What does a day at one of our kindergartens look like?
During the first few weeks, your child will develop a strong bond with all of our grown-ups. Over time, they'll usually grow attached to one or two in particular, often because there's a sense of familiarity, personal connection or something similar. We call these important grown-ups Key People.
Key People carefully observe how, when, and why each child thrives. With this information, they give sensitive and tailored support to guide each child so that they are at their happiest and most engaged.
Each day comes with a whole new set of possibilities. We all know how wonderful a child-like imagination can be, so we let that, with some gentle guidance from our Key People, steer their adventures.
That said, we offer a huge variety of activities to choose from, and each kindergarten interacts uniquely with its environment.
Here's a little preview of what to expect...
On arrival, the children independently place their bags and jackets in the cloakroom area and get ready to explore.
While one child finds great pleasure in building a huge tower in the outdoor area, another is in the classroom experimenting with instruments from around the world. In the creative area, children discuss the different shapes their paint brushes make as they collaborate on an enormous piece of art.
In the garden, there's a small group searching for insects in the deadwood pile. Once they're in bug pots, a grown-up encourages them to identify what they've found on picture cards. In the kitchen, some children are putting the finishing touches to the fruit scones the've been baking, with another group washing the carrots they just picked from the vegetable patch.
A few start to get the tables ready for when food arrives. Time to have a delicious organic lunch!
After, in the Pylewell Estate woodland, a group of children explore and discover nature first-hand. As they return, they excitedly show the others the hair moss, cushion moss and feather moss they found, before counting out the different leaves they've collected to see who found the most.
In the garden, some practise mindfulness with the help of a teacher, who shows them relaxation and breathing exercises and the fulfilment of feeling calm. In the farm, some of the children help to collect eggs, while their friends help to feed the Kune Kune pigs. Just as things are getting fun, it's back to the classroom to get ready. It's home time!
At Marwell, you'll see children planting seeds and tending to the veg, building large-scale masterpieces in the super-sized sand pit, and working on a whole host of curious, and mindful projects. All of this rests under the watchful gaze of the giraffes and penguins, peacefully going about their day.
On a daily basis, the children become Mini-Zoologists, and learn about the different animals around the zoo. During this unique and exciting activity, Marwell's team of grown-ups teach the children about the animals' behaviour, habitats, and social interactions. When it's time for the animals to get some rest, the beautiful woodland Nature School lets the children learn about the plants and wildlife that thrive there.
Indoors at the Learning Centre, Marwell’s teachers show the children how to identify animal skins and skulls, and observe and carefully handle small mammals, reptiles and insects. They'll learn about their habitats and the importance of caring for the world.
When all's said and done, the children get creative with a variety of natural materials. Everything is designed to help children develop. For instance, you'll find tools for building fine motor skills, activities such as threading, pouring and sorting, and things which help to provide an understanding of size, shape and dimension. They'll also start to learn about the concept of number and sound.
Stories in the cosy book corner and regular music sessions help to bring about early reading skills. And, if they're feeling a bit peckish, twice-daily baking sessions, and self-made organic lunches and snacks keep hungry tummies full until they're ready to go home.
Set within a beautiful country park, with purpose-built classrooms, over an acre of secure garden and the great outdoors just a few steps away, every day is extraordinary at Avon Heath.
The children will grow veggies in the garden, collaborate in the enormous sand pit, and learn the importance of caring for a fire at the pit and den. There's chickens, and a kindergarten dog called Wilber to nurture their love and understanding of animals.
The garden is ready for big-scale construction, den building, water play and endless projects to develop the children's inquisitive minds even further. A local artist even teaches them to get creative with a variety of materials, and also to build highly expressive sculptures.
Every day, the children, their teachers, and a ranger set up base in the woodland Owl House. Here, they'll experience the seasons and learn all about the changes in weather and the environment. They'll also discover everything they can imagine about the animals and plants of this stunning habitat.
Like all of our kindergarten, children will help to make their own organic lunch and snacks when they start to feel hungry. They'll also have the chance to bake bread twice a day. Many outdoor experiences can be refined back in the classroom. A child may learn to build on their fine motor skills, engage in activities such as threading, pouring and sorting, as well as things which help to provide an understanding of size, shape and dimension. They'll also start to learn about the concept of number and sound.
The book corner and music sessions will help to fuel early literacy skills, and ensure they're relaxed, just in time to go home. When you come to collect there's always a new and unique story of yet another extraordinary day to be told.
On arrival, children will pop their bags and coats in their own boxes which are labeled with their name. We encourage all the children to eat breakfast, finding out from parents/carers if they have had some at home already, although they can always have some with us as well. They can choose from a selection of toast, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, and porridge.
During the course of the morning, children from our explorer and adventurers (2-5 years) rooms may venture outside to take a trip to the nearby allotment or take a walk in the local area .The Discoverers room (1 – 2yrs) sometimes join in with an allotment visit or go on a local walk – we do have double buggies in case they get tired.
Back at the Kindergarten, children may take part in prepping any vegetables they harvested, which involves cleaning cutting and peeling, as we believe it’s important that children are part of the whole process, helping them to understand where their lunch comes from. They also collect the vegetable peelings and take these back to the allotment for our wormeries. The children really enjoy the hands-on gardening experiences on offer at the allotment, working closely with the gardener that we employ, planting seeds transplanting little seedlings, helping to clear areas, creating bug areas and harvesting.
Our environment allows all the children to go on their own individual creative learning journeys and the team are there to encourage and develop these activities. We have an inner hall which contains a selection of creative resources from charcoal, inks, chalk, paints, oil pastels, crayons, clay, wire, and a huge range of paper and other materials. Crafts include painting, drawing, sculpture making and creating pictures, sometimes from things they may have found outdoors. We also employ an artist who works closely with all of the age ranges both inside and outside the Kindergarten.
Following a busy morning which also includes a healthy snack time, we serve a freshly made, organic lunch and pudding. We use our story sacks as part of a calm activity after lunch. Some children may still need a rest and we have a room available for the Explorers and Adventures to take a nap if needed.
Children love our regular yoga sessions and we practice our newly learned poses both indoors and outdoors. We enjoy include learning to respect fire in our purpose built fire pit, with simple baking activities. We have a range of proper tools and children are taught how to use these carefully.
For our youngest children in the Discovery room, much of the day is free play as we try to create a real home from home environment. Always starting with the children’s interests, the team closely support and gently encourage the children through their next steps. There is also a dedicated sleep room for those needing an afternoon nap. This age group also have their own section of the garden which is accessed through their own room.
We understand the importance of creating and maintaining secure trusting relationships with our families and children. We put a strong focus on ensuring that our ‘Key People’ have a connection with their children, which you can see from day one. Children connect with an individual during their time with us, their key person will be able to help nurture and develop their skills. We use the online Tapestry system of recording what the children are doing – sharing many photos and observations with our families. We also encourage our families to upload any home experiences on to Tapestry, to really build strong links between home and the kindergarten.
There’ll always be a new and exciting story waiting for you when you come to pick up your child, as every day is different at the Lytchett Kindergarten.