One of the key roles of the Reggio Emilia approach is the third teacher. This is not an actual teacher, as in a person but instead the environment in the setting.
Children thrive in an environment that is well suited to their interests and stages of development. It should be welcoming, pleasing to the eye, represent the communities cultures and beliefs, embrace nature and be filled with purposeful resources.
It is important that the environment is not over stimulating to children’s senses.
This week all our nurseries are celebrating National Story Telling Week.
Each nursery have their own activities taking place to support this.
In every nursery we are surrounded by books in all areas, and also provide cosy, quiet spaces and time to read to our children. In the home, bed time stories are just as important, as well as general reading at a quiet time of the day.
But storytelling is not just getting a book and reading the words! It involves adapting to the characters and making the story ‘come to life’, or making up a story using props for prompts.
We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Rosy Apple Childcare!
As Christmas is fast approaching its important to note that it is not the one and only celebration we take part in at Little Achievers Nurseries.
We celebrate a wide range of cultural celebrations and events throughout the year – but some people may wonder why?
In all our nurseries we have children from a variety of cultures where English may not be their first language and so we not only celebrate events, but also provide an environment for children to learn day to day life of their friends and peers. It is through these activities that children begin to embrace and value each others differences.
Ways we promote diversity and inclusion:-
-Setting up a role play area to include children’s photos and their families, dressing up resources to include a variety of fabrics and fancy dress.
-Food tasting a variety of different foods
-Inviting families in for stay and play sessions.
-Taking part in celebrations from a wide range of cultures and religions
-Learning words from different languages to help support children with English as an additional language.
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This week all our Nurseries have celebrated World Nursery Rhyme Week!
Nursery rhymes play such an important role in children’s early years. They are a fun way to learn!
Every year we celebrate World Nursery Rhyme week to promote the importance of rhymes in early years.
The nursery rhymes are different every year and this years rhymes include I’m a little teapot, Humpty Dumpty, A sailor went to sea, five currant buns and round and round the garden.
When we sing nursery rhymes to children they develop:-
Language and Communication – by singing to children we gain their attention as singing is fun! Children can learn new words through repetitive verses and develop their listening and concentration skills
Maths – songs such as five currant buns promote counting both forwards and backwards.
Social Skills – songs tend to be sung in small groups, children join together to sing with their friends, which can include turn taking.
Imagination and Physical – fantasy rhymes that we can do actions to and act out encourage children’s imagination as well at physical skills.
The most important thing is that nursery rhymes are fun! As we remember from my previous blog, learning needs to be fun for children to develop and want to play.
Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their class by the time they are in Year 3 – Wales Online
Learning through play is one of the main ways children learn and develop.
Other ways that young children learn include being with other people, being active, exploring and new experiences, talking to themselves, communication with others, meeting physical and mental challenges, being shown how to do new things, practicing and repeating skills. A huge part of this learning process is that the children are having fun!
Little Achievers Nurseries provide an ideal environment for children to experience all these methods of learning and most importantly in a safe, secure and fun environment.
Play should be spontaneous and self chosen by the child. It is through this that they can become fully engaged in an activity of their interest and that they enjoy!
Play is natural to children!
Environments within our Nurseries are purposely set up appropriately to the child’s age and development level within that room.
Every child is unique!
We understand this at Little Achievers and all children develop at their own pace! Knowing each individual child allows us to plan, and develop their learning, through play, to their own level.
“Play is the highest form of research” Albert Einstein
This half term I am focusing on the general environment in our Little Achievers Nurseries.
Why? Because the environment is an important tool in the learning of our children! As well as the staff playing an important role, so too does the environment.
Following the Reggio Emilia approach in our settings means that the environment is classed as the third teacher. It isn’t just the staff, children and parents that can learn from each other, the environment should provide the curiosity and wonder, to encourage the children to explore and learn from it. It should give opportunities for children to research and try and test their ideas.
Throughout the nursery year children are moving to rooms as they get older, so new children are constantly coming into new environments. In September, your previous Pre-School children have left for school, and a new group of children move into Pre-School, full of curiosity and ready to learn. However, an environment that challenged children previously, may not have as strong an impact now. This is why we must evaluate and review! All of the Key Person’s at Little Achievers Nurseries know their children and families and it is through this knowledge, we can plan to make changes and adaptations that will then benefit the children we care for. Space and resources are organised in a way that children can learn from and begin to express themselves.
“The environment should act as an aquarium which reflects the ideas, ethics, attitudes and culture of the people who live in it. This is what we are working towards” Loris Malaguzzi, Founder of Reggio Emilia’s Educational Philosophy
Some of this weeks changes can be seen in our gallery. These are from our Little Achievers Urban Forest School setting.
So this week has been a busy one, developing one of our Pre-School rooms into the Reggio Emilia Approach! The room in question was at Little Achievers @ Ribbleton Children’s Centre.
When developing our rooms or areas, we always think of the children first. Put ourselves in the mind of the child and ask what can they learn, what are their interests, what do they enjoy exploring, what excites them???? It is through asking these questions that we can begin to create an environment that is suited to the individual needs of the children in each of our settings. So if you visited each of our settings you would notice that none are the same!
Throughout the week I have worked closely with the nursery team in the development and have already seen the impact of this. As any child would want to explore they found themselves sneaking in to have a peak and the comments of one child were “oh wow!” followed by lots of touching, staring and awe. If this doesn’t mean we are doing something right, then I don’t know what would. Seeing the look on the children’s faces and the way they explore, behave and the curiosity they show makes it all worth while and reminds us why we do this amazingly important job!
This week at Little Achievers Nurseries we have welcomed Olivia, our Atelierista!
So what is an atelierista?
A teacher with an arts background.
When we think about arts, it is always the product that we think of, what picture or model is the end result. However, the process is much more important. We must start to think about what happened before, during and what processes the children went through and learned from.
“Creativity seems to emerge from multiple experiences, coupled with a well-supported development of personal resources, including a sense of freedom to venture beyond the known.”
With Olivia in place, our nurseries can offer opportunities to encounter different materials, expressive languages, different points of view, working actively with hands, minds and emotions allowing each child to express their creativity in their own way.
All our nurseries now carry out in the moment planning. This has become more and more popular in Early Years. Deciding to change planning is always a big decision, having staff to understand it, carry it out and also to have parents on board, to ensure their child is progressing and developing at a good level.
There are a variety of ways to document this, but the main idea is, that we plan, there and then for the children. There is no waiting, no planning next week, no time spent away from children completing sheets of enhancements for the room and activities. Instead, all the time is spent with the children, and most importantly, the children lead!
Practitioners are able to observe their key children throughout the day, and provide further learning for them in that moment! A practitioner will know their key children inside and out, their likes, interests, things that fascinate and wow them, and through this, can add resources, questions and provocations which the child can explore, to help them move on to their next step. By acting there and then, the child is fully engaged and involved, making them prime for learning!
A fabulous example of this has recently been on our Facebook page, from Little Achievers Day Nursery:
The children were wowed by a gigantic marrow growing in their nursery garden.
They looked at the marrow and were asked ‘what would they like to do with it?’
One of the children responded ‘make a cake’
After researching a recipe the children then made a Marrow Cake to share with their friends, and even the Managing Director, Sharon, was invited along to taste it!
Click the link for the recipe in case you wanted to try it at home: Marrow Cake Recipe