The pre-school room
The pre-school room is a busy and vibrant environment for children aged between 2 1/2 – 5 years. The room has a maximum number of up to 28 children per session. We adopt a free play approach and throughout the sessions children can choose what they would like to do, exploring both the indoors and outdoors.
In the classroom, we provide a wide range of activities: there are lots of creative activities, exploratory and messy play opportunities, construction activities, storytelling, number games, and lots of opportunities to practise mark-making and pre-writing skills. We have an upstairs reading area where children can snuggle up and enjoy a book independently or with a small group of peers. We support children’s imaginative play by providing a variety of different role play opportunities including home corners, shops, doctors, and hairdressers to name a few. Small group learning opportunities take place to allow differentiation between the different age groups. Circle time, song and story sessions take place every day. We sing songs about the day of the week; we count together to work out what the date is and learn about the 4 seasons. For example, when it is autumn time, we learn about why the leaves fall off the trees and how hedgehogs prepare for hibernation. We go outside every session whatever the weather to play in the school playground or go out and about on walks; trips and visits.
Key people will plan activities which will support children’s next steps, these activities are planned in accordance with the Early Years Foundation Stage and the seven areas of learning which are; Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical Development, Mathematical Development, Literacy, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Children are actively encouraged to participate in adult-led activities, and these are differentiated to suit the varied stages of development of the children we care for. We separate the children into groups – our youngest children’s group is called ‘Caterpillar group’ and our eldest ‘Butterfly group’. Providing these small groups allows us to individualise activities that are tailored to specific ages and abilities. Morning and afternoon snacks are available with a rolling snack system, this means that children can choose when to have their snack within a 30 minute window and proves to be less disruptive to their playtime.
In the final year before children are due to transition to school key people will refer to the Derbyshire 10 keys to unlocking school readiness. You can find out more information about these by following the link below;
Children are also able to start having their lunch in the school hall which further supports their transition.
We use famly, an online learning journey system to document our children’s fun adventures in pre-school. We share photographs and videos with a description of what we have been doing with links to the Early Years Foundation Stage and Characteristics of Effective Learning. At the beginning of every week, the pre-school team shares an observation of what activities will be available throughout the week. Again one of our favourite things about famly is how accessible it is for parents and carers – you can register as many relatives as you like and we love it when stories from home are shared.
“We adopt a free play approach and throughout the sessions children can choose what they would like to do, exploring both the indoors and outdoors”
We offer swimming lessons on Thursday mornings for up to 20 children (at an additional cost). The lessons are a brilliant introduction to swimming led by a qualified teacher with 3 pre-school practitioners in the water supporting the children – if you are interested in these sessions please speak to a member of staff. We also offer Woodland Adventure sessions the term before children are due to start school. These sessions take place in Grinlow woods and allow children to learn in the natural environment.
Trips out and about
We hold a variety of events and trips throughout the year to suit our themes, including walks around Buxton and to the park, trips to the library, Gruffalo hunts and visits to the fire-station or visits from Police to name but a few. We hold end of year celebrations for all, our younger children usually go on a short trip for example to Tittesworth and our older ones have a graduation ceremony as well as their fabulous woodland adventure. We have a nursery minibus, and this is used during many of our trips out and about.
We will support all children in a caring and sensitive to way to be ready for their transition to school. Being based inside the school has many advantages for all children (not just those who hope to attend to the school). We work alongside Buxton Infant School whenever possible, we join in with special events and every day children have their lunches in the hall alongside the school children which really helps to prepare them for what to expect for mealtimes when they start school. In the summer term we run a series of fun PE sessions to support the children with getting more confident and familiar with dressing and undressing and managing their belongings.
We work very closely with parents and carers and follow Derbyshire County Councils 10 keys for unlocking school readiness which are…
- I can settle happily without my parent or carer
- I can tell friends and grown-ups what I need
- I can take turns and share when I am playing
- I can go to the toilet on my own and wash my hands
- I can put on my own coat and shoes and feed myself
- I can tell a grown-up if I am happy, sad or cross
- I know that what I do and say can make others happy or unhappy
- I am curious and want to learn and play
- I can stop what I am doing, listen and follow simple instructions
- I enjoy sharing books with grown-up