Getting ready for Christmas with Bangers & Smash

As always, November and December have been incredibly busy months as children and staff at regular Bangers & Smash nurseries prepare for Christmas shows.

Image © Anton Pieck

Image © Anton Pieck

We've had scripts to write, songs to learn, costumes to sort out and rehearsals to organise – and it's all been brilliant fun!

Crystal Nurseries put on three wonderful performances of Bangers & Smash original show, Christmas at the Toyshop, in Peckham, Nunhead and Lewisham. All shows were a huge hit, the highlight being a performance by Goslings Day Nursery at Hollydale Primary School in Nunhead. This was a first for Goslings as not only did the children travel by coach to the school but they also performed onstage to a hall packed to the rafters with family and friends!

Staff and children at all three nurseries enjoyed rehearsing and performing the shows and special thanks go to Devina and Natasha at Smart Kids Nursery who dressed up in tutus to join the Dancing Dolls in a ballet/nu-disco dance mash-up!

Meanwhile, at Mother Goose Nursery Greendale, staff and children began rehearsing for their Christmas show way back in October! Written and directed by new manager, Laura, the show featured songs celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah. The children enjoyed dressing up as Christmas puddings, Christmas trees, snowmen, stars, angels, shepherds, kings, a donkey and, of course, Mary and Joseph. Two packed performances were enjoyed by parents and families, the highlight being watching Joseph fall asleep on Mary's shoulder during the Nativity scene!

Mulled drinks and mince pies in the Wildlife Garden before the Mother Goose Christmas Show

Mulled drinks and mince pies in the Wildlife Garden before the Mother Goose Christmas Show

A couple of weeks later, Cathy visited the nursery again to lead Carols in the Wildlife Garden. This free event for families and the local community featured carol singing and Christmas wreath-making as visitors enjoyed mulled drinks round the fire pit and delicious homemade cakes courtesy of wildlife gardener and host, Di. Cathy will be back in the Wildlife Garden this Spring with a Bangers & Smash singing and instrument-making session so watch this space for details.

We rounded off December with a children's party for former pupil and longtime Bangers & Smash fan, R------, in East Dulwich. He and his friends enjoyed a magical Christmas adventure with snow, jingle bells, dancing around the Christmas tree and, of course, lots of singing!

All in all, it's been a fantastic 2017 – Bangers and Smash's 30th anniversary! A very Happy New Year to everyone – parents, children, staff and management – and here's to another magnificent year of creative music-making in 2018!

People who help us

This March, we've been thinking about people who help us at Bangers & Smash.

Image   ©  Emergency Times

Image © Emergency Times

This popular theme allows us to develop our knowledge and understanding of the world through singing, moving, playing and listening to songs about people and communities.

We've started each session with an action song, Tall Shops, which has helped us develop our gross motor skills with lots of stretching, swinging and bending. We've followed this with another action song – this time developing our fine motor skills by joining in with hand and finger actions to Raffi's Corner Grocery Store. It's been lovely watching the children get to know these songs so well that they request them at the start of each session and join in with all the actions and words.

Thinking about people who help us in shops, we've acted out the work of a supermarket checkout assistant, scanning the shopping (beep, beep) as it comes along the conveyor belt (zhuuuuzh), packing it in bags (rustle, rustle) and pressing the buttons on the till (beep, beep, beep!).

We've popped next door to the cobbler's to get our shoes mended and to the baker's to buy muffins and buns:

  • In the cobbler's, we've used single claves to tap our shoes while singing Cobbler, Cobbler, Mend My Shoe.

  • In the baker's, we've used two claves to tap a pulse as we sing and march to The Muffin Man.

  • We've also acted out Five Currant Buns In The Baker's Shop as five children (currant buns) line up beside the baker while others take it in turns to buy a bun and take it away. The children are able to visualise the act of subtraction as the line of buns gradually reduces from five to one; they also pay the baker a penny a bun, allowing them to role-play using money.

All the above activities, including tapping a pulse, link to the Mathematics area of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.

Thinking about people who help us in an emergency, we've enjoyed making the sounds of ambulance, fire engine and police sirens in Call, Call The Ambulance by Bangers & Smash co-founder, Cathy Clethero. With older children, we've been able to take this concept further by splitting into groups and choosing one sound per group. Children have taken it in turns to act as conductor, signalling to each group when to start, when to stop and when to make their sounds all together.

Finally, thinking about people who help us at nursery, we've used percussion to perform the song, I Am The Music Teacher. Children have again split into groups (bells, shakers, claves) and taken it in turns to play their instruments, coming together at the end to 'play in the band':

I am the music teacher, I come from far away and I can play
What can you play? I play in the band!
All together-gether now, together now, together now
All together-gether now, all together now!

Happy New Year from Bangers & Smash!

What a busy month December has been at Bangers & Smash with Christmas Shows at four of our regular nurseries!

While we sang traditional Christmas songs and carols to accompany our Nativity at Mother Goose – Greendale, we opted for something more modern at Crystal Nurseries with an original show written by Bangers & Smash co-founder, Cathy Clethero.

Winter Wonderland saw the children make snowmen and snowgirls, dance with the rockin' robins and meet Santa and his reindeer on Christmas morning before going back indoors for some turkey and Christmas pudding.

Meanwhile, children and staff at Le Nid enjoyed dressing up in Santa hats to sing festive songs such as When Santa Got Stuck Up the Chimney and Santa Claus is Coming to Town as well as dancing to Rockin' Robin by The Jacksons and All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey.

Cathy was also invited to lead the singing at Mother Goose Nursery Wildlife Garden's annual Carols in the Wildlife Garden event on Saturday 17 December. While families and members of the local community enjoyed mulled wine, mince pies and wreath-making, Cathy played a selection of Christmas songs – from classic carols such as The Holly & the Ivy and Deck the Halls to more modern tunes like Let It Snow, Santa Baby and Jingle Bell Rock. To see what a good time was had by all, check out the pictures below!

Singing and wreath-making at the same time!

Singing and wreath-making at the same time!

How do you keep those fingers warm, Cathy?!

How do you keep those fingers warm, Cathy?!

This gentlemen joined in with a beautiful tenor!

This gentlemen joined in with a beautiful tenor!

Cathy and the Bangers & Smash team would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!