Down Came A Spider

Warning! If you are an arachnophobe, or if you are Miss Muffet, read no further! The Nursery has been full of spiders this week!

Miss Shipley has proved that spiders bring a great deal to children’s education, and not just the chance to count to eight. Of course, once the famous nursery rhyme had been read and discussed by everyone, the first task was to find and catch the spiders that were loose in the classroom. That was trickier than you might think because the elusive creatures had concealed themselves amongst glass pebbles in a tray. Retrieving them using ingenious tools, including plastic tongs and a tea infuser, allowed the children to develop the fine motor skills essential for gripping and controlling a pencil effectively.

A mysterious delivery of legless spider bodies provided inspiration for a mathematical challenge because, as luck would have it, each spider body had a number on it. Once the children had worked out how many peg legs to add, squeezing the spring on the peg helped them to work the muscles in their fingers. The children were proud of their efforts and the spiders felt much more comfortable. A few of the children were concerned that some of the spiders didn’t have enough legs, although the spiders themselves didn’t seem to mind. Budding zoologists Finlay and Arthur observed that real spiders only have eight legs. Miss Shipley claimed to have found one with twelve legs, which really is well on the way to being a woodlouse.

Every week the children in Nursery enjoy an exciting session called Squiggle While You Wiggle. Not only is wiggling a great deal of fun, it helps the children to use lots of the muscles they will need as they begin to become writers or, should I say, squigglers. Keeping with the spidery theme, Miss Shipley took the group back in time to the 1960s with the original theme song to Spiderman. The daring Spidermen and Spiderwomen of Nursery shot silk from their wrists and even pretended to scale buildings before using crayons to write and draw on paper. If you look carefully, you should be able to see some skyscrapers, together with the authentic Spiderman colours of red, blue and black.

If there weren’t already enough spiders running around the building, the children had the opportunity to make some more of their own using paper and other craft materials. The spider body could be any size you wanted, and the cutting out took a great deal of care and concentration. Depending on how much you know about spiders, you may or may not be aware that spiders don’t all have two eyes like we humans do. Whilst most spiders have fewer than six eyes, some species of spider can have as many as twelve, and the Nursery spiders certainly reflect this diversity.

The children in Nursery love to bake and had great fun mixing some biscuits which they topped with chocolate and Maltesers. The spiders looked so friendly and appealing it seemed cruel to eat them. But eat them they did, and they tasted delicious!

Poor Miss Muffet, as you know, was terribly scared by the spider who came to sit down beside her. Her experience provided a helpful opportunity for the children to talk through and explore things that the children find scary or sad. Lauren said she usually feels sad when her mummy tries to encourage her to stay in bed, although cakes with Easter eggs on top fill her with joy. Aahil thought about going to the playground and the pleasure he gets from sliding down the slide, contrasting that with the swings, which move too quickly and make him feel uneasy. Meanwhile, Chloe reflected on how much she loves to cuddle her mummy. Brave Sebastian told everyone he wasn’t scared by monsters and spoke about fun games playing hide and seek with his brother.

When the spider rudely interrupted Little Miss Muffet, she was, of course, in the middle of devouring a delicious bowl of curds and whey. What a wonderful opportunity this offered for a whole new culinary experience in Nursery although, it is fair to say, the tasting provoked a mixed response from the children. Daniel gave the curds and whey a big thumbs up, and Finlay reported that they were really yummy. There was a definite thumbs down from other people, though. In particular, Bethany, Rohan and Jude said that they tasted very yucky indeed.

Next week, Miss Shipley informs me, Incy Wincy Spider will be paying a visit to the Nursery. Check your water spouts now in case he has arrived early!