Areas of the Preschool
Large Physical Skills area:
In this area we have activities to develop children’s large motor skills. Activities include ride ons, climbing frame, slide, balance beam, see saw, stilts, scramble nets, balls, balance boards. We also have enough space for the children to experiment with different ways of moving such as running, crawling, sliding, jumping, slithering, hopping etc.
We have a home corner and separate role play area. The role play area is set up based on interests the children show. Children are introduced to the role play. Staff will model play and language and interact with the children. Once this has been established the staff can observe the directions that the children take their role play and add resources accordingly. Within the role play area there are real opportunities for mark making, for example telephone pads for messages, diaries for making appointments, clip boards with forms relating to the particular role play. From this staff can observe children’s mark making, their pencil grip and control, which hand they use, when children show an interest in writing their names staff can support and encourage this. Children use role play to make sense of their world, recreating situations and scenarios they are familiar with and engaging in make believe play. This encourages language development and extends vocabulary. Role play provides opportunities for the children to interact and play together and share resources.
We have a rolling snack throughout the morning. We offer a wide range of foods for the children to try and promote healthy eating. The children are encouraged to be independent at snack time, pouring their own drinks, serving their own snack, using knifes to spread, peeling fruit and putting their cups and plates on the trolley when they are finished. Children place their names on the board to signify they have had snack, encouraging name recognition. At snack time staff sit with the children, talking with them and introducing new vocabulary.
In the creative area we provide opportunities for the children to experiment with colour and how colours can be changed, using paints, crayons, pencils, pens and chalk. These are readily available for the children to access independently along with glue, various boxes, tubes, items to stick, scissors and other tools for the children to explore. Staff can assess children’s pencil grips, mark making, scissor skills and introduce vocabulary relating to techniques being used. Children are taught how to use scissors and other tools safely and encouraged to do so independently.
In this area we provide activities such as play dough, corn flour, shaving foam, flour, salt. We can introduce language relating to texture and techniques being used. These activities can also be used as mark making activities using fingers, brushes and other tools to make marks in salt, flour, corn flour. Using fingers to manipulate malleable materials improves finger strength and dexterity. We can use play dough to look at size and shape, ordering objects by length, making balls, cakes etc. to count and to match number to quantity. We can add numbers and letters to encourage number and letter recognition and formation.
In the sensory area children can uses their senses to explore texture, sound, reflections, how things work. This area promotes descriptive language skills. Children can match and sort objects by texture, colour, shape and size.
These activities aid fine motor skills. We have threading of various types, pegs and boards, links to join together, tweezers, pegs, all of these encourage children to use a pincer grip in readiness for holding a pencil and writing. These activities can also be used to sort by colour, shape and size or used for counting and quantity matching to numeral activities.
We have a well-resourced book corner. Past books of the week are placed on the book shelves for children to access. We have fact and fiction books. Our books show the diversity of the world we live in and show positive role models. We also encourage parents to send in photos of special times in their children’s lives. With the child we talk about what is happening in each photo and scribe what they say, turning the photos in to a personalized book.
Small world toys:
We have a large range of small world toys for the children to access, these include, a dolls house, a castle, zoo animals, garage, train tracks, farm, dinosaurs etc. These toys encourage language development and cooperative play. Going with the children’s interests we can incorporate maths, literacy and other areas of learning into the children’s play, making it fun and interesting.
We have a wide range of construction toys, including stickle bricks, mobile, wooden blocks, large bricks, Duplo and Lego. The children can build, balance, stack and enclose spaces. They can experiment with different types of construction and combine construction materials to create different effects. Construction toys can be use sorting, colour recognition, shape and size activities, measuring. Language can be modelled and introduced to do with texture, height, weight, techniques, use of tools etc.
The children have access to a laptop, with age appropriate software. They are able to use the printer to print and then display their work. A leap pad provides experience of learning based apps on a tablet. Whilst toys with flaps, buttons, pulleys and remote controls enable the children to access IT throughout the whole setting.
The outside area is used in all weathers. The children are encouraged to be independent when putting on their coats and changing into wellingtons. Water and sand are always available with resources for the children to access. These include boats and cars, buckets, watering cans, tubs, tubes, hoses, spades, sieves and sand moulds. Children can explore floating and sinking, volume, cause and effect activities. Staff can introduce and model language. We have mark making activities outside as well as inside, there are whiteboards and pens, chalk boards, water and paint brushes. We also have construction and small world play activities.