Our big room is purposely designed for children aged 2-5. If your child has been with us in the baby room they will transition into the big room around two and be fully supported by their baby room key person. Being open plan, this move is much easier and most toddlers can’t wait to move in with the ‘big children’. If your child joins us in the big room they will have a bespoke settling in period before their start date where you and your child will meet their key person and spend some time getting to know each other.
For the majority of the day the children will be together, sharing play ideas, extending their play and supporting each other. We feel that by having the age groups mixed together the younger children can learn from their older peers and can see what they are aspiring to be like when they become our oldest children! Of course there are times during the day when we separate into groups and do fun age appropriate group activities. Because we are small, we can group our children in smaller groups, matched more closely to their age and ability. These smaller, more personal groups allow our children to flourish and develop and it is something we are very proud of. All of our planning can be differentiated and our skilful practitioners are able to adapt activities in the moment to meet the needs of all of our children.
It is a cornerstone of our belief that children under five should be allowed to play. When you step inside a Little Ones nursery, you will be wowed at what exciting learning opportunities are on offer; these are carefully planned through our weekly Invitation to Play activities, where our experienced practitioners look through the children’s next steps and plan directly to meet their needs. Our planning is only ever a starting point and you never know what might happen next. It might be that the children have been busy in the role play area pretending to make some cakes, which then leads into making real cakes to take home and learning about the science behind baking! Or it might be that we have taken a delivery of some new furniture in a huge box, and the box is just as exciting as the furniture, you never know what it might be, a rocket, a train, a car or even a castle, the children’s imagination can run wild!
One thing you will be sure to hear about if your child starts at Little Ones is our Curiosity Cube. Our Curiosity cube was introduced to help the children learn about the awe and wonder of our wonderful world. Our skilful nursery practitioners go above and beyond to create the most amazing curiosity cubes to introduce new and exciting wonders of the world to your Little Ones. The seed is planted when the cube is introduced and the learning never stops, during the day an extension of the cube will be set up as an invitation to play activity where the children will be using new wow words they have just learnt to extend their knowledge and play ideas. The play will move forward with the child’s imagination and you never know where the learning will go next.
The curiosity cube is introduced in such a way, that the children eagerly wait in anticipation of what might be reviled, the excited faces as the surprise is unwrapped is definitely worth the wait. Practitioners use this time to introduce new and curious language of the world in what they see. They use language such as I wonder what will happen if….. I notice that…. this is used to initiate a conversation that is open ended and extends the learning in such a way that the child just wants to know more. New items might be added each time, such as if the cube was planned around space; planets might be introduced slowly, or astronauts might make an appearance or even a conversation around gravity and the space atmosphere might be had! or it might be simply that an orange has been added and slowly starts to decay over the week so the conversation will be had around why this happens, and then could lead to learning about what is good and healthy to eat and what won’t be good and healthy, the possibilities are endless.
At Little Ones we believe and respect that you are your child’s first and most important educator and you know your child better than anyone else. With this in mind, when your child starts at nursery, you will be given a ‘What to expect and when’ booklet. This is a parent’s guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) during your first settling session your child’s key person will go through this booklet with you and ask you to mark off what your child can do. This enables us to plan age and stage appropriate activities for your child right from the beginning. After 2 weeks of your child starting with us, your child’s key person will complete a Starting Out Form, where they carry out an assessment on where your child is within the EYFS using their own observations and your information. They will then set some simple next steps and your child will be included in our planning system. This information is shared with yourselves.
Every child at nursery has a Record of Achievement Folder (ROA); they have been designed around the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and become a lovely memory of your child’s time at nursery. These folders are shared with you during our 2 parents evenings held throughout the year and given to you when your child leaves nursery. The folders include information about your child; within each learning area we record anecdotal observations of your child’s development. This may be recognition of caring for another child, achieving a milestone, creating a wonderful piece of art, helping others, or simply joining in and having fun! Every 3-4 months your child’s key person will complete an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for your child. This is an assessment of what your child has achieved within the EYFS over the past 3-4 months. The key person will then set some next steps on what they are going to work on next. The ILP’s are shared with yourselves and there is space for you to contribute on what your child is doing at home. These next steps are then fed directly back into the planning system where activities are planned to meet your child’s next steps.
We recognise that all children are unique, they have their own personalities and a host of likes, dislikes and preferences, and of course they will all have different needs. We believe that all children have the right to be cared for and educated with their peers. We welcome every child into our nursery and will work with parents to help ensure that their child’s needs are met as fully as possible. We are a firm believer of multi-agency working, and if we are not able to fully meet your child’s needs we are able to refer into different services, with your permission, and these services are then able to come into nursery to provide additional support to us and your child.
It is our job to provide the right resources and opportunities to allow children to develop their play and we should never under estimate how complex and detailed their play situations are! An expert once said, “Play is something children do when adults aren’t telling them what to do” We love this quote and totally agree!