So what will your child be doing at Pre-school?
To give you an idea of our general routine and to let you have a pointer for talking to your child about what they have been doing, we’ve summarised a typical day in our setting.
The doors open at 8.50 am once the bell has rung and the Out of School children leave the building, a member of Pre-school staff will come and stand at the door and welcome everyone in.
This is the busiest time in the setting with lots of people trying to get their child to find their bag and coat peg, put their water bottles and lunch boxes in the appropriate containers and then encourage their child to put their picture and name on the door. Staff are available to help and settle the children into activities set out around the classroom. This is a good time to speak to your child’s Key Person, or arrange an appointment to come and see them.
Once everyone has arrived and the doors secured and locked we encourage everyone to sit on the carpet for register time. During this group time, we sing our ‘Hello’ song and welcome all the children. This song uses Makaton signing to say ‘hello’ and make the initial letter sound of each child’s name. We talk about what day it is, do some counting and then talk to the children about what activities they can try that day. Sometimes the children tell us what they would like to do and we also all get an opportunity to listen to what the children have been doing.
We often separate the older and younger children at group time, so that we can focus on the particular needs of the different age groups.
The younger children’s group are called ‘Buzzy Bee’s’ and the older children’s group are the ‘Butterflies’.
Children are allowed to do what activity they would like (we have a selection of craft and educational activities, which link to the week’s topic).
We always have a selection of sensory activities available for the children. Some recent examples include:
The children can decide what toys they would like on the carpet, they can go and play with the toys set out on the play deck, they can go into the mud kitchen area, or they can sit in the book house and read, or listen to a story.
We operate a rolling snack time and the children are individually encouraged (once they have washed their hands) to come and get themselves a beaker and plate and enjoy a healthy snack and drink. They have a choice when to join in with snack, as often they like to finish their activity, before they join the snack table. It can take a little time to work round all the children and whilst some children are eating, others are playing and enjoying the activities in the setting.
Soon it is time to tidy up the classroom and get ready to go outside onto the School playground and field. All the children are encouraged to help tidy up the toys and games. Sometimes we manage to fit in a group activity before we go outside and sometimes we do it after being outside. Our schedule may change slightly depending on the weather.
Most of the children love going outside and playing on the balance bikes, tricycles, scooters, cars and play equipment. We also do more structured activities outside including water play, sand and ball play. We also have insect hunts, mark making activities with water, chalks and crayons and bubble blowing.
Just before 12 o’clock we have to come inside and have a story before some children go home and others come in. It is register time again and usually a group activity session before children wash their hands then go and get their lunch boxes and drink bottles for lunch.
Information about healthy packed lunches can be found below:
At 1 pm some children leave us and after a final register we set out some more different activities and toys for the children. The children are encouraged to do what activities they would like on their own, or with their friends.
Specific initiatives we use at our setting:
Interest leaves – we use these to find out what are the particular interests of the children. This helps us plan our activities and also lets the children see and talk about what their friends like to do. The specific leaves are placed on our tree and displayed in our setting.
WOW certificates – if your child has done something that you, or they are proud of and you want to celebrate it, we encourage you to complete a WOW certificate. Any certificates received are talked about at group time and put on display in the classroom.
Captain of the Day – every day we have a child who is nominated as Captain. They have a special chair and bring in their favourite toy and book to share with the other children. The Captain also gets to help staff do some special jobs. Everyone loves being Captain and all children get a turn.
Makaton Signing – we use this a lot to encourage the children to tell us their name and how they are feeling. It has been particularly helpful with children with speech and language difficulties. An extract from our ‘Hello’ song featuring Makaton is attached below:
Buttercups Pre-School ‘Hello’ Song (YouTube)
Home Learning – we send out home learning challenges that are focused on the weekly topic we are covering. Activities are suitable for older and younger children and are a good way for parents and carers to get involved in their child’s weekly learning. Examples of recent activities include our Colour Monster pictures and our Talkative Tortoise craft activities during lockdown and our ‘Dear Zoo’ work.