2-3 Years - Green Group
- Part of bigger group of children in one, large area
- More independent at meal times and meeting own needs, such as getting a drink when thirsty
- Becoming more independent with their personal care, such as finding their own coat and shoes and putting them on with limited help
- Using the Magic tent to reach independently for their special comfort toys, using their toy and more words to help express their feelings
- Finding their own beds and learning to sleep independently (ie of dummies)
- Continuing with activities in Musical Bumps and Theatre Tots, and starting new extra activities of football and tennis.
Communication and language:
- Starting to use questions and complex sentences
- Starting to recognise their own name and use mark-making tools (early writing) through our role play area
- Some toddlers join our “Toddler talk” group run by our experienced member of staff (SENCO) to help develop language and communication
- Listening and giving more of their attention to activities and games in the daily group sessions.
- Children in this age group develop their fine motor skills by holding mark-making tools, jugs, and equipment with more control.
- They fine tune walking and running, learn new skills such as throwing, kicking, rolling and jumping, through our extra activities and garden time.
- We encourage children to start using the toilet (not potty) when the child is ready. We work closely with and can offer advice to parents in order to support the child through this new experience. We ask parents to start the toilet training at home first.
- They start to develop and awareness about their personal safety and risk, by using scissors, gardening tools, etc.
Babies - Red Group
After a sensitively managed settling-in period, you can feel confident that your baby will be happy, comfortable and relaxed with us. Our Baby Room Leader and practitioners are very experienced and uniquely trained in caring for our youngest children. Our dedicated baby room is in a separate room on the ground floor, furnished, carpeted and equipped with toys and resources specifically for babies’ needs.
Your baby’s day will include stimulating play, such as building blocks, handling balls, making sounds, exploring touch & feel, and making friends with other children. There are group activities as well as all-important one-on-one time; we especially love to read to your baby. Our babies have plenty of fresh air, with regular trips to the garden. You may see them going for a stroll locally in the baby-mobile from time to time – a 6 seater ‘wagon’!
All babies get quality sleep at Cuddly Bear. We have permanent double-decker cots in the Baby Room, with proper mattresses and bedding, and because it is a separate space we can create quiet and darkness to encourage deeper sleep.
We are able to cater for your baby’s personal nutritional needs; parents are welcome to provide their own food, or we can adapt our menu to suit your child as they learn to eat. Parents must provide formula milk or breast milk if required. We provide cow’s milk and soya milk if there is a dietary need.
Your baby will stay in our Baby Room until they are cognitively, physically and emotionally ready and obviously happy to play with our toddlers – usually from when they are 14 months. Their ‘transition’ to the next group is child-led and managed with care; we will always go at your baby’s pace and talk with you too.
Toddlers under 2 - Orange and Yellow Groups
- A more stimulating environment
- An opportunity to be part of a bigger peer group
- More independence at meal times
- Becoming more independent in personal care (finding own coats, shoes, etc..)
- Using the Magic tent to reach independently for their comfort toys/dummies and as a way to express their feelings
- Finding their own beds and sleeping with limited support
- Joining groups run by activities providers as Musical Bumps and Theatre Tots.
Communication and language:
- We set up a words list for each child, to monitor their progress
- Bilingual children are assessed for their language development using an ICAN assessment form.
- ‘Toddler talk’ group run by our experienced member of staff (SENCO) to build on communication and speech.
- Children build on developing their fine motor skills by holding tools, crayons, jugs, spoon and cups through the activities we plan
- They practice walking (or starting to walk) and develop their skills in walking and navigating around things safely
- We continue to build on children’s awareness about nappy changing and what is happening, through talking about it, role play and practice
- Children start to develop an awareness about their own personal safety (holding an adult’s hand, ‘waiting for hands’ when going to the garden).
Pre-school - Blue, Turquoise and Purple Groups
The entire second floor of our nursery – a 150-sqm space – is devoted to our pre-school children. Far larger than the average classroom, the floor is divided into two rooms and the children are organised into each room by academic year. The benefit of this is that children become used to mixing with the same age range of children as will occur at school, and in many cases they will move to the same school as some of their pre-school peers.
Each of the two rooms on our pre-school floor sub-divides into zones: small world & construction; role play themed to the children’s interests; messy play; arts and crafts; maths and games; literacy; ICT and music; home corner furnished with familiar items from their homes; cosy corner.
The room is vibrantly decorated with displays of the children’s artwork and a variety of learning aids, which are regularly refreshed. We like to think that the environment develops organically with the children as they grow and explore new facets of their personalities.
We have a daily routine that combines adult-led focused activities in line with the EYFS curriculum, child-led free play, group activities such as story time and sharing our news from home, and 60-90 minutes of garden time daily. Our focused activities have included projects on the solar system, multiculturalism and how houses are built. Breakfast, snack times, lunch and tea continue to be important social times for these children.
We work hard to foster a sense of independence in our children, encouraging them to plan their own free play sessions (and share their plans with us) and integrating their choices into our focused activities. They can also self-serve at meal times, choose if they want to nap or have some quiet time and visit the toilet themselves, unless they request help. One child has the responsibility for being ‘Room Leader’ each day and has special tasks.
Our approach to learning
Our ethos is still child-centred learning through play at this age. Using a mix of Constructivist learning approaches, we believe that children learn best through doing and experiencing, and best of all when they have self-selected themes that interest them.
We provide opportunities to develop early literacy and numeracy skills right the way through their play, whether that be counting coins and writing shopping lists during role play, to identifying sounds and letters from things they see in the garden. We support their curiosity in topics, for example such as dinosaurs, superheroes and princess play, by extending such popular passions with new learning challenges.
We always work at the child’s speed, towards the goal of helping each child move comfortably and skillfully into Reception year at school.
Our children can take part in extra activities, including Musical Bumps, football and tennis at no extra cost. We go on several trips too, such as local museums, the theatre, the fire station and a farm.
We have a combination of an Early Years Teacher in each group with our qualified Practitioners, a Room Leader, Deputy and a specialist Learning and Development Practitioner for our pre-school children, and spaces for around 40 children each day. We have practitioners skilled in Makaton sign language. We include children with special needs and encourage children to use their home language or, learn another, with the help of our polyglot practitioners!
Contact with parents
Every child at Cuddly Bear is a precious individual and we support each of them through sensitive observation of their behaviour, wants and needs. In pre-school we continue to speak to parents every day at the door, write up a summary of the day’s events in the Diary to communicate with you and hold one-to-one meetings with parents and children, at least three times per year.
The best possible start
Our motto is to do our best to give our children the best possible start. For all of our children, we are confident they will go on from the pre-school at Cuddly Bear with fond memories, positive experiences, healthy self-esteem and a readiness to step out into school life.
Katherine at Malumbe Music teaches our children at both nurseries and provides fun music sessions; singing, dancing, puppets, musical games and percussion instruments are all used and enjoyed! With music from around the world and lots of different styles and genres, Katherine incorporates topics which the children are learning about into their music sessions…music at our annual Christmas performance and Graduation ceremony…? That’s Katherine..!
Explore your inner artist! We are super-keen or creativity, art and exploration at Cuddly Bear – we see it every day in what the children say and do, so we offer art sessions with;
- Captain Cookie (Big Fish Little Fish, Glastonbury Festival), and;
- Artisan Village; our sister company, with super-talented artists, based on Kirkdale