The Children’s Centre Day
What does a typical day look like in each room?
It is a statutory requirement to provide children access to the outdoors in the Early Years. Ambler has a “free-flow” policy, allowing children access to outside for a large part of their day. They have opportunities to use a bigger space and master a great selection of wheeled equipment using the main playground. This is timetabled for nursery and reception in order for them to have discrete sessions.
The children have opportunities to visit our on-site forest as a whole class, often. This provides a wild nature experience for inner London children. Outside access is facilitated by sets of wetsuits and wellington boots to enable children to experience all weather types. We value these as great learning opportunities.
We have a short structured phonics session daily which increases in time, in parallel with the children gaining in age and ability. Children have opportunities to attend small maths group activities and small music sessions offered by our in-house music teacher.
When are the play times? Do all rooms play at once? How is it supervised?
All children in the Early Years are supported to explore the indoor and outdoor environments as part of their learning and development. Appropriate staffing ratios are in place to supervise and participate in learning opportunities.
What is ‘choosing’?
Children in the Early Years spend time independently planning their own learning. They ‘choose’ the area in which they would like to explore with adults facilitating and/or extending the learning taking place. Sometimes this will be play in which the children are learning about pretending, taking on roles, exploring feelings such as empathy, sympathy, acting out scenarios in a safe environment, negotiating and forming friendships, or understanding how to share and compromise. These are important skills for lifelong learning.
Do all the rooms eat together at lunchtime or is it staggered by age?
In the Children’s Centre we have staggered lunches to give children the best lunchtime experience. Children sit in small family style groups and are supported by key people. At the same time, children are encouraged to be independent and pour their own water, serve their own food and support one another. Lunchtimes are such a social part of the day and a chance to catch up on the morning’s activities and plan ahead for the afternoon sessions. All meals are prepared on site and special dietary requirements are catered for.
Do the rooms encourage good table manners at lunchtime?
Across the whole provision we encourage children to eat their lunches with consideration for their peers and to use appropriate manners.
How much free choice is there in what they eat and are they encouraged to eat healthily?
We have a range of options for children including some very tempting and nutritious vegetarian options. All meat is halal in line with the school’s policy and alternative options are available if required.
What sort of music teaching is provided?
Children in Nursery and Reception have a music teacher who takes small group music sessions. In line with the Early Years Foundation Stage, children have a choice whether to partake or not and a class list is used by the teacher to ensure uptake is monitored. All children in both Nursery and Reception have an opportunity during these sessions to play on a musical instrument and are taught to explore concepts such as timbre, rhythm and percussion. They are short sessions in line with developmental expectations of children at these ages.