We strongly believe in the importance of caring for the wellbeing of both the children and the adults in our nursery. We know that if ‘wellbeing’ is high, involvement levels are high, and therefore, the learning is high.
We aim to ensure all basic needs are met; that everyone feels warm, satisfied, comfortable, loved, cared for, and happy, in the knowledge that they will learn more effectively.
What will the children be doing?
Babies and young children learn by doing things for themselves, by exploring and investigating, watching and listening, talking and discussing, creating, and communicating – in other words – by playing. Play is children’s work.
Our environment is organized so that all the children can become independent, confident, and able to initiate their learning. It is aimed that children work collaboratively, in little groups, where they can learn from each other in a social context. There are planned experiences each day led by an adult, with identified learning intentions. Children may be invited to join these activities, but are equally encouraged to become engrossed in their play. Each ‘key person’ monitors the choices the children make, to ensure there is a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities.
Some of the opportunities we offer children have the potential for ‘getting messy’ e.g. painting, glueing, working with clay, outdoor play, etc. The best way to avoid becoming upset about children getting messy is to send them in play clothes that don’t matter. It is very sad when a child refuses to get involved in an activity in case they ‘get dirty’. We ask that parents encourage them to feel uninhibited and free to play, understanding that “such matters – don’t matter.” It does make a difference to them!
What will the children be learning?
Children are learning all the time, from everything around them – their friends, the adults, the environment, the atmosphere, the routine, the experiences. Learning through PLAY is one of the main ways in which children learn and develop. Children are encouraged to be active participants in their learning, giving them time to discuss their thoughts and ideas, to grow in mind and insensibility. Each day they are learning to communicate with others, explore, be sociable, plan and make decisions, problem-solve, investigate what and why things happen, ask questions, and think for themselves. Babies and children are naturally curious and are driven to explore their world. It’s our responsibility as educators and carers to help them become confident, competent learners in today’s society.
Recording what children do
We aim to create a listening climate, where adults respect and listen to children, acknowledging their actions, interactions, communications, conversations, etc. This is done through close observation, where staff record what they see and hear children doing. Words, photographs, and film are used to capture the processes and make the learning visible – we call this documentation. This forms ‘display’ and can be found in and around the rooms to inform parents and others of ongoing interests and current work with the children.
Observation and documentation help us to understand why children do what they do and therefore, plan a more appropriate curriculum. This can then be shared – with the children themselves, the parents and families, and other professionals.