Tag Archives: literacy

Story Stones

Story stones are great resources for developing children’s communication skills, promoting their language skills and encouraging their imagination and creativity.

Here are some ideas you can use story stones for at home..

  • Add the story stones to a sensory bin.
  • Place them face-down on a table. Children can begin a story and then flip over a story stone to incorporate that idea or prompt. Remember it does not need to be in sequential order!
  • Read a book together with your child. After the book, tell the story again using the story stones. 
  • Play Kim’s game and see if the children can identify what character or scene is missing.
  • Practice sequencing stories by lining the story stones up in the order of a story.

When using the story stones use language such as:

  • Once upon a time..
  • The next thing to happen…
  • Suddenly…

These phrases help develop your child’s ability to predict and retell stories they are both familiar and unfamiliar with.

All you need to make your own story stones are:

  • Stones of any shape, size and colour
  • Paints or paint pens

If you try this at home, why not share your photographs with us on Twitter @GlenwoodFC


Bookbug at Glenwood

In all our rooms we love exploring our favourite books. We use puppets and props to help us retell traditional tales.




“The troll is scary! He tries to eat the goats. I like the bit when the goat hits him with its horns.”

Taking part in regular Bookbug sessions, we have enjoyed listening to familiar stories and we have been learning some new songs, as well as reciting our favourite nursery rhymes.

Look out for links to our Google meet Bookbug sessions next week for Math Week Scotland and you can join in from home too!

Glenwood Family Centre- Time Capsule

We chose to mark the end of our first session in the new building with a Time Capsule, positioned at the front entrance and within the heart of the community in Eastwood Park, signifying our place in the heart of the community. We marked the spot with a toadstool, which came from the garden of the old building from a wooded area known as Toadstool Tales.

This letter was placed inside the Time Capsule- 

Glenwood Nursery School opened officially on 4th October, 1976 in a purpose built building on Woodfarm Road, with a capacity of 80 children in the morning and 80 in the afternoon. The first entry in the log book dated 10th November 1976 states, “ the waiting list opened on 13th September, and mothers have been enquiring daily ever since. Even at that numbers are slow to rise. At this moment we have 50 morning and 26 afternoon children. At this date we have one Head Teacher, one Assistant Teacher and five Nursery Nurses.”

The first head teacher was Mrs Elizabeth Anderson (became McDowell). She was succeeded briefly by Mrs Robertson, acting head teacher, in January 1990 before Mrs Karin Gilhooly took on the role on 3rd September, 1990. Mrs Gilhooly retired in June 2013 and I, Lorraine Brown, was appointed permanently in October 2013.

In 2015 Glenwood Nursery School became Glenwood Family Centre and we began operating throughout the year. Soon after, Scottish Government plans were announced for every child to receive 1140 hours of early learning and childcare by 2020 and so, to meet the increased demand, a new centre was planned due to open in August 2020. The new building was to be sited close to the old building. This was a much more prominent site, in the heart of Eastwood Park.

Unfortunately the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in 2020 resulted in the country going into lockdown and the opening of the building was delayed. The new building finally opened during a second lockdown at the start of 2021. We welcomed the first of our children on 1st February 2021, opening only to children whose parents were key workers or vulnerable children who were attending the Hub provision. The first children to step through our doors were Lewis and Cameron Wilkinson. On 22nd February 2021 we fully opened for all children. Our role at February 2021 was 141 children, with a head teacher, a principal teacher, a teacher, a depute head of centre, a senior child development officer, 16 child development officers (including 4 part time), 5 part time early years play workers, 2 business support assistants and 2 janitor/ cleaners.

The new centre has a capacity of 180 children at any one time, with children attending various patterns across the week to meet the needs of the families. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm every week day except public holidays and in-service days.

We hope that upon opening this Time Capsule, you will experience some of the thrill of learning about the past and the history of Glenwood. We have had an eventful journey recently due to coronavirus however the spirit of Glenwood is strong and we hope this continues long into the future. 

Love and Best Wishes

Mrs Lorraine Brown

Head Teacher

25th June, 2021





Fun Friends

Going to school is a big transition and children feel that. From May as children’s awareness of their move to school increases we see slight changes in the children. We often hear individuals saying to their friends or adults “I’m going to miss you when I go to school”. Some of our younger children protest “I’m going to school too”. We see some children become a little more anxious and look for more reassurance, or return to play they had previously moved on from.

At this time children also begin to explore their identity through their friendships and sometimes excluding others and we often hear disagreements about who is allowed to join in or who is in a friendship group. Recently some children made this sign:

As adults we seek to encourage children to be aware of how it feels to be excluded; and challenge children to think how and why we should include others. Parents this is a time when children will soak up the way you interact with others and your values both conscious and unconscious ones.

At Glenwood we use the Fun Friends approach with all children. You may already be familiar with this but I am putting links to previous blogs and a sways to provide more fun ideas to support wellbeing.


F is for Feelings

We talk to children about their own feelings and others “I can see that you thought that was funny and it made you laugh but look, your friends not laughing he got a fright. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/er/Glenwood/2020/05/21/remote-learning-fun-friends-have-feelings/


R is for Relaxing and Self-Regulation

Learning calm ourselves when we are scared, angry or in a disagreement is an important skill and it involves stopping a moment and breathing slowly.  https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/er/Glenwood/2020/05/28/remote-learning-relax/


I is for ‘I can do it.’

We teach children to think positively “I can’t do it yet, but I can try hard. We call positive thoughts green as they help us go and negative thoughts red as they make us stop. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/er/Glenwood/2020/06/04/remote-learning-fun-friends-i-can-do-it/


E is for Encourage

We celebrate success and encourage on the journey “you are concentrating really hard” or “I can see you are doing your very best” https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/er/Glenwood/2020/06/11/remote-learning-fun-friends-encourage/


N is for Nurture

We are wired for positive connection. Love can be ‘all we need’. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/er/Glenwood/2020/06/18/remote-learning-fun-friends-nurture/


D is for don’t forget to be Brave. 

Facing new experiences and people requires bravery. Children can practice being confident in new situations or saying they don’t like something.  https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/er/Glenwood/?s=Fun+friends


S stay happy and stay safe

Children learn best when they are happy and safe. They love having Fun. Also they can learn safety messages when presented in fun ways. https://sway.office.com/j8AjRWaA8PxjM1CQ?ref=Link



Playdough and loose parts play

The orchard bubble have been busy! 

The orchard bubble has shown a great interest in making playdough over the last few weeks. The children have taken responsibility for their own learning by coming up with different ideas of how they want to create their playdough from colours and texture.  “I want blue.”




“I want pink.”




The children had shown an interest in loose parts and wanted to include this in their playdough experience. By incorporating loose parts with playdough the children are developing their fine motor skills. They use a variety of movements such as pressing, rolling and stretching. This will help to strengthen the muscles in their hand which in turn will help them with their writing skills.


“I want to use leaves.”       


 “Oooohhh feathers.”



The children showed ownership over their creations and seemed to enjoy the fact that they could start again when one model was finished. They did show interest in taking them home so our next steps will be trying to create models with loose parts and clay. 


“Can we take them home?”

Children’s Voice

Listening to children’s voices.

At the end of April, after every bubble had spent three weeks in each playroom every child was invited to share their thoughts. We used photographs of the playrooms to help us to talk about our likes and dislikes.

The children said they enjoyed moving around all the rooms and shared their ideas to make each room better. Some children felt that the garden in Playzone 2 was too small. 

“I don’t like the garden”

“I didn’t like this because it wasn’t too big.”


We were able to begin using the side garden from Playzone 1 and expand the outdoor area for Playzone 2.

Some children missed the tyre swing from the old building so we added one to Playzone 1.

“I miss the tyre swing.”

“We should put some swings in the back yard.”




In Playzone 3 we added dolls to the home corner.

Can we have babies in this room?”

“I would like to play with babies here.”



To help us look at some of the areas more closely we used Tuff Cams to share our thoughts.


“This art area is not so good. We need more things for sticky pictures.” 

“People need to put things away in the right place, we need signs to tell them”.

The children suggested new resources and helped to organise and label them.

This has led to lots of new opportunities for leading their own learning.


As we continue to settle into our new building we can’t wait to hear more of the children’s ideas and suggestions to develop our learning environment.


Musicality benefits

From a very young age children benefit in all areas of their development when taking part in musicality sessions.


  1. Helps children understand the meaning and the sound of words.
  2. Helps develop their listening skills (loud, quiet)
  3. Rhyming
  4. Syllables (clapping out)
  5. Helps them predict
  6. Imagination
  7. Conversation
  8. Follow instruction



  1. Counting beats
  2. Number song
  3. Recognition of numbers
  4. Recognition of Shapes And their names
  5. Rhythm pattern


Gross and fine motor motor skills

  1. Jumping, hopping, skipping and dancing.
  2. Helps them develop and control their body movements.
  3. Better control at manipulating objects (instruments)
  4. Helps strengthen their muscles.
  5. Moving the instruments in all different directions(up downside to side, front back)

Social and emotional skills

  1. Interaction with other children.
  2. Introduction to different kinds of music and cultural differences awareness.
  3. Increasing confidence in performing
  4. Sharing resources.




Superb Science

Over the past few weeks we have been carrying out a number of different experiments using water and food colouring. Using our observation skills we are beginning to recognise simple cause and effect. We have been developing our ability to ask relevant questions and making predictions about what will happen next.

We used different concentrations of food colouring to see  what flower would change colour first.



“How fast will it go?” 


“Is mine going to change colour?”



We also made our own lava lamps!



“Look at my bubbles, my bubbles are moving.”





We made a rainbow water walk.


“The colour is getting sucked up like a straw.”





“They have mixed together.”



How big is a dinosaur?

Many of the children have been enjoying playing with the new dinosaurs. We had lots of questions so we watched some videos on Tig Tag Junior. We learned about how they became extinct. 

When a big space rock made some dust it made the place go dark. Then without sunlight the plants died. Then without plants the plant-eating dinosaurs died. Then all the meat-eaters died. Then they all started to die. Extinct.” 

“What size was a T-Rex?” 

We used books to research and discovered that a Tyrannosaurus rex was 12 metres long. Would it fit in our playroom? Let’s find out by measuring…

“I need to measure and write it down.”


Our playroom is 10 metres long – “T-rex’s head would be next door!” Which dinosaur is smallest? We researched on the iPad. Compsognathus was 60cm long and 40cm tall.

“How tall are you?”

 Let’s put them in order… 

“This one is taller.”
“Brachiosaurus is the biggest.”
“How long is Triceratops?”
“The T-rexs are the same size.”


World Book Day 2021

This year we couldn’t invite parents in to nursery to read stories so we invited them to read to us remotely! Some were able to join us live for a Google Meet and some shared videos of themselves reading with us. A huge “Thank you!” to all our storytellers.

Zachary’s mum read a story about dinosaurs.
Sorley’s grandad read a story about pirates.
We heard a Supertato story from Sam’s mum.
…and a Kipper story with a very bright torch.
Luke’s mum told us the story of The Tiger Who Came to Tea – which was written before Mrs Husbands was born!
Evie’s mum read another of our favourite stories Whatever Next
There was a tired unicorn in Lacey’s mum’s story.
Everyone joined in shouting “There’s a shark in the park!” with Alistair’s dad.
Mrs Brown used puppets to tell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

All the children will receive a World Book Day voucher to spend – find out more in this fun song… how many stories to you recognise?

You might like to listen to Lydia Monks read What the Ladybird Heard in a video she recorded for World Book Day.

Sharing books and stories together is a valuable learning experience for your child. This document gives some advice on ways to get the most out of reading together.

Remote Learning: Time to Rhyme

Rhyming words are words that have the same ending sound: bat & cat, frog & log, car & star… Learning to recognise rhyme is an important step in learning to read.

Nursery Rhymes – Sharing songs and nursery rhymes with young children is the first step towards this and also helps create a bond with their carers.

Find out more: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/reading-and-stories/why-share-songs-and-rhymes

The Scottish Book Trust has a Bookbug App for you to share stories, songs and rhymes together. Find out more here.

The CBeebies website also has lots of nursery rhymes to share. Click here.

Once your child understands rhyme you could make up some silly ones together… why not try Humpty Dumpty?

Humpty Dumpty sat in a tree, he fell down and hurt his …

Humpty Dumpty sat on a bed, he fell down and broke his…

Or Twinkle, Twinkle?

Twinkle, Twinkle little mouse, hiding in your little…

Twinkle, Twinkle little moon, I’d like to eat you with a …

Rhyming Stories – Lots of children’s stories are written in rhyme. As you read with your child, try missing out the last word to let them fill it in.

Here are just a few authors who write rhyming stories:

  • Lynley Dodd – Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy
  • Jez Alborough – Fix It Duck, Some Dogs Do
  • Kes Gray – Oi Frog, Oi Dog, Oi Cat, How Many Legs?
  • Nick Sharratt – Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose, Don’t Put Your Finger in the Jelly, Nelly!, Octopus Socktopus
  • Giles Andreae – Commotion in the Ocean, Mad About Minibeasts
  • Clare Freedman – Aliens Love Underpants
  • Dr Seuss – The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham

One of our favourite authors is Julia Donaldson and some of her rhyming stories have been made into animations. Why not watch some together? Zog and the Flying Doctors 

Rhyme Games 

Create a rhyming basket – Collect together pairs of rhyming objects – they could be toys or household items. Take out an object… can you find it’s rhyming partner?

Go on a rhyming treasure hunt – Collect together some objects again but this time challenge your child to find a rhyme around your house or garden. You might put in a star (to rhyme with car), a parrot (rhymes with carrot), a bee (to match with knee or tree), a cat (rhymes with mat or hat) or a bear (to rhyme with pear). I’m sure you will think of many more!

Play I-Spy – On a walk or in the house, you could play a rhyming version of I-spy…

I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with bee.

I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with bog.

It’s OK if your child makes up nonsense words – that means that they have understood the concept of rhyme.

Why not play this rhyming game on the computer with Grover from Sesame Street?

Share you rhyming fun on Google Classroom or Twitter @GlenwoodFC   #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning: Storytelling

A brief History of Storytelling  

Story telling is said to have been dated right back to 30,000 BC where cavemen would draw pictures on the wall of their cave showing a short series of events usually depicting their rituals of hunting. 1,000 BC Greek myths and legends came about, and then in 700 BC the first written story was printed. 

Benefits of Storytelling  

  • Helps with understanding of social behaviour – telling right from wrong and teaching empathy.
  • Develops language and communication.
  • Improves listening skills. 
  • Encourages creativity and imagination. 
  • Promotes higher order thinking skills.
  • Can helps understanding of difficult ideas and situations.  

Ideas to try at home… 

Helicopter Stories 

Helicopter Stories is a way of creating stories with your children. As a parent you’re the scribe and write word for word your child’s story down. Then have a go at acting it out…let your child decide who plays which character and what props to use.

Find out more in Miss MacLean’s Helicopter Stories Blog here.

I’m a tree…

What’s in the bag? 

All you need is a bag or a box filled with objects (can be anything you find around the house.) You then take turns with your child to take an object out and create a story around the object. 

You could make up a station to go with the bag full of cuddly toys or dolls or toys that you could use to be the characters for your story.

This is a game that can have endless results and can be played repeatedly, as so many different stories could be told.  

I wonder what story you could tell about the Gruffalo?


In Nursery we use Hanen’s Abc and Beyond approach to develop early literacy skills. Find out more about how to turn stories into conversations in this Sway.

Go to this Sway

Listen to some stories together online 

This ThingLink has links to many stories that you might like to share. Click on an icon to take you to the story…


We would love you to share your stories with us on Google Classroom or Twitter @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome


Remote Learning: Fine Motor Skills – Getting Ready to Write

Fine motor skills involve the use of the muscles and joints of the hands that interconnect and work together to allow you to complete dexterous tasks.  They are the smaller hand and finger movements used, for example, to open a lunch box, zip up a coat or write with a pencil.  A young child cannot be expected to be able to do these tasks or learn to write appropriately if they haven’t yet developed the strength needed in their hands and fingers. Here are some ideas you can try at home with your families to help develop your fine motor skills and have some fun as well.   

Ice and snow melt

Use a pipette to squeeze some warm water on to some ice cubes or snow.  How long does it take to melt?  Maybe you could try adding some food colouring or paint to the water or try using different liquids such as vinegar or fizzy juice.

Play dough 

Try squeezing, stretching, squashing, pinching and rolling some play dough.  Can you make some snakes or wiggly worms?  Maybe you could try using scissors to cut the play dough into small pieces and then rolling them into little balls.  How many can you make?  Can you make different sizes of play dough balls?  Try holding a masher in both hands and find out how flat you can squash your play dough.  You could also try using some loose parts to add to your play dough. Have fun.



  • Plain flour – 2 cups
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Salt – ¼ cup
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Food colouring or paint (It helps to add this to the cup of water)
  1. Add everything together into a large bowl and stir well with a spoon until it turns into a soft dough.
  2. If the mixture is too sticky add some more flour.  If it’s too dry add some more water.
  3. Empty the play dough onto a floured surface and mix together with your hands.

Bottle top blaster

  • Ask an adult to help you cut the top from a plastic bottle and then attach a balloon where the lid would normally be.
  • Put a pompom into the bottle funnel.
  • Hold the bottle funnel with one hand and pull the balloon back hard with your other hand.
  • Let go of the balloon and your pompom will shoot out.  How far can your missile travel?
  • Why not rip or cut some paper to stick on to decorate your bottle top blaster.   

Mark Making

Fill a tray with rice, or spread a thin layer of shaving foam or salt on a worktop or old baking tray.  Try different items to draw, write or make patterns with such as your fingertip, twig, lollipop stick or paper straw.


Rice RacePut three small empty bowls on a table. Divide a handful of uncooked rice into two of the bowls, leaving the middle one empty. Have a race with someone from home to find out who can be the first to empty their bowl using a teaspoon to put their rice into the middle empty bowl.  Try using your left hand and your right hand.

Activities such as jigsaws, building with Lego or playing with loose parts are also great ways to help develop your fine motor skills. Collect a variety of small loose parts from around your home such as buttons, dried pasta, beads, coins or bottle lids. Experiment with making shapes or patterns with your loose parts or perhaps you could make some pictures, or build towers.

Please remember to share your learning on Google Classroom or Twitter @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome

Exploring Mark Making

Over the past few weeks at nursery, the children have been exploring different ways of mark making both indoors and outside.

Here are just a few photographs of what we have been doing…

Pens and pencils
…working together on a large piece of paper.

Whiteboards are a favourite…



Writing  in  salt…

Gloop is always popular!

Mixing our own colours of paint…

We love painting on a large scale (although it can get messy!)

Making paint from things we find outdoors…

Mashed brambles
Mud painting
Mud painting

Crayon rubbings and chalk outside too.

How do you like to make marks, draw and write? Why not share with us on Twitter  @GlenwoodFC  or in your Google Classroom.

Remote Learning – Musicality

Children naturally enjoy music, and want to move, dance, vocalise and create sounds in whichever way they can to reflect their mood.

There are different aspects of musicality that you can explore with your child:


When children take part in music and movement activities, they can release lots of energy as they have fun being creative and dancing around.  It also helps children to develop their gross and fine motor skills, express their emotions, learn how to share space, and improve their balance and co-ordination as they explore moving their body.

Great songs to try are Shake your sillies out and I can move my body like anything or you could play a game like musical statues.

Play Sounds

When children make sounds through play, they are developing early instrumental skills.  They are first learning what the object is and then what they can do with it.  As children experiment, they are building an understanding of how best to make the sound i.e shake maracas, use a beater to play a triangle, scrape or beat a woodblock, tap or bang drums with their hands.

Encouraging your child to explore what they can do with instruments is so beneficial for their development.  It builds fine and gross motor skills, supports sensory development, enhances hand-eye co-ordination and helps your child to develop patience and perseverance.

You may have some instruments at home already or you could make your own such as lollipop stick harmonicas or straw pan flutes.  We also included ideas in the home learning booklet in your family fun bag.


Listening is not just about hearing, it is also about being able to tune-in to sounds in the environment and sounds that are spoken.  It can be described as an active process where we make sense and respond to what we hear.  As children develop their listening skills, they are learning to take in information, respond to instructions and share ideas and thoughts.

You could try playing some listening games with your child, such as Simon Says, or online from the BBC website https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/eyfs-listening-skills/zbc4y9q


Having the opportunity to be creative with music enables children to think about how sounds are made and how they can put these sounds together to compose their own rhythms.  Children need to be able to try out their own ideas and express themselves to nurture this creative process.

Here are some ideas to encourage your child:

Chrome Music Lab – Song Maker

Body rhythm using syllables: Start by thinking of 2 items that you want to use, for example apple and banana

Choose which body parts you want to use to beat out the syllables, you might clap hands twice for a-pple or stamp three times for ba-na-na

Put this rhythm together and then repeat: CLAP, CLAP, STAMP, STAMP, STAMP, CLAP, CLAP, STAMP, STAMP, STAMP

Say the syllables as you do the body rhythm: a-pple, ba-na-na, a-pple, ba-na-na


Singing with your child helps promote their language and literacy development.  Songs can be very motivating for children, using simple, repetitive language to encourage engagement as they learn new things such as phonological awareness and vocabulary. Children’s songs also include concepts such as counting, body parts recognition, animals and following directions, and these really help your child to understand experiences, words, emotions, and much more.

Spend some time singing with your child everyday.  Here are some song suggestions and ways that you can integrate activities to enhance the experience for your child:

Favourites: Incy Wincy Spider; Wheels on the Bus; Row, Row, Row your Boat

Body parts: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes; If You’re Happy and You Know It; Tommy Thumb

Animals: Old McDonald; I Went to Visit a Zoo One Day; There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly

Counting: 5 Little Monkeys; Once I Caught a Fish Alive; 5 Little Speckled Frogs

Other Ideas

  • Try pausing before the last word in a line and see if your child finishes it.  This is building skills such as attention, memory, language and rhyming.
  • Add extra verses or change some of the details in the song.  This encourages your child to be creative and flexible, whilst supporting vocabulary development.
  • Make a mistake whilst singing and see if your child notices and can fix it.  This helps improve attention and listening skills.
  • Adapt a song to include holiday and seasonal topics, for example  Santa on the Sleigh Goes Ho, Ho, Ho.
  • Make up your own songs to develop your child’s understanding and motor movements.

Remember to share your ideas in your Google Classroom or on Twitter @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning – Hanen: An approach to developing literacy skills

At Glenwood we use Hanen’s ABC and Beyond approach to develop early literacy skills.

The programme has six main aspects:

  • Turn a book into a conversation
  • Make words sparkle
  • Expand children’s understanding of the characters and events in stories
  • Use language to think and learn
  • Development of print knowledge
  • Phonological awareness

For more information on activities you can use at home with your child, please read our Sway.

Go to this Sway

Why don’t you let us know which words you have made sparkle or which stories you have retold together?

@GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning – Small Worlds

Where children can allow their imagination to run wild and create an imaginary world out of any everyday objects lying inside the house – like buttons, corks, scarfs, lentils, pasta, cotton wool, boxes and plastic containers from the recycling. What about collecting things from outdoors too – from the garden or when out on a walk like twigs and stones to help you to create wonderful small worlds for your favourite toys to explore!

Small world play is when children use figures and resources in miniature to build stories and play imaginatively. Your small world play could represent a real-life place, like a farm, or it might be a completely imaginary world. The key is that they’re often an outlet for imaginative or pretend play, where children can do everything from acting out routines or recalling past events, to creating their own unique stories.

Mrs Cramb decided to create a small world by recycling a pizza box as a base: painting it and adding some small stones, branches, twigs, leaves and lentils. She then added some dinosaurs to create a Jurassic world!

Her small world was a great place for her wild animals too.

Creating small worlds helps development of imagination, language & curiosity – what do the animals eat? what environment do they live in? what do they look like?

What skills are being learned through small world play?

  • It helps children to explore and understand the world around them.
  • It’s a safe place to explore ideas and develop their imagination.
  • More pretend play in childhood has even been linked to successful adult creatives.
  • Children can build self-confidence by exploring their own ideas.
  • It promotes narrative in play, helping children to become storytellers.
  • It’s often cooperative and teaches children social skills.
  • It’s great for fine motor control.
  • Children can explore their understanding of space and size.
  • They build an awareness of other people’s emotions by exploring a world in someone else’s shoes.
  • They can also explore their own emotions through the container of a character they’ve made up.
  • They can explore cause and effect.
  • It provides opportunities for problem-solving.
  • It  aids language development, by getting children talking descriptively, and exploring a wider vocabulary.

There are so many benefits to creating and exploring small worlds – so why not join in and allow your child to take the lead, while you support them in creating a wonderful world to explore.

Remember to share your creations with us on Twitter @GlenwoodFC #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning – Helicopter Stories at Home

Helicopter Stories is a simple approach based on the work of Vivian Gussin Paley. It involves acting as a scribe by writing down a child’s story word for word as they are saying it. After it has been written the time is then taken to act it out. In the nursery we tend to do this with a bigger group. However, they can be done at home with only one child. When we are in nursery it is usually an A5 size of paper that is used. However, as you are at home you can choose whatever size of paper you want. It might be nice to use a notebook and keep them all together if you choose to do it more than once.

Here are some helpful tips for doing Helicopter Stories at home.

Listening to your child’s story.

There are no rules to how long their story must be. Their stories can range from just one word to a few short sentences, sometimes they can even write a list. For a child to become a confident storyteller they must be allowed to tell their stories the way they want, without anyone interfering or interrupting them. This will help them to trust that what is being written and acted out are their own words.

Try not to interrupt

Naturally when we are reading stories to children or if a child is telling us a story, we would ask questions. Such as how big was the elephant? When the child is talking try not to ask them questions or influence their story in any way. Just listen to them so that you can hear everything that is being said and are able to write every word down. Perhaps after the child has told their story and acted it out, you could then ask them to scribe for you while you tell them a story. It doesn’t matter if they can’t write the words properly, as when you act it out you will both remember what was said.

Make a stage

Normally a stage for Helicopter Stories will be marked out using masking tape . Remember there are no rules at home so you can use the hallway, stairs, living room… Ask your child to decide where they want their stage to be and they can make their own rules up. Your acting area can be whatever and wherever you want it to be.

And Finally, Act It Out

I’m a tree…

When you begin to act out the stories let your child be in charge. It is their story so they will show you exactly how they want it to be acted out. Let your child decide what character they want to be and tell you what character you are going to be.

Be prepared to be anything… now I’m a bench!

This is a great activity to get the whole family involved. If there are only two of you, each of you can be more than one character. Just as the child can’t do anything wrong in this activity neither can you. Just play, try not to take over, and release your inner child!

Find out more about Helicopter Stories on their website here.

Most importantly have fun! You might like to share your stories with us on Twitter @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning – Rhyme and Initial Sounds

Developing your child’s phonological awareness allows them to recognise and use the sounds of spoken language, building an understanding of how they work together to make words.

Rhyming is a helpful place you can start with your child. Rhyme is a sequence of words where there is a regular recurrence of similar sounds found at the end of words – e.g. The cat sat on the mat.

Children will typically learn to recognise rhyming words first and then generate their own rhymes later.

There are lots of ways in which your child can play with rhyme using songs, stories and games.  We have given some suggestions but you might have your own favourites.  See if your child can hear and match the rhyming words as they play!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Hickory Dickory Dock

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught A Fish Alive

5 Little Ducks

Sing a Song of Sixpence


The Gruffalo

Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose

Fox’s Socks

Each Peach Pear Plum

Hairy Maclary

If you don’t have your own copy of a rhyming story, you can go online where you will be able to find read along stories on YouTube, BookTrust (https://www.booktrust.org.uk/), or on an author’s own website.


Rhyming Basket

Gather together objects from your house in a basket, ensuring that each object has another object that rhymes with it i.e. your child’s toy bear and a pear from your fruit bowl (it is usually easiest to use your child’s toys, alongside some household objects)

Demonstrate rhyme to your child by matching the rhyming objects.  Repeat this activity on more than one occasion.

If you child has an awareness of rhyme, take it a stage further by singing this song to introduce the game and see if you child can pick out objects from the basket that rhyme.

A tisket, a tasket, Here is the rhyming basket.

Rhyming words end the same,  Let’s play the rhyming game.

Generating Rhyme

If your child is showing signs that they are trying to generate rhyme by changing the sounds of a word to make another word that rhymes, you can introduce a game to encourage them.

Sing this rhyme to your child:

Hickety, pickety bumble bee, can you think of words that rhyme with CAR for me?

You may want to give them an example i.e. STAR

Initial Sounds are another important part of your child’s phonological awareness.  They can help your child associate sounds with letters and words which they form.

There are lots of fun songs and games you can play with your child to support their understanding.

Try to remember to say the sound the letter makes, not confuse it by saying the name of the letter instead.  You can say this is the letter S and it makes the /s/ sound.

If you are unsure of how to say the letter sound correctly, you can refer to the Jolly Phonics website where it gives you can example to listen to – https://www.jollylearning.co.uk/resource-bank-old/learn-the-letter-sounds/


What’s the sound that starts these words?(tune of Old MacDonald had a Farm)

What’s the song that starts these words? Star, Sun and Snake.

(wait for a response)

/s/ is the sound that starts these words, Star, Sun and Snake.

With a /s/ here and a /s/ there, Here a /s/, there a /s/ everywhere a /s/.

/s/ is the sound that starts these words, Star, Sun and Snake.


Your Child’s Initial Sound / Alliteration

Develop your child’s awareness of the initial sound in their own name by saying “Your name begins with the /s/ sound and sun begins with the /s/.  Can you think of another word that begins with the /s/ sound?  Your child might need a clue i.e. something you wear on your feet (socks)

You can also introduce alliteration, which is when you have words with the same initial sound closely connected.  You child will love it if you include their name i.e. Jumping Jack, Amazing Andrew

I Spy

I spy with my little eye something that begins with.…

Your child tries to guess the object that starts with that sound.

Initial Sound Clap

In this game you would ask your child to clap when they hear a word with a different initial sound

i.e. star, sun, snake, small, train, sit

Demonstrate first what you are asking your child to do.

You would clap on train as it has a different initial sound

Now give your child another set of words for them to try

Hope you have lots of fun trying out these ideas.  Please remember to share your child’s learning by tweeting @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning – Independent Play

While we always recognise the importance of parent-child interactions and playing together there are also many benefits to independent play.  This can provide opportunity for children to problem-solve, experiment, use their initiative and develop their perseverance and independence. As parents right now you may be juggling working from home, helping other children with school work and other challenging situations. This blog has some suggestions of experiences where once set up, children will have the opportunity to play independently or with siblings.

Provocations are “invitations to play”.  Setting up children’s toys a little differently might invite new found enthusiasm for old toys and encourage children to use them in new and inventive ways.


Playdough takes around 10 minutes to make and can keep for weeks in an air-tight container.  Playing with dough or clay develops children’s fine motor skills, sensory awareness, language skills, numeracy skills and imagination.

Quick Uncooked Playdough Recipe:


Cooked Playdough Recipe (this is a slightly more complicated but keeps for longer):


There are many different things you could put out to use with playdough – rollers, cutters, safety knives, safety scissors, potato mashers, cake tins, bowls, jars, cupcake cases, candles, straws, stampers, pipe cleaners, matchsticks, lollipop sticks, leaves, flowers, sticks, stones…

Den Building

Den building helps to develop children problem-solving skills, motor skills, imagination and communication skills. It is a wonderful learning experience and so much fun to play in once constructed! To build a den you could use sheets, blankets, tables, chairs, sofas, pillows, clothes pegs, cardboard boxes. Once the den is built children could take in soft toys, dolls, books, puzzles, drawing materials, torches, a picnic…

Small World Play

Small world play develops imagination, creativity, language skills and problem-solving skills. Combine a selection of resources to create an exciting new world to explore. You could use cars, trains, toy people, animals, dinosaurs, fabric, scarves, cardboard boxes, masking tape, cardboard tubes…






Dressing Up Box

Role-play helps children to make sense of real-life situations, express their ideas and imagination and develop their language skills. The imagination of children can turn anything into a wonderful new costume.  To create a dressing up box you could use hats, scarves, bangles, bags, shoes, mirrors…

Creation Station 

This will develop children’s creativity, fine motor skills and literacy skills. You could use different colours and sizes of paper, old wallpaper, dry erase board, chalk board, old magazines to cut out, notebooks, post-it notes, felt tip pens, colouring pencils, crayons, junk modelling materials, glue, masking tape….

Mrs Ross created all of these provocations from things she found at home, each took no longer than 5 minutes to set up. Of course, this will take a bit more time if you are able to do together with your child but this will allow them to share their ideas with you and follow their interests. Remember they may have a different vision from you so follow their lead! We hope these give you some ideas for fun you can have both together and for your child to explore independently. Please share your ideas with your child’s friends by Tweeting @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome