Routine of the day
Although we promote free flow play and uninterrupted periods of child led play we also believe that routine is important in early years. Routine allows for babies and young children to know what is going to happen next. This supports the sense of security and emotional stability. Our routine of the day provides children with a context for learning. The daily routines and transition points provide opportunities for children to see how their world is organised and what they need to do to be successful within it. Each day provides some element of continuity and children know what to expect.
Our reception area provides a welcoming environment where children can sit with an adult and share a story whilst they are waiting to go into their classroom. We encourage those children that can, to hang their coats and find their names on the registration board. A warm greeting is given to both the child and their family/carer. This greeting is important and ensures that there is a smooth transition from home to school.
Breakfast, lunch and tea are provided at the same time every day. Older children are encouraged to help prepare for mealtimes by helping to lay tables. Meal times are a really important part of our daily routine. Staff encourage positive interactions with children and initiate conversation/talk about what children have been doing or about the meal that they are eating. Self help skills are encouraged. Our babies are supported to feed themselves and our toddlers and nursery aged children are encouraged to help themselves to food and water and to clear away their plates and cutlery after they have eaten. After eating, our children are encouraged to look into the mirror and wipe their hands and faces.
Snack times happen both in the morning and afternoon sessions. Babies sit together to eat their snack and join in with a short story telling session whilst they eat. In the toddler and nursery class, snack time is less formal. The children ae encourage to cut up their own fruit pieces and help themselves to crackers and water. In the nursery class the children are encouraged to wash up dirty cups and cutlery after their snack.
At the end of each morning and afternoon session each room hold group times. These sessions are valuable as direct teaching times. In the baby room, the groups are short but consists of songs, rhymes, stories and music. Coming together at that the end of each session enables children to be part of a more direct style of teaching – learning new words, developing listening and attention skills, finding out new things, singing songs and experiencing music and movement. In the nursery class, the adults use group times to develop letter and sounds knowledge, to learn about rhyme and alliteration and to develop a love for listening to and sharing stories.
Group times are also used to celebrate achievement. We share children’s special books during group times and talk about what each of us have been doing, sharing photos and stories from home. Sessions such as these support the children’s self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities.