Activities to engage children in learning and play
We place great emphasis on outdoor play. The children play outside every session unless the weather is very poor. In addition to a wide range of outdoor toys and equipment we also have a sandpit, a children's garden, a wildlife garden and a learning den, all in our extensive grounds. During the summer of of 2010 we began to develop a permanent woodland area within the grounds. It now has a story circle, mud kitchen, digging area, balancing logs, willow den and chalk boards. The development continues to be an evolving process, based on observations and interests of the children.
All the staff have received outdoor training from a Forest School trainer to ensure we make the most of our great outdoors.
Creative Movement sessions
We have been running these sessions on a Friday morning for many years and they have proved to be extremely popular. Run by professional tutors, they help the children to develop physical and spatial awareness, listen to instructions, use their imagination and match movement to rhythm and beat. We have to make a small charge for this.
Dylan the rabbit
Dylan, our toy rabbit, goes home with each of the Pre-School children for a few days. During that time the child should look after Dylan and take him wherever he/she goes, to the shops, the park etc. The aim is for the child to be responsible for Dylan and for parents to become involved in this activity by writing up a short diary of the visit. Upon returning to Pre-School the child, with the help of a member of staff reading the diary, then tells all the other children about Dylan's latest adventures!
We have close ties with "Happy Hens" of Etwall. Every Tuesday they deliver lots of fresh, free-range eggs to us which the children help to count out and pack ready for their parents to buy. This helps children with their counting and manipulative skills. It also reinforces the "chicken and the egg" life cycle for them. Every year, around Easter time, we make a group visit to the Happy Hens farm.
Packed Lunch Club
This has proved to be extremely popular with both parents and children! You may tack it onto a morning or afternoon session, so that your child spends 3 ½ hours with us, or use it to provide the older child with full-day care.
Wake up, shake up!
At the beginning of each session we do about 10 minutes of exercise to music. This has proven to be hugely beneficial to children's co-ordination, rhythm, and concentration. There is an element of brain gym incorporated into the exercises which it is claimed helps to link parts of the developing brain, supporting learning across the board. The exercises also help to use excess energy before we sit down as a group to do the register and calendar.