**** Nursery Plus Team ****

July 2021 – We are recruiting for September. Please see: https://ventrus.current-vacancies.com/Jobs/Advert/2272137?cid=1711&s=False&t=Nursery-Plus-Early-Years-Foundation-Stage-Senior-Practitioner-Vacancy-at-Wilcombe-Primary-School&l=Tiverton

The file below may give a little insight into what our work can look like in practice – in a non-covid year!

May 2021 – Nursery Plus teams are able to fully resume their active support where this fits in with the overall support plans for the children and the wishes of settings. This means that weekly visits are now possible as well as a visit to two setting per day. Extra precautions are being taken. To accommodate all children in need of our support in the Mid Devon area, prior to their school start in September, our team’s support will remain largely as timetabled. Updated documents below.

8th March 2021 We are back! At reduced capacity, but back nonetheless. We cannot wait to see you and play! Updated Risk Assessment below, to keep you and your little ones safe.

THIRD NATIONAL LOCKDOWN- JANUARY 2021 A very happy New Year to you all. To keep everyone as safe as possible, Nursery Plus are currently limiting their active outreach work to initial observations of new children where settings are open and happy to receive visitors. Of course, we will remain available remotely for all other matters. Becks is currently only supporting the FSU in- house and therefore not going on outreach. This siutation will be reviewed again on 01.02.2021. You can find our current risk assessmet below.

9.11.2020 WE ARE BACK ON OUTREACH SUPPORT but we had to tighten our remit and limit our support to those children who most need us and visits to no more than two settings per week per member of staff. This will hopefully further limit any risk of spreading Covid 19 and help to reduce the R-number in Devon further. We are sorry if your child’s support has come to a hault and want to assure you that we have discussed with the setting ways of support in our absence. We remain available for remote advice throughout this second lockdown. Roll on 2nd December!

In light of the government announcement of a further lockdown starting on Thursday 5th November 2020, Nursery Plus are suspending all outreach work until their position has been clarified and the risks reassessed. Please bear with us.


Following our return to out-reach work, we would like to reassure you that we have carefully considered the risks related to Covid 19 with regards to our staff, staff in settings, children and anyone else we may come in contact with. We have made adjustments to the way we work and will continue to update and change these based on changing circumstances, experience and government guidance to manage and reduce any potential risks of transmission. We hope that the attached documents will provide you with some reassurance and information on how we aim to do this. Please note that for in-reach support we follow the school’s own risk assessment which can be found elsewhere on this website.

Some support ideas to help you through the coming weeks:

Week 17 – home learning for the summer! We are here – the end of the term and with this the end of nursery! This is a significant milestone for your child as well as for you, the parents. Whilst you may be super excited that your child is about to start school, this may be coupled with some nervousness also (particularly under the current circumstances). Indeed a recent survey for PACEY (the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) found that the majority of parents (71%) are anxious about their child starting school – so you are by no means alone. Change brings uncertainty, and anxiety is nature’s way of making sure we are prepared for such change. Helping our children have a positive end to the time in nursery is just as important as a positive start to school.  With this in mind, we are going out with a ‘bumper edition’ of a blog! And with a huge ‘thank you’ to you for working with us and a ‘good-bye’ to your little one. It has been an absolute pleasure. xx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih0iu80u04Y The Colour Monster (by Anna Llenas)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWS0Q5oCUNE Ruby’s Worry (by Tom Percival)

A Farewell from Corinna
A Farewell from Suzie
A Farewell from Sarah

Week 16 – home learning – We are nearing the end of term and thoughts are beginning to turn to school start and school readiness. As parents, there are some things that you can do to help your child prepare for school. In practical terms, this could involve helping your child to be confident to go to the toilet in time, wiping properly, flushing and washing their hands. Blowing their nose into a tissue is another useful skill. And a reassuring chat about what to do if they wet themselves, feel poorly or have any other problems will give them added confidence. Teach them to use cutlery and buy a lunchbox and drinks bottle they know how to open (and shoes they can put on and take off independently). Whilst writing their own name is not essential, being able to recognise their own name will enable them to find their name card, tray and peg in school. You can find some further ‘steps to starting school’ in the documents below. To help your child think positively about their school start, Suzie has recorded a little story for you, too.

The Colour Monster Goes to School

Week 15 – home learning – Sarah has got out her song bag for a little sing-along today. Alongside her singing, Sarah is using some gestures, some of which (not all) come from a simple signing system called Makaton. This is a language programme that uses speech, signs and pictures to help children and adults to communicate with one another. It supports listening and attention and helps us understand more easily what is being said and to communicate more successfully when speech is unclear. Unlike British Sign Language, Makaton is always used alongside words as it is designed to support the development of spoken language, not to replace it. And not every word needs to be signed to get the main point across either. It is simple and inclusive and we often use it in the Early Years with all children. Some Makaton signs will be familiar to you, others may be more unusual – did you spot the sign for ‘master’ (man) and ‘dame’ (woman) and ‘boy’ in ‘Baa baa black sheep’? Attached are the signs for this song but you can also look up ‘Singing Hands’ on YouTube to see some experts in action! Mr Tumble on ‘Something Special’ (BBC) uses Makaton, too. As Sarah mentions a thunderstorm in her video, perhaps you would like to sing and sign to ‘I hear thunder’ with him.

Sing with Sarah

Week 14 – home learning – Being messy does not always come easy for us adults, so here is your challenge for the week. Join your child in a messy activity and laugh when you get mucky! This will allow your child to explore materials without fear of upsetting you due to the possible mess created. There can also be a real connection between people when they engage in ‘awe and wonder’ together. Luckily, the weather is fine so you can do this outside. I would!

Shaving Foam Erruption!

Week 13 – home learning – Please join Suzie in making a fairy garden/batman cave with your child – see her lovely video below. And check out more fabulous nature based activities online at https://www.naturallylearning.co.uk/50-outdoor-activities-toddlers/ Nature based outdoor activities and play help children develop their understanding of risk and safety, imagination and creativity, their spatial awareness and motor skills, their sensory integration and much more.

And please also note the ⭐ NEW Thrive-Online Parent Toolkit 

‘Designed to support parents with children aged 4 to 11, the FREE toolkit helps parents and carers ensure the time and interactions they have with their children make a positive difference.

The toolkit offers a selection of strategies and activities designed to help children feel special and safe during these uncertain times. It is not a parenting programme but a toolkit to support the wellbeing of everyone in the family.’

The toolkit is available to all parents, whether their child has had a Thrive assessment and action plan in place or not.  Click here to find out more:  https://www.thriveapproach.com/who-we-work-with/parents-carers/

You may also like to look at the Thrive facebook page, which is filled with ideas and information: https://www.facebook.com/ThriveApproach/?hc_ref=ARRnUUrHQ9ntTIHKCAuL9rRY-bjbsllsGPPgb_8hbSvgMeNoEjNBiKqALOjmSx9QeJM&fref=nf&__tn__=kCH-R

Make a fairy garden / batman cave with Suzie

Week 12 – home learning – We all feel many different emotions each day and returning to pre-school in particular may be stirring up a range of emotions – from fear to worry to happiness and excitement. This can feel very confusing – not just for children. Feeling different emotions is perfectly normal for children- even if we don’t always like the behaviour that follows or the emotions it stirs up in ourselves!

Sarah talks about feelings

Week 11 – home learning– Some of you will now be returning to pre-school  but for those of you who don’t, please enjoy Becks’ story of ‘Fox’s Socks’. You could follow this up by looking at rhyming words with your child eg words that have the same ending sounds. Why not use some small world toys and hide a ‘frog on a log’, a ‘ring on a king’ or a ‘man in the pan? This is best done in front of the child as the focus is on hearing the rhyme repeatedly rather than the finding aspect. Rhyming is difficult for young children, so they need plenty of exposure to rhyming patterns through active games like this with real objects (preferably) or through nursery rhymes and rhyming stories. Once they have an understanding of rhyming words, they can begin to discriminate between words such as in the powerpoint activity below (do this in slide show mode). Becks’ story also lends itself to looking at clothing (we wear in summer/winter), sorting items into categories (such as ‘clothes we wear’ and ‘foods we eat’) or into pairs (raid your sock drawer!). And with transition to school in mind, there is also a dressing up activity with school clothes attached (all courtesy of Twinkl).

Week 10 –no home learning during half term but perhaps an opportunity for some reading for the parents (below).  Enjoy a week of lovely sunshine together.

  • A Parent’s Guide to Early Learning, with a particular focus on support during the Coronavirus pandemic. Be forewarned, the full guide is long but it contains some good strategies and links, including Top Tips. You can easily dip in and out and only look at the areas of your personal interest COVID-19: a parent’s guide to promoting early learning
  • Understanding your child, free online courses for parents during the pandemic at https://inourplace.heiapply.com/online-learning/ Access code: Tamar [see flyer attached below]. This particular course follows the Solihull Approach, so should be fabulous.

Please note: Whilst some nursery settings and school classes will be returning after half term, Nursery Plus remain unable to return to any face- to-face work outside their base school. We will keep you updated on any changes.  

Week 9 – home learning – Arts and craft activities don’t just develop imagination and self-expression, they support motor skills development and spatial awareness, too. Best of all, art can help to calm us down as we focus our mind entirely on something else.  With this in mind, let your imagination flow.

Glue Art

Week 8 – home learning –Let’s go for a walk together! Suzie has created a video based on the rhyme ‘Walking through the jungle’ for you to enjoy. Listen carefully to guess the animal sounds! You may also want to follow this up with a game of charades (picture ideas below), by becoming a ‘Park Explorer’ (Thrive activities) or by looking at related clips on YouTube. We like these ones best:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o332s5Hl0c    (sing-along version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoSq-yZcJ-4      (walk-along version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF74DU34q2Y  (listen: On the farm) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0Kp_J9kvNM  (listen: familiar sounds)

Walking through the Jungle with Suzie (and Lola!)

Week 7 – home learning— Today, Sarah is telling the story of the gingerbread man. It is long, so it comes in two parts. Please join in with the catchphrase if you can! Why not follow this up by making your own gingerbread biscuit or designing a gingerbread man on paper? You could turn him into a stick puppet just like Sarah did, by simply taping him onto a pencil. Puppets are a great way to support language development and social interaction skills such as taking turns in conversation, eye contact, attention and listening; they help children tell us what is on their mind, to sequence and order actions and events by way of re-enacting (or making up!) stories like this one. There are various ways to make puppets – you could use an old single sock (https://www.learning4kids.net/2011/09/26/sock-puppets/) or you could use a sheet of paper to fold into a hand puppet (https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Simple-Paper-Puppet). You can find lots of ideas and examples on the internet and many are explained or demonstrated on YouTube, too – if you prefer visual guidance like me. You could even make a balloon character, like Thrive suggest in this week’s list of activity ideas. Whatever you do, why not email a picture of your creation to us at nurseryplus@ventrus.org.uk. We would love to see what you have been up to.

And have a look at these websites – https://hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk/  and https://www.bbc.co.uk/tiny-happy-people – both give plenty of ideas to keep you and your little ones busy!

The Gingerbread Man – Part 1
The Gingerbread Man – Part 2

Week 6 – home learning – This week, our team member Becks is reading you a story about a a pet spider (click on the link below and open in a new tab). Instead of keeping a bug inside, why don’t you make a bug hotel for your garden or the balcony? You won’t need pallets as suggested in the instructions – just use whatever you can find, maybe a plank of wood and some stones for the basic structure. I wonder who will be your first hotel guest? Happy nature watching. 🕷️ 🐛 🐞

Thrive activities for parents of children up to age 7 – week six (1)


Make your own bug hotel

Becks ARGH Spider

Week 5 – home leaning – Four weeks at home without seeing friends and extended family is a long time for us but also for our children who will find it harder to understand why they can’t go back to what they are used to just yet. Structure and routine may have gone out of the window by now so if your children are beginning to struggle with cooperation, you may want to try some of the strategies attached. If only for your own sanity! 🍀

Kim’s Game

Ideas for helping children who struggle with transition from their own play to what you need them to do at home

home timetable

Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler

Thrive activities useful for parents of children up to age 11 – week five

Week 4 – home learning – Happy Easter to all ouf you. I hope the Easter bunny made it to your house safe and sound despite the pandemic. Attached this week is, amongst others, a more personal upload – I hope your little ones will enjoy it. 😉 The activity is a simple listening and attention game which can be targeted to your child’s needs- eg speech sounds: place objects with a beginning target sound in the box, pull out and name; vocabulary: put items from a certain category into the box to extend language (all animals, all vehicles, all clothes etc); colours: put items with a focus on colour in the box and reveal (children could then sort onto corresponding coloured paper or into coloured cups); prepositional language: place objects beside/in/on/under/ behind/ infront of the box. Have fun!

The Box

Thrive activities useful for parents of children up to 7 years old – week four

Talk with me – Communication tips for parents – 3-4 years

Talk with me – Communication tips for parents 4 years plus

Helplines and Support Services for parents

Week 3 – home learning – A featured snippet from the web – from JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: ”I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. ”So do I,” said Gandalf, ”and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Let’s look at the positives and enjoy the extra time we have been given to be together with our families; work and life will soon catch up with us again! Some ideas, as usual, below. Happy Easter to you all.

april_2020- Parents look after yourselves! 

Discovery Bottles  

Thrive activities for parents of children up to age 7 – week three

Week 2 of home learning – Today I am sending you a recipe for playdough (in the hope that you still have some of the ingredients left in your home). While poking, rolling, squishing and squashing children develop the small muscles in their fingers and hands and gain strength and dexterity, all needed for writing and drawing. Playdough is also a great sensory tool which helps children to calm by giving proprioceptive and tactile feedback. There are lots of further ideas on home activities on the following website: www.twinkl.co.uk – check out the ‘Home Learning Hub’ they have developed, in particular the ‘School Closure Home Learning EYFS Nursery Resource Pack’. Use the password UKTWINKLHELPS to gain free access to all their resources.

Thrive activities for parents of children up to age 7 – week two


Making Playdough at home

Week 1 of home learning– Please don’t forget to look after your own well-being as well as that of your child. Being under ‘lockdown’ appears to be fun but can soon become stressful. We are all human – none of us are perfect. The attached might help you to navigate the week positively.

Dave the dog is worried about corona virus

Thrive activities for parents of children up to age 7 – week one (1)

Parents – look after yourselves!

What is Nursery Plus?

Nursery Plus is a Devon educational outreach service which supports early years settings to meet the needs of children identified with additional or Special Educational Needs. Nursery Plus is part of the continuum of SEND provision in Devon and promotes the inclusion of all children and the expectation that all children will achieve their potential. There are 12 Nursery Plus teams across Devon with each team attached to a base primary school. The Nursery Plus team at Wilcombe Primary School works within our own Foundation Unit but also outreach, covering the areas of Tiverton, Crediton, part Culm Valley and part Chumleigh.

Our Staff….

Mrs Corinna Travers – Nursery Plus Teacher and Team Lead

I started at Wilcombe as an Early Years Foundation Stage Teacher in October 2008 before taking on the role of Nursery Plus teacher 18 months later where I now lead a team of three lovely and dedicated staff. My main focus is on special educational or additional needs and offering support to settings and children to help them thrive, access education and to make good progress. Every day is different as I see a variety of children with a variety of needs in a variety of settings. I love this. Some of the children I meet have transient needs while others may have ongoing disorders. I feel privileged to be part of each child’s very individual journey. I have had extensive additional (and ever ongoing) training beyond my initial teacher training; this includes a.o. training on Foetal Alcohols Spectrum Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorders, Speech and Language Difficulties and Social Emotional Mental Health Needs. I have been a licensed Thrive Practitioner since 2013. I am lucky to be part of both – the fabulous Wilcombe family and the Nursery Plus team.

Mrs Suzie Short-  Nursery Plus Senior Practitioner

I have been working at Wilcombe Primary School since January 2019 and I am part of the Mid Devon Nursery Plus Team. I sometimes work in the Foundation Unit at the school and do outreach work to a variety of settings across Mid Devon. I provide support and advice for children with additional and special educational needs. My experiences include teaching within Key stage 1 and the Early Years, and working as a Pre-School Leader in the Devon area. I have specialist training in ASD. I love working with children in Early Years settings as it is always so interesting and I learn so much from them. I can usually be seen popping in and out of the school. I enjoy the variety of this role as no two days are the same.

Mrs Rebecca Main – Nursery Plus Senior Practitioner

I have been at Wilcombe now since January 2015 and I am part of the Mid Devon Nursery Plus team that is based here in the school. As part of the team, I work in pre-school settings across Mid Devon – this includes the Foundation Unit at Wilcombe too. I have been working in the Early Years since 2009, starting in nursery and preschool settings. I have experience of the SENDCo role and specialist training within Communication and Language, Sensory Development and ASD. I am also a licensed Thrive Practitioner and this a fundamental part of my job role. I will often be seen coming in and out of the school throughout the day as I visit children in different settings; however, I still very much feel part of the Wilcombe Family and I truly love being here.

Mrs Sarah Dennis – Nursery Plus Senior Practitioner

I joined Wilcombe and the Nursery Plus Team in April of 2017. I currently have two jobs working within early years. For three days a week, I am part of the Nursery Plus team based at Wilcombe. I have had the pleasure of working and supporting the Foundation Unit, getting to know some of the children and the lovely team who work so hard to support all the children there. However, Nursery Plus mostly does outreach work and I support preschools and settings across the Mid Devon area. The other two days a week I am based in the Foundation Unit of North Tawton Primary School where I am the Nursery SENDCo. I am a licensed Thrive Practitioner and I have had specialist training in ASD, Speech, Language and Communication. I have recently completed my level two certificate in Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

**Please click here to view the Nursery Plus Mid Devon Privacy Policy**

**Please click here to view the Ventrus Privacy Policy**