Dear Playmates Moms & Dads,
We hope you are all well and not taking too much strain under the circumstances!
Please have a look at the attached Coronavirus update from Playmates.
Be on the lookout for another email coming through shortly – the Playmates Coronavirus Survival Guide.
Let us know if you have any questions or anything to add – we look forward to hearing from you!
Sheila & Astrid x
Click the page below for our Coronavirus Update attachment:
Dear Moms and Dads
Welcome to the first term at Playmates!
Our newbies are experiencing a kaleidoscope of emotions and have to dig deep to find coping strategies to deal with all the new challenges they face each day – but they have our support and we will nurture them through each day and each new experience.
The little ones from last year are coping so well and are thoroughly enjoying the glow of confidence they feel in this new year at Playmates!
An important thing to remember, though, is that this can be a stressful period of adjustment for your children so please don’t expect more from them that they are psychologically and emotionally ready for. Their progress and well-being at this point will be hampered by inflexible and heavy schedules. They need to be allowed to relax in order to process their new challenges. Demanding too much from them at this early age will only make them tense, nervous and restless and can even lead to regression. They need time to settle and we need to be patient and understanding of their needs.
We are beginning our ‘Body Awareness’ programme for this term which involves much movement with specific actions that help children relate to their body and become aware of its possibilities – and to be able to distinguish one part of his/her body from another.
This muscle control and evaluation of his/her own body is intellectually of great importance and lays a solid foundation for future learning. Have fun at home too – there are many simple ways to expand their awareness!
Please remember that your child is vulnerable during illness and sending him back to school too soon, will only result in recurring bouts of illness. We should obey the rhythm of childhood in its entirety. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient. Please allow your children the time they need to recover fully, before returning to school. This will benefit them in the long term and also create a healthier school environment.
Please purchase a blue-paged scrapbook for your child (Lion Brand) – there is one on display at the school. They can be bought at Pick ‘n Pay, Checkers or PNA. Please do not buy the ring-bound version – they come apart in no time at all!
Remember to pack a healthy lunch (no sweets), no yoghurt, a water bottle with a non-spill top, sunscreen and a hat, a change of clothing, extra nappies if needed and lastly, PLEASE LABEL EVERYTHING WITH YOUR CHILD’S NAME!!
A reminder that toys from home stay at home!
We have extended the school hours. We are now open from 8 am – 5 pm daily.
Attached please find the new fee structure. This will not affect you unless you want to take advantage of the full day.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2020.
Playmates Playschool – Extended Hours 2020:
Here are some pictures of last week with a quick summary of what we got up to.
As you know it was all about the nose and they loved learning about how it functioned. Nicky, who at the time had a snotty nose due to an allergic reaction, provided us with the perfect intro.
I pointed this out to the group and explained what was happening inside Nicky’s nose and how the nose produced the snot to catch the germs and other bothersome things in the air. I told them the smart word for snot was mucous.
We learned that we had two nostrils divided by the septum. I don’t think they got their heads around that word but nevertheless they could feel that the nostrils were two separate places.
They particularly loved the stories I told them about police and army dogs and how much stronger their sense of smell was and how they were trained to sniff out baddies.
We play-acted this. I brought a smell from outside into the playroom, in my hands. They all took a sniff and then, pretending to be police dogs, ran outside to identify the smell. The first to recognize the smell had to bark loudly! They wanted to do this repeatedly but after three times I ran out of smells…
We learned how to blow mucous out, using a tissue and then throwing it in the bin. Nicky was glowing with pride, being the only one who could give a really good, productive blow!
Every day thereafter someone always announced they needed a tissue to blow out their mucous!!
They enjoyed the smell recognition too. Riley guessed the coffee smell and Ethen guessed the hot chocolate.
We also learned about the care of the nose and compared our noses to that of many animals, like the elephant…
And sooo much more!
Not many photos, but here are some for you to enjoy with your little ones:
Dear Moms and Dads
What a week! Our playmates are not holding back in any way or form and seem to have absorbed the thrills and expectations of the approaching holiday season to embellish their play with a fervour seldom seen other than this time of year! WOW! They have us on our toes performing great feats of tenacity and perseverance…like never before!!
But despite the high velocity we still managed to achieve some receptivity while exploring the uses of the tongue. They had such fun discovering what they could do with it! Every morning we performed tongue exercises – up and down, from side to side, in and out, curling up and under and rolling.
It was fun bringing their awareness to how busy that little tongue was and how it was responsible for enabling us to talk, taste and clean our teeth. I did not tell them that in some Asian countries it was customary to stick your tongue out at others as a sign of greeting and respect!! I decided this fact might cost me my job!
They were introduced to the largest tongue, that belonging to the Blue Whale, and the longest tongue belonging to the chameleon. Madi tried desperately to shoot her tongue out like the chameleon while others tried to touch their noses in the way dogs do. They were simply too short. They could, however, lick their lips all around, which gave them a sense of achievement!
We then spent some hilarious time tasting different foods and identifying what was sweet, sour, salty, spicy or bitter. Their lunch boxes took on new meaning when opened to reveal an assortment of different tastes. All yummy! Lastly, we made a delish pasta salad to take home.
Enjoy these fun pics… courtesy of Ayesha who captured just the right moment!
Next week we’ll whiff, sniff and smell everything in sight…
Have a great weekend!
Dear Moms and Dads
Please will you join us on Tuesday the 3rd of December at 9am when we present our End of Year Ring.
Playmates will close on this day, at 10am and NOT on the 4th of December as previously stated. This will hopefully help prevent a clash of times for those parents who have siblings at other schools.
The ring should take about half an hour, after which we will be serving soft drinks, cake, and of course the kiddies very best ice-cream cones!
I sincerely hope you’ll all manage to come along to cheer your little ones on as they proudly sing and show you what they can do! I hope they don’t become ‘deer caught in the headlights’ or suffer stage-fright, but that’s all part of it and we fully understand!!
This invitation is inclusive of all family members. Grannies, Grandads and nannies are especially welcome!
The end of the year has a way of sneaking up on one, leaving one to pause for a minute and think, “Where has it gone?”- leaving us wondering why we did not stop for a precious moment longer; to smell the sweet perfume of Life’s roses and simply pay more attention to the little things that really matter. But such is the merry-go-round of life and we are all caught up in its compelling grasp! When next we look, our children have grown….
There is something I really must say to you all. You have been amazing parents in every way, thoughtful, appreciative and spontaneous in your gratitude and supportive in your willingness to help wherever possible. Thank you for this, it has meant the world to me and my wonderful staff. We have been truly blessed to have parents like you! It has been a privilege!
As usual, we will break a little inside when we say goodbye to our biggies, who will be leaving the Playmates nest to spread their wings elsewhere. They take our love with them, but they leave us a heartful of precious memories.
To the littlies who are not ready to take flight, we will rejoice and look forward to another year of smiles and sunshine!
The SA economy has a stranglehold on Playmates and we find it increasingly more difficult to maintain the school’s upkeep. So I would humbly like to request a parting donation to the school, as in a puzzle, educational toy, book or anything you might have at home that is no longer needed. Every little thing helps and we would deeply appreciate it!
Dear Moms and Dads
We’ve had a double win this weekend with the arrival of Kim and Myron’s sweet baby Luke, brother to our little Logan….. plus the Bok’s magnificent World Cup victory! Celebrations all round and many tears of joy!
We congratulate the happy parents and wish them sweet, cuddly moments, precious memories and all the happiness their hearts can hold!
We’ve had a really great week with our ‘Hearing’ theme, discovering many interesting facts about ears in general and comparing our ears to the elephant’s huge ears. They were enchanted with the fact that most animals are able to move their ears forward and backwards to hear sounds, whereas we could not move our ears…..only by turning our heads! Nor could we flap our ears like the elephant! Your little ones tried to get their ears to cooperate but to no avail! They would not move, they would not flap!
We also learned the importance of having ears and how LISTENING protects us! Listening to mom and dad, friends and teachers…. and to recognise those sounds that put us in danger, like a growling dog. We had wonderful conversations about all this and they enthusiastically offered their thoughts and stories, some of which, in this highly imaginative age, were quite extraordinary!!
We also played a game by sitting in a ring around a blindfolded child who had to listen carefully while someone in the ring said ‘hello’. The kiddie had to point in the direction of the sound. They loved this and all insisted on having a turn. Such fun!
They also had to make sounds from memory in response to my questions, ’What sound would you hear if someone had a cold? Sausages frying in a pan? A police car driving by? If someone told a funny story? Etc
There was a lot of vocab-building with words such as ‘heavy/light’, loud/soft, tin, plastic, wooden, glass, crumpling, tearing, shaking and cutting.
During snack time, we sat quietly and listened, to one kiddie at a time, bite into a cracker or crisp or an apple or carrot. We also covered our ears with our hands while we chewed or spoke and they were fascinated at how the sounds were amplified! Then lastly, to round off our week of listening, we made popcorn, the best treat ever!
Next week we’ll explore the sense of Taste!
Have a happy weekend!
Dear Moms and Dads
What an adventurous touchy-feely week it’s been! It was so enjoyable bringing the children’s awareness to those things to which they never give a second thought, or take for granted, but the biggest challenge was to describe what their hands and feet were feeling and to label that feeling.
They were encouraged to use descriptive words like ROUGH, SMOOTH, PRICKLY, SOFT, HARD, COLD, WARM and many more.
We examined our feet by feeling them, top and bottom; we tickled them underneath, scratched and rubbed them, squished our toes and then chatted about their importance and how they helped us play and feel. Then we enjoyed a sensory walk, feeling all the different textures and sensations underfoot.
We took a walk around the school, feeling the warm rough bricks, smooth stones, prickly leaves, the coarse, bumpy bark of a tree trunk and the cool, fresh feel of green grass. Of course, Saffy met us along the way and was delighted to be surrounded and petted by this group of enthusiastic little people! Such a pampering she has never had and we all agreed she was very soft and furry. Lucky the tortoise, however, was highly indignant when he received the same treatment, with many little fingers stroking his shell and the top of his head, while his strong little legs flailed beneath him. He was truly incensed by this invasion of his privacy. He is, by nature, a disgruntled fellow, so we will have to watch our toes when next we visit!
Wide Eye, the resident owl, let the children put their hands inside him to feel the things he had on offer. They pulled out fluffy things, hard bumpy things, heavy and light objects, all of which were passed around the group to be gently caressed, bringing them a sense of awareness, of all the many different textures.
In the art room, they compiled a picture of many different textures and for baking, their busy little fingers mixed the ingredients for the crunchy crunchies which were baked and later eaten with relish!
Everything has its wonders in childhood. To watch a child unfold, in the magical mystery of experience, is a beautiful thing!
Enjoy the photos…
Next week, we’ll use our ears to HEAR!
Have a beautiful weekend!
Dear Moms and Dads,
Three days into the term and it’s like standing in the doorway of a new and beautiful sunny day which promises the riches of precious moments of love, growth and inspiration! Your little ones have plunged back into their play so joyfully, and seeing their beautiful energy and spontaneity is indeed heart-warming!
We will make the most of every wonderful day; we will walk through each little challenge and greet the new spaces we create with the love of simply being alive!
So welcome to the 4th Term! Come along for the ride and enjoy the adventure!
This term’s journey will take us into the world of the FIVE SENSES, a doorway through which we’ll peek and wonder at the glorious gifts that enable us to derive so much pleasure from life. An awesome way to end the year!
Along the way, I’ll be in touch to keep you within the loop of our explorations, so that you can assist and encourage your littlies in any way you choose.
Remember, please, to pack hats and sun creams and make sure to keep a change of clothing in your child’s satchel – for those little accidents and the exuberating water play they so happily indulge in!
We welcome Keryn, Arthur and little Xenia, this term, and wish them every happiness at Playmates!
As we approach the end of the 3rd Term, we’ll be focusing on updating our scrapbooks. Therefore the kiddies will not be bringing any artwork home.
We’ll also be learning Number Recognition, which will be on the agenda until the end of term. The kiddies are loving the fun of playing games with numbers, counting and recognizing that each number has a different value.
They are so receptive and willing to learn! How they love showing off all their accomplishments, big or small and revelling in the thrill of achievement!
Louisa had to take some time out from all the counting…..and Alexa could not resist the urges of Spring! Little Fynn was the happy recipient of her budding passion!! Happy Spring everyone!
Dear moms and dads
I won’t be writing a newsletter this week but wanted to share some videos and pics that are so awesome! They will warm your hearts and make you feel so proud of your little superheroes!
I didn’t ask anyone to sing for me….your little ones asked me!!! I ran for my cell to record them and they were beyond AMAZING!!
I was overjoyed as you can imagine, and so impressed! The precious little ones who were too shy and the others who tried, even if they only uttered 2 words before their courage failed them, all made my heart sing.
Here they are….enjoy!
Here are just a few of the precious video clips I captured:
We’ve had a really awesome week under magnificent blue skies, each day enveloping us in the golden warmth that heralds the coming of spring, where jerseys are thrown off and shoes discarded in an urgency to feel the freedom of playing barefoot! However, the nippy mornings tell us that winter is not done with us yet and she might still unleash some storms and icy winds to keep us indoors cuddling under duvets in front of glowing fires.
We put STARS on the back-burner for now so that we could focus on a more complex shape, the DIAMOND. Being a more challenging shape, we’ll take a little longer learning about it, so we’ll extend it into next week as well.
We sang Dolly Dimond’s song and made her shape with our bodies, sticks and blocks and also drew her shape on a mirror tray covered with cornflour! They really enjoyed this activity and loved the magic their fingers created! They also discovered other shapes in a container of salt. That was fun!
To emphasize the fact that diamonds sparkle, we celebrated Dolly’s birthday by lighting a sparkler and singing to her! We did many other activities to consolidate our colours and shapes, enjoying the fact that two triangles formed a diamond!
They made a diamond collage in the art room and on Friday we baked diamond biscuits with sprinkles on top. Too yummy for words!
Your little ones are such a pleasure to teach! Enjoy the pics…
Fynn arrived in his Fire Rescue outfit just in case we lit another sparkler… Madi counted her doll’s toes… and the sweetest little friendships are beginning to blossom!
So sweet! Have a happy weekend!
These glorious sun-filled days are so liberating at this time of the year and your little ones have used their newly found confidence as a springboard to fully release their surging energy and soar with their boundless imaginations!
They loved learning about Tony Triangle with his different features and once they had befriended him by absorbing his special qualities, they enjoyed making him in different ways, using body parts, blocks, spandex and then taking home a yummy pizza cut into triangles.
Father and Mother Christmas featured too when they emerged at the end of the morning wearing the white triangular-beards they had made in the art room! They looked so precious!
I cannot feature all the beautiful photos here, in the newsletter, so I will send them to you via WhatsApp.
Here are your little troopers!
Next week we’ll have fun with STARS!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Talking about the weather has become one of our morning highlights. The kiddies look outside with great excitement and tell me what they see – blue skies, Mr Golden Sun, cheeky clouds, grumpy clouds, rain or wind.
They understand that the grumpy clouds are dark and carry all the rainwater. We’re happy because the rain fills the dams, gives plants water to drink, but best by far, are the wonderful puddles they get to splash in! They LOVE their boots and very proudly show off their special features like Lightning McQueen, Crocodiles or dinosaurs with awesome teeth!
When the rain is pelting down, we sing our ‘rainy-day’ songs with special fervour! We’re learning the days of the week too, which is quite a challenge, but every day before we go home, we whisper the name of the next day into our hands and immediately pocket it for the next day. You’d be surprised how many kiddies remember!
This week, learning about Ronnie Rectangle has been enjoyable for all. We brought out our big blocks and had a great time making rectangles, emphasizing the two long sides and two short sides. We also stretched spandex into rectangular shapes and used the flannel board to differentiate between the square and rectangle. They love it when I act silly and sneak some squares in amongst the rectangles and delight in pointing this out to me!
In the art room, they assembled a rectangular ‘monster’ using a wonderful assortment of colourful scrap. They were gorgeous! Then they had fun showing off their scary monster faces in front of a rectangular mirror.
To round off the week, they took home 3 words to remember – Monday, reflection and seven. Every day we sing songs about the days of the week and count them on the weatherboard, but when I asked them how many days there were in the week, not one child knew the answer!! It struck me again that children sing songs and count by rote without actually integrating what they’re saying. That’s the challenge of teaching!! Breaking new concepts down into understandable segments, and making them come alive, will always help them integrate these concepts more easily.
Welcome back little Fynn! We missed you bunches!
Happy photos to follow…
‘Unpredictable’ is a good label for the week just gone by. Like the weather, the kiddie’s moods changed from being quietly subdued ‘calm before the storm’ little people, to restless, energetic little hurricanes who could not sit still for a moment!
However, this did not stop us from completing the week’s agenda – even if we felt like salmon swimming upstream in a storm! The secret is to remain calm at all costs, sublimely flexible at all costs… and to go with the flow!
The Oval presented us with a wonderful opportunity to explore the egg, its contents, and how it arrived on the breakfast table. Their affair with the egg began when I showed them a picture of a mother hen sitting on her eggs to keep them warm and how, after a period of time, the little hatchlings pecked their way out and went ‘Cheep’ ‘Cheep’. I passed a real egg around so they could feel it’s an oval shape. They were as gentle as lambs as they passed it around the ring, feeling it’s weight and shape before giving it back to me. I asked them if they knew what would come out of the egg if I were to crack it open. Some immediately shouted, ‘A chicken’, while others remained dubious and undecided.
Seeing the contents of the egg presented the perfect opening to explain about the farmer, who collected the eggs from the hens before they could hatch, and how he took them to the market or delivered them to Pick ‘n Pay, where their mums bought them. And somewhere along the way, we also chatted about Humpty Dumpty and his dreadful fall from the wall!!
So it was a fun and informative week and they also learned their new song ‘Ollie Oval’. They had a lot of practice separating ovals from circles and we counted all the ovals, then all the circles and then all of them together!
In the art room, they produced a cracked egg with a yellow chick inside…. and for baking, they made a straw nest using pasta and topped it with a hard-boiled egg!
I wanted them to make some scrambled eggs at school but then I thought how much they’d enjoy making it at home with mum instead!!
Enjoy the pics…
Next week: the Rectangle!
Riley, our little superhero, we can’t wait to have you back with us next week. We missed you so much while you were in hospital!
Have an extra-cuddly weekend,
Another week has slipped by, ending on this glorious Friday, promising a warmer, sunnier weekend ahead.
Watching how our little ones absorb new concepts is both insightful and inspiring. The ‘square’ taught them that shapes have specific properties, such as the number of sides and how the shape looks. This knowledge of shapes gives our children an advantage in many areas of learning.
Like numbers, letters come from the combination of different lines and shapes. So if they are able to distinguish between shapes, they are better equipped to notice the differences in shapes of letters and numbers which will ultimately assist with reading and writing.
We began the week by introducing ‘Sally Square’ and her song. The song was sung with much enthusiasm as ‘Sally’ took on her special characteristics and became their friend. We made her 4 sides with coloured ice-cream sticks which they could interpret as a box or a house with two walls, a roof and a floor.
This week I looted my Tupperware cupboard which yielded many square tubs, including their lids which was miraculous!! I hid different coloured squares inside each one and their challenge was to open their box and reveal what they found inside. This was good for colour reinforcement too.
On another day they were each given a fairly large square scarf. This was a tougher challenge for our littlies because it involved listening to instructions and copying actions. We first spread our scarf flat on the carpet, counted the sides and then the corners. For some, this encounter with their scarf was somewhat daunting, but with a little help, all frustrations were quickly dissolved and the task was done! We then folded our square in half and in half again, to form a smaller square. I watched in awe as some of our little magicians produced the magic without a hitch!
On arriving at school this morning I was eagerly asked if we were going to bake a Sally Square…. to which I replied “Yes!” amid squeals of joy! They also loved making a square Sally in the art room and I must say they did remarkably well, placing all the features, arm and legs, just so, in their own special way!
Learning is such fun! Next week we’ll discover the OVAL!
Have a great weekend all!
This week, learning about SUSIE CIRCLE, captured all I love about teaching. Your littlies want to learn; they sit in the ring with expectation and curiosity gleaming in their eyes and all I want to do is take these precious moments and fulfil all their expectations and curiosity by revealing the little things that we adults take for granted! I raided my kitchen and brought out all my saucepans and lids, which I presented to them. We had such fun matching lids to saucepans and discussing the different sizes and weights. Some could see clearly which lid fitted which saucepan but others were not so sure, as small lids clattered into the large pots! We all agreed that the saucepans and lids were round in shape, just like Susie Circle!
On another day we brought the saucepans out again but this time they were each given a teaspoon, told to turn their pot upside down and drum. Ayesha had the huge leather drum and drummed out simple beats for them to copy. This was a challenge, but taking the risk to receive such challenges is an important part of their growth and development and they loved it!
They also had fun rolling the rather heavy, circular balancing board to one another. Another challenge!
In the art room, they stamped circles of paint onto paper and also made a frying pan with 3 eggs frying inside it. They were beautiful and such fun to make!
In the music room, they drove their ‘Beep-beep’ cars using hoops for steering wheels and had the greatest time putting balls into a large circular canvas which they stood around holding while trying to shake the balls into the air. There was much raucous yelling and laughter as the balls flew high or flew off!
We pressed out circles in playdough and also had the greatest time pressing out a circle from a slice of bread and then ever so carefully pouring an egg into the hole. We baked this and they had a scrumptious treat to take home!
Enjoy these photos of the week…
Next week we’ll turn our attention to Sally Square!
A BIG thanks to my amazing staff for doing such a fabulous job while I was ill.
Have an extra-special weekend, keep warm and safe.
Welcome to the 3rd Term and a whole lot of fun!
Your children are super eager and excited about our new theme, SHAPES. Today we introduced SUSIE CIRCLE and her song which we will be singing all week. We also sorted circles from a heap of assorted shapes and most managed very well.
At home, I would like you to bring their awareness to all circles in the home and garden and if you could include a circle-shaped food in their lunch – cucumber, orange, round crackers etc, that would be great. They love showing off their lunch box circles!
Children learn best when they are active participants in a learning experience. They need to experience things in a concrete way, meaning they can see, feel, manipulate, touch and taste things. This helps build incredibly important foundational skills for learning and for life.
Please remember to bring a box of tissues for the term. Also please keep your child at home if you notice any flu symptoms.
I’ve noticed that many children take off their shoes and run around in their socks, which become wet, so please pack an extra pair of socks! This is something new and we spend a good part of the day putting shoes back on and tying shoelaces which they insist on untying!
We wish you a happy and healthy 3rd Term.
We had such a lovely last day of term! Your little ones pulled out all the stops and behaved like little superhero’s, listening so well and singing like little nightingales!
It was a special day too because we said goodbye to our little Nina who is going to Poland for three months, to visit her grandparents. So we celebrated with wobbly jelly and custard to send her on her way!
We also made Wily Komodo a large colourful blanket to keep him warm while we’re away on holiday. That was fun, and satisfying too, because they all know their colours now and have taught Wily his colours with great gusto!
The naughty goblin, however, continues to hide Wily’s eggs and our munchkins have become very skilled at finding them every morning!
Here are some pics from the term…
All our little treasures!
Have a great holiday and enjoy all those extra cuddles!
Dear Playmates Parents
As I typed this newsletter, I find myself still trying to comprehend how quickly this year has flown by and that term 2 is on its way! For some parents, it is the second term of their little one’s school career. Well done to you all! I KNOW I will be the crying parent outside after letting go of my own child! I applaud you.
Playmates will reopen on Wednesday, 3rd April.
What absolute happiness it has been to see all your little ones settle in so happily! They’re showing their confidence, they’ve settled in with their new friends and some have even found themselves forming a “click”. It always warms my heart to watch them exploring together and playing these imaginary games. Their little characters come out and it is such a treat to listen in, to where their imaginations take them. It really is so precious!
The winter colds, flu and tummy bugs have kicked in, in full force. Over the holidays, all our toys and apparatus will be cleaned and we will continue to sanitize our hands regularly during the days. We thank you for keeping them at home when they are sick and ask you to please continue doing so. These bugs spread incredibly quickly and the cold never helps.
Autumn is here, showing off our beautiful colours of red, golden and russet leaves. We will be emphasising this with our theme of Colours during the second term.
We wish you all an awesome, safe and healthy break!
Hello Playmates Family!!
Welcome to all new and old parents. It is an absolute pleasure to have you all part of our 2019 at Playmates Play School!
The first few weeks have been a mixed jar of emotions with each day bringing new tests and challenging moments. With this, the children have been adapting to their new environment and exploring their surroundings, while experiencing moments of anxiety, tears, bravery and smiles. Through all of these experiences, the children have been learning ways to cope with their emotions by pushing themselves to build on new relationships with other children and creating bonds with their teachers. Although these first weeks have been filled with various shades of emotions, they have bravely overcome them, and for this, we commend and admire them.
Parents, we thank you for the way you have prepared your children for the beginning of their school journey. It won’t be long before they will be filled with utter happiness, joy, and feelings of contentment and self-composure, while waving goodbye to any morning anxiety.
Yesterday we officially started our Body Awareness programme and will be focusing on the face for this week. Each week we will change our focus to something new, to do with the body.
* Parking on the school side of the road ONLY and keeping driveways clear.
* Lunchboxes, water bottles, clothing, hats, bags, sun cream etc are to please be clearly labelled.
* Spare change of clothes in each child’s bag. It is summer and water play is a popular one!
* Please pop into the potty room regularly and check on your little one’s nappy box. Replenish as required.
* Drop off time is between 8:30 am and 9 am. Our school routine begins soon after this.
Thank you all for everything, I appreciate it all! Have a great week!
Dear Moms and Dads,
I have never known a year to go by so quickly! Looking at all the photos taken along the way, I am reminded how far our little ones have come. The playground is buzzing with an energy that speaks of the confidence our munchkins have honed during a year of endless fun, boundless self-discovery and the cultivation of social skills. The older children, who were like little tadpoles when they arrived, have grown enormously in their little Playmates pond and are now, like little frogs, ready for the next leap into the big wide world.
Helping them become aware of their 5 senses has been very gratifying. ‘I hear’ took on a whole new meaning when we challenged them to ‘listen’. Listening skills were sharpened when they had to identify an array of sounds – also loud sounds, soft sounds, sounds close by and sounds coming from afar. This brought them a new awareness and helped expand their vocabulary. We also listened to the sound of popping popcorn and focused on listening carefully to instructions.
The sense of ‘sight’ was equally satisfying and helped them become aware of their world by ‘seeing’ the wonder around them; ‘noticing’ little things; expressing what they saw and becoming aware of how things they saw made them feel. They were also challenged to remember the things they had seen and also to discriminate differences. One morning, a beautiful little leopard toad presented itself for inspection, to the delight of all! How they marvelled at its colourful skin and the way it puffed itself up and leapt around!
Here are some photos of all the fun we had and also some magical artwork…
The smiles at Playmates are the best!! We’ve all caught Kerri’s infectious smile…..warm, beautiful and as wide as a hammock! But we don’t smile when you’re flexing our muscles like Rhys and Benjy!
Take your smiles with you and have a delicious weekend!
Dear Moms and Dads,
One is so easily drawn into the wonder of a child’s world where spontaneity is king, where curiosity is given full reign and where the imagination soars joyously and freely. Creativity is born and nurtured in this kind of freedom where children learn to express and cope with their emotions. This is indeed a precious, happy and unpressured time for our little ones to indulge their senses and nurture their souls…..a time for them to express their uniqueness and build self-belief.
As we progressed with our ‘Sense of Touch’ theme, we have seen how different experiences lit a fire of pleasure within our littlies; how their eyes shone with the thrill of discovering a new sensation or awareness. They loved finding one another while blindfolded and enjoyed feeling different textures underfoot. They adored stepping into tubs of squishy paint and walking across paper, but rolling out soft and yielding biscuit dough sent their taste buds into joyous overdrive…. a definite favourite!
Enjoy these gorgeous pics of your children and feel their joy as we did!
Hope your weekend is filled with warm cuddles, smiley faces and warm togetherness!
Take care all,
Sheila and Kerri
Dear Moms and Dads,
We’ve had such a wonderfully active and productive third term. Kerri has interwoven her teaching of shapes into the magic of play with many activities to integrate and consolidate….all of which have been thoroughly enjoyed by our littlies.
The children are playing with far more purpose now, relishing their friends and celebrating the leap of their imaginations which have come to the fore in no uncertain terms. My lavender bush took a thrashing last week when two little boys, armed to the teeth with a saw, a hammer and a broomstick “saw” a snake in it and dealt it many lethal blows! Poor bush survived the onslaught but it’s bedraggled presence reminds us that the imaginings of these little people are indeed very real and at times fearful.
This is the age when ‘monsters’ come out in the wee dark hours to terrify our little ones and cause much nocturnal distress. It is a frightening experience for them and a very real one.
At school, we have seen how they deal with this by playing ‘monster-monster’ where they chase one another around pretending to be monsters. This, however, did not sit well with some littlies, so we had to intervene and explain that monsters didn’t exist in real life, only in dreams and that they, the children, were the boss of their dreams and thoughts and could go to their happy place whenever they were afraid. We spoke about their happy places and closed our eyes to imagine them.
In an effort to minimize their fear, we asked the children if the dream monsters they saw were happy or sad, big or small, or perhaps lost? Could we help them? What if we gave a sad monster a hug to make it feel better? Could we show the lost monsters the way home? Do they have a mommy and daddy who must be missing them? Do they have sisters or brothers? They happily engaged in this conversation and there was much laughter. There is no doubt that this is a difficult question and one needs to be intuitive when dealing with it. You know your child so help him/her in a way that will resonate but always remain light-hearted and positive. In this way, we empower them to conquer their fears.
I think the shape they loved the best was the oval. We made oval dinosaur eggs which they helped to hatch by spraying them with a solution of bicarb and vinegar. They were intrigued and excited to see the baby dinosaurs emerge. We also gave them a hammer to break the eggs open. It was such fun!
Here are some pics of a few fun things they enjoyed….
How they love little spaces and wheelbarrow conversations!
“The decision to have a child is to accept that your heart will forever walk about outside your body.”
Looking forward to Holiday Care from 1 – 5 Oct. Playmates will reopen on Wednesday 10th October. We wish you a happy holiday!
Sheila and Kerri
Dear Moms and Dads,
I have always loved the sound of little children playing in a playground! It’s a happy sound, a humming melody of contentment!
The 3rd term has this special quality about it, a feeling that all our littlies are oblivious to all else but the satisfying task of playing. It is an expression of pleasure, where heart and soul dance in sync and everything tastes of sunshine!
This term we’ll be learning about SHAPES. This is a wonderful theme with endless potential, giving our little ones many opportunities to integrate new concepts. We explored SALLY SQUARE this week which was great fun. Ask your munchkins to sing the Sally Square song and sing along!
Each week we’ll be learning a new shape so please follow through at home by pointing out shapes and playing games like ‘I Spy’. And of course, finding a shape in their lunch box is the ultimate discovery, so don’t hold back!
We’ll be messaging you the shape of the week to keep you in the loop. Have fun!
Enjoy the photos….
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Stay safe and have fun!
Dear Moms and Dads,
There were so many pretty, precious and delightful moments during our Colours Theme. Smiles danced on excited little faces as each colour was experienced and integrated. There were some wonderfully unexpected surprises too, which astonished and thrilled your munchkins. One of these was the shaving foam experience. They looked quite stunned when we squirted swirls of white foam all over the table around which they were standing. We then dripped a few drops of blue food colouring on top and left them to it! At first, they stared and stared but then, curiosity, as always, got the upper hand and soon little fingers were eagerly exploring. Before long the white snow became blue and their fascination could not be sated. They could happily have played all day!
Below are some photos taken along the way….
Your children are magnificent! All the little pleasures we receive from them inspire us so much and bring endless joy! It has been a wonderful term!
We wish you a happy holiday!
Sheila, Kerri, Julia, Ayesha and Yusuf
Playmates will be closed for the June/July break from 15th June – 18th July. We will close at 12pm tomorrow.
Dear Moms and Dads,
Autumn at Playmates is quite spectacular purely because all the trees in and around our playground are evergreens unwilling to part with their leaves! In order for the children to fully experience the glory of this beautiful season, we, therefore, had to improvise and make our own magic! So Yusuf and I drove down those lovely lanes lined with stately old oak trees where an abundance of leaves lay in huge piles, just waiting for us to bag. We brought back enough to adorn Playmates and it did indeed look splendid!
Autumn had arrived!
The delight on the children’s faces when they saw this miraculous transformation was worth the effort a million times over! How they loved throwing the leaves up and revelling in the feeling of having them cascade down around them. How they relished sweeping them into piles, filling their wheelbarrows and having leaf-throwing contests! It was so easy to lose oneself in the face of such excitement and some moms and dads couldn’t resist the spontaneous urge to release the child within, and play! It was very special to see.
It is sad that in today’s world, hands-on learning is being devalued and minimised by school administrators and the public who push for more and more formal academics at earlier and earlier ages. Those in power care about test results, not the emotional well-being of children.
At Playmates, we believe in active learning through experience. This nurtures understanding and the ability to process concepts at a deeper level. Our little ones discover their world through their sense of wonder and curiosity and it’s a truly magical way to learn.
The colour brown presented many opportunities to have fun. Apart from all the brown leaves underfoot we went on a treasure hunt to find other brown things like twigs, stones, nuts and seeds and we learnt a new song about a grizzly brown bear hibernating in winter. We baked delicious brown crunchies, made autumn trees using handprints and also painted squirrels with fluffy tails. Planting seeds in rich brown soil was a real winner too.
It was all wonderfully tactile and such an inspiration to see their enthusiasm for all these activities!
Becoming more familiar with the colour Orange was also a wonderfully tactile and sensory adventure. They peeled yummy naartjies, a divine fine-motor activity during which they had to concentrate really hard!
They also discovered a pumpkin in the garden and there was great excitement when we cut it up and made pumpkin fritters to die for!
The leaves have now been swept up for the compost heap but the playground still hums with fun and laughter and many happy memories!
The colour Blue will be our focus during the coming week. Wily Komodo is becoming very colourful and has successfully laid a new egg every week.
I hope you all enjoy the gorgeous sunny weekend ahead. The rain has been marvellous and I’m told we’ll have plenty more next week.
Stay warm and safe,
Sheila and all at Playmates
Dear Moms and Dads,
We’re on track with our Colours Theme and Wily Komodo is slowly but surely learning his colours. He is extremely happy about this and has managed to lay a yellow, red and green egg so far, which the children have noted with much delight! They become very indignant, though, when the naughty goblin who lives in the Faraway Tree, hides the eggs which they have to find and put back into his cave. They take this responsibility very seriously!
Kerri has also taken her colours very seriously and has been bouncing around disguised as a tomato, apple and a strawberry and has intrigued the children with an assortment of colourful activities which have kept them enthralled!
Our little chefs have loved all the colourful baking – yellow Jelly, bananas and custard, strawberries with red jelly and finally today, they made a green salad and then wolfed down some yummy, wobbly green jelly! They had fun too learning about robots and songs about robot colours. Here are some activities that have kept them busy…
In the coming weeks, we’ll be celebrating Autumn with its glorious array of colours, orange and brown in particular.
We’ll learn about trees and why they lose their leaves and also peep into the world of forest creatures like squirrels who forage for nuts.
We’ll also explore the world of hibernating animals.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the rain. Moms, Happy Mother’s Day! We hope you feel very loved and simply perfect on your very special day!
I have loved every minute of the last two weeks! With Kerri’s amazing enthusiasm, she has cajoled our little ones into such a joyous momentum of energy and delight, that the days have flown by in a deliciously happy fervour!
We have focused on how we keep our bodies healthy and clean and believe it or not, there was so much cooperation!! They fed Molly (painted by Madi!) healthy fruit and vegetables and on baking days, made yummy fruit sticks to eat, as well as marshmallow teeth in rounds of red apple! Scrumptious! Those tiny marshmallows were totally irresistible!
They painted pictures of fruit which they popped into a grocery bag to take home as a reminder to eat the good food that keeps them strong and healthy. They brushed their teeth to the toothbrush song and then, to the music of “Scrub your dirty face”, they washed their hands and faces with wet wipes. All accomplished with much gusto! They also practised protecting themselves from sunburn by donning hats and sunglasses and applying sunblock. They took this very seriously which definitely indicates that one day they’ll be responsible adults!!
The fun continued as they tested their skills on the obstacle course which proved an exhilarating challenge for them. They all passed with flying colours…..including our very little ones who found it quite irresistible and were happy to muddle in and do their thing in their own sweet way! And so the fun continued as they turned themselves into pretzels while exploring what they could do with their body parts. Toes to noses…..they tried it all! Fine motor fun with fingers and sorting games are always on the daily agenda…… and of course, lots and lots of soul-nourishing play!
The term has flown by but it has been an enriching one, with many memorable moments that warm our hearts. First terms are always very challenging, especially for moms who have to contain their anxiety as they leave their precious dumplings with us! It’s never easy and we understand the heartbreak and the wrench you feel during this difficult time. However, for our littlies, the irresistible urge to play soon takes over and it isn’t long before their happy laughter fills the air and we all feel comforted in the knowledge that they have sourced their inner strength and can move forward feeling empowered. That’s a good feeling for all!
Have a lovely weekend and take care,
Dear Moms and Dads
It has been a great, yet quiet week with a handful of our little owls being absent. Emotionally, our little ones are beginning to settle down and their positive energies are an uplifting asset to our daily routine. They are eager to experience new things and have been involving themselves in our activities when they feel ready and comfortable to do so.
We have continued with our body awareness programme this week, allowing our little ones to explore different aspects of themselves and their bodies in relation to other people and objects around them. They have had such fun becoming familiar with the different aspects of special awareness, hand-eye coordination, proprioceptive input and fun gross-motor movement.
From a game of pairing up to identify each other’s body parts, crawling through tunnels, jumping and singing to fun music, to baking their feet shapes, they’re having good plain fun investigating their surroundings. In our outdoor area, as always, the mud kitchen and water areas are total hot spots and the places to be. Who could ever say no to a cup of tea and a sand brownie? To end off the week, our Friday orchestra and obstacle courses are an absolute hit!
The children are having a really great time developing, not only their body awareness, but also the self-reflection this awareness brings about.
I recently found a quote online which really resonated with me and shows the importance of play, both intellectually and socially. “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. It is a necessity.”
Have a great week all.
Sheila and Kerri
The first few weeks have been a kaleidoscope of emotions, with every day bringing new challenges, new beginnings and heartrending moments. Tears, laughter and anxiety have filled our days but each day has left us feeling confident that your little ones are up to the challenge. We admire their courage, for they have had to dig deep to find coping strategies to deal with the discomfort of finding themselves in a foreign environment without you, fending for themselves and forging new relationships with teachers and others their own age.
You’ve all been wonderful in the way you have prepared your children for this experience. Your confidence is helping them develop the belief that they’re able to cope with the outer world by forming a meaningful and stronger inner world. They will all soon be self-composed little people, wide-eyed with the wonder of all they’re experiencing and hopefully, all your clouds of anxiety will soon dissolve!
However, I do want you to be mindful of the fact that during this stressful period of adjustment, your children need to relax and play more in order to process their new challenges. Please be aware of not expecting more from them than they are psychologically and emotionally ready for. Their progress and wellbeing at this point will be hampered by inflexible and heavy schedules. They need time to settle and we need to be patient and understanding of their needs.
Our Body Awareness programme is going well!
Here are some photos to show you what your little chicklets have been up to!
“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are playing!”
I am so excited to announce that our Facebook page is live and updated! I will be posting regularly to keep you up to date with your children, our playschool, and what little people get up to in general. Please visit our page here to Like and Share those posts that may tickle your fancy. Enjoy!
Playmates Playschool Facebook | Playmates Playschool Website
Have a wonderful weekend!
Here we are again at the end of another fabulous year! Gosh, time really does fly! Our little ones are totally oblivious to the passage of time through their busy little lives and I envy them this ability to live for the day, making every precious moment count.
Play, real play, is so important. It is a valuable part of learning. So many skills are honed and the really cool part of play is that it is usually self-chosen and the kiddies get to make the rules! They were born to play and would play all day if allowed! So it is with much pleasure that we watch their little personalities unfold during a year spent playing. They have all grown so much and it has been truly delightful to watch this sweet blossoming year after year!
The older children are bursting to spread their wings. They are wearing their confidence proudly and are so ready to leave the Playmates nest to take the next step into a brave new world. We’ll miss them so much, and will feel a little orphaned in the wake of their leaving, but we know that they’ll go from strength to strength and we wish them good health and happiness always.
Sadly, we are also saying goodbye to Angie this year. She’ll be expanding her Pilates business and although we’ll miss her so very much, she’s very excited about it and we wish her every success. Together we had so much fun and I cannot thank her enough for all the time she committed to us and for all the love she heaped on our littlies over the years. She helped us grow in so many ways and I will always be truly grateful to have had Angie, my Angel, at my side for 8 years! So it is with a heavy heart that we bid her farewell.
A newly-qualified teacher will be joining us next year and I look forward to welcoming her into the Playmates family. She is super-enthusiastic about teaching at Playmates and I know she’ll be a huge success.
My amazing staff become more amazing with every passing year and without their devotion and dedication we would not reap such joy in our little school. They are invaluable and so appreciated!
On the last day of term we’ll be having a little sing-song so please come along and delight in your little munchkins! They are so proud of themselves and will be over the moon to see you here, applauding them! We start at 10.30am and school will close at 11am.
Please remember to take home any leftover nappies, also hats and sun cream. And please check the lost property for those items of clothing that got away!
Lastly, I would like to thank you all for contributing so much this year! Your enthusiasm for all we did was so appreciated! Your cooperation, kindness and happy smiles helped make this year a very happy one!
I hope the holiday season is filled with warm togetherness, love-wrapped surprises, safe journeys and smiles as wide as hammocks! Be well, be happy and we’ll be here again next year to welcome back those who will be staying on.
It is a lovely feeling to end the week feeling satisfied! It was a very special week and so exciting to see the way our little ones made connections which provoked new insights!
Sadly though, today we had to say goodbye to Luke once more. He will be attending a school in the UK for next year but we are assured he will be visiting us upon his return to Cape Town.
On behalf of all at Playmates, we wish Paul and Tatsiana the very best. May all your endeavours bring success and happiness. It was a privilege getting to know your sweet, charming little boy! He will be missed so much!
Exploring the sense of sight was great fun. The children were intrigued when I told them that eyes worked very hard and needed to rest after a busy day of looking at everything, and how important it was to close them at night, stop looking and sleep! Here’s hoping they remember this!! We also covered our eyes with our hands and imagined what it would feel like without being able to see.
They were fascinated too, when I brought out a blindfold, blindfolded myself and tried to recognize some of the children by feeling their hair and clothing with my hands. They loved this and couldn’t wait to try it! They were far more successful in recognizing their friends!
Next, we looked at our reflections in a large mirror. It was very insightful to see how shy some of our boisterous little super-heroes became, when confronted with themselves in this way! However many were courageous and pulled faces, while others roared like a lion or posed in one way or another. Gosh, they were so precious!
We also passed around smaller mirrors and asked them to blow onto them to make them misty so they couldn’t see their faces. This was hilarious! Some succeeded well but others found this deep blowing from the lungs a rather challenging exercise! But great fun, nevertheless!
They were so delighted when we discovered moths in our silkworm box! We enacted the life-cycle by pretending to be newly-hatched baby caterpillars munching leaves, getting big and fat, spinning our cocoons, lying inside the cocoon, warm and cosy, changing into a moth, nibbling a hole, squeezing out of the cocoon and finally spreading our wings and flying away! They were incredibly sweet!
They made a kaleidoscope to take home, enjoyed Luke’s delicious farewell treats and that wrapped up a really, super week!
Michaela was a beautiful butterfly, Jack was pregnant all week, Ava made muffins, Daniel found a snail, James found snails too… and finally, Goodbye Luke!
I am so excited to announce that our Facebook page is now live and updated! I will be posting regularly to keep you up to date with your children, our playschool, and what little people get up to in general.
Have a wonderful and safe weekend!
What a glorious week we had with our noo noo’s! The sense of smell, as part of our 5 senses theme, offered the most wonderful experiences and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
It was not only an experience for them, but an awakening too. They became more acquainted with that sweet little nose in the middle of their faces…..learnt how important it was and how it enticed and lured every passing scent into their awareness!
When the different scents were presented to them, some were a little reticent but most needed little encouragement and were quick to show their pleasure or displeasure. The yummy vanilla scent that reminded them of mom’s cookies was a firm favourite! They also enjoyed plunging their hands into a big bowl of eucalyptus fruit pods, which filled the entire room with the most exquisite scent. They also picked lemon leaves from the tree in the playground, tore them into little pieces and popped them into little bottles to take home to share with you…. and ditto with mint leaves. Lastly, they made mom a little gift for her closet – little voile sachets filled with lavender! Enjoy, Mom!
The week has been a topsy-turvy one, weather-wise, but today we knew summer had succeeded in shrugging off her winter coat as the warmth of a gloriously sunny day embraced us. So out came the water and out came the smiles, laughter and the contentment that only water play can elicit! The mud kitchen became a hive of activity once more, as our little chefs turned out cake after muddy cake. Out came their little buckets of water and paintbrushes and Jesse managed to paint the entire Wendy house from top to bottom! Yusuf was immediately charged with the task of replacing all the shade cloth over the areas of play and was ever so enthusiastically aided by a little band of helpers, so the job was happily completed!
From left to right: Smelling the eucalyptus ~ Shredding the lavender ~ Putting mint leaves into the bottle
From left to right: Mom’s little gift ~ Zach had his ducks in a row ~ Graeme watered the beans ~ Lila helped Yusuf ~ Georgia had her hands full
From left to right: Reading is such fun ~ Feeding the hungry bottles ~ Good friends in the bus ~ Where are your feet, Amelia? ~ Fine-motor weaving
From left to right: Busy as a bee watering the garden ~ We like being babies too ~ Please do not disturb me ~ Hello beautiful boy!
Next week promises a load of fun with the sense of sight!
Wishing you all a happy, safe weekend!
It’s so wonderful to have Luke back at Playmates after his extended time away in the UK. Welcome back, Luke, we missed you and from the way you hit the ground running, we know you missed us too!
A busy week again, but at this time of year, that is to be expected. Our little warriors have the confidence of a battle won! They’re all flying their superhero flags high and their war cries can be heard far and wide!
It’s been a ‘tasty’ week with the children exploring their taste buds and naming the taste. First tasting a little yummy honey for the tummy, then biting into a lemon, eeuw…. and finally, dabbing a little cocoa powder onto their tongues. Graeme will tell you what he thought of that! But some of their expressions were hilarious!
We made delish fruit kebabs to take home…..studied the root structure of the beans we had planted and that wrapped up a wonderful week!
More fun and games next week when we explore our sense of smell!
Have a terrific weekend, and stay safe!
My apologies for not managing to deliver my newsletter last week! My newly upgraded computer could not recognise my amateurish fumbling, and therefore would not cooperate……so I am feeling a little unhinged and a perhaps a little in awe of it all….so please bear with me!
The first week back from the hols was super-charged and our little ones were galvanized into action like never before! They are brimming with confidence and are now truly the masters of their school domain!
Our ‘five senses’ theme for this term is going well. We learnt about ‘touch’ last week. Apart from a wonderful tactile experience, it also offered the children an opportunity to expand their vocab, with words like soft, hard, rough, silky, fluffy, spongy, spikey, rubbery etc. They’ve really enjoyed it so much and they especially loved feeding the 47 million little silkworms! Every day they fed them their daily munch of mulberry leaves and watched, bewitched, as they grew!
Kathy, thank you for coming to my rescue by introducing me to the Mother of all Mulberry Trees! This magnificent matriarch, with her copious leafy skirts reaching the ground all around her, is enormous! A grand old lady indeed, and she resides in the greenbelt off Firgrove Way. I was delighted to have found such an impressive home for the 47 million! The process, however, was not without sorrow for I had to keep 30 of them at school, so our littlies could see them spin their cocoons and watch the miracle of the emerging moths. So it was with mixed feelings then, that Yusuf and I took the remainder of the 47 million down to their new home and freedom……hoping the beady-eyed birds were having a siesta and not noticing the tasty treats being scattered among the leaves!
Proud to display their touchy-feely artwork……..fine-motor spider catching……..and a little peek-a-boo!
The silkworms tickle……lots of happy laughs!
On Friday, the children put together a pasta salad and enjoyed cutting the carrots, celery, peppers and parsley into little pieces. They added sweetcorn and a delish mayo sauce. Yummm!
This week we are focusing on ‘hearing.’ Your children are amazing the way they can sit in a ring, close their eyes on the count of three, and listen…. They’re so good you can hear a pin drop! I’m very proud of them! They then tell us what they heard…a car, helicopter, a bell, bird tweets etc and they love the fact that they can hear things with their eyes closed! We will help them learn how to discriminate between sounds that are far away, near, loud, soft, sharp or piercing……and help them tuck these new words into their ever-expanding vocab.
Next week we’ll be exploring ‘taste’ – sweet, sour, bitter, spicy…..
Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe,