We have designed our nursery environment so that children are encouraged to explore, investigate and be creative independently and with others.
There are defined learning ‘zones’ which provide resources to promote the seven areas of learning. Children are able to independently access these resources and apply them to their own individual forms of play, with qualified, experienced staff who will judge when it is appropriate to ‘join in’ with open-ended questions, modelling and extend their learning experience.
- Mark making (using fingers or tools)
- Physical development of fine motor skills
- Hand eye co-ordination
- Experimentation in the use of tools / using one handed tools/ handling tools safely
- Introducing and extending vocabulary and concepts around manipulation and textures,
- Sharing and turn taking with resources
- Self-esteem and managing feelings
Mini Atelier (Creative Arts and Design)
Creative activities such as drawing, modelling, cutting, painting, help to develop many skills such as problem solving and concentration, thinking strategies etc. It supports mathematical and scientific concepts (measuring, structure and form, size, shape and space). As experience of using these resources and media increases, more complex thinking skills and concepts will develop and be used in other areas of learning.
This form of play is integral to learning and development in young children. Role play/ imaginative play involves children assigning roles , pretending to be someone or something else, duplicating the actions of others and dramatising situations. Children learn through mirroring actions (parents or other children). Through this play children are intrinsically motivated to develop skills socially (society, community), emotionally (empathy, self-esteem) in language and communication, literacy, problem solving and abstract thinking. To name but a few!
Interesting and often natural open ended resources to engage children’s exploratory senses which provide opportunity to explore shapes and patterns, correspondence, count, compare, measure, and quantity.
We are very passionate about reflecting our seasonal environment at Forest Nursery – establishing a connectedness for the children with the natural world . This ethos is supported by Reggio Emilia, Waldorf Steiner approaches as well as the EYFS. Children are encouraged to explore the outdoor environment and place on the table treasures and objects they wish to share which reflect their experiences of nature’s seasons.
A variety of materials both natural and man-made to provide opportunities in developing concepts of shape / size and patterns, balance, measurement, structures, extending skills in literacy, communication and language. Construction play will at times be real life activity or imaginative, often interchanging. Providing children with the opportunity to invent and discover new possibilities.
Cosy corner / Communication Friendly Space
A place for your child to come and just ‘be’. It is a space for small social group gathering, providing opportunities for communication, listening and promoting emotional well-being.
Writing / mark making
“[…] very young children who are given rich opportunities to explore making marks within an encouraging emotional environment will become confident and competent communicators, both orally and on paper, in all six areas of learning and development”. (DCSF, 2008)
Children make marks for all kinds of reasons from the physical enjoyment of the action to making a record of an experience or feeling. We aim to provide our children with a rich resource of opportunity to experience and experiment with a variety of mark making media and utensils. Children are sensitively encouraged to explore and try new experiences and the process along the way is shared and celebrated between child and staff, other children and importantly, parents/ family.
Opportunities for experimenting with early writing is provided through resources such as note books, clipboards, sand, foam, variety of paper and card, along with larger scale outdoor mark making media such as giant chalks, outdoor paint, large paint brushes and rollers etc.
We have developmentally appropriate educational programmes and software which supports children’s ongoing learning and development. We also encourage children to have hands on experience with real life technology such as taking digital pictures, printing and photocopying etc.
Sensory play provides the opportunity for children to explore their senses and use or extend upon descriptive words, talking about what they are experiencing and feeling. This type of activity is excellent in supporting children’s personal, social and emotional aspects of development.
Small group learning
We have found at Forest Nursery that children’s learning can further be inspired through small group work, working on structured activities within peer groups and a member of staff which is specific to the children’s individual learning needs. One or more of the seven areas of learning will be the focus for these small group activities and is a valuable time for staff to support and extend learning, to observe and get to know each child’s stage of development which then informs planning for their individual next steps.
Whole group activities
During each session the children will all come together and join in with circle time, stories or singing/music time. These are wonderful opportunities again for developing social and communication skills, boosting self esteem and self confidence along with specific learning areas of development such as phonics/letters and sounds activities, maths and much more long with our everyday discussions, activities and child-inspired projects!
Skills gained from these different areas of learning can be transferred to other areas of your child’s life.