Smarties Nursery is split into three areas; baby rooms for – 0-2 years, toddler rooms for 2-3’s and a pre-school rooms for 3-5’s.
All the rooms are perfectly equipped with toys and activities suitable for your child’s age and development level. All the children have daily free-flow access to secure outdoor play areas where they have opportunities to plant, dig and explore the natural world, along with equipment to develop physical skills.
At Smarties we have two baby rooms. The first is for our younger children; aged 0-1 years and the second is for children aged 1-2 years.
Both of our rooms offer a ‘home from home’ feel, supporting the important transition for families when they begin their learning journey at nursery.
Our baby rooms are specifically tailored to younger children – containing age appropriate materials, toys and books for both adult led and child initiated activities. All the resources are aimed at supporting the seven areas of learning and these are freely accessible to the children on low-level furniture throughout the day.
This gives them the opportunity to self-select items and develop their independence from an early age. The baby rooms also have access to their own outdoor decked area and we aim to play outside every day.
The first baby room caters for 9 babies on a daily basis and the second baby room caters for 12 babies. Both baby rooms use a staff ratio of 1 practitioner to 3 babies, giving all the children the ability to build and maintain strong bonds with the practitioners and their key person. This allows babies to have the best possible experiences throughout their time at Smarties.
We appreciate how difficult it is as new parents to find a nursery setting you trust. This is why Parent Partnership is one of our main priorities at Smarties. The early years practitioners work closely with families to ensure we accommodate and follow similar daily routines to the one that babies have at home. We understand the importance of consistency and routine at this age.
Children’s development is at the heart of everything we do and our approach is always centred on the child.
The toddler room has opportunities for children to explore their environment and have a range of activities and resources available to them on a daily basis. The children have access to the outdoor area daily and have a safe and stimulating area to play with their friends.
In this room, the children are introduced to a bit more structure, with a good routine in place. This provides some comfort and stability to the children, allowing them to know what is happening next. We also create opportunity for some group time, such as music and movement sessions and circle time with interactive stories.
Partnership with parents is a strength in this room. The children have a ‘lending library’ where the children can choose a nursery book to take home and share with their family. The parents then have the opportunity to write comments or observations from their story time in a log book. For example, if their child enjoyed the book, if the child accomplished something whilst listening to the story or even if they thought the story was too long! We’ve found that feedback gained from the lending library can greatly influence activities and interests throughout the child’s time at Smarties.
All the fun activities we do are focused around the children’s interests and these are then extended further in order to enhance their learning. The room has the following areas; malleable and creative, construction, small world, home corner, sand and water area and a comfy book area. The comfy area also doubles as a sleep area for those who may still need a sleep at this age. Fold out camp mats are used and the children get fresh bedding every week.
When the time comes, we offer lots of advice and reassurance when your child is ready to start potty training. To aid this process, the toddler room has it’s own bathroom with potties and child friendly toilets for when the children need to access them. We also start to promote self-care by encouraging the children to wash and dry their hands at the low-level sinks, independently or with adult support when needed.
The preschool room is a large, open plan room and like all our rooms, all the activities are planned around the children’s interests and resources are accessible to the children to select as they wish. This room leads onto our playground, allowing the children to free-flow indoor and outdoor when they like.
Also, Smarties are fortunate enough to have access to an on-site Forest School area, where the preschool children can explore their natural environment and participate in outdoor learning. This is led by a qualified Forest School Leader that delivers sessions twice a week; including Den Building, Camp Fires and Growing plants etc.
We have also developed intergenerational projects with a local care home, where we visit the residents once a week to take part in a range of activities. The residents have enjoyed forming good bonds with the children, visiting the setting to watch our nativity and joining us for other special occasions such as the Graduation Ceremony and Christmas Party.
Preschool has a big focus on confidence-building and independence. The children are gradually introduced to more structured activities and group time. This includes doing stimulating challenges where the children are encouraged to think for themselves, make decisions and problem solve. For example, phonics sessions, circle time and educational games.
They can enjoy practising self-registration, serving their own food at mealtimes and putting on their own shoes and clothing. The pre-schoolers have their own toilet area, where they can be independent in self-care if they wish or they can have full support from staff if needed. With these steps in place, we aim to promote school readiness and teach the children some basic life skills.
When the time comes, we ensure a smooth transition to reception, having developed good links with local schools. We invite teachers into nursery to meet the children before they leave and we complete detailed transition reports for all the children. This allows the teachers to gain prior developmental knowledge of the children beforehand. A graduation ceremony also takes place for the school leavers, where families can attend. At Smarties, we pride ourselves on the fact that children leave our care as confident individuals who are ready for school, as this can be a challenging step for them.