Join In The Festive Fun!!!

This festive season, our expressive arts elves – sorry, team 🧑‍🎄 – have been busy supporting classes in creating videos for a Christmas Countdown Calendar. However, for the final video they need your help!

They are looking for as many people as possible to be involved in the ‘Rockin Around The Christmas Tree’ video including all staff, parents and partner agencies.

To get you started, Keith and Emmeline have filmed an example including makaton signing.

To get involved we would like you to film excerpts of yourself signing or dancing along with the song which will then be edited together to create the final window on the Orchard Brae advent calendar.

Here is some filming information on the best way to film your excerpt.

Once you have your final video, please email it to Keith or Emmeline via their gw emails:

Back to Nursery

Our morning and afternoon nursery children at Howes Road have been very busy since starting Nursery this term. Many have been showing an interest in vehicles and we have been listening to stories and songs about cars, buses and other things that help us to move around. A favourite song is ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and great fun has been had playing the desk bells which sound like the bell on the bus. Some children have been using vehicles in the paint and looking at their tyre tracks. Others have been exploring the paint with their fingers. The garage and toy cars have proven very popular as the cars go up and down ramps whilst some children have been exploring cause and effect steering wheel toys or completing puzzles.

We also made lots of playdough as part of a group and have been using transport cutters to make shapes of planes, cars, trains and motorbikes. Some have been rolling the playdough in their hands and squeezing it as it is lovely and soft. 

We have had fun in the nursery garden, watering the flowers when it has been sunny and jumping in the puddles when it has been raining. 

Return to nursery

All the returning children from Orchard Brae at Ashgrove have settled well since starting back in August. We have been able to welcome new children to our Nursery and it has been great to see how quickly they have adapted to their new setting. They all appear to be enjoying and becoming familiar within the Nursery environment.

We have been doing lots of sensory activities with painting, gloop and shaving foam. We have also been making vegetable and fruit printing pictures. We have been planting our spring bulbs and enjoying what remains of the “summer weather.”

As the trees are now beginning to change colour we have been exploring this concept as we go for walks in the local community. Some of the children have shown great interest in our apple and plum trees which grow in our outdoor play area and have been collecting them. We have used some of the plums for our snack. Next week we are planning to use the apples to make apple pie.

The staff team at Ashgrove are all looking forward to working with the children and supporting them throughout their time with us. 

Aberdeen Reads: Join the Summer Reading Challenge

Aberdeen City Libraries have announced an exciting new reading challenge for the summer. Starting tomorrow (27th June) and running until 29th August, everyone is welcome to register as an individual or family / group. Register for the challenge online:

There are 9 reading related challenges and you can choose those that appeal. Full details of all the challenges are on the Aberdeen Reads website:

Click to access Aberdeen%20Reads%20final%20form.pdf


There is something for everyone!


Some ideas of how you might use the challenge are:



Read some of your favourite stories that are set in other countries (real or imaginary). Two of my personal favourites are:

Where The Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak), a lovely picture book for younger readers, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (C S Lewis) for older readers.


Get Creative

Across the school we’ve seen lovely photos of our children and young people engaging in Life Skills and Arts & Crafts during our period of remote learning. Why not challenge yourself to bake or cook something new? You might find a no-cook recipe that will encourage even greater independence. Try a new craft project and make something useful, or use some of your old junk to create something inspired by a book. Lots of exciting crafty projects can be done using recycled materials and this helps our environment.



Use recycled materials to create a favourite character or a scene from one of your books. One young man from Room 14 did this previously, creating his favourite scene from Harry Potter.


Cover Versions

Some of our Secondary pupils enjoy the Harry Potter books. These are magical stories to escape into and are very enjoyable to read aloud. Why not compare the film and the book to find out which you like best? Horrid Henry is always a favourite and episodes can be watched on TV. Do you like the TV episode or the story best? Popular with many of our younger pupils is Disney Cars or any other Disney movie. Again, see what you like best – the film or the book. There are also lots of E-comics on the library website, including Disney.


Favourite Place

Try reading in different places and find out what your favourite place to read is. I like to read in the garden, particularly on a fine day.


Let us know how you get on and feel free to share with your teachers the stories that you have enjoyed.




POSTPONED: Friends of Orchard Brae 5k Fun Run

Due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 our planned Fun Run is postponed until further notice. We will maintain contact with the City Events Team at Aberdeen City Council and hope that we can have our event at some time in the future. For now, our priority is to keep our school and wider community safe and well.


Easter Activities

This is a list of Easter Activities ideas, which can be adapted to your child’s needs.  They are suitable for the whole family.  Remember to take time to enjoy the sounds, smells, sensations as you go


  1. Parachute games – get some small teddies or balls and a blanket. Everyone holds the blanket and shakes, quickly, slowly, in time with a song, can you make the toys bounce or roll towards people


  1. Decorate boiled eggs – poster paint or felt tips or cut out bits of coloured paper and stick them on


  1. Rolling eggs – in whatever outdoor space you have or take them on your daily walk/jog


  1. Upcycle some eggs – use cardboard from the recycling bin like a cereal box or pizza box, open it out and paint/draw / scribble inside, before cutting it into an egg shape. You might want to stick it in your window for others to see.  Or you might want to do lots and have an egg hunt in your house


  1. Bunny hop races – your garden who can go fastest / furthest / highest


  1. Egg and spoon race – use a ball and soup ladel if you are worried about the mess


  1. Easter Songs – have an old fashioned singsong with Easter/animal theme – e.g. Peter Rabbit’s got a fly upon his nose. Why not learn the Makaton version


  1. Easter Movie


  1. Edible Bird’s nests – make chocolate and cereal birds nests


  1. Birds nests – collect twigs when out on your walk, when you get home use an old container e.g. margarine tub, snap the twigs into small pieces, enjoy the feel and sound they make. Maybe make a Bird from a pine cone (draw eyes and wings on paper and stick them on) or maybe you will be lucky enough to find feathers on your walk.


  1. Easter colouring online –


  1. Peter Rabbit Masks –


  1. Cut out a large egg shape from old cardboard and use coloured paper or clean food wrappers cut up into pieces to make a collage’s Easter egg, if its big all the siblings can do it at the same time


  1. Decorate some biscuits – some supermarkets sell gingerbread kits to decorate.  But Digestives and shortbread work just as well!


15. Activity Village have a range of free activity packs for different age ranges including Easter and Spring activities

(Normally a subscription is necessary)


16. Stop and listen to the birds on your walk – they are particularly noisy at this time of year


17. Spot the spring flowers on your daily walk – notice the shape, smell, size colour, number of them.  Are they Daffodils or crocuses or Tulips


18. Have an Easter egg hunt, indoors or out in the garden.


For older students with SUPERVISION

19. Boil eggs

20. Help prepare the Easter meal

21. Toast and spread hot cross buns

Playdough Recipe

Thanks to Room 12 for sharing their playdough recipe. This works well and can provide a wonderful sensory experience when different scents and colours are added to the mixture. Please keep an eye on your children when they’re using playdough as it’s not ideal for eating due to the high salt content.


Playdough Recipe


3 cups plain flour

1 ½ cups salt

3 tablespoons oil (e.g. vegetable)

6 teaspoons cream of tartar

3 cups of water

Food colouring/glitter/scents e.g. ginger, peppermint, mixed spice


I normally half these measurements and that makes a decent sized amount.

If you’re making more than one batch at a time, start with whatever is the lightest colour.


Slow cook altogether in a pan. Keep stirring.

When it starts to stick to the bottom, work it a little longer.

Remove from pan and work the dough with hands.

Wrap in cling film or put in a tub.

This will keep in the fridge for weeks.

PE with Hannah: Joe Wicks Adapted Sessions

We’ve had a message that Bumble Bee Physio (find them on Facebook) are doing adapted sessions of the popular Joe Wicks PE. There’s a session at 11 am on Tuesday that may be worth tuning into. If 11 am doesn’t work, please check their Facebook page later in the day as live videos stay up.

The sessions will include options for lying, sitting and supported standing. Perhaps if you have other children at home they could also join in and support their brothers and sisters. Let us know how you get on.

Sport Relief 2020

Many thanks to Amanda, Salvi, Sam and Scott for organising fun activities for us all to join in with to support Sport Relief 2020. We kicked off the morning with a select band signing up to Run a Mile. Thanks to Room 19 for braving the cold throughout our challenge, the spectators that cheered us on from the warmth of the classrooms and those that came out for playtime, supporting with cheers as we ran our loops. Each of us did 5 loops of the playground in total.

At lunchtime we enjoyed dance sessions with Sam. We all had lots of fun!

Finally, the whole school joined in for the afternoon to Walk a Mile with a Smile. We were grateful that the sun came out and warmed up the playground nicely for us. We also had some special visitors – the sumos!

Our day was just for fun, but we also received generous donations towards Sport Relief, raising a total of £165! Well done to everyone for taking part!

Clothing Exchange

Room 16 have been doing a great job, supporting the Clothing Exchange scheme. Pupils are regularly tidying up the area, washing, sorting and folding new clothing. It’s good to see an increase in sizes available too. Please keep sending items in if they’re in good condition and no longer of use to your child. Do also feel free to pop in and browse any time or let us know via the home school diary if you’d like the class team to have a look on your behalf.