Creative area, main room
This area is fully accessible to the children where they can select materials and items from the drawers. Using their own skills which they acquire to be imaginative and creative, using their own self expression. It helps them emotionally and socially, developing their cognitive, speaking and listening capabilities which is a vital part of their childhood and development.
For those who are less confident in expressing their creativity there are adult initiated samples that they can copy or make their own interpretation.
Whatever they select to do, they are always encouraged to tidy away once finished before getting more out.
Above left: Getting ready to go outside using our magic coat trick!
Above right: Being able to have the opportunity to cook is so much fun – the experience and opportunities for exploration, developing skills, confidence, personal, social, emotional and well being. Cooking helps childrens' knowledge and understanding about food, where it comes from and what is healthy and unhealthy.
It is important for us to encourage children to make good food choices. Learning about food ingredients and using recipes is important for them to be exposed to, promoting good hygiene, reading from a recipe, weighing, measures, textures, smells and all those senses. This particular activity is a great way to involve parents, having parent involvement is a great opportunity to gain insight into to what their children are learning and the role we play and the difference we make. Making good links with all the staff and empowering the children.
The outdoor area
The outdoor area is an open and constantly changing environment for children. It provides different play opportunities with the specific features and stimulus that can’t always be replicated inside.
The majority of our day takes place in our great outdoor area where children can experiment, think creatively, solve problems, cooperate with with one another, use their imagination and the opportunity for unstructured play is endless.
Physical skills are important for growth. Having the freedom and movement gives them a sense of wellbeing, increasing their ability to run, jump, throw, skip, balance etc. Having outdoor sensory and physical experiences helps support brain development, keeping active, fit, healthy and an understanding to respect nature.
Mark making activities are enjoyed too outside, where anything from the playground to the train or the tyres will be used, everywhere but the huge chalkboard we have located on the wall! 😀 Using all manor of items to mark make with, chalk, paintbrushes and water, mud and sticks to the traditional paint, crayons, pens and pencils.
The importance of appropriate clothing whatever time of year is paramount as children are active learners and can’t be inhibited by the clothes that they are wearing.
Music basket, main room
Musical instruments are so much fun, whilst children are banging repeatedly and making as much noise as they can, they have no idea of their learning from this. During organised activities playing instruments promote listening and attention skills, great hand eye coordination, vocalising and singing, exploring and playing and helps children to become focused and stay involved.
Although some children may find this a little daunting it is important to never focus the spotlight on those individuals, we need to be certain that during their involvement they have great fun and work towards building their confidence to shine. Once children discover the sounds different instruments make they very often repeat the action, developing this into more coordination being able to manage instructions.
Each week we are so grateful and fortunate to have Linda join us in the setting with her guitar. The children request songs for her to play, even the latest movie tracks where she will go home and YouTube these purposefully to play the following week! The children engage in moving and dancing, learning new words to songs and rhymes, starting to move rhythmically, clapping, tapping and moving their whole body in a variety of ways.
Main room, snack time.
We have snack at the same time each day to establish a good mealtime routine, because children’s stomachs are much smaller they fill up fast and they burn energy quickly. We are aware that some children take longer to eat than others and this is why it is important for us adults to join them to initiate conversation in helping keeping the ones focused that have finished first.
Snack time provides social interaction, physical, math and language skills. The children are chosen on a rational basis, along with whose parent has provided snack that day. This experience helps promote independence and language skills for those that need that little encouragement, knowing that snack was prepared at home for them to bring in genuinely excites them to be the snack helper.
Fruit, vegetables, home baking along with a store cupboard choices are many of the selections that are provided for us. Implementing the importance of understanding healthy eating is paramount and that a varied variety and nutrition of all foods is good. Eating together can also help those fussy eaters to at least try some different food seeing their friends as good role models is important. Lots of encouragement and praise is awarded to all the children for attempting new food.
Main room, lunch time.
Lunch time is a valuable learning experience for all children, they are times for learning about being with others, sitting appropriately and making choices within their lunchboxes of items that are encouraged to eat first. An adult is allocated to each table where they have their lunch, set good examples talk about the importance of healthy foods.
Some of the individual items that the children bring in are introduced to the group and a discussion is sparked to wether others have seen or tried these foods before. During this time our food waste, recycling and general waste bins are set up to encourage the children to dispose of their items in the appropriate bin once finished. This we have found has been a great way of emphasising the importance of recycling understanding the logos on the individual items and making the correct choices of where they deposit their rubbish.
Malleable materials are tactile and sensory, which is a great comfort to children. Accompanying these materials with tools can help children to be cooperative and share. This type of play brings children of all ages together, playing in their own way while being alongside each other. Children can learn new vocabulary about textures and shapes during exploration, with the subtle occasion of adult support through role modelling the use of language in context. Malleable play is essential to developing children’s fine motor skills and engaging all five of their senses.
Computer area and the main room
The main room is where the computer is located. The computer maybe on for a short period of time in the morning as one of the activities the children can select to use it if they wish. We are now living in a world that is increasingly surrounded by modern day technology. To support this at Pre-School, children are introduced to pressing buttons, lifting flaps and using remote controlled items that work programmable toys. Learning how to take pictures and videos, using camera assisted devices, is an additional element of exposing children to effective technological skills. Items and activities like these are their early introduction to algorithms and coding later introduced in the primary curriculum.
Back room area
Children using the environment to make choices and decisions will help them develop their own thoughts and views these being some of the most important attributes of independent learning. Wellies and waterproofs can be a little challenging for some depending on the style of the waterproof. These tasks are vital for young children to be introduced to and continued to be encouraged to practise them. We allocate time in our day to support those individuals to master this challenge and believe that skills like these are truly important.
Outdoor is where we spend the majority of our day. This is the compost area with a mud kitchen, located at the side of the setting along with the sandpit. Sand and compost promotes many area of learning development for children. They are really great social activities where children play either together or alongside one another. It strengthens language, sharing and negotiating - often over what colour bucket or spade. It is a catalyst for their ability to be imaginative, where they love making cakes, soups etc. Having a variety of equipment, including: containers, scoops and saucepans, brings in mathematical language to their play. Extending their learning using language such as more or less, they love to pour from one container to another, count how many scoops to fill items the learning is endless.
Back room, sink and toilet area
Our low rise sinks and toilets makes this important task much easier to access and preform confidently and independently. Children push the soap dispenser that is located on the wall and then encouraged to use the hand dryer, although we are aware that some children are frightened by the noise so we do have paper towel as an alternative.