The four rooms are arranged according to age. Children spend a whole year in each room with their year group, as they will do at school. For example in the Baby Nest there are children from 6 weeks whose 1st birthday falls on or before 31st August. Children will remain with their peer group throughout the nursery as this is important for their social development.
The Baby NestThe baby nest has a room for 9 babies . This is often the first real period of separation for babies and their parents so the experienced practitioners offer sensitive support to ensure that the settling-in process is as relaxed and happy as possible. The cosy corner and carpeted area provide space for young babies to relax and view their environment as they begin to move and explore. The baby nest has a range of treasure baskets containing natural materials which provide opportunities for exploration and investigation using all the senses and there is a selection of these for parents to borrow and use at home. As babies pull to standing the low level furniture means they can easily access the resources for themselves, increasing confidence and independence. There is a low tray where children can explore different materials, including rice, pasta and water and planned experiences include paint, 'gloop' and crazy soap. Practitioners develop children's early communication by spending one-to-one time talking, singing and sharing books. Practitioners follow children's individual routines and rhythms throughout the day and the sleep room provides a quiet space for children to sleep when needed.
The SnugAs children become increasingly mobile and more confident they will move to The Snug which has room for 12 toddlers. The Snug has similar learning zones to The Baby Nest for continuity, such as the Cosy Corner and the Construction Zone and the ramp offer opportunity to be adventurous, explore stairs and practice climbing safely. Around this age children may begin to display schemas (repeated patterns of play) as a way of understanding the world around them. For example they may repeatedly fill a basket with items, carry them to another area and empty them out. The Snug has baskets and bags for transporting, fabric for enveloping and things that turn for rotating so that children can develop their individual schemas. Messy play is also an important feature of The Snug as it develops creativity and stimulates children's senses. Although children wear protective clothing accidents do happen so the best way to avoid becoming upset about getting messy is to send them in 'play clothes' so that they are not worried about getting 'dirty'. Playdough packs are available to borrow and use at home. During their time in The Snug children's language is beginning to really develop. We want them to become fluent so practitioners encourage this by playing alongside other children and 'chatting' about their activities. Songs, rhymes and stories are a part of our daily routine.
Little ExplorersFollowing their second birthday children become increasingly confident and the phrase 'I do it' becomes familiar. Little Explorers offers places for up to 16 children. Children have greater independence and periods of free play allow children to choose to play indoors or outdoors and become involved and develop their own interests with the support of practitioners. The children's interests are used as the starting points for planning topics and themes to extend the learning and development. Children are encouraged to practice doing things for themselves such as pouring their own drinks, managing hygiene routines and climbing the stairs to go outside.
Pre-SchoolThe Pre-School room has places for up to 16 children. Children develop high levels of involvement as they initiate their own play and practitioners then support and extend their interests through planned activities. Resources are easily accessible so that children can be independent, creating their own tasks, finding their own solutions and developing their ideas. By the time children are ready to move on to their new schools they are confident learners, equipped with essential skills, ready to meet the challenges ahead.
Being outdoors has a positive impact on children's sense of well-being and helps all aspects of children's development and offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors as well as the freedom to explore, use their senses, and be physically active and exuberant. Therefore we do encourage children to spend as much time as possible outside.
Our outdoor area boasts opportunities for constructing on large scale, stretching the children's imagination and building on their creativity, enabling them to learn new skills and techniques. The water pump along with outside taps, hose and sprinkler attachments allows for the children to indulge in exploratory play.
Not only does Little Learners offer Thomas a safe and nurturing environment to be in, but it also offers such a range of activities and experiences for the children that cannot be matched. From their innovative beach school to disecting an octopus, as well as good old fashioned fun and games-What more could I wish for for my son!!!
Healthy Schools is a joint Department for Education and Department of Health programme delivered by the local Healthy School Team. It recognises the link between health (physical, emotional and social) and achievement. It contributes to all of the Every Child Matters outcomes through its four main aims: to raise achievement to reduce health inequalities
The 'vision and energy' of nursery owner and manager Marie Walker led judges to declare Little Learners the clear winner. Her vision is shared by the well-qualified staff team who are passionate about their work. Judges commented, 'They have established an inspiring and aesthetically pleasing learning environment. The adults' imagination and creativity foster these qualities in the children, who have genuine choices and real responsibilities. Their individual preoccupations are welcomed, celebrated and extended sensitively from the start.'