Highbury Infant School and Nursery

Tel: 01462 630500

E-mail: admin@highbury.herts.sch.uk

Nursery Class

An insight into a year's learning in Nursery

Autumn 1

This half-term our topic will be 'Mini-beasts'. We will be developing our understanding of shape and different measures during our maths learning and in phonics we will be consolidating our phase 1 learning  with a particular focus on oral blending and segmenting.

We were very lucky to have a visit from Safari Stu, who came into school to help us launch our new topic; he introduced us to nine different creatures from around the world and told us lots of interesting facts about them. I had the opportunity to touch and even hold the animals - it was amazing to be able to be so close to so many exotic creatures!


We helped to create displays for the Nursery classroom. For one display, we painted pictures of our favourite mini-beasts and for another we wrote our names and added it to a graph above our favourite mini-beast. The finished graph showed how many people in the class liked each type of mini-beast. We also created snail pictures in the style of the artist Henri Matisse. made spider webs by threading across a paper plate and adding an egg box spider to it and created symmetrical butterflies.

Autumn 2

This half term our topic was 'Once Upon a Time', where we focused on fiction books from around the world and also traditional tales. In our maths learning we learnt about number through lots of practical activities and in phonics we concentrated on rhyme and alliteration, as well as beginning to listen to the initial sounds in words and blending and segmenting.

We began by looking at the story 'My Granny Goes to Market' -by Stella Blackstone and Christopher Corr. In this rhyming story, Granny visits markets in different countries around the world and goes on a spending spree! She begins by buying 1 carpet in Istanbul and by the time she reaches Peru, she buys 10 llamas and has 55 items in her shopping bag!

Our second focus book was 'Handa's Surprise' by Eileen Browne. We enjoyed acting out the story, tasting the fruits that Handa had in her basket at the beginning of her trip to visit her friend, Akeyo, and even had a go at doing some observational drawings of the bowl of fruits using oil pastels .

The final story that we looked at was 'The Gingerbread Man'. We did our own experiment to see which objects floats and which ones sink, and what happens when a gingerbread man is placed in the water. We correctly made predictions such as "it will sink" and "it will go soggy". We also looked at numeral and quantity when counting the buttons on gingerbread men.


Spring 1

This term our topic was be ‘My World,’ and our maths focus is shape. In phonics we  continued with activities from phase 1, developing our speaking and listening skills and building the foundations for reading and writing. 

We looked closely at where we live.

We enjoyed listening to the ‘Three Little Pigs’ story and went on a walk in our local environment where we looked at different types of homes and talked about how they were similar and different. We painted pictures of our houses and had the opportunity to make 3D houses as well. We explored our local environment finding our home, school and familiar places in Hitchin using Google Earth. We created our own imaginative town and role play shop. Keeping safe when out and about is very important, so we had a road safety day where we learnt about keeping safe on roads especially when crossing them.

We learnt another festival that may be significant for people in our community; Chinese New Year. We watched some short video clips and looked at non-fiction books about the festival, and listened to the story, 'The Great Race' which explains how each new year is represented by a different animal . We developed our skills as we made Chinese lanterns and dragons, wrote Chinese numerals in paint and salt and found out which animal year we were each born in. We were all either roosters or dogs. 


Spring 2

We had a fun pyjama day party enjoying games, a hot chocolate snack, stories by torchlight and a short movie. We also enjoyed taking part in a bedtime yoga adventure which made us feel very sleepy!

Summer 1

This half term our topic has been 'The Great Outdoors.' We took part in lots of fun activities both outdoors and indoors.

We visited Highbury Woods again, and whilst there, we looked at the changes to the environment since my last visit and looked for mini-beasts. Although we were lucky and found some, we were challenged to go on a mini-beast hunt with our families to see if we could find some different ones. We found out about the habitats that mini-beasts prefer and I matched the mini-beast to its habitat. We learnt about the features of different mini-beasts by sharing non-fiction books and watching some information clips on the computer. We listened to lots of stories about mini-beasts and learnt some new songs.


We helped to create displays for the Nursery classroom. For one display, we painted pictures of our favourite mini-beasts and for another we wrote our names and added it to a graph above our favourite mini-beast. The finished graph showed how many people in the class liked each type of mini-beast. We also created snail pictures in the style of the artist Henri Matisse. 

We listened to the Julia Donaldson story 'Superworm', and thought about something that we are good at and drew a picture sharing our thoughts and ideas. We practised my measuring skills, measuring pretend worms and then sorting the worms into size order.

'The Very Busy Spider' by Eric Carle was our focus book when learning about spiders.

A highlight of this topic was having some live caterpillars delivered to Nursery and being able to observe the changes as they grew, made chrysalises and emerged as beautiful butterflies. The pattern on a butterfly's wings is symmetrical and we explored making symmetrical patterns on the computer and using paint. We went on several Cosmic Kids mini-beast yoga adventures and I had lots of fun enjoying the Nursery garden too.

Summer  2

Our topic this half term is 'Let's Pretend' and after discussing with the children about what they would like to learn about, our focusses will be; princes, princesses, castles and knights, space, and pirates.

We have listened to different stories about princes and princesses including; 'The Princess and the Pea' and 'The Frog Prince.' We each designed a mattress to make a really high bed just like the princess slept on in the story, for our display board. We learnt about the life cycle of a frog - frogspawn, tadpoles, froglets and frogs. We had the opportunity to join in with some activities linked to the stories including collecting and sequencing the runaway peas (numerals 1-10), moving peas (pompoms and beads) from one pot to another using tweezers, designing and making a crown, and practising my throwing and catching skills using a 'golden' ball like the girl in The Frog Prince. We learnt a new song  called 'There Was a Princess Long Ago', which included some signing. During Pen Pals we have learnt about making dots and we practised making these on a crown that had been painted on the pavement.


Following on from princes and princesses, we looked at castles, knights and dragons.

We learnt some key names for parts of a castle including; the battlements, the keep, the drawbridge, the arrow slits, the portcullis, the gatehouse and the moat. We helped to create a 'class' castle with Mrs Nelson, using recyclable materials learning how to shape and join different materials together so that a planned effect could be reached. 
We learnt that a long time ago knights used a shield for protection. The shields were decorated with symbols that were special to them and the decorated shields helped them to be recognised in battle or during jousting tournaments. We designed my own shields and created a 'pretend' invitation for a ball (banquet), choosing a design for the front and a message inside showing who we wanted to invite, the day and the time.

During PE we practised a medieval dance routine. It was tricky especially as the music got quicker and quicker before slowing down! 

Next we blasted off in our rockets as we discovered all about Space. 

We listened to some space themed stories, including 'On the Moon,' 'The Way Back Home,' Zoom Rocket Zoom' and 'Whatever Next' and joined in with space themed songs and rhymes. During PE, I took part in a space themed obstacle course. I had to go over, under, around and through objects and finally I had to collect a piece of space rock in the target, so that I could take it back to earth with me.

During CIL we had the opportunity to explore different space themed activities including; the space small world, making space pictures using stencils or 2D shapes, making a spaceship, rocket or lunar vehicle using the recyclable materials or the construction toys, making a moveable astronaut, playing in the space themed role play or creating an alien using playdough.

Lastly we jumped aboard a pirate ship as we learnt all about Pirates. 

We learnt about what pirates did, the names of some pirates, and what they wore and why. We learnt some new songs - ‘I’m a Pirate’, ‘The Pirate Song’, and ‘When I Was One I Sucked My Thumb’ - and also listened to a selection of pirate stories; ‘Pirates Love Underpants’, ‘The Pirate Cruncher’, ‘The Pirate Next Door’, ‘Ten Little Pirates’, ‘Captain Sparklebeard’ and ‘The Night Pirates’.

We had the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities linked to pirates, including making boats and testing whether they floated or sunk, creating a telescope, hunting for treasure, playing with the small world sea creatures, taking part in a pirate-themed Kim’s game and ordering pirates by height.

We also practised my balancing skills by ‘walking the plank’ and my maths skills by adding the correct amount of treasure to match the numeral on the treasure boxes.

Real highlights from the two weeks were our ‘Pirate Day’ - which was enjoyed by both the children and adults alike! - and searching for the hidden treasure by following a set of clues.