This area of the nursery is bright and colourful with lots for the children to look at. As well as looking after all of the babies’ physical and emotional needs, the staff in this department focus on stimulation of the senses for the very young babies, the Snowdrops. This encourages the babies to respond to individual members of staff and begin to understand the world around them in a safe, secure environment. As they grow, they are introduced to simple puzzles, building blocks, posting boxes etc. to develop their manipulative skills. Music, colourful displays, mobiles, treasure baskets and sensory and craft activities are all offered to stimulate the child’s curiosity and to encourage learning. To promote physical development, skills such as crawling, standing and walking are encouraged (subject to parental approval) and are always closely supervised. Staff work closely with parents to understand and meet the children’s individual needs and to ensure consistency of care between home and nursery.
Once the children are walking, they move through to the Bluebells room where similar activities are offered, although adapted to challenge the children’s emerging skills.
Communication with staff is encouraged as the children begin to use and respond to facial expressions and gestures. Picture books play an important role and as the children’s language develops, sharing a favourite book with a member of staff allows the children to practice known words as well as to learn new ones.
Music is a regular feature in this department with action songs and singing games providing opportunities for the children to join in with staff as well as some of the other children in the group. During quiet times, classical music can often be heard in the background gently lulling the children to sleep or calming and soothing those children who are enjoying quiet play.
Both groups are introduced to messy play activities such as painting, drawing, playdough, sand and water, and to a variety of tactile play experiences including foam, ice, bubbles and the ‘treasure basket’, all of which are carried out in closely supervised small groups. The children are encouraged to explore a wide range of materials and textures and enjoy being creative thus further developing their senses and extending their manipulative skills.
Outdoor play is an important part of the routine for both groups, offering children the chance to develop all their skills, and to experience the multi- sensory environment of the garden -they can observe, explore and discover all manner of exciting things. The children are encouraged to use the play equipment (under supervision)to develop their physical skills , self-confidence and risk assessment abilities – a member of staff is always on hand to offer support and encouragement and give assistance when needed . The children also take part in a variety of trips when possible – this may be a walk to the local park or though the village, or may be further afield on our minibus.