There are plenty of opportunities for children to learn new language and communicate with each other as we have small group foccussed activities which involve story sacks, rhyme time and sharing toys.
Every day, both the toddlers and babies participate in Music Playtime, which all of the staff have been trained to deliver by our qualified music teacher, Mary who also visits us once a week.
There is an exciting sensory room in the this unit and the children love to explore it regularly. The equipment provided encourages children to investigate using all of their senses and includes scented bags, glow in the dark toys, tactile materials and vibrational music.
Our practitioners have been trained in baby yoga and all are able to plan, and implement, yoga routines for the children. The yoga routines are based on ability groups and there is generally a group for the young babies, the toddlers and the rising two’s. The children enjoy stretching into new positions and using ribbons and scarves to express themselves.
We are very lucky to have a qualified music teacher at Scallywags and the children really enjoy experiencing various types of music and sounds. From a young age, the children are encouraged to develop rhythm through the use of drums and many more instruments. In the this unit, the children also enjoy using song sacks and practice turn taking as they choose pictures that match a song.
Children begin to learn and practice new language from a very young age so we feel it is important to aid their development through the use of story sacks and rhymes. Our young children learn best by getting involved in the stories and being able to hold the props and repeat familiar words and phrases. They even occasionally finish the stories themselves as they know them so well!
Treasure Basket Play
There is a large area dedicated to treasure basket play in our unit as we find that using natural materials and equipment enables children to investigate what everyday objects can be used for. The children particularly enjoy playing peek-a-boo with the basket of fabrics and pretending that the shells are treasure.
There is a well-stocked mark making area in the under 2’s unit that enables children to practice making marks with chunky pens, crayons and safety scissors. Young children are interested in holding pens and making marks from a young age and show great pride in their ‘busy work’!
Children’s imaginations are very special which is why we provide a range of equipment to help develop their imaginative skills from a young age. There is a small world area that changes with the children’s interests but still provides scope for integrating various ideas, for example; although the farm is on the mat, there are still baskets containing cars and jungle animals so that children can have a choice. Our children enjoy being creative in the home corner too, making cups of tea and feeding the baby dolls!
All children love to get messy, no matter what age they are and we meet those needs by having a creative room that enables children to explore with malleable materials, paint, sand and water. Creative play is simply about getting messy and experiencing a wide variety of tactile materials, the focus is always on the actual play and not the end product.
The under 2’s have their very own garden that they can access all year round, whatever the weather. In the summer, we open the patio doors and allow the children to free flow into the garden which also promotes their independence and the ability to make choices. In the garden we make obstacle courses using hoops and beanbags and have large physical equipment such as a climbing frame, play house and lots of push and rides whilst engaging in group activities like ‘Going on a Bear Hunt!’
We provide a wide range of construction materials for children to build with including wooden blocks, Duplo and stacking tubs. Construction play is an excellent opportunity to develop problem solving skills and awareness of numbers as well as hand to eye co-ordination.
Babies and young children are learning new language skills all the time and we support their progress using Makaton signs and Rebus symbols. We also model age-appropriate language that encourages children to develop their speech and language. Story time is another way that we encourage children’s communication and development as they gain an awareness of alliteration and rhythms as they join in with familiar stories and learn new, exciting stories and rhymes with the aid of various props
We are passionate that our babies are given the space and opportunities to have quality floor time to explore their bodies and develop important motor skills in their own time. Babies have their own room which is separate from the Toddlers and gives them the freedom to do this. Toddlers also have their own space for physical activities, giving them the opportunity to be more active indoors if the weather isn’t suitable for outdoors.