Martenscroft Nursery School & Sure Start Children's Centres

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Martenscroft Nursery School & Children's Centre, 33 Epping Street, Hulme, Manchester, Lancashire, M15 6PA

0161 2261266

Martenscroft Nursery School & Sure Start Children's Centres

Play, Learn, Grow

Willow Room Blog....

                                             WELCOME TO WILLOW ROOM.

1st April 2022

We've had a really EGGciting week this week!

In Literacy, we enjoyed reading 'We’re Going on an Egg Hunt’ by Laura Hughes and Martha Mumford and then had a wonderful time searching for toy eggs in our playground. As well as being a great book, we love it because it also contains numbers and links very well with our learning in Maths. We've been counting to 10 (eggs) and back again! We also made repeating patterns using pictures of coloured eggs. For example: red egg, yellow egg, red egg, yellow egg... Do you know what comes next in this sequence? We'd love to make more of our own repeating patterns at home using everyday objects, eg spoon, fork, spoon, fork, spoon, fork... or sock, shoe, sock, shoe, sock, shoe etc.

We've used potatoes to print egg shapes and had lots of fun decorating them. Speaking of potatoes, do you know this week's rhyme? It goes: 'One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four. Five potatoes, six potatoes, seven potatoes, more!' Watch and join in with it here: 

We've learnt a little bit about Easter and about how some children celebrate this festival. Parts of Rights Respecting Schools Articles 14 and 29 link beautifully with this - 'Every child has the right to practise their religion' and 'Education must encourage the child’s respect for their own and other cultures'.

We hope you all have a wonderful school holiday. Maybe you could go on an egg hunt - we wonder how many you'll find... When you come back to Willow on Tuesday 19th April, let us know about all the fun things you've been doing!

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What a sunny week! It's been perfect weather for our growing activities!

This week we've learnt about two important days - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Mothering Sunday - which both link beautifully with Rights Respecting Schools Article 29: Education must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents and for their own and other cultures.

Our book this week has been ‘Oliver’s Vegetables’, by Alison Bartlett and Vivian French. Oliver, who thinks he only likes eating chips, discovers that carrots, spinach, rhubarb, cabbage, beetroot and peas - as well as potatoes - are delicious too! We've loved handling all different kinds of vegetables this week. When you're out shopping with us, it would be great if we could spot and name some more. We're very interested in healthy eating. Can you help us learn more about healthy foods at home too? Of course, exercise helps us to stay healthy too, and we're loving our Bee Netball throwing and catching sessions with Dawn. Maybe we could practise our ball skills with you too at the park.

Did you know that vegetables can even be used in Maths? This week we've counted them and weighed them, comparing different vegetables to find out which are heavier, which are lighter and which are the same. We've used our hands to see which feel heavier or lighter and we've also used balance scales...and our see-saw! Can you help us investigate and compare the mass of different vegetables at home? Is the larger vegetable always heavier? What is the lightest vegetable we can find? Can we find two vegetables that weigh the same? Come in next week and let us know what you find out.

We've learnt this week that vegetables grow on plants and that plants need respect. We're trying hard to remember that to leave our plants in the soil rather than pull them out and damage their roots.

This weekend, challenge your child to make up a silly sentence containing words that start with the same sound as their name! For example, 'Rachel read a really good book about a red rocket' or 'Margaret and Michelle made muffins with marshmallows in the middle'. We'd love to hear your sentences on Monday...


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You won’t believe how big our caterpillars are getting! To teach everyone how to look after them, we have made fantastic posters. Rights Respecting Article 29 says that education must encourage our respect for the environment, and we think this includes respecting living creatures too. We’re going to have ‘project meetings’ about ways we can improve our Willow outdoor environment for nature and wildlife. Maybe next time you take us to the park you could challenge us to build a home for an animal that might live there…

We’re expert storytellers now! Ask us questions about The Very Hungry Caterpillar and see how we do. Where was the egg at the beginning of the story? What hatched out of the egg? What did the caterpillar eat on Wednesday? How many strawberries did he eat? Why did he feel so poorly? What did he eat to make him feel better again? What happened at the end of the story? Check to see if we’re right: 

We’ve had fun playing with words linked to butterflies. Can you hear the first sounds in these words… e-e-e-egg… lllleaf… c-c-c-caterpillar… fffflower… c-c-c-chrysalis… b-b-b-butterfly… fffflutter? We’ve also practised putting mixed up butterfly life cycle pictures into the correct sequence.

Rights Respecting Article 29 also says that education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. This week we’ve continued thinking about character strengths and looked out for people using them. We’ve also explored different feelings, and we’ve found this video from ‘Inside Out’ very helpful: 

We’ve done all sorts of creative activities too. Have a look at these photos to see some of our wonderful work…


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We're enjoying ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ so much that we've continued looking at it again this week, together with the poem 'Five Little Caterpillars! You can share the poem at home -  It's even helping our Maths learning, as days of the week are part of the story. We've been carefully counting and matching the numbers of fruits to the correct numerals, and comparing bigger and smaller numbers.

We're learning how special books are and how important it is to look after them. We've looked closely at the outside of books to identify the ‘front cover’, ‘back cover’, ‘title’ and ‘author’, and we've been spotting the ‘writing’ and the ‘pictures’ inside. The children would like to show you these things using their books at home...

Our phonic knowledge is increasing, and we've been listening out for the initial sounds of words from our story (eg ‘a-a-a-apple’, ‘sssstrawberries’) and the initial sounds in our own names (eg 'rrrrrachel', 'j-j-j-jenny'). You might like to watch this useful video which shows how we pronounce each sound when we're teaching the children Phonics: 

Would you believe that we now have our own real tiny caterpillars in Willow Room? We've been looking at them closely with magnifying glasses, drawing them and watching what they do. We can't wait to see what happens as they grow...

We've found that ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ links well to Rights Respecting Article 24, 'Every child has the right to be healthy – to have good health care, clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment. Making healthy fruit kebabs this week has encouraged us to talk about healthy eating, and our chopping of the fruits has helped us to develop our fine motor skills which we'll need for writing. We've also worked on our gross motor skills by creating a butterfly life cycle dance - our own sequence of physical movements to show each stage. We started off as tiny eggs, then we hatched, moved like caterpillars, ate, grew, made our cocoons, emerged as butterflies, and flew away.

To support our personal, social and emotional development this week, we've been learning about our character strengths ‘Love and Kindness’, ‘Teamwork and Friendship’, ‘Bravery and Honesty’, ‘Exploring and Learning’ and ‘Love of Life and our World’. It's lovely to highlight and celebrate these strengths when we spot each other using them throughout each day.


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It's been lovely to welcome the children back to Willow Room after the half term holiday.

On Tuesday, for Pancake Day, we had great fun decorating and tasting pancakes, and even had a go at tossing them!
We enjoyed the story 'Mr Wolf's Pancakes' by Jan Fearnley and we think you'll really like our rhyme of the week:
'Mix a pancake, stir a pancake, pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake, toss the pancake - catch it if you can.'
We also celebrated World Book Day this week. Our visiting storytellers - staff from other rooms - brought their favourite books to read to us, and we loved hearing a story in Arabic. Both of this week's special events have helped our understanding of Rights Respecting Schools Article 31, that every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.

Our new theme for this half term is 'Living and Growing', and we're excited about all the opportunities this will give us to learn about Spring and new life. This week, our activities have been linked to the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. We've been threading different numbers of beads onto laces to make caterpillars, printing with a variety of fruits, and even going on a 'Very Hungry Caterpillar Yoga Adventure' ( 

We're keen to find out where caterpillars and other minibeasts like to live and will be thinking about how we can create an even better habitat for them in our outdoor area... Our new theme will also help us to learn about healthy living. We'll see that every child has the right to be healthy – to have good health care, clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment (RRS Article 24). A happy and healthy mind is also important, and we're looking forward to finding out about our own special character strengths.

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Rights Respecting Article 31 tells us that every child has the right to take part in cultural and creative activities, and this week we've been doing just that - continuing our Chinese New Year activities as we enjoy them so much.

We've also learnt how to make glitter jars as part of Children's Mental Health Week. We found that when we feel calm, our emotions are a bit like the glitter when it's still and settled at the bottom of the jar...but when we feel sad, angry or worried, our emotions are like the jumping glitter when the jar is shaken.

Our focus book this week is ‘Whatever Next!’ by Jill Murphy. This wonderful story, about a bear who makes a rocket and travels to the moon for a picnic, prompted us to make our own rockets, put on our space boots and helmets, and pack our moon snacks. Can you help us at home to practise putting our shoes, coats and gloves on and to practise fastening and unfastening zips and buttons, so that we're always ready for our adventures?

In Maths, we've been counting down for take-off and counting out biscuits for our moon picnic guests. We've also loved looking at maps this week. When the bear wasn't sure of the way to the moon, we created our own maps to help him find his way. Which way do you think he went? What did he pass on the way?

In Phonics we've had great fun playing 'Rhyming Bingo'. Ask us if we can think of words that rhyme with hat, box, dog, star, chair, leg, jug...

Recycling continues to be our Eco-School focus. We're sure the children would like to help you sort the recycling at home to make sure each type of waste goes into the right bin, then come and tell us all about it. As you can probably guess, in Willow Room we've created rockets using reclaimed materials - to re-use rather than throw away.

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Happy Chinese New Year! Thank you to everyone who joined us for our celebration after school on Tuesday - we had a wonderful time and hope you did too.

This week we've been so busy! We've made and tasted noodles, practised ribbon dancing and Chinese writing, made lanterns, and used chopsticks. You'll love the huge dragon we made for the parade! We've also been talking about the many different languages we speak at home, in connection with Rights Respecting article 30 - Children have the right to use their own language, culture and religion.

In Literacy we read the story of 'The Great Race' to find out about the aninmals in the Chinese Zodiac and we found out that this year is the Year of the Tiger. This linked in perfectly to learning about ordinal numbers, eg 1st, 2nd, 3rd, in Maths. Do you know which animal came first in the great race? In Phonics, inspired by Chinese lion and dragon dances, we've been moving in time to a beat, at different speeds and to different rhythms.

We've also learnt this week that our brain helps us with lots of jobs and that sometimes it gets tired, so we need to make sure we are looking after it. Ask us to show you the 'happy breathing' we've practised - a special way to relax our brain and our bodies, especially when we have had a busy time or we feel a little sad.

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This week the children created an amazing bus using the large outdoor building blocks and made tickets for travel to some exciting destinations. The construction process linked in very well with our 2D and 3D shape investigations in Maths. Meanwhile, our naughty toy bus has been getting up to even more mischief, and in our Literacy group time we enjoyed making story maps to record its adventures!

In Phonics, we've had fun changing the words in familiar nursery rhymes to include alternative rhyming words. For example, instead of 'Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are', we invented 'Twinkle twinkle little star, shining right above that car' and 'Twinkle twinkle little star, I can catch you in my jar'. Our rhyme of the week has been 'Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar', which goes like this...

Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar,
My dad drives a rusty car.
Press the pedal, pull the choke,
Off we go in a cloud of smoke.

We've focused on Rights Respecting article number 29 - Children's education should help them to live peacefully and protect the environment. We learned from 'The Messy Magpie' about some of the problems litter can cause for wildlife, and about the importance of recycling.

Would you believe that Berty and Betty, our My Happy Mind characters, have been teaching us about our amazing brains? We've asked questions such as 'Where is our brain?' and 'What does it look like?' Even though we can't see it, we know that it helps us to think, to learn and remember, and to master new skills. We thought of lots of things we can do now that we couldn’t do when we were babies - thanks to the amazing work of our brains.


What a busy week we've had in Willow Room!

The book we're focusing on at the moment is called 'Naughty Bus' by Jan and Jerry Oke, and so many of our activities this week have been linked with buses. Needless to say, our rhyme of the week has been 'The Wheels on the Bus'! In Maths, we used our double decker toy bus to learn that big numbers are made up of smaller numbers. For example, if there are 5 passengers on the bus, they can be split between the decks in different ways: 1 on the top deck and 4 on the bottom deck, or 3 on the top and 2 on the bottom etc.

In phonics, we've been exploring real and made up words which rhyme with the children's names, and also listening to and clapping the syllables in a variety of words, eg pencil = 2 claps, umbrella = 3 claps, binoculars = 4 claps.

Our Rights Respecting focus article has been number 29 - 'Children's education should teach them to understand their own rights and to respect other people's rights'. The children have been talking about and showing how they respect the rights of others, and adults have been praising and celebrating them for doing so. We've also been learning how to respect our environment by keeping the indoor and outdoor areas tidy. "Choose it... Use it... Put it away!"

We've all enjoyed getting to know Ayshe, our new teaching student, and we're delighted that she will be with us for the rest of this term.

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Happy New Year everyone, and welcome back!

We’ve had a busy time in Willow Room so far. This half term we’re learning all about journeys and transport, and we’re expecting this topic to take us in lots of different directions. We've explored 'Talking Tubs' full of different items connected with travel, which prompted lots of ideas, comments and suggestions from the children. We're looking forward to exploring these further.

In Literacy, we've been enjoying reading books linked to our topic, and have particularly liked 'Oi! Get off our train' by John Burningham and 'The Train Ride' by June Crebbin. We've also been listening out for words that rhyme. Ask the children about the silly soup we've been making in our Phonics sessions!

For our Rights Respecting Schools work, we’ve been looking at articles 28 (Every child has the right to an education) and 31 (Every child has the right to rest, relax and play). We think these are so important that we’re going to use them in our new Willow Room RRS Charter.

We can't wait to receive all of the pictures you send us of your children's achievements at home - we'll celebrate them all on our display!


It seems ages ago but how wonderful for the children to be able to play in the snow on Monday.
We enjoyed creating a snow kitchen! Some of us found out that the snow melted when we picked it up in our hands. We were also lucky enough to explore ice this week, as on a few early morning ice covered the ground. We have made decorations for the Christmas tree and sang songs around the tree. We have been learning that turning lights off can save energy at school and at home. We've been enjoying retelling our story 'Night Monkey, Day Monkey' and exploring light and dark with a special focus on stars. We've even danced like shooting stars. Please ask us to sing 'Six Christmas Puddings in a Baker's shop' - it's great fun!

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We’ve had another lovely week in nursery class this week. Many children have been able to participate in the ‘Puddle Walk’ and they had great fun. They walked around the local area looking closely at the environment together. We will certainly be looking to extend activities like this as we move forward this academic year for the children who weren’t involved this time.
We have continued with our story ‘Mopoke’. The children have been enjoying creating owl dough models and pictures. We are looking forward to the dough drying so we can display them in the room. We have also continued to explore and find out more about the Diwali celebration. The decorations that have been created are lovely.
It was great to meet up with so many parents this week for parent meetings. If you haven’t been able to attend please rearrange with your child’s key worker.





Happy Diwali

In Willow Room we have been joining in the celebration of Diwali – the festival of light. We have had a great time making and creating different objects reflecting the celebration. Children joined in with dance and movement. They had the opportunity to make Diya’s, which are special lamps. We have also been creating rangoli patterns.
We have also been sharing the story of ‘Mopoke’ at group times. The children have found out that he is an owl all the way from Australia. There has been lots of laughter as they have followed Mopoke’s journey through the book.
It’s been a great first week back in Nursery Class.

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Video Clips

Little Seed Video

Hello, story time is here

The Five Gingerbread number rhyme and the Gingerbread story.

Gingerbread Story.MOV

Five Gingerbread Men Number rhyme.MOV

Hello all, Story Time!

The story is ‘This is the bear and the Picnic Lunch’ by Sarah Hayes and Illustrated by Helen Craig

                                                       The rhyme Is ‘Cuddle Him’.

When you’re feeling down,

When you’re feeling blue,

Go and get your teddy,

Here’s the thing to do,

Cuddle him!

Snuggle him!

Show him that you care,

Then you’ll feel much better,

When you’ve hugged your teddy bear!

this is the bear.MOV



Hi everyone, take a look at the children shows on at Z-Arts. 

They are so excited to be running some brilliant shows during the Easter break to keep your little ones entertained. With the tickets from just £3 per screen, they have everything from creative learning, poetry and we're even going to blast off in to outer space!

Check out the shows below to find out what to expect!

April 6th: Play-Along Plink and Boo

April 7th: Robot Boy

April 9th: AlgoRHYTHM From Home

April 10th: Dragons and Goblins and Magic and YOU!

Click on the link to learn more:,HAGU,10IYRT,21KVC,1#whats-on


Hello everyone, especially parents of children who have SEND. 

More information on our local offer

We are having a visit from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to look at how Manchester has supported children and young people with Special Educational Needs and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ofsted and CQC would really like to hear your views. 

Here are some new activities to keep you busy this week...

Dan the flying man (2).MOV

Remote Learning 2 Spring 2 .docx


Hi everyone - here is our story of the week and activities to enjoy...

splishy sploshy.MOV

Remote Learning 1 Spring 2 .docx

Please continue to share your lockdown stories with Shabnam and Christina!

Some important information for families with children who have SEND
There are still places on the Working with your child during lockdown session 1-2.30 on Thursday, 11th February, run by Educational Psychologists from One Education. 
Please contact Donna for more information

 Willow Spring 1 - Remote Learning 6.docx

Hey Diddle diddle rhyme.docx

The Train Ride Story.MOV

Shabnam's Lockdown story video.MOV

Willow Spring 1 - Remote Learning 4.docx

Who's in the shed.MOV

old macdonald.docx

Willow Spring 1 Remote Learning3.docx

I looked Through My window Big Book Story.MOV

Hickory Dickory.docx

 here are the activities to extend the story Baby Bear, Baby Bear by Bill Martin Jnr/Eric Carle

Daniel is reading the story "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" 

brown bear brown bear-wk2.MOV

Willow Spring 1 Remote Learning2 (1).docx

 Baby bear baby bear.MOV

Willow Spring 1 Remote Learning.docx

Arctic Animal Yoga Poses.jpg 



A little calm down yoga session for the festive season!  Penguins and snowflakes.

Winter Yoga Day.MOV

Hello everyone, I hope you are all safe and well whilst you are not in school.  I will be posting some learning activities onto the blog over the next week or so.  Also, please check your child's Tapestry.  Your key worker has been putting activities on there just for your child during this time.  Please remember to "like"  and comment.  We are looking forward to  hearing about all the things you have been doing.

See you all soon - Donna, Steph and the team.


Welcome to Willow Room Christmas activity blog - we hope you enjoy taking part.

blog willow- winter-activities 4.docx

salt dough recipe.docx

Saltdough Snowmen.docx

blog willow- winter-activities 3 (1).docx


blog-willow- winter-activities2.docx


winter 1-lockdown.docx


Welcome to our countdown to the Winter Festival, we hope you like our Winter Poem.  hope you have fun learning it with your child!

winter poem.docx

Here is a poem by Shirley Hughes all about the cold.


Introducing Daniel...

Interviewing Daniel.MOV


This week, our Rhyme Time Challenge is called "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear!"  Have fun learning the rhyme and please upload your photos to Tapestry! 

Teddy bear, teddy bear.MOV


Hi everyone, here is our rhyme time challenge - 5 Currant Buns.  Enjoy and please post to Tapestry any activities you have enjoyed with your child. 

Currant bun video clip.MOV

Currant bun recipe.docx

Reading books are going out this week - here is Steph giving you some top tips on how to share the book with your child.

Reading book blog.MOV


Hello everybody, here is our second rhyme all about an elephant!  Have fun learning the rhyme and getting your child to copy the actions!

 An Elephant.MOV

Hello everyone and welcome to our blog!  We are taking part in rhyme time challenges across the year.  The first rhyme we are learning is: Jelly on a Plate.  Here are the children practising their rhyme for the first time.  Please can you practice with your child and let us know how you get on using Tapestry?  Thanks, Donna and the Willow Team.


Jelly on the Plate.MOV


Take a little look at Willow room both indoors and outdoors.  We will have lots of fun!

Willow classroom.MOV

Willow outdoor.MOV


Hello everyone, we hope you are keeping safe and well.  Enjoy our stories and activities we have planned for you and please let us know if you need any further support.

Here is our final story all about starting school - good luck everyone!

Starting School video.MOV

Starting School activities.docx

Enjoy our story about Mud!   Let's hope for better weather soon...


Mud activities.docx

Hello everyone, here is another story about pets to deepen your learning!

This is my pet video.MOV

This is my pet activities.docx

Lynnette has a special surprise for you this week - her dog Nala joined her for storytime!

Spot Stays Overnight video.MOV

Spot Stays Overnight activities.docx



Pip and Posy this week. Enjoy!

The New Friend read by Shabnam.MOV

The New Friend activities.docx


Hello everyone. We hope you enjoy this week's story and activities:

A Bit Lost video.MOV

A Bit Lost activities.docx


Hello, here is Courtney reading Just Like Jasper.

Just Like Jasper video.MOV

Willow activities.docx

Here is the BAM weekly challenge:

BAM Challenge - Wacky Week.pdf

Here are some ideas on keeping your child safe.

Child safety - parent pack.pdf


Wishing everyone Eid Mubarak!  We hope you enjoy your special festival



Hi everyone, routines have changed so much recently and with the prospect of your children moving onto their Reception classes in September, Julia and Donna thought it would be a good idea to share some time activities with you.

My First Big Book of Time video.MOV

My First Big Book of Time activities.docx

Hello everyone, here is our story " Jasper's Beanstalk" for you to enjoy.  See you soon, Donna and Julia

Jasper's Beanstalk Video.MOV

Jasper's Beanstalk Activities.docx

Here is our new story - Pip and Posy.  Hope you are keeping safe.  We miss you!  Donna and Julia!

Pip and Posy video.MOV

Pip and Posy Activities.docx

Here are some activities to wind down with...

BAM Challenge - Wind Down Week.pdf



Willow Room activities for you and your child to enjoy this week.

Willow Who Am am I activities

 who am I -video.MOV


Hello everyone, we hope you enjoy this week's activities

Farmer Duck Activities.docx

Willow - Where's My Teddy-story.MOV

willow- wheres my teddy-activities.docx


Please look at this information on how to talk to your child about coronavirus

A childrens guide to coronavirus.pdf


Here is a great set of activities where you and your child can move to music both indoors and outdoors.



We have added some great web links to help with home learning - please take a look!

Useful Links for Parents and Children.docx


Here are some tips for taking care of yourself during these difficult times.

Taking care during the covid 19 outbreak.pdf


here are some ideas for teaching children how to be independent - enjoy the cooking!

Small Step