At Little Thetford Acorns Pre-school and Children’s Club we strive to offer all of our children a safe, nurturing, fun and stimulating learning environment, where the emphasis is on learning through play.
Our setting is well planned into zones that reflect the seven areas of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage. We have many resources, including small world toys such as a wooden safari set, dolls house and construction toys like Duplo and K-nex. Children also enjoy using our ICT equipment, which includes a Vtech video camera and digital cameras, and our touch screen computers that have full, safe and monitored access to the internet, including CBeebies. There are daily opportunities for children to enjoy sensory play, including homemade playdoh, shaving foam, jelly, gloop and cloud-doh.
We ensure that all children are given the opportunity to independently access resources that are available, to play in their favourite areas, and to move between indoor and outdoor play at their choosing. The activities and loose topics planned by our highly qualified and knowledgeable staff are based around the children’s interests and developmental stage. Topics change on a weekly basis to ensure we are listening to and including the needs and interests of all our children.
Some of their favourite zones are:
Role play area: This is one of the most played in areas of our setting. In this area children can immerse themselves in imaginative and symbolic play, from dressing up as Elsa, to being a ‘mummy’ with babies and a kitchen, to them being a ‘Superhero’ in the dark den.
In this area children learn to make sense of the world around them, using what they learn in their everyday experiences to make their own story and play scenes. Relationships with friends blossom as children learn to play alongside one another – as they play together as friends to make tea, sell teddies or anything that they choose to be.
The role play area changes every week in accordance with the current interests of the children – this ensures that children continue to use this area. Communication and language is very strong in this area of the setting as children talk to each other, excitedly plan and expand on each others ideas.
Garden: We are extremely lucky to have a very large garden that is both safe and spacious. Children have plenty of opportunities for physical development on a daily basis, from climbing the rocket, running down the hill, riding scooters and balance bikes, to building sand castles and tunnels in our sand pit.
The new additions of painted murals on our fence brighten the garden and adds to the children’s imaginative play. Children also enjoy playing in our mud kitchen, where potions and concoctions are made using the natural resources available in the garden. If heavy rain stops play, then children can continue to enjoy outside play on a smaller scale in the undercover area.
Our amazing new sensory garden includes a raised bed of flowers, fruits and herbs for each area of our senses. The children enjoy planting seeds and bulbs and caring for them, improving their knowledge and understanding of the world around us, and how to care for our environment.
Cosy corner: With canopies, a sofa, beanbags and pictures of characters from popular children’s books, this is a peaceful area that allows the children to feel like they are in a safe and enclosed space. It is an area where children can sit together and talk, where they can rest, have a short nap, read books or listen to stories.
A variety of both story and informative books, popular magazines, puppets and books from around the world are available for children to develop their listening and attention skills, along with their communication and language skills.
Craft area: Another popular area of the setting where children can develop their expressive arts and design skills. Children can independently access the painting resources, or other supplies, including junk modelling materials, glue, glitter and collage materials, to take part in the weekly craft activities or make their own precious art work. Once complete, children add their own name sticker and place it on the art rack to dry. Art work is then either taken home, displayed on their ‘Art wall’ or filed in their ‘Special art book’.
Writing area: In this busy area, children enjoy free access to writing materials in the form of pencils, felt tips, erasers, rulers, envelopes, writing pads, stamps, post-it notes and Sellotape, to independently enjoy and develop their fine motor skills and pencil control.
Children in this area stay completely engaged and focused in their activities, which include making treasure maps, stamping letters, drawing pictures and patterns to writing their names and emergent writing.