A Safe Adventure
“Christopher Robin was sitting outside his door, putting on his Big Boots. As soon as he saw the Big Boots, Pooh knew that an Adventure was going to happen, and he brushed the honey off his nose with the back of his paw, and spruced himself up as well as he could, so as to look Ready for Anything. ”
This quote from AA Milne’s story of Winnie-the-Pooh and the ‘Expedition to the North Pole’ captures the intrepid attitude children have to life; that each new encounter is an adventure to be undertaken, a journey into unchartered territory and a rich experience to be cherished and retained for future reference.
At Oldhill we believe in creating experiential learning opportunities by offering environments and resources that inspire the imagination and natural curiosity of the developing mind. We provide safe environments, yet allow them to explore how they use the equipment available to them. Many stages of a child’s development introduce them to the ‘unknown’ as it embraces first experiences. When successfully mastered, it lays down the building blocks of future development: those first faltering steps, the ascent of stairs, letting go at the top of a slide, learning how to pedal a tricycle, clambering up the climbing frame, and so on, are all exhilarating in their own right but also embed the skills necessary for future development. Learning at an early stage, and what it means to take a risk, perhaps with the occasional bump or scrape, gives the older child the essential courage, judgement skills and coping mechanisms to equip them to progress onto two wheels, to learn how to ride a horse, to master skiing, and eventually explore the big wide world.
‘Safe and Sound’
Ofsted say in their publication, ‘Safe and Sound’, that ‘outstanding’ settings are those in which children learn how to keep themselves safe and have their concerns taken seriously. They are looked after by adults who are suitable, well qualified, and who fully understand their role. They will operate clear child safety procedures and assess and manage risks effectively.
A ‘can do’ Approach
Our policies, procedures and training are designed to promote a ‘can do’ approach providing the risk is assessed and controlled. If an accident were to happen, our staff are trained in first aid and accident investigations enable us to learn and improve. We constantly strive to strike a balance between providing a rich learning environment and ensuring the health, safety and welfare of your child. We welcome parents’ comments and observations so that we can work together to provide the right balance.
Fun and Loving Environment
At Oldhill we devote our energies to creating a fun and loving environment whilst delivering the best in childcare and education. Our goal is to create a positive and motivating experience that will, in turn, play a major role in your child’s future learning and development.
We have thought about our fantastic play equipment so that it is designed in a way to invite exploration and stimulate through active learning.
Our friendly, highly-trained staff are focused on providing fun and education. They work to ensure your child develops as an individual whilst helping to nurture and encourage learning through discovery and enjoyment.
Not only do we offer education through creativity and play but pride ourselves in understanding the importance of instilling confidence and enthusiasm from an early age. We want our little ones to feel secure and happy from the start so they can’t wait to come back tomorrow!
Learning Through Play
As from September 2008, a new Government framework for learning, development and care will be introduced to our nurseries – The Early Years Foundation Stage. The new framework is not about introducing a curriculum or pushing children to read or write before they are ready. The aim is to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to learn through high quality play to the best of their ability.
Play is vital for children. It helps them to understand the world around them and to develop socially and emotionally. It’s through play that our children learn, develop at their own pace and have fun. All children should be able to play and learn in a fun environment with adults who understand, support and care about them. We want the children we care for to feel secure, not pushed or pressured, and to have the confidence to deal with whatever life brings them. They will be more prepared for their first day at school and ready to reach their potential.
Children learn individually and with others through play. We offer our children a play-based curriculum, which meets all the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and supports all aspects of their learning and development. It supports their inbuilt curiosity and desire to make sense of the world around them and helps them to discover that learning is interesting and fun. This is vitally important if children are going to remain keen learners for the rest of their lives.
Play in a secure environment with effective adult support allows the children to explore, investigate and enjoy the learning experience. We help them to practice and develop ideas, concepts and skills in a unique and non-threatening way, without fear of failure.
We deliver the early year’s curriculum in a number of ways, through:
- Construction and small world play
- Heuristic play – independent exploration and investigation of real, found and natural resources and materials
- Large & fine motor skills and experiences
- Literacy and numeracy skills
- Role play and imaginative opportunities
- Water sand and malleable experiences
- Stories and mark making – the marks that children make through a range of media, such as paint, water, sand pencils and the meanings that they give to them
- Creative workshops
- Outdoor opportunities
- Exploring and investigating science and nature
- Dance, music and sensory experiences
The Nursery Environment
Children must be offered and allowed to engage in exciting and challenging activities, which support and extend their learning and development. They must have a rich stimulating environment full of contexts for play, exploration and talk where they can choose, create, investigate, explore, initiate and persist with activities.
We believe that children are active learners from birth and that if we provide them with the right environment, support and experiences, it will help to encourage their curiosity, imagination and creativity. We also need to ensure that we stimulate each child emotionally and intellectually by providing the best circumstances to promote active learning.
The environment is organised into clearly defined areas to accommodate different activities appropriate to the development and competence of the children. Areas are divided by the use of low-level shelving that reduces distraction and allows children to become engrossed in their activities.
Low-level shelving also allows resources to be displayed within reach so that children can make deliberate choices about which items they want to use in their activities. They can experience a range of materials like sand, water and paint which helps their creativity and develops independence. Equal emphasis is placed on calm areas of the nursery where the children can feel cosy and enjoy stories, rhymes and songs. Wooden toys, heuristic materials (those that encourage children to discover solutions for themselves) and mirrors enhance tactile and visual stimulation. Every environment is designed to encourage physical skills such as crawling, sitting, standing and walking which are all important for development.
Supporting Learning with the Best Staff
Good staff are crucial in providing a memorable nursery experience and this is why we are dedicated to supporting staff with correct level of training every step of the way. Our aim is to offer the best training opportunities to our staff to support our childcare and education philosophy.
Our friendly, highly-trained staff are focused on providing fun and education, and they will work to ensure your child develops as an individual, whilst helping to nurture and encourage learning through discovery and enjoyment. We expect all our staff to engage in skilful and sensitive interactions to support a child’s learning, by ensuring that play opportunities, resources and interactions indoors and outdoors are appropriate to the level of competence and maturity of the child.
Children learn best where adults are keen to continue their own learning and development.
Delivery of the best childcare and education is made possible by ensuring staff have in-depth knowledge and understanding gained through continuing professional development and higher-level qualification training. Staff must have the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to observe, scaffold and plan for children’s learning effectively, identifying and meeting any additional needs.
Observation, Planning and Recording
We believe that careful planning is required if play is to be of a high quality and staff carefully observe children engaging in activities and use that information to help plan experiences and opportunities that will build on their knowledge, skills and abilities and lead to new learning and development.
Staff create interactive displays to stimulate children’s interest and curiosity, they initiate and plan activities and support and extend activities initiated by children. Observations of each child are evaluated and linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage which allows for every child’s individual development to be monitored and their progress recorded in their individual Learning Journals.
A key person approach is the most effective way of ensuring that children have a strong relationship with an adult in the nursery to support their emotional well being. We recognise every child’s individuality, efforts and achievements and believe that relationships between adults and children are crucial for the child’s happiness and security. This is why we place particular emphasis on the implementation of a key person approach to facilitate interaction.
The key person will build a special relationship with a small number of children and help to meet their needs while they are in our care. They will offer security, reassurance and continuity (they will usually be the one to feed, change and soothe their key children) and are in the best position to understand their key child’s individual needs. They are in the best position to share information with the parents/carers about their child’s experiences in nursery.
The key person will help the child to develop relationships with other members of staff. When the child is ready to move into the next room, for instance from the baby to toddler room, their key person will be there to help them and the parents to develop a relationship with, and confidence in, their new key person.
Information shared between parents and nursery staff about a child’s learning and development helps to facilitate a positive partnership. We believe that parents are the primary educators of their children and should be centrally involved in their child’s experiences and development. Staff make a child’s learning visible to enable parents to understand, contribute to and support their learning. We use Learning Journals to record our observations of and planning for children and encourage parents to read them regularly and to contribute their own experiences of their child’s learning and development.
World Class Childcare
We want to provide rich, stimulating environments and play experiences for the children in our care which will lead to positive results in their learning and development.
We realise that it is imperative we gain the trust and confidence of you, the parent. We want you to be happy with what we do and how we do it. We also pride ourselves in understanding the importance of instilling confidence and enthusiasm in your child from an early age. After all, our collective aim is for happy and contented children who enjoy living in a culture that nurtures and values the importance of a happy childhood.