This help centre article has been written for Koru Kids' Home Nursery service
Principles we work by
We believe children thrive on rhythm.
Making each day predictable will help your child feel secure in their home nursery.
Over time even very young children learn what’s next on the schedule, and this helps them enjoy each and every activity and helps keep the environment running smoothly - keeping everyone calm.
We plan around naps as good sleep is essential for young children.
For children over 16 months, we aim for their main nap to be in the middle of the day back at home.
We believe children sleep better and longer in a darkened room, at home in a cot. Buggy sleep can be for secondary naps or on occasions on a full day trip out. Younger babies might nap in the buggy whilst the group are out in the morning - if that is their routine. But beyond 16 months we nudge them towards a lunchtime nap so that napping out is not a regular event for our older children.
Having ‘nap time’ immediately after lunch suits most young children. For older children that have dropped their naps, this can be a quiet time for stories or quiet play.
Our Early Educators take children out every morning.
Children are at their most energetic in the mornings.
Refreshed from a full night’s sleep, children naturally want to run, climb, jump and, most importantly, learn in the mornings. So heading out first thing and then coming back for lunch is the routine we recommend our early educators follow.
Being out in the morning gives children the opportunity to burn off excess energy. It gives the sense of having got out and about. This makes them calmer and better able to focus on the quieter play at home in the afternoon.
Parents need to see 8.50/9 am as the drop-off cut-off time so that the group is not prevented from getting out promptly.
Afternoons are for focussed activity and free play at home.
Our Early Educators usually run an activity at home in the afternoon, for example, a craft activity or baking. This could be something linked to the trip out that morning or the topic of the week.
Aside from the activity, the afternoon is a great time to let children play unstructured. Children need time to play freely to build their imaginations and creativity and to learn social skills by interacting with other children on their own terms.
We believe that it’s vital that children learn to lead their own play.
We allow lots of time for children to just ‘be’.
Our Early Educators make toys and resources available to children at their level to choose their own play. Children will often have their favourites.
Some children are better at playing alone than others. Some will naturally want someone to play or interact with them all the time. Slowly over time, we work on encouraging them to play alone or with their peers so that they develop the ability to amuse themselves - it is a vital skill they need to learn.
We rotate toys and set out some different toys each day to remind young children of other resources and encourage them to take part in different kinds of play each day.
We always make sure books are accessible and have a mark-making area so children can write or draw if they decide to.
Our home nurseries have lots of rituals.
Having predictable rituals within the day will give your child security. Here are some common rituals many of our Early Educators follow:
Each child has their own area for their coat and shoes that they take off first thing upon arrival.
Having a morning circle time once all the children have arrived where they sing hello and talk about the day.
Having a routine around meals where children sit in the same seats and the meal is set up in the same way (tidy up, wash hands, come to the table, serve in a certain way). Older children often help.
Having a certain song or poem they read before naptime
Having an afternoon storytime where the group cuddle up in the same place to read altogether.
Having a routine around getting ready to go where children learn the steps involved like putting on shoes and coats themselves.
Having a ritual around nappy changes, where our early educators do things in the same order with the same details (e.g. always a tickle on the tummy).
We teach children how to wash their hands following a certain routine and have them do this independently as a group at set times of the day.
Having an end of the day goodbye song or poem that is always read.
The typical daily timetable
8 am - 8.45 am. Children are dropped off. They store their coat and shoes and then play freely with their peers.
8.45 am. Morning circle time. Sing songs and the group talk about the day ahead.
9 am. The group gets ready and sets off for the adventure.
9.30 am. Arrive at this morning’s adventure spot. Children are free to explore.
10 am. Talk about today’s activity.
10 - 11 am. Structured activity on location, with a stop for snack time.
11.30 am. Arrive home, wash hands and gather around for lunch.
12 noon. Naptime for the little ones, quiet time for the bigger children: reading stories or playing quietly.
2 pm. Afternoon structured activity.
3 pm. Freeplay.
4.30 pm. Teatime.
5 pm. Snuggly storytime until children are collected.
5.30 - 6 pm. Goodbye song as each child is collected.