This help centre article has been written for Koru Kids' Home Nursery service
You don't need a large home to become an Early Educator.
Whilst we know our parents would love nothing more than to send their child to a home nursery in a large, spacious house with a rambling garden - that's not realistic for everyone and it's definitely not a requirement to have a career in childcare.
However, our Early Educators all pour their heart and soul into making the home they do live in a fantastic enabling environment for learning. This means they all have as standard:
A clean and bright indoor play space where children can independently guide their own play and learning - by reaching for toys themselves from low shelves.
A fantastic set of toys for open-ended learning.
Mel's play area
Somewhere for children to sit around and have family meals - either the main dining area or a low table with chairs for the children.
Sophie's dining table
A reading zone or chill-out area - for children to indulge their love of books and stories and get some more quiet play.
Christine's reading nook
A safe and hygienic place to nap in the calm, in the dark and get a good restorative sleep. Most of our Early Educators use their own, their child’s or a spare bedroom as a space for this.
Not all our Early Educators have an outdoor space.
Some are lucky enough to have gardens. Some have balconies they can use for messy play and growing - but some don’t have either.
We think this is OK as the whole point of our home nursery routine is that they are out and about every morning in their local green spaces and actually only ‘back at base’ for a few hours in the afternoon (once lunch and naps are over with). So our home nursery children still get loads of opportunities for fresh air and to run off steam.
The routine and using green spaces
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.
They use a whole variety of local green spaces. It’s not just the same swings every day. They use different areas of their local parks; so maybe the sandpit one day, the flower garden the next and the wooded area on the third day.
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.
Sinthuya's messy play area
How we inspect homes
Our Early Educator’s homes are inspected before they are accepted into our registration programme.
We make sure:
That no one smokes in the house or in the garden. Ever.
They do not live on a very main road that poses a hazard.
They are able to manage the stairs with 3 young children i.e. there is a lift and/or they are not on a high floor without a lift.
There is the Ofsted required amount of space for the number of children to be safely and comfortably.
That they are able to provide meals and a nap space hygienically and practically.
As part of our background checks we:
Run an enhanced DBS check on anyone over 16 who lives there - or visits regularly.
Double-check the measurements of the space to ensure that it is large enough.
Run an Ofsted and Social Services check associated with the household.
As part of their inspection we check:
The home is risk assessed by the Early Educator and they have taken steps to minimise risks. This includes:
Installation of fire safety equipment
Installation of stairgates to prevent falls
Management of liquid hazards (e.g. cleaning products)
The use of locked or high cupboards to remove hazards from children
Electrical and gas safety checks as well as compliance with water standards.
We check the information we’ve been given around who lives in the property and confirm the smoking status and DBS status of everyone living there.
We also check that the home will be an enabling environment for learning.
This is followed up by our home design team who work directly with the Early Educator to make the last changes to their home and get it ready for children.
You can read more about how we inspect our Early Educator's homes here.