Willow & Elm Classes

The Willow/Elm classes are the first classes of the two–year cycle in Manor House Pre-School. Children are aged approximately thirty months and attend five days per week. Our aim in Willow/Elm is to stimulate each child’s imagination and foster a love of learning through play and topic related activities. The children work at their own pace allowing them to develop their full potential during their different stages of development.

Most of our activities are topic based from children’s interests and during the year our curriculum will include the following; art, construction, play/modelling using a variety of equipment and tools, cookery, making playdough, tactile play activities using clay, cornflour etc., fine and gross motor skill exercises, sand/water activities, messy play, mathematical games, language activities to develop vocabulary, listening and comprehension skills. We will introduce phonics to develop reading and writing later in the year.

The children will be encouraged to develop their imagination through role play using the home corner, dressing up clothes, doctor/office sets and many realistic props. We include many musical activities – singing, using percussion instruments, dancing, music and movement.

Later on in the year the children participate in drama and P.E, part of P.E. will be learning to undress and dress. We also enjoy exploring the outside environment, taking observational walks to the Heath Extension and to Golders Hill Park. We ask for volunteers to help and welcome parental involvement once all the children have settled in.

Our morning routine combines planned and free activities, snack, playtime and lunchtime. We would like to reassure parents that there is the opportunity for your child to have a sleep if they are here for a longer day. Children who are here for a short morning and normally have a sleep routine (sleeping for an hour or more) may be collected any time after lunch to enable them to have a quality sleep at home.


Our recent topic on ‘Minibeasts’ has been very successful. The children have been involved in activities learning about bees, spiders, ladybirds and caterpillars/butterflies. During our activities based on caterpillars/butterflies we used the story of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’. The children made their own copies of the book and made headdresses to act out the story during drama. The children had the opportunity to observe the life-cycle of a caterpillar by having a butterfly garden in class. They observed the changes from being very small caterpillars to being chrysalis, then into butterflies.

The start of term topic in Elm is ‘All About Us’ and is an introductory topic for us to see the children’s learning path from their interests.

As a class (with parental help) we then released our two butterflies ‘Buttercup’ and ‘Daisy’ into a beautiful area of flowering shrubs in Golders Hill Park.