To be entrusted with the care of you child is an honour and a privilege, it is our opinion that this is the most important and rewarding job in the world. Since brain growth between 0-3 years happens at a much greater rate than at any other time during life their experiences have a much greater influence over the person that they will grow to be. This is the time the child is most receptive to learning and stimulation - by the time a child starts school most of the emotional and intellectual “wiring” of the brain has been set. The child’s experiences in these early years are therefore vital to their well-being and future achievements. By varying their experiences and introducing them to new interests, the more the neurons in his or her brains are connected maximising their effectiveness. Our job is therefore to create an engaging, inspiring and varied environment which maximises the child’s opportunity to learn and develop. And the best part is, although Ofsted call it teaching – to a child this is play!
So... how can we at Owls Nest Nursery make this a reality? We do this in a number of ways:
Part of a family
* We believe strongly in the power of the family, family is everything – a family does not have to be biological it can mean whatever network of loving care and close relationships that the child experiences at home. We do our best to replicate that “family” environment in all aspects of our daily nursery life.
* Each child has a key person who is the main person responsible for their development and their well-being. The keyperson will get to know the child and their family and ensure that the child’s experiences at home and nursery build on one another. For the child, their carer is a source of love and learning, comfort and stimulation, who is sensitive to their physical and emotional needs. By providing consistent and responsive care we ensure the child has the best opportunity for healthy emotional and social development.
* We promote “family” style activities, for example the adults and children eat together round the table. Children of different ages are given opportunities to play together and learn from each other, just as they would with siblings at home.
* Learning is best achieved when children have choices and can follow their own interests. We have created an environment which encourages children to explore and choose whatever activities and spaces take their fancy. They can do this at a time and rate that best suits their own interests and development. Whilst each child has a “base” room, they are not confined to these rooms or age groups, and “free-flow” is encouraged. This means the child is free to go wherever they want and can access any resources they want to play with (within the bounds of safety of course!).
For example, our Barn Owls and Snowy Owls have free-flow access to the garden. Our Little Owls whilst they can’t go up and down the stairs at will for obvious reasons, will be given time and space to explore the garden and have easy access to our sensory room.
* Physical development of the children nourishes both the body and the mind, it also gives an emotional outlet. Our garden gives the owls ongoing opportunities to run, climb, balance and jump, all of which support their strength, poise and confidence. Less well known is that the area of the brain connected with movement is also related to abstract thinking and mental focus so daily exercise is key to supporting the owls’s ability to concentrate. We don’t forget our littlest owls either, they have ample space to crawl and move around freely.
*Majority of our activities are “child-led”. They are provided with ample opportunity to choose an activity that interests them, this in turn leads them to become deeply immersed in their play and involved in discovery, which in turn maximises their development. The role of the adult is therefore to enable and facilitate rather than to direct the child’s activities. And of course to be on hand with words of encouragement, praise, cuddles and high fives!