Saturday, 19 September 2015

Jingle bells and jungle yells

Hurrah for squeaky shoes and pristine uniforms, for it can only mean one thing - a new academic year has begun!

It is now the turn of the 2015-2016 cohort of Sunnysiders to tell their story and to share their thoughts and feelings about life at 'big school'.  
There to guide and support them as they journey through the Reception Class at Sunnyside School, are team members Mrs Very Jolly, Mrs Organised, Miss Kind, and Mrs Crayon.

As always, a busy and eventful year awaits little learners and grown ups alike, so in order that the coming days run safely and smoothly the Team's immediate focus is on 'settling in' procedures and establishing the routines and rules of the setting. In addition, through a host of fun filled activities, the Sunnyside Team will be helping the little learners to develop their sound awareness and listening skills. 

With that in mind, the little Sunnysiders participated in a game on the Smart board today with the emphasis on getting them attuned to the sounds around them. As they listened to a mix of environmental and animal sounds, the group was required to identify and name each of them.
It was all going swimmingly with excited little learners recognising sounds left right and centre.......until that is, they were exposed to the famous cry of none other than Tarzan.
It has to be said that both Mrs Very Jolly and Mrs Crayon were a little surprised to hear the famed ape-man amongst the mewing cats and grunting pigs, not to mention the chugging combine harvester and the ka-chings of a cash register. So, as a deathly silence fell amongst the somewhat bewildered group, Mrs Very Jolly thought she'd help them out by setting Tarzan off again. And again...and again. And just as a despairing Mrs Crayon was contemplating sticking Lego bricks in her ears to protect them from the annoying yodels of the loin-clothed jungle hero, a little voice piped up and announced, "I know what it's Father Christmas!" 

So there you go....before we've whipped the baubles from our Christmas trees, and slung the decorations into the loft for another year, Santa Claus has already shed his iconic scarlet coat, popped on a fetching loincloth, and is merrily swinging through the Chewing Gum trees in a jungle far, far, away!

If you go into the forest today

If you go into the forest today
You're sure of a big surprise.
For swinging in the canopy
Is Santa in disguise.
You'll find it hard to spot him there
Because he's up so high.
But if you listen carefully 
You'll hear his jungle cry!

Not everybody knows this fact,
But Santa's not one man.
For when he isn't Santa Claus
He's actually Tarzan! 
So when December comes around,
And Santa has to leave,
He jets back to the North Pole
In time for Christmas Eve!

"Just one more swing.....and then I'm off!"

Monday, 24 August 2015

Mops, socks and little men.

As the long summer break draws to a close, and the new academic year begins, there is just time for one final "Do you know?" courtesy of the Sunnyside cohort of 2014-2015. 

As we have learned from previous Sunnyside stories, "Do you know?" moments are special. These enchanting and spontaneous utterances are simply a piece of information that a little learner feels compelled to share. As far as the Sunnyside Team is concerned, a "Do you know?" moment brings an extra ray of sunshine to the school day, not to mention and smile and giggle.  

It was Mrs Crayon who was in receipt of this particular little gem, whilst she was on her knees, (in every sense of the word) thinning out books in the book corner on the last day of term. 

After scrutinising Mrs C's attempts to sort her dangerously listing tower of hardbacks, the little learner in question sidled up to the weary practitioner and said, "Do you know? favourite story is Snow White and the three seven wolves!" 
Convinced that her jaded ears were tricking her, Mrs Crayon was keen to push for some clarification. 
"Sorry...did you say, Snow White and the three seven wolves?" she asked, as the little learner thumbed through a stray copy of Percy Thrower's 'Practical Guide to Roses'.    
"Yes!" stated the little learner, studying Percy's tips on dealing with troublesome aphids.
"That's...the three seven wolves?" persisted Mrs Crayon, still believing her ears to be blocked.
"Yes!" reaffirmed the little learner, somewhat irritated at her teacher's apparent lack of understanding.
A bewildered Mrs Crayon was curious about the number of wolves involved in this version of the Grimm brothers' legendary fairy tale. Was it three, or was it seven? Could it be thirty seven? 
"None!" came the emphatic reply, "Not one!"

As the little learner plonked Percy and his aphids back on the listing pile, and sauntered off, doubtless in disgust that a grown up could be so woefully ignorant of her beloved storybook, a re-energized Mrs Crayon was certain there was a poem to be had out of this surprising twist of fate for the celebrated, singing domestic.  
However, with not the slightest notion of how to shoehorn wolves into a half decent rhyme, (try finding a word that rhymes with wolves) Mrs Crayon nevertheless vowed she would, (in some form or another.) 

So, with just days to spare before the Sunnyside Team welcomes the next new intake of Reception learners into the fold, Mrs Crayon would like to proffer the following.

Said Snow White to herself one day

Said Snow White to herself one day,
It's always work and never play.
I'm tired of washing socks and hats,
Of mopping floors and brushing mats.
I'm going to leave these little men,
To start my life over again.
I'm moving out, with no regrets,
And all I'm taking are my pets.
Into the sunset we shall sail,
To start another fairy tale.
I'll fill my life with fun and laughter,
And do away with men hearafter!

".....and from now on, we shall be known as, Snow White and the Three Seven Wolves!"

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Jelly facts and fish stings

It's that time again...that time of stark walls and overflowing waste bins! 

Believe it or not, it's the end of the academic year! And at the end of the academic year, what went up....must now come down! This means display boards must be stripped, dingle dangles must be removed, and draws and cupboards must be emptied and tidied. It is also time for the team to reluctantly bid farewell to the current Reception Year cohort and wish them luck as they journey towards their brand new class. Yes...Year 1 is beckoning the little Sunnysiders of 2014-2015!

As Mrs Crayon was busy wrenching staples from all the classroom's display boards this afternoon, she was accompanied by a willing and helpful party of little learners armed with magnets, picking up the growing mound of extricated staples on the floor. 

As they all toiled away, the subject of the imminent six week holiday came up for discussion, and the group began to share with one another their plans for the long break. Whilst some little learners were venturing to foreign parts, others were staying put and looking forward to spending time on the Island's beautiful beaches.  

"You better watch out for jellyfish!" informed one little learner as he freed his magnet of a ton of staples, "Jellyfishes kill you, you know!"

The little learner's grim warning came as a result of an increase in jellyfish sightings in recent weeks, when they have washed up on beaches around the Isle of Wight. It also prompted an abrupt end to all the holiday chit-chat and for the debate to centre around the issue of jellyfish. 

The little staple gatherers immediately launched into an exchange of far out claims regarding how many of these gelatinous creatures they'd seen on the beach, as well as their size and proportions. As the little learners tried to outdo one another with claims more and more fantastical, i.e. the beach being littered with jellyfish 'as big as a bedroom', Mrs Crayon couldn't help wondering if some of these jellyfish sightings were in fact supermarket carrier bags shamefully washed ashore in Whippy Cove Bay. Nevertheless, she was keen to find out if the group knew anything factual about jellyfish other than they can kill you, and they grow to the size of a one bedroom apartment. As it turned out they didn't, however, a little learner playing close by saved the day when he joined the magnet monitors, offering to share some or his own jellyfish insights.   
"I know about jellyfish I do," he declared to Mrs Crayon as she descended the dizzy heights of the 2 step ladder she was using.
"Do you indeed," she said, happy to be reunited with terra firma again.
"Yep!" the little learner told her assuredly, "I know they sting you with their nettles!"

What a wonderful way to end the school year thought an appreciative Mrs Crayon, grateful for this new jellyfish fact. After all, it is also thanks to this particular cohort of little theorists, that we have an understanding of why humans have eyebrows, what a camel stores in his humps, the true potential of kittens, and how to keep the ducks happy! We have also discovered some extraordinary facts about our Queen, horse tack, and the perils of purchasing rabbits.  
As the essence of a nettle-wielding jellyfish ditty began to formulate in the far reaches of her mind, Mrs Crayon felt totally indebted to these clever little people for inspiring her to produce another year of Sunnyside doodles and rhymes. 

Happy holidays little learners! Happy holidays dear readers!

SUNNYSIDERS will return in September with a brand new cohort of little learners and a host of brand new stories and rhymes! 

Beware the Jellyfish! 

I'm as fragile as a flower, 
And as flimsy as it's petals.
But don't be fooled, if you come near,
I'll sting you with me nettles!

"With gnashers like mine....who cares about your nettles!" 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bare heads and beanstalks

What does a beanstalk and a pair of spectacles have in common?

Well, the answer is little Sunnyside learners of course, but how on earth pray tell?

The new topic in the Reception Class at Sunnyside School is 'growing', so the Team has magically transformed the home corner into a garden centre complete with real shrubs and cut flowers. 

This overabundance of vegetation in the classroom has dramatically affected the humidity levels sending them sky high so creating the ambiance of a tropical rainforest! Just to add to this jungle experience, a few weeks ago the little Sunnysiders planted their own Runner Bean seeds. Every day since then they have dutifully and enthusiastically nurtured their bean shoots to the point where the tendrils of this quintessentially British vegetable plant are now nudging the light fittings!

In addition to a variety of non-fiction books on growing plants, the little learners have also enjoyed reading a selection of story books with tenuous links to flora and fauna. Like the very traditional 'Jack and the Beanstalk' for instance, and the not so traditional, yet hilariously funny, 'Jim and the Beanstalk' by Raymond Briggs.

In Briggs' version of small boy climbs ridiculously tall beanstalk and meets grumpy giant, Jim, just like his famous predecessor, also encounters a none too cheery towering ogre, only this one is extremely short-sighted, toothless, and rather follically challenged. In order to help the poor chap feel better about himself, Jim spends a great deal time shinning up and down the ridiculously tall beanstalk supplying the giant with false teeth, wigs and, yes, spectacles in return for gold coins.

This wonderful story has really appealed to the little Sunnysiders' sense of humour, so much so it sparked an entire afternoon of crafting spectacles from pipe cleaners no less! In no time at all the classroom was filled with bespectacled little learners stomping about the setting yelling "Fee-fi-fo-fum!" at the top of their voices.

As Mrs Caring was busy fitting glasses to little learners and attempting to reform all the squashed and misshapen ones, a little learner interrupted her endeavours with a "Do you know?" announcement. 
"Do you know?" said she, peering through a pair of fluorescent green chenille spectacles, "The other day I went to the big hospital for my eye competition!" 
"Your eye competition?" questioned Mrs Caring, thinking she must have misheard the little learner due to all the "Fee-fi-fo-ing!" going on around her.
"Yes!" confirmed the little learner shoving her homespun specs further up her nose. "And.....I hadded to wear wooden glasses!"

The little learner went on to describe in great detail the tasks she was required to perform during her "eye competition", and she was adamant that she was made to do it all wearing glasses made of solid wood. When the little expert on eye examinations had finished sharing her knowledge with Mrs Caring, she went to share with Miss Kind, and then again with Mrs Crayon.

While thirty pairs of little learner eyes furnished with a myriad of brightly coloured tufty specs was a truly inspirational sight today, Mrs Crayon was completely captivated by the notion of eye wear carved from the wood of a large tree that bears acorns.

She then began to ponder how the admen of this world might try to persuade the masses that wooden glasses are the next must-have. And as she pondered, Mrs Crayon penned the following.  

Ode to wooden specs

Come and view our range of spectacles both standard and bespoke,
They'll last you all your life because they're made of solid oak.
Hand carved and finely finished they're ideal for anyone,
There's just one teensy drawback, it's a shame they weigh a ton!

You'll look and feel the business from your head down to your toes,
It just takes some getting used to all that weight upon your nose!
As sturdy as a sideboard they won't bend nor will they flex,
You'll have everybody asking you where did you get those specs?

Simply squirt a little polish and then buff them till they gleam,
You could finish with some Briwax tho' that is a bit extreme.
If you're set on buying wooden specs, then please don't hesitate,
Mind'll need a neck of iron just to hold your head up straight!!

"They're alright till you need yer hands!"

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Short legs and fairy teeth

"Do you know...?"

This is the phrase the Sunnyside Team hear most frequently from the Reception little learners in their class. 

Whenever a Team member is approached by a little learner announcing "Do you know?", they 'll automatically grab the nearest post-it note and pen in readiness to note down the little gem of information that inevitably follows.

As far as the Team is concerned, do you know moments are special because these random, spontaneous little learner utterances invariably have nothing to do with anything, they are purely a piece of information that a little learner feels compelled to share at that particular moment. And without exception each do you know declaration brings an extra ray of sunshine to the school day. 

Past little learner do you knows have revealed some remarkable facts, like for instance: A Spanish Dachshund is blue, the tooth fairy turns your teeth into dentures for dogs, and hamsters repeat everything you say!

It's been a while since the Team has shared any do you know moments, so they feel absolutely duty bound to do so now. In addition to latest do you knows courtesy of the current little Reception learners, Mrs Crayon has penned a verse celebrating the do you know of a very disappointed little learner from a couple of years ago, who shared some information regarding the gender of his newly acquired pet rabbit.

What's happened to me rabbit?

What's happened to me rabbit? 
Something isn't right,
Something odd has happened
To me rabbit overnight.

When he ventured from his hutch,
This morning bright and early,
I noted instantly,
That he'd turned into a girlie!

I'm not one to point the finger,
But the pet shop is to blame,
For me rabbit's change of sex,
And me rabbit's change of name.

I'm left feeling rather miffed,
And I'm not sure what to think,
About the fact that I am lumbered,
With a pet that favours pink!

"I always knew I was a girl called Polly!"

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Grumpy ducks and paint pots

Picture the scene if you will.  

It is the end of the school day. An exhausted Mrs Crayon is staring vacantly at the contents of the sink in the classroom. The sink is brimful of dirty paint brushes and paint pots. As she turns on the taps and begins to fill the sink with water, Mrs Crayon is suddenly transported back to the time when she was standing at a very similar classroom sink back in November 2012, preparing to do battle with a dozen paint brushes that were firmly welded together in a pot of hardened PVA glue. As she innocently turned the taps full on and squirted washing up liquid into the sink, a little learner appeared alongside her and told her in no uncertain terms that if she let the taps run 'the ducks wouldn't have any water.'

Unsure whether the little learner was referring to the ducks of Whippy Cove or just ducks in general, a somewhat conscience-stricken Mrs Crayon found herself heeding the little learner's solemn warning by turning off the taps and leaving the gluey paint brushes to soak in the detergent. In no way did she want to be the one responsible for draining the Whippy Cove duck pond, and leaving the poor Whippy Cove ducks high and dry! 

As her thoughts returned to dealing with the present day painty mess in the sink, Mrs Crayon felt totally inspired by all this reminiscing about ducks and decided at the next convenient moment to write a duck poem. So after washing up at home that evening (with just a minuscule amount of water in her washing up bowl) Mrs Crayon penned the following. 

Oh, spare a thought for all the ducks

 Oh, spare a thought for all the ducks 
That live near you and me,
For when you're running water
The ducks don't get any.

A duck bereft of water 
Is not a happy chap,
He'd boldly go in search of more
If he could read a map!

Oh, spare a thought for ducks near you,
And all the ducks beyond, 
For when you're running water
You're emptying their pond!

"Oh, for heaven's sake....who left the taps on?"

Friday, 29 May 2015

Twirly leaves and wonky trees

There's nothing quite like going off on a tangent!

It happens frequently in the Reception Class at Sunnyside School. Whilst the little Sunnyside learners enjoy participating in an exciting array of activities linked to the their various themes and topics, there is always room for going off on a tangent.

The tangent is almost always inspired either by little learner ideas, interests and fascinations, a comment they've made, or indeed (as in today's case).......the weather!

Whilst it was gloriously sunny in Whippy Cove today, it was also extremely windy. 

As the little learners prepared for lunch by way of their usual toileting and hand washing routine, a certain little learner poked his head over the toilet cubicle and announced to the patient (yet somewhat fidgety) waiting line, "Mum says when the trees wobble, that's when you can make kites!" Following this proclamation, everyone in the toilet line seemed to forget they needed the toilet and headed straight for the creative table hoping to rustle up some home-made kites before the dinner ladies were due to take them all to lunch! 

When it became obvious that it wasn't possible to make a kite in thirty seconds, The Team promised the little learners that if the trees were still wobbling after lunch they could make and create as many kites as they liked.

By the time the afternoon session began, the once wobbly trees were now almost bending double as they see-sawed back and forth in the strengthening wind. So the race was on to build a kite and start flying it before the weather had the chance to change.  Amongst the reels of sellotape, the sticks of glue, the bits of paper and yards of string, a variety of home-made kites began to emerge ready for testing!

As it turned out, it wasn't only the kites that were being tested this afternoon, it was also the little learners' resolve. Within seconds of launching their prized possessions into the air, they were instantly robbed of them, as sudden gusts of wind indiscriminately snatched kites from little fingers, sending them off into the stratosphere never to be seen again. (The kites that is, not the fingers.)

Undeterred by this unfortunate occurrence, the little learners were cobbling together their mark two versions before any tears of sorrow could be shed. However, no sooner had they stepped outside to set their kites free for a second time, they were back in yet again clutching the only piece of evidence to suggest there ever was a kite in the first place......their piece of string.

And so it went on all afternoon: make kite, launch kite, loose kite, make kite again, until every scrap of sellotape had been ripped from it's reel, and the clock in the classroom had struck three.

As Miss Kind and Mrs Crayon bade farewell to the last little learner at the end of the day, they were informed by his Mummy that it was due to be very windy for the rest of the week.

Best top up with more sellotape and string ladies!


When trees are wobbling left and right,
Its time to fly your home-made kite,
But don't forget to hold on tight, 
To your piece of string!

When leaves are swirling everywhere,
And wind makes tangles in your hair,
You won't mind you only care,
About your piece of string!

When wind is gusting all around,
And you can here a woooing sound,
Don't be sad when you have found,
You're left with just your string!

So stick things down with all your might,
Before you fly your home-made kite.
Then everything will be all right,
With your piece of string!

"Seems it's too wobbly for kites today!"