what we do all day
We believe that a child learns best and most deeply, by direct experience of the interactions with people around them; the routines, activities, situations, environments and objects, all the stuff of life.
Your child’s key worker will establish a secure relationship with your child so that they can take full advantage of the diverse provision at minihome, learning by watching how people behave, by what is valued and by direct involvement with the prepared environment.
Your keyworker will visit you and your child at home in the first week of settling in, so that your child can see them welcomed into your home. One of our managers will accompany them to discuss any aspects of the settling in process with you and to draw your attention to some of our policies and procedure so that you are well informed.
We follow the aims and curriculum guidance of the EYFS to support and assess child development in 3 prime areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and language Development
As they become relevant we also introduce the 4 specific areas of learning:
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
We plan for children as individuals as well as part of a group, so that the activities and experiences provided for your child in support of their development in all areas of learning are interesting to them and appropriately challenging for their age and stage. Parents are invited to contribute to our understanding of their child and to suggest things for us to focus on with their child. Key workers share their knowledge of their key children with each other and all contribute to the care and learning of your child.
Here at minihome we have four rooms for the under-5s:
We compile a series of scrapbooks of your child's time at Minihome built from photos of what they do all day, samples of things that they make, written observations, plans for activities and assessments of their development along with notes of special moments. These become a keepsake for you and function as part of our ongoing observation and assessment record of our child.
Every day children in Pre-School go on a 30 minute walk in the local area. The walks focus on different areas of learning each time. In any week they might look at the changing seasons, spot shapes, numbers or letters in the environment. They might go for a run, noticing changes in their bodies whilst improving their gross motor abilities and fitness levels. They have gone out to spot people doing different kinds of work including traffic wardens, rubbish collectors, police and many more. Activities for the role play area have been supported by visits to local shops, such as travel agents, opticians and hairdressers for ideas and resources.
We also take Babies, Toddlers and 2+ children on a number of local outings each week, which children access in turn so that all get a chance to go out somewhere in the local area each month. This includes local parks such as Butterfield Green, Mushroom Park, Spinny Park and Clissold Park to use the climbing frames and swings, see the animals and go paddling. We also go to Dalston market to buy interesting fruit for snack time and a range of local libraries.
Every week we take Toddlers, 2+ and Pre-School for small group visits to our secluded nature garden across the road from Minihome to visit the pond with our resident frogs and toads, the chickens and to hang out and play in nature.
Currently we have sessional teachers broadening our curriculum with:
Spanish songs and storytelling for 2+ and Pre-School
French songs and storytelling for 2+ and Pre-School
Music and singing for Babies, Toddlers and 2+ Room
Ballet for Pre-School
Football for 2+ and Pre-School
Drama for Pre-School
Yoga for Pre-School
Gardening for Pre-School
Bushcraft & Fire Lighting for Pre-School
Big risky play at SWAPA Adventure Playground for Pre-School
outside play in our nursery garden
We have a newly landscaped nursery garden which is directly accessible from Toddler Room, 2+ Room and Pre-School Room. The new layout includes a sandpit and mud kitchen, dry river bed with mini bridges and two climbing platforms connected by a rope bridge. This is underpinned by a fall safe surface topped with fake grass.
All of our children spend a lot of time in our garden every day, weather permitting.
Babies love to use the push along carts and bikes as they begin to walk. Hours of fun are had with water and bubbles throughout the summer and ice in winter. For small babies just feeling the wind in the air, seeing the trees and leaves moving and the light changing are all vital parts of their sensory experiences. Laying on a blanket listening to stories or playing with rattles and musical instruments are also firm favourites.
Toddlers engage in ball games, small circle games, chasing and catching, as well as the opportunities for exploration and discovery and love running with the buggies. We draw attention to the features of the natural world, grow plants together and investigate the mini-beasts and animals that we come across. We provide, sand, water, mud play and other types of sensory play. There are large blocks to build with, bikes and scooters and our new platforms to climb on and develop gross motor skills.
2 year olds enjoy using the tricycles and scooters, they start to play ball games, kicking, throwing and catching, small circle games, chasing and catching. They often take their role play with their peers outside, going on shopping trips with their dolls in buggies and playing at being families together. They take turns (with support) in organising the flow of play and negotiating the roles. They love balancing and climbing on the climbing frame and spending time in the sand pit with scoops and spoons.
Pre School children enjoy using the tricycles and scooters too. They also play football, racket and ball games, throwing and catching. They often take their role play with their peers outside, organising increasingly complex scenarios, frequently Super heroes, Pirates, Baddies and Police, or Princesses and Princes. They take turns and need very little adult support in organising the flow of play and negotiating the roles.
They enjoy building with the big crates and wooden blocks, making castles, dens, pirate ships and racing cars. In the sandpit they build sand castles and bake cakes. The climbing frame is a firm favourite as well as the mud kitchen where they experiment with water and soil, mixing, pouring and stirring.
Pre School children also enjoy a weekly session at the Swapa adventure playground which is just around the corner and which provides the children with many huge gross motor challenges and a lot of fun! Here we can also create a fire circle on wintery days where the children enjoy the excitement of watching the flames and learning about fire safety in a natural context.
special sessions in our nature garden
Our secluded nature garden, across the road from Minihome, has been remodelled to include a fire circle with log seats, a pond with a mini bridge which is host to our resident toad and frogs, our two lovely chickens, fruit and vegetable planting beds, a den building area and a wooden play house.
The nature garden is visited by Toddlers, 2+ and Pre-School for small group adult led learning experiences including bushcraft with fire lighting and gardening. Children learn to identify edible plants, how to grow food, and to discover the life cycles of the chickens, frogs, and the butterflies in the garden. Our bushcraft sessions allow children to build dens and to understand how to make and manage fire, cook food on an open fire and enjoy the excitement of watching the flames and learning about fire safety in a natural context.