Skelton Grange

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Foundation Stage

We offer a range of hands-on sessions that are ideal for Foundation Stage groups. We run:

All our days promote the overarching principles of Early Years Statutory Framework and support many of the Learning and Development Requirements. Activities particularly help develop Communication and language skills, Personal, social and emotional development and Understanding of the World.

The sessions take place outside in our wildlife area as much as possible, encouraging an interest in and understanding of the natural world. We help children to observe and talk about what they see, and to find answers to questions they may have.

The learning environment we provide is a safe and caring one, where children can develop confidence to explore, to try new activities and develop a respect for the animals and plants around us.

Times

Our nursery sessions usually last for around 2 hours, and can be flexible to suit individual schools. Two different groups may be booked for the same day in morning and afternoon slots. Reception groups usually come for a whole day session (10am til 2.30pm).

Milk and Fruit

Feel free to bring milk and/or fruit to eat/drink at the centre. If you would like to do this we ask that you tell us in advance, so we can schedule the session with this in mind.

Half day Exploring Nature sessions for nursery age children

We offer a range of Exploring Nature half day sessions for nursery groups which support the 'Knowledge and Understanding of the World' area of learning.  The themes we offer depend on the season and are listed below. The sessions include lots of outdoor exploration - for example hunting for hedgehog food or ladybirds - and then a selection of other activities such as painting and stories. 

The themes we offer are:

Exploring Spring (Nursery)

Aim of the day - to find out some exciting things about spring, and do a range of spring based activities to develop different skills. The session aims to be outside in our wildlife area as much as possible.  We will ask the children various questions about spring, and then set out together to try to find the answers.

Available for Nursery groups March to May

What the day involves

The day begins with a short introduction by the group leader, welcoming the group to the centre and explaining what will be happening in the day.  We have a little chat about spring to find out what the group knows.  After this there is a chance for a milk break if the group have brought milk with them!

The children then split into small groups for the rest of the activities.

Is is spring yet?

We will talk about what happens in the spring, and go for a walk around the site looking for signs of spring.  We will count how many we can find. 

What happens in ponds in spring?

We will talk about what a frog is, using books and models, then go out and look in our different ponds to see if we can see frogs, frogspawn or tadpoles.

What happens to trees in spring?

We will go and look at the trees and see if we can find out what happens in spring.  We'll look for signs of buds, bud burst, first leaves and blossom.

Why did Fred sit on the acorn?

To answer this we need to read a story called "Fred and the little egg" that shows us that everything has babies in spring, just in very different ways.

What happens to seeds in spring?

We will look at some seeds before and after planting, plant some to take away and explore what might happen to them using the ten little seeds book.

Exploring Ladybirds (Nursery)

Aim of the day - to find out some exciting things about ladybirds, and do a range of ladybird-based activities to develop different skills.  The session aims to be outside in our wildlife area as much as possible. We will ask the children various questions about ladybirds, and then set out together to try to find the answers.

Available for Nursery groups June and July

What the day involves

The day begins with a short introduction by the group leader, welcoming the group to the centre, and explaining what will be happenin in the day.  We have a little chat about ladybirds to find out what the group knows.  After this there is a chance for a milk break if the group have brought milk with them!  The children then split into small groups for the rest of the activities.

What is a ladybird and how does it move? What different bits does it have?

We will collect some ladybirds, look at them and try to describe them.

Where do ladybirds like to live?

We will imagine how it feels to be a ladybird hiding in the hedge - is it dark or light, windy or sheltered, warm or cool?  We'll try and find some real ladybirds, and visit the sensory garden to see how that feels.  We'll think about which places ladybirds might prefer.

What do baby ladybirds look like?

We'll read a book to find out about the different life stages of ladybirds, and then have a look to see if we can find any!

What do ladybirds like to eat and why does this help us?

We'll have a look at some pictures of greenfly, and see if we can find any real ones.  We'll find out about why it's good that ladybirds like to eat greenfly!

How many ladybirds are hiding in our bag?

We'll play a game that helps us to think about numbers and shapes using lots of different textile ladybirds.

What different sorts of ladybirds are there?

We'll look at the different colours, patterns and number of spots that ladybirds can have, and paint our favourite one.

Exploring Hedgehogs (Nursery)

Aim of the day - to find out some exciting things about hedgehogs, and do a range of hedgehog-based activities to develop different skills.  The session aims to be outside in our wildlife area as much as possible.  We will ask the children various questions about hedgehogs, and then set out together to try to find the answers.

Available for Nursery groups September to November

What the day involves

The day begins with a short introduction by the group leader, welcoming the group to the centre, and explaining what will be happening in the day.  We have a little chat about hedgehogs to find out what the group knows. After this there is a chance for a milk break if the group have brought milk with them! The children then split into small groups for the rest of the activities.

What are hedgehogs?

We will think about what hedgehogs look like, using models, pictures, and if we're lucky, the real thing!

Can we spot any hedgehogs?

We will have a walk around the wildlife gardens and see if we can find any real hedgehogs.  We'll have a peek in our hedgehog houses to see if there are any at home!

Can we help hedgehogs?

We'll have a go at making a nice place for hedgehogs to live, thinking about what they might need and what bedding they'd like.

What do hedgehogs like to eat?

We'll have a hunt to see if we can find some hedgehog food - snails, slugs and worms!

What do hedgehogs do in winter?

We'll read a story to find out how hedgehogs get through the winter, and have a think about what hibernation is like.

Exploring Birds (Nursery)

Aim of the day - to find out some exciting things about birds, and do a range of bird-based activities to develop different skills.  The session aims to be outside in our wildlife area as much as possible.  We will ask the children various questions about birds, and then set out together to try to find the answers.

Available for Nursery groups December to February

What the day involves

The day begins with a short introduction by the group leader, welcoming the group to the centre, and explaining what will be happening in the day.  We will have a little chat about birds to find out what the group knows.  After this there is a chance for a milk break if the group have brought milk with them!  The children then split into small groups for the rest of the activities.

What is a bird?

We'll look at some pictures and think about feathers, beak shapes, and the many different birds there are.

What birds can we see today?

We'll use some pretend binoculars to watch the birds in their feeding area, and see if we can identify the birds we can see.  We'll count how many birds we've seen.

How can we tell what birds have been here if we can't see them?

We'll have a look at the other signs that tell us about birds - nests, footprints and feathers.

How do birds cope with winter?

We'll read a story about birds in the winter, and have a think about what we might eat in the winter if we were birds.  We'll have a look outside to see what we can find.

How can we help birds in winter?

We'll recycle some milk cartons or yoghurt pots to make bird feeders to take home.

Full day Exploring Nature sessions for reception age children

We offer a range of Exploring Nature full-day sessions for Reception groups which support the 'Knowledge and Understanding of the World' area of learning. The themes we offer depend on the season and are listed below. The sessions include lots of outdoor exploration - for example hunting for hedgehog food or minibeasts - and then a selection of other activities such as making bird feeders, playing games and stories. 

The themes we offer are:

Exploring Spring (Reception)

This is a hands on day that explores springtime at Skelton through lots of outside activities, including pond dipping, games and crafts.  All the activities encourage the children to look at the natural world, to understand the features of springtime and to think about how the world will change as the year progresses.

This day supports delivery of the EYFS framework including the EYFS principles and learning and development requirements, particularly Knowledge and Understanding of the World.

Available for reception classes March-April

What the day involves

The day begins with an introduction by the day leader, welcoming the children to the Centre and explaining what will be happening in the day. We have a general discussion about springtime, and have a warm up game.

The class is then split into groups (normally 4 groups - depending on class size) for the remaining activities: Signs of spring, New life, Seeds and Trees, Soil and Minibeasts.

Signs of spring

We will have a chat about what season we are in and how we know it's springtime and then, with giant magnifying glasses in hand,we'll search outside looking for signs of spring arriving.  We explore the colours that we get in spring time by collecting natural objects on stickyboards that the children can take home. We also look at what birds are doing in spring time, looking for old and new bird nests and examining our collection of bird eggs.

New life

We think about the animals that are living at Skelton Grange and how in spring time they are preparing to have babies.  We examine the different ways in which life arrives in spring time, some animals lay eggs, some have live babies. Exploring the pond we see that this brilliant habitat is coming to life with new animals and we hopefully will find some frogspawn or tadpoles and lots of minibeast larvae.

Seeds and Trees

We'll discuss how all plants start their lives as seeds.  We will examine lots of different types of seeds and plant a seed to take back to school or home to watch its progress as the year develops.  Finally we'll go and meet our oldest tree and find out how he changes over the year.

Soil and minibeasts

We will link plant growth with a trip to our compost bins and wormery to see what our minibeasts are busy doing at this time of year.  We'll then finish the session with a minibeast hunt in the woods or at the vegetable patch.

Exploring Minibeasts (Reception)

This is a hands on day that explores the world of minibeasts at Skelton through lots of outside activities, including bug hunts, games and crafts. All the activities encourage the children to look at minibeasts closely, thinking about how they move, their colour and shape, where they live and how they are the same and different.

This day supports delivery of the EYFS framework including the EYFS principles and learning and development requirements, particularly Knowledge and Understanding of the World.

Available for Reception classes May to October

What the day involves

The day begins with an introduction by the day leader, welcoming the children to the Centre and explaining what will be happening in the day.  We have a general discussion about minibeasts, and have a warm up game.

The class is then split into groups (normally four groups, depending on class size) for the remaining activities: Crawling, Sliding, Swimming and Flying.

Crawling

We have a brief chat about minibeasts that crawl and then go outside to hunt for some in one of our minibeast habitat areas.  Children identify the minibeasts caught by using simple pictures.  On a walk we look for spiders and webs and see if we can find any caterpillars.

Sliding

We introduce the children to our wormery, where the worms eat our waste food and turn it into lovely soil. We investigate the vegetable garden looking for slugs and snails chomping on our vegetables. Finally we meet Skelton's Giant African land snail, Brian!

Swimming

We talk about what ponds are like and what sort of creatures might live there.  We then go and have a pond dip and put the creatures in a tray so we can have a closer look at them.  During the activity we talk about what the minibeasts look like, how they move and other characteristics.

Flying

After a chat about minibeasts that fly we have a look at the ladybird life cycle and paint a picture of a butterfly.  We then go outside and hunt for flying minibeasts with meadow nets.  After a short and simple discussion about how bees pollinate flowers we play a game outside where the children pretend to be bees and collect nectar.

Exploring Autumn (Reception)

This is a hands on day that explores autumn at Skelton through lots of outside activities, including looking for hedgehogs and minibeasts, playing games and making something to take home.  All the activities encourage the children to look at the natural world, to understand the features of autumn and to think about how the natural world will change as the seasons progress.

This day supports delivery of the EYFS framework including the EYFS principles and learning and development requirements, particularly Knowledge and Understanding of the World 

Available for Reception classes September to November

What the day involves 

The day begins with an introduction by the day leader, welcoming the children to the Centre and explaining what will be happening in the day.  We have a general discussion about autumn time, and have a warm up game.

The class is then split into groups (normally four groups, depending on class size) for the remaining activities: Hedgehogs, Feeding animals, Birds in autumn, Trees in autumn.

Hedgehogs

In this part of the day we will be exploring the world of hedgehogs.  In particular we will be looking at what a hedgehog is up to in the autumn in preparation for the winter.  We will go and look for hedgehogs and make them a cosy hedgehog house in our woodland ready for winter.

Feeding animals

Food is abundant in autumn time and lots of animals are gathering stores of food and filling themselves up ready for migration or hibernation. We will be feeding the birds and looking in the woods for hedgehog food - hunting for minibeasts and searching for slugs and snails.

Birds in autumn

What are birds doing in autumn time? How are they preparing for the cold winter? We discuss how some birds stay in Leeds over winter and how some migrate. We play the migration game where we pretend to be swallows from Skelton Grange who make the long journey to South Africa for the winter and travel back to Leeds the following spring.

Trees in autumn;

Exploring the life of trees in autumn, we go for a walk collecting beautiful autumn leaves of different shapes and colours and make our favourites into an autumn crown. We also discuss how the trees have changed over the year and imagine how the woods will look over winter, reading a story to help the children understand the lifecycle of the tree.

Exploring Winter (Reception)

This is a hands on day that explores winter at Skelton through lots of outisde activities (weather permitting) including looking for animal tracks and trails, making bird feeders and reading stories.  All the activities encourage the children to explore the nature around them, to understand the features of winter and to think about how the natural world will change as the seasons progress.

This day supports delivery of the EYFS framework including the EYFS principles and learning and development requirements, particularly Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Available for Reception classes December to February

What the day involves 

The day begins with an introduction by the day leader, welcoming the children to the Centre and explaining what will be happening in the day.  We have a general discussion about winter timer, and have a warm up game.

The class is then split into groups (normally four groups, depending on class size) for the remaining activities: Animals in winter - hibernation, Animals in winter - tracking, Birds in winter, Trees in winter.

Animals in winter - hibernation

How do animals survive over the cold months? We will be discussing what kind of animals are sleeping over the winter and what kind of homes they use while they are hibernating.  We will create our own hibernation den and read stories about what it is like for animals over winter time.

Animals in winter - tracking

Even though many animals are sleeping, some animals do not hibernate and need to wake up and find some food.  In this session we search for evidence of animals in the Skelton nature garden.  We will look for animal tracks, and make our own painted tracks.  We will have a good explore looking for burrows, holes, scrapes, droppings, nibbled seeds and old nests and see if we can work out who has been wandering around.

Birds in winter

We will be looking out for birds at Skelton Grange who stay here throughout the cold winter months, and find out how we can help look after the birds in winter. We will watch for birds and listen for their songs and make some simple bird feeders to take home or back to school.

Trees in winter 

We will be exploring the world of trees in winter, reading a story about trees dropping their leaves and seeing if we can work out which trees are of the same type even if they do not have any leaves on.  We will also do some bark rubbings for the children to take home.