The Best Environment for Your Child
Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) was introduced into our nurseries in September 2008.
The EYFS is a Statutory Framework for Early Years which sets the standards for learning, development and care for children between birth and five years. A Practice Guidance document supports staff in assessing a child?s progress and helps them to provide the best learning experience for all babies and children. The aim is to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to learn through high quality play experiences. For additional information, please click on the above link to the EYFS.
Play is vital for children. It helps them to understand the world around them and to develop socially and emotionally. It is through play that our children learn, develop at their own pace and have fun with adults who understand, support and care about them. We want the children we care for to feel secure, not pushed or pressured, and to have the confidence to deal with whatever life brings.
Children learn individually and with others through play. We offer our children a play-based curriculum which meets all the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. It supports all aspects of their learning and development, and encourages their in-built curiosity and desire to make sense of the world around them and helps them to discover that learning is interesting and fun; this is vitally important if children are going to remain keen learners for the rest of their lives.
Play in a secure environment with effective adult support allows the children to explore, investigate and enjoy the learning experience. We help them to practice and develop ideas, concepts and skills in a unique and non-threatening way, without fear of failure.
We deliver the early year's curriculum in a number of ways, through:
· Construction and small world play
· Treasure baskets that contain a variety of different objects to help stimulate babies? senses, large and
fine motor skills and experiences
· Large & fine motor skills and experiences
· Literacy and numeracy skills
· Role play and imaginative opportunities
· Water, sand and malleable experiences
· Stories, rhymes and songs
· Mark making (the marks that children make through a range of media, such as paint, water, sand, pencils
and the meanings that they give to them)
· Creative workshops
· Outdoor opportunities
· Exploring and investigating science and nature
· Dance, music and sensory experiences
the nursery environment
Children must be offered and allowed to engage in exciting and challenging activities, which support and extend their learning and development. They must have a full and stimulating environment to encourage a range of play, exploration and talk. They need to be able to choose, create, investigate, explore, initiate and persist with activities.
We believe that children are active learners from birth and that if we provide them with the right environment, support and experiences, it will help to encourage their curiosity, imagination and creativity. We also need to ensure that we stimulate each child emotionally and intellectually by providing the best circumstances to promote active learning.
We have designed our nurseries to be exciting, homely and cosy and they are structured in such a way as to promote a child's independence, decision-making and problem solving.
The environment is organised into clearly defined areas to accommodate different activities appropriate to the development and competence of the children. Areas are divided by the use of storage that reduces distraction and allows children to be engrossed in their activities.
This storage also allows items to be displayed within reach so that children can make deliberate choices about what they want to use in their activities. They have access to a range of materials such as sand, water and paint which helps their creativity and develops their independence. Equal emphasis is placed on quiet areas of the nursery where the children can feel cosy and enjoy stories, rhymes and songs. Wooden toys, materials which encourage children to discover solutions for themselves, and mirrors enhance tactile and visual stimulation. Every environment is designed to encourage physical skills such as crawling, sitting, standing and walking which are all important for development.
We use play equipment which has been designed to invite exploration and specially selected for quality and play value. This ensures that whatever your child chooses to play with, their learning and development will be supported and extended. The babies in our care are introduced to discovery play through treasure baskets that contain a mixture of natural materials that vary in feel and texture and offer a sensory experience for heuristic play.
Children benefit from well designed, well organised and integrated learning environments both indoors and outdoors, and we are working to develop our outdoors to offer the same excellent facilities as our indoors.
learning through play
Our well designed nursery environments and resources help our children to develop in all areas of learning. The examples below are just some of our carefully chosen play equipment that has been found to stimulate a child?s natural curiosity, exploration, play and imagination.
treasure baskets - developing natural curiosity, awe and wonder
Treasure basket play allows babies to investigate and explore a variety of everyday objects. These can include items such as wooden spoons, natural sponges, fabrics, stainless steel and scented items such as lavender bags. Treasure baskets are available in the rooms for our younger children.
physical play - increasing mobility and confidence
In both indoors and outdoors children enjoy the experience of the physical play equipment, thus allowing children, who are natural climbers, to challenge their increasing mobility and confidence. This equipment allows the children not only to develop their physical skills, but to discover what they can achieve by themselves, thus increasing their self awareness and self esteem. There is other equipment such as a den or a small play space to encourage a child's creativity and imagination.
role play - understanding the world
Role play areas provide children with activities and opportunities that reflect their personal experiences, both past and present. Examples might include a post office or hairdressers. They are developed and extended to reflect a child?s changing interests. Through role play children explore their developing understanding of the world such as cooking at home or posting a letter. Children have the opportunity to engage with others, developing their knowledge through play and interaction with other children and adults. It also builds self-esteem, confidence, co-operation skills and gives them the opportunity to re-enact their past experiences.
mark-making - developing early writing skills and creativity
Mark-making activities are available to babies and children, both indoors and outdoors and might include making pictures in sand, cornflour or playdough to experimenting with paper or card and with pencils, chalk or felt pens. Mark-making is an excellent way to develop a child?s fine motor and early writing skills. Older children are able to play games that relate to the real world and this helps to encourage these skills. For instance, they will be encouraged to write restaurant menus and shopping lists in the role play area, take the register or simply to use notebooks.
Blocks - developing imagination, creativity, mathematical and physical skills
All babies and children have access to construction activities which include mini-blocks for tiny hands and larger blocks for our 2-5 year olds. Block play helps your child to experiment with concepts such as design, balance and building. It can also be used to support story-telling and role play, develop mathematical skills and allow children to act out their ideas.
Our block areas also include farm and wild animals, people, vehicles etc. to help extend play experiences. Outdoors, we are looking to develop areas that may consist of crates, planks, tyres etc. that allow children to build and construct on a much larger scale.
toys and play equipment
We believe that play is a key element of any child?s development and we have spent time carefully selecting the type of toys and equipment provided in our nurseries. The objective has been to find
safe activities and sturdy toys of good quality that entice the children into playing with them, stimulating and developing their imagination.
The wooden play equipment creates a solid homely atmosphere and is much more tactile and interesting than plastic for young children. Our durable solid hardwood toys are protected with a clear, child-safe wood finish and have gently rounded edges and corners making them as safe as possible.
Our choice of play equipment is guided by our philosophy that children should be able to make choices about where to play, what to play with and how to use the resources that are best available to them. Toys and materials are displayed in a way that invites their exploration. This allows our staff to focus on observing and interacting with your child rather than actively supervising and directing their play, enabling them to fully understand your child?s individual needs.
toys that invite exploration and stimulate the imagination
Our hardwood building blocks are designed to appeal to budding builders and our children can use these in conjunction with wooden toy trucks to create their own villages and towns. The simple, uncluttered design encourages a child?s imagination and desire to play. Prospective builders will also appreciate our sand and water tables that help with mathematics and science, enhance physical skills and promote social learning and co-operative effort. Our future athletes can enjoy our exciting climbing frame
with ramps, slides and stairs. Wood, carpet and mirrors enhance visual and tactile stimulation. Little amateur dramatists will enjoy the play equipment that has been designed to encourage imaginative, creative play. The children supply the ideas that turn everyday items into exciting adventures. Creative artists will thoroughly enjoy our art areas as they hold all the necessary art materials and allow for children to paint simultaneously, providing a great social experience.
These are just a few examples of the wonderful resources your children will enjoy at our nursery and we think once you see them you?ll agree that they do the job perfectly.
supporting learning with the best staff
We want our nurseries to gain a reputation for being the best locally, which is why attracting and retaining the best staff is paramount. Our staff are crucial in providing a memorable nursery experience and our aim is to offer them the best training opportunities to support our childcare and education philosophy.
Our nursery staff are focused on providing fun and education, and they will work to ensure your child develops as an individual, whilst helping to nurture and encourage learning through discovery and enjoyment. We expect all our staff to engage in skilful and sensitive interactions to support a child's learning. This ensures that play opportunities, resources and interactions indoors and outdoors are appropriate to the level of competence and maturity of the child.
Children learn best where adults are keen to continue their own learning and development, and delivery of the best childcare and education is made possible by ensuring staff have in-depth knowledge and understanding gained through continuing professional development and higher-level qualification training. Staff must have the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to observe, scaffold and plan for children's learning effectively, identifying and meeting any additional needs.
A dedicated childcare and education team provide advice and support to develop knowledge, skills and practice. The teams undertake mentoring, peer on peer observations and modelling good practice as well as direct training sessions to enable Managers, Deputy Managers and Senior Nursery Officers to take ownership for leading the curriculum.
We are working with Leap Training and our Local Authority to offer staff NVQ Level 2, 3 and 4, in Children's Care, Learning and Development. We also work with the Local Authority to give all staff the opportunity to study for a Foundation Degree in Early Years and encourage them to achieve Early Years Professional Status (EYPS).This provides us with a fantastic opportunity to train our own staff from the beginning of their career and help them to progress to senior job roles. It is a policy of the company that we promote only from within our current staff team.
We are currently working with other organisations including local authority Early Years departments, local schools and teachers and the National Day Nurseries Association to ensure that we keep up to date with current 'best practice' and are capable of offering the very best to your child.
Already the increasing knowledge, skills and abilities of staff is having a positive impact on Ofsted results with our nurseries looking to obtain 'outstanding' status in reports. We use the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale to monitor and improve the experiences we offer to children. This helps us to make measurable improvements in the quality of practice in the nurseries and we look forward to developing this even further.
observation, planning and recording
We believe that careful planning is required to ensure that play is of a high quality. A Key Person is assigned to your child to ensure that they are engaging in the right kind of activities. This helps to plan future experiences and opportunities to build your child?s knowledge, skills and abilities which will lead to new learning and development.
Observations of each child are evaluated and linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage. This allows for every child's individual development to be monitored and their progress recorded in their individual Learning Journal. This is a record of your child?s interests, significant achievements and development throughout their time with us and we encourage you to access your child?s journal at any time. Planning for your child will consist of:
These can be significant moments that have been observed either at nursery or within the home environment. The Key Person, other team members, parents, grandparents or anyone else in contact with your child can contribute and they are detailed observations of the play and experiences your child engages in.
photographs and significant examples of work
These will help to highlight what your child enjoys in the nursery and where their learning is progressing.
This focuses on your child?s particular interests based on the jottings and observations made by the Key Person and yourselves. It is this information that helps the Key Person to plan experiences that support the interests and future learning of your child.
Research has shown that a Key Person approach is the most effective way of ensuring that children develop a strong relationship with a significant adult in the nursery. The Key Person approach gives every child the reassurance to feel secure and cared for, helping them to become familiar with the nursery environment and to feel confident and safe within it.
We recognise every child's individuality, efforts and achievements and believe that relationships between adults and children are crucial for the child's happiness and security.
The Key Person meets the needs of each child in their care and responds sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behaviour. The Key Person will offer security, reassurance and continuity, and they will usually be the one to feed, change and soothe your child. They are in the best position to understand your child's individual needs and to share information with you about your child?s experiences in nursery.
The Key Person will help each of their children to develop relationships with other members of staff and children. They will observe them in their play so that they can plan future opportunities and experiences that best meet their needs and interests.
partnership with parents
We believe that parents are the primary educators of their children and should be centrally involved in their child's experiences and development. We realise that it is imperative we gain the trust and confidence of you, the parent. We want you to be happy with what we do and how we do it. We also pride ourselves in understanding the importance of instilling confidence and enthusiasm in your child from an early age.
Each child has a Learning Journal which will be a record of your child's interests, significant achievements and development throughout their time with us. We welcome parental contributions (this would include all significant people involved with your child) and we encourage parents to access their own child's journal at any time.
Effective communication means there is a two way flow of information, knowledge and expertise between parents and staff. Staff are available daily to give feedback about your child's day and to share significant events with you. Every interaction with you is based on a caring, professional relationship and respectful acknowledgement of the feelings of you as parents and those of your children.
safeguarding and promoting children?s welfare
Safeguarding and promoting children's welfare forms a large part of our statutory responsibilities and covers most of the requirements of our registration with Ofsted. All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential. We follow the framework of the Every Child Matters government green paper which is structured around five outcomes which are key to a child?s well-being and these form part of the statutory regulations.
The five outcomes are:
· stay safe ? looking after the children?s welfare and ensuring a safe environment
· be healthy ? safeguarding and promoting children?s health and well-being
· enjoy and achieve ? supporting the children in their learning and development
· make a positive contribution - working together with parents and encouraging children to play a beneficial part
in their nursery and wider community
· organisation ? ensuring all government policies, procedures and practices are strictly followed
Effective child protection is essential to Swingboat Nurseries. The welfare of every child we look after is paramount and everyone (including all staff, students, volunteers and visitors) has a responsibility to ensure that any areas of concern involving a child who may be at risk of harm, are recognised and dealt with immediately.
As a childcare provider, we have a moral duty of care to ensure that any concerns or incidents of suspected abuse or harm are reported to the relevant Local Safeguarding Children?s Board (LSCB) without delay.
Parents will be notified of all concerns and referrals unless we are advised differently by the LSCB.
We ensure the safety and security of the premises and equipment by the following means:
· High security railings around the premises and secure external doors.
· Strict entry procedures using thumb print entry systems with CCTV cameras.
· All equipment used is suitable and safe for the children. For instance, chairs with metal legs are being
replaced throughout with wooden ones.
· All toys and equipment are checked regularly for safety.
· All electrical equipment is checked biannually.
· Before opening, the nursery is checked every day by management for potential safety issues.
· A fire risk assessment is completed every quarter for each setting.
· A risk assessment for all new and current activities is carried out by nursery staff. They will balance
educational gains of an activity against any potential risks.
The safety of the children is maintained in the following ways:
· All children must be signed in and out of the nursery.
· Children are checked in and out for outdoor play which ensures that a child is never left unattended.
· We have developed a proprietary electronic in-house accident reporting system to deliver real-time
information. This enables us to monitor and ensure every accident is reported accurately thus
improving any future processes.
· We also carry out an annual health and safety audit process as well as spontaneous checks by support
staff. Every nursery has health and safety monitoring checks that are checked monthly.
· We ban the use of mobile phones in our nursery rooms and only non-camera models are allowed for
outside activities and emergencies.
· We have strict guidelines to control the administration of medication.
· All the staff at each nursery are trained in paediatric and general first aid.
· Infection control measures are in place including no outdoor shoes in baby rooms and stringent hand-
washing procedures in all areas using gels and foams.
enjoy and achieve
We create an environment that is conducive to learning and each child is assigned a Key Person. We support the children in their learning through active play and exploration by observing and assessing them and encouraging their creative thinking.
make a positive contribution
We work together with parents to ensure children?s individual needs are met.
Social inclusion is promoted and children are encouraged to behave in a respectful way to others around them.
We control the suitability of people within the nursery by adhering to these policies:
· All staff have an enhanced CRB check. This is currently the highest level of checking available. We
will introduce the new ISA reference in line with their timescales over the next two years.
· All new staff must have two employment references checked before starting at the nursery. We may
ask for an additional education reference where applicable.
· New staff require a current CRB certificate before they are allowed to interact with children without
· All adults collecting children from the nurseries will have to be nominated and identified beforehand
and will need to quote an agreed password.
· All external nursery doors are secure with thumb print entry and CCTV/visual checks at the entrances
to identify visitors before entry is allowed.
· Visitors are checked into and out of the nursery.
· Any contractual staff have to be from an approved contractor list and must have a permit to work.
All documentation relating to policies and procedures can be viewed on request at all our nurseries. Summaries of these policies are displayed on parents? notice boards.
managing children's behaviour
Our staff are able to manage a wide range of behaviour to ensure every child?s welfare and development. Children benefit most when adults adopt a consistent and positive approach to the management of their behaviour. By establishing clear boundaries according to the level of understanding, children become aware of the routines and begin to understand what is expected of them. Children have a lot to learn about behaving and coping with very different environments in their first five years. Our staff are sensitive to the individual needs of each child, their cultural and family backgrounds, and their developmental stage of learning. Children are not born with an understanding of the rules of acceptable behaviour - they have to learn them, and adults need to help them do this.
Managers and their teams have a responsibility to ensure that:
· the physical environment is safe, well organised and stimulating.
· all activities, resources and equipment are appropriate for the children's ages and stages of
· when appropriate, children are given opportunities to become involved in their own learning
environment including the setting of rules and boundaries.
· each nursery offers an organised environment that provides plenty of well planned and age appropriate
· when they are actively included in positive play with adults, children are less likely to adopt
· once expectations have been made clear, children receive a consistent approach from the staff.
Children develop and progress best in an environment in which:
· they know what is expected of them and they are free to learn and play in an organised way where good
behaviour is positively encouraged.
· opportunities for inappropriate behaviour are minimised.
During a recent Parent Survey one parent commented:
"My child loves the food at nursery and eats more at nursery than at home. I like the idea that drinks and fruit are available all day not just at certain times."