Little Men and Misses opened its doors in January 2013 and can care for up to 40 children from 7.30am to 6pm. The Setting provides a continuous free-flow provision which enables children to be more independent in their play. The staff are positioned zonally and children are therefore able to choose where they want to spend time. The staff in each zone then extend learning in a creative, imaginary way, where the children’s interests are at the heart.
All planning is based on the children’s interests and Next Steps which are developed each term through the collaboration of the child’s Key Worker and parents to ensure we are all working towards the same goals. The termly tracking sheets ensure all staff are aware of all the children’s Next Steps to enable continuity throughout the provision. Whilst offering children the opportunity to play independently, we are also aware of the importance of working in key small groups and consequently each Key Group has a short period of time each day to concentrate on a more focused activity which still works alongside those children’s Next Steps and interests.
Meal times provide an excellent opportunity for children to develop their independence. During morning and afternoon snack times children are offered a variety of either fruit or raisins and are then given the chance to safely have a go at chopping up their own snack before washing up their own cup and pot. At lunch and tea time children serve themselves from a serving trolley enabling them to not only choose what they would like but also giving them an opportunity to discuss portion size and the importance of having some healthy food choices. After lunch, children clear their plates and tidy away their cutlery.
Time is spent each morning and afternoon completing ‘Registration’ this is a time when all children sit and sing about the days of the week and the weather. During this time the children are also able to choose what they would like to play with in each area of the Nursery from a photo album. The children also use this time to reiterate our Nursery rules, ensuring they are all are of what is expected of them whilst at Nursery.
Outdoors has recently undergone huge development to ensure it caters to all children’s developmental needs; we have a large tree house which teaches children to self risk-assess and turn take, we have a bike area and a messy kitchen which allows children to be creative and develop their own ideas. The Nursery also has a large stage where children have ‘talking time’ to discuss what may be going on in their lives and throughout the Nursery. We also take this chance to discuss the seasons and festivals which are important to children within the setting or transitions they may be experiencing such as preparing for school. The allotment provides an excellent environment for children to learn about growth and development, as we watch our vegetables and tadpoles grow, we are also able to discuss our own growth and development and the new things we learn as we get bigger.
Overall, the Nursery offers the perfect environment for toddlers to grow and develop into young, independent children with a thirst for learning.