What we do
Our dedicated team of staff put children at the forefront of all Pre-School activities. Whilst the provision for learning and development in governed by the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, the approach of the team is child-initiated learning. For example, if on the way to Pre-School a child found a spider and was excited to show their friends this could be a spontaneous activity that the Staff would develop and encourage. The team might use this as a topic for learning about maths or exploring the natural world.
The Staff provide structured focussed activities for the children to ensure their development needs are met but if the children show interest in another topic the staff will respond to this and 'capture the moment'.
Come rain or shine, our Pre-School offers 'free- flow play' meaning that the children can choose what activities they participate in and whether they play indoors or outdoors. Our outdoor space includes a sand pit, water play, mud kitchen, raised 'stage' areas as well as equipment that children can use to create their own structures. Staff work hard to continuously monitor each child's learning and development. When children begin coming to Hanborough Meadows Pre-School, each child is given a key-person and that member of staff completes regular assessments, observations and creates an individual plan to help the child progress.
At Hanborough Meadows we also use the Hygge approach in the way we plan and teach the children. Hygge is the Danish word that means ‘cosiness’. It’s a feeling more than a word. It’s the ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures and making the ordinary more meaningful, beautiful and special. In a world that is so busy and especially in these uncertain times, we feel it is so important for the children to appreciate the everyday and find wonder in the simplest of things.
As our approach is child-led, no day at Pre-School is the same. Timings are largely flexible and Staff follow the children's lead and interests. We adapt the routine where and when necessary.
8.30am- 8.45am Pre-school arrival
Children are greeted by Staff and encouraged to find their name label and hang their belongings on the peg of their choice. Children can put their lunch box and water bottle on the designated shelf (lunch box's are then moved by Staff to the fridge to keep cool). Children then also change their shoes; Hanborough Meadows Pre-School requires children to have footwear purely for indoor use.
8.45am- 9.30am Explore and Engage time
Once all the children have arrived. Circle time gives the children a chance to discuss topics as a group for example finding out what they have done at the weekend or discussing how they are feeling today. Staff discuss different activities available to them that day and the children can choose which activities they would like to participate in.
9.30am- 10.00am Focus and Snack time
Depending on how the day is going, snack time will either be as a group or on a rolling basis. We provide a healthy snack to the children, as well as water and milk. This is to promote good oral care, encourage children to explore and try new foods. Children also develop their independence by (with the help of the Staff) pouring their own drinks from a jug and helping to cut their foods.
We promote early good oral hygiene at the setting and more info and support can be found here.
11.30am- 12.15pm Lunch Club
Children and staff sit together to eat their healthy packed lunches. Children attending either morning or afternoon sessions are able to stay for Lunch Club.
12.15pm-12.30pm Afternoon session begins. Focus Time.
Children are offered further activities which may focus on a particular area of learning.
2.40pm-3.00pm Snack time
As per the morning snack.
3.00pm-3.15pm Story Time
Children come together to listen to a story whilst waiting for their parents/ carers to arrive.
3.15pm Pre-school close. Parents/carers collect children.
We have a white-board in the entrance/cloakroom which provides information on the activities that day.
The concept of Forest School really took off in 1950s Scandanavia, where it was noticed that children attending Forest kindergartens went on to start school with stronger social skills, the ability to work in groups effectively, higher self-esteem, and greater confidence in their own capabilities.
Our experienced Forest School Leader, Sarah runs our two Forest Rangers sessions each week on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Hanborough Meadows Pre-School is so fortunate to have beautiful woodland at Pinsley Woods in close proximity and just a short walk away. With the kind permission of the Blenheim Palace estate, our children are able to explore, interact with each other and with nature.
At Forest Rangers we encourage natural play, using natural resources and risk play such as balancing on a log. This helps children to build confidence. In the outdoor learning environment we are able to incorporate many areas of learning including maths, communication and discovery.
Children are encouraged to choose from the wide selection of books in our collection to take home and enjoy reading with their family.