terms have given us plenty of opportunity to talk about our families and other people in our community considering traditions and celebrations, similarities and differences and festivals of importance. 

We made cakes and raised money for Children in Need helping the children to understand the importance of this charity work. 

We have looked at various festivals and special dates in the calendar including making firework pictures and lamps for Diwali,

fruit spiders and pepper jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, poppies and observing a silence for Remembrance as well as fluffy St Andrew’s day flags. 

Our story times often allow us to further explore and develop our ideas as well as creating our own play themes.  Over the last couple of terms this has been evident when the children were keen to create their own robots following the reading of Harry and the Robots.

Whilst we were collecting a selection of recycled resources, two of our After School Club Children wrote out instructions on ‘how to make your own robot’ as well as creating an example robot for inspiration. 

We re-read the story of Harry and the Robots and saw how he made his own robots before the preschoolers used the collected loose parts to make their own designs.

Some of the robots were very clever. Their "buttons" could make them do all sorts of things including talk, walk forwards, walk backwards, stand on someone's head and putting on sunglasses (to name just a few)!

We have also spent time reacting some of our favourite stories such as Room on the Broom and My Mother’s Sari as well as exploring traditional tales with puppets and props such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs and the Gingerbread Man.

Finally, in the last week of term we were delighted so many parents were able to come and join us for our open mornings to play with the children and make such a wonderful selection of crafts. 

Term Dates 2017-2018

posted 3 Sep 2017, 02:43 by Zoe Hendy   [ updated 15 Feb 2018, 04:44 ]

The table below shows our term dates. Friday 20th October is an inset day so children will finish preschool on Thursday 19th October.  Friday 9th February is an inset day so children will finish preschool on Thursday 8th February. 

Term 6 will start on Tuesday 5th June for children as Monday 4th June is an inset.  The school year will end on Thursday 19th July for children as Friday 20th July is also an inset day.

 Term 1
 Monday 4th September to Thursday 19th October 2017
 Term 2
 Monday 30th October to Monday 18th December 2017

 Term 3
 Tuesday 2nd January to Thursday 8th February 2018

 Term 4
 Monday 19th February to Friday 23rd March 2018

 Term 5
 Monday 9th April to Friday 25th May 2018

 Term 6
 Tuesday 5th June to Thursday 19th July 2018

A Selection of Activities from our Summer Term

posted 3 Sep 2017, 02:19 by Zoe Hendy   [ updated 3 Sep 2017, 02:54 ]

Once again it has been an interesting and somewhat busy time at Hambrook Hedgehogs over the last term. 

One morning the children found 2 large blocks of ice in the tray. They soon discovered there were dinosaurs inside and set to work trying to get them out.

As they touched the ice it began to melt leaving a puddle in the tray which was fun to watch as it rippled and bounced when the children moved the ice. They tried rubbing the ice to warm it and dropping it to break it.

The children worked together talking about what was working.  For example, using one of the freed dinosaurs to break parts of the ice. 

Recognising their hands were helping to heat the surface and making it melt quicker, one of the children suggested putting the ice in the water to help it melt faster “because the water is warmer than the ice”. 

Eventually after lots of effort the 3 triceratops and the "raptor" were successfully freed!

We watched our ‘hungry caterpillars’ grow and transform into beautiful butterflies. 

The children showed interest in the life cycle with some eagerly coming in asking to see what had happened overnight or since their last session in preschool.

When our butterflies hatched we watched them for a while inside the habitat testing their wings and eating some of the sugary water. It was fascinating.

We took them out to the nature area and all the children sat quietly and watched as we carefully let them out of the habitat.

Some flew away almost straight away but others sat for a while on our hands so we could observe them really closely before they moved away from us on their journey to start the life cycle again.

We made some refreshing "Hungry Caterpillar fruit salad" for ourselves. We used the ingredients from the story - 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 plums, 4 strawberries and the juice from 5 oranges.

In addition to practicing our skills at peeling, segmenting, cutting and squeezing fruit, it was a great opportunity to talk about what we remembered from the story and to discuss the healthy foods that the caterpillar ate. 

We were also able to use the opportunity to practice our counting skills and mathematical language as we discussed how we could cut pieces of fruit into a particular number or ‘in half’ or ‘into quarters’. 

During one of our adventures to the lower garden we used clay and plenty of resources we discovered in the gardens to make our own special ‘faces’ and ‘people’ on some wooden den posts and the trunks of trees.

The children had to first mould the clay and find a special place for it.  They then hunted for suitable twigs, leaves, fallen flower heads and seed pods to make the creature or person.  We had interesting eyes, ears and noses as well as in some cases arms and legs and even some spikes for a hedgehog! 

During the last week of term we had an amazing day in Hambrook. Denzel the animatronic dinosaur paid a visit to Hambrook School and all the pre-schoolers were able to meet him too.

We gave him some magic dinosaur food and he even borrowed one of the children's sun hats to wear! What a wonderful way to end the preschool year.  

It has been a busy few months at Hedgehogs...

posted 18 May 2017, 13:26 by Zoe Hendy   [ updated 18 May 2017, 13:29 ]

Here's just a small selection of some of our learning experiences.

We have been learning a great deal about people and communities around the world through our cultural celebrations and items children have brought in for show and tell.  Our ‘families around the world’ display is spreading over the wall now and is a great focal point for discussions about similarities and differences between ourselves and others. 

As part of these experiences we were delighted to have a visit from this superb Chinese dragon. All the children had a chance to take part in a dragon dance and go inside the costume, fantastic!

When we celebrated St Patrick's day we saw the smaller version of Dublin’s statute of Molly Malone and some photos of home life in Ireland before listening and dancing to some wonderful Irish music.

And when we talked about the Hindu Holi festival of colours, celebrating the beginning of spring, we used lots of bright colours in our painting, mixing them with our hands on bubble wrap and producing these great patterned prints.

We have been spending time looking at ways we can keep healthy including what we eat and how we exercise.  We are sure many of you will now be aware that at every circle time in the morning the children take turns to choose some exercises that we carry out together.  These are displayed on the main room door and include kangaroo jumps, frog bounces and bunny hops as well as lunges and press ups! 

All the exercises we carry out have been suggested by the children and we all have great fun seeing how well we can jump and hop around before feeling our hearts and talking about how exercise makes our bodies feel.

When we spent some time talking about our emotions and feelings we used mirrors to help us see our facial expressions.  Later some of the children were able to recreate these expressions for a display.

We have also spent time looking at and naming different parts of our bodies as well as looking at some x-rays on our light box. 

Not forgetting the importance of a healthy diet too the children had the opportunity to make their own wraps containing lots of salad and vegetables.
The children had a go at peeling carrots, grating carrot and cheese and chopping up cucumber, peppers and tomatoes.

They also explored different fruits and had a go at making these delightfully tasty fruit skewers.

We enjoy getting rather messy at Hedgehogs and many parents would have noticed some rather sparkly (and a bit floury) children coming out at the end of the day when we tried our hand at making our own moon sand. 

The children used a combination of oils, flour and glitters for this.  It was super soft to touch and great fun to mould even if it did get everywhere!

We enjoyed a very fragrant messy table too when the children were investigating herbs.

We had a selection of mint, coriander, basil and chives for them to explore.

They cut pieces off the herb plants and combined them with play dough in any way they chose, experimenting with rolling, flattening, squashing and squeezing the dough/herb mixture.

A selection of activities from terms 1 and 2

posted 15 Jan 2017, 10:04 by Zoe Hendy   [ updated 15 Jan 2017, 11:35 ]

We have enjoyed our first two terms in our new premises.  Everyone has settled in so well to our new surroundings and we have enjoyed being within the school grounds where we have been made to feel extremely welcome.

We have spent a great deal of time outdoors both in our own designated playground and within the wider grounds of the school on our forest walks. 

We have been den building, enjoying the mud kitchen and filling up our planters with flowers, vegetables and the odd dinosaur!

The extra outdoor space has allowed us plenty of opportunity for physical play including group games, large scale modelling, building a road for our cars and creating obstacle courses. 

There has been plenty going on in the preschool rooms too with a variety of messy play activities including using couscous, rice and lavender among other materials in our sensory play and making our own playdough, gloop and foam. We have also used a variety of tools and hand-made implements in our painting to create different marks and textures. 

We have been cooking and baking too including yummy tiger biscuits following our circle time story of ‘The Tiger who came to Tea’ and spending the day making our own vegetable soup following the story of ‘Pumpkin Soup’. 

We have explored natural resources to make our own mini witch brooms and the preschool rooms had a wonderful aroma when we baked our own orange and lime slices to make decorations for Christmas.

All in all a great start to the preschool year!

Ready for the new term!

posted 4 Sep 2016, 04:41 by Zoe Hendy

What a busy summer holidays it has been! The whole team has been working really hard and we are excited about the start of term in our new building tomorrow. 

We are very much looking forward to welcoming back our preschool and after school club families and getting to know new children and families joining us this year. 

Some of our gardening activity

posted 13 Jun 2016, 14:31 by Zoe Hendy   [ updated 13 Jun 2016, 14:46 ]

In our gardening area our flower and vegetable crops are growing really well. These are some pictures taken the day before the end of term.  We wonder how much more they will grow.

 We also made some of our own mini gardens.  Using sticks, bark and stones gathered from the garden and then adding some plants, herbs and a few extra resources from the art room the children were able to make dinosaur and zoo gardens!

The dinosaurs were out and about at Hambrook Hedgehogs again a few days later although this time making lots of paint footprints all over the place.


This turned into a good opportunity to look at patterns and discover what happens when different coloured footprints get mixed together.


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