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Bernadette Bear

Bernadette is our Travel Teddy. She goes home with Elderberries children for a one-night sleep over.

There are many areas of learning involved in this adventure. Firstly, the children must write their names on an invitation, this encourages the children to write their name as clearly as possible so that Bernadette can read it. Of course. all efforts are praised whatever the outcome. Writing their names is one of the key skills required for going to ‘big’ school. (Literacy)

Next the children gain a deeper understanding that, when a system is fair, they will get their turn even if they have to wait a while, the invitations go into Bernadette’s post box and are chosen randomly every day. When their invitation is picked the child writes their name on the record sheet so that we can all see who has, and who hasn’t had a turn. (Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Literacy)

At the end of the day Bernadette and her bag go home with the child. The impact of the responsibility for taking care of Bernadette is remarkable. One very shy child who rarely offered to interact with adults told every single person he saw that it was his turn to take her home. (Personal, Social and Emotional Development)

Once home we ask parents to involve Bernadette in their day-to-day activities and, if possible, to take photos for Bernadette’s diary. We also send home a diary sheet for making notes about the sleep-over and for the child to do drawings of their adventures. The children are tasked with looking after her and thinking about what she might need to feel happy and have a lovely time. One child insisted that Bernadette slept in her bed with her as it was “her job to look after Bernadette.” (Literacy, Expressive Art and Design, Personal, Social and Emotional Development)

When Bernadette returns to nursery, during circle time, the child shows their diary page to the rest of the children, they talk about the adventures they had. The children are so proud to talk about their home and to show the photos. The other children are invited to ask questions which can lead to some insightful and often amusing anecdotes. For example, one child had taken a photo of Bernadette with a cup to her mouth, we had assumed she was having a drink, however, she was actually rinsing her mouth having brushed her teeth! (Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical Development)

Having a sleep over with Bernadette is a meaningful learning experience for the children and one which they love.