Elswick House is a very busy Nursery. There are always a number of activities going on. The Sparrows Room has a permanent sand pit and the lid is frequently used for playdough and foam. Sometimes it is used as a water trough. Painting, cutting, sticking and a wide range of craft materials, from glorious glitter to regal peacock feathers, are employed to produce the wonderful wall displays, not to mention the pictures to take home.
Cooking is a favourite pastime, making bread, cakes, biscuits, fruit salad and pizza; also a very tasty 'stone soup'. Storytime and singing are perennial favourites and, when the weather is good, these can take place in the garden. Keeping 'active' is encouraged with a range of balls, skittles, bean bags and hoops to develop hand eye co-ordination and 'taking turns'.
We do regular 'Keep-Fit' session with music. Members of staff alternate this with action stories, where the children take the parts. A great favourite is "Where The Wild Things Are" which has infinite potential for stomping! Role play is one of the children's favourite activities, especially when it extends into the garden, using the Wendy House, The Den, the Tree House or the Bridge.
Visits and visitors to Elswick House always add special interest. One of our regular themes every year is "People who help us", when parents come into Nursery to tell us about the work they do. We have had policemen, firemen, doctors, dentists, nurses, librarians and lots more. Occasionally we are visited by the Guide Dogs for the Blind, and once a year - usually at Linden's birthday - we have a visit from The Animal Man, who brings in an interesting assortment of friends - some wriggly and slithery, others furry or feathered.
Local visits are particularly important to give the children a knowledge of their locality. We go on walks into the village, to the canal and to any of the five children's play parks. We love our countrside walks to see the horses and the wind turbine. Our Wet Wellie Walks are best though! We go to Woodhouse Farm once or twice a year to see the animals and to go round the walled garden and we regularly visit a private estate, which allows us access to their Bluebell Woods and to go pond dipping. The Tractor 'n Trailer ride round the village and the local Fisheries is a great favourite.
Before Covid struck, we used to regularly visit St Giles Hospice to meet some of the patients. Sometimes we entertained them with songs and dance, and, at Christmas, we performed our Christmas Nativity. We also enjoyed painting workshops with them. We make several visits to St Giles Church during the year. Our Christmas Nativity and Christingle Service is one of the most special events of the year.
In a normal year - and this year has not been normal! - we organise coach trips to theatres in Birmingham, Stafford, Warwick and Stratford – our last visit was to 'We're going on a Bear Hunt' at Warwick Arts Theatre. Parents are always welcome to join their children on these visits. Just before the pandemic, we enjoyed several local productions at the Garrick Theatre in Lichfield.