Parents Newsletter - Spring 2017



Our Friendship Focus continues to open up questions for us all here at Reflections as we observe the children’s interactions throughout the nursery. We have heard many stories about the duck & the bumblebee from the Pre-school 1 Atelier, and about the ‘protectors’ of the ‘big guy’s leg’ in Pre-school 2. There are developing friendships among children across both the Toddler sections and the Babies have been discovering their own reflections and regularly meeting up with the children in our Small School learning group.


Baby Room – Our babies have been exploring with the educators as they carry out the day to day tasks within the nursery and have been going for long walks down to the seafront to discover the world around them. Within the Baby Room a clear open space has been created by moving the table. Large-scale explorations are now happening with water, paint, clay, paper, and many new materials to come. The construction and small world resources are more visible and being played with for much longer and the babies have enjoyed visits from our Small School and have visited them in return.

Toddler rooms 1, 2 and 3

Toddler 1 - has seen the children continue their interest in rolling objects inside the room and in the garden. The children have also been exploring their physical capabilities and limitations through climbing. In the afternoon sessions, we have been introducing more sensorial resources to support the children further their investigations using all their senses.

Toddler 2 - has seen the children further their investigations of posting.

They have attached various containers onto the wall and have been observing the children post objects into and through these. The children spend prolonged periods of time working out which tubes contain the objects and which allow them to pass through. In addition to posting, the children are using the pasta in their role play opportunities in the play kitchen; filling and emptying pots and pans with the pasta and then carrying them back and forth to one another whilst pretending to blow and eat them.

Toddler 3 - is supporting the children to develop their gross motor skills. They are following lines on the floor and finding their own pathways in the garden, tracing and re-tracing pathways they find or have created. The educators have also noted their interest in malleable materials and are offering clay to further their explorations.

Toddler 4

Main Room - the children have been using the three areas; construction, role play and the mini-atelier. In the mini-atelier we have been offering the children a range of resources, paper, pencils, scissors and paint. These offers change daily depending on the children’s interests.

We are observing relationships and connections between the children. There has been a lot of physical contact between the children - hugging, kissing and holding hands. Humour or sadness is bringing them together. Some of the younger children are comforting each other in addition to the reassurance offered by the older ones. We have noticed whilst the younger children don’t speak they use a lot of gestures, facial expressions and movement to comfort each other. This has led us to begin to explore some research questions…

Does children’s empathy towards each other change as they get older?

Does speech affect relationships and bonds between children?

Side garden - In the side garden the children have been interested in mark-making with water. They have been especially intrigued by getting up high. They want to spray the water up in the air. Some of the younger children have been enjoying building at the table, using words, ‘up’ and ‘down’. This has also encouraged counting.

We will introduce some hanging material such as tracing paper or tin foil so the children can spray water vertically, whilst the older children are still introducing the younger children to their new environment.

Atelier - The Atelier is currently a world of paper, a space for interactions, new relationships and connections.

The children have been unrolling rolls of paper all around the Atelier. These strips of paper have been hung up high. The children have hidden behind the paper, using it as another space to interact privately with each other. Sometimes they will push the paper aside as they stomp through.

‘I’m stomping like the dinosaur’ Tess 2 years 4 months

The children are enjoying making marks on tracing paper on the light box, small books, and large white paper on the floor. Tess has created ‘bugs’, and ‘men’ with eyes and very long legs and other children have added to these drawings. More long lines and tiny circles have been layered on top.

‘It’s a bug in the hole. It’s not in the hole now. He’s walking and he’s stomping. He stomped. He stomped. He stomped!’ Tess 2 years 4 months

We will continue to offer rolls of paper, interactive spaces, and mark-making tools alongside the drawings. We will film the children entering the space, top down to get a big picture of how the children use the space and low down, close up shots to see what you can’t always see…

How and when do the children interact together, and apart?

Pre-school 1

Communication Room - The children have been making dough over several weeks looking at how to combine the ingredients needed together. This has led them to experimenting with other ingredients to see how their mixtures combine.

On one table there is vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, and the children and mixing these ingredients together causing bubbles to form. The children are making their own predictions as to what they think might happen and then recording them in their notebooks. On the second table there is cornflour and water and the children can mix these materials together to form a runny gloop. The children have delighted in the opportunity to test out their predictions and theories on an individual basis and alongside their peers.

Construction Room - Most of the children have been working on the construction of trains, planes, cars and vehicles to transport people. They have been using the small people as well as themselves as protagonists of their stories. We have decided to extend their constructions projecting the shadows of their buildings on the white wall, as well as projecting photographs of their works.

We will offer large white paper and pens to allow them to design and draw on the space of the wall. We are observing and recording their interactions considering our friendship focus.

We created a book collecting all...)

Atelier - We created a book collecting all the children’s drawings about their ideas of friendship as well as a book collecting several forms of ‘writing’ the children have developed. They wrote their stories for their friends as well as stories about their extraordinary friends: a duck, a bumble bee, a fish, a caterpillar, a naughty cat...

The children have been illustrators and authors of these small books. We created a story square where they often tell these stories. We introduced a recorder to record their verbal stories as well as an area with different provocations for their written language including signs from different languages from all over the world and examples of ancient written languages.

Pre-school 2

The Construction Room - has seen the construction of a hotel within the space. The children have been looking at their town and building landscapes within enclosed areas alongside projections. The hotel has needed some wiring to enable the facilities to be on offer: ‘a television’, ‘lights’ and a ‘bed’. The children have sourced a variety of different types of wiring from re-create to enhance their building.

The Little Room has seen the development of contrasting ideas of babies and monsters, hidden and visibility, light and dark through sculpture, performance and mark-making. The children have continued to engage in a world of imaginative play allowing them time to explore these big ideas.

Outside Atelier – children have been designing and creating their own wedding dresses for the bird, the butterfly and the dragons. As part of this design process, they have been carrying out their own research asking the staff team about their own dresses on that ‘special day’ and researching online. They have been discussing their findings and posing their own questions:

‘Why do they wear wedding masks and when the music stops, they take it off?’ Oscar 3 years 11 months.

Atelier - has transformed into a woodwork workshop where the children have been upcycling old pallets into their own workbench, skateboards, go-karts, guitars and many other experimental pieces.

The children have really enjoyed getting hands-on experience and mastery of real tools. They are overcoming ‘problems’ and inventing ‘solutions’ as they go, as they design on paper, then build their ideas.

There is a lot of emphasis on scale and measurement in their language. The children are still using the ‘Bird Garden’ structure alongside their new building projects as a space to compare, measure and talk about ‘stability’ of structures and escape into.

The Bird Museum (which evolved last year) has moved and small groups of children have helped to curate the new space - at the end of the corridor on the 1st Floor in Tudor Court. This has awakened a new interest in Birds and the idea of and research into museums and how they should be put together and used.

Small School

Since a visit to Baby Room the Small School children have been working on creating a town for the babies. They have been studying architectural plans and creating their own designs for the town.

The babies then came to visit Small School where the children had adapted the space into a den for the babies to explore. They realised that the babies preferred to use the table to help them stand rather than crawling underneath it. The children began to have discussions about how STRONG babies are, how they communicate and what kind of environments they would feel most comfortable in.

Recently the children have been exploring sounds as they felt music would provide a calming and peaceful atmosphere for the babies. Some children have been working on a model hotel for babies which has slides, a roller-coaster and trampolines inside. They have also been working on attaching the town to a train so it can travel to babies all around the world.

3. EFFECTS OF THE TIME OF YEAR – a younger nursery

At this time of the year our nursery, like most nurseries, is at its youngest. All the school leavers have left in September and since then the nursery has been steadily taking in new children – nearly all of whom are babies or toddlers. This means many children settling in, many new routines to accommodate for the staff, new families to get to know and new friendships to be made between children. All this adds to the sense of a busy community which we welcome but it also means that children tend to move spaces, often transitioning from one section to another. We know from experience that this can sometimes be an emotional time for the children and we seek to handle these transitions with great sensitivity.


Building & Garden Work - We completed works to the roof over the Christmas period and just in time before the heavy rainfall in February. We have also completed some minor to the Construction Room on the Lower Ground Floor in Westerfields. At this time every year we re-turf the garden putting the grassed areas out of bounds for a couple of weeks. The works will start mid-March and the grass area of garden will be accessible again by mid-April.

Staff News – By May six staff will be on maternity leave. Holly Jalley & Kelly Rowbotham have both just gone on maternity leave along with Danielle Jones. We are delighted to announce that Amy Foat (from our Baby Room) and Jordan Moore (Chef) have given birth to their first baby Arlo, born on Sunday 22nd January and all three are doing well. Donna Edwards (one of our lunchtime support staff) has also given birth to her first baby Nova, born on Friday 13th January, 6 weeks earlier than expected. Donna took Nova home on Monday 30th January. She and her partner are delighted to all be home together.

Staff Moves – We are delighted to welcome Chantelle Waring Level 3 qualified, joining Toddler 3 team; Claudia Baker Level 3 qualified, who will be working in all areas of the nursery; Ella Hutchinson Level 3 Apprentice, working in Baby 1 along with Tammy Davidson – Level 3 Apprentice. Jenny Callen Level 2 qualified, joins Toddler 2 Room. And Mandy Hadfield, Level 3 qualified joins our Baby Room 1. We say a sad goodbye to Elaine Barrett who has returned to her home city of Dublin, to Caitlin O’Reilly and to Charlotte Winfield who has found nursery work much closer to home.

Staff Study - We are also pleased that 5 of our educators will join Martin travelling to Reggio Emilia for a week-long study tour in April to deepen their understanding of our practice here at Reflections. This is a great opportunity for the staff team to study such a profound educational philosophy and we are hoping to see positive influences on their return to Reflections. Staff will be covered by the existing team.

Staff Presenting – Deb and Laura Magnavacchi recently presented about our work in Prague and will be presenting again in Sarajevo in May. Martin has been presenting our work in Aberdeen and in Angus, and with Deb in Sunderland and Martin & Laura M. presented our work in London at the Nursery World Conference in February and will present again in London in July. We are looking forward to many educational visitors to the nursery again this year from all over the world and specifically a few large groups from Iceland. All educational visitor groups attend when the nursery is closed.

Parents are welcome to attend our Professional Development Days on Saturday 20th May and Saturday 4th November 2017 where we present to about 125 visiting educators about our approach – if you are interested please e-mail

Martin was recently interviewed by Laura Henry, UK representative on the World Forum for Early Education about Reflections Approach. You can listen here:


Parent’s Evenings - We would like to invite all parents to come along for an evening in March 2017 for a short meeting with your child’s Keyperson away from the busy time of drop off and collection.

Baby Room & Toddler Rooms 1,2,3 Monday 27th March from 7.00pm until 9.00pm

Toddler 4 Room Wednesday 29th March from 7.00pm until 9.00pm

Preschool 1 Section Tuesday 28th March from 7.00pm until 9.00pm

Preschool 2 Section & Small School Thursday 30th March from 7.00pm until 9.00pm

Please book an appointment directly with your child’s group.

These meetings normally last about 10-15 minutes and offer a relaxed opportunity to find out a little bit more about how your child is settling into their homebase room, their likes and dislikes at nursery and to ask any questions you may have specifically about your child’s development. This is also an opportunity to meet other families with children in the same room. A member of the management team is always on hand to chat with you too.

We offer an evening appointment so that we can set aside undisturbed time with you; we trust that you understand.


Car Parking - Please can we request that you do not park down the east side of our Tudor Court building. If our car parks are busy please remember that Victoria Road and Christchurch Road which run alongside our buildings have parking between 4pm and 6pm.

Arriving by Taxi – If you arrive by taxi to drop off or pick up your child please advise the taxi driver to park appropriately rather than wait by the front door as this significantly inhibits traffic flow. Thank you.

No Plastic Bags please – Whilst the weather is still a bit chilly it can be difficult to fit all of the children’s additional layers into their bags, however owing to the potential risk they pose we do not allow plastic bags in the nursery - if you need an additional bag; please ask in the front office.

Entrance – A huge thankyou to everyone for not letting people into the nursery. Whilst we understand this can feel uncomfortable it is vital to ensuring that everyone remains safe.

Turning into the driveway – For those arriving by car from the east end of Richmond Road, turning right across the traffic can be a problem, especially if the driveway is busy. We discussed this at the Parent Forum and parents suggested that anyone not able to access the drive across the traffic should continue to the mini-roundabout and then access the drive by turning left. Could we please request that you do this wherever possible. Many thanks in advance. Please remember that you can use both car parks Westerfields and Tudor Court for accessing either building.

Important - Picking up children from the garden – Please let a member of staff at either front office know if you have collected your child from the garden at pick up time.


We partner with Northbrook College for the delivery of our Apprenticeship Scheme with Sarah Wood doing much of the support and assessment for our apprentices and we are delighted to announce that Sarah’s efforts have won Northbrook’s ‘Partner of the Year’ for Reflections.

8. FOREST SCHOOL 2017/2018

We are now taking bookings for our 2017/18 Forest School Programme - if your child will be 3 years old by 31st December 2017 they can join a forest school group in September 2017. The programme runs for 40 weeks and there is an additional £12 charge for each Forest School Session.

The Forest School team will be presenting to interested parents in the summer and we will invite parents to attend but if you already know you would like your child to attend forest school please complete the form below and return to the Front Office in Westerfields House or e-mail Many thanks in advance. Please note that places are limited and we offer them on a first-come-first-served basis.

May we say a huge thank you to those of you who continue to support Reflections and recommend us to friends and colleagues.

Best wishes from the Reflections team