28 April 2010

Growing Sunflowers

Spring has sprung this week and today at "Stay and Play" we planted a sunflower seed so I thought I would write a post about the learning opportunities that this provides

This can cover lots of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning - here are the immediate ones to spring to mind:

Knowledge and Understanding of the World - what does the seed / plant need to grow
Communication, Language and Literacy - writing your name on the pot (mark making)
Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy - how tall is your sunflower? how long is it taking to grow?
Physical development - the fine motor skills of filling the flowerpot with compost and then pushing the seed in
Creative development - decorating your pot / drawing the plant at different stages of development

I am sure there are millions more!

22 April 2010

Seven things you didn't know about me...

I have been sent this Kreative Blogger award and tagged by Toniann at Knot Just Jigs (who got it from Helen at Business Plus Baby) so I thought I had better quickly do a post on seven things you didn’t know about me before I forget. As I said to her it will help me meet my target - Thanks!

  1. When I started Littlesheep Learning I had one child - and now I have three!
  2. I have a to do list six miles long (but show me a parent who doesn't!)
  3. I am a regional volunteer for the NCT
  4. I am gluten and dairy intolerant
  5. I am planning a revamp of Littlesheep Learning (it is five this year)
  6. I do lots of walking
  7. I foolishly volunteered to dye my hair green if my husband reaches £800 on his fundraising target by the Marathon - feel free to sponsor him

Now I need to find seven people to tag to pass on this award and to take up the simple challenge (which could be tricky as I guess most of the blogs I read have already been tagged)

  1. Copy the award to your blog
  2. Insert a link to the person who nominated me
  3. Tell you seven things about myself that I haven’t told you before
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers for the award
  5. Link to their blogs
  6. Tell the nominees about their award

So tagging...

  1. Ann @ Education Takeaway
  2. Melitsa @ Play Activities
  3. Brenda @ The Green Familia
  4. Tracey and Lisa @ Talking Tots
  5. Judith @ Kiddymania
  6. Vicky @ Enchanted Portraits
  7. YOU! If you are reading this and have a blog - please accept the tag and let me know about your blog!

Earth Day

Earth Day is an international day that is celebrated on 22nd April each year, and has been since 1970. The celebration of Earth Day began in the United States in 1970 and was the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson, who wanted to "put the environment into the political 'limelight' once and for all".

What can you do to celebrate Earth Day?

Here are some links from some of my favourite blogs:

No Time For Flashcards has lots of brilliant ideas:
Nature Activities, Earth Day Muffins, Earth Day Craft, Letter of the Week - Earth Day

Simple Kids have some nature challenges: Discussing Nature Challenge #1: Naming Nature, and Connecting with Nature: Challenge #2 (and others besides!)

Easy Preschool give some
lesson plans

Other things: look at how electicity is made, sort out rubbish for recycling, make a bird box, think about how much electricity do you use? (could you use less?), make a wormery, plant a tree, do a litter pick or walk to school.

Let me know what you've been doing - and feel free to add links to other Earth Day Activities in the comments!

19 April 2010

Setting Targets

First of all I must apologise for the lack of posts on this blog - I will get writing again! As most of the country's children return to school for a new term and will be being set targets, I thought a post about setting targets and setting myself some would be a good start for posting again.

So, what is a target and why are they set? The
Compact Oxford Dictionary defines a target as "an objective or result towards which efforts are directed" and the The Standards Site (for the Department of Children, Schools and Families) says that "Setting targets for pupil achievement puts standards at the centre of school planning, and helps staff focus on practical ways of raising them".

To be effective, targets need to be SMART targets. This means they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Realistic, and set against an appropriate Timescale

Children are likely to have targets relating to the stage they are at: some might be "learning the sounds the letters make", "learning the times tables", "writing the letters the correct way round", "counting to 5", "recognising the numbers to 10", "reading the key sight words", "remembering finger spaces" - the list is endless. If your child is struggling with a particular target - check out some of the resources at
Littlesheep Learning that might help!

Adults set themselves targets too - my husband is currently trying to reach his
fundraising target and then next Sunday will be trying to complete the London Marathon in his target time, I have friends going back to college / university to work towards qualifications to help them in their careers and to be honest my to do list each day is a target!

So back to this blog and my (Specific) targets:

By the end of April (Timescale) I will have written five blog posts (Measurable) - (Achievable (hopefully!) and Realistic (one every other day should be manageable).

By the end of May I will have developed a routine for posts in themes eg new products, teaching and learning ideas, product reviews or news.

By the end of June I will be posting five posts a week.

I am intending a series of posts relating to different areas of children's learning and the targets they might be being set - so watch this space!

What are your targets?

02 April 2010

Hot Cross Buns, Currant Buns and other cakes!

Today is Good Friday or "Hot Cross Bun day" as my five year old has declared it (they are one of his favourite foods so I think he is planning on them for breakfast, lunch and dinner!).

Whilst thinking about hot cross buns (the spicy fruit buns that have a white cross on the top traditionally eaten on Good Friday) the little rhyme popped into my head - don't forget to share it with your children today.

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha' penny, two ha' penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha' penny,
Two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

So thinking about rhymes and cakes then reminded me of the five currant bun song and
song mitt puppet that is a favourite in our house... This is also a great song for teaching counting skills.

Five currant buns in a baker’s shop.
Round and fat with a cherry on the top,
Along came a boy with a penny one day,
Bought a currant bun and took it away.

Four currant buns in a baker’s shop.
Round and fat with a cherry on the top,
Along came a boy with a penny one day,
Bought a currant bun and took it away.

Three currant buns in a baker’s shop.
Round and fat with a cherry on the top,
Along came a boy with a penny one day,
Bought a currant bun and took it away.

Two currant buns in a baker’s shop.
Round and fat with a cherry on the top,
Along came a boy with a penny one day,
Bought a currant bun and took it away.

One currant bun in a baker’s shop.
Round and fat with a cherry on the top,
Along came a boy with a penny one day,
Bought the currant bun and took it away.

If you wanted to keep the song Hot Cross Bun themed you could change the words to Round and Fat with a cross put on the top.

Other songs including cakes are: The Queen of Hearts, Pat-a-Cake and Little Jack Horner... let me know if you need the words - and please share any other cake songs you know!