|Although ages are defined as above, it
is the individual development of the child, both physically and mentally,
which determines the exact age of both joining and graduating from the group,
thus slight variations may apply. The Toddler group is based on the ground floor of the main house in three
large playrooms, one of which being the conservatory extension (completed
in 2002). The rooms are light and airy and the play equipment has been
carefully considered to afford children the opportunity to discover and
experiment independently, within a provision of structured activities.
The children progress from Younger Toddlers through Older Toddlers into
the 'little pre-school' group in the conservatory, where they commence
the Foundation Stage of education (3 years to end of school reception
|Use is also made of our large dining-room and
of the secure, paved outside play area; in the summer months the French
doors in the Younger Toddler and conservatory rooms open up, giving direct
access to this 'open-air' area. The Toddlers benefit from the extensive
and delightful grounds of Ellingham House, where they can run and stretch
their legs whilst on walks to visit our 'pets-corner', including Monet the
miniature Shetland pony, Jasper the parrot, Mr Howard the rabbit and Milly,
Molly & Mandy our Ryeland sheep.
The day is structured around break-times and meal-times, with an organised rest period after lunch. The amount of rest and sleep varies from child to child at this age: some children wake early in the morning and will therefore require some more sleep; some children may not sleep as well at night if their mid-day sleep is too long; some children may have already dropped their day-time sleep, Whatever their needs, we try to accommodate them. The children brush their teeth after their lunch and then settle on our 'sit-n-snooze' beds or mattresses, to the accompaniment of quiet music and gentle comforting from staff.
Children also need, from time to time, the opportunity to sit quietly, or rest during the day. One place which offers this is our book corner with comfy sofa, where children can look at attractive books appropriate to their age and cuddle up with a member of staff. We also allow for quieter activities and during the morning session the children may watch 'Tweenies' or a short (20 minutes) video.
At drinks time we offer diluted fruit juice, milk or water, with fresh fruit and raisins, and in the afternoon session drinks are provided after the children have woken from their sleep.
Lunch is at twelve o'clock; it is prepared by our cook and consists of a nutritious first course followed by a dessert. The children sit at round tables with the toddler group staff, who become familiar with each child's requirements. This is also a most important time for developing social skills in interaction with their fellow diners.
Tea-time is at four-fifteen and is fairly substantial - typically, sandwiches, toast (honey, marmite, jam) cubed cheese, cake, fresh fruit etc. - as some children may be returning home close to their bed times it is important that they have a good tea, whilst others, may eat again with their parents and this is considered by the nursery staff.
|Toddler group activities, organised by the group leader, allow the children
to take part in a wide range of learning situations and experiences, whilst
having lots of fun and enjoyment. Children at this age are still finding out
what their bodies can and will allow them to do: they are just emerging from
the stage of exploring with their mouths - they have more control of their
fingers and legs, and thus can now explore with these.
We ensure that toys are safe and stimulating, allowing for individual growth and sharing with others. It is at this time that the children become aware of the other children around them: they may continue to play on their own, enjoying both adult involvement and their own newly acquired independence. As the caring adults, the care staff have to arrange opportunities for sharing and taking turns - a difficult but necessary part of growing up!
|A very important and central aspect of nursery life at Ellingham focuses on
encouraging our children to consider and care for those around us. One of
the ways we encourage this facet of life at Ellingham is with our organised
Circle Time, and those many occasions when the group comes together to look
at books, or for Rhyme Time.
At Circle and Rhyme time we enjoy nursery rhymes and songs which encourage the children to participate either vocally or with appropriate finger and arm actions. Hopefully you will hear and enjoy these songs at home too! All this encourages language development, group participation, listening to adults, and learning the other children's names - and is also great fun.
|Imaginative play is an important part of a child's development. Throughout
life we imitate the actions we see others taking - either independently,
or as part of a group. At Ellingham we have dressing-up clothes, a kitchen
unit, dolls and blankets and a 'Wendy House' which can also be a shop, or
a cafe or a hospital or anything a child's imagination wishes it to be.
These allow the children to learn to care for others and to copy activities
they see at home, or when out with Mum and Dad.
|We begin in our Baby-Unit to introduce children
to new experiences and sensations. As toddlers gain fine motor control and
can more easily hold a crayon and paint brush, they can enjoy painting, crayoning,
using a glue stick, playing with play-dough and cornflour. The end result
isn't important - indeed, with the concentration span still limited, it is
the sheer fun of the activity (the textures experienced, the physical actions
and indeed, the mess!) that is the toddler's enjoyment. Water and sand play
are both therapeutic and creative, channelling the energies and the imaginations
of the children.
Toddlers always need the opportunity to let off steam - to run and jump, to learn to kick a ball and ride a tricycle, to push and pull, to pick up and put in. All these activities allow children to develop their co-ordination skills, balance and muscle control, whilst encouraging them to take their turn and fulfil their curiosity. Our range of outdoor toys and the spacious grounds ideally complement the staff's enthusiasm and expertise in encouraging the children's confidence and motivation.
|At the age of approximately two and a quarter years, our toddlers move into
the older toddler group, located in the front play room. Activities here include
table-top toys (threading / matching games, lotto and jigsaws), to encourage
fine motor control and co-ordination, a definite story-time to encourage a
love of stories coupled with a respect for books, and number and finger rhymes
to aid early maths awareness. Very soon these children will be ready to join
our Conservatory Group, and we begin to prepare them for the more structured
day they will experience there.
We feel our toddlers have a fun-filled, enjoyable day within a secure, caring environment. We ensure that we see children both as individuals and also part of the group. The key worker system at Ellingham allows individual members of staff to focus on the needs of individuals, but the team spirit and philosophy of the nursery allows this to merge with an awareness of the needs of the whole group, and a responsibility to attend to these. Our philosophy of child care is rooted in an ethos of praise and encouragement. Standards of behaviour - good manners, courtesy, concern for others - are fostered by good example and by nurturing and establishing our expectations clearly, warmly and consistently.
We maintain our own profiles on the children keeping an eye on developments and share our records with parents. We hope that you find these informative and beneficial - and in years to come, will look back on them with a good deal of pleasant memories of their early years and time at Ellingham House.